ColourMaze QAL -Week #4 – Assembly & Borders

ColourMaze Front Cover(1)Welcome back!  We’re in the last week of our amazing ColourMaze QuiltAlong!  This week is all about stitching the ColourMaze Blocks together to form vertical rows and then completing your quilt top by sewing those rows together!  If you’re doing placemats or a table runner – just refer back to the pattern on pages 5 & 6 for sashing and border directions!

As always, there is a fun short companion video to this post.  So if you’re more of a ‘visual’ person, then hop on on over to our Colourwerx You Tube Channel and subscribe to view the video!

LInda Week 4
Let’s get stitchin’!!  Once your ColourMaze blocks are complete, you’ll then stitch the remaining  1″ strips to the top edge of each block.  For tips and trick on sewing those thin little strips to your blocks, check out Week #3’s ColourMaze QAL here.  If you’re making the Lap Quilt – you should have (3) 1″ strips left – set those aside.

While you’re at the machine – just go ahead and stitch the sashing and outer border strips together too.  All of the directions are on pages 5 & 6 of the ColourMaze Pattern.

Next the fun begins – lay out on your design wall or floor the blocks in the order you prefer!  Notice that I bolded the words “you prefer” – that’s because there is no right or wrong way to do this.  I usually just choose a layout because I’m either pleased with how the order and colors flow from one block to another such as the Violet Craft Modern Classics sample below:

….Or I follow color wheel order like the Kaffe Fassett sample below….

Anything goes!  Once you’ve decided your order, stitch those remaining (3) 1″ strips to the bottom edge of the the bottom block in each row.   Now you’re ready to start stitching block to block to block to form vertical rows.   On my Violet Craft Modern Classics sample, here’s Row #1….
Row 1

And Row #2….
Row 2

And Row #3….
Row 3

Next, stitch the sashing strips on to one side of each vertical row!  Now  you”re ready to stitch the rows together to complete your quilt top.

Colourmaze Geo 1

Geo Pop on Black (purchase a kit from christaquilts.com)

But wait – I have a tip!  Sometimes when stitching these long vertical rows together, the top row may creep ahead of the bottom row thus causing those strong horizontal lines (which were/are the 1″ strips in each block) to look off kilter.  Part of the illusion of the ColourMaze design is that when all those little horizontal strips are lined up parallel across the vertical rows, it looks like a maze.  So wouldn’t it be rather maddening after all your work  to have them unparallel across the rows once the top is done? I think so!

So here’s what I do…. first, I place my two rows Right Sides Together.  I then pin as usual but when I come to a place in the pinning where the thin strips need to stay aligned and parallel to each other from block to block – I “sneak, peek and pin” –  🙂  yes,  a very technical term.  But here it is a nutshell:  I peel back the top row just enough so I can sneak a peek and realign the strips so that they are directly on top of each other.  I then fold back the top layer to match to up the edges and pin in place.  Works like a dream and almost always those thin little strips are aligned and parallel from each other from row to row!

Once you have the three rows stitched together – just finish off your ColourMaze quilt top by stitching the last outer border strip onto the remaining edge!  And now you are complete and ready for the big reveal to family and friends!  Great job!  Go celebrate!

And what to do with all of the offcuts from the strips – how about make some scrappy binding!  Here’s mine…I just sewed all the scrap strips together and made more than enough binding for my lap quilt!
Binding

This now concludes our ColourMaze QuiltAlong!  Thank you so much for following along and for your continued support!  Look for more Colourwerx QuiltAlongs on our Colourwerx Facebook page or on our website under QuiltAlongs!mouth21

Until your next colour fix – happy quilting!  Linda & Carl xxoo

 

 

 

 

ColourMaze QAL – Week #2 – Sorting your Strips & Cutting

Hi guys!  We are in Week #2 of the Colourmaze QAL!  Welcome back!

materialsjpg.jpgJust to recap – Week#1 was all about getting the ColourMaze pattern (still available from our Colourwerx shop by clicking here) and also choosing your fabrics: A 40-piece 2-1/2″ strip roll and 1-3/4 yards of background fabric – you can of course cut the (40) 2-1/2″ strips from your stash too!  If you’re new this week, then just jump on in! You can review Week#1’s blog post here!

