Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Quilt Festival: Log Cabin - Today!

Brigitte Morgenroth presented Log Cabin - Today! at Quilt Festival in Houston last October. The exhibit featured contemporary Log Cabin quilts in an assortment of arrangements and materials.
White Frost is a testament to the texture provided by piecing, even when using a single fabric.
Raureif - White Frost by Brigitte Morgenroth

A few golden sparkles make a statement.
Raureif - White Frost by Brigitte Morgenroth
Wreath of Blossoms displays the interplay of yellow lines, white viscose, and floral linen.
Blutenkratz - Wreath of Blossoms
Goldener Oktober has a clamshell vibe, yet manages to pull it off without a single curve.
Goldener October by Brigitte Morgenroth
If you aspire to make a clamshell quilt without masses of log cabins, check out this Craftsy article. If you want to go the Log Cabin route, don't let me hold you back. Have a day! Then, send me a picture.
Goldener October by Brigitte Morgenroth
Brigitte was still working on this Twisted Log Cabin with gradation. I really love it!
These versions inspire me to take the Log Cabin in new directions. What about you?
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Monday, February 22, 2016

President's Blocks

Thimbleweeds Quilt Guild, a group near and dear to my heart, is gathering blocks for their outgoing facilitator who served for 15 years.
I was excited to try out my brand new Bloc_Loc Drunkard's Path ruler, graciously provided by the company. I swear by my 6 1/2" Half Square Triangle Square Up Ruler, so I had high expectations.
Bloc_Loc Drunkard's Path Ruler sets come with two template-cutting rulers and one ruler for squaring up. 
As the template rulers are perfectly clear, I recommend using a Sharpie to put some markings on them so they don't disappear on your cutting mat. Also, I'd suggest adding some Omnigrid Invisigrip, Slip Stop, or similar product to the back of the two template rulers to discourage sliding. Attempting to use a 45mm rotary cutter felt a little like driving a monster truck on a go cart track (not that anyone would ever let me try that), so I'd strongly suggest the 28mm version for cutting out your pieces.
Bloc_Loc Drunkard's Path Ruler sets come in 3", 4", 6", or 8" options. There are no included instructions, but there is a YouTube video.

I didn't bother with all that snipping. The curves are bias edges, so I press them to my will instead of clipping.
This is how I align my pieces to go through the machine. I don't use any pins. Talk about living dangerously, right? Just kidding. The pieces are oversized so all is not lost if the lack of pins results in less than perfect stitching.
I hold the quarter circle in my left hand, and guide the bottom fabric with my right hand (when I'm not holding a camera). The goal is to keep the raw edges aligned and maintain a 1/4" seam. The process goes something like stitch, stitch, raise the presser foot, realign, lower presser foot, repeat.
For the ruler to work its magic, you must press away from the quarter circle.
It's really nice to have a rotating cutting mat while squaring up because it makes the process even quicker. Place the squaring up ruler on the block. It stays snugly in place due to the groove resting along the seam line. Trim two sides, rotate, and trim the remaining two sides for a perfect unit regardless of your piecing accuracy. Hooray!
After squaring up, I pressed half the pieces in the opposite direction so they would nest when I stitched them into Four Patches.
Because I used the 3" ruler, the Four Patches will finish at 6". Aren't they beautiful?
Have you taken on Drunkard's Path blocks before? Have you used any of the Bloc_loc rulers? How did you like the experience?
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Free Snowflake Pattern

