Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Strippy Improv Holiday Sew Along Part 2

 


Happy Sew Along Part 2! 

It's a block making day, and I'm focused on the tree block. It was fun to dig through my stash of green scraps to create trees in all different shades. 

Need the pattern? Find it here. If you missed the first post, find it here.

I chose the greens for my two planned projects based on the greens in the border fabric. 
So bright and more lime fabrics here: 



My snow globe border fabric actually only has sea green in it, so I experimented with something - using darker greens and little white strips of snow. What do you think? 


Here is my original tree from last year - I made it into a fabric postcard for our guild exchange. Super scrappy!

And here's a tree block where I played around with my machine's fancy stitches to make garland. If you go this route, do it before you add the applique cut out. 

A few tips for block making: 
  • Your strips only need to be long enough to extend beyond the drawn shape on the muslin. Don't feel like you need to cover the whole muslin square! 
  • Vary the angles of your strips - some leaning left, and some leaning right. This will add interest to your shape. 
  • If you choose to try snow on the tree like I did, make your white strips skinner than the green strips. 
Happy sewing!


And finally, a couple pics of my cuties and the tree blocks they made: 





Strippy Improv Holiday Sew Along Schedule:
Thursday, November 18th - Intro and Fabric Selection

Tuesday, November 23rd - Make a block

Tuesday, November 30th - Make a block

Thursday, December 2nd - Make a block

Tuesday, December 7th - Make a block

Thursday, December 9th - Assembly

Tuesday, December 14th - Alternate options

Thursday, December 16th - Finishing

********************************************************************

If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
Find me on IG here.
Find me on Facebook here.
Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
(You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)



Saturday, November 20, 2021

UFOvember: Rework!

When you make "quick corners" (on snowball blocks or flying geese, for example), do you save the trimmed off triangle pairs? Unless they're really tiny, I can't bear to throw them out, but they just sit in piles. And piles. And piles.

Star Bows leftover triangles

Opposite Directions lap-size leftover HSTs

So when Bobbie from Geeky Bobbin posted about her UFOvember plan, I knew it was time to pull out a pile of those neglected triangle pairs and rework them into a finished project! I even had the perfect time to work on it--our fall Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild retreat!



I grabbed the leftover triangles from my Opposite Directions baby quilt (shown below) with a very loose plan in mind. Because the original quilt measured just 39" x 51", I knew I'd need to supplement with additional fabric to make another baby quilt. 

Opposite Directions quilt pattern

These leftover fabric triangles from my quilt are from Art Gallery Fabrics' Pine Lullaby Rediscovered collection, plus two colors of Pure Solids.


First:
Make HSTs. I chain piece these, which speeds the process along. Head over to IG and see my reel showing how I sew these as efficiently as possible. 

**One tip for chain piecing (and not just HSTs): Use your seam ripper to cut apart the threads between each stitched unit. Faster and easier than scissors!**




Then I trim them to a specific size. I find that it's easier to go slightly smaller with these HSTs made from loose triangles; that way you don't have to worry if your stretchy long triangle edges match up perfectly because you've got more wiggle room for trimming. 


Second:
Play around with layouts. I had leftover fabric from this quilt that I loved, so I knew I wanted to work it in (which also would allow me to make a larger quilt!). I started out by laying out all my HSTs just to get a visual on the size I was starting with (not very big, in this case...these HSTs are 2.5" square, so right here I' looking at approximately 22" x 34"). 


Then I switched to experimenting with layouts on the computer, because for me, it's faster. And I was on a mission to get this quilt done during my retreat! :)

My Design Ideas

1. This was my original idea. Those adorable critter heads were the backing fabric for my original quilt, and I thought it would be fun to fussy cut them and randomly insert larger squares into my HST pattern. 
But...it needed borders to be bigger, and I didn't have enough fabric for borders. Let's keep looking.


2. I'd also been thinking stars, making the HSTs into a scrappy low volume background, and still using the critter focal squares. I like this, but honestly, it was more work than I wanted to do. I wanted simple and striking.


3. Here's a star variation where the stars don't pop- using just HSTs and critter focal squares. I liked this design s as well, but that first design kept tugging on me. 


4. Ultimately, here's where I ended up - with my original design, but using leftovers of the white/black prints for the focal squares so I could use the critter fabric for a border. A good compromise, I think!


