PaintBox QAL – Week #4 – Cutting the Triangles and Layout

Wow – can you believe we are already in Week #4 of our Colourwerx PaintBox PaintBox Front Cover copyQuiltAlong!  If you’re just joining us, you can catch up on Week #1-3’s blog posts right here:

Week 1 – Gather the Pattern and Materials
Week 2 – Sorting Your Strips Into Groups & Cutting
Week 3 – Stitching the Strips

This week is where all the magic happens and you begin to actually see your quilt top take shape!  First things first.  By now you should have stitched your strip sets together in groups as explained in detail in last week’s post – Week 3 – Stitching the Strips!

Now the fun begins where we cut the strips into the triangle shapes, and begin to play with our layout options.

Cutting the Triangles —
Gather together  the coloured strips sets and the Creative Grids Quarter Square Triangle Ruler CGRT90 .

First a word about why I love, love the Creative Grids Brand of rulers and no – they are not paying me to say this – I just happen to really like the brand. 🙂
1.  Each ruler has a firm non-slip surface so the ruler pretty much stays put on your fabric;
2. The markings on the ruler are clear and easy to read;
3. My favorite part:  each ruler has a QR code stamped on the ruler.

Yup, that little funny looking square is actually an informational code that when scanned with the QR Reader App (available for all smart devices through the App Store) will then automatically take you to a video of how to use the ruler, special tips and tricks and perhaps a free pattern or two to use with your new ruler.   This little QR code is on each and every Creative Grids ruler even the most basic straight rulers.  Just download the QR Reader app from onto your device…then open the application and your camera will appear on the screen – hover the screen of the camera over the QR code on the ruler and loike magic, you will be taken to the corresponding QR video!

Here’s a link to the tutorial from Creative Grids for the triangle ruler:

Now onto cutting your triangles!  Lay your first strip set across your cutting board and place the triangle ruler on top.  Place the top tip of the ruler aligned with the top edge of your strips – the bottom strip edge should align straight across the appropriate measurement of your ruler as diagrammed in the pattern on page 2.

Hold on though! – We can’t all be perfect piecers all the time so it’s ok if your strip set width is not measuring exactly to the desired size as specified in the pattern….a hair off here and there or a wobble in piecing between strips is perfectly ok.  You will need to cut (4) triangles from each strip set and you will find that you will have more than enough fabric to cut around your tiny imperfections in strip piecing.

TAKE NOTE THOUGH!! Next and probably the most important thing to remember about cutting the triangles is to keep the horizontal sewn seams from strip 1 to strip 2 to strip 3 to strip 4 running horizontally straight and true under the horizontal ruler lines – see page 2 Step 3 for detailed information on this step but the picture below also gives you a good idea of what to look for before making your first cut.   Cut your first triangle.

Rotate the ruler upside down and align the left diagonal edge of the ruler to the left diagonal cut edge of the strip set.  (Of course these instructions are for right handers – if you are left handed, you may be aligning on the right hand side of the strip set and then cutting from right to left).  Again before cutting make sure the horizontal seams of your strip set are running horizontally straight and true under the ruler measurement lines.

Strip Set 5

Many times you will find that after you line up the  horizontal seams of the strip set under the ruler, that the cut diagonal left edge of the strip set will not line up perfectly with the left diagonal edge of the ruler – that’s ok.  See the photo below for an exaggerated example…..

That’s ok – again, you have plenty of fabric to cut yourself a new diagonal edge.   Continue cutting the remaining (9) coloured strips sets into triangles.

Strip Set 8

Cutting the Sashing Triangles –
Gather the sashing strip sets and your triangle ruler.  Keeping the above notes in mind, follow along on page 3-4 and cut triangles from each of these strip sets.

Piece the Sashing Triangles – 
Gather the sashing triangles and following along in the pattern on page 4-Step 1-2, stitch (2) triangles together to form a larger triangle.   If you pressed each seam set in the same direction from seam to seam, you will find that when matching 2 triangles together that the seams will already go in opposite directions.

Sometimes you might have to toss a triangle in the pile to the side until a partner (with seams pressed in the opposite direction) appears in the pile.  Regardless, stitch the triangles together and press the seams in one direction.

Layout!
Now the fun begins!  It’s time to lay out all of the sashing triangles and coloured triangles in formation on your floor or design board – follow the Quilt Top Diagram on page 6.

