Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Little Blocks 365 Wall Hanging


I have a finished flimsy.  It's the wall hanging I've been making from the Little Blocks 365 sew along.  In this sew along, the organizer releases seven blocks each week; keep up and you will have 365 blocks at the end of the year.  But as my chosen setting requires only 56 blocks, I've been selectively sewing from the blocks released so far and have enough for my finish.  

I started with a charm pack of solid colors from Michael Miller, quickly saw it would not be enough fabric, and added a fat quarter bundle.  



A few weeks ago, I was here:


And now I have this finished top.  


It was hard to get a good picture as no one was available to hold it up so it is stuck to my design boards but they are not quite big enough for this 42 inch square top.  (Ignore those gray-ish smudges, it is just water from when I steam pressed the top right before taking the photos and they've since disappeared.)

The block layout is from Zen Chic; you can see her original quilt here.  Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic participated in the Moda Blockheads 3 sew along and this is the setting she used for her finished blocks.  However, her blocks were 6 inches and made a quilt 81 inches square.  My blocks are 3 inches and the top is 42 inches square.  

I'm very happy with my top, I just need to get it quilted.  Given that the sew along has more than six months to go, with more than 180 blocks yet to be released, I am thinking of making more for a second wall hanging.  I just need another creative setting suitable for these eclectic blocks.  I am thinking of using this selection of solid color fabrics that Kona put together in a color combination they call "Dublin."



But I need a rectangular setting that will work in my kitchen space, ideal for quilts that are 35-40 inches wide and 50-60 inches long.  Any suggestions?

I think these tiny 3 inch blocks are perfect for solids and blenders because you don't lose any of the fabric design when you cut them into tiny pieces (many of the pieces in these blocks are smaller than my finger nails).  I found another fat quarter set in my stash, this collection is called "Speckled."



If you are interested in doing something similar, the Fat Quarter Shop has a broad selection of fat quarter bundles of solids.  They have bundles that match the colors in fabric lines by various designers, like this "Me & My Sister" bundle, as well as other themes like "pinks" and "birds of paradise" (I particularly like this one).  In case you are interested, I used 11 fat quarters in my top (though did not completely use up any of them), as well as a few pieces from the charm pack for contrast.  And the blocks that include white use Kona white (which I also used for the border) and some scraps of a small text print.

There is not enough time to take advantage of the all great fabric available now!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Little Blocks 365 Update

I've been working on my blocks from the Little Blocks 365 quilt along.  These are 3 inch blocks constructed using the foundation paper piecing method.  The organizer, Sentimental Stitches,  releases seven new blocks every Friday and after a year, you will have 365 blocks.  I'm enjoying this project, though foundation paper piecing is not my favorite method so I have pieced some the simpler blocks using traditional piecing.  

This is where I was at my last update:




This is where I am today:


Sorry for that glare; the sun was shining in the window behind my "design boards."  To keep organized, I'm working on my blocks in rainbow color order, currently tackling yellow and green.  I only need 56 blocks for my setting so I don't make every block released, just those that especially appeal to me.  And I've subbed in a few favorite blocks from other sources, like the heart.  

I need seven more blocks to complete my planned setting, though I will probably make more so I can be picky and just include the best ones in the final quilt.  I'm getting a lot of enjoyment out of this quilt along and may join another next year.  


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Monday, May 17, 2021

Do You Follow My Blog By Email?


Do you follow by email?  The Blogger platform I use advised that the Feedburner subscription service will be discontinued in July, 2021.  To continue following along with my musings on quilt making, you can access my blog directly; the URL is quiltingonmainstreet.blogspot.com.  Or, the way I access the blogs I follow is via Bloglovin'.  You set up an account (free) at bloglovin.com, then list all the blogs you want to follow.  Whenever you access the site, the new posts from the blogs you follow will populate automatically and it is so easy.

If any of you have another easy way to access your favorite blogs, please tell us all in the comments below.

I hope you will continue to join me!

