Make It Work Halloween

Aaaand….we did it. Somehow I pulled off Halloween by the skin of my teeth. We finally bought pumpkins and started figuring out Halloween costumes on Monday. The pumpkins never got carved, we only used stuff we had on hand (except the football pants we borrowed from a neighbor), and duct tape was involved. Fortunately we had a killer Glinda costume on hand from the school play last spring, so we milked that option and threw together a quick Elphaba costume to go with it.

It was definitely a Make It Work Halloween. I think Tim Gunn would be proud.

Virtual Quilting Bee quilt assembly on the blog tomorrow. But it will probably be later in the day as I still have some prep to do for the post. A Halloween parade and two class parties today took precedence today.

Classic Modern Quilts giveaway from Marmalade Fabrics

Modern fabric for quilters & artists
Have you visited Marmalade Fabrics? Marmalade Fabrics is an online quilting shop specializing in modern fabrics including building blocks such as Kona Solids, Sketch basics, and Essex Linen as well as new collections such as Florence from Denyse Schmidt (I love this one).  
There are also some great collections on sale right now including Anna Maria Horner’s Hand Drawn Garden, Carnaby Street, Glimma, and Mirror Ball dots.

One of the specialties of Marmalade Fabrics are their fabric bundles, specifically their monthly Around the Color Wheel bundles.  Each month there is a different color and two bundles per color, one solid and one prints. For example, this month the color is Aqua (or turquoise.) Bundles are available in fat quarters or half yards. You can buy a bundle on it’s own, or if you’re looking to build your stash, there’s a subscription where each new bundle will automatically be shipped at the beginning of each month. If you missed a bundle from past colors, some are still available in the shop.
I’m so excited because today Marmalade Fabrics is giving away a copy of Classic Modern Quilts and a bundle of 8 assorted red fat quarters to make my Modern Red Cross quilt from the Classic Modern Book to one of you! (Thank you so much, by the way, for all of the love and kind comments for that quilt.)

If you’d like to be entered to win, take a quick trip to Marmalade Fabrics, come back and tell me something you love in a comment below. One comment per person. Giveaway closes Friday, Nov 1 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED Be sure there is a way I can contact you if you are the winner.

I love that shop! I have joined Tammy for her trip around the colour wheel, but I have to say, her linens get me every time. Thanks for the chance to win.

Thanks so much to Marmalade Fabrics for the fun You can also keep up on the latest happenings, sales, etc. at Marmalade Fabrics through owner Tammy’s blogFacebook, and Twitter.

Modern Red Cross Quilt

I’m so excited to finally share a quilt that I worked on last summer. I’m calling it Modern Red Cross (because I’m so gifted at coming up with creative names). This is my modern interpretation inspired by a traditional Red Cross block created during World War 2. 
This quilt is one of the quilts featured in a brand new book from Kansas City Star called Classic Modern Quilts. All of the projects in the book are modern quilt patterns inspired by very traditional quilt blocks. All of the contributors also discuss their thoughts on modern quilting. You can read some of my thoughts on KCS’s My Stars blog as well as meet some of the other authors and learn more about the book.
My copy of the book arrived just this week! I was so excited to finally see the other projects in the book. I’ll be sharing more about this book in a few weeks. But if you want to come back on Monday, there will be a fun giveaway with a copy of the book and a bundle of reds to make your own!
This quilt was quilted by Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby Quilting. I wanted a simple square-stipple to coordinate with the right angles of the quilt design.

I took a bunch of pictures of this ‘on location’ in an orchard but the clothes-line wasn’t high enough to hang the whole quilt. Fortunately my husband snapped this picture when I was showing it to my sisters, that shows the whole thing. Look at how inspired and reverent I’m being.

I also found this picture on my phone from when I was binding it. And that is proof that I put actual blood, sweat (but no tears) into this quilt. Good thing the red is kind of camouflaged in the plaid. 

This is one of my favorite quilts of the year so far. I’m so excited to finally get to show it off – especially just in time for the Bloggers Quilt Festival!