Third:
Start sewing! Since I was at a quilt retreat, I focused and stitched, and assembled this quilt over a two-day period. I joined HSTs into pieced sections around the focal squares, and then into larger rows.


The finished quilt top:


Fourth:
Bask in the great feeling that you used up some long-neglected triangles and created a quilt top. Now it's time to quilt and bind it before it lingers in a different UFO pile! :) 

And bonus - I'll be saving those rejected layout ideas for future HST project finishes!


Looking for more UFOvember inspiration? Check out a full month's worth of ideas!

  • November 1 - The Geeky Bobbin - http://geekybobbin.com
  • November 2 - Strawberry Creek Quilts - http://www.strawberrycreekquilts.com
  • November 3 - Katie Mae Quilts - http://katiemaequilts.com
  • November 4 - Pretty Piney Quilts - https://prettypiney.com/blog
  • November 5 - Mary Go Round Quilts - http://www.marygoroundquilts.com
  • November 6 - Exhausted Octopus - https://exhaustedoctopus.com/blog/
  • November 7 - Just Get It Done Quilts - https://www.justgetitdonequilts.com/blog
  • November 8 - By Hilary Jordan - https://byhilaryjordan.com/
  • November 9 - Sew Hooked on Treasures - http://sewhookedontreasures.com
  • November 10 - Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting - http://www.sunflowerstitcheries.com
  • November 11 - Blue Heron Quilting - https://www.blueheronquilting.shop/blog
  • November 12 - Carrington Creates - https://cbear7774.wixsite.com/thatsthewayitseams
  • November 13 - Sarah Goer Quilts - https://www.sarahgoerquilts.com
  • November 14 - Better Done Quilts - https://betterdonequilts.com/
  • November 15 - Ashli Montgomery | Virginia'dele Smith - http://www.meandcoach.com
  • November 16 - Puppy Girl Designs - http://puppygirldesigns.com
  • November 17 - Lovingly, Lissa - http://lovinglylissa.com
  • November 18 - Art East Quilting Co - http://www.arteastquiltingco.com
  • November 19 - rjbosscher - http://www.rjbosscher.com
  • November 20 - Love to Color My World - http://lovetocolormyworld.blogspot.com/
  • November 21 - LynsAvenue - http://lynsavenue.com
  • November 22 - Quiltfox Design - https://www.quiltfox-design.com
  • November 23 - Maeberry Square - https://www.maeberrysquare.com
  • November 24 - Karen Bolan Designs - https://www.karenbolan.com/blog
  • November 25 - Tina1802 - http://www.tina1802.com
  • November 26 - Lazy Cozy Quilts - http://www.lazycozyquilts.com
  • November 27 - True Blue Quilts - http://www.truebluequilts.com
  • November 28 - The Scrappy Camper - http://www.thescrappycamper.com
  • November 29 - Sarah Ruiz Quilts - http://sarahruiz.com
  • November 30 - Lyric Art - http://LyricKinard.com

    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop<<--use code BIRTHDAY21 for 15% off through 11/22!
    Find me on IG here.
    Find me on Facebook here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)


  • Thursday, November 18, 2021

    Strippy Improv Holiday Sew Along Part 1

     Welcome to the Strippy Improv Holiday Sew Along! 

    I don't know about you, but this time of year, I have big plans to finish projects before Christmas - either for gifts, or to decorate my house. And most years, very few get finished. I'd like to change that this year and I hope you'll join me. 


    The Strippy Improv Holiday pattern uses a combination of improv piecing (you can piece straight strips if you prefer) plus reverse applique to make your choice of five different block designs. The pattern includes options for a table runner or wall hanging finish. Since either one is a smaller project, you'll even be able to quilt and bind it before December 25th! Here are the blocks:




    Back to the Sew Along: I'm hosting the Strippy Improv Holiday Sew Along to help nudge us all along to a holiday project finish. Keep reading to see the schedule. You choose your blocks and your layout. I'll provide encouragement, tips and photos here on my blog, on IG and on Facebook on each of the dates listed. Together, we can do this! 

    Purchase the pattern here and join the Sew Along!


    Strippy Improv Holiday Sew Along Schedule:
    Thursday, November 18th - Intro and Fabric Selection

    Tuesday, November 23rd - Make a block

    Tuesday, November 30th - Make a block

    Thursday, December 2nd - Make a block

    Tuesday, December 7th - Make a block

    Thursday, December 9th - Assembly

    Tuesday, December 14th - Alternate options

    Thursday, December 16th - Finishing

    ********************************************************************

    It's Day 1, so let's talk fabric selection.

