Monday, August 11, 2014

Giant Shoo Fly Block Tutorial

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This is a quick tutorial on how to make an 18" Shoo Fly Quilt Block.  
I used a fat quarter for the patterned fabric and had a few strips leftover, so this is really a great block to use if you have a stack of fat quarters with a large scale pattern that you'd like to feature in a quilt.  I chose Anna Maria Horner's Dowry Collection and paired it with Kona Charcoal.
For those of you who are visual learners the image immediately below is an overview of the pieces that make up this block...
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Four (4) 6.5" Patterned Squares
Two (2) 7" Patterned Squares
Two (2) 7" Solid Squares
One (1) 6.5" Square
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Preparing the HSTs
I figured out how to calculate the size of my HST squares by adding a 1/2" to my unfinished square size as described here.  There are a million tutorials online about how to make this is just a quick overview.  If you'd like an in depth explanation you can visit here and see the three suggested methods.  I almost always utilize "Method 2".
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I prefer to use a Clover Hera Marker when marking straight lines, but you can use pen, pencil, fabric marker, or anything you'd like to mark your fabric with a guiding diagonal line from corner to corner.
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I think I say this in every quilt block tutorial, before I sew I always lay out my squares.  For me it helps me check my cutting job and map on how I am going to piece it all together.  In this block I think it is key to map it in a certain way in order to tackle the ironing.  All seams are 1/4"!
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Please note which are Rows 1, 2, and 3 as this will come into play when we discuss ironing...  When sewing look at the overall square and make your rows working from Left to Right.  This will create horizontal rows as seen below.
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I am normally not someone who cares about ironing seams to one side or open,  when it comes to which is better I shrug and simply stay out of the fray.  However(!) in a block this large I found that lining up your seams is extremely important because with the size of the block and so few seam alignments it is really obvious when the seams do NOT line up.  So, a bit of anal ironing can really help you line up your seams later...
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Rows 1 and Rows 3 (or Top and Bottom Rows with the patterned fabric in the center and HSTs on each end) should have the seams ironed INTO THE CENTER.  Row 2 (or the Middle Row with the solid square in the center and 6.5" patterned squares on the end) should have the seams ironed AWAY FROM THE CENTER.
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Rows 1 and Row 3 Iron IN
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Row 2 Iron OUT
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Joining the Rows
Once you have your rows all sewn together, again, I would suggest laying them out and seeing whether your seams should meet once sewn.  If things look really wonky at this stage then you might want to remeasure your squares and make sure everything is the right size before going down a frustrating path.
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Then carefully line up your seams, using your ironing to guide your alignment.
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Don't forget, with so few joining seams having an "off" alignment will be really obvious!  So use your pins and your ironing to line that baby up to get perfect seams.
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Sew together and...
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One more overview for those visual peeps...
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As always, let me know how this tutorial works for you.  Feel free to post suggestions or comments below!

- rebecca lynne

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shoo Fly Start

Busy these days trying to catch up on Bee Blocks and other quilty obligations I have.  One of which is to prep for my own Queen Bee month with WNYMQG in August.  So here I am picking out my fabrics for the bee members to use...Anna Maria Horner's Dowry Collection...

- rebecca lynne

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Moving This Way

Every spring I want to make something in soft pinks and peaches with a muted background like soft gray.  Inevitably after picking my soft palette, within a mere week the weather turns and I find myself wishing for bright vibrant colors and setting aside those muted pinks and peaches.  Looking back at the past May posts I have realized that I do this every year!  So this year I've made a top that captures that feeling...the vibrant colors pushing out the soft feminine ones...

My life is in the throes of those bright saturated colors right now.  Without going into the details, I'll just say that lots of life decisions were contemplated over the past two months.  Unfortunately, as a result, my Juki hasn't seen much of me at all.  I'm hoping to get past it and start quilting this beautiful top - I'm confident when I say that I've earned that much.

For the names/collections of some of the fabrics I've used in this quilt top check out my post here.

- rebecca lynne

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Word on FMQ

You may recall this post where I was trying to FMQ a quilt and having problems because of skipped stitches?  Well, I unpicked all of that quilting and just recently decided to give it another go.  Unfortunately, I am still experiencing skipped stitches on this quilt, and it was driving me mad.  Was it ME or was it the spray basting I used?
Messy truth
See what I mean?  What a mess!  I tried and tried...and no matter what speed, what size, what stitch length, what needle, god forbid that it be my Tough Lady (!)...well no changes worked!  It mostly happened on/near seams and some of the skips were so huge that I just started backstitching over them...  I was going crazy and there is no way I am ripping everything out again.  But, I still had doubts.  Was this being caused by my inexperience with FMQ or by the spray basting?
So...I decided to stop my quilting the spray basted quilt and grabbed a fabric I've been saving to make a whole cloth pillow for my husband.  I used a plain off white backing so that I could scrutinize the quilting.  Lo and skipped stitches!#fmqbeginner Love this design!
This was without pins or spray...just front, wadding, and backing smoothed out lain together.  Obviously my FMQ can still use some improvement but I love these loops because their lack of uniformity is organic and forgiving.
I've decided to keep sewing the spray basted quilt and managing the skipped stitches as best as possible.  Life's too short, I just don't have time to completely start over, unpick, wash etc.  It'll always serve as a reminder of this experience!
Now back to my loops...

