Hi! I’m still continuing on my rainbow adventure, albeit slowly. Turns out that sewing 80″+ long strips is slow. Well, at least when you’re being careful to not stretch or distort them. Surprisingly though, I find it very relaxing.
I did find out one thing: jelly roll strips are not always 2.5″. See? The shot cottons are a little bigger than 2.5″ – at first I tried trimming them down, but it just wasn’t helping any, and took a lot of time. So, I just got better at eyeballing it. I might regret this later, but so far it’s turning out just fine.
As I was sewing, I noticed one of the print squares – Leopard! I, avowed avoider of animal print anything, am making a quilt with leopard print in it. This feels like such a growth moment. Or maybe it’s an out-of-body experience?
In other news, did you know I have a WIP page? It was horribly out of date, and I might still be missing a few that have completely fallen into a black hole, but there are a lot of goodies on there. I probably should have turned to that while in a funk, rather than start a new project, but then I wouldn’t have a rainbow in my life right now (it’s raining). So no regrets. I did run across this gem, though, while updating the list:
This is a top I made (in a single day, no less) using the Floating Squares Score from Sherri Lynn Wood’s new book. I used scraps of quilt backs (bee print came from this one, flowers from a yet-to-be-blogged baby quilt) along with some Kona Lime. There’s just something that I don’t like about it though. It doesn’t feel finished. Maybe because it’s an S shape it’s throwing me off? I’m debating taking some of the seams apart, and sort of starting over. Or maybe adding more bits to it? What would you do?
You may have noticed I’m not much of a rainbow kind of gal. Not that I don’t appreciate, or love others rainbow works; Stephanie is phenomenal at rainbowy goodness and I love what she does. It’s just never seemed very “me.” (Yes, I know the Supernova blocks are rainbows… maybe that’s why I keep procrastinating on them?)
But, in order to try and get out of my funk, I’ve started playing around with a rainbow of sorts. It’s not a true ROYGBIV though, more of an earthy rainbow. See?
Years ago, long enough I don’t remember the exact details, I participated in a Kaffe Fasset charm square swap. I thought it’d be a good way to get lots of bright happy fabrics — and it was, there just wasn’t anything I really wanted to sew with them. Charm squares have always been an issue with me. They’re nearly irresistible, but what do you do with them?
I was poking through Craftsy‘s fabric, oh, a little more than a year ago I think, and stumbled across a jelly roll of Kaffe Fasset’s shot cottons. That got the wheels spinning and eventually, I remembered the Shoreline pattern by Tula Pink. It uses a jelly roll, and a charm pack. It’s simple, but not boring. Ta-da! My friend Jo did a gorgeous one about this same time. That may have influenced my decision.
So why haven’t you seen the completed quilt yet? Because as usual, I got distracted by something. I don’t remember what, but I’m sure it was very important at the time… Anyway, after I told you all about my funk, I talked to my wonderful Auntie, and afterward realized I had all the fabric for this Kaffe rainbowy Shoreline all packaged up together, ready to go! Self made quilt kits to the rescue!
I started by matching charms with their similarly colored shot cottons. Some were more successful than others. I’m using a light gray Kaffe print for the background to keep it all Kaffe all the time. If my sewing is accurate (always a stretch), and I don’t deviate (another stretch), it should end up a nice healthy throw size. Of course, with my giant of a husband, that’s 60″ x 80″, which to less vertically endowed people is actually about a twin bed quilt.
There are a few strips that were harder to place in the rainbow. Most of the shot cottons have two colors in them, and depending on the angle you are looking from, and the lighting, they take on completely different colors. Good thing I’m not a perfectionist! Especially since these aren’t true primary colors, a few out of place here and there won’t bother me. Hopefully…
Have you seen my sewing “mo-jo”? It seems to have ran away, again…
Thank you for all the wonderful comments and support on my Fabri-quilt Block tutorial!!! If I missed replying, please know I’m very sorry…that’s not usually like me.
