Squaring Up Wonky Blocks

Remember the wonky log cabin blocks I’ve shared with you the last couple of weeks.  Well I have all 35 blocks made now, and some of them are very wonky.  I auditioned several different colored backgrounds based on solids I had on hand already.  I decided I really liked the darker blue backgrounds.  The blue I chose ended up being the one I had the most yardage of.  I really liked the other one better, and I might have had enough, but it was just too close to be sure and I didn’t want to get 90% done and then run out.

Turning them into a square, rather than a wonky, 13 1/2″ block has proven to be challenging.  Not because it’s hard, because it’s not.  I could just cut a strip the width I need (3″ wide should be largest enough for most sides), sew around all 4 sides, and then trim to be square discarding the parts that I trimmed off.  That would be easy, but it would create a lot of waste and a lot of new scraps. In the example below, the piece I cut off is approximately 1 3/4″ on one end, and 0″ on the opposite end.  Which basically means I can’t use this scrap  on another block and it will have to go in the scrap bucket.  Oh the horror!

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Remember the whole point of this was to use my scraps, not create more.  So I have been challenged in how to square up each block with as little waste as possible.  I started out trying to use a spreadsheet and that didn’t work.  Eventually I moved on to a post it note that I could pin to each block.  Still took me a bit to figure out how to measure what each block needed.  Don’t worry about trying to figure out this mess.  I’ll give it to you in a nutshell below.

 

What I have come up with is to pair up the squares, and then to cut the strips wide enough so that what is cut off of one block is close to the right size to fit on a different block.

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pair blocks with similar but opposite wonkiness (is that even a word??)

I put the block on the left under the ruler centering it as best I could between the 13-1/2″ finished square size that I wanted.  I’m working with just the right edge of that block right now.  It measures 2-1/2″ from the top edge and 1″ from the bottom edge. (see below)  Add 1/2″ to both of those numbers for the seam allowances for each fabric, and that means I need a piece 3″ wide on the top and 1-1/2″ wide on the bottom to finish the right edge of this block.  The left edge of the other block I measured the same way, and for it I needed 1-1/2″ on the top and 2-3/4″ on the bottom (no picture).   So I took either the top or bottom measurements, which ever were the largest in total and then added 1/4″ for safety.  In this case, the top measurements were the largest so 3″ left block + 1-1/2″ right block + 1/4″ for safety means I need to cut the strip 4-3/4″ wide.

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Here is my 4-3/4″ wide strip between the blocks.

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Cut a wide strip

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Sew to one size. Cut off amount not needed

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Sew to opposite block

I might trim 1/8″ off each of these in the end (remember we added 1/4″ for safety).  Also, this method is taking about 10 times longer than it would otherwise, but at least I won’t have much wasted fabric when I’m done.  So, in that manner, I’m meeting my goal.

Also, since I cut a strip 4-3/4″ by WOF (width of fabric), I still have about 34″ left of that strip after the two blocks above.  So I matched up more blocks that needed that same width (or close to it) and did the same thing with those blocks using up that entire strip I just cut.  Do this same thing for all 4 sides of each block.  I made 35 blocks, so in this case that’s 140 sides!

Let me know if you would like to try this or if you have questions on how this is done.  I can write up more detailed instructions.

Now to work on squaring up more of these blocks.  I’m ready to get this thing put together.

If you want to read about how (and why!) I started this scrappy log cabin adventure click here, and I share some helpful tips and tricks here on working with wonky blocks.

 

 

From Design to Reality

I am part of Facebook group called Quilt Design a Day.  The goal is to design one quilt each day based on the prompt for that day.  I haven’t yet found the time to participate on a daily basis, but I do participate here and there.  One of the prompts last year was the following picture.  We were to design a quilt and then make the quilt for possible acceptance into a special exhibit at QuiltCon in Savannah next month

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Photo credit: Michelle Wilke                         @ Factotum of Arts

I started playing around with the different lines.  I design in EQ7 and love how flexible the program is.  I can design multiple variations of the same quilt and save the block and the quilt to go back and look at later.  Originally I decided to play with the black and white angles, and maybe a little bit of the windows.  Here are 3 quilt possibilities that I started with.

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Then I decided that I wanted to play with the windows a bit more and came up with this.

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But that felt too heavy to me.  The windows were just too block-y.  What if I turned them on-point?  I turned them, played around with them a bit, and came up with this.

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I like it, but it’s still not quite right.  What if I elongate it?

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YES!!!  I LOVE IT!

Then I had to make it…  Of course, it took longer than I thought it would.  Of course, it was a headache in many ways.  The angles were quilt difficult to line up.  I made a smaller version than I really wanted because I started it just 2 weeks before it was due and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make a large quilt in that time period given that I also work full-time.

And… I didn’t finish it!  If I had had one more day, I could have finished.  But I didn’t.  Oh well.  At least I finished and it didn’t join the long-term UFO pile.  And any finish is reason to celebrate.

