Deco Shimmer: Finished top!

I’ve finished the top for Deco Shimmer.  The blocks are now officially a flimsy!  I love that quilting term, flimsy.  It just reminds me so much that quilting has such a long and strong history.  Plus, it’s fun to say. Flimsy.

I waited a few days to take pictures of the flimsy (haha) because I wanted to take pictures of it outside in the sun, and since the only persons available were of a rather short stature, I had to wait for Mr. Apple Pie to be around, and that meant waiting for the weekend.

Deco flimsy 1

The wind, of course, did not want to cooperate fully.  Not wholly unsurprising, and I rather like how it makes the flimsy (heehee) look like it’s playing in the breeze.  The piecing went together very quickly, and since there are only four blocks in the quilt.  It’s the first time that I’ve made a quilt with such large blocks, and I really like the bolder look that they give.  The pattern was very clear and easy to follow. If you’re interested in the pattern, it should be being released soon.  And, if you follow HMGR Quilting, then you’ll know as soon as she as it ready for release!

Deco flimsy 2

I love how when the sun shines through the flimsy it makes it look like stained glass.  The shadow is rather cute too.  The colours almost glow!  I think the finished size of this quilt is 54″x54″.  There are no borders forthcoming, and frankly, I don’t think it needs them.  I hope to have it quilted and bound soon, but I have to finish up my community quilt first.

I’m linking this finished flimsy up to TGIFF, which is being hosted by Kristy at Quiet Play this week.  Finishing something is a great accomplishment, and deserves to be celebrated, don’t you think?  Maybe I should make a pie.

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Road Trip QAL: Colorado Pass

So, this is block number 11 12 of 16 for the QAL.  I’m beginning to sense that my blogging is lagging behind my sewing, since I finished this block at least two weeks ago.  The construction of this block was very straightforward: half-square triangles and squares.  The only tricky part was making sure that all the HSTs were oriented correctly so that I got the windmill turning the right direction in the centre.

QAL Colorado

Looking at this picture, I can tell that fall is on its way, since the grass is not nearly so green, and there are more leaves on the ground than the last time I took pictures of quilt blocks outside.  I’m totally loving the way the solid red pops in the dark block.

QAL light 1-12

These were taken on the shady side of the lawn, and I can tell the colours are not as vibrant.  Oh, well.  The sun is getting harder and harder to come by in the backyard anyway, as we get closer to the end of the summer.  (I know it’s fall now, but it was still summer when I took these photos.)

QAL dark 1-12

Here’s the dark set.  I’m noticing I used lots of different shades of orange.  I think my favourite orange of the lot is the polka dot orange in the Wyoming Valley block (row 3, block 3).  Actually, I think that’s just my favourite block in general.  Not wholly surprising, since I tend to favour star blocks.

I’m linking this up to WIP Wednesday at the Needle and Thread Network again.  One of the highlights of my week is seeing what the other Canadian crafters are up to, since it’s always such nice stuff.
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A new QAL Mod Pop

I know I’m not quite finished the Road Trip QAL, but I saw this new Mod Pop QAL beginning at She Can Quilt and I couldn’t not join.  I love the curves in this project, and ever since I got the Deco Shimmer top done, I’ve been feeling a lot more confident when it comes to curves.

I picked out some fabrics to get started.  I decided to challenge myself with regards to colour scheme, and do this quilt in pinks and purples.  I only ever made one quilt with just pinks, a baby quilt for my niece.  And purple is a colour I almost never use.  So I started pulling from my scrap bin.  I had a fair number of purples and pinks in there, but most of them were from a friend of mine who recently destashed a lot and gave everything to me.

Mod Pop QAL fabrics 1

So I made a good start there.  Then I went to my stash and pulled out some larger, yardage pieces.  I had a lot more pink than I thought I did, and more purple than I expected as well.  Maybe since I never seem to use these colours, the volume of them in my stash doesn’t decrease as fast as, for example, my reds, which I use all the time.

Mod Pop QAL fabrics 2

I’ll pair these up with a basic neutral for the chains in the quilt.  I didn’t bother taking a picture of those, so you’ll have to just make an image in your mind of all the wonderful neutrals I’ll be using.  I’ve started cutting in to the fabrics, and I’m liking how they look together more than I expected to.  And I figure that if I don’t like it when it’s finished, then I’m nearly positive I’ll be able to find a little girl somewhere who will be more than willing to adopt it.

