Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hive 10 - August Block Tutorial

What is your name? My name is Lesley Latham. My middle name is Jean, but all of my social media sites say it’s Larry. My roommates from college and I changed our middle names on Facebook to be Curly, Moe, and Larry after the Three Stooges. It’s kind of stuck.

Where do you live? We live in downtown Kansas City, MO, in a fabulous two bedroom condo.

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.) It’s just my boyfriend of six and half years, Andrew, and me. You can read more about my amazing parents and sister on the About Me page on my blog.

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting. My great-grandmother set me up hand piecing a quilt when I was 15. That was the only quilting I did for a few years and I finished the quilt when I was 21. I really became serious about quilting after college and my mom, also a quilter, helped get me set up with a machine and all of the tools to get started. Additionally, I have a ton of quilters and sewists throughout both sides of my family, so I say that it’s in my blood.

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated) Because our second bedroom of our condo is Andrew’s man cave, I set up my sewing room in our master walk-in closet. One half of the closet is my sewing room and the other half holds our clothing. Obviously, that’s where my blog name, The Closet Quilter, came from.

I have a storage cubby for current projects, yarn, pre-cuts, and bundles. Also, there are floor to ceiling windows for some awesome natural light during the day.

Since I have limited space, I have a pretty small fabric stash. Most of the large cuts of quilting or apparel fabric hang next to our clothes. My scraps are in bins on the top shelf of the closet and then I wrap smaller cuts of fabric on comic book boards and place them on the bottom shelf.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers? I fell in love with Vanessa Christenson’s (V & Co.) first line for Moda called Simply Color. I also love anything by Joel Dewberry, Rashida Coleman Hale, Jay McCarroll, and Lotta Jansdotter.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting? I wish I had a better idea about machines and quality. I started sewing on an old Singer that my mom had loaned me. When I looked to buy my own machine, I was fairly new to the hobby/craft and didn’t know if it would stick, so I went with a new Singer. It’s true that they don’t make them like the used to. I’ve since upgraded to a Babylock Symphony, which is AMAZING. I can imagine myself sewing on it for a very very long time.

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it? One of my favorite parts of making a quilt is hand sewing the binding. I actually like all types of hand work such as crocheting, hand quilting, and embroidery. If you hand sew at all, Thread Heaven is a must. It’s basically like beeswax and it makes your thread glide through the fabric so smoothly!

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.) As a kid, I fell in love with Ariel from The Little Mermaid and I will always have a soft spot for her.

I’ve had a thousand favorite fictional characters over the years since my other hobby is reading. Each time that I read a book, one of the characters becomes my favorite. Then I read another book and it changes. However, I read the Millennium series (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, etc.) a few years ago and again in the last year and I absolutely LOVE Lisbeth. So she has stuck as my favorite for awhile now.

Block Tutorial

I’m asking for a Modern maples block. The original tutorial is from Lark Crafts -

For the background, please use low volume print or low volume solid fabrics. For the maple leaf, use any print that you love. The only color I typically don’t like is brown, but if you have a brown print that you absolutely love, I’m positive that I will love it, too. I'm also not a big fan of novelty fabrics.

Block Size - 12.5” square (unfinished)

Seam Allowance - Always use ¼” seam

- (2) 4.5” background squares (Note: You can cut one of these larger if you’d like and trim it down once the stem unit is complete.)
- (2) 5” background squares (Note: You can cut these larger if you’d like and trim them down once the half square triangle units are complete.)
- (3) 4.5” print squares
- (2) 5” print squares (Note: You can cut these larger if you’d like and trim them down once the half square triangle units are complete.)
- (1) 2” x 7” print strip (Note: You can cut this longer than 7” if you’d like and trim it down once the stem unit is complete.)

1. Take one 5” print square and one 5” background square and place them right sides together. Draw a line using a water soluble or non-permanent marker along the diagonal.