    You can go in so many different fabric directions for this project - traditional Christmas, modern, whimsical...

    The keys? 

    1) Choose a non-white or light fabric for the block backgrounds so the pieced strips don't show through. 

    2) Select a background color that contrasts with the strip colors for your blocks. For example, if you make a tree block, you don't want the background fabric to be green, or your tree won't show up. 

    3) Aim for high contrast for the skinny frames around each block. This creates definition between your blocks and your sashing/border fabric. 

    4) Raid your stash for the strip pieced sections of each block. The scrappier, the better!


    The first time I made this project, I used black/silver tonals and jewel tones for a more modern look (see above). This time, I couldn't decide, so I'm sharing two different fabric combinations. Which do you like better? What will you use? I can't wait to see! Share your fabric choices on Instagram using #strippyimprovholiday so we can all see!




    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
    Find me on IG here.
    Find me on Facebook here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)


    Wednesday, October 13, 2021

    Star Stacks meets Moonlight Sky!


    When Kate Colleran asked if I wanted to play with her Moonlight Sky fabrics from Island Batik, I said "I'd love to!" These colors spoke to me because I'm a cool palette girl, all the way. 


    I narrowed down the palette a bit, sticking with the turquoise and lime prints, plus black and white. My favorite prints are the two square designs--white on black and lime on turquoise.


    I thought this combo would make some stars sparkle! I used the fabrics to make a small version of my Star Stacks quilt pattern. One of the things I like about this quilt is alternating contrasting backgrounds for the star blocks - it adds an extra design element.




    The Star Stacks quilt pattern is available in my Etsy shop; the pattern includes directions to make both a small and large lap size. 



    I also mocked up a full-size version of Star Stacks so you could see the full effect. What do you think? I'm thinking I need some more Moonlight Sky fabric to make the larger quilt! 


    If you want some of this fabric, start with a chance to win some! Kate will be giving away a Fat Quarter bundle of the Moonlight Sky fabrics on her blog.

    Eight different designers are showcasing quilts using Moonlight Sky today - head over to my IG feed to find links to all of them!

    ************************************************************************
    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
    Find me on IG here.
    Find me on Facebook here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)

    Tuesday, October 5, 2021

    Strippy Improv Halloween

    It's Strippy Improv Halloween pattern release day, and for me, that's even better than trick or treating! (And I say that as a hardcore chocolate fan!)

    This pattern combines strippy improv piecing to create a textured, scrappy look for each block. New to improv piecing? This is a great pattern to try it out, and I walk you through each step. Add in a little reverse applique using HeatnBond Fusible Web, and abracadabra! Finished Halloween blocks. Just add sashing and borders to complete the top. 
    Purchase the pattern here.
     

    The pattern includes nine different templates - mix and match your favorites to make either a wall hanging or a table runner.

    Here's a little more inspiration - different ways to combine the blocks - using Benartex's Halloween Party prints for the borders. 



    These blocks sew up pretty quickly, so you'll have time to finish your quilt or runner before October 31st! The hardest part will be choosing which blocks to make. 

    Purchase the pattern here

    Here's a look at the pattern back with fabric requirements - the blocks are scrappy, so you can hunt for strips in your stash. 
    Happy Halloween! 

    ************************************************************************
    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
    Find me on IG here.
    Find me on Facebook here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)



    Friday, October 1, 2021

    Buzzworthy Zip Pouches

     When I saw Benartex's new Buzzworthy fabric line, I knew I could create some fun zip pouches. You can never have too many, and they make great gifts. 


    Here are the fabrics I chose to work with. There are a few prints I didn't use in these two zip pouches. Do you know what that means? I can make more! You can see the full collection here

    This border stripe fabric is what won me over--I knew I could fussy cut it so the fabric would do all the work--no piecing necessary to make a gorgeous, detailed zip pouch! 



    Daisy Zip Pouch

    You'll Need:

    1/2 yard border stripe

    1/2 yard lining fabric (I used the black bee fabric)

    1 coordinating zipper, at least 12" long

    (2) 12-1/2" squares HeatnBond Fusible Fleece

    A quick tip on zippers--I have so many - I found two to use for these pouches in my stash. If your zipper is too long--no problem--don't go out and buy a shorter one. You can cut it down to size (but don't cut yet--I'll show you how and where in the pouch instructions).


