10.20.2014

QAYG Quilt Along - End of Week 1

Hello! Last night marked the end of Week 1 for my Quilt As-You-Go Quilt Along! As mentioned last week in my QAYG Quilt Along Kickoff post, the goal was to have 5 Quilt As-You-Go (QAYG) blocks completed by yesterday. If you've completed your five blocks, congratulations! You are on track! No worries if you're a little behind as this quilt along acts as a fun guide so we can all quilt together and share our work amongst our everyday, busy schedules. I have to say it's been amazing seeing everyone's progress!

If you're seeing this for the first time (welcome!), you can find out details about my QAYG Quilt Along from my Introduction and kickoff post to help get you started.

Goal: Today (Monday, October 20th) marks the start of Week 2 for my QAYG Quilt Along. The goal is to complete an additional 5 blocks within the next 7 days  (by Sunday, October 26th). I will be checking in on social media to see people's progress, and will do a follow up blog post this weekend.

In my book Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern, I have a section on 'Squaring Up your blocks' in the Quilt As-You-Go Techniques section. There I recommend getting yourself a 14"x14" rotating cutting mat, which you can find at your local craft store or quilt shop, or Amazon. I like to get mine from Joanne Fabrics and use one of their 40-50% off coupons, usually found on their website.

These work great for squaring up your QAYG blocks, but will also come in handy for traditional quilting as well. See for yourself and take a look at my little video I put together (with much help from my hubby!) to see how efficient a rotating cutting mat really is:
video
It will make your quilting life easier, so go treat yourself! It's one of my most used quilting tools. Also, before squaring up your blocks don't forget to read the 'Squaring Up the Blocks' section in the Techniques chapter of my book for more tips on which squaring up technique to use, as well as other options if you don't have a 12.5" square ruler.

That being said, I will keep this post short and sweet. Good luck quilting-as-you-go your next 5 blocks! I will check back next weekend.

In the meantime, check out my Facebook and Instagram for live updates and pictures on people's progress (hashtag #QuiltAsYouGoMadeModern or tag me)! 

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. :)

10.13.2014

QAYG Quilt Along kickoff!

Goal for Week 1: Have 5 quilted blocks completed by this Sunday,  October 19.

Today is the beginning of Week 1 for my first Quilt As-You-Go Quilt Along! Please refer to my Introduction post for details on supplies and how this works. Also, if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment as I will be checking and answering as often as I can. 

For those of you that are seeing this for the first time - Welcome! Feel free join or follow this quilt along at any time, on my blog, facebook and instagram. (Details in my intro post here).

Please Read! What I hope all of you will get out of this quilt along (other than a finished quilt!), is to show you that by using this QAYG technique, you can make a quilt without following a precise pattern. In fact, your quilt doesn't have to look exactly like my 'Red Square' pattern (unless you want it to). You can make your quilt as abstract or traditional looking as you want - there's so much room to improvise and be creative using this simple technique. This quilt will be ALL YOU, and if you decide to follow the 'Red Square' pattern, you'll soon find that no 2 blocks are the same. This is a really creative,  fun and forgiving technique, so enjoy yourself!

Before you start, please read my post for some tips and what to expect as you get started on your QAYG project.
Fabrics from www.WhimsyQuiltsandFabrics.com
First of all, thank you (to those who voted on facebook and IG) for helping me decide which fabric bundle to use for this quilt along. The majority of votes were for this romantic bundle, which I was actually leaning towards. I think it's the beautiful Autumn colors that won us over.

Now, down to business :) As mentioned in my book Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern, the Red Square' pattern is "...similar to making a Log Cabin Style block (page 18 [for Kindle readers see "QAYG Techniques" chapter]), except you can add strips to any side of the patchwork and in no particular order." 

For this quilt along, I decided to make a more traditional style block as shown on page 18 of the paperback book (or in the techniques chapter). I will be starting with my first piece quilted in the center and adding additional pieces in a clockwise fashion. (Remember: you don't have to make your quilt exactly like this. You can make yours closer to the 'Red Square' pattern, or another log cabin style block. Now that you've read the book and know the technique, you can implement it to make  a log-cabin style block that you want, or that goes best with your fabrics. Isn't it refreshing having a little bit of freedom with a pattern? :)
I also decided to divide my fabrics into lights and darks. Half of my block will be light and the other half dark. My fabric colors are so soft that the light/dark contrast is subtle. As I start making more blocks and eventually lay them out next to one another, I think you'll start seeing the contrast, though subtle it may pop from afar.
For these blocks I cut my fabrics into 3"-3.5" x WOF (width of fabric) strips. I like having varying sizes to make sure I cover up the batting. Then, I put all my strips into a basket and started quilting!
This is how my QAYG setup usually looks like: My basket full of strips, some fabric scissors at hand, and an iron nearby (I have a small table top ironing board). Depending on the size of your strips, you may find that you can just finger press the pieces instead if ironing them each time. You don't need a lot of space to QAYG!
Always remember to use at least a 1/4" seam allowance. You might be tempted to go less so that your fabric strip will cover the edge of a batting square (this will make more sense once you get started). Please refrain from doing that or else your patchwork will unravel after a wash.

