Monday, January 26, 2015

Keep It Simple Make It Fun # 37

Welcome back to Keep It Simple, Make It Fun (KISMIF)---otherwise it won't get done!

All I did this week was work on my Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along block and my Quilt Doodle Doodle Design BOM.

I chose to needle-turn the applique for the Quilt Doodle Doodle Design BOM.  I am glad I did.

There were a lot of fabulous sewing projects linked up during our last installment.  However, the project I'm choosing to feature is the Shredded Heart T-Shirt Tutorial by Nikki and Erin on their Roonie Ranching blog.  The timing is perfect to inspire some great Valentine's Day gifts.  I think I need (?) to make this one for my daughter.  It was so cute and looks like it would be a whiz to sew.

Now it's your turn to share your projects.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Charm Square Quilt Along Part 3

Hello everyone!  It's time for the second block in our Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along.  Today we will work through the Diamond 4-Patch Block.

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along

To get fabric requirements and ideas, click HERE.

Just so you know where we're headed, I've organized this QAL according to which block I think is easiest and progresses to the most difficult (the spinning centers).For today's entry, we are working on #2, the Diamond 4-Patch block.

This tutorial assumes that your half-square triangles (HSTs) are already sewn.  To sew them as you go, view the tutorial HERE.
  • First, select 16 half-square triangles and lay them out according to the block diagram.  We are looking at #2 in the picture above.  There are two ways to construct this block.  The traditional method creates 4 diamond-square blocks (shown in the second photo below), then joins them to form the bigger block.  I think it is easier to use the column method introduced to you in the previous Sawtooth Block tutorial.  The reason is that when you turn a full right-side column onto a full left-side column, the sewing pairs taking to the machine are in correct alignment.  You don't accidentally rotate an HST and end up unpicking.  It also ensures proper pressing to create sharp points.  For this tutorial, I used my column method, however, both methods work equally well.

Lay out all 16 squares.

This is the traditional method of sewing this block.  Creating 4 diamond-square units and then joining them together along the light-blue drawn in seam-lines.  This works fine if you want to do it this way; however, I am using the column method shown in the previous Sawtooth block tutorial.

Using the column method, the seam-lines are the light blue lines.
  •  Second, use the column method to construct the block.  Starting in the upper left-hand side of the square, flip the HSTs in column 2 on top of the HSTs in column 1.  Now your right-hand side of the HST pairs is in the correct orientation to take to your sewing machine.  Important!  Please do not clip your threads.  These align later steps when you sew it in rows. Repeat with the remaining columns.
In this picture, the seams between columns 1 and 2 are sewn on the left hand side and the seams between columns 3 and 4 are sewn.  All that remains is to sew the column seam between columns 2 and 3.  Do not clip threads in the columns, this maintains block alignment.

    All of the columns are now sewn.
    • Third, press seams of the rows in opposite directions.  This will allow seams of the rows to nest and create sharp points.
    You can see how the columns of this block are pressed opposite of one another so the next rows can nest.  Yes, the threads are still not clipped.
    •  This is our first block where we can choose to match seams to create sharp points.  We know where our columns need to align because we have not clipped our threads.  The trick is knowing where we need to pin and sew with the machine needle exactly to create a sharp and non-blunted point.  I call this trick "X marks the spot!"
    Close-up of how our points are going to match.

    "X marks the spot!"  If you look at the seams highlighted by #1 yellow and #2 blue, you see that the seams form an "X".  Pin through the crossing lines of this X, matching the X on both sides of the seam.  Then sew through this "X".  You will get a perfect point.
    Pin matching the seam through the top of the "X".
    The pin coming out through the bottom of the seam, also in the "X".
    •  Pin-match all HST intersections in this method and you will get a perfect point.
    Close-up of a pin-matched seam.  As you can see the "X marks the spot" trick works!
    • Fourth, sew all rows using the "X marks the spot" trick and press flat.  You now have a  completed Diamond 4-Patch block.  Enjoy!

    Share your work!  I have thoroughly enjoyed those of you taking the time to sew these block and linking up.  There are so many color combinations being used, it is inspiring.  For your convenience I have a flickr pool and a link party at the bottom of this tutorial.


    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Beginning to Catch Up

    Sometimes we just get behind.  I am finally getting some of my own quilt projects completed.

    How many of you remember the Punky-Wunkin Quilt Along from last September?  I finally got around to quilting my full-sized quilt top.  I purchased a pantograph from UrbanElementz to do it.  Usually, I'm not much of a pantograph fan, but I like the cute-factor it adds when I don't want to take forever to get a project done.  I came up with a new rule for me--when doing pantograph work.  Just quilt it!  Then....wait 48 hours before you look at your stitching.  That way you forget where all those little bobbles are and it looks great.

    My Punky-Wunking full size top is finally quilted.

