Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hop on over - Building Blocks Tuesday

Looking for Building Blocks Tuesday?  Well, it is over at Esprit Patch today!  Go visit the lovely, Celine, and find out what she is up to!


Here is the schedule for the next few weeks!
As always, thanks for reading!

Jennie

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Garden Fence blocks - Building Blocks Tuesday

Happy Tuesday!  I hope summer is treating everyone well.  It was 108 here yesterday!  The one good thing about it being that HOT is that it kept me inside and I took the opportunity to sew.

I made up these Garden Fence blocks for Danielle in the We Bee Canadian Bee.

Garden Fence 1

These were some of the fastest bee blocks I've put together in a while.  I cut the fabric while my kids finished up a movie last night and I had them half stitched in the time it took my coffee to brew this morning.

Garden Fence 2

You can find the instructions for the Garden Fence blocks HERE.

Garden Fence 3

I think I might revisit this block later in the year.  I have some Ed Emberly fabrics that I think would look adorable in this setting.

Good news!  We have plenty of hostesses lined up to do Building Blocks Tuesday while I take a little break.

Here is the schedule for the next few weeks!
Don't feel like you have to wait to go visit their blogs; each fabulous woman has plenty of interesting things going on right now.

What blocks have you been working on this week?  I would love to see.  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open until the first Monday of next month, but I will repost it every Tuesday until a new month starts.


Quilter in the Closet

Rules:

1) Please link up only to the page on your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr and Instagram pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

Thanks for reading,

Jennie


PS:  I also want to take a minute and apologize for my rant last week.  Given the tragedy that our nation endured just a few days earlier, it was incredibly selfish and insensitive of me to go on and on about my own troubles.   I do live it a bit of a bubble here, but that is no excuse.  Please forgive me.




***This post may contain affiliate links.  If you purchase something after clicking on one of my links, I may be compensated, but at no additional cost to you!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Modern Improv Christmas Wreath - Ho Ho Ho and On We Sew Blog Hop

Welcome to the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Blog Hop, where every month a Christmas inspired project is shared so you can get a jump start on the holidays!  Click the button to the left to see other projects from past hostesses.

Today I am sharing a tutorial for this Modern Improv Christmas Wreath mini.

Improv Christmas Wreath quilt


It looks rather nice on the door, no?


Improv Christmas Wreath quilt

When I was contemplating what kind of project I wanted to create for this blog hop, I remembered how many of my friends don't have the space to store a holiday wreath year round while waiting for the holidays.  Everyone is short on storage, but especially those that live in apartments, condos, etc.  This wreath is still festive enough to put on your door, yet will roll up quite compactly!  In fact, you could make one for each month and it still wouldn't fill up the same amount of space as one regular holiday wreath!

Before I get to the tutorial, let's talk about the prize for this month's link up!  The giveaway prize for June is 4 FQ's of lovely screenprinted fabric generously donated by Lu Summers of Summersville!  Check out these beauties:

Summersville FQ's


OK, now on with the tutorial!

You will need:

4 copies of the wheel pattern.

Download it HERE.  Now, fellow crafters, I am not a computer genius.  If you recall our grandmothers or great grandmothers might have swapped quilt pattern templates made out of cereal boxes and sent through the mail --- this is the computer version of that!  My EQ7 doesn't always print out a nice, print ready, pretty copy of things and I just haven't gotten around to learning Adobe anything.

You will also need:

12.5 inch x WOF background
various scraps (mostly green)
24 inch piece of backing fabric
24 inch piece of batting
approximately 112 inches of binding
optional loop of fabric (mine was 7.5 inches long)
optional bow (you choose the size)

First, print out the templates and cut them up, leaving a little space around the seam allowances.  We will be working with the wedges first.

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Get those scraps ready!  I pulled out all my small green scraps.  This project is perfect for those "crumbs" you were wondering why you keep.  All shapes and sizes can be used in this project, but small scraps will give you the most variety.

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If you have done paper piecing before, this will look familiar.  Place you first scrap Right Side UP on the Wrong Side of the paper wedge.  I like to use a little washable glue to hold it in place.

OH, and shorten your stitch length to about 1.5, like you would in paper piecing.  I forgot to do this, and removing the paper later sure was a pain.

Why do we even have the paper?  I found the paper is needed to provide stability to all those small scraps during the improv process.  It is easy for them to get distorted without it.


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Place your next piece of fabric, Right Side DOWN on the first and sew into place using approximately a 1/4 inch seam.  Yes, sew the fabric right to the paper.

