Scrap Quilt Ideas: “A Little Off Center” by Margaret Kennedy

The Quiltmaker Scrap Squad is a select group of six QM readers who take one pattern from each issue and make scrappy versions of it to inspire others. You can see slideshows of past Scrap Squad projects.

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

The featured design from the new July/August issue of Quiltmaker is called Pup Tents. This issue is on newsstands now.

QM10714 500 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

July/August ’14 on newsstands now

Pup Tents was designed by Janice Averill from West Haven, Connecticut. The pink version below was made using fabrics from our preferred partners Quilting Treasures.

QM PupTents QT Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Today’s featured quilt is by Margaret Kennedy from Lake Frederick, Virginia. You’ll hear Margaret’s story in her own words below.

Margaretcropped copy Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Margaret Kennedy

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After studying the Pup Tents pattern, I decided to add a little interest by changing how the blocks were arranged and by making blocks in different colors. I grabbed a screen shot of the lower left portion of the quilt, 4 blocks wide by 4 blocks tall. I flipped and reversed it, then overlapped a little and came up with my setting. I call my quilt “A Little Off Center” because the center of the big X is not the center of the quilt.

Here is my working layout for the quilt – with lots of notes added. It’s not the prettiest drawing, but it served its purpose to keep me on track during the process of making the quilt. You can see that my quilt will be 8 blocks square, compared to the original 7 by 10 layout.

MK3 1 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Work Plan for “A Little Off Center”

On my layout, I used a highlighter to indicate which blocks would be blue, and decided to make one long diagonal pink and the other red. I intensified the colors by using all medium to dark values for the geese and adjacent triangles and did not use lights for the “colors.” For the background, I selected several greens. I used the darkest one for the bottom “goose” based on the idea in the pattern’s alternate color way. I liked how this would form accent squares when the bottoms of two blocks met. Nearly all the fabrics are batiks.

This layout necessitated some reverse blocks.  No problem, I just reversed a picture of the block layout!

MK3 2 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Block and Reverse Block

I began with the blue blocks. I laid out a few blocks at a time, using my regular and reverse block layout as a road map.

MK3 3 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Notice that there is no “stitch and flip” happening here. I was able to cut all my pieces with Accuquilt, except for the trapezoids used in units 2 and 4. I had a trick up my sleeve for those, however. I cut rectangles and used the “Folded Corner Clipper” ruler to cut the corner off to exactly match the correct size of half-square triangle that I die cut. You can see how perfectly the triangle matches the trapezoid in the second photo, making it a breeze to sew.

MK3 4 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Making the Trapezoid Units

Following my work plan, I laid out the blocks on the design wall. Here are all the blue blocks:

MK3 5 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Blue Blocks on the Design Wall

After the blue blocks, I filled in the holes on the outside with all green blocks, and then it was off to make the pink blocks and the red blocks. There are a lot of pieces in these blocks, and it was a happy day when I had all the blocks on the wall! Here they are along with the backing fabric I was auditioning.

MK3 6 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

All Blocks on the Design Wall

I added a 2.5″ border of the same fabric as the medium green pieces in the blocks.  Next it was time to load the quilt and get it quilted. I selected green thread to add texture but not make a big statement.

MK3 7 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Quilting Thread

I elected to use a wood grain quilting design. (Editor’s note: Look at Margaret’s spool blocks in the background of the photo below. Sweet!!! Free spool patterns by Laura West Kong on Adventures of a Quilting Diva.)

MK3 8 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Quilting in Progress

Binding matches the medium green.  Here is the finished quilt:

MK3 9 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

Spring is a great time of year!

MK3 10 Scrap Quilt Ideas:  A Little Off Center by Margaret Kennedy

“A Little Off Center”: The Glamour Shot

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American Made Brand Fabric

Made in America

Those are words we love to hear. Now a premier fabric company has worked very hard to make those words true of a new brand focused on cotton solids.

