Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kaleidoscope QAL: Piecing Part 1

I hope you're enjoying the quilt along so far!  I've seen some awesome progress over this last week popping up in the Flickr group.  You guys are rocking this quilt-along!!!  This week we'll be finalizing some layout decisions and starting our block piecing.

Have you started to play with your blocks yet?  If not, here's some of the awesome block layouts popping up in our fantastic Flickr group.  If you haven't joined in the Flickr group yet, you are seriously missing out on some major quilty eye candy!

kaleidomosaic2 is the time to make a design decision!  This week, we'll be making our kaleidoscopes for our blocks - marrying and seaming our corner triangles with one single kaleidoscope triangle.  So, the first step is to decide which kaleidoscope triangles you'll pair up with your corner triangles.

Chain piecing is really helpful with this step of the piecing.  Here's what I did to get ready to chain-piece my corner triangles and kaleidoscope triangles.  First, I made piles to match up my corner triangles with their corresponding kaleidoscope triangles, based on the design decisions I've made so far.  Second, I wound up a few bobbins (but I only wound up going through one).  Third, I started lining up my corner triangles on top of each kaleidoscope triangle, one at a time as I fed each pair through my sewing machine.  Here's what a correct pair ought to look like:


Notice how I don't use pins?  When piecing like this, I rarely use pins these days, especially when piecing things this small.  When I piece my two block halves together, I will use some pins, to make sure my seams line up and stay that way.  If you're more comfortable using pins, go for it.

Make sure you've got dog ears from your corner triangle sticking out evenly on both sides of your kaleidoscope triangle.  This may take a little bit of practice, but trust me, you'll get the hang of it.  Then once you do, turn on the music, and chain piece away, using a quarter-inch seam!


I am a open-seam-presser when it comes to 99% of the sewing I do.  I find especially when working with bias seams, like in triangles, that it leads to more accurate work, but again, do what you are most comfortable with when pressing your blocks.

Now, you can finalize your design decisions, now that you've done some of your piecing.  You can still move things around to find a layout that pleases your eye at this point!  Your final step for this week is to make sure you've got all of your background fabric cut up and ready to roll, and to take some photos to post to the Flickr group.  We'll be finishing off our blocks next week, with some tips and tricks that I've picked up to make this as smooth as possible!  Again, don't hesitate to post a question in the Flickr group or to email me directly!  See you next week :)

Going for a scrappy look for my Kaleidoscope
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WiP Wednesday #33

Rather than marveling about how another week has passed, I'm getting right down to business this week!  Here's what's in the works...

Spiderweb quilt - Unfortunately, I can only show a snippet of this quilt because it's destined for a special home, but I can tell you this much: I've never been prouder of a quilt.  I almost cried when I took it out of the dryer.  I can't wait to show the rest to you...eventually!

Spiderweb sneak!

Still going:
Prince Charming quilt - Another gift that I have to keep under wraps, argh!!  But here's a snippet to tide you over until I can reveal it in the next week or so.  It's almost done and on its way to the birthday girl!

A snail waiting for quilting...

Farmer's Wife QAL - I was pretty productive with these this weekend, finished up four new blocks, bringing me up to a total of 10 blocks.  I am having so much fun with this quilt along!

FWQAL so far - 10 blocks in

Kaleidoscope QAL - This week, we're going to be working on piecing some of the subunits to our blocks.  I'm really enjoying working on this quilt-along, I'm loving the progress in the Flickr group.  You guys are fast!

Warm/Cool QAL - I'm waiting on some extra warm/cool squares in the mail from Caitlin to finish my quilt, but in the meantime, here's what this one is shaping up to look like, in case you missed it last week...

Warm/Cool in progress

String Me Along bee quilt - Still waiting on one more block for this quilt, so no progress yet, I'm waiting to get my hands on all of the blocks before I do anything more with it.

Super secret project - Does ironing count as progress?  Because I totally thought about doing that this week...