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

A Finished Quilt - Snowflake Pattern by Modern Handcraft


Pieced, quilted, and bound...it's Snow Day!


I pieced this quilt at the beginning of the year (you can read more about that here) then had it quilted at Olde City Quilts in Burlington, NJ, a shop that is local-ish to me.  I chose the design from among the many they offer (it's a pantograph).  The thread is Wedgewood blue and shows up against the dark blue background and the white snowflake without having excessive contrast.  I'm very happy with it.  






The design is off-season for now but come January, this quilt will be showcased in the quilt hanging spot in my kitchen.  The design is by Modern Handcraft, a pattern called SnowflakeThe original design creates a quilt that is 60" by 72" but I wanted a smaller quilt for my kitchen spot which is best for a quilt that is 35-40" wide.  No problem; the pattern is essentially a mosaic and I just reduced the size of the basic square unit to be two-thirds of the original size.  So my quilt is 40" by 48" with all the detail of original, just reduced in size.

It is an extremely well-written pattern, very easy to follow.  In fact, I think a beginner could do it though accuracy is key to get the graphic look of the snowflake as angles must come together perfectly.  

Now, back to my quilt alongs!

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Friday, May 7, 2021

Trip Around the World - A Finished Quilt


Pieced, quilted, and bound... I finished the Trip Around the World quilt that I pieced last summer.  The weather has been so good lately so I took this photo outside in our back yard.




It is a generous throw size, 64" by 72" and I bound it using the same fabric that is in the outer most "ring" of squares, the teal green tone-on-tone fabric.  You can read more about how I pieced this quilt in my earlier post on it, here.

This is the last quilt that Karen Thompson quilted for me, before she retired from longarm quilting for clients.  She quilted it with a curvy swirl panto design.  



I like swirling designs like this one for their softening effect on the angular patches.




I made the quilt top last summer when I was in use-the-stash mode so almost all of the fabric came from my stash, even the backing.  I did a fabric pull to coordinate with the colors in our family room, using the floral throw pillow as the key inspiration (the curtains in the room are made of the same floral fabric).  I wanted this particular quilt to be used in our family room and to complement the decor there but even when I'm not trying to coordinate with a room's decorating scheme, I find this method of selecting fabrics for a quilt to be quite effective.  




If you have a fabric you like, select your quilting fabrics based on the colors/shades in the inspiration fabric, in the ratios they are used in the print, and you pretty much can't go wrong.  You don't even have to use the inspiration fabric in the quilt itself, but just as a guide to selecting the fabrics you will use.  




Mr. Main Street is trying to hold the quilt up to get a picture.  The corgis saw the camera and thought they were supposed to be the models; you can see the paws of one of them (along with the mister's sock feet) under the bottom edge.  



Well, I have even more binding to do.


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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

APQ Quilt Along Update


I have all 30 blocks for Square Dance, this year's American Patchwork & Quilting quilt along Project, finished and sewn together with the sashing, posts, and inner border.


I tried several different arrangements for the blocks and liked this rainbow-ish layout best.  But it did cause me to rethink my choice of border fabric.  I made the blocks from 30 pieces taken from the bundle of fat eighth cuts shown on the right in the photo below (all from assorted Laundry Basket Quilts lines for Andover Fabrics).  The large floral print on the left was supposed to be the border.



I love that print but I don't love it with the assortment of blocks; the blocks need a border fabric that is less busy, that will provide a frame but not overpower the blocks, while the border fabric would be ideal with a simpler assortment of blocks that will not fight for attention with the big floral print.  So... on to Plan B.  I ordered a simple tone-on-tone print in dark navy for the border to audition with the blocks.  While I wait for it to arrive, I will work on some other things.  I have several quilts to bind, plus my handwork "portable" projects.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Quilt Along Progress Update


I have not blogged in while but I have been sewing and made some progress on the two quiltalongs I'm participating in.  Here is a progress shot of my #LittleBlocks365 project.  I'm now working on it in "color order" to ensure I have a good distribution of color in my finished blocks.


