Saturday, May 29, 2010

Some new Groups on Flickr

There's never enough fabric. Never enough sewing. And there are never enough groups on Flickr! :) So I've added to the chaos a bit and started a new group devoted to all things Flying Geese Blocks. After making the blocks for Tacha for Bee Modern and searching through flickr for inspiration, I realized that there was a lot but it was quite scattered. So after I made the blocks, I thought others might appreciate seeing them all in one place. And it gave me a place to list all the tutorials that I had found especially helpful on the internet in how to make flying geese and different patterns for them. So come join the group and check it out! You can feel free to add any kind of flying geese block that you've made to our pool. I think that it will be a great resource for the future! You can find it at http://www.flickr.com/groups/flying_geese/. Just look for the little geese icon!
Paper Pieced Center Detail

I've also recently joined a new group called Modern Swappers. It's still in the development stages, but you only have until June 1st to sign up...so if you're interested, you had better rush over there and do it now! We will be swapping fabric, something handmade and I believe some other items that the person would enjoy. Details are a little sketchy, but it sounds like fun. I have the badge on the right if you want to check out more too.

I'm trying to sign up for the Doll Quilt swap, but people are pretty anxious over there about sign ups....it feels like it could be really hard to get in to. So we'll see if I can do that.

And I plan on joining the 3 x 6 Bee as well for the 3rd and 4th quarters....just didn't see it earlier!

What, you say? You're crazy, you say? You're already involved in so many Bees...and you're trying to do some quilt alongs... Well the one benefit of these new swaps is that they are all quite long span in the amount of time you have to put everything together. About three months of time for all of them. So...hopefully I'll be able to keep up with everything. I still have yet to have anything overlap other than my own projects. So we're seeing how far I can stretch before I'm swapped out!

Look what came in the mail the other day!

Giveaway I won!

I received my fun giveaway winnings! She was so prompt in sending them out! The book is great for fat quarters and has given me some ideas. And the fabric is not something that I would normally buy, so it's fun to have it. I especially love the polka dots! It was so fun to win a giveaway...it's actually my second in the last couple of months. I guess actually entering the competitions is helping. LOL.

Next step is hosting my own. Do you all think that people are okay with getting washed fabric or should it be unwashed? I have tons of fabric but I always wash my fabric first, so I would have to order some new fabric if people preferred unwashed fabric. Not that I have a problem with getting some new fabric! LOL

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tutorial on Making a Nine Patch Block with swirled seams

This is a tutorial on one way to make a nine patch block. The Nine Patch is one of the most basic blocks used in quilting and it's very helpful to be able to make it well. It is the starting point for many other designs. This will help you perfect the Nine Patch and therefore help with other blocks as well. It's my first tutorial so bear with me!

The nine patch begins with 9 equally sized square blocks. Typically this is done with 4 blocks of one color and 5 blocks of another, but color choice is at the discretion of the quilter. Different patterns call for different arrangements. For my example I will be using 4 blocks of one color and 5 different, but coordinating colors.

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Take the middle fabrics and lay them right sides together to top of the left fabrics, aligning the right edge.

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Chain stitch these three blocks together. In other words, don't sew the blocks together individually, keep a thread running throughout all the blocks. To do this, simply don't cut the thread between each block but let it run for a few stitches before sewing the next block together. You will see the thread connecting the blocks together which will help keep the correct placement and not lose any blocks in the process.

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Take your stitched blocks and lay them out next to the remaining right side blocks, opening the blocks as you do so. Confirm that your blocks are still in the original order that you wanted them to be.

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Now take the right side blocks and lay them down, right sides together, on top of the middle blocks.

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Just as before, chain stitch these blocks together as well. Now you will have three rows connected by a few lengths of thread.

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Next is an important step: pressing the seams. You need to press the seams of each row in an alternating fashion. Here I have pressed the seams of the 1st and 3rd rows away from the center block, and I have pressed the 2nd/middle row seams toward the center block of its row. Pressing the seams in this manner will help us get tight neat seams as we continue to join the block together and allow us to swirl the seams later.

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a close up view of the pressed seams.

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Now will begin to join the rows together, paying careful attention to where the seams meet on each row. Because we have pressed the seams in opposite directions for the alternating rows, you are now able to "nest" the seams together. This means that they can butt up to one another without creating extra bulk in the seam allowance.

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Here is a detail of two seams being nested together. Notice the the little thread connecting the two rows is still there. Make sure that this stays in the seam allowance on the wrong side of the block.

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To sew each row together perfectly, I definitely break out the pins at this point. Not only does help square up your block by pinning the ends of the rows together, but it also helps keep those seams nested together. I use about 4 - 6 pins per row, but you can use as few or many as you need. I find it helpful to pin the seam allowance that will be going against the direction of sewing so that it does not get flipped.