Single Girl quilt - I've been eyeing this one over the last week, thinking about quilting it myself.  It's a king size quilt, so I'm wondering if I'm losing my mind, but it kills me that the quilt top is just collecting dust.

New this week:
4x5 Modern Quilt Bee - Not an actual quilty WIP yet, but the admin side of the bee has definitely eaten up a chunk of my sewing time.  We've filled up our first quarter of bees, though we are taking a waiting list at this point, and hope to allow for a bigger group of bees next quarter, once we iron out the first quarter kinks!  I think Amy and I almost have everything all ready to roll, so I'm looking forward to getting some sewing time back this week! Here's my inspiration for my 4x5 quilt...


Sawtooth star blocks - I promised a bloggy friend that I would make a few of these in bright fun colors for a quilt she's working on - here's a tute, they're super easy and fun to do!

Special Delivery Project - Is it awful that the first thing I think of when I think of Special Delivery is Mister Rogers's Speedy Delivery guy?  It's probably because my three-year-old has just discovered Mister Rogers, and loves his show.  Anyway, my own personal speedy delivery guy brought me something very special to play with on Monday, and I'm really looking forward to using it, telling you guys about it, and then...can you guess what will happen then?  You'll have to stay tuned :)

Oh, happy happy day!

WiP Wednesday #33 Recap:
Last week's total: 8
Finished: 1
New this week: 2
This week's total: 9

What are you waiting for?  Hop on over to Lee's to check out some other fantastic wip-y eye candy!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FWQAL Week #2

I can't get over how much I am learning in this quilt along.  Well, I shouldn't say that exactly - I think I keep learning the same lesson over and over again, and I'm hoping eventually it will stick: SLOW DOWN.  Silly mistakes, like using the templates backward, happen so much less often when I slow down.

FWQAL so far - 10 blocks in!

I now have finished up 10 of these little blocks, and I'm still just as addicted to this quilt-along as I was when I started...though I have a sneaking suspicion I'll finish this quilt up sooner than I expect at this rate.  I'm enjoying working on these blocks for a quick finish here and there.  This weekend, I had a hard time focusing on any of my bigger sewing projects, and here I am now, four blocks later.

FW Block #7: Birds in the Air
Block #7: Birds in the Air

This block was the bane of my existence of the four blocks I worked on this weekend.  I actually cut out all of the fabric, and then let it sit there while I worked on the other three.  The sheer number of triangles in this block intimidated me, so I procrastinated.  I'm glad I did it - it went a lot more smoothly than I thought it was going to, and I'm happy with how it turned out.  The pink crosshatch fabric comes from Alexander Henry's Farmdale collection and the green is from Robert Kaufman's Metro Living.

FW Block #8: Bouquet
Block #8: Bouquet

I'm not in love with my fabric choices for this block.  I think I wish I had gone for a darker color for the large and small triangles at the base of the bouquet in this block, rather than the Patty Young Sanctuary fabric I used.  I may redo this one at some point, but I suspect when I mix this one in with 110 other blocks, I will completely forget about my mild displeasure with this block.

FW Block #9: Box
Block #9: Box

It's funny, I never knew that I liked orange before.  Not until this quilt-along, when I started pairing it with various lighter shades of blue, like this aqua from Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow.  That herringbone print is one of my most favorite prints of all time, especially in this aqua.  I really like the simple design of this block, and I'm super happy with how it turned out.

FW Block # 10: Bowtie
Block #10: Bowtie

This block was by far the easiest of this group to work on.  I used some small scraps of FMF I had lying about, and paired them with some DS Quilts Fairgrounds and some Katie Jump Rope fabric as well.  The colors on this one make me extremely happy with how this one turned out.

Next week, I'm hoping to add some more colors to the scrappy mix for my quilt - I think it's time to bust out my purple scraps and see if I can make any of them work, or maybe some yellows.  Stay tuned!
Friday, June 24, 2011

4x5 Modern Quilt Bee starting up!

