March 26, 2015

City Girl Sew Along - Block 9

Welcome to the Museum of Fine Arts, or MFA for short! Block #9 of the City Girl Sew Along is my version of an installation you might find at the museum (can you tell I am really enjoying designing these blocks? :-)  ). Choosing the fabrics was sort of an adventure! I pretended I was painting the boxes that were going to be stacked against the white wall.

As you can see, Block #9 involves piecing and a little bit of machine applique. Don't be alarmed by the list below - the instructions are simplified by the photographs (scroll down to the photographs and you will understand), so it will be easy!

What you will need:

1/4 yd of white fabric for background
  Cut: (1) 1-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangle  (A)
          (1) 2-1/2" x 4" rectangle (B)
          (1) 2-1/2" x 3" rectangle (C)
          (2) 2-1/2" x 2-1/4" sort of squares (D)
          (2) 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" rectangles (E)
          (3) 1-1/2" squares (F)
          (2) 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangles (G)
2-1/2" x 5-1/2" strip of brown floral (boxes)
  Cut: (2) 2-1/2" squares
1" x 2-1/2" strip of hot pink (box detail) - I used Blenders by Riley Blake Designs
  Cut:  [apply fusible web to back and cut] (2) 1" squares
3" sq of brown print (box)
  Cut: 2-3/4" x 2-1/2" 'square'
1" sq of pale green (box detail)
  Cut: [apply fusible web to back and cut] (1) 1" x 3/4" rectangle
2-3/4" x 6" strip of light floral (box) - I used Halle Rose C4181 by RBD
  Cut: (1) 2-3/4" x 2-1/2" 'square'
          (1) 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangle
2-1/2" sq light green (box detail)
  Cut: [apply fusible web to back and cut] (1) 1" square, and (1) 1-1/4" x 3/4" rectangle
1-1/2" x 5" strip of light pink (box)
  Cut: (1) 1-1/2" square
          (2) 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangles
thread for piecing and machine applique (I used Aurifil 50 wt for piecing and 40 wt for applique)
scraps of fusible web (try HeatnBond Lite - it works very well for me!)

Here are the instructions:

You should have 25 pieces of fabric in total, including the ones on the upper left corner of the photo above. Arrange pieces close to your sewing machine as shown. The letters on each white background piece should help you with placement, as they correspond to the ones I mentioned in the cutting instructions.

I decided that it would be easier to put sewing directions on the photograph, so start on number 1 at the top right corner and stitch as marked. Press seams (after every stept) toward dark fabric whenever possible. When you are finished, your block should be looking like this:

Now, sew the bottom parts of the block together...

... then the three rows together so your final block should look like this:

It took a little longer to organize the tutorial this time but I think the extra effort makes the instructions clearer. Remember, if you need help using the fusible web, check out the tutorial here for guidance. Here are the nine blocks we have sewn so far:

On my next post I will show you a very cool detail of the mini paper pieced quilt I made for my son Chris (read post here). I think you will like it.

Until then, enjoy the weekend!






March 25, 2015

My little paper pieced gem

When I start paper piecing I get this urge to keep moving from one project to another. My last one was playing with "fabric saucers" (click here for details). Today I finished the mini quilt pictured above (I haven't had a chance to go get a proper hanger for it yet!). I think it turned out super cool...

This pattern is called Serenity and I got it from the book Little Gems by Connie Kauffman. Here is Connie's original version of this pattern:
Martingale - Little Gems (Print version + eBook bundle)
(Photo by Brent Kane for Martingale)

Isn't it gorgeous?

Some specs:
Size: 12-1/2" x 12-1/2"
Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt
Quilted with Aurifil monofilament (throwing away Superior Threads monofilament!!!)
Paper: Papers for Foundation Piecing (photo below)

Martingale - Papers for Foundation Piecing
I LOVED working with this paper and will not use the other brands I have used in the past. Why? It is very lightweight, although it will not rip as you are sewing; yet, it is super easy to remove once you are done sewing the blocks together.

To make better use of the papers I printed three copies of the block pattern on regular printing paper, cut them out and pasted them onto one sheet of paper. Then, I scanned the paper and printed it onto the foundation paper, making sure the printed size was exactly as in the book (I had to make some adjustments on the printer Properties dialog box and print a couple of samples just to make sure, only because I wanted to print six blocks on each sheet). Perfection!

I loved this pattern and wondered what it would look like if I used the same colors on all long rectanges, and also repeated the fabric on all the small rectangles. So, knowing that one of my son's is turning 15 this weekend and that he loves blacks and reds, I grabbed all the fabrics from my stash, included some lighter shades and grays, and there we have it: Chris's Mini Quilt. He absolutely loves the quilt, yet doesn't know it is for him...

As Connie suggests in her book, I just picked fabrics at random as I was putting the blocks together. Paper piecing is soooooooooo relaxing to me! If you have never tried it, Connie gives you lots of details at the beginning of the book so, by the time you choose which of the 15 projects you want to make, you will feel very confident you can do it. You can also check my tutorial on paper piecing.