Also, our free Colourwerx QAL Facebook Group is really where all the action is and everyone is encouraged to ask questions, share  progress and of course, post pictures of  finished projects so everyone in the group can share in the fun!  We’re also doing weekly giveaways here too!  Click below to join the Colourwerx Quilt Along Facebook Group  or feel free to share this invite and any QAL news with other quilty buddies and invite them to join along in the fun!

JOIN THE COLOURWERX QAL FACEBOOK GROUP HERE

Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 4.32.55 PM
Just like last week – Carl and I put together a little companion video to Week#2 QAL recapping this blog post along with tips and tricks.  You can view it on our  Colourwerx UTube channel so if you’d like to watch me ‘yak on’ instead of reading this post – you’ll find that video here…

Linda Video Wk 2

So let’s get started!   WEEK #2 – Sorting Your Strips & Cutting
To prepare you for piecing which is next week (and really, that’s the super fun part of this quilt, right?!?), you’ll need to cut your background fabric and strips this week!

  • Sort and Pair up the Strips! Unroll your strip roll and begin to group together strips into pairs.  Each pair of 2-1/2″ strips will make (1) ColourMaze block.    So if you want to make a couple of placemats, place together (4) pairs of strips for (4) placemats!   If you are making the 50″ x 70″ pattern cover quilt. group together (20) pairs of strips.  You may choose to pair your strips tone on tone, contrast or just random – whatever suits your fancy 😀.IMG_6988
    In Week #1’s post, there’s a slide show of different ColourMaze quilts showing the finished blocks so you can see that almost anything goes when pairing up the strips.
  • Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 4.26.21 PMCut Your Background Fabric:  First off, before cutting – I really, really, really  like to starch my fabric.  Mary Ellen’s Best Press is terrific stuff but it its too pricey to use on larger pieces and when I need to starch several yards or a larger piece such as this background fabric, I use the Faultless Gold Top Firm Finish Spray Starch. First you can’t beat the price at like $1.99 a can – available at Target, Walmart, the supermarket, etc….  Secondly, I just happen to love the way it makes my fabric feel.  It gives the fabric a firm hand but not too stiff and makes my cutting and piecing more precise.  Use a hot dry iron (no steam) and definitely starch the fabric before you make that first cut as the fabric may shrink ever so slightly after the starch is ironed dry.

You’ll find all of the cutting directions and dimensions in the Colourmaze pattern on pages 1 & 2.CW Strips

You’ll see in the pattern that you’ll need to cut  lots of 1″ strips from the background fabric – in fact you’ll actually be cutting a few dozen 1″ strips.  The idea of cutting 1″ strips seems easy enough but these smaller width strips can be tricky,  especially when you cut strip after strip after strip after strip after strip after…. – well you get the idea, right?

So first, I encourage you to change your rotary blade to a fresh new one for extra sharpness, and always use a good quality rotary ruler to measure the strip widths and to cut against.

Week 2 Blade
Just a little sidenote before cutting your fabric.I know some people like to use their rotary cutting mat to measure the width of strips but I can tell you from experience that cutting mats are notoriously “off” – why you ask?  The measurements are ‘printed’ on the cutting mat and the super thick line on the mat can throw off your cut by 1/32nd or 1/64th of an inch.  Additionally those printed measurements can expand and contract with heat and cold and also with general day to day use.   This all leads to tiny inaccuracies in your cutting but compounds itself cut after cut after cut.   It’s ok to use the cutting mat for general measurements such as to quickly check if a block is measuring 9-1/2″ x 9-1/2″ but for super accurate cutting and squaring down please use a good quality quilting ruler to measure and cut against not the cutting mat- just mho! 😉

First Tip on Cutting the Background Fabric  – I like to reduce the distance I need to travel with my rotary cutter from the bottom of the fabric to the top.  Once I find the straight of grain of the fabric (and here’s a great tutorial if you need one), I then match selvage edges at the top with my fold at the bottom.   I then fold my fabric in half again  – this reduces  the distance my rotary cutter needs to  travel from 22″ to 11″.   Yes,  I am cutting through four layers of fabric instead of two, but my rotary cutter is only traveling the length of 11″ to cut a strip….therefore reducing the likelihood of my ruler slipping or sliding from side to side resulting in an inaccurate cut.  Additionally, less pressure is needed to hold the ruler in place therefore less pain or cramping in my wrist or hand  if cutting for longer periods of time.  A win-win!


