Thursday, March 31, 2016
gypsy wife friends, if you are in need of the pdf files of the block or strip charts, i now have them available to you with only a click! the dear rachel hauser, of stitched in color, tipped me off on how to embed the pdf file link by uploading to google drive. hallelujah! now you don't have to wait for me to email and i don't have to worry that i forgot to email them to you. if i did (shame on me!) forget to email the files to you, now you can skip right past me and download them yourselves.
gypsy wife block chart
gypsy wife strips chart
Monday, March 28, 2016
no one minds that mine is still technically in 5 pieces, right? that will be dealt with shortly.
how did this month go for you? i know pershing was quite a block to tackle. still, i have seen many section two's completed on instagram. i think in general it was an easy-ish month/section. hardly any strips this time around.
the main complaint i am hearing is people are having difficulty in getting the sizing right on section pieces which leads to them not matching up well. if you are experiencing this, you are not alone! this is such a huge frustration after all the work put into individual blocks. i think the key here is in the scant 1/4" seam. i've noticed that even when my component pieces are perfectly sized i can have trouble with the block being a bit small. just the nature of working with so many intricate pieces, i suppose. so if my pieces are accurately sized, it has to be my seam wherein the problem lies, right? it's not too hard to adjust for that when a few pieces are going together, but it can make a big difference in the areas where there are lots of pieces or strips. my best advice is master that scant 1/4" seam and keep trucking. i know we all want these labor-intensive quilts to be perfect, but i'm told by the veterans that it's such a busy quilt, the little faults tend to get lost. so let's just keep going, shall we?
did you know that even those spectacular 1/4" piecing feet you buy for your machine need to be checked? if you are having sizing issues, i suggest you check your foot for accuracy. and the next step is to figure out the scant 1/4" seam, which basically means you are sewing a thread or two less than 1/4".
for some guidance on the scant 1/4" seam or how to find out if your machine foot is accurate, check out some of these tutorials:
diary of a quilter
that quarter inch!
i hope this helps!
so how did you do?
what do you think about this section and it's blocks?
any tips or suggestions for others who will be doing these in the future?
gyspy wife section two link party
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
for a little over a year now, i've had these pinwheel blocks sitting quietly on the backburner, coming out to play occasionally when i needed a break from other projects. i'm in no rush on this one. it'll likely be a holiday quilt, only out on special occasions, so i'm not feeling pressured to finish it quickly. especially since it's intended holiday has already passed for the year.
i originally saw this lovely photo on instagram last year and fell in love with the simple pinwheel patchwork in sweet colors. (i know, more hsts in a basic patchwork layout. what can i say? they really appeal to me!) the fabrics reminded me of a stack i had sitting in my stash. it was a fat quarter bunch i had acquired from the quilted castle very early on in my "brand new quilter, must build a stash, frantically buy anything and everything" days. like most everything i bought at the time, it was fabric that appealed to me on some level, but didn't really fit my evolving quilting style.
i'm still a sap for big rose prints in pretty colors.
so a sugar-sweet valentine's quilt it will be.
when i showed a peek of the project previously, there were some commenter questions about the fabric line i was using, so i'm sharing a bit about that now.
lecien. from what i can gather, lecien produces a new "flower sugar" collection each year, maybe even seasonally. the fall 2015 collection, the most recent on the lecien site at this posting, has colors (sans yellows) close to the same as my stack, and incorporates similar florals and dots, as well as lace and gingham prints. the "flower princess" line is very similar, but in a softer, low-volume palette. an internet search of "lecien flower sugar fabric" will yield links to all sorts of pieces from past collections, too. if you add a year in there, you'll get more specific feedback. for lots of images of past collections and prints, visit kit newlin's lecien flower sugar pintrest board. if you want to buy, not just look, check out what's available on etsy.
as for my quilt, i have completed somewhere around 20 blocks. thanks to my floppy book/flat block pressing technique, they are all staying nice and flat in their pile while they wait for the rest of their block friends to come play. i have yet to decide on quilt dimensions, but i'll likely use a 7 block x 9 row layout, like i did for my "dreaming easy" quilt. this means i'll need about 40 more blocks before i'm ready to assemble the top. i'd like to add a coordinating solid or two to the mix, to tone down the happy madness.
but i've got until at least next january. so no sugar rushing here.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
i've got a new fabric crush. sure, meadow dot in robin's egg/mint/aqua/whatever is still my favorite. that hasn't changed. but i've found a dreamy low-volume that makes for a perfect background or supporting fabric. every batman needs it's robin, and all those lovely feature fabrics in our stashes also need something to shine against, to help them stand out.
