Friday, October 11, 2013

Playing the Scales - A Tutorial

I am just thrilled to share my newest finish with you today :)  I call it, Playing the Scales and oh I am just so excited with how it turned out.   Isn't it just great when the image in your head comes out just like you hoped it would :)  So let me tell you a bit about how that image came about :)

 A few weeks ago I was contacted by the wonderful staff at Art Gallery Fabrics. I was thrilled when they asked if I would be interested in playing with some of their fabrics.  Of course!!!  The fabrics I choose to work with are Bijoux by Bari J and they are so beautiful and such a pleasure to work with.  You can visit Art Gallery Fabrics here to find out more about these glorious fabrics :)

As soon as I saw Bijoux, I knew I wanted to design a low volume idea into the quilt.  Bijoux has so many wonderful bold prints and so many soft beautiful prints.  It is almost half and half really :)  So with that in mind, I started working on a design. I have always loved piano key borders on quilts because the thin strips give such a striking look. Then,  I was talking to my son, who just started piano 2 months ago, and he was telling me how important practicing his scales was.  And it hit, Piano Keys in a Scale with the high volume/low volume prints alternating to make the scales appear.  I quickly drew up a sketch, and then put the sketch in EQ7 and it was love!!

This quilt goes together quick as it is made entirely of chain stitching which saves oh so much time ;)   The quilt is all straight seams and none of them match up, so really, you don't even need pins :)  Super friendly for beginners and experts alike and a great way to make a stunning finish in a minimal amount of time.  So . . . Let's get to how to make it shall we :)    

And if you want a printable version of this tutorial, you can click right here ;)

To start you will need 20 Fat Quarters
     Divide the Fat Quarters into piles of 10 low volume and 10 high volume (Probably not a  real term, but it is opposite and just seems to work in my mind :)

From your 10 high volume prints cut (124) 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips.  I cut 13 from each print and then had 6 left over for the scrap bin :)  Set 93 in one pile and the remaining 31 in another pile.

From your low volume prints cut (105) 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips.  I cut 11 from each print and had 5 left over.  Set 93 in one pile and the remaining 12 in another pile.  From the remaining pieces of Fat Quarters cut (12) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares, (12) 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, (12) 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles, and (7) 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" strips.  Be sure to cut from all your remaining fat quarters so you have lots of variety.  Set these in piles with your (12) 8 1/2" strips and set them aside for the time being.

Gather your 93 high volume and low volume 8 1/2" strips.  Place a high volume strip onto a low volume with right sides together and stitch a 1/4" seam along the end.

Continue chain stitching to make 93 sets total.  (Chain stitching just means not clipping threads between each set sewn, just keep feeding them through your machine.)  Be sure to mix up your prints randomly as you go, don't sew all the save low volume prints to the same high volume print.  Once you have sewn all 93 set, clip your threads and press all of your sets towards the high volume print.

Divide your strip sets into 3 piles of 31 sets.  Grab that extra pile of 31 high volume 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles.

Now, you will be chain stitching your sets together.  Take the first 2 sets of 31 and place them with right sides together matching a high and low volume end.  Stitch a 1/4" seam. along the edge.  Chain stitch all 31 sets.  Now, take the third set of 31 and the high volume pile of 31 strips and place them with right sides together matching a high volume and low volume end.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.  Chain stitch all 31 sets.   Clip your threads and press all of your strips towards the high volume print.

And now, you guessed it.  Take the 2 strip sets you just created.  Place them with right sides together matching a high and low volume end.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.  Chain stitch all the strips to make a total of 31 sets.  Press the seams towards the high volume print.

Divide your strips randomly into 3 piles.  One pile of 7 strips, and 2 piles with 12 strips each.  Grab those low volume pieces that you set aside earlier.  Chain stitch all these additions using a 1/4" seam.  To the pile of 7, add a 10 1/2" low volume strip to the end of each strip.  To the first pile of 12, add a 2 1/2"x 2 1/2" square to the beginning of each strip and then add a 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle to the end of each strip.  Finally, to the second pile of 12, add a 4 1/2" rectangle to the beginning of each strip and then add a 6 1/2" rectangle to the end of each strip.  Press all seams towards the high volume print.

Lay 10 strips out as shown below. Take care to mix up your prints until it is pleasing to the eye.

