Tuesday, June 02, 2020

June Mini Madness Block Two - Nine Patch

Now that we've got the Four Patch under our belts it's time to graduate to the Nine Patch block.
For the 3 inch  block you will need four 1 1/2 inch background squares, four red 1 1/2 inch squares and one blue 1 1/2 inch square (substitute your chosen colors for the red and blue!)  For the 6 inch block you'll need four 2 1/2 inch background squares, four red 2 1/2 inch squares and a blue 2 1/2 inch square.

Lay out your squares, then chain sew the first two squares in each row together.  Add the final square for each row, so you have three rows sewn and chained together.
Finger press the seams toward the colored squares, then sew the rows together to complete your block.
Time for you to get yours sewn, now!  

Monday, June 01, 2020

June Mini Madness - Block 1, Four Patch

I'm excited to get started, and I'm really happy so many of my friends are playing along.  I'm starting out with the easier blocks first to ease us into this project - so just relax and enjoy each day's block.  I'll do my best to answer your questions and encourage you along the way, and I hope you have as much fun as I know I will!

I know that some of you will want written directions.  Those will be coming - I am not writing each block as a single lesson, because I don't want to end up with a 30 page pattern.  What I will do is compile the lessons and publish each page for you as it it fills up.  So every week or so there will be another page that you can download and save.  In the meantime, I will put all the measurements on each post so you can sew the blocks each day.

Before you start, if you are using the suggested three fabrics for your mini quilt with 3 inch squares,  cut two 3 1/2 inch strips from your background fabric and set them aside for the sashing, cut three 1 1/2 strips of your blue and set that aside for the outer border, and cut one 1 inch strip of red for your cornerstones and set that aside.  For the quilt made with 6 inch squares, you will need three 6 1/2 strips of your background, four 2 1/2 inch strips of blue for borders, and two 1 1/2 strips of red for cornerstones.  If you are working with scraps, you can plan for those amounts for finishing your quilt.

Each day I will publish a new block here on my blog, as well as on facebook and instagram. Plus, I am making a video of each day's block, so you can actually watch as I sew them together!  I think it will be fun to share and am looking forward to it.  If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to me and I will be more than happy to answer them - I want you to have fun and be successful in this project, so just let me know how I can help you!

 I've already finished my red, white and blue version so I could make sure all my measurements were correct and that each block was actually do-able, and will be sewing along as we go with a pastel 3 inch version, and am using Magical Reef (leftovers from a quilt I made for Island Batik) for my 6 inch version.

Let's Get Started!

Here is the first block!  For a 3 inch block you will need to cut four 2 inch squares.  Two from your background fabric and two different colors from your block fabric.  For 6 inch blocks, cut 3 1/2 inch squares.

Sew each color to a background square.  Then sew the two pairs together to make your first block!  Woohoo!  That was simple and easy!  Make sure to check out my facebook page to see me sew my pastel version together - PamelaQuilts Facebook page.

Join me tomorrow for Block 2!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Stepping Stones Quilt Along - Lesson 5, Square in a Square

I'm getting a little bit of early start on this post since I'm also doing a 30 day June Mini Madness Quilt Along and starting that tomorrow morning!  What can I say, I'm feeling a bit restless and crazy so came up with a project for us to get our crazies out in a healthy and fun way.  Anyway, I'll get this post up tonight, then first thing Monday I'll get Mini Madness going!

How was May for you?  Truthfully it was a roller coaster of emotion for me, and I struggled a bit.  Things opening, but everything cancelled.  So much uncertainty.  Still making masks.  Starting back to work at the Quilt shop.  It's surreal and strange, yet time keeps passing and I NEED to be sewing something fun!

This month, you'll be doing lots of sewing - at the end of this month you will have 8 more blocks for your quilt and will be past the half way point for the quilt!  It's not difficult sewing, but lots of repetition.  I give you two different options for making this block.  You can make this block using a stitch and flip technique, or make it in the traditional method of cutting squares and triangles to fit.

I couldn't find any pictures of my construction of this block and had to do some retracing of my steps to figure out why.  I was working with 1/2 yard cuts of fabric, and you can't cut the number of 6 1/2 inch squares needed from that amount of fabric, so I ended up making my square in a square units the traditional way - thus I didn't have any pictures of how to construct them using the stitch and flip technique.  So I got out my fabric and took some pictures just so you all can see how it's done!

