Sunday, December 28, 2014

Grand Illusion - Part 5

Bonjour, tout le monde! I hope you're enjoying this festive season! The puppies had fun with the wrapping paper! Sasha was buried under it at one point!

Well, Bonnie was right to say that this week's clue was a quick one! And with my project being half sized, it was even faster. I'm linked up with her progress posts each week! Look for my purple portrait in the sea of contributors.

One of my favorite blocks to make is the 4 patch. It is a great one for practicing lining up seams and precision piecing on getting that center point perfectly sewn.

Ten inches of yellow and five inches of black and pink were all I needed to construct two "B" 4 patch blocks. Needless to say I worked on banging them out first!

The "A" blocks needed one and a half WOF strips to give me enough to make 13 blocks.

Sewing the side seams with the yellow folded towards the needle helps to keep the center point butted up together, like the way we want to see it!

Pretty good!

All of these blocks were done in less than an hour. 

The mystery box is getting pretty full! Can't wait to see what it will become at the end!

To see the posts on the other clues, check these out: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Are you doing the mystery? If so, are you keeping up? Do you have any idea what it'll look like when it's done?

If you enjoy mystery projects but want less of a challenge, consider doing my mystery, Dazzle Burst, which will be revealing part 1 on January 1st! If you are a comfortable beginner or better quilter, you can take on this one! The supply list and video are available in the Mystery Projects Tab

Friday, December 26, 2014

Dazzle Burst Video

Introduction and supply list video!

For anyone who benefits from visuals more than from documents, this is for you!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Grand Illusion - Part 4

Well, I had a sore back today. After sleeping crooked, carrying heavy groceries around, tossing trash into a dumpster, and feeling the effects from sitting on the floor to wrap some things the last couple days, my back had enough! But that didn't keep me from diving into clue 4 of the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt!

Bonnie was right to say that this week's clue was a bit less intense. We already had practice making this block in Part 1 of this project. 

I love these colors! Sunny yellow, glassy turquoise, hot pink, creamy white, and midnight black!

Pressing back, center seams open will help make the top lay flatter when it's quilting time.

I'm making a half sized quilt top so I did 20 of each block. 

Into the mystery box they go; all ready for action! Now, I'm going to take some aspirin and lay down!

How are you doing with your progress? Link up at Quiltville and share your quilt blocks with the world! But you have to do it while the link up is available so get that sewing machine going!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Repair Services

A woman gave me a coat that had a rip on the back seam of her coat. "Can you fix this?" "I accept the challenge!"

The rip was on the back, lower seam. I trimmed out the strands, serged the edges, and added a piece of fabric in the seam. It folded into a pleat that sat behind the coat. I think it looks pretty good!

If you have clothing that needs repair, let me know! I'll accept the challenge!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Grand Illusion - Part 3

Here we go - Grand Illusion's clue #3! I have linked up on Quiltville's page with lots of other talented quilters where we can share our progress with each other. Thank you for visiting mine!

I grabbed some new black fabric. The fabric I used last time was a little weird and I saw a good sized remnant that I liked the other day so it was put to use! Since I chose to make a half size project, I needed 3 WOF strips of black, 12 of green, and 9 of neutral. 

Sewing the strips together is hypnotizing! I love these colors! It looks like ribbon candy!

Bonnie was very clear about needing to be precise in the 1/4" seam and having the pieces come out exactly right. My machine has a small etching on the plate (right in front of my fingertip) so you know where the edge of the fabric needs to not cross over for the 1/4" allowance. I try to stay just next to it so I get the "scant" 1/4" seam.

The sets are pieced and sub-cut. Stacked in piles of 10, ready for the second seam!

Press, press, press! Snip, snip, snip!

Stack, stack, stack! All done for this week!

Into the mystery box they go. It's looking rather interesting in there!

How did you do on this week's clue? Any ideas on what it will look like? We can only wait to see!

My weekend had some present wrapping as part of the festivities. My puppy thought a spot under the tree was a good place for a nap. I agree!

My mystery project, Dazzle Burst, will begin showing its clues in January. I am so excited to share it! If you are of a confident beginner, you will be able to make my project! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Dazzle Burst" Mystery Introduction

It's been two years since my first mystery quilt pattern, Ringing In The New Year, was released. I figured it is past time for another mystery!

There were a lot of ups and downs that transpired over those 24 months. Beginnings and endings, births and deaths, joys and struggles. But whenever I wanted, I knew I could look forward to the wonders that would come out of ThistleFire, my sewing room! This was a place where I could express my artsy-self in fabric and thread. Ringing In The New Year was a hit! It won 2nd place in the county fair and several were ordered to be enjoyed in homes. You can find that pattern in the mystery tab!

There are many pattern ideas that I have but Dazzle Burst is ready to be debuted. And what a way to start a new year - bursting into 2015 with something dazzling! My project will come out at 54" X 62" be a personal sized quilt that could be continued on and multi-bordered to make it large enough for any bed. You'll just have to do the math and get more fabric!

