Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review and Looking Forward to 2012

So what did I do in 2011????  Well . . . .




Wow!!!  What a year.  I can not believe how much I have grown in quilting and how much Happy Quilting has grown.  Thank you to all of you amazing readers that have made this year so incredibly fun for me.  I just love making new friends through this amazing online community.

So now let's quickly review 2011.  On December 31, 2010 I listed some goals here of the things I wanted to accomplish with my quilting in 2011.  Now I get to see how I did :)

Goals for 2011

1 - Participate in a Bee  (which I have already signed up for but sometimes it is fun to write things that are easily checked off :)  Check - And I loved every minute of it.  So much so that I created  2 Bees for 2012
2 - Participate in a Swap  (I have never done this,  any suggestions on good ones would be appreciated :)  Check - I participated in the post-sewing Summit Swap and just signed up fot the Name Game Swap starting in 2012
3 - Learn how to Paper Piece  Semi Check - I did one Bee Block paper pieced and learned the basics, but I would like to learn a lot more.
4 - Learn how to Curve Piece  Semi Check - I took a class on improv piecing where I learned how to do gentle curves but i have yet to tackle some drunkard path type curves.
5 - Be a guest blogger on other sites.  (I have done this once at Stash Manicure and loved it) Major Check - I guest blogged quite a lot at several blogs and really had a lot of fun with it :)
6 - Make a pillow or 2  (I need to branch out a little and I sew love the Cathedral Window pattern) - Check - I made my first pillow cover for Fat Quarterly, but I still want to try and mke some more including the Cathedral Window :)
7 - Host a Quilt-A-Long  (a little scary, but I really think it would be fun, with a little stress mixed in, lol)
Check - I actually hosted 2 and I think both were very successful.   I need to start planning another one.
8 - Continue designing for the Moda Bake Shop  (I just love this so much, It is a definite keeper :)  (And since I already have a project lined up for January I can check this off the list, Yippee Skippee) - Major Check - Me and the Moda Bake Shop are great friends, and I just love seeing your versions of my designs.  
9 - Use up more of my ever growing Stash.  I can't believe how quickly it is growing :) - Negative Check - It has probably doubled or more in size :)
10 - Last but not least, and I waited for last to write it because it scares the pants off of me. . . . Get a design published in a magazine.  (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can :) - Semi Check - If you have read this far you now get in on a little secret.  I have a quilt pattern that will be published in a magazine in spring 2012.  Squeal!!!!  So it wasn't quite in 2011, but all the work was done then.  If I knew how long the process took I would have started earlier in the year :)

So all in all, I am feeling pretty great about the Quilting year of 2011. It has been such an amazing ride.  And so now let's look forward to 2012.  I am so excited for 2012 in Quilting.  I have a few things that I am just so excited about that are already in the works and a few secrets that I just can't wait to share.  So let's get to some goals for where I hope 2012 quilting will take me :)

1 - Create some form of a blog hop.  These are always so much fun and I think I can figure out how to run one :)
2 - Host 2 more Quilt-A-Longs, at least.  I so loved having so many amazing quilter's sewing right a-long with me.  I really want to make sure I leave time to do that again.
3 - Work on some of those Semi-checks from 2011 ie . . .curved piecing, paper piecing, and pillows
4 - Write some more patterns.  I have several planned but plans don't always equal product :)
5 - Make some videos on free motion quilting.  I just have to get over the fear of my voice on tape.
6 - Teach a class.  Doesn't matter where, or to how many to ,preferably fewer, as the idea sort of scares and excites me at the same time.
7 - Start teaching my daughter to quilt.  She is starting to show some interest and I want to make sure I set some time aside for her.
8 - Design and create for my family.  Is it crazy that I made so many quilts in a year and only 1 of my children have a quilt I made for them on their bed??  (Although I have 2 in progress :)  I want to focus on making these works of love for the people I love.
9 - Make Christmas Stockings for my family.  Now that we know our family is not going to grow anymore I have no excuse not to make us a matching set of stockings.
10 - Keep Balance!!!!  I want to really try to make sure I am on top of things enough to keep quilting time to nap time and bed time so that it doesn't interfere with family time.

