Tuesday, 30 September 2014

100 Modern Quilt blocks-month 10

This is the 10th and final month of quilt blocks in the Along Came Quilting block of the month featuring Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt blocks.

A nice set of blocks.  The only critters  are the butterflies....as kitted, there was one more set of critters, but I put my foot down and just couldn't use this fabric in a bed quilt for my daughter...

 Ants...cute enough, but not for MY quilt.  That's not too bad, considering I don't think they repeated a fabric in this whole BOM, that there was only one I rejected.

The ants were supposed to be marching around in this block...I added in the swirl-y feathers instead, they were from the butterfly fabric, and the kit had provided lots of that fabric so the butterflies could be fussy cut. 

This turquoise/green fabric made me think of my Grandma Fern's house, it took me a while to figure out why.   And then I realized, its very similar to the covering on her chrome kitchen chairs.
 And here are all the blocks laid out.  I'm going to use this layout, as shown in the book, because I like it a lot and love the rainbow effect (and more importantly my daughter does too). 

Laying it out on the white comforter helped us to decide we don't want to use white to sash the blocks.  I purchased a light teal for the sashing...now its just a matter of cutting out a LOT of sashing pieces and sewing them all together.

I had fun putting these blocks together, and am glad I did it as a BOM (critters and all) since I wouldn't have been able to do this from my stash.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Vicki's Avignon Picnic

This is Vicki's Avignon Picnic quilt. 

It was a struggle finding a light background fabric to go with this bali pop, so I suggested looking for a dark, and I think that dark blue batik worked very well.

 Vicky wanted an edge to edge design, so I used a freehand E's and 3's design.  I think it added lovely texture to the quilt.
 Sorry, this last photo is a little blurry, don't look at it too closely...it boggles my brain. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Palm Trees--Tea Time in Bali

A little warmth and palm trees are needed after the weather we've had here in Calgary this past week.

This quilt started out as a Tea Time in Bali,  but Marilyn decided she wanted to set her blocks differently, so she came up with this wonderful sashing.

 Marilyn wanted palm trees on this quilt...the colours certainly suggest the sea and sand and tree trunks....and we wanted to highlight the sashing, so we decided an edge to edge design wasn't the best in this case.  I was a little concerned about the palm trees showing up on the blocks, with such varied and patterned fabrics, but I had quilted another quilt that had used this same bali pop, and knew the quilting showed on it, so we were good to go.

I could do each block in one pass...stitch in the ditch around the block, stitch the ribbon candy design in the sashing, and then the palm trees. 

 I had thought that perhaps the brown sashing lines wouldn't need to be stitched around, that the ribbon candy would hold them down enough, but they were a little poofy.  It was OK, except from the back it really looked unfinished, because the ribbon candy wasn't touching anything..

 So, then I stitched in the ditch around all the brown sashing lines too, and it was much better.

 Here's how I got the palm trees.  I took bits and pieces of several palm trees in a MeadowLyon designs panto I have and put them together to make them fit in the block.  I'd line up the drawing with the block using my laser light, stitch the ditch and the ribbon candy from the front, and then come into the center of the block on the ditch.  Then I'd move to the back of the machine and using the laser, stitch out the palm trees, move back to the front, finish the ditching and the block was done...no marking.

Thanks for letting me play with your quilt Marilyn!

And here's my 'oh darn' moment with this quilt.  I know it happens to other quilters, because there are online tutorials and videos about how to fix this :)  but it was a first for me.

I ran out of backing before I ran out of quilt.

I had measured the backing wrong, and consequently loaded the quilt in the wrong direction.

Fortunately, there was lots of extra backing on the sides :P   and I was able to piece the extra onto the bottom and finish the quilt.  Oops.

Friday, 12 September 2014

100 Modern Quilt Blocks--Month 9 and my methods

The only critters in Month 9's blocks were these peacocks, and sssh, don't tell anyone, but I kind of like these peacocks.
Fun shapes in this block...

 This 'thistle' fabric is great.  Maybe I'm just calling it a thistle because of  the color, but I like it.  A little Seussical again.

I thought some of you might be interested in how I prepare and sew my 10 sampler blocks at once...it takes about 3 hours, more or less, to do a set of 10, once I got it figured out.    Most of this might seem to be very obvious to you, but some of it wasn't obvious to me at first, and, I've found while teaching classes that sometimes what seems so basic and obvious to someone is an 'aha' moment for someone else that improves their quilting experience. 

