Saturday, February 17, 2018

Flame Seeker Pattern

Swooping in today is a beauty with a bad reputation (the moth, not the quilt block---mind you), thanks to the very well-written pattern by Lillyella. It's the Flame Seeker Mini Paper Piecing Pattern, finishing at 24" x 15". It includes an option with a skull on its thorax, mimicking the real Death's-head hawkmoth. If you want to lose yourself in some miscellaneous facts about the species, check out this article.


I used assorted navy, chartreuse, and turquoise scraps of fabric from Cotton + Steel and Art Gallery Fabrics. For good measure, I included some white, glow-in-the-dark Fairy Frost. I used a neutral 50 wt Aurifil thread so the seams would press nice and flat.


The pattern was well-written and professionally produced. I liked how units that were too large to fit without being separated were printed on the same page, and shapes in the solid black circles indicated what edges were to be matched.



The coloring sheet made it easy to try out different color schemes before slicing into beloved prints.


The fractured look is really fun! I tried to highlight the overall shape by putting the navy on the main body and around the outer edges of the wings.


I'm excited to see how this glows at night time, given that all the white spots should illuminate.



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Friday, February 16, 2018

Hunter's Star: Classic & Vintage Fat Quarter Shop Quilt Along

I've long admired the Hunter's Star quilt block, with its classic look and wonderful overall pattern. However, I've steered clear since I didn't have a straight-forward piecing method that would encourage me to proceed--until the Fat Quarter Shop free downloadable block pattern.


In The Fat Quarter Shop's characteristic fashion, they created a YouTube video to illustrate the process. The Hunter's Star Block is part of the Classic & Vintage Quilt series, where classic blocks are given a renovation.



A pattern including table runner, lap, twin, and king sizing instructions is available for $5.95. Kits can be purchased which include the pattern for multiple sizes and the V & Co. Ombre Confetti Metallic fabrics shown in the video. Backing is available separately.


I pulled from a couple prints from Michael Miller Baby Zoology in Sea and coordinating solids from my stash.


The Hunter's Star blocks finish at 9", and I aimed for a baby to toddler sized quilt. I settled on a 4 x 4 layout with some additional top and bottom borders to achieve a rectangular shape. Using EQ8, a design software program, I imported my fabric selections and drafted a mock up. Order at a discount using Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilt's discount code, if you want to save.


Construction was straight-forward and went off without a hitch, but I have a few tips.

First, if you choose directional fabrics, you'll have to either pay special attention to the orientation of the fabrics (especially when cutting the B squares) or not mind a topsy turvy look.


When trimming the partial unit, align with your ruler's 45 degree angle mark.


Press to the dark. However, press the seam open after sewing the two partial units together.


If you want to use what will be discarded to make Half Square Triangle blocks, sew 1/2" from the line specified in the instructions, and closer to the corner. After pressing from both sides, cut in between the two stitched lines.


The result will be two HSTs per block. I used these in the top and bottom borders.


Because there's a bit of bias involved, be cautious about pulling or excessively handling the blocks so they don't get distorted.


Sew just a hair to the right of the line to account for the the extra bulk taken up by the thickness of the thread and fabric being folded over. This will allow the corners to meet up better when pressed.


I organized the blocks into four groups of four. Here they are before I pieced the top together.


I've now finished pin basting, and I'm preparing for some domestic machine quilting.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

FYI

There is so much going on, I can't wait to tell you about it.

For starters, Craftsy is now offering a subscription model as an option. (You can still purchase classes individually to keep forever.) There's some deliberation about whether the pay per class or subscription model is preferred. Craft Industry Alliance gave some insight, and So Sew Easy outlined some pros and cons. I'd say it depends.

Considerations for Craftsy Unlimited:

This is the route to go if you have a serious hobby, but wouldn't mind dabbling in other areas. For example, I've only purchased quilting classes, but would view photography, cooking, and cake decorating classes under the subscription model since it wouldn't cost me any extra.

If you are going to spend more than $14.99 per month or $120 per year purchasing classes, a subscription would save you money.

Considerations for Purchasing Classes:

If you tend to refer back to classes, separate purchase may be a better choice as you only have access to class content while a Craftsy Unlimited subscription is active without actually buying each class.

Considerations for buying DVDs:

If you have erratic internet access, this is a good option. Unfortunately, not all classes are available in DVD format.

The Verdict:

Since the 7 Day Trial is free, there's no harm in trying it out for size. Another advantage is being able to download class materials during this period, including recipes and quilt patterns. (I do wonder if teacher are compensated for downloaded materials in addition to the time you spend watching; otherwise it might make them more hesitant to include detailed supplementary handouts or project-based resources.)

If you decide to join, it's a good idea to take advantage of the free shipping and $25 in free supplies each quarter bonus on the annual membership while it lasts (before Feb. 28).

Craftsy users, which model to you gravitate towards?

