Saturday, March 19, 2011

Solving the Mystery......

Hi, all!

Sarah here, from Confessions of a Fabric Addict! I'm so happy to be back guest-posting on Stash Manicure!!

Do you remember when the magician David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear?  HOW IN THE WORLD DID HE DO THAT?????  That question is going to drive me crazy, probably for the rest of my life....  But that leads us into our topic today - things that disappear!

If you've been wandering around blogland for long, you've probably seen the initials D9P - and maybe wondered what they meant!  Maybe you've heard about disappearing nine-patches, or even disappearing four-patches, and wondered how they were made.  Or you've been making quilts for a while, and think this is old hat.  Hopefully there will be something in this post for all of you!

Traditionally, to make a disappearing nine-patch block, you first create a nine-patch...


...then you cut it in half....


..... then in half again....


..... and you end up with four blocks that look like this!


Those four blocks can be put together in lots of ways - here's a few examples....


This quilt is "all mixed up" - no rhyme or reason to the arrangement of the blocks, and no sashing to divide it.

This one used prints in the corners, and each print square is boxed in by three different solids...


This quilt was made using sashing to separate large blocks made of four small blocks put together in a bow-tie formation....


...and in this quilt, the large blocks were made by putting the uncut squares of four smaller blocks in the center, with the cut pieces outlining the edges.  Sashing was added to separate the large blocks.

Sashing can be used to make your disappearing nine-patch unique, too.  Take a look at this quilt, which I named In Winter Snows...


In this quilt, the small blocks created from the nine-patch are put together in groups of one or two, then sashed in between the groups.  Here's a diagram showing the  way the quilt is put together - it's a little easier to see the sashing separations.   

As a bonus, if you'd like a copy of the tutorial for In Winter Snows, hop over to my blog and leave me a comment on my post there (be sure to include your e-mail address if you are a no-comment blogger, or if you don't know if you are!) and I'll send you a .pdf file with the tutorial!



But there's other ways to change a nine-patch block to make it look different....

This block was cut on the diagonal and reassembled - it's kind of a work in progress, but I see a flock of stylized butterflies in the design - do you?  

And then there are the nine-patch blocks you cut up and add things to - like this one designed by John Adams who blogs at Quilt Dad.  It's called "Off-The-Grid Sliced Nine-Patch" and you can see the pattern here on the Moda Bake Shop.  This is the version I made of his design...


In this quilt, the nine patch blocks are sliced and 1.5" strips are added between the slices to create a grid...

Another option is the disappearing 4-patch block.  Here are a few examples of quilts made with D4P blocks, made by wonderful blogging friends who agreed to let me show off their work (I haven't had a chance to make one of these myself yet!)....


This quilt is the creation of Beth of Love Laugh Quilt -
she has a block tutorial here...


And this wonky D4P is Beth's too - with another tutorial here!


And this D4P was made by Kate, who blogs over at Kate's Arty Bits Blog!


Three very different interpretations of the same technique -  all are made the same way - but the first is cut 2" from the seam, the last is cut 1.25" from the seam, and the center is cut in a "wonky" style.  


As you can see, the possibilities are endless with a few simple cuts - and since we already cut up perfectly good fabric to sew it back into quilts, it's not too crazy to cut up perfectly good blocks, is it?

I hope you've enjoyed this little journey into "slicing and dicing" - and maybe you've learned something too!  And remember to hop over to my blog and request a copy of the tutorial for In Winter Snows!

Later!

Sarah


UPDATE:  If you left a comment on my blog before 3:30 CST on Saturday and have not received a copy of the tutorial, you are probably a "no reply" blogger and I do not have your e-mail.  Specifically, Passions & Pursuits, The QuiltWhinny, Freda, Skahrk, lovetostitch, queenopearls, schmidt1016, and Corinne in California, I need you to comment again and leave me your e-mail address!  If you don't know if you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your e-mail address in your comment so I can be sure to get you a copy of the tutorial!  Thanks!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fast, Fun and No Fuss!

