Wednesday, 28 June 2017

2017 FAL: Quarter 2 End Tutorials #2

Tutorial week for the end of Quarter 2 continues with a neat idea for Framed Accent Strips from Karen over at Capitola Quilter.  Nip over and have a peek here.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

2017 FAL: Quarter 2 End Tutorials #1 - Twister Block

I'm delighted to be here for the end of 2017 FAL Quarter 2 tutorials week to share something fun with you.  At least, I hope you'll think it's fun.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just love working on simple, effective blocks.  There are definitely seasons for complex patchwork with multiple techniques demanding much skill and attention, and then, there are times when I just want something that comes together swiftly.  Not because I care any less, but often for the joy of seeing progress that feels like progress, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, less babble.  I have one of these kind of blocks to share with you today for my FAL tutorial.  I hope you can see its potential and might even give it a go.

This block has been inspired by a pic I saw months ago online somewhere (probably IG) but there was no block name or details given, just a photo, so I'm sorry I can't give credit.  So I pulled together a little instruction for myself and am sharing it here as a free tutorial for you all.  I've also called the block the Twister block because of a 'twist' in the construction process and because it kind of reminded me of two those little wire twisting tabs you get. (Yes, my mind makes odd connections.) And, if you look at my flimsy above you'll see that in the negative space the shape of the coloured fabrics has been 'twisted' in the opposite direction.

Let me say from the outset that my method of constructing this block will work best with NON-DIRECTIONAL fabric, but I will give you the block cutting measurements for working with directional fabrics further down the post if that's what you prefer to use.  You'll see that my fabrics had me doing both.  Also, further down I've given you the fabric requirements for a lap size (60" square) version of the quilt top.

So, without further ado, here's how to make a Twister block:

Twister Block
12.5" square unfinished

Fabric A (solid background)
Cut 1: 6.5" x 7"
Cut 2: 3.5" x 7"

Fabric B (non-directional print)
Cut 1: 9.5" x7"
Cut 1: 3.5" x 7"
(Both of these can be cut from a single piece measuring 13" x 7")

Use scant 0.25" seam allowances throughout.

1.  First take one of the 3.5" x 7" pieces of your background fabric and stitch it to the larger 9.5" x 7".  Press the seam towards the darker fabric.  You now have a piece measuring 12.5" x 7".

2.  Cut this 12.5" x 7" piece in two as shown above to give you two pieces measuring 12.5" x 3.5" (see below).

3.  Just to mention: handle the pieces carefully where you have made the cut, just to prevent the seams opening where you have no excess of thread keeping them closed.

4.  Now 'twist' one of the pieces upside down on your mat so that your layout looks like the pic above and then sew the pieces together along the centre seam.  This time, I pressed the seam open just because I didn't want my strong red showing through my white background.  Leave the joined piece aside for a few minutes.

5.  Take your three remaining pieces of fabric and lay them out as I have above.  Join the background 6.5" x 7" piece to the 3.5" x 7" print fabric and then stitch the final 3.5" x 7" background piece to the bottom.  Press seams towards the darker fabric.  You now have a piece measuring 12.5" x 7".

6.  As before, cut this 12.5" x 7" piece in two to give you two pieces measuring 12.5" x 3.5".

7.  This time, you need to 'twist' the second piece upside down on your mat and make room between the two pieces for the piece you joined in steps 1 - 4.  Check that the layout is the same as the photo above and then stitch the two side pieces to the centre piece, pressing seams open.

8. And, yes, it really was that easy.  You now have a 12.5" square Twister block!

Now as promised, here are the cutting measurements for using DIRECTIONAL prints in your blocks.

The construction is simple, just join the pieces in columns and then stitch the columns together, taking care to press the fabrics whichever way best prevents darker fabrics showing through paler ones.

Love this fluttery pic of my flimsy - you can see I added a white border to finish.

Lap Quilt Fabric Requirements

Since the potential of this block is in its repeat, you might fancy making a few more and growing your blocks into a lap quilt. So, for those who might be interested, here are the fabric requirements for a 25 block quilt measuring 60" square:

Fabric A - Background solid - 2m
  • Cut 9 strips 7" x WOF,
  • From each 7" strip you will be able to sub-cut enough pieces for 3 of the Twister blocks (i.e. cut 6: 3.5" x 7" and cut 3: 6.5" x 7")

Fabric B - Print fabric - 13 fqs
  • Each block requires 13" x7" of print fabric so you will be able to cut enough fabric for at least 2 blocks from a fat quarter of fabric. (You might get three blocks worth from a generous fq.) 
  • I recommend 13 fat quarters for 25 blocks, cutting 2 blocks worth of pieces from 12 fqs and 1 from the final fq

Binding Fabric - half metre
  • You should be able to make sufficient binding from 6 strips cut 2.5" x FWOF (unless you add a border to the quilt, in which case you'll need to measure for yourself exactly how many strips you'd need)

I hope this tutorial and the extra cutting measurements are clear and helpful and that some of you at least will have fun with them!