Ever heard of the 3x6 Sampler Quilt Bee on Flickr?  Well, a sister bee is starting up right now, to focus on modern blocks with modern fabrics, the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee.

4x5 modern Quilt Bee Badge

Recognize that quilt block?  Oh yes, that's from Kati, who happens to be in her local modern quilt guild with Amy, who started this awesome new bee.

To be a part of the bee, you must be an active Flickr user with a history of successful swaps as well evidence in your photostream of modern blocks made with modern fabrics.  The group will close at 96 members, who will be placed into 16 different small groups or beehives.  Each bee participant will be responsible for making 12.5" blocks from their stash for the five other members of their beehive, and in return will receive 5 modern blocks in the colors of their choosing.

Sound like something you're interested in?  Hop over to the Flickr group to learn more and request to join the group!
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kaleidoscope QAL: Start your rotary cutters!

Are you ready to get started?  Chomping at the bit a little?  ;)  I am still so floored by the how many people are interested in this little quilt-along, and I'm so excited to start seeing more progress photos in our Flickr group!  Cutting is going to be pretty simple for this quilt, but once you do your cutting, I'm going to encourage you to do some playing around with your fabrics to help plan out how you're going to start your piecing next week.

Let's start with printing this handy dandy template.  You can download it here.

There are two pieces to this template, both of which include a quarter-inch seam allowance - Template A, the Kaleidoscope parallelogram that I will call a Kaleidoscope triangle because it turns into a triangle when pieced into the quilt, and Template B, the corner triangles.  Print out this template, and you can do one of a couple of different things with it to start using it.  First, though, make sure that your template is printed correctly and to size.  Template A should be exactly 6.5" tall.  If Google Docs gives you trouble, try downloading the PDF, then open it in Adobe Acrobat and print it there, while making sure the page scaling is set to "none" - thanks, Kati for that great tip.  If you still have troubles with this, let me know and I'll send you the PDF directly.


Now, to make your templates, you can purchase template plastic at your local craft store to make your templates from, you can use cardboard from a box, or you can stick with just paper.  You can also use freezer paper, like Jo, or you could use tupperware lids/bottoms or milk jugs, like Alysowl!  Also, I find that I am most successful cutting accurately with plastic templates, combining them with a ruler, so I don't accidentally cut the template itself.  Another great template tip, from Leila, is to actually tape the side of the template to your ruler, to keep it from scooting around on you!

Now that you've made your templates, it's time to cut!  Here's what you want to end up with:

Kaleidoscope triangles:
* Baby quilt - 48 prints, 48 solids
* Big quilt - 120 prints, 120 solids

Corner triangles
* Baby quilt - 48 prints, 0 solids
* Big quilt - 120 prints, 0 solids


To cut your kaleidoscope triangles, you'll cut 6.5" wide strips of fabric.  If you're cutting from half-yards or quarter-yards, you should be able to cut 10 kaleidoscope triangles from each 6.5" x WOF strip.  If you're cutting from fat quarters, you should be able to get a total of 5 kaleidoscope triangles.  When you cut one entire kaleidoscope triangle, flip the template over as shown above and cut again, to avoid waste.


To cut your corner triangles, you'll cut 4.5" wide strips of fabric.  Then, line up your template with the raw edge of the fabric, and cut around your template.  You can then flip the template over, just like you did with the kaleidoscope triangle template, and cut again.  If you're cutting from half-yards or quarter-yards, you should be able to cut at least 18 corner triangles from each 4.5" x WOF strip of fabric.  If you're cutting from fat quarters, you should be able to get a total of 9 corner triangles from each cut you make.


Also, a handy cutting tip - you can definitely stack a few fabrics on top of one another to minimize the amount of cutting you have to do.  Just make sure to cut slowly and cautiously for accuracy!

Once you've finished cutting, it's time to play.  You can use a design wall, you can use your floor, you can use whatever space works for you, but you're going to want to play around with how you want this quilt to work out.  Here's a few ideas...

You can go monochromatic with your corner triangles, creating a monochromatic diamond...


