Friday, January 29, 2016

Bear Paw - Finally!

I've held on to this UFO for a long time.  I made the top over 10 years ago.  Two years ago I made the back.  Luckily I saved the left over fabric!  Last year I quilted it.  This year I finally put on a binding and finished it.


I quilted a square spiral. (Is that a thing?)  I started with a small square in the middle and worked my way out with random spacing in between the lines.  The end result it a bit wavy.  I'm not sure if that's due to the quilting or the fact that the top was not quite flat or square.

The bear belonging to all those paws can be found on the back.



I like the colors and the design, but the workmanship is not great and the fabrics are cheap.

Since the bear looks like he's tucked into a sleeping bag I think this is destined to be a camping quilt!

This week I'm linked up with:
Needle and Thread Thursday

Sew Fresh Quilts




Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blocks 5 and 6 - Modern Sampler

Yikes, what did I get myself into this week?  I make these itty bitty (it seems) arrows using traditional piecing.  In retrospect I probably should have tried paper piecing.



I included an arrow block in my sampler since arrows have been so popular lately.  It's safe to say that I got arrows out of my system and won't be tempted to sew them again.  The arrows are block 5.

My test block provides an alternate color way.



Block 6 is a companion to block 4.  I sewed 8 similar squares and pieced them together differently to create my 2 final squares.



Again I created a test block in an alternate color way.



Whew!  I made it through January on schedule.  Yay me!

Fabrics used (on all but the test blocks):
Starlight in Nightfall (Rhoda Ruth by Elizabeth Hartman)
Geometric XOXO in Indigo (Simply Colorful 2 by Moda Fabrics)
Kona Solid in Slate (by Robert Kaufman)
Kona Solid in Bluegrass (by Robert Kaufman)
Atomic Flux in Alloy (Utopia by AGF)
Henna in Aqua (Eden by Tula Pink)
Mini Pearl Bracelets in Rocket (by Lizzy House)

As usual, the test blocks use my stash/scraps and I've lost track of what they are.

This week I'm linked up with:
Freshly Pieced
Crazy Mom Quilts
Quilt Story

Needle and Thread Thursday

Sew Fresh Quilts


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blocks 3 and 4 - Modern Sampler 2016

Wow, it's mid January and I'm still on track with my modern sampler.  Most of my New Year's resolutions don't last this long :)

Block 3 is 8"x4".  Working with thin little strips is a pain, but I wanted to include the year somewhere in this quilt.  Now I have no choice but to finish in 2016!



Block 4 is an 8" square and is cut freehand (without a ruler).  This is my favorite set of fabrics among all that I'm using for this quilt.


I learned the technique for freehand curves at the 2014 BAMQG retreat.  I like freehand cutting because you don't need to be precise.

My test block provides an alternate color way for block 4.


Now I need to decide what to do with my test blocks...

Fabrics use (all except the test block):
Kona Solid in Bluegrass (by Robert Kaufman)
Atomic Flux in Alloy (Utopia by AGF)
Henna in Aqua (Eden by Tula Pink)
Kona Solid in Cabbage (by Robert Kaufman)
Mini Pearl Bracelets in Rocket (by Lizzy House)
Chelsea in Leaf (Highline by Free Spirit Fabrics)

The fabrics in the test block are from my stash.  I lost track of their origin long ago :)

I'm linked up with:
Freshly Pieced

Sew Fresh Quilts


A Quilted Passion









Sunday, January 17, 2016

It's a Lot Prettier than it Looks in the Photo - I Swear!

If you've been following me you know that I'm working on a big quilting project this year.  My 2016 Modern Sampler uses a range of fabrics from yellow to green to blue.


I'm sticking with one color for each block (all blue-greens for example).

When I started working on the yellow-green blocks I ran into trouble.  Photography trouble.  That pretty mustard fabric with the silver spiders was looking baby-poop green in photos.  No matter how I manipulated it in photoshop I just couldn't get it to work.


