Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer SpinOut - July 2017 Block Lottery

To say we were excited about the Kona's 2017 Color of Year announcement is an understatement.  

Nothing says Florida (or summer or fun) like Flamingo Pink. 

It's an iconic association, along with orange groves, beaches, and alligators, that immediately comes to mind when you think of the state we call home.  

We (your ECMQG 2017 Board) knew we wanted to use it several different times throughout the year for guild projects.

As soon as Faye mentioned showcasing Flamingo for her stint as the July Block Lottery hostess, we jumped.

Years ago, like we all do whether from Pinterest, a blog, Flickr, etc., Faye saw a tutorial for a block that she wanted to make.  Also like many of us, she never actually found the time to do so.  That sad tale ends here, because Faye found the tutorial, chose her colors and fabric inspiration, and presented it last week.

For the month of July, Faye asks that we make SpinOut, a block and tutorial John Q. Adams, aka quiltdad, designed for The Desperate Housewife's Quilt blogfest.  (Strap yourself into the Way Back Machine.  This happened back in blogland during 2011, which is eons ago in the age of changing social media platforms.)

Colors are Kona Flamingo (or a pink that is REALLY close such as Kona Melon or Kona Punch), a solid gray (more on that in a moment), and a print that has Flamingo in it. 

Natalie helped determine the color challenge.  When selecting the gray - any shade/any manufacturer - fabric, look for the VALUE difference (contrast) between it and the Kona Flamingo.  We found during Saturday's meeting, there is little to no contrast between Flamingo and Kona Medium Gray.  

Notice in the mosaic below, the contrast between the two solid fabrics is lost in the images on the right.  That's what you want to avoid.  

Faye said the things she liked best when constructing her sample blocks was the ability to fussy cut her favorite Tula Pink images and the ease and organization that chain piecing allowed.  Additionally, she particularly liked the secondary pinwheel design the little flamingo corners make once multiple blocks are positioned next to each other.  

Please refer to Faye's blocks for visual placement of your fabrics.  John's tutorial can be found here.

You will need to cut fabric as follows for each 8.5" (unfinished) block:

Cut four (4):
Flamingo - 2.5" x 2.5"
Print - 2.5" x 4.5"
Gray - 2.5' x 2.5" AND 2.5" x  4.5"

Let us know your thoughts.  To make a decent sized quilt with no sashing or borders, we'll need to receive 56 blocks.  It's a good thing these are a fast make! 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Everything's Coming Up Roses - An Improv Rose Tutorial

Hi!  This is Wendi, and I am the project manager for our Q2 community outreach quilt. 

Once again we've agreed to make a quilt for Fisher House of the Emerald Coast supporting their silent auction and gala, a major fundraising event which benefits military and military families during times of medical need.

The vision for 2017's quilt is a bed of roses - literally!  The blocks are improvisationally pieced roses inspired by Corey Yoder's Newtown Auction Pillow.  Corey used a Quilt As You Go (QAYG) method, but our roses are going to remain unquilted until the top is put together.

Using the method below, you may create roses any size between 6" and 18".  As you can see, these blocks are not square, so you will have estimate their size.  They can be any color that you might see actual roses growing in a garden, although you might wish to stay away from white, since our background is going to be low volume on white.  The blocks are super scrappy, but try to stay within one general color family - reds, oranges, pinks, yellows, etc.    It's ok if your fabrics have other colors in them, but the fabrics should "read" your primary color.

Edit:  Two colors you will NOT find in natural roses are blue and black.  Please do not make roses in these colors.

So get out your scrap bag and let's get started. 

Choose a small scrap of yellow or orange for your center.  Since my block is going to be orange, I chose yellow.  If your block is square, cut some of the corners off so that it is NOT square.  I like to start out with 5 sides.

Choose the fabric for your first strip.  It should be between 1" and 2-1/2" wide and slightly longer than the side of the center you intend to attach it to.  You may use solids mixed in with your prints, but please do not use all solids. I generally start with narrower pieces and gradually add wider strips.  Remember that you will be trimming the width frequently, so try not to begin with extremely narrow pieces.

