Friday, March 4, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery and Making a Paper Pieced Pattern

I'm having too much fun with this quilt along. I mean that literally! I need to make the next block for my own "Kitty Craft" quilt along, and I desperately need a new bag or two.

Tomorrow, I work on those. Tomorrow.

The fifth block for Splendid Sampler came out on Thursday. It's a divided 9-patch, slice and dice, and it whizzed together in no time. Now and then, something easy and relaxing is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Block #5

And then came the sixth block in the quilt along. Oh, my. I had to make it twice. I saw too many possibilities with the layout, so I sewed it with completely different values the first time around. Once again, I was working with tiny triangles, and though I am learning and getting better at this, it was a struggle to get the points right.

I wasn't finished, though. I like the original, and I wanted one similar to that as well.  So, I made it again. This time, I chose the easy way out, and paper pieced it. Slick! With paper piecing I was able to eliminate some of those tiny triangles, too.

It's hard to believe that these two blocks are from the same identical pattern!
Block #6

Your Blocks

From Marge Colleran

"I am using my stash and am having soooo much fun."

Marge's first four blocks

From Dixie Moore

Dixie has sewn her first five blocks all over again using a totally new group of fabrics. Such a difference!

From Dixie:
"... my two favorite blocks thus far are #4 and #5.  Who doesn’t like appliqué, for one, and the Simple Simon block was just a delight to stitch.  Now that I am settled in with my Civil War fabrics (these come from my flirtation with a blue and white Dear Jane quilt in 2010), I can dig in and enjoy this project as much as many of the other gals seem to.

What I’ve come to know thus far is just how sensitive the fabric is to rotary cutter and board. Each cut moves the fabric a hair; the fabric must be coaxed back to the line each time. When I do original appliqué or make mug rugs, being a hair off is not an issue. The other thing that fascinates me is just how powerful our machines are as we slip fabric under the foot pedal.  I am employing my oldest and smallest machine for these blocks. I think my larger machine would eat the blocks in the blink of an eye. Moreover, while I am a pinner, I can see the value of just carefully nesting the pieces into each other with the opposing pressed seams.  A small pin can distort, and quickly, sabotaging the careful work that came before.

I expect to be a much better piecer by the end of this journey, and that delights me."

Dixie's Blocks #1 - #5

Dixie's Block #6
A Tutorial

Make a paper piecing pattern for Block 6


Print off the block diagram that came with the pattern. Choose your fabrics and locate where each will be placed. I wrote the letters right onto the diagram.

Fabrics as shown on the pattern: 

There are three basic pattern sections for the block..  I've shown the pattern measurements with sketches made on graph paper.  If you aren't comfortable with a computer drawing program, you can draw your pattern like this on graph paper.  I made the final pattern in color with the drawing program on Microsoft Word. I've numbered the pieces to show the order in which fabric pieces are sewn.

1. The Center Section

Draw a square 2" x 2". Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the next. Draw another square that is 1/4" larger on each side. The finished pattern is 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".  Make 4.

You will need to sew two of each color combination. The numbers indicate which fabric is placed first. 

2. Short Side Section

 Draw a rectangle 1" x 4". Divide as shown below.  Draw another rectangle that is 1/4" larger on each side. The finished pattern is 1 1/2" x 4 1/2". Make 2.

Color placement and numbers to show the order in which fabrics are added is shown here.

3. Long Side Section

 Draw a rectangle 1" x 6". Divide as shown below.  Draw another rectangle that is 1/4" larger on each side. The finished pattern is 1 1/2" x 6 1/2". Make 2.

 Color placement and numbers to show the order in which fabrics are added is shown here.


The block is assembled exactly as shown in the original pattern. Use 1/4" seams throughout. I laid the sections out before sewing together so that I could keep my colors matched correctly. 

I removed the paper before sewing the sections together, but it can be left in place until the block is completed.

1. Sew the four 2 1/2" squares in the center together to make a 4 1/2" square.
2. Sew the short side sections to either side of the center squares. Be careful to line up the colors the way you want them to be.
3. Sew the long side sections to the opposite sides of the block.

That's it! 

Any questions can be left in the comment section of this blog
 or they can be sent to me via email. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Martha's Roses" and How to Make Fusible Bias Tape

The spring table topper is finished! . When I made that big center block, I wasn't at all sure how I'd use it, but I'm really pleased with how this table topper turned out. I've named it "Martha's Roses" after my mother.

"Martha's Roses" (21 ¾” x 21 ¾”)
Mother was an avid gardener, one of those who had plant magic in her fingers. Her garden was filled with flowers, and pink roses were her favorite. From the moment I designed the appliques, this became my mother's piece.

Last fall I worked with fusible bias tape on a stained glass quilt, "First Christmas". It made attaching the bias tape so easy! I had a particular fabric in mind for the bias tape stems on "Martha's Roses", so the commercial tape wasn't going to work at all. How hard could it be to make fusible tape from my chosen fabric?

Turns out it wasn't hard at all!

Homemade fusible bias tape on "Martha's Roses"

I rarely use commercially made bias tape anymore. It's expensive and the colors and widths available are really limited. If you have bias tape makers in various widths, the task is easy, but I prefer the flexibility of making bias tape of any size with simple tools.

Make bias tape.
No bias tape maker necessary.

You will need a hera marker, a straight quilt ruler, and a flat surface for this. Hera markers are inexpensive and readily available almost anywhere that quilting supplies are sold. I bought this one made by Clover for less than $5.00. 

1. Cut bias strips 1/2" wider than the width you need for your finished tape. The tape used on "Martha's Roses" is 1/4" wide, so I cut the strips 3/4" wide. 

2. Longer sections of tape can be made by sewing strips together exactly like you would sew strips of bias binding. 

Place strips at right angles.              Sew with a 1/4" seam. Press open.                  Clip triangle "ears".

 3. When your bias strip is ready, lay it on a flat surface (I use my cutting mat.) with the wrong side facing up. Place your ruler so that it is 1/4" in from one long side of the bias strip. Mark by sliding the round end of your hera marker firmly along the edge of the ruler. The hera marker will crease the fabric and it will fold easily along the crease. Repeat on the other long side of the strip.

4. Finger press the edges down, then take the bias strip to your ironing station. Using your thumb and a forefinger, gently fold the two edges toward each other. Press the edges in and down with a hot iron.

5. The tape is now ready to use. You can use quilt basting glue to hold it in position on your quilt top, or you can make it fusible. 

 Add fusible web to the tape.

1. Slice strips of fusible web ever so slightly narrower than your bias tape. I found that it was easier to work with short sections of fusible web. Lay the fusible web, paper side up, on the bias tape. Iron to fuse to the tape in place.

2. When the paper is removed from the fusible web, the bias tape can easily be shaped and positioned in place with an iron.

3. Stitch the edges of the bias tape with a narrow zigzag stitch or with a straight stitch.

Other examples of bias tape made with a hera marker: 

1/2" bias tape was used on "Spring Table Runner".

5/8" bias tape was used on the ruffle of this apron. 
(I have not made a pattern for this apron.)

Happy Stitching!!