Monday, May 18, 2015

That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along) - Making the Half Square Triangles

 Welcome to part three of That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along)!  Last Monday we made the 4-patch units and today we will make the 32 half square triangles units (HST).

If you have not already cut the squares for the HSTs, cut (32) 5" squares.  If you have some extra 5" charm square laying around, they are perfect for this.  Take 16 of the squares and draw a line from corner to corner on half of them.  I like to pair the light and dark colors, so I drew lines on the 16 lightest fabrics.

 Place the two 5" squares right sides together and sew 1/4" on both sides of the line.

 Set seam, cut in half and press open.

 Trim to 4 1/2" square by lining up the seam on the 45 degree line on the ruler.  Make sure the inner sides are slightly over the 4 1/2" mark and trim around the ruler.

 Rotate the HST.  Place the diagonal line on the seam and the HST inner edges on the 4 1/2" lines.  Trim the outer edges of the block.

Now you have two perfectly sized HSTs.  Repeat for a total of 32 HST units.

I have really had a fun time making this quilt so far and committing to posting instructions each Monday has made me stay focused and on task - no easy task.   (Links to all the posts can be found here.)  Next week we will make the quarter square triangles and then we will put it all together.
Linking to Scraptastic Tuesday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

That Quirky Quilt (along) - Making the 4-Patch Units

 Last week I posted the cutting instructions for That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along) and today we are making the (52) 4-patch units.  (See this post for an  overview of the quilt.)   I was worried that it would take forever to make 52 units, but they came together quickly.  (They would have come together even quicker if I hadn't 'sewn' 10 of them together without bobbin thread!  I hate it when that happens.)

First choose a light and dark 2 1/2" strips.  Having a light and dark strip isn't strictly necessary, but I want to have a distinct light/dark pattern.  Note that a fabric can be both 'light' and 'dark' depending on the other fabric it is paired with.  If you are using scrap strips of varying lengths, choose two that are approximately the same length.  Sew right sides together along the length of the strip with a quarter inch seam.

Set the seam by pressing the stitching line while the strips are still right sides together.  Then press strips open.  Do not run the iron up and down the seam because it can make the strips curve.

Square up the edge of the strip then cut 2 1/2" wide pieces off the the length of the strip.

Take two units, invert one, match seams and sew together.  You can pin the seam, but after the first 10, 20 or 30 you probably won't need to anymore.  :)

Set seam and press open.

Repeat for a total of (52) 4-patch squares.  Each 4-patch unit should measure 4 1/2" square.

 That's it for this week!  Next Monday I will post instructions for making the half square triangle units.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

At the Fair Mystery Quilt Blocks: January-May

I thought I would share the blocks we have been making in the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month.  The quilt blocks are based on the tiled quilt block mosaic which wraps around the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  We are making 36 blocks - two a month - until June 2016 when we will put them together into an epic 96" x 92" quilt.

May's blocks were from Iowa and Audubon county and are 24 and 8 inches square.  I have to say it is really fun to make the bigger blocks.  They are so striking.  But then it is rather a relief to make the second smaller block.  :)    When I first saw the picture of the small Iowa county block I thought it would be a pain to cut and piece, but it came together very easily with some foundation paper piecing.

Two counties, Guthrie and Ida, submitted the same block to the fair.  I am calling it Starburst because there are stars bursting out - and because it is made with Starburst candy colors.  :)  It is 24" square.  The second block for April was from Adair county.  It is a simple little blocks but, like so many of the other blocks, I think a whole quilt of these would be great.

In March I almost froze my fingers off taking pictures of these blocks.  I am so glad winter is over!  The one on the left is 32" square and is from Decatur county.  The one on the right is 24" square and was submitted by Black Hawk county.

February's blocks were fairly simple because everyone in my house had taken turns being sick over and over.  The one on the left is from Dubuque county and measures 12" square.  The other is one of my favorite blocks.  It was submitted by Clinton county and measures 8" square.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  both of these would look great repeated in a quilt.

We started out the year with a bang in January.  The largest block - and my favorite so far - is a 36" beauty from Osceola county.  This "block" would make a great baby quilt.  But after making it, I thought we needed a break, so the second block is a simple 8" bow-tie block.

