Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Scrap-A-Palooza! Sewing a Quilt Top from Orphan Blocks

Are you ready to sew those Orphan Blocks into a quilt top?  Get ready for a picture heavy post!

In one of my last posts, we talked about organizing your orphan blocks so they can be sewn into a quilt top.  Now it is time for me to share the process of how my top came together.



I decided to start with this huge 18" block. 








In my mind, I wanted this quilt to be rectangular so I started with the starter block toward a corner.  I then started adding blocks with no final design in mind.  I just tried to balance colors.















I got to this point and hated it! It was fighting me and just not coming together.  So I pulled all the blocks off my wall and started again.  I realized my starter block really wanted center stage so I decided let the quilt blocks "speak" to me and put it right in the center of my quilt.











I started again throwing blocks up around the center block - this time creating a medallion quilt design.  When I got to this point, I liked the design but those red blocks just seemed a bit too strong. 



You can also see I was still trying to be a bit asymmetrical...












I finally landed on this very symmetrical design.  Everything on the wall at this point is an orphan block or leftover component from previous quilts.  A total of 42 pieces!


Now it is time to sew it together!








I really did not spend much more than a half hour setting up this second design.  I think once you get headed in a good direction, the design comes together pretty quickly. 
And remember, you can always adjust as you go!










For the first step, I needed to add a small frame to the purple and yellow stars to bring them up to the same size as those inner patchwork pieces.  I went with a black and white stripe for a bit of "pow". 


Once I had those finished, I could start sewing together the center portion.











.



I added a small border to the center block in an orange print to bring it up to the size I needed to attach the next pieced borders.  I could then completely sew up the center part.



Did you notice the change to the blocks I had in the four outer corners?  Sometimes I find a block is the correct colors but it just isn't working.  I like to give these blocks a "facelift".










Here is what the original blocks looked like.
...some orphans do not need to be explained  :)


I simply sliced the block down the center both horizontally and vertically.  I then re-laid out the pieces and sewed it back up.  So. Much. Better.






I then started working on the outer section.  I found some of the same fabrics from the center block that were in the scrap bin or stash.  I used them to frame up the larger blocks to a uniform size.  On the corners, I decided to twist the blocks a bit to add a little character.


I realized at this point that I needed another orange border around the center section.  I did not like the black blocks up against the patchwork sections.  I also decided to use that same orange border print to add to the sides of the Half Square Rectangle areas on the side to give them a bit more width.












Then it was just a matter of finding a light background print from my older stash to frame in the rest of the outer section.  Remember, if you don't like doing all the quilt math, you can always cut pieces to a larger size and trim them down to fit.




So this is Orphan Block quilt top number one! 
It will hopefully get quilted up soon so I can share better pictures of the quilt.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.

It is about 60" square.





And did you catch that I called this quilt number one?  I am nowhere near being able to close my little orphan block suitcase so I have already started quilt top number two.  For this second one, I grabbed the brown stack of blocks.

So stay tuned.... that one is coming together quickly too.  
And I can tell you it looks nothing like the first one! 






Linking Up:


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Oh Scrap! : Starting a Quilt from Orphan Blocks

In a recent post, I shared what sorts of items I save in my Orphan Block Suitcase.  So today, I thought I would share a bit about how I get started on an Orphan Block quilt.  I don't want this post to get to long so I will share later the steps to actually putting together a quilt top.

In case you want to get started on one of your own, I will share how I initially get inspired.




I usually start the process by sorting my quilt blocks (not the other bits you might save) so I can see exactly what I have.  I think this will helps to determine how you want to approach your quilt.




First I sort by block size.  If you have blocks that are slightly bigger, consider if they can be trimmed to work in a smaller size stack.  Depending on the type of quilts you generally make, you might find you have a large portion of blocks that are all one size and putting together a quilt with just some simple sashing will be really easy. 





You might also find that you have blocks in sizes that fit together easily (e.g, 4", 8", and 12" or 3", 6" and 12").  You can simply put them together like I did my RSC16 sampler
They will fit together like one big puzzle!









While sorting your blocks you might decide to put together a "kitchen sink" orphan block quilt.  Jo shared with me her friend's "Blocks on Parade" quilt that she made with her blocks.  Anything goes in these quilts!













 But if you sort your blocks by size and are not inspired by anything you are seeing or...if you are like me, your block sizes are all over the place, think about sorting your blocks by color scheme.  I did that to mine and quickly saw I had three great options for putting together quilts.  On the top are blocks in warm browns, oranges and golds.  On the left, I stacked up any blocks that had a novelty theme or were more kid appropriate.  The stack on the bottom right is where I put all my blocks in bright colors.  Once I started sorting my blocks this way, I found myself really getting inspired.  It felt like putting together three fabric pulls!

