January 2011

Block Seven

I am still working on catching up on my sewing. Yesterday I completed the seventh block for the Moose Quilts quilt-along.

This is a fun pinwheel block that went together very quickly. I had a chance to use some of the larger scale fabric in this one. It is hard to believe there are only five blocks left in this project. Check out the free and fun block patterns on the blog at http://www.moosequilts.com/!

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Block Six

This is Block Six for the Moose on the Porch Layer Cake Quilt Along….

I like this block. It was quick and easy to put together and has an interesting design. I was unhappy with the way my Block Five turned out. I am going to make another one when I get some extra time. I will put Block Five together a little differently next time to make sure the seams line up correctly.

I am having some issues with the fabric line I picked. This is “It’s a Hoot” by MoMo for Moda. The colors are wonderful, but the designs all tend to be somewhat large in scale so for some of the blocks, it’s been hard to find fabrics that compliment but don’t overwhelm each other. Another lesson learned.

Liebster Blog Award

I have been given the Liebster Blog Award by Lisa at http://www.imalisawork.blogspot.com/.

I have to admit that I didn’t know what the Liebster Blog Award was until Lisa wrote to me and told me she had nominated me. I did some checking on line and am very pleased to have been included in this project.

The aim of the Liebster Blog Award is to bring recognition and exposure to small blogs who have less than 300 followers. If you accept the award, you then agree to tag three other small blogs that you would like to recommend to others.

So, to keep the ball rolling, I would like to nominate the following three blogs for the Liebster Blog Award:

http://www.quiltish.blogspot.com/ Alissa at Quiltish writes about quilting and her home-based business and hints for success using Etsy. I am just starting down the Etsy road so I read about her experiences with a great deal of interest, and appreciate the knowledge she shares in her “Business Bits” page on the blog. 
http://www.sugarplumquilts.blogspot.com/ Shontelle writes about her quilting projects and posts great photos of her works in progress and completed quilts. One of her quilts was recently featured in Australian Homespun Magazine. Congratulations, Shontelle!
http://www.quiltingsquareone.blogspot.com/  Pam is a long arm quilter who writes a very enjoyable blog about her quilting. I particularly enjoy the whimsical quilts she makes. Her year end video of all the quilts she completed last year is impressive.
So, congratulations to Alissa, Shontelle and Pam. I hope you will accept the award and post on your blogs about three small blogs that you enjoy.
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Modern Swap Inspiration

It is time for Round 3 of the Make Mine Modern swap. I participated in Round 1 and had a great time. I sat out Round 2 during the Holidays and am excited to do this again. I have received my swap partner assignment (yahoo!), it’s a secret so I know who I am sending to but I don’t know who will be sending to me.

We are asked to do an inspiration collage, so partner if you are stalking me here, this is an additional collage to the one I posted in our Flickr group.

It is a lot of fun making these collages. You clickity, click through Flickr admiring the thousands of photos posted by amazing artists and it is so inspiring.

The swap requires one and a half yards of assorted fabric, a handmade gift, as well as some decorative item you think your swap partner would love. This takes a fair amount of stalking and detective work but that is part of the fun. When the swap ends on April 15th, everyone posts photos of their gifts and it is a truly amazing display of creativity!

Some Progress

I was able to spend a couple of hours sewing yesterday. I put the next set of borders on the quilt being done over at Patchwork Posse. Now I am only two borders behind. Things are looking up!

I sewed the blocks together, then sewed them into borders and when I went to sew them onto the body of the quilt – they were too short!  Aggghhh!? So I sewed on strips of the background fabric to even them out. Hopefully it will not be too noticeable when it is finished.

A Spring Project

Last fall, one of my nieces asked me if I would make a quilt for her. She had a baby blanket that was made for her by a family friend (my niece is now 30) which she adored and had quite literally loved to death. It was falling apart and she couldn’t bear to part with it. She asked if she salvaged some of the pieces, would I make her something new using the pieces.  “Of course I will,” I said.

Around Thanksgiving, she proudly presented me with these.  She had carefully picked apart these little 2 inch squares….well, they were 2 inch squares at one time…and because they are tissue-paper thin and distorted, she had ironed them on to ultra light interfacing and carefully cut out each one. Remember Strawberry Shortcake from the 70’s? It is that print. The seams are still pink, but the surface of the squares are almost white from wear. Hmmm….