2. Sew ¼” on each side of the drawn line.

3. Cut along the drawn line to create two half square triangle units.

4. Press and trim each half square triangle unit to 4.5” square.

5. Repeat for the remaining 5” print and background squares.You should have four half square triangle units.

6. Take one 4.5” background square and cut along the diagonal to create two triangles.

7. Place one triangle right sides together along the long edge of the 2” x 7” print strip. Sew along the long edge.

8. Press.

9. Repeat for the other side of the strip to create the stem unit.

10. Trim the stem unit to 4.5” square. You should now have all of the squares for your block.

11. Lay out the entire block.

12. Sew the top three squares together to create the first row.

13. Repeat for the second and third rows.

14. Press.

15. Sew the first row to the second row.

16. Sew the third row onto the other side of the second row.

17. Press.

You are done with your Modern Maples block!

Thank you all so much!

Hive 9 - August Block Tutorial

What is your name? Where do you live?
Hi everyone! My name is Shelby and I live in beautiful Midcoast Maine :)
Literally, just look at the coastline of Maine and find the middle-ish spot. That's me!

Also, a special note --- I work for a wonderful fabric store that stocks modern quilting cottons as well as other lovely textile treats! I run the website but also get to work in the store and I just LOVE my job! The website is  I have to say you should really ALL check it out :D because its the best!

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
I live with my long-term (8 years next month! are we 'partners' at this point?) boyfriend and we are neighbors with my parents! We are both graduates of Maine Maritime Academy and love to be outdoors. To get through the long winters here I love to have multiple projects going! The only pets I manage to (barely) keep alive are a few house plants and some basil. 

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
My mum was a seamstress when I was growing up and -in her words- I could sew before I could write. I love to sew anything, I really love making clothing and other more instant gratification projects but I really want to learn how to run a long arm quilting machine so that I can make an entire quilt from start to finish!

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)
By color-ish. I have a set of shelves I try to keep everything neat on. Gallon bags and bins for scraps by size (very generally strips vs. pieces smaller than an FQ).
I am constantly trying to battle my fabric addiction because I am surrounded by so many beautiful things all day every day at my work.. it makes it very, very, VERY hard for me to see fabric go out the door knowing I'll never get a piece!

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
GAH there is just too much good stuff out there! Trust me I see A LOT of it. Like, I have to see everything the shop DIDN'T order, and then I have to seriously consider going online and buying it elsewhere. 
Carolyn Friedlander for sure, Joel Dewberry, Lotta Jansdotter, Parson Gray (or David Butler if you will), anything from Liberty of London. I love simple, modern and clean but I also love quirky fabrics and anything with a nature-y or sea-life print.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
How to properly pin and attach borders. Agh, pinning! Can't we just sew sew sew and get it done fast?! ;)

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
The ability to know when to rip out a seam or re-do something and when to know that -truly- you won't see it from the road! It is so easy to get caught up in making each seam and point perfect when at the end of the day even you really won't remember what it was that was so wrong! The point is to have fun and improve your sewing, not to be perfect each and every time!

AND good quality pins that you can iron over. Don't I hate a pin that isn't sharp or has plastic on it!

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
Harriet the Spy. Who can't love a gal that likes tomato sandwiches?

For my block I would love to have a scrappy scrappy wonky log cabin. This block is for sure a stash buster! I love to make a block here and there when I'm working on a project, and save them towards a quilt or if one is super beautiful just make it into a little potholder or something :)
For those of you who have never done improvisational quilting… prepare for an exercise in letting go! While I do want straight seams (no curves, please!) I do not want each log to be totally even… you'll see what I mean!

Inspiration from the shop: 
Here is a link to a pretty great tutorial in case you need another approach compared to what I have shown here:

Colors: Please use any and all hues of blues, greens, and neutrals (low volume to dark grays rather than tans but off-whites are fine too!). My sample block ended up being basically all blue but you do not need to follow that. Think cool, ocean colors!

Also, no solids please. I don't mind at all if you mix up the material types (shirtings, voile or lawn, flannel, lineny blends, etc) as long as they are high-quality and preshrunk if necessary. Heck, I don't even mind if you throw in a selvedge as long as it is pretty or says something funny! (NO boring old selvedge dots though please).

