Tuesday, January 9, 2018

First Quarter 2018 FAL

I’m feeling so good that I actually finished three projects on the 4Q2017 Finish-A-Long that I’m preparing for the first quarter of 2018.  This is becoming a little easier since I got the Quilter’s Planner 2018 and can actually list all my projects!

First quarter ends at the end of March, and Quilt Retreat is the first four days of March so I'm excited to think about what I can get finished by then.  Especially if I send some tops to my longarmer because that's where the current backup is.

So ... let's start with last quarter's list and make some revisions.  I want to focus on smaller quilts and tops that I can finish, and larger things that I will send out for quilting.

#1 - Small Quilt #1 (Diamond Wreath) - since Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 16 was released I can finally publish this photo.  The block itself is 12" square, with a 2.5" border.
#2 - Small Quilt #2 (I can't remember what this block is called but I think it's in Volume 14 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks).  The basic block is also 12" square, with a few narrow borders.
This will become a pillow to match my son's extra long twin bed quilt with his chosen colors of red, white, black and grey, so I'd like to finish it before he goes off to college in August (still not sure yet where that will be - could be our backyard or it could be another state).

#3 - Modern Vortex - this was a smallish quilt top, maybe 20" square, that I did in a class at the Blue Hen Quilt Shop a year or two ago and would like to finish into a wall hanging.
#4 - Soho Chic Cupcake Recipe Charm Top.
#5 - Patriotic Cats top
#6 - Keep it Sassy! Charm Square top
This is probably the largest of all the projects I plan to quilt myself and the one I'm least likely to finish this quarter.

#7 - Blue & Grey Cake Mix - I've actually made some progress on this one since it was on the last quarter list.  It is a top awaiting its last border and I plan to send it out to be longarmed.
I would like to finish this one as it is a gift for my manager at the store who gave me such a great recommendation that I was hired at my full-time employer after applying and interviewing there for three years!!

#8 - Fleece winter hat.  Yes, we're halfway through winter and I still hope to get this one done.  It's gold fleece with black faux fur trim.

There are some things I've taken off the list because they're larger quilts that I want to machine quilt myself and I just will not be working on anything large on the Tiara this quarter.  And then there are some new things:

#9 - Scrappy Blue & White Ocean Waves - this is going to be my Guild Retreat project, so if I have a pieced top once the retreat is over, I'll get it to my longarmer.  It will be tight, though.

#10 - Cape Ann star sashed quilt - this has been a pieced top sitting in a box for years, just waiting for a border and to go to a quilter.  So if I get a move on this one, it may also get longarmed and bound.

#11 - Spanish Stars - this is a collection of star blocks made with Kate Spain's Sunnyside, also sitting in a box waiting to be pieced into a top.  I finished the blocks in 2014, as I recall.

#12 - French Chain - that's this Moda Bake Shop project made with French General's Ville Fleurie jelly rolls.  It's a keeper; I hope to use it as the basis to redecorate our bedroom.  I just love the reds and tans and plums in this line.  Once the top is pieced it will also get longarmed.

#13 - the quickie non-quilt projects seem to be a hit when I want to just FINISH something already, so I've got two more besides my winter hat.  One is an infinity scarf made out of cotton quilting fabric in a blue and gold pattern (alma mater colors) I bought from Thousands of Bolts on sale last year, so we'll see how that turns out.

#14 - the other is a pair of jeans with a hole I want to patch with a 1/2" hexie quilt design.  I've already successfully done one area and worn them around fabric/quilty places like quilt guild and the fabric store, and then another hole wore through.  So I need to remember how I did the first one and repeat the success for the second.  Also preferably before the guild retreat!

So that's about it - thirteen projects was lucky for last quarter; maybe 14 will be as lucky for this one.  It's fun to have the motivation and see who's posting on Instagram with the hashtag when I need a little nudge to get to my sewing machine. 

Linking up to the global hosts for 2018 Finish-a-long.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Finish #3 - table runners

This is my third finish on my 4QFAL list - #13 on the list.  Two table runners that had been sitting in my stash for years, since I remember buying them when I lived in Virginia at a store that has moved and closed since then.

Did I get around to using them this year?  Of course not!  But they were easy to make and I saved the instructions for the next time.

Finish number two

Here I am playing catch up on my finishes list.  I finished and Instagrammed the pics of this tote bag, which was #11 on my 4QFAL list, on October 29.  Here it is for Blogger:

I've been using the tote bag since it was finished since it has such pretty fall colors in it and it's gotten many compliments from my office mates.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

finally, a finish

I promised that I would have a fast finish on my Q4QAL list and I do.  I bound the mini finally and it is complete:

This pattern is so old that there aren't even any pictures on the Moda Bake Shop post where I got it.  It was designed by Sheryl Johnson of Temecula Quilt Co. and there is a photo on their website as part of a collection of small quilt patterns available for purchase:

And here is mine:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

FAL for Fourth Quarter 2017

Here we are again, the beginning of a quarter when I logged no finishes from the previous quarter.


