Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Blocker with Jennifer and her Propeller Block {tutorial} and let's not forget Jane below....( switch you both sew peeps know about both of you)

I'm so happy to be back today to share another tutorial!  For those of you who don't know me, my name is Jennifer and I blog over at That Girl... That Quilt.

A lot of my quilts have a more modern slant to them but I began quilting with very traditional blocks and techniques.  I love it when traditional meets modern and with a little color play, I think this block has bits of both.

I spend a lot of time drooling over admiring quilts and sometimes it seems like a lot of the fabrics and quilt designs are more feminine than masculine.  I originally saw this block at a quilt show several years ago and fell in love with it.   With a little research I learned that this is an old block often referred to as a "propeller block".  To me, this block is more masculine and perfect for a boy's quilt.  Pair it with some boy colors and you have one very cute but masculine quilt.

Want to make one?  They are addicting to make so don't be surprised when you end up with a pile of these blocks; especially with the technique I'm going to show you to make the half square triangles {HSTs}.

Here's what you need for one block:
- 2  5.5" squares {one light and one dark square will give you the best contrast}
- 4  light 2" squares
- 4  dark 2" squares
- 1  contrasting or fussy cut 2" square for the center
- the usual tools - rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat, thread, etc...

Let's make the half square triangles {HSTs} first.  Want to make all 4 in one shot?  Here's how:

Place your 2 5.5" light & dark squares right sides together {RST}.  Stitch a scant 1/4" around the perimeter of the block pivoting at each corner.

Yes, I know that your blocks are stitched completely together... it's OK! :)

Take your squares to your mat and use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut corner to corner diagonally.  Keep the halves together and cut corner to corner diagonally in the other direction as shown above.

Open your blocks to reveal 4 HSTs! 

If you would like to make different sized HSTs from this method, here's the math needed to figure your sizes:
Beginning squares size x 0.64 = HST size  

If you know what size your HST should be then use this to find what size the beginning square needs to be:
HSTsize/0.64 = beginning squares size

Now, I know that this creates bias edges but with a little starch and good pressing, not ironing, I have never had an issue with stretch-y blocks.  If you would like to read more about pressing, starch bias edges and other HST methods take a look at my tutorial here...

Trim your HSTs to 3.5" and then grab your 2" squares and lay the block out as shown above.

Stitch your 2" squares as shown and press open.

Next, stitch your 2" squares/strips to your HSTs as shown & press.  Stitch your center strip together as shown & press.

Finish your block by stitching your HST units to your center strip of 2" squares.   

You now have one 8" block.  Press and square up if needed.

These blocks play very well together.  You get a secondary pattern of pinwheels and if you you use a blue or white as your light color an illusion of propellers in the sky is created which gives a quilt of these blocks a bit of a modern feel.

Thanks for having me today!  I always enjoy my visits here among such creative & talented quilters!

If you would like to see more block tutorials or perhaps join my latest quilt along {Chasing Chevrons} using even more half square triangles, I'd love it if you visited me over at That Girl... That Quilt.

Jennifer :)

Block Guest....Jane. who is bringing a moon for all those stars.. * 2 guests today, don't forget Jennifer with her Propeller block)

Hi, This is Jane from Jane's Fabrics and Quilts. Thank you to Madame Samm for giving me the opportunity to share a block with you today. Yes, the 9-Patch is one of my favorites but so is the Wonky Star. Many blocks are based on the 9-Patch layout and this is one of those blocks. I love this block because you cannot make a mistake!

First let me tell you I did not design, make up or have rights to this block!
This is just the way I make Wonky Stars!

Here we go...
gotta have a moon with all those stars..

All squares for this block will be cut 4 1/2 inch square.
I picked white for the background, pink and green for the star points and candy dots for the middle.

You will need 8 (4 1/2 inch ) background (white) squares.

4 (4 1/2 inch) print squares for the star points. Since I am doing a two color star point, I will only need two of each of the prints.

and 1 (4 1/2) square for the center. I love to fussy cut this part but it can also be a solid or a print.

First take your star point fabrics and cut them in half. You will now have 8  triangles.

Set 4 white squares on your surface. Pick four of the print triangles, I have chosen the green first.  Lay them on the white background (right sides together) as shown. I like to lay them in all different ways. Some high, some low, some more angled. Just make sure that when you sew them that they will reach a little over the white background square. Sew 1/4 inch along the long side of the triangle.

Now here is where I differ from other tutorials. I learned from the great Mary Ellen Hopkins (The It Is Ok If You Sit On My Quilt Book) of book and lecture fame to not cut off the background piece. This is the piece you will need when putting your squares together.

Flip the green over and iron.