I officially ended my Summer of Sarah Sewing by making a few deserving brides shower presents. Not quilts, but other pretties. And of course, completely forgot to take pictures of them, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I’m working on a little bit of secret sewing; I can’t show you the front, but I can show you the back right? It includes scraps from this and this mini, as well as from this baby quilt. Apparently, teal and gold are my colors this year — I think I’m okay with this. Pantone can keep its Marsala.
A few weeks ago my MIL’s father passed (which explains some of my recent absence), so she’s in need of a quilt. Currently, I’m being very nice and letting her borrow Play that Funky Music, but I’d like it back eventually… Here’s what I have so far:
I’m going to back it in a purple sheet I picked up at a linens outlet long ago. If you’ve never tried – do! Backing a quilt in a sheet is a quick, easy way to get a quilt back, especially if you don’t have the time or inclination to piece a back. Don’t just take my word for it — Amanda at A Crafty Fox uses sheets too!
I think I just need a project to get excited about again… Any suggestions? How do you get out of a funk?
Hi! Today is the day I get to reveal an original block design for the Fabri-Quilt New Block Hop!!!! I waffled between several ideas, and finally settled on this one. It’s inspired by a flock of sparrows we have living near our apartment — these birds are completely fearless and have no sense of self-preservation. Seriously, they don’t understand the danger cars, people, or dogs could face, and never move out of the way. A little annoying at times, but they are pretty cute.
This block is almost an improv design, but not quite. So, I’m calling it a choose your own adventure style block. The geese sparrows can change/move to any position you want. The directions will walk you through making four flying geese units for each color, but as you can see, you don’t need to use all four in one block. You could very easily make another block with the remaining geese. Shall we get started?
I used 5 of the 6 colors provided us by Fabri-Quilt: White, Coral, Turquoise, Charteuse, and Lapis Blue, but this block could easily be made with any combination of colors and/or prints.
You will need:
(1) 8″ square, cut in half diagonally
(4) 3.75″ squares
From each color:
(1) 5.25″ square (4 total)
(1) 2.75″ wide strip, at least 18″ long (4 total)
Center a white square on each of the color squares
Draw a line down the center and pin on each side. Make sure the pins are far enough part that you won’t have to remove them while sewing.
Sew 1/4″ from each side of the line.
Cut along the drawn line.
Repeat for all four colors. You should have a total of eight (8) triangles now.
Press the blocks open, with the seam away from the white triangle.
Now comes the tricky part. You want to take these weird looking HST’s and put them together, aligning a white corner with a color corner. This will look weird, and kind of wrong — but it’s not!!!
Draw a line down the middle, pin on both sides, and sew 1/4″ from each side of the line.
Cut along the drawn line.
Now you have these really weird looking pieces. You can just start to see the flying geese, right?
Cut through the middle of these pieces. It doesn’t have to be super exact, but don’t purposely make it wonky. There will be plenty of ‘slop’ to trim these into the units you need.
Now comes everyone’s favorite part- trimming flying geese down to size. Since these aren’t a normal size, you’re going to need to get friendly with the alternative markings on your ruler, especially the 45 degree line. See how the 45 degree line is aligned with one edge of the goose? And the 1/4″ dots all hit the other edge of the goose? This makes sure you’re trimming the block to be square with the goose. (If you’re going for wonky geese — and awesome possibility!– you don’t need to worry about this as much).
The final size of the flying geese unit is 2.75″ x 1.625″ (2 3/4 ” x 1 5/8″).
Turn on some music and power through trimming all the geese (or only as many as you want to use…). Then, through the power of time and tunes, you get a nice pile of trimmings and a pile of flying geese
Decide how many geese units you’re going to use per color, and what order you want the colors in.
Layout your geese how you want them to appear. I chose to use only a few units, and to have them all flying the same way, but this is where yours get to be different than mine!!!
