Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Improv Workshop.....

When I heard Heather Jones was holding an Improv Workshop in Dayton....I knew I had to go! 

As luck would have it, the workshop fell on my sister's birthday! So I treated her to the workshop! What fun! Spending the day with my sis and sewing! 

The studio space was fabulous! 

I met many amazing quilters....and connected with a few I already knew! 

We worked on several improv blocks....Log Cabin, Coin, and Cross block. I had such sweet and talented table mates and before long our design wall started to bloom! 

Other walls were also blooming! This was Lucinda's wall! Wonderful!

I loved the look of my Log Cabin blocks against this weathered floor...

Our wall! It felt great to be able to take the time to just play with fabrics and ideas. And mostly, to be inspired by the others around me. It felt very good indeed. I need to make a mental note that this sort of creative play is important. It feeds the soul. So take the time for a little fabric play! 

mary xx

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tiny Steps and Bow-tie Tutorial....

A couple of folks asked about the Improv Bow-tie quilt and my teeny tiny Courthouse Steps.  
So I finally got around to taking pictures and thought I would give you a little tutorial.

Paper Foundation Pieced Courthouse Steps

Begin with a template...I have been using computer paper, but for demonstration purposes, I used a tissue paper called Golden Threads.  It is much like tissue paper, but comes on a roll. I am using it for the tutorial because you can see through easier to demonstrate than computer paper.

Courthouse Steps is a variation of a Log Cabin block. In a traditional CH Steps block the center is square and each step is the same width as the center. So my template has a 3/8 inch square center and each step is 3/8 inch wide. 

You can easily make your own template and with any size step you desire. Start with the center square...

Add the top and bottom my template the center is 3/8 square and the top and bottom are also 3/8 inch square. Then add sides which are 3/8 inch wide but the length is equal to the center+top+bottom = 1 1/8 inches
The next steps you add will be to the top and bottom again...then the sides. Continue adding steps until you have as many or as like.

You can work this block without using a paper foundation template. I used a template because my steps are so small and I wanted it to be as accurate as possible. 

Notice there aren't any seam allowances included in my template. For paper foundation piecing we will add the seam allowances as we trim back each step after it is added. You will need to remember to leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the perimeter of the finished block or your last step will be super thin ;)

I cut my center square 1 inch x 1 inch...all of the strips for the steps I cut 1 inch by the width of the fabric.

Start in the center and place the center square with the wrong side of the fabric facing the wrong side of the template. You will look at and sew on the right side of the template each time you add a step.

I place a little glue-baste it to hold my center fabric in place.

Take a strip of fabric for the top step and cut it so it is as long as the step plus at least a 1/4 inch for seam allowance on both sides. You do not have to measure and cut just needs to be at least the length of the step plus 1/2 inch (it can be longer).

It's important to reduce your stitch length to about 1.5-1.7...the purpose of a reduced stitch length is to better hold these small pieces together and to more easily perforate the paper for tearing it away.   

With right sides of the fabric facing, stitch along the first line above the center square. The right side of the template you made will be facing you. The advantage of tissue paper or velum or Golden Threads paper, is that everything is visible even though you are stitching with the paper side up.    

Fold the paper back on the stitched line, exposing the seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance leaving a 1/4 inch.

Finger press or heat press this first step back away from the center. The next step will be the one on the opposite side. Stitch exactly in the same manner as the first step and trim and press.

 Once you have the center and two steps on opposite sides of the center, it's time to add steps to the right and left of the center. I begin this by folding the paper back on the 3 line to be stitched and trim the seam allowance to a 1/4 inch. Now I just have to cut my 1 inch wide fabric long enough to cover that step + 1/2 the raw edge to the raw edge of the piece I just trimmed...and stitch directly on the third line. Repeat for the opposite side....

If you are familiar with paper foundation piecing this will be very easy! If you are just takes a bit of practice. I still have to pull out the seam ripper once in a while.

A word of caution! This pattern requires some thought in terms of the fabrics and their placement. So the next block in my first row (to the right of the block above) will need to have on the left side of the center the same Liberty fabric. The block below the block above, will need the same Cotton and Steel fabric that I used on the bottom steps. Blocks will share fabrics with the blocks to the right and left and with the blocks above and below.

