Sunday, June 30, 2013

Heart and Soul Quilt

I have a fabulous quilt finish today.  It's one I've been working on for several weeks and finally finished a few days ago.

I'm calling it my Heart and Soul quilt.

One day while perusing my facebook feed, I saw this heart quilt block pattern that was being shared by Aurifil.  It was their designer block of the month by Katy Jones of Monkey Do.  The block is called Heart and Soul.  I immediately fell in love and had to make it.  So I stopped everything and started cutting up squares.
**The full pattern download is at the end of the interview post.**

I could see the finished quilt in my head hanging on the dining room wall.  I knew I wanted it to be a rainbow of colors.  So I just grouped squares together based on the color wheel.

Here is blue/purple:  (I even used some of my Michael Miller Mirror Ball fabric that I've been hoarding)
Here is red and pink:

Different shades of green from aqua to lime to dark green.  I thought it looked cool:
And yellow with oranges:
(notice how I don't have a perfect point at the end of my heart?  No one's perfect, right?)
Here is the lovely back.  I've had this great swirly multicolored fabric for some time and could never figure out what to do with it.  So, since it basically had the same colors as the quilt front, I thought I'd use it for the back.  I did more improvisational piecing with this one and I love how it came out.
The "LOVE" letters are paper pieced following a tutorial that I had found on Sew Mama Sew by Kelly from kelbysews.  In her tutorial, she made them into an adorable mini quilt which I have had on my to do list for some time.   So, I just decided "why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone" and added them to the bottom of my hearts.  She sells the whole wonky paper pieced alphabet in her etsy shop.  If you haven't tried paper piecing but have been wanting to, her letters are easy and cute.

Up close of my cool swirly fabric from the back:

I bound the quilt with a text print called Scribble Notes in black from the Architextures line by Robert Kaufman.  I really like this fabric and I think I should have bought more.
I quilted it with organic straight lines going horizontally.

The fabric used in the hearts was from my stash and the back ground fabric for each block is white tonal fabric also from my stash - I know you can't tell in the pictures.  I used the same white tonal fabrics for the background of the love letters.  The remaining white background fabric as well as the white fabric used on the back are Kona Cotton in white.
I can't remember who made the colorful swirly fabric I used on the back but I think it might be from Michael Miller.

The quilt measures 31" by 34".
I love it and I'm excited to hang it on my dining room wall.  I plan to hand sew ribbon loops to the top and thought I'd try those 3M products that are removable hooks.  Anyone ever tried those?  Did they work ok?

I'd love to hear your comments about my projects.  Any feedback is appreciated.

Also, please follow me on bloglovin or here on this blog.  My Pinterest link is at the top left - I pin lots of great quilts and quilt ideas as well as recipes and such. 

**Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday @ Better off Thread and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Card Trick Quilt Block Tutorial

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my local quilt shop (A Nimble Thimble) has a once a month event called Saturday Sampler.  Part of the event is participating in the BOM that the quilt shop is doing.  Each month we bring in our completed block from the prior month and we get our instructions and fabric for the next month's block.  By the end of the year, we will have 12 completed 12 inch blocks - enough to make a quilt and it only costs $5 for the whole year.  What a deal!!!  However, the instructions that we're given are very basic and really only include what size blocks to cut along with a diagram.  So for me, part of the challenge is figuring out how to make it.

 Our May block is called Card Trick.  Since I'm new to quilting, most of these blocks are new to me but so far, they have all been pretty straight forward.  But Card Trick was a bit tricky.  So to find a good tutorial, I headed to the internet.

And that's where I got stuck.  Our instructions said to cut 2 different size blocks but all the good tutorials I found that made any sense all used the same size blocks.  Plus there was a lot of "take color option 1 and color option 2 and blah blah.  Use color option 3 and color option 2 and blah blah."

So, I'm going to blame this on my fibro and lupus.  Instructions have to be really simple for me now.  If they aren't, I have trouble following them.  Also, if too many things are thrown at me at once, I can't follow.  They have to be simple, straightforward and not all muddled up with blah blahs.  Before I got sick, my thought processes were much faster - lightning speed :).  Now they are much slower and I have to think about how to do even very simple things.

I decided to sit down and write my own tutorial.  It has taken me a while to get it finished but I hope that someone will find it useful.  Please let me know if you find any mistakes in it.  Also, I would love for you to leave me a comment if you have a better (easier) way of doing it.

Here goes.

Card Trick Quilt Block Tutorial
For this tutorial, I am using 2 fabrics for the "cards".  A purple batik and an orange batik.  The white muslin fabric is the background fabric. 

Step 1.  From each fabric, cut one square that is 5 1/4" by 5 1/4".
From each fabric, cut two squares that are 4 7/8" by 4 7/8".
Step 2.  Use of the 4 7/8 purple squares, one orange 4 7/8 square and the 2 white 4 7/8 squares to make half square triangles. 
After cutting the squares into the HST's, you will have 2 orange and 2 purple.
Iron them flat.
Square up each HST and cut off the dog ears.
You should have one purple 4 7/8 inch square left and one orange 4 7/8 inch square left.  Cut each one in half diagonally.
Take your 3 squares that are 5 1/4 inch and cut each one in half diagonally and then in half again so that each square is quartered.

You will each up with 4 small orange triangles, 4 small purple triangles, 4 small white triangles, 2 large purple and 2 large white triangle plus the HST's you already made.

