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Saturday, April 19, 2014

English Paper Piecing - March progress

It's been a slow month for my english paper piecing progress.  I went away to a quilt retreat. The retreat was 4 days, but I only went for the last 2 (full day Saturday, pack up and leave at noon on Sunday).  One of the great things about being in  a room with 12 other quilters working on projects is that there are so many things to be inspired by.

One of my friends was sitting next to me, and he was making some english paper pieced hexagons, his first try. He was complaining that it would take forever to make a quilt. I suggested a more modern approach with a few hexagons on a blank canvas, and he is  a modern quilter doing improvisational piecing and using all the latest modern fabrics.  He always has the biggest pile of the most wonderful fabrics at the retreat. This time was no exception, he had a wonderful collection of oranges and grays, and at one point he was paper piecing a block, and I noticed that he had some pretty large scraps, mostly on the floor. So I asked if they were fair game, that I would use them to make some hexagons.  And here is a photo of the orange, gray, and green hexagons I made with his cast offs from his paper pieced block. If only I had been at the full 4 days of the retreat, I might have had a much bigger selection of scraps to work with.

I'm thinking I can arrange these in some sort of circle or spiral and make a modern quilt with these modern looking hexagons.  But for now, I have a baggie with these completed hexagons, in a range of sizes, as the scraps tended to be wedge shaped, allowing a larger hexagon to be made at one end, and a smaller at the other, as I tried to minimize the amount of this found fabric I discarded.

I actually made out quite well dumpster diving for interesting scraps to make into hexagons at this retreat. I never considered myself as someone who would dumpster dive at a retreat to add fabric to my stash, but this was different, reusing someone else's trash to make a useful hexagon.  Have you every dived through the little trash bins at a retreat or a sewing class to pick up fabrics to use in your hexagons?

But I also managed to make some Christmas fabric hexagons from left over pieces of fabric that I am cutting for a triangle quilt along that I joined. Here are the hexagons I have completed so far from the scraps left over :

Check out what other English Paper Piecers have been up to last month in the inhand EPP link party:

splish splash stash

And check out what other quilters have been up to this past week at Let's Bee Social!:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April's Completed Comfort Quilts: Strips Quilts and St. Louis 16-Patch

I started 2014 with the goal to make 30 lap quilts for donation to hospice using strips. I was inspired by the jelly roll race quilts, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. I have 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 4", 4.5", 6.5" strips, not always width of fabric as they are left over pieces from sashing and binding, etc. And to turn these into a set of quilts

Here are 3 completed strip quilts, ready for donation:
This quilt was just a series of various width strips. I like how the brights are contrasted by the pinks, and the solid.
This second quilt incorporated some blocks with the strips. Flying geese units the same size as the strip they are included in.
This third quilt has a number of small pieces worked in, blocks just laying around that were the same size as the corresponding strip. Also many more very narrow strips got worked into this quilt.

These 3 quilts are all 42" wide by 55" long, backed with either flannel or polar fleece. The fleece quilts don't have any batting, while the flannel quilts have a batting.

From my friend Joanie, over at Joanie's Trendy Quilts, I got the pattern for the St. Louis 16-patch, and I thought these would make great, quick quilts for donation as well. Here are 3 samples that I have quilted up that I am taking to my quilt guild next week for a 2 hour quilt-a-thon where all the people will be working on making these blocks. Several months back I brought 200 fat quarters to the quilt guild meeting, and passed them around the room. You know most quilters can't resist fat quarters. I told people they could take one and match it up with an ugly fat quarter in their stash that they had no use for, as this is the perfect pattern to mate an ugly fabric with a nicer one and make a stupendous looking block. But for those people who just didn't have an ugly FQ laying around, I let them take 2 or 4, with the thought they could make the 16-patches and bring them to this meeting so we would have blocks to start making quilts.

Our quilt guild also had a fun night where there were FQ games in January, and they collected another 200 FQ towards this project, so those new FQ are coming to this meeting. People are bringing their sewing machines, rotary cutters, etc., and I'm hoping we can get enough blocks made for 25 quilt tops.

So here are my samples to motivate the people in the guild (it always takes one over-achiever to get people motivated!)
First quilt is using just 2 fabrics. At first I didn't recognize it as a St. Louis 16-patch, but that is how it was constructed.
This second quilt was made with 6 fat quarters, a number on the green side. Several random green strips for sashing holds it together. The great thing about sashing these blocks is now there are no seams to worry about matching. If one block turns out 16.5" and the next 16.25", no problem, it's hidden by the sashing!
And finally this third St. Louis 16-patch. It used a number of FQ's that I made from 1 yard cuts of fabric I picked up in an online sale - 10 - 1yard cuts for $20!  All end of bolt items. These fabrics turned out to not be my cut of tea at all, but look how wonderful this quilt turned out. I especially like the scrappy sashing - who says your sashing has to all match, this was using the various scraps of sashing that were left when doing the blocks, and there wasn't enough green, so the red was pulled in for the 2 ends. Looks planned - that I think is one of the secrets of a great looking scrappy quilt, use up your fabrics and when you run out of something to match, throw in a contrasting fabric and it adds some spice and zing to the quilt.

