I am no longer actively blogging here but I’d love if you could join me at my new creative lifestyle blog A Girl in Paradise.
I hope to see you soon.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Building Blocks with Friends–Pineapple Blossoms

Welcome to another edition of Building Blocks with Friends.  If you are not familiar with Building Blocks with Friends it is a new series that I have started here on A Girl in Paradise to help promote Modern Quilting and the talented Quilt Bloggers that take the time to share not only the quilts they create but the process.  It is just my way of giving back to this awesome online community that has taught me so much.  It just goes to show you that even as a seasoned quilter there is still so much to learn.  If you are interested in contributing just leave a comment below or contact me here.     

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This week I thought I would share the block I am working on for my next quilt.  My block, Pineapple Blossoms is a play off the traditional Pineapple block.  Pineapple blocks belong to the log cabin family the only difference being is that there are 8 logs that go around the center square instead of 4 and it is traditionally pieced on a foundation.  There is many variations to the pineapple block, but I decided to step out of the box a little and change things up a bit.  I changed the traditional square to a rectangle, and I gave my pineapple a more scrappy look instead of accenting it with a solid or lighter fabrics.  I did leave the solid corners to give the blocks a focal point when they are joined.   

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OK, let’s get started.  First you will need to print out a template here.  You can either trace it onto muslin, foundation paper, or just use regular copy paper like I have done here in this tutorial.  If you choose to use paper just remember to shorten your stitch length so the paper will be easily removed later.  And unlike traditional paper piecing you will be sewing on top of the paper instead on the back.

You will need to cut some 1 1/2” strips from your printed fabric and 2” strips from your white fabric.  For a scrappy look I recommend that you use a variety of different fabrics.  I have about 16 different fabrics that I am using in this tutorial.  For those of you that are trying to figure out yardage for larger projects, 16 strips that were 1 1/2” by 22” (the length of a fat quarter) made about 2 1/2 blocks.  You will also need 4 – 2” by 4 1/2” rectangles of the white for each block.

Measure your center rectangle and pin a piece of fabric that size within the guidelines.  For this template it measures about 1 1/2” by 2”.   

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To determine the length of your strips each time you go around the center, cut your strips slightly larger than you think that you will need.  Remembering that since this is a rectangle and not a square sometimes when you make a round you will have 2 that are shorter and 2 that are longer. 

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Use your 1/4” foot and sew your strips to the center on all 4 sides, finger pressing open before adding the next.

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Once you have sewn on all 4 strips and they are pressed opened, fold back your paper and trim to a 1/4”. 

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Add your next row.  Determine the strip size as you did before, cutting the fabric slightly larger than you think you will need.  As you make these blocks it will be easier and easier to determine the strip length. 

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You will also notice that when I sewed these strips on I did not sew from the beginning to end of each strip.  I started my stitches roughly where my “log” began and where it ended.  I placed a ruler here in the picture above so you could get a better understanding of what I mean.

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You will want to be cautious of where your stitches begin and where they end because when you fold your paper back to trim these stitches can get in the way.  If they do just keep a seam ripper handy and undo a stitch or two so your paper will fold back nicely.

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Keep adding your “logs” all the way around till you get to last 4 corners.

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The 2” strips you cut from the white will be used here.

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Press open your blocks and trim away the excess.

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The picture above is what a completed block will look like, and the picture below is what your blocks will look like once they are joined together.

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I hope you have enjoyed making this block with me.  Don’t forget to join us again next week for another edition of Building Blocks with Friends.

Edited to Add: Here is a picture of the completed quilt.  You can read more about this quilt here.

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Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Stash–Soul Blossoms

I know, it has been forever since I added any new fabrics to my stash.  I have a new project in the works and unlike my recent projects I wasn’t able to pull from my stash.  So it was off to my favorite quilt shop.

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For my new project I wanted to use Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler. I really like the color way and large scale print in this line, and for a really long time I have wanted to add to the few prints that I already had.

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It all started with some prints that I received in a swap and some prints that I picked up at another local quilt shop in town.  All the while hoarding them knowing that someday I would find the perfect project for them. So fast forward a few months. Perfect project in mind, I picked up the rest of the prints and enough yardage to complete the project I have in mind.

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Today I will be making a few practice blocks to see if what I have in mind will translate into a quilt.  Do you ever make a few practice blocks before jumping into a quilt?  Or is it just me?  I have this horrible habit of making it up as I go along.  Sometimes the results are amazing and other times… well, not so much.  So, I have gotten myself in the habit of making a few practice blocks first to save time and fabric. 

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So, check back in tomorrow and I will share what I have in the works.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

I just got back from the cutest family breakfast at my daughters school.  It is something the teachers do every year to get to know the parents on a more personal note.  Also, as a parent it is a great way for me to meet some of their classmates and friends.  You know, to put faces to the names I hear so much about.  Most of all it was so nice to see her thriving in school both academically and socially.  I swear, sometimes I am just so proud of her my heart could burst. 