 American Made Brand Fabric

American Made Brand

American Made Brand is a division of Clothworks, based in Seattle. I had a chance to catch up with Creative Director Candice Hoffman during International Quilt Market last month. Her enthusiasm for the brand was contagious.

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A sampling of the 50 available colors—one for every U.S. state

Development of American Made Brand didn’t happen easily or overnight. Most U.S.-grown cotton (about 70%) goes directly onto cargo ships bound for foreign markets. But with persistence, these folks managed to secure cotton in the south and east, and then have it sent to a spinning mill and later a textile factory, both in South Carolina.

The result is 50 beautiful choices of 100% cotton, 100% made in America. (I don’t think it’s coincidence that there are 50 colors and 50 U.S. states. Cool idea.)

 American Made Brand FabricThere’s an American Made Brand blog tour going on right now. A blogger from each of the 50 states has designed a block with a license plate theme, and each takes time to talk about the uniqueness of her state—I have learned a lot. The blocks are made with the AMB fabrics of course, and there are AMB fabric giveaways and free block patterns.

amb3 American Made Brand Fabric

American Made Brand fabrics are up for giveaway during the current blog tour.

I was curious to see who the blogger for my state was. I don’t know her but I’m determined to find a way to meet her. See if you know of the blogger chosen for your state!

 American Made Brand Fabric

Farm to Fabric Challenge

And if that’s not enough, American Made Brand is partnering with Quilts, Inc. on something called the Farm to Fabric Challenge. Use AMB fabrics to create a quilt that is eligible to be juried into an exhibit at International Quilt Festival this fall. Don’t wait: registration is June 15 to August 15. Farm to Fabric Challenge details.

Quiltmaker is pleased to congratulate American Made Brand and the Clothworks folks on this exciting new venture. We wish them well. Ask for these fabrics at your local quilt shop, and see what shops carry AMB here.

 

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Heather Ross Book Review Giveaway

It’s not often I get to review a book like How to Catch a Frog by Heather Ross.

9781617690983 Heather Ross Book Review Giveaway

So it was a welcome change to devour (and I did devour it) this autobiographical tale, subtitled “…and other stories of family, love, dysfunction, survival, and DIY.”

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Remember this fabric? It was a Heather Ross design.

I’d been familiar with Heather Ross as a fabric designer.

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These sweet dolls were part of Heather’s line called West Hill for FreeSpirit.

If you spent time on quilt-related blogs a few years back, you couldn’t help but hear about her fabrics with FreeSpirit and Kokka of Japan.

HeatherRoss3 lg Heather Ross Book Review Giveaway

Heather Ross

But of course there is more to the story, and not all of it is pretty. How to Catch a Frog is an honest portrayal of growing up in a back-to-the-land household—which sometimes meant hunger, cold and neglect—but also led to innovative play, creative problem solving and a deep love for nature and the outdoors in rural Vermont.

I was hooked on this book from the first paragraph. Heather writes in breathless sweeping descriptions of the people and places she’s been, and doesn’t neglect to observe how they influenced her. I highly recommend How to Catch a Frog. I loved it.

 Heather Ross Book Review Giveaway

Far, Far Away from Windham Fabrics will appear in stores July 2014.

Heather’s wildly popular Far, Far Away fabric line (released originally in 2008 as a line of home dec fabrics) will appear in stores this July, printed on quilting cotton by Windham Fabrics.

39657 4 Heather Ross Book Review Giveaway

One of the prints in Far, Far Away by Heather Ross. Windham Fabrics will market this line, to be in shops come July 2014.

Wouldn’t these prints make a great little girl quilt?

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Heather’s “princess and the pea” fabric is part of the Far Far Away collection.

Heather is also the author of Weekend Sewing and Heather Ross Prints, both for STC Craft. The brand new How to Catch a Frog is available in print and electronic formats.

9781617690983 Heather Ross Book Review Giveaway

I’m pleased to host a giveaway here on Quilty Pleasures, of not one but two copies of How to Catch a Frog by Heather Ross. For your chance to win, please leave a comment before midnight end-of-day Wednesday, June 4. I’ll choose two random winners and announce them here.

