Monday, April 20, 2015

Kate's First Tutorial - A Scrappy Strip Pieced Cushion Cover

Good afternoon!

On Saturday I showed my local modern quilting group (South Florida Modern Quilters) a few examples of fun things you can do with strip piecing, and I wanted to share my tutorial for this purple cushion cover online. This is a great project (with any color fabric) to use up your string/strips/leftover binding scraps.

To make this cushion cover I first went through all of my strip scraps (I organize my scraps by strips/leftover binding, and everything else) and I pulled out all of the purple strips. I also took a few of my purple fabrics and cut strips that were between 1" and 2.5" (by any length). Some of the fabrics were more purple than others, and I used a mix of solids and prints.

Some of the fabrics were as long as WOF, but most were much shorter. I started by sorting my strips into two groups--the "long strips" cut from fat quarters (around 20" long) and the "short strips" that were leftovers, or cut from scraps, most were around 10" long. I took all of my strips that were similar in length and started sewing them together, side by side, to make a panel.

Any strips that were too long for the group, were trimmed after being attached to the existing strips. I was able to use the scraps with the other short strips, so eventually everything got used up (this is an example from another project, but same idea).

After sewing all of the strips together, I ended up with a couple of larger squares, a long with some smaller strip sets (made from the shorter strips/scraps).

Because this is improv piecing, the width/length don't really matter. I had 4 different strip sets, you may have more, or you may have fewer. My largest sets were about 18" by 20", I had two others which were made up of scraps, so ended up being between 8" and 18" long. Because you're working with scraps, it's hard to predict how large your strip sets will be, and you may end up with leftovers. Luckily, you can work the leftovers into your project. If you don't have enough, it's easy to add extra strips to make your top to the size you want.

Once I finished sewing my strips together, I pressed all of them to the side. I trimmed the edge of each panel (so I had a clean edge to work from ), and began cutting 1.5" strips. I ended up with about 30 strips, all with a width of 1.5", but with various lengths.

Because all of your strips are the same width, you can sew them end to end. You don't have to sew them all end to end, but you should sew them all in pairs, or larger groups, depending on the finished size you're gong for (this will help you mix up the strips a bit, and have a more random scrappy cushion cover). This cushion cover is 20" by 20", so I made sure that all of the strips I made were at least 20" long. Most were much longer.

Then, I started laying them out on my cutting board. I trimmed them all to a length between 21" and 22" (instead of trimming, you can also use your seam ripper to pull out the short seams). Because I'd sewn most of the strips end-to-end, I didn't end up with any identical strips.

As I was trimming the strips down to size (21" long), I started lining them up next to each other. As you can see from my photo, I ended up with very scrappy strips, so I didn't have to do too much rearranging (I also didn't really need to line them up ahead of time). I needed to make a cushion cover for a 20" by 20"cushion, so I continued with this process until I had 22 strips. Because the strips are 1.5" wide, they'll finish at 1". I added a few extra to account for shrinkage when quilting.

After I had all of the strips cut and lined up, I started strip piecing to sew them together. To make things easy, I just kept all of my strips in a pile next to the machine. I started by sewing them in pairs, then groups of 4, and so on. At this stage, I also started pressing the seams between strips open (this kept the final panel from stretching too much). My "top" was around 22" by 22" and I quilted with lines about 1/4" apart.

Once I finished quilting, I trimmed the panel down to 21" by 21" and added an envelope backing, made from scraps from the front of my cushion.

Ta-da!!! A finished cushion cover. This is a really fun project to do in any colorway. You could also do different color schemes, depending on what you have available (it would also be easy to do a rainbow themed cushion, you'd just need to line the strips up). I am really trying to use up some of my unloved fabric, and cutting it up into strips helps you focus on the color more than the print. I would definitely use this technique again with another color group, to use up some of my other scraps.

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial, and if you have any questions, please let me know!

Linking with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday at Late Night Quilter

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Q2 List for the 2015 Finish Along

Happy Saturday!

I was able to make decent progress on my Q1 FAL list, and was able to resist adding too many new WIPs for Q2.

I have a few project left to finish, and have made progress on all but one...
# 1: First up is my Blue Sky quilt top. This one has been basted, and I'm halfway through quilting it. I can probably finish by the end of the month.

