Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Neighbourhood Quilt and my Quilting Buddy(s) from band

I was going through some boxes that were in storage and found my old camera and on it was pictures of a quilt I made a couple years ago.  Here it is.
This is a good time to introduce my quilting buddy, Lawanda.  She and I are in a band together, she plays flute and I'm on the euphonium and we've known each other for about 8 years now.  She did the quilting and the binding on this quilt.  Here's her loopy quilting stitch.
We made this one for a silent auction for the band we are in and it went for $120 at our concert!!  Here's the label we put on the back.

Three years ago she found out that I quilt and said she always wanted to learn how.  Within a couple weeks three other band mates and I started a weekly quilt circle.  I picked a wonky log cabin block for their first quilt and each of us went shopping and bought a bunch of fabric that were the colours we each liked.  I was very general about how much would be needed and how many fabrics to use and I opened up my stash once we all got some fabric so that we could all add more if we needed.  Lawand's fabric was browns and blues, Kenzie's was blue/purple and yellow/orange, Hisayo's was pale pink and green and mine was yellow, green and brown.

Oddly enough, all of us had a sewing machine that someone had given us, or left behind when they moved, so we had 4 machines set up in my garage.  We set up a cutting station and an ironing board that we all shared, and each had our own machine to sew with.  We cut strips of random width from our fabric then started with a square or 4 sided shape.  We added a strip on opposite sides, ironed, trimmed, then added strips on the two other sides, then ironed and trimmed again.  Then did it all for 3 or four rounds.  We ended with white strips around the entire block, then trimmed it down to a 12.5 inch square with a ruler.  Then we did it all 23 more times so we each had 24 blocks.

Kenzie plays euphonium too and has been in the band longer than Lawanda.  She alternated blocks of warm and cool and cut a bunch of them in half for the edge.  We had read about "engaging the edge" of the quilt and this way it looks like the quilt goes on and on and on.

My quilt is green, yellow and brown and a little more irregular.  The back has one huge block on one half and then 4 more to fill in the space of the other half.

Lawanda's blocks turned out really sharp and pointy.  I think they look really retro because of the blue brown green colour scheme.  She did a staggered little blocks strip on the back so it looks like a zipper.  I'm sure I've got a picture somewhere.

I can't find a picture of Hisayo's pink and green quilt, so I'll add that later.  She's another flute player and has been in the band for 3 years now.  I'm the ancient one in the band these days (20 years now).  I joined the band a month after it started.

These quilts are a great starting quilt for new quilters.  There are no exact seams to match and no corners to line up, so new sewers don't need to worry about accurate quarter inch seams.  By the time you're making your 20th block, though, you've gotten quite good at straight lines and being consistent with your quarter inch seams.  Squaring up the blocs at the end is easy too, just put the white strips around them then use a 12.5 inch square ruler to cut off the extra and square it up.  Sewing all the squares together isn't that hard, and if you're not matching the corners too well, it's not noticed since it's all part of the white background.  There's also no sashing needed - which can be a little hard for a beginner - so if you want the quilt bigger, just add more white to the squares and square them up with a bigger square like a 16.5 inch or a 18.5 inch square.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pickup Sticks Quilt - Tutorial

After I made the Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Skirt last December, I put together a quilt top I call Pickup Sticks that uses the same technique.  This is a great quilt to show off Kona solids and to use up left-over strips of solids you may have from other projects. 
Here's how to do it:
Start with a 12.5 inch square and cut it crosswise 2 or three times
Cut a whole bunch of 1 inch strips from a selection of solids.

Sew the strips to the top fabric of each cut.
 Iron them open.
Trim the 1 inch strips so they match the edges of the piece they are sewn to.
Sew the sections together overlapping the ends so the 1/4 inch seam hits the edges exactly where the two overlaps cross.
Some of the overlaps will be less than others depending on how angled your cross cut is.
Here's the block with the four sections sewn together.
Iron everything open.
Cut the block across one or two times.
Sew in the strips.
Trim the ends to match the sides of the block.
Sew the sections together and iron the seams open.
Trim the blocks down to square them up.  If your seams are less than 1/4 inch you may be able to trim them down to 12.5 inch squares.  If you're inconsistent like me, you may be trimming all your squares down to 12 inches.

Make 24 blocks, varying the amount of cross cuts and varying the colours of the 1 inch strips.  The most cuts I made on a block was 5, the least was 3.  Sew them all together to get a 4 foot by 6 foot quilt top.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hope Valley Wonky Squares

I fell in love with the colours and patterns in Denise Schmidt's Hope Valley line.  There's 8 coordinating fabrics and they come in three colour ways.  Fiesta is in orange and pinks, New Day in blues and grays and Piney Woods in yellow and green.
 I bought  half yards of the Fiesta and Piney Woods groups on Etsy.  Inspired by this set of quilts from Film in the Fridge, Here are my versions.
The orange and plum reminds me of the Tibetan monks that live in exile in India.  The little squares sort of represent prayer flags that you see tied on string hung between posts or rock piles in windy places in the mountains there.  It makes me want to visit India again! 
Diana Vreeland (editor of Vogue in the '60s) once said, "Pink is the navy blue of India."  I guess that means if you want to be conservative and not stand out in India, wear pink.
The Piny Woods colour way one has less going on for the background and ended up a lot bigger than the other.  I found the perfect colour for the background at Spool of Thread in Vancouver.  This is where the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild meets on the third Thursday of the month.  They amazed us by buying the ENTIRE range of Kona solids!!  Every single colour that Kona has!!!  That's over 200 bolts of the most amazing range of colours.  It's so great to be able to walk into a store with a finished block and find just the right shade for the sashing or backing.
I ran out of the light green at the bottom left, so I pieced some little rectangles to fill in the empty spaces.  The blocks are quite big, were really randomly pieced and are all different sizes.  I just added the mid green around them in different widths to get them to even out so they would go together.  Then I ran a thin olive frame around outside to give them a boundary.  I didn't do a lot of planning, but I did try to balance the squares and the layout.

