Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Favorite Quilt Block

Hi!  For those of you that are new to my blog, I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Pamela and I am a quilter.  And yes, if there was a 12 step program for quilters my family would have to take me to re-hab because I am definitely addicted!  I have been quilting for over 26 years now, thanks to a dear friend who pulled me out of my former hobbies of cross-stitch and garment sewing.  I started out making traditional quilts in calicos using templates and finishing them by hand stitching and over the years have moved on to loving my rotary cutter and many rulers, pre-cuts, and the amazing fun of free-motion quilting on my Juki TL98-E. 

I'm really excited to be a part of the My Favorite Block Quilt Along - go check out Persimmon Dreams if you haven't been there yet to see my interview, then catch up on last weeks blocks - we've only just started so you can get your blocks done and be all caught up in a jiff! I really loved Katy's block earlier this week - a fun scrappy Churn Dash.  Her blog is here - monkey do.  Be sure you add your blocks to the Flickr pool, too.

I don't really have a favorite quilt block - I really love them all, so today for you I have what I think is an original block using my favorite method of piecing - strip piecing!  And it so happens that you can make both the 12 inch block and the 6 inch block using pre-cuts (bonus!)  For the larger block, jelly roll strips (2 1/2) inch and for the smaller, honey bun strips (1 1/2 inch).  I will start with the instructions for the 12 (12 1/2 unfinished block)



For the 12 1/2 inch unfinished block you will need three strips of fabric 2 1/2 inches wide - one dark, one medium, and one light.

Cut your strips in half and match them up in pairs:  dark/medium, dark/light/, and medium light
Sew each pair together on the long side and press seams toward the darker side
Working with one strip set at a time, cut each one in half and layer right sides together so that the colors are on opposite sides -
Cut through both layers into 4 - 2 1/2 strips.  Repeat with the other two strip sets, and sew each pair together to make a total of 12 4-patch blocks.
Set aside one of your Dark/medium patches and line the remaining three up diagonally so that the dark patches form a diagonal line:
Use your four Medium/light blocks - two on each side to make diagonal lines of medium blocks beside your darks:
Then add two of your dark/light blocks, echoing the line of dark squares:
Flip the center colum of squares to the left and sew them together (keep them chained together to keep them in order -
Then sew the right side column of squares to the center (just keep them chained to make it easy to finish!)
Sew the top row to the center...
And the bottom row to finish!
Give it a press and admire your pretty finished block!
To make the 6 1/2 inch unfinished blocks, just start with 1 1/2 strips.  You'll need about 30 inch long strips to make your blocks.  Sew them the same way, but cut your strips to 1 1/2 inches.
The little four-patches don't behave as nicely as the larger ones do, they want to flip up!
They will submit however and become an adorable mini block!  (I think the lights in the corners look like hearts - might be cute in pinks!)
Here they are together -  love the results!
Note that you will have a few extra sewn 4-patches after sewing your blocks - you can save those for another project - at least that's what I like to do!
Click here to download a printable (1 page) instruction sheet - just click slow download, it doesn't take long at all!  I only added a few pictures to make it easier to download and print. I also included a QR code that will take you to my Craftsy Pattern shop where you can see some of the other patterns I've published (there's a link on my sidebar also if you'd like to check that out!) 
Thanks for joining us on the Quilt Along - can't wait to see the blocks you make using my pattern!  Feel free to like my facebook page and post a picture there, if you like.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Adding a Hanging Sleeve Under Your Quilt Binding

One of my favorite ways of adding a hanging sleeve to a quilt is to sew the top of it under the binding, making it a permanent part of the quilt. For this wall hanging I am using a 5 inch strip for the sleeve. For a larger quilt, or a competition quilt I would make it 8 1/2 inches.

I narrow hem the ends, then press the sleeve almost in half, leaving about 1/2 inch extra to build some slack into the sleeve so the quilt will hang better on the rod.

I then fold the sleeve raw edges together and baste to the back of the quilt with the short side facing the quilt. I will hand stitch the fold to the back of the quilt after binding.