My mystery projects are manageable sizes and can be done by a confident beginner so as long as you know the basics of quilting and can sew a straight line, you should have no problem making my patterns! Just read the posts and follow along. If you aren't comfortable doing giant projects or feel like you can't keep up with the skills of other QALs, try my patterns out. I hope you do!

So let's get at the supply list!

Dazzle Burst Mystery Quilt - Introduction

A while ago, I was walking through the paint isle and grabbed a bunch of color swatch cards to keep in my sewing room. These are handy for picking out colors while in the fabric store! Our project is going to be two colors with two tones of each color. 

My two color choices are blue and yellow. The two tones of each color are the top and bottom squares on my cards. 

Here are my fabric choices. Two dark and two lighter shades of each color!

I chose mottled solids but you can use a small pattern print or go all scrappy! Just stay within the shade scheme. 

The exact names of the colors doesn't matter as much as the tones do. Grab the dark yellow card and get one yard of this shade.  

Get one yard of the dark blue.

Get one yard of the medium yellow. 

And get one and a half yards of the medium blue. 

Get 1/2 yard of a complimentary color, like rusty-orange or a darker shade of blue, or pick out a fabric with coordinating blue and yellow shades in it. 

Grab a package of batting that's around 60"x70". 

Your last fabric also needs to be large enough to cover 60"x70" so get 1&3/4 yards of 90" or 3&1/2 yards of 44" and seam it to make it to size. This can be any color you choose or you can make it from your stash!

Get 7 yards (or at least 240") of a dark shade of single-fold binding strip that will go well with the colors in the top. You can purchase it premade or make it yourself. I will make my own by cutting 4" width of fabric strips, sewing the ends together to make it very long, and pressing it (with starch) in half. 

Pull out your rotary cutter, mat, ruler, scissors, thread, pins, iron sewing machine. Get a new blade and needle installed if needed. :)

Optional items: EZ Angle cutting template and spray starch. For a homemade version, see this post.

That's it! Feel free to change up your colors, just choose a cool color (like blue) and a warm color (like yellow) and get two shades of each color. 

The first clue will be revealed on January 1, 2015! I hope you'll join in on the fun! 

Farewell For Now

Rest in peace, my dear friend. I'll miss you - see you in heaven. 

Grand Illusion - Part 2

Onward with the Grand Illusion mystery! Part 2 was a pleasure. I love making diamonds! I tackled this clue over 2 nights. One for all the prepping and one for all the sewing.

Day 1: First, I choose the instructions in Bonnie's clue where you sew squares on the edges. I got them all cut with the aid of June Tailor's Shape Cut (see my post on Clue 1 to see it). I got the bright idea to fold them in 1/2 to make the diagonal line where you sew. Sometimes I gotta try different things to discover what way works for me! Well, it wasn't going to work at all. The fold line didn't show up well in the sewing step, so I went ahead and marked them as instructed. Gotta trust Bonnie's expertise!

All the black corner squares were pinned in place with the diagonal line in the correct direction.

In case you were wondering... This is my marking tool of choice. Fons & Porter mechanical fabric pencil. It's very natural to use and offers white and dark "lead" that loads easiest if you slide it in the hole on the point of the pencil when the eraser is pressed in. I love it!

Day 2: After the black corners were sewed down, they were scissor-trimmed and pressed. The pink squares were set up ready to be set on the other corner. 

I enjoy having a movie or show on in the background when I work. Today's choice was A Knight's Tale. RIP Heath Ledger. We love your work on the big screen. How can you not love that face? Gone too soon.......

After a few hours of sewing, I was happy with my completion of 50 Double Diamond blocks! Woo hoo! Most of the centers lined up. Precision pinning before sewing this seam would help with consistent accuracy.

It's quite the stack!

 Into the mystery box they go. Looking forward to clue 3!

Are you in on the mystery? Find everything you need to get started at Quiltville's blog in the Grand Illusion tab! Link up here to share your progress!

If your quilting skills are not quite up to par for this level, or if you want to make a project that is less extensive, check out my mystery projects! There is a complete one available (Ringing in the New Year) and a new one that I will be releasing clues for in January 2015 called Dazzle Burst! 

Thanks for checking out my posts. I love to hear from guests so give me a comment and say Hi! You can also visit my Facebook page Pamelyn's Postings or my Etsy shop, ThistleFire to keep connected!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Grand Illusion - Part 1

Bonnie Hunter has released clue #1 of the 2014 mystery quilt, Grand Illusion. Woo hoo! I figured I wasn't going to make the mystery this year but the clue sucked me in and I decided to do the half size option. It really is fun to participate in mystery projects! I enjoy being able to write about the adventure on my blog and hearing from you wonderful, commenting readers who visit from Bonnie's link up! If you like my posts, feel free to explore my posts, pin what you want to remember, and maybe even "follow" me!

