Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

The Traveling Quilts

The Traveling Quilts - Constellation

Phew – it has not been the best few days. I was out for the count with the flu. I guess I learned my lesson about not getting a flu shot! I’m happy to report that I am now well into recovery mode and was able to spend a bit of time at my sewing machine today.

The Traveling Quilts - Constellation

I am very excited to share these star blocks that I made before getting sick. They will be my start to The Traveling Quilts. This is a new bee of 11 quilters. We each start our own quilts with a theme of our choice and then mail the blocks to the next quilter in the rotation. They add to the quilt, only posting a sneak peek, and then mail everything to the next quilter on the list. The last person to receive the blocks does the final quilt top assembly and quilting and in a year, you receive your surprised finish quilt back! Obviously this is a sort of bee that you would want to do with people you know pretty well. :)

The Traveling Quilts - Constellation

It’s really fun to think about the journey across the country these blocks are about to take – from here in Illinois to Vermont to North Carolina to Hawaii to California to Oregon to Oregon to Oregon (Ha!) to Washington to Colorado to Illinois and then back home to me! PHEW!

The Traveling Quilts - Constellation

The theme I chose was “Constellation” and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with. I used some great tutorials online for my blocks: Scrap Jar Stars, Lone Starburst and Wonky Stars.

The Traveling Quilts - Constellation

Along with our quilt starts, we are sending journals for everyone to add to as they grow our quilts. I found this great one on Etsy – the front is a map of the midwest. How appropriate is that?

The Traveling Quilts Journal

Have fun on your travels little quilt! See you next year!

February 26, 2012   35 Comments

Solstice Stars Series : Two Colors Star

Welcome to week 5 of the Solstice Stars Series! This is our last star and I really hope everyone has enjoyed the series. Don’t forget you can catch up on all the previous tutorials by clicking on the Solstice Stars Series tab at the top of the page. Later this week I plan on posting some ideas for quilt tops, just to get those creative juices flowing.

Today we will be making the Two Colors Star. This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 454 and the original source of the design is Comfort, a periodical from Augusta, Maine that was published from the late 1800′s to the mid 1900′s.

I had several thoughts when deciding how to make this star. In the end, I wanted this block to be accessible to all skill levels of quilter, so I opted for half square triangles (HSTs) and squares. I know this adds more seams, but again, I think this was the best method to reach everyone out there, including beginners. Let’s get started!


Two Colors Star Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished

Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting rectangles that will be larger than needed.

Pattern Piece Fabric
Corners Cut 4 4.5” x 4.5″ White/Background
Background Cut 6 3” x 3”, cut
diagonal
White/Background
Star Color 1 Cut 4 2.5” x 2.5” Color/Print 1
Star Color 1 Cut 4 3” x 3”, cut
diagonal
Color/Print 1
Star Color 2 Cut 4 2.5” x 2.5” Color/Print 2
Star Color 2 Cut 2 3” x 3”, cut
diagonal
Color/Print 2

Step 2. Take your white/background half square triangles (HSTs) and your print HSTs and sew them together into squares.

Step 3. Trim your HSTs to 2.5″ squares. Tip: Use the diagonal line on your quilting ruler as a guide down your seam. This ensures an equal trim on all sides of your square.

Trim first two sides:

Turn and trim other two sides:

Step 4. Layout your star as below:

Step 5. We will now assemble the tiny squares into larger squares, creating a nine patch square. Sew the sets of four, 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares together. This will create 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares as seen below.

Step 6. Sew your blocks together into rows.

Step 7. Sew your rows together. You’re done!

Be sure to post your block photos as well as any questions in the Flickr group.

February 15, 2012   17 Comments

For the Love of Solids ~ A Work in Progress

FTLOS Blocks

I’ve started work on my first item for the For the Love of Solids Flickr swap. After spending some time studying my secret partner’s inspiration mosaic, I decided to embrace the improvisational, liberated sewing technique. I made these blocks using just my rotary cutter and no ruler. This photo shows the blues more accurately:

For the Love of Solids Blocks

Part of the swap involves posting work in progress photos and getting feedback from your partner (without them knowing it’s their project). I’m now trying to decide on whether or not my partner would like blocks pieced directly together or maybe off centered in some sashing… We shall see!

