Saturday, April 28, 2012

Skill Builder Sampler Giveaway

Giveaway Closed!
Everyone had a pretty good chance of winning this week with only 10 entries, but that Random Number Generator picked Julie again!  Seriously, I didn't cheat!  Congratulations Julie!

Hello!  I have been rather missing this week - there's nothing big going on - just kids, laundry, shopping, 18lbs of strawberries (there was a great sale), picking fabric for a new project...all of the normal stuff that doesn't seem interesting enough to post about.

But I did search through my stash today and made this custom fat quarter bundle of fabrics that will go to someone who has completed blocks 28-30 of the Skill Builder Sampler.  I bought the cowgirl fabric years ago - I think it was my first purchase of yardage at a quilt store.  It was made up into the cutest pajamas complete with a bandanna collar for my little girl.  She is 11 now and her 2 year old sister is still wearing them.  They are the cutest things ever - the girls and the pjs.  :)

But I digress... this month for the Skill Builder Sampler we worked on odd shapes and templates (tumblers, apple cores and triangles) and I sure felt like my skills were stretched.  I realized that I don't like tracing and cutting out fabric by hand (that dang apple core block!).  Isn't that why they invented rotary cutters?  But the results sure are cute!

If you completed blocks 28-30, leave a comment saying so and I will enter you into the drawing to win some of my favorite fabrics.  I will pick a winner on Friday, May 4th.  We will also start making blocks with inset or y-seams that day.

1. copos, 2. SBS Block #30 - Triangles, 3. SBS #29 - Apple Core, 4. SBS block 29, 5. Apple Core Block, 6. Tumblers in red and white, 7. Block #29 - Apple Core, 8. #30- Equilateral Triangles, 9. SBS block 28

And just in case you haven't visited the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler flicker group lately, here is a sampling of some of the blocky-goodness that has been happening over there.  You guys are great!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

HST Pillow

I meant to have my HST quilt done in time to enter into the Festival of the Half Square Triangles, but that is just not happening.  I did however steal some of the hst and make this coordinating pillow cover.

I hand stitched along the edges of the hsts with black pearl cotton.  It was my first time doing hand stitching in quite awhile, and my first time ever using pearl cotton.  I had been thinking about hand quilting the large hst quilt, but now I don't think that I will.  ;)

I added a flange and a one inch border around the edge.  I love how it frames the design.

For the back, I used a print from Echo (oh, how I love it!) and burgundy kona cotton.  Who would have thought that burgundy could look so good?

Now I just have to pick up a pillow form the right size.  Be sure to jump on over to the Festival of Half Square Triangles to see all of the other beautiful things people have been making.

Friday, April 20, 2012

30 - Equilateral Triangles

Tutorial for a 12 inch Equilateral Triangle Block
Ahhh...I enjoyed making this block much more than the apple core block.  Triangle quilts have been popping up all over blogland recently.  In fact there is even a Patchwork Prism QAL starting up that uses equilateral triangles -- I may just have to join in.

triangle quilt
An equilateral triangle quilt, by Constança Cabral via flickr
Before we get to the block, let's review some basic geometry.  A triangle has three sides.  So far so good.  ;)  An equilateral triangle has three equal sides and three equal angles.  All of the angles on a triangle add up to 180 degrees.  Since each of the three triangles on an equilateral triangle are equal, the corner angle can be determined by dividing 180 by 3.  180/3=60  Each angle in a equilateral triangle is 60 degrees.

20120409 Triangle Quilt-3
An example of an isosceles triangle quilt by Audrie of Blue is Bleu via flickr
An isosceles triangle has two sides and two angles that are the same.  The third side can be either shorter than the other two (like the quilt above) or wider like a half square triangle.  A half square triangle is both a right triangle and an isosceles triangle, for those who want to go the extra geometric mile.  Check out this site for more fun triangle facts.

The first step to make this block is to make a template.   You can cut the triangles without a template, but it involves a lot of thinking and moving your ruler around to find the right angle.  A template is much easier.

Cut a piece of paper or card stock 3.75 inches tall.  The quilt math rule for equilateral triangles is that the unfinished triangle needs to be cut 3/4 inch taller than the desired finished size.   Our finished triangles will be 3 inches tall.

