We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to…

Actually, we don’t really interrupt it for anything, it is just interrupted.

My creativity, and by extension, my blog, has bipolar disorder.  Now, there are some people in my life that may think that I am the one with the disorder, but I insist, it is not me, it is my creativity that has the problem.

So, even though I haven’t posted anything in almost two weeks, and I haven’t seen the inside of my sewing studio in almost a week, it doesn’t mean I am ignoring you or any of the amazing projects I have going on right now.  It just means I’m a little crazy.  I mean, my creativity is a little crazy.

Don’t worry, history has proven that we will return to our regularly scheduled program soon.

That is all.

The grass is always greener…

What is it about “swapping” that makes us swoon?  I don’t watch a lot of television, but I hear some people even swap wives and such things from time to time.  I don’t get that, but I do get why quilters like to swap.  Surprises and challenges seem to light us up and get the creative juices flowing.  We have a tendency to believe that the stash on the “other side of the fence” is “greener” than our own.  I don’t know that that’s always true, but it’s kinda fun to have a look-see, and what better way than in a swap?

I haven’t been able to participate in any kind of swap in many years, so I was really excited when I managed to get hooked up with Brenda Ratliff of Pink Castle Fabrics.  She has a blog called Just a Bit Frayed, and she recently opened up a Scrappy 9 Patch Swap.  I was swift to respond and managed to get in, but it would seem that it is luck of the draw to see such things online and be able to respond in time to be able to get in on them.  I still haven’t figured out how to join an online Bee, but I am going to get there.

Anyway, I actually had a little trouble figuring out which bold, but not solid, fabs I wanted to use in my 9 patches.  I had batiks that would work, but in the end really just wanted an excuse to go shopping.  So, I headed over to Intown Quilters in Atlanta to see what I could get.  Here’s what I found-

9 patch swap 1Love it!  Perfect for making a simple nine patch with some serious pizazz.  Brenda recommended using a strip method to make the blocks, but I, of course, wanted to do it MY way.  Don’t judge me.  I won’t judge you for following the directions.  Anyway, I like the square or sleeve method for nine patches.  Billie Lauder has a YouTube video on this process- click on her name for the link.  But in the meantime, here’s a little info on how I made my nine patch blocks.

First, cut two squares, 1 1/2″ larger than your desired finished block.  In this case, our blocks are to be 6 1/2″ to send to the swap, which means 6″ finished.  So, I cut (2) 7 1/2″ blocks.

9 patch swap 2With right sides together, I sewed a 1/4″ seam on two opposing sides.

9 patch swap 3Next, I calculated 1/3 of 7 1/2″, which is 2 1/2″.  Starting from one of the sewn sides, I cut (3) 2 1/2″ sections.

9 patch swap 4This gave me two seamed sections and two loose 2 1/2″ strips, as seen below.

9 patch swap 59 patch swap 6At this point I sewed the loose 2 1/2″ sections to the two seamed sections, as shown.  When using this method, I always press towards one of the fabrics, in this case the red.  It helps with nesting later on.

If you stop here, you have opposite rail fences.  A note here- this method of nine patches makes two nine patches at once, but they are the opposite of one another.  You will see in a minute what I mean.

While matching seams, I lined up the two pieced blocks right sides together, like this-

9 patch swap 7I then sewed a 1/4″ seam on the edges of the blocks perpendicular to the seams I made previously.  Like this-

9 patch swap 8

Using my rotary cutter and ruler, I then made (3) 2 1/2″ cuts, starting at one of the seamed edges.  Which gave me this-

9 patch swap 9I then went through the same process as before, matching up the loose center sections with the appropriate seamed sections to create a 9 patch, like this-

9 patch swap 10And voila-

9 patch swap 11Pretty darn close to perfect, if I do say so myself.  I really like this method because I find that my nine patches turn out much more accurate. Not everyone will like this method, but it certainly is worth giving it a try!

