April 15, 2019

What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking? Seriously.

I don't usually prewash my fabric. I know there are many of you out there that do and I tip my hat to you for being that motivated. It's not a task for the feint of heart. Unless you diligently prewash every single thing you bring home each and every time you buy fabric. Otherwise it can be a big confusing mess.

Having heard stories of bleeding solids and ruined quilts, I decided to prewash the solids I plan to use for my BoulderMQG color study quilt. A project I have yet to start but I do still plan on making it so bear with me. The color study will return . . .

That led to deciding to prewash ALL my solids. I have several modern quilt ideas that will use all solids so why not be prepared?

Well . . . it took FOREVER. And technically I'm still not done as I haven't done the grays yet. I used color catchers in every load and there was very very very little bleeding. Seriously. That bit of aqua was the worst it ever got after loads of washing in all colors. Was it really worth all this effort?

The bigger problem I encountered was fading along the fold lines. My fabric is stored on open shelving but it never gets any direct sunlight so I was quite disappointed to see just how many cuts had faded along the fold. Nothing to be done about that but it does make me less likely to stash solids until I know how to avoid the fading. For now I'm storing them in tubs behind closed doors.

I have four tubs of freshly washed solids now. If only I had the motivation for those modern all solid quilts right now. Hopefully later this year . . .

At this point, I'm wondering why I got myself into this mess. And where does it end? What if I find other solids stashed away for a particular project like I did last week? Now I need to wash those because I've washed all the others. And what about projects that might mix solids with unwashed prints. Oy!!!

I'm not telling you this to start up a debate on prewashing. To each their own when it comes to that decision.

But I am curious about something. If you are a prewasher what is your process?

  • Do you wash everything first before adding it to your stash? 
  • Do you worry about mixing prewashed fabric with unwashed fabrics? 
  • Do you worry about using precuts (unwashed) with prewashed fabrics?
  • Do you have problems with fabrics fading along fold lines?

It feels like I've opened a HUGE can of worms and I am regretting my decisions. Where does it end?


February 22, 2019

Into the Woods - Cascade Quilt Pattern

Green is one of my all time favorite colors. And leaves are one of my favorite design elements. I use leafy themes in my home. I take tons of leaf photographs. I use leafy fabric in my quilts. Today I'd like to share one of my leafy quilts with you.

Into the Woods was finished last year. I used the Cascade quilt pattern which is the most popular of my patterns. You can find it in my Etsy shop or the new Blueprint shop site (formerly Craftsy)

I wanted a woodsy feeling of light filtering through trees so I arranged the values with most of the lighter prints in the center.

Looking at the prints in black and white really helped with this.

Once the leafy prints were positioned, I added browns and greens to elude to the tree trunks. Again placing most of the darker values to the outside edges. An allover leafy quilting pattern finished it off.

Leftover bonus half square triangles from the front were pieced together into a long strip for the back. The green on the back isn't quite as bright/yellow as this photo shows.

I couldn't be happier with the final result. Into the Woods lives on the back of my couch in our family room and works beautifully with the other leafy decor in the room.

I'd like to leave you with a few recent photos of the original Cascade quilt featured in the pattern. The colors have always reminded me of Monet so what better place to take a few photos than the Monet Garden at Denver's Hudson Gardens.

And lastly, this photo taken a few years ago in the Colorado mountains which really shows off the true colors of the quilt.

One of these days I'd love to get a good photo of Cascade with a waterfall given the quilt name. A lovely tropical waterfall would be perfect but they're a little hard to come by here in Colorado.  : )

Happy quilting to you . . .

It's been ages since I've joined any linky parties so I'm linking up with Wendy and the Peacock Party and Kelly's Needle and Thread Thursday.


January 12, 2019

Color Theory: Value

I'm joining the BoulderMQG in a year long color theory study. It will be similar to normal block of the month programs but rather than a different quilt block each month we will be given a color theory challenge to apply to our chosen block.

I decided to go literal with my fabric choices by going with all solids that match as closely as I can to the color wheel. It's a departure from my usual prints but I want to explore the color in as pure a form as possible.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

My chosen colors are Kona Cotton Solids. Starting with yellow going clockwise the colors are; Citrus, Lime, Clover, Ultra Marine, Pacific, Deep Blue, Tulip, Cerise, Poppy, Tangerine, Orange, and Papaya. It was hard to capture the color differences in the red/orange range but it's there.

