A Busy Sewing Weekend

I had some time to myself this past weekend so I spent it getting caught up on a few projects.

First up, the Bee Blocks for my group.  We had 2 Bee Queens in March in order to avoid doing blocks during busier months later in the year.  I got one Queen’s blocks completed and sent off in March, but wound up with it being mid-April and both the 2nd March and the April blocks to do.

First order of business – pull some fabrics.  I had help.  This is Sarafina – we call her Saffy.

I made Paige’s I-spy blocks for March first.  She wanted blocks for a quilt for a teen-aged girl, so Saffy helped me dig.

My first block used math fabric – all teen aged girls need math (says the female engineer):

My second block has aliens, because – you know, New Mexico!

The last one used polka dots because I was really feeling the polka dots this weekend.  Here all three of them are together.  I hope Paige likes them.

For April, Emily asked for a star made with blue and red fabrics.  It was a paper pieced block, and I like to paper piece, but for some reason this one block took me an entire morning to do.  I then promptly forgot to take a photo of it before sending it off to Emily, so here is the photo from her blog post introducing us to the block.  My block was blue with little white polka dots with white edges.  Again…feeling the polka dots…

 

Next up was a quilt for a baby due in June.  I bought this cute Dr. Seuss One Fish/Two Fish Fat Quarter bundle a few months ago and designed a quilt around the panels.  I cut it out Friday night and pieced a lot of the background squares at my Quilt Guild Sew Day on Saturday.  I finished putting together the rows Sunday and Monday.  It is kind of busy, but I think it is cute:

 

Last up, and the one I’m the most exited about, is finally getting my Dog Blocks together into a top.  These blocks were sent to me by my Bee-mates when I was Queen last year.  The patterns for these blocks are from the Dog Gone Cute quilt along from Sew Fresh Quilts.  I made a few extra blocks to fill in the top and designed a sashing plan to connect them all together.  Many of the quilts I’ve seen made from these blocks didn’t have sashing, but when you have blocks from many different people it is difficult to get the whites to match, so the blocks didn’t look quite right directly next to each other.  I did the X’s in the sashing in white to help tie the whites together, then added a lot of color to pull out all the different dog fabric color.  This required a lot of piecing of 2.5″ squares (after doing ~150 improv X blocks):

I finished the X blocks on Saturday, then pieced the sashing and sewed the rows together Sunday and Monday.  I think it came out really cool!

All Bee blocks have been mailed off, and I’m really excited to start quilting both my finished quilt tops.

it was a fun and productive weekend!

 

 

Q2’18 FAL – Goal Setting

Here we are in Q2 already.  I have a bunch of projects in the works and I’m hoping to start some new things too:

 

Dog Gone Cute Bee Quilt – these are the blocks from my Bee group last year.  They are so cute!  During Q1’18 I added 2 more blocks to fill it out and decided and started on a layout and sashing plan. I’m hoping to make some good progress at my Quilt Guild sew in this weekend.

 

Red and Blue Squares – all the little squares are cut out and ready to sew together.  Lots of squares and seams to match up.  At this point I have the top mostly pieced so I should get it loaded and quilted soon.

Hawaiian batiks –  I finally bought the sashing fabric, so this guy is ready to be finished.  I cut all the sashing out but I still think the layout is not quite right, so I have some more work to do before I’ll get this guy done.

Sewing Machine Bag – I won 2 bag patterns from Sew Sweetness in the 2017 FAL, which was so cool!  One of them, the Aeroplane bag, is the perfect size for my new lightweight sewing machine  that I bought for classes.  I’ve made a good start on the bag and should finish it soon.

Dr. Seuss Go Fish Quilt – I need to make another baby quilt, and these fabrics are just so cute.  It should be a fun one.

 

The Cat Quilt – I have a plan for this quilt, as well as the fabric, but I need to figure out how to get it put together.

 

I have a bunch more fabric pulled out as I’m trying to figure out new projects, so I might start on something entirely different too.  We will see how things go!

Linking up with the Q2’18 FAL site.

Scrappy Strips Block Tutorial

I am the Queen Bee for my group in February.  When the schedule came out in early December, I decided that this year I really wanted to create my own block.  I then proceeded to spend nearly 2 months trying to figure out what block to make!  I started to play around a bit to find a design I like, and I think I came up with a good one.

I’ve seen several postings on Pinterest showing how to use up scraps, and I always found the projects that put together scraps into long strips using receipt tape cool (like this).  I thought I’d start with that idea.

I have a bin I keep above my cutting table for scraps, so I pulled the bin down.

The examples I’ve seen use paper (receipt tape) for the piecing.  I didn’t want to have to tear off all of the paper so I used muslin instead.

To do this yourself, begin by cutting the muslin into 2″ strips then string the strips into one long piece.  From there, start pulling out scraps.  The scraps can be of any size – they just have to be wide enough to cover the 2″ strip.  Below you can see my long muslin strip, and my scraps of different sizes covering the muslin.

I used a thread catcher – a small piece of fabric at the end of the piecing – rather than having to cut lengths of thread before and after every scrap.

After a scrap is added to the strip, fold it, finger press it back, and pin it down to the muslin.  You don’t need to bother to press each scrap as you go.

Place the new scrap on top of the last one and sew it down.  Don’t worry too much about wavy edges – you can always cut it down to a 1/4″ seam after you sew it.

Keep adding scraps to the strip until you get a good length of scrappy strip.  I was working on this during the NFL playoffs and made 4 yards of scrappy strip during the first half of one game!

This is a strip after piecing all the scraps on to the muslin, but before trimming:

Once you get your strip to the length you want, trip it down to the width of the muslin:

After the trimming, the scrappy strip looks like this:

Now that you have a long length of scrappy strip, it’s time to use that strip to make a block.

For my Bee block, I’d prefer blocks that have at least 2 scrappy strips on them, in any configuration you like.  One option is to make a cross block.  To make a 12.5″ block with two scrappy strips, you will need at least 26″ of scrappy strips – probably best to do a full yard.  Make your scrappy strips on a 2″ muslin strip to yield a 1.5″ strip for the finished block.

As the finished block should be 12.5″, start with an all white block that is at least 12.5″ big.  I often have problems getting the block to be big enough in the end, so I find it best to cut my starting piece quite a bit bigger than what I want the finished piece to be.  In this case, starting with a 14″ square will likely give plenty of extra space.

Cut the white square at an angle you like:

Cut a scrappy strip to a length to cover the cut you made, then sew the strip to both halves of the block:

Cut the block in half again on another angle, then cut a scrappy strip to cover the block length.  Sew the scrappy strip to one half of the block:

I often have a hard time getting the cross to match up on the other side, so I developed this method. Use a small ruler to continue to the line of the cross from one side of the block to the edge.  Place a pin in the fabric where the ruler meets the edge of the fabric.  Repeat this on the other side of the strip.

Place the other half of the block over the placement pins, and pin the strip in place (remembering your 1/4″ seam allowances!).

Sew the strip in place and press the block.

This is the finished cross block:

For the Bee block, you don’t need to do a cross.  You can do any design of strips across a solid white background that you like.  For my second block, I started with two strips running across the block:

I didn’t love this – I thought there was too much white space.  I cut it in half and added another strip:

…and I like it much better!

These are my two finished blocks, and I’m pretty happy with them:

 

I hope you enjoy doing the block.  If you aren’t in my Bee group, I hope you try making scrappy strips and some fun improv blocks.  I’d love to see what you make!

 

 

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