That scant 1/4″

   

I continue to work on my Meadowlark Quilt Top. 

As I think back, I took my first quilting class at 19 years of age. This was 26 years ago! I recall, at that time, making a few quilts, I made one for my own bed, I made one for my parents, and a baby quilt for each of my nephews. Soon afterward, I began using cloth as a medium, trying out new techniques and ideas, making stuff up, having fun, as so many of us do. Piecing to make blocks to a specific size quickly went to the wayside.

Recently, when I started using the Quiltography for iPad app, I didn’t question my skill set compared to the shiny, beautiful, somewhat imaginary and easy to create virtual-quilt-top-ideas generated through the app. I just figured, yeah, I can do that. Until I tested out sewing a Half Rectangle Triangle and found that block to be a bit fiddly, being sewn along the bias and all. I researched rulers and techniques to get the job done. I settled on paper piecing, hence all of the ripped and torn scraps above.

One of the skills I forgot in the intervening years was sewing to a scant quarter inch. My machine is a Bernina 1001 and a scant quarter inch resides under and to the left of the 1/4″ foots outside edge. 

 

I am happy to say, most of these blocks measure the prescribed 10.5″ they are intended to be. Some still need to be ripped and resewn (Sigh). In the meantime, I realize that I need to sew a SCANT 1/4″. I will test out my machine, measure, and perhaps even place some tape in the correct position to obtain that elusive and scant 1/4″.  These blocks are loosely arranged (not according to the pattern). I am going back through them and measuring them to see if I swallowed up too much fabric when sewing them together. Ripping is the name of my game right now. 

When I first realized my mistake, I wanted to bury the project in the deep annals of all-things-unfinished. But I got over that. ✨ I am glad I figured out what I was doing wrong.

  

I  finished the first of the two borders, all of which turned out to be 10.5″, thank goodness.

It is now time to begin sewing, cutting and creating the final border. The one difference between the real quilt and the app’s representation of the quilt is that the tile fabric will not appear as lines perpendicular to the outside edge of the quilt. The app can’t quite parse that one out and I do not know how to compensate for that either. I don’t really think it is necessary. 

I look forward to seeing how this comes together. 

meadowlark, design, cut and sew?

I have been using, and loving, Quiltography for iPad. It has ‘potato chip factor’, which means, I open it, start designing and cannot stop. I think I have designed over 40 quilt tops using Meadowlark. But it is now time to begin making quilts using the information the app provides. As I have been doing this, I realize that, I have never designed, cut and made a quilt top in this manner before. Previously, I have done improvisational piecing or have used an established pattern. 

 

After designing the quilt top, I started by making a few sample blocks. This helped me to understand that the Half Rectangle Triangles used on the star block (photo below), were somewhat tricky. To get the HRT sewn well, it seemed that I should either paper piece or perhaps purchase a ruler specific to the task.

Although I continue to want the Bloc_Loc Half Rectangle Triangle, for whatever reason, I chose to use paper piecing this time around. Paper piecing is accessible and easy to do. I drew out my block, scanned that into my computer and printed as many as was needed to complete the stars in the upper left of the quilt top. As you can see, there is a bit of waste with this method, but it seemed to me by watching the video related to the ruler that waste is part of acheiving an elongated triangle, no matter what approach you use.

So I bit the bullet and proceeded with paper piecing. At the moment, I have all of the star blocks complete. Yeah!!

Today I will begin cutting asymmetrical border #1, which is all straight line stitching. I am excited to have found a Bloc_Loc Half Square Triangle ruler at my local quilt store, The City Quilter (which also carries my line-and sells online), so I bought in the 6″ size. If they had the Half Rectangle Triangle, I would have bought that too.  😉 

The yellow in this photograph appears a bit too bright, I will work on getting the color better in future photographs.

It will be quite interesting to see the entire quilt upon completion. It is interesting to use the Quiltography for iPad app to design, but as I make the quilt blocks, I keep thinking about the size of the screen and the images you are able to see as you design within the app, compared to full sized, made in cloth quilt. 

