PaintBox QAL – Week #6 -Machine Quilting Your Top

PaintBox Front Cover copyWelcome back !!  It’s the final week of our PaintBox QuiltAlong and this is the week to finish off your quilt top.

Last week we pieced the triangles and also stitched the rows together to complete your quilt top.  You can review Week 5’s post right here!

This week, I’m going to share some insights, successes and some fails (at least for me) into machine quilting your Paint Box quilt top on your domestic sewing machine.

Full disclosure now! – I am “the world’s worst free motion machine quilter” (at least that’s what I think) and because of that – I own a longarm machine and 100% prefer my quilt tops machine quilted on my longarm with an overall pattern or for something fancier, sent to a professional machine quilter like  Teresa Silva of Quilting is my Bliss for some of her gorgeous free hand long arm machine quilting – however, I know that not everyone can afford long arm services or a long arm machine or may just prefer their tops not to be longarmed, so hence this week’s blog subject about quilting your top on your domestic home machine!

However before moving on and in case you are taking your PaintBox quilt to your favorite longarm machine quilter,  pictured below is the pantograph all over quilt design I use on most of my PaintBox samples – it’s called Monsoon and I love it!

Pattern 1

On the other hand though sometimes a nice straight stitch will do the trick.

One of my favorite books out there for ideas on using your walking foot and  straight stitch machine quilting is Jacquie Gering’s “Walk” – I highly recommend this book as it’s a terrific reference on straight stitch machine quilting and is chocked full of different ideas and designs that you can quilt on your tops using just the walking foot and your straight stitch on your domestic machine.

The designs she offers range from very simple to very complex but all are accomplished with just a straight stitch and your walking foot (or even feed foot), and best of all no lowering of feed dogs or feeling totally out of control (my problem with the process).  Also the sequel to this best selling book, “Walk 2.0”will be released in May, so both books together would be a terrific reference pairing for your quilting library!

When I do choose to quilt my tops on my domestic machine, I prefer the control and regimented pace I feel when using my walking foot/dual feed foot, keeping the feed dogs up and just using my straight stitch across the top.  That doesn’t mean I don’t make a design though.  Here’s some “curvacious” quilting I just completed on this single ModCat wallhanging.  My feed dogs were up, I set my machine to the straight stitch and used my dual feed foot (which is similar to a walking foot).  I then gently moved the quilt top from side to side to create the gentle curves.

Cat Curvy
And some more quilting I did on a ModTiki – again nothing fancy – just straight stitch quilting and making a wonky chevron look.  Beautiful and looks fancier than it really is!
Tiki Chevron
First things first – Get a plan!

You should have an idea of what pattern or stitch you might like to machine quilt on your quilt top before beginning.  I like to have a plan before I begin quilting.  Instead of marking your top and then erasing and marking and erasing, why not take a picture of your quilt top and print out the picture on your printer.??

Now you can draw on the printout your ideas for patterns or lines across the quilt top and see how you might like to quilt your top.  You can do this just once or print more copies and try out a whole bunch of different ideas.  Penciling in your quilting ideas before beginning will give you an idea of what the design will look like on your quilt top and also provide you with at the very least a starting point – a good thing!  Here’s a few examples of the quilting ideas and plans I drew before starting to quilt my PaintBox quilt top.  The first one is just some simple straight up and down gridding…..

….and the second drawing plan had simple diagonal cross hatching plus a squarish design within the blocks…

Basting Your Quilt Top with the Batting & Backing Fabric
Next get ready to make your quilting sandwich – meaning baste your quilt top with the batting and backing.  For this project, I spray basted my batting to my backing fabric and then again, spray basted the top to the batting.  This was my first time spray basting a larger quilt like this and I  used the 505 Temporary Adhesive Spray .  It worked great – no safety pins needed.
Baste 1
It did take quite a bit of patience though and I had to roll the batting (and then the quilt top) accordian style and work on only basting about 1 foot at a time.   I just kept smoothing and smoothing the fabric or batting across the surfaces and then gave it a really good pressing before starting to quilt the top.

If you like using fusible spray to baste your quilt – please check out Christa Watson’s tutorial on basting your top.  She actually spray bastes small to queen size quilts with her method, and machine quilts all of her tops on her domestic machine with no problems!

