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Thursday, January 17, 2019

ISLAND BATIK AMBASSADOR BLOG HOP


This blog hop's theme is Getaway. Since I don't do appliqué or theme quilts very well I decided to say that making this quilt was a journey for me. The journey involved designing the quilt.

I was given the fabric collection (of course from Island Batiks) called Soul Song. It was in my surprise package that I wasn't able to use until now. The collection was unusual in that it had two completely different looks. Ten of the fabrics were small dots in all different colors and ten were tans and blacks with geometric shapes on them. What do I do with two fabrics that to me didn't go together at all even though they were in the same collection?

Here is a sampling of what the fabrics looked like.




I started like I usually do and open EQ8 and think about doing a log cabin block. Being rushed for time, I decided that I didn't have time to make a lap size quilt of log cabins. So I did something I haven't done before. I made it up as I went a long!

Luck would have it that I received a wonderful package from FedEx labeled Accuquilt that same week. I found out that Accuquilt graciously gave the ambassadors an Accuquilt Go 



with some dies! Perfect timing! In that package was a die for 2-1/2" strips. I also had a die for 1", 1-1/2" and 2" strips so I decided to use my new toy to cut strips. I cut the tan and black strips with the smaller die and the colored strips with the 2-1/2" die.



I then cut them into sections. The fastest way to cut a lot of different strips is to line them up and cut them all at the same size. (I had to use two rulers to get the size I wanted. I don't use my mat to measure.)



I thought maybe a type of Rail Fence quilt would work so I sewed them together alternating the colored fabrics and tan fabrics.



I then laid a few of the blocks out in a Rail Fence design and stood back and looked at it.



Too boring! So I decided to cut them in half diagonally.



Now the tricky part. How do I cut the second piece so that they fit together? It took me a couple tries but finally figured it out. (Luckily I was able to use the ones that I cut wrong since there are only a couple different ways to cut them.)



I put them together. I liked the look but decided that I didn't want to take the time to match all of those seams!



So I cut a thin strip of one of the fabrics in the collection that I hadn't used yet to put in the middle of the block. Now I was happy with the block! 



So I continued with all of the strips and laid it out on my design wall.



I decided that a border was not necessary so I pieced the backing with my leftover fabrics, 



used some wonderful Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool batting, 



that was given to me in my Island Batik box, and put it on my quilting machine. That is where I am right now since I had to get this blog out! Have to figure out how to quilt it now (the hardest part for me). Any suggestions? I always start by quilting in the ditch (with the Aurifil Monofilament thread that I was also given) on each side of the diagonal strips. I'm thinking some type of curves since the quilt lines are all straight.




I was pretty pleased with myself! Not only did I design something that I had no idea what it would look like when I finished but also that I made a scrappy quilt (which is hard for me since I am so predictable and uptight about knowing what my finished project should look like). 

Well as usual I am late getting this out, which has been a pattern for me lately.

I will be having a give away of five fat eighths of some Island Batik fabrics (not from this collection since I used most of it). If you want to be in the drawing be sure to leave a comment and your email address so I can contact you if you win. Also if you have any suggestions for quilting this let me know and if you are interested in a pattern on how to make this quilt with the measurements I would like to know that too. I will be choosing a winner when the blog concludes in the first week in February.



Be sure to follow all of the other Ambassadors blogs on the collections that they received and enter the drawing from Island Batik's blog for 20 FAT QUARTERS!

ISLAND BATIK GIVEAWAY

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading and please share with your quilting friends.

WEEK 1
Monday, January 7 - Crystal Ball


Tuesday, January 8  - Ditty


Wednesday, January 9 - Elk Lodge


Thursday, January 10 - Feline Fine


Friday, January 11 - Flea Market


WEEK 2
Monday, January 14 - Fortune Teller
Jennifer Fulton- The Inquiring Quilter


Tuesday, January 15  - Gypsy Rose


Wednesday, January 16 - Paisley Park


Thursday, January 17 - Soul Song


Friday, January 18 - Twilight Chic


WEEK 3
Monday, January 21 - Winter Park


Tuesday, January 22  - Bazaar


Wednesday, January 23 - Blossom


Thursday, January 24 - Boho


Friday, January 25 - Brookview


WEEK 4
Monday, January 28 - French Blue


Tuesday, January 29  - Midsummer Night


Wednesday, January 30 - Oh Deer


Thursday, January 31 - Snow Berry  


Friday, February 1-  Candy Cane Lane and Icicle
Anne Wiens- Icicle - Sweetgrass Creative Designs