Next identify the 60 degree marking lines on your ruler.  Also remember that the other side of the 30 degree line is 60 degrees.  How do we know that?  The ruler has 90 degree angles in each corners.  90 degrees minus 30 degrees equals 60 degrees.  Still doesn't make any sense?  Just trust me and know that you might have to use your 30 degree angle to make the template.

Cut one side of the template off at a 60 degree angle (you might have to line it up with the opposite side of the 30 degree mark for the ruler to be long enough to make the cut).  Next line up the 60 degree line with the cut angle and make a second cut.  This is the template.

I find it easiest to use the template when it is attached to the back of the ruler.  Tape the template to the back of your ruler with one of the sides along the edge.

Cut a strip of fabric 3.75 inches wide.  Line up the bottom of the template with the bottom of the strip of fabric with the ruler edge facing the end of the fabric strip.  Cut.

Turn the ruler and line up the bottom and left edge of the template with the bottom and left edge of the fabric.  Cut.  Continue cutting all the way down the strip of fabric.  Cut a total of 32 triangles.  I cut 16 white triangles and 16 blue triangles out of various fabrics.

Arrange the triangles as desired in four rows of eight triangles.


Sew each row together.  Place the first two triangles in the row right sides together and sew down the side with a 1/4 inch seam.

Next open up the triangle and lay the next triangle next to it.  Flip the third triangle on top of the other two.

Line up the corners of the triangles and make sure the seam is off to the side.  Sew with a 1/4 inch seam.

Keep adding triangles until you have sewn all six together.  Repeat for each row.

Press seams very carefully to the side.  The sides of the triangles are cut on the bias and will stretch very easily.  However, this can work in our favor.  If your rows are slightly bowed give the row the tiniest of pulls as you press to straighten it.

Use a ruler and rotary cutter to cut off the dog ears.

 Sew the four rows together pinning at the seam intersections.  Then trim the sides of the block so that the block is 12.5 inches wide.

You did it!  
How did you like it?  Have you made a triangle quilt before?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Cut Fabric With Scissors!

 Do you remember this 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee block that I wasn't fond of but didn't know if I wanted to redo?  Fate stepped in in the form of my 2 year old.  I came upstairs last week after folding some laundry and she proudly announced, "I cut fabric with scissors!"  Ahhh!!!  At least it was this block that got cut up around the edges.

  So here is the new and improved block  I do like it much better.  It isn't quite so intense.

And here is the little cutie with the new block.  Let's pretend she felt sorry for what she did and will never take scissors to anything important again.   Yeah...

Friday, April 13, 2012

29 - Apple Core

The new and improved Apple Core block
 I have always loved the look of apple core quilts but was nervous to try to make one because you have to use a template.  I figured that there were enough ways to mess up a quilt with rotary cutting and sewing.  If I added in tracing a template and cutting with scissors, I knew that the opportunities for inaccuracy and error would skyrocket.  But all of the quilting skills that I was nervous about in earlier Skill Builder blocks turned out to be no big deal, so I put off making my apple core block until the end of last week, totally confident in my soon to be developed skills.

And this was the result.  A big puckered wavy mess!  I made my own 4.5 inch template using this truly great tutorial, but  I don't think my template was 100% accurate and those inaccuracies just multiplied as I traced, cut and sewed.  I didn't want to show you a method that I couldn't complete decently..., I went to the store and bought an apple core plastic template so I could have an accurate template, but when I checked to make sure that the top of the apple nestled in with the sides along the stitching lines it didn't!   What!?!  I started to get very worried about my ability to get this block made.

But I guess all's well that ends well, because this morning, I made this block and I like it.  No puckers and very little waviness.  It is the block that we will make this week in the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  If I can do it, you can too.  :)

The Template

Print this apple core template from Quilter's Cache.  The template is the size of the finished apple core, so we will need to add seam allowance ourselves.

To add the seam allowance, line up the 1/4 inch line of the ruler with the edge of the apple core.  Make a small mark at the edge of the ruler.  Move the ruler around the edge of the apple core making small marks every 1/4 inch or so.  Cut out the template along the dashed lines.


