Ugly Jelly Part deux Gets Prettier – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly Part deux Gets Prettier – Baby Quilt

Sew, when I last posted, I had a pile of scrap strips sets left over, from the Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt, waiting to be made into a quilt for the other Twin baby. At first, it didn’t look promising.

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_Leftovers

I really liked the Arkansas Traveler block and had it on my todo list. There are several versions, of this 4 patch diamond in a square block, but they are all put together with the diamonds touching in the middle, making a striking pattern.

Arkansas Traveler Block that inspired me is located here.

Looking at it for the first time, I already knew there had to be a way to make it with strips sets, and skip the paper piecing. I filed it away in my brain to make it one day.
After about 48 hours of contemplating how to make a quilt out of the scraps from yet another ugly jelly quilt, The part of my brain that had stored this pattern, and the part that was looking for a pattern finally lined up. This could be the perfect block. They were in strip sets already, and I wanted to make this block in strip sets, so why not?

As it turned out, some ladies I met at my first all day sew, spied my featherweight, and told me about a new FW [Do I have to keep spelling out Featherweight?] group that was to meet the first Fri of the month, and even though I had to work that Fri, I went after work. For an hour. I usuallly don’t work on Friday’s but sometimes I do. [Can you say “more pretty fabric?”] Why not check out this group for an hour instead of being stuck there all day possibly feeling uncomfortable, right? I mean, I have never been in any sort of sewing group before. I hoped it wouldn’t be like school where people form groups simply to exclude other people. I really like my FW, but it’s just a sewing machine. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It turned out that they were all very nice ladies, and no one gave me that first day at high school impression. Yay!
Being ya’ll don’t know me that well yet, I’ll just tell you I am very curious. I like to know how stuff works, and won’t stop until I find out, and I poke around in stores, just to see if they have anything that looks either pretty or handy. Seeing I didn’t have any time to sew, I did just that. Low and behold, I found June Tailor’s “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” 60 degree slotted ruler! Oh yeah, I’m a ruler junky, too. “I need this” I announced. I probably startled somebody, but was too excited to care.
I had already made a few cuts in my strip sets, but it had been slow going. Too much time aligning the ruler for one cut. Ugh! I rushed home with my new toy, and unwrapped this baby quickly. Easy to line up,  make 3  cuts, and get 2 at a time.

Then I paired up my 2 piece diamond strips, and began sewing them together.

That was the easy part. Oh, it wouldn’t have been, if I had to cut each diamond and make 4 patches out of them. Thank you June Tailor!

Now to take that paper piece template, cut the 2 pieces a little bigger than neccessary, and cut those from strips instead of using larger cuts to paper piece. I used 2.5 by 9 inch long strips for the small pieces, and 2.5 by 11 inches long for the large ones. Any left overs were cut into 2.5 by 2.5 squares for other quilts.

I taped the template piece to my ruler, and lined it up at and angle to cut.

Then I chain pieced one semi-triangular piece to my 4 patch diamonds at a time. These don’t have to be perfect because like the paper piece pattern, I will be trimming each finished block.

The other Arkansas Traveler quilts I have seen, all have the 4 blocks sewn together points tounching, to make the larger blocks.  One quilt I saw has these large blocks alternate with the same size block in the background fabric, which I liked the look of, but a baby quilt is too small for the alternate pattern to show up, so I had an idea.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Blocks_SquaringUp

Instead of sewing all 4 of the diamond blocks together to make one block, I would sash them and use cornerstones that alternate the color and background fabrics.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Block_Assembled

No matter where your eyes fall on it, the blocks join their neighbor to make the bigger block. It also looks a bit like butterflys.

Arkansas_Traveler_Top_50x57

I hadn’t put a border on the matching pinwheel quilt yet, because I want to make these quilts the same size. Which turned out to be a good thing, because this quilt was too long. Ugh! First I removed a row. Then it was too short. So I unsewed the row in half, then turned it to match the pattern, and sewed the half row back on.

