Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kona Cotton Quilt Blocks for Jaybird Quilt's Julie

When there is Kona, one must sew. So I did! I got a couple more blocks done for Julie of Jaybird Quilts. Her huppah, or wedding canopy, will be made of quilt blocks. The first one I made I blogged about here. I didn't see many traditional quilt blocks in the ones she'd gotten already so I decided a log cabin would be perfect.

It's a classic quilt block and is supposed to symbolize home or a hearth and home. Perfect for a new marriage :)

The third one I made using the scraps from the first two plus a few other bits added in. A little modern improv thrown in with the traditional and structured.

Add them together with the half size Hack Slash Star from #badskirt Amy

I think it's a fun little group to add to the others. I wrote my name in the seam allowance and the date I sent them off. Hurray for weddings and Kona!Kona Stash and Jaybird Quilts Wedding Block

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday Monday Kona Cottons Stash

There are only two days left! For what? To make a quilt block for Julie from Jaybird Quilts. She is asking for triangle blocks to make into the huppa for her wedding. How exciting! What better way to celebrate all your loves :)

There are specific shades of Kona Corron requested so I had to so a spot of shopping. I did stick to my goal of only buying solids on sale. This so the stack I ended up with at the end of the day.

Not all of these are for the wedding huppa. I felt I needed more aquas for my frames quilt. Not yet cut or in any sort of stage beyond planning in my head. These are the colors that match the wedding request

From left to right the Kona Cotton colors are: surf, turquoise, lagoon, Caribbean, honeydew and pistachio. There are bunches more to choose from in Julie's palette. Serendipitously Badskirt Amy came out with a new paper pieced star patter called Hack Slash. It makes a 9 inch star so I thought, why not make it half sized so it can be the center of a triangle? I printed the free PDF at 50 percent. Actually I printed it full sized and copied it at 50 percent that way I had a regular star pattern and a mini me star. The pieces aren't very small so the reduced size is easy peasy to work with.

It was really fun working with a limited palette. The colors and fabrics were already chosen so you just decide where to put them. I have pistachio on the first border as I needed the overall block to be bigger. I just used the outer line as my stitching line to add them.

One note about reducing patterns, you have to ignore the marked seam allowances and keep them at a quarter inch. Otherwise they'd be crazy super tiny. Here's how it looks all done and pressed. (Although the colors aren't quite reading correctly.)

You should try it! Wouldn't it be fun to have a bunch of tiny little stars? Now to start on the rest of the bunch :)

Linking up to Molli Sparkles

Friday, April 25, 2014

Keep Calm or Freak Out

I've seen so many of these Keep Calm signs. I believe the originals were from the United Kingdom during WWII and now variations litter the interwebs. While some of them are quite clever and I get a kick out of them, I often feel like they don't quite fit. So I came up with this:

(free vector crown by rones 099348 British)

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Pin Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks

Hello all! I'm sharing how to pin paper pieced quilt blocks to ensure accuracy and section matching. I'm showing you with a great new quilt block from Tartankiwi that I got to pattern test. We'll start with non-ironing and pinning in each section.

I don't find ironing paper piecing in each section necessary. I finger press it. That just means pushing on it, or pushing back and forth, like your fingertip is a tiny iron. Then push a pin through the new seam and bring it up through the middle of the new section. This holds the fabric in place until the new part is sewn or sections are joined. It also helps keep the seam "ironed" flat. This is what the pin looks like.

The best way to make sure the sections fit together and everything lines up is to pin before you sew. Place a pin through each end point of the section and any parts that need to line up exactly. This means the pin is sticking straight up and down into the air. I push all the pins about half way through the first piece then pick up the piece that needs to be joined. Put them right sides together with the pinned section in back and the section to be matched in front. I keep a finger between the sections to help line up each pin one by one. Push each pin through the corresponding point all the way through. 

Once all the points are lined up and pinned, hold the block in your left hand (if you're right handed) and pin the sections together. The new pins are horizontal and perpendicular to the section you're lining up. 
It can be a little tricky but is doable. (If you need more detailed pictures, let me know.) I place them close to the sewing line but far enough away so that the pins are totally clear of the sewing machine foot. This way the sections stay together and lined up without having to worry about moving pins while sewing. If you have to move the pins to sew, you risk moving the sections out of alignment.

If you need more help with pinning, or it's not clear what to do, just let me know. I'd be glad to help! Now a few notes about the egret.

There is a charm and realism to Juliet's quilt blocks that perfectly captures each animal.  It took me a while to decide what fabrics to use as there are actually a few different colors of egrets. There are the snowy white ones that have a gorgeous long cloud of feathers at times. The white ones can have dark beaks and legs, yellow beaks and legs or a mash up of the two. Then there are the grey and red egrets. They were all tempting but I settled on a yellow beak. I think it's a yellow Sketch fabric, but I may be wrong. The top part of the beak is a darker yellow than the bottom so that you can see the two pieces of the beak.See the pin on the bottom right that is pushed through the seam and brought up in the middle of the section?

Since I went with the yellow beak I picked a white bird. The Architexture text fabric for the body still reads as white, just with some visual interest. In the next picture I have the sections I've started to piece on the right and the fabric I've pre-cut on the left. When I want the piecing to go fast I pre-cut all the fabric ahead of time. You also get the special treat, ooh la la! , of seeing my current sewing space. This tre chic studio is my coffee table. I sit oh so elegantly on the floor whilst I piece.

See, I told you, such a treat. You're welcome.

There are some tiny pieces around the eye which makes for small pieces of paper to remove on the back. I can usually pinch the paper, then pull it off. If I can't quite pinch it or there's a stubborn corner piece I just grab a pin and slide it under to lift it up. I use a short stitch length, meaning the stitches are close together and small, which on my machine is about 1.75. This allows the paper to rip off easily without pulling the fabric so there's no distortion in the block.

Paper piecing allows for great accuracy and fantastic patterns that would otherwise be impossible. The yellow pieces around the eye are less than a sixteenth of an inch wide but they were easy to do with paper piecing. I highly recommend giving it a go if you haven't already. Are you working on any paper piecing or would like to be? Let's talk.

Linking up to Paper Piecing Part at Quiet Play and TGIFF at Blossom Heart Quilts, the finished project being pattern testing and setting up a pinning tutorial.