My next quilt will be made from these fat quarters. I'm in love with the colors and the stark contrast of them all. Yellow adds a bit of springtime. I plan on strip piecing small squares together with some Kona Snow. Simple yet eye-catching.
This week is all about finishing projects (and maybe starting a few, too!). I was able to finish the HST quilt top on day one of my vacation. I've discovered new ways to work more efficiently. I guess I had to given my lack of time.
Working in stages really helped. I would pin all the pieces, then chain stitch all the pieces, then iron all the pieces. I used to work on a block at a time rather than on a part of the process. This way, it was easier to find small blocks of time to devote to the part of the process, sewing, pinning, or ironing. I didn't have to continually figure out where I left off.
The quilt top is composed of HST made from Moda Bliss. The white fabric isn't a solid white. It's off-white with white swirls. It's from Moda, too, but a couple years old. I don't know what it is, but I had it in my stash and will probably use the same thing for the back.
Yeah! Vacation for a week. Our school district takes President's Week as a holiday and I have a few things in my head that need finishing. To keep myself accountable (and to remember everything), here's the list:
- HST quilt top
- Chalkboard in the kitchen (paint and frame out)
- Playdough mat for Liam
- Fabric baskets for Liam to put his toys
- Put sod in the backyard (weather permitting)
- Start the bookshelf in the dining room (maybe finish?)
- Block and maybe finish Solaris
Of course, there will be spending time with Jordan and Liam, and visiting some stores that I never seem to have time to do during the week or want to do on the weekend when time is so precious.
What are you up to during the long holiday weekend (or week)?
Where do you find it? How does it impact your creativity?
I have a stack of books and magazines with pages tabbed and web sites saved in a folder called, "Inspiration". The web sites stay in that folder continually growing as I see something new and exciting. The books and magazines sit on the shelf or in a drawer (the books on the self need to be moved out of Liam's reach, but that is a story for another day). I think I've only made one thing from sewing books that I own and maybe 3-4 items from the knitting books and magazines.
The problem is that my inspiration is tucked away in a folder on my computer or on a bookshelf, or in a drawer. I think, "Oh, that would be cute to make." But, I never get around to making it.
My inspiration needs to be more visible, so when it catches my eye, I'm reminded that I really did want to make that item. So, I'm going to go through my Inspiration folder and print out pictures of the things I want to make, go through the books and magazine and copy the pictures and post them up on my wall.
Then, of course, I saw these this morning and added it to the folder instead of hitting print. Maybe I'll start printing tonight, after work.
Seeing so many great quilt blocks and full quilt tutorials that show precision and detail in layout and design, led me to discover how to create a block in Illustrator.
Some of the points in the Illustrator version don't quite line up well enough (although in the small version displayed here, it looks fine). I have to figure out how to move a line after it's been created. Or maybe how to make it straight the first time. Color-wise, I have to figure out how to save a set of colors and how to save a set of swatches of fabric. Now that would be cool, to use actual fabric swatches in the design.
Now that I know how to do some basic things in Illustrator, I'll be playing around with it a bit more. Graph paper and colored pencils are still my first go-to tools. However, Illustrator may be more effective than photographs, sometimes.
What tools do you use when designing your quilt blocks?
Here's a shot of all the [3 x 6] Bee Blocks. I enjoyed making this pattern and deciding which scraps I'd use for each block. I've received a few blocks from my Bee-mates, that have been awesome. I'm excited to see the rest of the blocks.
Since we only receive six blocks per quarter, I'm going to ask for the same colors for the next three quarters and put them all together at the end of the year to make one complete quilt.
Doing this swap has been a learning experience. People talk about being a process or product quilter (or knitter). Well, I've always been both, enjoying both the process, learning through that process and enjoying the final product, the sense of accomplishment at the end. Having a small product that I can finish in a timely manner made this project especially satisfying. But, it also challenged me to use colors in a different way. Some of the color combinations I wouldn't have necessarily used together (pink and red), but they came out great. In choosing the fabrics, I wouldn't have put certain fabrics together either, but they worked out well.
