Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here's to a Happy New Year!

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Christmas season filled with loved ones and great times.  And, even more, I hope this coming year is better than the last.  Happy New Year!
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Monday, December 26, 2011

All Finished!

Well, I finally caught up and finished off the last of the bee blocks--whew!  Then it was straight into Christmas presents and holiday celebrations.  So, the photos have piled up in the last few months.  Here are the last of the bee blocks (in no particular order) along with my mini quilt from the STUD (Swap Til You Drop) Disney themed swap.  I've tried to put links to any tutorials or patterns just in case you want to give one of these blocks a try.

First up is a modified bento block or quartered squares for Bee Scrappy member Meg_kay77.  We were asked to make the square in primary or bright colors and then we could cut it into quarters or ship it and then she would cut it.  The group followed this tutorial from Film in the Fridge.

This one was actually my last one finished for Sew Buzzy member Patchwork Queen.  She sent all these fun fabrics and a list of books for her "library" and we created the books and embroidered the authors and titles on.  I tried to match up fabrics with titles when possible--I just love the alligator fabric!  Here are her basic instructions for the block.

Moody Blues member Lindseykron asked for an asterick block using this tutorial from Lollyquiltz. 

Another Moody Blues member, Susanpiluk, also wanted an asterick block.  She sent patriotic fabrics to everyone.  These asterick blocks are very easy and have been quite popular this year.  If you haven't tried one yet, you should give it a go.

Bee White Black member Lollydo asked for blocks using curves or circles.  This one here is the Chubby Dresdan designed by Lily's Quilts.  This block went together quickly and is not a bad one for those just trying out circle blocks.  I will be making this one again.

Here's Lollydo's second block.  I used the Rubber Band Ball block pattern out of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 3.  It's a great block for using up those strips and scraps sitting in the pile.

This wonky star went to Moody Blues member SeaSteph.  I used the Silly Boodilly tutorial as usual.

Brakmack, another Moody Blues member, asked for wonky log cabins using these fabrics for a quilt for her father-in-law.  We could choose between curvy or straight wonky log cabins.  Here's a tutorial for sewing wavy seams and one for wonky log cabins.

JodiLynn85 had the same month for both my Bee Scrappy and Scrap Happy bee groups and asked for the Oh, Fransson! Mod Mosaic block for both.  That meant four blocks (two for each group) of mosaics.

Linda (November's member for Moody Blues) asked for the jewel box--also known as a square-in-square--block in these fabrics.  For those who've never seen a finished one, here's one to give you an idea of how they can look.

Sew Buzzy's member InnerPiece asked for house blocks of either our house or a place we'd like to live.  Obviously, the blocks are heavily stylized--I mean, who actually has a floral roof--but the first one is of one of my grandparents' house.  They had a big two story white house with columns, a balcony and tiered steps out front.

This one is my home, only I forgot to flip the design for paper piecing so it's backwards.  I'm thinkin' it might be cool to have a star studded roof with a polka dot chimney.

These last two are BOMs (block of the month) designed by Carol Doak.  She designs gorgeous paper pieced quilt blocks and offered these free to her yahoo group members.  However, using them for Bee White Black member Sew Vivid, they are done up in solid black and white.

And finally...a swap.  The last swap I participated in was for the STUD (Swap Til You Drop) group and the theme was Disney.  My partner LOVES the Disney parks.  She actually went to one for her honeymoon and she and her sweetheart like to visit the various parks (I hope she gets to go to the Shanghai one someday).  She also loves classic Mickey Mouse.  Well, when I think of Disneyland, I think of those images of the castle with fireworks shooting off, so I designed this quilt to imitate that scene.  I also included some little Mickey bandaids and a Pez ('cause who doesn't love Pez) along with some fabric.

This was my first time using those metallic mylar type threads which actually worked out pretty well in giving a sparkling firework effect.  I also echo quilted the fireworks and appliqued castle.  I used Kona for the solids and a marbled green for the bushes.  The bushes have an extra layer of batting to help them stick out from the castle and keep the whole image from looking flat.

I had this fun fabric in my stash which always made me think of fireworks, so, of course, I had to use it for the back with my Mickey Mouse label.

Here is the finished quilt complete with dimensional bushes, sparkling fireworks and of course, one magical castle!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

More Blocks and a Swap

Okay, as you know, I've been working hard to catch up on bee blocks after being sick.  So here are a bunch with links to tutorials whenever there is one.  These are already out and to their new homes, and there will be more to come as I finish.  There are quite a few, so be prepared for scrolling (you can oh and ah too if you want).

First up, I've got to show off what I received in the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  This came from Miniaturequilter (Lisa).  She sent this wonderful pile of goodies with fabric and cute paper clips.  Even the envelope to the card was decorated--see that awesome folded seashell--wow!

Here's a close up of the mug rug Lisa made for me.  Paper-pieced tulips with some decorative stitching.  Didn't she do a lovely job?  And I love blue and flowers, so this fits me quite nicely.  Too bad its so pretty it will never see the hint of a mug! 

And now for the blocks...