that's where this lovely woven stripe in natural from moda's pure simple line comes in. i stumbled across it at my lqs a week or two ago and got 1/2 yard because i knew it was going to be a brilliant supporting fabric. well, i've already used it a number of times in a few projects (here and here), so i'm thinking i need to go back and get about two yards more.
this fabric is a woven, which means two colors of thread were used to produce the stripe pattern rather than it being printed on the background fabric. this means no printing on the selvage since no printing was used in it's production, just like why solids have no printed selvage. also, i don't know if different thread was used in this line or if it's just because there's no printing on it, but the hand to these wovens is so lovely and soft.
quilt lovely, i noticed she uses basics in a very interesting way. while she has a riot of color and fabrics going on, she balances them with basic prints in neutral colors. lots of these neutrals have an antique feel to them, sort of an aged look. they are prints you'd find in a more traditional quilter's stash (maybe even a civil war quilt stash) rather than in the hottest new designer lines. at least that's the feel of them to me. the selection i show above is a low-volume version of what i'm talking about. a look at her quilts will show that many of them are deeper in intensity - browns and grays rather than just whites. i think these fabrics produce the antique feel many of her quilts have.
take a look at some of the quilts from her book and maybe you can see what i'm talking about.
so i just visited moda's website and it looks like "just a speck" will have some. and
"behind the scenes" is all about neutrals, too. yay! that makes it easy.
this is the kind of stuff i pick up over time as i study pictures of quilts i like. identifying such features helps me use fabrics and colors more effectively in my own quilts. thank you, jen kingwell for the lesson in neutrals and for helping me appreciate a family of fabrics i would have passed by before.
and thank you, moda, for that delicious woven stripe!
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
gypsy wife calls for two 8.5" hst blocks that consist of 16 - 2.5" hst component pieces in a 4 x 4 layout. its very simple and straight forward. i'd seen blocks that used uniform fabric through out, and blocks that were completely scrappy. i was leaning toward using some sort of unifying fabric or layout concept, like placement of light and dark fabrics, a monochromatic color scheme, or one feature fabric for half the triangles, so the block would look like one cohesive block rather than just a collection of mini hsts in a segment of the quilt.
i had several hst units in the correct size that were leftover bits from earlier block making for this quilt. i decided that for at least the first hst block i would go completely scrappy within a certain color palette that all my units already happened to fall within: light yellow, pink, turquoise, pale green, candy apple red. actually, i really wanted to keep it pastel, but one of the blue flea market fancy pieces was predominantly showing the red flower in the print, so i added that red to the scheme. i'm so glad i did because i feel the red gives it some depth and balances the lighter colors nicely.
the block came together in no time, really.
the formula went like this:
- make 16 - 2.5"uf component hst units
- layout in 4 x 4 grid
- chain piece pairs of units together
- assemble rows of 4
- sew rows together
now, because i'm focusing on improving my precision for this project, i also did the following along the way:
- press each seam after sewing
- trim the component units to precisely 2.5"
- to reduce bulk, press the seams adjoining the component units open
- use a scant 1/4" seam
- pin for seam matching
again, a scant 1/4" seam was helpful. i trimmed my component units to 2.5" each with my little ruler, so i know my unit size was spot on. if my block was coming out a bit shy, it was because i wasn't sewing a consistently scant seam. i've found this to be key with all the sewing on my gypsy wife project. master that scant seam!
also, i wanted my seams to match up across the rows, so i pinned at the three seam intersections.
when doing a simple block like this, it's easy to take the time to do all the little extras i might not normally focus on in a bigger project.
so here's the fun news:
i liked the results of my first block so much that i began envisioning an entire lap quilt made of hsts in this color palette! as i admired my pretty little block, i just wanted to multiply it and expand it into something larger.
i've just been reading jeni baker's hst handbook, the half-square triangle: foolproof patterns and simple techniques, which probably further influenced my desire to work with the hst. jeni's book covers several concepts to explore with the hst but i was hankering to just do a whole entire quilt in a very basic layout. color palette was going to be the primary concept i would work from within that simple shape. no fancy layouts, just plain hsts in a pleasing range of hues.
the gypsy wife's 2.5"uf/2"f hsts were a bit too tiny for a whole quilt, but i also knew if i changed the size of them too much, i'd be altering the scale of the fabrics and their look in the full quilt. i played around with the math and decided on 3"un/2.5"f hsts instead. not much of a difference, but different enough.
and i reigned in my desire to make a large quilt. lately i find myself making patterns just a bit larger so they tend to fall more into the twin-size bed quilt range rather than a lap quilt. i always think, "well, it's almost big enough to cover a bed, why not just make it that much bigger so it can be used on a bed, too." or i worry that a throw quilt won't be sufficient cover for snuggling on the couch, even though they always are. but since i didn't want to commit to too many hsts, i scaled back to a true throw/lap size.