Okey Doke, Next color, the pink. Angle these triangles (right side together) the other way, again be crazy here, overlap, or not, tilt or not, have fun, it will all add to the fun of this block.
Sew 1/4 inch flip, iron both sides.

Your blocks will look like this...

Here is where it is great to still have the background piece.
Flip them over and trim them to match the white 4 1/2 inch square.

The rest of this block is just like a 9-Patch.

Take a star point square and attach a white square on each side. You will do this twice.
Take the remaining star squares and attach them to you large fussy cut square.

You will now have these.

Match right sides together the top strip with the middle sew using a 1/4 inch seam.
 Attach the bottom to the middle strip with a 1/4 seam and then press.


I love making these blocks and here are a few examples...

These were for Bees I was in......

You can make them all different sizes...

All one color.....

And I so enjoyed making theses with a pieced middle for another bee I was in...

I am going to stop here and hope that you enjoyed and understand my tutorial.
Now, go forth, make stars.
Why are you still here, ?
I mean it, go!!
Have fun!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest BLOCKER today is Jennifer with Improv Piecing

Hey y'all! I'm so excited to be back at Madame Samm's. Such an honor to be here sharing my tutorial with you. Thanks Samm for inviting me!!

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a Southern girl, a former teacher, and now a Home Engineer (aka Mama.) I'm a self-taught quilter, and am slightly obsessed with quilting, sewing, fabric and creating. I blog about my creations and share what I've learned with the world at Ellison Lane Quilts.  I'd love for you to pop by for a visit.

So today I'm sharing one of my favorite techniques.  I LOVE improv piecing- it is so liberating and really fun. No such thing as a mistake and there are no points or seams to line up. You can't go wrong! It's quilting freedom! 

Here's what you do first: put on some music- choose something funky and fun- something upbeat. It will enhance your improv creativity.

Now supplies:
fabric (scraps and small pieces are fine) at least 1.5" wide work best.
rotary cutter
ironing board
sewing machine

Here are key points to remember: 
You are going to create a block by making several small parts and putting them together.
  • wonkiness makes things interesting
  • choose pieces of fabric in various lengths and widths and shapes
  • don't be afraid to trim pieces first and just go with it
  • add some neutrals 
  • sew with a 1/4" seam
  • choose one piece and jump in- get started
  • press seams to the side after each addition 
  • trim your blocks at an angle before you add more pieces
  • sew together smaller pieces to make longer and larger pieces to add visual interest
  • step back and take a look at your pieces to see what color or fabric you need at add next
  • add pieces at an angle 
I set up an ironing station right beside my cutting/sewing table so I can easily and quickly press my blocks as I go.

Keep building your blocks until you have the size you want. Add additional pieces as need to have a big enough piece to square off. My finished block is 8.5" x 8.5."

I had to add small pieces at the corners- no worries- just add them on, square up and trim.

I've found that small scale prints and patterns along with solids work best.

You can also work in a color family for a more harmonious look.

So what do you think? Ready to give it a try? Don't be afraid- just jump on in!

Another tutorial of mine that uses improv piecing is my Wonky Log Cabin block:

If traditional piecing is more your style, you can check out my Starflower block tutorial too.

I also have a Christmas Tree block, perfect for the holidays.

Thanks again Madam Samm for inviting me to share a tutorial with y'all.
Please come by Ellison Lane anytime!

Our second Guest Blocker today with Sherri and her Turkey

TURKEY TROT BLOCK by Sherri D - lazyquilter

Have you gotten your turkey for Thanksgiving yet, or are you still working on those pumpkin leftovers from Halloween? (I assume all that candy is already gone!) Why not give this turkey block a try! It would make a great table runner or perhaps an assortment of place-mats! Of course you could use it in a quilt too.

This block uses a combination of a Dresden Plate design and an appliqued block. The background fabric should be white or a lighter color. The block should be 12 1/2" square when you are done making it. (12” finished) I suggest using a 13” square of fabric for your background to start with, as often this type of pattern can get wonky as you sew each layer on. When you are done making your block, press it and then cut it to size. (12 ½” square).

  • One - 13” square of background fabric (tan, white, or other lighter color)
  • One - 5” square for the body
  • One - 2 ½” square for the head and a scrap of batting about the same size. (Batting is used to puff out the head).
  • One - 1 ½” x 1” rectangle of red for the *wattle (optional) *The wattle is the red thingy that hangs down along side the beak.
  • One strip - 2 ½” wide by 20” long, for the shorter tail feathers, cut in to five equal pieces (about 4” each) OR five 2 ½”x 4" of different colors.
  • *One - 3” x 4 ½” for center large tail feather
  • *Two - 3” x 4 ½” for two large tail feathers
  • *Two - 3” x 4 ½” for outer large tail feathers
*The large feathers shown in my pattern, are of three different colors. You may make them all the same color if you wish. You can also make the small tail feathers all the same color. This is your block, do it your way!