Scenic Road Trip Binding

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes around here. I’ve had the chance work with some new fabric collections that will be debuting this week at Quilt Market. I got to do some stunt-double sewing for Vanessa Christenson using her new collection Simply Happy Color. Since they are not mine to share, the full reveal will come after Vanessa has shown them off. 
I did some of the cutting for these quilts but the piecing and quilting was done by my friend Erika, and then she handed them off to me to hand-bind. I actually love binding (it’s one of the only times I let myself just sit and watch TV) and I took some of them with me to work on during our car ride during fall break.

Speaking of car rides, here’s where we went! I just have to share a few pictures from our Fall Break vacation because I think the scenery is pretty unique and pretty spectacular. We went to a place called Bryce Canyon National Park. It’s here in the state of Utah – about 3 1/2 hours from our house and one of my favorite places.

We visited for the first time on our way home from Zion Nation Park a couple of years ago. (That was also the trip where my husband held a quilt on a precipice, of his own free will and choice.) We only had a short time and were so impressed with Bryce, we decided we needed to plan a trip back where we could spend more time.
Thanks (No thanks!) to the government shutdown, it almost didn’t happen since the National Parks were closed. Fortunately the Governor of Utah brokered a deal with the Feds to let the State run the National Parks and we were still able to visit. (Thank you Governor Herbert.)
Yes, that is real. Come visit sometime!

Custom fabrics bundles at Westwood Acres

Are you familiar with Westwood Acres? This is a unique online fabric shop that specializes in selling pre-selected fabric bundles unique to Westwood Acres. Sometimes fabric companies sell pre-made fat quarter bundles, but not all companies. Amanda, owner of Westwood Acres, specializes in creating fat eighth, fat quarter, and half yard bundles from collections where those types of bundles are not commercially available as well as custom bundles of  groups such as low-volume fabicssolids, or dots.
Some recent additions to the shop include, Wallflowers by Allison Harris for Windham fabrics.
 Honeycrisp for Dear Stella fabrics.

and Scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille for Moda. Other bundles available from the Scrumptious collection only at Westwood Acres include just the dots, solids, or bias stripes. (I love a good bias-print stripe – perfect for bindings!)

Westwood Acres has a newsletter available to keep you up to date on specials and all the latest arrivals. Also included every month is a free quilt pattern. The quilt above is the cute pattern available with October’s newsletter. You can sign-up for the free newsletter here.

Amanda also writes a beautiful blog at A Crafty Fox where she shares her latest creations and quilt-alongs for beautiful projects such as this Starflower quilt. She teaches how to piece this quilt with your machine! This is a project high on my list. I saw an antique quilt out of this pattern this summer and am itching to make one! I am so excited to try Amanda’s method!
Westwood Acres is a supportive sponsor of this blog. I am so grateful for this and the other sponsors of Diary of a Quilter who make it possible for me to justify the time invested here. And thank you to all of YOU for your support of these sponsors! I am very choosy about who I work with as sponsors of this blog and only choose sponsors who I feel are the right fit and are in the interests of you who visit here, as well as provide good service to all of us in our fabric shopping addictions needs.

Virtual Quilting Bee – Square in a Square tutorial

Welcome to part 1 of Finishing Your Quilt as part of the Virtual Quilting Bee! (Apologies for it being a little lot late in the day. It’s just been one of those weeks.) There will be three most posts after this one to help you finish your quilt! That’s it!

If you are new and wondering what the Virtual Quilting Bee is, or looking for links to past blocks, etc. visit the Virtual Quilting Bee page here.

In this post we are going to add corners to our sixteen pieced blocks to make them larger. This block is traditionally called a Square in a Square. I’m also going to talk a little bit about color and fabric choices.

The Square in a Square block is a very traditional block where a square is set on point, with four corners added to create, you guessed it, another square. In this case we are going to take our 8″ (finished – 8 1/2″ unfinished) blocks and set them on point with a triangle on all four sides. For the blocks in the Kona solids version, I am putting white corners on every block. (I’m using Kona Snow as my white.) I’m going to used colored solids for the sashing for this block, hence the reason the setting squares are all white.

For the print blocks with I am using assorted prints from the Happy Go Lucky collection from Moda. So lets talk about prints and colors for a minute. I want the setting triangles to be contrast and show off, not compete with, the prints in the blocks. I am purposely using the colored prints from the Happy Go Lucky collection that will definitely ‘read’ a specific color: navy, green, orange, yellow, red and aqua.