Using a 1/4" seam, Sew the 10 strips into one section.  I find the easiest way to do this is to first sew the strips into groups of 2.    I just aligned the strips as I went and had no problem with stretching.  (Art Gallery fabrics have a great weave so that isn't a problem.)  But if you are worried about stretching or not lining up, go ahead and use a few pins to secure your strips in place ;)  Press the seams.

Lay the sets of 2 strips back out to make sure you don't mix up the orientation (easy to do).  Then sew the first 2 strip sets together, press, and then add on the third strip set and so on until the section is complete.

Your section should look like this.  Repeat to make a total of 3 strip sets in the same layout.

And now you have 3 large strip sets and one little lonely strip.  Lay out as shown below creating the quilt top.  Using a 1/4" seam, sew the lonely strip to the large strip set,  and the two strip sets together.  Press.  Finally, using a 1/4" seam, sew the top and bottom together.  Press.

And your quilt top is done.  Don't you just love the scale effect.  So fun!!!  I like my scale going side to side so I rotated the top in this picture ;)

And now, all you have left is to finish you quilt.  So . . . Baste it, quilt it, and bind it.  I know that's a lot of work to put into one sentence.  If you are new to quilting and need some pointers on how to finish your quilt you can see my video tutorials going over basting, quilting, and binding in detail.     You will need 1/2 Yard for binding and 4 yards of Backing.

And you are done!!! Now sit back and enjoy snuggling up with your 62" x 66" Playing the Scales Quilt!!!  

If you make your own Playing the Scales quilt I would love to see a picture of it.  You can email it to me at, post it to Social Media with #happyquiltingwithmc or  add it to my Flickr Group.

That's it for today.  I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial :)  Have a Happy Quilting Weekend!!

**  Note - This quilt would also work with Jelly Rolls.  If you are interested in making this quilt using Jelly Roll strips you will need 25 High Volume Jelly Roll Strips and 28 Low Volume Jelly Roll Strips.  This calculation assumes you can get (5) 8 1/2" rectangles from each strip which means 42 1/2" so cut close to those selvages :)

**   Addition - Many of you asked about making this quilt larger.  To make it a large queen (96" x 92"  )  you would need to add an extra (2) High Volume 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles and an (2) Low Volume 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles into each row you make.   Just add them in the middle ;)   You will also want to make and Additional 15 Rows for your quilt, or an extra section and a half.   
So from your High Volume's you will need to cut a total of (276)  2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles.  From your Low Volume fabrics you will need to cut a total of  (230)  2 1/2" x 8 1/2",  (18) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares, (18) 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, (18) 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles, and (10) 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" strips.  

Linking this new finish up to Sarah's and Amanda's :).
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Class Schedule Posted

The class schedule has been announced for the Small Town Quilt Show in a Big Town Way!!! So exciting!!! And now I get to share . . .

I will be teaching  "In Your Neighborhood" Friday afternoon.

And Summer Breeze Saturday morning.

I am so excited to be teaching these quilts.  Both are right at the top of my all time favorites list!!!  Both classes are going to be so much fun and I am so looking forward to them.

And hopefully I can squeeze in a few classes of my own.  I have already gone through the class listings like 5 times.  There are so many amazing classes and I wish I could take them all.   Now I just need to narrow down my times available and make a game plan.  So fun!!!

Take a minute and pop on over to check out all of the amazing classes offered by some wonderfully talented ladies.  (once again, so very honored to be in this group)   With over 40 classes there is definitely something for everyone ;)  Registration will open later this month so be sure to have your favorite classes picked out early :)   I hope to see you there :)
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kamree's First Quilt!!

I posted a little while ago about how the kids each picked a sewing project to do with Grandma (aka Barbara or the Binding Fairy or the Best Grandma Ever to Work so Patiently with All her Grandchildren and Pass her Love of Sewing Onto Them.) this summer.  Well Grandma also did projects with several of my nieces as well.  Kamree, my 10 year old niece, decided to go all out and make a quilt!!  And here it is, Kamree's First Quilt!!!!

From the very start, Grandma and Kamree decided to do a large HST quilt.   Kamree came up to my house and we played with HST layouts on EQ7.  In the end, the Chevron won out.  Then it was back to Grandma's to raid her stash of pinks and blues ;)

I got to teach Kamree how to sew HST's while Grandma was helping some of the other girls with their bags.  She took to it like a pro :)  And when she finished them all up Grandma showed her how to sew the blocks into a quilt top.  Didn't she do a marvelous job lining up all her seams!!