My next project from her book? Well, that will be a very difficult choice... and here is why:

Martingale - Little Gems (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Little Gems (Print version + eBook bundle)
(All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale)
Martingale - Little Gems (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Little Gems (Print version + eBook bundle)
Do you see what I mean? They are all so beautiful... I think I will have my son Ryan, whose birthday is coming up too, pick a pattern he likes and then I will use his favorite colors, as I did with Chris. 


I am in paper piecing heaven... and Connie Kauffman's projects in Little Gems will keep me up there for a while. They are perfect for when you need to give a gift to someone but do not have the time for a large quilt. Another must-have book for your library!

Enjoy your day!

March 19, 2015

City Girl Sew Along - Block #8

This is block #8 of our City Girl Sew Along, called "Coffee Shop". The Riley Blake Designs background fabric is called Quatrefoil (C345) and I love it! The white and light gray are also by RBD. All the blocks in this sew along have simpler lines, some with a tad more detail than others but, in the whole, we are going for a modern look. These RBD fabrics are perfect for a city girl, although the blocks are looking awesome with other fabrics too (wait 'till the end of this post to see what I mean!).

Coffee Shop was machine appliqued using blanket stitches but you can use any stitch you like, even invisible with monofilament. As I chose a solid fabric for both the cup and the steam, I thought blanket stitches would add texture to the motifs (besides the fact I like blanket stitching...).

What you will need:

8-1/2" x 8-1/2" square of background fabric
scraps of white fabric for steam
4" x 4" square of fabric for cup and handle
fusible web (I only use HeatnBond Lite)
matching thread for applique
sharp scissors

Trace template shapes (for template, click here) onto smooth side of fusible web. Cut shapes and fuse them to wrong side of cup and steam fabrics (for more details about using a fusible web, click here).

Remove paper from back of shapes, place them onto background fabric and press them. Blanket  stitch around shapes using matching thread. Look at the tips of each steam piece on photo above: although they are very thin and the blanket stitch does not cover them, I will remedy it when I quilt around each piece with monofilament. This way, all edges will be secure.

And this is it! Another block for our sew along. I can't wait to have all the blocks done so I can make this sampler quilt adding sashing to tie it all together, and a fun border.

Speaking of fun, Annmarie just sent me a picture of her latest blocks - they are beautiful!

I like her rendition of The Loft, the block in the middle, as well as how different the blocks look from mine due to her choice of fabrics. Thanks for sending the picture, Annmarie. It makes up for the fact that we don't live in the same neighborhood. What would we do without the internet?

I hope your day is as bright, blue, and breezy as mine is. I will talk with you soon!






March 12, 2015

City Girl Sew Along Block #7

Many universities have a Quad: 4 buildings with a grassy area in the center and to the sides, with benches and walkways. This is what block #7 of our City Girl Sew Along is all about - the print fabric represents the buildings, the squares are the lawn, and the black on white areas are the parking lots and the streets surrounding the Quad. (I was going to show you an applique block this week but could not decide which to make, so I changed my mind and opted for this pieced one.)

Choosing the fabrics was what took the longest, as the Quad comes together very fast after that. So, here is the tutorial:

What you will need:
(1) 2-1/2" x 15" strip of green fabric (I used Riley Blake Designs' Blenders C200)
(1) 1-1/2" x 12" strip of print fabric
(1) 1-1/2" x WOF of black on white fabric
thread (Guess which thread I used? It starts with "Au...")   :-)
basic sewing supplies

Cut:
From green fabric strip: (5) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares
From print fabric: (4) 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangles
From black on white fabric: (4) 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangles; (2) 1-1/2" x 6-1/2" rectangles; and
(2) 1-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangles

Arrange fabric pieces as shown above next to your sewing machine.

With a 1/4" seam, stitch each building (print fabric) to a parking lot (black on white fabric), and press.

Next, stitch a grassy area (green square) to each building/parking lot combo, to form three rows. Press.

Then, stitch rows together to form the Quad, making sure seams align well.

Finally, stitch top road (short) to top of Quad, the other short road to the bottom of Quad, and press. Stitch the side roads, and you are done!

OK, all this writing about Quads and grassy areas and roads made me feel like taking a walk! First, though, let me hang this block on my design wall next to the others. They are looking pretty good together. 

Do you have pictures of your blocks to send me? It is fun to see the City Girl Sew Along blocks in other color combinations. Until then, I hope you have a fun weekend!










March 11, 2015

Pattern published on Quilter's World Magazine

Quilts for a Rainy Day 
Have you seen this special issue of Quilter's World? Beautiful mug rugs, table runners, wall hangings and bed quilts by very creative designers. However, the highlight for me is that one of my projects is in this magazine!

