Cloud 9 New Block Blog Hop

I love designing new blocks and quilt designs, and I am so excited to work with the wonderful palette of solids provided by Cloud 9 Fabrics!

Designing this block took me back to my undergrad years as a painting major when I spent a great deal of time experimenting with pattern, particularly plaid.

berry-patch-plaid-block

The group of Organic Cirrus Solids in a Berry Harvest Color Palette included a dark and light version of two of the colors, so I was inspired to use these to create an illusion of dimension.

cloud-9-cirrus-solids

Standard machine piecing techniques are used to construct this block, so anyone who is comfortable with accurate cutting and stitching a consistent 1/4″ seam allowance can make this block.  The pattern for Berry Patch Plaid is available as a free download on Craftsy.

Multiple blocks would make an awesome complete quilt!

/Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Blog/Topics/Block Patterns/Clou

More than 60 new blocks have been shared during this three day hop, so I hope you will take a look at some of the wonderful designs that have been created in this color scheme!

2016 New Quilt Bloggers

A big thank you to Cloud 9 Fabrics and our wonderful hosts, Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl, Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs, and Stephanie of Late Night Quilter!

Today you will see new posts from these bloggers:

Host: Stephanie @Late Night Quilter

Kathy @Kathys Kwilts and More
Paige @Quilted Blooms
Mary @Strip Quilts Pass it On
Allison @Woodberry Way
Seven @The Concerned Craft
Olusola @Alice Samuel’s Quilt Co.
Ann @Brown Paws Quilting
Jodie @Persimmon + Pear
Vicki @Orchid Owl Quilts
Kitty @Night Quilter
Francine @Mochawildchild
Shelley @The Carpenter’s Daughter who Quilts
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal
Geraldine @Living Water Quilter
Shannon @Shannon Fraser Designs
Lisa @Sunlight In Winter Quilts
Jessica @Quilty Habit
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Deanna @Stitches Quilting
Denise @Craft Traditions

Tuesday’s Bloggers were:

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs

Miranda @I Have Purple Hair
Jennifer @The Inquiring Quilter
Sarah @123 Quilt
Leanne @Devoted Quilter
Jen @Patterns By Jen
Jennifer @RV Quilting
Amanda @Quiltologie
Sharon @Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Jen @A Dream and A Stitch
Jen @Faith and Fabric
Carole @Carole Lyles Shaw
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Susan @Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Katrin @Now What Puppilalla
Amista @Hilltop Custom Designs
Nicole @Handwrought Quilts
Marla @Penny Lane Quilts
Silvia @A Stranger View
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Carrie @the zen quilter
Mary @Quilting is in My Blood
Velda @GRANNYcanQUILT

Mondays designers were:

Host: Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

Abigail @Cut & Alter
Janice @Color, Creating, and Quilting!
Lorinda @Laurel, Poppy, and Pine
Melva @Melva Loves Scraps
Renee @Quilts of a Feather
Kathryn @Upitis Quilts
Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Amanda @this mom quilts
Holly @Lighthouse Lane Designs
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Jennifer @Dizzy Quilter
Karen @Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Anne @Said With Love
Suzy @Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Sharla @Thistle Thicket Studio
Kathleen @Smiles From Kate
Amanda @Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.
Sarah @Sarah Goer Quilts
Chelsea @Patch the Giraffe
Jinger @Trials of a Newbie Quilter
Anja @Anja Quilts
Daisy @Ants to Sugar

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

A Planner made just for Quilters!

(It seems that I didn’t schedule this post properly last week, but better late than never!  This planner looks amazing, and I hope you all take a moment to check it out if you haven’t already!)

Last week, Stephanie at Late Night Quilter released for pre-sale a yearly planner that she has created with the specific needs and wants of the contemporary quilter in mind!  I encourage you to head over to Stephanie’s blog to have a more detailed look at this planner because it is so much more than a calendar.  Among its many features is a quilt block pattern for every week of the year.  I am thrilled that my block, Summer Starburst, is included, and I am so excited to see how this book comes together!

Summer Starburst Block

Summer Starburst Quilt Block

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

This summer, I am thrilled to have joined up with a group of amazing new quilt bloggers for the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

The hosts this year are:

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group

I am so happy to be a member of Cheryl’s group, The New Bees.

New Bee Button

I really encourage you to stop by the other New Bees members who are posting this week:

I started blogging in December of 2014 and the first quilt that I shared, Petals in the Wind (Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win!), is still one of my favorites.  This quilt has been accepted into the American Quilter’s Society shows in Syracuse, Grand Rapids, and Chattanooga this year.