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Discover easy quilting techniques and free quilt block patterns on Quiltmaker’s Block Network. We post a new free video each week!

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Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisa’s Pup Tents

The Quiltmaker Scrap Squad is a select group of six QM readers who take one pattern from each issue and make scrappy versions of it to inspire others. You can see slideshows of past Scrap Squad projects.

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup TentsToday we begin a new series of quilts. The featured design is called Pup Tents, and it appears in the July/August issue of Quiltmaker. It’s on its way to subscribers now and it appears on newsstands next week by 6/3.

QM10714 500 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

On its way to subscribers now, on newsstands 6/3

Pup Tents was designed by Janice Averill from West Haven, Connecticut. The pink version was made using fabrics from our preferred partners Quilting Treasures.

QM PupTents QT Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Today’s featured quilt is by Louisa Robertson from Merritt, British Columbia.

scrapsquad louisa3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

You’ll want to check out her blog, Louisa Quilts. You’ll hear from Louisa in her own words below.

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The Pup Tents block reminds me of tenting holidays when I was a child. We would drag out all the pieces – ropes, pegs, poles, canvas. Somehow by putting poles there and ropes here and banging in tent pegs at odd angles, everything would magically turn into a house to keep us warm and dry!tent line drawing Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents I went through some of the same “how on earth will this turn into anything?” process with Pup Tents, working with it for several days to discover a design. I decided to feature the “goose” triangles in the block along with the network of diagonal lines formed by the smaller triangles. Then I flipped half the blocks vertically and was pleased with the symmetry that appeared.

fabrics1 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Deciding on the fabric palette

Tenting made me think of summer, so I pulled out blues and golds, greens and assorted lights, with darker blue for an accent.

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Bits and pieces from past projects

My goal for this project is that it will be made from “true scraps” – genuine leftovers from my stash without purchasing anything new. I dig into boxes and bins and drawers to see what I can find in the colours I want.

The oldest fabric in the quilt is a scrap from a dress my mother made many decades ago. I also use the remains of a dress of my own, not quite so old, but still well into last century! Other fabrics include part of a recycled shirt, assorted calico prints from the 80s and 90s, a couple of batiks, some odd triangles, and pieces cut from the back sides of circle blocks.

I cut pieces and make test blocks to try out the colours and the piecing. I decide I can eliminate a couple of seams by combining pieces in rows 2 and 3, so I make two more blocks using that method.

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Blocks made to try out colour placement and construction methods.

The results are okay, but I want more colour, so I add light green. My test blocks also demonstrate that accuracy in cutting/stitching/pressing is going to be very important.

Cutting the many pieces required is a long process, especially since “true scrap” pieces of various shapes and sizes are used. Much starching, pressing, measuring, cutting, trimming and counting is involved. I choose to cut the pieces for these blocks as triangles and trapezoids rather than the squares and rectangles described in the pattern. As long as crucial points are trimmed accurately during the cutting step, I find that the piecing is just as simple as using the folded corner method.

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Pieces with trimmed corners

Here are all the pieces for my quilt – further evidence of how LITTLE fabric it actually takes to make a quilt! It also hints at how difficult is the goal of stitching up all the fabric in the stash in one lifetime!

fabric all the pieces Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Tray of pieces — enough to make the complete quilt top

Next, how to construct this thing? I start by printing out a coloured “map” of each block from Electric Quilt. Then I set to work making the required number of each unit and placing them in the correct spot on a cardboard base.

chain piecing and pressing Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Adding gold to left end of the light trapezoid.

 

chain piecing Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents
As always, chain piecing and pressing helps keeps things organized.
checking with ruler Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Check each unit with the ruler. This one looks pretty good.

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Oops! Time to reach for the stitch ripper!

