Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mimicking Mary

Gypsy Kisses

Have you ever fell in love with someone's style?  It was love at first sight when I saw Mary's quilt Gypsy Kisses.  I started following her blog, Molly Flanders, and have seriously loved everything I have seen.  I totally want to be more like Mary.  :)  I even tried out chunky quilting with perle cotton on a pillow recently - chunky/primitive quilting with various bright colors of perle cotton is Mary's signature quilting style.  Love it!

I wanted to start another English paper piecing project this summer that I could bring with me to the park and pool and decided that I wanted to recreate the look and feel of Gypsy Kisses.  Ironically, I have not been able to work on the project at the pool or the park - those crazy kids want me to play with them, not sit and stitch - who would have thought?  ;)  But I have been working on it every evening after the kids go to bed.  I love to put my swollen feet up and stitch while watching a show.

Anyway....This was my first block - a star in a hexagon.  Nice, but lacking.  Would Mary just use one color of gray for the star?  No way!

So I gave it another try.  Stars with two black/white/gray fabrics.  Perfect!

They look pretty good all together, but...

...I think I am going to spread them out and put some turquoise floral fabric in between the star hexagons.

I am planning on using Turquoise Bouquet from Flea Market Fancy.  It mimics the fabric in Gypsy Kisses and I love it as fabric, but I must admit that I am going out of my comfort zone here.  I tend to use smaller prints and don't usually do bright and scrappy.  What do you think?  Will it work?  Am I crazy?
I have made 14 star hexies in the last three weeks and have enjoyed every moment.  Only 30 or 40 to go!  :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

There's No Way I Can Make Those Blocks! Giveaway

Giveaway Closed:
The winner is #3, Julie!  
(who must have stock in and has rigged the system somehow!)

Thanks to you all for participating!  You Rock!

Here are the last three blocks in the Skill Builder Sampler!  The Compass Block was do-able, the Feathered Star was frustrating and the Butterfly was challenging to say the least, but I Did It!  And I am so proud of all the people who completed the whole sampler with me!  Believe me, I know it wasn't easy - either to make all of the blocks or to have a weekly quilt block commitment.  Thanks for sticking with it.  :)

For this weeks giveaway there are 5 fat quarters up for grabs.  There is some Ruby, Walk in the Woods and an unidentified but fun dot.  You may be enter up to three times in the giveaway.  Leave a comment if:
  1. You completed Blocks 34-36 of the Skill Builder Sampler
  2. You completed Blocks 31-33 of the Skill Builder Sampler (Since I didn't do a giveaway last time)
  3. You have completed all of the Blocks in the Skill Builder Sampler
Giveaway closes July 6th in the AM.

Starting next Friday we will start working on different ways to put the blocks together.  Feel free to just plow on ahead and finish your quilt, but I am going to be working at a more leisurely pace.  This summer has been busy!  

Did you see that Vanessa has already finished her quilt top and is starting to hand quilt it?!?  So beautiful and the sashing is perfect for all of those not-quite-to-size blocks.  Beautiful!  I was planning on putting mine together differently, but I just might have to copy her.  :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

36 - Alice Brooks Butterfly

 Months ago when we were paper piecing, someone sent me a link to this block and asked if it was possible to paper piece it.  No such luck.

I had started to hand draft the block, but Marlene was a total hero and drafted it up for us in EQ7.  Thank you!!!

The Alice Brooks Butterfly Block incorporates the skills of using templates and sewing curves and inset seams.  It will certainly put all of the skills we have learned to the test.

Do you have what it takes to make this last block in the 
We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler?  :)

Read more for the directions to make the Alice Brooks Butterfly Block.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Paper Piecing the Feathered Star by Marlene

Marlene has been drafting her Skill Builder Blocks in EQ7.  She just wrote up a great post on how she used EQ7 to draft the Feathered Star block, but most impressively, she drafted paper piecing templates and figured out how to piece the block with no inset seams!   I seriously looked and looked for a way to piece this block with no inset seams, but just couldn't visualize it.   Sorry if you have already made the block the hard way like me.  If not, check out Marlene's post and templates for a much easier block experience.
Thanks for sharing Marlene!

