Red, White, and Blue Star

Welcome to Day 4 of the Patriotic Palette Blog Hop, hosted by Paintbrush Studios and Painter’s Palette Solids!

Red, White, and Blue Star • Quilt #183
25″ square, made from Painter’s Palette Solids

A couple of weeks ago, the fine people who make Painter’s Palette Solids sent me some fabric and asked if I would make something. At the end of this post, there is a giveaway so you can win your own stack of red, white and blue fabrics.

I’m part of a series of posts showing items you can make with just three reds, three blues and some white.  Here is the complete list and the days that they are presenting:

6/23: Jayne of TwiggyandOpal (@twiggyandopal)
6/26: Elizabeth of OPQuilt (@occasionalpiecequilt)
6/30: Cindy Wiens of Live a Colorful Life (@liveacolorfullife)
7/3: Stephanie of Peas in a Pod (@stephiepeterson)

The project I chose was a quick and easy mini-quilt, which finishes at 25″ square, and is perfect for a table top when you want to give a little patriotic flare to the kitchen.  I’ve written up a free pattern, available in my Craftsy shop for download (see button to the right), but the instructions are here if you need any tips and help with construction.

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I was sent fat quarters in three shades of red, three shades of blue and a fat quarter of white.  The white needs special cutting: cut the long borders first (see chart on pattern), then the squares for the half-square triangles.  You may have enough the other way, but do it this way to be safe.  I also was tight on the medium blue, as I used it for the binding, too.  You’ll need to provide your own backing (about 3/4 yard, or pieced scraps).

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I basically constructed this as a nine-patch, a favorite thing of mine to do with minis. I started by sewing four bright red triangles on the edges of the blue square, then pressed them all away from the center.  I squared this unit to 7 1/2″.  (This quilt is forgiving if yours is slightly smaller.)  I squared all my nine units to the same 7 1/2″ as then I wouldn’t have to square up (or true up, depending on how you refer to it) the finished quilt top.RedWhiteBlueStar_2a

Next was the construction on this corner, sewing the medium and dark red triangles together to make a square, then sewing on the dark blue triangles to make a larger triangle.

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Sew on the medium blue triangle to make it a square; true it up to 7-1/2″ inches.RedWhiteBlueStar_2b

Now make the rest of the blocks: sew the triangles together as shown, then seam those together to make a square.  I always press to the side, if you are wondering.  Only rarely do I press open, so avoid that.

Lay out all your squares (as shown above, left), then sew them together like a nine-patch (upper right).  Measure the square; the sides should measure 21-1/2″.  Trim your long white border rectangles to measure.  Sew the darkest red blocks on each of two of the white rectangle borders.

Sew two white borders: one on top of the quilt and one of the bottom.  Press.  Then sew on the borders with the squares attached; press.  Admire your quilt top.

Let’s get quilting!

Here’s a picture of the quilt in the sunshine, showing my quilting stitches.  I always have the hardest time coming up with what to quilt where; yours may vary.  The “bandstand swag” arcs on the outside were a happy accident.

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This was all done on my Sweet Sixteen machine, but that functions like a domestic sewing machine. I did do ruler work (which is probably easier on my machine than a domestic) but it can be done on your regular sewing machine.  Just make sure you have a thick enough hopping foot and thick rulers designed for this task (not your cutting rulers!); put grippy stuff on the bottom of your rulers, as you’ll use them to help you move the fabric under your needle.

Happy Fourth of July!

If you haven’t heard me tell you about Painter’s Palette Solids, made by Paintbrush Studio, you must be a new reader.  It is my FAVORITE solid: it’s easy to work with, has a nice hand, deals well when I need to unpick and re-stitch (I had to do that with the quilting, but you can’t see it, right?).  It’s a fairly new fabric to the market, but many brick-and-mortar shops, as well as online shops, are starting to carry it.

Giveaway Banner

Patriotic Bundle June 2017

from here

As is my custom when sewing for Painter’s Palette, I give away my scraps when I finish a project, so that some fortunate quilter can give this fabric a try.  BUT!  Paintbrush Studios has generously offered up a stack of the fabrics I used in this quilt — seven fat quarters — so you can make your own (giveaway is for domestic/US only).

To enter, leave me a comment telling me if you like fireworks, and why (or your most memorable).  I’m not talking the little things that are lit up down on street level, but those glorious bursting displays of color and light.  It will get us all in the mood for Independence Day.