You can see in the picture above the shared fabrics.
It's a fabulous design and makes a big impact! It just takes a bit of work and planning.

Improv Bow-Tie Block

This little block is super easy! If you have any experience with the process of Improv piecing, you will get this right away. 
I begin with two squares or rectangles of my bow-tie fabric...and four rectangles of my background fabric. I don't measure these. I simply oversize all of the fabrics I use and the background pieces are larger than the bow-tie fabrics. If you dislike wasting bits of fabric....this may not be the process for you.

Take one bow-tie fabric pieces and lay a background fabric piece on top of it at an angle. Stitch using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and trim to leave 1/4 inch seam allowance from the stitch line.


Press open and repeat on the other side of the bow-tie fabric. Place the background fabric at an angle again, but be sure it crosses the top of the last section added. Once you have trimmed the seam allowance, you should have a piece that looks like a wedge or a wonky triangle.

I know the background pieces look very wonky at this point but it will be squared up at the end.
Repeat this whole process with the other side of the bow-tie.

Then I trim the points of both bow-tie units leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Stitch both bow-tie units together, matching the points.

Trim up all sides to make a square or rectangle.

To put my bow-ties together into a quilt, I simply filled in the spaces with background fabric. This gave my quilt a more 'random' look. Or you could square all of your blocks up to the same size to make your quilt more symmetrical.

Let me know if you make your own courthouse steps or bow-tie quilt!
happy sunday!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Friday!

I have been working up a couple of tutorials to share, but I wanted you to see the Mid Century Modern Bee block I finished for Stephanie!

I love Flying Geese and every time I work with them it makes me want to do more! But due to my sleepy Benadryl brain, I had to use the seam ripper a couple of times.

See that lower right hand corner there...yup...that one I did a couple of times and I still need to fix it. It should be within the seam allowance, but I will fix it before I send it off!

Also,I have been working on a couple of Gardenvale Stars blocks. Occasionally, I sew with a group of friends and some have expressed an interest in working on a Jen Kingwell quilt. 

So I thought I would make a few blocks and figure out a schedule...super bright, right? The block that is...
Too much? I kind of like it busy and bright.

I need to make a few more...

Have a great weekend! Yay Weekend!

 We finally have Spring in Ohio! It will probably last about 5 minutes and then we will be into the heat of Summer...ugh! Can you tell how excited I am for Summer? I really need to live where it is about 65 degrees for the better part of the year. Any ideas?        


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Stitching Away!

Where does the time go? 
The beginning of April has been filled with a good deal of sewing and a lot of dodging the flu!

I have continued to work on my hexie project...

And the 'January blocks'...

Excuse the lighting...Ohio has had very few cloudless days lately!

And I picked up a neglected top.  

I thought I would quilt this quirky little improv Bow-tie...but I need more batting...and so it waits..again :)

I love this little quilt and the pops of color! I think some organic straight line quilting might be just perfect. Now to get that batting!

I also changed the comment section on my blog so that I can reply within the comment section. I haven't decided yet if I like the change, but I noticed that some comments aren't sent to my email. I think it has something to do with Google plus...not sure. If anyone has had a similar experience or you know another option I would love to hear!
 happy thursday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Update on Hexies....

Last week I blogged about my foray into glue basting hexies. Sorry purists....I think I am a convert.  I do find stitch basting hexies a mindless repetitive way.

But the speed and convenience of glue basting is winning out at the moment! 

I am working with 1 inch hexies....

and my goal is to grow this to a piece large enough to provide me with a front and back exterior for a tablet cover.  
 My only real concern with the glue basting was having to tug at the papers to remove them.

But I have gotten some great tips so far...
such as:

press the piece before you attempt to remove the papers and some of you suggest starching and pressing before removing...

use a paper punch and punch a hole in the middle of the paper so you can 'fish' out the paper with a blunt object like a chop stick...

or using a sharp object, like a stiletto, to loosen up the edges...

and also, one I am terribly guilty of violating, use only a dab of the glue to baste! 

All great tips! Please keep them coming!

 happy tuesday!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sew Pretty for Little Girls....