    48-hour rule:  I'm not allowed to look at my pantograph quilting for 48 hours after it is sewn--that way I forget where any little bobbles may have gone.
    I also challenged myself to push my quilting to a new level on my latest design.  Nope, I can't show it all to you yet, but I do have permission from the publisher of Make Modern Magazine to show you snippets of the quilting.  This project will be featured in their next issue--Issue 4 of their magazine.  I am so excited!

    I pushed my skills to a new level on this project by pre-marking a lot of ruler work--including curved cross-hatching, curved borders, straight-line ruler work for piano keys borders, feathers, and micro-stitched swirls.  My husband was so proud of it he said, "That one is going on the wall!"  He's never let me hang a quilt in the house before (not enough wall space I suppose) and's hanging up on the wall, like an old castle tapestry.  It's worth the time (if I have it) to go this extra mile.  This quilt took 4 times as long as it would have if I had done mere pantograph work.
    This is my first time using my ellipse arc ruler.  I really liked it.  It gave great definition and separation between the piano keys border and the feathers.
    Awesome photo of the back--ha ha!

    I used Rhonda's Rulers to create curved cross-hatching.  They work great.  I really like their 1/4" and 1/2" increment markings.
    Here's another sneak peak....more to come (yes, it's another "Nordic" style).

    I hope you're enjoying the QAL, more information to come on Saturday.  I've decided to do KISMIF twice a month.  Weekly wasn't getting enough participation.  Take care!

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    Charm Square Quilt Along Part 2, Sawtooth Block

    Hello everyone!  It's time for the first block in our Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along.

    Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along

    To get fabric requirements and ideas, click HERE.

    Just so you know where we're headed, I've organized this QAL according to which block I think is easiest and progresses to the most difficult (the spinning centers).  I chose the sawtooth block as #1 as its layout is the most straight forward, with all HSTs  facing the same direction.  Once this block is learned, all of the pressing and seam direction tricks apply to all the blocks to create sharp points.

    This tutorial assumes that your half-square triangles (HSTs) are already sewn.  To sew them as you go, view the tutorial HERE.

    Make sure to follow the previous tutorial to sew your HSTs.  To ensure variety when using a charm pack, I separate my charm pack into different colors and then rotate each pile as I go along.  That way I get random placement of colors selection in my blocks.

    Quite the pile of HSTs.

    Layout all of your HSTs, referring to the quilt diagram for HST placement. 
    I like to chain-sew my blocks into columns, without cutting the threads.  This helps maintain proper HST orientation when I go to the sewing machine.  This will be particularly important as we get to blocks with more varied  HST orientation.  Starting in the upper left-hand  corner, create pairs.  I flip the top block in column 2 on top of the top block in column 1, then progress down the column in pairs.  By using columns, the pairs go into the sewing machine with the same orientation on the block layout.
    Remember when using charm squares, the 1/4 seam is from the inside pinked edge of the fabric, not the outside.

    Trick--I do not cut threads in sewing pairs.  This chain-piecing is really valuable.  It keeps my block placement and my HST orientation correct.

    Press seams open in opposite directions.  Odd rows to the right and evens to the left.  Do not clip threads.

    Now flip column 3 HSTs on top of column 2 HSTs.
    Layering column 3 on top of column 2. 
    Chain sew the next column on without clipping seams.  When column 3 is completed, sew column 4 on top of row 3.
    Threads are still attached--not clipped.  This trick keeps your rows in alignment.  It saves time and will allow the seams to nest, reducing bulk in the seam and saving your points.  Notice that the seams my fingers are touching are going in opposite directions, allowing rows to nest.
    After the 4 columns are sewn, it is important to ensure rows are pressed in opposite directions--odds to the right evens to the left (or vice versa...whichever you choose, stick to it).

    Pressing rows in opposite directions allows seams to next.

    The un-clipped chain-sewn threads help to align the rows to be sewn.   I pin through the sharp apex in between the seams, and ensure seam nesting as shown in the above photo.

    The highlighted lines are to show you where the seams are.  To ensure the point does not get blunted, make sure the needle of your sewing machine goes right through that point (or even just to the outside of the seam-line).  "X marks the spot!"
    Here you go....block one--a Sawtooth  block.

    Share your progress:

    flickr group HERE

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    KISMIF 36

    Hello everyone!  Welcome to my weekly link party--Keep It Simple and Make It Fun (Otherwise it won't get done-ha ha!).

    You are invited to join my Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along as well.
    Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along

    Now...about ya'll....great projects last week, so it was hard to choose my favorite.  However, Afton Warnick's UFO Invasion really caught my eye.  In fact, we moved last November and my dad  moved in one of my boxes, labeled "UFO".  He asked me what was in it--I explained UFO stood for "Un-Finished Objects."  He thought it was pretty funny.

    Now, back to Afton, her mariner's compass was stunning, and I loved the colors she chose.

    Afton Warner's UFO Invasion
    Modern Tradition Quilts

    Now it's your turn, lets see what you've been doing to "Keep It Simple, Make It Fun" (KISMIF).  Remember, if I feature your project next week, you'll get your choice of a free pattern from me from my Craftsy or Etsy links.  Thanks!