If you colored in the B&W line art quilt top diagram from Week 1 , then this next step is easy.  If not, there’s still time and  you may want to download the line art below and have a little colouring session before  proceeding.  Believe me it makes a world of difference and at the very least give you a starting point when laying out your units.

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE PAINT BOX LINE ART HERE

Here’s my original drawing and my first layout….

I think I might leave this up on my design wall for a few days and ponder the layout.  Things look different after you let them ferment for awhile if you know what I mean.  And I may want to play around with the subtle color changes from strip set to strip set to see if something different happens. You can also take a photo and look at your layout from there.  It’s amazing how the photo gives you a slightly different perspective than being up close and in person.

Layout 2

As a sidenote, you may be wondering what my design wall in the above photo is made of and what it is attached to.  It is actually (2) 4′ x 8′ pieces of  lightweight foam insulation board (available from Lowes or Home Depot) and then covered in batting.  They are then attached with 3M sticky tabs to the sliding glass closet doors in my sewing studio. Viola!  Instant design wall and storage space in the closet!

That’s it for this week!  Join us next week for Week #5 – Quilt Top Assembly.  I’ll report back if I changed anything in my Layout above and then how to stitch the rows together to finally assemble your quilt top.

Until then, please be sure to email us at colourwerx@yahoo.com if you have any questions.  Or feel free to post progress pictures on our Colourwerx QAL Facebook Group.

Until your next colour fix and next week’s QAL post ~  happy and bright quilting always!    L&C xxoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PaintBox QAL – Week #3 – Stitching the Strips

Welcome back to Week #3 of the Colourwerx Paint Box Quilt Along!  This week is all PaintBox Front Cover copyabout stitching your strip sets together !  I love this step in the process as I find it quite relaxing to spend a few afternoons at the machine simple strip piecing the day away – no stress and eazy peazy!

Just a brief recap of where we are in the process and what the next few weeks have in store for us:
By now you’ve selected your materials and you’ve probably sorted the (40) strips into first: groups of 5 with 8 strips each group and then again into: groups of 10 with 4 strips in each group.

If you need further clarification regarding this step, refer to page 1 of the Paint Box pattern or Week #2 ‘s Blog where I discuss in depth the various ways to sort your strips into colour groups!  Also you should have gathered your two 1-yard cuts for the sashing triangles and cut strips from each of those fabrics according to the cutting directions on page 1 of the Paint Box pattern.

Week #3 – this week is all about piecing the strips.
Week #4 – we will cut the triangle shapes from the strips sets.
Week #5 – we will discuss arranging the blocks for the quilt top and sewing rows together.
Week #6 – finally concluding with steps and pictures of some some basic straight line machine quilting ideas to complete your quilt top.
PaintBox QAL Slug

Great!  You are now ready for some relaxing strip piecing! But first things first!

It’s important to set yourself and your sewing machine up for “Stitchin’ Success”!  If you prefer to watch a fun little video of the “Setting Your Machine up for Stitchin’ Success”  I have a companion video that explains the below steps….You can view it on our Colourwerx You Tube channel and also subscribe so you won’t miss future broadcasts!

VIEW THE SET YOUR MACHINE UP FOR STITCHIN’ SUCCESS VIDEO!

Linda Week 3
First let’s review how I set up my machine for stitchin’success!  Over the years, I believe that all of these steps help me to stitch a much more accurate scant 1/4″ seam and improve my piecing accuracy!