this means i'm making a quilt that's:
- 52.5" x 67.5"
- 21 hsts across by 27 rows down
- 567 - 3" component hst pieces
- 568 - 3.5" squares
- 15 sqs cut from each of 40 pulled fabrics
like i mentioned, i'm working in a color palette as my main concept: light yellow, pink, turquoise, pale green, candy apple red. value is also playing a role in that i'll be using the lighter prints on the left side of the hst and the more intense prints on the right.
the upper/left triangles will be mostly yellows, the softest blues and pinks, and some neutral low-volumes.
that's the plan!
my gypsy wife is having a baby. that's how i think of it, anyway, since the one block from the first project has inspired a whole new quilt. projects beget projects sometimes.
Friday, March 4, 2016
Last #gypsywifealong main block! Just added #oldmaidpuzzle to my dream quilt list. Also, I think beige is my new favorite (background) color.A photo posted by Sarah Schraw (@sarahschraw) on
here, sarah schraw uses completely different fabrics for each triangle and even some different backgrounds. (remember her beautiful gypsy wife?)
A photo posted by Sarah Schraw (@sarahschraw) on
another brilliant block by sarah. she's one of my favorites! i could look at her instagram feed for hours. maybe have.
Be sure to check out the blog for directions. Old Maids Puzzle. #apiecefuljourney #blockoftheweek #samplerquilt #somersetcollection #oldmaidspuzzleblockA photo posted by A Pieceful Journey (@apiecefuljourney) on
or, instead of totally scrappy, to define this block in an already crazy, scrappy quilt, you can use just two or three fabrics for the whole block.
now how to make it.
i'm calling the upper right and lower left component pieces "bowties." the upper left and lower right component pieces i'm calling "crazy hst" (for lack of a much better term). the crazy hst is composed of a large triangle and the crazy side, three background triangles and one inner triangle.
the bowtie component has two hsts and two squares. i used only two fabrics for this piece - background B (two squares and two hst halves each piece) and bowtie fabric A (two hst halves per piece).
the "crazy hst" has three fabrics - the large triangle fabric C, "background" fabric D (three triangles per piece), and the small, inner triangle fabric E.
quite frankly, although i've followed the pattern instructions for this block twice, i've never been sure exactly which fabrics ms. kingwell is referring to in the cutting directions. and i altered those cutting directions, anyway, so i'm going to give you my version of the block directions. it comes out looking and measuring the same, so pick your preferred method!
i do apologize for the photo lighting quality here. it was night and there was nothing i could do about it. i have to quilt when i can, and that doesn't always make for ideal lighting. thank goodness i'm not a sponsored professional, right?
- from the background fabric B for the bowties (my stripe), cut 2 - 3" squares, and 4 - 2.5" squares. (the top two are doubled up in the photo, so you can't see there are four. actually, i forgot to cut them the first time around, but pretend with me.)
- from bowtie fabric A (red w/ white flowers), cut 2 - 3" squares
- from large hst half fabric C (yellow pinwheel), cut 1 - 5" square, halved diagonally
- from crazy hst background fabric D (ditsy floral), cut 3 - 3" squares
- from crazy hst inner triangle fabric E (blue dot), cut 1 - 3" square
now, if you are going more scrappy than this with your fabric choices, you will have to work out how many more squares you are going to cut for your hst units and all. basically, for each different colored triangle you want to use, you will need one full square to cut it from. the pattern says to cut all the squares in half and set aside/discard/scrap one of the halves from each fabric. another option is you could make hsts from all of them and set the extra hst aside for the hst blocks that are in sections 4 & 5 of the quilt. your choice.
once it's assembled and pressed, the bowtie components should measure 4.5" each.
now let's make the triangle half of the crazy hst components.
take another of the 3" background fabric E squares, and cut in half across the diagonal, forming two triangles. lay out your half crazy hst component as it will appear in the component piece. the long edges of the triangles will be on top, looking like and arrow pointing down. the hst unit will be in between them with the background piece on the bottom.
then line up one of the large triangles (fabric C, yellow) with your crazy triangles half, right sides together. if you're like me, the crazy side is probably slightly larger. so i just made sure my two long sides were aligned, and that there was approximately the same distance on each side of the points so that the triangle would be roughly centered on that crazy half. sew together with a 1/4" seam and press open.
now, arrange all four component pieces (4.5" sq, each) in the configuration shown in the pattern diagram, and sew together with a careful scant 1/4" seam. the final block measures 8.5" unfinished.
linking up with crazy mom quilts