Giveaway picking a winnerI’ll activate the Husband Random Number Generator and pick a winner, to be contacted by email.

Good luck!

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A Tiny Quilt on Its Own Stand

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_front on frameI made this for an exchange at my Guild Night, but then my daughter and her family came into town and I didn’t go, so now I have my own little quilt.Tiny Sailboat Quilt_on frame

It has its own stand, and it’s easy-peasy to make.

Acrylic Frame

First, buy one of these.  They used to be more durable, but this is cheap-cheap-cheap and it works.

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Make yourself a sailboat.  I pieced the sail on the left first before sewing it into the mini-mini-quilt.  Here’s the templates in a PDF file (be sure to set your printer to 100% before printing): Tiny Sailboat  And if you like to foundation paper-piece, here it is again: Tiny Sailboat PaperPiece Pattern

Tiny Sailboat Paper Piece

If you are using the foundation paper-piece, cut the pattern into three pieces, as shown by the red lines, being sure to mark it somehow with seam allowances. (I use a colored pencil and draw it along the line before cutting it apart to remind me it is NOT a cutting line, but a seam line.)

The little sailboat finishes at 6 1/2″ by 8″ which isn’t big enough for the frame.  I added the sunshiney fabric on three sides, seaming a bit of “ocean” fabric on the sides to keep the horizon line.  I also added ocean fabric to the bottom, so now my little boat is afloat.

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_cut to size

Quilt as desired (curvy waves in the ocean, straight lines outlining the sailboat and sails, and stippling in the sunshine), then trim to the above size: 8-3/4″ by 10-1/2.”

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_back

Make the sleeve: Hem one short edge of a piece of fabric cut to 8-3/4″ by 9-1/2″ and place it wrong-sides-down on the back of your mini-mini quilt.  Pin in a couple of places.

Cut strips of binding 1 1/4″ wide, seaming if necessary to get the desired length.  Stitch the binding from the front, right-sides-together, then turn the back, tucking under the raw edge.  Hand-stitch closed.

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_front on frame

Our guild does these a couple of times a year, creating a changeable scene for your home.  I’ve previously hung minis on a wall, but I’m really liking this quilt-on-a-stand idea.

Early-May Accomplishments

Gidsters May Bee

I finished my Gridsters Bee block for Rachel.  She asked for buzzy bees, as she is a beekeeper in the Midwest.  Her tutorial is *here,*  as well as links to her pattern, but I didn’t cut apart the pieces.  I just straight paper-pieced the thing, then joined the head section to the body section.  We blew up the basis 6″ pattern to make 10″ finished bees.  I can’t wait to see what she does with them all.

Chuck Nohara May17_1This is beginning to feel like the never-ending quilt.

I’m making small (2-1/4″ finished) plus sign blocks to go in between all the Chuck Nohara blocks that Susan and I made together last year.  Our blocks are 6″ finished, so after I worked out the measurements, I drafted a pattern for the sashing.  Here is the PDF: Chuck Nohara SashingFinal

I started the plus blocks by cutting strip sets (2 low-volume and 1 bold), then seaming the two low-volume onto the bold on either side. Cut those across the strip set into 1-1/4″ wide strip pieces.  These pieces are both the a) top and bottom of your plus block, and b) the center of the “dot” block, shown in the intersection of the sashing, above

ChuckNohara_plus assemblyI then cut matching pieces of fabric into 1 -1/4″ x 2-3/4″ bits.  I sewed a matched set of two strip-set-blocks, one on top, and one of the bottom to make a “plus.”  Then I sewed 1 -1/4″ x 2-3/4″ pieces of low-volume on either side of a “dot” to create the mini block that is at the intersection.

Then the low-volume center piece, in between the two plus blocks, measures finished  at 2-1/4″ by 1-1/2″ (so cut 2-3/4″ by 1-3/4″).

ChuckNohara_plus blockThe “plus” and “dot” units finish at 2-1/4″ square, so trim them to 2-3/4″ square (size before sewing).