I thought I would get one done in time - the easiest one of all - but I had no time to sew on Saturday so it will be a 4th quarter finish.  At least I'm starting out a new quarter with one in the bag, right?

I'm going to try a new tactic and put a few things on my list that are also gimme projects.  After all, Christmas is coming and I'll need to finish one or two things if I want to gift them, right?

So here is my updated and revised Finish-A-Long list, the longest yet:

#1 - Candy Bar table topper - this will be my first finish
#2 & #3 - small quilts from 100 Blocks Volume 15 test blocks
#4 - Slide Show quilt (batiks) - this has been sitting on my midarm for months now

#5 - Modern Vortex

~~~~~~~~~~~~ and here's where we deviate from previous lists ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#6 - Soho Chic cupcake recipe charm square top

#7 - Patriotic cats charm square top

#8 - Keep it Sassy! charm square top

#9 - Moda Layer Cake Mix recipe, Kaufman celestial blue with Jen Kingswell's Behind the Scenes
#10 - my One Block Wonder from the class I took in April.  This is now a completed top, at least I made progress on it last quarter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~let's keep going!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#11 - a Downton Abbey tote bag I started last year at the same time as two others which have since been finished.  I intended to keep this one for myself which is why the others were finished but not this one.
#12 - a fleece winter hat with faux fur trim.  Preferably before winter fully arrives.  Have the fabric (gold fleece with black fur trim) and pattern, but again, it's for me, so it hasn't been prioritized.
#13 - Christmas decor!  I have a matching pair of kitted table runners - one says 5 minutes, the other says 15 minutes ... so why have they sat in my pile to sew for five or more years??

Okay, some say 13 is an unlucky number, but it can't be unluckier than I've had so far since I've finished nothing in Q2 or Q3.  So my mission is to make 13 a lucky number! 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Charmed! Demonstration

The Ladybug Quilt Guild's Diamond State Quilt Show was this past weekend and I did my demo about using 5" charm squares ... but I upped my own ante and ran through TEN ways to use charm squares without books or patterns.  I did not do a handout, but promised a post here for anyone who wanted the details to come check it out.  So here it is:

1.  Divided Nine-Patch - The divided nine-patch technique involves sewing nine charm squares into a grid, and then slicing midway down the outside rows (2 1/2" from the unfinished edges).  Insert a 1 1/2" strip in the open seam and sew back together.  Do sides first, then top & bottom.
This can also be done with a coordinating Honey Bun in the same fabric line as the charm squares for a scrappier look.  For a tutorial, check out John Adams’ (aka QuiltDad) “Off the Grid" quilt at Moda Bake shop.

2.  Disappearing Four-Patch.  This technique technique requires two sets of charms, dark and light, sewn opposite each other.  Then make four slices, each one inch on either side of each seam.  Flip each RECTANGULAR piece 180°, leaving all five squares where they are.  Sew back together.   If you press consistently, nesting seams makes this a very easy block!
Here is a top I made of one each charm pack of Spring House and Bella Solid in Baby Yellow, but I cut two inches in from each seam rather than one for a slightly different look:
3.  Templates.  Templates are a great way of using a charm pack without having any real purpose to it.  If you have an Accuquilt Go! Cutter you have a whole array of templates to fit your 5” charm squares.  If not, you can make them from template plastic or order them - I like the metal ones from Ardco which include a nonslide surface so they grip the fabric.  Hexagons, Drunkard’s Paths, Applecores, or appliqué shapes like hearts are all great to cut and sew from charm squares.

The cats are cut from patriotic charms backed with fusible web using the Accuquilt die.  The quilt below is a Drunkard's Path variation using one charm pack of Pure and three coordinating fat quarters for the border.

4.  Half-Square Triangles.  It couldn’t be easier to make HSTs from charm squares - four at a pop!  Simply sandwich together right sides of two charm squares and sew a quarter inch seam around the outside.  Cut across the diagonals twice and press open. 
When pressing, be aware that your HSTs are cut on the bias, so handle carefully - and trim for best results.  Your unfinished squares will probably measure around 3 1/8” so trimming to 3” even will yield a 2 ½” finished HST unit. 

Each of the four squares in this top was made from stash charms - five of blue, five of green and ten of white, with additional white triangles as setting squares.

5.  Hourglass.  This technique is courtesy of Monica Solorio-Snow at the Happy Zombie.  Cut two charms in half diagonally.  Measure approximately halfway from the hypotenuse to corner (it can be any length you like, but make it consistent) and cut parallel to the diagonal.  From the trapezoid, cut off and discard 5/8” from one of the ends (even if you use different size squares than 5”,  this number always stays the same!).  Sew the triangle from one fabric onto the trapezoid of the other for a triangle unit.   

These triangles can be arranged in a lot of different patterns including hourglass, square in a square, and others.
This top was made with one charm pack each of Sakura and Bella Solid in Porcelain.