Anyways, back to the task at hand… Sharing with you what I have going on this week.  Again not to much to share, things have been slow going in the sewing department.  I almost had a finish to share, but not quite.  I was sewing the binding on my Twist on Tradition quilt last night until I realized that I forgot to add the label.  That has halted production till I can put one together.  Since this was a group effort I want to make sure everyone who made blocks is included.  Even though I have completed the quilting I can still add a corner label and sew it into the binding.  Crisis averted. 

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New Projects

A new quilt?  Perhaps.  For now just a tutorial for my Building Blocks with Friends series.  I pulled my Soul Blossom fabric by Amy Butler to put together some Pineapple blocks.  If you are interested in making some blocks to share you can read more about how to get involved here.  There are a few of dates open and I would be happy to put you on the list.  It is a great way to promote your blog and your quilts.

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May Bee Blocks for Bee a {modern} Swapper – If you remember from last week I was telling you how the queen bee for May wants a 18in wonky star based on this tutorial for a quilt she is making for Soldier's Angels.  Well I have pulled some fabric and started to put those together.

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Still On hold

Memory Quilt for my Daughter

Apple Core Quilt

2010 Scrap Quilt

Want to hear more of what’s going on in the quilt world? Hop on over to Freshly Pieced and check out her Work in Progress Wednesday link-up. There you will find other talented quilters and hear all about what they have going on.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

I don’t have a whole lot to share this week but I did manage to finish my Twist on Tradition quilt top and my March bee blocks for Bee a {modern} Swapper.  It seems like such a simple thing but when I dropped off my blocks at the post office it was like a huge weight had been lifted.  I really hate to be late for anything.  

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March Bee Blocks - I just love how my orange and palm tree came out.  After a couple of failed attempts I had an epiphany to play off the traditional dresden plate for my palm tree and I am really happy with the results.  Of course now that these have gone out, I just received instructions for the May bee blocks.  The queen bee for May wants a 18in wonky star based on this tutorial for a quilt she is making for Soldier's Angels.  Now to dig into my stash to see what I have on hand for red and blue.     

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Twist on Tradition Quilt – I couldn’t make this one as large as I wanted to because I ran out of purple but it will still make a great oversized toddler quilt.  I am glad I didn’t overthink the layout.  The way the colors intersect gives it the appearance that it has been weaved.  This weekend I hope to sandwich and machine quilt it.

Still On hold

Memory Quilt for my Daughter

Apple Core Quilt

2010 Scrap Quilt

Want to hear more of what’s going on in the quilt world? Hop on over to Freshly Pieced and check out her Work in Progress Wednesday link-up. There you will find other talented quilters and hear all about what they have going on.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Doll Quilt Swap 12

Yesterday I shared a sneak peak of the quilt I made and mailed off for the current round of the Doll Quilt Swap but I also wanted to share the beautiful quilt I received in that swap.

Take a look. Isn’t it awesome? I love that it one big modern log cabin block… and the Amy Butler fabrics, fabulous.  I couldn’t have been more excited when I pulled it out of the mailer.  Thanks Mary Beth you made my day.

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Here is a picture of the back.  Really it is like 2 quilts in one.  I love that I could flip it over and display the other side if I wanted, but for now it is up on my wall with my collection of other miniature quilts with the front displayed.

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Like I shared yesterday, here is the quilt I made.  When making this quilt I really had to challenge myself. Not only did I step outside my comfort zone with the piecing I also stepped outside my comfort zone with the free motion quilting.  Not my strong suit, but I am really pleased with how it came out.   

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Here is the closer view of the quilting and the label I made for the back.  Of course, it would sound really cool if I lead you to believe that it was my original intention but sadly I found myself with an extra block after I pieced it with it’s color order transposed.  So, because there is no reason to throw away a perfectly good block I included it on the back.

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Thanks for stopping by my blog and for all your continued support. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  Have a great day!

 

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

I can’t even tell you how good it feels for life to be getting back to normal.  Finally.  There is nothing worse than that funk you find yourself in when you are overloaded with the trials and tribulations of life.  It feels like for the past few weeks I haven’t gotten anything done and this unexplainable funk has killed all my creativity.  A bit dramatic? Perhaps.  Especially since deep down I know that isn’t really true.  In reality, I have gotten a lot done.  I just haven’t been able to fit in all the things that I wanted to accomplish.  I think I need about 4 extra hours everyday…. and would it be to much to ask if those hours included the energy and mental clarity needed to be efficient and productive?