The seams at this step are all diagonal, and finding the “sweet spot” for the seam allowance is a challenge. It varies a bit from fabric to fabric, depending the grainline or the thickness. My trusty seam ripper gets a good workout. I develop a routine – count pieces, lay them out, stitch seams, press, check with a ruler and unstitch/restitch as necessary, count the finished pieces, put them in the right spot.

 

Once units are made, the four rows that make up each block are constructed. These go together quite easily, thanks to the time spent making sure that each unit was accurate.  Here are the stacks of rows for the two types of blocks.

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Block 2

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Block 1. Can you see the mistake I didn’t notice until later?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally it’s time to start sewing rows together to make blocks. Making sure I’m working with only the pieces for Block 1, I carefully match the edges of Row 1 to Row 2, checking the match points at seams and triangle points. Again, everything lines up nicely. I stitch a few seams, then stitch a couple of Row 3 and Row 4 seams.  I’m eager to see how the block will look. Lots of matching of points – most go pretty well.

block 1 error Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Oh dear! Seam ripper time again!

Oh dear – what’s wrong? The blue triangles aren’t in the correct places!  Check the map, check the units. It takes a while to find the problem – Rows 2 and 3 are made up of similar units but in a different order, and these have been interchanged in the layout. Out comes the stitch ripper again!

 

 

 

 

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Some blocks on the wall

 

At last, blocks on the wall. I DO like them! Each Block 1 is stitched to a Block 2 – I try to ensure that the pieces touching along the edge are different fabrics. I match these seams carefully – I sure am going to be an expert at matching points and seams when this one is done!

 

 

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Adding the vertical strip between columns would simplify the stitching.

 

My original idea was to make columns of blocks and separate them with sashing.  That looks pretty good.

 

 

 

 

BUT ….  Look what happens when I offset that centre column and remove sashing.

vertical offset wo sashing Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Look at the interesting negative space between the gold and blue triangles!

Would I really want to do this, though? It would mean even more matching of seams — all the way down the quilt!

I take a deep breath and decide that yes, I will join the columns without sashing. After all, I have already matched umpteen seams and points, so a few dozen more shouldn’t be an issue. And with plenty of pins the job is done in no time (well, no more than 20 minutes for each seam).

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I’m quite proud of the way the points matched, at least on this part of the quilt.

I may have figured out the REAL reason my quilts don’t get much bigger than 60″ by 80″ – that’s how much room there is when I push back the living room furniture to spread out the pieces on the floor.

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Fitting navy and green borders to the quilt top

Borders are added. I am able to use a variety of navy pieces in the 4 1/2″ outer border.

Let’s piece a backing.

finished back view Scrap Quilt Ideas: Louisas Pup Tents

Backing — more fabrics used from the stash.

 

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I quilt a panto design in the middle and some loops and feathers in the borders.  These are a bit wonky – I call it my “folk art” style.

Quilting barely shows on patterned scrappy fabrics.

 

Quilting designs show more clearly on the plainer backing.

For the binding I use more navy with a touch of gold.

 

 

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Summer Camp, 60″ by 75″

Here is my finished quilt — all ready for a summer evening.

Did I succeed in making the entire quilt from stash? Yes, I did! Only the green inner border and the navy binding are composed of single fabrics – and even those fabrics were not new purchases.

Thanks for reading!

Louisa

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Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway

We have a terrific book up for grabs today on Quilty Pleasures. Bonnie Hunter’s latest and greatest has arrived and it’s superb, as expected.

bonnie1 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway

Bonnie Hunter’s newest book with Kansas City Star Books is More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.

More Adventures with Leaders and Enders is what we’ve come to expect from Bonnie: Tips and tricks for making more interesting quilts, smashing projects to put a dent in our scrap bins and insight into how a patchwork-obsessed mind works.

bonnie2 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway

A Winston Ways in progress

From Winston Ways (above and below)…

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Another color scheme

…to Scrap Crystals…

bonnie4 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway

Scrap Crystals by Bonnie Hunter

…to Lazy Sunday, which originally appeared in Quiltmaker—there is so much to love in this new title.

bonnie5 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway

Lazy Sunday by Bonnie Hunter

There are 12 different scrap quilt projects plus a section of Basic Sewing Guides (helpful Bonnie-style info!) and a summary of the Leaders and Enders theory. Lots of great stuff.