Barbara Gaddy - Candy Cane Lane  -Bejeweled Quilts by Barb

Sunday, December 9, 2018

NATIONAL QUILTER'S CIRCLE MYSTERY MEDALLION WEEKS 7 AND 8





It is hard to believe it is finally at an end. (Click on the above link for the final instructions.) I can't wait to see what the final quilts look like. This has been such a wonderful experience for me. Especially since it is my first mystery quilt. I hope if I do another one that there will be just as much excitement as there was with this one. For those who haven't started or say that they are behind, please share your progress. The pattern will be available for anyone who wants it. Maybe it will reach 100,000 worldwide! We are more than halfway there!

I didn't get a chance to write my blog last week. Since the block was similar to week's 6 I didn't feel the need to write instructions. I do want to show an experiment I did with the 4 Flying Geese method since there were two different fabrics in them. I knew what the result would be but I went ahead and tried it anyway.

To use two different fabrics in the smaller triangles of the Flying Geese units you would go ahead and cut the smaller squares as indicated in the instructions. Start by placing two of the same squares on opposite ends of the large square (after drawing the lines down the center) and sew 1/4" on both sides of the line. Cut apart and press triangles back.



Now place the second fabric small squares on the corners, sew 1/4" on each side of the line and cut apart. What you end up with is four Flying Geese units, two pairs with the fabrics on opposite sides.



Another option would be to start with the two different fabrics on the opposite sides in the first step. Then place the matching fabric on the resulting sections and you will end up with two pairs of Flying Geese units with the same fabrics. (I hope this makes sense.)

SEWING BORDERS

The one big problem I found with beginner quilters is how to measure and sew on borders so I thought I would address some of the problems today.

SQUARING UP THE TOP OF YOUR QUILT BEFORE PUTTING THE BORDERS ON

One thing that makes sewing borders on easier is to make sure that your top is square. I am not referring to whether it is a "square" but the term "square up" just means that the edges of the quilt are the same size. Many times when you have a lot of blocks to piece together, they are not always the same size across the quilt so when you go to put the borders on, one side of the quilt is longer or shorter than the other side. So, how do you check to see if all the sides are the same?

I have a very easy method that is used by quilt judges when they judge how well a quilt is constructed. First find a large space to lay the quilt down. You can use a floor or large bed. I use my quilting machine and lay the quilt along one of the bars. Now take each end (either the top and bottom or sides) and fold them to the center of the quilt. If your seams are consistent the edges of the quilt should be the same size as the center. I have to admit even as careful as I am to have consistent seams, I am not perfect and sometimes the measurements are not the same. They may be off just a small amount (1/4" to 1/2"). 

I have a couple option at this point. If the edges are slightly bigger than the center, I can trim a little off each end. If they are slightly smaller than the center I can take in some seams a little across a few of the seams on both side of the center. The other option is to take the three measurements (center and opposite ends) add them together and get the average (divide that number by 3). This last option is best if your measurements are off more than 1/2" and it is difficult to trim the sides to equal the center. I will then cut my borders to that measurement.

SEWING PIECED BORDERS TO THE QUILT

Now that you have squared up your top and you need to add pieced border sections to it, you need to measure your pieced section to make sure it is the same size as the quilt top. What if it isn't? Again, there are always to make adjustments. If it is too small, take some seams out and shorten them across the strip until you get close to the measurement. (If it is less than 1/2" you can always ease the section in.) If it is too big then take in some seams across the section. You don't have to use your ripper to make the seams bigger.

CUTTING, PINNING AND SEWING THE BORDERS

Here is where most beginner (and even some advanced quilters) make the biggest mistakes when sewing on the border strips. You can either measure each of the sides and cut your borders to that size or (this is what I do) lay the quilt on a flat surface (again, I lay it on my quilting machine bar) and take my sewn strips (the two at the same time) and lay them across the center of the quilt. I then make a couple clips on the border strips even with the quilt top on both edges and take them to my cutting table and trim them at the clips with a ruler.

