Another star sampler

I’m blogging from the doctors office!  Thanks android!

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When Sukie called for a Block Along for the new Vintage Quilt Revival book, I couldn’t resist because I’ve had so little time to sew lately that a 12.5″ block a week suited me perfectly!

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I made the Double Z block from the book and I also made the Aurifil block of the month featuring Zen Chic because I love spools and I can’t resist an opportunity to win more thread!

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Now for that lone star setting I just need 5 more blocks, probably from the Vintage Quit Revival book, but I think one will be from the new Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month!

So much in store for 2014

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My last act of sewing on New Years eve was to put these blocks to finish up my year of hosting the Bee Biased block swap on Threadbias. I really enjoyed working with the monthly deadlines and some months it felt like the only sewing I had time to do.

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Marsha at http://quilterinmotion.net/ is so cheerful and communicative she reminds me of why online communities can be such an effective source of friendship and inspiration. I loved getting to know you Marsha and I hope you like your blocks!

2014 is shaping up to be a busy year for me but I’m delighted to realize that spending the last year with the Seattle MQG has inspired me to sew for myself rather than always starting quilts as gifts.  I am setting a goal to finish four quilts this year, all of which will be “keepers.”

Blueberries for Sal

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For another new baby born last week. I was inspired to make this for the QNL Magazine Traditional to Modern contest but didn’t finish quilting in time to enter it.fortunately it is also a binary quilt, so I may borrow it back for the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Binary Challenge.  So at least I finished in time for that.  Quilt time is scarce these days but I am happy.

Arithmetic Block – Everything Blue Block Hop

#arithmetic block +  (actually +,-, ÷, and x) and tutorial              `Do your math`- Erykah Badu

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I drafted this pattern last spring, intending to write up a block tutorial in time for my July Bee Month at the Threadbias Bee Biased block swap, but it didn’t happen until now.

I was first inspired to make this block after President Clinton’s DMC 2012 convention speech on balancing the budget and trickle-down economics where he coined the Twitter trending hash tag of #arithmetic in a brilliant oral quip that still persists today in current discussions around Obamacare and balancing the budget today. I’d been contemplating a numerical operations type quilt block for awhile, I love mathematical and physical science expressions, and the juxtaposition of quilting with technology and social media. I’ve been really into letters, symbols and glyphs in quilts lately, so I just knew I had to make this block. The button below is a link to the Clothworks Block Hop this block is proud to be a part of!

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Clothworks has been asking some local community members to make blocks for a charity quilt and they gave out free fabrics from Marsha McCloskey’s new fabric line, “Everything Blue” when I realized I was finally going to get that tutorial written!  “Everything Blue” has several meanings for me:  first, McCloskey’s son and I went to the same school in the late 80’s and I remember her contributions to the school’s fundraising including a quilt the year I was there. I already loved patchwork and embroidery even though I didn’t finish my first quilt until 2000. But it was blue and white prints that I first began buying in the early 90’s and many of the florals I used in my dresses in the eighties found their way with those lovely blue calicos into my daughter’s baby quilt that I completed with pride. At the time, I lived near  In The Beginning, a heavenly quilt shop near my home that I eventually began to work at part-time, that hosted feathered star workshops taught by Marsha, and she published the “Blended Quilts” series with Sharon Yenter of In The Beginning. It was a great pleasure to make this block and practice some of my floral blending techniques on this block featuring Marsha’s Everything Blue floral prints. In the meanwhile, I came across this quilt last week in the Modern Quilt Guild flickr group! I had considered this same design before I decided to stick with the old fashioned division symbol, but if you want to skip the appliqué, there’s a possible option for you to modify my block. You could also draft circles for fusible applique.

I didn’t get to request this block of my swap mates in July, but now I might have to make another blue one for myself, and in fact, maybe I need a rainbow of them! Thanks to Clothworks for inviting me to blog about my block! You will notice I chose to hand appliqué my circles for the division patch, you of course are welcome to use a modern fusible technique, but if you are new to hand-appliqué, this is a really great way to try it out with out over-committing, I sewed these two circles in less than half an hour, so you might be able to sneak them in during a single episode of Doctor Who (or whatever you are watching right now, I am so open to any recommendations while I wait for the first episode of Whedon’s “Agents of S. H. I. E. L. D.” to air).

Here is the tutorial below, but I will make a separate page/pdf link to it shortly.

Arithmetic Block  – this is a FREE tutorial, enjoy and share photos at http://www.flickr.com/groups/2306478@N20/ but please do not charge for any patterns which use this tutorial or any photos!

