Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sew Modern Bee Instructions

I'm writing up a few details for the Sew Modern Bee block exchange, May is my month.  I decided on Confetti blocks, most of the confetti blocks I found on flickr had the solid as the background.  I am working with the prints as the background.  All of the prints are Kaffe Fassett and the solid is Kiwi from Timeless Treasures.  

I cut print strips different widths, from 1" - 2.5", and the solid into smaller segments for ease of use.  Everyone will receive a variety of print strips and a 4" solid, plus a strip of solid to use as confetti pieces.  You don't need much of the solid for each block.   The blocks are 10.5", I have been working with much larger blocks lately, I wanted to work with something more manageable, and I think 10.5" will give me a nice size quilt that I won't feel overwhelmed about the quilting.

I chose a few print strips to work with for one block and a solid center.  I  am using the word 'center' loosely, I don't necessarily want the solid in the center of the blocks.  On both sample blocks my 4" square is off center, and in one block I cut the solid center in half.  So if you think it will look good, do it!                                                                                      

I added print strip pieces log cabin style, but DO NOT make a traditional log cabin!  I want the strips to be different sizes and prints mixed together.  An example of how to add strips.

I sewed pieces of the solid into the strips to get the confetti splashes of color.  And just because a strip is 2.5" doesn't mean you have to leave it that way, if you want it to be 1", cut it down.  But I do want the pieces to all stay squares or rectangles, no wonky cuts, please.  These blocks and then the whole quilt will be linear and have straight lines.  

As I was playing around getting my samples together, I cut this center 4" solid in half and added a strip print.  This is how I would add strips to the foundation I was currently working on.  Don't think too much, if it looks good, add it!           

It is easiest to make the block larger than 10.5" and then cut down.  If you want to leave your blocks slightly larger and I will cut down, I can do that.  Without having to worry about being exactly on the 10.5" mark, it takes away any math stress.  And anyone who knows me, I am a bookkeeper, I run a business, and I suck at quilt math.  

Example Block 1, 4" solid somewhere in there, confetti added to strip prints.                     
Example Block 2.  Different size print strips, little pieces of solid confetti.  Thank you ladies for working on my blocks!  I'm going to take a vacation and go to all the places I sent fabric packages, there were such interesting addresses!            

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quilting We Go!

The time has come to quilt.  Starting with this pinkbehemoth, it has to make a trip next month, so quilting we go!  

Freemotion detail of flowers in the Kona Pink borders and sashings.  I have much more quilting in the blocks, I didn't want to add too much to the pink areas, but it needed something.  Flowers, stems, leaves are the easiest to free motion.                   

 Had to make more of these.......
 To make more of these.........
 To go in this........but this is where this stops.  I do have all the blocks sewn together at this point, just not in this photo.  The rest of the blocks I received from a Bee.   It needs a border and I'm stumped for the moment.  Luckily, I have lots of sewing and unsewing to occupy me.
 I have made the Dresden Plate before, and really, it isn't that hard.  Except when you don't follow the directions very courteously given to you by the Queen Bee of the month.  I sewed it down with a zig zag, beep, wrong!  I didn't line the center circle, beep, wrong!  I zig zagged the center unlined circle, beep, wrong!  So, I spent American Idol unsewing this pretty block - and completing correctly.  Humbled, for sure.
Cute, very cute, Christmas Bee block for Erin - I added buttons, hope they stay in place.  Erin so nicely provided Kona White for the background, which I later folded up and added to my Kona pile whilst cleaning.  When I went to place the stocking on the background, no background to be found.  I REALLY hoped I had placed it with mine, and after reading her instructions, which said Kona White (what a relief!),  I was good to go.  It was not my week for Bee Blocks.
 I kept thinking about the pile of blacks that had shades of blue that I discarded from the other Circle project here.  I think this blue goes nicely.  I have a plan, which I'm working on and it involves circles.  But sewing things have a way of meandering from what I see in my mind, what I may draw on a napkin, and what ends up stitched.  I have a blue wall in my sewing room and this blue matches nicely.
 But I also have 3 lime green walls in my sewing room.  Actually, I think it was called asparagus, but, that only matters when I'm matching paint hues,  it is similar to this lime green.  For which I have no plan at the moment, but they are looking luscious and tropical.  I think I'll go get a drink with an umbrella in it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Circular Motion