Do you recall when you first became enthralled with fabric?
I do.
 I shopped, collected, even hoarded and reveled in my treasure-trove of pretties. An abundance, a virtual stockpile, a true cache;
 I had a stash!

Now, twenty years later, that stash has become a conglomeration of fabric, and not surprisingly, my tastes have changed. I am now passionate about reproduction fabrics and small scale precision piecing.
My name is Cheryl from So Many Quilts, So Little Time, and I manicure my stash one inch at a time.
Thank you to Madame Samm for inviting me to be a guest blogger today.

Not being a yardage girl, most of my surplus of fabric is in the form of fat quarters on up to half yards max. No true quilter can just toss heaps of fabric. There are no Goodwill boxes for cloth. 
I will not be buried under a fabric avalanche; so my goal is to bust my stash, create space in my fabric closet, and blissfully organize my new fabrics so I won’t keep buying the same fabrics over and over again!

 I needed a project that would be FAST, FUN and with NO FUSS!
A fellow quilter from Chicago recently showed up at the shop where I teach with the following strip quilt
project and I knew I had found my answer.
 I will make charity quilts!

I would like to share this amazingly simple project with the readers of Sew We Quilt and hope you will have as much fun with it as I did.
Yardage Requirements for a 3 x 4 block quilt measuring 38" x 50", without borders:
(This is the perfect size for donation to the Linus Project, one of my favorite charities!)
-a minimum of 1/2 yd for sashing strips
-a fat quarter for sashing cornerposts
-12 fat quarters OR 6 half yards of stash fabric (or any combination that makes 3 yds total of fabric.  Any one piece of fabric must be a minimum of 21" long.)
Cutting:
From each piece of fabric, cut strips of varying widths from 1 1/2" to 4" wide x the length of the fabric.
Cut the sashing fabric into 2" x WOF strips for a total of 6 strips,
then subcut into (17) 2" x 13" strips.
(Remember to measure your blocks prior to cutting the length of the sashing strips and adjust accordingly.)
Cut (6) 2" x 2" squares for cornerposts.

Sew the strips (select varying widths) together into strip sets, pressing the seams open.
The number of strips needed will depend on their widths.
Sew as many together as needed to get a width slightly greater than 10" wide.
Lightly starch to help stabilize the fabric for you will be cutting these strips apart on the bias later on.

Now cut the long strip set into two squares measuring 10" x 10".
Lay them next to each other; one with the strips running vertical and one with the strips running horizontal.
Pair them in this orientation, right sides together, pin and then sew a 1/4" seam allowance on all four sides.
Make sure the strips are running in opposite directions!
Cut them apart twice diagonally (X-cut) to make four new half-square triangle units.
Press open. 
Now lay the four units out in any manner you want to make a large block.
Here is a collage of the various layouts I came up with.
I used the large one on the left as it turned out to be my favorite.

Assemble the four units together. 
Don't worry about matching any of the seams. Just align the top and bottom edges of the units and pin heavily prior to sewing to help prevent stretching of the bias edges.

After constructing 12 blocks, I laid them out in a pleasing manner and sashed them, adding cornerposts.
Once assembled, my blocks measured approximately 13" x 13".
There is a lot of give in the blocks due to the bias edges, so I cut all my sashing strips 13" long and made the blocks stretch or ease into the sashing.  If the measurement of your blocks is different, adjust the length of your sashing strips accordingly.
This top is now quilted and bound, ready to donate to the Linus Project. 
The Linus Project is a non-profit organization, created in 1995 by Karen Loucks, to "Provide Security Through Blankets," to ill or traumatized children and teens.  You can find out more by visiting them at their website.

I have started my second donation quilt using this method, but this time it is headed over to the Quilts of Valor.  Hope you will join me in making one of these FAST, FUN, and NO FUSS quilts and donate it to your favorite non-profit organization. 
Thank you again M. Samm for having me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fussy Cutting with Ariane!!!

Hi everyone!!