So for each square in a square you will need one 6 1/2 inch square of your contrast fabric and four 3 1/2 inch squares of your background.
Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of all of your background squares.

Stitch the background squares to the corners of the contrast square - do two diagonal ones first.

 Trim 1/4 inch from the seamline.
 Press the seams out.
 Sew two background squares to the two remaining corners.
Trim corners off 1/4 inch from the seam line

 Press the seams out and you are done!  (If you like you can save those cut off corners and use them for some thing later - they make pretty pinwheels!)
To make these units the traditional way, you will cut the center squares at 4 3/4 inches and cut squares at 3 7/8, then cut in half diagonally for triangles.

 Finger press a crease at the center of the square.
 Do the same for the side triangles.
 Match up the creases to center the triangle on the edge of the square
 Sew a 1/4 inch seam.
 Repeat on the opposite side.
Press triangles out and repeat on the remaining sides
 Measure and trim off the dog ears.

Can you tell which square in a square is which?  And I did make a pinwheel out of my extra pieces :)

Download your instructions by clicking the link below!
Download Lesson Five here!

You will sew two square in a square units to two 6 1/2 squares of your light fabric to complete 12 of these blocks.  (I used 1 square each of 2 similar fabrics for the blocks in my quilt because I was working with 1/2 yard cuts)   I think this will keep you busy for the month of June!  Next month we'll be doing the Dresden plate squares - so we'll be doing some different techniques.  It will be fun!

If you want to join in on my June Mini Madness Quilt Along, see this post and sew along with me!  Since it's a mini, you won't need much fabric and probably have everything you need on hand.  You can find out more by checking out this post:  Shaking off the Doldrums.  I'll be posting a new block every day through the month of June, followed by a finish party over the Fourth of July weekend.  Lots of posting coming up this month - hope you can keep up!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Preparing to make a Mini Quilt part 2

Let's talk a bit about fabric today.  When I am working on a mini quilt, I try to make sure that I am using a fabric that has a nice tight weave and isn't a floppy, fraying mess.  If you have actual yardage, you might want to wash it - I confess that I don't always do this, but it is helpful to avoid having your work spoiled by unexpected shrinking or color transfer later.

If you don't pre-wash your fabric, definitely do give it a good hot pressing with steam before you start working with it.  And a spritz of starch or Best Press will help give your fabric a nice crisp finish and make it easier to work with for cutting and sewing those smaller pieces. 
One thing I missed in my last post - take a few minutes and get the dust bunnies out of your machine! I'm good about doing this while I'm machine quilting because every time I change the bobbin I sweep out the bottom  of the machine, but I don't always do that while I'm doing regular piecing.  Take off your feed dog plate and make sure everything is nice and clean in there.  If you have a plate with a single hole for straight stitching, install that on your machine and it will help prevent it from eating those triangle corners.  We'll talk about seam allowance as we get started - you'll want to be accurate when you sew them so your blocks all come out perfectly sized!

While you are at it, oil your machine if appropriate and give it a nice wipe down to get all the stray fluff and threads.  Now you are ready to tackle some Mini Madness!  Tomorrow I'll have a few instructions for cutting some strips to get ready for sewing, then we'll be ready to start this adventure!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

So You Want to Make a Mini Quilt!

Before I draw the name tonight for the winner of two Island Batik Stashbuilder Strip rolls, I wanted to write a short post about what you might want to do before we start.  Luckily, if you already quilt, you most likely have everything you need to make a miniature.  I do have some advice, though before we get started on this crazy mad project!

I recommend putting a new blade in your rotary cutter.  Accuracy is key for miniature blocks, and a fresh sharp blade will help your cuts to be precise.  As far as rulers go, I find that a 6 1/2 inch square ruler works well for cutting.  The smaller rulers are cute, but they are definitely harder to get a grip on when you are cutting.  You will want a longer ruler for cutting some strips.

Put a new needle in your machine.  A size 12 or below is perfect.  Use a good quality 50 wt thread. I happen to love Aurifil, it really does make a nice seam, but use what you have as long as it's a good quality thread.  Did you know that the higher the number of the thread weight is, the thinner it is?

