Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WIP Wednesday Sees The World

Looking for WIP Wednesday? It's over at Don't Call Me Betsy this week. But I will miss you all! See you next Wednesday!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hexing Around Block

Um, blogging break? What blogging break? Of course, I said I'm taking a blogging break, and now here I am posting a full-fledged block tutorial. You knew I couldn't stay away, didn't you?

But June is my month as quilter for the Love Circle of Do. Good Stitches, and I changed my plan for the quilt at the last minute, and the new plan requires a block tutorial ... and here we are. I'm calling this the "Hexing Around" block. Enjoy, whether you are in the Love Circle or not.

Hexing Around Block
This 12.5" square log-cabin-style hexagon block is fun and easy to piece.

1. First, download my template for the center hexagon here. Click the printer icon in the upper left corner of the screen to print it, or download the original. In the printer dialogue box that comes up, be sure to un-click the box that says "Fit to Page." This is very important for the hexagon to print at the correct size! When printed at actual size, the hexagon should be 2.75" high (from flat edge to flat edge).

UPDATED 2/24/14: I think somebody must have just linked to this (rather old) tutorial, because suddenly I'm being inundated with requests for people to email me this template. You guys, I apologize, but I can't spend all day individually emailing this template to everybody. Google Docs works, I promise. I just tried it myself and very easily printed it out. Click the link above, and then find the little printer icon in the upper left corner. Then, when the printer dialogue box comes up, just un-click "Fit to Page." Thank you!

2. Use the template to cut out a hexagon for the center of your block. The template includes seam allowance, so no need to add for that.

3. Now cut 1.5" wide strips for each side of your center hexie. Sew two of the strips onto opposite sides of your hexie, as shown. Press seams open.

4. Use the 60-degree angle mark on your ruler to trim the ends of the pieces you just added. Line up the 60-degree angle line with the seam opposite the strip you're trimming.

5. When you're done trimming the ends, you should have a unit that looks like this.

6. Add two more strips to opposite edges of the center hexagon.

7. Trim the ends of these strips by matching up the 1.25" vertical line on your ruler with the seam that runs parallel to the edge you want to trim, and the 60-degree angle mark should line up with the raw edge of the unit, as shown.

8. When you're done trimming, it should look like this.

9. Add your final two strips to opposite sides of the hexagon.

10. Again, trim the ends of the strips in the same way you did the previous two strips. Line up 1.25" mark with a parallel seam, and the 60-degree line with a raw edge of the block.

11. Now your hexagon should look like this, with one complete round of "logs."

12. Cut another set of 1.5" strips and follow the steps above to sew another round of logs around your hexagon, in the same manner as the first.

13. Continue adding logs to make two more rounds. Your completed hexagon should be no more than 12.5" wide, from point to point. If it's more than 12.5", go ahead and trim around the outer edge to bring it down to size. If it's a little less than 12.5" wide, that's okay.

14. From your background fabric (I'm using solid white), cut two 5" x 7" rectangles. Now cut a diagonal line through each rectangle, like so.

15. Sew the background triangles onto the corners of your hexagon, as shown. The triangles will be larger than what you need, but I found it easier to make them too big and then trim down to nice 90-degree corners. Add triangles to all four corners.

16. Trim your block so that it measures 12.5" wide by 11" high. (There should be at least .25" of white background at its narrowest point along each side of the block.)

17. Add 1.5" strips to the top and bottom of your block and trim to 12.5" square.

Thank you, ladies of the Love Circle! Now I'm going back into hiding until Thursday as planned, but I will be reachable by email if you have questions or problems with the block. Have a great holiday.

P.S. In case you're dying for an update on the potty training ... well, it's going. That's about the best I can say at this point. : )

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Longest Weekend

To those of you in the U.S., happy Memorial Day and enjoy your long weekend. I will be spending it attempting to potty-train my 2-year-old, which means my weekend will be very long indeed. : )

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I'll be taking a short blogging break, in order to give this little project my full attention. Elizabeth will be taking care of WIP Wednesday this week (there will be a reminder post here, directing you to her blog), and I hope to be back on Thursday, barring any disasters and/or vast amounts of time spent cleaning carpet. Have a good one!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gifts and Giveaway Winner

Two teacher gifts down, one to go! Thank you, Ayumi, for a wonderful lunch bag tutorial. This is the perfect gift for teachers who stomp around in the mud and bogs with their students every day. : )

And now, the reason I know you're really all here: We have a giveaway winner! Congratulations to comment #318, Jenny:

I do love an ironic giveaway winner. : ) Jenny, I'll be sending you an email for your mailing address.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WIP Wednesday #28

Hey, it's Wednesday, and I'm cracking the WIP again ...

