Mini Madness Wrap-Up (Mostly)

This past summer, I joined four swaps, then had my head examined and swore never to do it again.  It was sort of a good thing to have some small things to try out my design skills and to keep me quilting, so I guess another title for this post is “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”  I do plan to do individual posts on a couple of them (so you’ll see them again), plus I have one more mini quilt that I made with quite a story (not shown, but soon).  But so far, here they are, in the order they rolled out from my house.

Mini House_frontlabeled

The Heart’s Solace: Home, Sweet, Home (No. 147)

House Mini Gift

Although a little bit late (she had fabric and pattern issues), Emily sent me mine and I am so in love with it.  I ended up drafting her a pattern on my QuiltPro quilt software, which I’m happy to share with you.  It’s in a PDF file: Emily’s House  On the first page, the piece for the narrow sashing around the central patchwork square is cut off.  I’d recommend using the width of the pattern piece as a guide and cutting a strip to fit your work after you start sewing it together.

Rainbow Gardens

Rainbow Gardens, No. 148

This post has links to my Craftsy/PayHip store where you can purchase the pattern.

Kaffe Mini Gift

Here is the creative and beautiful quilt I received from that swap–a lovely Dresden-plate type circle of houses.  I love them all and love the variety of sewing machine fancy stitches that my partner used.  I hear there is a pattern out there for it called Dresden Neighborhood (by Persimmon Dreams) and you can buy it from Craftsy.

Little pouches for swaps

One hallmark of swaps is the little gifts that you send, although I did join a swap titled “Simply Mini.”  (More about that one later.)  I made two of my swap partners Dumpling Pouches and filled them with interesting PostIt Notes, some washi tape and quilty trinkets.  I’ve seen some swap loot that is over the top; I hope my partners aren’t disappointed (all of them have received their packages).

Rolling Rainbow sent off Rolling Rainbow_front

Rolling Rainbow Star–I made one for the Simply Mini Swap and then had to make one for myself.  I changed up the binding on it to tell them apart.

Rainbow Rolling Star_back

I love this backing.

Flying Geese

Flying Rainbow.  The last one I made was for the Schnitzel & Boo swap–the grandmama of all swaps on Instagram, now in it’s fourth year.  I wanted to say I did that one, and now I can.  The quilter I was to send to liked bowling, cooking and classic comic books, so I bought her some bowling score fabric to use the quilt, and backed it with fabric showing wee chefs and bakers.

Flying Geese_back

Now my To-Do list looks like this:

Mutts To Do Lists 10_8

 Just kidding.  Now I have to clean out the garage before our hoped-for El Nino rains arrive.  (Fingers are crossed!)

Circles Block #10–EPP Sew-A-Long


Circles EPP Button

Circles Block Ten_OPQuiltDresden Plate, Rainbow Style — Circles Block #10

Here we are again, with block ten of the dozen or so blocks I have planned for this series, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites.

On Kitchen Cupboard

In fact I liked it so well, I taped it to my kitchen cupboard, where I can enjoy it.  My husband says it looks like a winking smiley face.  I just see a rainbow.

Circles Block Ten _Dresden

As I mentioned before, unlike earlier patterns, there are now no hand-drawn designs since I am able to work in a new version of quilt software.  But Please, since this is a free pattern: do attribute the source of this to Elizabeth at OccasionalPiece-Quilt  (or OPQuilt.com) and do not print off copies for your mother or your friends.  Please direct them here to get their free copies.  Many thanks.  

Here’s the pattern in a PDF file for you to download:
EPP #10_OPQuilt_Dresden Plate

Print Settings Ten

Print off four copies and cut out the blades, but cut out only one circle.  Make sure your printer settings are set to 100% scale.

Cut Pieces Laid out

Here’s the blade papers pinned to fabrics and cut out.  I used pins initially as I was checking for a smooth gradation of colors for my rainbow.  Yes, I realized later I’d done the rainbow the reverse of what is normally shown.

Glued pieces laid out

After I liked the arrangement, I used a glue stick and glued them to the papers.  I talk about gluing vs. basting in an earlier circle post, so read back through those to learn about that technique.

Perfect Circles1

The one new thing for this circle is confessing my undying love for Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circle templates.

Perfect Circles2

I have them in two sizes: smaller, and bigger.  It’s what I use for my circles, instead of cutting out the paper pattern. I have learned to punch 2-3 holes in the biggest circles when I take them to my ironing board, in order to let the steam escape.

