Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Special Day

Sorry it has been a little while since I have posted.  Things were crazy busy this weekend. (But super fun as well!!)   I had some of my family in town for the blessing of our sweet little Jocelyn.  Here is the family picture we got for the special occasion.  I tell you, with each additional child it gets harder and harder to get a picture where everyone is A - looking at the camera and B - smiling.  But it will work :)  It was a wonderful day and it was so wonderful to have so much family there with us.

And of course with family, comes germs!!   Do you ever notice that every time you get together in big groups everyone ends up coming down with something.  (Or is that just us??)  We ended up with a 24 hour flu bug going through quite a few of the members of the family, including me last night and this morning.   Thankfully, my Mom is staying with us this week!!!  It is so much easier being sick when you have your Mommy there!!

I am starting to feel human once again so tings should be back on course tomorrow!!

Have a Happy Quilting Day!!!  (I know, I am hoping to :)
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Christmas Star on TNT Thursday!!

So once again I already had a little something lined up for this Thursday so you are in luck with another Tutorial!!!  I call it The Christmas Star Block!!!

I was thrilled to be asked to participate in designing a Christmas Block for the Celebrate Christmas Quilt A-Long at the Quilting Gallery.  I am one of 36 designers for this little Quilt-A-Long.  How fun is that!!!  And the blocks are all amazing.  You can check them out in the Flickr Group here :)  And those that complete their blocks are entered into a giveaway, (which we all know we love).  So without, further ado . . .  Let's get to the Christmas Star Tutorial!!

The Christmas Star block is a variation on a spider web block.  I used the same method but changed it up some.  I hope you have some fun putting this together!!

What you will need :
   A 13" x 13" square of white 
   Larger scale scraps of Green
   Larger scale scraps of Red
   Gold Thread (optional)

Start by cutting your 13" x 13" square of white twice diagonally as shown below.  

Now you will have 4 triangles. On the wrong side of the fabric measure a 1/4" up from the bottom center and mark a dot.  Then measure 3" down from the top center on either side and mark a dot on either side.  Now draw a line on both sides of your triangle connecting the 3" mark to the 1/4" mark.  (See below)

And now you are ready to start adding your fabric.  Start with your red scraps.  With the wrong side of your scrap fabric to the right side of your white square, cut a scrap that is about 1/2" around then the left side of your now divided triangle.  It doesn't have to be perfect just so long as it is bigger than the white.

Now flip your red scrap backwards, just like you were opening a hinge.  Now the red scrap should be right sides together with the white triangle and you should have about 1/4" to a 1/2" overhang from your drawn line.  (This can be a bit tricky so see the picture below to clarify any confusion :)  Once your pieces are aligned go ahead and pin and then sew a line directly on top of the drawn line.

Now once again, flip your piece back over, hinging at the seam line.  Press your seam.  Your red scrap piece should still be larger than the white triangle on the 2 sides that are not sewn.  Repeat the last 4 steps for the other 3 white triangles.

Now grab your green scraps.  Cut and add the green fabric to the right side of your four triangles using the same method you used for the left side of the triangles.

Once your fabrics are pressed you can trim them.  Align your ruler up along each side of the white triangle and trim off the excess overhang of scrap fabric.

To help avoid bulk, I remove the excess white fabric that was used as a foundation :)  Simply trim the left and right side of just the white fabric away about a 1/4" from the drawn and sewn line :)

Now you should have 4 triangles with red on one side and green on the other.  Arrange them as follows and then set them aside for a few minutes :)

So now we are going to make some small Half Square Triangles for the center of your block. From your green and red scraps, cut out 4 2 1/2" squares, 2 of each color.

Place the green and the red squares with right sides together making 2 sets that each have a green and a red square.  Draw a  line diagonally on the wrong side of each set of 2.  Pin on either side of the line.  Then sew a 1/4" seam on both sides of the line.

Now cut along the line on both sets and then press your new HST's open.

And now you just have to trim them.  We want to have 2" HST's so align the 45 degree line on your ruler up with the diagonal seam on your HST.  Make sure the sides that you are not trimming are outside of the 2" mark on your ruler.  Trim along the 2 sides of your HST.

Now just spin your HST 180 degrees so that you can trim your 2 remaining untrimmed sides.  Once again, align your 45 degree line on your ruler up with the seam of your HST and this time align your already trimmed sides with the 2" mark on your ruler.  Once it is all line up go ahead and trim the remaining 2 sides of your HST.

Now you are going to applique the HST into the corner of your block.  To do this take your 4 perfect little HST's and place them on the top of your 4 triangle blocks aligning the edges and making sure that the red is on the left and the green is on the right, so it opposite of your triangle sides :)  Go ahead and pin the HST's  in place.

Now use some choice of anchor stitch and stitch along the 2 inner seams to secure the HST's in place.  I used a decorative star stitch and used gold thread to really give it some punch.  You can use normal thread if you don't have gold and if you don't have decorative stitches you can simply use a zig-zag stitch or a blanket stitch :)  (I don't have stars on my machine, I had to go down to my wonderful Mother-in-laws to do this part :)

Now, once again, to avoid bulk, trim out the excess white fabric about 1/4" from the anchor stitching.