The pinwheel was quilted with straight lines in the ditch outlining the pinwheels. Then I read the quilt spacing specs for the batting I was using [2 to 4 inches – who DOES that?], and after kicking myself for buying this batting, I had Emmy Lou do her serpentine stitch through the middle of each one.
This Arkansas Traveler was quilted in the ditch down the sides of the long sashing pieces first. Then I came in on the sides following the sashing, and stopping at every 4 patch diamond, and did a sort of figure eight encasing two of the diamond patches.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilting

That was a lot of turning, but I like how it looks, and I think I made my 2 to 4 inches.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilting01

After borders, I had 50×55 [with a 4 inch border] for the pinwheel and 50×57 [with 2 inch border] for the Arkansas Traveler and I’m calling it close enough!

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilt_Complete03

They both got the same binding, washed up nice, and are boxed and ready to ship.
I really like these twin quilts. It almost looks like I know what I’m doing.
I am really done with pink now.

#ArkansasTraveler #TwinQuilts #DoneWithPink #UglyJellyQuilt #UglyHasATwinSister #IfItsStillUglyYouDidntCutItSmallEnough

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Exploding Block [Head]

Exploding Block [Head]

Inspired by Jenny’s Exploding Block Tutorial, I decided to one day make a quilt from it.
That day came when I was shopping to make my Husband’s Daughter’s Baby – who had just graduated to a big girl bed – a quilt. I had a quilt in mind, big then I saw the kitties! The kitties wouldn’t work with that quilt, but they’d be happy in an exploding block quilt framed in pink and turquoise, so I got them. I skipped up to the cutting counter, and told them I wanted it all. Cuz, come on, it’s KITTIES!

I also bought some turquoise, and I knew I had some pink at home.

fabric

I made my first test block, then spent 5 minutes trying to pull the layers apart to cut them.
Being a production junky at work, I tend to stream line things. At home I usually am more relaxed – something my co-workers would never believe. However, my work brain kicked in as I had found what I call “the time suck” So, to eliminate this time suck, I cut up some little pieces of left over batting from trimming a quilt.

I was only making 24 blocks, so I only needed 24 aprox 1″ sq pieces of batting.

I cut 4 strips 6 1/2″ wide to make 24 kitty squares,

2 strips 6 1/2″ wide to make 12 pink squares,

and 2 strips 6 1/2″ wide to make 12 turquoise squares.

I used a 6 1/2″ ruler to cut the squares from the strips.  A marking pencil and very sharp pointy sicssors are also needed.

exploding_block_tools
Since I would be cutting the pink and turquoise pieces after sewing them to the kitties, I drew my lines on the wrong sides of the pink and turquoise pieces – corner to corner – before sewing them. It is important to mark them before sewing them together, and to offset the ruler by the thickness of the marking pencil to get the line dead center.

 

Take them to the sewing machine . . .

exploding_ready_almost

I placed each kitty, pretty side up,  put one piece of batting in the center [I swear I ironed these first!], and then placed the other pieces [pink and turquoise – one piece at a time], pretty side down on top of the kitties.

exploding_block_trick

Then I sewed 1/4″ seam on all 4 sides.

exploding_block_sew
Now I could seperate the fabrics with ease!
Simply fold on one of the lines, and nip the perpendicular line to get a starter cut.

 

I finished cutting on all the lines right down to the corner, and popped out my batting pieces.

exploding_block_open

Iron them back, and we have our kitties peeking out at us from their little pink and turquoise frames. These will be 8 1/2″ at this point.

exploding_blocks

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that, while this looks like a square in a square, it’s not. The big difference is that the points will be nipped off, which will be fine with many fabric designs. Other designs [or obsessing] may cause you want to actually make a square in a square, but I resolved not to obsess over this quilt [yet].

exploding_block_times4

Because the points would be cut off, I decided to sash it, and found a bit of brown floral for the conerstones.

exploding_block_sashed

The center of this twin sized quilt is finished [currently 39.5 by 59.5] and ready for borders

exploding_block_center_38-5x59-5

and then I made a mistake.

I sent Mom a picture of what I was making.

exploding_block_juliet

Opon receiving her quilt last year, my Mom has now taken an intrest in my designs.

Who knew?