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You can now sew the block together. From the back your block should look like this. Remember that you have pressed your horizontal seams flat but you have yet to press the vertical seams...we have a few steps to do before we do that. Here's where the fun begins!

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Swirling the seams: The following treatment will be done to each of the four intersections where four blocks meet together. It will allow us to take the bulk out of the seam allowance and create a block that will lay flatter and be easier to quilt in the long run.

So, take one of the intersections and find that string that connected the blocks together earlier from chain stitching. Remember that your horizontal seams are pressed flat but your vertical seams should sort of sticking up.

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Take a small pair of scissors and snip this string apart.

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Next, take your seam ripper and take out approximately three stitches from the seam allowance of the vertical seams (the ones that are "sticking up"). You want to go up to but not past the seams from the horizontal seam allowance.

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When you are finished, the seam should now look like this. Vertical seams are still sticking up and the horizontal ones are flat, but a few key stitches have been removed.

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Now comes the tricky part. It can difficult to see sometimes, but I find with practice this step becomes easier. You want to separate the pieces at the intersection so that you are able to press the seam flat. I look for the fabrics with folds from the seam allowance and pull those apart. Try it a few times and you'll see what I mean!
You will find that when you separate the seams here that one vertical seam will go in one direction and the other in the opposite direction.

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Finger press this seam flat. You should end up with a little four square. You might be able to see better in this picture that the aqua fabric and the green fabric have the little fold in them that I was talking about in the previous step. That is what I pull in opposite directions.

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Now press the seams flat with an iron. You will be able to press one completely flat, but the other may only be press partially until you swirl all the seams on the block.

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Repeat this process on the three other seams until all four have been swirled. You will find that the seams help you know which way they will swirl as you complete more of them on the block.

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Turn the block over, press again. You will see that you have a nine patch block with well matched points and no bulk in the seams!

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Now you are ready to go! Make a whole quilt of nine patches, or you can use the nine patch as the starting point for many more quilt blocks like a tossed nine patch, a four square nine patch, a sliced nine patch and many more.

Note that this technique is even more helpful when matching more than four seams at a point. I find it particularly useful in any kaleidescope block or pieced circular block. Try it and see how much it helps!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Some new burp cloths and a little luck

Today I finished a custom set of burp cloths for a friend of mine who just had a little girl. I haven't made any burp cloths for a few months and I wanted to try something slightly different than my previous ones. I still used a double layer of flannel, but I wanted to showcase some of the fabrics more. So I tried what I consider a more typical burp cloth design. I've seen it a lot online, but there is a reason that so many people use it. It is pretty darn cute. I think that I could dress this up by using flannel other than white in the future (it's just what I happen to be using here) because a lot of people make similar products with gerber diapers. So having colored or printed flannel would set them apart just because they would not be on a white background. I love using flannel instead of the diapers because the flannel is so soft!

Burp Cloths- Pink and Green

All wrapped up and ready to go!

Burp Cloth Package


Oh and I'm so excited to tell you that I won a give away during the sew mama sew day of give aways. I won this from Dena at Tales at Wayne Manor



It is so sweet that she participated and I was lucky to win...there were over 300 entries! So yeah me! Maybe that will help quench my need to buy fabric for myself.
Oh who am I kidding...I've been drooling over tufted tweets for ages and I'm dying to buy the chair fabric in purple!



I keep checking to see if it's come in, but no luck yet. I MUST have it! It's weird what I become obsessed over sometimes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival





Once again the Quilt Festival of online quilters is taking off. I participated in the first one, missed the second one, but I'm here again for the third. Amy at Park City Girl has started something amazing with the simple idea of bloggers sharing their favorite quilt that they've made and why it is so important to them.

I know that I've shared about this quilt pretty recently here on my blog, but my favorite quilt of late is the string quilt that I made for my mother in law.

the whole quilt

It started as a simple quilt of blues and yellows and quickly grew to include over 30 different fabrics. I made this quilt for my fabulous MIL who gave up a month of her life to fly across the country to help take care of me and my new baby after I gave birth and had complications with recovery. We could not have done it without her and she cleaned and did laundry endlessly and tirelessly. She was amazing and I had no idea how to thank her for her gift. And then my husband told me that on her way to airport to go home she mentioned shyly that she loved my quilts and maybe I could think about making one for her for a big birthday in a few years. A few years! No way! I knew immediately that I would make this quilt for her as a thank you for all her love and hard work. I had a slightly crazy deadline for it and that just pushed me more and helped in my recovery.

finished string quilt top

The string quilt presented more of a challenge than I expected and I learned a lot making this. I would make another one again, but I need a bit of a break. ;)

string quilt with wisteria

Thanks for stopping by to see one of my favorite quilts. Feel free to look around more or check me out on flickr under Tweedledee Designs.