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Finger press that open.  NO, don't get up to press it with the iron!  It is unnecessary and unless you are trying to get some exercise, don't bother.  Just finger press it open and grab your next piece of fabric.  Place it Right Side down, and sew it into place.

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Finger press open and continue with your next piece of fabric.

Now is probably a good time to mention: I've taken some improv classes where the instructors really encourage you to ponder the placement of each fabric piece in the project.   I don't recommend that for this project.  Think about it a little, but there is no need to meditate for 30 minutes about each scrap.  As long as each wedge ends up with a decent balance of color, you should be OK.

You might notice that I started this wedge with a piece of pink.  I wanted my wreath to look like it had little, colored lights in it, so I started most of my wedges with a little splash of color.

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Around and around you will go.  You do not have to line up your pieces perfectly with what you have already sewn.  As long as the piece you are putting down covers the edge of what you already have, and you sew it with 1/4 inch seam, you should be OK.  If you have ever done an Improv Quilt As You Go technique, this is the same thing.  If you haven't, after this project you are fully qualified!

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Keep going until you have covered your entire wedge piece.  It should look something like this.

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You can do each wedge one at a time, or I like to chain piece mine.  I glued a little scrap of colored fabric randomly on each wedge and just chain pieced all my wedges at the same time.  It does make for a more quick, and random, improv process.

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When you have all your wedges done, they will look something like this!

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What a mess!  Now take them over to the cutting surface and trim off the edges, leaving a 1/4 inch seam!!!

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Ah, that's better.  Look how sharp those wedges look now!

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OK, now the fun part.  Lay them out and start arranging the wedges as you like.  Each wedge is labeled "B" through "G", but they are completely identical, so mix them up as you like.

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I find taking a black and white photo with my phone helps me get a nice balance with the values of green.

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When you get a configuration that you like, piece together six wedges to form a quarter circle. Press these seams open, and then remove the papers from the back.

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Now get out that WOF background fabric and your "A" and "H" templates.

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Keeping the folded fabric, well folded, put your "H" template near the selvage end.  Either carefully use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut out the "H" piece, or trace the template onto the fabric and cut it out using your favorite method.  By keeping the fabric folded, you get two "H's" with one cut.

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Use your "H" template again, but slide it down the fabric a bit to give you enough room to fit template "A" in the football shaped scrap that will be created in between the "H's" you cut.  I find this helps use the fabric more efficiently, and the scrap that is created near the fold of the fabric will be big enough to use in another project.

When you are done cutting this second "H" out, you should have four "H" pieces total.

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Place your "A" template on the football shaped scrap.  There should be enough room to place it a second time and thus get the four "A" pieces you need.

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There you go!  And like I said, the scrap that is left over near the fold is a good size, so you can use it in another project later.

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Now take your "A" and "H" pieces and fold them in half, and finger press.

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We are going to work with the "A" piece first.  Line up the crease from your finger pressing with the center seam of your wedge quarter circle.  Pin in place.

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Now pin the edges to line up, and put a pin in each seam.  I forgot to take a picture, but you can get the idea below.  It will want to stay bunched up in a curve, let it!

Sew a 1/4 inch seam all around this curved piece.  Don't try to flatten out the curled up piece, just make sure the part going under the presser foot is straight and pivot it slightly around the curve as needed.

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When you are done, press the seam toward the background.  I know this means you will see the seam through the white, but trust me, all those crazy improv seams want to have their way.  Just go with it!

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Now take your "H" piece and line up the center crease with the center seam of your wedges.  THIS time, pin in place from the wedge side of the fabric!

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Like this!  I like to pin the center, then the far edges, every seam, and in between each seam.  Sew with a 1/4 inch seam all around.  I know pinning is a pain, but I am NOT one of those people that can hold my pieces of fabric together and just feed them through the machine and end up with the perfect curved piecing.

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Again, press toward the background.  Doesn't that look pretty?  Now repeat for your other three wedge quarters, and then sew the four blocks together.  Press any seams open.

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Add your batting and backing and quilt as desired.  I considered doing some of my usual FMQ swirls or paisleys for this project, but the modern aspect led me in the direction of straight line quilting.

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Before you add your binding, consider adding a little loop to the back of your quilt (by the center seam), so you have something to hang your wreath from.  If you do this before adding your binding to the front, the loop will be secured by two sets of stitches (when you sew the binding to the front, and when you sew it to the back).

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Next, hang your pretty wreath on your door!  Or give it to a friend that lives in an apartment, condo, or assisted living (this would really brighten up one of those places).

Improv Christmas Wreath quilt

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Thanks for reading!

Jennie


And here is the link up so you can enter to win those lovely fat quarters!






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