Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Just Shy of 7" Tutorial

Six and a half inches... yes, I really said six and a half inches of drunkard's path mini-ness! That's what I've been working on these days, and I wanted to share how I made such a tiny little drunkard's path block WITHOUT ANY CURVED PIECING!

Wait just a minute... I thought that a drunkard's path block is done using a curved piecing technique? Well, yes, traditionally, but if you intend to work with individual blocks that are only 2 inches (5 cm), then you have to think a little outside the box. Curved piecing is hard enough to do, but if you want to super shrink your block it is nearly impossible, so an alternative method is an absolute must, and I'll show you just how I did it using the reverse applique method:

So to start out, grab a couple of supplies that you hopefully already have in your sewing room: Compass, freezer paper, fabric, glue stick, scissors, and invisible thread. It's time for a little grade school 101 cutting. For my circle, I measured out 1 1/4 inches (3,15 cm), which will give me a 2 1/2 inch (6,30cm) finished circle. Trace onto the mat side of your freezer paper, and cut out the inner circle.

Iron the circle, glossy side down, to the wrong side of a 5 inch (12,5 cm) fabric square, making sure that the inner circle is centered. Cut out the center leaving a 1/4 inch (6mm) seam allowance. Once the inner circle is cut out, then cut slits along the seam allowance about 1/4 inch (6mm) apart.

Just like I've shared in some of my previous freezer paper applique tutorials, run a small line of glue around the circles edge, and using small scissors or other turning tool, wrap the fabric notches to the back side of the circle.

Once your circle is completed, stitch the circle onto a background fabric of your choice as close the edge of the circle as possible. I used invisible thread for two reasons: It does not show up very easily, and I don't have to change out threads with each new block.

Remove the freezer paper from the back side and iron flat. Once you have finished the circle, here comes the part that is a little bit scary. Measure out your center and cut the circle into four equal quarters.  Next, trim to 2 inch (5 cm) blocks.

Make as many as you would like and then you are now ready to assemble the blocks into your favorite drunkard's path block. I was inspired by the Arabian Nigihts Quilt as seen in Angela Pingel's book, A Quilter's Mixology: Shaking Up Curved Piecing: 16 Projects Using the Drunkard's Path Block.

Obviously, you don't have to keep things this teeny, tiny for a mini mini block... simply enlarge the size of your circle and sew away with a guilt-free feeling and no aggrivation or hair pulling because of curved piecing frustrations... and if there is anything that can bring out the "ugly" in a quilter, it's curved piecing!

Have you tried traditional curved piecing methods? What was your take on it... love it and enjoy the challenge or was is frustrating and annoying?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Color Limits

Color is a very personal thing... isn't it? In fact if you look at well know fabric designers and quilters work, almost immediately they can be identified, not to mention that they usually have their own "branded" color story that they work with. All too often, you hear stories of artists and crafters who exclaim that there is that one color that they just can't seem to warm up to, they never use, or find it difficult to work it into thier usual color scheme. How is it for you when you are forced to think outside the box, and grab that one color that says "no, not me... not today!"?

On the other side, I think it is important to push ourselves, to try new things, step outside our comfort zone, and attempt to try colors again that have been omitted from our go-to color palette. It's a bit like trying brussel sprouts after not having eaten them in the last seven years... you know, to actually see if we still really hate them as much as we remember.

Recently I stumbled on these fabulous free patterns from Lillyella that I just could not resist since I've been on my mini mini quilt swap kick! It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to anyone who has read my blog, that a bright and colorful palette was the easiest for me to come up with:

But after I had shared pictures of my Mini Mini Sunburst on Instagram, both on the same day, I found something that was quite striking to me: The softer, more muted mini got more likes than the bright one. This was really amazing to me since it was a color scheme that did not come naturally, but forced me to step outside my comfort zone... I really had to think about it a lot more. So once I finished the first butterfly, I knew I wanted to push my color limits again and see the response.

Update: the two Sunbursts are almost tied now since I wrote this, and this time around the bright butterfly is way ahead of the softer one... go figure! I guess if it's not broke, then don't fix it, right?

Oh, and a BIG, BIG BTW... I finished my Swell quilt! You can also see the finished teaser picutre on my Instagram feed. Taking a good picture this time of year, with enough good daylight, and when my tall quilt holder (aka husband) are all available at the same time is almost like waiting for the sun, moon, and stars to all come in perfect alignment... let's just say that it's coming!

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"The House Where Kitty Lives" Free Pattern

When Kitty has first asked me to do a mini mini swap, it was if the heavens opened, and a big down pour of ideas (at least a 1001) were dumped on my head. I've actually been reading Kittty's blog for a while now, and we've e-mailed back and forth for almost as long, sharing not just a passion for sewing, but also exchanging fun stories about managing a creative life with kids. In reading her blog, you get the feeling of just how important her family with three vibrant little ones are to her.

I actually started making my first Mini Mini Sunburst with her in mind because I thought it would be spot on, but after finishing it, I somehow kind of felt like I didn't really want to stop there. So... would you like to take a visit with me to "The House Where Kitty Lives"?... my second free mini mini paper pieced pattern! (it's the perfect scrap buster!)

I chose to make a window to represent each of her three children, with a flower in the window for growth, new life, and an appeal to her love of gardening... and in that kind of home, isn't that the place where love and happiness reside?

If you think you might have seen and heard enough about the mini mini craze, then I'd suggest you buckle up!... I'm currently working on a least two more patterns that I can share with you. Be sure to hop on over to Instagram for more mini mini quilting inspiration.

Linking up this week to Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mini Mini Sunburst Free Pattern

When Kitty first e-mailed me to ask if I would like to participate in a mini mini quilt swap, I sat there for a bit having an inward discussion with myself: Would it be fun to join a swap? Do I have the time? Will I commit to this and end up having another WIP just lying around waiting to be finished? Can I really sew something that mini mini? After much debate, I decided to just do it!

I knew that in order to be able to sew something so teeny, tiny, I would have to paper piece. I have noticed that the smaller my fabric bits get, the more crooked my seams become. Once I started sewing on my paper pieced Facing East quilt, I've never looked back and have become a total fan!

I thought that it might be fun to get more people in on the mini mini quilt craze and share my free "Mini Mini Sunburst Pattern" to tempt others to hop on board. WARNING: Use with caution. Making mini mini quilts is extremely addictive. Even just one mini mini project could lead to additional and frequent use. Mind wondering may occur and finishing current WIP's may become increasingly difficult.

Picking colors was not hard for me since Kitty and I share the same passion for color and all things Alison Glass. But when I was working on additional mini's I decided that I really wanted to push my limits and work with colors that are not in my usual palette of colors. I've been sitting on a fat quarter pack of Cotton & Steel fabrics from Sarah Watts for a long time. The designs are fantastic, and I really like the colors, but I have a tendency to mix softer shades with fairly bold colors because I prefer a stronger contrast.

It was a challenge to think muted, soft, and delicate... basically the complete opposite of every one of my other projects! I am always amazed at how designer's like Carolyn Friedlander can take the most quiet and understated fabrics and turn them into WOW - it really is an art all of it's own.

What pushes you or is challenging when it comes to working with colors? Do you have your "standard color palette" and stick to it, or do you force yourself to step outside that comfort zone?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.
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