Now that I have these blocks in defined stacks, I can sort all the rest of the bits in my suitcase into the appropriate pile.  Time to just grab a stack and start playing - So I thought I would start with the stack of brights!


For those who want to get started on your own orphan block quilt, I begin by looking for a focus block(s) to get me going.  This helps set the tone of the quilt.




Hmm...a star and some drunkard path blocks.









Maybe starting with these blocks and creating an asymmetrical design.  I can always trim these blocks to change their appearance slightly.  Maybe....







 A big giant 18" block.  Starting with this is a possibility too.

I am going to make you wait to see how I moved forward. (Sorry)  In a future post, I will share the entire progression of my quilt top so you can see it come alive. 

I know you will start saving those orphans  :)


******************************************


I look forward to seeing how you are using your scraps.  Here are the details for linking up:
  • This linky party is for any scrappy project - It can be in-process or a finished piece.
  • You can link up your blog post (not your homepage please) or Instagram photo from the past week that features your use of scraps.
  • If you are linking to a blog post, I ask that you link back to my blog somewhere in your post. So if you are writing about scraps, just get into the habit of including a link as there will be a linky party available every week!
  • If you are using Instagram, please use the hashtag #ohscrap.
  • This is a party so remember to socialize and comment on the posts of others.
  • Following my blog is not necessary but it sure would be great if you do!
Quilting is more fun than Housework
<a href="http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XTyeCeIcFJ8/VJSHulTzvkI/AAAAAAAAGCc/O_OPzksuV2s/s1600/Oh%2BScrap%2BButton.jpg" alt="Quilting is more fun than Housework" width="125" height="125" /></a>

So if you love scrappy projects, feel free to grab my button for your sidebar or posts and get ready to share all your wonderful projects from scraps.  And if you have a great idea for using scraps and would like to be featured, feel free to contact me!











Linking Up:

Love Laugh Quilt (Monday Making)
Patchwork Times (Design Wall Monday)
Cooking Up Quilts (Main Crush Mondays)
Em's ScrapBag (Moving it Forward)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Neutrals Strata Quilt Finish

It is funny how setting a goal and having a plan really does help you get something finished!

Earlier this month I shared my plan to finish 12 older UFOs this year.  I numbered my list and will be working on one each month.



Quilt #6 was chosen for January which was a Strata quilt I have been working on for a few years.  The fabrics, I have been collecting for about a decade!

I am happy to report it is now a finished quilt!




With all the snow and rain we have been getting, an outdoor picture is not an option but this photo shows the lovely taupes, grays and browns in my fabrics.  I have been wanting to make myself a quilt in these colors for years and knew I really wanted the quilt to be just about the fabrics.




The fabrics were all cut in varying widths and then cut up into a handful of lengths.  I love the patterns that are created from the different sized strips and as fabrics and colors run together.




One of my all time favorite fabrics for the backing.  It is a Michael Miller print that I have been hoarding for years.  Knowing this quilt is for me, this was the perfect time to get it out and use it.




So I have already reached my goal of finishing a UFO for January!  I am feeling extremely good about the coming year already.  Maybe I really can get my UFO list down to single digits.   :)







I will also be sharing this finish with Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal Finish Along.





2017 is off to a great start!













Linking Up:

My Quilt Infatuation (Needle & Thread)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Scrap-A-Palooza! Orphan Blocks

Yes, Scrap-A-Palooza is coming back in 2017!  The first quilt I plan on working on is one made from orphan blocks.  But before I get started on the process of putting one together, I thought I would share what sorts of blocks I save as orphans.




I have a small suitcase that I store all my orphan blocks in.  As I finish or abandon a project, all the sewn items go in - hoping someday they will find a home in a quilt or other project.  I don't judge the pieces that go in here.  Some are made really poorly and some are assembled from really ugly fabrics.  Some blocks I only have one while others I have a number of pieces.  Just scoop everything up and store it for a future playtime!


So here are some of the items that make it into the suitcase...



First, there are quilt blocks of course.  They range in size from tiny to ginormous.  Some are test blocks, some are from projects I chose not to finish and some just did not make the cut on a long ago finished project.



I also keep quilt block components in my little treasure chest.  Lots of HSTs, 4 patches, geese, QSTs and rail fence.  I don't bother trimming them down to any particular size.  This way, I can cut them to the size I need when I find a project for them.  (I do keep these in their own little baggie within my suitcase so I can find them quickly when I am working on small projects.)





Even the really odd components go in the stack. I find these interesting pieces are what get used most in small projects like zippered pouches or for pincushions.









 And let's not forget all the pieced strip sets.  Many projects where you do strip piecing always leave you with leftovers.  Well, I save those too!  I find these can be cut and resewn to make filler components for an orphan block quilt.