Designing a quilt from start to finish with the intention of making blocks to a specific measurement has been a very interesting experience. I like it! And, with my affection for two sided quilts, I may well be making quilt top #2, to back this one!

I look forward to spring, don’t you? And because I need distraction, if you are making something you are excited about, I would love for you to share a link to your blog. Please show me what you are up to!

 

PRELimSv1 PDF

Sylvia

This is a very rough draft document that follows the tracking of making this quilt top. More updates to follow. Please, check it out.

A1PRELimS

In the thick of it!

I found the Quiltography app just in time. I am a bit addicted. 

I love figuring out how to affectively use Meadowlark. And this app is robust, it is certainly a great and easy to use springboard. My line of fabrics at first glance is far reaching, this is not a match-matchy line. Rather it is cheerful, playful and eclectic and colorful. The patterns and color choices are like a rainbow, some reds, oranges and yellow, along with some blue, purples, greens. Looking at them as a group, it is not entirely evident how to gather them up and redistribute the goodness into a good looking quilt top.  This app takes all of that away and helps me to see the possibilities.

I don’t know if you noticed but the programmer commented on my blog! Exciting indeed. I bought the app mid week. I stumbled around it and got to know it. When I got up to speed, which really hasn’t taken long, I posted my initial thoughts, and the developer responded to my blog directly! I like that.

Twisting_stars.JPG

The first thing to do is to use the database! I headed over to my designers page at Windham Fabrics. I scrolled through and saved each of the largest images of my fabric line, 26 images in total. I imported these into the My Stash section.

Red_warrior_star.JPG

Then, I opened the My Blocks and started playing around, placing my designs in the blocks and saving. Then you move into My Quilts. By this time, you have used the features and you are cooking with gas! It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Float_in_blue.JPG

 The blue grid fabric seen here? omg. The white lines in the grid? Wonk it up, baby.  😉 


 

I get nothing for talking up Quiltography. I just found it and like it. A lot. Maybe you will too! I mean, go buy it. Upload my line and let’s play!!! 🙂

Designing we will go

Generally speaking (at least in the recent past) when I make a quilt, I do it on the fly. I use no plan, I just start sewing and see what I come up with. I might get it in my head that I want to make wonky stars, or work with zigzags, and generally speaking, when I work this way, I don’t care if the blocks are slightly off, or if the points don’t match. I just go with it. 

Otherwise, I have been doing straight up jelly roll race type quilts. Yes, you heard it, strip piecing jelly rolls. I love that. It is easy. Fun. And without much thinking, you soon have a great quilt or throw that you can cuddle up in.

I am just beginning to experiment with quilt tops for my challenge and for now, I have decided to try using the Quiltography app for iPad.  I would like to play around with my fabric and see what comes of it, without cutting into my lovely bolts (yes, I have bolts of my line of fabric, Meadowlark). Let me say that again, bolts!

This app is new to me and I plan to spend a bit of time just playing around with half square triangles in the hope of loosening up and having some fun. I don’t yet know what my other 30% of the fabric will be, I figure that will make itself known after I fall in love with a design.

In the meantime, I will tell you my initial thoughts on the Quiltography app. The app costs 15$, which is a lot for an app. I know a friend who uses it and she likes it, so I figured, why not? It is fairly versatile. It is easy to import images of your intended cloth. There are quite a few block choices to start out, in addition to a ‘design your own block’ section that I have not tried. It seems you can also use a photo to ‘pixilate’ a design, which sounds neat, but again, I have not tried it.

It is a bit clunky in one respect-if you place a fabric in your quilt block and save it, you cannot delete the saved blocks. Being a fan of tidiness, this is not ideal. I will write to the folks who designed the app with my concern. Beside that, it really did not take long to learn to use the app and to save this, my first design using it. 

