Monday, January 18, 2016

Color Book Tutorial.

My youngest niece is about to turn 1, and for her birthday gift, I revisited the idea of a color book. Then, after dropping one in the mail for her, I thought my own baby kidlet should have one, and why not take some pictures and share how I put it together with you?

Materials you'll need: 
(2) 6" x 12" pieces of batting*
pins and/or clover clips
sewing machine

*You could also use interfacing of your choice or fusible fleece in place of or in addition to the batting.
** All seams are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

The first step is easy, and in my opinion, the fun part. You'll need to make (8) 6.5" square blocks in whatever fashion you'd like. I went with an improv set of blocks, pulling out one or two scraps of each color that I really wanted to use, and then built the block around that. For instance, I really wanted to use those ninjas for my red block, and I picked out some other fun scraps to go with it. This is also a great project to use up weird shapes--the HSTs in my blue block have been hanging around, and those green scraps are off-cuts from a paper piecing project, but I hated to throw them away. But, if you didn't want to go the improv route, you could just as easily piece a number of 6.5" quilt blocks. Now I'm dreaming of a churn square book, or a friendship star book...oh, the options!

I opted for a rainbow set of blocks, though I skipped indigo and added pink in its place. I also added black since I needed an eighth. But you could just as easily use white or brown or another color in place of pink.

This is a great project to use up any orphan blocks you might have lying around. My purple star block is one that I've had languishing in my craft closet for YEARS.

This color book has two panels, each with four blocks. For panel 1, you'll need four blocks that you'd like to correspond with pages 1, 2, 7, and 8. The above color book has a red front cover (page 1) and a black back cover (page 8). My orange page was page 2; the pink, page 7.

Lay out the blocks in the above manner and sew right sides down the middle. Set aside.

For panel 2, you'll perform a similar routine, but this time, pages 6 and 3 will be sewn together, and pages 4 and 5. Set aside.

Take one set of your panel 1 blocks and baste your batting to it. It's purposefully cut 1/2" smaller to avoid bulky seams, especially in the corner areas. I used pins to baste, but you could just as easily use spray baste. Once basted, sew a stitch in the ditch line down the center of the block. This will hold the batting in place when we sew up panel 1.

Repeat this step for panel 2.

At this point, you'll have (4) 6.5" x 12.5" 'blocks' of two pages, 2 of those with batting attached.

For your next step, you'll sew panels 1 and 2 together. Take your batting-attached and batting-less panel 1 blocks and clover-clip or pin them right sides together. You'll want pages 1 and 2 to be on top of each other, which means pages 7 and 8 will also be on top of one another. Sew all the way around, leaving a 3" opening. I chose to leave my opening on one of the short sides. Before you turn it right sides out, clip your corners, making sure not to clip through your seam stitches. Then flip, push out your corners, and topstitch 1/8" from the edge all the way around.

Repeat for panel 2, making sure pages 3 and 4 are pinned together, ensuring pages 5 and 6 are also pinned together. 

When both panels are complete, place panel 1 on top of panel 2 and stitch in the ditch down the center seam to complete your book. Before you sew, it's wise to take a quick look through the book and make sure all of your pages are where you want them. You can use a walking foot here if you'd like, but I found I could manage just fine with my regular foot.

This is the color book I made for my niece. I had an extra EPP hexie flower that had no home, and I top-stitched it down to the cover for a fun presentation.

Please let me know if you wind up making one!

Friday, January 15, 2016

FF: Kim's 2nd 241 tote

For Christmas 2014, I made my friend Kim a 241 tote. She went with me to my LQS, and we picked out fabrics so that I would make her a tote she would really really love. AND THEN. Disaster struck. The front panel of her bag got some sort of crazy rip, and she was oh so sad. And rightly so because that bag was totally boss. I mean, she got a good 10-11 months of almost daily use out of it, but still. it was devastating.

I had this idea--why not make her a near identical bag for Christmas this year? So I did. I was able to find the same floral print at my LQS, and the same pocket print, and I used a green dot from a Bonnie and Camille line for the side bits. (Speaking of those side bits, I recently saw a 241 on instagram with quilted side panels and it was divine. I so want to try that out sometime.)