Craftsy Unlimited FREE 7 day trial at Craftsy.com

Another active topic is the closure of FreeSpirit Fabrics by parent company Coats. The Craft Industry Alliance dropped the newsTula Pink conveyed her reaction to her Tula Troops on Facebook Live. Kim Niedzwiecki shared her thoughts on the detrimental impact of neglecting to employ social media and the implications it may have had for FreeSpirit. There is much speculation about what caused a company with such popular designers to be unprofitable to the point of closure. What do you think? Have too many quilters reached a fabric saturation point given the rapid rate of fabric distribution; to support the enormity of the industry? Have mass retailers, online entities, and/or indie businesses pushed the going rate down so far that it can't support the cost of production? What's the secret to staying afloat in the current climate?

Update: FreeSpirit has been acquired by Studioe Fabrics.

On a more carefree note, Angela Walters is hosting a Free Motion Quilting Challenge. Check out the details on her website.


I think this free mix and match monster pattern is just adorable. There's also a Craftsy class that provides even more appliquĂ© templates and visual instruction. (P.S. You can watch it with a Craftsy Unlimited 7 Day Free Trial.)


If you are a new blogger and want to participate in the ultimate get to know you or the online quilt writing community, there's still time to sign up for the 2018 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.

NQBBH Button

If you're having trouble sticking to your New Year's Resolution to complete your quilt UFOs, ;Elm Street Quilts hosts a monthly motivational party.



If you're more color-oriented that goal oriented, try the Color Challenge at A Dream and a Stitch.


That's all I can think of for now. I'm still recovering from my kids' Valentines day parties and the following sugar high coinciding with my husband being away on a business trip.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Wonderland Quilt Along Block #5: The Flamingo

Today the Wonderland Quilt Along features a paper-pieced flamingo. He's 1' x 2' and a beauty!


Even if you aren't part of the Wonderland Quilt Along Facebook Group or a blog subscriber creating the entire project, you might want to make some flamingo blocks. I think they'd pair nicely with these paper-pieced chair patterns from Cotton + Steel.


Snatch up the pattern off Craftsy while it's free! If you are newer to paper-piecing, check out the post from Block #4. I will give you a few more specific pointers this month, but I will not be covering the entire process. If you're new to the process, you might want to try out a Craftsy class to get down the basics. Craftsy now has a 7 day free trial of their subscription service, if you want to get up to speed without obligation.

For this month, I took advantage of EQ8's new ability to print foundation patterns in color. With the Select & Spray tool, it was really easy to swap fabrics for solid colors before printing templates. Now I can even rotate units within the Preview frame. If you haven't purchased or upgraded to EQ8, I heartily recommend it! I'm an EQ Influencer and the links above are affiliate links, but I only suggest purchasing the software because I think it's the very best fit for the job and well worth the investment.


I took an iPhone picture of my background fabric and scaled it so the proportions are correct on the Image Worktable. Hooray! Check out the #EQ8Top10 hashtag for more new and improved features of the latest edition.


Let's move on to the piecing particulars. Use an ever-trusty glue stick to hold your first piece in place. Don't get too carried away because you'll need to remove that paper later. If you are a little overzealous, a mist of water will help break the bond on paper that just won't budge.


Trim the seam allowance of the first piece to 1/4" on all adjacent sides instead of just the line between sections 1 and 2 to speed things up later on.


Hold your fabric up to the light to reveal the lines on the opposite side and make sure you have covered the section including seam allowance.


Since this block is on the larger side, I'm using the 12" Add-A-Quarter Ruler instead of the 6". Optimally, I'd use the Plus version, but I've had this one since before it was released.


The Plus version has a tapered edge to assist with folding on the lines. This is my 6" model. Here I've switched up the piecing order so the angles are less cumbersome. Remember to err on the side of caution when trimming fabric for each piece. You can always put the extra aside for smaller areas that will come up later on.


Here is an example of trying out the size and shape of a fabric before adding it. I have laid it down with a 1/4" overlap.


Then, I carefully flip it into place for stitching, making sure the raw edges are lined up.


Do a test flip to make sure that the piece will still cover and that pressing with cause the fabric to angle in the direction you anticipated.


Sometimes you can add more than one pieces during the same visit to the sewing machine before pressing--provided they are on opposite sides of the pre-existing pieces and you keep them out of the way of each other.


I like to work factory-line style, doing the first step for each unit at the same time.


If a corner is cut off from print margins, just extend the existing lines until they meet. Speaking of printing, always make sure your printing is scaled to 100" and that the 1" square on the pattern actually measures 1".


When removing the paper, pinch one side with your thumb near the line of stitching. Fold back and finger press along the stitch line.


Then pull the paper downward with the other hand. This helps prevent pulling out stitches.


 When you stitch the units together, keep the paper on. Then remove the paper in the seam allowances, press, and add another unit.


I prefer to press bulky seams open.


Don't forget to share on Facebook and on Instagram with #WonderlandQuiltAlong.


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