Two bento box quarters, also known as a quarter square log cabin block.  These were made with some lightweight upholstery type fabrics.  Those figural ones have a very Ikea type look to them, not sure if that's their origin or not.  I often use denim and twills and corduroy with flannels for a heavier quilt, so this was right up my alley.  Made for Locodowo in the Bee White Black group for April.

These two were made for Sewgentle in the Bee White Black group for March.  She asked for black and white blocks of any sort with the red fabric used for an appliqued bird.  This first one is from the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks volume3 (I redrew it in EQ6 so that I could paper piece it) and is called Good Time Charlie.  I found a line art drawing of a swallow and used its siloheutte for the bird.

This one is from Quilter's Cache and is called Snowblossoms.  For the bird, again, clip art.  You can find a lot of great images by using Google Images.

These are the hourglass blocks for making the Double Hourglass block.  These were made for Nora303 in the Moody Blues Bee in February.  The tutorial is from Lovely Little Handmades, a great blog you should check out.

Next are the two blocks I made for Felicity in the Sew Buzzy group for March.  No tutorial, but here's a link to her inspiration gallery.  Here fabric was so lovely, and felt very smooth.  Loved the color combination she picked for us to work with.

This block was made for Fran in the Moody Blues Bee for March.  It is called Stacked Whatever Block and you can find the tutorial at The Sometimes Crafter (another great blog you should check out).  She used a lovely assortment of batiks, reminding once again that I really need some in my stash!

This one is called a Wagon Wheel and I hand appliqued the circles.  I made this one for Chocolate_isthe_best_medicine in the Moody Blues Bee for April.  You can find the tutorial at 3KF (also known as Three Kitchen Fairies, another great blog).  

Last, but certainly not least, here are two Wonky Log Cabin blocks made for Bee Scrappy's Ittakesavillage03 for April.  The tutorial comes from Tallgrass Prairie Studio.  (Another blog to check out sometime.)  She asked for black, white and mint green.

For some reason, this one photographed the green as much more bluish, but it really is minty!

So, there you go--several easy blocks and few a wee bit harder (but really not too hard, or I wouldn't do them, lol).  Maybe you'll try a few of these.  I'd love to see them if you do!
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Need a Worthy Summer Project?

School's out, summer's kickin' in--what's a quilter to do?! 

How about a charity quilt?  Check out 100 Quilts for Kids and consider participating---you could use some of those orphan blocks or maybe you have a work-in-progress that's never going to get done (yeah, you know you do that too) or maybe you just need to cut that stash down a bit.  It really doesn't take much to make a small toddler-sized quilt and best of all, you can choose where to donate it--so it can stay in your local community, or go elsewhere!  Oh, and not that you need incentive to make some cute little one a blankie, but there are prizes--so go check out the rules and then dive into the fabric!
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Mug Rug Swap 2011

I decided I needed a bit of a break from quilt blocks--so, I decided to add a swap to the mix.  Just in time, the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap started a new round.

I chose an applique from a Piece O' Cake book.  I used Kona in Bahama Blue for the background and a mix of prints for the flowers.  The design was machine appliqued after fusing with some Steam A Seam.  Here it is prior to quilting.

I chose to quilt the mug rug with some lovely white metallic Sulky thread that I've had for awhile now (paid an outrageous $14 for the spool, but it is so gorgeous!) and just been waiting to try out.  Sadly, you can't really see the sparkle of the thread in the photo.  I used some navy bias tape to bind the whole thing.  You'll probably notice the lack of mitered corners.  I started off to do a traditional mitered style binding, but the corners just looked weird--perhaps due to all the different angles already in the design.  So, I tried a frame style binding and that just looked right.  I guess, sometimes you just have to go with it, even if it doesn't make sense.

To complete this cheerful little mug rug, I used some bright floral fabric for the back.  I like how it is vibrant and visually interesting without hiding the quilting too much.

I included two pin toppers for my partner to enjoy--a little owl and a bluebird.  These were made by my very talented sister.

I can't tell you who my partner is, but I can say she's an international partner.  That made it tough to pick out extra goodies, because I had to watch the weight of the package.  I ended up cutting out the yummies and stuck with just the essentials--the mug rug, two pin toppers and the newest Quiltmaker's 100 blocks magazine (Volume 3).  I hope everything makes it through customs and shipping alright.

So there it is--my first swap after being sick.  I hope my partner likes it.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pay It Forward

Ever seen this icon before?  Well about a year ago, I did on another crafter's blog.  The idea behind it is that you receive a handmade item and in exchange, you commit to creating and sending three handmade items out within one year.  It can be whatever you want to make and send.  Spreadin' the crafty love.  Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?

Well, I'd just about forgotten that I had signed up to be a receiver--that's a long time ago!  Then the other day a white envelope from Norway arrives.  Marit, owner of the Quilt It blog, had sent her round of the Pay It Forward.  Such a fun unexpected surprise!  Here is the lovely handmade item she created and sent to me--a wonky star mug rug!  How lovely--such beautiful craftsmanship and fabrics!

