Not a WIP anymore-

IMG_6359I started this project quite a while ago.  I was totally engrossed by the colors in this line of fabric from the first time I saw it.  Backyard Baby was designed by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller, and I don’t think I can get enough of it.  I didn’t have a reason to buy it or anyone to make anything for, but I couldn’t resist finding a reason to work with it.

IMG_6373So, I started this baby quilt using the traditional Indian Hatchet block.  It sat on my design wall for a long time, just making me happy.  Then I got an invitation to a baby shower, and the deal was sealed.

IMG_6266I hadn’t been sure how to quilt it, but was thankfully struck by inspiration.  I decided I wanted the quilting to loosely follow the design of the hatched block, so I “freehanded” straight diagonal and vertical lines throughout the quilt.  I was pleased with the outcome, although I was also reminded of why I am looking forward to having a longarm machine one day!

IMG_6375Once it was complete, I sent one of our daughters out with quilt and camera in hand and told her to take a few good ones.  I really love her perspective.  One of these days we will get a decent camera.  As well as a longarm quilting machine.

Being a little Frank about things.

I love Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.  I don’t like to pick favorites because when I like something or someone, it is usually because of the unique aspects of that thing or person, and claiming favorites to me is like comparing apples to oranges.  Which do you like better?  Well, I don’t like one more than another because I like them for totally different reasons.

So, I don’t know that I would say he is my favorite, in part because I don’t have favorites, but also because I don’t know enough about art and architecture to make such a claim.  However, I would say that I love his work.  Everything I have ever seen by him I have loved.  Clean lines.  Simple design with bold impact.  Neat and tidy.  Exploding with beauty.  I just love it.

So, you could say his work inspires me.  I’ve wanted to do some quilting in his style for quite some time, but have never had a good excuse to try it.  Until I needed a birthday gift.  What better excuse than that?

It needed to be relatively small- 5″x7″ to be exact, so I knew this would present some challenges, but I was really excited about trying.

IMG_7115I thought the easiest way to do it would be foundation piecing, so I sketched out the idea I had on a piece of 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper using the 1/4″ and 1/8″ markings on my Creative Grids rulers.  It took some planning to include seam allowances, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to work.  I’ve done improv foundation piecing before, but never one that I wanted to actually be precise.

IMG_7116Next I dug into my scrap bins.  I chose batiks for this project because I wanted the translucent look of stained glass.  Again, I had no idea how this was going to turn out but I just went for it.

I went about my work in the usual foundation piecing way- I cut my design into five sections that I would later sew together.  I started in the center of the larger piece, working my way to the outer edges and making sure I had at least 1/4″ hanging off of each side for piecing the two sections together and for putting into a frame.  Then on the four smaller pieces I started at one corner and worked to the other corner, alternating which directions my seams were going in for easier “nesting” when I sewed the sections together.

IMG_7125In the process of doing this, I learned something that I hadn’t known before regarding foundation piecing.  Because these lines were SO tiny, it was really important to try to get the seams as straight and correct as possible.  I didn’t accomplish this perfectly, but I think I will get better over time.  Anyway, I discovered that it was much easier to stay on the drawn lines of my pattern if I used an open toe foot instead of my usual quarter inch foot.  It allowed me to be able to see needle placement much better and I was able to stitch on the line much easier.  That open toe foot sure gets used a lot in my studio.  (Think of that last sentence as if you don’t know any sewing terms.  Oh boy.)

IMG_7120Overall I was pleased with the finished product, but I have to admit there were a few things I would do differently next time.  And there will be a next time.

IMG_7126Remember that neat little stack of batik scraps that I showed you earlier?  Yeah, if you are familiar with foundation piecing, you know how that pile looks after the fact…

IMG_7128Creative carnage.

 

I hate it when people call me crafty.

I can’t help it.  It just sounds like an insult.  Belittling.  Condescending.  A completely inept description of what goes on in my brain and in my life.  Crafty.  Bleh. But crafty, unfortunately, is what came to mind as I thought about writing this post.  I’m working on being more disciplined when it comes to blogging, so I know I need to write, but none of my current quilt projects are at a point where I want to write about them yet.  So, instead, here are a few of the goodies I’ve been working on lately.  I hope it doesn’t make me seem too crafty.

