Framed

 

 

 

8591b_20171005152410

Recently I was super excited to get my hands on the latest installation of the Ghastlies fabric from Alexander Henry.  Intown Quilters Fabric & Yarn is one of my favorite shops, and I was in a hot hurry to get up there and grab some before it was all gone!  I have managed to miss out on it in the past, but that was not going to be the case this time.

As you can see from the sampling above, the line is absolutely fabulous.  There are actually two color ways, but the difference is subtle, and I still liked to mix them.  One is kind of half the color intensity of the other, if that makes sense.  There is a perfectly chilling pastoral, a delightfully harrowing panel and a number of accomplices in the form of supporting fabrics.  I am just crazy over the moths and webs.

img_8377

But let’s be honest.  Sometimes fabric like this is hard to cut into.  What exactly to do with the panel?  The print rarely straightens up well to be able to cut an actual square, even though the panel is made of squares.  And, there’s no seam allowance between squares, so losing some of the print is bound to happen.  The pastoral print is fun and large, but where to begin?  How big to make the blocks?  What if I cut off someone’s head?

Well, no worries.  After all, these are the Ghastlies.

img_8104.jpg

I didn’t have a pattern, but Sarah at IQ and I were chatting and we came up with a bit of a scheme, and I headed home with fabric in hand to get to chopping.

img_8109.jpg

In my haste to start whacking away at the Ghastlies, I forgot to get a good plan about how to cut those panel squares.  I needed some for one size of square, and some for another, and it was getting difficult to get enough of the larger squares.  Then I realized that if I cut the panel in the middle along the print from selvage to selvage and worked out from there, I would have more to choose from for the larger blocks.

Once I had accumulated enough of the larger squares, I cut into the remnants of the panel for smaller squares- which left for lots of opportunity for selective chopping.

img_8110.jpg

Then I was ready for block assembly.  This thing was taking no time at all, and I was loving every macabre moment of it.

img_8117.jpg

The squares were all assembled, but something was awry, and it wasn’t just the lighting in my living room or lack of quality from a camera phone.  First, it was way tiny.  Second, well, the delight of drama was a bit lacking.

img_8118.jpg

So, back to IQ, and back to plotting.  I ended up using both color ways of the line, and put a little more thought into placing the darker fabrics to highlight a little more contrast.  After all, what good is a mystery without a bit of conflict?

But I still found that the pastoral blocks were blending into the background more than I wanted, so I decided to highlight just a few of them using a technique I learned several years ago and has come in handy a few times.

Sometimes I need just a thin line to define a space, or break up a design.  A very thin line.  Like a 1/4″ line.  But without adding any size to the original block.  Now, admittedly, I am not a perfect quilter, in any sense of the word, so the idea of cutting the desired area down by 1/2″ all the way around, then cutting a strip 3/4″ and attaching it with a perfect 1/4″ seam and keeping all and all straight and squared up is a bit daunting to me.  Maybe even terrifying.  Disturbing.  Unnerving.  (Better stop before I run out of adjectives.)

So, this is how I do it.  I leave the block the original size.  I cut a 1″ strip of the framing fabric.  I use a 1/2″ seam allowance to attach the framing fabric to either side of the block.  At this point I make a choice to either cut away the excess 1/4″ in the seam allowance, or leave it in for a little extra bulk in the frame.  I left it in this time, but Juan the Gammill Camel (my longarm machine) was not happy with me for doing it.  Then I attach the framing fabric to both the top and the bottom of the block, again using a 1/2″ seam allowance, and then either cutting away or leaving the excess.  It finishes nicely for me, and to me is easier than fiddling with a thin piece of fabric and a thin seam allowance.

img_8377

Having said all of that, when the gang at Intown Quilters and I got to talking about it and decided for a pattern’s sake to write it up a little differently.  So, if you pick up the kit or the pattern for A Ghastlie Parquet from IQ either in person or online, you’ll see a different way of doing it, but you’ll also know the secret of how it actually came about.

Once the top was done, and I swear it took just as long to write this blogpost as it did to make the top, it went straight into Juan’s arms.  Juan and I discussed our options a bit, but really, it was decided pretty quickly that we wanted webs.  But not just regular old standard webs.  We wanted cool webs.  And I found them at Urban Elementz.

spiderweb-with-spider

It quilted up quickly, and before I knew it the binding was on and voila- the Ghastlies were framed and on their way to the holding cell at Intown Quilters for your viewing pleasure.  Bwahahahahahahaha…

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.

2014-06-18 09.43.42

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.)