Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Famous!!! Well, almost!

January has been a complete action packed month for me... Not just on my blog, otherwise too!

I have been tackling things like I normally wouldn't...

I have had some nasty and some awesome experiences...

They have surely made me a better person...

On 23rd January, Cindy from Live a Colorful Life featured me on The Name Game...

My blogger was playing naughty at the time, and I could not post... 

Later I wrote a post and forgot to "publish" it!!!

Now you know me better, do you?

Today, a fellow quilter from India Carol is having me as a guest on her blog

Se, I'm famous!!! Well, almost... But I enjoyed doing it!!!


Blogger Map



Katie from Latte Love has started Blogger Map. Here you can list your blog according to region. It will be a great way to connect with fellow quilters while traveling!

Hop over and list your blog.


ABC of Quilting Post # 18

Our next topic today is

Rendezvous with the layers : Quilt Sandwich, basting techniques

Sandwiching the quilt is one of the most important steps in quilt making. It is how you sandwich the quilt that will tell you how well your quilt will look after you have quilted it. So take your time with this one!

Here's how I do it.

First Iron everything! The quilt back, the quilt top and if possible, even your batting. I cut my batting about 4" more on each side of my finished quilt top and the backing another 4" more.

Go to a room that has a big enough floor space for you to lay the quilt on. Hardwood or tiled floors are best.

Then lay your backing WRONG SIDE UP on the floor and smooth it.

Using a masking tape (I use regular cellophane tape as I have a tiled floor and can wash it away!) and fix it to the floor. Use as many pieces as you need to make it really secure.

Now smooth the batting on top of the backing. Take your time and make it as flat as you can. Get down on your hands and knees to do this.

Now take the top and start on one side of the quilt. Lay it over the batting and smooth out any wrinkles as you go. I use my iron here to smooth out each and every wrinkle.

Now use safety pins ( I ordered my bent safety pins from Nancys Notions, if you do not have the bent ones, the regular ones work just fine) to secure all the layers together. I prefer to pin at about every 6".

Then remove the cellophane tape (or masking tape)  and you're ready to quilt it!

There are other options to this too... But you cannot gt out of the get down on your knees part!

You could use a basting spray - a temporary adhesive in spray form.

or you could be easy on your fingers and use a basting gun.

Or you could make quilting absolutely easy by using a curved needle and thread to baste your quilt. This eliminates the need for removing pins as you quilt!

Use any method you want, but take care that the sandwich is absolutely smooth. This will prevent any puckers in the quilt backing.


ABC of Quilting Post # 17

The first topic of today is 

Quilt Blocks : Basic Block Construction

And we have a guest today to write this one. Jane Davidson

The lady who does a thousand things and yet has that beautiful smile on her face!

She's the lady behind the lovely quilt shop Want it, Need it, Quilt (remember the Stitch and Color Layer Cake I got long before any one of you could, I bought it from her!). She is also the mama bee for the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap! (There are 62 girls out there and Jane does a fabulous job of managing it all!).
Currently you would like to tag her blog. She is running the Desperate Housewives Quilt Along and the Dress up your Roll (yes, a toilet roll) contest! 

I'm so glad to have her here to tell you all about some basic blocks that you can incorporate in your quilts! 

When Shruti asked me to discuss basic block constructions, I thought that sounds like fun but when you sit down to write about it you realise that there are so many that it would fill a large book. So, today I will discuss some of the simple and versatile blocks that are used frequently in quilting.

My topic 17. Quilt Blocks: Some basic block constructions is of special interest to me as I have set my self a challenge to create 50 unique blocks in 50 weeks. I have also asked guest bloggers to contribute another 50 blocks. If you are interested in joining in the fun of the Desperate Housewife's Quilt, please visit the official page.

The Square
A great block to begin with, is the humble square. They come together easily to make a simple but effective quilt.

2" squares
6" squares with appliqué circles
10" squares

5" Charm squares on point

5" Charms on point

On point with appliqué

5" Charms with horizontal sashing
Combination Patches
Combine the square to make sets. Sets can be any number squared.

Take 4 of these squares and make a 4-patch block.

Take 9 squares and make a 9-patch block

Half square triangle (HST)

Another versatile block is the half square triangle. It can be used in a number of setting to create different blocks. As an example, I have created a sampler quilt using groups of HST's to make individual blocks.

Make a HST
Layer two squares right sides together, a line down the centre and sew 1/4" seam on either side of the line. Cut on line and voila you have 2 Half Square triangles (HST).

 Combine HST's with squares to create this block

Shoe Fly Block

and this block
Eccentric Star Block
Hourglass Block
Layer 2 squares rights sides together. Sew 1/4" all around edge. Cut on both diagonals and voila you have 4 - two coloured halves.

What can we do with these simple blocks?

Take the hourglass block made with 4 fabrics. Adding and subtracting fabrics can give the quilt a whole new look.

Horizontal layout. 
Horizontal Layout. Removed red and replaced with green.
Horizontal Layout. Replaced orange with red to give appearance of a half  square triangle.
Horizontal Layout. Replaced green and orange to reproduce the effect of a square on point.
This would look effective with varying shades of the two colours for each triangle piece.
Horizontal layout. Create a faux border by replacing fabrics in key blocks.
Changing the orientation of the blocks in the setting can also create beautiful patterns.