Here is an example of some of the prints I’m not using. On the left the prints have a white back ground making them a “low volume” print with less contrast from the busy pieced block. The prints on the right are also low volume as well as large scale prints. There is not a dominant color in these prints so I personally chose not to use them as my setting triangles. (Does this mean you have to it just like me? No! I just share what I choose and why.) For more review on choosing colors and fabrics read here.
Once you’ve cut your setting triangles (we’ll get to that part in a second), audition them before you sew. One of the things I found though as I auditioned them, is that the gray I’d intended to use (middle center) was more washed out than I wanted, compared to the other blocks. So I decided not to use the gray. You can use the same fabrics for all four setting triangles, just the same color, or a variety of colors and prints. 
When I made this similar quilt last winter, I was originally going to use a variety of fabrics and colors for each block’s setting triangles, but I thought it looked to busy, so I went with just one color – though different prints – for the triangles for each block. I liked that it still looked scrappy, but a little more controlled. Again, do what you want to do!
Cutting requirements: For the setting triangles you will need 32 squares 7″ x 7″. Cut each square on the diagonal once to create 64 setting triangles.
(In a previous listing I mentioned cutting 32 squares 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. If you have already done that, you can use them. That is what I did with the Happy Go Lucky prints in this post. Those triangles will work, you just won’t have much room to square-up if needed. Make sure you sew with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.)
Choose four triangles for each block. Again, I recommend laying out all the blocks before you start sewing.
Start with two opposing triangles. Fold the triangle in half along the long side and pinch to create a crease in the center of the long side. (See arrows.) Match up center crease with the center of the side of the block. Put right sides together and pin in place. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Open up sewn triangles and press seams toward the outside triangles. Repeat process with 2 remaining triangles.
Trim triangle ‘dog-ears’ and square up block to 11 3/4″ inches. (If your blocks are measuring bigger or smaller than 11 3/4, just make sure to square them up to the same size. And be careful not to trim sides too close to the intersecting inside-square-points. You want to have a 1/4″ of fabric there so you don’t cut off the points when you sew your blocks together.)
Here is an example of where I used the 7″ squares cut-in-half for the setting triangles. As you can see, there is more fabric on all four sides so that you have more room to square-up your block accurately. 

When I’m squaring off the sides, I like to use a ruler with 45 degree lines that lay right on the edges of my center block, with a built-in-guide giving me my 1/4″ seam allowance.

I rotate the ruler to all four sides, trimming and squaring-off each side. If you’re looking for a ruler like this Simplicity makes one called Simpl-EZ Pineapple Tool. I know Creative Grids made one too. Sometimes specialty Square-in-a-Square or Flying Geese rulers have this mark as well.

Again, make sure to square-up blocks to 11 3/4″.  (Important to remember. When you’re squaring up your blocks, be sure to find the center of the block and use that as your guide on all four sides. (See Squaring up Half- Square Triangles and the Hour Glass Block tutorial for examples.) I know it’s a little more effort to really square-off the blocks, but the crisp edges are so much easier to sew down the road.

And there you go! Here’s how the Happy Go Lucky blocks are looking so far! Next time (2 weeks) we’ll add the sashing (strips that hold all the blocks together) and the borders!  We’re getting close! The sashing for the print blocks will be a solid strip. I’m going to try something new for the solid blocks and do a colored, pieced, sashing! It’s going to be fun to see the varations.
If you’re looking for other inspiration for using the Square in a Square block check out Red Pepper Quilt’s example here (one of these is on my ‘to-do’ list) and this tutorial by Lori Holt. If you’re looking for a simple calculator to make different sizes of square-in-a-square blocks, I found one here. I also love the free Quilting Calulator App by Robert Kaufman and have it on my phone. Although I would recommend rounding up 1/2″ on the sizes for the squares that become outside setting triangles (don’t change the size for the center square!), just so you have a little extra wiggle room as we already discussed today.

Happy Go Lucky yardage, precuts and some bundles, is still available at The Little Fabric Shop, Poppyseed Fabrics, and Southern Fabrics.

Great selection of Kona solids and bundles at Christa Quilts and Mad About Patchwork.

Feel free to ask any questions in email or in the comments!