Friday, January 9, 2015

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along Part 1, The Magic Begins, HSts

Hello Folks,

It's time for the first installment of the Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along.  For your convenience, I have a link-party and flickr pool at the bottom for you to share your progress with the QAL group.

The magic begins--we're going to change all of those charm squares into half-square triangles (HSTs).  I am a big fan of chain piecing so I sew all of my squares into HSTs all at once.  However, you may want to "take it easy" and sew one block at a time.  This will mean that you will need to start each block by selecting 8 prints from your charm square collection and 8 white (or back-ground color of your choice) 5" pre-cut squares.

Note: Charm squares are pre-cut to 5", including the serrated (pinking-shears looking) edge which leaves a useable size of 4 7/8".  If you are using your stash, cut your squares into 4 7/8".

Here we go:

  • Draw a diagonal line down the center of all of the white charm squares.  This will become your cut-line later on. I use a regular pencil for this.
    There are two ways I like to do this.  I like to use a drafting ruler with a right triangle at the bottom.  If your fabrics move, place them on a piece of sandpaper to avoid the stretch.  The two yellow pins show where I plan to sew both  1/4" seams.
Another way is to align your fabric on your rotary cutter mat with its right-triangle (45 degree) angle and draw the cut-line.
  • With right sides facing, layer one white (or back-ground color) 5-inch charm square on top of your 5-inch  charm square print.
  • Sew a 1/4 inch seam on both sides of the drawn line.
    I like to chain-piece these.  To do this, take a pile of white-marked squares and a pile of prints to the sewing machine.  Sew one 1/4" seam as shown--not cutting thread, and align the next one.  When all one side is over,  rotate the chain around (last is now first) and sew the other side.
Close-up of the 1/4" seam away from the cutting line.
  • After both sides are sewn, cut these in half on the drawn line.  I use scissors, but it is more commonly done using a rotary cutter and mat.

  • Press all squares open and toward the print fabric.

If you are using charm squares, ignoring the serrated edges, you will now have 4 1/2" HSTs--ready to be made into our various sampler blocks.  If this bothers you, trim off all serrated edge to a finished size of 4 1/2".  I've done it both ways.  If you choose to trim them, it is more likely that you will get sharper points in your sampler.
I hope you've enjoyed this first installment.  Don't be afriad to ask comments below and when you're ready, I'd love to see you share your pictures on my flickr pool.  Thanks!

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along

A special thank-you goes out to the Grab My Code Generator so I could make this Quilt A Long (QAL) button.  This really is the fastest and easiest way to create a blog button.

Charm Square Sampler Quilt A Long

I am flattered by the interest shown after Monday's announcement and grateful that some of you are going to join in.

I had a nice email asking me the "rules" for the QAL.  In short, I don't have any.  If you would like to copy the code and paste a button on your blog, that is great.  If it is a daunting task to do so, then don't worry about it.  I'm doing the QAL for fun--not for publicity.  It's simply my next pattern to be developed and thought I would share it for you.

Also, I do not "expect" you to purchase the pattern.  As with my other QAL, all of the instructions will be posted here.

FYI, I started a flickr pool for easy photo sharing of projects.  I would love for you to join and share your blocks and progress there.

Lastly, some folks have asked for a schedule.  Here is my TENTATIVE schedule. I am sorry that it is tentative, but I figured you would understand.  I am doing a Master's Degree right now, juggling 4 kids and it is their basketball season--so not a lot of free time around here!  The plan is to construct one block a week (not too bad, right?).

I will post every Saturday with the next week's instructions.  Here is the planned schedule:

January 10--How to change your charm squares into Half-Square Triangles (HSTs)--the Magic begins!  (wink wink)
January 17--Block 1
January 24--Block 2
January 31--Block 3
February 7--Block 4
February 14--Block 5 & Happy Valentine's Day!
February 21--Block 6
February 28--Block 7
March 7--Catch-up week and Happy Birthday to Me!  I will be featured on Moda Bake Shop this week with another pre-cut fabrics quilt tutorial.
March 14--Block 8
Block 9 & Celebrate all of our blocks being sewn
March 21--Block 9 & Celebrate all of our  blocks being sewn.
March 28--Sewing the Settting Sashing
April 4--Add the Borders

I separated this into 12 sections.  Why?  Because if you don't want to do the whole quilt in three months, you could do just one block a month and have a great project at the end of this year.