To add to all of this, Intown Quilters is also doing a block exchange, which will work nicely as border blocks for this nine patch quilt, so I signed up for that one too!  Click here if you are interested in joining that one, it still is open.

 

Announcing 2014 Stash Bash Registration dates!

angela jean:

I’m hoping to go to this! It’s at the same location as the guild retreat I posted about in September! Crazy, huh?

Originally posted on The Stash Bash:

Registration for The Stash Bash in April will begin in just a few weeks.  Attendees from this year will be allowed to pre-register on November 4th and regular registration will open on Friday, November 8th at noon Eastern time.

The Stash Bash is a retreat with the sole purpose of sewing and laughing, preferably in our pjs.  Search on Instagram for the hashtag #thestashbash to see pics of this year’s inaugural event.  Next year’s event promises to be even better.  We will have one or two optional, informal classes but will spend most of our time dancing sewing, cussing quilting, and stashing bonding.  There will be an on-site fabric shop, a design wall or two, ironing and cutting stations and plenty of giveaways.  We also do optional swaps and fat quarter games.

Registration is limited so please be aware of your options before registration opens.  Read through the following information…

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Decisions, decisions, decsions . . .

For me, inspiration often strikes at the most inconvenient moment- right at the time that there is absolutely nothing I can do about the idea I have.  I have lost a lot of good ideas to convenience, and so I have learned that when it strikes, I’d better act, or I might loose it.  Such is the case with this project.  It is totally inconvenient.  It has no purpose, other than to accomplish an idea that ran across my brain.  I had to interrupt other things to work on it.  It is taking more time than I wanted.  And yet, here it is.  Needing to be cared for and nurtured until it grows up.

So, remember my last post on inspiration?  Here’s where we left off-

Decisions 1My pics are not so good- I really need a camera other than the one on my phone, and maybe some lighting in my studio, but this is what I’ve got for now, and it will have to do!  Anyway, I had found the perfect fabric, tool and book  to get my ideas flowing, and while I had started playing a bit, I just hadn’t found the right combo.

Decisions 2Yes, but no.

Decisions 3Nice, but way too dark.  Overshadowed the print fabric terribly.

Decisions 4Now we’ve got something.  These wedges were on the design wall for a couple of weeks before they decided what they wanted to be, so I was pretty happy at this moment!

Decisions 5I have major issues with staying on task, although I really do finish most projects that I begin.  I just need a break sometimes from a big project for something smaller and a little easier, hence the baby quilt on the right.  I had finished cutting and placing all of my wedges as desired on the design wall, and I needed to “look away” for a minute, so I put together this baby quilt.  I will do a different post on it.

Decisions 6I finally started sewing wedges together, section by section, row by row.  Then I realized that I hadn’t thought through my design completely.  What about those odd shaped sides?  Should I leave them?  No, I want a bigger quilt than this and want to add borders, so the sides have to be squared up.  Back to the book Sizzlin’ Sixties.

Decisions 8I’ve mentioned before that I don’t follow directions well, and here is a good example of that.  It really does make a difference to actually read rather than just looking at the pictures.  Just saying.  Anyway, in order to make half wedges to create the straight sides needed on a hexagon quilt, you cannot just cut a wedge, and then cut it in half.  It doesn’t give you enough seam allowance.  (See above).

There are different ways to cut these side pieces.  The book uses a traditional 60 degree ruler, which I did not have, so I could not do it the way it was written.  Also, Julie from Jaybird Quilts has a Sidekick ruler that would do the job fabulously, but alas, I don’t have it yet.  So, I had to improvise.  It is possible to do this without an additional ruler, but I would have rather had the Sidekick.  I hope to get it soon.

So, here’s what I did-

Decisions 9I used my Hex N More ruler and lined up my straight edge with the far top point of the ruler, and the 4 1/2″ line, as this was the size I needed to make my straight edges.  Then I cut.

Decisions 10To continue cutting the “half” wedges I needed without waste, I turned to my straight-edge ruler and lined up the 60 degree line with the cut I made before.  This worked fine, but like I said, I would have rather had the Sidekick.