I selected these blacks and the creams to go in a circular quilt pattern.  Some of the blacks with blues in them didn't make the cut, and neither did any of the creams.  I instead opted for Nutmeg by Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton.  I have so many luscious darks by Kaffe Fassett, and so little was used up in this project!  On the other hand, I used yards of Nutmeg.  Gads, I'll have to search for another project to use all these darks.  As if I don't have enough projects going.  

I cut 10.5" squares out of the prints and the solid.  I could use large prints because the block will show so much of the print.  Not cut into itty bitty pieces.  I loves me a large print!

The Circle Cutter in action, that whipped my a**.  I was about 20 cuts in before I was able to cut one circle without having to go back over or cut off little tails or not adjust the cutting template or curse or walk away for a deep breath.  This may be my only circular quilt, so if you get it, you are one worthy quilt recipient.  I may be the first quilt I put up for sale on Etsy, as soon as I figure out how to set up my shop.                               
 The pile of screwed up scraps where the circle cutter and I couldn't come to agreement.

Some of the 'good' circles and cut outs.  Both are used in this quilt.  And, no, I can not do math.  As I started to cut I counted how many circles I would need, but didn't add in the cut outs.  I started out cutting twice as much as needed, but I realized it before I was too far ahead.   Nutmeg is the solid color I finally decided on.  I like saying Nutmeg.  The cut outs were easy to lay out on the Nutmeg square, and I raw edge stitched the perimeter.       
 For the circles I had to find the center of the Nutmeg square and also the center of the circle and line them up.  There may be a more accurate way than my way, but my way was easy.  I finger pressed the Nutmeg square to find the center, and then did the same with the circle.  I could line up the fold lines 4 ways, and viola, the center  or close enough to satisfy the naked eyes.  I'm not a pinner, but I have heard circles need pinning; I pinned everyone one before sewing.

I used my walking foot and a fine black thread with a shorter stitch length.  I think 1.6.  I went very slowwwllly around the circles, the circles were large enough that I could make a gradual turn with the walking foot.  I am just stitching each circle down, raw edge, and VERY close to the edge.  The circles will be made more secure with the quilting.  The fabric in this photo didn't actually make it into the quilt, there was too much blue against the Nutmeg.  If I had had a reducing glass with me, it would have told me so.  I just had to use my naked eye, and the naked eye of 3 other quilters who said it had to go.  I liked the print and I kept trying to force it to stay.    

Ta-da!  Originally, this top was going to be 6 rows across by 8 down, looking at it up on the board, I didn't think that was wide enough for a body to lay under, and I added another row across.   I had to use up all those extra circles I had cut anyway.  No border for this one, and I haven't measured yet, but the squares were 10.5", so if you can do quilter math, you can figure it out.  I prefer to use a tape, I don't want my head to explode and ruin the top.  I have been so busy making tops, I need to take a break from my favorite piecing, and quilt a few.  I have a couple of other tops to quilt before this one, plus a back to buy.  And cotton is going up!  Yikes!  Luckily, I have hoarded many fabrics for just such an occasion. This pattern is in the summer 2010 issue of Quilts and More magazine, designed by Julie Herman of Jay Bird Quilts .          

The QuiltSluts Retreat in Sandbridge Beach, March 2011.  Looks a little like a sweat shop in a really nice beach house.  This was in the wee hours of the morning, I had stayed up to finish the Circular Motion, and I wasn't going to bed until it was done.  I so wanted to work on something else too!  Which I did!