My name is Ariane from Ariane's Crafts.
I'm glad to be back to share with all of you.
I haven't been able to get as much sewing done lately.
But, last week, I found out my niece is having a little boy.
It's very exciting news.

Sew, I just had to make a little baby boy quilt for her.
I had this fabric in my stash just waiting to be used.

Do you sometimes have a fabric in your stash that just calls to be fussy cut?
Well, one of the fabrics in this collection needed just that.

The only thing about fussy cutting this fabric is that I wanted to maximize the use of this fabric.
Sew, some of the squares I was cutting were odd sizes.

I wanted to make star blocks with some of the larger squares.
These squares were cut at 6 inches.
I thought I would share how I did the math for these blocks to work out.
Cutting instructions

Center block size: A = 6 inches

For flying geese:
Side strip size: 3¼ X 6 inches
To find the width of this rectangle I took value A divided by 2, + ¼ inch.
That gave me the 3¼ inch.
Cut 4 of these rectangles in a light color

Corner squares: 3¼ inches square
To find this size of this square, you take the length of the rectangle A divided by 2, + ¼ inch.
Cut 8 of these squares in a darker contrasting color

Outer corner squares: 3¼ inches
These squares are the same size as the width of the rectangles.
Cut 4 in same lighter color as rectangles

Sew you can make this star with any size square using this information.

Here is a basic picture tutorial on how I made the flying geese for this block.
In the last picture I used the leftover HST's to make the little shoo-fly block.

I wanted to make another star block using this tutorial for Uneven Stars.

This is the block I made.
I probably should have used a lighter background fabric, but it will do.
This block turned out to be 17 inches square. BIG!!!

Sew, how did I get my measurements for this block.
I took the sizes in the tutorial link I provided, then found the difference between the center block of the square in her tutorial and the size of my center block.

My center block was 6 inches, and her center block was 4½ inches.
Sew all my blocks had to be 1½ inches bigger then the measurements in her tutorial.

Here's a photo tutorial of how I made my block.
I like the fact that there is no waste with this block.
You just use the leftover pieces to make a little pinwheel block.
Cute eh!!!

Sew, this little quilt is a sampler quilt.
I was in a mood to make a quilt without a pattern and just sew by the seat of my pants.
You know, just go with it.
This is what I have done up to now.
I will be doing some applique in the white areas.
But, I haven't had time to do that yet.
I was thinking a big dog in the larger white square,
 and
maybe a train in the top white rectangle,
and
maybe a frog in the small white rectangle.

What do you think?
(Note: the colors in these pictures are not the greatest. It looks so much better in person)

Well, I hope this gave you a bit of info on how to use those fabrics that call to be fussy cut.
It's a lot of fun to use these fabrics, but it can also be challenging.

So, go ahead and fussy cut some fabric.

To see my finished quilt, you will have to come and see me at Ariane's Crafts.
I don't know when I will finish it, but I will do my best to get it done soon.

Thanks Madame Samm for having me blog here again.

Hugs




Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Staying busy with Scraps!

Hey, everyone! It's Kasey, the Make-Do Queen from BombletQuilts, writing to you from VACATION!!!! Thanks go to Madame Samm for having me again, and to all of you for reading!

Today, I want to let you know how I stay busy, at home or away- WITHOUT BUYING ANY NEW FABRIC!

A while ago, I felt like I was seeing hexagons everywhere. At the time, I just thought they looked cool, but would take way too long for someone as impatient as I am. After we got settled in to our new house, though, I thought, "Maybe I should TEACH myself a little more patience." 

An so I looked up English paper piecing, found a website with free templates to print, and started playing.

Guess how many?............ 450!!!
I use hexies that have .75" sides- half inch sides seemed too small, while one inch sides were too big for the scraps I was using. You see, my other dilemma lately has been that I have been trying to not buy new fabric since I'm still looking for a job. However, a lovely friend of mine had given me a bag of beautiful scraps. the hexagon size I'm using can easily be cut from pieces as narrow as 2" and still have a generous  enough seam allowance. I've been able to cut her bag of scraps into over 1,000 hexagons!!!!