So here it goes!!!  Bring on 2012!!!! I can't wait!!!!!
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Friday, December 30, 2011

VIBee's comes to a close

I finished up my last 2 bee blocks for the VIBees this week. My oh my, I can't say how much I have enjoyed being in this Bee.  The gals in it are so amazing and talented.  I will be super sad to see it come to an end.  I am just so grateful that I got to work with such a great group :)  Thanks to each of you lovely ladies!!!



So the first block I made was for Rene.  She asked for anything with a white background and soft blues and greens.  You know how I have been on a major "twister" kick.  So I whipped up a little mini-me twister template and made a super mini twister block.  I can't get over how cute and tiny the pinwheels are.  I just love it!!!  You know I want to do another one of these right :)


The next block is for Lynne.  She asked us to do her LynneBobSquarePants block.  She sent us the background charcoal and then she asked us to use bright colors from our stash to fill in the design.  Well, you know how much I just love polka-dots.  


I guess all good things must come to an end.  Here is a little Picture Mosiac of my year with the  VIBee's


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

And the Gift Certificate goes to . . . .

Thank you to everyone who participated in the final Christmas Extravaganza giveaway and thank you to the Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring such a fabulous giveaway.  So let's get to see who is the lucky person who will be getting one super special after Christmas present :)


And the lucky number according to Mr. Random.Org is . . .

Which is . . . .  Pianomama!!!!



Congrats :)  I have emailed you for your info.
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TNT Thursday with a Diagonal Twister Tutorial

So this week's new thing was all about trying the Diagonal Twister for a second time to get it closer to what I had in mind.   This was a new pattern I was working with to try and get a diagonal look to the Whirly Gig created by the twister rather than a random look.  And since I was doing it for the second time, I figured I might as well take some pictures a long the way so that if you want to give it a try you can :)

So "Twister" quilts are always made starting with a grid of squares.  This is the design of squares you need to make in order to get the look above when you are done.  But before you go and cut out 144 5" squares go ahead and read on, there is a much faster way to strip piece it :)

Start by choosing your prints.  This pattern is a repeated 6 pattern so you will need 6 strips for each set of 3.  I choose to repeat one of my prints, you can to if you like or not ;)  (Wouldn't this just look awesome in a Rainbow pattern, that is on my list )  Cut three 5" x WOF strips out of each of the 6 chosen prints for a total of 18 strips.

Sew your 6 strips together to make a strip set.  You will be sewing 3 sets together and be sure to sew them all in the same order.  It doesn't matter if the ends don't line up perfect :)

Now fold your strip set in half taking care to align the sides.  Do not worry about the top lining up.   Place it on your cutting mat so that the folded line is just over the 0 Horizontal line on your mat.

Now you can cut out your square strip sets.  First cut along the 20" line on your mat.  This gives you a nice starting edge.  Now measure down 5" (to the 15" line) and cut across the entire strip set.  (I had to use two rulers aligned next to each other).  Continue cutting 5" down until you cut across the 0 Horizontal line.  This should give you 8 square strip sets, 4 on top and 4 below.  Repeat with the other 2 Strip sets so you have a total of 24 square strip sets.

Sew your square strip sets into sets of 2.  Make sure you always repeat the pattern exactly the same way.  You will now have 12 long square strip sets.

Now the fun part.  To make the diagonal pattern you are going to do a little unpicking.  I know it seems weird to unpick but trust me, it is way faster than stitching all of the squares individually.

