Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Off my Rocker? Aurifil's 2015 Jan Mini-Quilt

Greetings fellow quilters and bloggers -- it's been a couple of weeks since I last blogged and I do apologize. I've been a little under the weather and moving at a snails pace. 

On one of my "good days" last weekend I had a hankering to make something that didn't require my creativity but still allowed me a bit of a challenge.   Turn to... something pieced. 

Ya'll know that piecing is NOT my forte'.  I'm an applique (wool or cotton) girl at heart.   However, when I saw this sweet little mini-quilt, Flurry, designed by Gudrun Erla for Aurifil, I couldn't take my eyes off it.  Isn't it just the cutest little mini?
Image ~ Flurry by
Gudrun was interviewed by Pat Sloan for Aurifil Thread.  You can get to know her and find the link to the Flurry mini-quilt on the Auribuzz blog by clicking here. 

Now grab a cuppa and work through this sweet mini with me.  I'll share the tips that helped me out and approximate times it took to complete each step.  It really was fun! 

Don't forget... if you share your quilt top on the Aurifil Flickr group you're eligible to win a box of Auriful thread!!  Woohoo -- you can NEVER have enough Aurifil thread.

After downloading the pattern I spent an hour or so pressing and cutting my fabric per the pattern instructions.  Enter, this darling red print "Floral Gatherings" by Primitive Gatherings for Moda.  I've had this little pretty in my stash for a bit -- it was time to put it to good use.  Paired with that, I used "Indigo" by Moda and decided to reverse the colors as Gudrun originally designed.

Before we get too far, let's not forget to discuss the perfect thread.   I used Aurifil 50Wt Mako Cotton in color #2370 (Sandstone).  Aurifil 50Wt thread is fine, so it adds to the accuracy of your piecing... this applique girl could use all the help she could get!!
Here we go... now before you get started:

Here's a tip:  It's really important to know that you have OR test your scant 1/4" seam allowance.  I explained how to do this last year in the Redbird and Berries Mini Quilt recipe for the Moda Bake Shop -- you can see that recipe here.    Pat Sloan did a similar post earlier this year - you can see it here.    In summary, sew (3) 2-1/2" squares together side by side, set seams, press toward the outside, flip right side up, and measure your inside piece.  It should measure exactly 2" wide.   It's really important on this mini to have an accurate scant 1/4" seam allowance.
Image from Moda Bake Shop - Redbird and Berries Mini Quilt
Onto Step 1....   

Step 1 consisted of making 8 Half Square Triangles (HST) and trimming them to 1-1/2"... Feeling confident -- I can do this!!   HST's made... now to press them open.

Here's a tip:  The pattern calls for the HST to be pressed toward the red fabric.  Did you know if you position your sewn piece with the upside being the side you are suppose to press toward that it makes it easier to "set the seam" and then press it toward that direction?  Try it... for each step in the pattern, when you're suppose to press toward "xyz" make sure you lay the sewn piece with that side up.  Press once to "set the seam" then use your fingers to fold the seam back and press again.   It helps to remember that whatever side is showing is the side your seam will be pressed toward.   Does this help?

Here's the image before I opened them -- after I "set the seam":
Here is the image after I set the seam, opened the seam and pressed again.   The seams are all pressed toward the red and they didn't need to be moved again to accomplish this step.  Love that!
Now for the trimming to 1-1/2" square.   By now I'm already starting to curse Alex, Pat and Gudrun for not having an applique mini -- but keeping focused I continued on...   Ha ha ha ha...

Here's a tip:  If you have one, NOW is the time to use the mini rotating cutting mat to trim your HST's.  This way you don't have to reposition your fabric to trim all 4 sides.   My DH gave me one for Christmas 2013 -- finally -- a chance to use it (you see - I never piece). 
Step 1: Total time 23 minutes!! Includes boo-boo  (Can you believe I stitched ON THE LINE -- maybe it was the cough medicine -- ya - that was it!)

Onto Step 2.  Ok lets follow the pattern again -- sew the HST's to the solid pieces.  That wasn't too bad --  I'm back to the "I can do this" mode....
Step 2:  Total time  23 minutes 

Onto Step 3.  Ok here is where I read twice and took care to position the pieces exactly as the pattern calls for - thankfully I did it right the first time.

Having fun again!  Here is where I send an image to my sisters and say "Look, I'm piecing"... ha ha ha...
Step 3: Total time 15 minutes (no boo-boo's)

Onto Step 4:  I had pre-marked the diagonal line on my 1-1/2" squares after cutting them so I was ready to align and sew out of the gate.  (Yay!)

Here's a tip:  Consider chain piecing when you're making these 8 pieces -- it allows you to be more efficient at your sewing, saves time and thread and that means saving money!!  Here is an image after chain stitching 1/2 of this step.   I did cut my pieces apart before I sewed and chain stitched the other side.
OK - both sides sewn, trimmed, and pressed....  Whew...  I'm not sure they're square but I'm rolling with it by now (am I really making this pieced mini quilt ??)
Step 4: Total time 15 minutes (no boo-boo's)

Onto Step 5 - sewing WOF strips, cutting and making 4 patch units  -- I can do this ;)  Here we go....