First: sort your scraps!
Second: iron those scraps!

Okay, let's start. Grab a piece of anything. I'm going to use these cute little clammys. Its fun to fussy cut something for the center but its not necessary! Any size is fine, a square or a rectangle works.

Find a a second piece of fabric that is the same size or larger and sew together with your first piece. Please use a 1/4" seam allowance!!

Finger press (hooray! no jumping up and down to iron!) and trim the ends up. 

Turn your center to the left or the right (it doesn't matter to me which direction you build your log cabin in, just remember which way you are going and keep that direction for the entire block) and continue adding scraps and strips, round and round, finger pressing and trimming, until the block is large enough.

I like to just keep pressing my seams outwards, away from the center.

Sometimes, you don't have a strip that is long enough, or your block is looking a little boring. Feel free to sew a few strips together and trim to use as an extra scrappy log! 

Once your block is ready, give it a nice final press with a hot iron. Then square up!
I am requesting a finished block size of 16". There are options here, people! 
-Feel free to make one giant 16" block or make several smaller blocks to make up the 16 inches. 
-For my example I made (4) 8-1/2" blocks and sewed them together to make a 16" finished size. 
-Another thought is to make 9 small blocks (they would each be around 5-7/8") and make those into a 16" square. If it doesn't matter to you, my preference is (4) 8-1/2" blocks made into a large one but really… Let your imagination run free!
You do not need to trim down, I am happy to do it once I receive all the blocks! But if that's your jam, then do what makes you happy!

PLEASE let me know if you have any questions or need clarification, I am much more used to communicating in person rather than over writing!

I'm super excited to see everyone's scraps and to get the variety I would never get if I just used my own scraps for a quilt! Thanks!! 
XO, Shelby

(excited about quilting!)

Hive 12 - August Block Tutorial

What is your name?  Hello!  I'm Toni and currently live in Houston, TX.   I am a collector of fabrics, textiles and all things sewing.  My degree is in Clothing & Textiles which is how I explain my rather large collection of fabrics to people!  In addition to sewing and quilting, I enjoy needlepoint and embroidery.  I also have a weaving loom and hope to revive that hobby in the next few months. 

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)   I have been married for 37 years this month and have a daughter who is 26 years old.  My husband is a petroleum engineer and as a result we have lived the lives of gypsies, having lived in 4 states and 6 foreign countries.   Rounding out the family is a 2 yr. old French Brittany named Bowdrie and an 18 yr. old Silver Tabby named Xena, Princess Warrior Cat (who takes the Princess part of her name quite seriously!).   Also part of the family is our daughter's dog, Leo (doberman/hound dog mix).  Even though they moved out earlier this year both are back to visit quite often, especially at dinner time!


Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.  I don't remember life without quilts as my grandmother was a prolific quilter and I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by them.  When I was in college she taught me to make a log cabin block, entirely by hand as she did not believe in piecing or quilting by machine, which I turned into a pillow.  After that, I walked away from quilting for nearly 30 years.  I did not enjoy hand quilting, and having a collection of nearly 40 quilts, didn't have a need for any more quilts.  Then I discovered the Modern Quilt movement with bright colors and non-traditional patterns and was sucked into quilting. 

How do you organize your fabric stash?  We remodeled our home last year and my sewing room was part of that project.  I now have built-in shelving where an odd shaped closet used to be that I stack most of my fabrics on.   The shelves are 36" deep so what you see is only half of what I have.  It is divided up by type of fabric: fashion fabrics, cottons, decorator fabrics.  I have recently added some storage boxes to hold fat quarters and pre-cuts.


Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?  That's like asking which child you love best!  I love something about all of them!  I prefer bright colors and if you put a paisley pattern on it I am sure to want it!  Some of the new lines on my wish list are Gleeful (Sew Caroline), Emerson (Dear Stella) Lucky Girl (Jennifer Paganelli), Copenhagen Classics, Cotton & Steel, and pretty much anything from the Tana Lawn line by Liberty of London.  

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?  I wish someone had pointed out earlier that using a straight stitch throat plate when piecing would make my life much easier! 