So start by laying out 2 long square strip sets.  Those will be row 1 and row 7.  (I like to mark them now to avoid confusion)   Now lay out 2 more long square strip sets.  Unpick the first block in each long square strip set and at it to the end of the set.  Now mark these rows 2 and rows 8.  Now lay out 2 more long square strip sets.  Unpick the first two blocks in each long square strip set and at it to the end of the set.  Now mark these rows 3 and rows 9.  Seeing a trend here :)  For rows 4 and 10 remove 3 blocks and add them to the end.  For rows 5 and 11 remove 4 blocks and add them to the end.  And finally for rows 6 and 12 remove 5 blocks and add them to the end.

You should now have 12 rows that when lined up in order look like this.

Now simply sew your rows together, taking care to align your seams, and you have your square grid!!  Yippee Skippee.

***Note - The rest of this tutorial will be very brief as the intent of the tutorial is how to get the pattern, not how to use your twister.  If you need a more in-depth tutorial on how to use the twister tool please see this earlier tutorial.  Steps 2 and 3 will walk your through the remainder of the process in greater detail :)

Now simply add your 3" border :)

Cut out your whirly-gig squares using your twister tool :)

Sew your "whirly-gig" squares into rows :)

And then sew your rows into your quilt top :)

And you are done and have one adorable 42 x 42 baby blanket top :)  Just quilt it and bind it and it is ready to share :)   Wasn't that just so much fun!!!  I can't get enough of these twisters, I just have a blast!!!


So, what have you managed to try new during this crazy busy holiday week :)  Please share.



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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Flying in Squares at a Bakeshop Near You!!!

Today's the day!!!   I am so excited to release the Flying in Squares quilt Tutorial at the Moda Bake Shop .  I hope you love it as much as I do :)


I just love the way the quilt has so much movement.  And I had so much fun trying a new swirl in the quilting.  I think it really adds to the overall effect :) 


And now that this Moda Bake Shop Tutorial has been published for a while, I can now post it here on my blog for your convenience ;)   So just follow along below for the full step-by-step tutorial.  And if you love it, you can get the printer friendly version here :)  


To make this quilt you will need:
27 Squares from your Layer Cake – I used mostly the cool colored prints 🙂
1 1/2 Yards of Bella Solids White
2 Yards for Backing
1/2 Yard for Binding



STEP 1 – CUTTING


Start with your 27 layer squares.  From each square cut (1) 6 1/4″ x 6 1/4″ square and (5) 3″ x 3″ squares.  You will have a little bit of scraps left.


Now let’s move on to your white yardage.  Iron your yardage first to remove any wrinkles.  Align your fabric on your mat and cut a straight edge.  Then cut 9 strips measuring 3 3/8″ x the WOF (Width of Fabric).  From each of the 9 strips cut 12 3 3/8″ x 3 3/8″ squares for a total of 108 squares.


Once again,  align your fabric on your mat and cut a straight edge.  Then cut 12 strips measuring 1 3/4″ x the WOF.  From 6 of the strips cut (12) 1 3/4″ x 13″ strips and (12) 1 3/4″ x 8″ strips.  From the remaining 6 strips cut (12) 1 3/4″ x 15 1/2″ strips and (12) 1 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ strips.



STEP 2 – MAKING A FLOCK OF GEESE


Now we are ready to start making some geese.  This is a great method of making Flying Geese that have no waste. You also aren’t sewing any triangles on along the bias which helps to keep everything nice and straight.   To save time be sure and repeat each of the sub-steps 27 times making your geese in an assembly line fashion rather than making 4 geese at a time.
With right sides together, lay two white squares onto your large print square as shown.  Using your ruler, draw a pen line diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.


Now go ahead and pin both sides of each square adjacent to that drawn line.  Make sure to put them out far enough that your presser foot won’t hit them as you sew on by 🙂  Now stitch a 1/4″ seam along both sides of the drawn line (the black lines represent your stitching lines 🙂  Remember, you are doing these assembly line so go ahead and chain stitch all 27 sets on the right hand side of the line, and then go back and do all 27 sets on the left hand side.


