New Year and new start…

One of my New Years Resolutions is to get back to documenting my quilts and process more… between concussions and Influenza A I have had a quite couple of months but I am raring to go.

This year I am going to be throwing myself into charity quilting with gusto…I think I may need it to keep sane during what is going to be an very interesting year.  So without further ado lets get this started with a Do Good Stitches finish…

finished-wonky-circle-skirt

The wonky circle quilt is finally done and ready to be donated.  I kind of love this quilt.  I did a post last year on how to make these wonky blocks and I was thrilled with how the Hope Circle embraced the crazy curves.

wonky-circle-detail

There really is a freedom and sense of fun in wonky and it was the fun that I embraced when I threw this quilt up on the longarm.  The quilting is far from precise or accurate but it follows the flow of the weird shaped curves of the block and it was a hoot to quilt.  I had some fun music on my ipod and was laughing and smiling the whole time I was working on this project!

quilt-detail-2

To finish her off I used a lovely floral print I had in my stash… this is not a gender neutral quilt and so I fully embraced the girly…

quilt-back

So I can finally cross another Do Good Stitches quilt off my WIP list….just in time for me to start getting more blocks in the post for a new quilt.  I now only have 3 Do Good quilts left to finish… so I am off to the sewing machine..

To start the year off right I am also linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts “Finish it Up Friday“…

Everybody loves a wonky star…right….

My final finishes for 2015 and first finish of 2016 has been putting the binding on a couple of wonky star quilts.  If you follow this blog you know how much I love a wonky star, and I found during my recent health issues that I could make wonky stars without too much effort or thought (I seem to have good muscle memory for this quilt block!)….

white star quilt

What made these quilts so easy for me to make was that I used some of my huge stash of 5 inch squares and lots of scraps.  For this first quilt I grabbed a pile of blue squares and my bag of white/cream scraps and got to work.

star detail

What you can not see too well in the photos is that each center of the star is made up of improv scraps.  This is my favorite bit of the process… sewing all the little scraps together to make my own fabric.

white star detail

For all my wonky star quilts I did simple straight line quilting, but with this quilt I used a variegated thread I found in my thread box.  I kind of love how it turned out…

For my next two wonky star quilts I took some scraps of Hoffman batiks that I had been given and had some fun…

pink quilt

This is my favorite of the quilts… I love how the soft pink and blue play together….

pink quilt detail

Plus I got to play with novelty prints which makes me so happy.  The background  for the stars uses 4 different Batiks and with all these quilts the colour variation  in the background adds a nice texture to the overall quilt I think.

pink backing fabric

I got to back my pink stars with some of my favorite fabric from Michael Miller.  I love the mermaids so much…and this fabric was so perfect for the quilt it had to be used.

finished aqua baby quilt copy

For the background of this quilt I used creams/beige batiks from a Hoffman layer cake or two.  I do not use batiks much in my quilting but I love how they work as a support to the modern quilting fabrics.   For this quilt I played with batting loft and used a wool batting.

wonky star detail

The batting gives the quilt a lovely warmth and softness… it is nicely puffy.  I can see why long arm quilters would choose to use a higher loft batting, as it really does make the quilting stand out.

So there are my last and first finishes.  Very simple, very easy and kind of fun.  Each quilt finishes at 41 inches square, a perfect size for our local Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

An interesting source of fabric

At Christmas my darling husband gave me a set of Munki Munki flannel pj’s.  Pajama giving at Christmas seems to be a very American tradition..but I have fully embraced it.  When I opened my Christmas package only one thing came to mind….this is going to make a wonderful quilt.

pjsFor those of you that are not familiar with the Munki Munki brand, their top designer was/is Heather Ross and collecting the pajama prints and using them for quilts is very popular amongst modern quilters.  This is of course what I tried to explain to the husband when he found me cutting up my pajama top.

Seriously how could I resist these darling gnomes…

fabric detailSo a flurry of fussy cutting ensued and my favorite “go to” block pattern, the wonky star, was employed….

star detailWhat was interesting about making the top in particular for me was that I used all flannel.  I had previously back several quilts in flannel…I love the soft finish particularly for baby quilts… but I had never pieced in it.

Munki quilt detailFor this top I used some flannel scraps a friend had given me and bought some more from my local quilt store… and I tried to use as much of the source pajama fabric as I could…including the sleeve and leg cuffs which were bright green.

green starMost of the flannel I used had a wrong and right side and it was at times tricky to tell which was which…. except for the Cloud 9 flannel which was beautifully thick and lush and was reversible.

sashing detailThe end result was this darling little baby quilt… and I love how soft and cuddly it is.

munki munki baby quilt

Wonky Pinwheel blocks PMQG style

This week we had another Portland Modern Quilt Guild Charity Sew day…and this time I had everyone making wonky pinwheels…loud, wonky, scrappy, fun pinwheels…

photoWe started with a stack of Riley Blake solid grey squares and a huge pile of orange, yellow and red scraps.  You may be having a feeling of deja vu because  a couple of months ago I made a version of these blocks for Do.Good.Stitches.

Pinwheel blocks Both these blocks used the fabulous tutorial from Greenleaf Goods but for the Charity Sew Day I went with 5 inch base block rather than 4 inch.  After a day of sewing, our small but productive team had 30 pinwheel blocks, each measuring 9 1/2 inches, done and dusted.

