Saturday, April 5, 2014

Work in progress

Tip one: make sure your hexagon block halves are securely pinned together, because when you keep moving them around on your design wall, you often knock others off, and it'd be a shame to put some back up out of alignment and throw off the kaleidoscope design.

Tip two: keep looking at your design wall from different distances and angles, and look through different mediums, like a camera lens or on a phone screen, to find just the right balance of color and contrast. (After a couple days of constant rearrangement, you might want to just decide "good enough")

Tip three: number the top piece in each of your columns before you start taking pieces down to sew, and only take one column down at a time. It'll save headaches later by keeping the pieces in order.

Tip four: admire how it all comes together so beautifully as you actually join the blocks. Press well as you go, and allow for lots for time to do this part... It seems endless... 

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

One block wonder

In another effort to use up what I already have, I dug deep in my stash and pulled out lots and lots of this gorgeous fabric:

It's been waiting about eight years to become a stack and whack quilt, but I just haven't wanted to do another one. I made so many of them years ago when the books first came out, and loved everything about them, but I am stacked/whacked out.

I went online to my facebook quilting page, and posted that picture of the fabric. I asked for suggestions for an easy pattern idea that would showcase the beautiful colors. Overwhelmingly, the response was for stack and whack... sigh... But somebody also suggested "one block wonder". 

I had seen these before, and was intrigued, because surely they weren't simple?  I went on you tube and found a perfectly clear and understandable tutorial and made the decision. It was going to be a one block wonder. Let the cutting begin.

99 sets of 6 triangles, to be pieced together to form kaleidoscope hexagons, much like in the fashion of stack and whack (but this isn't stack and whack. It's one block wonder).

Then comes the fun part: trying to arrange them in a pleasing manner. "The blocks just speak to me" she says on the video when describing how easy it is to lay them out. I found this was not the case for me. I am a little bit artistically challenged, so I can maybe see that something somewhere isn't right, but I wouldn't necessarily be able to tell you why.

So, for my first attempt, I tried to blend the colors, or maybe it was transition them. Either way, I didn't like it. 

It looked too "heavy" or something where the red was, and it didn't seem to blend at all, once I backed up far enough to take the picture (it's not as light as it looks, but that's just my camera). 

I appealed to my facebook fellow quilters for help, and got plenty. There were a few that liked it how it was, but the most common opinion was to back up and judge each block by only one color... 

So I tried again, also attempting to more evenly distribute the reds.

 I like this layout much better, but have tweaked a few blocks since taking this picture. I think I'll let it hang for a day or two, and see what I think over time. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Scrap quilting

You might remember from an earlier post that I used my Accuquilt Go to cut up the smallest pieces I had in my scrap drawer.  I randomly pieced them together into blocks, not caring what color they were or if they matched. I just sewed. Then I put the blocks up on the wall and had a look:

Wow! That's a little too busy to me and my eyes. I had some leftover gray from the last top I put together, so used it to sash the blocks on two sides. 

Then I arranged them in a way that I didn't have to match up seam lines, except for along rows, and went to town, putting them together.

Ahh... That's better. Still bright and busy, but not overwhelming. I opted to leave out the larger 4" blocks, for now, although I may still incorporate them into a border. I don't think this one is finished yet...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Orange and gray

I've been working so much lately, that this top is the only project I've completed so far this year. That should change the end of this month when a co-worker comes back from her medical leave. 

The next project I started working on was using my scraps that I cut with my accuquilt just after Christmas. It is random and it'll be whatever it turns into... Wait and see...

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I've now completed 8 slabs. (slow and steady wins the race, right?)

Making these blocks was a bit intimidating at first, but the more I make, the easier it is, and I just go with the flow instead of trying to judge if that scrap should go here or there. I just grab the next piece in the pile and sew it on whichever side it fits with as little waste as possible.

I don't necessarily love each block, but I love the concept of using up even the smallest scraps, and this organizes it in a way I can work with (I don't do well with randomness). Each scrap has a memory of another project, so in essence, this will end up being a memory quilt for me. And that, I love.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Taming the scraps

This is what I use to store my random quilting stuff. The bigger drawers have my scraps, sorted by size, smallest in the top drawer, largest in the bottom drawer. The smaller drawers hold random things like paper patterns, rotary blades, charm packs, fat quarter bundles, a quilt cut out but not assembled, fabric for a quilt yet to be cut out, thread, sewing machine feet, pins, safety pins... I keep my yardage, and fabric bought for specific projects, stored elsewhere.

I decided it was high time to do something with the scraps, as it's getting hard to slide the drawers, they are so full... Help came in two forms. 

The first was a Christmas present! Welcome to my home, Accuquilt Go! fabric cutter. I've been waiting for you for a long time.

The second was a book. I've had this since the summer, and have looked through it on several occasions, but am now actually putting it to use.

I started with the drawer that has my smallest pieces in it; leftovers from other projects, teeny bits and pieces, but not so small that I could justify throwing them away. I just reached in and pulled out whatever scrap was on top of the pile.

If the scrap was large enough to cover any of the die shapes on the fabric cutter, I cut it. If not, it went into a different pile to be sorted later by color. 

These are the new shapes I now have, just from that one drawer. Lots of half square triangles, and two sizes of squares. Two half square triangles fit together to make the smaller size square, and four of the smaller squares equals the size of the larger square, so they can all be mixed and matched into a scrap quilt.  Then it was on to sorting the smaller bits by color.

Here are a few of the new mounds, sorted by color. You can see purple, blue, red, cream/pale yellow, orange/bright yellow, and pink. There was also a pile each of brown, black, white, and green. Sorting these was difficult at times, as quite a bit of my fabric is brightly multi-colored, leftover from making I spy quilts.

Once sorted, it was on to the book instructions, and piecing the fabric scraps back together to make "slabs" of one color family.

These are my slabs of black, 12" square. I don't have a lot of plain black. I'm drawn to brights on blacks, and my scraps reflect that. It took almost all of my black scraps to make these two slabs. The rest goes back in the drawer for next time. What a great way to use up the leftovers.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Scrap wreath

My machine is fixed and hums along as it should again. Yay!

So, onto the next project!  I took those leftover squares from the Christmas Twister I made, and cut up some more red and some more green from my yard sale box of Christmas fabric, and made a big stack of half square triangles. Then I was at a crossroads of what to do with them. I hadn't thought that far in advance.

Pinterest to the rescue! I found this image that I fell in love with, but no pattern, (edit: I have since found a pattern, here, for a much smaller version) so I dug up my graph paper and drew it out.

I had no measurements from the original, so I just used the hst's I'd made and cut squares the same size in various reds and greens from that yard sale box of fabric. A special trip was made to buy enough white and a few more bits of green from my local quilt shop.

It took about a week to assemble the top, and I tried to let it be random, as long as two of the same fabric were not next to each other.

Some of the fabrics I love, some are ok, and some are just downright ugly. They are not all quilt shop quality, and I'm not even sure they are all cotton, but when they are all put together, it makes for a stunning quilt top.

(Oops, it's upside down, but we'll pretend we don't notice.)  Finished size is about six feet on each side.