ColourMaze QAL – Week #3 – Piecing the Block

Hey, hey!  Welcome to Week #3 of the ColourMaze QAL!  This week is all about piecing the beautiful ColourMaze block!

Test Block
If you’d like to view our companion video to Week #3, you can view it on our Colourwerx You Tube channel and also subscribe so you won’t miss future broadcasts!

Linda Week 3
Let’ s get stitchin’!!    Before I start any new sewing project that requires some pretty precise piecing as this ColourMaze Block I like to ‘set my machine up for sewing 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 (as evidenced by the photo to the right – this is the Wrong side of one of those 1″ strips after it is sewn in to the block –  the seams almost touch!  Not alot of room to spare!)  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!

TTest Blockhis is a TEST! 

Now you’re ready to start stitchin’ up the gorgeous ColourMaze block!  I like to always stitch up a test block. Test blocks are great ways to work out all the kinks. I find whenever I skip this step – I always wish somewhere along the way that I had chosen to make a test block to avoid headaches in the future.

All of the directions to make the ColourMaze block are on pages 2 & 3 of the pattern.  There you’ll find step-by-step detailed directions, full color diagrams and pressing directions to assist you. Here are some notes  that I hope you find helpful while making your ColourMaze test block and future blocks:

1. Measure and Trim After Each SubUnit is Created:  I’m what you might call a cautious quilter – I like to check the accuracy of my seam allowance and stitching at almost every step in the block construction.   The ColourMaze Block is created by piecing together 3 sub units (top, middle and bottom) and these 3 sub units come together to create the block.  I like to measure and trim after each subunit is completed.  The pattern itself tells you what each subunit should measure after stitching is complete. For me, its a good way to check and make sure that my stitching and pressing is consistent and the block itself is being assembled accurately.  That way I can correct and mistakes while the block is being constructed and I am assured the my block will be fairly close to the finished size according to the pattern.

TRimSubUnit
2. Those Thin 1″ Strips & Tips– Again those thin little strips can be quite squirrely.  At first, you might find it difficult to stitch an accurate scant 1/4″ seam down the edge as the  little strip wants to  slip and slide along the edge of the larger fabric strip.  If so, here are a few tips:

a.  Get a Grip!   Pinning may help but pins also take up space and throw off the seam allowance.  I find that by pressing down on the strip with a pretty firm grip of your finger or even a stiletto is good at preventing the strip from slipping and thus causing your seam allowance to waiver.  I do this when starting to stitch down the 1″ strips and especially near the end of the strip to avoid my seam allowance from waivering as the end of the strip approaches the needle.

b. Draw In Your Scant 1/4″ Seam!  If you’re having a lot of difficulty keeping true to that 1/4″ seam, why not just draw your 1/4″ seam down the edge of the 1″ strip?  Remember it should be a scant 1/4″ or a hair less than a full 1/4″.  Carl does this often and his piecing is really accurate.  With a Frixion Iron Off pen or a washable marker, just lightly draw the 1/4″ seam down each edge of the 1″ strip and then sew directly on the line. Works like magic!

c.  Be Just a Tad More Scant!  When stitching down the edge of the 1″ strips,  I find that if I am just a ‘tad’ more scant (like just a hair less again) with my already scant 1/4″ seam, that the seam allowance works out perfectly and that my strip is stitched on straighter.

Seam

d.  Set the Seam!  Alot of us learned this tip in our Beginning Sewing classes and then promptly forget this useful tip  – I know I did !  But it does really help (and regardless of what you’re sewing)! Setting the seam’ simply means that after you stitch the seam, you press the seam in its closed position (just how you stitched it) – this will squish all the threads down into the seam allowance, and smooth and flatten the seam.  Next you press as you would normally- i.e.: open the seam or finger press the seam to one side or as the pattern directions say.  Then press the seam with the iron.  By adding this one little step of setting the seam in its closed position I can definitely see that my seams and stitching in general are more accurate and also that the block finishes flatter and nicer all around!

