April One Monthly Goal

This month, I am so excited to be going to Paducah for the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week.  My Mom and I have gone at least six times before, but this is the first time that we both have quilts exhibited, and it will be my first time attending the awards ceremony and preview night.  Since this is coming up in less than two weeks (how did that happen?), I am selecting a project I have to have finished prior to leaving!

The Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild has our presentation of our color challenge quilts this month.  Each person drew two crayons from a bag and we had to make a quilted item using just those colors, tones/shades of that color, and one neutral.  I drew Carnation Pink and Cornflower Blue.Pattern Drafting

So far I have Drafted the pattern in AutoCad, dyed the fabrics in a gradient, and done the English Paper Piecing.  In the next week I  will need to add the borders then quilt and bind it.  Its a good thing its small!EPP on Challenge Quilt

 

 

Sand Dollar Star: Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop

Today I am thrilled to share with you my creation for the Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop.  The Ocean Sunrise palette of fabric inspired me to create a block loosely based on the five pointed design found on sand dollars along the shoreline.

Sand Dollar Star

Sand Dollar Star

There are more than 35 new, free block patterns being shared during this three day blog hop, so I hope you take some time to visit all of the blog owners who have dedicated so much time and skill to create blocks for you to enjoy.  Todays bloggers are:

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Andrea @The Sewing Fools
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Tish @Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
Abby @Hashtag Quilt
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Carrie @The Zen Quilter
Wanda @Wanda’s Life Sampler
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal

 

2016 Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop
The Sand Dollar Star Quilt Block is an excellent skill builder block that is created using foundation paper piecing (FPP), curved piecing, and is finished with a fabric yo-yo.  Foundation paper piecing gives you lovely, precise points, resulting in a block with a clean, professional appearance.  Once this step is completed, you will set the inner circle you created into the outer section of the block using a traditional curved piecing process.  To complete the block, you will create a fabric yo-yo that is hand appliquéd onto the center of the block.

The complete directions and full scale templates for Sand Dollar Star are available for download at Craftsy.  This post focuses on a photographic tutorial of constructing the block, while the PDF directions contain more than 20 diagrams and thorough instructions explaining the construction of the block.

This Block is constructed in three sections:

  1. The outer surround
  2. The foundation paper pieced circular star center
  3. The yo-yo that finishes the center of the block

The Surround

I like to start with the outer surround that is constructed from four pieces cut from the provided template.

Stitching the short seams to create the surround using a 1/4" seam allowance

Stitching the short seams to create the surround using a 1/4″ seam allowance

Four short seams create an open circle that you will set the center star into.  I like to press the seam allowances open to reduce bulk for this part of the block.

The back of the surround with the seam allowances pressed open

The back of the surround with the seam allowances pressed open

The Inner Star

There are five foundation paper piecing (FPP) segments which come together to create the circular inner star. Each segment starts with placing pink fabric, right side up, over area 1 on the unprinted side of the FPP template.  I like to hold my template and fabric up to a light source to check my fabric placement.  Place the dark blue fabric for area two over the pink fabric with the main body of the fabric over area one and the “seam allowance” over area two.  Flip the entire unit over and use a small machine stitch to sew along the line between areas one and two.

Stitching along the line on the paper piecing template

Stitching along the line on the paper piecing template

View of the back of the FPP template after the first seam has been stitched

View of the back of the FPP template after the first seam has been stitched

Fold the paper back to use a rotary cutter to trim away the excess fabric, leaving approximately 1/4″ seam allowance.

Fold back the FPP template to access the area of fabric that needs to be trimmed

Fold back the FPP template to access the area of fabric that needs to be trimmed

Trimming the seam allowance

Trimming the seam allowance

Press the fabric into place before moving on.

Pressing the seam

Pressing the seam

Repeat the FPP process for areas 3 through 7.

Placement of the fabric for section three

Placement of the fabric for section three

Pressing Section 3 into place

Pressing Section 3 into place

Since sections four and five do not overlap, I like to sew them at one time, then trim and press them.  This saves a little travel time 😉

Placement of fabric for section 4

Placement of fabric for section 4

Placement of fabric for section 5

Placement of fabric for section 5

Pressing sections four and five

Pressing sections four and five

Placement of fabric for section six

Placement of fabric for section six

Fabric six pressed into place

Fabric six pressed into place

Section 7 pressed into place

Section 7 pressed into place

Once the entire segment is stitched into place, make sure it is well pressed before trimming the straight edges with a rotary cutter and ruler.  For this small amount of cutting I don’t worry about using my good cutter on paper- what can I say- I like to live dangerously!

Final trimming of the straight edges of the FPP segment

Final trimming of the straight edges of the FPP segment

I prefer to cut the curved edges using good quality shears.  The fabric for section 7 is large and a bit floppy, so I think it is helpful to pin slightly in from the cut line, so things don’t shift in an unpleasant manner.

