Spring is in the air…

Today I am sharing another PMQG charity quilt… and although this one is from our Charity Sew Day in September last year, it seems seasonal appropriate to share it now…

flower garden quilt copy

I call this the Flower Garden quilt, and it is made up of a piece of just about every floral fabric every donated to the Charity program…as well as a few from my scrap bin…

flower garden quilt detail

The floral squares are in three sizes, all of which work nicely together… 8 inches, 3 inches and 5 1/2 inches unfinished.

flower garden quilt detail 2

Each quilt block that was made was 15 1/2 inches unfinished… allowing each sewer to put together what ever combination of blocks they wanted too to get to the allotted size.

flower garden quilt detail 3

The left over blocks were sewn together to make part of the quilt backing….

flower garden quilt back

As with nearly all the Guild charity quilts, one of our talents long armers weaved their magic to finish things up…

flower garden quilting detail

Jolene chose an all over vine pattern, which works beautifully with the floral theme of the quilt….and viola we have another wonderful finished quilt ready to go out into the world and do some good.

As always thanks to the wonderful Guild members who donated their time, fabric and skills….

Wonky Circles tutorial

February is my month again to set the block for my Do Good Stitches Circle.  After setting some more precision based blocks for my last two times out, I decided to go the wonky route this month…

finished wonky circle block

Yep I am asking my fellow Bee mates to make some wonky circles using a low volume palette.  To help out I am taking them (and you) step by step through the process to make two 12 inch blocks, starting with fabric selection.

For each block segment you will need two fabrics that have a small amount of contrast in them.   My colour scheme for this quilt is warm so I am using yellow, apricot, pink and a touch of grey.  For my fabric pull I went with predominantly cream and white background fabrics…

low volume background fabrics

and for the contrasting fabric I choose more solid low volume fabrics…

darker lv fabric pull

For each block you need 8 different fabric – four light and four darker (note: you actually get two different finished blocks from this process).  I selected my eight fabrics in pairs, making sure that there was a contrast between each pair.  If you are not sure how the fabrics are reading against each other you can always use the black and white setting on your camera or phone to see how things look…

bw block

Now for the fun part…making the blocks.

Step 1.  Cut out eight 7 1/2 inch squares from each selected fabric…  Take two of your contrasting fabric squares and align them on top of each other.

align two squares

Step 2.  Using your rotary cutter, cut a curve shape out of your squares… making sure that you leave at least an inch or so between your curve and the edge of your block.

wonky curve cut

Step 3.  Because you cut the two pieces of fabric together your background and center curve pieces should match exactly, no matter how wonky the curve you cut is.

Put together one of your fabrics as the background and the other as the center curve, making sure that they are as closely aligned on your cutting mat as you can get them.

Take a ruler and place it corner to corner across your block pieces.

find center of block

Step 4.  Using a chalk pencil or Frixon marker, mark the center of the block, making sure your mark across both pieces of fabric.

mark center of block

Step 5.  Place your pieces of fabric face together, using the center mark to align the pieces…

center mark

Step 6.  Pin your two pieces of fabric together at this center point… your fabrics should still be face together and the bottom corners of the block should be roughly aligned.

pin center of block

Step 7.  To sew the pieces together, begin at the center part of the block… where you have pinned.  I put my machine foot down on pin, remove the pin, lower my needle manually and I am ready to sew.

start of curved piecing

Step 8.  Slowly sew from the center point out to one edge of the circle block, nudging fabric into alignment as you go.  The fabric may not want to lay flat and that is okay… just try to avoid sewing creases into the block.

Note:  I always sew with my machine in the needle down position, as it allows me to stop and adjust the block pieces as needed, without the risk of anything slipping or moving.

 

sew curve

Step 9.  As you are sewing you will notice the block ends do not align, this is okay…do not panic.

finishing the curve

Step 10.  When you have come to the end of the block, lift your needle, cut your thread and re-position your block back in the center, this time sewing the half of the block you have not done.

center of curve

Step 11.  Your block segment is now ready for pressing… an important step because it will not be laying flat at all and you will have to iron it into submission…

sewn block piece

Step 12.    When pressing my block I press my seams first from the back side of the block…… and then press the front side of the block, making sure that my curve is sitting as flat as I can get it.