Here’s what I do every time I start a new patchwork project:Clean

  1.  Clean and Oil That Machine – I’m always amazed at how much ‘fabric dust’ one accumulates under the stitch plate within a few days of stitching….those fibers and all that dust can really inhibit the machine from ‘taking its best stitch’ which in turn cause inaccuracies in your 1/4″ seam allowance.  Every few days actually, I just make a habit to lift up that stitch plate , remove all the dust bunnies and give it my machine a good drink of oil to boot.  You might find depending upon your climate that your machine requires more oil than the manufacturer recommends.  For me, the desert air here actually dries out my machine alot and I find that I really need to oil it at least once a week and sometimes in Summer twice a week;
  2. Start with a New Needle! – an absolute must!  When Carl and I owned our quilt shop, Linderella’s Quilt Works, in Southern Pines, NC, we were always always amused by customers who would brag and boast that they had never, ever, ever changed the needle on their sewing machine….uh, say what?  That needle takes alot of abuse with just regular stitching and if you’ve every run smack-dab over a pin – whoa!  Check out the picture below – The picture to the left is a new needle and the picture on the right? That’s what the tip of your needle now looks like after you hit a pin – time to change the needle!
    Dull-Needle-Close-Up
    Additionally, the needle manufacturer actually recommends that you change it every 8-10 hours of sewing…that might be too much or too little depending on the project…I usually change my needle whenever I start a new project …. For piecing, my go-to needle is the Schmetz 75/11 Quilting Needle.  This needle has a super sharp tapered point that penetrates the fabric without leaving a large hole and also eliminates skipped stitches;IMG_7750
  3. Change the Stitch Plate to a Single Hole Stitch Plate – This little guy is a game changer!  If you don’t already own one, run (don’t walk) to your sewing machine dealer.  By changing over to a single hole stitch plate,  the needle and thread (as it loops around the bobbin thread to make each stitch),  are forced to stay perfectly straight up and down in the single hole thus creating a more perfect straight stitch.  The single hole stitch plate also prevents fabric from getting caught or chewed up under the stitch plate as you start stitching.  Just remember to switch the stitch plate back to the rectangular opening stitch plate if you choose a zig zag stitch or other decorative stitch – if not, you’ll hear a violent crunch and then definitely need to change that needle!IMG_7757
  4. Change Thread to a 50 Weight Cotton Thread – One of major reasons 1/4″ seams are inaccurate is thread takes up a lot of space in the seam allowance, and if one is using a thicker shaft thread such as a 40 weight or 30 weight, some of that precious seam allowance has just been robbed by the thicker thread (compounded by perhaps slight inaccuracies in cutting and pressing)  – all of these factors cause the block not to finish at the exact measurement the pattern says it will – a great example of this is when your points are cut off while making a star block.  So I always switch out to a 50 weight cotton thread for the top and for the bobbin. My go to preference is Aurifil 50 weight Silvery Gray – #2615 – this color is fabulous and no matter what my fabric color is (dark or light)  this thread color camouflages itself in the seams.  There are many other great brands such as Gutterman, Superior etc…. just choose a neutral color like tan or gray and make sure it is 50 weight cotton;IMG_7752
  5. Change the Presser Foot to a 1/4″ Patchwork Presser Foot –  Another must have and available from your sewing machine dealer.  This foot helps you achieve and stay true to the 1/4″ seam allowance that all quilting seams require.  I prefer the 1/4″ foot without the guide  – personally for me, I find that when I use the 1/4″ presser foot with the guide, I become lazy about my 1/4″ seam and begin to push my fabric up against that guide thinking everything is just peachy.  The results?  My seam allowance is larger than a 1/4″ and my piecing is inaccurate.

IMG_7878Get Your 1/4″ Seam Mojo Going!  Now that my machine is ready to go – I always like to test my scant 1/4″ seam. Let’s face it, a 1/4″ seam is not a whole lot of room and alot of things take up space or rob you of that precious seam allowance like thread, pressing, inaccurate cutting, wobbly stitches, thread build up from from seam ripping etc.   So a scant 1/4″ seam is what’s really required, and a scant 1/4″ seam is just a hair less than a full 1/4″ seam allowance.

Quilter beware!! – Alot of the 1/4″ presser feet for machines are a full 1/4″ – I have found this with my Bernina for sure and I need to slightly “back off” from the right edge of the foot to achieve a scant 1/4″.  One of the best ways to figure this out is to simply stitch a test strip.

Test Your Scant 1/4″ Seam: Cut (2) 2″ wide strips of fabric – any length will work. Stitch your best scant 1/4″ seam.  Press the seam to one side and the strips should measure 3-1/2″ wide at the top, middle and bottom.  If not, try again and adjust where you place the fabric edge up against the edge of the presser foot – like I said, you may need to back off from the edge or move your fabric ever so slightly to the left (toward the needle).

Still Can’t Get That Scant 1/4″ Seam??  If you’re having trouble achieving a scant 1/4″ seam,  there’s a fabulous tool to help you – available at most quilt shops.  Its called the Perkins Perfect Piecing Seam Guide.  It’s a small little ruler with a hole in the middle and a scant 1/4″ seam drawn on the side of the ruler. Place it under your stitch plate, drop the needle in the hole and voila!: the right edge of the ruler denotes the scant 1/4″ seam on your machine – you may even notice as I did that the scant 1/4″ seam is just to the left of the right edge of the 1/4″ presser foot.    I like to run a piece of tape from the stitch plate down the slide on table and then line my fabric up against the tape edge to keep my fabric straight while stitching!