Yuck!  See what I mean?  And this was the best I could get after a lot of manipulation.

Luckily I live with an expert on digital imaging.  I asked dad-to-the-Empress what I should do and the answer was so simple!

Now if you're a better photographer than me you probably know this already.   But if you're like me - just a quilter who wants to take pretty photos and knows just enough Photoshop to be dangerous - this is new information.

All I had to do was import the RAW image into Photoshop instead of a JPG.  I had to set my camera to save both RAW and JPGs.  On my camera (a Nikon) the file is called an NEF file.  It's an uncompressed image so no information is lost.  I also had to update Photoshop so the software could recognize my file.



The result?  An image that was almost perfect!  I tweaked the brightness a bit but that's it.  Wow what a difference!  From now on I'm starting with the RAW file instead of a JPG.

For more information (from actual experts):

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Scraptastic

Over the holiday break I organized my scraps.  They are "organized" by size (under 5" square, under a fat quarter, under a half yard and under a yard).  The draws hold 1 yard or larger cuts (and winter clothes).


Since the bins are overflowing I need to either clean house or kick off a major scrap project.

In the meantime I'm using my scraps to make test squares for my modern sampler quilt.  Here are a few sneak peeks.  Can you guess which of the block designs ended up in the reject pile?


I have no idea what I'm going to do with these scraps.  Perhaps I'll finally try sewing a bag or two.  The arrows might make a cute pincushion.

I'm linked up with:

Scraptastic Tuesday

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Block 2 - Modern Sampler 2016

The second block of my modern sampler is a log pyramid.  It's a mini version of the log pyramid quilt I completed in 2014.



At the center is a little silver spider.  That mustard spider web fabric makes me so happy!

I chose the fabric for each ring of the pyramid at random.  As usual I used a random number generator.

But first I made a test block from scraps.


I love the way this block came out.  That little pop of blue/green is just right.

Check out my tutorial if you want to make your own log pyramid block.

Still on track at week two!  Yay!

Fabrics used (on the green square):
Chelsea in Leaf (Highline by Free Spirit Fabrics)
Doily Web in Mustard (Spellbound by Cotton + Steel)
Pasture Lines in Pickle (Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander)
Drawn Stripe in Leaf (Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander)

The fabrics in the test square are from my stash and I don't know what they are.

I'm linked up with:

Crazy Mom Quilts




How to Sew a Log Pyramid Block

Block #2 of my modern sampler is a log pyramid.  It's a mini version of my Log Pyramid quilt.

This block finishes at 8" but you can easily scale it to other sizes.

Since this is a scrappy block I don't have precise fabric requirements to give.

Instead these general guidelines
--one triangle of fabric about 2.5" tall by 2.5" wide (including seam allowance).  Any shape triangle will do.
--strips of at least 3 different fabrics 1.5" wide.  Length of the strips will vary.  On the 8" square, I used 25" long strips for the first 3 rings of the triangle.  After that 18" strips (or smaller) were enough.

On the log pyramid quilt I used strips of various widths but I thought that would be too overwhelming in an 8" block.  I might try varying widths in a larger version of this block.

To begin, I used my "mini 45 degree" ruler to cut a 2.5" by 2.5" triangle.  But you can cut any shape of triangle you like.  You could even cut it freehand for a wonky pyramid.



Next I started sewing my strips around the triangle "log cabin style".  I started with what will be the bottom edge of the block and worked clockwise.  I used my ruler to even up the corners after each strip was sewn on.

I chose the fabric for each row randomly by closing my eyes and picking a strip from a pile.



After each strip was added I put my block against my 8.5" square ruler to check my progress.  After starting the second ring I decided that I didn't need to add more rows to the bottom.



I squared off the left and top corner so I know where to stop sewing my strips.  I left some extra fabric when I trimmed just in case.


Now it was just a matter of adding strips to each side of the pyramid until I filled the square.  I made my square larger than 8.5" inches so I would have some flexibility in the position of the inner triangle when I did the final trim.  After every row I checked against my ruler.



