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! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Day

The wind is kicking the snow up, our turkey is in the oven, and the sights and smells of the holiday is going into full gear. has put up clue 1 for the 2014 mystery project. I'm getting pics and texts from my sister about her tree being trimmed. My plan for turkey gravy is mulling through my mind. I love the weekend after Thanksgiving! 

What are you up to this weekend?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Long Arm Time - Field of Flowers

This quilt pattern didn't have a name so I dubbed it Field of Flowers!

It started out as this top. 

On to the long arm it goes!

The allover design I decided to do is of daisy flowers. 

Next, the binding will be done and off it will go to its home!

Want help with finishing your quilt? Leave me a comment!

Long Arm - Red Poppies

I love working on other peoples' quilts! Have I ever said that before? Probably have. Here is a gorgeous one that was made by a beautiful lady who is an inspiration to me. 

Red Poppies!

The quilt is stunning! Here's what I did to it. 

Outline the flowers

Do some cross hatching

Meander through these panels

And outline the leaves (which gave it a trapunto effect)

All the borders got this in it

Jan, your project was amazing. I am honored you chose me to be your quilter!

If you have a quilt that needs finishing, leg me know and I'll help you get it quilted!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bargello Lone Star - Top Progress

The set in triangles and corner squares are done!

Doing the set in triangles as described in my last two posts, the corners were next. 

I pinned the white squares down along the right edge of each arm. That edge was sewn to the middle V of the star. Back stitch and remove from the machine. Align the next edge and sew it from the point to the center seam in the V of the star. Back stitch and go to the next one!

Step back and admire the beautiful Lone Star pattern. It's big! Sparkie approves!

Next, the borders need to go on. Hmmm. I have to consider what to do for that part!

If you would like to learn how to piece and quilt, I give lessons!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bargello Lone Star - Set In Seaming Pt 2

After getting past a number of busy days, and a touch of procrastination, I got back to tackling the set in seams today. The first two panels were pinned and waiting for me!

There are a couple ways to do Y seams. Start at one end and sew to the Y or start at the Y and sew to the end. I am doing one of each, breaking thread between each seam run, and 

First, the point of the "y" needs to be marked. I love the Fons and Porter ceramic mechanical pencil for this job. I used a ruler to ensure the 1/4" placement for the start and stop point was accurate. 

That part with the little X goes under the foot and it helps with getting the needle exactly where it needs to go. Can you see it in the center hole? 

Sewing along bias edges can be challenging if edges get stretched. Slow and steady wins this race. 

We're half way done! That blue raw edge is turned over and pinned along the raw edge of the white fabric. 

This time, I'm starting from the edge and sewing to the center mark in the Y. 

I reached the X in the center! 

Remove the pins and admire that Y seam! If the seams don't lay flat, pick out a few stitches in the point and restitch. Press seams to lock stitches. 

Well, I have seven more white panels to add. This Lone Star quilt will be done this month!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bargello Lone Star - Set In Seaming Pt 1

I always think I'm going to get so much more done in the sewing room than I do. Does that happen with you? I'm at the point in BLS where it's set in seam time. 

Some people cringe at that skill. With proper cutting and accurate seam allowance, it's not that bad. You have to get around a turn in your straight line. This can be done!

So I have the diamonds ready to be attached into twos. There will be four sets of these. 

The triangle will be set in the right side of each set. 

Tip: sew the white part a smidge extended beyond the colored piece. 

When it's ironed, you won't have dark shadows showing past the white seam. 

There are four sets of this piece. 

The next seam is the one with the set in angle, up the center and pivoting to the right. 

This step will be shown in part 2!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Quick Side Project - An Amp Cover

My DH asked me to make a cover for his amp. The piece of fabric I had was almost the exact size I needed! Love that when it happens! Here it is-

I used a canvas and think it will keep the dust off but be breathable enough to keep it aired. He was happy! So was I!

Bargello Lone Star Seaming

The progress on the lone star quilt is moving along nicely. I made a boo book in some cutting for the background pieces but other than that it's going well. 

The strips are waiting to be sewn. 

Here's the layout overview. 

All pinned and ready for stitching. 

There's eight of these for a complete star. 

Next time, I'll be showing the set in pieces. Happy stitching!