These are only tops so far.  I'll have to make backs for them and get them quilted. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gees Bend inspired quilt

Last weekend was a rainy weekend in Vancouver, so I spent the entire time quilting.  While wandering through the quilt groups in flickr I came across a batch of quilts from a quilt class by Peppermint Pinwheels (here's her blog too). So of course I had to sit down and try it out immediately.  Here's my version:

First I made a couple of log cabin quilt blocks.  The ones in the pictures on flickr looked big, so I went 18.5  square.  I could have even gone bigger!  I made the strips random widths and made the centre of the blocks quite big, between 4 inches to 9 inches.

Then I squared them to 18.5 X 18.5 (I used a 12.5 square plus my 6.5  X 24 ruler)
Then I cut them into quarters by measuring in 9.25 and slicing down.  Without moving the block, I measured 9.25 from the top and then sliced it across.
Then I turned the quarters around, swapped one quarter with one from the other block and sewed them back together to get a nice graphic statement.
I made a total of 6 blocks this way and put them together with sashing.
I laid it out on the back of an older quilt and worked on the sashing.  I made the sashing with the end cuts for the block strips and with other strips.  The sashing between the blocks is 4 inches wide, the sashing on the outside of the blocks is 2.5 inches wide and the big strip down the middle is 5 inches wide.  OK, I didn't really plan for them to be all different widths.  I was just trying to get the quilt up to 4 feet by 6 feet, which I've decided is the perfect "curl up on the couch" size for a quilt.  I didn't do much planning on the sashing strips, just kept sewing strips and scraps together, then cutting them crosswise and attaching them to other strips.  I did try to get some solid parts, some stripes, some checkerboard and some crosswise bits, but didn't really plan out where they would end up. 

Then I made a bigger block for the back with just oranges and greens as I was totally out of the blue.  It started as a 26.5 inch log cabin block and was cut into 13.25 inch quarters.  When I put it back together I put 4 inch sashing between each quarter.  As you can see, I was down to half inch and less strips of orange and blue, so there are only slivers of those colours in the sashing.
Here's two last pictures of the front and back.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vancouver Modern Quilt Challenge - Mod Mosaic

First of all, most of the pictures in this post are from the amazing Sonja at artisania.

At the January meeting of the VMQG, I showed off the two pillows I made for Hisayo.  She's been waiting patiently for months for me to finally get these done.
DSC_0260 by sonjaartisania
DSC_0260, a photo by sonjaartisania on Flickr.
The first one was really fiddly to make as I cut 2 inch strips, put one inch strips of yellow on either side, then lopped the top and bottom at an angle, sewed yellow strips on the bottom, then squared them up at an angle so they were all tippy.  The end product sort of looked like bamboo as there were lots of joints and sections.
The matching pillow - but different pattern -  is from Oh Fransson!'s tutorial for the Mod Mosaic Floor Pillow

DSC_0104 by sonjaartisania
DSC_0104, a photo by sonjaartisania on Flickr.
It's a great technique for loosening up and improvising, so I worked it up as the challenge for the VMQG. Our VP Louise had donated a huge bag of fabric she had cut for a quilt that she hadn't put together, so I thought it was a perfect use for all her great red and black fabric.

Here's what came back over the next 2 months!  Wow!
DSC_0540 by sonjaartisania
DSC_0540, a photo by sonjaartisania on Flickr.
I took them all home and have put them together.  It reminds me of what might be the street plan for the old town of Zanzibar.  I recall wondering around for ever trying to find the guest house and feeling really lucky each time I did find it. 

These are my pictures now (you can tell by the abysmal quality I'm not in the same league as Sonja).
It's all sandwiched and pin based and ready to quilt.  I've got two weeks till the next guild meeting so there's not much time to decide how to quilt it.
The back was inspired by a couple extra blocks that were much different from the rest.  I made a bunch more blocks once I had a plan.  The bottom area is for the members of the VMQG to sign in so we have a roster of members for the year 2011.  Not everyone did a block, but I think everyone should sign it.

Here's a last picture to show how I put the back together.  I laid it out so it looked good, then I shifted the blocks a bit so I could get some big blocks with straight lines across the quilt.  That's the yellow lines.  The green dashed lines show the segments in each of the big blocks.

What have I been up to?

Remember the Crazy Nine Patch Lattice from September last year?  It's finished!!  I showed it off at the March Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild meeting.
I used leftover blocks and try-out blocks for the back.  I just "framed" them in dark gray with a green mat, and made a picture gallery for the back.  I was using up all the green fabric I had on hand, so you see three pictures have different green backgrounds. 

Here's the label.   Picture That! and Wonky Lattice by Paul Krampitz 2011. 

The boy scout style picture frames are easy to do. First sew a "mat" at least 3 inches wide around your "picture".  Then slice the mat in half across the top and insert a frame strip.  Slice the mat in half across the bottom and insert a frame strip.  Now do the same for the sides.  If you do them all parallel to the sides of your "picture" the overlap parts of the frame will line up fine.  If you cut them at an angle like I did, you'll find the stick-out ends may not line up properly.  Just don't cut at too much of an angle and you won't notice.