After you've quilted your pieces onto the batting square, it will look something similar to this.Yes, it looks a little frumpy. But just wait until we square them up! My next post this weekend will have some squaring-up tips.
One last thing: Please remember to read the Quilting Techniques section (page 24 of the paperback book). There are so many more options to quilt your QAYG blocks other than my "individual quilting" that you see here.

If you are doing individual quilting, I did want to mention that it is OK to zig-zag your stitches where the seam allowance will be (or on the batting) so that you don't have to cut the thread  after each stitch (see image below). This may be helpful if you don't have an automatic thread cutter on your sewing machine.
I hope these tips will help get you started on your projects. If you have any questions along the way, please leave a comment and I will do my best to respond as quickly as I can. :)

Again, the goal is to have 5 blocks quilted by this Sunday, October 19. I will be back with another wrap-up blog post for week 1, with some tips on squaring up your blocks as well. Week 2 will start on Monday the 20th.

Happy quilting as-you-go!

10.10.2014

Quilt-As-You-Go Quilt Along!

4 weeks with 5 blocks per week. By week 4, we will all assemble our quilts (which will already be quilted!). Are you in? :)

A couple days ago I announced a Quilt As-You-Go (QAYG) Quilt Along on Facebook and Instagram and got a pretty good show of interest (yippee!). I also got a handful of questions, so here is a quick post with what you need to know.

How it works: We will QAYG together for 4 weeks. We will all quilt 5 blocks per week, for a total of 20 blocks. By the end of week 4, we will assemble our quilts! This quilt-along will start on Monday (October 13). I will do weekly updates on my blog with some helpful tips along the way (feel free to comment with questions as well, as I will be checking as best I can).

Follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram for a live feed of this quilt along! Hashtag #QuiltAsYouGoMadeModern. I will also be making weekly blog updates.

Supplies to Get Started:
  • You will need the book, Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern. Don't have it? You can quickly download it for your iPad/Kindle/nook HERE, or order a paperback copy HERE (if it's not at your local bookstore!).
  • 20 batting squares (13.5" squares) - Batting details on the 'Getting Started' chapter of my book. 
  • About 14 fat quarters (or quarter yard cuts). Sizable scraps will be okay too! 
  • Thread - I like using a neutral colored thread. With QAYG, it's easy to do a lot of intricate quilting since you're quilting on small batting blocks. Neutral colored thread won't compete with your fabrics.
We will be working on my 'Red Square' quilt which is on page 48 of the paperback book. On the nook/kindle, just navigate via the table of contents. 

Please note that although the name is called Red Square, this does not mean your fabric has to be red. I got a few questions about this so I wanted to clarify.  
A fun tidbit: I named this quilt after Red Square (depicted in the water color below), which is the heart of the University of Washington where I went to college. In fact, all of the quilts in my book have Seattle-themed names. :)
photo from www.seattlewatercolors.com
When choosing your fabrics, think about the overall look of the quilt. Remember that bold/darker colors will really pop out of your quilt. For this red and white quilt, I alternated with dark and light (and small-scale and bigger-scale designs) to help break it up. There's also the option to assemble your blocks together using joining strips (details in the book) which is a nice way to subtly break up your blocks.
photo by C&T Publishing

photo by C&T Publishing
On the other hand, softer colors blend really well next to one another even if you have a lot of busy prints. Below are a couple examples of my Red Square quilt using a softer, low-volume (i.e. prints with a lot of white background) color palette.

Have fun with the fabrics you choose! If you have fabrics with detailed images, you can do some fussy cutting to frame the prints. (Fussy CutTo cut pieces of fabric so that a particular part of the printed design is centered or featured).
Above and below are a couple examples of fussy-cutting.
Before you start, I encourage you to read the 'Quilt As-You-Go Techniques' chapter. As stated in my book, you really will "find lots of helpful tidbits that will allow you to use this technique at its best." :)

Finally, remember that this is all for fun so enjoy yourself! Don't feel bad if you can't keep up with the 5 blocks per week. Life get's busy (in fact I will be out of town for 2 weeks of it! but will find a way around it). You can always catch up at your own pace. QAYG is great for anyone with a busy schedule because it's easy to start and stop. Anything left half done will already be quilted, making it easy to quickly pick up where you left off. 

This quilt along is a great way to get you started, and if you stay with it, you will see how practical it is to finish a quilt (from start to finish) on your own, even with a busy schedule!

