Thursday, November 20, 2014

Decipher Your Quilt - putting the blocks together



Welcome to the last post Jess from Elven Garden Quilts and I are doing in the Decipher Your Quilt series. The process of putting your quit blocks together to make a quilt is often quite easy but not always. Today we will both share different approaches that we use to build a quilt out of our blocks - remember to check out Jess's post here.

There are several ways to arrange blocks in a quilt. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach and often the nature of your blocks has a lot to do with which choice is best for your quilt.

Ocean Waves - top

1. Lay the blocks out in a grid and sew them together.
  • This is a very common approach to a quilt. It works well with blocks that are all the same size or where the blocks are sized so that they will fit easily together. 
  • For example, if we are putting together rows of 12" blocks, we can also put four 6" blocks in one of the spots for a 12" block. As 6" is half of 12" it is easy to fit the smaller blocks of this size into the grid.
  • A simple grid often allows the secondary pattern created by the blocks to emerge.

Stars, a table runner

2. Lay the blocks out in a staggered manner - like bricks are laid.
  • At the uneven edges you can either cut the blocks in half or fill in the blank areas with a different block or a background piece.
  • This approach works best if the blocks are all the same size or made so that the sizes are multiples or fractions of each other. 
  • Staggering the rows so that they are not on an even grid does allow you to also use blocks that have vastly different widths without difficulty.

Granny Squares - Done

3. Add sashing between the blocks.
  • The width of the sashing can be all the same sized or it can be different sizes in different rows or columns.
  • Sashing is the greatest quilt math invention I think because it can solve many problems.
    • It can create background between evenly sized blocks. 
    • It can save the day when your blocks, although intended to be the same size are not, especially if you cannot trim the blocks themselves as there are points or other design features that would be lost in the trimming.  
    • You can fit together blocks with small variations, or large differences using this sashing.
  •  Add a piece of sashing to each block with a background fabric and then trim the sashed blocks to the identical same size. Trimming the sashing will not impact on the points or other features of the actual block but when all the sashed blocks are trimmed, you can now place them in an easy grid.
ROYGBIV Log Cabin - all done
  • A note here about how big to make the sashed blocks. 
    • Keep in mind the size of the quilt you are hoping for. If you want, for example, a quilt that is 60" wide, you can make it 5 x 12" blocks wide or you can make it 4 x 15" blocks wide, so you could sash you 10" blocks up to 12" or 15" or your 12" blocks up to 15" or 20". 12, 15, or 20 are all easy factors of 60. Use the same approach for other sized quilts. 
    • If you cannot easily make the blocks fit your planned quilt size, plan them to finish in a smaller size and then add borders to the quilt to bring it up to your planned finished size.
    • If you have a variety of sized blocks, measure your largest block and determine the minimum width of the sashing for it to get to an overall sashed block size you want. Add sufficient sashing to the remaining smaller blocks to reach that larger size.
  • Regarding how wide to make the sashing, if you are sashing around all the edges of your block (which is not required but often is the plan):
    •  figure how much you need to add to your block - for example if you are adding 2" to your 10.5" unfinished block to make it 12" finished size, then you need to divide the total sashing required, in this example 2"  by 2 so that you can sash all sides. In the example, you need 2" divided by 2 = 1" sashing on each side. Now don't forget to add your seam allowances too, so add 1/2" to that 1" sashing when you cut it.

Untitled

4. Lay the blocks out in a random manner and fill in the spaces.

  • This kind of random improv layout is beautiful and so fun to do. I decided it was the approach I would use to put together the various blocks I had made during the Decipher Your Quilt series.
  • It is best to just do this, don't spend a lot of time analyzing each step. I'll show you my process, but your own approach can be whatever works for you.

  Fitting the quilt together

  • Try different layouts of your blocks on your design wall or floor.
Fitting the quilt together


Joining the blocks

  • Once you have a pleasing layout, get some scraps or pieces of your background fabric. It could be a single coloured solid or a bunch of different prints. I decided to use low volume prints.

