I am no longer actively blogging here but I’d love if you could join me at my new creative lifestyle blog A Girl in Paradise.
I hope to see you soon.

Friday, May 31, 2013

New Fabric Friday - V and Co

What can I say am a horrible stash builder. This week the fabric I acquired was for a specic project and not for my stash. What I will say is that I am in love with this line of ombré solids and then of coarse there is my obsession with kona white.
 

My chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild here in Tampa is having a negative space challenge and I am obsessing a little bit. I have this idea in my head and I hoping that it plays out as I envision. 
 

 
The line is part of the Simply Color collection by V and Co for Moda. I love the color gradation in each of the strips and if you have seen any of the quilts that the designer Vanessa Christenson has made using this line you know exactly what I am talking about. 

Well, I am off to start experimenting with my new fabrics and to try some new techniques. Have a great weekend. 
 

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stepping outside my comfort zone…

I have been thinking a lot lately about improv piecing.  As quilters we all have our strengths, be paper piecing, applique, or patchwork.  Improv piecing is not mine, for me it is definitely patchwork or paper piecing.  I enjoy the precision, the rules, and lack of chaos.  Trust me I have enough chaos in my life. 
PicMonkey Collage
But every once and a while we have to challenge ourselves and jump out of our comfort zones even if it only for a brief moment.  So, when putting together the quilt back for my current quilt project I decided to make it a personal challenge to only use the scraps that I left over from the quilt top and piece something together for the back.  There was definitely some trail and error along the way, and a few choose words as ripped out seam after seam, but I am happy with the results even though my husband response was that it wasn’t my best work.  It may not be but that is OK too.
PicMonkey Collage2
I looked at this whole project as the perfect opportunity to try something new.  The quilt top may or may not be considered improv but for me it was all about trying something new.  Every once in a while we need that project with no destination or home in mind so we cam spread our wings and see which way the wind takes us. 
This project started with a large print fabric that was discontinued that I didn’t quite know how to incorporate into a quilt.  I did not have a clear plan when I started this quilt and since I could not buy any more of the fabric or others that were the line, I had to make do with what I had.  Ultimately, I decided to pair it with some solid fabrics.
The vision of of this quilt has changed quite a bit over the past year and as I prepare to quilt it I find myself once again unsure of how to proceed…
 
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Friday, May 24, 2013

New Fabric Friday - Textures by Angela Waters

So, yesterday I did something that I haven’t done in ages.  I went to my local quilt shop in search of some fabric strictly for stash building purposes.  There was no looking fabric that would, bind, back or match aanything I already have.  I totally jumped out of my comfort zone as well.  I usually go for more of the bright and bold colorways. 

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My LQS only had these 4 prints, I wish she carried the entire line I would have bought more.  The quality and feel of these fabrics are amazing. 

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The line is called Textures designed by Angela Waters for Art Gallery Fabrics

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I am not quite sure what to do with it yet… but I am sure I can come up with something.
Have a great holiday weekend!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Confetti Scrap Quilt

Yesterday I finally finished my Confetti Scrap Quilt and I am pleased at the results. Weeks ago when I started this quilt my main goal was just to use up the mountain of scraps that I had accumulated over the years. So, I got out my rotary cutter and started cutting, did a little quilt math, and when I was done I was left with a pile of five hundred 5” squares.

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As I started piecing the hour glass blocks I wasn’t sure how this quilt was going to play out.  Honestly, I really thought it was going to be the ugliest quilt ever, but since it was headed to the family room, and the was going to be at the mercy of the kids, I didn’t really care how it turned out.  I just needed a quilt that could be abused and loved.  Also, I took the opportunity to practice some precision piecing, taking the time to press and trim, and really concentrating on lining up all my seams.

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This was also the first time I used Aurifil thread to piece and to machine quilt.  I hate to admit it but I am hooked.  I was surprised to see that there is really a difference compared to regular cotton thread.  Now we will see how it stands the test of time… and the kids.  Like I said before this quilt is headed for the family room and all the punishment the kids can dish out. 

PicMonkey Collage
Also, I am finding Instagram invaluable when it comes to the work in process.  I love the immediate help and encouragement I can get along the way.  Above are some of the pictures I took.  If you are on Instagram and want to follow along you can find me at @agirlinparadise. 

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The details: This quilt measures about 65” by 82” with 500 blocks pieced together in a 20 by 25 layout. I used this tutorial for the blocks. For the fabrics I used variety of scraps. For the backing and the binding I used a moss green dot. The quilting is a basic straight line on the diagonal that follows the quilt block, using white Aurifil tread.

Thanks for stopping by, and for all your continued support. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Have a great day!

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Scrappy Hour Glass Block Tutorial

My addiction to scrappy hour glass blocks has turned into a little bit of an obsession, because who in there right mind would turn five hundred random 5” charm squares in to a scrappy hour glass quilt?  Apparently the answer to that question is me. There were two things that I wanted to accomplish when I set out to make this quilt, the first, I wanted to use up some of my scraps, and second I really wanted to practice some basic piecing.  Taking the time to concentrate on some effective ways to match all my seams precisely and press them all without creating any bulk or knots. 

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I chose the hour glass block because there are a lot of seams that intersect throughout this quilt and the block itself is quite basic.  Really, it is just a double half square triangle, and because you are not using a light and dark fabric like with a traditional hour glass block, piecing is very easy and no two blocks will look alike.

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Step one – cut two squares of equal size, and mark a diagonal line on one of the squares.

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Step 2 – with right sides together sew on either side of the line, using a 1/4 seam allowance.  Then cut along the line you marked earlier creating 2 HST’s.

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Step 3 – Press your seams to one side.  Take 2 different HST’s with right sides together, with the seams locked into place, mark another diagonal line going in the opposite direction of your seam.

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Step 4 – Again, sew on either side of the line, using a 1/4” seam allowance.  Then cut along the line you marked.  Now you should have 2 hour glass blocks.  Press this seam open.

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Step 5 – Trim your block square.  It helps if you match the diagonal line on your ruler to the diagonal line on your block.

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A few things I learned along the way…

Make sure that not only are you using a 1/4” presser foot on your machine, make sure you are sewing a straight line.  Seems simple enough but wavy lines can really distort your blocks once you press them.  Practice, practice, Practice.

Pressing seams that need to be lined up to one side and in opposite directions helps you to lock your seams into place and prevents shifting when you are sewing.  Lining up your seams perfectly and effortless every time. 

Pressing seams that do not need to be lined up open helps to reduce bulk. 

Trimming blocks is worth the time.  Trust me when I say trimming 500 of these blocks was not a fun task, but when it came time to sew together the rows and then sewing those rows together, having all my blocks the same size did make my life a lot easier and made all my seams lined up perfectly.

Whatever your taste, scrappy or traditional, the hour glass block is a great way to use up your scraps or those cute little charm packs we all can’t get enough of.  Let me know what you think of this tutorial or if you have any questions.

Have a great day!

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