I've finished about half of the 56 blocks I need for the setting I plan to use.  Because I won't be using all 365 blocks, I've become picky about which ones I make.  I've discovered that foundation paper piecing is not my favorite technique.  I like it for blocks that require just one foundation, like log cabin, pineapple, and square in a square/economy block.   But when the block uses several foundations that then have to be joined together, and the block is only 3" square, well, that can be an exercise in frustration.  There has been much use of the seam ripper and re-sewing to get the pieces joined correctly and seams lined up properly.  

I've found some of the blocks easier to make if I piece them traditionally.  I stumbled across another quiltalong, called Sewcialites.  The directions include multiple sizes for each block, including 3" finished, and I've incorporated a few of them into this project.  The blocks are a free download at Fat Quarter Shop; if you are interested, you can find them here.

I've moved this project to the back burner while I await the release of more blocks.  Once I have more, I'll resume with yellow blocks.

In the meantime, I'm working on #APQQuiltAlong2021.



This is my first block, a test block, and it came our perfectly.  I'm now working on them in batches of four or five at a time.  The quilt is called Square Dance and the directions are in the April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, plus you can buy the individual pattern as a download from the All People Quilt website.



The pattern calls for two honeybuns and a charm pack (plus background, border, and binding) but I did the math and figured out I could get a block from a fat eighth.  Good thing as the fabric I wanted to use did not come in honeybuns or charm packs!  I'm using this specialty bundle I bought from Laundry Basket Quilts, making one block from each of 30 fabrics.  


Based on my experience, you can get one block from a fat eighth, with a little fabric left over (helpful if you flub the sub-cutting, ask me how I know!).  You can get three blocks from a fat quarter, possibly even four blocks with careful cutting.  

My next step is to figure out what to use for the corner stones with the sashing.  I want a fabric that stands out from the background but is unobtrusive compared to the blocks.  Time to ransack my fabric stash!

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Little Blocks 365 Update


My additional fabric arrived so I've been working on some Little Blocks.  



It is pretty easy to make two or three blocks in the late afternoon before dinner and I feel really satisfied as I finish each one so there is a lot of positive reinforcement in this project.  It is not without its frustrations though!



I have occasionally lost track of which piece goes where on a block or reversed colors.  And most of the blocks are foundation pieced on several foundations that are joined together at the end.  Getting the seams to match up without nipping of points, etc. has been tricky, even impossible for me, on a few blocks.

My plan is to make a wall hanging size quilt to put up in my sewing room so I'm not using the setting from Sentimental Stitches.  I've picked out another setting, tentatively, and I have a Pinterest board of sampler block quilt settings; you can find it here if you are interested.


In my planned setting, the blocks will be arranged "in rainbow color order."  I had been making the blocks randomly, just whatever color took my fancy at the moment, but decided I better be more methodical about it so I have the color distribution I need when I am finished.  So my last set of blocks focused on purple and I am currently working on red and orange.  



I put all the purple through orange blocks I've made so far up on a design board so see how the color flow is working so far.  This is not the final arrangement but I can see that I will need to re-make a few as I get closer to finishing.  That orange block with the pink cross does not have enough contrast to work for me, I think I'll replace it.  

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Monday, March 1, 2021

#APQQuiltAlong


I've never done a quilt-along before and now I'm in two of them, simultaneously!  Must blame it on Covid-19.

I'm joining American Patchwork & Quilting magazine's latest quilt-along, making a quilt designed by Sherri McConnell called Square Dance.  I first saw it on Sherri's blog, A Quilting Life, and knew I would like to make the quilt.  Then my magazine arrived (I subscribe) so I could figure out what fabric to used based on the fabric requirements.  It looks like fairly easy construction.  Though a lot of pieces for a 9" block, it uses some strip piecing techniques.  In fact, the recommendation is to use two honey buns and a charm pack, which will eliminate a lot of the tedious cutting.


This is the issue of the magazine with the directions.  You can also order the pattern directly from APQ.  More info here.