    Cutting:

    From the border stripe:
    (2) 12-1/2" squares

    Note: I used my 12-1/2" square ruler to "audition" which part of the border stripe I wanted for my pouch front. I kept my fabric folded in half, with selvedges matching, so my backing square came out of the opposite end of the fabric. 



    From the lining fabric:
    (2) 12" squares

    Making the Zip Pouch:

    Step 1 Fuse each fusible fleece square to the wrong side of a border stripe square (from now on called the outer square).

    Step 2 Machine quilt each square as desired--I did straight horizontal lines, about 1" apart. Square up each to measure 12".

    Step 3 Layer an outer square right side up. Position the zipper on top, right side down, and align top edges. Position a lining square on top, right side down, and pin in place. Using a zipper foot, stitch along the zipper, which is sandwiched between the outer and lining squares. Note: When you reach the zipper head, stop with the needle down and move the zipper head back to where you've already stitched.



    Note: Here's where you can shorten a too-long zipper. Just past the edge of the fabric, stitch back and forth several times across the zipper. This ensures that the zipper head doesn't slide off after you trim the end (which removes the little stopper near the end).


    Step 4 Fold the lining and outer square wrong sides together and press away from the zipper. Topstitch 1/4" from seam by zipper.


    Step 5 Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the opposite side of the zipper. 


    Your pouch in progress should now look like this:


    Step 6 At the top of the zipper, hold the two zipper tape edges together and stitch back and forth. This ensures that your zipper will closely securely all the way to the edge of the pouch. 


    Step 7 Position the pouch so the outer squares are right sides together on one side of the zipper and the lining squares are right sides together on the opposite side. Matching raw edges, pin around the outside edge. Stitch around the outside of the bag, leaving a 6" opening on the bottom of the lining side.


    Step 8 To box the bottom, cut 2-1/2" squares out of the bottom corners as shown.
    Repeat on the lining side. 


    Step 9 Matching the side and the bottom seam, pinch corner and pin. Stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance to create a boxed corner. Repeat on opposite outer bag corner and both lining corners.


    Step 10 Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Slipstitch the opening closed and tuck it inside the pouch. Enjoy!



    Honeycomb Boxy Pouch

    You'll Need:
    1/2 yard black/white honeycomb fabric

    1/2 yard zigzag stripe for lining

    (2) 11" squares HeatnBond Fusible Fleece

    (1) 1" x 12" piece of fusible interfacing

    1 coordinating zipper, at least 12" long


    A quick note before I begin--I actually had a completely different plan for a second pouch. But then I found the goldenrod zipper in my stash and knew that I could pair it with the black and white honeycomb print for a boxy, modern little bag. 

    Cutting: 
    From the honeycomb print: 
    (2) 11" squares
    (1) 4" x 12" piece for strap

    From the zigzag stripe: 
    (2) 10-1/2" squares for lining

    Making the Boxy Pouch
    Step 1 Press the 4" x 12" honeycomb piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and then unfold and press long edges to the center fold. Tuck the strip of interfacing inside, refold along all lines and then topstitch 1/4" from each long edge to make the strap. Set aside. 





    Step 3 Fuse each fusible fleece square to an 11" honeycomb square. Quilt as desired. Note: I did a crosshatch pattern. Square up both outer pouch pieces to measure 10-1/2". 




    Step 4 In the same way as for the first pouch, attach the outer pouch and lining pieces to opposite sides of the zipper. 




    Step 5 Fold the pieces with outer pouch pieces right sides together and stitch along the edge opposite the zipper. Zigzag stitch to secure raw edges. 



    Step 6 Fold the strap in half and position the raw edges on the edge of the seam from Step 5. Pin and then baste the strap in place. 


    Step 7: Pin the side edges of the pouch to each other, aligning the zipper and the bottom seam line in the middle. Make sure the zipper is at least halfway open! Stitch along both side edges. Note: Stitch slowly when you encounter the bulky area by the zipper. Zigzag stitch the raw edges.


    Step 8: Using the same method as in the first pouch, cut out 2" squares from each corner and stitch to box the corners. 



    Step 9: Turn the pouch right side out. Enjoy! 



    Psst...I'm about to launch a NEW pattern - Strippy Improv Halloween! Make sure you're following me so you don't miss it. Here's a sneak peek:


    ************************************************************************
    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
    Find me on IG here.
    Find me on Facebook here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)