Feelin’ Groovy QAL – Week #5 – Putting It All Together

Yay! We made it – This is the final week/Week #5 of our Feelin Groovy QuiltAlong! There’s just a few more steps and then our quilt top will be complete! What a fun quilt!

By now, you should have all your Large Swirls appliqued onto your Slash ‘n Sew Background Blocks and all of your Spikey Paper Pieced Border Units complete….if you’re playing catch up – review the previous blog posts here:

•. Week 1 – Gather Your Materials & Pattern
• Week 2 – Slash n Sew the Background Squares
• Week 3 – Applique the Large Swirls on the Background Squares
• Week 4 – Paper Piece the Spikey Outer Border Units
•.Week 5 – Putting It All Together (this post)

As always, the companion video tutorial for this week’s post can be viewed right here:

The first thing to do is layout on your design board or floor all of your units so far. Here’s what my Baby Size version Feelin’ Groovy is looking like so far!

You can see that we still need to construct and applique stitch the Small Swirl Corner Blocks. Let’s do that!

Make the Small Swirl Corner Blocks —
Gather together (4) 8″ squares for the background of the swirls and (4) 8″ squares for your smaller appliqued swirls.

Following the same slash ‘n sew technique from Week #2 – slash ‘n sew the (4) background squares together. Square and trim these blocks to 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″.

Again following the same techniques for machine applique from Week #3, make (4) small swirls and fuse (or iron) them to the center of each slash ‘n sew square. Applique around each small swirl. Remember to attach a stitching stabilizer to the back side of each swirl block to help your stitches stay neat and tidy. (I had many of the larger slash ‘n sew background squares left over from Week #2 so I decided to use four of these to make my swirls from. I love them).

Now that the outer corner blocks are complete, we are ready to sew our quilt top together.

Putting It All Together —
First, stitch the Large Swirls Blocks together to form rows. Then stitch rows together to form the center of your quilt top. Refer to the pattern/page 6 if needed.

Next, stitch the right and left spikey outer border units together to form (2) strips – one for the left and one for the right. Stitch these to either side of the center quilt top.

Finally, repeat the above step with the top and bottom rows of the spikey outer border units, but also stitch the outer small swirl corner blocks to the end of each row. To complete your quilt top, stitch to the bottom and top of your quilt top.

And there ya go! Your quilt top is complete and I bet it looks fabulous!! Here’s what mine ending up looking like and I love it – perfect for a new baby or small child!

This now concludes our Feelin Groovy QuiltAlong – send me your pictures so we can see your cute and fabulous quilts!

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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!

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

ModTV QAL: Week #2 – Piece the TV & Legs

ModTV_CW110_FRONTWelcome back!   It’s Week #2 of our ModTV QuiltAlong! !  This week we’ll be ‘slashin’ and sewin’ the TV Set and the TV leg units, so get ready to throw out everything you learned about exact cutting and piecing and get ready for some cut loose, liberated fun!

But first — If you’re just joining us this week, be sure to review Week #1’s Blog Post to find out how to purchase the pattern and what fabrics and materials you’ll need to gather –

READ THE MODTV QAL WEEK #1 POST BY CLICKING HERE

Also, just a friendly reminder!   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!

You can also subscribe to our Colourwerx You Tube channel right here!

JOIN THE COLOURWERX QAL FACEBOOK GROUP HERE
SUBSCRIBE TO THE COLOURWERX YOU TUBE CHANNEL RIGHT HERE

Linda_Week 2
IMG_1003I love ‘slash ‘n sew’ piecing!  It’s liberating, easy to do and best of all you don’t need to have an exact or even perfect 1/4″ seam or be that careful at cutting.  The whole idea is to get wonky.  And quite frankly, it’s that ‘wonkiness’ that gives these little retro TV’s their personality! So let’s get started!

Be on the lookout for Week #2’s companion video as well! 

 

Organize Your Fabric Pieces —
The TV block which finishes at 12″ x 12″ is made up of three separate units:  The TV, the Leg Unit and the the Antenna Unit.  First things first – you should have already precut your pieces for at least (1) ModTV Block in Week #1.  if not, refer back to pages 1 & 2 of the ModTV pattern to find the cutting directions and dimensions.

Separate all the cut pieces into the three groups. Refer to the pattern near the beginning of each section (i.e.: page 3 – Part One – Stitch the TV Set Unit), and you will find exactly which pieces from your TV fabric and your background fabrics should be placed in that grouping.

Here are the groups…..the TV….