As far as blocks go, I've always wanted to do one of those circle-a-day quilts so decided I will use divided circles for my color study quilt blocks. I'm excited about the concept and may even try to work in some quilt-as-you-go techniques from my QAYG presentation last year. You see more about that here.

The challenge for January is value. This can be explored in a number of ways. Value within a single color, referred to as a monochromatic color scheme. Value as it pertains to the entire color wheel. Or value in a gray scale form. I think I will be doing the gray scale as the rest of the quilt will be loaded with color.

The photo below shows my fabrics arranged in color wheel order and how they appear when stripped of color so only the value is evident. As you can see, value order does not coincide with color order.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

The order is more apparent in the photo below.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

The next photo shows the reordered fabrics based on value. I found the orange and yellow/green were hard to sequence. It appears as though the orange is darker in value than the yellow/green but when I switched them it looked the same. Notice that most of the colors fall in the mid value range.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

When I choose fabrics for my quilts, I am often guilty of relying more on color than value. Most of the fabrics in my stash are mid value, pure hue colors. I have built up a fair collection of lighter values in the form of low volume prints but am lacking when it comes to darker values. Darker colors have just never appealed to me as much as the pure hues do. Even the idea for this quilt will be strongly based on pure hue as I want to really see the various color combinations that are possible. Maybe another time I will explore the color/value side of things in more depth.

This isn't the first time I've explored color but it is the first time I've focused specifically on color and fabric together. See my Color Inspiration series for the previous color explorations. I'm thinking about adding new colors to the series this year.

If you'd like to learn more about the BoulderMQG Color Theory Quilt go here. You're welcome to join us even if you aren't a member. Stay up to date by following BoulderMQG on Instagram. If you play along be sure to use #bouldermqgcolorstudy19 so we can see your work.

I'll post each month about the color challenge and my progress on my Instagram as well as progress posts here from time to time.

Hope your 2019 is off to a good start.

November 15, 2018

Walk With Me . . . Fall Into Winter

Two years ago this month I started a blog series called Walk With Me. My intention was to post photos of my daily walks. I walk everyday. I love taking photos when I walk. I love looking at different details along the way. Something different catches my eye everytime. Sometimes it's color. Sometimes it's the details of nature or even manmade things. There was never a plan or schedule for posting, but I didn't intend for the posts to be so far apart and sparse.

walk with me

I'd like to get back to sharing some of my walks and today it's all about the beautiful details from a recent fall walk. I came across a concrete bowl of water full of both leaves and ice. The patterns of the leaves floating on the surface and also partially submerged into the ice was beautiful.

walk with me

walk with me

walk with me

walk with me

walk with me

Most of the leaves are off the trees here now and we are expecting our second decent snow tomorrow. One day it's fall, the next it's winter. Soon enough it will be all winter, so I'm enjoying the warm days when we have them.

If you'd like to see my previous walk posts, go to the tab at the top of the page.

Give thanks for all the beauty in the world. It's all around us if we just take a moment to stop and notice.

Happy Thanksgiving.  : )


October 3, 2018

Quilt-As-You-Go Summary

In September I did a presentation about Quilt-As-You-Go (QAYG) for my local quilt guild, the BoulderMQG. The intent of the presentation was to give an overview of different QAYG methods
and briefly cover the basics of each technique.

Over the past week, I did a series of blog posts highlighting each of the QAYG methods
I covered during the presentation. Check the tab at the top of the page for all the posts.

Today I'd just like to say a few final words on the topic and pull all the links into one post for you.

There are a lot of variations to the QAYG methods I covered. There are also several other ways to QAYG that I didn’t cover. What I learned is that it’s definitely something I will try more often.

My biggest tip is to think about using QAYG when you're starting a new project. Many of the methods require the commitment from the start which is the hardest thing for me to remember. But, If you've already started it's still not too late. Look back over Methods 2-4 which can all work after the project has been started. 

When considering QAYG, select the method that will work best by asking yourself these questions:
  • What size project are you making? Small or large?
  • What type of quilt design are you using and can it be adapted if necessary for QAYG?
    Does the design include sashing? Could the design work with sashing?
  • What type of quilting do you want to use? Straight line? Free Motion?
  • Can the backing be included up front or added later?

  • Sewing directly on batting produces more lint. Clean your machine frequently. 
  • Use a press cloth when ironing to avoid getting any residue from fusible batting on your iron.
  • And last, but not least . . . try it . . . you just might like it!