# 2: The next one is my Hapi Carpenter's Star quilt. This one is also basted. I've started quilting it, I'm doing both hand and machine quilting on it, so will take a bit longer. I really, really want to finish this quarter, so it can go on my bed this summer.

# 3: I also still want to make my moneta. I haven't started on it yet, but I think I'm changing the fabric. I want to have this one done this quarter because I'm doing it in light pink jersey....which is really just for spring/summer.

I have added a few new projects for this quarter:

# 4: A trail tote (top left). I have most of the pieces cut, just need to put it together. I want to finish this as soon as possible, I have plans for making this my new everyday bag.

# 5: A sorbetto top (using the Cotton & Steel fabric, bottom left). If this turns out well, I may make a few more. I wear a sleeveless top and cardigan nearly every day, so I am looking for a new wardrobe staple that I can make in my favorite fabrics.

# 6: My Alison Glass mini quilt swap quilt. I finished the top today, just need to quilt and finish it up before the end of the quarter. I'm surprised this top is already finished. I was playing around with strip piecing this morning, and got carried away :)

# 7: My Riley Blake Challenge. I have the fabric, the plan, and I've begun cutting. I just need to finish it before the deadline, which I think is June....?

This quarter, most of the projects are small and I don't have many that will take longer than a day or two to finish. I hope to get everything finished up in this quarter, as I do have a couple of new quilts I want to start this summer!

Linking with Adrienne @ On the Windy Side for the Q2 link up. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Triangle Transparency Blog Hop

Today is finally my turn to share my Triangle Transparency quilt with you!

Triangle Transparency is a pattern designed by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl. I love her quilts, and when she showed me this pattern, I could not wait to test it. The pattern looks so cool, and I was very excited to try it out!
Triangle Transparency is a 60x60 lap quilt, and it's a perfect pattern for basics, small scale prints and solids. After looking through the pattern, and reading a little more about transparency quilts (from Yvonne's introduction), I knew I wanted to make this with the new Alison Glass Sun Prints. I'd been coveting these fabrics since last fall, but was waiting for an excuse to buy them.

I was making this quilt with my husband in mind, so he had a hand in choosing the fabrics. He really likes the mercury print because it looks "space-y."  Because this is meant to be a "man quilt," I decided to go with a darker background and color scheme. I used Mercury in Charcoal for the background, Ink in Denim for color # 1, Mercury in Cobalt for color #2, and Grove in Teal for color #3. I love how the colors go together!

He also requested mustard colored flannel for the back--I don't know how or why he landed on mustard. I really love Shetland flannel, but I am really not sure about putting mustard flannel on the back of a dark blue and grey quilt. Luckily there is a black cross-weave, so the navy thread blends in better than I thought it would--I actually really like how the quilt looks from the back!

I straight line quilted it with my walking foot, with lines about 1 inch apart (I mostly eye-balled it, because I dislike marking quilts and measuring things. I'm surprised at how even the lines are).

The top itself is really simple to construct, and ideal for someone like me who enjoys making quilts with as few blocks as possible. I am a huge fan of simple designs, and geometric patterns, so this quilt pattern is definitely a winner in my book!

I found the pattern very easy to follow, and it's easy to assemble everything. The most time consuming part for me was pressing and trimming the HSTs (this is always the longest part of the process!). I really wanted everything to line up correctly, so I took my time and even used a brand new rotary cutter blade (shocking!). Now I'm wondering why I don't use a new blade for every project :)

I really like the different layout options with the quilt, and the effect of the triangles. It looks really simple, but changing around the fabrics a bit, or the orientation of the triangles, completely changes the quilt. It's also a great opportunity to play with transparency a bit. I would love to make another one by turning the blocks on point, and adding onto the corners. There are also so many color choices to chose from--it takes forever to narrow it down :)

I hope you've enjoyed all of my pictures of this quilt! It was a lot of fun to make. Thanks Yvonne for letting me test this awesome pattern!

If you haven't done so already, I hope you'll check out the rest of the blog hop posts, and Yvonne's wrap-up post on Friday. Renee and Judy, the other pattern testers, showed off their versions (and amazing quilting!) earlier this week:

Triangle Transparency Quilt Pattern Cover

The Triangle Transparency quilt pattern is currently available for sale in Yvonne's CraftsyEtsy, and Payhip stores for $6 through Sunday, April 12th, which is a savings of 33% off of its regular price.