This block would be a great one for Bees and charity block drives where you would end up with a lovely variety of prints, and your Bee mates will thank you for an easy month's stitching ;-)

Monday, 26 June 2017

Miss Winkle Goes Hitchhiking

The Miss Winkle Scarf that I started back last autumn has appeared on my FAL list for the first two quarters of 2017.  Deliberately started early as a gift for a friend so that I wouldn't be in a last minute rush before her birthday, I was of course casting off and blocking the night before it got wrapped for delivery!  Last minute Sally!

I should also add that Miss Winkle met a bit of a frogging end and was ripped out to be re-started as a Hitchhiker shawl.  Those little loops got the better of me, not because they were too difficult, but more because my attention span isn't what it needed to be. So, if you are considering the Miss Winkle pattern don't be put off.   It was definitely me, not the pattern, that was at fault.

Sadly, in the skin-of-my-teeth hurry to finish the shawl for gifting, I forgot to actually take a proper picture of it - doh!  You'll have to trust me that it looked nicer once I took it off its blocking towel. The yarn for this little gift shawl was chosen especially for my purple loving friend (it's called Velvet Grapes) and the Malabrigo sock yarn did not disappoint in terms of softness (not scratchy in the least).  I know that an autumnal neck warmer isn't particular appropriate for a summer birthday present but well, I wanted to knit one for my friend (who I don't think knits herself). So, unseasonal it may be but I still hope she likes it.

By a hair's breadth, I've managed to finish this on time for the birthday and also just in time to claim a second finish on my Quarter 2 FAL list.  Phew!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

2017 FAL: Quarter 2 Finishes Link Up

It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the second quarter of the 2017 FAL and it's time to link up your Q2 finishes!

The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
  Before you link up, let's give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:  
For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:
The 2017 Q2 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules":
  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter).
  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2017FALQ2yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q2 Finishes link will stay open from now thru July 1, 2017 - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts' blog.

And don't forget to start making your Q3 lists as the Q3 list link opens on July 2nd.

Happy linking,

Monday, 19 June 2017

Baby Quilt Re-think

So, erm, that scrappy Potluck quilt that I was making for my cousin's expected new arrival?

Well, I stitched it together and it just didn't work for me as a baby quilt.  Maybe the colours were wrong and, I know I was a bit disappointed that the low volume diamond pattern in the squares layout wasn't as obvious as I'd hoped.  Whatever it was exactly, it just didn't float my baby gifting boat.

So, I found this pattern on my Pinterest feed for a one block quilt.  It's the Moda Love Layer Cake pattern if you're interested.  Be sure to google or search Pinterest for images of colour placements - lots of lovely ones out there. While the original is made up from a layer cake, I made mine up as 5" finished squares since it's just a wee one I needed.

I was so much happier with this fresh, lively colour mix for a new born!

I added a 2.5" border to finish the quilt at 44" square which is a very useful size for a newborn crib or floor play quilt.

I know you will be shocked that there is no wavy line quilting this time ;-)  Instead, I took the basted pretty away with me a few weekends ago and ruled some lovely chevrons all pointing to the centre.  I even managed to make and stitch on some bright yellow polka dot binding and make a label in preparation for adding when baby arrives and has a name!  Between now and then, I will try to get the binding handsewn in place on the back and just slip the label in to finish at the last minute.

My goodness, I almost feel like my old stitchy self being this prepared! ;-)

And yes, I have added a full sized quilt in this pattern to my "One Day" list!  (As if!)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

FAL 2017: Meet The Host #7

Hello!  My name is Marci Debetaz and I blog over at Marci Girl Designs and this month it is my turn to share all about myself as one of the 2017 Global Finish-A-Long hosts.  So here it goes...

Here I am, 4' 11.5" tall, so yeah I'm short and this photo was taken a little over a year ago but I mostly look the same, or at least I like to think so.  I am currently 36 years old in case any of you were wondering because I know I have somewhat of a baby face.  I was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA but have lived most of my life now in Louisiana.  My family moved a lot when I was growing up, back and forth between Florida and Louisiana to finally settle in Louisiana much to my disliking, because honestly who wants to leave the beach for swampland?  Not me.  Anyways I went to Middle and High School in New Iberia, Louisiana and then attended College in Lafayette, Louisiana (about a 40 minute drive.)  I met my husband in my second year of College, we both were majoring in Industrial Design and we fell in love.  (Oh so sweet!)  So we dated a few years, got engaged and then married all before we finished College.  We graduated College together a semester after the wedding, both with degrees in Industrial Design.  We found jobs, worked, you know, regular married life and then a few years later we bought our first house.