Today is my day to share with you a new book by Alice Caroline!
Sew Pretty for Little Girls

This is a collection of over 20 sewing and quilting projects for little girls using Liberty of London fabric! And if you have worked with Liberty fabric you know just how amazing it is to work with!


 My sister and I knew, if we wanted fabulous fabrics in our Sunny Day shop...we needed to include Liberty of London Tana Lawns.  If you haven't had the chance to experience Liberty of London, I highly recommend it. They are amazing! And Alice Caroline has some fabulous projects using Liberty...many requiring only small bits!

I chose to make an Isabel Basket out of two of my favorite Liberty prints. For the exterior of my basket I used our Tiny Poppytot and for the handles, Glenjade in Teal.      

 The instructions in this book are clear and easy to follow...

The Isabel Basket would be perfect to catch hair bands or jewelry.  The instructions even include two sizes!

I changed the handles just slightly, but I think it would be adorable to use as an Easter basket or a place for softies to rest.

 Even big girls would love to have a Liberty basket sitting on their dresser!

You can find the book on Amazon or from Alice herself!

And you can follow future blog hop posts or look at those you may have missed:  

Mon 2nd – Alice Caroline
Wed 4th – Crafting Not Cleaning
Thu 5th – Sew4Home
Fri 6th – Bloom
Sat 7th – A Spoonful of Sugar
Sun 8th – Fabricworm
Mon 9th – Pieced Brain
Tue 10th  Pretty Nostalgic
Wed 11th – Olivia Jane Handcrafted
Thu 12th – One Shabby Chick
Fri 13th – Sew Creative
Sat 14th – The Last Piece
Tue 17th – Sew Crafty Jess
Wed 18th – Stitchery Dickory Dock
Fri 20th – Molly Flanders
at 21st – Fabric & Flowers
Sun 22nd – A Bright Corner
Tue 24th  - Straight Grain
Wed 25th  - Sew Justine Sew
Thu 26th  - Tracey Jay Quilts
Fri 27th  - Feather’s Flights
Sat 28th  - Monkey Do
Sun 29th  - Miss Print
Tue 31st  - Sew Scrumptious

Happy Friday!



Monday, March 16, 2015

Just in Time to Wish You a Happy St. Patricks Day!

Wow! I can't believe I have been slacking away so long!
Our little shop has only been open about a month and it keeps me busy in such a good way.

 I don't know about you...but I definitely need to sew...even if I am drowning in chores. Sew something. Anything. Or I feel very disconnected. So, no matter what is going on, I try to squeeze a little sewing into my day.

Here is a bit of what I have been doing since March last post :(

 I played with this adorable new line by Elea Lutz called Milk, Sugar and Flower. Sweetness overload here! I love vintage fabrics and new vintage inspired fabrics are equally as fabulous! This line is just so good. It feels so my grandma's apron :)

     For this scalloped trivet, I used a rounded wedge ruler I purchased ages ago. After stitching the wedges together, I placed an over-sized square of backing fabric and the 'top' right sides together and stitched all around, leaving an opening for turning.  Then clipped in the curves and turned right side out. To finish, I hand stitched the opening closed, added a center circle, and hand stitched around the edge with perle cotton. Simple and cute!

I have also spent some quality time with 1 inch hexies. This is the first time I have tried glue basting my hexies. I usually stitch baste. I must say it is much faster, but I do feel like I am having to pull and man-handle my hexies a little too much to take the papers out. I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you thread baste or glue baste and why? 

To me English Paper Piecing is much like hand relaxing. I love to sit with it while I am watching Netflix with the boy. 

There is a plan for these...I just need to get this to a useable size...

I love watching it grow and it's almost painful to cut it up! If you are connected to Instagram and want to watch a lovely EPP video...check out Clare's video. On Instagram you can find her at Selfsewn. 

Finally, I must say this online sewing, quilting, crafting community...both bloggers and folks on Instagram are some of the very best people. Lately, I have seen examples of kindness and goodness that just warms my heart. You don't have to know someone personally to develop a true friendship and have empathy. Sorry for being squishy, but I have seen and felt the love from this community. It's a good thing.

Happy St. Patricks Day!
xo mary