Friday 31 January 2014

Colour Intensive

Color Intensive Online Workshop

I thought I knew a lot about colour from my photography.  I knew about the colour wheel and primary, secondary, complimetary and analgous colours.  I knew about colour spaces and calibration, from camera, to computer, to monitor, to printer, but colour theory for fabric has whole lot more going on.  One colour, just the wrong tone, can throw off a design and make a quick trip to the quilt shop, become an hour of hunting through bolts to find the one or two fabrics that work.  So in order to expand my comfort level with colour in the quilting world, I signed up to Stitched in Color's online class Color Intensive.

It's a 5 week class working through theory, palettes, some practical projects like a tote bag and there's even a quilt pattern.  I had taken Rachel's Penny Sampler class and I am still working on this quilt design with applique, paper piecing and precise piecing.  I loved this class and I'm so happy with the quilt in progress that I had no hesitation in signing up for another of Rachel's classes. 

To prepare for the class Rachel offered a Kona Colour Card project.  The idea is to take the little colour swatches and add velcro to them to allow a side by side comparison of the chips (without having to play twister with the original card) or to lay the chips against a background fabric or prints in order to pull out the colours or tones to compliment a colour scheme.  Coincidently I had bought a Kona Card just before Christmas so this week I've been drawing a grid on some neutral grey card and I've started chopping up the little colour patches.

As they are so pretty in their original form and useful in this layout of tones, warm & cool etc.  we are keeping them in the original order on the card.  This is how far I've gotten:

I can see a whole lot of cutting this weekend to fill this in.  I'm thinking a movie and glass of vino will make this an enjoyable task.  We start on Monday so there is still time to sign up if you are interested in practicing your colour skills or expanding your colour knowledge!

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Library Project Item #1 - Patchwork Bag

I made a bag!  No it doesn't have a zip, (haven't learned that bit yet!) and it is missing a button and a tiny bit of binding in the inside where the top flap meets the body, so it's still a work in progress and oh so nearly a finish.  I picked this pattern from Creative Quilting, (a one off magazine from last year),  as a possible To Do item for Chezetcook's Library project.  You go through the books and magazines you've bought but not used and pick at least 4, or more, items to work on for 2014.

I wanted to make a small bag and narrowed it down to two choices and even though I have a few quilt tops in progress, I got this pattern into my head and had to drop the to do list and make this one.  It uses some left over charms to make a surprisingly, roomy bag from scraps or a bit less than a charm pack if you have one to hand.

The front and back are made up of a 9 patch of charms, quilted to some wadding.  I wanted the darkest fabric on the bottom, where it might see the floor every now and then.  The pattern said the usual - quilt as desired!  So, I quilted the front with some decorative stitching along the seams and a curved diagonal line across the patches (it was quick and really easy!)

For the top flap (3 x 2 charms) and the back panel I quilted in wavy vertical lines.  There is a setting on my machine for this so I set it for the longest and widest stitch it would do.  I rounded the edges of the flap with the smallest saucer I could find in our kitchen!  I pinned a loop to the middle of the curved edge that got trapped when I joined my lemon lining fabric 3 sides around and I like how it lies nicely when it's all turned right side out.

The bottom of the bag is boxed so it sits up all on it's own and I think this would make a great scrap basket.  The lining is pinned to the inside wrong sides together and the top flap sewn on by positioning both at the centre back.

The pattern recommends a contrasting fabric for the trim, so I chose lemon.  I had a 3/4 yard of it on hand for another project which I've changed my mind about colour wise.

The strap is made up of 6 charm squares sewed and cut in half and joined end to end with some wadding and solid fabric.  I think the lemon might get grubby very quickly in the strap (oh well!)

If I was to make this again I'd make the strap longer and overall in a darker colour.  The length is  about right for me as a shoulder bag and just about right as cross body but I'm a shorty (5 ft zero!) so I think it needs a few more squares added to it.

