That didn’t go as planned

The last few days I was happily sewing along on my English paper piecing project (see last post). Finally I had all six parts and laid them out for joining into the final block.

And I realized that I don’t like it. It’s too dull, not yellow enough. I tried to persuade myself to finish the block telling myself that o one will notice in the final quilt. But I’m kind of a perfectionist (especially when I put a lot of work into it) so I removed the paper templates and started the block with other fabrics.

I like it a lot better now! Although the picture doesn’t really show it is a lot more yellow now.

The low contrast in the piece is exactely what I want to achieve. At a first glance you should only see a yellow block and only if you look closer you should realize that there is a pattern.

On the positive side – I secured the end of the stichting lines with locking backstitches as Katja Marek suggests. But I wasn’t too sure if they work. I tried to unsew some stitches on a discarded piece and now I know that those backstitches are really secure.

I will keep track of the sewing time for this project – the first discarded block took me 3 hours.


Stashbuster attempt

Yesterday I had a few hours to myself and what’s a quilter gonna do … roaming the Internet, looking at beautiful quilts, reading long neglected blogs and getting a lot of inspiration.

And then I stumbled across this quilt by Canadian quilter Katja Marek.

What a beauty!

Coincidentally I was thinking about sewing a color wheel quilt in the last few weeks. And about a stashbuster project to get rid of (at least) some of my scraps. This quilt just seems to be the perfect solution.

So I bought the corresponding book by Katja Marek which is her second one. And as I liked the blocks in her first book a little bit better I also bought that one. So two new books with a total of 104 blocks for English paper piecing.

I think I will only do the star with its six parts in yellow, green, blue, purple, red and orange. And I have the best intentions to only use my stash (but I can’t promise).

Yesterday evening I raided my yellow stash and printed out the pattern pieces for the first block. I already cut them out. Now I need to iron the scraps and then I’m looking forward to relaxing hours on my balcony with my EPP star.


Christmas in July: Christmas Scraps

Christmas in July – I really love that. It shows that we quilters begin to think about and work for Christmas at this time of the year (with that comforting feeling that there is still enough time for everything).

Today I have this great scrap quilt for you in white, red and green – radiating Christmas spirit in every direction. It’s a lot of cutting, sewing and quilting but that’s the reason why we start in July, isn’t it? So get out your red, green, white and creme-colored scraps and let’s start.

The quilt shown is 60 x 72 inches (150 x 180 cm) but can easily be done in any size you wish simply by adding or omitting blocks. Each block is 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm).

For the quilt in the above mentioned size you need
240 green squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
240 red squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
360 white squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
120 white squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
64 red squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
56 green squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally.
All these measurements include a ¼ inch (7,5 mm) seam allowance.

Join each red and each green triangle with a white triangle along the long side (chain-piecing is perfect for this). Press and cut off the dog ears.

Now join a red and a green square (chain-piecing as well) – you get 240 pairs.

Now let’s sew the blocks together.

For block 1 sew these three rows

and join them to block 1.

You need 64 blocks.

For block 2 sew these three rows

and join them to block 2.

You need 56 blocks.

Now it’s time to puzzle the quilt together. Lay out the blocks (referring to the picture of the quilt) – 10 blocks per row, 12 rows.

Sew all the blocks together.

Sandwich the quilt, quilt it and bind it with a narrow red or green binding.

Give the quilt to someone you really love for Christmas or – even better – keep it for yourself and spend the coming holiday season under it.


Improv Art Deco Roses

May and June are the months for roses in abundance – gardens and parks are full of fragrant blooms and there are even wild roses in the meadows around the city. In honor of all the roses around town I made those Art Deco Roses.

The flowers are easy and fast to sew. Make three panels like I did or make just one or make only the flower and no stem and join four or nine in a grid, make a pillow, … – there are many possibilities. And you can even diminish your stash as all you need are scraps.

The roses are made in the crazy sewing technique and here is how it goes:

1. Cut an irregular piece of fabric for the middle. Irregular but with straight edges.

2. Sew a scrap on one side of the middle. Right sides together, line up the edges and sew with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Open up the two pieces and iron the seam (as with Log Cabin blocks I pressed all the seam allowances to the outside of the block). Cut away the rest of the scrap aligning your ruler with one edge of the middle piece.

3. Sew another scrap on the edge you just cut. Open up, press the seam, cut away the rest of the scrap.

4. Sew scraps all around the middle.

5. With your ruler cut the piece of fabric you just created into another irregular piece with straight edges. The piece should not resemble the middle piece of step 1. Cut other angles.

6. Sew another round of scraps.

7. Cut into an irregular shape that should by now resemble the flower.

8. Sew another round of scraps. This time using green scraps for half of the round …

… and scraps of your background fabric for the other half. Use larger pieces of scraps for this round.

9. Cut the piece into a rectangle or a square (your choice).

10. Voilá! The finished rose.

The rose looks even better if you embellish the seamlines with decorative stitches by hand or by machine. You can do this now or quilt the rose this way.

11. For the leaves take a green scrap, cut it into the form of the leaf and sew some background fabric around it (like you did on the first round of the rose). Cut the piece into a rectangle and sew background fabric above and below the leaf – so you get half of the background. Make two of them and join them with a green strip for the bottom part of the quilt.

Or – and this is faster and easier – fuse a freehand cut leaf to the background.

12. Make a quilt sandwich, quilt and bind.

Have fun sewing your own rose garden!


I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties. And when you are there check out the “Things I wish I Knew when I started quilting” at Off the Wall Friday – interesting points there and in the comments as well.


The taming of the scraps

When I made my New York City quilt I tried to make a smooth graduation from the very dark 9patches to the soft-colored ones. So I cut a lot more of the squares than I needed.

As I was about to toss the remaining patches into my scrap box I realised (not for the first time) that this box was a mess. That’s the reason I usually cut even small new pieces from my more organized stash than digging into my scrap box.

As our season is going into spring I just bought some new shoes and the boxes still lingered there. So I decided to make a start on organizing my scraps. I always envied quilters who cut their scaps into some useful size and when it hit them they just could grab the box and start to sew a great scrap quilt. That’s what I wanted to do as well.

So I cut my small scaps into squares 2½ inches (6,5 cm) which is a sewn square of 2 inches (5 cm) and seam allowance. They all went into one of my shoe boxes.

My larger scraps got cut into 5 inches (13 cm) squares. This is two times the small square plus seam allowances. So if needed I can cut the large squares into 4 small squares. They got a separate shoe box.

And finally I had some strips left over from jelly rolls. They got their own shoe box as well and will be joined by longer strips from the scrap box. As they all will be 2½ inches wide they too can be cut into small squares when needed. Of course they got their own box too.

And those boxes fit perfectly into my fabric closet. 6 of them. So I can choose 3 other dimensions for my scaps – we’ll see. But therefore I have to buy some more shoes first.

It’s just a start and it will take some time until all my scraps are cut and organized. But at the moment I feel clever, busy and organised. What more can you wish for.