You could go totally scrappy (which is what I'm leaning towards, despite how much I like geometric patterns)...

Going for a scrappy look for my Kaleidoscope

There are really tons of different ways to lay these prints out, so feel free to start thinking about this after you finish your cutting!  Better yet, pop over to the Flickr group to see some of the diagrams people are making while they think about how they're going to lay out their Kaleidoscope quilts.

Stay tuned next week for the start of your piecing instructions, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a quick line or to pop over to the Flickr group and ask!

Now, go get cutting!!  :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WiP Wednesday #32

You can always tell when my husband is working late or when my munchkin is being especially difficult because I tend to do a ton of this week!  I've got a lot of things cooking at the moment, here's what's on the fire...

Still going:
Prince Charming quilt - I've finished the quilt top, and I'm working on making the binding at the moment.  I'm hoping to make the backing this weekend and wrap this quilt up by the end of next week, as it's a gift for someone with a birthday real soon!

Prince Charming quilt top - finished!

Warm/Cool quilt - After much grumbling, I finished sewing, pressing, and trimming my HSTs.  I think there's 70 of them total - I'm kind of improvising this one, aiming for a nice, lap sized quilt.  I remembered what I disliked about HSTs, the trimming business.  I also have some extra warm/cool squares coming my way, since I won Caitlin's giveaway, I'm excited to work them into my quilt!

Warm/Cool in progress

Kaleidoscope QAL - I'm 99% ready for the cutting instructions to go up tomorrow.  Need to proofread one more time, just to be safe, or as my munchkin likes to say "just to be sure" (which is his favorite phrase at the moment, and he uses it entirely wrong).  I've finished my cutting, following my instructions, so I think I've worked out any kinks!


Spiderweb quilt - This quilt is all basted, but I just haven't gotten up the nerve to quilt it yet. I really need to, it's taking up a ton of room in my sewing room!

Zero progress:
String Me Along bee quilt
Single Girl quilt
Super secret project

Farmer's Wife QAL - So, I totally caved in and joined in to the Farmer's Wife QAL last week.  I've had a lot of fun getting started with this one, and I plan to try to keep up with the two blocks per week schedule as best as I can.  So far, it's been a fun experience, I've enjoyed whipping up these blocks, as they've been pretty fast to put together.

My first six FWQAL blocks


WiP Wednesday #32 Recap:
Last week's total: 8
Finished: 1
New: 1
This week's total: 8

What are you waiting for?  Take some snaps, share your progress, and link up over at Freshly Pieced's WiP Wednesday linky!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FWQAL Week #1.5

I guess it really isn't my second week yet of the Farmer's Wife QAL, but it is my second post.  I think I'll try to post about my adventures as a quilty Farmer's Wife on Tuesdays from this point forward, because you all know how I love routines :)

Since my last FWQAL post, I've made four more blocks, and two of them required much seam ripping, one of them due entirely to my lack of caffeine.  See, I like to wake up in the morning before my munchkin gets up, and have some adult time.  That usually involves coffee, but this morning, I didn't get around to making my coffee before I sat down to sew up a block...and that led to lots of seam ripping.

Block #3: Basket
This block was an exercise in determination for me.  At first, I was determined to attempt needle-turn applique.  Then, realizing how shaky my hand-sewing work is and how little I trust my hand-sewing to actually hold something together, I decided to adapt and make this work for my machine.  I had already cut the basket handle at a single strip of bias-cut fabric, so I ironed the heck out of it, then tacked it onto my block with my machine and matching thread.  I think it worked out pretty darned good, all things considered, and I adore the fabrics.

FWQAL Block #3: Basket

Block #4: Basketweave
This is my first real rail-fence kind of block.  I improvised this one a little bit - rather than cutting 12 different pieces of fabric as the templates required, I cut single strips of each of my three fabrics and then sub-cut them into the appropriate lengths after sewing the three fabrics together.  Made this block super easy to put together and super fast!

