F2F: June blocks

Earlier this year, I joined the Foot2Freestyle block swap organized by Kate and Sue. 12 quilters have picked one or more colours and each month we’re making three 12.5’’ blocks in the colours chosen by that month’s quilter. Each person ends up with 36 blocks that she can then turn into a quilt or something else. Apart from the colours, the design of the blocks is completely free. I thought it would be fun to join since I enjoy doing patchwork but don’t really do it all that often.

In June we sent out our first blocks to Esther who had chosen mustard, jadeite and coral with a white or cream background. This is a colour scheme that does not come natural to me and I found it difficult to judge whether the fabrics that I put together really worked. In the end I decided to add a dark blue fabric to all the blocks to make it work for me. To give some cohesion to my blocks I repeated a couple fabrics in all three blocks and some in two blocks since a colour is less likely to look out of place when it is repeated.
The first block that I finished is the Garfunkel foundation paper piecing block from 627Handworks. My love for asymmetry already seeps through in this block as I couldn’t resist making one of the hexagons a different colour. I feel this adds some interest.

Garfunkel block

Garfunkel block

create your own free-form quilts

This is one of my favourite quilting books.

The second block that I made was actually the first one that I started. I intended to make the Marley foundation paper piecing block from 627Handworks but after I had sewn the first quarter I realized the printer had not printed the pieces correctly and I would not end up with a nice 12.5’’ square block. I quite liked what I had made so far though, so I put it aside for a bit and made the Garfunkel block instead. Looking through Esther’s blog I decided that she could probably deal with some non-traditional improvisational piecing and I started to use the “what if” method. This is something I picked up from Rayna Gillman’s book “create your own free-form quilts”. I find this a very inspirational book and it contains pictures of some really amazing quilts. Basically, as you are making a quilt you should continually ask yourself the question “What if I did ….?”.

In this case I started with the Marley block piece I already had (the triangles) and wondered what it would look like if I pieced a strip using the same fabrics. After piecing I tried it in different positions and decided it looked best on the right side with some white negative space in between the triangles and the strip. I decided to add white fabric all around the triangles, but the block still needed something in the upper left corner. I looked through my fabrics and after auditioning several options I picked the one that’s in the block and also decided it would look best with some white fabric separating it from the pieced strip on the right and the top of the block. I just love that little fox that’s almost in the centre of this fabric! This is my favourite out of the three blocks I made this month.

Marley block with improvisational piecing.

Marley block with improvisational piecing. I think this blocks represents my style best.

To make sure the second block wasn’t the only improvisationally pieced one that Esther received I continued the “What if?” strategy for my third block. I started out by piecing some small pieces of cat fabric left over from the Garfunkel block into a strip. Then I thought “What if I add an orange border?”. Followed by “What if I make another strip set using different fabrics and add a border to that strip set as well?”. After trying several different positions for the two pieces I decided they looked best floating apart in the background with one higher than the other.

Completely improvisationally pieced.

Completely improvisationally pieced.

If you are curious to see what the other ladies have made so far, you can have a look here, where the blocks for each month are shown.

Fabrics for these blocks came from Cotton+Steel Tokyo Train ride by Sarah Watts and Mochi by Rashida Coleman-Hale, Moda Sunny side by Kate Spain, RJR fabrics Basically Patrick by Patrick Lose and Kona cotton.

Oh, and I have finished garment to show you too! I just need to take some pictures and write a post.

Free pattern: Foundation paper pieced star

Yesterday I entertained myself by designing and sewing a foundation paper pieced star. I suppose I could have used an existing pattern since there are probably at least a dozen patterns available similar to what I made but designing the block is half the fun. The 12×12” (30×30 cm) star is created by sewing together four 6×6’’ (15×15 cm) blocks, 44 pieces in total, so it’s not overly complicated to construct. I should probably practise a bit more though as not all of my points and matches are as sharp as they’re supposed to be…

140215_StarI_1The real problems were caused by my printer however. I created the block in Illustrator and you would think that a 6×6’’ square drawn with the “draw a square” function, or whatever it is called, would be exactly square when printed. It wasn’t. It was slightly off and resembles a trapezoid. I’m pretty sure it was caused by the printer because I held my quilting ruler up to my computer screen and the square looked pretty square in the PDF on the screen. I tried some different printing settings and then decided to just start sewing and fudge if necessary as it wasn’t off by that much (1/16’’ at most). It drove me nuts though and I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get things to print right. (Edit: I did print the pattern on a different printer and it was exactly square, so I suspect my own printer is inaccurate.)

StarI blockSince I already had the pattern in digital format I thought I might as well share it. I am convinced the pattern should be square when printed on a printer that isn’t mine but if someone would like to check this for me that would be great and relieve me of that tiny piece of doubt nagging at the back of my mind. On the left you can see what the pattern looks like and if you want to download the PDF you can click here. The pattern is for personal use only and does not contain any paper piecing instructions because I am assuming you already know how to paper piece if you want to use the pattern. Below I’ve put the cutting scheme I used for my fabric pieces to save you time calculating this yourself.

StarI block_cutting schemeNow all that’s left to do is decide what to do with this block now that it is pieced together. Make several more and turn it into a quilt or add a border and make another pillow?

Completed: baby bibs

Still no new completed UFOs, but some baby bibs because I am really behind in the gifts making department. Seriously, there is a baby boom going on around here and if I didn’t know any better I’d be worried that some kind of baby creating virus is causing an epidemic. I suppose getting closer to 30 than 20, or even 25 for that matter, does the trick as well…

I decided that I should at least finish something for all the babies that have already arrived. It would probably also be a good idea to start making things for all the babies that will be arriving soon since their numbers seem to be increasing each month, but I’ll worry about that later…

I needed something fast and simple and chose bibs because I hadn’t made bibs in a while. Since the babies are already here I personalised the fronts with their initials (being late does have some advantages). To make it perfect, each child has a different initial so I had every reason to make 3 completely different bibs! I don’t like making exactly the same thing over and over again because that turns sewing into a chore.

corduroy baby bibNo 1: Corduroy front with cotton applique, cotton back and bias tape straps. The outside of the letter is appliqued with a machine zig zag stitch. The inside is hand-embroidered with the blanket stitch. This was a happy accident because I didn’t notice I had forgotten to do that part of the letter until after I had sewn everything else. I think it adds a nice touch.

quilted baby bibNo 2: Self-drafted foundation paper pieced front, Kona cotton and Hobbs 80/20 batting. The bib is quilted and finished with bias tape binding and strap. Yes, I was going for fast & simple and then decided to make my own paper piecing pattern and quilted the bib, I accept that this probably only makes sense to me. This bib is definitely my favourite, I just love this colour combination.

baby bibNo 3: By this time I was getting bored with attaching bias tape so I used a different method to attach the straps which didn’t turn out perfect but it does the job. I’ve always called this babyrib fabric “the Coronovirus fabric” because the shapes on the front are exactly what you see when you look at Coronaviruses with an electron microscope. I am hoping the baby’s mom will notice this as well.

What are your favourite baby gifts to make? If you have children of your own, what were the favourite hand-made gifts you received?