Friday, July 31, 2015

Big Ass Heart - a Lovely Quilt

This quilt started out a little as a challenge and a little to use up some of my 5" charms that I've picked up from a couple swaps.  Angelina (@weenachaween on Instagram) made a wonderful quilt and she dubbed it her Big Ass Heart Quilt.  I wanted to make my own.
My collection of 5" charms has been growing.  Some are from swaps.  I participated in three or four rounds of swaps for 5" charms.  These swaps were hosted by the amazing Amateur Quilter.
Some are from when I trim up my leftovers from other projects or from quilt backings.
Some are from when I use the majority of a charm pack and have a couple leftover.
Ultimately it means I have many, many of these.
Stacks and stacks of 5" charms.
I sorted through my stacks and stacks and started building my 9-patch blocks.  This quilt is made entirely with the disappearing 9-patch block.  The blocks are mindfully constructed (lights in one portion and brights/darks in another) and placed so they go together to create the heart shape at the center of this quilt.
There are a total of five different layouts for the 9-patch blocks.  The light colors and the brights/darks make up the majority of the blocks.  The outer border blocks (the three smaller blocks in this photo) are precisely made so the reds are in certain spots.  These blocks will be used as the outline for the heart and give it shape.
Making the 9-patch blocks and cutting them was easy.  Working on the layout was the hard part.
Each side of the outline mirrors the other.  This is how this quilts differs from many disappearing 9-patch layouts.
As the size was determined by the size of my charms this one turned out to be a great throw size.  I think the finished size was around 65" by 65" (this answer was reached mathematically and does not factor in the quilting or post washing shrinkage).  I think if I was going to make another I might add a couple rows, one to the top and bottom to frame the heart a little better.
I quilted the lighter background portions with a long, wavy meander in white thread.
The heart was quilted with red thread with a simple small-scale meander.  I wanted the quilting to give it some great texture.  The washed quilt is wonderfully soft.
Scrappy binding is the best!  The label was embroidered and attached with the binding and then the diagonal edge was sewn down by hand.  This one is like the one Bonnie Hunter uses on some of her quilts.  Pat Sloan has a similar method that she covers here.  The label is so important!
This quilt really made me happy.  Quilting should make you happy.

Have you made anything using up those little leftover pieces?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Charity Quilting: Lady Bugs

 Here is another quilt made by Annapolis Quilts for Kids.  I love the play of the pink and black.
These simple quilts are great for beginning sewers and quilters.  No complicated sewing or cutting, just easy 6.5" squares to sew up into a quilt.  I love how Quilts for Kids combines giving with helping new sewers and quilters learn about this wonderful craft.

Quilt Count:  27

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dragon Chow Dice Bag

While I was on the hunt for some dice bag ideas to make my DH a new way to store and transport dice I found this great tutorial for a small dice bag.  The design is from Lindsay at Dragon Chow Dice Bags.  Sadly, Lindsay no longer makes and sells these fun dice bags but she does share her tutorial for how to make one of your own.  The pattern is licensed with a Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 License.
First, go check out this great review of the dice bag from Dice of Doom.  It gives you a look at the bag and gives a gamer's point of view.  It includes a video of the bag in action!
You do need some notions for this one.  I had this cording and these drawstring stoppers in one of my many boxes of stuff.  Otherwise the only special thing I needed was a bodkin.  Although a safety pin will work (the tutorial linked at the beginning shows you how).
The pattern requires very little fabric.  I picked a couple that were hanging out on my cutting table and got to work.  The cutting is really straightforward.
I made my lining and outer bags pretty quickly.  I did press the two before putting them together.  This will be difficult if you don't have a sleeve board or something similar.
Nested and pinned.  I wrote a tool tip for the magnetic pin cushion last year.
The construction of this one baffled me at first.  When I figured out the point of what was being done with this super deep seam allowance I was so happy with this small genius.  There are no raw edges anywhere on this bag.  Not even inside the drawstring channel.  I love it!
Here you can see my bodkin.  I love this for threading drawstrings and elastic.  It is a great little tool.  I picked mine up at a quilt show but you can get one from Amazon.
I love this bag because it is perfectly reversible.  Here is the inside.
Here is the bottom.  I am overly pleased at how neat the bottom looks.
Overall this is a great little bag.  The tutorial is easy to follow.  I think it would make a great gift for new gamers, or someone who has a giant collection of a single type of dice (like a hundred D10s for those that play Vampire the Masquerade or 7th Sea).  If you want to start off your collection of dice, I can recommend Chessex's Pound-O-Dice.

None of the links here are affiliated.  This means I looked up this information to share with you without being compensated in any way.

