Thursday, July 24, 2014

Many Trips Around the World (MTAW) - part 1

When I first started quilting, I made a large Trip Around the World quilt for my parents. Now, as part of my challenge to deal with fabric, projects and stuff in my studio, I have decided to use up my 2 1/2" strips and make a Many Trips Around the World quilt.  I first found this project on Quiltville last year.  

I made a single block with 2" wide strips and thought....too much trouble.  Pieces too small and would take too long.  Fast forward to today.

I have been cutting my print fabrics into 2 1/2" strips.  I have a basket full.  
To make this quilt block I'm using the 2 1/2" cut strips.  They need to be approximately 16" long.  

I am choosing fabrics that have either a value (light and dark) contrast or a print (solid and print) contrast.  I sew strips into pairs of two.
It was head down and sew, sew sew as I chain sewed the 16" lengths together.

Once the strip pairs were sewn I stacked them up and starting sewing pairs into sets of 6 (3 sets of pairs).  I tried to match either a dark with a light or a print with a solid.
I like the 2nd set better.....will use the dark blue and floral print pair elsewhere.
 I sewed pairs....
 Then added a 3rd pair.

That's a lot of block sets.

Fold the strip set in half with 3 strips on each side and sew the set into a tube.
I haven't pressed anything yet, partly because I am lazy and partly because every time I press, I press the wrong direction.  Cross cut the strip tubes into 2 1/2" sections.  The section on the far left gets thrown out.
Now comes the hardest seam on each tube needs to be frogged (stitches picked out).  I make a mistake every time, so this is how I have solved this problem.  I move the units so that the seams I will frog (unpick) are at the top (furthest away from me) to the set. 
I take a few minutes and use my seam ripper, not my rotary cutter, to unpick the stitches. And Voila!  my block is ready to sew.
Because I don't press the seams, I can easily flip the seams in the needed direction so I can nest the seams.

Once I have sewn a set together, I don't want to stop and cut the thread, so I chain piece. I grab another 16" strip set and sew them. 

At the end, clip the block pair from the end of the strip, bring it to the front and add another block set. 

Ta Da!  Block is done......I think I have 19 blocks ready to cut and sew.  Not bad for a couple of hours work this morning.  I only have 91 to make in total!
Watch for Part 2 - the Quilt Top and Part 3 - Quilting for the complete story on this quilt. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

4 Patch Stack Quilt

A few month ago I listed all the quilts I want to get done this year....still working on this list. But as I have been sorting and organizing and getting my life in order, I have found more projects.  Some needed a bit of stitching to finish.  Some, I needed to be honest about and admit I would never finish them...they went to new homes. Some, like this 4 Patch Stack needed to be quilted and bound and sent off to a new home.

This quilt started as a class sample.  The 4 Patch Stack is a simple quilt that can be made with any print fabric.  I like this better than a regular Kaleidoscope Stack and Whack....only 4 squares make up the block. I have spent some time looking for a good tutorial to show how to make these blocks.   Here is one tutorial

Before we go any further......I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  I need to check them carefully on my larger screen (computer) before I give away the quilt!

This is the original fabric.  I loved the paisley swirls...and all the colours were inspiring.  It created delicate little blocks.

At the end of May I attended the Handi Quilter Academy in Salt Lake City and took some classes with Sue Patten. I learned so much!!!!  I am still working my way through all my notes.  One of the things I learned from Sue was how she loads and secures her quilts on the frame for quilting.  She loads the quilt.  Ditches the border.  Stitches her border and then the center of her quilt.  

I ditched (stitch in the ditch) around the outside blocks along the edge of the border.  Then I stitched the candy ribbon variation I learned from Debby Brown at Handi Quilter Academy in May.  I then quilted inside the blocks and the sashing posts before I tackled the border.

Again, I learned so much at the Handi Quilter Academy.  My very last class at the Academy was with Suzanne Hyland.  She talked about taking a variety of quilting motifs and combining them into a unique and cohesive all over stitch design.  I like the little feather paisley sections along with the circles (repeat of the circles in the ribbon candy as well as the curves.

I had a moment of panic when I was finished quilting.  I couldn't find any fabric for the binding.  I had half a dozen possible choices, but I really didn't want to introduce another fabric.  So, the quilt sat draped over my frame for a week until one of those fabrics suggested "spoke" to me.

Low and behold as I was cleaning out some more boxes, I found a chunk of the red fabric (just enough) and a good chunk (about 1 meter) of the block fabric.  Yea!!!!   The binding was cut, sewn and on Sunday I gifted it to a lovely lady in our church.  My prayer is that this quilt will bring her much comfort and warmth.