Friday, June 15, 2012

35 - Feathered Star

Tutorial for a 12 inch finished Feathered Star
Here we are, Block 35 of the Skill Builder Sampler, a 12 inch Feathered Star.  I'm not going to lie - this block is a killer - a real Skill Builder.  Lots of pieces to cut, trim and piece.  Lots of half square triangles that have to face a certain way and inset seams, but it is do-able.  My block isn't perfect, but I am hoping you will be able to do better.  :)

If you would like to practice making feathers on a smaller scale you can make this feathered pinwheel, Kansas Troubles, instead.  It was featured last year as part of Barbara Brackman's Civil War Sampler.   It finishes at 8 inches square, so just add on some 2.5 inch borders to bring it up to 12.5 inches.  But if you are feeling up to a challenge, take a deep breath and jump into the Feathered Star Tutorial.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Long Arm Quilting

My friend Julie made this beautiful quilt (Hexagon Park) and trusted me enough to quilt it for her.  This time the long arm quilting on the rented machine went much smoother than before - thanks for all of your tips!

 I made big mums in the center of all the large hexagons...

...and little mums in the border blocks.  I made little loopy things along the border.  The loopies were the hardest part, I kept getting mixed up about which way they were suppose to go.  

And the best part?  Julie watched my kids while I quilted.  When I went to pick them up they all showed me how they had climbed the tree while I was gone.  I have heard numerous complaints since about how we don't have a climbing tree in our yard -- yeah, it's a tough life.  :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

34 - Surveyor's Compass

Surveyor's Compass - 12 inches finished
We are entering the final month of the Skill Builder Sampler - The month of There's-No-Way-I-Can-Sew-That! Blocks.  But you can, because we have been building up to this all year and it turns out they aren't really that hard after all, just time consuming.  

I have always been nervous about making Mariner Compass blocks.  Look at all those little pieces and points.  Even when I learned that you could paper piece the block it didn't help my nerves much.  But I am happy to report that it wasn't really any harder than a regular paper piecing block.  

I got the pattern from which offers a wide selection of compass block quilt patterns for 99 cents.  I chose the Surveyor's Compass.  Feel free to choose the Surveyor's Compass or any other compass block that strikes your fancy.  The pattern is an immediate PDF download and they are all 99 cents.   The patterns assume you are familiar with paper piecing and only offer basic sewing and color placement instructions along with the templates.

Sew Sweetness

If you would like step by step instructions and a free tutorial, I would recommend making one of the New York Beauty Quilt Along Blocks.   A list of all NY Beauty Block tutorials can be found here (be sure to click on the block week and number for the tutorial).  The NY Beauty Blocks finish at 8 inches so you will need to add a 2.5 inch strip on each side as a border to bring it up to a unfinished 12.5 inch size.

There is no real tutorial for this block, just a challenge to make a Mariner's Compass or New York Beauty block and a few tips.  
  • Be sure to pay attention to the value (lightness or darkness) of your fabrics in these blocks.  The contrast in colors is part of the design.  Also some of the pieces are quite small so you will want to use fabrics that are solid, tone on tone or have smaller patterns.

  • I like to mark each template with colored pencils so that I don't get confused half way through on fabric placement.
  •  To make cutting the odd shapes of fabric easier, I like to print out an extra template, cut it apart and use it as a guide for fabric cutting.  I cut about 1/2 inch around each template piece and cut all the fabric at once.
  • I also like to "chain piece" as much as possible.  That is I sew fabric 1 and 2 together on all of the templates and then sew on all the 3's etc.  It speeds things up a little.

Can I just say how much I love this block and how proud I am?!?  I even like the back.  Now I just have to tear all of those papers off.

I can't wait to see what you sew up!  Be sure to post your creations in the Skill Builder Sampler Flickr Group!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Reversible Child's Apron

I don't like to brag...ok, maybe I do...but my pattern for a reversible child's apron that posted at the Moda Bake Shop on Sunday is Amazing!  I came up with it a few years ago when I wanted to make an apron for my daughter, but didn't want to use binding or turn over edges.  

When I started to cut the apron out I realized that a fat quarter of fabric was just about the right size.  That is right, 3 fat quarters = a reversible child's apron with virtually no waste!  Love! 

One fat quarter for the front, one for the back and one for the ties and pockets.  You know you want to make one.  :)

If we had boys and girls in our house I would totally make one with "boy" fabric on one side and "girl" fabric on the other, but no such luck.  Only girls here, so it was flowery all the way.  :)  Check it out and let me know what you think.