Ombre Half Square Triangle Quilt

taupe-ombre-quilt-hanging

This is my last quilt for 2016.  It’s something I wanted to make for a while – a quilt that matches our bedroom colors.  It’s a nice throw size for when you want to take a nap back in the bedroom.  And I made it with one of my favorite fabrics, Ombre, from V&Co.  This quilt was made with just one color of Ombre!  It’s a gradiated fabric and it gives the appearance that you used several different fabrics.

taupe-ombre-quilt-folded

I made this quilt entirely from half square triangles.  I made them using an eight-at-a-time method, which I’m going to write about in my next post.  It’s a super fast way to make eight HSTs, sewing only two seams together and making 4 cuts.  I made the blocks 4.5″ and I made a total of 192 blocks.

taupe-ombre-quilt-front

I also did something that I did in my last quilt, which was to use two layers of batting.  I liked it so much in my Dotted Flying Geese quilt that I thought I would try it again.  It makes a very warm quilt.  I used one layer of Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting and one layer of Hobb’s 80/20 batting.  I was still able to machine quilt with no puckering or tucks.  I made sure to lower the tension on my machine.  I quilted with Aurifil 50 wt thread at a 4.0 stitch length.

taupe-ombre-quilt-back-detail

taupe-ombre-quilt-abck-and-front

For the backing, I used a favorite fabric – Modern Background Notes by Zen Chic. I love the writing on this fabric and thought it was perfect for this quilt.

taupe-ombre-quilt-stacked

taupe-ombre-quilt

I used a very simple binding, because I didn’t want the quilt to be too busy.  I cut 2.5″ strips for the binding and sewed it on by machine using this method.

The finished quilt measures 64″ x 48″.   I love the way it turned out and it looks so nice at the foot of our bed.

Thanks for stopping by and here’s wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!

Elaine

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Four-at-a-Time No Waste Flying Geese Blocks

No Waste Flying Geese.jpg

I used to avoid making Flying Geese blocks because of all the wasted corners of fabrics you have to cut off.  I couldn’t bring myself to do that.  But did you know you can make Flying Geese blocks with no wasted fabric?  This was a game changer for me and now I love this block.

I’m showing you how to make these blocks four at a time. I like to make these a little oversize, so I can trim them to perfect sizes.  You cut one large square of fabric from the fabric you want for your Flying Geese (your main fabric).  Then you cut four small squares from your background fabric.  This chart shows you what to cut for various sizes.  Remember – the finished Flying Geese Size in the chart is after being sewn into your project.  After you trim them (before they are sewn in) they will be ½” larger than your desired finished size, so that you have ¼” seam allowance to work with.

I hope this tutorial is helpful.  Some Flying Geese tutorials are complicated and don’t seem to explain the technique very well – I hoped to make one that is very simple to follow.   Happy Sewing!

flying-geese-chart

With this method, you will end up with four Flying Geese blocks.

flying-geese-tutorial-1flying-geese-tutorial-2flying-geese-tutorial-5flying-geese-tutorial-6flying-geese-tutorial-7flying-geese-tutorial-8flying-geese-tutorial-9flying-geese-tutorial-10flying-geese-tutorial-11flying-geese-tutorial-12flying-geese-tutorial-13flying-geese-tutorial-14flying-geese-tutorial-15

I like to trim my blocks  with Bloc Loc Rulersflying-geese-tutorial-16

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Dotted Flying Geese Quilt

 

dotted-flying-geese-stacked-ii

I always had a vision for this quilt – using only dotted fabrics of all sizes and only in black and white.  I used great big dots and pin dots and everything in between.  It made a very modern, bold quilt. Normally, I don’t like to make flying geese blocks because there’s so much wasted fabric but in a future post, I’m going to show you how to make them using a no-waste method. 