e.  Use a Little Steam and Mary Ellen’s Best Press – Yup, in addition to ‘setting the seam’, I also find with a little steam and a squirt of  Mary Ellen’s Best Press that these 1″ strips lay over nicely and behave!

f. Trim after Stitching the 1″ Strip to the Larger Strip:  Again, cautious quilter alert!  After I stitch the 1″ strips onto the larger strips, I like to check and of course, trim them to what their exact measurement should be before proceeding to the next step.  This little trim takes care of all my inaccurate, wobbly stitching when sewing the 1″ strip on in the first place.   So once these little strips are stitched on and pressed, I know that they should measure 3/4″ wide.  So I place the 3/4″ line of my ruler along the seam and trim off excess fabric off the top and side – alot of time I’m trimming off just slivers of fabric but I find this results in a more accurate final block.

TrimStrip

Make More ColourMaze Blocks:  Once my test block is complete and I’ve worked out all the kinks, I’m ready to construct more ColourMaze blocks.  I like to chain piece all the units first and ready them into the three subunits that make the block – top, middle and bottom – this makes the final block construction go oh so much faster!

So go forth and create ColourMaze blocks.  Mine are shown below. I making two ColourMaze quilts at the same time.  The first with Violet Craft Modern Classics and the second with the new Kaffe Fassett Rainbow Stash.

Both of these fabric kits are available in our Colourwerx shop!

Violet BlocksKaffe Blocks

That’s it for Week #3!  Happy quilting everyone! And by all means if you need any help or assistance, please email us at colourwerx@yahoo.com.

Next week – Week #4 – is our final week in the ColourMaze Quilt Along and we’ll discuss layout options and the steps to piece together the rows to complete the ColourMaze Quilt top!  be sure to check out the companion tutorial video to Week #3 on our Colourwerx You Tube channel and subscribe! WooHoo!

See ya next week everyone and thank you!  Until your next colour fix~  L&C xxoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

JOIN THE COLOURWERX QAL FACEBOOK GROUP HERE

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

Linda Video Wk 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Clean Edge

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

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

Next up…..IMG_7051

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

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

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

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

Duplicate Strip

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

Strip Cut 1

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

Strip Cut 2

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

Strip Cut 3

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

I demonstrate this in the companion QAL video here.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Abstract Garden Blog Hop & Giveaway!

AbstractGarden_bloghopWINNER  WINNER! 

Congratulations to Allison!!  Molly (our Beagle) selected Comment #72 – Allison in Alabama –  with the Random # Generator  as the Winner of our Colourwerx/Abstract Garden giveaway!  Hurray, and congratulations to Allison.  And thank you to everyone who played along!

Hey y’all !  Today is our day on the Abstract Garden Blog Hop and we couldn’t be more thrilled that Benartex Fabrics and designer, Christa Watson asked us to join in on the fun! To find out more about the Abstract Garden Blog Hop and Christa’s inspiration behind this fab fabric collection, check out Benartex’s Sew in Love (with Fabric) blog and Christa’s blog here!

AG BundlePattern GiveawayWe’re one of the last stops on the hop so first let me say – there are giveaways!!! Yippee!  Christa and the nice folks at Benartex are giving away an Abstract Garden Fat Quarter Bundle and we here at Colourwerx are also throwing in a pattern pack of the three patterns we used when making the projects you see here: ModCat, Mini ModDog & Disco.

Here’s how the giveaway works: Just leave a comment below and we’ll select a winner Saturday morning.  It’s that easy!   Back to the hop….

Abstract Garden is the new signature collection of designer extraordinaire and Colourwerx good friend, Christa Watson of Christa Quilts.    The collection is super modern, fab, fun and bright – just my cup of tea!  Last year, when Christa mentioned that her Abstract Garden Fabric Collection was coming out soon, I jumped at the chance to make her a few projects to display in her booth at the Fall Quilt Market. Here’s a picture of the finished projects…

Christa_Projects

Christa is also always so generous with her fabric!  Here’s the assortment of fabulous fabrics Christa sent out to me.  Check out the #colouricious tones and those fabulous mid-mod designs (can I get a ooooo and an ahhhhhh please!), ….not only did Christa send me  fat quarters of the entire collection of Abstract Garden, but she also included some fabrics from her first 2 collections, Modern Marks and Fandangle – and yes, I do have big plans for these other fabrics soon! 🙂

AG Fabric

Now – what projects to make for Christa??  Well that was easy – what could be better than a ModCat and Mini ModDog out of Christa’s super modern fabrics!!