Clean your iron!  They do get dirty, and if you are using white, you don't want any unsightly smudges.  I have a tube of Iron-Off that I use, but I also found these great tips to try out:  How to Clean an Iron.

While you are at it, you can also give your cutting mat a cleaning up, too.  You can just use a damp sponge and wipe it down.  It's always nice to start off a project with everything clean, sharp and ready to go!-

Now...are you ready to find out who won the Island Batik Stashbuilder Rolls?  I had 29 names in the hat - I mean spreadsheet.  The random number generator picked number 13, which is Cecilia!  She loves pinks and reds, so I'll see if I can pull a couple rolls with those colors, or as close as I can get and will send them right off to her.  Cecilia, check your e-mail and get back to me with your address.

Thanks to everyone for your interest in my crazy fun adventure!  I'll be back on Friday and talk about preparing your fabric.  See you then!


Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Due to popular demand I will be adding instructions for making the June Mini in 6 inch blocks as well.  I've added fabric requirements to the file in the sidebar to the right for you if you are worried about the smaller blocks.  But really, they aren't that bad! 

I finished quilting another UFO over the weekend after working on my mini blocks.  I was so excited to bind it this afternoon and take some pictures to share!  I can definitely feel my quilting energy reviving - I actually feel excited again to get some time in my sewing room to create!
I made this top in a class with Lawry Thorn a year ago, no I think it was actually two years ago, time flies!  This started out with some French General scraps and went from there.  Lots of pink and blue with a pretty cream.  I quilted it with hearts and loops in the lightest color from the Verona colorbuilder box from Aurifil - it was the perfect color for this quilt.  I pulled a half yard of pink

This morning I got to work on a t-shirt quilt, the cutting and fusing is what I procrastinate over the most.  I'm glad I was able to re-stock my interfacing so I could get this custom order finished for a grad.  Tomorrow I'll trim up the blocks and decide on how to arrange them, so I should be able to get this one done by the end of the week, I love the feeling that I'm making progress on my projects!

Ok, back to work on the mini blocks...only 7 more days!
Oh, and this is happening!  New drywall on the ceiling - it was textured on Friday, so I'm hoping that painting will happen soon...I am so excited!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Shaking off the Doldrums...Something fun and a little Crazy for June!

I'm getting restless, and really need something to focus on right now, so I have managed to talk myself into something fun for June!  A little Mini Madness is in order I think...
30 is a great number of blocks for a quilt, so one block a day for a whole month.  At three inches, if you add a small sashing and border you end up with a quilt that is about 20 by 23 1/2 inches.  And I have a couple more ideas for how you can use these blocks in a little quilt, and since it looks like it will be a quiet fourth of July weekend I think it will be a good time to plan something fun and festive to finish up this project!

Plus it will give me something to post and get me back in the rhythm of blogging - which I miss!  So you are officially invited to join me in the fun.  You can download a cover sheet which will tell you how much fabric you'll need - just look over on the right sidebar and give it a click.  I'm working with scraps from the Island Batik Freedom collection that I used for a Quilt of Valor last year and am making mine red, white and blue.   You are welcome and encouraged to choose any color you like for yours!
I have some stash builder rolls that can serve as prizes!  I'm thinking a link-up once a week to share your progress, probably on Sundays.  I'm also cleaning out my Island Batik shelf getting ready for Box number 2, so have more goodies to share as well, so it's a win-win!  You get some beautiful fabric and I get some room on the shelf. 

Are you in?  Leave me a comment on this post telling me what color(s) you like and I'll draw a winner for the first prize - two stash builder rolls (sorry, I can only mail these to the US.  If you are an international reader and would be agreeable to paying the postage, though that would be great!)   I'll draw the winner on Wednesday and mail it out on Thursday, so you could use these for your Mini Madness quilt if you like!  Batiks are great for mini quilts because they do not fray very much.

Did you see all the great projects for last weeks Ultimate Home Decor Blog Hop?  Go visit the Island Batik Blog Post and you can see all the great home decor ideas!  You might want to visit the various Ambassadors blogs as well because there are lots of giveaways you can enter on their blogs, too.  And make sure you get all the way to the end of the post to enter to win this gorgeous bundle of Wonderland fabrics designed by Kathy Engle!

Hope your weekend is good and that you get some time to stitch!