dotted-flying-geese-overhead-view

I thought about putting these flying geese on a white background but it seemed a little too stark.  I then pulled out one of my all time favorite fabrics from Zen Chic – Ink Modern Background in Grey.  I paired this with Robert Kaufman Kona Solid in Silver and randomly made all the backgrounds in the blocks from these two fabrics.

dotted-flying-geese-ink-detail

ink-zen-chic

The flying geese themselves were made of many different dotted fabrics from my stash.  I wasn’t able to identify every single dotted fabric but here are some that I know and are a favorite, in case you are wondering what some of them are:  Jumbo Dots by Loralie Harris – if you don’t know her line of dotted fabrics, check them out!  So very fun and inspirational.  Another dotted fabric I really love is Hello Bear Firefly in Whisper, an Art Gallery Fabric.

dotted-flying-geese-quilt

dotted-flying-geese-quilt-overhead

The finished quilt is  55″ x 61′.  Each flying geese block was 3″ x 6″.  I made 180 blocks.  I made them using Bloc Loc rulers, which I’m going to write about in a future post.  This method made these blocks very easy to make and very accurate.

dotted-flying-geese-backfrontback

dotted-flying-geese-front-back

For the backing fabric, I wanted to keep the dot theme going so I chose a fabric from Robert Kaufman’s Spot On collection in Steel.  It’s  a 108″ wide fabric, perfect for a quilt backing. It was the perfect color and complement to the front, I thought.

For the batting, I did something very different.  For this quilt, I pictured a heavy, warmer quilt than just the regular layer of cotton batting.  But I didn’t want a tied quilt.  So I took a chance and used two layers of batting and machine quilted it.  It worked great!  And I ended up with a nice, heavy, more substantial quilt.  Very warm. I used two layers of The Warm Company’s “Warm Bond” quilt batting.  It’s an 80/20 batting, which they are actually discontinuing.  But I heard from The Warm Company and they say they are working on a new 80/20 batting, which should be available this November.

I ditch stitched the whole quilt because I just couldn’t picture a good quilting pattern that would look right on the flying geese.  I used a light gray Aurifil 50 wt thread on the top and a darker gray in the bottom, to match the backing fabric.

dotted-flying-geese-binding

dotted-flying-geese-closeup

For the binding, I just had to give the quilt a little pop of color with all that grey, white and black.  And the binding had to be a solid – no stripes or patterns.  There is just way too much going on with the quilt itself.  But which color?  After trying several possibilities, I ended up with the Kona Cotton Solid in Caramel.  I just love how it looks on the quilt.

dotted-flying-geese-on-bed

dotted-flying-geese-corner

I’ll be putting this quilt in the Shop.

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Elaine

I’m linking up to Free Motion by the RiverSew Cute Tuesday and  Let’s Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts!  Check it out!

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Half Square Triangle Tutorial, Method II, Four at a Time

Half Square Triangle Tutorial Four at a TIme

I promised you way back when that I would post about how to make Half Square Triangles using a different method, making four at a time.  The HST continues to be the most fun block to design with, because of the endless combinations  you can make with it.  In my first tutorial, I showed you how to make one at a time.  This second method, making four at a time, is super easy and very fast.  The only drawback to this method is that you will end up with edges that are bias edges – which just means they can stretch a little bit.  So, when pressing these blocks, be extra careful not to iron them and stretch them out – just press them.

The advantage to this method is that it is super fast – you just place two squares of fabric, right sides together, sew a quarter inch seam around the entire outside edge, cut an “X” corner to corner and you have four HSTs.  All you need to do is press them open and trim off the little dog ear corners.  You don’t even need to draw any lines with a pencil on your fabric with this method.

In order to figure out how big to cut the two squares of fabric, the calculation is very easy. Do not be scared of the following math! Figure out how big you want your HSTs – and that means the size of your “unfinished” HSTs, before you sew them together into your quilt – and divide by .64, which is easy to do on your calculator.  For instance, if I wanted finished 3″ blocks in my quilt, I would need 3.5″ unfinished HSTs.   So I just take 3.5 and divide by .64 and I get 5.468, which I will then round up to 5.5″ squares of fabric.

