Splendor QAL: Week #4 – Layout and Finish the Quilt Top

SplendorWhoop!  Whoop!  We are almost complete with our Splendor Quilt!  This is the final week of our quilt along and I do hope you all have been enjoying making these fab flower blocks!

This week – Week #4 – is all about laying out all the blocks and pieces and stitchin’ up that quilt top.  Relax and enjoy the process – it’s easy stitchin! 🙂

1. But first, just a reminder that all of your petals (large and small) should be appliqued stitched to their individual background blocks at this point. If you need reference, refer back to Week #2 & Week #3 of our Splendor QuiltAlong posts.

Read Splendor QAL Week #2 – Applique the Small Flower Blocks
Read Splendor QAL Week #3 – Applique the Large Flower Block

Also be sure to remove all of that stabilizer from the backside of your blocks.  I like to score mine with a straight pin and carefully tear away the stabilizer using tweezers if needed in the narrower sections between the petals. 

Splendor Stabilizer

2. Next, following the Splendor Background Diagram on page 2 of the Splendor pattern, lay out all of your pieces on your design board or floor.  Take special note of which way some of the smaller flower blocks are orientated (look at the large petal on the small flower block – is it pointing  up, down to the right or to the left??  – these differences in orientation  give the circle of small flowers movement and rhythm around the large center flower block.

New Splendor Layout

Once you are satisfied with your layout, stitch the background strips to each background corner block. Refer to the page 2 of the Splendor pattern again.

Next, stitch the single background  strip to its corresponding small flower block.

Not so hard right!?!

3.  And to finish your quilt top, refer to page 5 in the Splendor pattern and begin to stitch blocks together to form a row.  You’ll have a top row, a middle row (which will consist of the larger center flower block we created in Week #3) and a bottom row.

Watch the video below for how easy!!

Once all three rows are stitched together – your Splendor Quilt top is complete!

Finished Splendor

Great job and bravo! Now you’re ready to machine quilt some awesome designs in all of that negative space in the background or  send the top to your favorite machine quilter to do the same!

I’ll be sending this off to my favorite machine quilter, Teresa of Quilting is my Bliss who also machine quilted the first Splendor quilt! Below  are some up close photos of the fabulous quilting Teresa did on the first Splendor quilt!!  I’ll be sure to post the photos of the second Splendor quilt when she completes it!
Splendor Close Up 2

Splendor Close Up 1

This now concludes our Splendor QuiltAlong – send me your pictures so we can see your beautiful 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

Splendor QAL: Week #3 – Appliqué the Large Center Flower Block

SplendorWelcome back!  
It’s Week #3 of our Splendor QuiltAlong and it’s time to start to work on that bold, beautiful large center flower block!  And this week can also be a make up week – if you need it – to finish off the (12) small flower blocks from Week #2!    For more on that in case you’re joining us, check out Week#2’s Splendor QuiltAlong Blog Post right here!

I hope you are enjoying this quiltalong as much as I am!  Please don’t forget to post pictures of your projects over on the Facebook Colourwerx QuiltAlong page or send me your pics at colourwerx@yahoo.com!

Also, to view this week’s companion video tutorial , click on the link below!  Be sure to “Like” it and also drop us a comment on YouTube to let us know how we’re doing!!

View Week #3’s Splendor Companion Video Tutorial

On to Week #3 of Splendor —
1.  First arrange those (9) center squares and start to stitch them together to form a 9-patch.  Stitch blocks together to form (3) rows. 

Background 1

Then stitch the (3) rows together, pinning and matching the seams that butt together.  Refer to Page 1, Step 2 in the Splendor Pattern.

Background 2

Prepare your Large Flower Petals and the Small Flower Insets Appliqué Shapes–
You’ll be cutting out (1) each of the large flower shapes which also includes the center of the large flower plus (1) each the small flower insets shapes.

1.  First, gather the pattern page (included in the Splendor pattern) and following the directions on your adhesive fusible web, trace the larger and smaller flower inset shapes plus the center separately and apart from each other on the smooth side of the fusible web. Be sure to transfer all the numbers and markings from the Master Pattern Page.   Use a #2 pencil for tracing.

Make Shapes 1

Rough cut these shapes out at least 1/4″ beyond the drawn line.

