Playing with small curves….

On a whim yesterday, I decided to play with a fabric die cut machine a friend has lent me.  I have never used one of these machines before but it seemed like a fun thing to use scraps on… so I grabbed some of my Cotton and Steel scraps and started cutting…

I decided to play with the Drunkards Path die that came with the machine, because it seemed like a great way to make these blocks, as the die cuts both pieces the perfect size….as opposed to the ruler method I have used in the past which leaves you with scrap pieces that are either to small or two big to use.

cut pieces

Anyway some ironing and cutting and an episode of Game of Thrones later I had a pile of curved block pieces….

cuttingNow these pieces make a 3 1/2 inch curved block for a 7 inch finished circle… in other words they are small.  The first thing I have learned with this project is that the smaller the curve you are trying to piece the harder it is to be accurate.  After some struggles aligning the pieces accurately I finally came up with a solution… glue basting.

glue baste 2

Using my Sewline glue pen I glued around the seam line of one of the pieces of the block…

pieces

Placed the pieces together, using the notch to align and then carefully finger pressed the pieces together…

press together

It worked like a charm and another episode of Game of Thrones later (we are just finishing up Season 5 so are a little behind)… I had a nice pile of glue basted…

glue basteNow all I have to do sew them… the glue basting will make chain piecing a breeze…

sewing

 

And I will have my block pieces done and ready for me to play with layout….

block layout

I am glad I decided to try the die cut curves… I have learned a lot including the fact that I like my curves big….much bigger than 4 inches….

Rethinking Brown

My slight disdain for the colour brown began when I was a kid in art class…when mixing paints it was all to easy to mix too many colours and end up with a dirty brown colour….  and it happened to me all to frequently.

You do not have the same problem when making quilts, but I was still resistant to using brown at all.  In traditional quilting brown has long been considered a neutral colour, but Modern Quilters on the whole tend to be wary of it.

Strangely though I have quite a bit of brown in my stash…not as much as I have pink or navy blue, but more than I should have.  I have also had a few brown scraps given to me over the years and at the end of last year my brown scraps hit critical mass… there was only one thing to do…

Brown Improv quilt

Yep I made a scrappy improv quilt using my brown scraps and a touch of orange… and it was an interesting experience.

Heather Ross fabric

I forgot how many fabulous fabrics Heather Ross has done in brown… I used her seahorses, butterflies, octopus and plants in this quilt.

quilt detail

On of my other favorite designers, Lizzy House, also has done some lovely browns… with mice and cats and of course my all time fav – Pearl Bracelets.

quilt detail 2

And in between all that novelty goodness is a eclectic collection of prints including a handful of batiks.

modern brown improv quilt

It was kind of fun to challenge myself to work mainly in brown… it made me rethink the colour.    The result was I came up with a few more brown colour combinations I want to play with including…

brown and teal

A red based brown with teal….

brown yellow pink

Brown, yellow and pink…

brown and blue

And the classic brown and baby blue (not dissimilar to one of this years Pantone colours).

So you have been warned that there may be more brown appearing in this feed.  So is there a colour you have in your stash that you avoid?

Quilt Details:

Quilt block:  Modern Improv
Fabric:  Various scraps
Quilt Size:  48 x 48 inches

Kelly’s Quilt in the spotlight…

In the continuing showcase of Portland Modern Quilt Guild’s charity quilts, today’s quilt is Kelly’s Quilt.

Kellys quilt

This bright, fun, scrappy improv quilt was made at our Guild’s March Charity Sew Day.  During the course of the day the group took a huge box of bright, kid friendly scraps and a handful of stray orphan blocks cut them up and turned it all into a pile of 12 inch blocks.

16770553806_a53c5c95eb_o

The quilt got its name during the Sew Day when this block went up on the design wall…

Kellys block

Joy, one of our members commented that the girl in this block looked liked one of my fellow Board members from last year, Kelly.  Everyone agreed and the quilt was then referred to all day as Kelly’s quilt.

kelly quilt detail 4

In the spirit of improv and anything goes, the top grew into a loud riot of novelty print fun…

kelly quilt detail 2

When it came time to quilting this top,  it fell,  of course to none other than its name sake, Kelly Cole of Blue Bird Sews.  As soon as she knew the quilt was named after her, Kelly felt she had to quilt it.

Kellys quilt detail

And boy did she quilt it.  Kelly did a wonderful job free motion quilting a different pattern into each block…

Kellys quilt detail 2

The end result is one of the most fun games of eye spy ever in a quilt.  I love the riot of colour and texture of this quilt.  You know it is going to make some kid extremely happy.

 

Rainbow Crazy

This week I finished up my Rainbow Improv quilt just in time to ship it to Sisters for their quilt show next month….there is nothing like an impending deadline to get you working hard!

rainbow improv quiltI started this quilt a little while ago, making the blocks in between some complex paper piecing projects.  It was so much fun to do something so free from rules and constraints.  You can read more about the process on my original post

quilt detail 2I just used a rainbow of solid fabric scraps and played with colour.  I must admit I did not know what the end product would look like, I just enjoyed the process of making the blocks.

quilt detail 3Because this quilt was going to Sister’s I wanted to do something modern for the quilting, but I did not want to distract from the blocks too much.  In the end I went with my beloved straight line stitches but used a rainbow selection of thread for the quilting.

threadEach row of blocks got their own colour, which was so much fun to do.

straight line quiltingI just used my walking foot as my line guide…I did contemplate marking up the quilt top but this was so much easier and worked out perfectly… I got 16 lines of stitches per row and only went a little off course, one or two times.

improv quilt backFor the back of the quilt I went with a patchwork of solid Kona greys (Ash, Charcoal and Medium Grey), which was perfect for highlighting the change in the thread colour.  If you look closely you can see the rainbow effect of the quilting.

quilting detailThe final touch was some scrappy grey binding, a label and I was done.

bindingI am so thrilled with how this quilt turned out.  It is so different from what I usually do, but was just so much fun to make…

Quilt Details:

Blocks:  6 inch improv blocks
Fabric:  Variety of solids – Kona, Michael Miller, American Made and Bella.
Finished size:  48 x 48 inches

Paper piecing the Night Sky

This weeks Paper Piecing Monday is all about the Night Sky.  This week I have and will be playing with the background blocks for my Starry Night quilt.  My strategy is to use all those scrap pieces of patterns I have printed and lying around the office, with most of them so far being 6 inches square.

I started last week with a half log cabin…

half log cabinand this week I added some paper pieced crazy blocks….

Crazy blocksome left over star pattern pieces from Carol Doak’s book…

Carol Doak leftoverssome strange flower log cabin pattern I found in amongst the paper pile…

Flowerand of course there has to be some flying geese….

Flying geeseI have decided to go with the majority of the sky being paper pieced, as it will make piecing the quilt top together much easier.  I find that piecing paper pieced blocks and traditionally pieced blocks together can be fraught with size issues and usually if there is a large enough amount of traditional piecing I remove the paper from my blocks so that everything is “paper less”.  If I am just sashing blocks then the paper stays on… it is the best way to ensure accuracy.

So the sky is underway… and despite the disparate style of blocks, they seem to work together well.

Night sky wipOkay I admit there is an insanity to this activity but it is kind of fun.  There is no right or wrong… just lots and lots of navy blue, and a smattering of purple.  Quilting heaven for me.