I choose a circle a little bit bigger than the paper pattern, then lay it down on the wrong side of the fabric, and trace around it.  I then cut about 1/2″ away from the line.  I did talk about the construction of them *here;*  just scroll down to where you see me taking a gathering stitch and pulling it up around the circle, then read on.

Starting at Point

To construct this block, line up the “shoulders” of the upper edges, as shown.  Take a stitch, then loop through it to make it more secure, as shown in the next photo, pulling it snug.

Make an extra loop

EPP Stitching

Then keep going, taking tiny “bites” of fabric of each blade, whip-stitching them together.  It goes really quickly.

Pieces of Dresden

I did mine in sections, depending on which thread matched, then sewed the sections together.

Stitched to backing

Cut a 14 1/2″ square for the background, and crease in the centers on all four sides; if you are not near an iron, just finger-press it.  Now it’s Decision Time: Point up, or valley up?  I went with the valley between the two points, but my friend Lisa, who was sitting beside me at quilt guild, preferred the point up.  I tell you this story to say that there is no right or wrong–just what you like. Applique this to the background using a neutral thread.  There’s a trick to good appliqué, and that’s to not have the thread come all the way to the top of what you are appliquéing, but instead kind of split the fold.  Then don’t pull the thread too tightly.  You want it to float on your background, not be nailed to it.  I have a photo below, when I appliqué the center, showing what I mean about “splitting the fold.” (At least I hope it does.)

Cut away backing

After you appliqué the rainbow Dresden Plate onto the back, trim away the underneath, about 1/4″ away from your stitches.

Loosen papers

Using either a pair of small, sharp scissors or the business end of a stiletto, loosen the glued edges, and pop out the papers.

Backing Cut Away

Like this.

Applique split the fold

Arrange your circle on your Dresden, pin.  Now appliqué on.  I need to start making my circles a wee bit bigger, because it was a close call on some parts, so I sewed with teensy little stitches in a neutral thread (here: a grey-green).  See how the needle is kind of splitting the fold on that left-hand part of the photo?  You want to try to get a good bite of fabric, but not so the needle comes out on the top.  You want it at the “side” of the piece, if you can think about it that way, like if you were looking at a really flat layer cake–you’d want the needle to come out about where the filling is, not on top where the decorations are.  Don’t pull the thread too tightly. . . just snugly.

Circle on back view

Whew.  Some of those seam allowances are barely a quarter-inch, but my stitches are tiny and the center will hold. (Quick! which poem is that from?***)

Circles Block Ten_OPQuilt

Here’s your completed block?  Why a Dresden block?  Doesn’t every circle quilt need one?  I’d been making them for my bee groups.  We used *this tutorial* and sewed them on the sewing machine (although I used my version of the centers, and machine appliquéd them on), but truthfully, sewing them by hand didn’t take that much longer.

dresden plate_Opquilt

First, Rene’ had us make one in blues and greens.

2015 MCM March w0 label

And then Cindy had us make one in bright colors, so how I could I resist?

Ten Circles

And then there were ten!

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

***  The poem is from Yeats, and he actually said the “centre cannot hold,” but your lovely hand-stitched center will.  Here’s the first part of his poem, and although I analyzed it to death when teaching it to my students, I still barely get the whole meaning, but it does have to do with the horrors of our twentieth century.  It’s pretty scary out there.  Too bad Yeats didn’t do English Paper Piecing.  He might have felt better about things.

THE SECOND COMING, by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. . . . .

Colorwheel Blossom–quilt top done!

Colorwheel Blossom Quilt Top

My husband very graciously held up ColorWheel Bloom for me this morning, as it simply melted into my usual place of the design wall in my sewing studio/room.  I like the bright rainbow of colors framed by the sawtooth points and the breathing space given to all of that by the white borders.  A happy juncture.

Now the nightmare begins.  How to quilt this thing?

Working on My Stuff

Magazine

My first issue of Uppercase magazine arrived.  It’s on my nightstand and I can hardly wait.

Center Colors

I also took a trip to Purl Soho-West Coast (in Orange County, California) where I picked up some more solid fabrics for the inner petals on that soon-to-be-renamed Rainbow Petals quilt.  I appliquéd on three of the petals the other night while my husband and I watched the latest Star Trek movie, and added another petal during the our local quilt guild meeting.

Now that Downton Abbey’s over, I need to make time to sew.  Maybe I should rewatch parts of it, so I can get this finished?