Monday, September 27, 2021

Fabric Dying - Take 2

 I had so much fun dying fabric in the class that I decided to do some more of it at home.

Ann Robertson, one of the women teaching the class, me a bunch of her old dye powders.  I looked at them and at the Dharma Trading color card to try to figure out what I could mix into gradations.  I made up some charts and then Ann told me she had some leftover dye from the class that needed to be used up before it got too old to use.  So, she gave me 6 bottles of that pre-mixed dye too!  

I had 7-1/2 yards of white fabric that I had washed and dried.  It got torn up in fat quarter pieces, and that determined how many dye lots I could make.  

Here was the first one:

Here is the second one:

The third one:

The fourth one:

And the fifth one:

Now, I have to figure out what quilt to use them in.

I hope you have fun and try different things too!

Monday, September 20, 2021

African fabric quilt top #2

I had enough African fabric left over from the first African quilt top, so I made this second one.  I changed up my design a bit, by making the triangle pieces smaller and more wonky and eliminated the smaller blocks.  I also was more cognizant of the size, keeping it to 60" x 72".

I made it with square in a square blocks, strip pieces blocks, and wonky foundation pieces.  

I hope you like it.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Sewing a wonky foundation pieced pattern

I made some wonky foundation pieced strips for the second African fabric quilt.  This post is to show you how to do that piecing.  Warning:  it is complicated!

1.  Draw the pattern onto freezer paper.  The finished size of the strip was 6" W x 18" L.  So the pattern was drawn to these dimensions.  (Hint:  I find that adding the seam allowance makes it much harder to tear away the freezer paper.  This means that you must remember to add the allowance around the edges.)   Draw a line 3/8" in from both of the long edges.  This will be where the points will end up, and not on the edge.  (I like this look a lot better than precision pieced points.)  Draw in the triangles, making sure to alter their angle and width to get that wonky look.

2.  Cut the strips of dark and light fabric 1" wider than the width of the strip and WOF.

3.  Lay the first color underneath the pattern and cut out the shape generously.  I like to leave about 1/2" around all the edges to make sure that I don't have to tear out the seams and try again.  Pin it in place with the right side down and the paper on the top.

4.  Place the second color underneath the pattern; lining up the top and bottom of the strip horizontally.  Eying where the fabric is supposed to cover it's shape, cut out the shape generously.  (Hint: fold back the pattern and trim the seam to be sewn even with the shape of the pattern, but leaving 1/2" allowance.  Fold back the pattern on the other side, and trim even with the shape of the pattern and also leaving 1/2" allowance.)  Remove this piece and set it just to the right.

5.  Using a thin ruler or long post card, place this on the seam to be sewn.  Fold back the paper, and trim the first fabric 1/4" away from the edge.  A ruler that adds 1/4" is very helpful.  This picture shows the thin ruler underneath and the 1/4" ruler on top.

6.  Flip and place the second piece underneath and line up the seam allowance, making sure that the left side seam is  the side being lined up.  Also, make sure that the wide side is opposite of the previous strip (Hint: if the wide side is down on the previous piece, the next piece should have the wide side at the top).  There is a bit of flipping and turning using this method, so I apologize in advance for how confusing this is to write up.  The main thing to remember is that the seam allowance is trimmed on the first piece before the next piece is sewn on.  And that the second piece has a seam allowance that matches the first piece, but is flipped right sides together with the first piece and underneath the paper. Pin it in place.  The stack should be (1) paper with the lines visible, (2) the first fabric face down, and (3) the second fabric face up.

7.  Flip back the paper , leaving the two fabrics right sides together and only the seam allowances to the right side underneath the paper pattern, and sew right on the seam line with the paper on top and the fabric underneath, using a 1.8 mm to 1.9 mm stitch length.  Start and stop 1/4" outside of the top and bottom.  It works best if you place the second piece to favor the wide side, meaning that the point can be placed at the top of the paper and the wide side hangs over the bottom.

8.  Press the piece in place.  The freezer paper's waxy side will hold these pieces in place.

9.  Pick up the strip of the first fabric again and follow the above steps until the strip is complete.  Make sure to alternate the light and dark fabrics.  I used batik fabric, so both sides were the same.  If you are using a fabric that has a right side and a wrong side, you need to pay attention so that the right side of the fabric is facing down when you cut the piece, and right sides facing up when you sew the piece.

10.  Trim the piece 1/4" outside the edges of the paper.  The piece will be 6-1/2" W x 18-1/2" L.

11.  Sew the entire quilt top and then remove the freezer paper.

Monday, September 13, 2021

African fabrics

I ended up with another bag of fabric from my friend Bonnie Keller.  She served in the Peace Corps in Africa when she was in her twenties.  She's had this African and African inspired fabric for quite a while and hasn't been able to bring herself into cutting it and making a quilt with it.  I'm not sure if some of it was from 50 years ago, or if she purchased it more recently.  Anyway, she asked me if I was ready to tackle it.   I felt like this was a monumental request, and I really put my thinking cap on for a design.  Here are her fabrics and some that I collected to go with her African fabrics.  The darkest piece is a very dark blue batik, which coordinates with the blue in the African pieces.

I liked the idea randomly piecing blocks and setting the quilt off into 4 unequal quadrants.  Here is my sketch:

I started with the square within a square blocks and mostly cut the center pieces at 8-1/2" x 8-1/2". A couple of them got trimmed to 6-1/2" x 6-1/2".   I tried to vary the size of the square blocks by adding different width of strips, improv style.  Here they are in place on the design wall:

Then I started cutting strips between 1" and 3" wide.  Here's the pile of the strips:

I sewed these together with wonky seams so that I would end up with a big pile of strip sets.  From these, I cut the strip blocks.  Here they are on the design wall with the square blocks.

The next thing that I sewed was the triangle sets.  I pieced these together on freezer paper to keep the diagonal sides from stretching.  Here they are on the design wall along with the other pieces.  

The piecing from there on was pretty straight forward, since I had designed the quilt in 4 quadrants.  Here is the top all sewn together.  It measures 66" W " x 78" L".  It's a tad too big for the size the charity group usually likes, but this is just how big it ended up being by the time I added borders.

I hope you like it.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Geometric scrap quilt

I saw this pattern on Pinterest and decided to make it with fabric that was donated to me by Bonnie Keller, as well as some fabrics from my stash and a lot of plain black.  The previous geometric quilt tops that had a similar look got me excited about doing one a little more complicated.

The one that I made used her yellow, yellow-green, and green fabrics.  I added some blue and turquoise and olive green fabrics from my stash.  I changed the pattern up a bit and made the squares really small.  As in 3" finished size.  This one was a real puzzle. (I love puzzles and geometry!)  I don't think I could have made it without a design wall. 

I first made a bunch of half square triangle pieces, pairing the like colors with each other; yellow with yellow; blue with blue, etc.  Starting with 4" squares and trimming to 3.5" after sewing and pressing.  I placed them up on the design wall.  When there was a layout that I liked, I cut 3.5" wide black strips, to place in-between the colored rows.  I really polished my ability to multiply by 3 (6, 9, 12, etc.) to cut the strips to length. After enough of the pieces were sewn together, I placed a black ribbon around the edges so that I could see when I needed to add or stop with the blocks.  Here's a picture of the quilt top after it was all sewn together.

I decided to go ahead and quilt this top with my sit down longarm, and used thread to match the fabrics.  The black was all quilted with straight lines 1/2" apart; the colors were done in stones and marbles.

It ended up being 70" x 58". It will be gifted to my brother-in-law and his wife after it is exhibited in the Clark County Quilters show in October. 

I hope you like it!