3.5 ÷ .64 = 5.46875  so I will round this up to 5.5
I will cut 5.5″ squares of fabric to make 3.5″ “unfinished” HSTs,
which will end up being 3″ finished HSTs in my quilt

When using this calculation, keep in mind that this is not an oversized HST that you will trim. If you like to make your HSTs oversized and then trim them, down, just calculate a little bigger and then you can do that.  To trim them down to a perfect HST, this technique is my favorite for trimming.

In my next tutorial on the HST, I will show you Method III – how to make eight at a time!

I hope this tutorial is helpful!

Elaine

HST II two fabrics squares

HST II fabric squares together

HST II clipping fabric squares

HST II sewing perimeter

(Above: I flipped the square over to the dark side so you can see the stitching)

HST II cutting line on square

tip: the cutting is easier to do on a small little cutting mat, if you have one, because you can make the first cut, spin the whole mat around and make the second cut.

HST II cutting squares

HST II cut squares

HST II opening squares

HST II trimming squares

1930’s Style Diamond Scrap Quilt

30's Scrap Quilt on ladder

30's Scrap Quilt folded

I had such fun using these 1930’s vintage reproduction fabrics for this quilt.  They remind me of when I was young and my great grandmother died and I was given a large tin of her fabrics that she had cut out for quilting.  These fabrics remind me so much of those.

30's Scrap Quilt Full

I designed this quilt using Half Square Triangles, placed so that they looked like diamonds. Each HST had a vintage style fabric on one side and a low volume fabric on the other.  I’ve already received quite a few inquiries about the low volume prints, so I’m going to try to list as many as I can in this post with lots of links.

30's Scrap Quilt front back front30's Scrap Quilt layers

The finished block size (after sewing into the quilt) was 4″.  I cut 5.5″ strips and then cut these into 5.5″ squares.  From these, I made my HSTs and then trimmed them down to a working size of 4.5″.  There were 180 total HSTs.

Most of the low volume prints I used in this quilt were from the AWESOME Robert Kaufman collection called “Hints in Prints”. I purchased these fabrics from Pink Castle Fabrics in Ann Arbor. Finding this kind of tiny low volume print isn’t easy and this collection is so great.  Pink Castle has fat quarters of this collection and yardage.  These tiny prints were the perfect complement to the vintage style fabrics.

30's Scrap Quilt detail

The 1930’s style fabrics were some of my old favorites from Marcus Fabrics’ Aunt Grace line:  this cute blue, this awesome pink , this classic blue and this sweet old fashioned yellow.  I also used some cute fabrics from Penny Rose’s Milk, Sugar, Flower line that I love so much.  Then I used this sweet pink fabric from Windham’s Storybook Vacation line.

30's Scrap Quilt back

The backing is a special fabric from Japanese designer Atsuko Matsuyama for Yuwa.  It’s called “Language of Flowers” and it’s from the 1930’s collection – how appropriate.  It features lots of flower information and old fashioned classic recipes.  It looked like it fit this quilt just right.  I purchased this fabric also from Pink Castle Fabrics .

30's Scrap Quilt Back & Front

30's Scrap Quilt detail back

GSB Detail WIP

30's Scrap Quilt corner

The batting I used was Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting, my usual batting choice.

When I decided on how to quilt this project, I wanted to emphasize the diamonds, so I quilted on the diagonal, outlining the diamond shapes and then I did a vertical quilting down the rows and also stitched in the ditch.  I used Aurifil Natural White #2021, 50 wt. thread for the top and Light Sand #2000 in the bottom, to match the backing fabric.  The Natural White thread is a really nice soft white, not as stark white as the regular Aurifil White. I just thought it was perfect for the top.  I quilted at a 3.5 stitch length.

