March 5, 2015

City Girl Sew Along Block #6

Introducing Block #6 of our City Girl Sew Along - the Sidewalk - which reminds me of the sidewalks in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Yep, a trip down memory lane. Although you can see half square triangles, we ain't sewing triangles here! We will be using a small square ruler (or a plastic template, if you don't have the ruler handy).

This block is easy and quick to assemble. I do give some detailed explanations about what I do with seams if I have to force them to butt together, thus the tutorial became a little longer than the others. But, I hope it will be helpful to you.

Here is what you will need:
(1) 2-1/2" x 32" strip of medium gray fabric (both gray prints are Riley Blake Design's)
(1) 2-1/2" x 32" strip of small gray print fabric
(2) 2-1/2" x 32" strips of white fabric
2-1/2" square ruler, or
thick template plastic for the 2-1/2" square (to download template, click here)
Rotary Cutter
Thread (Aurifil 50wt is very thin so blocks turn out to exact measurements!)
Basic sewing supplies

With a 1/4" seam, stitch a white strip to each of the gray strips. Press with seam towards dark fabrics.

Align diagonal dashed line from 2-1/2" square ruler (or, if using a plastic template, trace template square onto plastic, cut it, then align its dashed line) with the seam of one of the two-color strips.

Using a rotary cutter, carefully trim around the ruler or template. If you have a rotating mat, you may cut one side, turn mat around and have next side at the right position for you to cut it, whether you are right or left handed. Otherwise, if necessary, just reposition the ruler or template if it moves as you get ready to cut the other sides. You will need 8 half-square triangles from each two-color strip. Press all seams towards the dark fabric.

Arrange pieces next to your sewing machine as shown on picture above.

Pin two HST with right sides together and stitch them with a 1/4" seam. You may consider beginning your sewing line on a small piece of scrap to ensure you will stitch a perfect 1/4" seam when you move onto your block, as shown above (Notice how I pined the HST, catching both seams. Do not worry - I did line up the edge of the block to the presser foot after I took this picture!).

Repeat with the other blocks then press them. I usually look at where the seams want to go and press them on that direction. Later on, when piecing them to other blocks, if I need to turn the seam to another side so it will butt with the seam from the other block, I do so, press it, then cut a "V" on the seam so each part of it can be pressed towards the direction it must go. Here is what I mean:
No, I do not believe making that "V" on the seam will weaken either the seam or the block. By proceeding this way there will be no bulk to quilt over (and risk breaking needles or having your needle totally avoid the bulk as you FMQ it, messing up your design). After blocks are joined and quilt top is quilted, the quilting lines ensure nothing comes apart (provided when you cut  your "V" you were careful to stop a few threads from the sewing line).

Stitch the squares together, then join top row, then bottom row, then stitch rows together to form the block.

Choosing a dark and a light print as I did helped portray the sidewalks exactly as I remembered them. Can you relate? I will turn this block onto its own quilt someday...

Next Thursday's block (wait, maybe I should have called this the Thursday Sew Along instead of the City Girl Sew Along, as I have been publishing a block every Thursday!) will probably be appliqued.

Looking forward to seeing your blocks!

March 2, 2015

Giveaway Winner

Happy Monday, everyone! It is snowing here in Utah but I can't complain because those of you who live on the East Coast and Midwest have been seeing white for weeks, right?

I am adding color to at least one person's day. Here is the winner of the Layer Cake Giveaway sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop:

Research Randomizer Results
1 Set of 1 Unique Numbers Per Set
Range: From 1 to 286 -- Unsorted
Set #1: 193

Congratulations on your blogaversary! Thanks for the giveaway! 

Congratulations to YOU, Barbara O.! Have fun turning that layer cake into something gorgeous... I will send you an email soon to work out details. For all of you who left comments about the third anniversary of my blog - Thank You!

I have a ton of non-quilty things to do today but all I can think about are the fabrics I have in my studio, beckoning, waiting to be turned into a project. I have no idea how I will resist that pull... Suggestions, anyone?

February 26, 2015

City Girl Sew Along Block #5

This is block # 5 for our City Girl Sew Along and it is called The Loft. Pictured here is the dining room of the loft, featuring a long table top with pedestal base, as well as a painting on the wall. Easy to put together, so gather your materials and follow along. Note: my prints are by Riley Blake Designs: the pedestal base was cut from their Blenders C200, and the prints are from an older collection - can't remember the name).