Once you are ready to begin, be sure to always cut yourself a fresh clean edge before proceeding to cut your strips.

Clean Edge

Next tip 🙂  –  I have found that sometimes after cutting 8, 9 or 10 strips in a row, sometimes it becomes impossible to precisely line up the ruler on the edge of the fabric straight – it’s as if the fabric edge has been warped or skewed and the edge is generally not true to the line under the ruler (at least not like it was when you made your very first clean cut). This happens because as you cut strip after strip, you are placing a lot of pressure 1) against the ruler by holding it steady in place and 2) by sliding the rotary cutter along the side of the ruler as you cut consecutive strips (especially smaller width strips like 1″ strips).

Ruler Skewed
So it’s not uncommon to see this and its a good practice that after cutting 10 or so strips, to simply cut a fresh, new clean edge to ensure you are cutting accurately and of course, to line the ruler up against.

Next up…..IMG_7051

  • Cut Your Fabric Strips for the ColourMaze Blocks:  Again, you’ll find all the dimensions to cut your block pieces, on pages 1 & 2 of the Colourmaze pattern.  Every (2) 2-1/2″ strips will yield (1) ColourMaze block, and after cutting the block pieces, you may indeed have some generous offcuts – think about whether you might like to make more Colourmaze blocks or save those offcuts for a scrappy binding.  Make sure you UNFOLD each strip and then cut your block pieces so you will be left with a longer offcut to use for other projects.

Additionally, in last week’s post I mentioned that if you are making the  50″x70″ Lap Quilt there are actually (21) blocks needed and you might be asking yourself “Where do I get the extra 2 strips for that 21st block if I am using a 40-piece strip roll ?”  Well I have the answer…..

If your strip roll has at least 2 different fabrics that are duplicated within the strip roll then you can pair these 4 strips together,  cut them for efficiency and yield 3 Colourmaze blocks out of these 4 total strips.

So first things first – look at your (40) strips and pull out the strips that are duplicated .   You need to locate a minimum of 2 fabrics that are duplicated – pair up these fabric strips (so you should have 4 strips total, 2 from Fabric A and 2 from Fabric B).

Duplicate Strip

Unfold the first Fabric A strip, cut the selvage edge off and then cut the (4) pieces specified in the pattern for (1) ColourMaze block starting with the largest unit to the smallest unit.

Strip Cut 1

With the leftover from strip #1, begin to cut the 2nd block’s pieces, Cut the largest unit first, and then with what’s left cut the smallest unit.   In other words, you may need to go out of order from the pattern.   Use the whole strip up!

Strip Cut 2

Unfold the the second Fabric A strip (aka the same fabric as the first) and continue to cut the remaining units required for the second block. If all works out, you should be left with approx. 29″ – just enough to cut the units for a 3rd ColourMaze block (i.e.: the 21st block for the lap size cover quilt).

Strip Cut 3

Repeat the above on the matching Fabric B strips to pair up with Fabric A.   Keep in mind that not all fabric strips are manufactured at exactly the same length – some are 44″ long, some 43″ and some even 42″….so before making your first cut on the fabric strips, mark out the segments on the strip with a washable marker to make sure you can get all the required pieces to make (3) blocks.

I demonstrate this in the companion QAL video here.

So this week is all about cutting – take your time, and remember that old phrase – measure twice, cut once!  And if you have any questions or need any additional assistance, please email Carl and I at colourwerx@yahoo.com or message us on our Facebook Colourwerx or Colourwerx QuiltAlong pages.

Be sure to check back in next week – Week #3 for Piecing the Block where I’ll share my all time favorite tip and tricks to perfect your 1/4″ seam and precision piecing skills! 

Thanks again for joining in on the quilt along fun and I can’t wait to see everyone’s blocks soon!   Until your next colour fix~ L&C xxoo

 

 

 

 

LongArm Quilting Workbook by Teresa Silva

LQW Book Cover

Welcome to the second to last stop on the LongArm Quilting Workbook blog hop!