So as you can see, pretty much anything that is left over from a project where there is a seam in it, I keep it.  I know I will find it a home in the future!


Once orphan blocks are saved, I know for some it can be a bit intimidating knowing how to use them.  So I will be making some quilts from my orphan blocks and sharing the process with you. 

I am going to show you there are some real treasures in there!





Linking Up:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Oh Scrap! : RSC17 Blocks

Another Sunday so that means some scrappy sewing!



I am joining Angela over at SoScrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again this year.  She picked purple for January's color.  Here is what my purple bin looked like - it was so crammed tight the fabric would not come out!



First, I tackled all those strips and strings.  I ended up with a big stack of about 25 ten inch string blocks and around 10 six inch blocks.  Someday I will get them out again to see what they become.




 Some of the larger chunks, using my AccuQuilt fabric cutter, I cut them up into 2.5" squares for future projects.  I like to have a stock of these pre-cut and waiting.




From some of the squares, I made these purple 9 patch blocks.  I am not sure yet how I will use these but I have all year to think about it!



 I can honestly say I made a nice big dent in my purple bin!
Now there is room for more  :)


 *************************************

I look forward to seeing how you are using your scraps.  Here are the details for linking up:
  • This linky party is for any scrappy project - It can be in-process or a finished piece.
  • You can link up your blog post (not your homepage please) or Instagram photo from the past week that features your use of scraps.
  • If you are linking to a blog post, I ask that you link back to my blog somewhere in your post. So if you are writing about scraps, just get into the habit of including a link as there will be a linky party available every week!
  • If you are using Instagram, please use the hashtag #ohscrap.
  • This is a party so remember to socialize and comment on the posts of others.
  • Following my blog is not necessary but it sure would be great if you do!
Quilting is more fun than Housework
<a href="http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XTyeCeIcFJ8/VJSHulTzvkI/AAAAAAAAGCc/O_OPzksuV2s/s1600/Oh%2BScrap%2BButton.jpg" alt="Quilting is more fun than Housework" width="125" height="125" /></a>

So if you love scrappy projects, feel free to grab my button for your sidebar or posts and get ready to share all your wonderful projects from scraps.  And if you have a great idea for using scraps and would like to be featured, feel free to contact me!










***This post contains affiliate links.  Clicking through and making a purchase may result in me making a commission.  I appreciate your support!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Geese Migration Replay

Here it is - My first finish for 2017!

(Okay, most of the work was completed in 2016 but for me, a quilt is not finished until the binding is sewn on.  So it counts for this new year!)


Here is Geese Migration II.

Now that I am teaching classes on this quilt rather frequently, I needed a second quilt for display/trunk show purposes.  The second one was as fun to make as the first!









This quilt was all pulled from the scrap bin with the exception of the background fabric.  For that I used Craftsy's Boudless Aura Blender in taupe.


This one came out a bit brighter than my last one.  It wasn't planned that way,  just the scraps I had.  That is the fascinating thing about this technique.












Here is a photo of my original quilt.  The background for this one was a yarn dyed linen.



I really like how colorful this one is.  If you want to see this same quilt finished by other quilters, you can see some on my Pinterest board.  You can also see some on Instagram using the hashtag #geesemigrationquilt.  There are some really pretty ones out there!

If your guild or sewing group wants to discuss me teaching this class, feel free to drop me a line!


Now it is time to get another scrap quilt started!






Linking Up:

My Quilt Infatuation (Needle & Thread)
Crazy Mom Quilts (Finish it up Friday)

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you link through and make a purchase, I may make a commission.  I appreciate the support!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Strata Quilt - January OMG/UFO

One of my main goals this year is to finish up some of my older UFOs.  I have purged all of the ones I know I don't want to finish and I am left with 20 in various stages of completion.



To help in meeting this goal, I decided to join American Patchwork in their UFO challenge.  Essentially, you come up with a list of 12 UFOs and each month, they randomly draw a number and that is the project you work on for the month.  You may not finish it, but hopefully you will make some progress on it.

Sounds like a great idea to me!




For January, the number 6 was drawn.  Looking at my list, this is my Neutrals Strata quilt.  This UFO is not too terribly old.  I think it is a great candidate to start the year off!

As you can see, I have quite a number of pieces already sewn.










I had some time today to get all the pieces up on one of my design walls.  I was pleased to see I am further along than I thought.  It is silly how some projects get tucked away and forgotten when you are so close to completing.


I just might be able to finish this one this month!






So I am going to make this my OMG goal for January and link up with Elm Street Quilts.






What finishes are you focusing on this year?







Linking Up:

Sew Fresh Quilts (Bee Social)