You will need:
White background fabric: 1-1/2" x WOF strip
                                          5" x 5" square
Dark gray fabric: 1-1/2" x 6" rectangle
Light gray print fabric: 1-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangle
Flower (or other) print for the painting: 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" square
Sewing thread (see below)
Basic sewing supplies

From white fabric strip:
(2) 1-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangles
(3) 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" rectangles
(1) 1-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangle
(1) 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangle
(1) 4-1/2" x 3-1/2" rectangle

From dark gray fabric:
(1) 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" rectangle
(1) 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" square

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

Using your favorite thread (mine is Aurifil - I use this color ALL the time), sew the white rectangle to the flower square, then add a 3-1/2" rectangle to the right of the flower. Next, stitch together a 3-1/2" rectangle to the 1-1/2" dark gray square, then add the 4-1/2" rectangle to the right of the square. Finally, stitch together the pieces for the bottom of the pedestal base.

And... you are done. Block #6 will be published next Thursday - I think you will like it. We will be piecing it, not applique. If you have just joined us, you can find directions and templates for all the blocks under the City Girl Sew Along tab.

Oh, wait, don't go yet! Here are the blocks that Ann Marie has sewn already!

Don't you love her fabric choices? Go ahead and send me pictures of your blocks when you are ready and I will post them, too.

Also, the Layer Cake Giveaway ends today at 5PM - click here for your chance to win fabric for your next project. In the meantime, have fun today!

February 24, 2015

Layer Cake Giveaway

Image result for celebration images
It is celebration time! February marks the third anniversary of this blog. It seems it was just yesterday that I decided to connect with others as a blogger, to share with you my projects, the books I love, and tutorials for cool quilt and craft projects. I am so happy I did.

I am learning so much from all of you, having fun reading your blogs and seeing your projects, and participating in blog hops. I am also really excited about this year's City Girl Sew Along (stay tuned for this week's show and tell!).
Fat Quarter Shop is joining me in the celebration by offering one of my lucky readers one Fresh Cut Layer Cake BasicGrey by Moda Fabrics. Just leave me a comment by Friday, February 27, at 5 PM for a chance to win the layer cake. For another chance, leave another comment letting me know that you are a follower. Make sure I have a way to contact you (noreply bloggers: type in your email as "soandso at whatever dot com").

I hope you have been inspired by my blog just as much as I have been from my association with you.

Enjoy your day,

February 19, 2015

City Girl Sew Along, Block #4

Here is Botanical Garden, the fourth block for the City Girl Sew Along. Flowers are machine appliqued using blanket stitch (use your favorite stitch). Very easy to make - are you following along?

This is what you will need:

(1) 8-1/2" x 8-1/2" square of background fabric (mine is Halle Rose C4184 by Riley Blake Designs)
(1) 8" x 8" square of hot pink fabric (mine is Riley Blenders C200 by Riley Blake Designs)
scraps of gray fabric for flower centers
HeatnBond Lite fusible web (or your favorite fusible web)
Thread for applique (I used Aurifil Cotton 40 wt this time)
sharp scissors
basic sewing supplies

Trace templates (click here for PDF templates) onto fusible web using a light box or a window (for more details on how I do this, click here for tutorial). Notice that I traced a petal template inside the large flower, and a circle inside the half flower. I do this because I don't need the fusible web covering a large surface, even though fabric with HeatnBond Lite applied to its back still has a very soft hand. It is a way to make better use of the HeatnBond Lite, particularly when I am running out of it.
This is what template pieces look like after I carefully cut them out. They are now ready to be ironed to the back of the fabrics I am using for the flowers.
Once templates are fused to fabrics, wait for fabrics to cool down (it takes just a few seconds) and, using sharp scissors, cut on the traced lines. Next, position applique pieces according to block picture, press, and machine applique using blanket stitches (or your preferred applique stitch). For detailed information on how I machine applique, see this tutorial again.
And, here you have it. Block number 4 for our City Girl Sew Along. Send me pictures of what you have done so far and I will post them on my blog.

Until then, have fun today!