Tip 1:  Since the pieces in my scrap box tend to be very wrinkled, I find it helpful to press each piece before I sew them together.  You may use starch, but I find that a light sprinkling of water or steam works well. 

Tip 2:  Since some of your edges will be on the bias, be careful not to stretch too much when you stitch and press.

Tip 3:  Be sure to use a 1/4" seam.  Seams that are too narrow tend to fray and pull apart, and we want our quilts to have quality construction.

Sew the two fabrics together.

Press the seam away from the center.

Trim off the excess.

Trim the other side.  Try to avoid 90-degree angles.

Repeat the process on another center edge.  Stitch.



Trim the other side.

Repeat, building your rose "log-cabin style", adding a new strip to the next side in order, although it doesn't matter if you build to the left or to the right each time.



Trim.  Here, I trimmed off the 2nd strip so that it was at an angle.  Be sure to leave more than 1/4" all along your strip for your seam allowance.

Trim the other side and cut your strips at different angles each time to give interest to your "rose."

Repeat the entire process - Stitch.  Press.  Trim.... working your way around and around your "rose." 

Trim off odd corners and try to avoid 90-degree angles and straight strips.

If you notice that you have a "corner" approaching 90-degrees, cut it off.  As your "rose" grows, this will create a number of new "sides" to your flower.

Keep adding rows...



Avoiding straight strips and 90-degree corners...

And "grow" or "build" your flower...

Around and around until you are satisfied with its size...

Give it one last trim....

Until it makes you happy. 

I try to balance the colors to avoid all the darker fabrics being on one side, but honestly, no matter how you put them together, these "roses" are pretty.

If you have any questions, give me a shout!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fractured Curves - June 2017 Block Lottery

Greetings Modern Quilters!
I’m Natalie and here is this month’s block lottery. 
I drew upon two awesome creators for this block, Carole Lyles Shaw and Anne Deister at SpringLeaf Studios.
We are having some improv fun this month with a beautiful block that Carole Lyles Shaw developed for the 2016 Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop called Fractured Curves. Carole describes herself as a modern quilt designer, author, and workshop instructor. She takes a modern, improvisational approach to her quilting projects and enjoys the free expression and individualism that modern quilting embraces. You can find out more about Carole at her website
We are also experimenting with an analogous color scheme and Anne Deister of SpringLeaf Studios wrote a blog with a great visual of all the analogous combinations on the color wheel we are studying, along with stunning photos that are helpful. With a background in graphic design, Anne confesses a love for combining fabric patterns and colors and her obsession is now a full-time pursuit. You can find out more about Anne at her website
With this block, we will explore two different skill sets – improvisational piecing with drunkards path blocks, slicing, rearranging, adding – AND the analogous color scheme with a 4 step value change.

Each block requires 4 – 10” square pieces.
One 10” square must be EITHER – Kona, Bella, Blake, Miller WHITE OR Alison Glass Abacus Carved in Charcoal
Before choosing your next 3 fabrics, read through Anne’s blog post Analogous Colors (November 27, 2015) Analogous Colors blog by SpringLeaf Studios

The remaining 3 fabric 10” squares must be SOLID, Moda Grunge, or Moda Grunge Hits the Spot in any combination you choose. They must represent an analogous color scheme – meaning they are right next to each other on the color wheel. You may choose 1, 2 OR 3 colors. Regardless of how many colors you choose, you must have 3 different values represented. Use the mono or black and white setting on your phone and select a light, medium, and dark value. 

You will also need 2 pieces approximately 4”x7.5”. You won’t use these until the very end so don’t cut these out yet - see Tip for Step 11.

Carole created a free detailed tutorial for the block
·       Starch those 10” squares before cutting. Because we are working with curves, there is a tendency to stretch the fabric on the bias which makes wonky things happen. Starch will help the fabric retain its shape.
·      In step 2, Carole cuts from R to L going down – it was easier for me to go from R to L in an upwards direction.
·      In step 3, I placed my top fabric away from the edge about ½” – 1” and continued sewing. My result was more balanced. 

·      In step 4, I ironed out toward the “L” shape regardless of light or dark. There was less bunching of the eased-in fabric. 
·       At the end of step 9 – you could be finished, the block looks pretty cool, but keep going!!!
·       In step 10, I cut through the block on the diagonal right through that very middle seam where the 4 different fabrics intersect – the 5” measurement didn’t work for me for some reason. Use whatever angle you want here as long as you cut through that intersection.

