Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chevron quilt continued…

Marny here…these chevrons are a bit addicting and way too much fun to play with!  Hope you have some leftover half square triangles to experiment with!
Please refer to this previous post for specifics.

Here are a few of the snags I've encountered along the way:
  • ran out of the solid green that serves as the primary chevron fabric
  • used the wrong seam allowance in making the initial half square triangle units, does that ever happen to you?  I forgot to move my needle to the correct position in my eagerness to get the sixteen remaining half square triangles sewn
  • was unable to predict the effect directional fabric might have

How these challenges might make the end product more interesting:
  • I pieced together one 5 ½" square from my scraps to get a total of fourteen squares.  I need sixteen squares to completely use up my half square triangle piles.  I personally think whatever blocks get the little extra seam in them will become my favorites.  Perfection can be boring. 

  • Instead of taking out all sixteen incorrect bias seams I just moved my machine needle to the correct position and sewed a larger seam.  These units were pressed differently than the units in the previous post.  I generally press all seams open for a flat finished look.  This time I pressed the seam allowance to the darker side.  The resulting little bump in the fabric will provide a surface texture and shadows that I don't usually have.  And since some will be pressed open and some will be pressed to the side it is good I think perfection is not all it is cracked up to be!                                

  • The directional line in the "kelp" sort of fabric gives a little more variety to the texture of the overall quilt.
You can see the directional line runs both ways in each of the two orientations.
Here are my six piles of blocks.  Each of the three starting fabrics is represented in two orientations.  There are eight in each of the top piles (from last week's post) and six in each of the fabrics from this week.  Stacking them in these piles made it much easier to create different designs up on the design wall.
Chevrons placed side by side.  The design wall itself represents the negative space (background) of the quilt.
Chevrons separated with background.  I think this is the direction I will continue with…
but two solid squares and four half square triangle units remain, so who knows?
Till Tuesday…

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Repurpose leftover fabric into easy chevrons

Marny here…I've been working with Flying Geese units lately.  Lots of them!!  My method of choice is to mark appropriately sized squares on the diagonal, orient them correctly and then place them on either end of the rectangle of the goose, stitch on the diagonal line, and cut away the unnecessary portion.  Unfortunately this "wastes" what is essentially an unsewn and imprecise half square triangle unit.  But maybe it isn't so unfortunate afterall…

Here are 24 good sized sets of the aforementioned units.
They are pairs of matched triangles with a 90 degree corner
and a wobbly diagonal cut across them.  
(Unhappily I have 96 small ones waiting to be dealt with too.)

The pieces aren't really precise because they were trimmed an approximate ¼" away from the original stitching line when making the flying geese unit.  The plan is to trim each pair with a single slice.  
(Sewing them together first and then trimming would require more slices using a square ruler and the diagonal seam wouldn't really be a straight one anyway, leading to more problems.)

Chosen corner on the ruler marked with blue painter's tape.  Relying on memory from pair to pair would surely lead to mistakes.

Trimmed each pair.

Chain pieced.

Pressed seams open gently.
Amazingly enough they now measure 5 ½" square.  

Cut a 5 ½" square of a coordinating solid in a different value for each unit.  Drew a line from corner to corner.  It works well to have a light, medium and dark value for this idea to work.

It is important to place the square with the diagonal line on top of the half square triangle unit oriented as shown.

Chain piece again…

…stitching ¼" on either side of the pencil line.

Cut on the pencil line.

Two new units result from each of eight triangle pairs.  One of the units will be like those on the left and the other will be like those on the right.  They are mirror images of one another when placed as above.

Now you can play with the arrangements.  There are so many ways and patterns that might emerge, but for now I wanted to have the added fabric, which in this case is also the darkest, become a chevron.  This layout places the floral on either side of the chevron tips.  It looks ok.

This shows the cream and the floral alternating.  This is too busy and not a clean or graphic enough statement for my taste.

This one has the floral nestled into the chevron valleys.  It is my favorite of the three.  The medium value floral and the darker value green solid seem entwined.  It is only a partial illusion and certainly is not realistic, but my eye doesn't seem to care!

