Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mistake? No. Scenic Route YES!!!

"Oh, you took a wrong turn, honey."
"No, sweetheart. We are taking the scenic route!!!"

Have you ever taken a wrong turn? But then eventually found your way back to the destination via a scenic route? I have. Many times.
Today I want to share with you this fantastic finish - A Walk in the Park Quilt for a sweet four year old darling girl. The pattern is from Ellie Roberts @ Craft Sew Create from Craftsy.

First, look at the back of the quilt.

I love how the floral print is framed by the dark purple border. But the journey to this gorgeous destination of a quilt was a "scenic" one.

Once I completed the quilt top, I made the quilt sandwich - Top, Batting and Backing - and spray basted it. Once everything was ready to be quilted, I realized my mistake. The backing was not straight, and it was smaller than the batting/top. Oh no!!!

Front - looks fine

Back - Far from fine :-(

Two choices
1. I could either take the backing apart, find new backing (this was not enough) or add another piece to it and redo the whole thing. UGH!!!
2. I could be creative. AHA!!!

What if I added a border to the quilt back? Yes, I could do that.
Without removing the current backing? Yes, I can quilt as you go!!!

So, I cut 2.5" strips from a bright purple fabric and joined them to have adequate length. I then placed the purple border strips right side down, 2" away from the edge of the quilt sandwich. I pinned it in place and stitched it, flipped it and ironed it.

Here is the result.
The new Back (rescued)
The "quilt as you go" stitch line in the front
Yes, it resulted in a new quilt stitch line in the front, but I can live with that. It is not straight - I am fine with it. Since it was already quilted, all I had to do was binding and then hand stitch the label.

I feel so triumphant. I not only saved myself from some hair-pulling moments, I saved the quilt and discovered a new way to correct my mistakes. Remember there are no mistakes. Only opportunities for learning and improvement.

Finished Quilt - A Walk in the Park

How did you recover from a wrong turn? I look forward to hearing from you.
Linking up with Throwback Thursday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Four Patch HST (Boston Block) Tutorial

When I met Zoanna for the first time, she shared with me her love of pinwheels. She said "I just love the movement of the pinwheels. If I had to choose just one pattern to make for the rest of my quilting life it would be pinwheels."

Look at this, this is what I want to make next.
Please don't. At least, not yet.
Why not?
Because, I promise I can show you a simpler, quicker and cleaner method of making these blocks.

Zoanna agreed.

Here is me delivering on my promise. The block is called Boston Block, I think. I am going to call it Four Patch Half Square Triangle block. Here are the steps with pictures.

Fabric Requirements

  • 4 charm squares - dark color
  • 4 charm squares - white or other pale/neutral background color
  • 2 squares - 9.5" by 9.5" of lighter color

1. Make two identical four patch blocks, using the charm squares.

 Place right sides together.

 Chain piece.

Open, iron and chain piece again.

Our two 4-patches are now complete. They measure 9.5" square.

2. Now, place each lighter blue square right sides together with the 4-patch. Stitch on all four sides using a quarter inch seam. 

 3. Now, this is the exciting part. Cut the stitched 4-patch + lighter blue square on the diagonal, from corner to corner both ways. See picture below.

Open the fold and see the magic :-D Neat, isn't it?
That is a Boston Block or 4-PHST

Open all four of them. Set aside.
Cut the other 4-patch + lighter blue square in the same way.

And open them too. Now, you will have eight 4-PHSTs. Here is the important thing - Four of them look alike and the other four are mirror images. See picture below. 

Each 4-PHST measures 6 1/4". You can square them to 6". This is a good time to starch and iron the blocks and start playing...
Here are some of the ways you can put this block together...

I love this twisty block :-) Looks way more complicated but was so simple.

Another variation

Look at that S-pattern - like the movement of the colors...

Look at this - zig zag with pizzaz...

Here is my new favorite...If you look hard, you can see the 3-dimensional effect of a cube.

And here you are, for Zoanna, the PINWHEELS, whee...

These 8 Boston Blocks will give you two pinwheels - one going clockwise and one going anti-clockwise.  Remember, you need to make these in pairs because one set will give two blocks of one kind and two that are mirror images. You need four of a kind to make one pinwheel.

Reasons to love this method
1. It is FAST. You get eight blocks at once.
2. You only cut once per block.
3. Reduces bias.
4. Does not require any special rulers.

If you liked this tutorial, please leave me a comment. Your comments make my day - they are like an e-pat on the back :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Staying Organized - That is Nifty!!!

The word of the day is...

nif·ty [nif-tee]  

adjective, nif·ti·er, nif·ti·est.
1. attractively stylish or smart: a nifty new dress for Easter. 
2. very good; fine; excellent: a nifty idea. 
3. substantial; sizable: We sold the car for a nifty profit.
Have you been to the Container Store?
Well, you have no idea what you are missing. The Container Store is fabulous. They have LOTS and LOTS of storage and home organization solutions. Look what I found...
   An ice cube tray?
It has a lid!!!
   I see that.

Yes, but you don't see the solution.
     Solution? Solution to what? I did  not know there was a problem.

I wanted a simple, covered bobbin storage device that was cheap and easy to store. And I found it in an ice cube tray!!! It stores 21 bobbins and can also make ice cubes!!! Now, that is nifty. Most importantly, I paid a whopping $4 for it.

Ok, I know Jo-Ann has something similar for the same price but would you look at the cool design!!! I can also use it to make ice cubes - if needed :-p

I have also been working on a very special quilt for a darling little girl. Here she is - totally CUTE. She turns four this month and I am hoping that I can complete a quilt, in her favorite colors (Pink and Purple), in time for her birthday.

I found the free pattern on Craftsy. Craftsy is one of my favorite resource for patterns, inspirations, classes and more. What I really love about Craftsy classes is this - your access never expires. Once you take a class, you have it for ever. And that is super nifty!!!

So, back to the pattern. It is called "A Walk in the Park" by Ellie Roberts @ Craft Sew Create

It is a simple, beautiful and eye-catching pattern. The original was in pastel colors but you know me - I love bright colors - hot pink, bright purple and dark orange. 

Here is another look at it...

See the little pink sticky notes?
Trying to maintain order and SANITY (be it bobbins or quilt block rows) is the eternal challenge...