And because I enjoy outtakes, here's one of my husband last weekend--it's a little too windy here for quilt photos:
Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Blue Sky Quilt Top

I finally have a finished quilt top to share! I also pieced the back ahead of time too.

Ever since I started quilting, I've wanted to make a flying geese quilt. My original plan was to make an entire top of 3x6 geese...but I normally don't have the patience for that kind of piecing. In the end, I decided to do geese of different sizes, and an improv pieced background.

This quilt is meant to go to my brother, so I pulled some of my more "masculine fabrics" for the geese. I don't really get to see my brother that often--he's at med school in Tennessee, and we always seem to visit home at different times. He's 25, and I'm sure he hasn't got any lap quilts in his apartment. I figured these colors were a pretty safe choice for him.

The fabrics came from the very first bundle I bought when I started quilting--from Ty Pennington. I was planning on using the bundle on a quilt for me--I used to be really drawn to the softer colors, but lately I've been into bright and bold, so they don't really suit me. I thought they would make a nice quilt for my brother though.

I had planned on a grey or navy background to go with the more muted colors. Unfortunately, I ran out of those colors. I had 3 yards of this indigo quilters linen on hand, and in the spirit of sewing my stash, I went for it. I am pretty happy with how the blue turned out. I was worried it would be too blue, or too bright, but I like it. 

The finished top is about 70 x 85, I think, so it should be a good size for him.

For the back, I used the left over fat quarters to make a column, then added some kona ash. The black fabric is actually a print (you can't really tell from the photo) from Kim Schaefer for Andover. I have plans for a quilt with a darker background, so this was a nice stash addition.

I have been trying this year to use up as much of my stash as possible, especially those fabrics I don't really love. I find it challenging to fit those fabrics into my projects--especially as they don't really go with the rest of my stash. I'm happy I was able to use a lot of those fabrics on this quilt. The only fabric I bought was the black print on the back. I have a feeling I'll have to go shopping for binding fabric, but I'll worry about that once I finish quilting.

How do you find motivation to use your unloved fabric?

Happy Saturday!

This week I am linking with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and NTT Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Art Student Tote

I have another finished tote to share!

Last fall, when Priory Square came out, I know I wanted to make a tote bag out of the Sunday Clippings print. I love the flowers and the birds, it's large scale--so perfect for a tote bag.

When we were in Denver @ Fancy Tiger Crafts, I found some, along with the Art Student Tote pattern by AMH. My husband ended up getting me both for Christmas.

At first glance, I found the pattern to be very confusing, especially the pockets. But I must have been overthinking it--after I put it down for a couple months, I was able to put it all together in a weekend. This pattern is definitely doable for a beginner, but it does take some patience. I also used a glue stick to baste the straps and keep everything in place while top stitching--I don't think I could have put it together without using a bit of glue.

I really like this tote because it has so many pockets! I also like the straps on the outside, and the extension panel. It makes the bag seem more complex, and a little less hand-made, which I like. I made version C, which is the largest size. I ended up making that extension panel a bit shorter than in the pattern (only 5"), but I do like having a zipper on the top.

I also ended up using heavy-weight interfacing on the entire bag. Because it is a larger bag, I wanted it to be able to stand up. I thought the zippers and d-rings might be too heavy with a lightweight interfacing. I haven't made a lot of bags, so I'm not sure if this was the right choice yet, but so far I'm happy with it.

I was able to measure the inside drop pockets, so they're able to fit everything I need--Kindle, wallet, pens, and lots of other things I don't even have :) I love having extra pockets. This bag is quite large, so I will be able to use it as a carry-on. Back when I used to use giant bags every day, this would have been right up my alley, but now I usually use a smaller bag from day to day.

Pardon the slightly blurry photo, I think I'll blame my photographer, who doesn't know how to use my old camera
We do have a trip coming up in May, so I'm looking forward to using this for my carry-on. I think it'll also be useful for those days when I'm running errands, and carrying around more than usual.

I am happy to have finish # 6 done for the Quarter 1 Finish Along, (here's my original list) I think I'll make another bag soon, but I'm thinking of something smaller. I may make the smaller version of this pattern, as I do like the details and pockets on it, but I haven't decided yet.

 Any suggestions?