April 22, 2015

April's MCM Bee Block

I finished my April Mid Century Modern Bee block for Stephanie of Peas in a Pod. You can also see her latest work on Instagram  @stephiepeterson. Stephanie is a new member to the bee and chose this lovely paper pieced block. I think her quilt will be fabulous when all the blocks come together. Can't wait to see what she does with them.    : )



I must admit I was a little skeptical of this paper pieced block since I usually find paper piecing a challenge. It looked complicated. There are 113 little pieces in this one 12" block. Thankfully the paper piecing went quite smoothly. Seriously. I almost always make two basic mistakes paper peicing. One mistake is just not using a big enough piece of fabric so it doesn't cover the area once it's sewn and flipped. This design was quite easy in that respect since it used triangles that I could precut. No mistakes there. The second thing I always do at least once is trim off the piece I just sewed on when I trim the seam. Ugggg. Such a stupid mistake. Didn't do that once this time. Not once. WaHoo!!!  The only trouble I did have was the fabric getting turned back on itself under the paper and stitching it down. (see below)  oops . . .  Please tell me you make the same mistakes.



All in all, this was great paper pieced block. I appreciated being able to precut the pieces and then chain sew all the like sections at the same time. This really helped speed things up. One more paper pieced block conquered. Yeah!!!

Her color palette included deep purples, bright pinks, turquoise, funky chartreuse to gold, darker blues and dark grays with a text print background. I chose to focus on the turquoise/chartreuse/gold/deep blue colors and fell in love with the color scheme. I think I see a quilt with these colors in my future. I have been collecting aquas and chartreuse for awhile but the addition of the dark blue is what really makes it for me. Now I have an excuse to buy more fabric right? Blue blues really are lacking in my stash. Really.

You can see the other blocks as they are posted to our Mid Century Modern Bee blog and on Instagram #mcmbee.  You can also finally find me on Instagram. Took me long enough. @springleafstudios

LInking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
While you're here, take a look at my last post to see some great layout ideas for the
Drunkard's Path QAL.

SpringLeaf Studios

April 20, 2015

Drunkard's Path QAL: Layout Ideas & Piecing Tips

It's already slipping past the middle of April . . . how did that happen so fast?


April means it's time to sew the fourth Drunkard's Path block for the QAL. Just one block a month and by the end of September you'll have nine blocks done which is enough for a lovely Christmas quilt with  a couple of months left to finish it up. That's my plan anyway.

Here's my April block. This is one of the darker, more red ones. For the other blocks, some lean toward pinkish reds, others toward the orange side. The range of reds and the subtle value shifts will really add to the overall variety when the blocks come together.



As I've worked on my blocks I've noted a couple of tips that might help as you piece your blocks.

1.   Pinning the edge of the quarter circle and the end of the L-shaped leg together so the edges stay even with each other really helps keep everything aligned. I like to pin the edge where I will start sewing at an angle so my machine foot has room to take a few stitches before bumping into the pin. (See below left)  At the opposite end, I pin both parallel and very close to the edge. (See below right)  This works for me, so if you are having trouble with the ends aligning, give this a try.



2.   The second tip is in regard to piecing the Drunkard's units together. As your sewing machine foot nears the curved seam, you may find the bulk of the curved seam tends to push your foot to the right making it difficult to maintain your 1/4" seam allowance. By anticipating this, slowing down and even using a stiletto or the tip of a small pair of scissors, you can ease the foot over this bulk and maintain the correct seam allowance. This seam should end up coming in right along the edge of the curved seam. See the circled area below. If the seam does gets pushed too far off course, you can just go back in and resew this area without any need to rip out stitches.



When this seam is sewn correctly, your curves come together in a nice continuous curved line without any background fabric showing. (see below)  If too much background peeks out, you might want to resew the seam by taking a bit wider seam allowance. I want you to know that not all my seam connections are perfect by any means, so please, please don't stress about this point.



Speaking of blocks coming together, I though it might be a good time to show you a few layout options. Especially since some of you might be surging ahead with making more than one block a month. CJTDecatur on Instagram already has 12 blocks done. WaHoo!! Way to go!! Check out  #drunkardspathquiltalong to see them.