Here's a tip: This is another opportunity to chain stitch -- feeding each 4 patch unit in one behind the other - FAST!!
Step 5: Total time 17 minutes (don't judge ;)   ha ha ha....

Onto Step 6...  be sure to follow the directions as written -- I had to rip twice on this step (how did I do that ??)   Anyhow... No pictures of this one.

Step 6: Total time 22 minutes (ripped twice ?? maybe to align my points ?? - I forget...)

Onto Step 7.... Now we're making some 9 patches...  Humh.... I guess I can do this piecing thing if I just take my time, enjoy the process and pay attention to details.   I'm not one to do a lot of pinning but:

Here's a tip:  If you're aiming to improve accuracy - be sure to nest your seams and pin there -- it does make a difference, especially if you're a novice like me.   Also, chain piece here too!

No pictures for Step 7 - I'm seeing the end in sight and getting excited -- way ahead of myself and forgot to take pictures :(

Step 7: Total time 30 minutes

Onto Step 8 - If you weren't sure of your seam allowance before, you'll be sure to find out with this step.  If you pre-cut your pieces before sewing then they'll fit a perfect 1/4 " seam allowance or be too big or small otherwise.   Fingers crossed...

Whew - worked out just fine...  Step 8 done.
Step 8: Total Time 12 Minutes

Onto Step 9 -- WOOHOO!!  Happy Dance... I still have hair left on my head...  Lets get this 3 x 3 sewn together now

Here's a tip:  Pin, Pin, Pin -- there are a few seams to align -- I pinned mine.  It only took a few minutes and was so worth it!!   Someday maybe I'll graduate to big girl piecing but for now,  pinning is my piece of mind.

Oh my gosh look -- I'm almost done -- I'm so happy and kinda proud that I could do this...
Step 9:  Total Time 27 minutes

Onto the final -- Step 10.  Adding those borders - here's another case where an inaccurate seam allowance will getcha....  I took a few minutes and squared my block before adding the borders.  A 1/16 trim here and there and the whole block squared up nicely.    Yay !
Step 10: Total Time with Squaring 18 minutes

Oh my goodness I'm completely thrilled to have made this cute mini -- many thanks to Aurifil, Pat Sloan and especially Gudrun Erla for the awesome pattern and instructions.  It was fun to make and total sewing, fussing, pressing time was under 3.5 hours!!
Now to contemplate the quilting -- we'll save that for another day.

Be sure to get your mini quilt made -- and follow the directions on the Auribuzz blog for entering your mini into the Aurifil thread giveaway.  There is no better thread for piecing, needle turn applique and dense quilting.

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Top 14 of 2014 and Do You EQ?

Greetings fellow quilters!!

There's been so much happening in the first few weeks of 2015 I've not taken any time to blog.  I do hope you've been keeping up with my goings on at Facebook or Instagram.  Happy New Year!

I have a couple of fun things to share today.  

This is my first attempt at a quilt design using the Electric Quilt 7 software.  I purchased this software months ago and never found the time to open it.   Finally -- with an upcoming Moda Bake Shop design looming, I decided to break down, install the software, and give it a try.    Here's a sneak peek of the starter design:
I had a bit of a learning curve getting started, but I was happy to get something drafted.

I'm using Laundry Basket Quilts "Heart's Content" fabric for this quilt (grab a Layer Cake) -- and was able to download the fabric swatch images from Moda's site.  It's so cool -- you can fill in the EQ7 quilt blocks with the exact fabric you're going to use - I love that!!

Here's a picture of the design before I installed EQ7.... Pencil and paper... the old fashioned way:
Stay tuned in February when I share this new tutorial and quilt design on the Moda Bake Shop....

Speaking of which -- On January 1st, 2015 the Moda Bake Shop published their Top 14 viewed Recipes of 2014 and I'm thrilled to say that Redbird and Berries was the #1 recipe for the year!!   Oh My Goodness I was really blown away -- so honored.
Thank you all again for your continued support and encouragement and many thanks (again) to the Moda Bake Shop -- what a great way for aspiring designers to get their work online!!

You can see the complete list of the Top 14 in 2014 by clicking here.   There are some really great recipes there - do check it out.   You can see the Redbird and Berries recipe by clicking here.

Before I go -- I wanted to share this image of a female Northern Cardinal hanging around the bird feeders at our home.  
It's really unusual to see a female cardinal that is as brilliant as the red male cardinal -- this little girl takes the cake.  Every time I see her at the feeders I grab the camera and run (sneak) to the window to take a shot.  So beautiful.
If you're interested  you can see more songbird images at our feeders by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by today - I'll be back soon!