·      In step 11, for the 4” x 7.5” pieces you have 3 choices:
o   Continue to follow Carole’s directions,
o   Make your own scrappy fabric from your trimmings,
o   OR choose a single piece of fabric in one or two of your 4 colors. I like this one best.
·       In step 14, trim to 12.5” square. YOU decide what sections to keep and what sections to cut off. The best part, SAVE what you cut off. If you turn in these final trimmings in with your block you receive two tickets, WOW!
Remember to use hashtags for our social media friends
@carole_lylesshaw #fracturedcurves #springleafstudios
Have fun sewing improvisationally!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hidden Gems - May 2017 Block Lottery


I’m Jill and I’m leading this month’s block lottery!

I chose a visually stunning paper pieced block from Diane Bohn of From Blank Pages. Diane's been blogging for more than seven years, began quilting while pregnant with her first child, (because you know, a baby needed a quilt), and designed her first pattern in 2011. To say I love her patterns is an understatement! 

Diane originally wrote Hidden Gems for The Bee Hive. It's a modern geometric block with killer points that are hard to come by with any method other than the precision paper piecing allows. What I love most, is the secondary design once all of the blocks are assembled.
Hidden Gems is available on Diane’s pattern page, here. She provides two options for printing - either legal sized or letter sized. I recommend choosing the larger legal sized paper in order to avoid taping pieces together.
Diane's step-by-step instructions are a great resource, as are the included coloring pages (for visualizing that secondary design) and cutting templates (especially good if you are fussy cutting or are using lovingly hoarded fabric).

For our version, please use yellow, blue-green, and navy.  The Background fabric is a low volume that reads white (can include some grey or black, but no tan or browns).

Note: The pattern pieces are lettered (A & B) and numbered (1 - 12) because they are mirror images. I made a little cheat sheet to help with color organization.

Low volume: 1, 4, 9, 12
Yellow: 2, 5, 8, 13
Navy: 3, 6, 11
Blue-green: 7, 10

Finally, before you start, here are my top paper piecing tips:

1 - Print accurately. Do not use the "print to fit" option. Templates should be actual size! Double check that the 1” line on the pattern really does measure 1 inch. Believe me, there is nothing worse than realizing after you’ve done a significant amount of sewing, that your block is the wrong size!
2 - Label your paper with the colors before starting. It’s so easy to mix up which color goes where and end up with a mess. Once you've printed the templates, take a few seconds to look at the cheat sheet and label each shape with the corresponding fabric color.
3 - Shorten your stitch length; it is much easier to rip out the papers later. If you want to be extra careful to make sure your fabric will line up right, use a normal stitch length or even slightly longer, to sew the fabric once. Then, after verifying that points match, seams match, etc., sew back over the line with a much shorter stitch length.

Now, you’re ready to sew!

Be sure to tag your social media pictures with #ecmqg #ecmqgblocklottery #fbppatterns #fbphiddengems.

Thanks for sewing with us. See you in May!


PS. You know I really want to win these blocks!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

You Showed Us - March 2017

Jo shared her denim woven purse - upcycled - the sides made from the hems of the jeans.  Wonderfully, creative, Jo!         


Marcia had two upcycled denim blanket/quilt tops that have a home on bunkbeds in her house.  These were from her daughter's jeans.


Mary had a very busy February and early March, creativewise.  Here's the beginning of a pillow made from our block lottery Letha's Electric Fan.

The fabric she bought from our Donation Table last month turned into a couple of Noodlehead Open Wide Zippered pouches and a pillow top.  

Mary's last project was a quilt, like the one we made and donated to the Ronald McDonald House last year, from a stack of 3.5" squares Cindy had gifted her.  Both quilts were scrappy versions of the Reverse Rainbow Star.  

Wendi had two old UFOs completed.  The first was her Fresh Flowers quilt.  

The second was her Spools quilt, orginally started at Stash Bash several years ago.  The pattern is from Camille Roskelly of Thimble Blossoms and is jelly roll friendly!