First up-

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Scarves-  I recently learned how to arm knit, which is a lot of fun.  The scarves shown above are listed on my Etsy site, which you can find on the right of this post, or by clicking here.  If you want to learn how to do it yourself, I found a great video that taught me how.  Just click the photo below and it will take you to it.

  IMG_6680Next-

IMG_6766This was a work in progress (WIP) that’s been hanging about for way too long.  Like years.  And the only reason it’s been around that long is that while I love making motifs, I do not love sewing them together.  So, it’s been complete, but in parts, for a long time.  I don’t know what my hangup is about this, but I don’t plan on any motif-style crochet for quite a while.  Also, this is the third time I’ve made this particular project, and it is now in the “never again” category in my brain.

Then there was this-

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Birthday preparations.  Because that’s what Grandmas do.

And why not this?-

IMG_6784Because if you are going to make one tutu, why not make another?  I can’t wait to see her pictures in this one!

Last one-

IMG_7008They look tiny in this picture, but these bags are actually about 14″ x 13″.  They are for the grands- for trick-or-treat, going to the library, or hauling around whatever their little hearts desire.  I was really excited about making these, and it should have been a pretty quick project- just some fusible applique and a little button hole stitching.  Well, there’s a reason I’m not posting a close up of these babies.  First, I forgot myself and I made the bags BEFORE I did the applique.  That made stitching it down loads of fun.  Second, I used Heat N Bond Ultra, because other than the stash of Steam A Seam 2 Lite that I am hording, that’s all I had.  I figured it was a small project, no biggie, I’ll just use the Heat N Bond Ultra.  Just this once.  Oy.  My needle gummed up every couple of inches, which made my machine start to skip stitches.  It took twice as long as it should have.  Then when I was filling in stitches by hand because I was fed up with the machine, I actually broke a hand-sewing needle.  Yes, broke it.

I’m so glad Steam A Seam 2 is back in production.

Well, that does it for me.  What about you?  Feeling crafty? Hahahahahahahaha!

Hijacked Hashtag

So, I really love a good hashtag.  #iknowtheyaredumb #ilikethemanyway #jimmyfallon #signofourtimes #youknowyouwannadoittoo

I am a member of the Stash Bee, and September 2014 was my turn to be the Queen.  Being the Queen just means that it is your turn to post a tutorial of a block, and assuming you wrote good directions, your hive mates all make your block and send it to you.  It’s pretty fun, and while I have been late sending my blocks in more than once, and even switched two of my hive mates packages, I think I am finally getting the hang of it.  Now that it is in the last quarter of the year.  #whatever #hopetheyletmecomeback #imovercommitted

So, I thought I might repost my Stash Bee post here, but of course, I can’t seem to figure out how exactly to do that.  #copyandpasteitis #technologyescapesmesometimes  If you are interested, there is a button on the sidebar of this blog that will take you to the Stash Bee so you can see what the Hives have been up to.  But until then, here’s my post-

What is your name? Angela Gubler, also known as The Green Apricot
Where do you live? Just south of Atlanta, Georgia
Tell us about your family. I’m very grateful to have been married to a wonderful man for the last 7 ½ years. We have very busy lives between work, church and children, so we like to travel at least a couple of times a year to get away a little bit. We have seven kids between us. Only one boy, who happens to be in the middle of serving a two-year mission in Brazil. When we got married the kids were between the ages of 8-18, and six of them lived with us. With a dog. Since then we have very sadly lost the dog, but gained two SILs, three incredible grandchildren, and three granddogs, although it is probably a little extreme to claim the dogs. It’s a great, albeit crazy and sometimes difficult, life.