30's Scrap Quilt stacked

30's Scrap Quilt Hangin

The binding is one of the fabrics I used in this quilt –  Toy Chest Floral Field in Red – and when I was trying to decide on a binding, this fabric seemed like it gave the perfect pop to the quilt.  I love it. This fabric is just one of the line of sweet vintage fabrics designed by Sara Morgan called Toy Chest.

30's Scrap Quilt Binding

When I attached the binding, I used Aurifil #2260 Red Wine in the bobbin, to match the binding fabric on the back of the quilt.  I had the Natural White in the top thread.  I used my usual method of sewing the binding on the front, wrapping it to the back and then stitching in the ditch on the front to attach the binding to the back of the quilt.

30's Scrap Quilt rolled

The finished quilt is about 50″ x 60″.  It’s  just a great size for snuggling up with on the sofa and has a nice, soft drape to it.  It has such a sweet, vintage look to it.  I’m listing it in the Shop.

Thanks for stopping in!
Elaine

I’m linking up to Crazy Mom QuiltsSew Fresh QuiltsFree Motion by the River and Blossom Heart Quilts.

My Five Tools for Making Faster Quilts

My Five Tools for Faster Quilts.jpg

I want to give you some tips that I have found actually make my work faster.   I’m not going to give you advice that tells you to prewind bobbins or “organize your workspace”.   I love to do those things, too, but these tips are actually going to speed up your work.  Really.  This post is about tools that I have found to be actual time savers in my work and make a real difference. If you are new to quilting, maybe you don’t even know about these tools. There is no way I could be as efficient in my work without using these.  They really have been time savers and I want to share them with you and have included a couple of videos which might help you.

Use a Stripology Ruler
When you have a lot of strips to cut for a project a Stripology Ruler will make your work SO much faster.  This is one of the best things ever. With my Stripology ruler, I can cut multiple  strips quickly and without having to move my ruler.   This tool has cutting slots in it for your rotary cutter.  Let me show you:

I even use it to do my subcuts sometimes. Just lay your strip sets underneath and make multiple cuts without moving the ruler!  It’s pretty awesome:

Sripology Ruler Subcuts

A Stripology Ruler is a bit of an investment, but you will use it all the time to cut strips, once you try it!

Ditch the Pins
Are you still using pins?  If you haven’t discovered Wonder Clips, you don’t know what you’re missing. This could be the single tool that speeds up my work the most.  Placing pins into seams takes two motions – one to insert the pin down into the work and another to pop the pin back up to the top of the work.   Sounds like a miniscule motion, but when you add it up to the hundreds of times you insert a pin, it takes time.  If you use clips instead of pins, you save time – clipping takes one motion and that’s it.

Wonder Clips on Binding

They are also so much better on heavier seams than pins. No need to try to insert pins into heavier seams – that can also distort your accuracy – the Wonder Clips hold firmly and without shifting.  Clover even makes Jumbo sized Wonder Clips.

This little project would have been very hard to manage with pins.  But with Wonder Clips, they held the binding so easily and securely:

Wonder Clips BIB

Then when it comes time to sew your seams, I find removing clips is a little faster than removing pins – sometimes pins can stick a little (and clips don’t poke you!).

Use Dedicated Sized Grid Rulers
When cutting squares or trimming blocks, it is a time-saving investment to buy square grid rulers in sizes you use the most.  I have square grid rulers in just about every size from 2.5″ up to 6.5″. This range covers the size blocks I make the most. When subcutting squares or trimming blocks, I don’t have to worry about lining up grid lines and making sure my measurement is correct.  I just cut along the ruler and that’s it.  Saves SO much time.  Try trimming 100 blocks that need to be 5″ with a 6.5″ grid ruler.  It takes forever.  Try trimming 100 blocks that need to be 5″ with a 5″ ruler.  You’ll be finished in no time.