Have fun! I'll be back next week with a blog update. In the meantime, follow me on Facebook and Instagram for a live feed of my progress, and I hope to share photos of other people's progress as well. 

Hashtag #QuiltAsYouGoMadeModern or @quiltingintherain on instagram!

Happy Quilting-As-You-Go!

10.08.2014

Fabulously Fast Quilts finished with QAYG

I've been wanting to make a small wall-hanging quilt with some Fall colors to replace my tiny tulips quilt by my door. When the talented Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter sent me her new book, Fabulously Fast Quilts, I quickly fell in love with this particular block.
I've always loved the look of this traditional block pattern but have been intimidated to try it - it looks complicating! Amy's book explained how to make it in a couple of simple steps, and before I knew it I had made 8 blocks!
The pattern in her book is called Modern Buzz Saw (it's also Layer cake friendly!). One of these days I plan to make the full quilt because the blocks really do come together fast! For those of you that have been following me, you'll know that I like it simple but creative! Amy's book get's right down to business with complicated-looking patterns, but simplified with a modern twist so that even a beginner quilter could make these patterns.
To finish this quilt I decided to quilt-as-you-go (QAYG) to just get it done. Although a lot of my patterns in my book, Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern, have an improvisational twist on quilt patterns, there is also the option to finish any quilt using the QAYG technique (details on page 32). So in other words, you can take any quilt pattern and assemble the blocks 'traditionally,' but then finish it using the QAYG technique. It's great to have so many options!
It's also a great way to use up those batting scraps from other quilt projects. Don't throw away your batting scraps people! I like to save all of my scraps in a bin that I roll under my table. When I get the chance, I cut the scraps up into squares so they're ready for a QAYG project. 
For this lovely block I quilted lines along the seams to give it a clean finish. The fabric patterns are kind of busy so I thought some simple quilting would compliment it the best.

 And here's the lovely block after it's been assembled.
As usual, Paige likes to cuddle the quilted blocks. ;)
Thanks for stopping by! Though I only made a small wall hanging, it sure feels good to accomplish something! Lately, mini quilts seem to be my saving grace.
 Happy Quilting!




9.28.2014

BOO! Pillow Tutorial

 
In celebration of Autumn (my fave season of the year!) I've put together this fun and simple pillow tutorial for you all. I used EZ-Steam by Pellon to quickly applique "BOO!" onto this pillow. This stuff lasts and doesn't fray. Thank you all for supporting my work! I hope you enjoy this project!

This makes a 16"x12" pillow cover with an envelope closure, and binding around the edge for a nice finish. 

Materials:
  • One fat quarter of burlap (or enough to cut a 17"x13" rectangle)
  • 3/8 yard backing 
  • 1/8 yard binding
  • scraps for "BOO!" 
  • EZ-Steam by Pellon
  • pillow insert (16x12)
Step 1: From the burlap, cut a 17"x13" rectangle. Then, download and print my "BOO!" template HERE. (Note: the letters are in reverse since you will be tracing it onto the EZ-Steam and essentially making a sticker out of it).

Step 2:  Follow the instructions on the EZ-Steam package to attach the fusible web to your scrap fabric. But first you will need to trace the "BOO!" template onto the EZ-Steam sheet per the directions. Tip: it helps to trace it up against a window for better lighting.
Tip: When ironing, be sure to put some fabric or muslin in between your EZ-Steam and the iron to prevent glue from accidentally getting on your iron.  I forgot to do this in the picture above, but got lucky.

Using sharp scissors, cut out the word "Boo!".
Step 3: Then, peel the backing off like a sticker (Tip: it helps to start peeling it with the tip of a pin to get it started). Place the letters on the center of your burlap and then iron it on. EZ-Steam is a permanent adhesive and will not fray. If you want, you can stitch around the letters but it is not required.

Step 4: Create an envelope closure for the backing. From your backing fabric, cut two 11″x13″ rectangles. Along the length (13"),  turn the edge 1/4″ under, press, then turn under 1″, then press again. Stitch along the fold to keep in place to create a pretty seam. Repeat on the other rectangle as well.

With right sides facing together, take one rectangle and align it along the left side of the pillow cover. The finished seam you created from the previous step should be facing toward the right. Pin to keep in place, then sew a 1/4″ seam allowance along the perimeter as illustrated by the dashed line below. Start and end your stitch with a back-stitch.
Repeat with the other rectangle, but align it on the right side of the pillow. Trim the corners to get rid of bulk fabric, and then turn right side out through the envelope opening.

Step 5: Lastly, bind the pillow using my Binding and Blind Stitching tutorial. You will need to cut two 2.5" strips x WOF from your binding fabric. 
 And you're done! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial :) Have a happy and warm autumn!
 

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