You can check out the flickr group for the QAL here.  Lots of great fabric choices have gone up already!  Join in on the fun and conquer curves with us!

she can quilt

Road Trip QAL: Montana

I’m starting to lag behind the pace on the QAL a little bit.  I’m actually finding it surprisingly difficult to work with such a limited colour palette.  So much so, that I cheated and started work on a second project, testing a pattern, Deco Shimmer, for HGMR Deco Quilting.  I actually finished that top yesterday, but since I finished this block last week, I’ll blog about them in order.

Montana is another of the blocks that I resized from 12″ to 15″  I’ve decided to resize 4 blocks altogether, so I’m going to make Rocky Road to Kansas bigger as well.  That will give me enough larger blocks to make a medallion centre in my finished quilt.  In theory, anyway.

QAL Montana

Instead of trying to figure out odd angles, I paper pieced the points of the stars.  I kind of like how in the dark block, you lose the star points a little and it takes on the look of the Shoo-Fly block, but in the light points, the star points shine.  It’s amazing how simply recolouring a block can make it look so different.

QAL dark 1-11

I know there’s only 12 blocks in this picture, (for the 11 states, since I did two for Wyoming)  but I have 14 done and three left to go.  I have to blog about Kentucky Chain and Colorado Pass, and make Kansas, Missouri, and West Virginia.  That means I will have 17 blocks when I’m done, which doesn’t quite convert into a nice number for blocks and rows.  I’m still debating if I’m going to try to get them all in or if I’ll just leave one out.  I think I’ll decide when I’m finished all the blocks.

QAL light 1-11

I think I’m starting to like the light blocks more.  But they’re all nice; is it ok if I play favourites?  I’ll have to mull over that awhile.  I’m linking this up The Needle and Thread Network for WIP Wednesday.  Check out the other entries!  There’s always some fabulous stuff to look at.

Thrifting again

I love shopping at thrift shops.  The thrill of the hunt, finding something super special hidden in the racks, having it fit you just right.  And of course, the best bonus of all, finding it on a half off day!  Sometimes I’ll find something that is just about perfect, but it has something simple wrong with it.  It might be too big, but that’s a simple fix if it’s a top.

Recently, I found a sundress at a local thrift store.  I loved the skirt part with the florals flowing up from the bottom part of the dress, but the bow in the front looked like something  Thing 1 would wear.  I also disliked the spaghetti straps since I prefer to wear clothing that covers my bra straps.  In the spring and fall it wouldn’t be a problem since I could layer something overtop or underneath, but in the heat of the summer that would be a no go.

dress 1

Here is a horribly lit picture of the dress before I altered it.  Please ignore the very messy bedroom and the laundry on the floor.  My bedroom has a door, and doors can close, which means that it only gets cleaned up after I finish cleaning up after the kids in the other parts of the house, at which point I’m often too tired to care.  Just look at the narrow straps and the bow in the front.

dress 2

Thing 1 took this picture for me after I was done altering it.  I took off the bow, and used that fabric to make straps that were nice and wide.  It was a very simple fix, and it did not take long to do.  Stuff like this is just part of the thrifting fun for me.  After all, now that I’ve changed it, I can be certain there is indeed no other dress out there like it!

Pattern testing: Deco Shimmer

Recently, I volunteered to test a quilt pattern for Helen from HGMR Quilting.  She sent me a list of patterns to choose from with little pictures of the finished quilts.  I just fell in love with Deco Shimmer.  This pattern requires the Quick Curve Ruler, designed by Helen’s sister, Jenny, of Sew Kind of Wonderful.  I love this ruler and was really glad to have another excuse to use it.  I am still working on my first project with this ruler, Urban Nine Patch, but since when has not finishing off previous projects stopped me from starting another one?  Answer: never!

So, I got started as soon as I got the pattern in my email.  These curves went together so fast, it was incredible.  I think I got all of the curves, and there was around 100 of them, sewn in about two hours.  Then I pressed them and it was on to trimming.