On point layout using the eccentric star and shoe fly block 
Horizontal layout using 9-patch, eccentric star and shoe fly block.
9-Patch using on point layout.
On Point Layout using 9-Patch and Shoe Fly block
I have used examples of settings using solid colours. Try experimenting with patterned fabrics to create areas of interest.

Thank for joining me in a very brief overview on basic block constructions. For the beginner it is important to know the simplest of blocks can make the most beautiful quilts.

Monday, January 30, 2012

ABC of Quilting Post # 16

The second topic for today is

Piece by hand : English Paper piecing 

We have a guest blogger today to tell you more about hand piecing. Please welcome Doris

from Threads of Conversation. Just a look at her blog and you will know she is a pro! I loved her creations... Head over to get inspired!

Hi--I'm Doris, and I live in Des Moines, Iowa.  I've have blogged for nearly four years now at Threads of Conversation--sharing my sewing endeavors, occasional travels and family fun times, and the ups and downs of a busy life.  I come from a maternal line of quilters and seamstresses (mother, grandmother, great-aunts...) some of whom were hand-piecers--their (now) vintage quilts greatly admired even by my very young child's eyes.

I taught myself to hand piece in 2010, after falling head over heels for Janet's quilt, tracking the pattern source down it's origins, being given the issue of the magazine with the pattern in it by an Australian blog friend, and vowing to make it, now matter how long it took!!!!

I started my Candied Hexagon quilt in early 2010.  I've posted updates occasionally here and on flickr, but never quite got around to posting a tutorial on my method of hand-piecing this quilt.  So, when Shruti asked for contributors to her ABC's of quilting series, I jumped at the chance to tell her readers AND mine how I do hand-piecing.  Today I'm going to show you how I made this hexagon star block:

Basic tools you will need for hand-piecing:

  • a lightweight, durable thread (I use Aurifil 50 wt in Ecru for all my hand-piecing)
  • a few pins
  • a good thimble (my favorite)
  • and size 11 straw needles (my recommendation!) 
  • templates

There are MANY options available for templates for paper piecing; including hand-drawn/traced or PDF paper templates, hand made freezer paper or plastic templates, add-a-quarter and add-an-eighth rulers for adding your seam allowance to a template, pre-cut paper shapes for English paper piecing, like those tiny hexagons pictured above by Paper Pieces, or plexi-glas templates such as the Marti Michell set I am using to cut out and hand-piece my Candied Hexagon quilt:

The great feature of these templates are the holes for marking your seam stop/start points on the reverse side of your fabric.  I use a 28mm rotary cutter (the "tiny" blade) to cut my fabric around the edge of the plexi template, having marked my pencil dots through the holes first.  Then I set the template aside, and trace my seam line from dot-to-dot. 

Cut and prepare each piece for your block and lay them out as they will be sewn together:

I start with the center hexagon and one of the pink triangles; DO NOT knot your thread, instead make a few stitches going towards the start point on your pink triangle, bringing the needle up exactly at the start point.

Then insert the needle back in to the start point, stitch back over the few stitches you just made and continue to sew your seam along the line.  This small backstitch will secure the end of each seam.

Continue stitching along the pencil seam line, bringing your needle up and out at the stop point. 

Just as you did at the start point, insert the needle back down at the stop point and backstitch 2-3 stitches to secure the end of your seam; trim thread.

Repeat this process to attach three of the pink triangles to the hexagon as shown:

Then attach a blue diamond to each side of the remaining three pink triangles; so you have four segments sewn like this:

To attach an outer Triangle/Diamond segment to the center Hexagon/Triangle segment, place them right sides together with trimmed corners and edges lined up:

Pin through ALL fabric layers AT the start/stop points on the pink triangle, with back and front  segments lined up where star points are to meet up. (See above).  On the reverse, your pins should be in nice and straight, and lined up with the start/stop points on the hexagon piece as well. 

Stitch from Start point at one end (including backstitch to secure the end of your seam) to the first stop point, at seam allowance.  Carefully insert your needle at stop point, through bothe seam allowances (really diagonally between the two seam allowances) coming out the other side at the start point marked on the hexagon piece:

Repeat to attach all three Triangle/Diamond segments to complete your hexagon star block; seams should be pressed flat towards outer edge on reverse side:

This is MY method of hand-piecing, which is just one way of doing it.  This same block could be made using an English Paper Piecing method, using the technique shown in this great tutorial on Clare's blog, Self Sewn.  She has made several beautifully hand pieced quilts, and is currently hosting a Block Party for her hand-pieced Rose Star block:

Another very well written English Paper Piecing tutorial for hexagons (a la Grandmother's Flower Garden) can be found here at Sunshine Creations.

And, of course, there is a wealth of information on my style of hand-piecing on Hand Piecing With Crispy. 

Please stop by my blog, Threads of Conversation, and say hello--I'm always interested in "meeting" new internet friends!