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I wanted to do some special quilting on it.  Sometimes I like a bit of design in the quilting rather than just a straight line or an all-over meander.  This is probably the reason I didn’t finish the quilt by the deadline, but I love the way it looks.

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Here is the back.

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Measures: 34″ x 47″

Fabrics: Kona Cotton Mediterranean, Kona Cotton Prussian, Kona Cotton Carrot, Kona Cotton Snow, and Kona Cotton Shale.

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and  Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Vintage Rainbow Mosaic

Vintage [vin-tij] adj. 1. Representing the high quality of a past time.  2. Being the best of its kind

What’s that saying about styles of the past coming back?  From my amateur point-of-view, it seems that fashion, home decor, and hair styles run in cycles repeating every couple of decades.  They get revamped and revived, and suddenly old school with a twist becomes chic and stylish ‘new’ school.  Quilting fabric hasn’t been immune, although it’s probably been a somewhat slower process.  We have reproductions for the Victorian, civil war, and depression eras and just about everything in between.  More often than not, these reproduction fabric look very much in color and style like the fabrics of old.  However, sometimes they can look more modern due to the use of modern geometric prints.  Also advances in technology have given us whiter whites and brighter colors which can make a reproduction fabric seem more chic.

Rachel at Stitched in Color is having a mosaic contest where we are to pick our favorite ‘vintage’ rainbow fabrics.  A collaboration of color slightly aged, faded, or dusty.  Maybe even colors that clash.   Think shades of green from 1930s kitchens, Williamsburg blue from the 80s, or the one thing we all hope never comes back in style, avacado green appliances from the 70s.

I made 2 color pallets that most resemble the 30s and the 50s decades.  Intuitively, I really like softer tones with a pop of color, and a dark color or two with a cool base to balance it out.  I love the two pallets that I came up with.  I tried to capture the essence of the vintage rainbow while keeping the prints modern for more trendy charm.

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pallet 1

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pallet 2

As I was building them, I thought they were quite different.  I started out with 6 colors for pallet 1 and 8 colors for pallet 2.  So the differences were more noticeable.  But then I reread the instructions and realized I was supposed to have 9 colors for each.  So, I went back and filled in more colors for each, and now that I see them side-by-side, they are more similar than I thought.  Pallet 2 is a bit softer than pallet 1, but they both have a good balance of light, medium, and dark values.

I really love how the colors are playing together.  I have been loving gold and aqua together and have used it recently in a quilt that I will share soon.  Also, coral has been one of my favorite colors for year.  I love how it plays well with grays and citron.

I had a lot of fun with this challenge, and decided to play around with quilt design on my EQ7 at the same time.  I decided to work with triangles and this is what I came up with for each color pallet.

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pallet 1

Vintage Rainbow quilt

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What do you think?  What colors would you have chosen for this challenge?  Visit Stitch in Color to view the other entries and vote for your favorite.  Maybe you’ll find a collection of color you love and decide to use in your next quilt.

Waterfalls and new WIPs

North Carolina is home to approximately 200 beautiful natural waterfalls.  Two of the little monkeys are visiting this week, so yesterday we hiked to one of them.  In fact, the waterfall we hiked to, Mooney Falls, isn’t even on the website I linked to above, so there could be many more that are not even listed.

We started our hike to Big Laurel Falls in Nantahala National Forest.  The path through the woods ran along a river and was just beautiful.  We saw many kinds of mushrooms, moss, fern, and a huge tree that was growing somewhat sideways.  But the path was terribly muddy due to the daily rain the area has been having.  So we turned around before ever reaching the falls.Collages18 Collages19

We climbed back in the car and drove less than a mile up the mountain to the trail head for Mooney Falls.  This trail was shorter, less muddy, and easier walking.  We found this waterfall in short order.  Not very tall, but still beautiful.  And the cool air coming off the water was a nice relief to the humid day.

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I hope to visit more waterfalls in the area before winter sets in.

On to quilting… I am working on the WIPs I brought with me (I really am, I promise), but I’ve started more new ones than I finished.  Oh why do I do this to myself?  I have too many ideas running around in my head that need to get out, or someone presents me with a challenge and I have to jump on it.

I started a challenge related to hexies for the brand new Smokey Mountain MQG.

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I bought fabric for a challenge sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics for Bonnie Christine’s new line, Cultivate.  I have just 2 weeks to complete this one, so I really need to jump on it.

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And I’m working on designing new quilts.

A rainbow quilt…

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And this design started off simple…

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and ended up much more complicated.

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This is the same design, just laid out differently.

