Jul 15, 2014

Addie's quilt: The Back

Well, how to start this post? I guess that not in the beginning, because this post is all about the back!  I have been observing how scraps are sometimes reused in quilt backs, or even a sort of repetition of the pattern is there as well.

So, why not with Addie's quilt? Here is a bit of eye candy:

And just in case you were wondering about the one that is behind this quilt, here is a hint... I guess this will also dissipate any doubts about whose quilt this is, or whom it was made for!  I guess... Just saying...

Always remember to use the right kind of stabilizer for the project... this makes a huge difference in the final result.

Although I used a light stabilizer, it still was stiff compared to the rest of the fabric.  In order to allow the quilt to work with the FMQ, I decided to use fine scissors and cut around the embroidery as closely as I could.

Just to celebrate the major event - embroidery features being used - I had to take a picture of it all happening, especially because Mr. Fuzz was at the other side of the table watching every step!  His mind is always inquisitive and he just loves figuring out how things work. He is still figuring out how the machine knows how much thread is in the bobbin and always stops at the right time, after going up and down, up and down, up and down...  :)

 And this is the back once it was finished...  I must confess I sometimes imagine the threads all perked up, happy to be part of something new...  Yes, I know... not happening, but hey - we cannot deny that the creative process is full of excitement and surprises!

The two embroidered legends became the central "blocks" for the back.  I used some of the scraps leftover to frame Addie's name.

The central area of the back also had a very special legend, the only request made by Addie's Grandma: "Grammie's little love."  My! Someone was really looking forward to welcoming little Addie - and is not shy about making a BIG statement!  :)

The 11th diamond that didn't make it in the front made it to the frame:

I just made sure to center the parts...

... so it would look like this:

And just after one more chunky frame - in orange, because Grammie wanted bold colors - it looked like this:

I ended up using more chunky stripes to reach the size I wanted.

And here they are, the top and back of Addie's quilt posing on the carpet for the "before" picture!

And here is another view... I just love the way that embroidered center looks! I guess that finally using this feature of my sewing machine was way more worth that I could have pictured...  :)

This is my first time making a quilt this size and piecing the back.  Curiously enough, this is the side Grandma saw first when unfolding the quilt, and she stared and stared at it.  She actually thought it was the front!

How do you feel about pieced backs? I know it takes more time, but it definitely makes a statement.  Have you ever pieced the backs of your quilts?  Please share your comments!

I hope you are having a wonderful week and hope you see you soon again in the next post... stay blessed!


Jul 11, 2014

My first pattern!

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you had a great week and are ready to get everything ready for your weekend project - and yes, I mean a crafty project... Well, at least sneaking in some time to work on it while the washer is going and takes care of the laundry!

And on this day where two of my dearest people, Mr. H and Miss N are celebrating B-days, I want to share another major stepping stone I've been toying around with for a while - My first downloadable PDF pattern!  Woohoo!

With all these technological advances, why not make the most of transportability?  (Does that word even exist?)  I often find myself either trying to print a blog tutorial or adapting my tablet so that I can use it while making something.

Recently, my tutorial on Pieced Strip Blocks became the most popular post ever!  And thinking of all of you who may want to try something like me, here you have it, ready to print or download to your device!

To download the Pattern in PDF format, just click here. I hope this gets your crafty bone tickling with excitement and the best part is that it is free!!  :)

Enjoy creative times and feel free to ask questions and share pictures in the Flickr pool.

Stay blessed!


Jul 6, 2014

Addie's quilt: Floating corners

Little Miss Addie has been alive for a tad over a week... She is such a cute little girl! Grammie is all excited about helping new mommy out and I'm pretty sure they all had a wonderful long weekend.

It sometimes seems quite extraordinary that Addie's quilt is finished and is no longer in my dining-room-turned-sewing-room. I look at the pictures of the process and must confess end up in a mixture of rejoicing and nostalgia.  Addie's is my first baby quilt ever, and I'm so grateful that her Grammie gave me a creative green light...  It was a blessing to work on her quilt, and I hope she enjoys it for many years to come.

So... here is a floating corner:

So, why is it called a "floating" corner?  Weeeeeell, I really don't know... I know that sometimes, a little splash of color is added to a quilt by inserting a small piece of fabric in an otherwise even background.  In Addie's quilt, these strips are really not connected to any other block; it is as if they were "floating" in the corners...

I thought that strips going in different directions would break up the evenness and give the whole quilt an interesting movement.  What do you think?

And just a little parenthesis...  I added the floating corners because I only had 11 diamonds, so I would have to at least deal with a different corner.  In the end, I went for two floating corners and used the 11th diamond in the back of the quilt.

But just before going to the corners, and in case you would like to know, for the diamonds section, I only added a 2.5" strip to one side of each block.  I then used longer strips of the same width to make rows. That is how the diamonds came together - just one note: only the two central columns (in the picture above) were finished this way.

And here is another view of the same process...

Now for the columns on the sides (remember the pic with the finished top?), I used the scraps that were leftover from cutting the squares. For a quick reference, click here to visit my tutorial on Easy Strip Diamond Blocks, and check out where the scraps came from!  :)

The first step was to add strips of background fabric to each end of the scrap strips, like so:

Notice that the length of the background fabric varies. I was not going for matching edges, so I double checked that the distance between the edge of the scraps and the edge of the background strip were all different.