Other than a couple of different fabric placements, I also put a zipper in on this one. My first zipper on a 241, which is slightly shameful since I've made about a million of them. The zipper insertion was cake, especially now that I have an actual zipper foot, but I will say, having to wrangle zippers using a regular presser foot has given me some skills.

(I *might* have another 241 planned, and I *might* have purchased a zipper--or two!--for that one as well.)

The inside is more of the green dot and the focus print, but I used some mini pearl bracelets in hot pink for the slip pocket. I also added a magnetic clasp on this version--the previous Kim bag didn't have one.

Once again, I used fusible fleece interfacing, and once again, I loved it something fierce. I loved the first Kim 241, but I love this one MORE.

This is finish #1 from my 2016 Q1 FAL list. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Midnight Mystery Quilt Finished Top

This morning, I left the warm comfort of my house for about two seconds to venture into my background and the 11 degree windy cold to snap a couple of photos. (At 72" square, I did not have a suitable spot to take pictures inside.)

This is the Midnight Mystery Quilt from Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs. And I love love love it.

In fact, I love it so much that I'm considering adding some borders to make a queen-size version for my bed.

But I'm thinking of adding long strips to the sides, three, in fact. This is my proposed color scheme. But perhaps I should cut the navy and add the lime in instead? Thoughts? I have enough of the silver for the first or second border, but not the third, and I kinda like the pop of pink against the edge.

I am so thankful to Cheryl for offering this sweet mystery quilt challenge. I had so much fun! And after a long while of thinking I'd never do a mystery quilt, I'm thrilled I gave it a go and it turned out so nicely! I'm game for another, certainly!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Q1 FAL List 2016

Can I add about twelve exclamation points to this post's title! O to the M to the G, I am so excited to be starting off 2016 with another delicious FAL list into which to sink my teeth. Can you feel my excitement? Better yet, do you share it?

1. Frozen Watermelon Quilt
Top done, needs to be basted, quilted, bound

2. Dad's Star Quilt
Top done, needs to be basted, quilted, bound

3. Negroni shirt for husband
THIS IS SHAMEFUL. I have done NOTHING. (Mostly because I'm terrified.)

4. Hot Pink Socks
One sock is knitted; need to start and complete the second

5. Midnight Mystery Quilt
Blocks are done; need to finish assembling top, baste, quilt, bind

Pieces are cut

7. 241 Tote for Me
Planning to use some C+S and other prints; materials gathered

8. Dress for Me
By Hand London's Anna pattern; delicious yummy voile from Fancy Tiger Crafts

I'm linking up! Are you? 
2016 FAL

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

QIP: Frozen Watermelon

My Monday was shaping up to be a rather normal day until I read this post by Kim from Leland Ave Studios. She had marvelous success combining a bunch of old projects into one, and I'm reading her post thinking, I have some old stuff hanging around. I could do that. (Maybe.)

You may recall, I tried to use these blocks in another improv project. But the more I worked on that project, the longer I realized it didn't want to be friends with those blocks, so the entire quilt top was made without a single orphan block.

Sheer determination just may have carried me through this project. I was going to use those blocks, so help me. (And I did! Yay!) I'm calling this one Frozen Watermelon since the temperatures have finally dropped out of the weird mid-60s that pervaded much of my December. (I hate cold. I hate snow. So you know when I think it's too warm in December that it's really, really too warm.)

This quilt measures 40ish by 50ish inches. I never felt like those star blocks were very me, so I dropped that project. This feels much more Audrey. And now that they've been used, I could maybe talk myself into trying the paper pieced star project again, but this time using fabrics more up my alley.

I have no idea how I'm going to quilt this baby. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably quilt it in straight lines on the diagonal because that's what I always do! But maybe in a pale pink thread?

I'm thrilled with this quilt top, not because it's my new favorite, but because it's the first time I did a large scale improv project and didn't stress out. I didn't throw anything or have to step away because I was getting too frustrated. It just happened, making me think that maybe, just maybe, pushing myself outside of my comfort zones has been a good thing. 

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

FF: A Baby Quilt for K.

I'm sure as quilters, you can relate when I tell you this quilt stressed me out something serious. I knew that eventually my friend and quilting sensei K would have a baby, and eventually I'd make said baby a quilt, and OMG, what could I ever make for this baby that would be good enough for such an important friend? I'm 100% serious when I say that I started thinking about this quilt a couple of years before it was time to start.