So now it is my turn--I've got 365 days to make and send out some crafty goodness to three people somewhere in the world.  If you would like to be one of the Pay It Forward receivers, just leave a comment.  I'll choose three.  Be sure and leave me an email to contact you with so that I can get your address!  Remember, if chosen, you are committing to send out three handmade items to three people once you receive mine sometime in the next year.  If you know anyone else who might be interested, please feel free to let them know.

Hmm, now what to make...
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Tea Towels

Just a quick look at some appliqued towels I made for the raffle at our local historical society Spring tea (now completed its 11th year!) which I also attended--very delicious food.  The decor this year was in tulips and butterflies, so I went with it.  The designs were machine appliqued onto flour sack towels.

Butterfly designs were from clip art and EQ6.  Antenna were hand embroidered.

Tulip design from some clip art.  Circles were cut out of the fabric design.

You can see the additional circles in the opposite corner.
These were fun to make---I think I may have to make a few more sometime. 
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Squished Nine Patch

I'm calling this block the Squished Nine Patch.  I'm sure it has an official name--maybe two or three like many traditional blocks--but, I don't know any of them, so you get this one.  :)  My quilt will end up being queen sized with a border, which will require 72 squares, but you don't need to make one that big.  I hope you like this block--I do.  It's quick, easy and not something you have to think over--you can just sew away!

Original vintage block on the left.  My version on the right.

This block was created off of a set of vintage/antique hand sewn blocks I mentioned earlier in the blog.  Those blocks measured 9 3/4 inches--not exactly an easy number to start figuring piecing from.  So my version measures 10 inches finished.  Way easier!  You can piece each part individually, but I chose to strip piece for a quicker version.  I'll give you measurements for individual pieces though, just in case you're working with smaller scraps.  Warning:  This tutorial might seem long and involved, but's just a lot of photos taking up space.  But, I like to make sure you can see exactly what I'm explaining, so no worries--it really, really is quick to put together!

For this block you only need two different fabrics.  I chose dark navy and indigo blues contrasted with a salmon pink.

Each block starts with these pieces.

Strip piecing measurements:
2 blue strips 4.25 x 9 inches
1 blue square 3 inches
2 pink strips 3 x 9 inches

Individual piecing measurements:
4 blue squares 4.25 inches
1 blue square 3 inches
4 pink rectangles 3 x 4.25 inches

All seams are a scant 1/4 inch.  I used a navy thread, but any neutral or matching thread will work fine.

Step One:

Take one of the pink strips, lay it horizontally and cut in half.  You should now have two 3 x 4.5 inch rectangles.

Step Two:  Match the blue square to one pink rectangle, right sides together, aligning them on the 3 inch side of the rectangle.  Take the other pink strip and one blue strip, right sides together, aligned along one of the long sides.

Step Three:  Sew along the short side of the rectangle/square combo and along the long side of the strip combo.  You can see my dark thread line below.

Step Four:  Set seams by first pressing flat and then press open.  Press seam allowances towards the blue fabric.

See how the seams go towards the blue fabric--this will be important later for accurate alignment.

Step Five:  Now attach the other pink rectangle to the other side of the blue square.  Also sew the other blue strip to the other long side of the pink strip.

Again, see the thread line below--it clearly shows you which side to sew along.

Step Six:  Set seams and press seam allowances towards the blue fabric.

Your seam allowances in each section will be opposite because you've pressed them towards the blue fabric on each one.

Step Seven:  Set the skinny strip aside.  Take the larger section and cut in half vertically.  You will now have two matching fatty strips that are 4.25 inches wide each consisting of two blue squares with a pink rectangle in the middle.

Step Eight:  Space the two fatty strips apart with the skinny strip now in the middle like this.

Step Nine:  You will now place the skinny strip, right side down, on the fatty strip to the left.  Align the strips at the seams (where the white arrows are pointing).  They should just settle right into place because of the seams being in opposite directions.

See how they just line right up and kind of nestle in place.  This will help you get nice, accurate points on your corners.  Very important.  I like to add a couple of pins to the sides of the seam to hold them in place until I sew them.

Step Ten:  Sew down the vertical length of these strips like this.

Step Eleven:  Set seam and press seam allowance towards the fatty strip.

Step Twelve:  You should now have two sections--a big fat one and one of the remaining fatty strips (the one that was on the right of the skinny strip earlier.)  Take this remaining fatty strip and attach it to the big section, aligning it on the right side of what was previously the center skinny strip.  Set seams and press seam allowance towards the fatty strip.

Once pressed open, your block should look like this.  It's almost finished.  Can you see the "squished" squares of the nine patch?

Your block should line up so that the center, where all the corners meet, is all aligned with all corners at ninety degrees and level--no wonkiness or overlapping desired!  (See the white arrows below.)

Look at those perfect corners and center square--that's what you're looking for!  My seams really are straight, despite the photo.  Take your time to get great results.
  Step Thirteen:  Your final step is simply to square up your block to 10.5 inches.  Align from the center of the block in order to assure that your center square is in the actual center of your block and not slightly to one side.

Ta Dah!  Pretty quick wasn't it?  I'll bet you can sew these blocks up faster than you can read this tutorial!

 Have fun making the Squished Nine Patch!
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