Friday, March 30, 2012

Wonky Blocks!

Edited:  The giveaway is now closed.
And the winner is.....JULIE!  Congratulations! 

Yea!  They are done!

 Block 25 - Wonky Log Cabin.  I don't know that I will ever get tired of making wonky log cabins.  For this one I just grabbed a pile of scraps and started sewing.  Love it!

Block 26 - Wonky Stars.  I had some left over 5 inch blue dotted squares from a miscut earlier in the sampler, so I decided to use them in this block.  I love it when miscuts turn into precuts.  :)

 Block 27 - Wonky Fan.  Because the star was in cool colors I decided to do the fan in warm colors.  I really like how this one turned out.

And if you made each of these blocks leave a comment letting me know and you will be entered to win these Japanese fairy tale prints.  The giveaway will end Friday, April 6th at 8 am.  **edited to add: only one comment needed**

Next month we will be making blocks with odd shapes like tumblers, hexagons and apple cores.  I can't wait to try the apple cores!  I am a bit nervous, but we can do it!  Right?  ;)

Happy Spring!

P.S. I am working my way through the Skill Builder Sampler Flickr Group - I haven't been over there since January, Sorry! - and you guys are amazing!!!  I am seriously blown away!  Great job!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

There has been so little Work in Progress around here that I feel like I need make a list and start getting back into the quilting groove.  Here are some of the projects that were unceremoniously abandoned in January.

1.  A half square triangle quilt for the living room.  We live in a older house (built in 1907) and have lots of woodwork and two small stained glass windows in the front room.  I love it, but none of the quilts I have made quite "go with it."  I pulled the yellow and purple colors from the windows and think that this quilt will be the perfect mix of modern and traditional.  I was heavily inspired by these two quilts.

2.  I need to finish turning this pile of fabrics into a Bake Shop project.

3.  I had planned to have a finished baby quilt made out of these wonky fan blocks as a visual for my class at the quilt guild, but that didn't quite happen.  I have 12 made up and just need to play with the layout and sew them together.

4.  I Really Need to make up the blocks for the Skill Builder Sampler in my quilt colors by Friday.  Call me on it if you don't see a picture on Friday of my finished Wonky Blocks, ok?  :)

5.  I want to play around with these retro/vintage inspired eye-spy charms.  They are 3.5 inches square and I have been collecting them for almost 2 years.  When I saw this quilt by Amy Smart I knew I had to make one and bought a set of her charms and have been adding to them since then.  I could never bring myself to make this quilt for someone else's baby - do you have fabric you love that much?   Good thing I am having one of my own!  :)

6.  I also want to play with these 6 inch Japanese charms.  I'm not sure what to do with them, but I am sure I could spend a happy hour arranging them on my design wall.  :)

What are you working on?

I am linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday.  Head over to see what other people are working on.

Friday, March 23, 2012

27 - Wonky Fans

I've got a new helper!
I think fan blocks are super cute, but I have a fear of templates and curved seams- I am trying to overcome them - but why bother when there is a super fun and easy way to make wonky fans that look just as great?  Let me show you how with Block 27 in the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.

Too cute!
I will give instructions on how to make a 12 inch finished block along with more generalized instructions so you can make any sized block you would like.


Edited (5/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will is available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or order on Amazon


  Cut a square 1/2 inch larger than your finished block size - in our case a 12.5 inches square.

Fan Blades: 
 The blades can be as tall or as short as you would like, but a good rule of thumb is for the blades to be two thirds the size of the finished block.  In our case that would be 12 x 2/3 = 8 inches tall.  Remember that this is a wonky block, so the measurements don't have to be exact.

 Find a piece of fabric about 8 inches tall and cut the straight edge at an angle.

 Move the ruler over and angle it until you have another wedge shaped piece.  Cut.

Repeat as desired.

 If I am making multiple fans I like to stack 3-4 layers of fabric together to speed cutting.

 The blades can be fairly rectangular or quite pointed.  The points should be at least 1/2 inch wide or you will have problems with bulky seams.  A good rule of thumb is for the pointy ends to be between 2 and .5 inches wide and for the tops of the blades to be 3-6 inches wide.  Each fan will need 6-9 blades, depending on the width of the blades.

 Place two blades right sides together and stitch from top to bottom with a 1/4 seam allowance.  Press the seam to the side.

 Repeat until your fan is large enough to cover the background fabric from edge to edge.  If the top edge of the fan is uneven trim it even with scissors.  Remember, this is Wonky - don't get out a plate or compass to make it perfect!

 Press under the top edge of the fan 1/4 inch.

 Pin to the background fabric.

Zig-zag along the edge or use your favorite decorative stitch.

 Yea!  Fan blades attached!

Corner Round:

 Next we need to cover up the bottom edge of the blades and add the corner round piece.  Find a squarish piece of fabric that is at least 1 inch longer than the distance between the corner of the background fabric and the start of the blades.

 Lay the square over the corner of the block so that it over laps the background fabric by at least 1/4 inch.

 Make a notch with scissors at least 1/2 inch above where corner square overlaps the fan blades.

 Repeat on the other side.

 Cut a curve between the two notches.  Ok - kind of scary to make a free form curve, but you can totally do it.  Trust me, it is very freeing.