Make Shapes 2

Again, I like to use the adhesive fusible web Heat ‘n Bond Lite.

Heat N Bond

2. Next select your flower fabrics, and fuse the shapes onto the wrong side of each fabric.

Make Shapes 3

Cut the shapes out neatly on the drawn line and be as exact as possible.  Use a sharp pair of scissors for this step.

Make Shapes 4

3. Continue on and cut out all the shapes.

4.  Once you have all (9) large (this includes the center) and (8) small inset shapes fused onto your fabrics and cut out, you are ready to appliqué.

Make Shapes 5

Just a note on the center of the large flower — Sometimes I like to “fussy cut” this center flower shape from a fabric that contains all the colors of my flowers so that it really pulls together the petals of the large center flower.  You could also choose a fabric that resembles the look of a flower center like a dark brown or black fabric that has little dots that might resemble the center of a sunflower.  Just a thought!

Center
Fuse (or Iron) Your Small Flower Petal Insets to Your Larger Flower petals and Stitch —

Whenever I have smaller shapes that are fused onto larger shapes (such as these small inset flowers onto the larger flower petals), I like to set those pieces up first and then appliqué stitch around just the smaller shapes BEFORE fusing that larger piece onto my background fabric.  That way I am only having to deal with the petal shape under my needle and not having to wrestle with the background fabric as well while appliqué stitching.  My appliqué stitching is much neater this way and of course, that makes me much happier!

  1.  So to begin – fuse the small flower insets onto their larger petal counterparts.  Be sure to leave the release paper on the wrong side of the larger petals shapes when fusing the small shapes onto them.
  2. Next get ready to appliqué stitch around the small flower insets.  Prepare  your machine up for appliqué stitching by changing your presser foot to an open toe foot and choosing some fabulous matching thread.   Set your machine to your desired appliqué stitch.  Again, I usually choose the Zig Zag stitch (#2) and set my Bernina to stitch width 2.5-3.0 and stitch length to just below 1.0 .
    Test, test test!  If needed refer to my previous Wonky Piecing QAL video for the how to’s on appliqué stitching right here at  Wonky Piecing and Easy Appliqué- Week #4 QuiltAlong here.
  3.  Appliqué stitch around each small flower inset shapes.   VERY IMPORTANT TIP AGAIN – Be sure to still leave the release paper on the wrong side of the larger petals shapes when you stitch around the small flower insets.  The release paper will act as a stabilizer for your stitching and once you are complete you will just peel it off.

Fuse (or Iron) the Large Flower Petals to the Center Background 9-Patch —
1. Referring to the Quilt Top Diagram on page 5, ‘eyeball’ and place the large petal shapes and the large flower center in place. If needed, I have found that that the petal edges at the top, bottom, right and left are about 5-5-1/2″ in from the outside edge of the background.  Peel off the release paper from the wrong side of each shape and fuse (or iron) the shapes onto the background 9-patch.

Fuse Large

2.  Place a piece of stitching stabilizer (like Sulky Totally Stable Iron On Tear Away Stabilizer) on the WRONG side of each of the Larger Flower Petal Shapes or over the entire background block.   The stabilizer will help to “stabilize” your stitching especially if you are using a zigzag, satin stitch or decorative titch around each of your shapes.

Stabilizer

Test, test, test before you begin. Once satisfied, applique stitch around each of the larger petals and the center on your large center flower.

Once stitching is complete, be sure to tear away the stabilizer from the backside and lightly press the 9-patch Large Center Flower Block.

That’s it for Week #3!!  Next week, our final week – Week #4: we’ll be stitching all of blocks together to complete our quilt top – 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

ModTV QAL: Week #4 – Personalize the Screen & Finish

Wowee!  We are almost complete with our ModTV’s!!  This is the final week of our quilt ModTV_CW110_FRONTalong and I do hope you all have been enjoying making these cute retro TV blocks!

This week – Week #4 – is all about personalizing the TV screen and finishing off your block into a pillow, wallhanging or make even more TV blocks for a fabulous lap quilt!  Here’s one of my customer’s ModTV quilt that she made for her husband.  She printed all of his favorite TV shows on photo fabrics, added a pocket for the remote control in one of the color bar blocks and voila! – he loved it!

