Crystalized Citrus: A Hoffman Challenge Quilt

Crystalized Citrus is my first Hoffman Challenge quilt, and I am thrilled with the result!  I was cutting it really close time wise, so it was quite a relief when they extended the deadline by a week- it saved me a late night getting the binding on!
Crystalized Citrus full view

For many years I had seen the Hoffman Challenge quilts exhibited at the Rotary Quilt Show that coincided with the AQS show in Paducah.  It was my first introduction to the concept of a challenge quilt, and I was intrigued.  This year was the first time I was able to find the fabric in a local shop before it completely sold out, and it is the best fabric challenge print yet!  The butterfly print on the right is the required challenge fabric and the print on the left was an optional coordinate that I really liked, but didn’t end up using in the finished design.  Both of these fabrics are printed digitally so there is an almost infinite range of colors since the process isn’t limited by traditional printing processes.

Hoffman Challenge Fabric

When I’m designing with a specific print in mind, I like to alter it to see it in a new way.  I had thought about creating a “Butterfly Garden” by turning the wings into flower petals, but as I was starting the idea of vibrant citrus came to mind.  The butterfly wings turned into the flesh of the fruit and the neutral space of the print became the membranes.  I pulled a variety of prints from my stash to create the skin of the fruits.  My main goal was to keep the challenge fabric the star of the show.

Crystalized Citrus detail

 

 

I intentionally chose to balance the representational aspects of this design with the abstract.  The pieces of fruit do not overlap and the improv piecing in the flesh of the citrus doesn’t create an ultra realistic image.  These aspects of the design allowed for quilting that defies realism and creates a more abstract overall design.

The primary quilting design is matchstick quilting going both horizontally and vertically.  Most of the horizontal quilting is done in white with guest appearances from purple and the local color of each fruit to create a grounding shadow.  The color of each piece of citrus infuses the background above it with colorful vertical matchstick quilting.  Free motion quilting further defines each piece of fruit in the composition.

Crystalized Citrus

 

Quilt Stats

Title: Crystalized Citrus

Size: 24″x21″

Techniques:  Machine Improv Piecing, hand appliqué

Quilting:  Matchstick and free motion quilting done on my A-1 Elite longarm

Fabric:  Hoffman Crystalia digitally printed fabric in opal, assorted cotton prints and solids.

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 cotton blend

Thread:  Pieced and appliquéd with Gutermann Mara 100 in coordinating colors, Quilted with six colors of 50wt Aurifil cotton thread

Binding:  Facing done with the same white fabric used for the background and backing of the quilt

Goal #1 is Finished!

Goal #1 is Finished!

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

Star Crossed Triangles: An EZ Quilting Triangle Challenge Quilt

When the Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge sponsored by EZ Quilting, I couldn’t wait.  I was in the midst of a “triangle phase” so this was perfect timing.  I decided that if I was going to take on this challenge, I was going to really embrace triangles, and create a design pieced entirely with that shape.

Star Crossed Triangles:  A MQG EZ Quilt Triangle Challenge Quilt

Star Crossed Triangles: A MQG EZ Quilt Triangle Challenge Quilt

The 45 degree mini template arrived in the mail, and I began drafting./Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilting/My Quilts/Quilt Drafti

EZ Quilting Template and prepared triangles

EZ Quilting Template and prepared triangles

Triangles are intriguing in their ability to transform fabrics through careful cutting and reassembly.  I selected quite a few brightly colored, distinctively patterned fabrics to form octagons and stars that are the focal points of the quilt.  The overall design includes several blocks that are all low volume fabrics to give some areas for a visual rest.triangle blocks

Given the small scale of the pieces of the quilt, I decided to go with an English Paper Piecing technique to insure that the corners of each triangle would match up perfectly.  The majority of the 866 triangles in the quilt are cut with the provided template, but there are additional triangle shapes to fill in between blocks and around the edges.  When I took a step back to look at the completed top, I decided that the all-triangle approach was a bit too rigid.  I began experimenting with options to break up the field of triangles, and eventually landed on adding brightly colored appliqué circles.  Each circle is about the size of a dime and is hand appliquéd to the finished quilt top.

Quilt top with circles roughly placed

Quilt top with circles roughly placed

Each star and octagon is quilted with coordinating thread using ruler work on a longarm.  The spaces between each of these shapes is filled with wavy, swirling, organic free-motion quilting.Star Crossed Triangles detail D

Star Crossed Triangles detail C

Star Crossed Triangles detail B

Star Crossed Triangles detail A

This quilt was my second entry into the QuiltCon contest, and I also entered this quilt into the Paducah show of the American Quilter’s Society in the category: Small Wall Quilts, Longarm Quilted.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Star Crossed Triangles

Size:  36.75″ x 41″

Techniques:  English Paper Piecing, Hand Appliqué

Quilting:  Ruler work and free motion quilting on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Scrappy low volume and brightly colored prints

Batting:  Hobbs Heirloom cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with grey Decobob by Wonderfil, quilted with Aurifil in coordinating colors

Binding:  Scrappy low volume prints cut on the bias in 2″ wide strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

Goal #22 is finished!

Goal #22 is finished!


Moroccan Star: A Michael Miller Challenge Quilt

This summer, the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) announced this year’s Michael Miller fabric challenge, and I couldn’t resist signing up.  Those metallic prints are so much fun!  I had an idea at that point, but once the fabrics arrived, I decided to change directions based on the exact prints that arrived.Moroccan Star finished quilt

Glittery metallics made me think of shining stars and opulence.  I typically prefer silver, but for this project I was really drawn to the gold printed fabrics.  To supplement the package of fabric sent by Michael Miller, I purchased some of the white and gold confetti dot also from the Glitz collection, and a Michael Miller black solid.MM Challenge

This design started with the fabric printed to imply interlocking circles.  I started experimenting by creating circles highlighting different sections of the print.  Once the circle sizes were determined, I drafted the motif that would create the final star design. I started the construction by hand appliquéing the circles to the white background pieces.  Those pieces were then added to the solid black background.  Moroccan Star process shot

 

Moroccan Star finished quilt top

For the quilting, I wanted to break up the background by using different quilting designs on either side of the appliquéd star motifs.  The quilting thread is a very dark grey which added a bit of extra dimension to the solid color surface.  I used the longarm for this quilt and the circle pattern was entirely free-motion using a dot to dot technique.  It is far from perfect, but it was the first time I had attempted this, so it could have been far worse!  I tend to like a hand drawn quality in free motion quilting, so I ultimately decided to leave it in and embrace the character of the piece.  Moroccan Star finished detail A

The lines around the stars and the tightly spaced vertical lines are also free-motion, but for the horizontal lines on the left side of the quilt I did lock the machine on the track before hand guiding the stitching.Moroccan Star finished detail B

This quilt was one of my entries in to QuiltCon, so now I (like many of you!) are waiting to hear which quilts we will see at the show in February.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Moroccan Stars

Size:  41″ x 40.5″

Techniques:  Needle turn appliqué

Quilting:  Free motion and linear quilting done on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Michael Miller Glitz collection and Michael Miller solid

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 in black

Thread:  Hand appliquéd with Gutermann Mara 100 in white, Quilted with 50wt Aurifil in a a dark grey

Binding:  Michael Miller solid black fabric (to match background) cut in 2″ wide bias strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

Goal #23 is finished!

Goal #23 is finished!