Go ahead and clip your threads and then align your ruler along the drawn centerline.  Cut your pieces apart along that drawn line.


Now you will want to press your seam up towards your white fabric.  Don’t these look like cute little hearts :)


Now, take 2 more white squares and align them on your two stitched pieces as follows with right sides together.  Once again, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the white squares from corner to corner.


Now pin each piece far enough out that your foot will go by and then once again, stitch a 1/4″ seam along both sides of the drawn diagonal line.  (Remember to chain stitch to save time)


Clip your threads and then using your ruler aligned along the drawn line, once again, cut your 2 separate pieces apart.


Press toward the white again.  Lastly, trim off the little corners.


And you are done!!!  You should have a whole flock of geese (108) that are precisely perfect and ready to get flying!!



STEP 3 – ASSEMBLING THE FLYING BLOCK


So now we are going to start sewing those geese together.  Start by laying out 2 geese as follows.  Lay the first geese onto the second and with rights sides together pin along the edge. Pin 48 sets.  Sew a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edge. ** Hint -If you try to make sure that you sew directly over where the triangle intersects (where the 2 grey lines cross on the picture), you will get much crisper points.  Once you have finished the first set, don’t clip your threads.  Just keep feeding all 48 sets through.  This is called chain stitching and it saves tons of time.  Now go ahead and clip your threads and press.  You now should have  48 sets of double geese and 12 single geese remaining.


Now we are going to use the same process to make rows of 4 geese.  Lay your first set of 2 geese onto your second with right sides together, make 12 sets like this.  Pin your edges of all 12 sets and chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edges, once again, making sure to cross directly over the intersection point.  Press your seams. ( Just as clarification – you will have some leftover sets of 2 geese.)


Now, grab your 12 sets of 4 flying geese you just made and 12 leftover sets of 2 and lay them out as follows.  (Really pay attention to the directional orientation; I had to do some unpicking when I was only half focusing on what I was doing)  Lay the 2 flying geese onto the 4 with right sides together.  Take care to match up the center seam of the 2 with the point of the 4th goose.  Pin along the seam and the edges.  Chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edges, clip your threads, and press.  These will be your top and bottom rows and you can set these aside for a minute.


Now we need some four patches for the center of our blocks.  Start by grabbing a stack of those 3″ squares. Layout 6 sets of 4 as follows.  Now lay the sets of 2 with right sides together as follows.  Chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along all 12 sets of 2, clip your threads and press.  Now you can take the sets of 2 and lay them with right sides together to make 6 sets.  Pin along the edge taking care to match the center seam.  Chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edge, clip your threads and press.


Now take the 6 four patches your just made and the remaining 12 sets of 2 geese and lay them out as follows making 6 sets. (Once again, really focus on the directional orientation.)  Lay the right hand set of geese onto the 4 patch with right sides together.  Take care to match the center seams.  Chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along all 6 sets.  Clip your threads and press.  Now repeat the same process with the left hand set of geese.  You will now have 6 sets of center rows.


Now your block rows are complete and you are ready to sew your blocks together.  Lay 6 blocks out as follows.  I like to layout all 6 at first so I can play with the orientation of colors and get everything the way I like it before I sew.


Lay the top row onto the center row of each of the 6 sets.  Pin, taking care to match up all of the seams.  Chain Stitch a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edge and then clip your threads and press.  Repeat the same process for the bottom row.


And you now have 6 beautiful Flying Blocks!!



STEP 4 – ASSEMBLING THE SQUARE BLOCK


Remember those remaining 12 geese? Now is the time to use them. Take 2 geese blocks and lay them out as follows.  Lay the first geese block onto the second with right sides together and pin along the edge.  Repeat this to make 6 sets.  Chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edge, being sure to cross over the intersecting seams.  Clip your threads and press.