I made the ModCat trio first – this is the wallhanging version of our popular ModCat pattern.  First I needed to divide the fabrics she sent me into three colorways – I decided to make a yellow/orange, blue/aqua, and purple/pink cat.  After wonky strip piecing the fabrics together, I cut out the cat shapes and then appliqued stitched around the cat eyes before fusing everything to the background fabric.   Hint – hint!: By stitching around the cat eyes first, I have more control over my stitching and it’s easier to control the zigzag around the smaller shapes.

I had a lot of scraps left over so next I made (2) Mini ModDog pillows for her booth – these are always so much fun and work up quickly – I made Christa a girl and a boy dog pillow!!.  Again first I machine quilted the background, then wonky strip pieced the the fabrics together, cut out the shapes and appliqued stitched the pups to their fabrics.  These came out super cute if I do say so myself!

Finally, I worked up for Christa my Disco pattern in her new collection. I placed this version of Disco on the back of my pattern cover!    I just love it!

Disco_Abstract Garden copy

Also on today’s blog hop are Tara and Stephanie – check out their links below and hop on over to their blogs!   And be sure to check out Benartex’s blog tomorrow where they’ll present a virtual trunk show of Christa’s Abstract Garden quilts.  Here’s the full list of my fellow bloggers and the quick links to their blogs ….Abstract Garden Fabrics

Monday 
Benartex Blog – Intro & inspiration about my designs

Tuesday
Sherry Shish from Powered by Quilting
Lee Monroe from May Chappell

Wednesday
Annie Unrein from Patterns by Annie
Pam and Lynn from The Stitch TV Show

Thursday

Friday

Finally – go ahead and leave a comment below to enter our giveaway!  Molly the Beagle – office manager in charge – will randomly select a winner on Saturday morning! 

And be sure to ask your local quilt shops if they have Abstract Garden.  If not, check out Christa’s online shop to order some of these great fabrics for your stash!

Happy quilting and until your next colour fix~Linda & Carl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Your Colour Game on with Prismatic!

PrismaticI’m catching up on new pattern blog posts – so let’s talk about one of our newest patterns – Prismatic!.  Boldly go where no colour has gone before!  – It’s  a terrific pattern for batiks, prints or solids! And good news, it may look complicated, but it’s not.

Prismatic! is a fun, easy to piece quilt.   All the blocks Prismatic Front Cover copyare pieced exactly in the same fashion..the only difference is how the fabrics are combined and in what order they appear in each block.  Luckily, we gave you a handy reference chart in the pattern, and if you follow that and a few additional tips below – you’ll be on your way to creating this gorgeous quilt.  Click here to purchase the pattern in either a paper pattern or PDF download pattern.

This new pattern from Colourwerx was designed by Carl on a whim….he was playing around in EQ7 designing quilt block patterns while watching TV one night and happened to switch the channel over to CBS…the logo appeared….this was the result —- see the similarity? Kinda like a cat’s eye, right….    Sometimes it takes just a little inspiration to light a creative fire; and yes, that old saying that ‘inspiration is everywhere’ is absolutely true.

Since the quilt is entirely pieced (and not foundation or paper pieced as many think), a good 1/4″ seam is imperative,  so you’ll need to whip out that 1/4″ patchwork presser foot for your sewing machine.  Mine is the #97 for my Bernina 750QE – it comes with this handy metal guide that keeps my 1/4″ seams perfect and I love it!