Starting up Busy Bees

I got a group of fabulous quilters together for a new bee, Busy Bees. It took some sweet talking, but I'm so excited to work with all of these women. We're starting in June, so I sent out the packages today as I have the first month. After some deliberation and quivers, I finally decided on having all of them make a block in some way relating to triangles. We're using the fabulous Katie Jump Rope Fabric and Kona in Khaki. I'm so excited to see what they all come up with. I have a vision for this quilt, but it all depends on what kind of blocks I get! I had to accumulate quite the stash for the quilt.

Katie Jump Rope Fabric

Katie Jump Rope Stash

I didn't get every single fabric, but I do have quite a few of them. I sent everyone a slightly different collection to play with, but everyone got bits of the super popular harder to find fabrics. I'm working hard at not hording my fabrics and letting myself become so attached that I don't use them. They are beautiful all folded up and color coded...but they should really be put to good use!

I was inspired by some others out there in blog world to add signature blocks to my quilt. But since I'm not the only one making this quilt, I sent a block for each member to sign and send back. That way I can have a record of who actually work on each quilt. I'm definitely going to be doing this for all of bee quilts from now on.

Signature blocks

And I've kept the group Bee Modern going by starting Bee Modern Too

Bee Modern Too Badge

Unfortunately along the way with Bee Modern we've lost a number of people from the group...just dropped off the face of the earth. It's a little annoying but the rest of us are trying to rally to make sure that the final people to go get enough blocks. So we're all making at least two blocks.

Only a handful of us are continuing on to Bee Modern Too, so we're in the process of recruiting new members to join. We'll be starting in August, so drop me a line if you are interested in joining and I'll run it past the group.

I'm still planning that tutorial on a nine patch with swirled seams...I have all the photos taken, I just haven't had time to sit and write it all out. But it's on the short list! And I have some smaller projects in the works...along with that paint box quilt. I needed to clean my floors before I started to lay it out! LOL. But progress is being made and I hope to lay it out this weekend! Lots of goals and we'll see how much gets done. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Progress on My latest quilt and some ravishing red

I finally have the quilt top done for my latest little quilt. I started these blocks a few years ago and they were my first attempt at a Denyse Schmidt style improv log cabin. I was very happy with some of them, okay with others, and down right unhappy with others. I was frustrated by how to combine them and what colors I needed to tie them all together. So into a plastic bag they went and I would pull them out about every 6 months and look at them. I would lay them out, continue to be frustrated and put them back again. But this time I knew what to do. I don't know why I didn't see if before! LOL. I think that I was so overwhelmed with doing a improv quilt that I got confused by them. But I have more experience now and they didn't intimidate me anymore. So without further ado here's the quilt top!

"All Squared Up" Quilt Top

A little closer view

"All Squared Up" Quilt Top

A detail of the top

"All Squared Up" Quilt Top - detail

I went to take the quilt down and saw this gorgeous view from the back with the sun shining through...

"All Squared Up" Quilt - Back of Top

"All Squared Up" Quilt- Detail of back of Top

I have the backing and binding all picked out. I just need to figure out how to quilt this baby. Any suggestions?


I've also been working on my first set of blocks for the Ravishing in Red Bee. She wanted a large block that was like a mini quilt and a smaller wonky star block. I opted to create a zig zag block. I really want to make a zig zag quilt, so this was good practice for one method...and I'm not sure I'd use it! LOL Lots of little piecing.

Ravishing in Red Bee - May

Don't worry, I'm still working on the paint box quilt, I just go distracted by this little yellow quilt. And I'm about to send out packages for the Busy Bees group. Sneak peaks of that soon!

I'll leave with some delightful fabrics that I received in the mail last week...Rainy Days and Mondays and some gorgeous Robert Kaufman prints that I've been eyeing for a long time!

more yummy fabrics - you can never have enough

Monday, May 17, 2010

Give aways everywhere....!!!!

I didn't even know that Sew Mama Sew sponsored this event every year...but there are tons of bloggers out there offering give aways today! It's nuts! And exciting! And I've spent too much time entering them all!!! LOL

One of my favorites is from a la mode fabric and she's being super generous with munki munki hexies and a gift certificate to sew deerly loved! Ummm....wow!?! Yeah. I'd tell you to head over, but I want to win! LOL

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

sneak peak at my current quilt and lots of new fabric!

So I've pulled a quilt out from under the bed and dusted it off and started working on it again. It feels good to make progress on one of my unfinished pieces. I've had these blocks in various stages for about 2 years and I just could not figure out what to do with them. Well...I think that I figured it out and I don't know why it was so hard. Oh well...sometimes you just have to step away from a project for a while to get some fresh eyes on it the next time!

Log Cabin Blocks - WIP

detail of log cabin-WIP

log cabin block -WIP

Wonky Log Cabins - WIP

And then of course are all the different fabrics I've been getting lately. You can check out the descriptions on flickr, but for now I'll just let you enjoy the eye candy that is beautiful fabric.

Fabulous Fabrics!

Michael Miller Dots

Shades of Blue

Home Decor Fabrics

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