Deco 1

Another great thing about the ruler is that you can use it for both cutting the curves and squaring up the blocks.  Thing 3 helped me when I was trimming them by stacking all the trimmed off strings off to the side for me.  I was very careful around her little fingers when using my rotary cutter, but she listened well and kept them out of the way until I said it was safe again.

Deco 2

Here’s the layout.  I miscounted the number of plain, background squares that I needed, so I have to cut four more of those yet.  I alternated the colours in the squares, so that teal is on the outside in one block and on the inside in the next.  This picture was taken in my kitchen, (which only has fluorescent lighting), and at night, so the colours are a little more vibrant in person.

Deco 3

In this next one, I used the extra practice blocks that I had made before I cut all my fabric out.  It meant that I had enough squares for the entire top, but I’m not sure which layout I like better,  I like the extra negative space in the original, true to pattern layout.  But then the extra little zing of fabric on the second one is nice too.

That little gap between the top and bottom rows is purely for practical reasons. This design wall is in my kitchen, and it is a little large and covers half of the light switch,  I left the gap so that when the lights are turned off and on, the blocks aren’t brushed off the wall.  Classy, yes?

I’m linking this up to WIP Wednesday at the Needle and Thread Network.  Check out what the other Canadian crafters are up to this week!

Tutorial: Kentucky Chain Block

The second last block of the Road Trip QAL is Kentucky Chain.  This is a gorgeous block that makes a wonderful tessellating pattern when you put them in a quilt.  It also looks wonderful on its own. Most of the instructions that are around for this block involve paper piecing, but I wanted to just piece it, so I figured out how. This it the simplest, yet very accurate, method that I came up with.  Let me know if you understand, since it’s my first tutorial!

You can check here for a sketch of what a whole quilt would look like. I will just be doing instructions for one block. For this block you will need three fabrics that contrast.  Think light, medium, dark.  Two fabrics will be the strips that weave in and out, and the last will be the background. Cutting instructions:

  • Fabric A – Background: 4 – 5″ squares
  • Fabric B – Chain #1 – 2 rectangles 2.5″ x 8.5″ and 2 rectangles 2.5″ x 9.5″
  • Fabric C – Chain #2 – 2 rectangles 2.5″ x 8.5″ and 2 rectangles 2.5″ x 9.5″

Kentucky Tut 1

Press the background squares in half, on the diagonal.  Then cut them in half, perpendicular to the pressed line, on the diagonal, so you have two triangles.

Kentucky Tut 3

Press each of the strips in half, folding the short sides toward each other.

Kentucky Tut 2

We will be making two sets of identical quadrants to make one complete block.  For each quadrant you will need two triangles of fabric A, one short strip for the first chain, fabric B, and one long strip for the second chain, fabric C. Take one triangle and the shorter strip.  Line up the creases so that you can be sure that the triangle is centered on the strip.

Kentucky Tut 4

Stitch a 1/4″ seam.  Then take the other triangle and sew it to the other side of the strip, matching the creases again.  I pinned these, but I’m a habitual pinner.  If you don’t think you need pins, then don’t.  🙂

Kentucky Tut 5

Press the seams toward the triangles, and then fold the block in half so that the seam is at the fold, and crease it again. Square up the block to 5 3/4″.  You can use the crease to help you square it up if you want.  I did. 🙂 (Note: this is the second of the two blocks, so the centre colour is different than the first picture.)

Kentucky Tut 7

Now slice the block in half so that the first strip is bisected.  This cut will once again be perpendicular to your crease. Now take the longer strip of the second chain fabric. Line up the creases and sew both new triangle halves to the strip, as you did the first time.

Kentucky Tut 8

Press toward the strip.  If you used the crease to help you square it up, then crease the centre of the strip again. Square up the block to 6.5″ .

Kentucky Tut 9

Make a second identical block, and then make two more with the strips in the opposite positions.  Join the four blocks to make the completed Kentucky Chain block.  Your block should measure 12.5″

You can also make this block to finish at 9″.  For that size block, cut your background fabric 4″ square, and the two strips 7″ and 8″.  After you sew the first triangles on the first strip, trim the block to 4.5″.  After the second strip is sewn in, trim the block to 5″.

Anyway, I hope these instructions are clear enough!  Please let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them.  If you make one of these blocks, let me know; I’d love to see it.