Bernina97

Fabric selection for Prismatic! is super easy too – you just need twelve coordinating fabrics plus three neutrals for the backgrounds.  The pattern includes two sizes: a Large Prismatic New Back CoverLap with a 6″ finished block – and measures 72″ x 84″ – which uses just twelve half yards; and a Small Lap Size with a 4″ finished block  – and measures 48″ x 56″ – which uses just twelve fat quarters. Refer to the Material List at your right  for further information on yardage requirements.

So if you’ve been lusting after half yard bundles or fat quarter bundles this may be the perfect pattern!  I selected to use one of our personally curated bundles of gorgeous batik fabrics from Island Batiks.  This is now available for purchase in Fat Quarter or Half Yard bundles in our Colourwerx shop – click here for more information.

It of course follows colour wheel order (….and I always love a good colour wheel order quilt…), but the depth of saturation and gorgeous texture of the Island Batik Basics really callModTiki out to me.  This colour palette may also look familiar to you as I chose this exact same bundle to use for the Big Kahuna version of my ModTiki quilt – this pattern is also available on on our Colourwerx website here.  For the background fabrics, I used my favorite Island Batik neutrals in the colors of Smoke (dark gray), Tin (light gray) and White. Once your fabrics are selected, creating a fabric color key is paramount – just snip a 1″ square from each fabric, staple the fabric squares to a piece of paper and label them accordingly.  This key will aid you continually in keeping your fabrics coordinated and in the order needed to make the pattern work.

Cutting your fabrics is also pretty easy too – using the pattern templates provided and following the cutting chart provided in the pattern,  each fabric has exactly the same quantity of shapes cut – it’s just a matter of cutting the correct template shape from each fabric.   Once the fabrics are cut, the most challenging part is to separate and combine the the fabric shapes into the different block combinations, following the color coded block combination chart provided in the pattern.    There are thirty three different block combinations, so getting the right shape in right color in the correct combination is important – check and double check!.

Once my block combos were separated, I placed each of them into ziplock bag and labelled how many blocks I needed to make for that combo –  all I needed to do was select a bag and sew the units together in that bag.    Eazy peazy, right?

Once all thirty three combinations were completed, I laid out the blocks on my design  board and began to sew the blocks together. I then quilted it on my APQS Lucey longarm with an all over pantograph pattern.  Voila!!

This pattern is so versatile and as mentioned above, choosing twelve coordinating fabrics will always create beautiful results…Here are a few other versions of Prismatic!

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Prismatic! is a super fun quilt  – so dive in and step up your colour game!    Thanks for your support and happy holidays!  Until your next colour fix~Linda & Carl

 

 

 

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LongArm Quilting Workbook by Teresa Silva

LQW Book Cover

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

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

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

LongArm Quilting Workbook Spiral

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

Book Inside-LongArm Quilting Workbook

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

Book Inside - LongArm Quilting Workbook

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

Sweet Tooth-Longarm Quilting Workbook

Image Courtesy of F&W Media

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

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

ModTV3

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

Close up Cosmos

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

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

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

Dazzle Full Size

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

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

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

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

Until your next colour fix~Linda & Carl

A Brite Idea – Pin for Accurate Placement of Foundation Piecing

Brite-Idea-LogoJust a quick tip for lovers of foundation piecing or paper piecing!

Sometimes I find it very hard to know exactly at which angle to place the next piece of fabric when paper piecing (or foundation piecing).  It’s completely understandable though – you’re placing fabric on the back side of the paper but sewing on the front side so when you flip the paper over to the sewing lines (especially if they are extreme angles) things tend to go awry – is the line pointing up or down?  To the right or left? Ugh!  And because of that – I’ve ruined my fair share of blocks or endured countless hours of seam ripping over and over and over again.

Until I started to pin…Now I place 2 pins like so (pics below) on the sewing line – that way when I flip the foundation paper to the other side to place my fabric, the pins are there to guide me as to the perfect angle so no more misplaced pieces or wasting lots of fabric  – voila!

Works every time!  Give it a try!! 🙂  Until your next colour fix!  Linda & Carl

Slash ‘n Sew – Say what?!??

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

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

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

Happy Hauntings copy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BW PIllowColour4Patch

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

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

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