Now that things are quiet the main thing on my list of things that need attention are my quilts.  So, I spent the better part of yesterday cleaning out my sewing space, organizing my unfinished projects, and making a list of things I need to get those projects done… and of course making a to do list.

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Doll Quilt Swap 12 – This was done a while ago but I didn’t want to share too much before my partner received it.  I got mine in the mail on Monday, took a few pictures of it yesterday and this morning found a nice little spot for it on the wall with my collection of others. (see what I mean every thing has been moving at a snails pace)  I will share pictures real soon with more details.       

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Twist on Tradition Quilt – I decided to make this one larger than originally planned and have been going back and forth over the layout.  I really wanted to get a little more creative with this one but I think I really like the simplicity of the original layout.  Especially since it is for a boy and the colors just scream - keep it simple.   

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March Bee Blocks – These I am painfully behind on.  Here it is the 11th of April and I haven’t sent them out yet.  I hope my swap mama isn’t to mad at me.  I promise they will be in the mail real soon.  We were asked to make some tree blocks with bright happy colors.  Once I saw that I just knew, being from Florida, my blocks would be an orange tree (pictured above) and a palm tree.  The palm tree is proven a little more difficult and I have already scraped the first two attempts, but now I am armed with a new plan and the block should be done today or tomorrow. 

On hold

Memory Quilt for my Daughter

Apple Core Quilt

2010 Scrap Quilt

Want to hear more of what’s going on in the quilt world? Hop on over to Freshly Pieced and check out her Work in Progress Wednesday link-up. There you will find other talented quilters and hear all about what they have going on.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Building Blocks with Friends - Katie from There & Back

Welcome to our first edition of Building Blocks with Friends.  Today Katie is here sharing her method for invisible hand applique.  She is a very talented quilter and has done some amazing stitch work.  I am always so jealous of people who have the talent (or the eyes) for that kind of work.  Katie shares that and a whole lot more on her blog There & Back

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Hi there, I'm Katie, and I blog at There & Back. I usually blog about quilty, stitchy or crochet type things, although sometimes I'll throw in a curve and blog about chocolate or ice cream....... I'm thrilled to be guest posting on Ann's blog today. Since you're already regular readers of her blog I don't have to tell you just how awesome she is because you already know!

Today I'm going to share with you my method of invisible hand applique. I use it for all my applique projects, but it's especially nice for hexagons. I know a lot of people just machine stitch around the edge, but I prefer not to see that stitching line so I have perfected invisibility. Now if only I could somehow apply it to myself and then sell my idea, I'd be rich. Rich I tell you!!

For this method you need to have a hexagon flower already made. Don't worry, I have a tutorial for that right here

First thing you need to do is get your supplies together. You'll need:
needle and thread - the thread should blend with your background fabric
small pointy scissors
your hexie flower
background piece - in this case I'm appliqueing onto a makeup bag I made, but the instructions are exactly the same whether you're appliqueing onto a finished project or a piece of unfinished fabric
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First you'll need to remove the basting stitches from your flower
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Then take out the papers. Because you just caught the fabric and didn't sew through the paper, they should slip out really easily. Give the flower a good press after you've removed the papers, you want nice sharp creases!
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Decide on the placement and using tiny applique pins, pin it in place.
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Now comes the sewing part. I fold my flower back so I can get the knot hidden underneath. I just go through the top layer of fabric and into the batting a bit. I definitely don't want to stitch through to the other side of my finished project!
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Poke your needle through the hexagon right at the fold making sure it doesn't come out on the surface. You don't want the thread visible on top.
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Pull your needle through and take your next stitch. You'll be placing your needle just under the edge of the applique. Travel over a few threads and bring it back up through the folded edge.
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After you've done a few stitches your work will look like this. See? No visible stitches!
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 Here is what you DON'T want to do. You don't want your needle coming up on the surface. In this case I need to make sure my needle comes out a couple of threads lower.
 Don't do this
Here's why. You don't want to see the stitches like this. Not pretty. Especially when there's a bigger contrast between your thread colour and your applique. It just looks sloppy.
 you don't want this
Here's a view straight on. Making sure your thread comes out on the fold
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Needle back in, just under the applique. Travel over a few threads and then back up into the applique, again exiting on the fold.
 This IS what you want
Again with the invisibility stitching
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Once you've gone the whole way around give it another good press. I'm a big fan of lots of pressing!
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You'll need to knot-off, so take your needle and push it under the applique into the top layer of backing fabric. Kind of swoop it back towards yourself making it come out just under the edge several threads away.
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Start pulling your thread through but before you've pulled it all the way, insert your needle in the loop, so you can make a knot. I do this a couple of times to ensure my stitching won't come out.
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Now take your small pointy scissors and very carefully snip off your thread tail
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Annnnnndddd, you're done!
Completely invisible, quick, portable and easy enough for a beginner to get great results.
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Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!
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