The illustrations below show quilt layouts using nine blocks plus some table runner ideas. If you opt for a table runner, you can add as many blocks as you'd like. I've shown it with three. And of course your quilt can certainly have more or less than nine blocks. Nine just happens to work for my plan.

1.  First up is a borderless arrangement. Most of my quilts these days do not have borders. I prefer the design going all the way to the sides and engaging the edge. This is what I thought I'd do, but now that I see the options, I'm liking some other possibilities. This layout finishes at 48" x 48". A nice wall hanging size.



2.  Here's how it looks if you add a simple border. In this case the width of a single unit.
Final size 56" x 56"



3.  Here it's shown with a scrappy pieced border. The checkerboard border somehow just says Christmas and adds a festive touch. Final size 60" x 60"



4.  Another option would be to add lattice strips and cornerstones? This opens up the design and gives the blocks a little breathing room. Each block now becomes more distinct and stands on it's own merit which can be good if you'd like to showoff the individual blocks and fabrics. 56" x 56"



5.  Here's an option that spices up the border by adding petals into the space along the edge. This idea activates the edge and makes the flowers seem more expansive. 56" x 56"



6.  The last idea expands upon #5 by adding petals and lattice strips between the blocks as well as the outer edges. The flowers look even more expansive and the space even more active. It also creates some interesting white spaces in the middle that add to the swirling feeling. 64" x 64"



These are just a few of the ways you could choose to arrange your blocks. There are certainly other options as well. I hope this gives you something to think about. Play around and enjoy the process.

Keep in mind the finished blocks are 16" x 16". The addition of borders or lattice adds to the overall dimension, so base your decisions not only on the look you like but also the quilt size you need. You could make more or less blocks to fit your needs. A smaller wall quilt with just four blocks might be perfect for the holidays. Or a larger quilt with 12 blocks would make a nice throw quilt. My quilt is meant to hang on the wall of our family room for the holidays, so available wall space dictates my final size. That's one reason why #5 just might be the perfect option. The final size would be 56" x 56". That's a good size for my space and it could work well as a throw too.


To see what others are doing, check out  #drunkardspathquiltalong on Instagram and please add your blocks to the show. You can also now follow me on Instagram  @springleafstudios

See you next month with block five.   Happy QAL.    : )

SpringLeaf Studios

April 15, 2015

WIP Wednesday Blocks

Yesterday I finished up this block for the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild. We're planning to enter a quilt in the group category for QuiltCon 2016. The theme is circles, with each person making a different color block, all with a low volume background. My main color was Kona Holly with Willow and Ultra Marine as supplemental colors. The low volume is coming off more yellowish than it really is. Blogger doesn't seem to like the photo but you get the idea. To see other blocks on Instagram, check out #dmmqgtwistedsistersquilt.



The Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild marks the second modern guild in my area that I have officially joined. I've been a member of the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild since the beginning and am their librarian. I met some of the DMMQG members at QuiltCon and most recently was invited to be part of a panel discussion on Design Inspiration at their last meeting. Both guilds are modern and yet different so I enjoy them for different reasons.

Next up are fabrics pulled for my April MCM bee block for Stephanie. It's a paper pieced block and you know by now paper piecing isn't my favorite thing. Once I get started I always wonder why I'm so hesitant though. They are never as bad as I make them out to be. It's a mental hurdle I really need to overcome. Do you know what I mean?


Stephanie asked for deep purples, bright pinks, turquoise, funky chartreuse to gold, darker blues and dark grays with a text print background. She loves Cotton and Steel and I just received a fat quarter of the horse print from the DMMQG for being on the panel. She'd also like the block to have a dominant color. I don't have much in the way of deep purples so am going the navy/turquoise/chartreuse/gold route. Not totally settled yet but I'd like to start today. Being in a bee where we work from our stash is fun and eliminates sending fabrics back and forth but it can also be challenging to select fabrics that match the request. It's also what I like about the bee. I always get blocks with fabrics that are different from my own stash so it makes for great variety. Hope Stephanie will like my final selection.

Several more scrappy trip blocks have also been made in the past week. Not modern fabrics but I love me some leaf prints modern or not. I've decided this will become a queen size for our bed instead of the wall quilt I had planned for the family room. That means even more blocks need to be made but I like making these scrappy trip blocks so I don't mind. I already have strips cut and ready to sew which makes this project an easy one to take to guild sew days. No need to plan ahead or figure out what to take. Just grab my box and go.