You can order a signed copy from Bonnie, or you can get it the Pickle Dish Store/Kansas City Star Quilts. Or you might win this copy we’re giving away!

Since Bonnie loves scrap quilts so much, we’ll include a nice assortment of scraps for you to play with. How amazing will that be?! (Someone else’s fabrics are always more fun than your own.)

For your chance to win, please leave a comment below by midnight Saturday, May 31. We’ll choose a random winner and announce it here next week. Good luck! The winner is Barb Crawford, who has been notified by email. Thanks, everyone!

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See all of the blocks from Bonnie’s Addicted to Scraps column for Quiltmaker. Great ideas for scrap quilts!

 155addictedtoscraps 125 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway   QMMP ADD2SCRP MAY 125 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway   QMMP 120200 SCRAP 125 11527 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway   jackinthebox 125 Bonnie Hunter Book Giveaway

 

 

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Exploding Stars

Well, it was that time again—time to design a new block for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks,
vol. 9. I was thinking about what might make a fun block, and then all of a sudden it hit me. Exploding Stars is my new block. I used batiks from Hoffman California Fabrics.

QMMS 140044 BEAM Exploding Stars

Exploding Stars, block #829

This time the inspiration for a new design was easy. Star Glow, the block I designed for 100 Blocks, vol. 5 got a lot of positive feedback, so I thought I would try something similar.

QMMS 120022 BEAM Exploding Stars

Star Glow, block #446

I love star blocks and playing around with star variations. I like the idea of different sized stars within the block. I had already played with the Evening Star so for my new block, I used the Friendship Star. I started with one large star in the top corner and realized I could tuck another large star in the bottom corner. That still left two corners so I put smaller stars there. Only one large star is a complete star—the rest are tucked behind so only part of them shows.

Here are a couple layouts showing 16 blocks.

carolynquilt1 Exploding Stars

Layout #1

This layout has the blocks rotated so the small red stars meet where 4 blocks intersect and 4 small green stars meet in the center.

carolynquilt2 Exploding Stars

Layout #2

This layout has the large blue stars meeting where 4 blocks intersect and large orange stars meeting in the center. Which one do you like best?

Next time maybe I’ll try combining different types of stars to see what happens. I think the possibilities are endless.  What’s your favorite type of quilt block to play with?

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Traffic Chopper Overhead

Traffic Chopper is the latest block in my collection of vehicle blocks for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks.

QMMS 140044 STARCK Traffic Chopper Overhead

You can see my previous blocks, Bus Stop from Vol. 7, Rescue No. 1  from Vol. 6 or Mixmaster from Vol. 8. All of these blocks are made with scraps and are really fun and easy to piece. I’m thinking they will make a fabulous kid’s quilt someday!

As I was designing this block, I found that there was a lot of empty space within the square block since the helicopter itself is more rectangular shaped. My whirlybird needed some context so I added the buildings along the bottom to balance the block. I think it was the perfect solution!

I keep a list on the wall in my cube of possible vehicles for the next block. It’s quite long – it would take a LOT of 100 Blocks issues to check them all off!

vehiclelist Traffic Chopper Overhead

Even though this issue, Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 9 has just gone on sale, we are already hard at work on Volume 10! Can you believe it? We will have 1000 different blocks with this 10th issue, coming out in November. So, that means I need to get cracking on my next block – I wonder what vehicle from my list I should design next? Or do you have an idea that’s not on my list? Let me know!

 

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Scrap Quilt Ideas: Nadia’s “A Few Zags”

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Nadias A Few Zags

Quilts from the Scrap Squad continue today with another scrappy rendition of a design in Quiltmaker’s May/June issue, on newsstands now. To be sure you never miss an issue, subscribe easily.