Group 1

The Legs….

Group 2

….and The Antenna….

Group 3

Stitch the TV Unit —
Turn to page 2 in the ModTV pattern.  Place the TV rectangle and Background (B/G) rectangles on the cutting board.

Group 1

Slash up the sides like so (or refer to Fig 2 in the pattern). The key here is to slash at an ‘upward and outward’ angle to create a wonky shaped rectangle, and to try to slash each TV block you make slightly different.  But be careful not to slash too wide of a strip off or the TV will not finish at the right size (it may be too small when you complete piecing it).  I usually end up slashing about 1-1/2″ width near the bottom to about 3/4″ -1/2″ width at the top.  You can mark these measurements on the sides of your TV rectangle to guide you until you get more confident to “slash” without marking. 

Cuttting 1

Cutting 2

Next – super simple!  Just flip the B/G rectangles over onto the edge of the slashed TV set edges.  Place them Right Sides Together on the TV set and stitch – you don’t even need to do a perfect 1/4″ seam here – just place your presser foot along the slashed edge and stitch.

Press the B/G rectangles outward and then place your ruler along the bottom and edge and trim the bottom edge of the TV unit even.  Set aside.  Not so bad right?!?

Tv 4

Stitch the Legs Unit  —
Turn to page 3 in the ModTV pattern and gather all of the pieces needed to make your TV Leg unit.   First, as stated at the top of page 3, be sure to cut in half the (2) 3-1/2″ squares to make (4) 1-3/4″ X 3-1/2″ rectangles – these will be the B/G rectangles that will be stitched on to either side of your leg pieces.

SUPER BIG HINT! I like to lay all of the pieces out on my cutting board like so.  As I stitch these leg units together I do not disturb what is on my cutting board.  When I take 2 pieces and stitch them together, I return them to their exact positions on the cutting board so as not to confuse myself about which pieces go where.

Legs 1

First fold the leg units in half lengthwise to create a center crease. Return to position.

Starting with the right leg, flip the B/G rectangle on the right side over and angle it from the bottom right corner to the center top edge of the leg unit like so (the center crease on the leg unit will guide you).

Legs 2

Stitch down the edge of the angled B/G rectangle and trim the any excess fabric away to reduce the bulk  leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the B/G rectangle outward.

Return the right leg unit back in position and flip the  B/G rectangle on the left side over and angle it from the bottom left corner to the center top edge of the leg unit like so.  Make sure that top edges of the B/G rectangles are overlapping each other at the top.  

Stitch down the edge of the angled B/G rectangle and trim the any excess fabric away to reduce the bulk  leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the B/G rectangle outward. Your leg unit should somewhat resemble the below photo. The leg unit will need to be trimmed and squared down.  Before trimming the unit,  I want to make sure my leg unit is centered so I draw (or crease) a line down the center of the leg.

Legs 5a

Lining the pointy edge of the leg unit on the 1-1/4″ mark (which centers the leg unit under what will be the trimmed 2-1/2″ wide x 3″ long rectangle), trim the unit (refer to Fig 6-7 in the ModTv Pattern).   Repeat on the left leg to make one  pair of legs. (If for some reason, your leg unit is just “shy” (or smaller) than this, don’t worry  – just trim it as close to that measurement as possible.  When we complete the whole block, we will be trimming the block down to a final size and there will be extra fabric to trim away). 🙂

IMG_1116

 

Again return the Leg units in position on the cutting board and sew the (5) pieces together to create the Leg Unit Strip. Press the seams according to Fig 8 in the ModTV Pattern.

Legs 5

Sew this Leg unit to the bottom of your TV unit!

Tv Legs 3

That’s it for Week #2!!  Next week – Week #3 we’ll begin slashing and sewing our TV Antenna Unit together and making the Color Bar Blocks – woohoo!

Until then, please be sure to email us at colourwerx@yahoo.com if you have any questions.  Or feel free to post questions or 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

 

 

 

 

Wonky Piecing & Easy Applique QAL – Week 4 – Easy Machine Applique & Finish

Wonky Week 3 Slug 4Welcome back!   It’s our final week – Week #4 – of our Wonky Piecing & Easy Appliqué QuiltAlong !  This week is all about applique stitching your animal shapes to your background fabric and then finishing off your project into either a wallhanging or pillow!

I’ll also be sharing with you how to get your sewing machine ready for machine applique, how to do some basic applique stitches, sew in and out of points and some very  general “rules of the road” to perfect your own applique stitch!  So let’s get started!

