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Archive for August, 2010

Another finish – actually, this quilt has been finished for a while, but a full time job and a couple of days of gloomy weather have made getting photos tricky. I’ll still have to wait for a sunnier day to get one that shows the quilting well.

Modern handmade pink orange squares quilt by pioneervalleygirl

The patchwork was fun (though it took some figuring to place all those squares so I could assemble them reasonably) and the quilting ended up adding so much to the design.

modern improv square quilt pink and orange on white background

And, this quilt’s now for sale in my shop

folded quilt pink and orange squares

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patchwork pillow: blue green diamond on white background

A small finish: this block into a throw pillow for the shop

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I’m planning a gift quilt for a family birthday in September.  I love making things for people I love, but gift quilts are often the hardest to plan, since the recipients often have a more traditional style than I do, and I want the gift to reflect their tastes and mesh with their home.

fabric for quilt - heather bailey nicey jane pink roses, gingham, soft green kona solid and coordinating stripe

Nicey Jane’s vintage feel, though, should bridge the gap. I’m planning a simple quilt with fussy cut roses framed by the green kona and pink tiny-gingham, with the stripes for the backing. I think we’ll both be happy with the result.

How do you reconcile your style with those of recipients?

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Patchwork Cards tutorial

A tutorial for the patchwork cards I sent to my DQS partner

I made two sets of these, and the pictures are a mix, I hope the changing colors aren’t confusing.

1) Pick a foundation:  I’m using a 5×7 piece of paper.

Usually for paper piecing, you’re planning to tear this off, so I look for really lightweight paper (I put the phonebooks that show up on my doorstep to use). However, I’m leaving the foundation on for these cards, for a bit more stability,  so tearability is less important even detrimental. Instead, think about acid-free materials. You can use whatever you like, but if you’re planning to save your card (or have their recipients save them) remember that paper like newspaper has lots of acid in it that makes it degrade, and that will eventually effect your fabric too.  All of the scrapbooking/papercrafting supplies at the craft store should be acid free.

About size – you can use whatever size you find pleasing.  I’m going to cut my square into quarters, ending up with 2.5 x 3.5 inch pieces. That’s the size of an ACEO, and just a pleasing proportion.

2) Decide on your pattern and fabric. You can use any paper piecing pattern you like, but I really like the look of a sort of improvised string-block. So I’m just gathering strips of different lengths and widths in coordinating colors/fabrics. Film in the Fridge has a nice tutorial for string blocks that you can use.

fabric scrap strips for patchwork cards tutorial

3) Foundation piecing.

First strip of patchwork cards tutorial yellow monaco fabric by dena designs

I use a fabric glue stick to secure my first piece of fabric (right side up) at a random angle across my paper foundation. Line another strip up along one edge, stitch, flip, finger press, repeat.

For this particular  card set, I added a strip on another angle across the top.

foundation piecing for patchwork cards tutorial

One important change from regular paper piecing: don’t reduce your stitch length. A smaller stitch perforates your foundation paper, the better to tear it off, but I’m not planning to do that.

4) When you’ve covered your whole foundation paper, use your rotary cutter to carefully trim away the piecing that hang over the edges.

back of foundation piecing for patchwork cards tutorial

trimmed patchwork block for cards tutorial

5) Cut your block – my 5×7 inch block is getting cut into four quarters, so I cut up the middle vertically, then horizontally. But again, do what you like – you could cut  bigger or smaller pieces. And while I like the efficiency and randomness of the piecing you get by doing it this way, you could skip this step altogether and just size your foundation the finished piece you want.

Cut patchwork into quarters for greeting cards tutorial

6) Place block on cards.

I use white 5×7 cardstock cards. I got a pack of 50  or 100 of these (with envelopes) ages ago at a craft store, but you could also fold your own from cardstock of your choice.  I like to position the fabric so that it’s centered horizontally, but is higher than centered vertically. Play around to see what looks right to you.

If you want to match mine, the top right corner is 1 1/4 inch down from the top edge, and 1 1/4 (the same distance) in from the right edge.

position patchwork ACEOs: greeting cards tutorial

7) Stitch. To secure the fabric to the card base, we’re going to top stitch around the edge.  Pay attention to your fabric – you’ve probably got bias edges all over the place, even with the foundation still on for stability.

stitch patchwork ACEO: patchwork card tutorial

Both top and bobbin thread will be visible,  so think about how they’ll look. I’m using a soft gray, but you could either match it, or pick something contrasting to add interest.

No pins, they leave holes, you can use another swipe of glue-stick to hold it temporarily in place.

I stitch about 1/8 of an inch from the edge, all the way around, use a fairly long stitch (My machine goes from 0 to 4, I’m at about 3 to 3.5 for this) . Secure your ends with a small backstitch or two.

8) Done! Well, I’m done, you can keep going if you like.  I’m making blank cards. You can embellish further if you like — add a message on the front or inside, or decorate with rubber stamps, paper, pens/markers whatever makes you happy.  If you’re planning elaborate embellishments, you may want to do them before you stitch the fabric on.

finished aceo patchwork cards tutorial

Tie a set with a piece of pretty ribbon, rick-rack or a strip of fabric for a gift, or stash them at your desk for a pretty note.

Finished set of patchwork cards - tutorial
** Tutorial is for your personal use, and creative inspriation only. Please do not use my design to produce cards for sale**

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I’m making a new mini for my office wall, inspired by City Fair, from City Quilts

mini quilt work in progress green and yellow solids

But my colors aren’t inspired by the city, but the leafy birch tree outside my office window – so I’ve got warm yellows and bits of sky blues peaking through lots of fresh greens.

detail work in progress patchwork mini quilt

Here’s the whole layout – the top is all pieced, now I need to decide about quilting. I’m considering handquilting it — it’s small enough to do it, but I haven’t decided et. Suggestion?


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Lagniappe:  a little something special.

My new vocabulary from the DQS9 discussion board — I really like that there’s a word for this. And I really like the lagniappe I’m including with my quilt this time: note cards with fabric patchwork swatches.

blue/green/aqua fabric patchwork notecards

I’m unusually matchy with this project, so these are made from the same line of fabric as the quilt – and a coordinating fabric from the same designer. But these were fun, I think I’ll be making more with different combinations.

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Yesterday was warm colors, today (my preferred side of the color wheel) the cool colors:

Spring green improv patchwork blocks for Rainbow Around the Block

Light green: That front one with the dot's on the edge? My favorite.

Dark green square in square improv block for rainbow around the block

Just one dark green -- turns out I don't have as many scraps in this color

Aqua and turquoise  blocks for rainbow around the block

Turquoise: Color of the Year

Dark blue improv patchwork quilt block for rainbow around the block

Cobalt - great color, I need to use it more

Purple improvisational quilt blocks for rainbow around the block

Purple (or do you say Violet?) either way: out of my color comfort zone

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