CollageTell us about how you got interested in quilting. My first experiences with quilting were when I was a teenager. We tied quilts at church activities for people who were having babies, and once for a women’s shelter. That was it. I was hooked on my two favorite things. Quilting and service. I played around with the idea of quilting for a few years, and then took my first class when I was pregnant with my first child (the only boy). That class was almost 22 years ago.
How do you organize your fabric stash? “Organized” is such a loose term, don’t you think? Haha- I will put it this way- you may walk into my studio and think it isn’t organized, but believe me, it is, and if you move anything, I might have to hurt somebody. Seriously, I do keep most of my fabric in two large PAX wardrobe units from IKEA. I fitted each with pullout drawers and shelving so that I could see the stash fairly easily, although I do have to stand on a stool for the top ones. Other than that, I still have a couple of plastic bins I am trying to whittle down and get rid of, and I also have lingering piles here and there that are WIPs. As for what order the fabrics are in, they are mostly grouped by either intended projects or style. For instance, there is a whole drawer of 3 Sisters by Moda (very traditional, I know), a drawer of batiks, a drawer of novelties, a drawer of moderns, etc.

Collage Fabric StorageWho is/are your favorite fabric designers? I know this is dumb, but I really don’t have favorites. I love fabric. I love traditional. I love modern. I love it all. But, I do have an autographed poster of Kaffe in my studio.
What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting? That’s a hard question because it really has been such an evolution, but I think proper binding is probably it. While I don’t know that my binding is absolutely perfect now, but that’s what bothers me most about my old quilts. (I have one that the binding is about 1/4″ finished. I struggled with that one.)
What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it? Any ruler made by Creative Grids. I love rulers. I have a hoard of them. And every time I pick one up that wasn’t produced by Creative Grids, I think to myself “I wish Creative Grids made this ruler.” They are well made, and I love the nonslip pads on them. I also love that they are marked well. They also make so many specialty rulers, and I haven’t met one yet that I didn’t like.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Most of my life, until just a few months ago, I would answer this question with Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. You only have to know me a few minutes to know why this is true. Even though I don’t have red hair. But, I have to say that after years of badgering by my daughters to read the Twilight series, I finally did a few months ago. I didn’t love the movies, so I didn’t think I would like the books, but I was totally wrong. Loved them. Now I think that Bella Swan is my favorite. Not very deep, I know, but real life is crazy enough, I’m okay with a little candy when it comes to my fiction.

IMG_6554So, I’m pretty excited about this tutorial. I love goofy hashtags, even though I know people think it’s lame. I couldn’t care less. I love them. Hence this block- Hijacked Hashtag. There are probably real patterns out there, but I thought of this one a few months ago and thought it couldn’t be easier, so it would be perfect for Stash Bee. Look out, this block is addicting and easy- I made 4 in less than an hour.

My only rules-
1) Have fun and let go, but to be successful, read all of the directions first.
2) Use quality fabrics and 1/4″ seam allowance.
3) Stick with neutral fabrics (greys, tans, blacks, creams, etc.), and the background should be lighter than the hashtag.
4) Do not, I repeat, do not, trim down your block. I will trim when I have all of the blocks and can see how much they vary in size. I hope to be able to have 10″ unfinished blocks, so if you can keep that in mind, it would be great.
5) Use rotary cutting tools, but keep in mind that you aren’t really worried about measuring as much as you are about cutting straight. While the cuts themselves must be straight, they do not have to be parallel to the edge of the block. In fact, I would prefer if there is a little wonk to your cut. This will scare the crap out of some people, but I promise, it will be okay.

For one block, you will need:
(1) 10″ square of background fabric
(4) 3/4″-2″ x 15″ strips of hashtag fabric (careful not to cut them smaller or larger than the indicated sizes)

hashtag 1Block construction:
1) Using rotary cutting tools, make a vertical cut through the background fabric square about 2-2 1/2″ from one edge. You may want to use a pin to mark either side of the cut so that if your pieces get turned around, you will know which is which.

IMG_65452) Now that you have two pieces of background fabric, sew each one to either side of one strip of hashtag fabric by lining up top edges. (In making this block, always line up top edges.) Press seam allowances to the dark.