QMMP 140600 cover 350 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Nadias A Few Zags

The Quiltmaker Scrap Squad is a select group of six QM readers who take one pattern from each issue and make scrappy versions of it to inspire others. You can see slideshows of past Scrap Squad projects.

 

QM MountainMorning Hoff Scrap Quilt Ideas: Nadias A Few Zags

Mountain Morning is the featured quilt from this issue. It was designed by Jocelyn Ueng who is with It’s Sew Emma, and made in Bali Batiks from preferred partners Hoffman California Fabrics.

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Today’s featured quilt is by Nadia Wilson from Port Hardy, British Columbia. You’ll hear about her process in her own words below.

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As soon as I saw the pattern for my second Scrap Squad assignment I knew I wanted to make a chevron quilt.

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Beautiful jewel tones!

I decided to use my collection of Cantik Batiks.

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Cantik Batiks

I wanted the rich jewel tones to be set against a dark background. Early on I had a clear vision for this quilt!

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Pencil drawing

I needed to change up the original pattern because I had a hard time visualizing my chevrons with the dark/light strip sets between the mountains. I decided to remove them completely and go for a more solid-looking background.

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Deciding on the fabric layout

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Planning the rows

To save time, I used one of my ‘cheater’ rulers to cut out the squares. I try to make some jobs easier on myself!

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ScrapMaster ruler to cut squares

In assembling my rows, I accidentally sewed a whole row of half square triangles to gray fabric on both sides when I meant to sew half gray and half black. What to do??? I didn’t want to waste fabric and spend a lot more time piecing, so I added a different design element to my top. Sometimes accidents actually work out for the better!

My decision now was between making them as diamonds or as elongated rectangles. I opted for the diamonds as I thought these would offset the chevrons nicely. I’m pleased with the results!

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Rectangles?

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Diamonds?

I love piecing! I find it so relaxing and it’s such a nice process. I like to match up my seams as evenly as possible, and when pressing my seams I try to minimize bulk. I think ahead to the quilting stage as I am piecing so I can plan how my seams will fall. Chain piecing saves time and thread!

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Even seams

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Distribute the bulk on seams

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I love chain piecing!

For the quilting, I opted to stitch in the ditch. I absolutely love the fabrics and the brightness of the jewel tones and I did not want the quilting to take away from it. I backed the quilt with a really nice cuddly flannel fabric—this quilt will be ‘oh so soft’ to snuggle under! I used Hobbs 80/20 batting in black, and in keeping with the batik theme, I used a more solid black Cantik Batik fabric for binding.

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Machine quilting on my Bernina

Here is a picture of my completed top lying on a queen size bed. I am really pleased with how it turned out. I love the richness of the Cantik Batik fabrics set against the black and gray background fabrics. The diamond strip adds just enough difference to make the quilt sparkle!

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A Few Zags

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Details of the diamond strip on the gray background

Thanks for looking! Let me know what you think of my interpretation of this lovely quilt.

Happy Quilting,

Nadia

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Getting Frondly

Getting Frondly

 block 100 Getting Frondly

When the editors here at Quiltmaker first mentioned I would have the opportunity to create a quilt block design for Quitmaker’s 100 Blocks vol. 9 I got pretty excited and spent quite a bit of time reviewing the wide variety of designs from previous volumes, considering this is vol. 9 there are A LOT of block designs to look back on.

I am still quite new to the quilting industry yet consider myself pretty crafty in many other art forms and knew I would figure something out. However after looking at the designs from previous volumes, from traditional to modern styles and let alone the many techniques and methods of constructing a quilt block, my mind couldn’t help but come to a halt.

images 1 Getting Frondly

Inspiration: simple tropical plants

After stepping away from all of the research I had done, I came up with a few main design goals for the end product:

  1. Simple Shapes that would be efficient to reproduce considering I would at some point make more than one of this block.
  2. Variety in color and or value to help create depth in the design.
  3. Diverse placement options of design elements.
pieces1 Getting Frondly

My version of simplified leaves from a tropical plant.