FWQAL Block #4: Basketweave

Block #5: Batwing
I love the color scheme I picked for this block.  I have never been a big fan of orange, but man, when you pair it with aqua, I really enjoy it!  This block wasn't too much of a pain to put together, although I did have a bit of an oops with it - if you look really closely, one of the orange triangles is not the mirror image of the triangle facing it, oops!  But I figure in the grand scheme of 111 blocks that no one will ever notice again, so I didn't change it.

FWQAL Block #5: Batwing

Block #6: Big Dipper
This is the block I did this morning that I had to rip apart thanks to my lack of brain function.  Instead of sewing the triangles together on the long side, this block requires you to sew them together on one of the short sides, but rather than thinking it through and laying the block out before sewing, I just started sewing the triangles together.  The wrong way.  I then had to unpick all my stitching and start over, and uttering several curse words.  I like how this block turned out, ultimately, although it is awfully busy.  I kind of like that about it, though.

FWQAL Block #6: Big Dipper

In other news, I got a super funny fortune with my take-out dinner the other night...

My fortune

After this morning's little unpicking session, I'm wondering if maybe this fortune was meant for my munchkin instead... :) 
Monday, June 20, 2011

A very charming quilt top!

I spent most of my sewing time this weekend working on finishing up my Prince Charming quilt top.  I thought it would be somewhat of a mad dash toward the end, so I could sit down to watch the season finale of "The Killing" last night on AMC (which was awesome!), but I finished with plenty of time to spare.


I'm really happy with how this quilt top is looking!  I just adore these fabrics, Tula Pink really outdid herself with this line.  There aren't a ton of collections where I love every print, but this is absolutely one one them.


As for the pattern, it comes from Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  I first stumbled upon it via some the blocks that WendyLou picked for my circle of do.Good.Stitches in May and really enjoyed making them.  I think the pattern is perfect for highlighting larger repeat fabrics, like some of Tula's, and I think Megan is thinking about doing one of these quilts using Jay McCarroll's amazing Habitat collection - nudge, nudge, Megan!


I'm linking up today with {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations - hop on over and check out the other modern finishes up for display!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations
Saturday, June 18, 2011

So...I caved :)

So, last night, I caved and decided to try a few Farmer's Wife blocks, as part of the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along that's been sweeping blogland as of late.  I picked up the book earlier this week at the library when I stumbled upon it, and last night, I felt the urge to try it out.  I printed out some templates and gave it a go, starting with the first two blocks, because I'm an orderly kind of person like that. Cutting out the templates was a minor annoyance (how hard would it have been to just write simple rotary cutting instructions for a 2" square, for instance?), but other than that, I really enjoyed whipping up these blocks.  It took very little time, and I think they're pretty cute.

Block #1: Attic Windows

I think I'm going to take a totally scrappy approach to these blocks.  The color palette for these two blocks was totally inspired by one of my favorite Anna Maria Horner prints that happened to be in my scrap bin - Small Gathering in Sea.

Block #2: Autumn Tints
Doing two of these little blocks a week feels totally do-able, so I'm actually happy to have caved in to join this quilt-along.  I haven't done many traditional blocks in my quilting life, so I think it will be good practice for me and I'm sure I will learn a lot in the process of working on these blocks.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Finished! Modern Crosses baby quilt

It's amazing what some well placed and planned log cabins turn into

I am so happy with how this quilt has turned out.  I adore the simplicity of this pattern, and I think it works perfectly for the baby that will be receiving this quilt.  He has been dreamed of and wished for by his parents for many years, and I'm so happy for them.   I hope this quilt will convey that happiness to them throughout the start of their journey into the parenting trenches.

Finished Modern Crosses Baby quilt

This quilt is 100% pieced from my stash.  Stash binding, stash batting, stash solids, and stash prints.  Really!  It was so exciting to manage to work strictly from my stash, I really enjoyed it, need to do it more often!  The prints range from blues to greens to reds, from Alexander Henry to Denyse Schmidt and Michael Miller.

