Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another DWR Teaser

This is what I'm thinking of doing, but I'm so tempted to throw the towel in on this color palette and go with the black background with pink and aqua circles.  This just doesn't have the same visual pop for me... Hmm...  What if I go with purple and yellow?

Now, I'm sure you've all noticed that I'm working these samples up in fairly limited color palettes.  Why?  Because I get really, really bored dropping different colors into EQ7.  I'm not kidding, lol.  I love the program, but I spend 90% of my day working on the computer, so I tend to try to transition from work to my sewing machine with as little computer time as possible.

Also, I like the look of the limited color palettes.  For me, it does a lot to modernize this classic quilt pattern.  And, honestly, I've done a scrappy DWR, so I'm not eager to re-tread creative ground:

Obligatory Cat Cleaning Herself Included
But don't let my current color freakiness off put you to a scrappy look.  Take a look at the following mosaic for some further color inspiration:


Check back on Saturday, 4/2/2001.  I'll be posting fabric requirements and a recommended supply list for the quilt along.  I'll also have a blog button up if you'd like to advertise your involvement in your own side bar.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Basics of Pinwheels...

...or, Two Ways to Piece HSTs

For two more ways to piece HSTs, check out Piecemeal Quilts.

My first (and honestly, long abandoned) method for HSTs is about as traditional one can get, short of fashioning templates out of cardboard and drawing the shapes out onto the fabric back.  Thankfully, due to rulers and rotary cutters, we don't have to go quite as traditional as we could:

First of all, some basic math - or the 'magic number' for Half Square Triangles:


That's it.  Add 7/8" of an inch to the desired FINISHED size of your HSTs.  In today's case, that means that our starting squares should be cut at 3 7/8" by 3 7/8".  Notice the words 'should be'.  I'm not, nor will I ever claim to be, a perfect cutter.  Mistakes happen.  I personally add at least the 1/8" needed to bring it to an even number, and trim down.  I add more leeway if I know I've got the extra fabric.  So, go ahead and cut two squares each of your light and dark at 4" by 4".  In my case, I cut one square each of the two prints, and two squares of the dark brown solid:
Now, go ahead and cut these on the diagonal.  Yup, just slice those babies in half.
Pair up your light and dark halves and sew them together.  Be careful!  You are now sewing on the bias edge - this means that the fabric can stretch, so do your best to not pull the fabric.  Just let the feed dogs take the fabric as naturally as possible.
Snip your pinwheel quarters apart and iron as desired.  I'm a seams open kind of gal, but don't feel like you have to do the same.
Lay out your sub-units, ensuring that the pinwheel is spinning correctly, with the print fabric leading the whirl around:
Stitch together - I chain piece.  Sandi offered an excellent piece of advice, about leaving the two halves of the pinwheel together, to ensure that they continue to face the correct directions.  I'd never thought of that.  Sew your two halves together.  If you've ironed your seams to one side, I suggest referred to Sandi's tutorial.  She offers some excellent advice about nesting your seams and how to not cut off the points of your triangles.  Since I press open, I have to trust that my 1/4" seam is accurate.  Anyway...

VoilĂ !  Pinwheel!
Now, onto the second method, which I prefer by far:

Cut a 4" X 16" strip each of your light and dark.  In my case, I cut two strips of each of my prints at 4" X 8", and two strips of my solid at the same size.
On the back of your lighter fabric, draw lines at each 4" mark.  Then draw in the diagonal lines from corner to corner in a zig-zag.  For the moment, these are your guidelines, but they will be your cutting lines later.  You can opt to draw in the sewing lines, 1/4" away from your cutting lines.  If you do, you'll notice that this looks an awful lot like Sandi's Triangle Paper.
Stitch 1/4" on either side of the lines that you just marked, following the zig-zag pattern:
Slice along the 4" markings:
Then cut along the diagonals:
From here, continue on with the finishing steps from the first tutorial above...  Press your new squares open, and stitch your pinwheels together.  Having done both methods here, I think you'll see, easily, why I prefer to stitch my HSTs in strips.  I'm not piecing on the bias, so there's less distortion.  I'm not chain piecing so much, and seams are far more accurate this way.

If you've followed Sandi's tutorial, here, then you'll have four 3.5" pinwheels that you can make into a 12.5" block. My block:
Have fun with this! And if there are other topics you'd like to see covered very soon, leave a comment!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

EQ 7 is Crack....

