Saturday, March 31, 2012

Polka dot quilt for April (Unscrpited Quilt Bee)-Feel free to quilt along!

As I mentioned in a few of my earlier posts I’m part of an online Quilting Bee. Actually, I’m in two but this one, “Unscripted”, has been my first online Bee. It is an improv bee and for April I am the Queen Bee! For my quilt this month I’ve chosen polka dots for my design. The idea is that each person improvs with the coloured fabric I’ve sent them, then using interfacing makes appliqué circles and lastly sews them onto white blocks. Each person will end up making two full circles and two half circles (for the border).

If you know anything about me, you know I’m kinda lousy at following instructions! (It’s a gift, what can I say? Actually I’ve been slowing down and making quite an effort to rectify this little quirk, especially since I’ve seen one of my kids having this same tendency.) Pictures though,  I love pictures, I guess that would put me under the category of a visual learner. Because of this I decided to give it a whirl and leave instructions (with pictures!) for my Quilt Bee here. Feel free to quilt along! Promise you’ll send me pictures though... you know I love pictures ;)

Each member of the Bee will get a package in the mail that includes: 
  • A stack of coloured fabric
  • Two pieces of white fabric measuring 10” x 10”
  • Two Pieces of lightweight woven interfacing approximately 7”x 7”
  • One circle measuring 6” 1/4 printout
  • One piece of white fabric measuring 10” x 11” (for the border)
  • One piece of lightweight woven fusible interfacing approximately 8” x 7” (for the border)
  • One circle measuring 6” 1/4 x 7” (it has lines in the center of it) printout (for the border)
  • A long piece of white fabric with two blue lines on it
  • Embroidery floss
  • Instructions
  • And last but not least a little Easter treat!

First step, easy peasy: cut fabric and arrange.  No need to fussy cut anything; just keep all seams on a horizontal or vertical plane (please no curves or diagonals-thanks ;)

When you’ve sewn all the coloured fabric together, cut out two circle shapes. I have only one in the photo below (the one on the right) but you'll cut out two. (Please note you don't have to add a seam allowance just cut on the line; for both circle patterns)

Then with the second circle pattern (the one with the lines on it, on the left) cut that one out, too.


Next, place the woven interfacing, bumpy side (fusible side) toward the right side of the fabric. Sew together with a 1/4” seam.

Next, pierce the interfacing with your scissors and cut a hole (line) just enough to turn everything inside out.
(I made my cut way too big and if you cut yours too big, don't worry, it will still work). BUT WAIT!!

It's is a good idea to make your cut the hole in your interfacing  just large enough to turn the circle inside out. ( I made mine too large but it still all worked out okay!)

... before all three circles are ready to be turned inside out, nip around the circles with scissors. This of course will allow your circles to curve better once they are turned inside out.

Once you’ve turned everything inside out run along the circles edge with a bone folder or thingy used for poking out collars (what's that thing called anyways?) I like to finger press after I’m done this step.

Now it is time to center the circles on the fabric. I did this by finger pressing the white pieces of fabric in half twice. With the circles I did the same but when I found the center I poked a pin in it.  Then I opened everything up and poked the pin (that was already in the circle) through the white fabric where the creases met in the center.


The next step is to iron the circle in place. What I’ve found a little annoying with this method is that if you make your hole in the the interfacing to big it likes to squish out the sides. If that happens, I found if I start in one spot and poke the interfacing under (usually with a pin) and work around the circle doing it, usually did the trick!

Can you see the little bit underneath the circle trying to peak through? The little stinker!

If you cut a small hole in the interfacing instead of a big one (like the one I did ;)
you'll get less trying to peak out and less you'll have to fiddle with.
Next, select a matching top-stitching thread and sew around each circle. I used my handy dandy top-stitching foot (that I LOVE) for this. It works out to 1/8” from the circles edge. I pulled my threads to the back and voila!

Two of the circles are complete! Woo hoo! Thank you, thank you!

For the circle that’s not so round and on the 10” x 11” piece of white, we’re going to cut it in half. I folded mine in half then measured it but I’m sure you would be fine just to measure yours, if you’d like.  Just like that, one cut and you are done and done! Yessss, I can’t wait to see it! Thank YOU!

This Unscripted Bee online Bee is my first and one of my favourite features is the signature block. Most times it’s a 4” x 4” block that includes the quilter's name and is pieced into the back of the quilt. For this quilt (which I’m going to keep all to myself, hee-hee) I'll be sending along embroidery floss and a long strip of white fabric with blue lines on it. I would love for everyone to embroider the name of their blog or Flickr name followed by a dash and their first name. My plan to use all of these embroidered names for the design on the back of the quilt, sewing them horizontally and vertically. This has been a pretty amazing adventure and I want to remember each and every one of you! Again, thank you SOOO much!