Now you’re ready to start stitchin’ your Paint Box strips!!

Step #1 – STITCH THE STRIP ROLL GROUPINGS TOGETHER —
Ok – first things first, – if you used strips from a precut strip roll or jelly roll, make sure you have cut the strips to a width of 2″ wide.

However like I explained in Week #2’s blog post –  I confess that often times I cut the strips down to this width after I have stitched pairs of strips together.  Here’s an example:  I’ve stitched  (2) 2-1/2″ wide strips together with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Before pressing the strips open, I place them (still Right Sides Together) on the cutting board, line up the 2″ mark of the ruler on the stitched side and then cut the width to 2″ wide. Easy Peazy!  However if this makes you nervous, then by all means, trim each of your strips to 2″ wide before stitching pairs together.

Continue stitchin’ strips together for each of the remaining nine color groupings!  Be sure to measure the strip width each time to make sure you are maintaining your scant 1/4″ seam!

Here’s what my coloured strip sets looked like after I was complete – I chose to cut my strips down to the 2″ width as I pieced the pairings together so I ended up with some lovely colorful trimmings too!


Step #2 – STITCH THE SASHING TRIANGLE STRIPS TOGETHER —

Referring to Page 3-Step #1 in the pattern, lay out your sashing strips near your sewing machine.  Start with the top strips in each pile and stitch together – again stitching a scant 1/4″ seam.

 Once the 3 strips from the top of the piles are stitched together, press the seams in the same direction and then measure the width of the strip set.  If all went well, then your strips width should match what the Paint Box pattern says on Page 3 – Step #2.    As above, you can also spritz your strip sets with a bit of starch or Mary Ellen’s Best Press at this point to give them a little body and a crisper, firmer press.

Continue strips piecing groups of 3 until you have created the appropriate number of sashing triangle strips sets!  Here’s what mine looked like when I was complete with a very relaxing weekend of strip piecing!

Strip Set 1

See – that wasn’t so bad! – eazy peazy and quite relaxing right?!?!  🙂
Strips set 3And that’s it!  You are now ready for Week #4 – Cutting the Triangles & Layout.

Make sure you have your Creative Grids Quarter Square Triangle Ruler CGRT90 CGRT90-1ready!!   I really like the Creative Grids brand of rulers! We also have these available for purchase in our Colourwerx shop!

PURCHASE THE CREATIVE GRIDS TRIANGLE RULER HERE

Until then, please be sure to email us at colourwerx@yahoo.com if you have any questions.  Or feel free to post progress pictures on our Colourwerx QAL Facebook Group.

Until your next colour fix and next week’s QAL post ~  happy and bright quilting always!    L&C xxoo

 

Paint Box QAL – Week #1 -Gather the Pattern & Materials

Hello!  And welcome to the ‘first week’ of our second Colourwerx QAL (quilt along) PaintBox Front Cover copywhere we’ll be making our super fun Paint Box Pattern!

First, I want to thank you so much for joining us here and on our Facebook Colourwerx QuiltAlong Page.  Whether you’ll be sewing up the pattern along side us or just observing from afar, we welcome you and are overwhelmed by your enthusiasm so far – so thank you, thank you, thank you!

Also, if you want to join with other quilty friends and aren’t yet a member of our Facebook group, I  invite you to join our free QAL Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your progress and of course, post pictures of your finished projects so everyone can share in the fun!  Also feel free to share this invite and any other QAL news with quilty buddies and invite them to join along in the fun!

JOIN THE COLOURWERX QAL FACEBOOK GROUP HERE

Look for a companion video to be posted later this week…..

So this is Week#1 of the Paint Box QAL –  First let’s review the schedule!

PaintBox QAL Slug

As you can see it’s a 5-week QAL this time, but please know that you can take it at your own pace and join in anytime.  All of the videos and blog posts will remain here, as well as be posted on our website and social media pages throughout the year.  It’s free to join and we’ll be making the 48″ x 48″ quilt top.   Feel free to hop in anytime!PaintBox Front Cover copy

GATHER YOUR PATTERN, MATERIALS & TOOLS —
Here’s what you’ll need though to join in on the stitchin’ fun –
• The PaintBox pattern by Colourwerx – use the coupon code QAL at checkout to save 10% off the pattern! Yippee!