So here's a Double Wedding Ring teaser:

I love the way the colors scream out of this one.  If I wasn't so sure I wanted to use grey for the Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along, I'd switch gears right now.  (Besides, I already bought the fabric...)

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Start on Jane

This has been an extraordinarily productive weekend for me!  Sunday evening, I cranked through six of the Dear Jane Blocks.  I have to re-do one of them - I'm not sure how it ended up the way it did, but it's clearly in need of replacement.  But that's a task for tonight.  I forgot to bring Fabric Color 7 with me to re-cut while I'm at lunch.

I-2 Kaye's Courtyard
A-6 Uncle Homer

H-13 Farm Field
C-1 Trooper's Green Badge

I-3 Family Album
I-6 Adelaide's Apron Strings

Fifteen more and I'll be caught up with Sandi!  Which is the goal of course - I hate being behind.  And so long as I keep pre-cutting fabrics during my odd moments of quiet, I'll get there pretty quickly.  I'm hoping to actually be caught up by the end of the week -  there's a quilt-along I'm seriously thinking about joining in on:

Beck of Sarcastic Quilter is hosting a paper-piecing quilt-along.  The block isn't an incredibly difficult one (thank goodness - 'cause I kind of burned myself out on stupidly intricate paper-piecing recently - and on a failed project even), but it lends itself to a lot of very interesting layouts.  Check out her introductory post here.  Beck gives you a supply list, several layout and color options, as well as yardages.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Survey and Give-Away at Piecemeal Quilts, and Then Some

Sandi over at Piecemeal Quilts is hosting a survey and a give-away that are a result of her post on 'the dumbing down of quilting'.  Pop on over to read the post, then do the survey and get in on the give-away!

You all have seen my rants about simple patterns, so I'm sure it's no surprise to any of you that I agree with Sandi's post.  The online quilting community is inundated with modern bloggers, no few of whom have gotten to be quite well known for their adherence to the aesthetic that currently defines modern quilting.

Unfortunately, I feel that this adherence does a disservice to newer/less experienced quilters whose primary influences come from the modern movement.  There are so few modern (aesthetic, not contemporary) examples of piecing beyond squares and rectangles, and even those few extend to flying geese and pinwheels.  There is no reason that a quilt can't be something more complicated to piece and still retain a modern aesthetic.

In fact, I would argue that even a Dear Jane quilt, the original quilt completed in 1863, done in the right color scheme could be considered to have a modern aesthetic.  Check out Modify Tradition for some excellent examples of bringing modern to traditional blocks.

Modern quilters the world over!  Let's move beyond basic squares and wonky - test your limits and challenge your own creativity.  Make a quilt that speaks to *you*, one of your own design or take a traditional pattern and try a non-traditional color scheme, and get a taste of creative freedom.  Don't box yourself in because someone famous hasn't blazed that trail for you.

FNSI & National Quilting Day

I actually managed to get sewing on Friday night -  I got the quilting done on Laffy Taffy Basket!  Well, at least I got what quilting I wanted to get done, done.  I'm debating doing more quilting to the center.  I'm at that edge where there could be *too much* quilting, and I don't want to regret my choice and pick out a bunch of stitching.

I got the binding done today while I was at the meeting/sewing day for the Rock River Modern Quilt Guild.  There were only two of us today - Sandi and myself - but that's okay.  It was still dedicated sewing time, which I desperately needed. EDIT:  I stand corrected - Lisa did join us for a couple of hours.  My memory being the sieve that it is... LOL

Now, I just need to make a label, attach a sleeve, and this baby can get in the mail.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Night Sew-in

I'm finally child-free for the first time in a couple of weeks!  My Laffy Taffy Basket is pin-basted and ready for quilting.  That's the goal, you know.... Finish my DQS 10 mini so that I can get it in the mail next week.  Deadlines are such great motivation for me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who's Ready for a Quilt Along?

Things are finally quieting down on my end - Super Bowl Mania is over (I'm deep in Packer Country), so work is a lot less hectic.  My mother-in-law is back from her vacation in California, so Zeb is thrilled to be spending time with Grandma again.

Plus, I got the Double Wedding die set for my GO!  I'm excited to play with that tonight.  And for those of you with GO! cutters - check out for dies.  I got my DWR for 41% off the retail price of $89.99.  I also got my Hexagon die for about the same savings.  Interestingly enough, I only ordered them two days ago - I'm close enough to the warehouse that those come out of to have gotten them in 48 hours, and to have not paid for shipping at all.