It’s no big secret that Carl and I are huge fans of Teresa Silva (aka Quilting is my Bliss) and her gorgeous custom Teresa Silva~Quilting is my Blissmachine quilting.  In the 2 short years we’ve had the pleasure of working with Teresa, she has long arm quilted over two dozen quilts for us and all have been perfection!  Imho – Teresa is simply one of ‘the best’ custom quilters ever!…..Her intuitive nature consistently shines through on every project – picking just the right pattern to compliment the quilt mixed with  gorgeous threads and then topped off with that exquisite workmanship – all together creating stunning results every time without ever overpowering the overall quilt or fabrics.  And would you believe in all this time and through all those quilts – she, Carl and I have never met face to face (gasp!)…but all that will change soon when we meet up this month at the Houston Quilt Market – she’ll be there to promote her newest creation – the just published and fantastic read – “Longarm Quilting Workbook” from F&W Media – now available on her website or at Amazon.com.

First off – I love the fact that the book is spiral bound so you can easily lay it flat near your work surface or your sewing machine.

LongArm Quilting Workbook Spiral

Secondly – it’s chocked full of detailed instruction with lots and lots of diagrams and pictures – there are over 20 plus quilting exercises explaining  in detail how to do all those super cool designs we all know and love –  like curly circles, pebbles, ribbon candy and feathers –  (gah! -Teresa’s feathers are to die for (see our Dazzle Dragonfly quilt pictured below and you’ll see what I mean).

Book Inside-LongArm Quilting Workbook

Exercises are fine but how about applying these to a block or a whole quilt,  you say?  Well – yes she thought of that too – I really appreciated Chapter 3 – Doodling and Drawing – this chapter explains in detail  how to diagram, map out on paper and then translate to your machine a combination of quilting designs together on a whole cloth (which could be easily adapted to your own quilt or a singular centered block in your quilt).  Let’s take a peek…

Book Inside - LongArm Quilting Workbook

And if that wasn’t enough, the Gallery of Quilts is stunning eye candy!  Page after page of beautiful quilts with close ups of her free motion quilting! This is Julie Herman’s Jaybird Designs quilt “Sweet Tooth”. Check out all of that gorgeous quilting!

Sweet Tooth-Longarm Quilting Workbook

Image Courtesy of F&W Media

And don’t let that title fool you – the information and exercises in the book are completely applicable to domestic machines as well.  I am admittedly the ‘world’s worst free motion machine quilter’ (that’s why I send everything to Teresa!) so anytime I find a new gadget, book or notion to help I am all in – I found her exercises well written and super easy to follow. Now I just need to find the time to practice!

Next let’s show off some of Teresa’s custom free motion quilting on our Colourwerx quilts – prepare yourself for gorgeousness!  First off , this recently completed version of ModTV (CW-110) using Alison Glass’ Chroma…..

ModTV3

And how about this stunning pebbling and clamshell work on our Cosmos quilt (CW101) –  this was the first quilt she custom quilted for us and is still one of my favorites!

Close up Cosmos

And another fave – “Harlequin” – a commissioned piece using Kaffe Fassett’s Artisan collection for Free Spirit Fabrics that we designed and made,  and Teresa custom quilted. One picture was simply not enough – click on any pictures to enlarge and see her quilting up close!

And her work on our Splendor quilt (CW-108) was fabulous…. (quilting in and around applique I think is the hardest for most custom quilters but Teresa has it down to perfection…   🙂 )
Splendor

And lastly – our Dazzle dragonfly (CW-102) oh my! –  and that gorgeous,  enormous feather – ooo and ahhhh indeed!

Dazzle Full Size

Teresa also has fun giveaways planned for you, but you have to go visit her blog at quiltingismybliss.com tomorrow, October 17th through October 20th and leave a comment to enter the giveaway!   Here are the prizes – yippee!grand-prize-1-blog-hop.jpg

The Grand Prize from the blog hop will be:
Free Spirit Fabric – Tula Pink Spirit Animal Fat Quarter Bundle
Quilter’s Dream 80/20 Queen Size Batting
Superior Threads – So Fine 50 – 2 Cones of Thread
20 x 20 Wholecloth Quilt – Made by Teresa Silva
Longarm Quilting Workbook – Autographed

Second Prize from the blog hop will be:grand-prize-2-blog-hop.jpg
United Notions/Moda Fabrics – Fig Tree solid Fat Quarter Bundle
Quilter’s Dream Pink Twin Size Batting
Superior Threads – So Fine 50 – 1 Cone of Thread
Longarm Quilting Workbook – Autographed

Carl and I are thrilled for her and wish Teresa the best of all successes with her wonderful “Longarm Quilting Workbook” – now go forth, buy her book, leave a comment on her blog to enter the giveaway,  practice your free motion and have fun!