These scrapbook boxes from Michaels are great for toting and storing projects. They hold 12" x 12" blocks and are really nice to have packed up with all the parts I need. Sometimes it's fabric that needs cutting. Mostly it's precut pieces just waiting to be sewn.



I also do this with my Drunkard's Path Quilt Along blocks. They are all cut and ready to sew. Just grab the box and go. Easy. I'll be writing this month's QAL post soon in case you're wondering. Stay tuned. The post will cover some different layout ideas for your blocks.

It feels like I've been hopping around from one project to the next like a bunny. Must be a little Easter effect still lingering. Or maybe watching and feeding Mustache, the neighborhood domestic bunny gone free range. Isn't he cute?




Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Thursday.

SpringLeaf Studios

April 10, 2015

2015 Finish Along Quarter 2

How did you do with your first quarter finishes for the 2015 Finish Along?

I listed four and got two done. Doesn't seem like much, but for me, any finish is a good thing. For the second quarter I think I'll go a little further. List more. And maybe, just maybe, several will get done.

These were my two first quarter finishes.



Here's my second quarter list:

  • Matrix pattern. I don't know if stuff like this counts but I really really need to wrap this up.
  • Tumble pattern. This will be the pattern for the quilts in the photo above.
  • quilt the scrappy Matrix (from the first quarter)
  • quilt the blue/green Matrix (also from the first quarter)
  • Riley Blake MQG challenge
  • piece and quilt blue/aqua/green Scrappy Trip Around the World
  • piece and quilt green leafy Scrappy Trip Around the World
  • Some type of wallet/phone case

Matrix pattern will be done soon. Really

The list could go on and on but I think I'll leave it there for now. We'll be pretty busy these next three months with company, trips of our own and art stuff so maybe I'm being too hopeful. We'll see. But at least I have something to focus my attention on. That's a good thing.

If you don't know about the 2015 Finish Along and you need a little motivation check out the link. It's a nice way to entice those of us with more UFOs and WIPs than finishes to finally complete a few things. I was amazed at how many finishes there were for the first quarter. Last time I looked there were 549 finishes. It will take me awhile to look through them. Thanks Adrianne for organizing it all. Good job!!

Done is always a good thing.  A very good thing!    : )

SpringLeaf Studios

April 8, 2015

Sugar Plum Bazaar

The handmade market season opens this coming weekend for my daughter, Emily. She will be packing up and heading off to her first show of the year.

The Sugar Plum Bazaar in downtown Denver Saturday, April 11 from 10 - 7:00 and Sunday April 12 from 10- 4:00. Location is in the McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax. The building is on the north west corner of Civic Center Park across from the Denver County Courthouse. There is plenty of parking in the Denver Post building at 1516 Cleveland Place across from the McNichols.



What does this have to do with WIP Wednesday you ask? Well it means I need to get the ginormous tote bag to hold her booth sign and a few other display items done. You may recall I talked about this last winter but at that time the shows were just about done for the year . . . so I procrastinated. Time has run out now. It needs to be done by tomorrow. It will be done tomorrow.  : )

I don't really do much 3D sewing and this was a custom job so I had to figure it out on my own. The sign might not look that big but it's 24" x 59" so the tote will be about 28" x 62"  HUGE!!!  I did a little preplanning and then just had to dive in and start. It may not be put together in the best fashion, but I think it will work just fine. There's even space to hold extra items as her display grows.



This is my little furry helper. She wiggled her way into the lining while I was trying to attach it. Not the easiest way to maneuver something large through the machine with the added bulk of a cat.



Emily has many new pieces that are beautiful. This is one of my new favorites. A lovely cluster necklace with matching earrings. Love the design and the cool colors.



She is also open to custom work. Take a look at this custom piece she made for me to wear at QuiltCon. Just perfect for my quilting passion.



She'll gladly make one just for you with your favorite quilty saying.  Or any favorite saying  . . . it doesn't have to be quilt related. How about the names of your kids. That would certainly make a wonderful Mother's day gift don't you think?

Other custom pieces include these fun necklaces with inspirational phrases. Here's one of my favorites.



These are some of her signature circle pieces. There will be many colors and styles to choose from including earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings.





