Thursday, March 1, 2018

South by Southwest, the Quilting

Each quarter block will be marked with a stencil. The sewing line is not continuous,
 but I choose to use it regardless of the extra attention it will require. 

The stencil will be cut using the Cricut Explore Air 2. It's not yet decided if
I will use freezer paper, Contact paper, or cardstock sprayed with adhesive.

More on this later...

Sunday, February 4, 2018

South By Southwest, the Pattern

South By Southwest
By Elaine Rutledge, © 2018
(re: the copyright – this pattern may be shared freely but may not be sold)

(Made using 2.5" strips, except the center of the center, which is cut 4.5" square)
Angled 45 degree Cuts are named by the direction they slant

Each larger unit will have all four corners the same color.
Then they are assembled alternating with a second color to form the 4 Patch Accent.
All units must have the same color placement for the flying geese to provide contrast.

FG = Flying Geese

Making the center

Sew the brown FG to the turquoise corner. Make 4 for each larger unit. For the second block,
Sew the brown FG to the Dark Brown corner. Make 4.
Sew the turquoise FG to the 4.5” square. Then sew to the brown FG.

Sew the 4.5” NW to the left of the center. The unit is made with a background, and a print each cut
With a NW slant, and stitched.

The 6.5 print/4.5 background piece added. It is made by cutting 6.5 strip, and a 4.5 strip, that when sewn on the NE angle, will measure 8.5”. The 6.5” measurement refers to the longest edge of the piece, if cut using a template.

The medium brown NW piece added, then the medium teal NE piece completes one fourth of the block. It should measure 10-1/2" including seam allowance

If you wish to make templates, download the Quilt Assistant, and draw the block in the
“Regular Pattern” option.

After you draw and color the block, according to the instructions provided with the software,
You can PRINT – Calculate Yardage! – Print SUPER ACCURATE TEMPLATES –
I tried making my own templates…(arrgh. Not Good). So, I printed the templates in Quilt Assistant, cut
them out and glued them to my template plastic, (the old-fashioned kind from Collins,
 that will melt if you try to iron over it.) If you cut down a piece of cheap white construction paper to 
print templates – the paper has “tooth” - it will slide less on the fabric. Using a 1/16th hole punch,
I made the holes at each stitching intersection and asterisk on the template – to guide the machine,
stitching sewing dot to dot, ignoring seam allowance, and using a wider presser foot for more control.
I was afraid that making my templates, cutting/marking each piece would be too fiddly, but it really beats having to trim to size (maybe not the SAME size accurately.) It was so satisfying to lay the block next to my two tape measures, and have it the right size.

Assembling the Quilt
Blocks Set on Point

Note that corners are 2 halves of one quarter block. Side triangles are two quarter blocks, with one cut in half and sewn to the other quarter block.

Tame the Bias Edges!!
The dark brown border is Kona Cotton. I had 4 yards that I cut 3” strips on the lengthwise grain for stability (the lengthwise grain stretches less than the crosswise grain.) Three strips joined surrounded the quilt with some left over.
1.       Measure 14.25” on the border strip, and mark with a pin – Let’s call the point “A”.

2.       On the quilt, put a ruler down with the edge aligned with the corners, and pin alongside the ruler on the edge. Call it point “B”.

3.       Pin the border to the quilt, matching points A and B.
4.       Gently ease any quilt fullness into the border and pin. I had to go to the machine a couple of times to correct a poorly sewn seam. Steam set the section of border. Cover with something to absorb the heat and moisture and allow to cool and dry.
To absorb the heat and moisture, I have used:

A section of unfinished wood (1 X 2 or 2 X 4)
The cardboard from the back of a used tablet, weighted with a book
Brown Kraft paper, weighted with a book

The weight doesn’t have to be heavy. I don’t use a weight with the section of wood.

If an area of bias has stretched – you can resew to take up the excess. I prefer to guide it back to shape with the steam iron: gently moving the iron with the grain of fabric, first lengthwise, then crosswise…as many times as necessary until the ruffles flatten.

The Organized Quilt Maker!

Next to my sewing machine, I placed a sturdy TV table to hold a pressing board,
with a small cutting mat, and small iron.
The strip sets were pinned to the edge of the board,
 and when I wanted to cut one, I would lay that strip on the mat, and cut, then let it fall.
After stitching, I was ready to press without leaving my chair.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

South By Southwest

Quilt in Progress for Joseph

When my youngest daughter Kristina was killed, I was devastated.
 Kris loved my decor of the southwest, where I grew up on a desert ranch.
 Some of the items I had given her survived
 the house fire that took her life the
 same month her only son Joseph turned 21.