Sew two “plus” units on either side of the low-volume center piece.  Arrange them all around, then sew the row with the blocks and plus-units first:

ChuckNohara blocks row

Then I sewed the “dots” and plus-units together:

ChuckNohara blocks row2

And then I finished sewing them all together:

I’m now trying to figure out the borders.  After all the piecing I did for the sashing, I can guarantee you it won’t be like the borders Chuck Nohara showed in her book:

I’ve finally progressed to the place in my physiotherapy (I like the way the Australians say it, as we just call it “PT”) where I could try out my Sweet Sixteen quilting machine again.  After 3-1/2 months.  It took me a while to get the thread tensions balanced, but then was I able to get going on my quilt from the Traveling Threads Bee, made of Alison Glass fabrics (with a few others).

Bliss.  This block, from Toni of HoosierToni, is coming along nicely.  I’m limiting myself to 30 minutes/session so I don’t break my surgery (my one big fear in life).

Lastly, you are all invited to our Raincross Guild Meeting this coming Tuesday, May 16th (6 p.m.), where I’ll present a trunk show of my quilts–well, only 25 of them.  My husband helped me get them from our closets, walls and cupboards, so I can decide the order and what to say.  I just clicked over to the Guild’s website, and in true humbling fashion, I’m not even listed.  But Latifah Saafir is, on the day I’m supposed to teach a class for the Guild, too.  What will I be teaching?

My Home, Sweet, Home mini quilt.  I think they have a few openings, but I’m not sure.  I’ll be emailing the class members prep instructions, that if they complete them, they will finish their quilts in class.  That’s June 3rd, from 9 a.m. -2 p.m., with a 30-min lunch break (bring your lunch).

Last time I taught this class, I was able to snap a photo of three Home Sweet Home quilts. They look awesome!  Patterns are for sale in my Craftsy shop, just in case you aren’t able to attend that day.

Happy Quilting!

Liberty USA Mini Quilt, 1 (along with some “slow quilting”)

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I have always wanted a patriotic mini-quilt, so before surgery, I prepped up these little stars, fused them down to 2 1/2″ squares of fabric and stitched them together in a block.  I figured I could stitch on them while healing.  I would use some of those pearl cottons I’d collected while doing Oh! Christmas Tree, and blanket stitch around the shapes.
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The first day, all I could stitch was ten minutes.  liberty-usa-quilt3 I came back to it a week later and over a few days, finished them up. Now what?liberty-usa-quilt4

I taught my husband how to rotary cut, and we got some stripes together (short is 8-1/2″ x 2-1/2″; longer is 16-1/2″ long x 2-1/2″).  I swapped out my big machine for my teeny Featherweight, and stitched them together, one-handed.  At my first check-up the doctor gave me the go-ahead to do stitching, as long as I wore my sling, saying it would be “therapeutic.”  Oh, yes.liberty-usa-quilt5

Putting on these scissor-cut  1-1/4″ borders was not easy (finish at 3/4″).  I’m so used to man-handling the fabric for speed, I’d forgotten how to slow-stitch, or slow-quilt, or whatever you want to call it.  Before, I would grab the strip in front and in back and put some tension on it, floor my foot pedal, and force that fabric into place.  Since I only have one hand available to help guide it through the machine, this wasn’t going to work.liberty-usa-quilt6

Auditioning the next border, with the realization that there is no driving, either, so no running to the fabric store if I don’t like what I have.  I scissor cut the borders, laid out the little mini quilt face-up on the ironing board, and gave it a good press and smoothed it out.  Next I laid the border face-down on top, and again pressed it.  Since I can’t force these pieces together, I have to coax them.  I pinned them together in many places, and fed the seam slowly through the machine.  Flattest border I ever put on, with no puckers anywhere.liberty-usa-quilt7 liberty-usa-quilt8 liberty-usa-quilt8a_word

I had an old printout from the internet (couldn’t find the source when I went back to reference it) that had this word,  so I drew two lines, 5″ apart, then another guideline 1″ inside the top and bottom and freehanded the letters. I fused them on to the quilt.  They are about 5″ tall overall, as that outer border was 6″ scissor-cut.liberty-usa-quilt10

I sketched out a bud, figured out some leaves.  I drew joined leaves, inspired by my love of samaras, or those joined helicopter seeds from maple trees, but also inspired by this photo [PDF of pattern shapes is at the end of this post].  Above, I am trying Sarah Fielke’s method of prepping up shapes for appliqué.  It worked fairly well.