I recently discovered that the quintessential tool for paper-piecing, the Add-A-Quarter Ruler, has evolved. What do I mean? Now it has a plus version with a tapered edge, which means you can dispense with the previously obligatory rectangle of template material for creating an edge to fold over the top of. 
As you know, every great gadget deserves a great project. Enter my awesome snowflakes!
If you're a seasoned paper-piecer, you have to do a little self-talk as you adjust to the "Plus" factor. Lay the tapered edge of the Add-a-Quarter Plus ruler along the line with the lip facing upwards; fold the paper over the top. 
When you find your right hand flailing around your cutting mat attempting to locate a wayward chunk of template plastic, it's time to talk to yourself. Say, "Self, slide out the ruler. Flip it over like a pancake, and trim."
Isn't that awesome? The Add-a Quarter Ruler was already a must-have notion, but the updated version is twice as useful.
If you're new to the paper-piecing scene, don't fret. I've have a play by play for you.
Adding the First Two Pieces
For increased efficiency, I have cutting instructions for you.
Snowflake Fabric
Piece 1: 2 1/4" x 3 1/2"
Pieces 4 & 5: 1 1/2" x 5"
Pieces 8 & 9: 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Piece 2: 2 1/4" x 4"
Piece 3: 2 1/4" x 6"
Pieces 6 & 7: 1 1/4" x 3 1/2"
Adding the Third Piece
For each piece, align it along the trimmed edge of the previous piece, right sides together.
Shorten your stitch length and sew on the line, starting and ending in the seam allowance.
Press. Lay the Add-A-Quarter Plus on the line, fold the paper over the top of it, slide it out, and trim. Once you have the sections completed, remove the paper and piece them together.
Adding the Fourth and Fifth Pieces
Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. You're going to need to download a pattern to get you started. Each snowflake is composed of six identical units. It's very important to set the scale to 100% and the number of copies to 6 for each snowflake you'd like to make. The pattern also includes a template for setting triangles.
I added rectangular chunks to my blocks until the limits of my fabric allotment were met. I'm excited to take advantage of the negative space in this beauty.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love Your Sewing Space

Today I'm linking up with the Simple Simon and Company Love Your Sewing Space linky party.
How about a few peeks at some of my favorite parts of my sewing room? These little buckets and rods from Ikea are very handy for keeping dangerous items from little hands. I proudly display quilts made by some of my favorite people including my son, Renee, and Cath. Meanwhile, my ledge from Target is great for holding larger rulers.
For fabric that is at least a half yard, but not enough to justify keeping it on the bolt, I've been using comic book boards and rainbow order.
 A design wall has been very useful.
Between my excessive UFOs and children's toys strewn about, the rest of my sewing space isn't anything anyone would be saving to their Pinterest boards. Speaking of that, I have a Pinterest board of some of my favorite sewing room organizing ideas. Here's to getting some projects done so my space becomes tidy-able!Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Trees for the Forest

I've been eyeing the Quick Curve Ruler for a while now. Then, I discovered he Sew Kind of Wonderful company has recently released a mini version. It's a well-know fact that small things are irresistibly adorable, so I had to try it out.
The Sew Kind of Wonderful website has a free Mini Trees pattern. It might not have slipped your notice that the holidays have come and gone. However, I figured that these trees would be just fine out of season. Moreover, they'd be great with my stash of novelty camping prints.
Fabric aside, want to see how the QCR Mini works? It's pretty straight forward. First, cut 5" squares of two fabrics. Use the guideline to lay the ruler like so, and cut in the curve.
Do that as many times as you need. I only wanted green trees, so I put the inverse pieces aside for some other time and project.
Then you place the pieces right sides together with the pizza slice about 1/2" down the skateboarding ramp. Those are the proper terms, right? Sew together using a 1/4" seam. I hold the pizza slice in my left hand as I steer the skateboarding ramp with my right hand. The sewing process goes a bit like...stitch, lift presser foot, reposition the edges together, lower presser foot, stitch, repeat.
Then I pressed toward the darker fabric.
They bred. Actually, it's quick to make oodles of these because you don't have to be fussy about making sure everything looks perfect at this stage.
 A rotating mat would be awesome because, after the pressing, you simply cut 1/8" beyond the pizza slice.
Rotate. Then square it up to 4".
That's it! You have a beautiful, precise Drunkard's Path component ready for whatever curvaceous project suits you.
For me, it was a handful of trees.
Then, I set about making bears from Patchwork Zoo by Sara Nephew. I didn't have enough fabric to make two bears from the fabric I had pulled, so I used some Stonehenge to make two sitting bears.
Then I remembered that I wanted to use light brown to coordinate with my camping fabrics. I resolved myself to accept that one bear would do, so long as he was crawling.
I'm not sure what I'll do with my orphan bear twins.
Anyhow, the super sweet folks at Sew Kind of Wonderful have given me a Mini QCR and a pattern for me to pass along to one of you. Best of luck!

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