Using the strips, fill in the spaces between the geese. You want to make sure you you fill in an area that’s at least 18″ long. Longer is fine, just remember that you’ll be trimming it down, and you might lose geese…
Sew the flying geese into the strips, then sew the strips together, all using 1/4″ seams. Press as desired (open and to the side will both work fine). I find this to be the exciting part — you can start to see how the block will look!!!
Before we can attach the large white triangles, we need to trim down the geese portion. This will allow you to more precisely locate the white triangles, and hopefully avoid having to unsew anything.You want to trim to approximately 12.5″ — a little over is fine because you will be giving it another trim after attaching the white triangles.
You want it to center down the middle of the strips (between the bright blue and green here), so place the 45 degree line of your ruler along that seam. Trim each corner.
Now attach the white triangles using a 1/4″ seam. Since we started with an 8″ square, there will be a fair bit of slack, and you don’t need to precisely align the pieces. You could get away with a square as small as 7″, but then you have to be really careful how you align. I prefer the easiness of oversizing the pieces.
Now just trim up the final block
Aaaand you’re done! Ta-da!!!
So, you know how I said you could make another block with the extra geese? Well, that’s just what I did.
I also made one in prints, because, you know, it had to be done.
Aaaaaand, everybody together now!
My husband liked this so much, he asked if I could do a full quilt like this someday…. so I of course turned to the computer to see what that could look like. It’s still a little rough around the design edges, but someday it’ll come into being.
For more awesome block designs, visit today’s stops on the blog hop:
Hi! Sooo, it’s been a little while, right? Life away from my sewing machine took over for a bit (darn!), but there was some sewing, it’s just still a secret… But one such secret gets revealed this week!!!
Today is the start of the Fabri-Quilt New Block blog hop!!! Yvonne is posting today, over at Quilting Jetgirl, and she has a list of others who are posting today (and there’s a giveaway). So, there are 16 tutorials for block designs to look at today. Tomorrow, there will be another 16 featured on Meadow Mist Designs. Wednesday is Late Night Quilter‘s turn (and when my block goes live!), and Childlike Fascination will be posting on Thursday. That means over 60 tutorials for new block designs this week!!!!
Would you like a sneak peek of mine?
Well, this is sort of a sneak peek… Just the pile of trimmings. But you can come back on Wednesday and see the full reveal!
This is possibly my new favorite quilt! There are sunflowers, batiks, yellow, awesome quilting, metallics — what more could a girl want?
It all started with the sunflower print. Surprised? I saw it at Joann’s — yes, Joann’s — and fell in love. After I brought it home, I consulted the stash, and the fabric stores, to find coordinates, found the pattern in Quilty, and got started. The quilt top itself came together very quickly, then languished in a corner for far longer than it deserved.
A few weeks ago, I whipped it out, made a quilt back, and got to work! I scoured the internet for FMQ designs so I could make each block different. Shall we explore some of these?
On that tan print, it’s just a simple loopy meander. I really wanted to use the metallic thread on that print (the circles are slightly metallic), but didn’t want to worry too much about tension. Also, my favorite print of the back is right behind this block, and I didn’t want to quilt too densely. The yellow print is from Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket (love their fabrics!) and is … well, I don’t actually know what it’s called. Maze? Curvy connected matchstick? The orange print (Julianna Horner) and the lower Pearl Bracelet I shared here. The sunflowers are in a great modern leaf design from The Inbox Jaunt.
These were mostly all shared in the last post as well, except that upper left brown batik. That was actually the very last block I did in the entire quilt and I was starting to get a little worn out. So, I chose something very simple — branches from Leah Day. Super, super easy, and it really worked well to highlight the fabric here. I’m not sure it’s a design I will use often, but on semi-organic designs it works really, really well.