Trimming the curved edge

Trimming the curved edge

Repeat this process four more times to construct all of the pieces for the center of the block.

The five segments that make up the center of the sand dollar block

The five segments that make up the center of the sand dollar block

Stitch the segments together.  I like to stick pins straight through at the points that I want to be sure will match up.  Then I use Wonder Clips to hold the rest of the seam in place.

Pins pushed straight through mark specific corners and Wonder Clips hold the rest in place

Pins pushed straight through mark specific corners and Wonder Clips hold the rest in place

Sew all five sections together.  One of the awesome things about this block is that there is an opening left in the center of the block (don’t worry, we’ll cover it later) which means there are no precise points to match!  Press the seam allowances open and press the entire unit thoroughly.

The back view of the assembled circular star

The back view of the assembled circular star

Front view of the assembled circular star unit

Front view of the assembled circular star unit

Now you need to remove the paper.  If you haven’t done a lot of curves or you are afraid the edge of the circle may stretch, do a machine straight stitch in the seam allowance (about 1/8″ from the edge) along the outer edge of the circle before removing the paper.  This stay stitch will help keep things from stretching and distorting before you have a chance to sew the center into the outer surround.

Its time to create some registration marks to help in sewing this circle.  Fold the inner circle in half, making sure that one of the pink star points falls on the fold line.  Use a disappearing marker to make a small tick mark in the seam allowance on either end of the fold.  Only one tick mark will line up with a point on the star.  I use this for the top of the block.

Folding the circle in half with a pink point on the fold line

Folding the circle in half with a pink point on the fold line

The tick mark lined up with one of the pink points

The tick mark lined up with one of the pink points

Fold the block in half again, this time matching the first tick marks to each other.  Fold to find the halfway points between all of the tick marks on the circle.  You should have a total of eight marks.  On the outer surround the seams act as the first four registration marks.  Fold each segment in half to locate the halfway points.

Folding the outer surround to locate registration marks

Folding the outer surround to locate registration marks

Match the registration marks around the circle and pin in place.

Pinned registration points

Pinned registration points

Add extra pins to hold everything in place while you sew.  Use as many as you need to make the edges line up as you sew.  I like to stitch with the surround on top and the circular star on the bottom.

Additional pins

Additional pins

Check both the front and back of the unit to make sure there aren’t any tucks or puckers in the seam.

Top of the stitched unit

Top of the stitched unit

Back of the stitched unit

Back of the stitched unit

It may look a bit rumpled when you first flip out the surround . . .Sand Dollar Star Image 45

but as long as there are no tucks in the seam, it will press out nice and flat.  I generally press my seam allowance toward the outer surround.Sand Dollar Star Image 46

 

The Central Yo-Yo

The only left to do in making this block is to close up the center of the circle.  A fabric yo-yo does this while adding a bit of texture and dimension.

You will use the provided template to cut the circle and a doubled thread to do the stitching.  Make sure the knot falls on the wrong side of the fabric.  Do a hand running stitch around the edge of the circle turning the raw edge of the fabric back about 1/8″ as you sew.

Turning back the raw edge as you stitch

Turning back the raw edge as you stitch

For best results, your stitches should each be about 1/8″ long.

Stitching around the edge of the yo-yo circle

Stitching around the edge of the yo-yo circle

When you have gone all the way around the circle, draw the thread to gather the edges of the circle into the center point.

Gathering the yo-yo

Gathering the yo-yo

To further secure the yo-yo and help control any unwieldy gathers, I like to stitch through the pleats two or three at a time.

Stitching back through the gathers

Stitching back through the gathers

Knot off and bury the thread before clipping.

Finished yo-yo

Finished yo-yo

Position the finished yo-yo in the center of the block.

Positioning the yo-yo and bringing the needle up through the back of the block

Positioning the yo-yo and bringing the needle up through the back of the block

Take small appliqué stitches around the edge of the yo-yo to secure.  Many small stitches are preferable to fewer large stitches.

Stitching the yo-yo

Stitching the yo-yo

As you stitch, try to have as little thread show as possible.  Visible thread tends to be the weakest part of hand sewing, so keep as much of it as possible behind the fabric of the main block or the yo-yo.

Sand Dollar Star

Sand Dollar Star

Use this block as a primary block design for a quilt, combine with other blocks for a seaside sampler quilt or table runner, or add borders to a single block to create a mini quilt or pillow.

When you head over to Craftsy to download the pattern for this block, I hope you will take a look at my other patterns as well!

Rainbow Rotary in Three Sizes

Rainbow Rotary in Three Sizes

Summer Starburst Block

Summer Starburst Block

Filmstrip Bee Block

Filmstrip Bee Block

This and That: March Edition

There has been so much happening in my quilt-y world lately, but not everything needs its own post, so I’m combining a bunch of cool stuff into a single post!