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I laid  out all the parts: leaves, byds (small and large), tubing for stems and more cut stars (on the pattern sheet), trying to decide if I like two leaf sets next to the word Liberty, or one.  I’ll appliqué or blanket stitch down everything…then decide.  Since I work in small segments of time, and ever so slowly, I might make my goal of July 4th.   Here’s the pattern sheet in a PDF document: liberty-usa-quilt-bits
liberty-usa-quilt-printingPlease be sure to set your printer’s settings to 100% so the large star will measure 3-1/4″ where noted. It contains: large flower bud (top and two sides), small flower bud (next to Liberty), joined leaf shape and the large star.  You can either shrink this star for the 16 stars in the central star section, or look for a star online that will measure about 1-3/4″ to 2″ across.

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My set-up is a pattern-cutting board laid out on the extra bed, a chair pulled up to it.

Keep stitching, however s l o w l y !

Deconstruction of Shimmery Tunnel of Memories • Four-in-Art Feb. 2107

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This is the deconstruction post for my recent Four-in-Art Challenge of Shimmer.

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First off: what a lame title.  I had another name picked for this (“Multiverse Snapshot”) which is a much cooler name, but I’d forgotten that I had chosen it, and instead on the label put this blathery clichéed title.  Now that you know how I really feel about it, I’ll tell you how I put this together. (And no, I’m not making another label.)

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I wanted to recreate the little specks of light from Multiverse (see previous post), so cut strips of silvery metallic fabric.  This is leftover fabric from my friend Lisa’s American Flag project (a flag the size of a basketball court); she rescued me when I couldn’t find my own lamé in my sewing room. Just for the record, that stuff is a challenge to work with: the strands kept going off on their own, as you can see above.shimmerytunnel_2

I wanted the vantage point to be off the piece, so I drew a dot on a post-it note off the paper, but when that didn’t prove to be a far enough vantage point, I went further to the left, making the radiating lines in red pencil.shimmerytunnel_3

I had some strips of solids leftover from this quilt, and put them into use.shimmerytunnel_4

After sandwiching the silver/black fabric, I cut it into narrow strips.shimmerytunnel_5

I seamed a couple of those strips end-to-end, laid the resulting longer strip in the center, and chose a bright solid to lead off the piece, and stitched down one side.  I went back and forth between doing this piece in a series of gray and black fabrics vs. rainbow, but knew that I didn’t have a wide enough range to get the effect of Multiverse, so changed it up to a muted rainbow.shimmerytunnel_6

I pinned it on, flipped it over and sewed on the drawn lines, for the most part.  Sometimes I went narrower, but used these lined to keep the correct angle going.shimmerytunnel_7

A good beginning.  You can see by the red cast of this photograph that I’m sewing at night.

A lot of times I’m tired at the end of the day and don’t want to sew, but then I say: “What do I want to have done before I go to bed tonight?” and head back into the sewing room.  Often just working for ten or so minutes will engage me enough to keep going at it for at least an hour.

I was feeling a lot of pressure to get this sewn up ahead of time, because I knew that I would have had a surgery when this posted (it happened about a week ago: a repair to a severed tendon on my rotator cuff) and I knew I’d be unable to complete this, or any sewing at all, for some time.shimmerytunnel_8

But hopefully it will be good to get the pain gone (cause is referenced here) and my shoulder back in working condition.shimmerytunnel_9

I almost like the back better than the front.  If I had any creative guts at all, I would have gone with this.  My professor in my digital art class once told me: “You have a problem with tidiness in your art.”  Yep, I’m all about the tidiness, as long as you don’t look at my garage.  Or sewing room.shimmerytunnel_10

I stitched around the outside edge to stabilize it, and went to bed.shimmerytunnel_11

After thinking it over and drawing all sorts of fantastical loopy lines on scratch paper, I went linear, quilting on the cottons, not that silvery shredding lamé.shimmerytunnel_12

Done.

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I backed it with this new piece of fabric, “Dropping Seeds” by Roseanne Morton.  Okay, I want this fabric in ALL colors; it’s terrific.  I chose a simple black very narrow binding, and did my usual two squares-folded-on-the-diagonal-and-sewn-into-the-top-corners for how I’ll hang it.  (I put a dowel cut to size in those “pockets” and suspend the piece on a pushpin or nail.) Happy Shimmering!

Next quarter’s challenge, due May 1st,  is Light in the Darkness.