Even though the scraps are the same size, the uneven effect can be done with varying the length of the background strips.

Here are the first three strips ready to go floating to the quilt!  Make sure that the length is just a tad larger than the length of the corner (basically, one diamond block and 2" more in the background fabric - remember the outer columns in the quilt picture?)

Also, notice that the edge of the scrappy strips don't match at either end.

The next step is adding background strips in between the strips.

 If you end with something that looks like this:

...just trim a little bit in order to have a straight edge and make the rest of the block construction easier.

When you are done, you will have something that looks like this:

Just trim the edges and make sure the final measurements match that of the quilt block:

And here you have it! Floating stripes ready to go into Addie's quilt!  :)

This technique is very easy to use and has a touch of improvisation...  Ultimately, you are making sure that all the leftover fabric is used and it introduces a fun and unexpected element to the composition.  

I hope that you had a wonderful Independence weekend!  

Stay blessed!  :)


Jun 27, 2014

Addie's Quilt takes shape

Hello again!!  Addie is about to make her sounding arrival, so I'd better go back to sharing the story of her quilt!  :)

Here is where we left of in the previous post:

A little stack of scrappy units ready to be turned into diamond blocks.

After putting the diamonds together, I had thirteen pieces - which basically meant I had an "empty square" on the batting. I don't have a design wall -YET- and I generally use the floor to work with composition.  

I was trying to decide how to organize the units, but the corner of my eye caught those fabulous treasures called scraps... Perfect for making some kind of improv block in that empty space.  However, I was not satisfied.  I wanted some kind of balance.  Away goes the thirteenth block and in comes a second improv area!  It worked pretty well, and my quilty bug was happier with this option.

Here is a close-up. You know my crafty bone and quilting preferences... If edges don't match, that's all right!  So I was really took my time with different arrangements, always aiming for an uneven edge...

Here is another option:

At one point, I just had to get over those corners and started adding sashing to the sides of the diamonds.

After all the sides were done, I had four long rows; I put them together just by sewing long strips between each row.  

Now, see the two corners with the "floating" strips?  Those are a matter of a future post!  :)

To be continued...  :)

Jun 19, 2014

Cheery Mellow: In the Garden

When Blogger automatically comes up with a picture like the one above, it makes choosing words difficult...  It is a really cool effect!  I really don't know how it is done - or maybe I just haven't been aware that I can actually turn the feature on and off... Who knows!  But it gives a little je-ne-sais-quoi to this beautiful block.  

Simple and interesting, it is a perfect composition to showcase different fabrics.  I almost feel like making a whole quilt out of this block; can you picture a tile effect?  Maybe - and just maybe - there's an "I spy" quilt looming...  :)

Cheery Mellow is slowly taking shape, and I am enjoying all the new techniques. This block was also inspired by a block in Shape Workshop for Quilters, a book by Fat Quarterly.  Its name is "Courtyard Garden" and it was designed by John Adams.  

Here is the fabric, already cut and waiting to be sewn together!  This time, I followed the instructions to the T - which is unusual for me; not the "Yiya" style, you know...  Anyway, I did not make any major modifications to the information in the book, so I decided to share only the process.  I mean, how would you feel if you were the designer and someone else shared your work?


Place one of the smaller, white squares on top of one of the print square, like so:

Note that I drew a line from corner to corner, just to indicate the seam line. 

You may wonder why I pin, even though we are working with small units; well, it is really frustrating when things do not end up the size they should, just because the fabric shifts. I'm not that big fan of pinning, but if it makes the final block precise - hey, I'm game for it!

Repeat with the other four print squares and sew right on top of the diagonal line. And this is where my personal touch comes in...

I went the extra step and Cut Corners to get extra Half Square Triangles, the ones on the top right corner of each square. If you are wondering what I mean by this, click on this link to see a tutorial so that you can find out what all this is about!  :)

You will have something that looks like this:

Instead of "discard the extra fabric," just put the extra half-square triangles aside and use them in a future block!  :) 

Now, sew two shorter rectangles to each side (either left and right OR up and down - it doesn't matter how you start off) of the new print squares, like this...

Then, sew two longer rectangles to each of the remaining sides.  You will have four squares with a "frame."

The next step is placing the smaller, print square on top of each block, right on the corner with background fabric.

I also Cut Corners to get extra Half Square Triangles from this step. Remember, this is optional, but you will get a bunch of extra pieces to use in a future block or project... How cool is that!  :)

Again, I like pinning to keep the fabric from shifting and messing up the final measures; but that's just me!  Feel free to use the method that you like best!

After Cutting Corners, you will have four more Extra Half Square Triangles from this last step, if you sewed the two seams - the optional step described in this tutorial.

At this point, you only need to decide on the layout and where you like the prints best.

Once you've decided about placement, sew the squares in rows, making sure that the tips of the inner diamond match.

Then, sew the two rows, or columns - however you decide to call them; again, make sure that the points of the inner diamond match.

And here you have it, In the Garden, ready for Cheery Mellow!

I hope you give it a try and have as much fun making it as I did. 

Stay blessed!