Monday, February 1, 2010

Tulip Chains Pieced Except Outer Border

Here it Tulip Chains quilt top only lacks the outermost cream border. This measures roughly 48" wide by 72" tall now. I am making it for a nap time quilt for myself. I have a large floral print I love with a red background that I have no other reds to match. I think I'll use it for the back of this quilt if I have enough. That way I'll get to see it as much as I want, and it won't be chopped up into small pieces! Win/win situation if you ask me.

For the longest time I cut all my scraps into 2" squares. This quilt went together so quickly because of them. I was making 4-patches with them with 2 creams and 2 colors. A lot of them are used up. I added to them to make the 9-patches for the center of the quilt and used a lot more as the outer border. I am down to one small stack of maybe 15 four-patches from the original huge pile. That's why this went together so quickly.

Good night!!


Leader Ender Spool Blocks

Here is a quick tutorial on how I'm piecing my spool blocks. Bonnie Hunter wrote the book, literally, on leader/enders. I am constantly amazed that some piecers have no idea what these are. I've made most of my quilts in the past year using this method. While I'm purposely making something else, I piece large portions of my units for my next quilt. While I'm finishing that one up, I start my next leader/ender. Lather, rinse, repeat, LOL!

Here is the way I do it. Your mileage may vary.

The most important part is having block pieces near the sewing machine. Every time you finish an assembly line of piecing, you put two more pieces together.

Each of my spool blocks (see one finished in the back of the pic) has a print 2" x 5" rectangle, four 2" squares of the same print, and 2 cream 2" x 5" strips.

I have been doing the first step as a set of two so I make sure I have the same background print. You could do it one at a time. I have lots of small pieces around my machine. No sense confusing myself!

I drew a line on my machine base and sewing table with a Sharpie. I need to reapply it often. It is used like an Angler so I don't have to mark my fabric for the HST seams.

After sewing the diagonal seam, trim and press open. (see the last spool block in the background). My ironing board is to the left of my machine. I use a swiveling office chair as my sewing chair. It gives great support and makes it easy to spin towards the ironing board. Yes--I do that one seam and put it back next to my sewing machine.

When I need another leader/ender, I pick up that same piece and add the other corner. If the squares were bigger, I'd double sew them and have a stack of small HSTs to iron open for a future quilt. But these are very small, so I'm just tossing the trimmings.

Trim and press open. Then the next step is adding the center print fabric.

Repeat that last step with the other side of the spool block, and voila'!! Another spool block finished. Another thing that surprises a lot of quilters is that I use pins as little as possible. Saves a ton of time.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Christmas Cactus and Chains

Here is an updated pic on my Tulip Chains quilt and my lone Christmas cactus bloom.

It appears that the bloom is a light peach/pink color. Having one blossom is like putting all your eggs in one basket!!

I am tired of sewing the rows together on my quilt. I only have six more horizontal seams to do. Then I have to add a cornerstone border on both sides and two rows on each side of 2" blocks. I have those rows pieced. Then one final cream border. Nearly there.