Finished Block size 12 inches, unfinished 12.5 inches:

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Fabric required:  4 fat quarters, two lighter value and two darker values. This block can be made from 4 fat eighths (9″x11″ pieces of fabric) if you cut carefully, backgrounds use the most fabric. Numbers in () indicate the # of each to be rotary cut.

Light Background Fabric: Add – (5) 3″ E squares, cut one square into (4) 1.5″ C squares, Multiply – (8) 1.75″ J squares, (2) 1.5″x6.5″ D rectangles, (2) 1.5″x4.5″ A rectangles

Dark Background Fabric: Subtract – (2) 1.5″X6.5″ D rectangles, (2) 3″x4.5″ F rectangles, Divide – (2) 1.5″ C squares, (2) 3″x6.5″ G rectangles

Dark (+ Add and x Multiply Symbols): (2) 1.5″x2″ B rectangles, (1) 1.5″x4.5″ A rectangle, (4) 2.5″ K squares

Light (- Subtract and ÷ Divide Symbols): (2) 1.5″x4.5″ A rectangles, (2) appliqué circles

Arithmetic Block Diagram 

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All seams are 1/4″ seams pressed open unless otherwise noted.  See diagram below for appliqué pattern and seam pressing. This is usually as far as I go on a pattern and then I just make up my own construction, pressing seams after I sew them, so do what works best for you!

Directions

(1) Add: Sew B to C and then attach E squares to each side, sew C squares to each end of the A rectangle and then sew the larger rectangles to each side of the narrow center one.

(2) Subtract: Sew each F rectangle to either side of A, and then attach narrow D rectangles

(3)  Multiply: Place J squares over opposite corner of K squares, sew down the diagonal (mark with a pencil if needed), trim seams to scant 1/4 ” and press open gently. When attaching these squares to each other, I pressed all seams open until attaching the A and D rectangles, when I pressed away from the center:

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(4) Divide: Sew C squares to ends of A rectangle, then attach large H rectangles.  I wait to add appliqué (see step 6) until the entire block is pieced to help with placement.

(5) Trim inside edges of blocks if needed before sewing Add to Subtract and Divide to Multiply, press seams toward Subtract block and Divide block, sew remaining units together and press final horizontal seam open.

(6) Trace circles from thread spool end onto the fabric for the Divide (÷) symbol (see my photos for tracing and placement)

Appliqué  Directions

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Trace around a thread spool end, keeping the pen vertical while you trace to keep the circle even and broad. I will cut around the line and turn under a scant 1/4″ as I go, use the alignment with the bottom “Add” seam above the top circle to center your first circle.

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If you are new to hand appliqué, be patient with yourself and go back and look at my circles… they are definitely not perfect, but they are good enough! I bring up the needle as shown, right in the center of where I’ve finger-pressed the seam under, take one invisible backstitch and then come up again from underneath, right at the seam edge.  I am right-handed so I sew from right to left so I can see my stitches. I take little 1/8″ or smaller stitches, and try to keep turning the seam under every two to three stitches.  The biggest cause of stretching or shrinking circles seems to come from not pinning, or pressing the block as you go.  Some people take invisible stitches and some take tiny stitches over the edge of the pressed seam, I kind of do both depending on how my seam feels, just matching my thread and keeping stitches small. You can press over pins, but press the block and the pinned circle before stitching, especially if you stop and start again later after it has been folded or put away. I hope you like my first tutorial!

Machine Applique or Hand Applique?

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I did this Spinning Pumpkins block today for a swap on Threadbias.com and I realized its been a long time since I did any machine applique. I enjoy the precision machine butttonhole stitching but all told I think I’ve improved at my hand applique and it may actually be faster for me.

I have a little hand applique on my upcoming block tutorial. This will be my first tutorial and its a good skill builder including some basic beginner applique, which I enjoyed making so much I may be starting a new set of blocks!

Ruby Star and Bainbridge Island Quilt Show

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Here’s my Ruby Star hanging at the Bainbridge Island Quilt Show today.  I think this is the flattest image I’ve got!

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And here’s Anna next to her quilt ‘Refresh!’ We volunteered for the same shift as members of the quilt patrol, but she was actually assigned to the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild section. I’m sure both of her quilts generated a lot of discussion. 

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This was probably my favorite quilt that I hadn’t seen before and it was in my section…it was also quilted using embroidery thread and large stitches. I think I will try this modern approach on my next hand quilted project instead of the tiny ones I’m sewing on the ferry.

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There is nothing like a quilt show to feel inspired to create, so I’m glad I’m on the ferry home where I hope to get a couple hours to sew today and play with my new fabric from Esther’s Fabrics.