Joining the blocks

  • I got started by just putting some scraps of the low volume prints into the design. As I needed to I added space between the blocks.

Fitting the quilt together

  • Slowly, I started piecing bits of the background to the blocks and pressing and trimming them.

Fitting the quilt together

  • As I went, I added more background. 

Fitting the quilt together

  • As I trimmed off background fabrics, I used the leftovers in the design.

Fitting the quilt together

  • I am, by nature, a careful thinker. For this project, I made a rule that I could not spend more than a minute looking at where I placed a background piece and moving it if need be. Otherwise I would never get even one piece sewn in. I just trusted that it would work out.

Fitting the quilt together

  • Eventually I sewed background pieces to background pieces too, and start to make "blocks" with incorporate the quilt blocks and background bits.
  • Y seams and partial seams are truly no big deal, but you can avoid them by working on making the "blocks" line up along even lines. Just add or trim off some of the background to achieve this.

Fitting the quilt together


Fitting the quilt together


Fitting the quilt together


Joining the blocks

  • Pressing as you go makes this approach work out much nicer. Each piece is not really squared up perfectly so if you don't press there is a greater risk of creating bubbles that don't lie flat.

Joining the blocks

  • My other rule for this particular project was that all the low volume background pieces needed to come from the scrap bags. It's messy but fun to work this way.

Untitled

  • There is the top when I stopped. It is a good size, about 50" x 50". I think I will add some edges to at least two sides to bring it up to a 60" square lap size quilt. I realized that I needed some time away from this project before I decided on the size and the outside edges.
  • I have to say I really want to do this again, it was fun and relaxing and, as I expected, it worked out nicely without any worrying, measuring or analyzing.



And with that, Jess from Elven Garden Quilts, and I are declaring the Decipher Your Quilt series completed. We hope you have learned to be the boss of your quilt, and that we have given you some of the skills you need to make the quilt as you imagine it, resizing and designing blocks as you go. The various posts are all linked on my Decipher Your Quilt page - go here for reference in the future. Let me know if you have any questions.

Best,

Leanne

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blogathon Canada - Day 3: Alberta


Welcome to my stop for Blogathon Canada - Edmonton, Alberta. My internet friend Kelsey from Everyday Fray is hosting from Calgary, Alberta and you will want to check her post out too. 

Untitled

First I get to tell you a bit about me. I have been sewing, knitting, embroidering and crocheting since I was about 5 years old, taught by my super talented Grandmother. I put off quilting for years as it is not very portable but one very rainy March break holiday in 2010 I gave in and made my first quilt with the design help of my kids. A year later I began this blog and the rest is history.

All the Colours

I enjoy learning about all kinds of quilting techniques but over the years it has become clear to me that I most love modern quilting. I mostly design my own quilt patterns now, but not always For example, the pattern of the quilt pictured above is by my friend Krista, who blogs at Poppyprint and lives in Vancouver.

I did not actually meet Krista in person in Canada, instead we had to both head over to London, England to actually meet up. We attended the Fat Quarterly Retreat - I've been twice - where I have had the pleasure of meeting many quilters from the UK who I had previously met online.

The Sixties Pillows

I especially love the quilting part of quilting, so much so that I purchased a beautiful Millennium APQS Long Arm Quilting Machine in February 2013. I have been having the best time learning to quilt with it.

Sunset

I am a member of the Edmonton Modern Quilt Guild and I attended the Modern Quilt Guild's first QuiltCon and I'll be at QuiltCon again in February next year. Besides QuiltCon and the Fat Quarterly Retreat, I have been able to meet quilters at Sewdown Nashville, Pittsburg Quilt Market and the Grand Rapids AQS Show. I have also entered some of my quilts in Quilt Shows and have even won some ribbons. 