PURCHASE THE PAINTBOX PATTERN – PAPER VERSION
PURCHASE THE PAINTBOX PATTERN – PDF VERSION

•  A strip roll (or jelly roll) – choose a strip roll containing (40) precut 2-1/2″ wide strips – alert!  you’ll need to cut each strip to 2″ wide!!   If you’d like to “bust your stash” – Cut (40) 2″ wide x 41-43″ long strips from your stash;

IMG_8984

•  Sashing Triangles & Binding  – choose two coordinating fabrics that match or compliment your strips – these fabrics make up the “sashing triangles” – the black and white striped triangles you see on the pattern cover.  You’ll need a 1-yard cut of each fabric.  Keep in mind that one of these fabrics will also be your binding.

IMG_8985

•  A Speciality 90 Degree Ruler  for Cutting the Triangles – the Creative Grids Quarter Square Triangle Ruler CGRT90.  I really like the Creative Grids brand of rulers – first, they have a non-slip surface so it won’t slip while cutting and secondly, the measurements are clear and exact on the ruler to assist you in lining up your strips seams straight and true while cutting the triangles. We have these available for purchase in our Colourwerx shop and again, if you use the discount code QAL at checkout you’ll save 10% – double yippee!

PURCHASE THE CREATIVE GRIDS TRIANGLE RULER HERE

CGRT90-1

•  Optional for the QAL – Backing Fabric : 3-1/2 yards

WANT A FABRIC KIT INSTEAD?? 
Both Colourwerx and our good sewing pal, Christa Watson from Christa Quilts have put together a special fabric kit for the Paint Box Quilt Along! Both of these kits are offered at a discount for a limited time!

PaintBox Designs copy

BRIGHT AND COLORFUL GRIDWORK KIT FROM CHRISTA QUILTS: Christa’s kit features her bright and geometric new fabric collection called “GridWork” (pictured on the left) and she’s offering a discount on this – use the code PAINT. (This kit does not include the pattern).

GORGEOUS JEWEL BOX BATIK KIT FROM COLOURWERX: If you love those jewelled toned batiks, then this Colourwerx Jewel Box batik fabric kit featuring Island Batik fabrics is the perfect kit for you.

 

PURCHASE COLOURWERX’S JEWEL BOX BATIK FABRIC KIT

START THINKING ABOUT COLOUR PLACEMENT–
While you’re gathering your fabrics, pattern and tools this week, it’s time to start thinking about color placement on the Paint Box pattern.  Part of the fun of making the Paint Box pattern is that when it is finally assembled and finished,  lots and lots of secondary designs pop up and its hard to figure out where the individual block starts and stop.

Here’s a quick slide show of the five Paint Box patterns I’ve made so far so you can see different colour combinations at work:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I start a new Paint Box quilt – I first start thinking about dividing my (40) fabric strips into five colour groups which will contain eight (8) strips each.

One of the easiest ways to figure out colour placement is to actually colour in a black and white diagram of the quilt top.   It may take a few passes but once you settle in on colour placement, the actual sorting and stitching together of your strips will go so much faster.

Here’s an example of how I planned out the Paint Box quilt  you see on the pattern cover.  This one uses Christa Watson’s of ChristaQuilts new fabric collection, Gridwork.

Paint Box QAL Colour Plan

Now it’s your turn to start thinking about colours.  Use this handy black and white diagram below  to assist you in planning your colour placement for your Paint Box quilt.  You can use crayons, colored pencils or markers – whatever works for you. I’ve shaded in the the sashing triangle fabric areas – these strips will be cut from your two complimenting 1-yard cuts of fabric.

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE PAINT BOX LINE ART HERE

Paintbox Layout

That’s it for Week #1!!  Next week – Week #2: we’ll be Sorting the Strips into Groups and Cutting – woohoo!

Until then, please be sure to email us at colourwerx@yahoo.com if you have any questions.  Or feel free to post progress pictures on our Colourwerx QAL Facebook Group.

Until your next colour fix and next week’s QAL post ~  happy and bright quilting always!    L&C xxoo

 

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