Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pretty Dresses - #7 and #8

I worked on my hand applique project over the long weekend.  Blocks 7 and 8 (of 9) are now finished. 

You can see the blocks I made earlier here, here, here, and here.  Just one more dress to go then they go together with sashing and a border.  Then the quilting - I'll do this one by hand.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Layer Cake Friendly Quilt Patterns

I have a few layer cakes in my stash and have been pondering what to make with one or more of them.  I took some time this weekend to look through my patterns and quilting books for ideas.  I'm sure I'm not alone so though I'd share my finds with you.

First up are some patterns from Fig Tree:  Boardwalk, Butterscotch Tart, and Rosettes.  I'm planning to use Boardwalk with a layer cake from one of the Fig Tree lines.  That project is in my Fig Tree Harvest "queue."

Frosted Squares and Ruffles are patterns from The Pattern Basket.  From the photo on the cover, I thought Ruffles was made with a jelly roll but no, it is a layer cake

Schnibbles quilt patterns use charm square packs but in the two books based on the designs, directions are given for larger quilts based on layer cakes.  The problem is that you usually need two of the same layer cake for these designs and that's not what I have in my stash.  But a 10" layer cake square is the equivalent of four 5" charm squares so I could make the charm version and keep going with more blocks to make a bigger quilt. Might be an idea!

A Baker's Dozen is an anthology of different quilt designs, all based on precuts.  The cover quilt uses a jelly roll and a layer cake.

My quilt Hello Sunshine is from the pattern Changes, originally designed to be made from a layer cake.  I used fat quarters when I made Hello Sunshine but I like this design so much I am considering using it again with one of my layer cakes.

And my quilt Christmas Ribbons, was made usinga pattern called Ruby's Ribbon Box, which was originally designed for a layer cake though I used scaps.   


Fat Quarter Shop has a whole category devoted to patterns that use layer cakes.  You can find it here.   So many options and I'm no closer to making a decision!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Finished Flimsy

It's a finished flimsy, finally, and ready to go to the longarm quilter as soon as I piece the backing.  Maybe this weekend.

I intended to finish this one even sooner but we are in the midst of end of school year busy-ness here on Main Street.  I just got Miss Main Street off to her school's prom.  Wow, does she look gorgeous, and so grown up.  And so excited.  I can't imagine what it will be like next year when she is a senior. 

Anyway, back to the all came together quite easily, though a few intersections of blocks are less than perfect matches.  I like the border fabric a lot.  I started with wider borders (10") but trimmed them down to 8" when I decided the wider size was overpowering the blocks. One of my personal guidelines is, when in doubt about size, make the border width match the block size.  It seems to work well.  

Now I need a name for this one.  Any suggestions?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring Quilt Festival - Hello Sunshine

My entry this spring is my most spring-like quilt, Hello Sunshine.  I finished this quilt in February, when I was tired of cold weather and was eagerly anticipating some warmth and sunshine. 

In starting this quilt, I chose the border fabric first, then selected coordinating colors and fabrics for the blocks.  The background is Kona Snow and all of the print fabrics are various Fig Tree prints.  At the beginning of the year, I decided it was time to use my lavish stash of fabrics from the varous lines by Fig Tree Desings for Moda and this was my first project in my Fig Tree Harvest.  I have since made a Dresden Plate quilt top but it is not quilted yet.  The two quilts have hardly put a dent in my Fig Tree stash so I have lots more to do!

I used a pattern called Changes, from Cotton Charm Quilts.  The finished quilt is 78 inches square.

You can see lots more quilts in Amy's Bloggers' Quilt Festival. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Magic Eight Square On The Design Wall

I finished all my magic eight square blocks and have them on the design wall.

The border fabric is the dark purple floral print.  (The outer edge of the four blocks running diagonally in the lower left corner - may look black or dark brown on your screen - is actually a dark purple/eggplant color.)   Sewing the blocks together will be my work night activity this week. 

Most of the fabric in the blocks came from a layer cake of Recently Arrived From London by Barbara Brackman for Moda.  I supplemented it with some leftover layer cake squares from Collections for  a Cause Legacy and some red in my stash.  (In case you missed it, my previous post included a tutorial for the blocks.)  I think it is best made using a layer cake from a collection with a limited color palette - think Rouenneries, Blueberry Crumb Cake, Friendship Collections for a Cause, or the upcoming Independence Trail from Minick and Simpson or Phenomenal Fall from Sandy Gervais. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Magic Eight Square - A Tutorial for Layer Cakes

Yesterday, I told you about my adventure with a "kit" and how, with imagination and experimentation, I figured out how to make the block I had seen in the store's display quilt.  I call this block Magic Eight Square, though for all I know it has another name. 

I am using layer cake squares to make this block, though you could cut the 10" squares yourself from fat quarters or yardage.  The first step is to divide your layer cake squares into pairs of a light and dark color (or two contrasting colors such as blue and gold, or red and green - here, I am using light and dark).  Using a rotary cutter and long ruler, cut each pair of squares diagonally twice, as shown. 

Separate the four quarters, and keeping the two pieces together,  cut across each triangle pair with a ruler and rotary cutter, 2.5 inches from the longest side.

Now, switch the pieces and sew the light colored small triangle to the dark colored trapezoid and the dark triangle to the light trapezoid.  To sew, line up the pieces, right sides together, so the points of the bottom edge of the triangle like up with outer edge of the top of the trapezoid.  Press the seams (I pressed mine open).  It will not look exactly right as the trapezoid extends beyond the edges of the triangle - see the photo.