Peace

Feel free to check out my blog - starting with the My Quilts tab at the top is an easy way to get to know me a bit better. Even more important, Blogathon Canada is a chance for you to get to know more Canadian blogs. The Alberta bloggers that I get to introduce you to are:

My giveaway for Blogathon Canada is this fantastic bundle of fat quarters from Doe, by Carolyn Friedlander. I adore these fabrics and you will too. Everyone, anywhere in the world can enter, here's how:
  • Leave me one comment per person. Let me know where you live and if you have ever been to Alberta or other places in Canada. And if you blog, feel free to share the link to your blog in your comment so others can visit you too.
  • Make sure I can find you, so if you have any doubt, put your email in your comment. If I cannot find you I will draw again.
  • The giveaway is open until 10 pm MST November 23 and I'll make a random draw from the comments and announce the winner the next morning. 
Besides this fantastic draw, there are more prizes to be won, and everyone in the whole world, is able to enter:

  • Each day throughout Blogathon Canada week, Sew Sisters will be  giving away prizes too. Today, the giveaway at Sew Sisters is sponsored by Northcott Fabrics - so go here and enter too, today and every day this week.
  • Each of the provincial hosts are also giving away beautiful things sponsored by Sew Sisters this week and you can enter those draws too. The provincial hosts are:


Monday, Nov. 17

British Columbia

  

  Stacey


Stacey in Stitches
Monday, Nov. 17British Columbia 

  JessicaMomiji Studio
Tuesday, Nov. 18Maritimes   LindaScrapmaster

Tuesday, Nov. 18

Maritimes
  
  Linda

Stitch Lines

Wednesday, Nov. 19

Alberta

  Kelsey

Everyday Fray

Wednesday, Nov. 19

Alberta

  Leanne

She Can Quilt
Thursday, Nov. 20
Saskatchewan      
  HeatherPeace.Love.Quilt
Thursday, Nov. 20Manitoba  LoriNight Owl Quilting

Friday, Nov. 21

Quebec
  
  Josée

The Charming Needle

Friday, Nov. 21

Northwest
Territories
  

  Janet

Caribou Crossing Chronicles

Saturday, Nov. 22

Ontario
  
  Lorna 

Sew Fresh Quilts

Saturday, Nov. 22

Ontario
  
  Sandy

Upstairs Hobby Room


I hope you enjoy meeting all the Canadian quilt bloggers during Blogathon Canada.

Best,

Leanne

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Scrappy thoughts, and some Scraptastic Tuesday winners

Improv Scrappy Xs

My scrappy projects are moving along slowly because I spend most of last week matchstick quilting. I did make a couple more Xs for my improv scrappy X bed size quilt. I am going to need a lot more Xs and some bigger ones too. I need to cut a bunch of backgrounds to have handy for those moments when I just want to sew.  Maybe Nicky, my scraptastic partner over at Mrs. Sew and Sow has more to show, her projects are always beautiful and inspiring.

Improv Scrappy X

That background, which is a print from the Gramercy line by Leah Duncan is fantastic, I might need to order more - although that may be wrong for a scrappy project I suppose.

I have been visiting all the Scraptastic Tuesday links from the link up last week. If you have not visited these folks, I do recommend it - go here. I have more projects on my list now.

For example, there is the most beautiful jeans quilt over at Ozzypip Quilts. It is self backing and would make the most beautiful summer blanket for picnics or the hammock.  I have a lot of ripped jeans in a pile, maybe its time to cut them up.

I also read about separating out "crumbs" and using them to make rainbow blocks, using small scraps for EPP (yes, I know that is obvious to most of you) and remembering to turn to scraps for small projects like zipper pouches. The scrap ideas are all good, thank you everyone.

It's time to award the November link up prizes. Thank you again to our fantastic and generous sponsors:


A huge thank you to each of our generous sponsors and congratulations to all our winners:
  • Massdrop - 45 mm OLFA Deluxe Ergo Rotary Cutter with a 5 Blade Refill Pack and a 45 mm Pinking Rotary Blade - winner is Cheryl from Flickr
We have sent emails to the winners but if you read it here first, please contact us so we can get the prizes on the way.