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First off, my biggest tip to perfect applique stitching is: practice, practice practice….  Machine applique requires practice and alot of patience.  You may want to review this blog post, watch my companion video or subscribe to our Colourwerx UTube channel.  Then set yourself up with some basic scrap shapes like squares and circles on a background fabric and practice, practice, practice.

But first things first….

Set Your Machine Up For Success –
Here’s how I set my machine up for a day of applique:
1.  Open Toe Presser Foot – a must!  Notice that this foot  has no bars or metal in the middle of the two outer prongs – this allows you to see the “open road” ahead of you while stitching.  For me, it is a must have before I start any applique stitching;

Open Toe
2.  Schmetz 90/14 Quilting Needle – here we go again 🙂  but this size and type needle is perfect for applique stitching and allows me to switch from thread to thread regardless of the thread thickness as I applique stitch;

Needle
3.  Bobbin Thread – Regardless of the thread you choose for stitching around your shapes, I always use a neutral colored cotton 50 weight thread in the bobbin – usually the same weight and color thread that I piece my quilts with — something like a tan or light grey Aurifil 50 weight (look for the orange colored spool) works well.  Although the exception to this is that if the piece will be finished as a wallhanging and I have already pre-quilted the background fabric, I will match my bobbin thread to the backing fabric – again, using a 50 weight thread;


4.  Set Your Stitch to ZigZag – This is stitch #2 on my Bernina machine and my go-to stitch settings are: Width – 3.0, and Length – just under 0.8-0.9.  This seems to be good starting point for me.  Your machine may be slightly different and more than likely, you’ll need to adjust your settings as you practice and gain more confidence.

Machine 1
5.  Very Important:  Test Your Stitch & Adjust Your Tension – Once you have your machine set up, test your machine by stitching out a straight line of zigzag stitches.

Test 1

Check your tension –   common issues are these:
If you see the bobbin thread (gray) on top like this, adjust your tension dial to a higher number;

Test 2

If you see the top thread (orange) on the bottom of your stitches like this, adjust your tension dial to a lower number;

Test 3

If your stitches “caterpillar” like this – you’ll need to attach a stabilizer to the wrong side  of your background fabric.

Test 4

Sulky

Stabilizer is just as the name suggests:  it provides stability to your stitching and helps to avoid distorted stitches.  Any stabilizer (like you use with digitized embroidery machines) will work just fine and even freezer paper works in a pinch!  My favorite brand is Sulky Iron On Tear Away Stabilizer.  (Sidenote:  If you pre-quilted your background fabric,  you won’t need to add a stabilizer.  The batting acts like the stabilizer.) 

Iron Your Shapes On to Your Background Fabric –
Once your machine is set up, you are ready to go and it’s time to iron your animal shapes onto your background fabric.

Score the release paper on the back of your applique shapes with a pin and then peel the release paper off.

Score

Place your shapes in place on your background fabric – making sure that those shapes  that are overlapped by others are placed down first.  Once satisfied with placement, with a hot iron, press the shapes down applying at least 10-15 seconds of heat to the shape to secure it firmly to your background fabric.

Pattern Ease

You might want to make an overlay sheet for something like the ModFish which has several shapes overlapped on one another.  This can be made from tracing paper or a dress making interfacing product called Pattern – Ease which is sold at stores like Joann’s.  Pattern Ease is a non fusible, woven lightweight interfacing.  I like it because I can trace my pattern on it, place it over my background and then move the individual shapes into place under the Pattern Ease. Once satisfied, I can iron right through the Pattern Ease to secure the shapes in place.

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Additionally, I like to fuse the smaller shapes onto their bigger shapes and stitch around those smaller shapes before fusing that bigger shape onto the background fabric.  Great examples of this are: the ModCat head and eyes and eyelids, or the ModDog eyeball; or the ModFish eye, or ModFish fin on the belly! .

Small Shapes

Why make your job harder?  Take for example the ModCat head, once the eyes and eyelids are fused in place, I leave the release paper on the wrong side of the head as it acts as a stabilizer and then I applique stitch around those shapes…I only have to wrestle with the head and concentrate on making my stitching around the eyes perfect and not deal with the whole background fabric, etc.  Easy-peazy!

Applique Stitching “Rules of the Road” –
I’ll do my best to explain these here on the blog but if you are more of a visual learner than I would encourage you to check out my companion video to this week’s quilt along which is now posted on our Colourwerx website and Colourwerx UTube channel.