Trace the templates onto freezer paper. NOTE: You need five of each size of feather. I think I now have the link fixed for the pdf file. Instead of emailing me, you can click on this link and download a pdf file. Thank you everyone!
The dotted line is the seam allowance. When you trace the pattern pieces onto your freezer paper, you do not need to trace the dotted lines. You do need to allow for a quarter inch seam allowance on your fabric.
Iron the freezer paper onto the wrong side of your fabrics. Remember the shiny side of the freezer paper is the side that gets ironed to the fabric!

Cut out your fabric pieces allowing for a quarter inch seam allowance.

Mark the center of your background square. I do this by folding into fourths and then pressing the center point. Then I open it back up and my center mark is creased in place.
Lay out your cut fabric pieces in the order you want them to appear on your finished block.
Sew together your tail feathers. This is like sewing together a Dresden plate. Match up the tops of the feathers and sew, right sides together, from the top, down, to make your tail feather sets.
Sew the tail feathers together into one set of five larger tail feathers and one set five of smaller tail feathers.
Notice that the bottom of the tail feather sets do not have to be even.
Press seams open.
Clip a thread stitch or two at the top of each joined feather:
Then press the top points over about a quarter inch.
Position the small tail feather set onto the large tail feather set and stitch in the ditch from the top of the small tail feathers, down. This anchors your tail feather sets together.
Press the edges over on the two sides of your feather set, overlapping the small feathers over the large ones. You may want to trim the bottom of your tail feather set, just a little bit, to neaten it up.
Press over the seam allowance on the body.
I leave the freezer paper in, then press, then remove the paper.
Check the layout of your pieces. You can slide the body up or down to get the edges to line up with the tail feather edges.
Pin your feathers and body in place on your background square. Use only one pin, in the upper center of the body. Fold the body up and back, and using chalk or an invisible marker, mark your turkey's toes.
Using a tight zig-zag stitch and embroider your toes. NO, not YOUR toes, your turkey's toes, silly!!!
I like using a piece of tear-a-way stabilizer on the back of my block for this step, to keep it from puckering. Don't forget to tear off your stabilizer when you are done. You may choose, instead, to embroider the feet by hand, after your block is done, for this step.
Lay the body piece back down and use a few more pins to hold it in place. Now you can appliqué around the outer edges by machine or hand. I like using a blanket stitch for this project. My sewing machine has a pre-programed setting for this. But you can use any method you like. Be sure the edges all stay turned under. You also need to applique or sew across the small tail feather points in the middle. Note: You do not have to sew across the bottom of the tail feathers.
An optional step at this point is to cut away the fabric on the back to reduce bulk.
Be careful not to nick the front fabrics!!!
Next we will work on the head piece. Hand-baste around the edge of the fabric about 1/8th of an inch in. (leave the freezer paper in for now)
Pull the ends of the thread to gather the edges in, and press well.
Remove the freezer paper and place it onto a scrap of batting. I've used cotton batting here:
Touch this gently with your iron to have it 'stick' in place or you can pin it. Cut out the batting by cutting just inside the freezer paper, so your batting piece will end up smaller than your fabric head piece did.
Remove the freezer paper and put your batting piece inside the head piece, tucking it under the folded over seam allowance. If you left your basting thread in, it will help you to get batting tucked inside too. You can then re-press the edges and remove the basting thread.
Take another small bit of stabilizer and put it on the back of your turkey's head, against the batting. Now you can stitch the beak, wattle, or eyes, if you wish. You can also make these pieces in any other way you want to! Some people use a bit of red felt for the wattle. Remove the stabilizer before attaching the head to the block.
I chose to stitch the beak and wattle with my machine. I haven't decided how I will do the eyes for this project, yet. Some ideas for you are to use would be to use a French knot for the eyes and outline a beak. OR use a bit of fabric to appliqué a beak. OR use two little buttons for the eyes. Again, this is YOUR block to finish YOUR way!!!

Position the head in place, on your block, and pin in place. Appliqué it down using the same stitch that you used for the body and feathers.
There you have it! Press well. Do not slide your iron or you will distort your block.
I plan to make a table runner out of my turkeys. I made two blocks and will add a plain center block for length. I might put a full Dresden Plate in the center or I might just use a decorative quilting pattern, in a contrasting color, to dress up the center.
I hope you enjoyed making my block!
Thank you Madame Samm, for including me in your block tutorials this month! It was challenging for me AND fun!