WATCH CHRISTA’S BASTING YOUR QUILT TOP TUTORIAL HERE!

Marking and the First Stitches to Stabilize
I chose to diagonally cross hatch my quilt top referring to my 2nd plan above.  I wanted to stitch a 1/4″ to either side of the seam lines so that it would be like a double stitch line, but I needed to mark in some of these lines first.  I did use my Frixion pen to make the markings BUT BUT BUT – I am fully aware that my pen markings may reappear sometime in the future  as this is the chance I take when marking my lines with the Frixion pen.  If you are not ok with this, please do use a washable marker or water soluble pen. 

I also threaded my machine with a 90/14 Microtex Needle and King Tut 40 weight thread in the color of Alabaster.  This particular thread color is a wonderful variegated neutral and works marvelous with almost any fabric collection.

Since I don’t like to ‘fight’ with my quilt when I machine quilt I rolled up the sides of the quilt diagonally toward my first center seam lines to be machine stitched.  The first lines I stitched were what I call the “main veins” of the quilt.  Since I was cross hatching on a diagonal, the first seams I stitched were the long diagonal lines from top left to bottom right and vice versa thus stitching what you might call a large “X” across the quilt.

The main “veins” of the quilt have now been stabilized and I can now cross hatch and stitch my diagonal lines working always out from the center “main veins” of the quilt to the outer edges.

Stitch 1
And I kept stitching and stitching……

Stitch 2

…and stitching and stitching……

Stitch 3

…and then I decided to stitch 1/4″ to either side of the vertical and the horizontal seam lines….
Stitch 4

And I kept stitching and stitching……as you can guess, although simple to do, this process can take a long, long, long time.  Just cross hatching 1/4″ to either side of the seam lines on this 48″ square top took me almost 7 hours of straight stitching with just a few short breaks to stretch here and there.

Stitch 6
Next I thought I would try my idea to machine quilt the ‘square within the square design’  I had drawn on my quilt top photo (see below) —

Drawing 2B

I marked a center square in the middle and tried out my idea…..

Well – time again for another full disclosure!  I hated it!  It just didn’t ‘sing’ to me and frankly I was having a hard time keeping the stitched squares even with the sewn squares –  it just looked sloppy!  😦    So out came the seam ripper and time to reconsider what to do next.

Eager to finish the quilting as I was now in hour 8 of machine quilting, I decided to carry on with the diagonal and straight seam quilting and halved the distance between those lines I already stitched.

The results as you see was a nice effect even though some of my stitching was a bit wobbly due to the evening wearing on and I was getting tired!

Stitch 9
Life Lesson 101!  Which reminds me to remind you of one big life lesson – be kind to bekindyouyourself – I have to remind myself of this all the time!  We are our own worst critics!  But let’s face it – we are not perfect and guess what – your machine quilting will likely not be either….its only fabric and it is a handmade item.  Also believe me on this one – your quilt top always looks 200% better after you remove all of your drawn lines (that you may or may not have stitched on when quilting your top) and after the quilt is squared down and trimmed.

Once I was completed with my machine quilting, I trimmed the batting/backing edges square to the quilt top and cut the binding from my remaining sashing fabric and sewed it on.

Viola!  All done and ready to grace our dining room table…

Table 1

…or be taken on a nice picnic outside on this beautiful Spring day in our desert oasis!!

Outside 2

 

IMG_9836

This now concludes our PaintBox QuiltAlong – send me your pictures so we can see your gorgeous PaintBox quilts!

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

 

 

PaintBox QAL – Week 5 – Quilt Top Assembly

PaintBox Front Cover copyHello again!  Whoop!  Whoop!  We are approaching the final weeks in our Paint Box QuiltAlong!  This week is all about assembling your quilt top and stitching it all together! Next week in our final week, I will be showing how I’ll be machine quilting my top on my domestic sewing machine!

But when last we spoke in Week #4 Blog’s Post, I mentioned that once I had laid out all my units on my design board, I was pondering whether I wanted to fiddle with the layout to play with the subtle color changes in this Linen Texture strip roll designed by Laundry Basket Quilts.  You’ll find the Quilt Top Layout Diagram on page 6 of the PaintBox pattern.