Now, I'm wanting to do more work with color and color value. We'll see what comes out of that in the coming weeks.
For the last block, I decided to photograph the entire process and write up a little tutorial on how I constructed it. I’m not sure what kind of star block it is, maybe an inverted star, or something? If you know, feel free to pass along the name of it. It was inspired by this block. I simply figured out the measurements for a 12.5″ block. I’ve had a thing for triangles lately.
This particular block was the most difficult to construct color-wise. One of my bee partners asked for a rainbow. Initially, I thought it would be the easiest as I could just go to my stash and grab some of each color. Then I got to thinking about how to arrange the colors. At first, I was thinking of just going in a rainbow, you know, Roy G. Biv. But, I realized that the block is not linear and the colors would get jumbled up.
I had an epiphany in the shower (don’t the best ideas come in the shower or when your driving and can’t write things down!). I’d been contemplating making a value quilt with HST. I could use the same principal here with color value and the parts of the star. Each diamond shape would be cool colors and each corner would be warm colors. And, there you have it. It only took a couple weeks to come up with that one.
Onto the tutorial (click on images to make them larger):
Inverted Star Block
Block measures 12.5″ square when finished
Sorry there’s no amounts. I just kinda winged it. You can use scraps for this block. Your fabrics fabric scraps need to be at least 3 x 3″.
Cut from the white:
(1) 4.5 x 4.5″ square
(4) 2.5 x 2.5″ squares
(12) 3 x 3″ squares – cut these in half on the diagonal to make 24 triangles
Cut from the print fabric:
(4) 2.5 x 2.5″ squares (not pictured)
(12) 3 x 3″ squares – cut these in half on the diagonal to make 24 triangles
Place the 4.5 x 4.5″ white square in the center. Place the (4) 2.5 x 2.5″ prints on each corner. Place two print triangles next to each 2.5 x 2.5″ square so that the hypotenuse (long edge) is pointing away from the square. Create a diamond on each side of the larger white square using four triangles. Be sure that the right angles are in the center of the diamond. You do not need to fill in with the white triangles or small white squares, as long as you have a design board has a white background. If it doesn’t you may want to put them in just to get an idea of the “white space.”
Take a picture. I used my phone for all my arrangement shots, except this one, as I just needed a reference picture for arrangement purposes.
Sewing & Trimming
Sew a white triangle to each print triangle on the hypotenuse with a 1/4″ seam. Press seams open. I press my seams open, so that’s what you’ll see. If you prefer to press them to the side, that’s okay, too.
Trim each half square triangle. First, align the diagonal line of the rule to the center line. Be sure that the measurements on the opposite sides are more than 2.5″. Trim off the edges.
Turn the square 180º and line up the center line again. Align it so that the square is 2.5″. Trim. Repeat for all your HSTs. This will take a little while, but be worth the extra effort to make your blocks square. I passed the time by doing it while watching a T.V. show.
Using the photograph, rearrange your block. This time, include the 2.5″ and 4.5″ white squares. You’ll notice that, except for the large white center square, each section has four small 2.5″ squares.
You now have 9 squares. Trim your squares to 4.5″ square. Align the ruler on the center seam and measure out 2.25″. Trim. Rotate the square. Measure and trim each side, measuring from the center seam. If you’ve been sewing a 1/4″ seam, you should only be trimming slivers of fabric, if any.
Pin and sew your squares together in rows then sew the rows together to complete your block. Be sure to iron each seam before sewing the rows together.
The block is divided into thirds. To trim your bock, align your ruler along the first 1/3 and trim to 4.25″. Repeat on each side. Each side should be 4.25″ from that seam, making the block 12.5″ square.
Comment or email if you have questions. I’d be happy to answer any. If you decide to make the block, comment and link to your blog or let me know how it went. I’m always looking for new inspiration!