The next step is to take care of that wonkiness by trimming.  I used a 9.5" square ruler.  (You can use a different size but I found 6.5" was too small.)  Line up a corner of the square ruler with the 90 degree corner of your two-part triangle and trim off the parts of the trapezoid that fall outsdie the edges of the ruler.  You now have perfect right triangle. 

Sew two trimmed right triangles together a shown below, matching seams.  It is important to match the seams where the light and dark colors come together, rather than matching the ends of the pieces.  Handle and sew carefully, as you are dealing with a bias edge.  Press the seams carefully so you don't stretch your fabric.

Sew two of these units together, so all of one color comes together in the center (light in this case) and the other color forms the outer edge (dark here).  It looks more complicated than it is!  The last step is to trim the dog ears at the corners. 

Here is an alternative setting for the blocks. 

I'll show you the progress I've made on this quilt next week. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adventures With A Layer Cake

A few weeks ago, while out for brunch and a mini shop hop, I bought a kit for a quilt I saw on display.  The kit was labeled as containing all the fabric for the top and binding plus a pattern.  However, instead of a pattern, I found a brief typed descrption of how to cut and sew an hourglass block.  And the quilt I saw on display was not an hourglass block.  Yes, frustrating! 

The fabric in the kit was a layer cake of Lately Arrived From London by Barbara Brackman for Moda, a 19th century reproduction collection, along with some yardage for border and binding. 

I decided I better tackle this project sooner rather than later, while the image of the finished quilt I saw on display was fresh in my mind.  So after finishing Summertime/the Dresden plate quilt, I put Fig Tree Harvest aside and got to work on my "kit." 

I managed to recreate the block I saw using the layer cake squares. This is a finished block. I'm calling it Magic Eight Square, because it has eight pieces and it took a little magic to get it figured out.  But I did it and the quilt top is coming together rather well, at least so far (I am nowhere near finished).  After working on it, I've come to think that this block could be easily made from a jelly roll, but a layer cake works.  Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on how I did it.  It doesn't require anything difficult like mitres, y-seams, or those other, avoid-at-all-costs construction techniques!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Big Finish

I finished my Dresden plate quilt on Saturday.  I call it a big finish because, at 82 inches square, both of my associates (Mr. and Miss Main Street) had to stand on chairs to hold it up for the photo. 

Here is the border in close-up.  The Dresden plate blocks are 13" square and the nine-patch blocks are 3" finished.  The border is two 3" strips of background fabric with a 1" pieced strip in between.  The pieced strip alternates squares of background fabric with the fabrics used in the Dresden plates.  I didn't have much trouble fitting it all together, fortunately.

I think I am going to call this quilt Summertime.  I have a small collection of chintz patterned china and Summertime, by Royal Winton, is one of favorite patterns.  The colors in this quilt remind me of the china. 

You can find quite a lot of this china on eBay. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

An Eventful Weekend

Remember this quilt?  I made it earlier this year and donated it to the Parents' Association at my daughter's school for their annual auction.

The event was Saturday night.  The cocktails and dinner event had a Derby theme, with both live and silent auctions.  I could have bid on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade grandstand seats, use of vacation homes at the Jersey shore, Miami, Hilton Head, or Deer Valley, Utah, even a trip to the Emmy Awards show in LA.  A reserved parking place near the main academic building went for $5,500 (!). 

The slient auction included items at lower price points.  My  quilt was there. 

I think it went for $350; at least, that was the high bid shortly before the bidding closed.  I already have an idea for the next one.

I got some quilting done over the weekend too.  Come back tomorrow to see my big finish. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Modern Quilts Illustrated - New Publication

I am a regular reader of Craft Nectar, the blog written by Weeks Ringle.  I recently responded to a request for bloggers to review Modern Quilts Illustrated, the new publication she is producing with her husband, Bill Kerr.  Together, they run Modern Quilt Studio (formerly called Fun Quilts) and have been on the leading edge of the modern quilt movement. 

My review copy arrived earlier this week. 

Wow!  This is a high quality publication, full of ideas shown off by great photography on heavy paper stock.  Not really a magazine (there isn't any advertising) but more than a pattern booklet (there is editorial content in addition to the patterns), Modern Quilts Illustrated does its own thing, much like its founders. 

Issue #1 has three patterns (there will be three patterns in every issue).  Each pattern has a photgraph of the finished quilt (quilted, bound, and in use), along with graphic images showing alternative colorways.  This is a great concept that illstrates how different color combinations can result in a completely different look. I think it will encourage quilters to think of their own alternatives, though if a reader wants to recreate the original quilt as shown, detailed fabric information is given.  And there are kits available on the website.  Still Life with Pears (the cover quilt) is going on my list!

There is quilt-related editorial in addition to the patterns.  The Cutting Table is a two-page spread of tips and inspiration, including directions for making a design wall in this issue.  Another regular feature, Palette Chasing, covers color combinations inspired by the world around us.  The final article is on the use of fleece and plush (like Minkee) as quilt backing fabric. 

Modern Quilts Illustrated has plenty to appeal to this tradtional quilter.  If, like me, you are increasingly drawn to a more contemporary look, I think you will find this publication helpful.  If you have already embraced the modern quilt movement, you are sure to love it!  Subscription information can be found on the website here.  I've signed up and am looking forward to Issue #2.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Making A List, Checking It Twice

Last evening, I took some time off from the Dresden project to plan out my next few quilts.   I have a new Christmas quilt in mind.  I started by shopping my stash.

That holly stripe in the upper left corner is my inspiration fabric for this project and will form the border.  It is from an April Cornell line for Moda from a couple of years ago.  The only thing I need to buy is something in red for setting triangles and binding, though I will need fabric for the back too. 

I've got a list of things I need for the next couple of projects and will be making a trip to the LQS shortly.