Now take those 6 centers you just made and you are going to add some sashing.  Start with the 5 1/2″ strips and lay them with right sides together along the sides of your center.  Chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along the left hand side of the 6 centers.  Clip your threads.  Now chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along the right hand side of the 6 centers.  Clip your threads and press both sets of seams on the 6 centers.  Then repeat the same process but on the top and bottom using the 8″ sashings.  Go ahead and set the 6 sashed centers aside.


Now grab your pile of 3″ print squares.  You will be making 12 rows of 3.  Start by taking 2 squares and with right sides together sew a 1/4″ seam along any edge. (you won’t need pins)  Repeat this 12 times chain stitching to save time.  Clip your threads between the 12 sets.  Open your sets of 2.  Now lay another 3″ square with right sides together along the edge and chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along all 12 sets to make 12 rows of 3.  Clip your threads and press.


Now you will be doing the same process as above by making 12 rows of 5.  Once again, start by making 12 sets of 2 squares and with right sides together and chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along any edge. Clip your threads.  Now add a third square to each of the 12 sets, followed by a fourth square and then a fifth square.  Clip your threads and press.


Now get your sashed centers again and your rows of 3 and 5 squares.  This process is the same as sashing before we are just using pieced sashes instead.  Lay out 6 blocks as follows.  (Once again, I like to lay them all out so I can determine orientation of color :)


Place the pieced rows of 3 onto the sides of the centers of all 6 sets and pin the edges.  Chain stitch a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edges of the right hand sides and then clip your threads and repeat chain stitching a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edges of the left hand side.  Clip your threads and press.


Now just repeat the same process for the top and bottom.  Take care when pinning to make sure to align the seams of the center block and the pieced rows.  Chain stitch your 1/4″ seams, clip your threads and press.


And now your blocks are ready for the final sashings.  Repeat the same process.  You got this!!  Attach your 13″ sashings to the sides of your block and your 15 1/2″ sashings to the top and bottom of your block.


And now you are done with your 6 Square blocks!!  Excellent!!!



STEP 5 – ASSEMBLING THE QUILT TOP


Now it is on to the super fun part and it goes really quick!!   Lay out your blocks as follows.  Notice, I changed the orientation of some of my square blocks.  You don’t have to, I just like the way it looks.  I find it helps to take a picture of my layout so I can refer back to it :)


And now we can make some rows.  Start by laying the first block in each row onto the second block with right sides together.  Pin along the edge.  You won’t have to worry about matching seams because of the sashing :)  Sew a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edges of the 4 sets.  Now just lay the third block in each row onto the now pieced together first and second block with right sides together.  Once again pin along the edge and then sew a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edge of each set.  Clip your threads and press. Now you have 4 rows!!!


Lay the first row onto the second row with right sides together and then lay the third row onto the fourth row with right sides together.  Pin along the edge taking care to match up the seams where the blocks meet.  Sew a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edge of each set.  Clip your threads and press.


Now just one more seam to sew!!  Lay your now sewn together row 1 and 2 onto your row 3 and 4.  Pin along the edge once again taking care to match up your seams.  Sew a 1/4″ seam along the pinned edge, clip your threads and press.


And there you have it!!!  Your Flying in Squares quilt top is finished!!!



STEP 6 – FINISH THE QUILT

So now it is time to turn that finished quilt top into a finished Quilt ;)  Time to  Baste It, Quilt It, and Bind It!!!  Which is a whole lot in one little sentence.  If you are new to quilting, you can see my Finishing Your Quilt Series of video tutorials that will walk you through Basting, Quilting, and Binding step by step ;)


One super fun “Flying in Squares” quilt measuring 44″ x 60″



I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and if you make your own Flying in Squares Quilt I would love to see it!!  You can email me a picture at happyquiltingmelissa@gmail.com, post it to social media with #happyquiltingwithmc  or or add it to my flickr group here ;)  I can't wait to see your Flying in Squares Quilts!!!
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