Here’s where we left off last week with my layout :

Layout 1

LAYOUT #1

I did fiddle with color placement  here and there and finally ended up with the new layout below –  do you see the difference?…Instead of keeping color groupings close together, I mixed up each quandrants’ units (for example the violets and pink palettes) to see if the colors would morph or “move” across the quilt top better.  Mmmmmmmm….

LAYOUT 2

LAYOUT #2

See the difference side by side??

Lol! After an hour or so of pondering this and some choice comments from Carl like “What’s that?!?  What happened to the first layout?” I decided to back to the first layout!  LOL!  Sometimes you first instinct is indeed the best!

Layout 1

LAYOUT #1

First Make Blocks!  So once you have decided on your layout, it’s time to start stitching, but first things first:   We need to make blocks out of those sashing triangles and colored triangle units so the quilt top goes together much more easily.  BIG TIP!  BE SURE TO SNAP A PHOTO FOR REFERENCE OF YOUR FINAL LAYOUT!  YOU’LL NEED IT!

Start with Row 2’s first sashing triangle and the orange colored triangle (note the yellow circle below and refer to the layout diagram on page 6 of the pattern).   Place these 2 units right sides together and stitch down the long diagonal edge.  TIP!  Sometimes I mark or crease the center of the colored triangle unit so that I can pin the center seams of the units together.  Remember these are triangles and the fabric has been cut on the bias so those edges can stretch out of shape very easily.  Having that center seam pinned aids you in placing the the 2 units together at their centers and then you also know that the outer tips of the 2 triangles have to meet as well when stitching!

Press the seam toward the coloured triangle unit and repeat until you have stitched all units together.  Referring to page 4 – Step 5 in the Paint Box pattern trim the blocks down to the desired size.  TIP! TIP!  Be sure to use  the diagonal line of your square ruler along the diagonal line of the block to aid you in squaring up the block to the appropriate size.  Note from the pics below that you probably won’t be trimming very much off – just a sliver here and there.

I usually sew these block units together quadrant by quadrant – meaning I pick up all the triangles from the top color  quadrant and sew those units together, then the second and so on like below:

Once complete, refer to your layout photo and return the blocks to places.

Now you are ready to start assembling the quilt top row by row.  Most of your seams usually end up nicely nesting together from block to block simply because of how you  rotated the ruler while cutting the triangles in Week #3.

Nest 4
However, you may find that some seams will need to be repressed in the opposite direction to make the seams nest before you stitch the blocks together. I found that I repressed about half of the sashing triangle seams in the opposite direction before sewing the triangle units together to form a block.

Again referring to the layout on page 6, notice that the rows are on point and you will be stitching block to block to block to form diagonal rows.  Sometimes (even though my diagram in the pattern shows this differently) I find it easier to toss aside the outer colored triangles that make up the top and bottom corner units (i.e.: Row #1) and just concentrate on getting the other rows together first. I usually stitch the top half together first and put it aside, followed by the bottom half and then join to the 2 halves together to complete the top.

Halves

When you join the 2 halves together – pin, pin, pin!!

Pin1

Again, some seams will nest and some will not.

I’m not the most patient quilter and at this point I am anxious to see my top done, so I usually pin at each and every seam regardless if the seams are nesting or not and stitch the top together.  Most times the quilting gods are with me and it works out beautifully! 🙂

Pin 4

Here is my quilt top with the corner units left off.  As a sidenote: You could indeed leave the quilt top just like this if you wanted more of a hexagon shaped quilt or were perhaps using it as a table topper of some sort. It’s kinda different looking!

Corners Off

Next stitch the 2 outer colored triangles together to form your corner units.

And to complete the top, stitch these outer corner units on!  Voila!  Just like that you PaintBox quilt top is complete!

Top Done

That’s it for this week!  Join us next week for Week #6 – Machine Quilting the Top where I’ll share how I am machine quilting my Paint Box quilt using my domestic machine, some straight line quilting techniques  and perhaps a few decorative stitches as well!

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 #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

 

PaintBox QAL – Week #2 – Sorting Your Strips into Groups & Cutting

PaintBox Front Cover copyWelcome back to Week #2 of the Colourwerx Paint Box QuiltAlong!  This week is all about sorting your strips into color groups and cutting.