Until your next colour fix~Linda & Carl

Slash ‘n Sew – Say what?!??

BW PIllowThe other day it occurred to me that when we label a project “easy – slash ‘n sew” that many of you might just say “Huh – ……what the heck does that really mean…”??  Hence this blog post….

“Slash ‘n Sew” is a term that I adopted in the 90’s when I learned about liberated quilting – a non exact, non precise way of piecing a block – no templates, no set patterns and best of all, no exact 1/4″ seams!  Many of today’s modern quilters have also adapted this method but refer to it as “improv quilting”. Gwen-Marston

The inventor and queen of modern, liberated quilting is Gwen Marston, who I was fortunate enough to take a class from way back when (circa 1999).  I credit her (and later  – Australian artist, Jan Mullen) for opening my eyes to this type of unconventional piecing – both of their influences can be seen in many of my early Linderella quilts that have slash ‘n sew techniques such as “Happy Hauntings” pictured below – Check out the outer borders...(And if you like this pattern, you can purchase it and a few more oldies but goodies at our Linderella Craftsy site as a PDF download)…

Happy Hauntings copy

 

Back to slash ‘n sew – Gwen Marston’s books, “Liberated Quiltmaking I and II” are both excellent reads and staples in my reference library.  Almost any block that can be conventionally pieced,  can be “slash ‘n sew” pieced.  It’s a wonky, free wheeling, liberating, stress free, non exact, wildly innovative way of piecing.  The key is to let go, relax and enjoy the creative process.

To get you started – perhaps the simpliest block to slash ‘n sew would be the liberated 4-patch.  You’ll need:
• (2) 4-1/2″ squares of 2 different fabrics,
•  a rotary cutter with a sharp blade, and a square ruler.

1. Stack the (2) squares RIGHT side up and even.   With your rotary cutter and straight ruler, slash straight through the stack vertically. This slash should not be perfectly centered – skew the slash from top to bottom. Without moving or disturbing the stack, slash again through the stack but this time horizontally.

2.  You should now have (4) piles of misshapen squares – the same fabric should be on top of each stack.

3. Before sewing you’ll need to “shuffle” each pile.  Leave Stacks #1 & #4 alone. With Stacks #2 & #3, take the bottom fabric and place it on top. The two opposing stacks should now have a different fabric on top like the photo.

4. Begin assembly of the 4-patch square by stitching the top fabrics from Stacks #1 & #2 together – an exact 1/4″ seam is not necessary.    Press the seams open.     Repeat this step with the top fabrics from Stacks #3 & #4.     Again press the seams open.   

5.  Finally, matching the center seams (or not matching – it’s your choice and that’s the great thing about liberated quiltmaking!) , stitch these two pieces together to create the slash ‘n sew 4-patch square. Press all seams apart and outward. With your square ruler, center and trim the square to 3-1/2” X 3-1/2”.  Voila – a liberated , stress free, fun slash ‘n sew 4-Patch.

These squares can be made any size you want – just allow yourself enough room for squaring down after stitching.  A good rule of thumb would be if you want the Slash ‘n Sew 4-Patches to finish at 3-1/2″, then add a full 1″ when cutting the squares out – hence cut them out at 4-1/2″ (or whatever size you want them to be).

So what can you do with this little gem?  Check out these 2 pillows I made –  both are 12″ x 12″ – so that would be a total of (16) 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ squares.  Easy – peasy!  (Full disclosure: I did do a little pre-planning and on how the colors would gradiate out on the multi colored pillow before stitching).

BW PIllowColour4Patch

And how about using the liberated 4-patch for an outer border – check out our Pattern Colourstruck – I think the wonky border really makes the quilt dynamic!  There are over (80) Slash ‘n Sew 4-Patches there.

Colourstruck
ModTVFor a more challenging slash ‘n sew project – try our Mod TV pattern – this design was very inspired by Jan Mullen and of course, our love for everything retro!

So go forth, be liberated and slash ‘n sew your way to stress free quiltinq!  Give it a try – Until your next colour fix~  Linda & Carl