Modern HST Sampler: Blocks 1-4

Because I need another project, right?  I decided to take on the Modern HST (Half-Square Triangle) Sampler.  And I decided to use a solid white background (fabric I bought for my Paradiso Quilt, but didn't use) and calico/floral fabrics that I've collected over the years.  So these won't be "quilt shop quality" (as they say), because I most likely bought them at Joann's sometime around 15-20 years ago.  Don't care.  It's for me, and they're fabrics that make me happy.  I also decided to shrink the blocks down to 6", because one thing I don't need is another HUGE quilt top.  There are going to be 24 blocks over the course of the year (one every two weeks), and I've got the first four completed.
They're just so happy, and very pastel, which is not like me lately.  I think I'm just hoping for sunny spring weather.  Right now the hardest thing is waiting two weeks for the next block to be released!

Project 48 Quilt: Blocks 6 and 7

I'm been a little behind with my blog posting this month.  But I have been keeping up with my QAL projects (more or less).  So some updates for my Project 48 Quilt.
Ideas in EQ7 for Block 6:
And the finished block.  I went with my daughter's second choice for fabric placement from all the ideas.

 Block 7 was another Wonky-Cut block, which meant it gave me no end of trouble.  A few ideas from EQ7.
And my first attempt at piecing the block.  I didn't like how closely things matched up in the center.  And it sort of looked like a trilobite.
So I tried rotating, flipping, adding more fabric.  But was never happy with the end result.

Back to the EQ7 drawing board.  Cutting more fabrics and sewing again.  I finally came up with something I'm happy with.
I'm behind for Block 8, but I'm hoping to catch up today.  I have the fabrics pulled, and an idea or two.  I just need to cut and piece.

OMG: February--Pink Ribbon Heart Quilt update

For being the shortest month of the year, it seems like a long time since I started working on this month's project.  It took me nearly all month to complete my Pink Ribbon Heart Quilt.  Or at least the quilt top, which was my goal.
I started off with 9 blocks that I won in an eBay auction in January of 2005!  (Yes, I had to go back through ancient emails to find the transaction.)  The auctions were held by Better Homes & Gardens/American Patchwork & Quilting to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.  There were 8 pieced blocks (which I'm not sure I'll ever be crazy about) and 1 appliqued block, all 10" square (finished).
I decided to enlarge each block to 15" x 20" (finished) by using a sort of scrappy log cabin method (see previous project post for other ideas I made in EQ7).  I began by going through my stash for pinks.  But didn't have enough that looked right with the 9 blocks.  So I began pulling purples and one white.
After working on about 3 blocks, I realized I needed more variety in my fabrics, so I pulled more pinks and purples, and actually bought a few more pinks.  While I was hoping to make this a complete "sew my stash" project, that didn't quite work.  I cut the strips into 1.5", 2.5", and 3.5" strips.  And began sewing them around each original square until they measured 15"x20".
Sometimes I broke up the strips by piecing in more fabrics, resulting in some pretty scrappy blocks.
After completing the blocks, I put them together in a 3x3 grid, resulting in a 45"x60" quilt top.  I was competing with wind and sun, so never got a really good outdoor shot of the complete top.
Hoping to turn it into a lap quilt one of these days.  I bought a pink/purple variegated thread for the quilting, and made decide to add some handquilting in the pieced heart blocks (in hopes of making them actually work in the quilt).  I've pulled enough of my leftover 2.5" strips to use for a scrappy binding.  Still deciding on the backing fabric(s).  And trying to find a clear space large enough in my tiny house to do the basting.


Project 48 Quilt: Block 5

This block was a fairly simple one.  My hardest part was deciding whether to treat it as the original 7-patch, or change it to a 9-patch,  Some of my ideas from EQ7.

I decided to go with the one in the lower left of the second picture.  I wanted to be able to throw in some of my black text fabrics.  I ended up choosing a pink and a green batik for the "blocks."  I also deviated from the instructions by cutting my HST squares at 3 7/8"  I don't like to waste fabric when I don't have to cut larger blocks.  This method of HST has been pretty successful for me.
Here's the finished block.
And I really do want to fill in the Sudoku puzzle on one of these someday...

