Sunday, October 13, 2019

Kinship Sampler layout: kin to a Hot Hash square dance

The layout of my 100 Days Kinship Fusion Sampler blocks has been like a hot hash square dance with the blocks turning, sliding, passing and do-si-do-ing on the design wall. The plan is to get a graduated flow of color and value across the quilt top while working with the two different size blocks. It's been a process of auditioning, arranging and rearranging...

Tentative layout of my 00 Days 100 Blocks Kinship Fusion sampler blocks.

I've been working on a 49 block layout with the lightest blocks in the center. Since I didn't devise a master color plan for the blocks at the onset, I now have the task of making all the pieces to this puzzle fit into a cohesive composition—or at least one with an organized randomness.

The sashing is a creamy beige Monks Colonial solid
4-block unit from my Kinship Sampler.

Between the "dance" sets, I pulled fabrics to make blocks for my guild's charity quilt project...
Cuddle Quilt blocks.

and ironed a bag of crumbs to use for leaders and enders.
Crumb blocks.

Now and then, it's good to take a breather from the dance floor... and the design wall.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Going Off the Grid with the Siena Shirt

It was love at first sight! 
Everything about this fabric—the colors, the gritty, industrial-like texture, the energetic, painterly design—came together gloriously in a digitally printed cotton, called Off the Grid. I just had to get a piece of this fabric!

My new Siena Shirt [from The Sewing Workshop] made with Off the Grid from P&B Textiles.

Actually, I got two pieces from the Off the Grid collection by P&B Textiles—because I couldn't decide which colorway I liked best. (It's always a dilemma... so just get them both, I say.)
Off the Grid from P&B Textiles: GR45 109GL (left) and GR45 109DB (right).

Siena Shirt pattern
I considered a few pattern options, but in the end, went with my tried-and-true (already fitted to me) Siena Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop. This is my 5th make from this pattern.
The Siena shirt in Off the Grid (dark blue colorway).
Siena Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop.

Process of [button] Elimination
The only perplexing part of this make was auditioning and making the choice of buttons. I dumped out the green and the blue ones from my inventory. (Don't giggle, I'm not the only one with an extensive button collection.)
Auditioning the buttons for the shirt.

Dismissed the ones that were:
  • too big or too small for a shirt (the pattern suggests 1/2" buttons)
  • obviously not the right color
  • less than the quantity needed (the pattern suggests 8)
  • inappropriate for the look (stars, anchors, the ones with gold, etc.)
Dismissing the buttons that don't meet the criteria.

Narrowed the choice to four...
Auditioning buttons.

and ultimately chose the hexagon shaped buttons. They were a complimentary color with a slight iridescence property... and there were eight.
Set-up for a practice buttonhole.

I always make a test buttonhole or two on a fabric scrap. The thread—a variegated 40 wt cotton from YLI—was a perfect match. The color combination included navy, turquoise, medium blue and even a touch of lavender.
A YLI variegated cotton thread for the buttonholes.

After the handwork finishing processes (hand sewing the inside neck band, sewing on the buttons, burying thread tails) my new Off the Grid Siena shirt was complete!
Back view: Siena shirt [The Sewing Workshop] with Off the Grid [P&B Textiles].

The detail I added to this garment was a side vent at the lower hem... just something to make it a little different.
Siena shirt side vent.

Quilting cottons and digital prints for garment sewing and quilting
If you're a sewer or garment maker, don't be hesitant about using quilting cottons or a digitally printed fabric in your next garment or sewing project. This Off the Grid cotton print machine washed, machine dried and sewed very nicely.

If you're a quilter and know the wonderful advantages of wide backings, Off the Grid also comes in a 108" wide back. Ask YLQS [your local quilt shop] or independent sewing center that carries fabric for Off the Grid. Remember, if you can't decide which colorway you like best, get them all (there are five)!

Like a newly painted canvas, I'm looking forward to wearing and showing off my Off the Grid Siena. I think it's an illustration of a symbiotic relationship between digital printing technology, street art and wearables. What's not to love?!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Got orphan blocks? The Cat Clinic kitties will adopt them.