When basting away, I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with them. Then I saw this floor at our local furniture store:
My amazing husband had bought me 3 fat quarters as a cheer-up present in January, so combined with that floor, I came up with this pillow:

And I made a Kindle cover of some random scraps...
It's so simple to make- just measure 1" wider than your electronic, and make a strip that wide that is 2 2/3 the other measurement. Then I quilted it, folded it just enough to cover the Kindle, then bound it- Simple! (If you need more info, go ahead and email me- I can work up a real tutorial once I'm back home).

The great thing about hexagons is that they are portable. Before I left for this vacation, I organized a sewing kit in a plastic bag that our curtain came in. It has tone of fabric already cut, tons of papers I had cut apart, needle, thread, pincushion, and one of those tiny thread cutters- perfect for traveling, and TSA approved!

I love handwork like this- if you try it, you might get addicted, so watch out! But,  it's relaxing, and since you can use scraps, it feels free!

So there you have it- I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. I'm in Florida, though, and the sun is calling this Indiana girl outside!

Have a great day, and thanks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quilts and other comforts ~

Hi there! My name is Deborah and I thank Madame Samm for the opportunity to share some of my
 Passions & Pursuits with you today. I gained a love of the womanly arts from my grandmothers ~ one who was a prolific knitter and the other who was a talented lingerie seamstress who came from Scotland to Canada in the 1920's to work in the mill in Hespeler, Ontario. As a little girl, I was taught by one grandmom to knit my first sweater. It was pink. (I think I finished it...or maybe she did!) I have many fond memories of time spent with this grandmother and....I still enjoy knitting.


From my other grandmother, I have in my possession many of her hand crocheted bits of lace a bit of 
it was incorporated into a grandmother's fan block in my very first quilt made back in the 80's. (so long ago...)








Peach and blue were popular back in the day...this quilt was drafted on paper, machine pieced, and hand quilted...by me!








I inherited Nana's pink sewing case which contained packages of sewing needles from the 50's, old wooden spools of thread, tiny embroidering scissors, and thimbles.


Nana's Sewing Basket made by the Singer Sewing Co.

Nana's crocheted lace, some Kiddies Buttons...25 cents per package...

An old blue biscuit tin is filled with old buttons...

Wooden spools of quilting thread...Lily Brand


This little bag hung on the end of the quilt frame and would hold scissors, thread, needles, etc. A cute carryall to take to the quilting bee.

 And this little hanger was used to secure her pins and needles. I love the fabric...the pockets store thimbles and thread, and the bottoms of the legs are stuffed with batting so they hold pins and needles. 
The waistband contains these faded words in her handwriting:

Put your thimbles in my pockets, put your needles in my leg;
put your thread inside my armpit, and hang me on a peg.

The little felt blanket stitched mittens hanging on the left are stuffed with batting and hold pins and needles. Dainty, just as Nana was!

...and this pieced quilt. She used fabric from Papa's shirts and many of her aprons and dresses. I think I will hand quilt this one. When my mom sees this she weeps as she sees bits of her father's shirts, and her mother's apons and dresses.


Sew...you can see why I love quilting and stitching and knitting...there is emotional history in my sewing room and it is my happy place!


I have a little granddaughter who lives close by. While Ella is just a toddler right now, I will at the right time take her on my lap and sit with her at my sewing machine. I will pass on to her a love for the womanly arts, just as my grandmothers did with me.

What is your history? Why do you quilt, sew, knit, stitch? We are shaped and influenced by the women in our lives - past, present, and future - who shared their knowledge and love of the womanly arts. There is something healing in creating something with our hands that will bring comfort and joy to another. Find someone with whom you can share what you create. What you do is valuable.

Last week my second granddaughter, Annie, was born. (Grandchild #8!) She has 2 pink and chocolate coloured quilts waiting to be labelled with her name...Anneliese. And some day I will take her on my lap at my sewing machine and begin to pass on to her what I have learned.

I enjoyed our time together today. Thank you Samm.



Deborah