Now here is the most important part. Pin, pin, pin, pin! I match and pin the centers of the quilt and the border strips and ends. Then I start pinning always dividing the sections in half, placing a pin, then halves, pin, halves pin until I have pinned the entire border. I usually have my pins about 3" to 4" apart when I am done. If you have to ease in either side, whether it is the quilt side or border side, place the larger of the two pieces on the bottom by the feed dogs. That side will ease in better than if it is on top. It is also easier to pin the two together if you lay it on a flat surface rather than hold it up. Now you are ready to sew.

No matter how many borders you have to piece, you need to repeat this process every time. You will find that your quilt will lay nice and flat and if you have to take it to a longarm quilter she will thank you for that.

One more tip and this has to do with the backing. Make sure that you make your backing 4" - 8" bigger all around the quilt depending on your longarm quilter. Some even request that you make it even bigger than that. If you have trouble squaring up your backing consider tearing the fabric along the grain. If you do that you will want to make it slightly bigger because tearing it does cause at least 1/2" or more to be stressed along the edges.

I know I didn't show a lot of photos in this blog. I hope my descriptions will be enough for you to understand.

DRAWING WINNER

The winner of one of my Cutting Corners template sets is Paula (Bergan?). Congrats Paula. I will be sending her an email so I can mail the template set to her. 

NATIONAL QUILTER'S CIRCLE


National Quilter's Circle is offering a great special on their membership. For only $25 you can get a Gold membership and get free classes and free downloads for a year! Use this link to get the special price and please use this code "TOBY25" when checking out. I want to say that I do get a bonus if you use my code.


Watch for my end of the year fabric inventory clearance sale. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter on my website so you can get notification as to when it starts.

As always, do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading and feel free to forward and share with your friends. Please leave a comment if you like this blog and learned something from it! Toby

Monday, November 26, 2018

NATIONAL QUILTER'S CIRCLE MYSTERY MEDALLION WEEK 6 BLOCK 5




I know I am repeating myself, but I am amazed at the creativity of some quilters! Some have added their owns special touch in the inner border or changed blocks around or even added elements to the blocks. The difference in fabrics in this design also changes the whole look of the quilt. I don't know if that is because it is a mystery or if the quilters would have picked the same fabrics if it was not a mystery. I'd love to hear from you whether you would like to do another medallion style quilt and whether you would want it as a mystery or know ahead of time what the finished product would look like.

This block is another with the dreaded Flying Geese units but I'm assuming that you are now experts at them! 

I used my Cutting Corners template set for this block to cut out my half-square and quarter-square triangles. If you are using this set, you will cut 2-1/2" strips for both.




For the quarter square triangles in the pinwheel I cut them according to the instructions but I trimmed the corners with my triangle template.


After piecing the two quarter-square triangles, they should be the same size at the half-square triangle they are being sewed to. Adjust if necessary.


When sewing the four pinwheels, check to make sure that the darker fabric is facing in the right direction before sewing the four together and spin the center seam to reduce bulk. If you don't know how to do that, check on one of my previous blogs where I posted a video on how to do that.



Sew the 9 sections together as in previous posts.



WINNERS AND NEW DRAWING

I thank everyone who left a comment and took the time to read my blog. This week's winners are Regina Conklin and Melanie (she did not leave a last name). They get to pick a pattern pdf on my website. I will send them an email to let them know. This week I will pick another winner to get my Cutting Corners template set. Be sure if you leave a comment you also leave your email address.

NATIONAL QUILTER'S CIRCLE


National Quilter's Circle is offering a great special on their membership. For only $25 you can get a Gold membership and get free classes and free downloads for a year! Use this link to get the special price and please use this code "TOBY25" when checking out. I want to say that I do get a bonus if you use my code.



WEBSALE

I am having a Cyber Monday sale today only. You can purchase anything on my website (except for end of bolts) and get 40% off! Write "Cyber Monday" in the coupon box when checking out for the discount. All orders over $25 (after discount is applied) will receive my Kaleidostars book FREE! You can start shopping NOW.

As always, do what you love and love what you do. Thank you for reading and sure to share with your quilting friends.