Still as my first quilted bag, I'm very pleased with it.  All in all it used about 30 charm square (5"x5") so a very scrap friendly project and it's 1 done (almost!) on my Library project list.  Not bad for an afternoon's work! 

Linking up to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Monday 27 January 2014

Stash Bee - Foundation piecing string blocks

Have you seen the Stash Bee?  There are 12 hives, each working on a different block every month.  The Queen Bee for the month has to post a tutorial showing how to make the chosen Block which can be up to 16" in size.  I'm in Hive #10 and Stephanie our Hive mama chose a foundation pieced string block.  The block uses a paper foundation that strips are sewn onto to make a lovely colourful scrappy look.

The block is made up of 4 parts each 8" and strips of various sizes from 1" to 2" wide.  I really enjoyed pulling strips and seeing what happened.  The first block I pulled as I went, deciding on the go and then the second I thought I'd be a bit more organised and laid them out to speed things up.  It was great fun playing with colour!

I had made some string blocks as part of the Craftsy 2012 Block of the month and Amy Gibson's method was a little different.  Her method used a square of background fabric that you pieced the strips to and left the fabric in place.  This method uses lightweight paper which you remove before sewing the 4 pieces together.  This is what it looks like from the back once the paper is removed.

It is important to use a lightweight paper as the paper is torn out and to shorten the stitch length to make the seam stronger and denser to make it easier to remove the paper.  I'd normally use 1.5 as my length for paper piecing but I found it was bowing the paper and giving me a curve so I used 2.0.

There is a lot of bias on the edges once the paper is removed and pressing was tricky.  If I were to make this again with this method I'd use starch and press the finished block once the 4 pieces were sewn together.

I pieced mine in a diamond shape in the end, it was the most pleasing with the colour combination of the 4 pieces.

I really like it in this larger block size (Crafty BOM finishes at 12").  I think in the end to avoid all that bias I'd use the leave in foundation method to make these again.  I do like the look of this block and it was fun to piece and a real stash buster; brilliant for using scraps of all lengths!

Linking up to
stitch by stitch

Thursday 23 January 2014

WIP - Global Bee blocks update

Our Queen Bee for January, Anna from Quilting Along The Grain, picked this paper pieced pattern called Kaleidoscope.  You can download the pattern free from Red Pepper Quilts Craftsy Shop if you would like to make some.  Anna wanted 2 of these teeny 4.5" blocks from us in the Global Scrap Bee and it being paper pieced I thought easy, I'll make her a few more!

I'd forgotten how much of an up and down success ride I have with paper piecing.  I made some paper pieced Doctor Who blocks and got lots of practice, designed the ears for Robot bear no problem and 24 fussy cut square in a squares later I thought easy peasy, I've got this down!  Well last night, while watching Benedict Cumberbatch in Parades End, I struggled to get a matching seam on the two halves of the block.

The seams coming together can be quite bulky and my machine just said nope, not doing that.  I came to the  middle section and it stuck in place, needle going up and down and nothing feeding through.  Of course I had stitch length set to 1.5 for the paper piecing bit and forgot to change so ripping out was a pain!  This was attempt number 1 (I eventually binned this one it hurt my eyes so much!)

Attempt #2 went better, still a bit off but at least no refusal at the jump!  In the end by the time Benedict's character had made his mind up to leave his wife, I had 2 decent looking blocks!

Maybe I was distracted by the love story or maybe practice makes perfect but 2 done at least for Anna to fulfill the brief.

Of course I tried again and things went much better.  The answer was in the pinning!

 To join the two pieces together I placed a pin in the join between the blue and white triangles to find the spot to pin from the back.
I moved the pin to the back spot as below and instead of turning the pin back into the fabric I placed a pin on either side of this one.
The trick was to keep this straight and when I did the pieces nested in better, my machine liked it better and I got really pretty points.  Pinning any other way gave me pieces that moved the seams on top of each other and my Husqvarna Viking didn't like it!