Thank you for joining us and remember the next link will be the second Tuesday of the month - December 9. You can read more about the "rules" on my new Scraptastic Tuesday Page at the top of my blog here

Scraptastic Tuesday

I'm rushing off again today, but come back tomorrow as its my day for Blogathon Canada!

Best,

Leanne

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday, Monday - last day to link to Scraptastic Tuesday and Blogathon Canada is on!

Quilting detail

Well, I finally finished the quilting part of my large version of my new Consider pattern. I am slowly learning to have a more realistic expectations of how long it takes to quilt these densely quilted quilts. The next three quilts destined for the long arm will be more quilting in a more ordinary manner and I think they will feel very fast.

The light was dull yesterday and I had no handy quilt holders so tossing the quilt on my bed not flat lets you see the quilting some.

Quilting detail

As I expected, I am smitten with this quilt now. Next is mending in the thread ends, trimming it and binding. I am pretty sure I will bind it with the same Kona Snow as the background so that the binding does not become a design element.

Quilting is done

There she is on my king size bed. I'm keen to get this one all done now.


I have a couple of things to remind you of. First, today is the last day to link up your post, photo from Flickr or photo from Instagram about your scraps or a scrappy project in progress or finished - go here. I'll be drawing for the winners in the morning. Please join Nicky and I, I have been having the best time visiting all the links, and tomorrow I will share some of the inspiration I found.



Blogthon Canada is on! You can meet a number of lovely Canadian bloggers. And there is fantastic inspiration and prizes to be won at each host blog, and at the Sew Sisters Quilt Shop Blog, every day. The prizes are available to anyone in the world, so you can all enter.  Here is the schedule and links:


Monday, Nov. 17

British Columbia

  

  Stacey


Stacey in Stitches
Monday, Nov. 17British Columbia 

  JessicaMomiji Studio
Tuesday, Nov. 18Maritimes   LindaScrapmaster

Tuesday, Nov. 18

Maritimes
  
  Linda

Stitch Lines

Wednesday, Nov. 19

Alberta

  Kelsey

Everyday Fray

Wednesday, Nov. 19

Alberta

  Leanne

She Can Quilt
Thursday, Nov. 20
Saskatchewan      
  HeatherPeace.Love.Quilt
Thursday, Nov. 20Manitoba  LoriNight Owl Quilting

Friday, Nov. 21

Quebec
  
  Josée

The Charming Needle

Friday, Nov. 21

Northwest
Territories
  

  Janet

Caribou Crossing Chronicles

Saturday, Nov. 22

Ontario
  
  Lorna 

Sew Fresh Quilts

Saturday, Nov. 22

Ontario
  
  Sandy

Upstairs Hobby Room


Time to run off to work, enjoy your Monday!

Best,

Leanne

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Quilting and kittens and a reminder

Quilting

Today I was quilting. Now I have to admit that photo above was from Tuesday or Wednesday night. But tonight I finished the wavy part on the bottom left. I quilted these slightly different matchstick quilting motifs by hand guiding my Millennium Long Arm Quilting Machine - no computer, no pantographs. I have been using different cotton threads, all the ones in the photo above are Aurifil.

Quilting

This afternoon and tonight I also quilted the white borders with a creamy King Tut cotton thread. The Superior Threads King Tut 50wt is thicker than the Aurifil 50wt. The border quilting lines were also hand guided and are between 1/4" and 1" apart. I'm almost done, the bottom border and two small bits of the coloured motif  are left- I'm hoping to do the rest in the morning.

This kind of straight line quilting is not very exciting to show off and it takes a fair of time to do, even on the long arm machine. I find it relaxing and I'm always so happy with how it turns out - I like lines so much better than swirly bits.



The kittens are growing. Their level of cuteness is impossible. 


That was this morning. They do play a lot too, but they are very cuddly. I'll try for some action shots tomorrow, but getting non-blurry photos is a challenge.


That's all I have today. And a reminder, don't forget to link up one post or photo of your projects using scraps or your thoughts on using the scraps. The November Scraptastic Tuesday link is open until midnight Monday night - go here. There are great prizes so do join Nicky and I.

Best,

Leanne