Customer ModTV

Ok – so by now you should have made at least one ModTV block and it should be trimmed to 12-1/2″ x 12-1/2″.  If you need to catch up or need extra help, please refer back to the previous blog posts below.  You can also find a weekly companion tutorial video for each week on our Colourwerx YouTube channel !

READ WEEK 1 – GATHER YOUR PATTERN & MATERIALS

READ WEEK 2 – PIECE THE TV & LEGS

READ WEEK 3 – PIECE THE ANTENNA UNITS & COLOR BAR BLOCKS

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR COLOURWERX YOU TUBE CHANNEL

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So let’s get started and finish up those cute ModTV blocks!

Check out this week’s video!!  You can view the companion You Tube video for this week right here!

Personalize the TV Screen —
The very last piece to go on your TV block is the TV screen.  It is not pieced in but rather fused on with an adhesive fusible web (like Heat ‘n Bond Lite or Steam A Seam II Lite) and then appliqued stitched on. 

There are several different ways you can choose to personalize your TV screen and therefore make it truly a unique creation.  First know that whichever method you choose, you will need both a 5″ x7″ piece of the fabric (or photo fabric) and of the adhesive fusible web.

Iron

Once you decide what to do, iron the 5″ x 7″ piece of adhesive fusible web onto the WRONG side of the fabric (yes, even the photo fabric), and then trim the piece to 4″ x 6″.  You can even follow along in the pattern on page 5 and use a thread spool to round the corners of the TV  Screen. 

When you are ready, peel the release paper off the backside of the screen, and using a pressing cloth, iron (or fuse) the screen in the center of the TV unit. 

Iron 1

Iron 2

Zig Zag stitch around the edges of the screen to secure it to the block.  

IMG_1453

Here’s a few ideas for you to personalize your TV screens!

1. Use the same fabric as the background fabric or a similar fabric.  The easiest and sometimes the most graphic looking!  These blocks are totally fabulous and create the ultimate mid-mod statement!

ModTv Image 2

2. Use a fun stripe or zig zag fabric.  If you want to give the look of  static running across your TV screen , a fun stripe or colorful zigzag will do the trick!  I used this fun colorful wonky zig zag from the Kaffe Fassett Collective!

IMG_1003

3. Fussy Cut a Motif from a Licensed Fabric.  This is where I think most of us have a lot of fun – fussy cutting around a motif as if this scene is “playing” on the TV set!  And there are so many great fabrics to choose from these days:  Wizard of Oz!, Star Wars, I Love Lucy!, Star Trek, Cartoons, Cats, Dogs – you name it!

 

4. Use Photo Fabric for the Ultimate Personalization. I love this idea as it instantly creates a super fun memorial pillow.  There are many brands of photo fabric out there – but for me, I find these two brands EQ Printables or June Tailor Computer Printer Fabric to be the most reliable and both are available at your local quilt shop or Joann’s Fabrics.

 

ModTV Image 3

Here’s a block I made as a gift to Jenny Doan at the Missouri Star Quilt Company!

IMG_5384

Here are a few tips when working with photo fabric:

Resize your photo to a 5″ x 7″ – but make sure when you trim the photo to 4″ x 6″ that you have left ample head room to do so and you wont be cutting off someone’s head ! Also color correct it and “sharpen” it if needed with your photo app or photo program on your computer.

Before printing on the photo fabric, print the image on a paper – waste a lot of paper until you are sure you have the image correctly sized and framed within the final 4″x6″ margins!   Photo Fabric is very expensive and you usually only get 5 or so sheets in a packet.

When you are ready to print the image on photo fabric, do not print your image using the fine or photo settings on your inkjet printer.  This will lay down way too much ink on the photo fabric and your image will appear very dark and may even smudge as it comes through your printer. Just use the regular settings and the photo should print on the phot fabric just fine!

To heat set the image so the block can be washed,  follow the photo fabric manufacturer’s directions.  Each company is slightly different!  Full disclosure here – I don’t heat set my photo fabric as I don’t wash my blocks.  Many of the projects I make are samples or for display only. There are ways though to heat set so you may want to print a test photo and try it first before your final photo printing!