So now I have 4 blocks! Don't they make a lovely repeating pattern?  This is going to be one really lovely quilt.

I'm thinking these would look great as a cushion with 4 rows and 4 columns too!

Linking up to

Needle and Thread Thursday

and I Quilt Thursdays is back today too!

Tuesday 21 January 2014

The Library Project

This morning I realised there are 10 weeks to the end of March and I set my self a Finish-A-Long goal of finishing 6 quilts in that short time frame.  Ha, I must be mad or maybe I've just have lost the ability to count!  I calculated yardage on a 20" block instead of 40 last week and it seems I thought the end of March is further away than it actually is!  Seriously I am starting to think my foggy, head-cold filled head is not working properly.  Yes, my nose is bright red a-la Rudolph and I could do with 10 hours sleep but I didn't think my brain was that dopey.   So the solution, add no more projects until April!

Right, except I want to link up with Adrienne at Chezzetcooks because she has a great idea.  Pull out all the craft books and magazines you've been hoarding and not used and pick at least 4 projects to make.  I have a few craft books I've bought, lovingly thumbed through and put back on the shelf.  I've not made any projects from them.  They have been a great source of inspiration but I think it's time they were used as intended.  Of course this means not all of 6 quilts will get done by March (that was very unlikely anyway!) as I'm adding a few items, the bare minimum 4.  They don't have to be finished until the end of the year but progress is expected every month on at least 1.  There will be a link up on the 3rd Friday of every month. 

In for a penny, in for a pound so here goes:
Make a bag from charm squares,  either this one from Creative Quilting or this one from Lynnette Anderson's It's Quilting Cats and Dogs.

I bought this beautiful book last year and there are a few projects in here I'd love to do but picking one I have to pick this pieced star.  I'd like to make it slightly smaller from some charm squares I have on hand for a baby quilt rather than a throw from yardage.  I think this mini sized would be really cool!

I've been doing a lot of things with squares lately so time for some curves.  I really like the look of this project from Fons & Porter's Baby & Kids Quilts

Finally number 4 is a mini quilt like this one from Scrap Happy Quilting or maybe change it up , same idea in the shape of a Basset Hound maybe?

So nothing too big, all small projects that should be fun and I hope I can fit in amongst the larger quilts!  Linking up to
Chezzetcook Modern Quilts

Monday 20 January 2014

Pieced Blue & White Quilt Top

Progress has been made - my blue squares top is pieced!  In the end it took 5 different blue fabrics to make this one.  It started with a big block edge to edge design and then I messed up the fabric quantity and ended up adding a 10" border in a slightly different shade of navy (it was what I had on hand!)  My temporary design wall is a big piece of cotton batting hung onto a big heavy mirror and a shelf.  The weather was against me yesterday in terms of photographs (rained most of the day!)

It was meant to look like this (that's Robot Bear beside and another blue crossing block I've on the go at the same time.)  I think I still prefer this edge to edge design un-bordered and I'm kicking myself for not buying enough fabric to make 40" giant blocks.

The  finished quilt top is made up of  20" blocks with 2 different colour placements.  I pieced the 2.5" strips in 3 columns and sewed together to make the block. 
I see now looking at it completed instead of making blocks I could have made the centre section as sub -units a little easier. I really like the centre bit where the 4 corners come together.  So I pulled that out of the design and turned it on point and came up with this 2 block design.

It's all blue on the design wall at the moment.  The radio today said it was a blue Monday (3rd Monday in January hardest Monday of the year apparently) and I think after this project I am in need of some colour! So how about purple?  Radiant orchid is Pantone's colour of the year after all!
Or even better, inspired by What the Bobbin's Blorange quilt, how about a pop of sunshine?
This last one I like a lot but I need to stop playing and get on with finishing!  Any ideas for quilting this one?  O and if anyone has any tips for helping figure how to know which side of the fabric is the right side in a solid I'd appreciate it very much!

Linking up to Design Wall Monday and
stitch by stitch
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