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They are all still in progress.  Just churning ideas around in my head and seeing what they look like in EQ7.  I could give you about 30 more examples, but I don’t want to overload you. So, what do you think?  Do you love them, hate them?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Cirrus Solids BOM Challenge Winner

I keep forgetting to share this news with you, so it’s a bit old.  First I had to wait for it to be announced by Cloud9; and then when it finally was announced, I didn’t have time to write a blog post because we were so busy trying to finish our house, pack, and move.  But. here it is… I am the May WINNER for the Cloud9 Fabrics Cirrus Solids BOM Challenge.   YIPPEE!!!!

If you haven’t heard, Cloud9 Fabrics is coming out with a new line of yarn-dyed solids in September.  In anticipation of the release, Cloud9 is hosting a BOM challenge in which they are asking quilters to design and submit blocks (including instructions) using 4-6 of the new solids.  I started designing a block last October and had it about 85% finished, but with work and other things I wasn’t able to get it finished and submitted.  And then… the January winner was announced and the block I had designed was so very similar.  Oh no!  I just couldn’t believe it!

So in February I started over from scratch.  More ideas…. more drawings… more blocks designed in EQ7.  Playing around with layouts of the blocks, and trying to figure out which one idea I would settle on and submit.  I finally made a decision and had the instructions written and submitted by the end of February.  And 4 short weeks later, I received an email stating my block below, which I call “Stuck in the Middle”, was selected for the May BOM.  🙂

stuck in the middle

Several weeks later I received my winnings — a fat quarter pack of all the solids — and I have the say the fabric is amazing!  They are soft, have a nice drape, and the colors are bold and saturated.  I am looking forward to sewing with them… once I figure out what I’m going to make.

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You can find the directions and layout for my winning block here, and all winning BOMs can be found here.

Some alternate layouts are below:

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Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Half Square Triangles

I started cutting and sewing half-square triangles (HST) for the quilt I decided to do for my parents.  I wanted the quilt to have a scrappy look with 10 or so different fabrics in each of the two colors.  But golly, this is a lot of cutting and trimming.

Putting the HSTs together really isn’t that bad.  I’m cutting my fabric so that I can sew and then cut 50 HSTs at one time.  Ironing and trimming to size comes next.  I realize that trimming them to size is probably the most important part, but it is taking forever.  This is what 400+ HST units look like.

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Only 800 more to go…

The embroidery design I’ve been working on for the baby blanket is now looking like this.

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And just because she couldn’t let me have the camera out without taking a picture of her..

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So what are you working on?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday linky

WIP Wednesday

My first WIP Wednesday… normally, I post projects once they are completed, but it seems as if I’m not completing much these days.  Well, that’s not really true – we made it through my daughter’s wedding and that was a huge project.  But quilting projects are stalled at the moment.  I am working on designing, but the sewing is stalled due to waiting for coordinating fabric to arrive or waiting for the inspiration to strike.  And rather than show all the WIP’s I have because that would be too overwhelming for the both of us, these are the ones I hope to have completed in the next 4-6 weeks.  That’s a good goal, right?

First, I decided to make my parents a quilt for Christmas/50th anniversary (which was in June).  I know, it’s a little late to be planning this – I just haven’t had much time before now.  So I’m looking at doing a pastel blue/pink and am working on an original quilt design.  I pretty much have the center of the quilt figured out — lots of half square triangles which means lots of cutting and lots of sewing.  While I wait for the rest of the fabric to arrive (had to mail order it since the local quilt shop didn’t have any in stock), I am working on whether I want small borders or large borders, or borders with designs.. hmmm…

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WIP

Then I am doing the Riley Blake challenge through the Modern Quilt Guild.  Here are the fabrics — we were given 6- fat 8ths.  The challenge is that you can only use other Riley Blake prints or other solids to create something quilted.  I’m thinking a baby boy quilt with large blocks and a modern arrangement.  Something easy and quick to put together.

IMG_3348Next up – a quilt I started in June (?).  The challenge was to create a quilt using just one color and one print we drew out of a bag.  My color was purple and my print isn’t pictured here so you’ll just have to be surprised.  So I stocked up on purple solids, designed a quilt and started sewing.  I hope it turns out like it did in my head!  It’s been a WIP for so long now I really need to get it finished before it makes it’s way into the pile of WIPs that are a year or more old (yes, I have some of those too).  Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to them…

IMG_3350Last but not least, and likely the one I will actually finish first… a friend has asked me to make 2 baby blankets for a niece that is soon due.  She wants an embroidered elephant with a bird on its back.  So I’ve been working on digitizing the design in my “super expensive that I will probably never get’s my money’s worth out of” software.  Every time I try to do something in this digitizing software I feel like I’m having to learn it all over again.  One day I’ll gain a comfort level with it — I’ve only had it 1-1/2 years! Haha…  But the more I use it, the easier it will be (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).  Right?

bird on elephant

So, that’s it.  These really are my quilting goals for the next 4-6 weeks.  I’ll probably rearrange, and likely add more to it, but here it is for this moment in time.

What are you working on?  Do you tend to have more than one project in progress like I do?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday linky