Batting I used: (note; not all fusible batting is two sided)
  • Hobbs Heirloom Fusible Cotton 80/20 Batting (2 sided fusible) 
  • Fairfield Fusi-boo, a fusible blend of cotton and bamboo (2 sided fusible) 
  • Warm and White (not fusible) 
  • Pellon Fusible Fleece

Link Summary

Here is a summary of all the tutorials I used for my presentation

Method 1:  Stitch and Flip tutorial for QAYG placemats and the wonky pink floral log cabin here.

Method 2:  Block by block without joining strips tutorial by Maureen Cracknell.

Method 3:  Block by block with joining strips tutorial by Marianne plus this separate video.

Method 4:  Row by row with backing tutorial by Candy.

Method 5:  Self binding hexies tutorial here and self binding blocks with Jenny here and Terry here.

Gallery of QAYG quilts by Melody Johnson can be found here.

In addition to these links, search for QAYG online and you'll find numerous tutorials and videos.
Craftsy also offers some classes on the topic and there are some good books available as well.

Don't forget to check out my QAYG Pinterest board for pins of these and other tutorials on QAYG methods. I also have pinned quilts that I thought might work well with each method. I will continue to
add to these boards as I find new things.

I hope you found these posts informative. I'd encourage you to try a few of the methods featured
and search for others that suit you needs.

I will continue to post about QAYG projects as I work on them, so follow along.
Thanks for reading.   : )


October 2, 2018

Quilt-As-You-Go; An Overview Part 5

I'm back with Part 5 of my Quilt-As-You-Go overview sharing the final method I presented to the BoulderMQG at our September meeting. Don't forget to take a look at all the previous posts too.

Just a reminder that these posts are not QAYG tutorials but they do include links to the tutorials I used. My hope is that you will be inspired to give QAYG a try. I know I certainly learned a lot and will definitely be using them in future projects.

Method 5: Self Binding

The last QAYG method I’d like to touch on is what I’m calling Self Binding. It’s basically done on a block by block basis by layering the block, batting and an oversized piece of backing fabric. Once the quilting is done, the backing is double folded over to the front to create a finished edge similar to binding. 

I found tutorials for both hexies and squares that share a similar approach.

Self Bound Hexies

Start by cutting the front hexie and batting to the exact same size. Cut the back hexie 1” bigger around all sides. Next, center the front hexie and batting in the exact center of the larger backing hexie. Then it's simply a matter of folding over the backing to the front using a double fold just like you would binding.

Once all the backing is folded to the front, you can stitch the binding down with machine top stitching, hand stitching or big stitch quilting.

For a larger hexie project, join multiple hexies by hand or with a decorative machine stitch that crosses over both edges to join the sides securely.

I liked this approach for making the hexies and think it's a great way to make hexie coasters. It would be more of a challenge to make a whole quilt this way but it has been done with beautiful results. See the Pinterest link below for more examples.

I used this tutorial for the above sample.

Self Bound Square Blocks

Basically the same method can be used for square or even rectangular blocks. The block and batting are cut to the exact same size with the backing fabric cut 1" bigger all around. Next, center the block and batting directly in the middle of the backing. Quilt the block as desired but do not quilt into the excess backing around the edge. Notice that I did quilt out to the edge on a couple of the blocks to see what would happen. That extra quilting shows in the binding when it is folded over. In retrospect, I think free motion quilting might be a better choice for these blocks as I found it hard to stop the quilting right on the edge.

Once the blocks are quilted, they are joined by placing two blocks back to back and sewing the backing only using a 1” seam following right along the edge of batting. A zipper foot is best for this. The blocks are sewn together into rows and the backing is double folded over to the front and top stitched in place. The rows are sewn together in the same way and the backing is again double folded over to the front and stitched down. In the photo below you can see the left and right sides already joined and the binding folded over and sewn. The top and bottom sections are sewn but not yet folded over.

I am intrigued with what could be done with the square self binding method. It would need to be a design that included sashing as an integral part of the design. I might even explore making the sashing wider by using a larger piece of backing. That would require thinking through the block style so that the design isn't covered up by the wider sashing that is folded to the front. I have some ideas but probably won't be trying this method in the near future.

Here are two different tutorials that I referred to for this method.
This video by Jenny at the Missouri Star Quilt Co which features vintage centers instead of quilt blocks.
This video by Terry of Junction Fabrics with a technique called called Fun and Done.