But anyway!  The point!

The point is...

I'm going to start, in April, a Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along!  Check back here as April 2 comes closer.  I'm starting to do fabric requirements and measurements now.  I'll be doing a few sets of requirements:  one for those who are going to use GO! cutters, the Omnigrid DWR templates, as well as a set for some templates from EQ7.

My end goal is to have a queen-sized DWR top by the end of this quilt along.  Now I just have to decide on a time frame.  I know most blog quilt alongs don't drag on, but DWRs involve a lot of curves, and that's an area a lot of folks just aren't comfy in.  Don't worry!  I'll post lots of photos, and tips and tricks.  I've made two DWRs before.

What do you all think?  As far as timeline goes?  Two months? Three? Four?  Longer?  Let me know in comments!  (I tried doing a fancy schmancy poll, but it didn't load correctly)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Laffy Taffy Basket

I haven't been able to work on my DQS 10 quilt as much as I've wanted to...  My mother-in-law is visiting friends in California, so I haven't had any nights off of watching the kiddo.  He's super thrilled - I'm feeling super behind ;)

Isn't that thread just delicious looking?  I made a midnight run to Walmart a couple of weeks ago and got this Coats & Clark thread thinking I could 'quick' sew the applique onto the flimsy.  No such luck (I got struck down by that sinus infection), but at least I'm prepared!

Speaking of yummy, I think this is coming along nicely!  The flowers are currently glue basted down, so that I can hopefully crawl over the last hump and get this flimsy quilted this week.  I already have a quilting plan in mind, so once I get time, it should be fairly quick.  Then, once this is done and en route to my partner, I can move onto other projects.

I'm Back!

I'm finally over being sick!  I'd do some handstands and cartwheels, but I'd just fall and break something important.

I told ya'll that I'd update you with the things that I'd purchased to fulfill my annual tax-rebate wish list.  I got everything I wanted, because we did really well and took care of everything that we needed to take care of.  Having play money was a lot of fun this year:

I broke down and bought EQ7.  I *love* this program.  I still have to work my way through the lessons and re-familiarize myself with how it works, but I'm already having fun.

I gave into temptation and bought an Accuquilt GO!  I still want to buy the hexagon die and the double wedding ring, but I think those will wait until next month.  I did treat myself to an applique flower die set and the 1.5" strip maker.

I also bought all the fabric I'll need for my Dear Jane quilt:

The bottom of the stack? 20 yards of Sandstone solid from Connecting Threads.  Yeah, that's a lot of fabric.  I bought 3.5 yards of the eight solids that I'll be using.  It's way overkill for some of the colors, but stashing solids is *not* a bad thing.

The rest of the loot?

I bought a twelve pack of bright threads from Connecting Thread (I love their thread - I get so little lint from it), two packages of flat head pins (they were on sale), some applique needles (cause there's a beautiful applique BOM I'd love to do this year, plus some Dear Jane blocks), and the large size flip-mat that's a cutting mat and ironing mat.

I spoiled myself this year, and I'm totally burned out on buying stuff.  I keep looking, but nothing is calling my name.  It's almost sad, but it's better this way.  This way I work out of my stash.

Oh! Oh! The Dear Jane fabric...  If you look at the original quilt, it's done in a Trip Around the World setting. It's actually kind of hard to spot - the colors are muted and there's so many blocks it's easy to miss.  I'll be doing the same, but in different shades of orange/yellow and purples.  For an idea of the color progression (and I swear, there's more variance in the lighter shades than it looks in the photo - my bad for taking the photos indoors and late at night):

Friday, March 4, 2011


of being sick...  Disease is the gift that keeps on giving in my household.

I've been down for a week now.  I managed to go to work on Wednesday and Thursday, but was freezing through both shifts.  Why?  I was running a fever both days.

I went into Urgent Care this morning, and got put on Mucinex D.  I also have a prescription for Augmentin, which I should take should the Mucinex not do its job.  I have to work Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  I'm really hoping I'm mostly over this junk - I hate to miss more work than I have to, and I'm tired of feeling like something I stepped in.

I do have a lot of news, but it'll have to wait until I can stand long enough to take pictures of everything.  Suffice to say, I fulfilled a couple of wish list items with our tax refunds, in addition to being able to replace some things in the house that desperately needed replacing.