I am not completely sold on designing and working with the app (I do like free-form piecing quite a bit), but I value being able to experiment before cutting! Perhaps I will combine the two for a more planned free-form approach.

P.S. Fran Saperstein made the first quilt top using my fabrics, and she posted it to social media. Please check it out!

meadowlark quilt top challenge, thoughts and ideas.

Half square triangles. I hadn’t really ever considered how simple and effective half square triangles can be in designing quilts. Above are 72 possible uses half square triangles in combination. 

I return to this image often when thinking about making a quilt top. 

I like the idea of mega sized quilt blocks. 

I caught a fancy for the ease of making a 60″ throw sized quilt. I find this size to be easy to complete and large enough to have space to play around and have fun with.  

I love having a pile of quilts in the living room in winter time. We throw a few on the floor, snuggle, watch Tv. We each have favorite quilts and lots of pillows. 60″ quilts keep me making more quilts, it is my sweet spot size. Adding to the collection is great fun. 

And oh! I kinda decided that all quilts should be two sided. Because real estate. (As always, we will see.)

So these are my initial thoughts on making a top for the challenge. It’s a bit cobbled together. It will come into focus soon

I have three unfinished quilts in the works right now! 🙂

Meadowlark quilt top challenge! (and giveaway)

Above is a pillow I made using original prints. This was a gift for my Mom, “Hello Mom!”. I find it easy to use my original prints in a patchwork manner. The fabrics I print are small by necessity, so I find thinking about them in terms of patchwork quilting the easiest path.

In this photo, you see a quilt medallion or central portion of a future quilt top. This one includes a commercial print, the line drawn floral. Beside that, all fabrics are again original prints.

Here, I am pointing to a quilt designed and made by Stephanie Forsyth, whose pattern can be found in Modern Patchwork. The quilt is made entirely of Meadowlark. It was quite interesting to see how Stephanie used Meadowlark to make a really appealing quilt

I have been thinking it might be fun to host a quilt making challenge using Meadowlark. I love designing and making the patterns used in my commercial line of fabrics, but… When it comes to using that cloth, I hesitate. Over the past year, I have asked friends and colleagues to make quilts or items using Meadowlark to fill my booth at Market. Seeing what other people do with my cloth is a surprise and a delight each and every time. So I wonder if I might ask you, dear reader, to work your magical eye over Meadowlark, using this criteria:

1. The quilt top must contain at least 70% Meadowlark. The other 30% is up to you. I would really like to see what fabrics you pair with Meadowlark.

2. I encourage you to make a throw measuring 60″ square.

3. Some aspect of the quilt block Or quilt top must have half square triangles, because I like them.

4. This challenge is time sensitive, your quilt top must be completed between January 1 and March 1, 2015.

My rules are not set in stone, they act as guidance. If you make a baby quilt, great. If you use 65% Meadowlark, that is ok too. I may need to set the quilt police on your tail if you choose to omit half square triangles, but I bet you would survive that too.

Here are some of my thoughts about the Meadowlark line: 

I would love to see the fruit fabric interpreted in a ‘French provincial’ style. I say interpreted because the fruit prints are pretty colorful, and I think it would be a loose interpretation. 

The bird print is ‘my baby’, so if you wanted to feature that, go for it.

I think the oval daisy dot is a sleeper, so if you wanted to feature those prints, I would love to see what you come up with.

The vine prints? I think they would make great border prints.

 

Read the fine print:

1. If you are interested in participating in this challenge, please leave a comment. If you have a blog, leave a link to your blog in the comments. I will keep a list of participants in the sidebar of my blog.

2. If you would like to help spread the word about this challenge, I will give away a fat quarter pack of the entire Meadowlark line in one weeks time (Saturay, January 10).  What you need to do to participate in the give away, is link to this post on facebook, Twitter, or any other social media and post a link to that here, in the comments.

Places to purchase Meadowlark online?

The City Quilter

Gotham Quilts

Amazon also carries my line.