6.  Flying Geese with Bonus Half-Square Triangles!  Flying geese with charm squares are a snap.  First, cut each charm in half.  Then cut off ½” from the short end of each rectangle so that your pieces measure 2½” by 4½”.  The background is made from 2½” squares, which can be made quickly by quartering a charm square.  Draw a line diagonally across the back of each square.  Place on the corner of the rectangle and sew along that line.
 However, you don’t want to waste your corners!  Try using Bonnie Hunter’s bonus triangles technique to turn them into halfsquare triangle units!  You’ll need a business card (they usually measure 2” x 3” and are of good firm cardstock) trimmed to 2” square and then halved diagonally.   As shown top center, lay it on the corner, trace a line along the edge, and sew along the line.  The distance between the seams will be approximately 3/8” so cut between them carefully, splitting the difference.  Press the unit, and repeat on the other side.  This method will yield two flying geese units and four 2”  (unfinished) HST units per charm for a border or another project. 

7.  Cupcake mixes and paper piecing.  Have you seen the new Cupcake Mixes by Miss Rosie for Moda?  It involves sewing a piece of paper onto a pair of charms, sewing along dotted lines and cutting along solid lines.  It is a great way to turn charms into miniature quilts.  Similar papers are available from Spinning Star designs (Sew Mod has a great tutorial on using them here) or make your own following Quilting and Whatnot's ideas.  I made the top below with the Spinning Star design paper for half square trianges and got eight out of a pair of charms.

They're tiny but my corners are spot on!  This was made with one charm pack each of Soho Chic and Bella Solid in Leaf (and border in Leaf also).

8.  Slash.  This technique comes to us courtesy of Kim Walus at Bitty Bits and Pieces (although she calls it RaeAnn's Charm Pack Quilt, "Slash" fit on my short talking notes and made me remember what the technique was!).  It involves slashing a charm in half diagonally and sewing it back together with a 10" long 1.5" strip between them.  The link to her page above gives a great tutorial.  I made this quilt top with a Metropolitan Fair charm pack and a yard of Bella Solid in Burgundy.
I'd love to play around with this some more, like using scrappy strips to "slash" with, sewing different halves of charms together, or even cutting the finished square in half a different way to rearrange even differently.  So many of these methods can be mixed and matched for a variety of results!

9.  Shadow.  This is a great technique from Jayne at Twiggy and Opal, and works wonderfully for a modern quilt, like her tutorial shows, or when you just don't want to cut up those charms.  It also makes a larger quilt, not only because there are fewer seams, but because you use two coordinating fabrics, one for the "shadow" and one for the background.  My top below is made with Legacy, along with Bella Solids in Hometown Sky (shadow) and Ivory (background).
I took Jayne's tutorial to one more shortcut, and strip-cut the shadow bits by piecing WOF strips together and cutting down to 1.25" strips.
10.  Keep your eyes open!  Chances are you already have patterns for using 5" charm squares in magazines and books.  Loyal readers of my blog know I love the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks issues, and each time I get a new one, I go through and note which designs lend themselves well to charm squares, jelly rolls and honey buns.  There are also great free resources online like Moda Bake Shop and Quilter's Cache - when I find a new pattern for Charm Squares, I save it in my favorites in a folder called "Precut pattern" and add the word "Charm" to the end of it so I can pull it up quickly later when looking for a project.

So there's some great resources for working with charm packs without books or patterns - although I do love books and patterns!  Pat Speth's Nickel Quilts is one of my favorite resources (and she has a blog with free designs too!) and also Me & My Sister's Third Time's a Charm books.  Below is a quilt top I made from one of those books using Olive Sandwich's "Sassy!" line:

If you're looking to build up your stash without breaking the bank, here are some of my favorite sources:  
  • Green Fairy Quilts - charm packs and other precuts at excellent prices - just ordered more today to take advantage of their Ninth Anniversary Sale!
  • Fat Quarter Shop - just about every Moda line I love, along with coordinating yardage, and also the Cupcake Mixes!
  • Thousands of Bolts - although they don't sell charm packs, they do have the best prices on Bella Solids yardage I've ever seen, and carry nearly every color in stock.  They also sell the swatch chart if you love matching the charms to the solids like I do.  I like to stock up on my coordinating solid and store it with the charm pack, noting on the label what goes with what.
Finally, if you have a friend (or six!) who wants to amass their stash as much as you do, start with fat quarters and cut them down into common precut sizes.  This is a great guide for doing so!
This should give you enough ideas to dive into your stash and start sewing!  Enjoy!


I spent a full week working on the post from my Charmed! demonstration from last week's quilt show and lost it - apparently even though it kept saying "saved" it reverted back to the one that had been saved way earlier in the week, halfway through #2.  And I did not select all and copy just in case like I often do with posts in forms.

If you've been visiting here looking for that material, please hang tight ... I'm working on recreating it.  Grudgingly.  Thanks for your patience!!