On the upper orange print, I tried to do cobblestones from the book Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner. Her examples ended up far more rounded and cobblestone-y than mine. Mine looks more like stacked moving boxes… Still fun, and a great texture. The brown sketch print I marked out with painter’s tape every three inches, then just did a figure eight pattern between the tape. Easy, but very striking. The sunflower print has a design I “invented” myself. It was late at night and I wanted something easy, but angular, that wouldn’t detract from the print. At the request of Jenn, I’ll be sharing a tutorial on that soon. The design in the center batik is probably the one I’m most proud of, so of course it’s the hardest to photograph. There are three free handed ovals, with feather frames. Then I echoed inside the ovals with metallic thread. It’s a little easier to see here on the back:
Speaking of the back, I used a few of my favorite fabrics. After all, that’s what the Summer of Sarah Sewing is about. Making quilts for me to enjoy, and what’s more enjoyable than using your favorite fabric?
I’ve been hoarding that bear fabric for what feels like forever, and it was just perfect for this! The yellow roses are leftovers from the back of this quilt (my former favorite quilt), and that brown and orange print near the top was used in this quilt. Not to mention the scraps from making the top that made their way to the back. I do still have all those HST trimmings that will become something…someday…
More of my own triangular design, and dot-to-dot quilting on the Comma print. That was…hmmm, not difficult, but it definitely required concentration. I definitely need more practice to keep the lines straight. Shucks darn, I guess I have to make more quilts.
As you may have noticed, I bound the quilt in the Copper Metallic version of Pearl Bracelets. I bought it specifically to bind this quilt when it came out last year. Unfortunately, I was going to be shy a few inches, so what’s a smart talented quilter to do? Match one corner of the binding to the quilt top, of course!
Recently, I saw Rachel at Like To Sew do a matched binding and I thought it added a lot to the design, so I did it too. Because copying is the sincerest form of flattery, right? That block is quilted in swirls with and without pebbles, and a few leaves thrown in, just because I could. (I’m starting to think that should be my tagline…)
After the last post, my aunt shared that this quilt reminds her of childhood memories with my mother, and in that moment, the name was chosen. See, my mother would play loud, upbeat music whenever we were cleaning, and Play that Funky Music was amongst her favorites. And you know, it kind of fits with the vibe of this quilt. Also, this was the same aunt who sent me the sunflower seeds… so it’s kind of perfect.
That connection to my mother, through this quilt, is what makes it my new favorite. And reminds me why I quilt.
I recently mentioned a not-so-secret quilt to a friend, and it suddenly hit me how many projects I have that are ‘secret’ only because I haven’t shared them! I know there are quilters out there who can work on one project steadily, without breaking up the work flow. I am not one of those such magical creatures. Not even close. So I thought I would share a few quick snippets of what I’m working on these days. Ready?
This is a project that I affectionately refer to as the crazy cat lady quilt. I’ll share more on my thought processes behind it someday, but for now the quick blurb: This floral I’ve had since, ummm, 2012? waiting for the perfect inspiration. In a clean up, the green cat face print from Catnap fell on top of it, and as they say, the rest is history. I’m working on creating several blocks of varying sizes and will eventually join them with some improv/alternate grid work. Lots of black, chartreuse/pickle, and coral. Fun, right?
Since this summer is about sewing for me (remember?), I picked back up my Supernova blocks. Now I just need to keep the momentum going and finish it out!!! Anyone want to take bets on if it’ll happen before 2016? I think this is my most picked up and put back project to date…
I’m also working on a quilt of my own design, with the intent of either selling it, or releasing it as a free tutorial. I don’t want to give too much away, but it uses this charm pack of Persimmon I picked up during a fun day with quilty friends.
The completion of the Farmer’s Wife quilt is still on the agenda, I just have to work through an idea or two. Here’s what I’m leaning towards currently (the strip idea didn’t look great in person; the blocks got washed out).
Last but not least, I’ve been invited to join in the Fabri-Quilts New Block Hop at the end of this month!!! So now I need to design a block…
How many projects do you work on at a time? Are you like me, flitting from project to project? Or more purposed working on one project until completion?