Dedicated Grid Ruler
Making 5.5″ blocks with a 5.5″ ruler is much faster

Use Bloc-Loc rulers. 
If you are a fan of Half Square Triangles like me, Bloc Loc rulers  will be a revelation to you. They also make rulers for Half Square Rectangles and Flying Geese.   I like to make my blocks oversized and then trim them to size.  Why are these so great?  They have a groove cut into the ruler from one corner to the opposite corner that hugs your seam line and allows you to trim HSTs (or whatever) into perfect, uniform blocks without any slipping.  Let me show you how this works and how fast it is:

It really does make a huge difference in your time trimming.

Get a Quarter Inch Presser Foot
Most seams in quilting are a quarter inch. You can certainly line up a quarter inch with your presser foot and just keep your stitching line on that point, but a dedicated quarter inch presser foot makes your sewing faster.  It has a guide on the side, to keep your fabric on the right line.  It really does speed up the work and I use mine all the time.

Quarter Inch Presser Foot III

 


I hope this post is helpful to you!  If you try even one or two of these tools and it speeds up your work time, it will have been worth it.

Thanks for dropping by,
Elaine

Mixed Up Maze Quilt

Mixed Up Maze Quilt Front

I’ve had such a great time making this quilt, from the fabric selection to the extensive grid quilting. This quilt came about by me experimenting with cutting up strip sets of solid colors. I played around with a few colors and in the end, decided that just two colors of high contrast had the most impact.

Mixed Up Maze Quilt folded

I sewed together 3.5″ strips, and then cut these into 6.5″ blocks.  I used 12 strips of each color to make all the blocks, for a total of 90 blocks. The colors I used were Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids in Black and Tarragon.

Mixed Up Maze Quilt backing and front

I took all the blocks and arranged them so that they looked like they were in some pattern, but they actually weren’t.  This was enormously fun.  Really.   I had such a great time rearranging the blocks into all kinds of designs.  My youngest son, home on college break, walked by and said, “That looks like a maze”.  Hence the name.

Mixed Up Maze Blocks laid out

For the backing, I used a great fabric I’ve had in my stash for a while, patiently awaiting the right quilt.  And this was it.  The fabric is Color Names in White, purchased from Pink Castle Fabrics.  It complements the modern, graphic look of this quilt.  This is an excellent backing fabric, because it is a 108″ wide fabric, with no need to piece the back.  Yay.  Piecing backs is the only part of quilting that I don’t enjoy.

Mixed Up Maze Backing Fabric

Mixed Up Maze Quilt

I used Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting, a favorite.   I prewash and dry the batting so that there will be little to no shrinkage after the quilt is washed at some point.

I quilted this in an all over 1″ quilting grid, which took lots of time and focus, but was lots of fun.  It was addictive to see the texture developing, as more and more lines got quilted.  The quilt has a wonderful feel and drape to it, because of the quilting.

Mixed Up Maze Quilt layers detail

The thread I used on top for the quilting was Aurifil #2902 in Laurel Green.  It’s a 100% cotton thread from Italy and is wonderful.  It hardly produces any lint at all, even with extensive quilting. I used the 50wt.  I put a light color in the bobbin, however, to match the backing fabric.  To sew the grid, I just used my seam guide and attached it to my walking foot.

Mixed Up Maze Quilt Layers StackedMixed Up Maze Quilting

For the binding, I tried out a few different  fabrics and ended up using Sandhill Charcoal from M&S Textiles Australia.  I had to laugh because, coincidentally it was the same fabric in a different colorway that I used for the backing for my English China Quilt, a recent finish.  It’s  a really neat fabric and I loved the effect as a binding. When I sewed the binding on, I used the Laurel Green Aurifil thread in the top and black thread in the bobbin, to match the binding.

Mixed Up Maze folded horizontal

Mixed Up Maze Quilt overhead

Mixed Up Maze Quilt on bed

This quilt finishes at 54″ x 60″, a really nice size for a throw quilt.  I love the bold modern graphic feel of this quilt.  I think it would make a great design element in a room.

I’m listing this quilt in the Shop.

Thanks for coming by – hope you’re making something!
Elaine

Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts and  Blossom Heart Quilts