So this brings me to 9 strip quilts completed so for in 2014, towards my goal of 30.  Slow and steady wins the race.  How are you doing on your 2014 quilt making/finishing goals given the year is now 1/4 over?

Posting this as part of Let's Bee Social! week #15. Click on the badge and check out what other quilt bloggers have been up to this past week.

Sew Fresh Quilts

Lily's Quilts hosts "Fresh Sewing Day" to link up finishes. So check out Fresh Sewing Day to see what other quilt bloggers have been finishing up.
Lily's Quilts
And, for bloggers who have less than 50 followers, Lily's Quilts hosts the Small Blog Meet. This is a means to allow new bloggers to meet other new bloggers and make new friends. Everyone wins by getting to see all these new quilter bloggers and the facinating works. So why not check out the Small Blog Meet as well.
Lily's Quilts
Have a great week and keep sewing!  Remember, find 10 minutes a day to do a little sewing, and in a week you will have sewed an hour, and 4-5 hours in a month. Before you know it, you will have made progress towards finishing a quilt.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Christmas Fabrics - Triangle Quilt-A-Long - Week #2 Cutting Triangles

The Sassy Quilter
Not being content in just doing a green triangle quilt, I also picked out a set of Christmas fabrics to make yet another triangle quilt:

And here are the triangles from these fabrics:
I just love the golds and reds and greens!

So with the green triangle quilt and the taupe triangle quilt, this makes 3 quilts for this quilt-a-long. Is it any wonder I have so many UFOs laying around?  But, having a weekly deadline may motivate me enough to ensure that these 3 quilts don't make it to my long-term UFO list.

Anyone else have an issue starting new quilt projects and then seeing yet another great project to work on before finishing up the existing project?

Be sure and check out the other quilts in the Triangle Quilt-a-long.

Taupe Triangle Quilt-A-Long - Week #2 Cutting Triangles

The Sassy Quilter
Not being content in just doing a green triangle quilt, I also picked out a set of Japanese Taupe fabrics.

I had this set of 12 fabrics as 1/2 yard cuts. I decided I wanted to try my new Creative Grids 4.5" 60 degree ruler, which cuts 5 triangles without lifting the ruler! The official name is the 60 degree double strip ruler - it's designed to use with jelly roll strips, sew 2 together making a 4.5" strip, and then cut with this ruler.

So here are my 12 fabrics, I cut 2 rows of 4.5" fabric from each of the 12 fabrics, and 2 rows gave me 24 triangles, each is 4.5", so slightly smaller than the 6" triangles being used in the quilt-a-long, but why not change it up a bit, and try a new ruler? Especially since I bought the new ruler in the fall and have yet to use it!

So here are the triangles. 12 piles of the fabrics, plus the 1/2 triangles from the start of cutting each piece of fabric. Should be a good contrast to the green triangle quilt.  Can't wait to start sewing these triangles together into rows.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Triangle Quilt Along - Week #2

The Sassy Quilter

I joined the Triangle Quilt Along from The Sassy Quilter, and this is week #2.

These were the green fabrics I initially chose for my triangle quilt:

It is a range of prints, along with a solid, and 3 peppered cottons - shot cottons from Pepper Cory's line of shot cottons. You can see the colored threads, especially the red hanging out from one of the greens.

On the weekend, I was cleaning up, and I found a bag of solids and I decided to check to see if I had put any any greens that would go with this green quilt.

I had a number of fat quarters, and the colors are different in person - they were shot on a white background, and the bluish one isn't as blue in person. The second photo shows one where the weave creates a stripe, as well as a linen like olive.

Of course, not all fat quarters are created equal. In my case, these new solids were 17.5" x 20", so it didn't really work to cut 6" strips, so I went with 6.5" strips.  And then on to cutting the triangles. I need over 200 to make a quilt. The fat quarters I was able to get 7 or 9 triangles out of.

The half triangles are from the start of cutting each strip. Hopefully I can use these at the beginning and end of each row of the quilt.
I ended up with 28 different greens, from light green, to blue green, to olive green, to dark greens.
And of course the half-triangles that were used to cut each piece of fabric.

I've decided I want this to be a bed sized quilt, so I'm tentatively making it 20 triangles across with 14 rows using 6.5" triangles. The quilt-a-long is doing 6" triangles 16 x 12 rows.

I'm not getting great photos from my iPhone using the Flickr or the Instagram application to take the photos. What do other quilting bloggers use to take their photos of blocks and fabrics? I know that my photos look much better using a digital camera and cleaning up the image on the computer (I use google Picassa). However, that adds to the workflow, and this quilt-a-long has a flickr group that I am posting my pictures to (I had to learn how to use flickr and instagram!)

And lastly, it's the weekly "Let's Bee Social!" hosted  by Lorna McMahon. Click on the button to see some other great quilting bloggers this week.

Sew Fresh Quilts