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?   I don't really have a specific tool that is a favorite.  My recommendation that you buy the absolute best quality that you can afford when purchasing any tool or fabric.  It really does make a difference in the long run.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)  Scarlett O'Hara, from Gone With the Wind, was always my favorite character.  I like her spunk, tenacity and willingness to do what she had to in order to get things done.

And now on to this month's tutorial.  I have chosen to do a variation of a Double Pinwheel, based on  Pinwheels in the Park by Rachel Measham-Pywell.  The illusion  of movement and depth really intrigues me, so I thought this would be a chance to play with that.  Using a black background also gives us a chance to work with a traditional block pattern in a new and modern way. It is a simple block to construct, so the challenge will be in the fabric choices.

The colors I'd like for you to use are bright reds and blues.  The reds should not have any orange in them, but more of a blue undertone if moving away from a true red.  Blues should be in the range of a royal blue, not quite as dark as navy and no pale or aqua tones.  Think of the American or French flag for a reference point.  For the light fabrics, I prefer that the backgrounds be white, not an ivory or cream.  The black fabric I used is Bella Solids (Moda), but any true black quilting cotton should work.  Here are some fabrics I pulled from my stash to give you an idea of the colors.   If you do not have fabrics you feel will work, please let me know and I will be happy to send some for you to use.

2 Light/medium print fabrics
1 Medium/dark print fabric
Black solid fabric

Making the Block:  
Light/Medium Fabrics:  Cut a 7 7/8" square from each fabric. 

 Then cut each square in half diagonally to make two triangles.

 Medium/Dark Fabric & Black Fabric:  Cut an 8 1/4" square from each fabric.

Then cut both square in half diagonally, then in half again diagonally to form 4 triangles.

Sewing the Block:
Lay out your block as pictured above.

Flip the medium/dark fabric over to cover the black triangle.  Turn the triangle so that it looks like the picture below.  Sew using a 1/4" seam.  Sew all triangles with the medium/dark fabric on top as pictured.  This will ensure that your pinwheels will all end up facing the same direction.
Sew all four pairs together and press seams.  I prefer that the seams be pressed open.

Your block will now look like the photo above.  Flip the medium/light fabric triangle over the triangle that you just sewed.  Sew along the long edge, being very careful not to stretch the fabrics as you sew.  Repeat for all four square and press seams open.

Sew two square together.  It will help to use the photo as a guide to make sure the blocks are orientated correctly.  Repeat for the other two blocks.  Press seams open.

Now flip the top strip over the bottom strip, sew along the long side, taking care to match up center points.  Press the seam open.  You should now have a 14 1/2" square block.  Don't bother to square them up as I will take care of that.

**A tip I use to match seams is when pinning, insert the pin into the seam (between the stitches) of one side. Then stick the tip of the pin through the seam of the other piece.   Pin from center to side, then center to other side.  Your seams/points should match up very nicely.**

I hope you have as much fun playing with the colors and prints to achieve the illusion of movement as I did.   Thank you!

Hive 7 - August Block Tutorial

What is your name?
My name is Tiffany. And it is seriously hard to find a picture of me. So here is one from 5 (!) years ago. The only thing that has changed is the length of my hair. I loved this length though. A little about me, I have my bachelor's degree in Music, classical piano to be more specific. At one time I had aspirations to get my Master's in Music Theory, as that's where my real musical strength lies, but I never did it. And now I have my dream job of stay at home mom anyway. My kids are homeschooled. My goal for the coming school year is to really buckle down and have a schedule for schooling. I tell people we use the "fly by the seat of our pants" curriculum. It's time to change that I think. My girls get ticked if I make them do more than one subject in a row. The horror! This year schooling will include sewing and piano lessons.

Where do you live?
I live in Washington. It's a tiny town in Georgia. It's about halfway between Athens and Augusta. My husband grew up here and has wanted to move back forever. He finally got the chance last year. We've been here since last August after spending 8 years in Colorado Springs.

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
Jake and I will have been married for 10 years August 20. He's an electrician by trade, but currently working for a generator company.