Complete Your TV Block into a Wallhanging or Pillow —

To Make Into a Wallhanging – Once the TV screen has been fused and stitched in place, just add some batting and a backing fabric square that is 12-1/2″ x 12-1/2″.  Then quilt the block as desired and bind to create a small wallhanging.

I like to use a straight stitch or even my serpentine stitch (#4 on the Bernina) to stitch lines about a 1/4″ apart.  It looks like radio waves or TV signals!

 

If you did not want to bind your ModTV block, you could frame it using a 12″ x 12″ record album frame from Michael’s Arts & Crafts!

To Make Into a Pillow – As above, once the TV screen has been fused and stitched in place, just add some batting and 2 backing fabric rectangles that measure 9-1/2″ x 12-1/2″.  Also purchase a 12″ x 12″ pillow form from your local shop.   Place the batting on the wrong side of the block and machine quilt the block using a decorative stitch as described above or just stitch around the TV shape to give the block some texture.

For the backing of the pillow – Turn and press only one 9-1/2″ outer edge (not the 12-1/2” edge though) of each backing piece 1/4” over twice to the wrong side to encase the raw edge. Topstitch down the edge to secure.

IMG_1462

Place the two backing fabric units RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER over the MODTV block and stitch around all sides. Turn the unit right side out and poke out the corners. Stuff with a 12” x 12” travel pillow form through the slit on the backside.

This now concludes our ModTV QuiltAlong – send me your pictures so we can see your cute and fun retro TV sets!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

ModTV QAL: Week #3 – Piece the Antenna & Color Bar Blocks

ModTV_CW110_FRONTWe are back again!   I hope you’re enjoying our series of free quilt alongs!  Again, if you are new here, I invite you to join or subscribe to either our Colourwerx QuiltAlong Facebook page or our Colourwerx YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on any of the fun! I always post a weekly companion video to each quilt along  blog post and other tutorials on You Tube!

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

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 11.23.01 AM

IMG_1007It’s Week #3 of our ModTV QuiltAlong! !  This week we’ll be ‘slashin’ and sewin’ the TV Antenna Units together, and if you are making the Lap Size Quilt, piecing the Color Bar Blocks together.

Let’s get started….

 

Stitch the Antenna Unit  —
Turn to page 4 in the ModTV pattern and gather all of the pieces needed to make your TV Antenna unit.   First, as stated at the top of page 4, be sure to cut in half diagonally the (2) larger squares to make (4) triangles, and cut in half diagonally one of the smaller squares to create (2) triangles.

Antenna 1
BIG HINT! I like to lay all of the pieces out on my cutting board like so.  As I stitch these Antenna 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.

Antenna 2

First fold the antenna strips  in half lengthwise to create a center crease. Return to position.

Starting with the right antenna, flip the B/G triangle on the right side over and angle it from the bottom right corner to the center top edge of the antenna unit like so (the center crease on the antenna unit will guide you). See Fig 10 on page 4 of the pattern.

Antenna 3

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

Return the right antenna unit back in position and flip the B/G triangle on the left side over and angle it from the bottom left corner to the center top edge of the antenna unit like so.  Make sure that top edges of the B/G triangles are overlapping each other by about 1″ at the top and that there is at least an 1″ overhang of the B/G triangles on the bottom edge (see Fig 11 on page 4).  Again, stitch down the edge of the angled B/G triangle and trim any excess fabric away to reduce the bulk  leaving at least a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the B/G triangle outward. Your antenna unit should somewhat resemble the below photo.

Next. rotate the unit 180 degrees, lay your ruler across the top slightly angling it and slash off the top edge of the Antenna unit .

Antenna 10a

Take the smaller triangle and place the long diagonal edge right sides together along the top edge of the Antenna unit and stitch it in place (see Fig 12-13 on page 4).

The antenna unit will now need to be trimmed and squared down.  Before trimming the unit, place your square ruler on the Antenna unit and double check that you are leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance near the bottom  tip  of the unit.  Trim the unit to a 4″ square (see Fig 14 in the pattern).  Be sure to return the unit back in position on your cutting board!

Antenna 9

Repeat the above to create a second Antenna unit.

Next referring to Fig 15 and adding the B/G Top Filler strip in place,  stitch the (5) pieces together to create the Antenna Unit Strip. Press the seams according to Fig 15 in the ModTV Pattern.