I enjoy organic shapes and movement in a composition, and decided to use a nature themed design element, therefore I chose to create a leaf. I found that ferns and tropical plants tend to have leaf structure with the most movement. They are also larger, which meant it could take up a large area of the finished 12 inch block, creating volume in the composition.

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Simple leaf shapes.

I did a few sketches of leaf shapes, varying the width and length of each shape to make a simple and natural looking design. I used a well lit window to trace the leaf shapes in reverse. This helped to help keep shapes consistent in my rough sketch.

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Leafs repeated to create movement up the stem.

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Various blue-green and yellow-green fabrics from P&B Textiles.

After simplifying the design to use only a few different shaped leaves, repeated throughout I chose a variety of green fabrics from P&B Textiles ranging from darker blue-green to brighter yellow-green to create value in the finished layout.

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Stitching practice around the leaf edges and stem.

Placing the leaf onto a warm yellow background complimented the different green values used throughout the design. It worked especially well with the grass green satin stitched stem, highlighting the movement of the complete leaf.

block 100 Getting Frondly

The finished block.

I am most pleased with the diversity of this blocks design. Even though there are quite a few pieces to one leaf, they are easy to prep, reproduce and resize. Whether using the original block repeated in a quilt top or rescaling the leaf and playing with placement, Getting Frondly would make a wonderful table runner or decorative wall hanging. Not to mention it’s a great scrap busting project, the more diversity in the leaves the better!

 

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The Evolution of a Butterfly Block

Many of my designs for 100 Blocks are inspired by nature. Knowing that 100 Blocks volume 9 would released in May, I decided to go for something springy. I searched for ideas in Google  images.

Butterflies? That says spring! Who couldn’t find inspiration in pictures like these?

Screen shot 2014 05 08 at 2.33.17 PM e1399581563147 The Evolution of a Butterfly BlockI roughed out a butterfly on paper, then I spent a few hours drawing the foundation block in EQ7. When I was happy with its shape and patches, I dropped in fabric colors. The more colors I added, the better I liked it–but I wasn’t 100% satisified with the design below.

butterfly31 300x300 The Evolution of a Butterfly BlockI called my husband over to take a peek and give me some feedback. He said it was the biggest butterfly he had ever seen. I was sorry I asked. I wasn’t about to put a 2″ butterfly in the middle of a 12″ block. Still, something more was needed. Then it hit me–the butterfly needs to look like it’s in motion. I used EQ7′s Serendipity tool to tilt it about 30 degrees. Much better!

butterfly8 300x300 The Evolution of a Butterfly BlockCould I find the right fabrics? (Yes, I’m an incurable batik-aholic.) The oranges, golds, pinks and purples in Minerals by Fresh Batiks for Clothworks fit the bill perfectly.

photo2 e1399584210699 The Evolution of a Butterfly BlockWhen the piecing was finished, I arranged a few heat set crystals on the wings.

photo1 e1399651512608 The Evolution of a Butterfly BlockWith some purple floss, I embroidered the antennae and added a couple of curls on the bottom of the wings for balance. A few more crystals here and there and I had one blinged-out butterfly.

QMMS 140044 FOWLER 300x300 The Evolution of a Butterfly Block

Butterfly-by Block #820 from volume 9

If you like butterflies, here’s an on-point layout filled with them.. I reversed a few so they aren’t all flying in the same direction.

butterfly 300x300 The Evolution of a Butterfly BlockFor a smaller quilt with a single butterfly, here’s simpler layout.

butterfly2 300x300 The Evolution of a Butterfly BlockAfter a long winter season, I’m basking in the longer days of warm sunshine and breathing in the fresh smells after the spring rains. I love watching trees bud and flowers bloom. Isn’t this a wonderful time of year? What are your favorite signs of spring?

 

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