Method 5 Summery

  • It’s a fun and easy way to create a two sided hexie or square project.
  • It’s an interesting method for framing things other than quilt blocks like vintage needlework as shown in the Missouri Star link.

  • For the square method, there’s a lot of bulk at the intersections of the sashing.
  • It’s a little harder to get clean quilting stops and starts that go all the way to the edge of the batting so it may not look as good on the back. 

  • Low loft fusible batting or even fusible fleece work well.
  • For the square block, use a zipper foot to join the blocks and rows.
  • For the square blocks, consider free motion quilting that doesn't need to stop at the edge.
  • For the square blocks, also consider making the backing oversize and trimming to 1” beyond the block after quilting is done. This may be more accurate than trying to keep the block/batting evenly centered as you are quilting.

Check out my QAYG Pinterest board for pins of these and other tutorials on QAYG methods.
I also have pinned quilts that I thought might work well with each method.

I'll be back one last time with a very brief summary that pulls all the links from these posts into one place for you convenience. Hope you've learned a few things and feel inspired to give QAYG a try sometime.


October 1, 2018

Quilt-As-You-Go; An Overview Part 4

Three posts down, three to go. Today is Part 4 of my Quilt-As-You-Go overview sharing the fourth of five methods I presented to the BoulderMQG at our September meeting. Go to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to read the earlier posts.

Just a reminder that these posts are not QAYG tutorials but they do include links to the tutorials I used. My hope is that you will be inspired to give QAYG a try. I know I certainly learned a lot and will definitely be using them in future projects.

Method 4:  Row by Row with Backing

A QAYG technique that works well for larger quilts is what I call Row by Row. It would also work for quilts made from panels rather than blocks. There are no bulky seams from the batting and it doesn’t require joining strips.

This QAYG method can be used for almost any quilt. And the great thing is you can decide to try it even after your quilt is under way. Most of the other methods require making the decision to QAYG at the time the project is started.

The basics of this method are as follows. 
Sew blocks as usual and piece together into rows. Do not sew rows together. Next, layer the first row with batting and backing and quilt. Include 2” extra backing and batting all around so you have something to hold on to while quilting. Here you can see the first row after quilting. Notice I didn't quilt all the way to the edge where the next row will be added. This is a crucial part of this method.

Once the quilting is done, trim the batting / backing flush along the edge where next row will be joined. Then align and sew the next row and the backing with 1/4” seam. Below you can see the quilted first row with the backing fabric layered on the bottom and the next row layered on top ready to be sewn. Press top and backing open.

Next, fold the new row back and position a piece of batting on top of the new backing making sure it butts up against the batting from the first row.

Fold the top back over the batting, fuse and continue quilting. Repeat the process until the top is done. The quilt grows row by row.

Below you can see the first row already quilted in the top part of the photo and the second row added and ready to be quilted on the lower part of the photo.

I know this all sounds a little complicated, but trust me, it's an ingenious concept. You never have more than one block's worth of bulk to the right of your needle at any time.

I used this tutorial by Candy of Candied Fabrics. It was an entirely new method to me and I like it for several reasons.
  • It works for any quilt. Plus, I can decide later in the process to QAYG. 
  • It's so much easier for me to quilt in these smaller chunks and not have to deal with maneuvering all the bulk under my limited arm space.

Method 4 Summary

  • There is never more than a single block width within the throat space of the machine so it’s easier to maneuver. 
  • You don't have to piece a large backing or baste a large quilt.
  • It’s easy to create a two sided quilt because each row can use a different backing fabric.
  • The quilting is the same on the front and back.

  • The quilting needs to cross over the row to row seams to insure the batting is secured where it butts together. Choose the quilting design accordingly.

  • Low loft fusible batting is very helpful. Or at least use spray basting.
  • Quilting should cross the row seam to secure the batting where they butt together. Some tutorials even call for stitching or fusing the batting pieces together.
  • Leave extra batting and backing along the edges so you have something to hang on to while quilting. The edge will be trimmed before the next row is added.

I will definitely be trying this method for future projects. For now, I need to finish the Disappearing 9-Patch that I used as an sample for the presentation.

I'll be back tomorrow with Method 5: Self Binding. In the meantime, check out my QAYG Pinterest board for pins of these and other tutorials on QAYG methods. I also have pinned quilts that I thought might work well with each method.