Antenna 10

Next gather your TV Set with Legs (created in Week #2) , place the Antenna Unit skewing it across the the top edge of the TV set at a wonky angle – you can tilt it from right to left or left to right.  Stitch the two units Right Sides Together across the top edge.   And if you are making several ModTV blocks, remind yourself from block to block to alternate the direction you skew the Antenna, so you create a delightful variety of different wonky ModTV blocks.

Square your ModTV block to 12-1/2″ square.  If for some reason, your ModTV block is not large enough to fit inside the 12-1/2″ square boundaries, simply stitch a thin strip of the background fabric onto the side (or sides) that need enlarging – no one will ever know that you added these strips to enlarge your block to the 12-1/2″ measurement and it will look fabulous when complete!

Antenna 13

Stitch the Color Bar Blocks  —
These fun little color blocks are only needed if you are planning on making the Lap Size Quilt or perhaps you might like to use them as end caps blocks if you are making a wallhanging or table runner.

You can make these from either cutting strips from the extra TV fabric or from scraps from your stash.

It’s simple straight forward patchwork piecing and alas – I am afraid that you will need to use you a 1/4″ seam, when piecing these together so the block comes out correctly.

Referring to the directions on page 6 of the pattern, arrange the pieces on your cutting table or near your sewing machine.

Color Bar 1

Yup – you got it! – stitch those pieces together with a 1/4″ seam following the directions on page 6.  Voila!

Color Bar 2

That’s it for Week #3!!  Next week – Week #4: we’ll talk about personalizing your TV screen with a photo or licensed fabric and finish off the project into a pillow, little wallhanging or the quilt!

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

ModTV QAL: Week #1 – Gather the Pattern and Materials plus Precut for One Block

Hello!  And welcome to the ‘first week’ of our fourth Colourwerx QAL (quilt along) where ModTV_CW110_FRONTwe’ll be making our super fun ModTV block (and or quilt)!

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 meet with other Colourwerx 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

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Look for a companion video to be posted in a few days!  If you’d like to receive alerts to when the videos are posted and other neat tutorials, then subscribe to our Colourwerx UTube channel right here!

You can watch our ModTV Intro Video by clicking here!

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

ModTV Slug

As you can see it’s a 4-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.  My quilt alongs are always  free to join and I’ll be making a 12″ TV block along with you over the next 4 weeks.  I’ll also show you other ModTV quilts I have made and ways you can personalize your ModTV block by changing out the TV screen shape to a licensed fabric or a fabric photo.  But first things first….

GATHER YOUR PATTERN & MATERIALS —ModTV_CW110_FRONT
Here’s what you’ll need to join in on the stitchin’ fun –
• The ModTV pattern by Colourwerx – and great news? – the ModTV pattern is now 20% off until May 31st!  Yippee!

PURCHASE THE MODTV PATTERN – PAPER VERSION
PURCHASE THE MODTV PATTERN – PDF VERSION

Fabrics —
•  To Make just (1) ModTV block –
— (2) Fat Quarters;
— 3″ x 6″ scrap for the TV Antenna;
— 5″ x 7″ Piece of Fusible Web to Fuse the TV screen in place (i.e.:  Heat n Bond Lite, Steam a Seam II Lite or Pellon Wonder Under;
**For each additional TV block you’d like to make just add a another pair of fat quarters and a fabric scrap for the TV Antenna.

IMG_1002

•  To Make the Larger 48″ x 54″ Quilt (16 TV’s plus (4) Color Bar Blocks) – refer to the cover of the pattern –
— (16) Coordinating Fabrics – 3/8 yard each fabric;
— Dark Grey (or Black) plus a White (for color bars) – 1/6 yard each;
— (Optional for the quiltalong) Binding – 1/2 yard and Backing 3-1/2 yards;
— 1-1/2 yards of Fusible Web to Iron the TV screen in place (i.e.:  Heat n Bond Lite, Steam a Seam II Lite or Pellon Wonder Under16 Fabrics

Also begin to think about whether you might like to personalize the TV screen with a piece of licensed fabric (like ‘I Love Lucy’ or ‘Star Wars’), or perhaps a fun zigzag print that looks like static, or a photo of a favorite person or family pet (photo should be sized to 4″ x 6″).
IMG_0998

If you do want to use a photo, be sure to purchase some photo fabric from your local quilt shop or at a Joann’s Fabrics or Walmart.  I prefer the brands EQ Printables or June Tailor Computer Printer Fabric.  Make sure you select the type for your printer at home:  InkJet or Laser.