Now you are ready to sew the 4 triangles in your block together.   Lay them out to make your block (the same as you did earlier).  Now simply lay the bottom triangle over onto the right hand side block with right sides together.  Pin the seam line taking special care to match up your seams.  It is most important that your seams line up so that your star doesn't have weird points.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge and then press.  Repeat this same process with the top and left hand triangles.

So now you have 2 halves that should look like this.  You know what to do :)

Place the triangles with  right sides together.  Pin the edge, once again taking care to make sure you align the seams!!  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.  Press.

And now your block looks like this.  You can be done here if you would like :)

But if you want to get it that extra finishing touch, you can once again, stitch a decorative stitch along the outside of the star as follows.  It is just a fun finish :)

And there you have it!!  One beautiful 12" finished Christmas Star Block!!  Happy Quilting!!!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and enjoy making your own The Christmas Star Block!!  And remember, when you are done to add it to the Celebrate Christmas Quilt-A-Long Flickr group  and while you are at it, I would love it if you added it to my Happy Quilting Tutorial Flickr page.  I love seeing different renditions of my tutorials :)  

So . . . to some TNT goodness!!   This is the new thing I tried.  And I tell you, it is a lot of fun to take a method you have done before and then just change it up a bit.  And it makes a completely different result as well.  Awesome!!!

So now let's see what you did!!  Add your TNT Thrusday post below and remember to link back here in your post somehow.  Then show your fellow TNT participants some comment love :)

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hello November

Seriously, where did October go???  Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!!  I know our little ones had a blast!!  And now, we have way to much candy.  I will have sugar high kids for at least 2 months.  Maybe this year Santa will be putting Halloween candy in stockings :)

Not the greatest picture but they were all so excited, so I figure we were lucky just to get them to all stand in one place for than 10 seconds.  
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Monday, October 31, 2011

All Framed Up Alternate's

So I was just giddy the other day when Leah from Burgundy Buttons told me that the All Framed Up Baby Quilt kits in Ruby had already sold out.  I guess you all really like that quilt design.  I can't tell you how happy that makes me to know that people are super excited to whip up one of my tutorials :)  

Leah also mentioned, that she had some special requests to make some alternate kits.  So the same design, but different fabric lines.  So she got right to it and just listed those alternate kits.  So I thought I would pass on the word in case you wanted a kit but they were already sold out in Ruby.  You know have 5 other options.
Love the look of bright warm colors?
  A kit made with Flora might make
 you feel warm and fuzzy all over!

If you're a girly girl, 
Sophie might have just the feminine touch you crave.

 A vintage kit made with Curio
 has a place in any romantics home.

If you're a homebody, 
Hometown might be right down
 your neighborhood ally!

 Pay tribute to days past
 with a retro kit made with Circa 1934.

 So there you have it.  
Don't you just love how the same design can look
 so different depending on the fabric you choose.  
I always think that is just the coolest. 
 Have a Happy Quilting Day!
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Throw Back Edition

So I had intentions to make a new quilt to show for Blogger's Quilt Festival when it was first mentioned a couple of months ago.  But that just did not happen.  However, I am okay with that.  I have been busy with our new little bundle of joy (see here) and I already had a lot of previous commitments that I had to make some "escape to the sewing room" time for as it was.

So, I decided instead of sharing something new, I would share something old and it's little story.  Something from before I had a quilting blog that none of you have probably ever seen.  And more importantly, something that shows a technique from me that will probably never be seen again.  Hand Stitching!!!

I made this quilt in 2008 for my sweet Sister-In-Law upon the arrival of their first baby girl.  I absolutely love the pink and brown color scheme so I gathered up some of my scraps and set out to do something new.  See, at this time I was still fairly new to the quilting world and had stuck to just following patterns.  I had seen so many adorable baby stitches (mostly from my other SIL who stitches like crazy) and thought it would be fun to incorporate some into a quilt, but I couldn't find a pattern that had baby stitches in the quilt that I liked.  So at that point, I realized if I wanted it, I would have to make it up myself.  So I did.   I pulled out my trusty excel skills that I hadn't used since becoming a mommy and went to work trying my hand at designing for the first time.  This is what I came up with :)

Now this was my first attempt at designing so I stuck to squares and rectangles.  Nothing to fancy. (and it probably was good I did as I made a few errors in my math along the way and had to adjust later on :)  This was also one of mt first attempts at quilting.  My machine at this time, did not have free motion capabilities, so I opted for stitch in the ditch.  I learned a lot, especially a lot of what not to do's :)  But all in all I had a lot of fun with designing, piecing, and quilting this quilt and learned a lot along the way.

The quilt was fun, the stitching however, not so much fun.  I know many people love stitching and find it relaxing, I on the other hand found it slow and frustrating.  Hence, I don't think I have done much hand stitching since this quilt, and don't have plans to do a lot in the future :)    But I have to admit, even though I didn't like it, I really like the way the stitches turned out.  (So maybe some day I will suck it up and do it again :)

And here it is hanging above my nieces crib.  Her Mother loved it which made me love it all the more.

My favorite thing about a post like this . . .  To see how much I have learned since I made this quilt, how much better my skills are, and to imagine how far they will go in the future :)  It is a great thing!!
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