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.

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!