Another wonderful use for orphan quilt blocks and fabric crumbs is the making of charity quilts. My quilty donations go to the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga where these little quilts are used in the cubbies where the cats and kittens recover from surgeries and medical procedures. My kitty quilt pile grew to 6, so it was time again to visit the kitties!
Six kitty cuddle quilts ready for drop-off at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga.

The finished size of the kitty quilts is approximately 25" x 27". They're small, manageable, quick and fun to make. In addition to comforting the cats, a quiltmaker can benefit by 
  • practicing free-motion quilting on them.
  • trying out new quilting techniques—such as ruler work or curved piecing.
  • practicing binding by machine.
  • testing decorative stitches or new quilting motifs.
  • and using orphan quilt blocks and scraps to create something useful and appreciated.

Charity quilts made with orphan quilt blocks and scraps.

I combine orphan blocks and various fabric bits to produce colorful patchwork menageries. Dr. Toumayan, the veterinarian and founder of the Cat Clinic, says both the kitties and the clinic's staff enjoy the bright colors and fun novelty prints! I usually put flannel on the backs of these quilts for an extra snuggle factor.

Flannel fabric is often used on the back.

Upon my arrival at the clinic, it didn't take long for Mooch, the current office cat waiting for his forever home, to check out the delivery.

I got to meet Mooch at the Cat Clinic.

Mooch is a sweet, friendly cat. He and his brother would make great additions to anyone's family! Oh, and he likes quilts.

Mooch inspects the new quilts.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Orphan block Zippy Pouch: another Make Nine finish

This month, my guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, had a program about adopting and embracing orphan blocks and ideas for using them in projects. Orphan blocks—we all have them. They're tucked away in drawers, bags and boxes in the sewing room, they're the test blocks made before deciding to make a full quilt, the blocks from a class you took 5... 10... or 15 years ago, or maybe you rescued someone else's quilt blocks or vintage quilt top at a yard sale or e-Bay. Sadly, many of us have those lonesome misfits that never quite made it into a finished project.

One block Zippy Pouch made with an orphan quilt block.

As I have "collected" quite a number of miscellaneous quilt blocks and rescued and repurposed several abandoned quilt tops over the years, I offered to help with the program. While gathering my examples, this lonely block resurfaced. I decided to give the re-purposing process a go and make this orphan into a useful item—a zippered pouch. A zippered project bag also happens to be one of my Make Nine Challenge projects. Serendipity! I got twice the bang from this one block.

Repurposing an orphan block
The pattern I used was the Chunky Wee Zippy Pouch by Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio. This is a great pattern as it not only has instructions for three sizes and shapes (see photo above), but provides a formula for making a custom size. (Visit your local quilt shop and ask for this pattern or support the indie pattern designer and purchase from her website.)

The size of my orphan block was 12.5" unfinished. Here is the quilted sandwich.
Quilted orphan block for zippered pouch.

The backing—which ends up being the inside of the pouch—was another random fabric bit from my stash.

Quilted block (inside). Examples of different free-motion fillers, a zigzag
and using rulers to stitch in the ditch can be seen.

A single fold binding was attached in preparation for sewing in the zipper.

Orphan block quilted, trimmed and ready for zipper insertion.

In addition to the orphan block, the materials used in the project were all scraps.

Finished zipper pouch.

Benefits of creating with orphan blocks 
As I worked through this project, I was reminded of several benefits to using these orphan UFOs [unfinished objects] in a project.
  • you get a jump-start to making a project. Part of the work is already done! (by you or by someone)
  • a small project offers an opportunity to practice free-motion quilting.
  • it offers an opportunity to experiment with different FMQ designs. Try a different motif in each section of the patchwork.
  • you can practice new quilting techniques: rulerwork, quilting in the ditch, walking-foot quilting, etc.
  • this project gave me practice with inserting a zipper.
  • a single orphan block can be combined with other orphan blocks, and/or combined with scraps from other projects.
  • If your orphan is a rescue, it's fun to collaborate with other (anonymous) quilters.
  • It's rewarding to recycle and give a new purpose and meaning to a languishing block or blocks.
Finished Zippy Pouch made from a single 12" quilt block.

It was fun to refashion an unused quilt block into something new and useful. Several guild members showed examples of pillows, tote bags, needle books, and the like that they created from orphan quilt blocks and fabric bits. Put on your thinking cap and you will be pleasantly surprised.

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