January 27, 2012   29 Comments

Solstice Stars Series : Whirling Star

Welcome to week 2 of the Solstice Stars Series! Today we will be making the Whirling Star. This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 310 and the original source of the design is attributed to Nancy Cabot.

This block will be our first paper pieced block of the series. Some of you may now need to take a few deep calming breaths. I promise you, YOU can do it! I have taken lots of photos for the tutorial and we will be going through every step.

If you are completely new to paper piecing, I recommend reading through this tutorial and even making the sample block. It will really give you a basic understanding. And hopefully put your mind at ease. Second, I recommend reading through the entire tutorial for today’s block before starting. And finally, take your time making this one. We will be paper piecing 6 small blocks and then piecing those together.


Whirling Star Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished
Reduce your stitch length so that the paper template will perforate easily. I used 1.4 stitch length.

Paper Piecing Templates
Print 2 of Template A below and print 4 of Template B below. Be sure to print them at 100% and check the scale icon with a ruler before starting.

Template A Template B

Prepare the templates. Cut out the templates around the seam allowance line. Here is a visual of what we are going to make with our templates:


Note: I updated the templates a bit after taking the photos. Your templates specify “A” and “B” on them, which will help you out during the directions.

Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting rectangles that will be larger than needed.

I recommend cutting 1 of each piece below, making a block, and ensuring it is enough fabric for your sewing style. Then you can make adjustments later for the rest of your blocks. These are the fabric sizes I used for my paper piecing.

Pattern Piece Fabric
1A Cut 2 4.5″ x 5.5” Print/Color
2A Cut 2 4.5” x 5.5” White/Background
3A Cut 2 4.5″ x 5.5” Print/Color
4A Cut 2 4.5” x 5.5” White/Background
5A Cut 1 4” x 4″,
then cut
diagonal
Print/Color
6A Cut 1 4″ x 4”,
then cut
diagonal
Print/Color
1B Cut 4 4.5” x 5.5” Print/Color
2B Cut 4 3.5” x 7″ White/Background
3B Cut 4 3.5” x 7″ White/Background

Tip: I like to write the fabric color name on the template pieces so I don’t get confused as I’m sewing. Yes, I’m easily confused.

Step 2: Let’s start with Template A. Take your fabric cut for Piece 1A and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1A. Pin into place.

Step 3: Take your fabric cut for Piece 2A. Place it right side together to Piece 1A which you pinned into place in Step 2. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2A. This will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.

Step 4: Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1A and 2A. Be sure to also sew into the grey seam allowance. Remove your pins.

Step 5: Flip your block over. This is what your seam will look like.

Trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

Your block should now look like this:

Press your fabric open.

Step 6: Take your fabric cut for Piece 3A. Place it right side together to Piece 1A and 2A which you have sewn into place. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 3A. Pin into place.

Step 7: Sew along the seam line on the template.

Step 8: Trim along seam allowance:

And press:

Step 9: Using the same technique, continue and sew on pieces 4A, 5A, 6A, in that order. Your paper piecing template should now look like this:

Step 10: Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template.

Before:

After:

You can see that some of my fabric was a bit too short. Ideally your fabric will cover the entire template. :)

Congratulations! You’ve made your first paper pieced block!

Step 11: Now repeat these steps for the second Template A.

Step 12: Let’s move on to Template B. I will do a quick walk through to get you started. Take your fabric cut for Piece 1B and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1B. Pin into place.

Step 13: Take your fabric cut for Piece 2B. Place it right side together to Piece 1B which you pinned into place in Step 12. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2B. Again, this will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.

Step 14: Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1B and 2B. Be sure to sew a bit into the seam allowance. Remove your pins.

Step 15: Press your fabric open. Continue paper piecing piece 3B.

Step 16: Press your fabric open. Trim your template, just as you did with Template A.

Step 17: Repeat and create the other 3 Template B’s.

Step 18: You now have all 6 templates pieced you need to create the star! Here’s the layout:

Remove the paper from the back. This should perforate easily as long as you remembered to shorten your stitch length before sewing.

Step 19: Sew your 2 Template A’s together. Align the middle seam to ensure the center points align when you sew the block together.

Resulting Block:

Step 20: Now we will sew the 4 Template B’s to the corners to finish the block. Line up your seams again.

After sewing all the corners to the center block, you’re done! You should have a beautiful Whirling Star!

January 25, 2012   53 Comments