So...are you tempted to join us?  You can sign up here and on the 1st of every month through June 2016 you will receive instructions for 2 quilt blocks.  After signing up, a pdf with the first 10 block patterns will be emailed to you.  Need more info?  This post gives more details about the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month.  I hope you will join us.  It has been fun seeing people's blocks pop up in our Flicker group and I know some people are sharing their blocks on Instagram with the hashtag #atthefairmysteryquilt.  We would love for you to join us!

Monday, May 4, 2015

That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along) - Cutting Instructions

That Quirky Scrap Quilt - 52" x  64"
As promised, here are the cutting instructions for That Quirky Scrap Quilt.  There are quite a few pieces, but I had a lot of fun cutting them out.  In fact, I got on such a roll that I cut out too many squares!  First I ironed each piece of fabric and then decided how best to cut it.  Some of the scraps were just large enough to get the 4 1/2" squares out of and some I could get both 5 1/2" squares and a nice sized 2 1/2" strip out of.  Even if your scraps are big enough you probably don't want to cut out more that 4-6 squares from each fabric.  This will maximize the quirky scrap feel of the quilt.

Note that in the cutting instructions I specify that the 2 1/2" strips should be 22" long.  I choose this measurement because it is the width of a fat quarter (half a width of standard fabric) and is long enough to make four 4-patch units.  You absolutely do not have to have strips this long.  Each 4-patch unit needs two 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" strips and there are a total of 52 4-patches in the quilt.  Just make sure you have enough strips to make that number of blocks.

Cutting Instructions

(104) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares

(20) 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" squares

(32) 5" x 5" squares

(26) 2 1/2" x approx 22" strips  (the strips must be at least 20" long, but I like to have a bit extra for squaring up)

Next Monday I will post piecing instructions for the 4-patch units.  See you then!

P.S.  I got all fancy and made a blog button if you would like one.

Grab button for Quirky Quilt Along
<div class="quirky-scrap-quilt-along-button" style="width: 150px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="" rel="nofollow"> <img src="" alt="Quirky Scrap Quilt Along" width="150" height="126" /> </a> </div>

Go here for a list of all the Quirky Scrap Quilt (along) posts.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Aleah English Paper Pieces!

Last Sunday my daughter Aleah (age 10) worked on her English paper piecing.  She is really good!  She glued the fabric around the 2" hexagons a few weeks ago and when she got started whip stitching them together this weekend she had this done in about an hour and a half.

I'm not usually a feet in picture type of person, but it gives you a sense of scale.
Her inspiration fabric was the blue veggie/dish fabric and we picked other fabric that coordinated with it from my scrap drawer.  I might try to convince her to make another one this size and we can make them into a potholder/trivet.  But she might decided to keep going.  I'll let you know what happens.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

That Quirky Scrap Quilt (along)

I have had this quilt idea floating around in my head for awhile.  I want to make a quilt so bright, crazy and ugly that it is cool.  Like one of those quirky vintage scrap quilts.

This is my mock up.  It has squares, 4-patches, half square triangles and quarter square triangles.  It has a lot of aqua/turquoise and yellow and a bit of every other color under the sun.  The units are 4" square and the quilt is 52" x 64".  I think it is going to be awesome.  Or crazy ugly - there will be no in between with this quilt.

I want to finish this soon (goodness knows I have enough works in progress!).  So this is what I thought I would do.  I will post instructions for the quilt every Monday.  If you would like to quilt along that would be great!  If not, no big deal, but I will have deadlines for myself to finish.  Win-win.  :)

Here's the schedule:
April 27 - Fabric requirements (see below)
May 18 - Piecing the half square triangles
May 25 - Piecing the quarter square triangles
June 1 - Setting instructions
June 9 - The big reveal!  (and link up if others are participating)

Fabric Requirements:
About 6 yards of scraps  (to get the "quirky" look use at least 24 different fabrics)

If you are not sure that crazy and quirky is your style, here is another layout option.