 

Precut to be ready for Week #2 —
Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 4.26.21 PMFirst off, before cutting – I really, really, really  like to starch my fabric.  Mary Ellen’s Best Press is terrific stuff but it it’s too pricey to use on larger pieces…so when I need to starch several yards or a larger piece, 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.

Next,  precut your fabrics to make (1) TV block –
•  If just making a single TV block:  gather your (2) fat quarters, or;
•  If making the pattern cover Lap Size Quilt, select (2) fabrics – 3/8 yard each fabric.

Follow all of the cutting directions and dimensions in the ModTV  pattern on pages 1 & 2.  In the pattern there is also a handy insert page which details and diagrams how to cut your pieces from the 3/8 yard cut or the fat quarter to ensure that you get all of your pieces from the yardage.

Precut1
And with all of these pieces, it can really get confusing so here’s my BIG TIP for the week!  –  be sure to label each of your pieces to keep them organized.  Each ModTV block is made from three sub units:  the TV unit,  the legs unit  & the antenna unit.  All three units come together on the final step to create one 12″ finished ModTV block.  The TV screen is ironed on after the TV block is together.

If I’m making just one block, I might just use post it notes or scrap pieces of paper to label each of my pieces.

But, if I’m making several blocks, I open up my word processing program (like MS Word) and choose the address label template …I type in all of my unit names and then copy those descriptions (X) however many blocks I am making.

Labels

I then peel these labels off and apply them to each unit.  This little tip keeps you super organized and ready to to start piecing for next week!

That’s it for Week #1!!  Next week – Week #2: we’ll begin slashing and sewing our TV sets together – 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonky Piecing & Easy Applique QAL – Week 3 – Machine Quilt the Background

Wonky Week 3 SlugWelcome back!   It’s Week #3 of our Wonky Piecing & Easy Appliqué QuiltAlong !  This week we’ll be machine quilting the background fabric.

There are so many different ways you can machine quilt the background fabric and anything goes so don’t be afraid to use this little quilt along project to experiment:

•  you could practice your free motion quilting and simply stipple the background;
BG Quilt 1
•  you could practice ‘matchstick quilting’ – this is simply stitching straight lines about 1/4″ apart up and down over the background fabric; or,

BG Quilt 2
•  you could mark diagonal lines about 3″ apart, set your machine to a decorative stitch and stitch a crosshatch pattern.

BG Quilt 3

Really – anything goes, so have fun ….

But I’d like to share with you three of my favorite machine quilting patterns that look “artsy”, are pretty easy to do and imho, make a great quilted background for smaller quilts like these.  I’ll do my best to explain how to do these patterns here in 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 will be posted on our Colourwerx website and Colourwerx UTube channel in a few days.

Linda Week 3

These are the three patterns I use most often:
•  The Wonky Slanted Line pattern – you see this most often in my Mini ModDog pillows and quilts, and if you have the Mini ModDog pattern, you’ll find instructions on how to do this pattern on page 2;

Wonky Slanted

•  The Curvaceous Quilting Pattern – easy to do and very relaxing!

Curvaceous

•  The Wonky Chevron Pattern – this is fun and  is wonderfully forgiving.

Wonky Chevron

Create the Quilting Sandwich —
First you’ll need to gather your Background Fabric (a fat quarter or a piece about 18″ x 21″) , and a scrap piece of batting or fusible batting of the same size.  If you’ve already decided to make your animal into a wallhanging, then you should also gather a fat quarter size of fabric to use as your backing fabric too. (If you are making a pillow, you don’t need to add a backing fabric unless of course you think you might wash the pillow in the future).

Place the batting on the WRONG side of the Background Fabric and secure.  You can do this by safety pinning the two layers together or using a fusible adhesive spray like 505 Temporary Spray Adhesive.  If you are making a wallhanging, go ahead and fuse (or safety pin)  your backing fabric to the other side of the batting as well.    You now have your quilting sandwich ready for machine quilting.