Recently, I started doing precision piecing again (more on that later), and I thought I’d share my method for pressing open seams with you. When I started quilting, the only method I knew to press seams open was the standard hold the fabric open just before you iron it. As you probably know, this results in sore, burnt finger tips, and frustration. Possibly even swearing, but we can pretend that doesn’t happen, right? With a few tools, I’ve figured out a way to press seams open without having my fingers anywhere near the iron!
The tools you need are: fork pins and a brayer (they’re shown above). I wish I could remember who I heard first mention these tools to give them credit, but I’m a little hazy on the details. A brayer is usually used to help with stamping/inking processes, not that I’ve ever done those… But someone, somewhere, at sometime mentioned it was handy for paperpiecing. It works just like a rolling pin (only smaller) to give you a really firm finger press. I could go into all the mechanics behind force and moment arms to explain why the roller can press better than your fingers, but you would probably fall asleep and miss the important part — how not to burn your fingers — so we’ll skip the physics lesson for today. I picked up my brayer at a semi-local quilt store, but you can find them online as well. (Hint: try searching for wooden seam roller if you don’t have any luck with brayer)
Fork pins are just awesome for so many reasons, especially when dealing with open seams. As you can probably tell from the picture, they have two prongs, so they immobilize the pieces/fabric at two points instead of the usual one. Also, they’re thinner than standard straight pins (at least the ones I have), so you can sew really really close. These are made by Clover, and are available online, and possibly your LQS.
Now for the technique! I’m kind of a lazy quilter — see, I don’t like to iron/press at every single step. A.) My cat likes to knock my iron over, so I leave it unplugged as much as possible. Fires are not welcomed. B.) Sewing is supposed to be relaxing, if I’m always getting up and moving around, it’s not as relaxing. The point to this, is with this technique, I only need to press most blocks at the end, when it’s all sewn up. (The example block here was an exception; I did have to press some of the subunits.) When I’m joining two sections, I finger press each seam, and use the fork pins to hold the seams open, and in place aligned together.
See how the seams aren’t open all the way down? The fork pins will hold the seams open where you’re sewing, and the rest can get pressed open later.
Since the fork pins are so small, you can sew much, much closer to them. If you remove the pins (any kind of pins, not just these) too soon, it’s almost like you didn’t pin at all. This particular machine I was sewing on doesn’t fair well if I try to sew over the pins… but if you know your machine is okay with it, you can do that too. Just be careful. Maybe wear safety goggles. Or, do like I do, and just sew right up to the pin, then remove it. That’s the other handy feature of fork pins. Rather than having a standard, hard-to-grab head on the end, the forked part angles upwards, making them very easy to grab.
Once you’re all done sewing up your block, the back will look kind of like this (barring variations in what block you’re sewing of course.) I had already pressed some subunits, so there are a few seams pressed fully open, but you can see the majority of the ‘big’ seams are not open at all.
Start by finger pressing the seams. Run your fingers along each seam, pushing downward, just like if you were creasing paper to make a paper airplane, or wrapping a present. You want to start coercing that seam flat. Because we all know, seams have a mind of their own, and will fight you if given half a chance.
Once you’ve finger pressed the seams, you can roll the brayer over the seams, applying a firm downward pressure. This is just like if you’ve ever rolled out pie dough, just on a smaller, less delicious scale. (Carla jokes that I always make her hungry with my blog posts — Sorry Carla!!!)
Ta-da! This is what those seams will look like after you’re done bray-ing them. (I’m making up words now.) Kind of flat, but still rebellious enough to flip any way they please. So now we bring in the big guns, uhhh, I mean the iron. A little heat will teach them who’s boss!