She texted back that she thought the borders were kind of plain, and asked why I didn’t extend the design out more. After explaining to her that the borders weren’t added on to make the quilt bigger, but to frame the design on top of the twin size mattress, and that they would actually drape down the side of the bed, I decided to get all fancy shmancy about it.

New design – which I did not show her.

exploding_block_juliet2

I am still cutting all the oddly shaped pieces. Thanks Mom.

exploding_block_borders_shmorders

I guess she hasn’t heard “Finished is better than perfect” yet. She will. After my head explodes I’m having that engraved on my tombstone.

exploding_block_tombstone

#ExplodingBlock #FinishedIsBetterThanPerfect #WhyDoIListenToMyMother #Kitties!

Breaking the rules – Disappearing 9 patch

Breaking the rules – Disappearing 9 patch

Who names these things anyway? I mean did they make a 9 patch, not like it, slice it up and say, “Hey where did my 9 patch go?” and their accomplice answered “I dunno, it seams to have disappeared”?

This quilt was in my head from the moment I saw a picture of one.
The instructions seemed simple enough, but I wanted the small patches to repeat, and all the pictures I found were scrappy.
Like usual, I had to modify. and educate myself.
A co worker had wanted me to make a quilt.
Sound familiar?
This wasn’t the first co-worker who had asked. The first one wanted a Spider Man quilt, and he’s a big guy, so that would be no throw. I had to tell him the bare facts: The fabric would cost over $100, and if I only charged $100 labor, he wouldn’t be happy with paying it, and I wouldn’t be happy with doing all that work for that, so we’d have 2 unhappy people at the start.
but this co-worker wanted a baby quilt for a gift for his new Grand Daughter. He only had a budget of $60 and wanted pinks. I told him I would see what scraps I had, because the budget would quickly be used up in fabric and batting. I found a charm pack I paid $2 for on a daily deal, plus some fabric I had left over from other projects, and told him I could do it, as long as he didn’t mind giving me all the design control.
Wheeeee!
Now I could do an experi-mental 9 patch!
I had already broken my first rule: I have 2 price points – “Free, if I want to”, and “You can’t afford me, if I don’t”.
Breaking that rule was like the first scratch on a new car. I was set free – of rules.

A nice size baby quilt will take 12 of these blocks. There are 4 corners, 4 background pieces, and one contrasting center piece in each, so I will need 48 prints, 48 backgrounds, and 12 contrast pieces. Using charms or 5″ pieces should result in a 39×52 quilt before borders.
I got out that 42 piece charm pack, and began cutting 12 – 5″ squares in a co-ordinating color [yellow] I found at a thrift store for $2.
I had some 108″ Kona white set aside for curtains, and figured I wouldn’t miss a couple 5″ wide strips, so I cut 48 5″ squares of that.

Then I dug up enough scraps to make 6 more 5″ squares in cordinating colors, and I was ready to assemble.
Now, here’s the thing: when you combine a precut with pieces you cut, they don’t always match.

Disappearing 9 patch patches

This precut had pinked edges, and mine didn’t. Some say to measure from the outside [or peaks] and some say the inside [or valleys] but knowing my 5″ squares were dead on [I obsess] I used my cut pieces as my guide, and sewed my 1/4″ seam from those.
I probably broke another rule here by making every printed square orient so that all prints were in the same direction. No easy feat since I would be turning every other block. [more obsessing]
Would people notice? [I would]

So, I put the pieces I wanted to orient ‘up’, in the 2 opposite corners on every 9 patch block. It doesn’t matter which two corners, as long as [1] they are opposite, and [2] they are the same for all 12 blocks. See the girls in the upper right, and the trees in the lower left pieces shown below. You will see why when I slice and turn the blocks later.

Disappearing 9 patch block

Once the 9 patches were done, I had some trimming and squaring to do.
The rule I did not break: People don’t tell you this, but when you trim, you don’t just willy nilly even the edges. You not only have to make the blocks all the same size, but the pieces in that block must measure the same distance to the outside edges. If you just line up your ruler with the bottom corners and start slicing off excess fabric, you will have problems. Knowing the middle squares measure 4.5 inches [5 inches minus the 1/4 seam on each side] after being sewn, that is where I want to start. These blocks will measure about 14 inches. Then  after trimming, cutting and resewing, they will have a finished size of 13″ if I did it right.

