Sunday, August 9, 2020

Batch piecing the 100 Days 100 Blocks

With the posting of Block #40 today, I had to schedule block-making time for the 100 Days 100 Blocks sew-along 2020.

In progress blocks for #100days100blocks sew-along.
Prints and solids from Paintbrush Studio Fabrics.

Cruising at a steady pace, I pieced six blocks yesterday, but I'd like to get further ahead. It's more productive to sew the blocks in batches. Cut-cut-cut then sew-sew-sew.

Blocks 41 - 53 prepped for piecing.

I was making headway until I came to Block #48... which took the wind out of my sails. 

48 is going to be a booger! This darn 6" block has 18 HSTs (half square triangles) that finish at 1". Geesh... talk about a patchwork nightmare.

Block #48 layout diagram.

The search for half-square triangles

Scrounging the scraps from this project, I found a few HSTs that could be trimmed to size. I found a few triangle-shaped fabric pieces that could be made into new HST units. Then I did the 8-out method and cranked out a few more. 

Using various methods for making HSTs.

The Bloc-Loc tool is great for squaring up HSTs... but 18 little HST units is still a lot to trim!

Squaring up HSTs with the Bloc-Loc tool.

The cutting prep for Block #48 is now ready for piecing. This will take quite the determination and precision to make the block come out the correct size.

Block #48 prep.

Looking ahead... Block #54 needs twelve 1.5" HSTs. 

*Oh, joy.*
(I guess our piecework skills are being tested with this project.)

Sunday, August 2, 2020

31 days of stitching... 6" blocks by hand and machine

For 2020, I've been tracking daily stitching activities with this fabulous project management calendar for makers. I'm happy to report that July had a full month of stitching! 

Project management Success Tracker for Makers and Creatives.

What's been the projects in July?
Curiously enough, the month of July was filled with making 6-inch blocks—some by machine and others by hand.
  • 100 Days 100 Blocks Challenge—This sew-along started July 1. I've kept up with the daily postings and have pieced 40 six-inch patchwork blocks to date.
  • English paper piecing [EPP] hexagons—this is a UFO from 2016 called Glorious Hexagons that re-emerged during the pandemic lock down this Spring. It now includes block patterns from both of Katja Marek's The New Hexagon books... and a few I've designed myself with leftover EPP bits.

40 blocks from #100days100blocks project and 12 EPP Glorious Hexagons.

I was surprised to discover 12 EPP hexagons were completed this past month. It just proves that if you do a little stitching each day—even 5 or 10 minutes—it adds up! This project is also very portable. I have paper templates, fabric bits, pins, needles and threads parcelled into sandwich size baggies that can be taken outside, or thrown into a purse or suitcase.

July's success on 6" English paper pieced hexagons.

My hexie collection has amassed to over 100 hexagons so far! I embrace the accomplishment of each small composition and find it very satisfying to give purpose to an accumulation of fabric swatches. 

The need for blenders
I enjoy the challenge of pulling together prints from various fabric collections for each block, but occasionally I realize a "calm coordinate" is needed to complement them or unify the palette. A quick trip to a local quilt shop [YLQS], Chattanooga Sewing Machines, filled this blender gap with a few Canvas and Shimmer Radiance fat quarters. 

Blenders and prints for 100 Days and EPP Glorious Hexagons projects.

Yeah, I picked up two other prints because they were from Paintbrush Studio (Over the Rainbow—for my 100 Days blocks) and Lewis & Irene (the bunnies—that I thought would be fun for EPP fussy cutting). Diversity is good, right?

In the hunt for something in my studio, I also uncovered some fat quarter Suede blenders [P&B Textiles] from a previous project. Aha! Another welcome addition to my EPP blender stash.

Suede blenders from P&B Textiles

So now I'm stocked up and ready for a stitching-filled August! What's been satisfying your stitch cravings?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Remakes: sometimes there are better choices

I decided to remake a few blocks from my 100 Days 100 Blocks project because I thought the compositions could be stronger.

Block 11: original block (left). Remake on the right.

This year I'm working with fabrics from Paintbrush Studio Fabrics for my 100 Days 100 Blocks project. Early blocks were made with fabrics I had on hand, but the addition of Painter's Palette solids to the fabric mix has really helped with fabric selection, value choices and block compositions.

Block 6 remake

Some remakes made quite an impact.

Block 8 remake of 4-patch corner units. 

Some calmed the chaos or refocused on specific motifs.

Block 5 remake

I'm making better fabric choices on current blocks but I may still re-look at other previous blocks for a potential do-over. 

It's much easier to fix 6-in blocks at this stage of the project.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sassy Squares in the new Pluses and Crosses collection

After completing the layout and production of the Spring 2020 LookBook for Diamond Textiles, I was able to get some of the props we used in the photo shoots. These are cuts from the new Pluses & Crosses yarn-dyed collection from Diamond Textiles that were featured in the LookBook. Aren't they gorgeous???

Several cuts from the Pluses and Crosses collection from Diamond Textiles.

These fabrics are yarn-dyed wovens. They have texture and pattern woven (not printed) into them. The brighter color palette is new this season. We need some bright, happy, fun colors in the world these days, don't you think?

Pluses and Crosses (top) with Nikko III (bottom) from Diamond Textiles.

I'm pairing Pluses and Crosses with the new brights from Nikko III to make Sassy Squares [pattern from the Franklin Quilt Company.]

Sassy Squares pattern by the Franklin Quilt Company.

I'm contemplating the possibility of hand stitching or kantha stitching for this project since these yarn-dyed cottons are soooo lovely for hand stitching. Can you say "hot knife through butter"?

Three Sassy Squares with Pluses and Crosses and Nikko III.

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