I then stitch the binding on in the usual way - for me, that's machine stitched to the back, then top-stitched on the front.  This also works if you are machine stitching to the front, just be careful not to catch a fold of the sleeve in the process of machine stitching.  This is a nice, quick way to add a sleeve since you don't have to hand stitch it on both sides!
And here is the quilt that was being finished up!  This was supposed to be my entry for the second Project Quilting challenge this year.  I didn't get it done in time, but I did finally finish today - isn't it pretty?  Available in my Etsy Shop

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

WIP Wednesday 1-9-13

What I've been working on...

Samples for Beginner Sewers Class.

Project Quilting Blocks!
A fabric using strips from a Moda Scrap Bag.

Size 6 pajamas for a little girl.
(OOPS - I meant to post this last week!)

First Spool of 2013

My first empty spool of 2013! So glad I got another while I was out yesterday, I still have about 1/4 of my quilt left to stitch! Coats & Clark trilobal poly in soft pink. Quilts great!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

A New Speed of Life

The first week of 2013 has sped by already - and it's been a pretty good one.  We celebrated the New Year in our usual low-key way, drove our youngest back to college, and have been adjusting to the new lifestyle of retired people.  That means that we don't have the alarm clock dictating our hours anymore!  Kind of nice, for a change.

I had hoped to get a few more things crossed off my list (actually I had hoped to make a list...) but I guess I just need to relax and learn to work at a new pace.  No more skipping lunch because I am so lost in my projects! 

I do have some specific projects I want to work on this week, so have those in order and ready to go.  I have 4 quillts to finish for listing in my Etsy shop, and two for myself.  Also some piecing and designing goals.  I think it will be fun :)

Oh, and just maybe - if luck is on my side - I'll be going to my first out of town quilt show!  Cross your fingers for me, I'd really love to get the chance, and if I do I will tell you all about it (with pictures!)

Me and my guy - not the best pic, but a cute one! 

Friday, January 04, 2013

Free Motion Friday Week One

While reading blogs today I was inspired to get down to work on this quilt that has been in my pile for several years now.  It is a Christmas Round Robin I did with some of the ladies in my quilt guild.  I made it to put on my futon in the front room, where I decorate with blue and silver.  A couple of years ago I actually basted it and quilted some feathers in the center block (which is a feathered star)  Then I started quilting the outside border with some swirls, and from there it went into a pile for "later".

I decided it was time to finish it up this year, even if it is past Christmas and I can use it next year.  I finished the outside border - the blue print with trees and houses you see in the pictures.  The next border I wanted to work on was this one, white with blue squares and stars in the corners.  I had a lot of fun looking for inspiration for something icy or snowy. 


I decided on this fun design, kind of a McTavishing variation with swirls.  I knew it would be a little tricky working around the small squares, but I thought this would be easier than something more angular and crystal looking.

My quilting isn't perfect on this - it's a quilt for me and I really wanted it to be finished more than I wanted it to be done precisely.  There are some wobbly spots and my back-tracking isn't too great, but I did have fun working on it!  
The one thing that really made me unhappy was that i got a couple of grease spots on it.  I oiled my free motion foot because it was sticking a bit, but I guess I didn't wipe it off as well as I should have and ended up with some spots.  I will just have to pre-treat those when I wash it so they will come out.  Next I think I'll work on the border that has dark blue squares on point.  I have a plan for that, too, just need to remember where I saw it!  I'm excited to get this quilt finished so I can enjoy it!
Thanks to Leah Day for linking us all up on her blog - The Free Motion Quilting Project

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

WIP Wednesday 1-3-13

That week between Christmas and New Years seems to be a lost week most of the time.  We usually spend it playing games, eating left-overs, and watching movies!  Fun, but not productive.  It's a nice way to finish off the year and makes me eager to get back to sewing after the first of the year.

I've been working on some fun pouches to keep my kindle safe.  And I've decided to add some to my Etsy shop.  These are fun to make - just like the small wallet/coin purses I've made, but bigger.  This one is a Laurel Burch fabric that I had stashed.  The lining is a pretty blue - my last bit of this yardage, so I struggled a bit with using it up, but ended up deciding it was the perfect color to go with the print.  My goal is to get more done this week - it will be fun to use up some of those neat fabrics in my stash!

Want to see what everyone is linking up to show off?  Just click on the link below!
Quiltsy WiP