FuseWonky Slanted

Let’s get started with the first quilting pattern –

#1 – The Wonky Slanted Line Pattern —
When I quilt this pattern, I like to use a chunky thread – like the Aurifil 12 weight – and a variety of different thread colors – usually I choose 5-6 different colors.  But this method also looks very nice with any variegated thread or even just a lovely solid thread.

Also just a tip – if you are using a a chunkier thread, make sure you change your sewing machine needle to a larger size.  I prefer to use the Schmetz 90/14 Quilting Needle.  This size accommodates a variety of different weight threads with no problems.

schmetz-quilting-needles-size-90-14-184-p
The first step is to draw a few wonky lines on your background fabric.  With a iron off marker (or water soluble pen), just drop your ruler at a slant and draw a line.  Slant the ruler in opposite direction and draw another line.  You can also use a Hera marker to make these lines as well.  Hera Markers are sold at all quilt shops and actually just crease your fabric with the rounded edge – so no fear of a marker staining the fabric or never coming off.

Start with about 3-4 lines and with your first thread color.  Set your machine to a straight stitch, leave the feed dogs up and put your walking foot on (or engage your even feed system).  Also set your stitch length to about 3.0 so the stitches are a bit longer.   Stitch directly across those drawn lines.

Wonky 1

Mark another 3-4 lines.  Switch threads if you’d like, and stitch on those lines.

Wonky 2

Continue adding wonky slanted lines and stitching until you have filled the background fabric.


Voila!  Done And it looks super especially behind your dog, cat or fish!Curvaceous

#2 – The Curvaceous Quilting Pattern —
I really love doing curvy quilting – it looks very artsy and I love the movement it provides to the background fabric.  I use this pattern alot when making the ModFish as it gives the feeling that the fish are swimming with the movement the curved lines create.

To start, again set your machine to a straight stitch, leave the feed dogs up and put your walking foot on (or engage your even feed system).  Also set your stitch length to about 3.0 so the stitches are a bit longer.  Start in the middle of the fat quarter and just stitch straight stitches from the top to the bottom, gently ‘ungulating’ from right to left creating a curved stitched line.  Think of driving down a country road – no sharp turns.

Curvy 1

Move over about 2-3″ and stitch another curvy line.  Again move over another 2-3″ and stitch another curvy line.  Keep filling the background with curved stitched lines about 2-3″ apart.
Curvy 2
To fill in the background, next begin to stitch in between the stitched lines with more curvy quilting.  How dense you make the curvy quilting is entirely up to you.  I find that it really depends upon my mood – some curvaceous quilting is quilted quite dense and some not so much…again, anything goes and stop when it looks good to you!

That’s it – doesn’t that look great!?!?Wonky Chevron

#3 – The Wonky Chevron Pattern —
This is a fun pattern, looks great with a variegated thread and one that I use alot on my little ModCat wallhangings .  Once again, set your machine to a straight stitch leave the feed dogs up and put your walking foot on (or engage your even feed system).

The first step is to draw a few chevron-like lines across the center portion of your background fabric.  With a iron off marker (or water soluable pen),  just drop your ruler slanting it right and left and draw wonky angles or chevrons. Don’t worry about making the chevrons too even or regimented – in fact the more uneven they are the better!
Chev 1

Stitch directly on the drawn line  (it’s ok if you are not directly on the drawn line – it’s more of a guide for you to start from…)  Now move down about an inch and “echo” the same chevron pattern but don’t try to be too perfect – in fact, adding little changes or additional little chevrons to “mix it up” as you stitch along makes it look more artsy.

Chev 2

Keep echoing and stitching  out from the middle drawn first chevron until you reach the edge.  Turn the background fabric around and start to do the same chevron echo stitching from the middle drawn line out to the other edge filling up the background fabric with wonky chevron lines.   Check that out!

What fun!  🙂  I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!  be sure to chedk out the companion video to this week’s blog coming out in a few days on the Colourwerx website and Colourwerx UTube channel .

That’s it for Week #3!!  Next week – our final week – Week #4: we’ll be machine applique stitching our animal shapes onto the background fabric and I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks with you!

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 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 #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