New projects:
Bee blocks
Angela sent each of us in the Sew Beautiful Bee these cool blue lovelies. The instructions were to create a block that felt like "me." This has led to a good bit of soul searching about who exactly "I" am when it comes to quilting. I don't think I have a recognizable style, like Rita from Red Pepper Quilts—her work is usually instantly identifiable as hers. Nor does there seem to be any common design thread in the things that I make. Am I over-thinking this? At any rate, I'll let you know when I do find out who I am. Or run out of time for making the block, whichever comes first. : )

Teacher gifts - lunch bags
Hey, look what arrived the other day from Spoonflower: It's my rain boot fabric that I designed for Project Selvage! I'm not 100% satisfied with the scale of the design, so I might make some modifications there, but other than that, it turned out beautifully. It is now destined to become end-of-year gifts for my daughter's preschool teachers. I had been planning to make Ayumi's fabric baskets, which I also made for the Make Mine Modern swap, but when I went to locate the tutorial on her blog, I noticed her Lunch Bag tutorial and decided those would be perfect! Long-time readers might remember that I'm not much of a bag maker, and I need to get three of these bad boys done by Friday, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Secret project
Inspiration struck the other night, but I'm not sure what exactly will become of this one, so I'm keeping it under wraps for now.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:
Hope Valley (the original Supernova)

Completed quilts awaiting binding:
Modern Meadow

On hold:
Central Park jelly roll quilt
Figgy Pudding quilt
Wonky Log Cabin

This week's stats:
New projects - 3 (crap)
Completed projects - 1 (the final scrappy placemat)
Currently in progress - 11 (up two from last week)

Finally, just an FYI: Next week, WIP Wednesday will be taking a little trip to Elizabeth's house! Next week's linky will be at Don't Call Me Betsy, while I take a little blogging break for a few days to concentrate on a WIP I am truly dreading: Potty training. Thank you for guest-hosting, Elizabeth! I will have a link to her blog on that day, so you don't have to remember or change where your button links to or anything like that–just wanted you all to know the plan. And we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming right here the following week.

Your turn now! 1) Please link to a post from the past week containing a work in progress. Yep, I'm the weirdo who doesn't want a linky full of finishes. : ) It's okay if your post contains finishes, but it must also contain at least one unfinished item. 2) Please link back to my blog in your post. 3) Comment on some of the other links. 4) Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Scrappy Rainbow Placemats - A Tutorial

Looking for the Giveaway Day post? Scroll down, it's right below this one!

Want to make some colorful, summery placemats? Here's the tutorial for the Scrappy Rainbow Placemats I made for the Make Mine Modern swap.

Before we start, let me again credit Angela, whose amazing Pink Lemonade quilt was the inspiration for these placemats. The original idea was all hers. Thank you, Angela!

You will need:
• scraps in 12 different prints of Color A (I'm using pink)
• scraps in 12 different prints of Color B (I'm using purple)
• 7 - 4.5" white squares
• 3 - 4.5" x 2.5" white rectangles
• piece of fabric for backing/binding, 15"-16" by 21"-22"
• 14" x 20" piece of batting

From six of your pink prints: Cut two 2.5" squares and two 1.5" squares from each print.

From the other six pink prints: Cut one 2.5" square and one 1.5" square from each print.

From six of your purple prints: Cut two 2.5" squares and two 1.5" squares from each print.
From the other six purple prints: Cut one 2.5" square and one 1.5" square from each print.

1. Take the white squares and rectangles, and lay them out in a checkerboard pattern, as shown, with the rectangles at the bottom. Be sure to lay out your pieces in a location where they can remain undisturbed until you're done piecing the top!

2. Now grab some of your unpaired pink and purple 2.5" squares (so, the prints from which you cut only one 2.5" square) and start laying them out in a row across the top, between the white pieces, alternating colors, as shown.

3. For your next row, use unpaired squares at each end of the row, and paired squares everywhere else. Again, alternate colors, so that you start to create a checkerboard pattern.

4. Continue laying out your pink and purple squares, following the pattern you've established. Be sure to keep your paired prints together, kitty-corner from each other, as shown in the photo above. (Sorry the squares are such a wrinkled mess!)

5. Take your 1.5" squares and lay them out over the top of your white background pieces. Put a 1.5" square at each corner of the white pieces, matching prints up with the corresponding 2.5" squares, as shown in the photo. (You should end up with two 1.5" squares left over.)

6. Once you're satisfied with your layout, pin your 1.5" pieces into place, on top of the white background pieces. Please note that you are not pinning for sewing placement. You're only pinning them to keep track of where all these teeny little squares go. But trust me, you'll want to take the time to do this!

7. Last step before you can start sewing: Mark the center line on your sewing machine, if you haven't already. You will use this as a reference line to sew diagonally across the 1.5" squares without having to mark all the squares. (This is a tip I picked up from Linda when she participated in the Supernova quilt-along.) I marked mine with a purple sticky note. I used the sticky note because it's repositionable, so I can put it right over my drop-in bobbin compartment.