I've said it before and I'll just keep saying it . . . I'm so proud of her for following her dream and running her own business. Hop over to Emily Claire Studio and take a look at her work. Follow her blog or follow her Instagram feed. Help spread the word.

Check out this list to see her other market dates for 2015. She'll be adding more as they come along.

The Sugar Plum Bazaar is free. There will be food trucks available and there will be a bar serving specialty drinks, beer and wine while you shop. Plus some sweet treats stand selling other yummy goodies. So why not make a day of it with some girlfriends. Get out to enjoy the gorgeous spring weather. Look for Emily Claire Studios and stop by to say hello. Emily would love to meet you!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

SpringLeaf Studios


April 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I managed to squeeze in a little time on my ongoing Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks this week. I'm using lots of traditional leafy prints to make a checkerboard center. Then I plan to add some wide borders and more checkerboards. It's a sketch I've had for years now and I'd really really like to wrap it up this year.




Six more strip sets sewn and ready for the "unsewing" part. Sounds like a good thing to do in the evenings in front of the TV.  If you somehow missed out on this scrappy trip craze it really is a fun block to make. I'm following the Scrappy Trip Around the World tutorial by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville. It's a great technique and perfect for using up lots of 2 1/2" strips.



I had a little trimming help . . . always worried about cutting into a little paw or tail when they won't leave me alone. Looks like a good time for a lunch break. That's what they want.



Just look at that begging face. Can you hear him?  . . .  "feed me feed me"

There's plenty of other projects in various stages of starting/stopping/finishing. Maybe some of those will show up next week for another WIP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced. See you next week.

SpringLeaf Studios

March 31, 2015

First Quarter, Second Finish

I'm really excited to share my second finish of the quarter for the 2015 Finish Along. It's another version of the quilt I shared here last week. That one was hot and happy, this one is cool and calm.



My Mid Century Modern bee mates pitched in to make several of the blocks. I then filled in the rest, balancing out the colors. It's always so fun to see the fabric choices everyone makes. Rarely are there repeat fabrics and rarely are there fabrics that I have in my own stash. All this adds tremendously to the variety of blocks. I asked for dark grays, lime to chartreuse greens, and light neutrals like these.




Look at all the variety of fabrics. Isn't it fun?



It was quilted by Karen of the Quilted Moose with the same boxy design used for the first quilt. I just love the texture this overall pattern adds. I chose a slightly darker gray thread because I really wanted the quilting to show rather than blend too much.



While I love the look of a pieced quilt back, I don't often take the time to make one. For this quilt it was well worth the effort. Our bee does signature blocks when we make blocks so I wanted to include them on the back as a record of all those who contributed to my quilt. I love my Mid Century Modern Bee!!! Thanks ladies for all the wonderful blocks. You're the best.  : )



Once a quilt is finished, I really enjoy trying to take styled photos. It's not always a success, but it's fun to find great outdoor locations or pull out interesting accessories around the house. I was hoping for some nice spring greens but it's just not quite that green here yet. I'll be trying for more shots once the leaves come out a bit. Does anyone else besides me scout out locations when you're running errands around town? I find myself looking at fences, stone walls, silos, buildings . . . anything that has good texture, color and background for a quilt. Here's what I've taken so far.



I loved this crazy fence. A plain chain link with plastic strips woven through and then this fabulous vine growing all over it. Maybe not the best fit for this particular quilt but I couldn't resist. I may try again with a different quilt and maybe even once the vine has some leaves.





This is the third time I've made a quilt using this block. The other two are shown below. The bright one at the bottom of the photo was blogged about here last week. The top one is from a jelly roll called Highstreet by Moda. Amazing the difference in appearance between these three quilts even though they all use the exact same block. These differences are one reason I have so much fun designing and then exploring variations on a theme.



This design, including many of these explorations, will be part of a new pattern I plan to release in about a month or two so stay tuned.

As a parting note, I named this quilt Tumble Weed because I have been calling the block Tumble since I first designed it last year. At this point in time, the greens remind me of all the weeds sprouting amidst the rocks in our side yard. There's definitely a similarity in the color scheme. The actual pattern name may change at some point, but in the meantime the weeds just keep multiplying. I really should go pull a few but I'd much rather sew.    : )



I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and the 2015 Finish Along.

SpringLeaf Studios