IMG_65463) Repeat step 1 from the opposite side of the first hashtag mark.
4) Repeat step 2 using another strip of hashtag fabric.

IMG_65475) Rotate block so that the hashtag marks are now horizontal.
6) Repeat steps 1 and 2.

hashtag 27) Repeat steps 3 and 4.

hashtag 38) You’re done!  At this point, I square my blocks up to 10″, but you could play with that number a bit if you’d like to make your blocks even more unique.  #fabulous

If my directions were clear, this should be a super easy block and not take much time at all. I hope you enjoy!

A Tale of Two Tools- Flying Geese

In my last post I talked about progress on my Modern Medallion project, which is constructed in what I would call a round robin formation. Essentially, instead of making blocks that are then arranged in a pleasing order and sewn together, a center is created first and borders added until the desired size is reached.  One of the borders of the Modern Medallion is made of a formation of wonky flying geese.

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Click on the pic above for more info about this project

I already talked about how I made these flying geese in the other post, so why am I revisiting this now?  Education.  The more you know, the better you do, and I know I am grateful for all I have been taught.  It makes me want to share what I know because knowledge is power, and I believe we are made to be powerful.

 Options . . .

In my collection of rulers I have three that are designed for flying geese.  All three of the rulers use a method that creates 4 geese at once.  Two of the three are by the same designer and work the same way, they just make different sized geese, so I actually only have two different tools.  To many of you, that may still seem a little extreme, because how many different ways do you need to make flying geese?  Actually, I find that having both is pretty handy, and I want to share with you why.

Both tools make 4 geese by beginning with one large square, which becomes the four “geese”, and four small squares, which becomes the background.  With this method, the four geese are always the same fabric, but the background can vary as desired.  (If you use four small squares of the same fabric, the backgrounds will all be the same, if you use different fabrics for the small squares, the backgrounds will be different.

FGX4_large2Above is the ruler that I used to make my flying geese for the Modern Medallion, “Flying Geese x 4″ by Lazy Girl Designs.  The geese I needed for the pattern were not a standard size, and I wanted mine to be a little crazy anyway, so I made the geese larger than needed by following the directions on the ruler and then trimmed them to the desired size.  You can see more about how I did this by clicking here.

What I like about this ruler is that you don’t have to really do much math.  The ruler has a sort of template printed on it as pictured below-

FGX4_large22Simply select one of the 12 desired finished sizes (the size the geese will be when sewn into a quilt top), then find the coordinating letter for the large and small squares on the ruler.  Using the ruler as a template, cut out 1 large square for every 4 small squares, then follow the instructions on the booklet that comes with the ruler for proper layout, sewing and cutting.  The advantage to this ruler is scraps.  You can easily cut squares from scraps using the ruler as a template, rather than strip cutting copious amounts of the same fabrics.  Technically, you don’t need the ruler to cut the right size squares, but it is VERY handy when dealing with scraps.

Here’s honesty in quilting and blogging.   I have always stunk at using this ruler.  Until I made wonky, crazy, ornery geese with it.  I finally figured out why I couldn’t get accuracy.  Are you familiar with the term “scant 1/4″?  Well, when you use this ruler, get unfamiliar with it.  Quick.  The cuts are precise, and the 1/4″ seam used to sew them together needs to be as well, or it just won’t come out to the correct size.  It’s just that simple.

So, what if you are okay with cutting strips for your geese and backgrounds (so you don’t need the template), and maybe you’re 1/4″ seam allowance isn’t quite 100% accurate?  What then?  How about these babies-

The “Wing Clipper” and “Wing Clipper II” are by Deb Tucker of Studio 180.  If you want more info about this designer and how to order products, click here.  The “Wing Clipper” and “Wing Clipper II” use the same technique as “Flying Geese x 4″ in that 4 flying geese are created at once using one large square and four small squares.  But that’s where the similarities end.  Between these rulers, there are 19 sizes of flying geese that can be made.  Rather than using the ruler as a template for cutting the squares needed to make the geese, the measurement requirements for the large and small geese are given in a chart in the booklet that accompanies the rulers.  While some of the finished sizes of geese created by these rulers are the same as the ones created by “Flying Geese x 4″, the size of the large and small squares is not the same.  The “Wing Clipper” rulers give directions for cutting larger than necessary squares so that when the 4 flying geese units are created, they can be trimmed to accurate sizes.  The rulers themselves have markings to line up the angles on the geese so that trimming is accurate, and you are left with perfect flying geese and a pile of goose droppings.  (I hope you giggled.  It made me giggle.)