I am really loving the rainbow look - I may have to make two.  :)

To give you a feel of what size of scraps you will need, the smallest pieces for the quilt are 2 1/2" strips and the largest are 5 1/2" squares.

So this week, pull out your scraps, decide which ones you want to use and (if they are as wrinkly as mine) give them an iron.

I hope you will quilt along!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Moving Along With the Guild Challenge Quilt

Yesterday I trimmed up the blocks for my challenge quilt.   Leaving the size and piece # pinned on them really helped.  It would have mess otherwise.  Most of the blocks have both pieced and whole strips.  I really like how they look mixed together.

The mix of colors is so calming.  I am hoping it turns out as well in reality as I imagine it will.  Right now I am thinking of quilting it with a wood grain design.

In other news, I cut down a tree this week!  It was small but I am still impressed with myself.  :)  I also divided hostas and peonies, burned leaves and planted peas, lettuce, spinach and turnips.  It looks much more impressive when I write it down than when I look out at the yard at everything else that needs to get done (like cutting up said tree so it isn't laying in the middle of the yard!).  Baby steps, baby steps...  I am loving the spring weather and our beautiful flowers.  They make me happy.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, April 6, 2015

This Might Become a Thing

I made another ball this weekend.  

Pink, orange and yellow with a pop of green.  

It is nice to finish an English paper piecing project in a day or two instead of a year or two.

Friday, April 3, 2015

English Paper Pieced Ball

This just might be my favorite thing I have ever made.  Love.  Love.  Love it.  I love the fabrics, the rainbow of color and each and every little hexagon and pentagon.  I first saw a ball like this at Lily Quilts about 5 years ago, but had never made one until now.

The modern quilt group in Des Moines is having a pincushion swap at our April meeting and I was starting to stress out about what I was going to bring.  I had pinned tons of ideas but was really nervous about working with all of the curved little pieces most of them use.  So I stayed in my comfort zone and made an English paper pieced ball that can be used as a pincushion.  No inspiring overcoming-your-fears post today.  But why overcome fears when you can make something this cute?  :)

I used this tutorial by Kristy Daum that includes the hexagon and pentagon templates.  (For more step-by-step instructions on how to English paper piece visit my Hexagon Flower tutorial.)  Construction was fairly straight forward and is put together like a soccer ball.

The hardest thing about making the ball was picking the right fabrics so that the ball blended from color to color.  (I know, life is full of hard things.)  I started a little heavy on the reds and oranges and so I ended up light on the cool colors.  But that is a minor thing.  When I make this again I will also pay more attention to matching thread color with fabric color.  I switched out thread regularly, but used gray a lot and it didn't blend as well as I was hoping.

Here is a shot of me holding the ball for perspective.  It fits nicely into the hand.  I've been trying to cut down on the number of toys we have, so I am not sure if I will make any for my kids, but I have already told them that I will make a set for each of their kids.  You know, when they are the ones that have to police picking up toys.  Cause that's what grandma's do, right?

Linking to Finish It Up Friday.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hey, I Actually Sewed...Well...Cut Something!

Between book editing, sickness and general "real life" more than two weeks have slipped by since I worked on anything quilt related!  (Other than my English paper piecing project.)  I know, crazy.  :)

To be 100% accurate I still haven't sewn anything, but last week I did cut out the pieces for the April At the Fair Quilt blocks (they are Awesome!) and cut out pieces for a quilt using the Des Moines Modern Quilt Group's challenge fabric.  We were given a small bundle of black and white text prints and I want to make a quilt with inserted pieced strips like this quilt.  But instead of squares I want to have a variety of block sizes.  So I drafted a basic design in EQ7 (Note that the outlined block is to scale.  I don't know why the colored on is not).

Then I dug through my solid fabrics and came up with this group of blues and greens.  Cutting the strips and blocks was a bit challenging, because I had to take into account not only which fabrics would look best together, but how much of each fabric I had.  I was pretty proud that I was able to get it all out of stash.  I really have come to believe that I have too much fabric.  I could make so many quilts out of what I have.  The next quilt on my to do list is made entirely of scraps.  I just need to finish this one first.  So many quilts, so little sewing time.  :)