Petals in the Wind

Petals in the Wind

Modern Log Cabin is the first quilt that I made after I returned to quilting last year.  It is a “potholder” style quilt that reverses from grey to blue.  This quilt was exhibited at the AQS show in Paducah earlier this year and will also be in the Modern Quilt categories at Grand Rapids and Chattanooga.

Modern Log Cabin

Modern Log Cabin

My pet project for 2015 is to make 50 mini quilts over the course of the year.  So far, I have completed 23/50.  Mini Quilt Mania gives me a format to experiment with a variety of quilting techniques without having to commit to a large project- it’s like keeping a sketchbook!  Details about this project as well as a full list of the mini quilts can be found in the Mini Quilt Mania post.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

π, pi, PIE!

π, pi, PIE!

Embellished Spring

Embellished Spring

Marsala Mini Quilt

Marsala Mini Quilt

Rainbow Roundabout

Rainbow Roundabout

Fruit Crush

Fruit Crush

May Flower

May Flower

Yellow Rays

Yellow Rays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you’ve seen a bit of my work, would you like to hear how I got here?

How did you learn to sew?  My Mom started teaching me to sew before I was even in Kindergarten, so the details are a little hazy.  My first quilt was completed when I was about eight, and once I was old enough for 4-H,  I did sewing projects every year for the next decade.  As I grew older, I moved away from quilting and toward clothing construction.  Quilting by hand was just so painfully slow, and after finishing one twin sized quilt, I was done.  In high school I did make a couple of machine quilted jackets that I received student awards for at the American Quilter’s Society Fashion Show in Paducah.

What did you do then?  I went off to college to get a BFA, and since I could sew, I was assigned to do my work-study job in the costume shop of the Drama Department.  I ended up double majoring in Painting and Theatre Design and Technology and later went on to earn an MFA in Scenic Design.  I have worked with many theaters over the years, including ten seasons with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and have worked at a few universities as well.

What has Theatre taught you about sewing?  I am pretty sure I can sew almost anything at this point.  I have created custom patterns and constructed clothing for almost every historical period, sewn stage curtains and drapes, done upholstery, and devised stage props ranging from drawstring bags to a 25′ long pleated, cylindrical (and very phallic), pink velour pillow with tassels at the ends.  Knowing that something very specific has to be created within a certain time frame means  there is little time to worry about messing it up- at some point you just have to dive in and make it happen.  You also become really adept at solving the “challenges” that seem to develop with each project.  This is excellent preparation for devising quilt patterns!

How did you return to quilting?  I was at a job where I wasn’t required to sew a lot, and I thought that maybe I would sew something for myself.  I wandered into a locally owned shop and was stunned to see all the new quilting fabrics.  Pair that selection with fact that machine quilting is now far more acceptable (even expected!), and I was hooked!

Quilting Tip:  Every once in awhile create your own challenge.  Limit it to a small, quick project like a mini quilt or simple bag.  Restrict parameters  so once you start so you will have already limited the choices you have because sometimes having infinite options can really slow us down.  I like to preselect a project, color scheme, and time frame.  An example could be:  One weekend to create a quilted bag using only the colors of black, white, grey, and green using fabrics and supplies already on hand. These small projects can force us to think creatively and can help improve our problem solving “toolbox” for other larger projects.

Blogging Tip:  At the beginning of the year  I created a eight inch square mini quilt that I have used as a background image for all blog “signage” that I have needed.  It provides a consistent element within the blog, and I always have an image available for posts that don’t have a feature quilt picture.

Random Facts:

  • Right now I do freelance work.  Most recently, I worked as a draper (costume pattern maker) for the Summer Nutmeg Series of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre.  If you would like to see photos, please check out their Instagram at https://instagram.com/ctrepertorytheatre/  This summer we did Les Mis, Peter Pan, and Xanadu.  The metallic silk chiffon dresses for Xanadu are especially fun- so shiny!
  • I have traveled to 29 US states and lived in Ohio, Missouri, Utah, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Indiana
  • My favorite food is a pretty even tie between pizza, saag paneer, and any sweet baked good
  • Growing up I raised chickens (mostly White Plymouth Rocks)
  • When I sew I almost always watch Netflix (Downton Abby is a favorite) or listen to a podcast (I’ve been catching up on Modern Sewciety)
  • My most commonly requested baked good is a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

I have been thinking a lot about gathering inspiration for quilt designs and color schemes and will probably be writing a post on this soon.  What are your thoughts?  Where do you find your inspiration?  Do you tend to be more inspired by quilt related items (books, magazines, quilt shows, etc.)?  Or do you tend to draw more inspiration from seemingly unrelated sources (art, nature, architecture, etc.)?  Is it a combination of these?

Thank you so much for coming by, and I hope to have you visit again!