Using the 3 piles of smaller triangles, sew 2 white's to 2 purples.
Sew 2 whites to 2 oranges.
Sew 2 purples to 2 oranges.
When you sew these small triangles together, start at the square end, not the pointy end.  (that's a little tip I picked up in quilting class - thanks Sandy!!)
Iron them flat with seam to dark side (or wherever you want it).
Here are all of my little triangles.
Now sew the orange/purple triangle to the other orange/purple triangle.  Ta da!

Sew the purple/white triangles to the large orange triangles.
Sew the orange/white triangles to the large purple triangles. 
You should have this.

Square up each small block and cute off any dog ears.
Lastly, follow the block diagram to put each small block where it goes.  It should turn out looking like this.
And there you have it.  Clear as mud.
Good luck and please comment to let me know how yours turned out!
***I'm linking this blog post to the Sew Darn Crafty Linky Party.**

Monday, June 17, 2013

Feature at My Polka Dotted Bliss

Kim at My Polka Dotted Bliss was nice enough to ask me to write about my sewing space for her blog.  She does a post on Saturdays called "Saturday Spaces".

My feature is up right now and there are lots of pictures of my sweet little space.  Check out Kim's blog and see my post!

Kim sells really beautifully made paper goods in her etsy shop.  You can see all the goodness HERE.

Thanks so much Kim!  I had fun writing about my space.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Modern Mini Quilt Challenge at Ellison Lane Quilts

Ellison Lane, which is one of my favorite quilting blogs to follow, is having a modern mini quilt challenge.  Today is the last day to sign up.  I've been sewing my little fingers raw trying to get my mini quilt finished in time. 
I started my mini about 2 weeks ago so that I could participate and as I've mentioned before, I sew at a snail's pace compared to most people.
The challenge was to try something new.  Maybe a new pattern, new technique, new thread, try to expand your horizons so to speak.
TaDAAAAAA!! Here is my expanded horizon and my modern mini quilt for the challenge!

 During my process of making my mini, I had lots of "news".

*I used the wonky star block pattern for the first time.  I've always liked the way it looked on other quilts and it was fun and easy to make.
*I used a new thread - a 100% polyester quilting thread by Mettler, color # 0624 (which is a gray that matches my background fabric).  I have been using Aurifil 50 wt. cotton thread which I love.  But I have to say, I really liked the Mettler as well.
*I free motion quilted it!!  This was my first time to free motion quilt something that wasn't a practice sandwich quilt.  It was a lot more fun than straight line stitching and I think I'm hooked.
 Here's the awesome looking back!

 I chose red, white and blue because I needed a patriotic table topper for my dining room table.  I chose the gray background color because I wanted to do something different from my usual white and also because it is used a lot in modern quilting.

 See my free motion quilting stitches?  They are pretty good.  I used a random loopy pattern and it is by no means perfect.  There are mistakes all over the place.  Every time I had to stop and start, I had trouble getting my stitches uniform.  And then just when I would get into a groove, I would have to stop or the bobbin would run out or something equally annoying.

 Even the back looks pretty good.  I do think my stitches need to be tighter but I couldn't figure out how to do that.  I adjusted my tension several times - maybe I just need to practice more.  Also, I did a terrible job on the binding which is why there are no close ups of that.  I got in a hurry and made some stupid mistakes.  I may end up taking it off and redoing it.  Although, maybe I should just love it because it's not perfect?

And I forgot to mention the size of my mini.  It is 19.5 inches by 19.5 inches. 

Anywho, I'm linking this post up to Ellison Lane Quilts for the mini quilt challenge.  She has lots of great prizes and there are lots of great entries.  Hop on over to her blog and check them out.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Modern Quilting

Modern Quilting - the new quilting movement.

I've read a lot of magazine articles, blog posts, etc. lately about modern quilting and all the different types of modern quilting.  There is much debate over what modern quilting means and its subcategories.

I'm not going to go into all of that.  I'm just going to say that the modern quilting movement is what got me interested in quilting.  I've been around quilting all my life, my mother quilted for a time.  My first quilting project ever was a Christmas tree skirt that I made 20ish years ago when my husband and I got married.  I hand cut (with scissors) all the pieces and then hand sewed and hand quilted it.   Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE hand sewing?  Well, I do.  I can take it in small doses and I mean very small.  But more than I few stitches makes me frustrated and angry.  I'm still surprised that I ever finished that tree skirt.

But I'm absolutely in love with modern quilting.  The colorful fabrics, modern designs, geometric shapes, the rule of "there are no rules".  I read an article recently stating that you should learn the traditional way of quilting and then do what you want.  I love that!

Don't get me wrong.  I love old quilts and old quilt patterns and I have a great respect for all quilters because I know how much love and time they put into their quilts.  Especially hand sewn ones - yikes!

The magazine shown above is one of my favorite quilting magazines.  Here is my very favorite:
It has lots of pointers for beginners and really great articles.

And now for some quilt blocks. 
I have been remiss in showing my quilt blocks for the BOM's I'm doing so I thought I'd just show them in big lumps instead of one each month.

Here are my blocks for the Lucky Stars paper piecing online BOM.  These are for January - April and the practice block.  I haven't completed the May or June blocks yet.

 My favorite.  I'd like to make a mini quilt with this one.
This was the practice block.  It looks like a ninja star to me and is my second favorite so far.

I'm about half way through quilting the quilt from the last blog post and I'll get pics up asap.

Hope you're enjoying the warm summer weather.
PS - the birds left their nest.