So, if your 1/4″ seam has a tendency to be a little skinny or a little chubby, the “Wing Clipper” rulers can still help you to make accurate flying geese.

In Conclusion . . .

This feels like the longest blog post ever.  Probably because I’ve been trying to write it between driving missionaries around town, getting my girls ready for Youth Conference, going to a funeral, getting shopping done and preparing to teach a class tomorrow.  But alas, it was all worth it if you feel like you learned a little something.  So, please do leave a comment and let me know if this was helpful!  (Please be honest, but also be kind.  Thank you.)

Air Traffic- Modern Medallion QAL

I don’t know the history of flying geese as a quilting pattern, but I know it’s been around longer than I have.  I love that quilt blocks have such long lives, even if they are reinvented and reinterpreted time and time again.  Kind of like music or DNA- it really is all composed of the same finite number of building blocks, yet the possibilities are endless.

ModernMedallionbuttonLast week I was at our church’s Girls’ Camp, so while I did a lot of walking, talking and laughing, I didn’t get much sewing done.  That puts me a little behind on my Modern Medallion quilt, so I’ve just gotten caught up on border 1 and 2.  If you look at the pic above you’ll see a row of flying geese, which is border 2.  Those geese are intended to be a bit wonky, although honestly, as the pattern goes, they weren’t quite wonky enough for me.  I was going for something a little more like this:

2014-06-16 11.11.10Rather than neat little rows of flying geese, mine look a little more like a traffic jam.  They are running into each other, vying for a better spot in the line up.  Reminds me of a horse race rather than an obedient formation of Canadian geese.

In order for me to get the geese I desired, I read the directions in the pattern, and then immediately disobeyed them.  I’m just that kind of quilter.  I knew that I wanted to make my geese larger than the required size, then cut them down to 2″ x 3 1/2″.  I also knew that 80 geese would take a while to make, and I am a little short on time these days, so I wanted a faster method.  While there are a few different methods out there for making flying geese, I wanted to share with you the one I chose to use for this project.

This is where I admit to my addictions.  Hello, my name is Angela and I am a ruler hoarder.  I love rulers.  In fact, I have three different rulers that make flying geese.  Yes, three.  If there are more out there, I will probably buy them.  It’s just reality.

For this project I used “Flying Geese x 4″ by Lazy Girl Designs, and you can click here for more information on this product.  This method makes 4 flying geese at once, and I happen to like those kinds of numbers.  Here’s the basics on how it works:

2014-06-16 08.59.46First, decide what size geese you want.  The disadvantage to using this kind of ruler for this is that there are only so many sizes that can be made from the template on the ruler, and the required 2″ x 3 1/2″ geese for Modern Medallion is not one of them.  In this case, that’s perfectly fine, because I didn’t want exact geese, I want wonky.  So, I chose a larger size that I can trim down.  Begin by using the ruler as a template to cut 1 large square.  This square will be the “geese” part of the block, and remember this method makes 4 at a time, so all 4 geese will be grey.

2014-06-16 09.10.24Next, cut 4 small background squares using the ruler markings that correspond to the larger square.  (Cut 1 large A square and 4 small A squares.)  Truth be told, you don’t need the ruler to cut large numbers of squares.  You can do that with a regular ruler and simply cut strips and squares as needed.  The advantage of using this ruler comes when you really want things to get scrappy.

2014-06-16 09.14.34See?  I had a leftover from the New York beauty portion of this project, and instead of working around a larger ruler, I just lined up the template marks on the “Flying Geese x 4″ ruler and voila- my scraps became stars.  Well, actually just background, but stars sounds better.