Quilt Shows

I had a wonderful time at QuiltCon and it was just as exciting to have my quilt returned to me the following week.

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts hanging at QuiltCon

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts hanging at QuiltCon

Next up in quilt shows: I have THREE quilts heading to the American Quilter’s Society Show in Paducah this Spring!  I was stunned and thrilled to receive three positive notifications, and I am eagerly awaiting the show.

Quilts that are heading to AQS Paducah

Quilts that are heading to AQS Paducah

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts will continue its show tour in the Large Wall Quilt: Modern category, and will be joined by both Can You See (m)E Now? in the Small Wall Quilt: Pictorial category and Rainbow Rotary in the Miniature category.  Even more exciting than having my quilts in the show is seeing that these, as well as several other quilts in the modern aesthetic are being accepted into the show in categories stretching well beyond the modern category.  It is fabulous to see wonderful, long established shows, embrace the differences in the quilt world.

The Collection Quilt Class

The Collection Quilt block of the month classes I have been teaching at Sew to Speak in Columbus, Ohio have been going well, and it is so much fun to work through this delightful quilt with such a wonderful group of women.  I have been making a version of this quilt that is perfect for a princess loving little girl.  The first month’s block features this cute frog print.

Section One of the Collection Quilt

Section One of the Collection Quilt

Block two is especially fun due to the opportunities to incorporate lots of fussy cutting!

Collection Quilt Section Two

Section Two of The Collection Quilt

If you are in the Columbus area, and would like to join the class, we would love to have you!  There is still plenty of time to learn the technique and come out of the class with a fantastic quilt.  Please contact Sew to Speak to get signed up!

Quilting Bee

I am in my first block bee this year with The Columbus Modern Quilters.  I signed up for the six month version since this is my first time, and I never know exactly where or how busy I’ll be in a year.

In January our queen selected the Wanta Fanta block, and I was thrilled by how quickly it went together.

January Bee Blocks

January Bee Blocks

This month we are making the same block for another queen, and I am even more excited to see how both of these quilts go together.

March Bee Blocks

March Bee Blocks

February was my month, and everyone made a filmstrip block that I will be incorporating into a border of a medallion quilt.  I just love the blocks that everyone brought- Aren’t they awesome?!  I have the free pattern available on Craftsy if you are interested in making some filmstrip blocks of your own.

Filmstrip Bee Blocks

Filmstrip Bee Blocks

A Win

Have you been participating in One Monthly Goal hosted by Red Letter Quilts?  It is great for me to be able to set a single goal for the month, because my quarterly lists are ridiculous- they help me keep an overview of large goals, but all of those goals are never getting finished in a single quarter 😉

 

My February goal came with an added bonus: when names were drawn from the completion link-up, mine was selected!

OMG February Prize

This lovely bundle of fabric arrived a few days ago, and I can’t thank Heidi of Red Letter Quilts enough for hosting this event every month and supplying lovely fabric for a prize!

Block Hop

Last year I had a great time participating in the New Blogger’s Block Hop, so when the opportunity arose to participate in another New Block Blog Hop, I jumped at the chance.  Paintbrush Studios sent out fabric to each blogger in the Ocean Sunrise Palette which was curated by our wonderful hosts.
2016 Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop

You’ll want to mark your calendars for March 28-30 to stop by and see all of the wonderful new block patterns that are being given to you by more than three dozen bloggers!  What makes this project even better is that all of the blocks created for this blog hop are collected by our hosts to make into some gorgeous charity quilts.

Publication

For the first time I have a quilt design making an appearance in the pattern section of a magazine.  If you’re interested in making this Italicized Hashtag Quilt, make sure you check it out in Generation Q.  I’ll be writing more about this quilt soon!

Spring Issue of Generation Q Magazine

Spring Issue of Generation Q Magazine

Modern Improv Round Robin Quilt

Improv is one of my favorite techniques, and it was even more fun when we added a group of quilters and some time limits!

Modern Improv front view

Last Fall, one of my local quilt shops offered a Round Robin Improv class that was loosely based on the book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously, by Sherri Lynn Wood. (I currently have no affiliate links)  For the class, we each brought a bin of scraps along with a larger piece of our signature fabric and two other pieces of fabric.

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

For my signature fabric, I selected the colorful Alison Glass print shown above.  I loved the print, and I thought it would be fun to have a piece that held lots of opportunities for fussy cutting and had plenty of colors that would coordinate with a variety of fabric types.

The round robin format meant that we each worked on every quilt top in our group of six. Our scrap bins, along with our other fabrics (except our signature material) get passed around the group in half hour increments.  In the first time slot we each worked on our own quilt, using our signature fabric and any of the other materials we brought with us.  To make this even more interesting, for the entire day, we weren’t allowed to use any rulers or rotary cutters- scissors or tearing were our only fabric cutting options!