Helpful hints for the embroidery: The strip of  fabric is narrow but if you baste some fabric from your scrap pile on either side it will fit in a hoop. Don't have a hoop, no problem, just use some stabilizer behind your fabric and that will help the fabric from flopping around and make it easier to work on.

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Olive Juice" Fraser Valley and Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Meet up Mug Rug Swap

Yup, you read it right, "Olive Juice"! If you mouth the words "Olive Juice" it looks like you're saying " I Love You"! Did you ever do that in elementary school to someone you had a crush on? Then did you run away giggling, with your friends in tow? I had totally forgotten about doing that until Cynthiaf mentioned a client using it on their website.

The Fraser Valley Modern Quilting Guild has a booth at the Creative Stitches show, today and tomorrow. Tomorrow we are having a meet up with some of the members from the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild and we are exchanging mug rugs. 

This was the first half of my inspiration for my mug rug, an illustration by Helen Darkin. I love the balloons and wanted to play with circles. Originally I was thinking flowers but when I started playing with colours it was looking more like an olive. Then the story from Cynthia popped into mind, so I went with it!

At first I was going to applique the circles but they were too small and became bulky to work with. I decided to bite the bullet and inserted the circles. In fact this was my first attempt at a set-in-circle. It was of course challenging, especially since I didn't want perfect circles but olive-y shaped ones. It wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. I'm hoping to do a bigger quilt inspired from this illustration (anyone from the Fab Bee, hint, hint) at some point, but not using set-in-circles, but applique instead.
On the back I hand embroidered my blog address so the recipient can look up what the heck "Olive Juice" means. I'm really looking forward to meeting up with our Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild homies and I'm so proud of our little guild. Our display came together nicely, it looks great and so many members came out to volunteer! I just want to tell each and everyone, Olive Juice!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Unscripted Quilting Bee - A Fish in The Water

I found this great quote the other day:

"For me, it's the imperfections that make music and people so interesting and so amazingly beautiful". In my case not music, but life.

I particularly loved this quote it because I'm always messing up. I try hard not to but it seems I'm always stepping in it, which, I have to admit makes for some pretty good stories. Well, more interesting stories than, I did it and it was great-the end.

Early in the Unscripted Bee I got my months all mixed up. Donna was supposed to be August but switched with Holly (Holly was originally July) but then I got Holly mixed up with Tara's September block... yada yada yada. Which wouldn't be that big of a deal except of the whole calendar drawing thing... but,  I decided to just go with it. I did finally get myself all untangled (a little embarrassed) but no worse for wear!

Block, signature block, drawing and note card

Holly's (A Fish in the Water) inspiration for her blocks were from Oh, Fransson  as seen here. It was an eye opening experience that felt like all my cob webs were being cleaned out of my closet. Something felt like it let go and I was free just to sit back and enjoy myself!

Signature block and drawing

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Unscripted Online Quilting Bee - Kindred Spirit

How was your February? Our family played strep throat tag all month. I narrowly escaped with the mildest case in the house.Finally everyone is healthy and I can get back to business as usual!

Way back in May of 2011 Cynthiaf posted on Facebook about an online quilt bee on Flickr.

Quilt bee! I've always wanted to be in a quilt bee! I quickly sent off a message and snaffled one of the last spots.

A note card, a signature block and  a drawing
This quilt bee group is hosted by two co-bloggers, Donna and Sara, of  Kindred Crafters. The official name of the quilt bee is "Unscripted" and focuses on improv piecing.

The packages for the first blocks were received back in July, which may lead you to the same question I'm asking myself... why haven't I blogged about it yet? Two words: Back Bloggged! But, I'm hear to set things straight!

Donna, from Kindred Crafters, was the Queen Bee of July (the person who sent off all the fabric to everyone else). It was so exciting to receive that first little package in the mail...but also a little intimidating sewing for someone else (at first anyways). However, I persevered!! Donna's inspiration was stacked book blocks and I have to admit it was the biggest block I had ever made, 24" tall, and while I'm confessing it was pretty fun working that big!

A signature block

I thought in addition to the blocks I'd like to do small 6x6 drawings each month. I checked with Donna and Sara if that was cool and they were great about it, and even suggested I do a calender! A brilliant idea don't cha think?