Trace carefully around the template.  Do not let the template shift!  Cut the fabric just barely inside the traced line.  Cut out 9 apple cores.

Fold each apple core in half and make a small notch with scissors in the middle of the apple top and bottom and in the middle of each apple side.


Lay out the apple cores as desired.  We will sew each each row together left to right, and then join the three rows.

Line up the notches on the apple top and apple side.  Pin.

Pin the edges of the apple pieces together.

It is hard to see in the picture, but make a series of 1/8 inch clips along the concave edge of the apple side.  This will help ease the curved edges together.  Wiggle and play with the edges until they line up fairly well and pin between the middle and end pins.

Sew very carefully along the edge of the fabric with a 1/4 inch seam.  Stop regularly and adjust the fabric, top and bottom layer, to avoid puckering.

Press towards the apple sides.  Join all three rows.

To join the rows together, start by butting up the seams and pinning them.
-Next match the notches of the apple tops with the notches of the apple seams and pin them.
-Pin the ends of the rows together.
-Make the 1/8 inch notches along the apple core sides
-and then wiggle and pin between each middle notch and seam pin.

It will be a big bumpy lumpy pinny mess when all the pins are in.
Take your time and sew the row together - stop regularly to line up and adjust the fabric as needed.

Press.  Really press.  I want you to get out the spray starch and make the block as stiff as a piece of paper.  Trust me, it will really help when trimming the block to size and adding the border especially if the block has any waviness.

  • Trim the block to 10.5 inches square.  
  • Cut two 2 x 10.5 inch strips and two 2. x 13.5 inch strips of border fabric.  
  • Sew the 10.5 inch strips to each side of the apple core block.  Press towards the border.  
  • Sew the 13.5 inch strips to the other sides of the block.  Press towards the border fabric. 

Trim the block to exactly 12.5 inches square.  To make sure the border is even on all sides, mark the center of the block by folding it in half and marking the center on the top, bottom and sides with pins or by ironing a crease as I did.  Cut 6.25 inches on either side of the center crease - this will result in a perfectly centered 12.5 inch block.

And it is done!!!  

I am so glad!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Who Likes Fabric?

I sure do!  After being rather frustrated with the complete lack of grays in my stash when making the 4x5 Modern Bee Blocks I decided I needed to use the $20 gift card I had for my local quilt shop to buy some grays and whatever else caught my eye.  ;)

Left to right:  Sweet Treats by Diane Zimmerman, Sunkissed by Sweetwater,
Lost and Found by Jan Allyson, ? and Echo by Lotta Jansdotter
Grays are definitely in style.  I found no lack of them in the shop and choose a light, medium and dark gray that I thought would be good blenders and a few yellow/mustard prints that I will use in the HST Quilt.  I have to admit that I do like the gray/mustard combo.  

Speaking of mustard, there was a small spot of mustard on the Sunkissed fabric and so I ended up getting it half off.  Sweet!  But really, who goes around eating a sandwich in a fabric store and wiping mustard off their fingers onto the fabric?  Weird.

Found at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics

I kept my eyes open for some of the new American Jane line, School Days, but the shop didn't have any.  The Fat Quarter Shop doesn't have it in stock either.  ?!?!  They usually have everything.  I did find some of the prints at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics - these are my favorite prints of the line.  I really should get some...right?

Available May 2012
While I was skimming the Coming Soon section at the Fat Quarter Shop to see if they were getting in School Days, I found this fabric that I just adore!  I rarely like every print in a line, but Seaside is right up my alley.  I love every-single-print.  Such a lovely retro/vintage line.

Available August 2012

I also ogled Denyse Schmidt's new line Chicopee which comes out in August.  I love the lighter prints. 

Available May 2012

And if you wanted some more fabric to coordinate with Chicopee, I think this line by Jenean Morrison would be perfect!

Available June 2012

If I get my act together and finish up some UFOs, maybe I will start a mustard and gray project with some of the beautiful prints in Madrona Road line.  Love the florals.

Have you seen any fabrics that have tickled your fancy recently?
Anything else I should add to my shopping list?  :)