The section of the improv quilt that came out of the class

The section of the improv quilt that came out of the class

When the first time slot ended, we passed our quilt top and all of our fabrics (except our signature material) to the next person in the group.  The main goal was to incorporate our signature fabric into each quilt and make sure our contribution to the quilt top was attached before the end of the half hour time limit.  This is where my background working in theatre may have given me an advantage:

  1. I am used to working on other people’s designs/projects so I was not afraid that I would “ruin” their work (As a side note- everyone’s quilt tops looked really good, so this fear that a lot of people in the group expressed proved to be unfounded!)
  2. Time limits are a fact of life in theatre- Over the years I have learned to do the best possible work in the time allowed.

As we went through each top, I fell into a rhythm where I looked through the fabric in the first minute or two and determined how to incorporate my signature print.  My signature print went really well with some fabric collections, but not as well with others.  Fortunately, we could use any amount of the signature fabric, and my material had lots of different colors that did help it to tie in with various color schemes.  I found it really helpful to have a print conducive to fussy cutting because it gave me a jumping off point, and then I could design on the fly for the rest.

Churn Dash Improv block with my signature fabric fussy cut in the center

Churn Dash Improv block with my signature fabric fussy cut in the center

My goal was to sew steadily until the final five minutes, then attach what I had done to the main body of the quilt top and press the entire piece before passing it on.  My personal goal was to always hand off a piece that was relatively square.  We weren’t allowed to cut off anything that another group member added, so I tried to be nice and not give anyone a difficult shape to deal with :)

I tried to not let the lack of rulers limit the designs I used.  I made half square triangles (HST) by pressing (instead of drawing) a diagonal line across a square and stitching on either side, and made flying geese in a similar manner to how I would normally approach the task.  I tried to not let the fact that it wouldn’t be perfect deter me from trying different designs, and I ended up making variations on lots of traditional blocks including log cabins, pinwheels, flying geese, churn dash and wonky stars.

Modern Improv Wonky Star block

Modern Improv detail A

Modern Improv Flying Geese

I wish I had taken photos of everyone’s project, but in the heat of the moment, I was much more focused on just getting my contributions finished!

By the end of the day we each had a top that was a bigger than a mini, but smaller than a lap quilt, so I went home and added to mine to create a generous lap quilt.  I stuck to the no rulers or rotary cutter rules and tried to work at a similar pace to what I had done during the class.

The backing is constructed using several different fabrics, but these were all larger pieces than those used on the quilt top.

Modern Improv back view

In keeping with the spirit of the class, I did the quilting with no rulers and tried to move quickly while embracing a wide range of designs.

Modern Improv pinwheel and quilted geese

The binding is created exclusively from my collection of binding scraps that I connected randomly and continue the improv feeling all the way to the edge of the quilt.

Modern Improv binding detail

I cannot recommend this type of class enough- it was so much fun!  If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area this class is being offered again in March at Quilt Beginnings.  It was a great opportunity to move out of my comfort zone and work collaboratively with a wonderful group of quilters.

Modern Improve Quilt draped

 

Quilt Stats

Title:  Modern Improv Round Robin

Size: 53″x71″

Techniques:  Improvisational Piecing (no rulers or rotary cutters!)

Quilting:  Hand guided free motion (no rulers!)

Fabric:  Alison Glass print, two prints from the Zen Chic line, lots of scraps

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with white cotton 50wt Wonderfil

Binding:  Scrappy

This was my One Monthly Goal for February:

Goal #2 is Complete!

Goal #2 is Complete!

Travel Bag

This week will be my first Quilt Con, and to mark the occasion I made a new carry on bag.

Carry on Bag for QuiltCon 2016 front view

I drew up this pattern to work with a fat quarter bundle that I had of Tula Pink’s Elizabeth line along with some denim scraps that I had from another project.  The effect is unified, yet scrappy.  The front and back of the bag are identical with a zipper pocket and an open pocket behind it.  Behind each zipper pocket is a section of coordinating fabric that was pieced in to help stretch the main bag fabric.Carry on Bag for QuiltCon side view

The bag is quilted in sections to allow all of the raw edges to be enclosed as the bag came together.  The final construction seams attach the bag front and back to the side panel.  These seams are stitched with the seam allowances toward the exterior of the bag which will help to give a bit of extra structure to this soft case.  The raw edges are enclosed using a custom made bias tape from one of the striped fat quarters in the Tula Pink bundle.Carry On Bag for QuitlCon Interior

I am excited to take this bag on its inaugural voyage this week so I will have a better idea of what adjustments I should make if I were to create this design again.  If you are at QuiltCon, I hope to have a chance to meet you and perhaps exchange buttons!QuiltCon 2016 Buttons

Goal #8 is Complete!

Goal #8 is Complete!