Friday, November 14, 2014

Newest Pattern About to be Published: WHIRL AWAY

What are your thoughts on paper-piecing?

This pattern will be available next week.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blue Diamonds - Quilted, Bound, DONE!

On November 5, I shared a photo of  my Blue Diamonds quilt in pieces on my design wall:
At the time I was contemplating adding some other blocks of varying configurations, to show how a simple HST grouping can produce SO many cool designs, as borders.
I apologize for the yellow quality of these photos - I snapped them with my cell phone but I think you can see what I am talking about in them.
I really didn't like how the blocks
 took away from the simplicity and impact of the simple repeating diamond pattern on the quit top,
they are now part of the backing:

This particular quilt is a sample for a class I will be teaching in January on Beginning Quilting.  What block could be more versatile yet basic to all quilting but the HST?  It teaches anyone the basics - stitching an even precise 1/4 inch seam, how to deal with bias, chain piecing, and the most fun - assembling into lots of patterns.
I have long decided I really do NOT like machine quilting on my domestic machine - it is just not smooth enough for me to really get into the thread play.  I am always yanking, stuffing, rolling, getting exasperated....    HOWEVER - in light of the fact that the students taking beginner quilting will be making a quilt START to FINISH it was important to show how it can be done.
As those of you who quilt on your domestic machine know there are a few ways to attack the undertaking.  My first decision was to decide how to baste the sandwich together - pin-basting or spray?  I opted for spray so I didn't have to stop and remove pins as I went.

It is not a large quilt (14 - four inch squares by 14 - four inch squares) so I laid it out on a hardwood floor outside my sewing space (lots of air/ventilation recommended) and taped (painters' tape) it securely to the floor. 

 It needs to be TAUT not STRETCHED.

The batting was roughly the same size as the backing, which I make a good 4-5 inches larger than the top all around.  I positioned it over the backing (which was face down).

I pulled half of it back, sprayed the backing, positioned the batting then did the same for the other half.  The process was then repeated with the actual top, face up.

Once I had the sandwich together I went to the machine and began the quilting!  I have discovered this awesome stitch which has a nice curve but is uniform and stitches up like a straight seam.

Here you can see I use my walking foot and how this stitch creates a nice undulating curve.

I always use needle stop down for pivoting at corners:

Again because of the poor color qulaity of the pics it is hard to see.  I chose a light seafoamy green for the light diamonds and a variegated green/aqua/turquoise for the dark diamond quilting:

 This shows the final effect of the stitch choice I made for the quilting:

 and here....

This is very hidden but I did manage to sew the corner under to have a nice DOUBLE quilt.  Sheesh!

Another reason I dislike machine quilting - the small space to maneuver in.
  I am very happy with the final product (even with all my complaining - LOL).  It is a quick pattern to stitch up.  A design wall is really helpful in laying out the pattern.

BACK VIEW (in natural light):


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pink Sun Rising Quilt-Along Part 2 Assembling the Blocks

Have you mastered the paper-piecing and assembled ALL(maybe many of) the arcs?
It isn't so bad once you get the hang of it - RIGHT??

The hardest part is DONE!

attaching the inner curved piece and outer curved piece to the paper-pieced section is all the piecing work left to do.
Sewing curved pieces is not difficult - it just requires a little patience and prep work.

Copy the pattern for sections A & C onto freezer paper and cut out the shapes (the grey fabric with white polka dots represents the arcs you have just finished with the paper-pieced rays).  I am only showing sections B and C.

I find the most accurate method is to pin in the center of the 2 curves first,
then the outermost points,
then, depending on how big the curve is - pin at the half-way point between the 2 pins at the outer edge and the mid-point and either leave it be or keep pinning at midpoints, if necessary and as needed.
Fold the section right sides together to find the midpoint of each on the stitching line.

Right sides together match section C at the midpoint to the midpoint of section B.
Pin at the outer edge.

Wow - will this really sew together and lie flat??

BUT it is going to look much worse....

Slowly stitch from edge to edge, easing as you go.  Be very careful NOT to stretch this bias edge as you proceed.

If all goes well - it will look something like this:

Opened up before pressing:

Oriented as in the block after pressing:

Wrong side:

SO!  It worked!  Not too difficult.  Now do the same attaching section A to this combined Section B&C.

This was probably a little easier using a single piece of fabric rather than the pieced arc section B you have with all the rays.  When piecing paper-pieced sections often you are told to leave the paper on while assembling everything.  Personally, with this pattern I felt like had much more flexibilty in piecing with the paper removed.  Try it both ways and see what works best for you.

This does bring us to the end of the piecing for this particular quilt.  The remaining blocks are simple squares.  
Lay out the entire pattern on a design wall then stitch the individual blocks in the rows together, then the rows to each other.

THIS, or something similar, is what you have created!
I am sure you noticed it is very easy to alter the pattern by moving the different blocks around to your liking.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's On My Design Wall Today!

Back in this post on half-square triangles I mentioned that this quilt top was being made for a class I will be teaching on beginning quilting.  I have pieced ALL the HSTs and am now contemplating how to finish it up.  I made some other blocks showing different pattern combinations that I debated using as a top & bottom border, but I am preferring the simple clean diamonds without distraction at this point.  
I think I have been staring at it too long - it is beginning to scintillate to me!!

So... I think I will incorporate the other blocks into the backing so they are apparent for beginning quilters to see the myriad of choices you can have with HSTs.
I need to get this sandwiched, 
& photographed 
by the end of next week to get it into the class info that my LQS puts out for the next session of classes. 

I really don't like the whole sandwiching process.  It is SO much easier to send it off to my wonderful long-armer - Jennifer,
this is a class about making a quilt START to FINISH.  
SO not thrilled about this.

What is your preferred method of sandwiching?
Pins or spray baste?  

This is the last quilt I quilted on a domestic machine and it made me crazy moving it around and not being able to stay in the flow of my stitching.  

I know it is really hard to see the stitching but hopefully you get the idea!

Many people love to quilt on their domestic machines..  In our AMQG we are doing a BOM that has the option to quilt as you go (QAYG) which I am enjoying because of the ability to start and not stop until I am finished quilting a particular section in it's entirety.

Meanwhile I have begun another undertaking - a new quilt top with more CURVES!!  I have always loved circles and curves in quilts. I will be re-visiting sewing curves next week in the Pink Sun Rising Quilt-Along, part 2.
They bring a certain dynamism that cannot be achieved any other way.  They are really not that hard to sew if you take your time and pay attention.
I have taken the circles a little further than I intended -  as you can see I am auditioning a background fabric of polka dots as well.

These clamshells were cut very easily on an Accuquilt die cutter.  What a time-saver that is!

So what are you up to in your quilting adventures this week?

Linked up with Freshly Pieced!