Decision 7As you can see above, those “half” wedges create a straight edge for the hexagon shaped quilt.  It isn’t required if you want the sides of the quilt to have the hexi shape, but again, I want to add a border and need the sides to be straight.

Decisions 11All sewn together!  Looking fabulous so far, if I do say so myself!

Decisions 12So, here’s the thing- remember that when cutting these wedges, you end up with a positive and negative wedge- see below-

Decisions 13The quilt I am making so far uses only half of the wedges that I have cut so far.

Decisions 14So, the story isn’t over!  What will these become when they grow up?  I’ll let you know when I know…

SewDown Nashville!

angela jean:

This might be a little bit of fabulous!

Originally posted on The Modern Quilt Guild:

The Modern Quilt Guild is excited to announce the instructors and lecturers for the upcoming Nashville SewDown, to be held April 11-13, 2014! Hold on to your fabric, because we’ve got an amazing line-up of teachers and one very special event you don’t want to miss!

SewDown Nashville

Learn from superstar workshop teachers Carolyn Friedlander, Anna Maria Horner, Angela Walters, and Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Get inspired with lectures from Alexia Abegg and Elizabeth Dackson.

Attendees will also be invited to join Anna Maria Horner in her Nashville home studio for an exclusive tour and cocktails! Transportation will be provided.

AMGStudio

SewDown Nashville is an all-inclusive weekend quilting getaway, filled with delicious food, inspiring lectures, amazing teachers, and new friends. Live it up from Friday through Sunday with four workshops, open sewing time, and a studio tour from Anna Maria Horner herself! All workshops, lecturers, hotel room and meals are…

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Selvage or Selvedge?

Yeah, totally had to look it up.  Turns out they’re both right.  I’m cool with that.

I have been collecting selvedges for years.  People bring them to me in little baggies with hopeful looks on their faces, wanting to know what brilliant project I am going to make with them.  I have disappointed them all, as I have not come up with anything super fabulous so far.  I wanted to use the words on the selvedges to write a story, but it just hasn’t worked.  Anyway, I recently had a little inspiration for a couple of projects, and I pulled out that box of selvedges.

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This is how the box looked when I started.  (The lid was smashed on pretty good.)  Along with tons of selvedges, I also have tons of leftover batting.  I really have difficulty letting go, especially of any kind of fibers.  Bits of fabric, batting, thread, yarn, you name it.  It really is a disease, but I don’t really want to be cured.

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I recently got a new laptop so that I can haul it around with me as I travel.  I wanted to make a kind of sleeve for it so that even as I slide it in my tote or whatever it would be a little more protected.  And also, not so obvious that it was a computer.  So, I measured the laptop and generously cut a piece of batting that would word for my desired result.  Then I simply laid the selvedges on the batting and started sewing.  Each selvedge overlays on the one before, and they are just simply top stitched onto the batting.

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I did this for the full length of my bit of batting, then trimmed it to the desired size for the computer.  I lined it with a cute fabric, then folded it with right sides together, and a flap for the top and seamed down each side.  Easy peasy.

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Then I was on to the next project.  Pin cushions.  I needed to do a few thank you gifts for some guild members, and I thought these would be cute.  I just cut the prepared selvedge “fabric” down to 5″ squares, backed them with a 5″ square of fabric, and filled with crushed walnut shells.

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After I made 11 of these for my guild members, I still had a stack of selvedge squares left, and needed a little encouragement to finish them.  (I was way sick of stuffing pin cushions at this point!)

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So, I talked to my sweet friend and asked her to help me find a purpose to finish the rest of those silly pin cushions, and she said I should donate them to the Jarrell Plantation gift shop as a fundraiser.

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Well, once I had a purpose in making those silly pincushions, I got the rest of them made- 27 to be exact, and dropped them off!  (I hate to admit how glad I was to see them go!)

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And this is how the box looked when I finished.  Do you see anything wrong with this picture?  (Hint, compare it to the one before I started!)