And the final step was to trim my block to 8.5" square.



For my 2016 Modern Sampler I repeated the process with different fabrics.



I hope you try the log pyramid block!







Friday, January 8, 2016

Learn Your Colors!

I made these little quilts to help the Empress learn her colors and shapes.  I made some matching bean bags that are a flying hazard to all people and things in our house.


The circle, star, pentagon and heart are appliqu├ęd by hand using the freezer paper method.  After the fact I realized that I should have cut away the background fabric on the circle and pentagon since the polka dots show through.  Oh well...

The back of each is an alternate grid challenge from my quilt guild (BAMQG).  It was a fun exercise and I quite like some of the designs and may use them in the future.  What is an alternate grid?  Read more here.


These quilts hang in our playroom.  When I get bored with them I'll flip them!



To hang them I used 3M clips that look like clothespins.  They work great for little quilts like this - no need for hanging sleeves!

This week I'm linked up with:
Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Sew Can She

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Block 1 - Modern Sampler 2016

This is the first block of my big 2016 quilting project.  I guess I'm committed now that I've sewn something!



This block was inspired by one I created for an alternate block challenge from BAMQG.  The block is 10 inches square.

A little bit about my methodology.  I sketched out my overall layout including block sizes and placement.  Except for this block each block will be (mostly) monochromatic with 2 or 3 fabrics used in each block.

The improv comes in with each block design.  I'm using a random number generator to decide if each block will be cut with a ruler or freehand.  The random number generator will also determine if a bit of the sashing fabric will be included in the block.  I will decide on the block designs themselves from week to week.

A lot of the blocks will be influenced by past designs, personal events and current trends in modern quilting.

It's good to be on track at week 1!

Fabrics used:
Starlight in Nightfall (Rhoda Ruth by Elizabeth Hartman)
Geometric XOXO in Indigo (Simply Colorful 2 by Moda Fabrics)
Kona Solid in Corn Yellow (by Robert Kaufman)
Four Corners - Weave in Gold (Riley Blake Designs)

I'm linked up with:
Sew Fresh Quilts
Cooking Up Quilts
Freshly Pieced
My Quilt Infatuation
Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Sew Can She

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, New Project

It's January 1st.  Time to make resolutions!

This year I'm planning a sampler quilt of improv blocks.  Every week I'll make 1 or 2 block and by the end of the year I should have a finished project.  At least that's the goal.  Read more about my BHAG here.

Here are my fabrics.  I love, Love, LOVE them.


There's a little bit of everything in this set.  My favorite was found on the sale shelf (of course).  It's a mustard colored Cotton & Steel spider web print with little silver spiders.  I can't wait to see where those spiders pop up.

I have a plan but since this is improv I expect it to change as I progress.  So I'm not going to share my overall design.  Instead, each week I'll share a few finished blocks.  I'll reveal the completed quilt at the end of the year.  It's going to be fun!

Do you have a big project planned for 2016?

Fabrics used:
Starlight in Nightfall (Rhoda Ruth by Elizabeth Hartman)
Geometric XOXO in Indigo (Simply Colorful 2 by Moda Fabrics)
Kona Solid in Slate (by Robert Kaufman)
Kona Solid in Bluegrass (by Robert Kaufman)
Atomic Flux in Alloy (Utopia by AGF)
Henna in Aqua (Eden by Tula Pink)
Kona Solid in Cabbage (by Robert Kaufman)
Mini Pearl Bracelets in Rocket (by Lizzy House)
Chelsea in Leaf (Highline by Free Spirit Fabrics)
Doily Web in Mustard (Spellbound by Cotton + Steel)
Pasture Lines in Pickle (Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander)
Drawn Stripe in Leaf (Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander)
Kona Solid in Corn Yellow (by Robert Kaufman)
Collar Ends in Bronze (Artisan by AGF)
Four Corners - Weave in Gold (Riley Blake Designs)
Pure Elements Solid in Light Grey (by AGF)