Note:  When pressing the block I always use starch as it helps persuade the fabric to do what I need it to do.

press block piece

Step 13.  The block piece is now ready to trim down 6 1/2 inches… you should have a bit of wiggle room with this block to trim a little off kilter, or with more background or more circle, depending on what you want to do.

trim block

Step 14.  Repeat the process until you have all segments of your blocks done.  For each colour pairing you make you will end up with two blocks….

block pieces

For my Bee blocks I am asking for two (2) 12 1/2 inch unfinished blocks…. laid out with alternating light and dark circle pieces.

blocks layout

What I love about this colour palette is that it compliments the wonky so well… the mismatch, strange curves are subtle, there are no stark contrasts drawing your attention to the off kilter shapes.   I think this is going to be a charming quilt when done.

Finish Along 2016

A week or so ago I signed up for the first quarter of the 2016 Finish Along.  This is a online project that is run every 3 months… basically you sign up at the beginning of a quarter and say what you want to finish over the next couple of months.  I am using the program to keep myself on track to finish up things before I start anything new.

If you are interested you can check out what people are doing there is an Instagram account – @finishalong and She Can Quilt is hosting the link up at http://www.shecanquilt.ca.

Anyway the goals I set myself for the next four months are…

IMG_4533

Now I understand I may have over committed but I thought I might as well shot for the stars.  But so far I have one of my Do Good Stitches quilts done…

finished DG star quilt

This was such a fun quilt to finish up… I originally set this block for the Hope Circle of Do Good Stitches to do back in June last year.  The block pattern is from Clover and Violet and you can find the directions here scrappy christmas star.

scrappy star block

I was a little nervous about setting a Bee block that needed to be pretty accurately pieced to align, but it all worked out fabulously.  I was able to coerce all the seams into alignment without too much effort…

quilt detail 3

One of the things I love about doing these scrappy blocks is seeing everyone’s fabric choices and extra love the wonderful selection of low volume novelty prints that were used…

low volume novelty fabrics

There is so much happening in the quilt as far as print variation but the overall quilt is so quiet and gentle.

quilt detail 2

For the quilting I went of course with straight lines, which was perfect for this pattern.  I used a cream Aurifil for the quilting (No 2309), which blended nicely between the teal, yellow and white/cream background.

quilt backing

For the backing I found the perfect Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman piece in my stash – and I had enough to do the whole back!

quilt binding

For the binding I used two different teal Kona Solids I had in my stash and of course hand bound it while watching the Australian Open Tennis.  I am going to make the most of the last couple of matches to get another Do Good finish bound…..

So one finish down… at least 5 more to go….

 

Slowly getting back to it… with a giveaway

I have just about finished all my fun antibiotics and have started to feel normal again, after a year or so of struggle.  Thank you to everyone who reached out with good wishes.  I really appreciated it.

While I have been recuperating I have had a couple of inquiries about when the Row by Row pattern I helped design for Modern Domestic would be available… and today is the day.

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From November 1st you can purchase the pattern, license plate and even the fat eighth bundle to make the Glass Half Full pattern….

“glass-half-full”-2015-row-by-row-pattern-256px-256px

You can find the link to the pattern here…. and to the full kit here

600x172xGlass-Half-Full-rbr-full.jpg.pagespeed.ic.73_oUNOz5f..and to celebrate the launch Modern Domestic has kindly donated a kit for me to give away…

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The kit includes the pattern and a fat eighth bundle and all you have to do to win is leave a comment below.  I will draw a winner Friday…and of course the competition is open world-wide.

An explanation…

So if you have been following my blog for a while you might have noticed that I have not quite been present on this site for a little while.  I have managed to get some posts up but things have been a little different…

For the last 8 months or so I have been trying to find out what is going on with my digestive system.  I have been sick and a little out of it.  After a plethora of tests last week it was finally confirmed that I had SIBO (a bacterial overgrowth in my digestive system).  I will save you all the gory details but it has meant that my body has not been digesting food properly for a long long time… and has caused memory, balance and cognitive issues along with the digestive stuff.

So for the next 3-4 weeks this is my daily routine…

ah the pills

…with all the joys of side effects.  My hope is that the side effects will lessen as my body becomes used to the drugs but for now I have to admit defeat.  I am sick and loopy and not able, despite my best efforts, to quilt or sew.

So if you will excuse me for the next couple of weeks, I will get some of my Hodge Podge blocks up in the coming weeks but it will be an erratic process.  I have the best intentions but often my body does not let me do what I need to do.

Once I am out of the hazy I can promise you I will play catch up… I have some great quilt top finished, including my Lizzy House butterfly and my Atlantic Sea quilt and some exciting ideas for new quilts.  I promise to share it all, soon.