But then. I won a copy of Modern Rainbow by Rebecca Bryan in a giveaway, and while I swoon over the entire book, the Huckleberry quilt pattern was so incredibly wonderful that I knew immediately that it was the baby quilt I would make for K. I waffled a bit over fabric choices--I certainly do not have that many solids in my stash in the right shades, nor did I want to try and procure them--and finally ended with the idea of using prints and repeating each print four times. The background fabric is Essex linen in black. 

Can I just say, this quilt was fairly easy to put together? I was concerned with the assembly--bias edges! Curves! Templates! But the instructions provided were wonderful, and it came together faster than I expected.

But then I stalled on how to quilt it. Rebecca Bryan's quilting on the original Huckleberry was so divine. I knew that wasn't going to happen. Over a few days, I pondered it, and I even went so far as to sketch out some ideas, which let me tell you, NEVER HAPPENS in the world of Audreyland Hot Pink Quilts goodness. But. It was worth it. I love the center quilting. I echo-quilted the hexagons--gotta have some normal Audrey quilting in there somewhere--but for the quilting of the corners, I found myself stumped once again.

One of the things that had irked me about this quilt creation is that I wanted to add something for K's husband, who is also a good friend of mine, but I could never figure out what. Since this quilt's process has been pretty magical, I was unsurprised when the answer seemed to emerge from nowhere.

I FMQ'd the words "Hello World" into one of the corners, followed by a six-sided star. The other three corners aren't so fancy, just a geometric design, but this one corner is special. A Hello World program is (usually) a simple program to teach beginning computer programmers. Since this baby's papa is a CS guru, and it is inevitable that this little bambino will be surrounded by computers and computer know-how, it seemed fitting. The fact that the same words could also serve to introduce the little bubs to the universe made it extra fitting.

The backing is a batik that my middle son helped me pick out especially for this baby, and the quilting shows up extra yummy on the back. (All quilting was done in black thread, though the piecing was done in mostly navy as I ran out of black thread shortly after I started!) The binding is the same black as the background fabric, but when cutting it, I discovered I was short a 2.25" x WOF strip. UGH. So I cut up some scraps from the hexagon piecing to add a bit of a scrappy element. And I love the way it turned out.

All in all, I'd gladly keep this quilt for one of my own kiddos, so I'm taking that to mean I succeeded in making a quilt special enough for my dear friends.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Five Crosses Block Tutorial

THIS IS BLOCK AMAZINGNESS, aka, a Five Crosses block. I saw this block randomly on instagram, and I loved it so. I figured, it'll be easy to find a tutorial, right? WRONG. (That being said, if you know of one/find one, please don't tell me! I think I would cry!)

This was my demonstration fabric pull. When I first thought about making this quilt, I knew I wanted a blue/green bit of awesome, which is what I got!

You'll need: 

FABRIC A (blue in my pictures)
(8) 2.5" squares
(12) 2.5" x 3.5" rectangles
FABRIC B (green in my pictures)
(6) 2.5" squares
(5) 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles

1. You might be able to figure out how the block is pieced just from the photo, but in case you'd like some instruction, here's where to start: piece the center cross first, using (4) fabric A 2.5" squares plus (2) fabric B 2.5" squares and (1) fabric B 2.5" x 6.5" rectangle.

2. After that is completed, attach a 2.5" x 6.5" fabric B rectangle to the top and bottom of the cross. You'll need to piece the left and right sides, which are each composed of (2) fabric A 2.5" squares and (1) fabric B 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles. Once all four sides are attached to the center cross from step 1, set piece aside.

3. There are four corner units, which are each sewn up using (3) fabric A 2.5" x 3.5" rectangles and (1) fabric B 2.5" square. Two fabric A rectangles attach to the left and right side of the fabric B square. A third fabric A rectangle should be centered and attached to the top of the pieced rectangle.

4. Grab your center piece and lay out the block. The four corner units will need to be positioned around the center bit, then attached. One way of centering the corner units properly is to fold both the center square and the corner units in half. (You'll see I folded one right sides together and one wrong sides together so that they will nestle.) Pin and sew.

5. Your finished product before trimming will look like this. I trimmed my blocks to 12".

I hope y'all enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know if you wind up making a five crosses block!


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