He's pretty handy too. This shelf/rack is the latest creation he's completed for me. I may have spent a day staring at it. That also may or may not have had something to do with the fact that my table had been piled high with junk and unusable for 2 months.

My kids: I have 4. The girls, Dakota and Georgia, are identical twins. They just turned 9 in July. Dakota is my sensitive tomboy. Georgia is a prissy fireball. My youngest, Memphis is 2.5 and a total hoot. He's also a total pain in the tush at times.
This is Justice, my 3rd born. He passed away 4 years ago at the age of 20 months. He was determined and a complete joy.

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
My mom tried to get me to learn how to sew when I was about 12. I wasn't interested. For years I joked that my method of sewing was to pick out a pattern and fabric and give it to my mom. Before Justice was born, I got all the fabric to make him a quilt, but never got around to it. About 8 months after he died, a friend of mine shared pictures of a quilt she had made. I loved the pattern, and had recently seen some fabrics I wanted for no particular reason. So, I decided to make the same quilt she had with the fabrics I'd found. I ended up choosing a different pattern, made the blocks, and still haven't completed that quilt. But I'd been bitten by the bug. I found that time spent at my sewing machine was quiet time for my brain and healing for my heart. So here I am. I guess I could say, "I quilt because I grieve."

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)
My stash storage is currently in transition. I recently had my girls sort everything by color. But I haven't managed to refold it all yet. But here is where it will all end up eventually. Right now, the top shelf contains a few recently acquired bundles and some of the FQs I've used in bee blocks. I figure it will all slowly migrate here as I use it. You don't want to see the disaster where the rest of fabric currently resides. Trust me.

I have 2 of these carts.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
Jenean Morrison and Anna Maria Horner are my current favorites. But mostly, I just buy what I like. I don't usually buy complete collections, because then I feel like I have to use them all together. Then they never get used. So lately, I've been focusing on buying specific colors. Like I realized I'm lacking in the yellow department. My next fabric purchase will likely be a bundle of yellow blenders.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
Change your needle and rotary blades more often than you think you should. I always keep at least 5 new needles and blades on hand now. I stock up when there is a sale or I have coupons.

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
Glue. I started glue basting in January after I hit a pin and did this.
I had to take my machine, my baby, in for servicing after hitting this guy and shattering the needle. (There's a piece of the needle missing here.) The needle went out of alignment, and the machine was skipping stitches like crazy. It was not pretty. So anyway, I'd been hearing about glue basting for at least a year at the time, and it sounded like a crazy idea. But I was finally convinced by someone to try it after she saw this picture. I used to hate sewing long seams. It seemed no matter how well I pinned, something always shifted. There is no shifting with glue basting. I thought glue basting would take more time, but it doesn't AND there's no stopping to remove pins while I sew. Seriously, try it. Here's the method I use.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
I don't play favorites with books, movies, TV shows, etc. I just like what I like at the time. So since I've been on a Psych binge again recently, I'll go with Shawn Spencer. He just makes me laugh.

All right, on to my chosen block. A few years ago I was part of a bee where everyone made the Garden Fence Block from Hyacinth Quilts. I have a few blocks in my chosen colors, but I need more, lots more, for my quilt top. So, my colors are good ol' primary colors, bright yellows, royal blues, and red reds. I never tire of this combination. Please use a solid white for the sashing. I used Kona, but Moda Bella is fine too. As far as pressing goes, I like to press to the side, but I'm not picky about however you choose to press.

Cutting instructions:
Color 1: 1 - 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" 
Color 2: 4 - 2 1/2" x 3"
              4 - 2 1/2" x 5" 
White: 2 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"
            2 - 1 1/2" x 6 1/2"
            4 - 1 1/2" x 2 1/2"

Sew the 4 1/2" strips to either side of the square. I usually sew the 2 1/2" white strips to 2 of the 3" strips and 2 of the 5" strips at this point also.

Sew the 6 1/2" white strips to the center piece and finish the outer strips by adding the other 3" and 5" strips.

Attach the outer strips,

and you're done!