February 17, 2015

Sew a Modern Home

You must have noticed that I like to review quilting books. To be featured on my blog a book must generally contain projects that are intriguing due to their design (interesting play between block and color, intricate [or very simple!] composition, etc), which might present a different take on a traditional block or quilt design, or which demonstrate new techniques or trends.

Martingale - Sew a Modern Home (Print version + eBook bundle)I've just found a great quilt book with amazing contemporary quilt designs for every room of your home. True to the modern quilting trend, Melissa Lunden's book Sew a Modern Home has 19 projects with designs that feature simple lines, striking color combinations, and clever use of graphic and geometric prints to create interesting patterns. However, her projects can easily be adapted to a more traditional look as you vary your colors and fabric choices.

Look at the cover quilt - I had to do a double take when I realized that pattern was pieced (at first I though it was just yardage of fabric turned into a quilt, because the yellow lines are so narrow!). The pillow on the left is particularly noteworthy as its design hinges on the fabric print chosen and how it was cut.

(All photos by Brent Kane for Martingale)
Martingale - Sew a Modern Home (Print version + eBook bundle)I love the nursery ensemble shown at left for its design and departure from the traditional pink and blue. I started to think of alternative color combinations that would be just as pleasing, such as teal, brown and white (teal is my daughter-in-law's favorite color).

Did you notice the Plushie Penguin? Melissa also has instructions for a cute OctoPlushie, with tentacles which are perfect for little hands to hold.

Flying geese, a block often featured in modern quilt designs, are stunning in Lunden's color palette. Her minimalist folded napkins would likely become a conversation piece at your dinner table.

From desert to ocean colors, all her bed quilts are beautiful. The one I liked the most is reminiscent of the ocean (below), but would look great in any color combination, don't you think? I am smitten...
Martingale - Sew a Modern Home (Print version + eBook bundle)

Sew a Modern Home has clear instructions for every project, as well as tips to help make each project your own. The basic instructions section walks you through all the steps you need to follow to make quilts so, if you are a beginning quilter, you will learn all you need to know in order to complete the projects.

I need more than 24 hours in a day to make all the projects that I want to make. This book has just added a few projects to my wish list. Ai, ai, ai...

Stop back on Thurday for the 4th block of our City Girl Sew Along, which is a simple applique block.

I wish you lots of quilting fun today!

February 12, 2015

City Girl Sew Along Block 3

City Girl Block 3: Financial District
This is Block # 3 for our City Girl Sew Along (for previous blocks, click here) and it is called "Financial District". This block can be put together in a few minutes and four simple steps.

Here is what you will need:

(1) 2-1/2" x 22" strip of white fabric for background
(1) 2" x 22" rectangle of medium gray fabric for tall building
(1) 2-1/2" x 8" rectangle of light gray fabric for other buildings
Neutral Aurifil thread (or whichever is your favorite thread)
Basic sewing supplies

From white fabric: (2) 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" rectangles, (1) 2-12" x 4-1/2" rectangle, (1) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" square, and (1) 1-1/2" x 5-1/2" rectangle
From medium gray fabric: (2) 2" x 5-1/2" rectangles, (2) 2-1/2" x 1-1/2" rectangles, (1) 1-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangle
From light gray fabric: (1) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" square and (1) 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangle

Arrange fabric pieces close to your sewing machine according to picture above.
First: with RST, stitch the two rectangles which form the top of the main building. Press. Stitch a 3-1/2" x 2-1/2" white rectangle to each side of the top of the building. Press.

Second: with RST, stitch the small light gray square to the 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" white rectangle. Press. Do the same with the remaining light gray rectangle and white square. Press.

Third: with RST, stitch the narrow white strip to one of the medium gray strips, then add the other medium gray strip to the other side of the same white strip. Press. Stitch the 1-1/2" x 4-1/2" remaining gray strip to one of the short ends of this rectangle. Press.

Fourth: Stitch light gray buildings to each side of the main building as shown above. Press seams, then stitch top part of the block onto buildings. Press seams one more time, and you are done!

These are the blocks we have made so far, representing things, places, or scenes we can find in a city: the subway, the cathedral window, and the financial district. Stay tuned for block #4 coming up next week!

Happy quilting!


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