I had been eyeing some fabric at Laundry Basket Quilts and decided to go that route for my quilt.  Since this fabric line does not come in honey buns, I did the math and figured I could cut the blocks from fat eighths.  The floral on the left is the "inspiration" and will probably be the borders.  I'm using Kona in Cream for the background.  Kona Snow is my default background but I wanted something a bit darker/richer to better complement the fat eighth bundle fabrics.  Cream is significantly darker, with a slight golden tint to it, compared to Snow.


Time to starch!


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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Little Blocks 365 and Portable Design Wall


I joined the Little Blocks 365 quilt along hosted by Sentimental Stitches.  Every week, the host emails participants directions for making seven blocks using foundation paper piecing.  I saw the blocks Nicole had made and decided I had to join.  

So far, so good.  I'm using this little rope basket from Target to hold my finished blocks.


The fabric I'm using is all solids, in a rainbow of colors.  I had this charm pack of Century Solids in my stash (that makes this another stash quilt, right?).  It's an extra large charm pack, about 85 squares, each a different color.  I'm planning on making a wall hanging size quilt using a different setting than that suggested by Sentimental Stitches and for what I plan, I need 56 blocks instead of 365.  I had the idea I could make all the blocks out of this one charm pack plus some background fabrics but quickly learned otherwise!  So much fabric is consumed in the seams when you are working this tiny.  So I have a fat quarter pack ordered and on its way to augment the charm pack.  Actually, it is the other way around, the charm pack will augment the fat quarters.  



This project is christening my new design boards.  I made two of them to use in my sewing room; each is 24 by 36 inches.



I visited our local Hobby Lobby when they were having a going-out-of-business sale (just that store, the chain is still around) and got the idea when I saw these big artist canvases.  My original plan was to "upholster" them with flannel to make portable design walls.  However, our staple gun, about 30 years old and last used about 15 years ago, was not working.  Rather than get another staple gun just for this project, I moved on to Plan B, "slipcovers."


Basically, I made a pillow case that slides over each canvas.  The flannel side is a product from Kaffe Fassett, gray flannel marked in a 2" grid.  I used an unidentified white solid from my stash for the reverse side.  The canvases are 24" by 36" and less than an inch deep so I cut the fabric 26.5" by 38" and sewed around three sides then made a narrow hem at the bottom edge.  They fit tightly but with enough room to slide them on and off easily.  This slipcover method has the added benefit of being washable if necessary.

I got the flannel from my local quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works.  They are doing a big online business now and can send it to you if you can't find it locally.  



I have my first seven blocks up on the board and they stick pretty well, better with the paper removed from the back of the blocks.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Modern Handcraft Snowflake Quilt - Snow Day


We've had an unusual amount of snow in NJ over the past two weeks, keeping me indoors and working on this snowflake quilt.  


It is from a pattern by Modern Handcraft; she recently held a sew along but I wasn't ready at that time.  It is a very well written pattern with lots of illustrations and a few photographs, in an 18-page booklet.  Very thorough and easy to follow, I 10/10 recommend!

For the background, I used various blue fabrics leftover from the quilts I made in blue and gold when my daughter was in high school.  I wanted a wall hanging that would fit in my kitchen so I reduced the size of the quilt from 60" by 72" to 40" by 48" by reducing the size of squares of fabric that make up each block.



The first step is to cut out the fabric then make the HST's that give the snowflake image it's shape.



Instead of using solid white fabric for the snowflake, I used Michael Miller Fairy Frost in the snow white color.  It is hard to see but it is printed with a little bit of gold that gives the fabric a pearly shine.  



The top went together fast and I'm happy with the way it came out.  I think it will look even better after it is quilted.  



Funny story:  I asked Mr. Main Street to help me by holding the quilt while I took photos.  After we were done, he asked me, "What is this design supposed to be?  A Viking rune?"  In his defense, he likes designs that are centered and have symmetry but it is a good thing I have you blog readers for positive feedback!

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