 Press under the curved edge of the corner piece about 1/4 inch.

 Pin the corner round piece in place - be sure that it covers the edge of the background fabric - and stitch along the edge.

 Trim the block to size by flipping it over and cutting off the excess fabric along the edge of the background fabric.

 You did it!!!  One wonky fan block.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Improv Tumblers and Fans at the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild

Leila Presenting

A month ago I taught at the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild.  I had big plans for my class - amazing ideas for visual aids...and then I got sick.  My plans and ideas got smaller and smaller and more and more basic.  However, it worked out just fine (although I must admit that I had my doubts in the week leading up to the meeting).

Leila's Liberated Fan Block 1

I showed the ladies of our guild how to make improv fans and tumblers.  I think improv fans are my new favorite block and tomorrow I will post step by step instructions for making your own improv fan block as part of the Skill Builder Sampler.  See you then!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Camera Advice Needed

Thanks for all of your warm wishes and comments about birth control - they have got me thinking.  I actually lay awake in bed last night composing a series of social and political posts in my head, but I won't bore you with them today.  :)   Today I need some camera advice.
A few weeks ago as I was lying on the couch, I let my two year old amuse herself by scrolling through the pictures on our camera.  I let the kids look at and take pictures regularly and it has never been a problem - although it has meant deleting hundreds of blurry pictures of their toys.  :)  But on that day Kate got excited about something, threw up her hands and the camera while yelling, "Yeeeaa!"  The camera did not survive the 3 foot fall onto carpet.  Uggggh!

We have owned 4 cameras in the last 6 years.  The first on died of grit after 3 years.  I dropped the second one...twice...eek.  The third got lost in the airport and Kate just finished off the fourth.  My husband is convinced that we need a rugged camera - and I can't honestly disagree.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12.1 MP Rugged/Waterproof Digital Camera with 4.6x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD looks good and rugged, has good reviews and people say that the image quality is good - although it doesn't take great indoor/low light pictures (but what point and shoot does?).  Does anyone out there own one?  Am I going to be pulling my hair out over picture quality as I take quilt (oh yeah, and kid) pictures?  Please, let me know.

Do you have a favorite lower price range camera?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Real Baby Announcement!

Kate, Christmas 2009
Yes, as you may have guessed, we are going to have another one of these cute babies in September!   Thanks for being supportive of my break.  It was the worst bout of "all day" sickness to date.  My poor husband and kids had to manage by themselves while I lay on the couch and tried to keep any sort of food down.  On the positive side, I did lose 10 lbs -- although I would not recommend this form of weight loss.  ;) 

I will start back up the Skill Builder Sampler on the 16th of March and we will press on with more wonky blocks.  I can't wait.  It is kind of fun to slowly rediscover all of the things I use to do before I got sick - I even have some bread dough rising right now.

Colleen - February 2010
 Now, if you don't like reading about non-quilt things on quilt blogs, please skip down to the comments and say congratulations.  ;)  If you don't mind reading something a bit personal and political, feel free to keep reading.

Having recently conceived has somehow made the whole contraceptive insurance debate more personal for me and I just need to get some of my feelings out there.   Before I start, let me explain where I am coming from.  I am Christian, I believe that having children is part of God's plan for us and my husband and I waited to have sex until we were married.

 That being said, I am COMPLETELY APPALLED by the national dialog that seems to imply that only single sluts who can't keep their knees together use birth control.  Really?!?

Colleen - Summer 2011
 My husband and I can't look at each other without getting pregnant - he claims he has super-sperm.   He also thinks he is hilarious.  :)  Thank goodness for birth control which give us some control on the spacing of our children.  Having children is not easy for me - I am not a rainbows and unicorns person - and having a child every year - or not having sex ever - would make me have a break down and put unnecessary strain on our marriage.

Z. and Emily - Summer 2011
 When this child is born I will be 37 years old.  We are planning for this to be our last child but I will continue to have periods for 10-16 more years.  Abstinence for that amount of time is not an option.  Rhythm method?  That's how half of our children were conceived - remember the super sperm?    Tubes tied/vasectomy?  I don't really believe that is right, although I do realize that I am splitting hairs on the morality of a vasectomy vs. long term birth control.

For us, contraceptives are the answer until I am 200% sure that menopause has really hit.  And Rush, if you really want a video of my husband and I doing it with birth control when we are 48 years old, let me know.  It could probably be used to scare kids away from sex.  ;)

Aleah - January 2010
Am I the only one out there that thinks contraceptives have a valid place in society?  Or that because they are a prescription drug they should be covered by insurance?  I want to know what you think!  I took a survey sampling class in college and have put my long forgotten skills to work to make a brief five question survey about contraceptives.  Of course it won't be representative of the nation/world, but I want to know what people in general (ok, quilters) think, not just my friends and family.   Don't worry, the survey is anonymous and not racy at all.

Aleah - February 2011
I will let you know what everyone thinks in a couple of weeks. If you have any additional comments you would like to make, please feel free. Remember that this is a kind and positive zone and I will delete any comments that I feel are unkind or offensive. Let us show commentators and politicians that you don't have to be rude or extreme to have an opinion on this issue.