8. Finally, you get to sew! : ) Take your first white piece, with the 1.5" squares pinned onto the corners. Unpin one of the little squares and flip it over, so right sides are facing. (If you're using a directional fabric, it should be oriented 90 degrees from the way you want it to appear after it's sewn.) Keep your other three squares pinned, so you don't lose track of which corner they go on!

9. Using the center line that you marked on your machine, sew a diagonal line across the 1.5" square, from corner to corner, as shown. Just keep the point of the 1.5" square on the marked line at all times as you sew, and you'll end up with a perfect diagonal seam.

10. Do the same with each of the other three 1.5" squares. You should now have a piece that looks like this.

11. Trim off the excess fabric beyond the diagonal seam at each corner and press your prints out, toward the corners, so you have a piece that looks like this. I recommend pressing seams open here. Repeat the above steps until all of your 1.5" squares are sewn into corner triangles on your all of your white background pieces.

12. Now for the easy part! Sew together the 2.5" squares into four-patch blocks. Start by sewing pairs of pink and purple squares together, as shown. Now I recommend pressing the seams to the side, since I find four-patches go together better with side-pressed seams that can be nested together.

13. Sew the pairs together into a four-patch. At this point I went back to pressing my seams open, since it's no longer important for alignment, and open seams reduce bulk.

14. Now you should have 20 blocks that can be sewn together into a completed top. So go ahead, what are you waiting for? : )

15. Layer your backing/binding, batting, and top, and baste with a few pins. You backing/binding piece should be at least 1/2" larger than the top and batting on each side.

16. I quilted mine in straight lines, outlining the basic shapes created by the piecing. I also used two different colors of thread to echo the fabric colors.

17. I used Made By Rae's "Cheater Binding" tutorial for quick and easy binding. This is why the backing piece needs to be larger than the top—you'll be folding it around to the front and sewing it down to create the binding. The only change I made to Rae's tutorial is that my binding is narrower, which I thought was better for a small piece like a placemat.

Good luck! Please let me know if you make these placemats, I would love to see them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Giveaway Day

***The giveaway is now CLOSED.***

It's here! Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day. It's like bloggers' Christmas. : )

So what am I bringing to the party? This bundle of 8 fat-quarters, hand-picked by me, from my stash (which needs to get a lot smaller, so it's a win-win, really).

There's a little Modern Meadow, Henna Garden, Oval Elements, and some Wonderland and Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut. Lots of out-of-print yumminess here!

How do you win? Well, it would be pretty hard to top the hilarious comments I got on my last Giveaway Day post. So let's keep things simple this time—just leave me a comment. Any old comment will do. One per person please. I'll choose randomly from all comments received by Thursday morning (May 26).

Please note: If you are a no-reply blogger, you must leave your email address. If I draw your number, but I don't see any way of contacting you, I will choose another winner.

Good luck! And thanks for visiting!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler

BWS tips button

If you are a beginning quilter, or if you're just looking to expand the skills you already have, you'll want to know about this: The talented Leila is kicking off a "Skill Builder Sampler" quilt-along, beginning June 17.

Each month we'll make three blocks that focus on one or two particular skills. We'll start with the basics (cutting, seam allowance, and value) and as the year goes on, we'll move up to some more advanced skills like curves and paper-piecing. Trying something new is always scary, but wouldn't it be so much less scary to try it with a whole group? Here's your chance!

Thanks, Leila, for setting this up! I'll definitely be playing along.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday #27

It's Wednesday! Let's talk WIPs again ...

New projects:
One more scrappy placemat
Remember my rainbow placemats for the Make Mine Modern swap? Well, my swap partner Kelly must really like them, because she "commissioned" me to make another one for her in exchange for some Heather Ross Munki scraps. The new placemat will be purple and pink.

Since I'm making one more, I thought I'd put together a tutorial, if there's interest. Anybody want a tute on this? It's a fantastic scrap project! For the prints, the biggest piece I used was 2.5" square, so it's a good way to use up your tinies.

Ongoing projects:
Modern Meadow baby quiltStill being bound. This quilt is clinging to its WIP status for dear life, apparently.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:
Hope Valley (the original Supernova)

On hold:
Central Park jelly roll quilt
That Girl quilt-along
Figgy Pudding quilt
Wonky Log Cabin

This week's stats:
New projects - 1
Completed projects - 1 (Supernova)
Currently in progress - 9 (same as last week)

You guys know what to do: 1) Please link to a post from the past week containing a work in progress. Yep, I'm the weirdo who doesn't want a linky full of finishes. : ) It's okay if your post contains finishes, but it must also contain at least one unfinished item. 2) Please link back to my blog in your post. 3) Comment on some of the other links. 4) Enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tea Caddy Tutorial

I just wanted to say congratulations to my bloggy friend AnneMarie of Gen X Quilters, who now has her first tutorial at the Moda Bake Shop!

Her tea caddy tute happened to run the day of the Blogger meltdown, so I'm guessing many of you missed it—and that's a shame because it's such a cute and useful little item. So head on over to the Bake Shop to learn how to make this adorable tea tote.
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Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

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