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!

JOIN THE COLOURWERX QAL FACEBOOK GROUP HERE

GATHER YOUR MATERIALS:   By now you should have selected your materials, purchased your pattern and gathered the speciality triangle ruler and other sewing notions if needed.  But just in case, we’ll review what you need super quick:

•  The PaintBox pattern by Colourwerx (CW-124) – you can purchase this at our shop and choose either a paper edition or electronic PDF edition;

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.  If you’d like to “bust your stash” – Cut (40) 2″ wide x 41-43″ long strips from your stash;

•  Sashing Triangles & Binding  – choose two coordinating fabrics that match or compliment your strips – these fabrics make up the “sashing triangles” – You’ll need a 1-yard cut of each fabric.

•  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! We also have these available for purchase in our Colourwerx shop!

PURCHASE THE CREATIVE GRIDS TRIANGLE RULER HERE

WHAT DID I CHOOSE TO USE?  Last week you might recall I was alternating between two different jelly rolls I had in my stash.  I finally settled on the Laundry Basket Linen Texture roll and added two 1-yard cuts of Edyta’s gorgeous linen fabrics for the sashing triangles.  The coordinating colors I chose were Linen and a Dark Teal.   Thanks to the good peeps at Fat Quarter Shop my added yardage I had to order arrived this afternoon just in time for me to write this blog!

Linda's PB Fabrics

SORT YOUR STRIPS INTO COLOUR GROUPS –
This task is probably the hardest step in making this quilt.  There are so many choices and none of them are wrong. You’ll first need to come up with 5 color groups – each group containing 8 strips. Each grouping will then be subdivided into (2)  subgroups containing (4) strips each.

Last week I provided a link to 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.  Here’s the link again just in case you missed it:

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE PAINT BOX LINE ART HERE
Paintbox Layout

If your strip roll contains duplicate strips or as often is the case – 20 different fabrics with 2 strips of each fabric – this task is a bit easier for you.  Just divide the strips into 5 color groups selecting 4 different fabrics for each group.  If the fabric strips are duplicated, then you would place (2) strips from each of the 4 fabrics selected in that group to total the (8) strips assigned to each group.

Paint Box Color Grouping 2
If your strip roll has (40) different colored strips – the task is a little harder. You will need to come up first with five color groups – then subdivide each group into two sub groups and place 4 strips in each subgroup.

Paint Box Groupings

My Laundry Basket Linen strip roll had (40) strips but the strip colors, hues  and variations were very subtle. Here’s an example of the some of the color variations I found across the amber /green spectrums.

I settled to make (10) distinct color groups with (4) strips in each group. Whenever I start a new PaintBox quilt, I like to lay out the strips in their color groups on my floor to audition what that center square might look like and also ensure that all that fabrics are “playing nicely” in their individual color groups  as well as across the quilt top. Here’s what mine looked like:

Linda's Strips

I also found coloring in the B&W line art drawing most helpful and used the subtle variances in the color groupings to make an almost rotating pinwheel of changing colors around the  quilt top. I think this might look neat but I won’t really  know until I get the quilt top together and that’s the fun of it!   Here’s what my B&W line art quilt top looked like after I colored it in:

Linda's Paint Box

CUTTING THE STRIP ROLL STRIPS TO 2″ WIDE –
Once you’ve placed the strips in color groupings, you’re ready to cut each strip down to 2″ wide (unless of course you have cut from your stash and then hopefully you have already cut them at 2″ wide).  That’s right each strip needs to be 2″ wide before we start stitching them together.  Take your time in doing this and be accurate!

BUT WAIT!!!  I must confess that often times I cut the strips down to this width after I have stitched pairs of strips together.  I’ll talk more about this step next week, but 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 Peezy!  However if that makes you nervous, then by all means, trim each of your strips to 2″ wide.

CUTTING THE COORDINATING FABRICS INTO STRIPS –
Next gather the (2) coordinating fabric.  Choose one to also be your biding fabric.  Follow the cutting instructions and dimensions on page 1 of the pattern and cut your coordinating fabrics into strips.

That’s it!  You are now ready for Week #3 – Stitching the Strips together!  See ya then! 

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