Disappearing 9 patch_trim

You want to line up the center patch in the middle of your ruler, making sure the 45 degree angle on your ruler goes from point to point on the whole block, as well as that center patch, and then trim the top and side, spin, and do it again. This will ensure that your block is truly square.

Disappearing 9 patch_trim02

Once trimed, slice in half both ways

Disappearing 9 patch_trim03

Disappearing 9 patch_slice

Then turn 2 of the 4 resulting patches in opposite corners. Notice I did not turn the little girls, or the tree.

Disappearing 9 patch_turn

So happy I had my husband build me this 24″ rotating mat!

Disappearing 9 patch_trim04

Now to agonise over block placement

Disappearing 9 patch_arrange

Take a picture and walk away. See if I still like it, and either rearrange [always] or begin sewing [never]
Oh, and did I fail to mention that he wanted the baby’s name in the quilt?
It took me 3 weeks to find someone to do this – that was still open by the time I got to my home town after work. Given the cost of embroidery machines, $8 was a bargain.
I broke another rule by making the top border bigger then the other 3.

Disappearing 9 patch_embroidered

Now to check it with the backing I bought for $15 and see if I still liked it. It had to be pink. The quilt needs more pink!

Disappearing 9 patch_assembled

Knowing who this quilt is really for – the parents – it’s always for the parents. I guessed that they may not be familiar with how flat hand made quilts are, so I broke another rule and used #3 thick batting – doubled. Twin size [72×90] for $15 worked for this 43x 58 quilt.

Disappearing 9 patch_quilted04

Yep, and not only that, I had exactly one inch to spare for the backing!
Many quilters want the batting and backing to be 4″ bigger on all sides.
I blew that rule up with a 43″ quilt on a 44″ wide backing.

Disappearing 9 patch_quilted02

Of course I stiched in the ditch. Ima ditch stitcher. There I said it.
Embrace who you are. I embrace the ditch!

Disappearing 9 patch_finished03

I wasn’t done breaking rules yet. I used yellow thread on the spool, and pink in the bobbin.

Disappearing 9 patch_binding_back

Disappearing 9 patch_binding_front

I managed to stay under the $60 in materials for this quilt, but just barely. I mean who can go shopping for a 2 yard piece of backing and not see some fantastic fabric you must have for a future project?
There’s another rule I broke: buying pretty fabric without any project in mind, figuring the pretty fabric will tell me what it wants to be in due time, . . . and I will obey.

Update:

Because you asked, and I did that frustrating yet satisfying thing with a calculator, I am going to post the numbers for a “generous twin or maybe full” size:

These blocks will be 13″ square and since I made 12 blocks and arranged them 3 across and 4 down, my quilt center was 39″ x 52″ before the borders were added.
5 blocks would be 65″
6 blocks would be 78″
7 blocks would be 91″
Lets say you want 78×91 which would be 6 across by 7 down, for a total of 42 blocks.
42×9=378 5 inch squares total
Broken down:
42 squares would be the contrast color in the middle that gets cut into 4 small even squares when you slice the block. This could also be a charm pack. Maybe in a solid color.

168 squares would be your colorful prints, or charms.
Lets say you get charm packs with 42 pieces in them, and divide 168 by 42 = 4 so you’d need 4 charm packs. If you choose one with only 40 pieces, you will be 8 pieces short.

168 squares would be your background squares.
For the background, lets say you want yardage to cut your own charms from, and that yardage has 40″ of usable width. It’s definately not 45″, which would be one charm bigger. So you’d get 8 charms for every 5″ strip of fabric. 168 divided by 8 = 21
21×5=105″ or 3 yards. It wouldn’t hurt to go a bit bigger since we all make mistakes, so maybe get 3 and a half. Or cheat and get 4 plain background charm [42 piece] packs.
All this is assuming your blocks turn out to be 13″ and before borders.

#Disappearing9Patch #HeyWhereDidTheyGo

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