Monday, 28 September 2015

Odd Shaped Blocks in Blocks "Tutorial"

When I set about creating a modern I-Spy quilt for my youngest daughter, inspired by (okay, totally ripping off) this beautiful quilt by From the Blue Chair, I didn't much think about the construction. Then I tried to make the first block using a log cabin sort of approach and I had lots of waste. I cut a piece a bit bigger than the finished block size I wanted, cut two pieces for around the center block and...ack, now the other sides were too small.

When I googled how to do this I found some tutorials for inserting centers of the same size and in the same location but that is not what I wanted. I had fussy cut with abandon, and each of my centers was a totally different size AND I wanted them to be randomly placed within the larger block. After some more experimentation I came up with my solution, and while this may be obvious to everyone but me, I thought maybe you'd like to see how I did it.

To begin, I fussy cut all my centers, in all different sizes. I just wanted to capture the best image. Then I used 1" strips of varying colours (with some Kona White for a restful look and, again, because I was copying From the Blue Chair's quilt) to surround each fussy cut center.

Then I cut a 12"x12" block from the solid colour I wanted.
That is a 12x12" block of Celestial with a little fussy cut sloth from C+S beside it, wrapped in a 1" border of Pomegranate.
I measured the sloth,(he was 6 3/4") then placed the center approximately where I wanted it.
Approximate placement.
Then I cut the width of the sloth, 6 3/4" (with the borders) from the square, as show below. That center strip is the same width as the sloth.
The strips on either sides will become the vertical strips on my block.
Then I used my ruler and cut the center strip approximately where I wanted the sloth to be in this square.
3" up I cut the center strip. This two pieces will become my horizontal strips in my block.
Then a cat helps by inspecting the whole thing, sitting right in the middle of the block you are making and trying to photograph.
Is it acceptable?
I then sewed the top and bottom horizontal pieces to the sloth, as shown below.
Doesn't he look lovely?
And then I sewed the two vertical pieces on, being sure to line up the bottom edge of the vertical pieces with the bottom of my center strip.
Now it looks something like this.
A little trimming gets it to the size I actually want (I decided on 10 1/2") and places the sloth exactly where I want. Starting with a 12" square let me play with where exactly I wanted the sloth (or any center) to actually be on the final block,
Ta da! Sloth is ready to go!
I used washi tape or painter's tape to tape up all my blocks since I still don't have a design wall in my sewing room.
The sloth is ready to go.
And I kept the momentum going making more and more blocks. Note that the center appears in a different part of the block for each one.
It begins...
This is the current count. I have 25 blocks done and now I need to decide if I'm done and can start sashing (in Kona White) or if I want to make 5 more.
I hope this "tutorial" (I'm using the term loosely) was somewhat helpful. If nothing else it will help me remember the process I went through to get this result. In addition, I really need to edit the photos before I upload them so you don't have to see my legs. :)

Friday, 11 September 2015

Twilight and Dawn: Two Finished Quilts

A co-worker is expecting twin girls in early October and I knew just the fabric to pull from my stash- Wee Wander by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. I scooped up a fat eighth bundle of this precious line when it came out and had it shipped (free!) to an American address where my aunt was staying. It meant a long wait for it to come and then I didn't use for a while...until now.

I wanted the quilts to be an obvious pair but not match. I decided to supplement my Wee Wander with some other prints (some Pearl Bracelets, some Cotton + Steel basics and some other Lizzy House prints that seemed just right) to make a Wonky Star quilt using the free tutorial from Owen's Olivia. The mom said the nursery is mostly white with "pops of colour" so I knew this would work well.

The quilts are named Twilight (for the blue, cool-coloured one) and Dawn (for the pinkish, warm-coloured one). Here they are:

Thank goodness my husband's best friend was staying for the weekend. Nothing says "boys weekend" like being forced to hold up quilts. :)

Twilight is, I think, my favourite of the two. The turquoise, teal, mint green and blue is totally my jam. The supplementary fabrics in the one are a Cotton+Steel with a gold plus in it, an Art Gallery Squared Elements print and a Pearl Bracelets. I think it looks cohesive yet playful.

I tried whenever it made sense to fussy cut the centres. Like this sweet horse, or those children playing in the bottom left of this picture.

Dawn is also bright and playful. Here I added some Lizzy House Jewels I've had forever, as well as a Lizzy House Constellations in Peach from her latest Natural History Line, plus one star from Heather Bailey's True Colours line.

You can see more fussy cutting evident here. Also, this shows the quilting I did. I used straight-line quilting on either side of each seam. Then I quilted an echo pattern around the inside of each star.

The backs are pretty wild. I basically emptied my scraps and stash to find bits to make this wild pieced backing for each one. They are very bright and busy and I have to say I sort of love them! It also allowed me to include the fat eighth of the large border print (in approximately the centre of each back) that wouldn't have worked chopped up into a wonky star.
From the back you can see the outline quilting on the inside border of each star. That took awhile but I like the effect very much.
I ended up binding each quilt in a Kona solid from my stash (Twilight with Pool and Dawn with Bright Pink). I like the calmer binding since the quilts themselves (especially from the back!) are quite visually busy.

I hope the mom loves them. Actually, I hope she cries. :)

And though I thought these were the last baby quilts in my future, I just found out that my husband's sister is expecting in March and (unlike with their first) they are going to find out the baby's sex so I have at least one more baby quilt in my future!