A sea of modern crosses

The backing was kind of a happy accident.  When I read the pattern, which makes a much larger quilt, I decided to just halve the number of blocks and make something half as big, but when I laid it out on my design wall, it felt too big.  I saved some of my blocks for the back, instead, and paired them with some various Kona blue solids in my stash, and I'm really happy with it!

Modern Crosses baby finished back

The pattern comes from Modern Log Cabin Quilting: 25 Simple Quilts and Patchwork Projects by Susan Beal, which I highly recommend - and happens to be on sale at Amazon right now!  I really have enjoyed the eye candy from this book, it's changed my perspective entirely on log cabins blocks.  For the better!!  I will definitely make another quilt like this one at some point, maybe an awesome scrap quilt for the end of the year or something.

Quilt Stats
Name: Modern Crosses Baby quilt for Nicholas
Size: 48" square
Fabrics: A mismash of a bunch of different lines, like Denyse Schmidt's Greenfield Hill, Alexander Henry's Monkey Bizness, Michael Miller's French Journal, Riley Blake's Wheels, Riley Blake's All Star, Ann Kelle's Remix, Ann Kelle's Urban Circus, Robert Kaufman's Metro Living, MoMo's It's a Hoot, Michael Miller's Ta Dot, Oliver + S's City Weekend and more
Binding: Navy pindot, unknown manufacturer
Quilting: Meandering stipple in white thread by me
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WiP Wednesday #31

Another week, another list - and speaking of lists, it's almost time for my quarterly check-in to see how I'm doing with my lofty quilty goals for the year.  If you want to join in, check back here on June 30th to link up your progress reports now that year is almost halfway over (eek!).

Here's what I've been sewing up this week...

Birdie Stitches June Block
String Me Along June block
{Sew} Beautiful block for Cara
do.Good.Stitches blocks

Still working on:
Kaleidoscope QA - I'm getting so excited about this!!  I cannot believe how many of you have joined in, I can't wait to get started.  Next Thursday, 6/23, I'll be posting the cutting instructions along with a template for cutting.  In the meantime, there's lots of writing and doodling and scratching things out and such.  :)

Kaleidoscope QA in progress!

Modern Crosses baby quilt - I plan to baste this one today and start quilting, hopefully.  I'm hoping to wrap this quilt up by the end of the week so I can deliver it this weekend.

Modern Baby Crosses Baby Quilt Top - View #1

Prince Charming quilt - Made some good progress this week on the blocks for this quilt, I just love this fabric collection, it makes me smile.  How can you not smile when this froggy is starting back at you?

Prince Charming Block #1  

Warm/Cool QA - I've cut up a bunch of warms and cools...but I keep wanting to cut more.  I think I've officially decided to make something between the baby and twin size, something like a lap quilt, I think.


Spiderweb quilt - She's basted and ready to go...if only I could decide how to quilt it and get up the nerve to do it!

String Me Along bee quilt - My turn as queen bee was last month, but I'm still waiting on about half of my blocks to arrive, so I haven't done anything with this just yet.  But...the blocks I have are taking up room in my sewing space, so I'm counting this as a WiP for now.

Still waiting for attention:
Super secret project - Technicolor Squares - I'm finally ready to start cutting, I soon as I can finish off another quilt...or better yet, I should have some sneak peeks to share sooner rather than later :)

Single Girl - Argh.  I really need to call that LQS that said they'd be getting a long-arm in April.  Otherwise, I see some straight-line quilting in my future...

Almost a WiP:
Farmer's Wife QA - Have you seen this quilt-along taking the blogging world by storm?  I have, and I happened upon a copy of the book at the library on Monday.  Still trying to decide if that was just coincidence, or some kind of sign...

WiP Wednesday #31 Recap:
Finished: 4
Last week's total: 12
New this week: 0 (I haven't officially caved in to the Farmer's Wife yet, I'm just on the verge!)
This week's total: 8

What are you working on?  Write it up, and share it over at Freshly Pieced's WiP Wednesday linky!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
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