This is where you want to PRESS, not IRON. Pressing is where you lift the iron straight up and down, ironing you slide back and forth. You do not want to slide the iron at this point. Pressing with the iron will follow with those good intentions you sowed with the finger pressing and brayer rolling. Ironing will mess that all up. So put the iron down on a section, count to three or so (depending on your iron, of course) then lift straight up. Place it down on another section, etc, etc, until all the seams have been pressed. Then you can flip over to the other side, the right side of the block, and iron, if you must. I usually must because then I can admire the pretty block. Admiration is a very important step of the quilting process. It is, just ask my cat. But see how there are no fingers nearby? In fact, I did this one handed (because I only have two, and one was holding the iron, the other the camera). Not a chance in the world of burning fingers!!!
And here is where I would show you the picture I took of the back of the block so you can see how beautifully everything lies open. Except I forgot to take that picture. I was hungry, it was dinnertime, I got wrapped up in the admiration step and forgot to admire with my camera as well. Ooops.
By the power of the internet (and going to take the photo just now), I have a picture for you!
So, what do you think? Did this remove a little of the pain in pressing open seams? Are you now a convert?
Hi! A few days ago, I had this quilt basted and ready to go. Since then, I’ve scoured the internet, and your comments, for new free motion quilting designs to try out. It was a real hardship to look at beautiful quilts, over and over.
Just under half of the quilt is done at this point… hopefully I can come up with enough ideas! Since learning the feather shape I pretty much want to put them everywhere, so I knew there was going to be a feather. I chose this section with the golden honeycomb batik because I thought it would show up best, and because it’s one of my favorite fabrics in the top. So much so, that after I made this top, I went back to the quilt store and bought another yard of it. True love right there.
I’m a big fan of using the fabric design as a guide for the quilting — no marking! On this pearl bracelet section, I did a sort of crop circle thing (not sure what it’s ‘technically’ called). In that orange section (an older Simon + Kabuki print) I did a new-to-me design. I’m not sure of the name, but I keep calling them feathered pebbles. I thought it was pretty easy, but then again, I like feathers, so doing several little ones would be fun for me. And we all know my history with pebbles.
I love watching how these designs show up on the back, some more prominently than others. I used to hate the idea of the thread showing up on the back. Now that I’m more confident in my quilting abilities though, I love that part. It’s kind of like a badge of honor, and way to easily show you what I’ve quilted.
Another new-to-me quilting design: puzzle pieces! They were super fun, even though I had to mark the top. I played it safe and marked with a chalk pencil (I don’t trust those blue ones!) It was a little painful as the chalk wore off, but since it was just a simple grid it wasn’t too bad. The yellow section was done in a sort of column of c’s method. I did them on an angle since the fabric has such a horizontal design, I didn’t want any irregularities in my squiggles to fight with the fabric. The orange up in the corner is a dense woodgrain, which is just super fun, and one of my favorites.
This orange section was done with a wavy cross hatch, again using the fabric as a guide. Easy, but a little tedious. It has a fabulous texture to it though.
I love seeing the different color threads on this print. I was a little nervous using up the last of my scissors on the back of this quilt, but hey, this summer is about sewing for myself. And if I can’t use the good stuff on me, who can I use it on? It really works well with the quilt and the quilting so far, so no regrets!
I did this section in a peapod design, as taught by Christina Camelli. The metallic thread is so hard to capture! It’s a bronze color, and I used a dark brown in the bobbin. It definitely took a little finessing to get the metallic thread to play well with my machine, but it’s worth it. I have plans to use it on a few more sections of this quilt.
This, by far, is my favorite new-to-me technique. Leah Day calls it a pointy paisley, but I think of it as layered triangles. It is very fast (faster than a regular paisley, at least to me) and very, very forgiving. All of those lines going in different ways make your eyes bounce around, disguising any sections that aren’t quite perfect. Definitely a good technique to have in your toolbox.
Here is what the back looks like:
I mentioned above that I don’t trust marking pens… I know this will have to change someday. Do you have any that you love, that work well? I know the blue ones are popular and there’s even a blue marker remover product, but I’m still hesitant. Any wisdom to share?