Quilts for a Rainy Day
(Photograph by Matthew Owen for Quilter's World)

This wall hanging is in chapter 2 - Projects for a Rainy Day - and it is called "Spring is Here!" It is a quick to make project featuring wool applique and embroidery. I quilted around the applique pieces using monofilament, then hand quilted around the borders using large stitches. The instructions are easy to follow with diagrams for placement and embroidery stitches, as well as templates for the borders.

I really enjoy working with wool because of its texture, organic colors, and the ease with which we can applique it to any project. I particularly like mixing it with cotton fabrics.

Here is hoping spring will be here soon!

March 9, 2015

Sew Pretty Blog Hop

I am delighted to participate in the month-long Sew Pretty for Little Girls Blog Hop being hosted by Stitch Craft Create. This blog hop is all about sewing for little girls, focusing on the wonderful patterns in Alice Garrett's upcoming book Sew Pretty for Little Girls (Little Lady Liberty in the UK). All the projects in her book are made using Liberty Art Fabrics.

I had never heard of Liberty Art Fabrics before - they are beautiful! Take a look at some of the gorgeous fabrics:

Can you imagine using these fabrics to make dresses, skirts, accessories, bedroom decor, bags, baskets... Oh, the book is full of eye candy. Alice's projects are whimsical - I was itching to make one of them but could not decide which. Then, something caught my attention on the picture below...

 
Do you see that banner on the top shelf? Although it is not part of the featured projects, I had to make it! I did use Alice's butterfly template and searched for fabrics with small prints in my stash.

It turned out pretty cool! I stitched two triangles together to add body to each one, top stitched them, fused the butterflies, machine appliqued them using blanket stitch, then stitched triangles to the ric-rac. This banner will look so pretty in my little niece's bedroom. In her book, Alice shows us how to decorate a lampshade, which I will do repeating the butterfly theme. Finally on my list is the bag shown on the picture above...

Anyway, head over to the other participating blogs to see what they came up with. Here is the schedule:

Mon 2nd – Alice Caroline
Wed 4th – Crafting Not Cleaning
Thu 5th – Sew4Home
Fri 6th – Bloom
Sat 7th – A Spoonful of Sugar
Sun 8th – Fabricworm
Mon 9th – Pieced Brain
Tue 10th – Pretty Nostalgic
Wed 11th – Olivia Jane Handcrafted
Thu 12th – One Shabby Chick
Fri 13th – Sew Creative
Sat 14th – The Last Piece
Tue 17th – Sew Crafty Jess
Wed 18th – Stitchery Dickory Dock
Fri 20th – Molly Flanders
Sat 21st – Fabric & Flowers
Sun 22nd – A Bright Corner
Tue 24th  - Straight Grain
Wed 25th  - Sew Justine Sew
Thu 26th  - Tracey Jay Quilts
Fri 27th  - Feather’s Flights
Sat 28th  - Monkey Do
Sun 29th  - Miss Print
Tue 31st  - Sew Scrumptious
 
Before you leave, don't forget to check out block #6 of the City Girl Sew Along - it would be wonderful if you joined us for the fun!

Enjoy the blog hop!

March 6, 2015

Fabric Saucer

You guys have been making mug rugs for a while now, but I hadn't yet wanted to make one until this week. I saw a pattern for a paper-pieced plate, or saucer, in a book and I new right there and then I had to make one. Or four...
If it weren't for all the interruptions I had yesterday, I would have finished them a lot quicker, and would have made some more. Paper-piecing has an addictive effect on me - once I get over the first block I do not want to stop making them!

I used a lot of my scraps, and was surprised to find out that for each fabric combination I had chosen, I had the exact amount of fabric I needed. No way! This time, instead of vellum paper I used the product shown at right, which allows you to actually leave the paper in. I have not tried it on a quilt yet, but since I wanted it to be sturdy, I did not mind the extra layer.

I got the pattern from the book Cups and Saucers by Maaike Bakker. If you have never done paper-piecing before, she shows you her method for cutting the fabrics, gives details about the paper-piecing process, and provides lots of pictures to help. The book features large and small projects such as wall hangings, table runners, and place mats with saucers, cups, boxes, bowls, teapots, jars... If you really want to go small, do like I did and pick one of the patterns for mug rugs (of course, if you make a few like I did, it will defeat the purpose!). Her bright fabric choices were a treat for my eyes since the sky was melting into snow outside while I was looking through the book.

Maaike's patterns are super fun particularly one with blue dishes called Dutch Dishes, which would look awesome next to my wall hanging with blue tea pots, don't you think?

Martingale - Cups and Saucers (Print version + eBook bundle)
         Dutch Dishes by Maaike Bakker
    (Photo by Brent Kane for Martingale)

After I paper pieced each mug rug, I cut a piece of batting and one of a background fabric, all the same size as the pieced saucer. To finish it, I used the same process as in my self-binding quilt tutorial, skipping the binding all together. I quilted them using monofilament. Easy...

I am happy with my very first mug rugs. Some of my friends are, too, so it looks like I will be stitching more of these!

Before you go, don't forget to check out the new block for the City Girl Sew Along I posted yesterday. Have a great weekend!



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