Here is our MAJOR fixer upper 13 years ago when we bought it (though this photo was taken after some serious cleaning up of the yard.)

 Here is our home today, and what you can't see on the back corner of this house is the major addition we are adding and have been working on since February of this year, doing ALL of the work ourselves.  We are hoping to be finished by Christmas, but who knows,  fingers crossed.  I had to mention our house because it has been a major focus of all my free time this year, which stinks because I miss sewing and quilting but will totally be worth it when we are done.

Ok, I got off track.  So after we bought our house we had three kids, two boys, 9 and 5 and our little girl who just turned 2.  I don't post about them directly on social media for their privacy but I promise they are super cute.  It was after my first child was born that I really picked up the sewing/quilting bug again.  I say "again" because I grew up sewing and quilting.  My mom did both and taught me.  I started by making Barbie doll clothing, then that turned into small quilts and sewing my own clothes through High School.  Then when I was in College (and falling in love) I didn't have much time for those hobbies and they fell by the wayside.  After my first was born I became a stay at home mom and discovered I had lots of free time during naps.  Thus my hobbies began anew!

I started up my hobby again making handbags and pouches which I quickly realized I had way too many handbags and pouches, so I opened up an Etsy shop.  I had my shop open for a few years until I closed it at the end of 2011 right before my second son was born.  I always had intentions of opening again after his birth but alas it never happened.  I do hope to one day open up my shop but for now I am enjoying sewing for my family and friends.

It wasn't long after I started sewing again that I discovered the world of blogs and designer fabric.  Let's just say that was a total game changer for me and the true obsession began.  I decided to start my own blog in February of 2010 and have been doing so on and off ever since.  I use my blog as a form of diary or portfolio of things I have made through the years and though I find the writing difficult I am glad that I push myself to do so because it is so nice to go back and read about my own projects, many of which I have already forgotten about.

 I love participating in Quilt and Sew Alongs and the occasional competition (for fun, I don't want to stress about it.)  The above quilt was created for the Emerald Pantone Quilt Challenge (I can't remember the year.)  It currently hangs in my bedroom.  This quilt is my original design and entitled, "Emerald Cut."

I will still occasionally make handbags and pouches, I design my own patterns plus make them from independent pattern designers.  The pouch above is one of my designs.

I make way more quilt tops than finished quilts, sadly I have a huge WIP pile.  The photos above and below are examples of two of these quilt tops awaiting quilting.  The top is a One Block Wonder quilt created from just one large scaled print fabric. The quilt below is another Pantone Quilt Challenge, the color that year was Radiant Orchid, this quilt is also my own design.  It is one of my personal favorites.

In 2014 I was chosen to be a contestant in an online sewing challenge called "Sewvivor."  The bag below was my entry for the very first round, which was nautically themed.  Though I didn't make it past the first round, I made a great new set of online sewing friends and had a ton of fun in the process.

Within the first year or so of blogging I also found Flickr and through Flickr I found out about online Quilting Bee's.  I quickly joined several and have never looked back.  I made friends in those first groups, that I still have today and we are still sewing bee blocks for each other.  Though Flickr isn't as predominant these days, things have shifted over to Instagram and the fun continues.  A few years ago most of my quilting bees were coming to a finish and two of my fellow bee mates decided to create a new hand picked group that they named Bee Sewcial.  The concept of the group is that we stay connected and in touch, use only solids and work in improv.  This is our third year together and honestly one of my favorite things to do every month.  The creativity involved and the friendship is just so fantastic.  At the end of our first year together we opened up the sewing prompts to everyone interested and anyone can now sew along with us using the hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial.

 I guess that about sums of my life.  Stay at home mom to three, in between running the kids to school and nap times I sew and quilt.  I have tried crochet, knitting, tatting, beading and about every other craft you can think of but in the end I always return to sewing and quilting.  I love improv but I also love traditional quilt blocks.  I love to sew clothes, handbags and pouches.  Don't ask me to alter your clothes or to iron like normal people.  It isn't going to happen.  I have a huge pile of WIP's and have been participating in the Finish-A-Long since its inception.  I was thrilled to be asked to host this year and I have been slowly working through that pile.  I do so hope you join us this year!

I'll end my post reminding everyone that in 10 days the second quarter finishes link up opens, you still have time to finish those projects so get to work!

Thank you for joining me today, Marci
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