Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Going Crazy in the Fabric Room

     My favorite blocks are very scrappy ones, I particularly love to do crazy quilt blocks. I've done them in a large variety of colors and just pastels. Right now I am doing a more controlled collection of grays, blacks, red and blue. Usually I put them together as an "I Spy" because I use so many novelties. My friend asked for a mini tutorial and I thought I had already done one but I hadn't so here it is, Susie.
       I often start with a cute fabric for the center, cut into a wacky 4 or 5 sided shape. Then I sew a fabric onto one side. I do have a couple rules for doing these blocks. Rule #1  Sew onto the longest edge. If you don't, the block will grow lengthwise and not square. You can sew scraps onto the pieces or chain piece onto a long strip. (Obviously if you are trying to use up scraps, go with those first, then save strips for when it gets bigger)
       If I am working with strips (like the gray project), I start by sewing a couple strips together and then cut that into a trapezoid or 5-sided shape.
       Next step: Press to the added piece.   Next step: Trim
       You will repeat this process just like a log cabin, going around and around, trimming after each pressing. This brings me to my Rule #2  Avoid parallel lines   If you are sewing onto a strip like the gray ones, the edges are parallel. So when you trim, cut the outside edge to be wacky. The straight strips really catch the eye so it is a good idea to wacky them up a bit!
       Rule #3  Try to have a bit of each color you are using in each block. If I'm doing brights I make sure there is at least one yellow and one orange in each block, for example. This will make the whole quilt blend together better.
       You are going to keep going log cabin style until you have a square the size you want. I recommend using a square ruler the size of your finished blocks. I have a 6 1/2" and an 8 1/2" square so those are my block sizes, usually. It helps you to better see the block building up and helps you decide where the corners are. I've been known to put a pin in a corner as I'm going along, so I don't accidentally add onto the wrong side.
        Save all the odd pieces left over. You can put them in another block! If you cut all your strips the same width (2 to 2 1/2" is good) you can join them together and use them as one piece.
         My last rule is Try to not have large pieces that stand out.  As you get to the end the pieces get bigger. I like to save really busy fabrics for those places because they will blend in better and not stand out. Solids and blenders stand out more, and are better on the insides.
         Another hint: if you need to make 40 blocks, start with 20. As you go along, you'll have lots of scraps cut off that are too small for these big blocks but perfect for new blocks. So when I do these I have blocks in a variety of stages at the same time.
         You don't have to think of these finished blocks as just squares. I admit it had never occurred to me to cut them up. I learned this at a Runamok meeting where we learned how to do this technique. I obviously didn't need the tutorial, I had been doing this for 20 years or more! But a modern quilter somewhere came up with the idea of using these blocks like a piece of fabric. The two pastels quilts at the end have cut up squares as triangle units. My gray project will be a cut-up also, I can't wait to finish it!
       Good luck! (Especially you, Susie)
Center block cut 4-sided

Center block cut  sided
Adding a scrap for the next round
Strip piecing onto a long strip


Crazy medalion style with
blocks cut into triangles on
the borders.

Bright "I Spy"


Crazy blocks in controlled palette. Each one has a
nice center block.
Crazy blocks cut into triangles
to make a star.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sometimes You Have to Take a Break

    Sometimes I just need to take a break from quilting. As much as I love it, I like other crafts too! Before Christmas this year I got inspired to knit again. The Christmas before, I made my daughter a Doctor Who scarf. For the uninitiated, one of the doctors wore a scarf like this.
Image result for doctor who scarf


Check out that map! A friend decided not to make hers and gave me the beautiful yarn! Thanks Julie!
Believe it or not I knit it between Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas! Here's Emma in hers! By the way, it's 12 feet long!
No automatic alt text available.
     

       Anyway.....This Christmas I decided I wanted to knit again. I started with cowl scarves which I gave for Christmas gifts (and didn't take pictures of). I also made several dishcloths which are fun to play around with. These are a couple extra scarves and cloths which will be gifted in the future.



Now I am knitting lots and lots of hats for cancer patients. I started with my leftover yarns, then bought  a couple skeins to stretch them out and then Mom gave me a couple skeins of her leftover yarn for Christmas and then just yesterday I was given 2 HUGE bags of Mom's leftover yarn. Good grief! I'll be at this forever! I enjoy playing with the colors and making up designs as I go along. 
These are just a few that have already been donated.

      My latest project was inspired by my friend Susie Long. She showed me the rug she crocheted and I thought about that for over a year before  decided which fabrics to use. All of a sudden it hit me that it would be a great way to use up all those panel fabrics which I had inherited from my friend Rochelle Ash (she never met a panel she didn't love). I hated to waste them and have no intention of ever using them so they got cut up into strips and crocheted into a new rug for my bathroom. I love it!
I've also prepped for another one in darker colors, but can't decide between oval and rectangle. It's a really quick project--just a couple hours!
     I'm rejuvenated!

Scrap Happy 3 Triangle Time!

      Well, I covered the strips and squares in my stash. Now it's time to tackle my personal favorite, the half-square triangle. I'm fully aware that most people don't really enjoy the triangles with all that cutting and squaring up. There are all sorts of "shortcut" techniques but I've tried them and as far as I'm concerned if you have to draw on the fabric, sew, cut apart, press, and probably STILL have to square up it is just as much work. That's just my opinion, for what it's worth.
       My stash boxes are 2 sizes of triangles, 2 1/2" and 3". They certainly don't have to be cut perfectly since they end up being squared up anyway.
       When I sew 2 triangles together, I always chain piece with the dark consistently on either the bottom or top. That makes it easy for pressing. When pressing I put the long chain down with the dark on top, press to set, then flip and press one after another, usually using sizing. THEN I cut apart. \
       Next is the squaring up. I dearly love my square-up rulers. I love the Quilter's Rule one because the markings are raised in the back and the diagonal nests right in the seam. In fact I have gone through several because after time, the markings wear off and the corner shaves off.
/Quilters-Rule-Ruler-Mini-Square-6.5x-6.5-Black
I have this square ruler also in blue for dark fabric and love my 12 1/2 " also.
       I honestly don't mind squaring up. I'd do that for an hour gladly compared to sewing on borders for an hour! It is absolutely essential that all pieces are squared up, by the way! Here are a few examples of quilts I've done using triangles. As you can see, I've done a LOT of triangles!


Churn Dash is a fun square/triangle block


Jacob's Ladder
Jewel Box--Good for squares and triangles
Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves
Mom and Dad's Anniversary quilt

Wedding memory quilt



Gosh I love stars!




I love stars!

Spinning Stars

Monday, April 3, 2017

Scrap Happy Part 2--Crazy for strips

     Imagine you have a collection of strips of all colors and widths. I don't have to imagine. I have lots and so many ideas for how to use them. To begin with I have my strips organized by size and in a couple instances by lights and darks. I think in this post I will just show pictures of some of my examples of Strippy quilts.  
      There are Jelly Rolls which I covered in a previous post. http://lonequilter.blogspot.com/2014/09/ive-embraced-jelly-roll.html
 There are strippy Roman Stripes. How about variations on the Log Cabin? How about Railroad tracks. They make great borders. Strip units cut into other shapes, Strip sashings, deconstructed strip blocks, and the list can go on and on.  So enjoy and be inspired!

A Basic Jelly-Roll Idea


Amish Roman Stripe
Roman Stripe

Roman Stripe













 Deconstructed Strip Units

Each unit was made of strip sets

Log Cabin Traditional
Courthouse Steps








Log Cabin Border



Wacky




Railroad Tracks

Autograph blocks

Cut up strip sashing