Once the quilt top was all done Grandma helped Kamree with a pieced back using some of her favorite prints from Grandma's stash that got vetoed for the front.  (Yes, the flamingo's and puppy dog prints are cute, but this is going on her bed and mom wanted a calmer look so they got sent to the back :)

Then it was time to load the top and back on the long arm.  Once again, Kamree took to it like a pro!!!  She did all of the quilting herself with Grandma watching over.  Kamree quilted all over loops in the pink chevrons.

And in the blue chevrons she did this cute wiggle design.  I love this and she did such a great job with her spacing!

At the bottom of the quilt, Grandma helped Karmee put her name into her quilt as well.  So fun!!

And last but not least, time for binding.  Kamree machine stitched her binding on and did a great job.   That is a lot of quilt to manage and she really did keep her stitches straight and right on the edge.  I mean look at that perfect corner ;)

And best of all Kamree loves her quilt and (most of the time) loved making it :)  Great job Kamree!!  Your quilt is absolutely beautiful.  You worked so very hard on it and now you get to  enjoy snuggling under it each night.  Yippee!!!

So ya, I am a super proud Auntie!!!   As I should be right??  Kamree worked so hard and did a fantastic job!!  You would never guess this was her first.  This is what we gave her for her Birthday last month and I am so excited to see what she does with it :)

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see the joy of quilting being passed down a generation.  It just makes me grin from ear to ear.   I have already been imagining Round Robin quilts with Grandma and the Nieces and Aunts in a few years.  Oh, how fun that would be.  Something to look forward to for sure ;)

Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Organizing aka Playing with Fabric and a Winner

Last night I noticed that my fabric stacks were starting to get a little less than organized.  I started pulling stuff down from the shelf so that I could refold, put everything back in nice color stacks and so forth.  But once I got all my Fat Quarters off the shelf, instead of refolding, I decided that my pre-cut shelf needed a little work as well.  (excuse this image, I didn't think to take a before shot so this is cropped out of a picture taken by Christa when she visited me 2 weeks ago, but you get the idea, messy :)

Everything had just been sort of stacked up haphazardly.  My roll layer cakes (like in the back of this old picture) don't really "stack" and I had several half used layer cakes or jelly rolls that are being left out of the scrap bin because there is enough "scrap" to do another project.  Seriously, I was trying to make this shelf look all pretty for this picture (take a while back) and it still doesn't look organized.

So . . . I grabbed some scrapbook paper and used that for backing to make some flat layer cakes.  And of course, they wouldn't be complete with a cute little ribbon tied around them :)  Then I turned the leftovers jelly strips into smaller jelly rolls.  (Rolling these up to look perfect, a bit harder than you would think :)  There is even a huge layer cake that is comprised of 1/2 layer cakes from 3 different lines Bonnie and Camille lines.  That will be a fun project some day :)  Doesn't that bottom shelf just look so pretty!!!

I was having so much fun playing with all these I didn't realize the time.  When my husband came home from watching the Dodgers game he was surprised to find me still up as it was Midnight!!  (no, I am not a night owl).  So the Fat Quarters just got put back on the shelf to be organized (and played with) on another day.  Always nice to have projects :)

Oh, and before I sign off, I need to pick a winner for the Cotton Bliss Giveaway . . . The Lucky Reader who receives a $25.00 Gift Certificate to the brand new Cotton Bliss is . . .

Congrats Moneik!!  I will email you :)

All right, I am off to do a little free motion quilting on my Bernina.  Should be fun :)

Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Squishy Little Packages

Saturday I got a wonderful squishy package in the mail from the Modern Quilt Guild.  Oh I can't wait to start creating with these Riley Blake Solids.  The rules of this years Modern Quilt Guild Challenge are pretty much anything goes, as long as it is quilted and there are over  1000 members participating.  How fun is that!!  I really wanted to just start cutting away . . .

But I was to busy playing with this little squishy package :)  I can not believe how big David is getting. Sweetest nephew ever!!  He is recovering so well from his heart surgery and now just has a feeding tube that goes through a port in his tummy.  He still hasn't quite figured out how to swallow, but all in good time :)

Here he is all bundled up ready to go home.  I miss you all ready, David.  Good thing you are coming back to visit next weekend!!!  Yippee Skippee!!!

And now, since I haven't touched my machine in 3 days (which honestly feels like a lot longer) I am off to put the petal to the metal :)  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!
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