Next, draw diagonal lines on the back of each small square, and then line 2 of them up on the larger square like so:

2014-06-16 09.20.01Sew along each side of the center drawn line, using 1/4″ seam.  This should be familiar to you if you’ve made half square triangles before.  Next, use a rotary cutter to cut on the drawn line.  This will leave you with two pieces that look like this:

2014-06-16 09.20.31Take these to the pressing station and press open.  I have a tendency to press away from my geese, in this case, away from the dark, but it really doesn’t matter.  It is personal preference, so try it different ways to see what you like best and gets your desired result.  After pressing, these two look like two hearts.

2014-06-16 09.21.55If your pieces look like above, you are on your way.  Just keep going!  Now, take the remaining 2 small squares and line them up like so:

2014-06-16 09.24.58If you followed directions earlier, those two small squares should already have a drawn diagonal line on them.  The drawn diagonal line should be lined up down the center of the “heart”, not horizontal across the “heart”.  Now, sew a seam 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line on each small square, again similar to HST.  When sewing is complete, use a rotary cutter to cut on the drawn line, like this:

2014-06-16 09.25.30I think it’s funny that my feet almost made it into this shot.  Squirrel.  Okay, back on task.  Take these units to the pressing station and press the geese open, seams in the same direction as was done earlier.  This is what you will have when you are done:

2014-06-16 09.27.03Four flying geese.  Now these are much larger than what I wanted for my Modern Medallion, so I trimmed them down to the size I needed and then followed the rest of the directions in the pattern for a continuous border.

The irony of the situation is that honestly, I’ve never had really good results using this ruler to make flying geese.  My accuracy has been crap almost every time I have used it.  But not this time.  In the process of using this method to make wonky flying geese, I finally figured out how to use this ruler and method to make accurate geese.  Who knew.  Want to know the secret?  I will reveal it in another post- one that compares this method and ruler to another one made by Deb Tucker.  Pretty good stuff.

In the meantime, you may admire the progress on my Modern Medallion.  I think I might name it Early Riser.  We’ll see.

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Modern Quilting- A Little Like Picaso-

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Three Musicians by Pablo Picaso, 1921. Image from spreadlove.com

Pablo Picaso.  He’s been on my mind a bit the last couple of days.  I’m sure you’re familiar enough with his work to easily believe that the above image is one of his works.  But, would you recognize the following also as being one of his?

picasso172

The Communion by Pablo Picasso, 1895-96. Image from abcgallery.com

He painted that one when he was fifteen.  Please tell me you are “wowed” by that.  Both of them.

So, what does Picaso have to do with modern quilting?  A lot, if you ask me.  For instance, I’ve been quilting for over 21 years, and while I am not as skilled at quilting as Picaso was at classical painting, I know enough to get by.  Yet these days I often have weeks like this past one.  I start off working on something that looks like this…

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Shirts by Carolyn Friedlander. Click pic for link to my post about this project.

And then I shift over to something that looks like this…

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Modern Medallion by twolittleaussiebirds. Click pic for link to purchase this pattern.

Or vice versa.  Starting to get my point?  I love this about modern quilting.  It is just another interpretation of something that’s been done a certain way for an awfully long time.  Kinda like Picaso.

So, I’ve already posted about the All Shirts Swap on this blog, and technically, I’ve already posted about working on the center of the Modern Medallion Quilt Along, but just not on this blog.  Instead, I hijacked guest posted on Schnitzel & Boo about how Kristi and I put together our center blocks.  However, the pics posted there are her quilt, and of course, I want to show mine.

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Click on the pic for a link to my post on SchnitzelandBoo.com

This is such a fun quilt to make, and I am loving the processes involved so far.  I am also loving seeing how different quilters are interpreting the directions and design.  You’ll have to check out the post on both Two Little Aussie Birds and Schnitzel and Boo.  Both have loads of info about the quilt along, and a great kind of link-up party.  Enjoy!

ModernMedallionbutton