A Nice Surprise and a New Scrap Project

ribbonFirst, the surprise: One of my quilts, Cherrywood Toss, won first place in the Modern category at my local show! Needless to say, I was thrilled!

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss. Read about it here.

And then it was on to a new scrap project!  I’ve been wanting to make a scrap quilt with a zillion pieces ever since my friend Jerri made her postage stamp quilt.

I came across the “lego quilt” on Pinterest and followed the links to this post by Tonya Ricucci of Lazy Gal Quilting, which gives specific directions.  Go visit her post–there’s a cool picture of an antique quilt that gave her the idea.

lego quilt

Strips on my design wall

Tonya made her 10″ (finished size) blocks using 1-1/2″ strips composed of scraps of various sizes.  She mentioned that there was some difficulty getting them to come out the right size.  Because of that, I am making my strips 11″ long unfinished so I can trim the blocks to 10-1/2″ wide after they are assembled.  Also, I’m making the first strip in each block 2″ wide unfinished so I can trim in that direction as well.  lego-2

So far I’m just making strips and putting them on the design wall to be sure I have a balance of values throughout the quilt.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  This takes a LOT of time!  And like most scrap quilts, it doesn’t seem to use up even 10% of the available scraps!  So far I’ve used only one drawer of the scrap cabinet!!!!

This might be a good leaders-and-enders project, since it seems like it could take forever.  I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

Modern Sampler: Painter’s Tape Block

For the next block in my modern sampler, I used an improvisational technique that first occurred to me several years ago: I outline the size I want my final piece to be with painter’s tape and then fill it with whatever shape I’ve decided to use.

My first exploration of this technique was a T shirt quilt.  The motifs from the shirts were many different sizes but could all be cut as rectangles or squares.  I outlined a rectangle about 55″ x 68″ on one of my carpets and stated filling it with shirt pieces.  I selected a modern fabric to fill in the holes, and here it is:

Improvised T Shirt Quilt

Improvised T shirt quilt

The shirts were all cut into rectangles and squares, and the fill-ins therefore were rectangles and squares as well.  I’m not saying this is easy, but it sure was more fun than just making a bunch of blocks the same size and lining them up.

So for the next Modern Sampler Block, I outlined an 8-1/2″ square on my cutting mat and started filling it with triangles.

Improvised quilt block

Starting a square that will finish 8″

I added 1/4″ strips between the triangles to give the whole thing definition.  Then I just kept addiing triangles (that I cut randomly) until it was done.

Improvisational quilting

Improvised triangles block

No chance of a pattern for this one.  To make it, just cut a triangle you want to start with and then keep adding on.  I have a couple of deliberate exceptions to my “rules” so that the eye doesn’t just keep saying “yes”, it has to stop occasionally and say, “hey, wait!” The only trick is to keep finishing with a straight edge so you can easily add on the next section.

Try this technique! I hope you enjoy it!

Here are the previous posts in my Modern Sampler series:

Humbug Star

Improv Block I

Pretty Blocks–better look at this one!

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take a Year!

 

My Modern Sampler: Humbug Star

I recently read one of Gwen Marston’s books, and she had directions for a sew-and-flip star.  Like most of modern quilting, this star has been published by multiple people in multiple places, so it’s not new.  However, if you’ve never done sew-and-flip, you can find my tutorial below.  It’s a very fun technique.

flip and sew star

There’s a major flaw here!

So, HUMBUG!  Can you see what I did wrong?  I didn’t see it until I took the picture!  I rarely rip out seams in my improvised blocks, but this was too much for the perfectionist who whispers in my ear much of the time.  So here’s the corrected block:

Sew and flip tutorial

Humbug Star

This block finishes 12″ X 15″.

Here are the links to my other modern sampler blocks so far.

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take A Year!

The Modern Sampler Continues

Improv Block I

 

And here is the tutorial on the sew-and-flip star.

This project was originally developed for Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine.  You can read about it here.

Unfinished block size 15″ x 15″

modern star block

This block finishes 14-1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

Fabric Requirements

modern quilt fabric

Fabrics supplied by Michael Miller Fabrics

Background fabric 16 1/2″ x 16 1/2″

Star center fabric 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

Eight solid fabrics for star rays, each 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

Piecing Instructions

Note: all seam allowances are 1/4″.