Hopefully I will get to the remaining 16 sets of coordinating triangles and a fun project might result.  I'll keep you posted.  Maybe you have some leftovers or stash you could play chevron with!  

(Not sure if I will ever brave the 96 small pairs sitting on my shelf, but they keep annoying me with their whispers of "waste not want not".)  

Till Tuesday…

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Binding a King Sized Taffy Twist

jill here... latest on my list!

Modern Quilt Relish Taffy Twist in Marcus Fabrics Next Wave 
 This Taffy Twist is a wedding gift that will keep some newlyweds in California warm.  Sounds kind of crazy to send a warm quilt that direction after all the cold we've had here. 

King sized quilts are BIG!  Not to complain but they are heavy and cumbersome...especially when it comes to binding.  I usually machine bind by sewing the 2.5" binding to the front, turning to the back and stitching in the ditch from the front (catching the folded edge, most of the time).  I've gotten pretty good at it but its a multi-step process, two passes through the machine and there is a lot of quilt to corral.

Marny suggested that I use a one-step method to bind with a decorative stitch.  I planned on a "forgiving" print binding fabric so now seemed like a the  perfect opportunity to try something new.  I tested out several stitch options and decided on one that was a little more complex than a zig zag but still had some decorative interest.  
Machine settings.

I googled one step binding and came up with wrapping the backing around to the front.  Wouldn't work here. I  decided to design my own one step wrapped binding.  I needed 400 " of  binding.  I cut my 11 strips 3" wide, mitered the WOF seams (for better seam allowance distribution) and folded it essentially into thirds. This leaves two layers of fabric at the top of the fold, where the wear is the greatest.

Marked 45 degree seams....

Chained the strips...

Trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4 inch...

Pressed the seam open....

Folded 1" up from the bottom...

Folded the remaining 1" over, not quite to the bottom.

Pressed the trifold binding in half.

These steps took more time than my usual method but still easier to handle than the whole quilt.

I wrapped the binding around the trimmed edge of the quilt,
leaving a 12" tail, starting on the side.  The unfinished edge of the
binding was on the underside to keep it flat.  I tucked the edge
into the binding, sewing then pausing,  to to keep the feed straight
and even with a gentle tension.  No pins!

At the corner, with a straight stitch, I sewed the end of the fold.
This keeps the miter from popping out.
One pin to hold the miter...

I fixed my stitch and started again on the next side.
                      When I rounded back to my starting side, I stopped
                 with 8 " to spare, mitered the two ends together, trimmed 
and pressed the same. I then stitched the final stretch with the decorative stitch

                   Much, much faster with good, sturdy results!

All that's left is a label!
The back is another story....

Till next Tuesday,,,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Quilted Windmill in Pella Iowa

Marny and Jill here…We had a fun road trip yesterday!  

A couple weeks ago we got an email from Kelly Van Vliet.  She had recently purchased VandeLune Fabrics in Pella, Iowa and was going to reopen as The Quilted Windmill (the name of her existing long arm quilting business). 

We enjoyed communicating by email about a trunk show and one thing led to another and we decided it would be fun to see her store "under construction", deliver quilts and patterns in person, and get to know Kelly a bit better. 

Kelly Van Vliet of the brand new "the Quilted Windmill".  She opens for business on Thursday, February 6.  701 Main Street, Pella, Iowa.

View from the front door

Fun signs, kits, new fabrics…

Eager to see what she is going to do with these doors…

Nice new fabric shelves and display units made from wood and metal…and the requisite tulip fabric for this wonderful predominantly Dutch community.

A wide range of fabrics…

The store is going to be great!  We'll be going back for sure.

Fabrics she had that we thought would be perfect in a child size Supper Club. It is always fun to choose new fabrics for favorite patterns!  The lions and tigers for the large rectangles, the brown with dots for the verticals and the yellow for the horizontals.  There was a really cute alternative orange choice too, but somehow it didn't get in the picture.  I think it got buried in quilts.

Supper Club pattern MQR 107
All three fabrics are Robert Kaufman, the yellow is a Spot On
and the brown based dot and green with animals are both
from their Jungle Creatures, Bermuda line. 
Till Tuesday…