Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer In The Park - Darn It's Hot!

     I have been traveling a lot, sadly to hot hot hot locations. I have also been tied to my sewing machine when I have been home. My trusty old Bernina had a break down and had to go see the doctor for a couple weeks. After 40 years the old girls pedal gave up the ghost and had to be replaced. My compliments to Bigsby's Sewing Center in Elm Grove, WI who fixed my ladies broken foot and tuned her up. She is now running in tip top condition. I have been working on a quilt for a wedding present for my friend Ian. He is getting married for the second time and I wanted to make them a quilt for their wedding. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to go to Virginia for the wedding since it is around the 4th of July and work didn't want to release me. As soon as I found out I had the time off I started sewing. I am still not done with the quilt. I have the top done and the binding cut and pieced. I just have to do the quilting and bind it. As a result I am in Mississippi with a suitcase dedicated to a sewing machine, quilt and the associated supplies. I am not traveling with my Bernina. She is an old heavy beast that will most likely out live me, but she is not airline friendly.
      Since I have been working on the quilt I put together a tutorial of the process. The project idea came from the lovely ladies at the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I happened to be in Missouri briefly and was able to make a trip out to the store. I wish I lived there, they have the best deals of the day, and awesome store, templates a plenty, and great tutorials. I broke many speed limits to get there before they closed and they were nice enough to stay open even when I got there 10 minutes before they closed. The day I was there they had any fat quarter for $2, I was like a kid in a candy store. The deal of the day the day I was there was Moda Kona White at $3.49 a yard with a limit of 2 yards. It turned out to be just what I needed to make the quilt for Ian's wedding using this tutorial.
     I have never been one for buying precuts, partially because I am cheep cheep cheep and partially because I like digging through my stash and picking out the pretty fabrics myself. So for this quilt I started digging and pulled these from my stash. My intention was to do a rainbow of pastels. It was also a pretty good excuse to go fabric shopping. I don't know about anyone else but I haven't been able to find many light peachy oranges or lavender purples. So in the beginning this is what we had.

Pretty Pretties
     During the process I added and subtracted fabrics as it came together. To start this process you need to cut strips the width of the fabric, or purchase 2-4 jelly rolls depending on the size of the quilt. For each set you will need 6 strips. With two jelly rolls you can make 14 strip sets, each strip sets yields 6 7" blocks . You can be creative here mixing prints and solids depending on what you would like your final product to look like. The layout in the end can also vary the look of the quilt. For my quilt i decided to stick with a white background and pastels for the stripes. I wanted to use the center square as the focal point in my block and I wanted to control the color pattern. You will see what I mean in a bit. For each group I cut three white strips 2 1/2" and WOF. I also chose three colored fabrics for each group. When I was sewing I was putting together 2-3 sets at a time to bang it out as quickly as possible. In the picture below you can see the strips I cut to make two sets. If you are working with fat quarters (as I sometimes was) you will need to cut two 2 1/2" strips and sew them together to get a strip that is WOF.

Strip sets ready to sew
Once you have your strips cut its is easy sewing from here. If you are working with jelly rolls this quilt comes together very quickly. Take one strip of white and pair it with one colored strip, face to face and sew a 1/4" seam all the way down. For each set I would do this with two of the colored strips.

      Once you have your colored strips sewn to the white strips press them toward the darker fabric.

     Once you cut these strips you will have two different blocks. The strip set with one color and two white will be the same throughout, the set with two colors and one white will flip flop. Since I was using the one set to make a center square I would chose which strip was going to be in the center at this point. The pattern that I wanted to be in the center I would sew another white stripe to. The remaining (non-center) set would get another colored strip. Confused yet????? Maybe the picture will help! Then press the sets toward the colored strip.

     So in this case the yellow print and the pink/red print are going to be my center squares. At this point you should have three strips sewn together in each group. You will pair a set with two white and a colored strip with a set with two colored strips and one white. Place these face to face and sew down the outside of each side. You will now have a tube of 6 strips sewn together that is the WOF. Within the tube the strips will alternate white and colored.

     This is one long set of strips (folded over for the picture). You will lay the strip set out flat, using a ruler (mine is 9.5" square) line up the 45 degree line with one of the outside seems. Make sure the point of the ruler is past the selvedge of the fabric.

     Using the ruler as a guide and a rotary cutter cut the strip set.

     This piece can be added to your scrap bag. Move the ruler to the opposite seam (now the shorter side) and line up the 45 degree line up with the seam again.

     Using the ruler as a guide and a rotary cutter cut the strip set. This will give you your first block.

     Continue this process down the length of your strip set. You will end up with 3 of each block. In this case three blocks with a larger strip of grey and three strips with a larger strip of blue. Press the blocks open toward the colored strip. For my quilt I wanted  to lay out the blocks to have a square in the middle with the same color. The Missouri Star tutorial lays out the blocks with the colored points in the middle. This quilt can become many many variations based on your imagination, layout choices, and fabrics. Have fun! Final pics will be posted when the quilt is done!

Ian's Wedding Quilt Layout
Missouri Star Quilt Layout
X Layout
Candy Stripe Layout
Double Hourglass Layout
Silly Stripe Layout
Reflections Layout
Chevron Layout