- rebecca lynne

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Something Quiet

A few weeks ago, while my daughters were away visiting their grandparents and the weather was just starting to suggest spring, I had the desire to create something subtle and quiet.  I thought this bundle of soft oranges, blues, and low volume fabrics would be perfect to do some flying geese - a block I've been wanting to try for some time.  
I am not in love with the idea as I once was a few days ago and ended up having to push myself to finish this top.  I don't know what happened exactly.  I used this tutorial for the geese and wasn't thrilled with how they turned out, I know it was "faster" but they came out kind of sloppy and not uniform.  There is something to be said for slow and steady I think.  I will definitely make my geese differently next time.  I know exactly which backing I will use in my stash and am looking forward to some straight line quilting and just having this quilt done.  Maybe in the future I'll feel more affection towards it but right now I just want it out of the way.  
My desire to get this done and over with is probably due in part to the return of my children and impending summer weather which makes me look forward to doing something with this bundle below...
Left to Right: Meadow Vale in Navy, Sweet As Honey Deer Cherished, Meadow Marina Geos Deep, Meadow Summer Grove Day, Kona Citrus, Meadow Valley Azure, Kona Peach, Sweet as Honey Morning Bee

Looking for design suggestions.  Something large scale...I am leaning towards a Plus Quilt layout...I want to show off all those beautiful creatures and flowers and am thinking it will be my Welcome Summer quilt.

Have you ever had a quilt that you've worked through and were no longer excited about?  What did you do about it...finish it out or abandoned altogether?

- rebecca lynne

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It grows!

x and + block 12" finished
Remember this tutorial I recently posted?  Well I thought you might be interested in how things were progressing...  The Modern Stitching Bee members have been hard at work and I am so excited I started posting all of the blocks up on my design wall.
It grows. #modernstitchingbee
I am in absolute LUST over the random beauty that is coming together here!!!  I know I could never achieve such a gorgeous variety of fabric and design choices from a group of blocks all on my own.  I am thrilled I went with this block as my choice for the Bee.  In fact, to be honest I'm more than a little afraid to create more blocks of my own to square it off/make the top bigger lest my style *mess* the random beauty up.  Don't laugh, you know what I mean!

Moral of the story, go find a Bee to help you make these awesome blocks!

- rebecca lynne

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fabriholics Anonymous April Link Up!

I am following Jess's lead this month by posting the Fabriholics Anonymous Link with some delicious Low Volume Swap fabric...mmmm...  (Jess...don't mean to make you jealous...  Wink!)
windy peek
Like Jess, I too must admit to having fallen off the wagon in the month of April.  After using the Ludovika for backing in my last finished quilt Above All Pink I promised to pick up some for one of my bestie WNYMQG friends when I visited Ikea...given that the Ikea I visited was roughly 8 hours away and I was on vacation...well one thing led to another and I ended up picking up backing for her and two other Ikea fabrics as well...  I couldn't help it!  After all, some day Ikea's supply of Britten Nummer is going to run out!!!  I also picked up some Julita fabric as it is simple and fun so I figure one of the girls would love it on a quilt (which I cannot find on the Ikea website...hmmm...good thing I grabbed some when I did...).  Hope you guys can forgive my temporary lapse!!!

Speaking of the fast though - I am seriously considering continuing my fabric fast for the next 6 months.  I haven't put as much of a dent in my stash as I previously hoped, and I have other upcoming expenses that I'd like to continue to keep saving for.  For those of you who missed the first phase start considering whether you'd like to join on for the second half of the year...I'd love to have company!  

Don't forget to visit Jess and link up below!

- rebecca lynne

Friday, April 18, 2014

Above All Pink: All Solids Rainbow Modern Quilt

yummy closeup
Above All Pink
Size: 52"x52"
Fabric: Kona Cotton Solids Summer Jelly Roll, Ikea Ludovika (backing)
Quilted by MRL on a Juki TL-2010Q
Binding: MRL by hand
Progress Photos: Here

Linking Up to TGIFF at Blossom Heart Quilts!!!

- rebecca lynne