Binding a Quilt

Here's my tutorial for how I make binding and bind a quilt.  It's really not as hard as everyone makes it out to be.  I learned from the back of a quilt magazine years ago (at least I think that's where I learned this method).
First I cut my strips at 2 1/4".  This gives me plenty of fabric to sew the binding on to the quilt front with a 1/4" seam, and have enough to cover my machine stitches on the back.  I measure around the edge of the quilt and add 20" or so to make sure I have enough strips cut.
Next I sew the strips together, right sides together, at a 45 degree angle, trim to 1/4" and press open.  Then press the whole strip in half, wrong sides together.  (I need a few more pictures here, but forgot to take them.)
Then I start sewing the binding, lining up the raw edge, to the front of the quilt with a 1/4" seam, leaving a tail about 10" long not stitched down.  I usually start in the middle on the ride side of the quilt.  Just personal preference.
I stop 1/4" from the edge.  You can just backtack, or turn the quilt and sew off the edge at a 45 degree or 90 degree angle, still making sure to backtack.  I think I've tried all three, and don't think I have a preference, yet.
Then remove the quilt from the machine.  Fold the binding up and away.  This should make a 45 degree angle in the corner.  Then fold the binding back down, lining up the raw edges again.
Keep attaching the binding, finishing the other three corners the same way, and then stop about 10" to 20" from where you started.  Now comes the tricky part.
Lay the binding strips down on the quilt.  You're going to mark/trim them so that they overlap each other by 2 1/4" (I need to redo my photos for this part--I had an extra 1/2" that I didn't trim).
Then you sew the strips together at a 45 degree angle where they overlap.
Refold your strips to test that you didn't twist them and that they lay down on the quilt correctly.  If all is well, trim to 1/4" and continue sewing the binding to the quilt where you left off, making sure to backtack at the start and finish.  (And, yes, the last quilt I bound I did it wrong and had to rip out my stitches.  Good thing I hadn't trimmed, yet!)
Now it's time to turn the binding to the back side.  I use Wonder Clips to hold things in place (I used pins below, just to snap a quick picture).  At the corners, I tend to fold in the opposite order from how they were stitched on the front, just to reduce bulk.
I use a blind-hem stitch and sew the back down by hand.  I just prefer it that way.  I tend to miss too much of the binding if I do it by machine.  Plus it's a good chance to catch up on podcasts or listen to eBooks.  I also make tiny stitches along the corners to keep them secure.
Someday I hope to take a few better pictures, but I took these mainly for my own reference, so that I wouldn't forget how I did it.  It had been a long time since I bound a quilt when I took these pictures, so it was part of my own relearning/remembering process.
Hope this little tutorial helps!
(Note: Here's the tutorial on APQ's site, but some of it is a little confusing.  Hopefully the two tutorials combined will make sense. http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/how-to-quilt/finishing/joining-binding-ends)


Project 48 Quilt and Pink Ribbon Hearts Quilt Updates

Since I finished a few blocks on Friday, I thought I should update with some photos here.
First up, I redid my Project 48 Quilt Block Three (Wonky Nine Patch).  And somehow I always seem to make my wonky cuts in the opposite direction from how I drew them in EQ7.  No matter.  I'm happier with this version.
For those that are curious, I started out with 5" squares this time, and stitched them together for the Nine Patch block.
Then I made my two cuts pretty much down the middle (so much for wonky improv).  Then I rotated each square and laid the ruler down at an angle (to make things as wonky as I am able), making sure I had 5" all around before cutting.
Placed the blocks where I wanted them and stitched the four patch together.
Next up was Block Four of the Project 48 Quilt: Dot.
Not sure why/how I came up with the color choices I did, but I guess it looks a little like a beach ball in the end.  I still like it.  It fits in with the rest of the blocks so far.
I've decided that Friday is going to be my day for being creative.  Project 48 blocks, Color Me Calm program at my local library, and then whatever I'm working on for the One Monthly Goal or Finish-a-Long.  So for February I'm working on the Pink Ribbon Hearts Quilt.  On Friday I went through my stash of pink fabric, which doesn't appear to be very many that go with the heart blocks.  I started pulling purples, and I have more of those than I realized.  I cut strips from the different fabrics in 1.5 inches, 2.5 inches, and 3.5 inches.
I still don't feel like I have enough pink fabrics.  I'm trying to keep this as a total "Sew My Stash" project, but I may use up a few of the pink fat quarters I have in the process.  I then put all the strips in a (large) paper bag, and sat down to sew.  I more or less randomly pulled strips from the bag and began sewing them around one of the pale heart blocks.  Here's the result.
I'm mostly happy with it.  I'm trying to decide whether to rip out a strip or two at the top and make them scrappier somehow, possibly by adding in smaller pieces instead of one long strip.  I need to think on it before this Friday.  And cut a few more strips of fabric.  I don't think I'm going to have enough!