  1. Cut the background fabric into a 9-patch of 5-1/2 inch squares as shownCutting Diagram
  2. Remove the center square and replace it with a 5-1/2 inch square of your center fabric

    Center square surrounded by background squares

    Center square surrounded by background squares

  3. For star rays, build 2 rays on each of 4 background squares as follows:
  • Lay the one 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ piece of solid fabric on a 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ square of the background as shown.   Place pins approximately where the 1/4″ seam will be along the long edge of the ray and turn along the pins to check placement.  Diagram-3-web Adjust if needed to make a star ray that suits you and to completely cover the foundation piece where the star ray will be.  Note that you will need to have your ray end at least 1/4″ from the edge if you want to see the point.  However, if you want blunt points there’s nothing wrong with that!  Here’s an example:Blunt point example
  • Reposition the pins and stitch 1/4″ from the edge of the ray as shown below:Diagram-5-web
  • Remove pins, turn the ray back into place, and press. Trim the side and bottom edges of the ray even with the foundation fabric.  Do not remove the foundation fabric under the ray, as it helps keep everything square and stable.Diagram-4-web
  • Place the fabric for the second ray, pin and test position, then stitch, press, and trim as for the first ray.Diagram-6-web Note that the rays need to overlap at least 1/4″ away from the raw edge where this section will join the star center. It’s fine to overlap more than that.

    Diagram-7-web

    Press the second ray and trim to match the background block.

  1. After building 4 sets of 2 star rays, re-assemble the 9-patch with the plain corners, printed center, and colored rays.

    modern star block

    This block finishes 14-1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

The Modern Sampler Continues

These next two blocks were made from inspirations I found on Pinterest (yes, I love Pinterest!)  The first I simply copied because I loved the colors and their arrangement in the original artwork by Richard Paul Lohse.

Modern Quilt Block

Quilt block based on the work of artist Richard Paul Lohse

Here’s a drawing of how I constructed this block, with measurements, if you want to copy him, too.  There are 4 units, each 4″ finished (4-1/2 inches for each unit before joining) so that the entire block is 8″ finished.  I’ve marked the size to cut each piece on one of the 4 units, assuming you can take it from there 🙂

modern quilt block

Layout for block based on art of Richard Paul Lohse

If you look up the artist Richard Paul Lohse, you’ll see that a lot of his designs would make terrific blocks or whole quilts.  Great sense of color!

The second block was made from a tutorial I found at a website called Piece By Number and you can find the free pattern on her site here.

modern paper pieced block

Circle of Geese block made from a pattern at PieceByNumber

This block was easier than it looks thanks to paper piecing.  I enjoyed making it, though I feel no need to make another right away!

I think these two blocks have a lot of ZIP for the relatively little amount of effort they required.  The Lohse block depends very much on choice of color, so be sure to lay out the fabrics and look at them a while before cutting.  Have fun!

Scrappy Strippy Placemats

Here’s a QUICK, EASY way to use up scraps while making some gifts.  Could be gifts for you, of course 😉  I like to make them ahead of time to have as hostess gifts, housewarming surprises, etc.

A bin of scraps being made into a long strip

A bin of scraps being made into a long strip

Start by cutting scraps into strips of set widths.  (I cut and sort all my scraps, so I have bins of strips ready to go.) 1st-strip In this project, I used strips in widths of 1.5”, 2”, 2.5”, and 3”.  Sometimes I just use whatever color comes next, but for this project I selected yellow/gold, orange/red, and brown/tan scraps.  I joined the strips end-to-end to make long strips of a given width.  So, for example, a strip may be 1-1/2 inches wide and be made up of scraps of various lengths from 1-1/2 inches to about 8 inches.

add another strip, then fold them right sides together and sew the seam through all layers

add another strip, then fold them right sides together and sew the seam through all layers

After piecing my long strips, I started a placemat as follows.  I cut a piece of backing 14 x 20 inches, layered a piece of batting 13 x 19 inches on top (batting scraps, yes!), and placed a strip in the middle of the batting. [picture] I used the flip and sew method to add strips on each side, sewing through all layers as I went so that I was quilting while assembling the placemat top.

Strips can be oriented horizontally, vertically, or at any angle you choose!  You can mark your first line to be sure it’s straight if you want, but I just eyeballed it.consecutive-strips-web

I pressed after adding each strip, and every few strips I turned it over and ironed the back of the mat, too.

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When the mat was finished, I trimmed it to 12 x 18 inches.  Note that it helps to make the last strip added a wide one so the mat can be trimmed to size without leaving a really skinny strip on one edge.

Last strips added are wide to allow for trimming to size

Last strips added are wide to allow for trimming to size

I bound the edges with scraps of bias binding left over from various quilts as well as scraps from my bins.  I got four mats done easily in a day, so this would work as a last minute gift—we all need those!finished-mat-web