I then took them all home and sewed them together to make this…

easy wonky quiltSo many fun fabrics were used… all warm and bright.  This is such a fabulous quilt to make if you want to use those piles of scraps you have accumulated…

wonky pinwheel block close upOur finished quilt measures 45 inches x 54 inches and will now head out to be quilted and bound before heading to our Charity for this quarter, Raphael House.

wonky pinwheel quilt top close up

I am also pleased to say the cat has inspected the quilt top and deigned that it is acceptable..

kitty inspected

 

Rocking my wonky world…

A couple of weeks ago I spent a very fun day at the monthly PMQG Charity Sew meet up.  The event is held at the fabulous Modern Domestic (my new home away from home) and I got to spend many happy hours sewing on a beautiful Bernina 560.  In a day of wonderfulness the most amazing thing was having my wonky star world rocked by  one of my fellow PMQG sewers, Cherri.

Wonky Stars have been a fun staple in my sewing repertory for a while.  It is s a quick and easy way to make fun kids quilts and if you peruse my “Finished Quilt” tab you will see a few of them in there.  So for years I have been cutting out my 5 inch squares, using my scraps to make star points and calling it good… but no longer. Here is how the new wonky stars block goes…

1.  Take eight 5 inch x 5 inch squares of your background fabric… in this case various whites and creams.

5 inch square whites

2.  Grab a pile of scraps in your colour scheme…for this exercise red.

pile of red scraps

3.  Sew random fun bits of scraps together to make a squarish shape, making sure that it is a bit bigger than 5 inches square.   Anything goes at this point.  You can fussy cut…wonky log cabin or just improv.  Then trim your random scrappy square down to 5 x  5 inches.

trim center block

4.  Make four points to you star using the 5 x 5 inch background squares as your foundation and larger scraps for the star points.  Trim as needed to get a 5 x 5 inch square.

trim star points

5.  Sew the block pieces together – 4 plain corner pieces, 4 star point pieces and your fabulous scrappy center piece.

laying out the block pieces

6.  For an added extra bit of wonky fun at the Sew Day we then trimmed our blocks down to 12 1/2 inches square.  This step allowed us to put the stars a little off center and added another element of randomness to the layout.  The blocks work just as well trimmed down to 14 x 14 inches too.

trimming the star

And voila you have a fabulous wonky star with a scrappy center piece.

wonky star block

I can not believe I did not think of this technique myself.  It is genius and the best way to use those little bits of fabric in your scrap bin.  It was such a fun exercise this week to take all the wonky stars everyone made at the Sew Day and put them together into one loud, fun, wonky top.

wonky stars quilt top

There is a combination of solid centered stars and scrappy centered stars in this top and I think it works nicely.

charity wonky star detail

And every star is so very very different.  There was a lot of fun techniques used for the scrappy centers…

charity wonky star 2

Because it is a kids quilt we went with bright colours, novelty prints and lots of fussy cutting.  My favorite block is scrappy and fussy cut…

favourite block

The finished top is 60 x 60 inches square and the next step is to find a fabulous PMQG member to quilt this beauty, or maybe we can throw it on the long arm at our next Charity Sew Day.

Playing with Urban Chickens

To celebrate this years Pacific North West MQG Meet up our fearless leader,  Michelle Freedman designed a fun modern block to celebrate… the Urban Chicken.  During the Meet Up we did a charity sew day where chickens ran wild.

Charity Sew Day Urban Chickens

This week I decided to dust off the pattern card and make my own Urban Chicken quilt… below is my plagiarized, annotated and updated version of Michelle’s original pattern.

For each block you need:

1.  Four (4) different shades of the same colour – I decided to stick to green, blue & yellow

2.  White or off white fabric – I pulled all my scrap bag of solid whites out.

Then it is off to work making a block….

1.   Cut one  3 ½ inches  x 14 ½  inches strip of each of your four coloured fabric.  I added an extra 1/2 inch to the strips from the original pattern to allow for some wiggle room (ie. mistakes).

layout strips

2.  From these strips cut one 3 ½ inches x 3 ½ inches  and set aside these squares.

cut square off strip

3.  Sew the four 10 ½ inch strips together using 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Press the seams to one side in the same direction.

sewing strips together

.4. Sew the long ends together to form a tube… these next steps are the same as you would do for a Trip Around quilt.

5.  Subcut the tube into three 3 ½ inch wide units… this is where the excess 1/2 inch of fabric on the strips comes in handy for me.

cut tube

5.  Carefully use the seam ripper to open each unit at a different place.  Arrange the three rows as you like, nesting the seam allows and sew together.  Press the seams open or to alternating sides.

strip blocks ready to go

Then to make the chickens….

1.  Using your white scraps or some generously cut white strips (no smaller than 2 ½ wide) and the four coloured squares you had set aside make some wonky triangles.

set aside squares

2.  Place the white fabric strip over the 3 ½ x 3 ½ inch square right sides together – angling the white fabric from just past center of the square to one corner of the square.  Repeat on the other side.  Do this for all four coloured squares.

chicken pieces for trimming

3.  Press seams on your chicken unit and square it up to the original 3 ½” x 3 ½” size.  When trimming make sure that the top of the triangle has a ¼ inch seam of white.  This will allow you triangles to come to a clean point (learnt this one the hard way).

trim chickens

4.  Arrange your chickens as you like and sew them together to form the fourth strip of the block.

urban chicken block

You can stitch your chickens to either side of your solid blocks.

Urban chicken block 4

5.  Make sure you square off your completed block ensuring it measures  12½”” by 12½”.

To add some variation to your Urban Chickiens, Michelle suggests doing some blocks up without the chickens… that is blocks of just 4 x 4 coloured squares.

I am now off to add some more chickens to my coup.  I am really having fun with this quilt and can not wait to have a finished quilt top to show.