The first few sets I'd cut and sew one block, and then cut and sew the next block, and I wasn't happy because a) it wasn't efficient and b) my blocks were all 'hairy' with long thread ends I'd have to go and trim...similar to this at every seam.  (this one is only here now because it was the last block in this set of 10, and so I had one 'hairy' seam to trim in 10 blocks, which I find acceptable)

Once I stopped to think about it, I realized that because I usually chain piece, it eliminates those long thread ends, and saves the step of trimming threads, and of sewing on and off  a thread tag (or thread pig--because the curly threads look like pig tails)

So, I started cutting 5 or 10 blocks at once (more efficient), and then I put the scraps back into the numbered bag (for future reference if things got mixed up) and the pieces required for the block just stacked on top.

And, because when piecing sampler blocks there aren't multiples of the same unit for chain piecing, I decided to layout two blocks at once

Then I sew as many pieces into units as I can at one time for each block.  It depends on the block construction, sometimes this may only be one seam at a time...for the blocks above, I was able to sew a couple of units in one step

The first two pieces are from the block on the left, the 2nd two pieces are from the block on the right.  I snip off the pieces from the first block and press them...

 I leave them chained for taking to the ironing board and for pressing...and to increase efficiency here I've got my ironing board lowered and set right next to my chair, so I can just swivel and press, without having to get up.  If I'm chain piecing a larger quilt, I usually leave my ironing board across the room (or even in the other room), as it's good to get up every 10 minutes or so.
 Above is what the pieces left on the table looked like when the first few pieces were in the machine.
 Then I leapfrog the blocks again, sewing more pieces from the left block, leaving them on the machine and snipping the pieces from the right block for pressing and sewing of the next seams.  Repeat as necessary.

 The thread catcher (tag or pig tail) is sitting lonely on the ironing board.  For this set of 10 blocks, I only needed it twice.
 And when one block is finished, layout and start the next block.
 Here are the first two blocks finished...and the seams are all neat and tidy with no long thread ends

This next bit is more about pressing...I leave my units chained together to take them to the ironing board...none are lost this way, it's very quick and easy to get them all laid in a row on the ironing board, just by manipulating the ends...
 I hit the seams with a shot of steam to set the seams (some quilters only use dry heat, I like steam).  It was explained to me that the steam expands the fibers and when they cool, the piecing thread can sink in a little.  I know I get flatter seams if I use steam.
 When they're chained, I can steam several pieces at once, and then I go back, and gently press the unit open by flipping over the top side.  Doing several at once, often the first unit has cooled enough I don't feel like I'm burning my fingers when I'm opening it up.
 When the units are going to be sewn together again (these half-square triangles below are part of a 9 patch), leaving them chained and flipping alternate sides up for pressing means I know my seams with nest when I'm sewing the units into rows.  I use this method as well when sewing blocks into rows when assembling the quilt top.
 and leaving the units chained makes it easy to pickup and transport back to the layout surface (which for a whole quilt top is usually the other room in my space)  Again, nothing can be lost to the floor,
and if the units were sewn in the correct order to begin with, will be in the correct order to complete the block (or quilt top) allowing them to be easily repositioned in the layout
 And now that all the units are back in the right spot, I snip them apart...

That seems to be all of the many pictures I took of making these blocks.  If you have read to the end, I hope I provided a good tip for you that will make your quilting experience happier.  Or, at the very least that you enjoyed looking at the lovely fabrics :)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

100 Modern Quilt Blocks--Month 8

Now that it's September, and the kids are back in school, and the snow has fallen leaving me with a few good days to stay home, I'm getting caught up on my Block of the Month.

 Would you believe there were no critters in the fabrics in these 10 blocks?  I know, I could hardly believe the luck. 
 These trees make me think of Dr Seuss...I'm expecting to see the Lorax at any time

If you spot any fauna in this sweet purple fabric, I don't want to know, I'd prefer to be critter free in my quilting.

These posts are for my benefit too, you know.  If I somehow mess up my block filing system, and need to figure out which block goes where to create the rainbow effect in the final layout, I 'll have these posts as reference.

And would you believe, my post that has the most hits ever...is month 4 of this BOM...I'm not sure why...and I'm not going to link it here either--that will just send it higher LOL