Then she proudly announced that she had gone to JoAnn’s to buy the other fabric I would need and presented me with these four fat quarters. She said she would love to receive it as a Christmas gift and after seeing the look on my face she quickly suggested that it would be great as a birthday gift, too. (Her birthday is in May.)

So there it is. My challenge for this spring. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. At least I don’t have to come up with the color palette! It will be fun to make her something that she can continued to enjoy. Stay tuned for the Strawberry Shortcake Challenge…..

Block Four – Layer Cake Quiltalong

Darn! I thought I had been so careful planning the layout of the yellow polka dot background. The dots are oblong, so they are definitely directional. I thought I had them all going in the same direction, but hmmmmm….not so. Oh, well. I’ll certainly remember this the next time I use these dots.

A Star for Terrie

Terrie is the admin for the round robin bee I am participating in. She is great at keeping everyone organized and motivated. She asked for a star block from each of us, and we were to use a fabric that represented a childhood memory. She sent along a ziplock bag full of novelty fabrics and when I saw this sweet strawberry print it triggered a memory from my childhood.

It was a memory about visiting my maternal grandmother at her home in Oregon. Her neighbor had a large strawberry farm, and during our summer visits she and my mother and I would make vast quantities of strawberry preserves which we would take home and enjoy all winter.

This is my star for Terrie:

And these are her star blocks so far:

This is such a sentimental theme for a quilt. The quilt and the journal that accompanies it are shaping up to be very special indeed.?

Beware of Curves!

This month I am the tour director for my Round Robin Bee group and the subject is sewing curved seams.  Sewing curves may be intimidating but with a little practice and some patience you can tuck this technique into your tool belt and produce some unique and beautiful blocks.

The old fashioned “Orange Peel” block is made with two very gentle curved seams, and is an excellent block to practice sewing curves.

You can find a template for this block at www.popularpatchwork.com/sites/4/documents/orange_Peel.pdf.

This is the block we are ultimately producing:

You will need to cut 4 of the “petal” shapes and 8 of the background shapes.

Take one petal shape and two background pieces and fold them in half and finger press a seam across the half way point on each.

Match the center point of one of the background pieces on the center point of the petal piece and pin.

Pin each end of the background piece to the ends of the petal piece.

Beginning at the center pin, insert pins about every half inch, working out to the edges. Yes, it is a lot of pins, but believe me, pins are your friends in this block!

After you have placed your pins on the front, turn the piece over and make sure the fabric on the back is nice and smooth along your pinned seam.  If you need to, smooth the fabric with your finger outwards toward the edge until there are no puckers or ridges.

The 411 on this block: sew slowly and patiently. Don’t work on this block if you are tired or in a hurry.  Curved seams are not as forgiving as straight seams, so take your time.

Keep the outside of your 1/4″ foot exactly on the outside edge of the fabric. Sew four or five stitches and then pause, lift the presser foot and realign the fabric, if necessary. Don’t sew over a pin. Stop and take the pins out as you come to them. It helps if you keep your eyes in front of the right side of the presser foot while sewing along the curve instead of watching the needle.

Once you have completed the seam, take a small, sharp pair of scissors and clip the seam every half inch.  Clip within 3 or 4 threads of the seam, being careful not to clip into the seam itself.  The clipping allows the fabric to splay and relax into the seam so you can iron it flat.

Press the seam toward the center.

Using the same guidelines, align the center of the second background piece with the center of the petal piece, inserting a pin at the mid-point.

Again, pin on the outer edge…

Pin, pin, pin…

Once again, after you have sewn the seam, use small sharp scissors and clip the seam every half inch to let the fabric relax and spread open on the seam.

This is the first of the four squares in the block. Repeat the prior steps to complete the three remaining squares in the block.

When you sew the four blocks together, please pay attention to the concave and convex curves and match them so the blocks come together in alignment.

If you choose to put the petals together as above, you will have a flower block and if you angle them the other way you will have the circle block. Give it a try!

Until next time,

Joan

Working to Catch Up!

Here is the next border for the round robin hosted by Patchwork Posse.

This is a fun project, with a new border added every other week. That means I am only two borders behind.  Yikes!  The holidays flashed past and here I am looking at the second week of January. How did that happen? Of to the sewing room to do some furious sewing……