For Joseph's birthday in 2018, I plan to gift him the quilt
South By Southwest.

Eager to start the quilt before the pattern arrived, I thought I had the
pattern figured out. But months later, when I tried to finish
using the pattern - nothing worked! Although similar,
my quilt and the pattern were critically different.
 I would sew for a day and
 rip for two days. 

To the rescue! It is FREE block drawing software, designed
 not to replace The Electric Quilt, but
to provide a CAD for specific drawing tasks.
 It has proven easy to learn, and use
to create and print my own personal pattern.

Color Plan #1

To create the interesting corner treatment, I made two color plans -
 with a difference only in contrasting corner colors.
 Otherwise, the coloration is only a guide for
a scrappy look made with 2.5" strips on
 a cream background yardage.

One fourth of the block is created 4 times,
 and joined to make a 20" block set on point.
The direction of the angled cuts are important.
 I hate wasting fabriccutting pieces that won't work.
 So I labeled the pieces:

NE and NW refer to the angle of the cut
If you  think of a compass,
 the NW angle points to the West, and the
NE angle 
points to the east. 

The number inside each unit indicates the finished size of the
 longest edge of the unit.
(After mindlessly cutting some "F-NE" units -
 I realized I couldn't use them
and still follow my plan. It's OK,
they will work in the side triangles.)

A note about cutting:  

For 40+ years, I have used the rotary cutter and acrylic rulers in specialized 
shapes and sizes. Lately, I decided my results were way too inaccurate,
whether due to my advancing age, or loss of skill for relying on
oversized and trimmed blocks!

While doing Jinny Beyer's 2017 Mystery quilt, I decided to use her method of 
making templates and marking them as if for hand sewing - 
except I would sew
by machine.
 Then I saw in a Quilt Show video that Sally Collins
does much the same, but takes it further, and cuts with the tiny 
rotary cutter, being oh so careful not to cut her template.
 It works!! 
And doesn't take any more time than all that silly trimming. 
It is done correctly the first time. The method also has the 
advantage of using my wide presser foot for better control of the seam.
Instead of sewing by a scant quarter inch seam allowance, my sewing
 guides are the dots transferred from the templates.  
So nice!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Sea Swept !

The first section done on my Sea Swept quilt. It will honor the historic mariners in my husband's family - including the grandson who now sails in the Pacific on sea going tugs. Gerald's career took him around the world more than once. I envy his memories! His family history goes back to the grandfather (great?) who played a pivotal role in the confederacy ships reaching Mobile to replenish needed salt supplies.

The pattern is by Laura Flynn from The Cotton Patch Quilt Shop. It is paper pieced, combining Storm at Sea and Ocean Waves, aka Snail's Trail.

A scan in the pattern ©2014 by Laura Flynn that I used to plan my sequence of construction 

This is a great pattern for those who "teach themselves" to quilt. It is complex enough to require thought and planning. The repetition gives plenty of practice for that pesky paper piecing upside down and backwards method - a sure thing for accuracy. And I would call it "semi-scrappy" - providing the advantages of a controlled scrappy quilt within a set color scheme.

First I purchased two small plastic drawer units to organize the many small pieces - in both prints and background. These have proven indispensable - and the drawers can be removed from the "cabinet" to serve as trays on the pressing center to have each size and color handy to laying out the fabric on the foundation paper.

 I literally hate repetitive, boring, endless cutting and sewing. The only pieces I cut the entire amount needed were the diamond shapes - I saved fabric by cutting diamonds instead of rectangles. Waiting 2 months for a bundle of fat quarters that never arrived didn't help either, so it was doubly necessary to organize the cut strips, squares and triangles, a little at a time. This aversion to boredom is also the reason I decided to make my quilt in sections, like a 9 patch. The sequence gives me enough variety to keep things interesting. I made the four blocks of Ocean Waves, and lay them out to plan the colors for the diamonds and centers...semi-scrappy at its best.

A Successful start to the New Year's Resolution to Plan My Work, and Work My plan!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why Do I Need So Much...

Why Do I Need So Much Fabric to Make a Quilt?

A plain block has only 4 sides of ¼” seam allowance. 
Therefore, is a one-inch square piece
 cut 2” square (1 + ¼ + ¼ + ¼ + ¼)?   
 NO, here is why:

 If I want to piece a 2”x 2” block with one-inch pieces, 
how big must my piece of fabric be?

    The same 2” X 2” block kept plain, 
with no piecing,
is how big again?
3 X 3 equals 9, and 2-1/2 X 2-1/2 equals 6-¼

Subtract 6-1/4 from 9 to see how much more fabric it takes to piece the square.

Pieces not square nor rectangular has scraps leftover – requiring yet more fabric.