If you checked out my posts last year, thanks for coming back! Here's my Celtic Solstice quilt that I gave to my husband for Christmas (in January).
I love it!

And when he's not using it, someone else usually is! Sasha approves!

Back to Grand Illusion.......
Considering all the colors and quantities called for, I found that I had almost all of them in my stash! The only color I needed to get was turquoise. That in itself was a great boost to jump into the pool!

About a year ago, my mom recommended using the June Tailor Shape Cut, a strip cutting guide. Do you have one?
There are cutting slots every 1/2 inch and it was perfect for the 2-1/2" strips and squares that this clue called for. You place the fabric under it and slice away. It holds the fabric nicely in place; no moving and realigning after each cut. It's a time saver! 

Thanks to that tool, my black and yellow squares were done very quickly!

Recently, I saw a you tube video called Fast and Easy Pinwheels!!! from Missouri Quilt Co on how to make 1/2-square triangles with larger squares that are X-cut into triangular quarters. When you open them up, you have four 1/2 square triangles. Brilliant! Thank you for the technique, MQC!

Although I have the awesome EZ Angle tool, I decided to try this method for my 140 1/2-square triangles. Trying new things is good, right? Now for the math: since each square will produce four 1/2-square triangle units, I need to make 35 pairs of pink and turquoise squares to sew. 35 x 4 = 140

After experimenting a bit with some test pieces, I found that my squares needed to be 4" in order to produce the 2-1/2" 1/2-square triangles after X-cutting them. Each WOF strip can easily give ten 4" square cuts, so I made four 4" WOF strips from both colors, lined them up right-sides-together, and then subcut them down to the 4" squares. 

The pile of squares are ready for sewing! 

This is a strange step. Every square needed to be sewn shut 1/4" around all four edges. That seems wrong to do but it is right!

The X-cut is next. Just line the ruler up corner to corner and slice. Turn to the opposite corners and slice. Don't forget to breathe!

Now, when you open each of the triangles, they magically turn into 2-1/2" 1/2-square triangles! They can be starched if the bias edges are too stretchy, but I didn't starch mine.

Bonnie said to get rid of those dog ears! With a little cleanup trimming, they came out perfect! (As long as the seam allowance is 1/4" on the outer edges.) my little squaring ruler came in handy here!
If your seams run big and your final units are too small, just make the initial 4" squares 1/4" larger and trim the final units down to size. Or better yet, practice sewing your seams to be closer to the 1/4" allowance. I measured around my needle to see where the 1/4" points were on my foot so I had better control over eyeballing the place the fabric needed to land under the needle.

It was worth it! Look, not much waste! This was about half of what was trimmed off of my blocks. 

All I needed to do from here was make the 50 broken dishes blocks. Those yellow and black squares came into play and both halves were sewn. Line up the solid square in the corner points of the triangles and sew the edge. Just make sure it's the correct edge that gets the seam! :)

To keep things in order, I put a completed block next to my machine and the halves to be sewn in front of the block. That way, there was a reference of the block I was to make at a glance away. I always knew which way to place the halves together and where to sew.

After doing about half of them, I was noticing a bothersome result. Running the halves under the needle with the work off to the left, my center points weren't lining up very well. This was the worst of them. 
And yes, it was beyond my misalignment tolerance level and I ripped it out and redid it!

I noticed my center seams were pressed in the direction so the top seam edge faced me. Therefore, they were more apt to pull apart from each other when the needle came to the center point.

I got my ruler and measured where my fabric needed to go under the foot to get a 1/4" seam and flipped the broken dish unit over and the edge of the top seam faced the needle. The fabric was feeding opposite of how we always sew, lying to the right of the needle! This way, the top seam is facing the needle (not me) and will be butted up against the bottom seam as it's sewn not pulled away from it.
It felt very left handed to sew this way! Slow going at first, giving my brain a workout, but it became easier after a while. :)

And it brought my center points in line!

What way did you press these blocks? I don't recall seeing specific instruction for that. Did you spin the center seams? I took my iron and, starting at the bottom of the block, did a backwards C motion (counterclockwise from 8:00 - 2:00) to get them to lay as flat as they would go.

Voila! My 50 blocks were done! And the 40 extra 1/2-square triangle units were set aside for later. 

Making the half-size option is a good pace for me. 44"x44" will be a beautiful center in a personal-sized quilt. Add some borders and it'll be great! We know that Bonnie's patterns are all great!

I'm ready for the next clue on Friday! Want to join in? Find the pattern on Bonnie's blog, and look for the Grand Illusion Mystery tab for the clues! Hurry, she says it'll only be there til spring! Are you a watcher? Did you join in on the mystery? What is your 1/2 square triangle method of choice? I'd love to hear from you all!