Here is your Fabric Requirements:
  • 2 packages charm squares in your favorite print (pre-cut 5" squares).  Now, if you want to use your stash, cut strips of 4 7/8" and cut these into 4 7/8" squares.  Why?  Well, charm squares contain a serrated edge, which makes their useable size 4 7/8".
  • 2 packages white (or background color of choice) charm squares (pre-cut 5").  Also, if you're using your stash, follow the instructions above.
  • 2 yards white (or color of choice) fabric for the sashing.
  • 2 1/4 yards print fabric for the outer border.
When I design a quilt, I don't always know what color I want to create it in--which is what make QAL's so fun!  I get to see the quilts worked up in multiple colorways.  This quilt could also make a great stash-buster.

Print this off and color your own!

Denim and Blues

Heirloom Reds

Modern rainbow colors and grays.


I am going to use the Honeysweet collection from Moda Fabrics.

Reproduction prints--a similar colorway to my Honeysweet Moda Fabrics Collection.

Well, I hope that is enough information for now.  Thank you for your excitement over this project.  It means a lot to me.  When I did my first QAL, I never got a single comment on any of the posts!  My second QAL, got comments but I don't think anyone actually sewed the project, so those of you that have expressed your excitement and commitment, know that it means a lot.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Keep It Simple Make It Fun #35

Hello all!

What would you like me to blog about on "Keep It Simple Make It Fun" in the new year?  When I first started this features, it was about free-motion-quilting (FMQ) thread paths.  Would you like it to be more about quilt design, more machine quilting or simply run features of your fabulous projects?

Also, I am going to start another quilt-a-long using pre-cut charm squares.  Anyone interested?  I still need to make the blog-button for it, but it should be great.  We will be making traditional heirloom blocks from charm squares.  I figure sewing a block a week shouldn't be too difficult.  After all, many quilters have a sampler on their New Year's resolutions list.

For this project, you'll need 2 packages of white 5" pre-cuts, two packages of print 5" pre-cuts and 2 1/2 yards of fabric for the borders.  I've done the diagrams in multiple colors for you to get fabric ideas.

This will be similar to the quilt I'll make.   I'm using the "Honeysweet" collection from Moda Fabrics.

Here's a "modern" version using gray sashing and bright prints.

Here is a version if you choose to select specific colors from your stash to create specific color blocks.

My favorite quilt linked up on the last KISMIF features was the Long Winter's Nap from Leann with Not Afraid of Color.  Be sure to check her blog post out.  She has lots of great Christmas pictures.  I too love Christmas lights.

I've had a busy WRITING week--but not a lot of quilting.  In fact, I didn't piece a single block.  Shocking!  Aaagh!  I know (just kidding).  I finally turned in and finished my first pattern contribution to a book.  While I can write and do the math, I admit that doing the diagrams really had me nervous.   When I write my own pattern I can put in tutorial photos wherever I want.  This isn't the case for a book--and the diagrams must be compatible with the publisher.  Whew, I learned a lot. I'm so excited and can't wait for it to come out--so more information later.

I also did a customer's custom quilt--the first since I switched my local machine quilting business to custom only.  I'm considering doing edge-to-edge by mail order.  My biggest weakness is quite funny when you think about it.  Aren't I the quilter, the one to do the up-selling?  Instead, my customers up the ante--convincing me to do custom work for edge to edge prices.  Mail order protects my weakness.  I just don't have the heart to screw up someone's heirloom!  :)

Here are my steps for a custom quilt:

  1.  Mark spacing for quilting.  This customer wanted hearts in the borders.
  2.  Quilt the hearts.
  3. Ditch the blocks
  4. Echo the blocks
  5. FMQ the open areas.  This customer wanted stippling (which I didn't show).
  6. Rotate the quilt to finish the borders going all the way around.
 So...this quilt was actually loaded on the frame 2 times--and quilted 2 times.  Shouldn't it cost more than edge-to-edge work?  I am only showing close-ups  of the quilting as I don't want to "violate" anyone's copyright (since I don't know who wrote the quilt's pattern or it's name).  I think that works, don't you?

Well, now it's your turn, what have you been doing to Keep It Simple and Make It Fun (KISMIF).  Remember, if I choose to feature your quilt next week, you get a free PDF quilt pattern from me.  Options can be viewed in my Craftsy, or Etsy shops or through my distributor Connecting Threads.  Thanks for sharing your projects!