Thursday, March 8, 2012

2012 #19 - Flying in Squares

#19 for 2012 is a result of Karen Snyder's "Block-a-Day" challenge for Winter.  Each season, Karen proposes her blog followers make one block every day.  When the season turns, readers have a minimum of 90 blocks.

I first made bowtie blocks last Summer:

then hourglass blocks for Fall.

When Winter approached, I tried to hint that she might choose Log Cabin blocks as our Block-a-Day project.  But alas for me,  she had already chosen Flying Geese.

Now it's no secret that I don't like to make Flying Geese.  I'm quite particular about my blocks being perfectly sized, and the points must match and never float.  And somehow, I cannot make a perfect Flying Geese block.  Yes, I've tried that ruler; yes, I've tried the "two at a time" method.  If there's a Flying Geese trick, I've attempted it.  To no avail.

I wish I could write "and then I discovered . . . . "  But I can't.

I used the Simplicity Easy Star and Geese ruler this time around because there is so little fabric waste with this method.  Although they aren't perfectly perfect, as Elder Son says, "Can you see the mistake from the back of a galloping horse?"  No.

 The pattern is by Mellissa Corry of Happy Quilting.  "Flying in Squares" was featured on Moda Bakeshop in December 2011.  The print fabric is a Fat Quarter Story, Mod Charms, from Anthology Fabrics that I picked up at Quilter's Haven in Bountiful, Utah.  When I bemoaned missing the birthday discount at my home quilt shop here in Colorado, the lovely clerk said "Oh, we give you a discount equal to half your age."  How much?  Let's just say it was more than 25%!

The background is Kaufman's Kona Cotton, Snow, that I buy by the bolt from Hancock's of Paducah.

I still don't like making Flying Geese, but I do like this quit.

And Karen?  I still want to make Log Cabin blocks one season!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Flying in Squares

Today's WIP Wednesday features my Flying Geese blocks made for Anna Lena's Block-a-Day Flying Geese challenge.  Karen hosts a seasonal challenge each quarter, and yes, I was one of the "moaners" when she said "Flying Geese."

Here are the blocks for my "Flying in Squares" quilt from Moda Bake Shop.

Details to follow when the top is complete -- this post is just for Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday Tute: Keep Track of Your Quilt Layout

Nicole of Mama Love Quilts recently posted How Do You Keep Track When Piecing?  I made a very long comment, trying to explain how I keep my blocks in order when putting together a quilt top.  I'm not sure anyone would be able to understand the method based on my comment, so here is a tutorial on The Barb Shie Method, or "Keep Track of Your Quilt Layout."

Barb used to own a shop here in Colorado Springs called the Nine Patch; she now teaches classes at Ruth's Stitchery.  Since she explained The Barb Shie Method, I never have trouble mixing up my block layout between the design wall and the sewing machine!

1.  Arrange all the blocks on your design wall, floor or tabletop.  My quilt is 9 rows across by 7 down (because my design wall is wider than it is long). 

2.  We will be picking up (in this case) columns of seven from the left.  Flip each block of the second column on top of the block to its left in the first column. 

3.  Starting at the upper left, pick up each set of two blocks and put it on top of the next set of two blocks below it.  Be sure you don't rotate the blocks as you pick them up.  Carry the stack to the sewing machine, holding fast to the top side of the blocks.  I recite "top top top" as I walk to the machine.

4.  Pick up the two top blocks (they should already be right sides together) and sew them together along the right-hand side. Do not cut your threads at the end of the block. Chain piece, sewing each set of two blocks together without cutting your thread between until you reach the bottom of the stack.

5.  Return to the design wall and pick up the next column of blocks -- singly this time.  Starting at the top of the column, place each block on top of the next one down the column.  If you put a pin in the top of the blocks, it will be less likely that you'll forget which is the top edge.

6. Again, starting at the top of the column, sew the first block on your new stack to the right hand block at the top of the already-sewn column of two.  Continue to add a new block to the previous two sewn-together blocks until you reach the bottom of the stack.

Here are the first three columns sewn together and opened out.  Notice the threads between blocks are not cut!

7.  Here is the fourth stack of blocks ready to sew to the previous three columns.  I usually don't cut the thread at the bottom of the column until I have brought the next stack of blocks to the machine.  That way I don't get confused as to which block is the top of the previous column.

8.  By the time four columns are sewn together, the quilt is starting to get unwieldy.  I "accordion fold"  the rows back-to-front on top of each other so they don't get twisted, then unfold the stack as I add each new block to end of the row.

9.  Continue until all columns are sewn together. At this point, we've chain-pieced all the vertical seams only.

Here's a closeup so you can see the threads still are not cut!

10.  NOW we can cut the rows apart.  Start with the top row and cut the threads that join it to the second row.  Press the seams on this row to the right. Place this row face down on your cutting table or next to your sewing machine.  Continue clipping threads and pressing rows in alternate directions to the bottom row.  Place each pressed row face down on top of the stack of previously pressed rows.

Remember:  Odd numbered rows press to the right, even numbered rows press to the left.  

This will make the seams nest together as you sew the horizontal rows. I don't usually pin the rows together, but with a quilt this big it might be easier.

11. Flip the stack of rows right side up.  Pick up the first two rows and sew the horizontal seam all the way across.  Continue for all rows . . . .

And . . . ta da, finished top #18 for 2012!  Shortcake by Cluck Cluck Sew, Fabric is Moda Strawberry Fields.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quilt #18 - Shortcake

I love this quilt, and I especially love the fabric.  Isn't is a sweet, girly quilt?

This was the Strip Club quilt at High Country Quilts for January.  The fabric is Figtree for Moda "Strawberry Fields"  (got mine from freshsqueezedfabrics) and the pattern is "Shortcake" by Cluck Cluck Sew.

It's an easy, fairly quick quilt to make.  The only problem I had was with my background fabric.  I used the Strawberry Fields "Vanilla" semi-solid.  The color is so subtle, I had a hard time telling what was the right and what was the wrong side.  About half of my first block had the wrong side up on the background fabric.  Now I know when it is quilted, it will be near impossible to tell.  But I would know!  So I spent two hours ripping apart those blocks and fixing my mistake.  Too bad it's too windy to take photos outside, because the colors in this fabric are a lot prettier than they appear here.

When I made the 9-patch blocks, I took my fabric outside so I could see what was the right side. The pattern includes three sizes, Throw, Twin and Queen -- I made the Twin.  Maybe there is a great-niece in the family who will like this one?

Come back tomorrow for a tutorial featuring this quilt!