Have you found any free tutorials that you love?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Charity Quilting: Country Pinwheels

This top was made by another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.  I quilted it up with the humble meander.
This farm border print is so cute!  I'll hand this over at the next meeting for another member to finish the binding.

Are you a member of a guild or group that makes things for charities?  I would love to hear about how you're using your love of quilting to make a difference in someone's life.

Quilt Count:  26

Monday, July 20, 2015

In the Mail Monday

I want to tell you that I've read the book from cover to cover but it just isn't possible.  I think it will be a great way to use classic block patterns into modern quilts.  You can learn more about it on the Vintage Quilt Revival website.
As for the Add-a-Quarter?  If you want an easy way to trim up the work with paper piecing I recommend this fun little tool.  It is quick and easy and makes paper piecing so much easier.  Do you need it?  Absolutely not.  Does it make trimming which paper piecing easier?  I think so.

Have you found any must-have tools?  I love rulers so I might not be the best person to ask.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Charleston MQG: Love and Support

Recently the Charleston Modern Quilt Guild put out a request for blocks to make a quilt in support of the community forever changed by the shooting that occurred at the Emmanuel AME Church in June 2015.  Follow the link above to get the information on the block size, how they want it prepared and where to ship the finished block.
I made and sent along my block to arrive before August 1st as requested.  If you want to see how many blocks they have I recommend checking out the Charleston Modern Quilt Guild's Instagram account.  The last count I saw 552 blocks had been received.  They were still looking for blocks from several states (Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming).  If you have a couple minutes I hope you consider sending them a block to add to this project of love and support.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Scrap Vortex

Somewhere in my travels I came across a quilt along for the Scrap Vortex.  Go check out the quilt along for more instructions on making your own scarp vortex quilt.  Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts has some wonderful tutorials and walks you through working with your scraps for the Scrap Vortex.
I've been using my crumbs to make stacks and stacks of 4.5" blocks.  If you want to make some of these yourself I recommend you check out Victoria Findlay Wolfe's 15 Minutes of Play.  The book is wonderful and gives you so many ideas of how to work with your scraps to make some really amazing things.
I pulled out my stacks and stacks of 4.5" squares and got to work.  Two shoeboxes full of these little suckers. It was time to make something.
I wanted some places to rest the eye so I made some groups of blocks and framed them with 2.5" strips.  I used different sizes of groups for each one.  Since the border for these units made the blocks 4.5" bigger in both length and width they fit perfectly into the rest of the blocks with minimal adjustments and zero partial seams.
I chose the finished size of this quilt based on the size of the backing I had available.  This year I have restricted myself to buying only backing fabrics and I've been really successful with not growing my stash this year and still making loads of finished quilts.
Some of the framed units aren't as obvious as others.  If I do this again I will pay much closer attention to these and try to make them stand out more.
The turquoise frame is the most obvious.  This might be because of this is the only solid or due to the blocks in and around it.
A scrappy quilt like this deserves more than one color quilting thread.  I pulled some Magnifico, OMNI and So Fine #50 and got stitching.  Each of these threads is great for long arm quilting.
Basted and ready to quilt.  Since this quilt has so many things going on, I decided to use a different motif in different areas and let the bobbin tell me when to change color of thread.
The Flower Power design from Angela Walters is always a great filler.  I know this is in one of her books but I've packed up all my books for the move so I can't pull it out and let you know which one it is.  I also used echoing a great deal.
Free-hand baptist fans are another great filler.
Pebbles!  They aren't my favorite, but I'm glad I included them.  A little bit of ruler-work there in the block.  It isn't anything spectacular, though.
This was my first real try with the ribbon meander.  I really like the effect.
I used this as an opportunity to practice my feathers.  Some are better than others.
The back of the quilt gives a better idea of the different colors of thread used.  This backing fabric is a dark blue flannel.
The purple and blue threads are pretty well hidden.  The yellow, orange, read and white are not so hidden.
The pebbles really show up on the reverse.
For binding I pulled out my bin of leftover binding and pieced some together.  Scrappy quilts finish pretty quick when I use the scrappy binding bin.  Binding finished by machine (you can check out my binding tutorial over in tutorials).

Have you done anything really scrappy this year?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thread Thursday

Just a quick post to share some of the thread that has shown up at my door.
 The Thread of the Month club continues to bring me yummy So Fine! #50 every month.
 This month I got some awesome earthy tones and this fun green.
I also ordered some Superior Needles for my sewing and embroidery machines and some larger needles for the long arm.  The right size needle for the thread makes so much of a difference when sewing or quilting.  I think Superior has some of the best education information on needles out there.  You should totally check it out.