1. Starting: Whenever I start, I like to bring my bobbin thread to the top.  This stops all of those nasty thread nests from occurring as you start. Turning your hand wheel one whole rotation, lower the needle into the fabric and then all the way back up again.  Pull on the top threads and pop the bobbin thread up to the top.  Now hold onto both the top and bobbin threads to start stitching. Secure the start of your stitch by either engaging your “secure stitch function” (check your manuals) or taking a stitch in place.   You can also just start stitching and when you finish going around the shape, you can bring all the threads to the backside, knot the threads and tie off.

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2.  Start Stitching:  Notice the photos below – the needle is “zagging” just to the outside of the applique shape and then “zigging” back onto the shape itself.  The foot is NOT really positioned in “dead center” of the shape and the background fabric.  The foot actually rides more onto the applique shape itself .  This is where I personally like my zig zag stitch to fall when I stitch.

3.  Stitching Around Curves:  Again check out the companion video as that might help, but the general rule on stitching around curves is as follows:

if it’s an outside curve, stop and pivot on the on the outside edge:  to do this, stop with the needle down on the OUTSIDE edge of the applique, lift the presser foot with the needle still down,  pivot (or turn toward you) the applique piece ever so slightly, drop the presser foot and take a stitch or two until you feel you need to stop again and pivot to maintain your stitch quality and position on the edge of the applique;

 

…if it’s an inside curve, stop and pivot on the inside edge: just as above, stop with the needle down on the INSIDE edge of the applique, lift the presser foot with the needle still down,  pivot (or turn away from you) the applique piece ever so slightly, drop the presser foot and take a stitch or two until you feel you need to stop again and pivot to maintain your stitch quality and place on the edge of the applique.

When you are turning the corner and the stitch is falling on the outside edge of the applique, try to aim for the same exact point as you go around the corner (see the 4th picture where the purple pen indicates).

Straightaways are easy – curves and circles are not so easy because it requires patience and lots of stop and pivots , stops and pivots to stitch around the curve.  You might find that it will take you just as long to stitch around a small curve as it does for you to stitch the rest of the applique with straightaways. A great example of this is the top of the cat tail or the little paws on the Mini ModDog.   Be patient, slow down and practice.

3.  Stitching In and Out Of A Point: There are some really beautiful ways of stitching in and out of points but this requires dialing your stitch width down and up again as you keep stitching (meaning reducing your stitch width as you approach the point and then increasing your stitch width as you stitch out of the point)…this is a little like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time and takes a lot of practice.

I prefer to do a more “lazy man’s” way of stitching in and out of points.  Stitch all the way down and directly over the point. Keeping the needle down, lift your presser foot and pivot the piece so that it is now at a 45 degree angle to the presser foot.  Take one, (sometimes two) complete stitches so the needle is again on the outside edge but on the opposite side of the point.  Again keeping the needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the piece so you are ready to stitch down the new side.  Continue on stitching.   It’s appears a bit bulky but it works!

Now with that and a little practice – applique away!

Finish your Animal –
To Make Into a Wallhanging – Once all appliqué stitching is complete, trim your project down so the edges are neat and even.  Here are the approximate measurements of my samples to give you an idea:
•  Mini MoDog 12-1/2″ x 16-1/2″
•  ModCat – 15″ x 21″
•  ModFish – 21″ x 14-16

Bind the wallhanging as desired.

To Make Into a Pillow – Once all appliqué stitching is complete, trim your project down so the edges are neat and even. I’ll explain in detail below what I do for a Mini ModDog, but if you are making a Cat or Fish, you may want to find the appropriate size pillow form first and then cut the project 1/2″ larger than the pillow size and then size the backing fabric accordingly using the Mini ModDog examples below.

Trim the Mini ModDog to 12-1/2″ X 16-1/2″.

I use a Travel Pillow Form for my Mini ModDogs that measures 12″ x 16″.

Cut the Backing Fabric into 2 pieces: 12-1/2” x 14-1/2” and 12-1/2” x 12-1/2”.  Turn and press only one outer edge (not the 12-1/2” edges though) of each backing piece 1/4” over twice to the wrong side to encase the raw edge. Topstitch down the edge to secure. Place the two backing fabric units RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER over the Mod Dog and stitch around all sides. Turn the unit right side out and poke out the corners. Stuff with a 12” x 16” travel pillow form through the slit on the backside.

This now concludes our Wonky Pieced & Easy Applique QuiltAlong – send me your pictures so we can see your cute and fun Wonky Pieced Mod Animals!!

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