Monday, December 26, 2016

Sweet Sixteen

I have most of my little 2-1/2" bow ties sorted into 48 stacks to be sewn into 16-patch blocks. Even though it's the same amount of work, it seems less daunting to face the task of sewing 48 blocks into a quilt top instead of 768 individual blocks!

So far I've made 16 of the blocks, which will finish at approximately 8" each. I'm anxious to get this done, but my mind is already getting in my way. I'm trying to decide if I want to put a border on it to make it a little bigger. The way it is now it should be about 48" x 56" which is just a little small for a lap quilt (especially if it needs to cover my lap!)  :) :) :)

I'll probably adjust my current layout to 6 across and start sewing a few rows together. I want to see how those corners look when they're sewn together.

I'd really like a cool way to do some dots in a border so I could call the quilt "buttons and bows", but that's just not panning out.

So now my thoughts have turned to some kind of fabulous applique. Something kind of like this:

This is a border from Piece O' Cake Designs. Unfortunately, the pattern is now out of print.

I guess I still have some time to think about it....

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Is This a New Me?

I really had no business starting as many quilt-alongs this year as I did, but that didn't stop me. So when life's blessings and challenges took priority, I fell behind.  I would wander into my sewing room occasionally to work on something, but most projects just gathered dust. Generally, once I get too far behind I lose interest and don't finish. I don't actually quit the project - I just stuff it in a bag or container to finish later (ha ha)!

Luckily (?), I have no space left in my sewing room to start another project so I'm trying to finish a few starts from earlier this year.

I have actually finished all my little blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and now I'm sewing them into larger blocks for the piecing portion of my quilt. Yay!

That is such a good feeling. I definitely want more of it! The Meadow Mystery is still in progress, so yesterday I got busy finishing what I could. And now I think I'm caught up on that one too!

I'm really liking this. Maybe this is a whole new version 2.0.  Or Vicki2017...or....hey! does anyone remember the old Commodore Vic-20 computers? Is that what they were called? Wait. Where was I? How did I get so far off-track?

**sigh**  I guess the old me is still alive and well!!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Quick Bow Tie Cutting

To be honest, I didn't really think I'd get 800 little bow tie blocks finished by year end (80 blocks each month of the assigned color) back in April when I started the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I wanted to make a scrappy mini bow tie quilt and I was already behind as the quilt along had started in January. My plan was to make a big lap size quilt with 2" finished bow tie blocks. I would sew the 2" bow ties into 16-patch blocks (finishing at 8" square) to make the construction easier. A layout of 6 blocks across by 8 blocks down meant I would need 768 bow ties. I rounded up to 800 because it's such a nice even number divisible by 10 months! And I could do something cute with the leftovers. So that's how I decided I needed to make 80 of each color.

All excited, I pulled out a big bin of orange scraps and started cutting. For each block, I cut (2) 1-1/2" squares and (2) 1" squares of an orange scrap. I was cutting them one scrap at a time, trying to use up as many little pieces as possible. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

Each month, this process took a little longer and was a bit less enjoyable.

As I was cutting the blocks for my 8th color, I figured out a super fast way to cut these pieces. I decided to document one month's cutting and share it in a tutorial just in case someone else might want to make one. (These instructions don't include the white blocks because I used a solid white and just stacked the fabric, cutting tons of 1-1/2" squares at a time, so you might want to cut a few hundred of those first.)

Anyway, here's what I came up with to make 80 quick blocks from one color:

Select 10 scraps of one color - each needs to be big enough to cut (6) 3" squares.

From each fabric pile, create 2 stacks - 1 with 4 pieces and the other with 2 pieces.  Cut the stack of 4 in half both vertically and horizontally.  Cut the stack of 2 into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Discard 2 of the 18 one-inch squares.

Gather (16) 1-1/2" white squares and the remaining 16 one-inch yellow squares. Place a yellow square right side down on any corner of the white square and stitch diagonally across the yellow square.  Repeat to make 16 like this - these can be chain-stitched in about 2 or 3 minutes!

Clip the corners off, leaving about 1/4" seam allowance.

Press the yellow piece out toward the corner with the seam allowance going toward the yellow fabric.

Place the freshly pressed squares, with the yellow corner in the lower right hand side on your table and set the 1-1/2" yellow squares next to them as shown below.

To sew these together, flip the yellow square over on to the white/yellow square and sew the edge - always make sure the yellow triangle corner stays in the lower right hand position.  (Good grief there's a lot of lint on that shaft!)

Take 2 identical blocks and finger press the seam toward the yellow piece.

Then rotate the top piece and fold it down onto the bottom piece. Stitch along edge, interlocking the seam. These can be chain-pieced.

Clip the blocks apart and "pinwheel" the center intersecting seams on the back and press.

Turn it over and give it a final, finishing press!

Now breeze through the rest of your scrap piles!

This may not be quite as scrappy as if I had cut them one at a time. But even if they're all done with this method, I'd still have 80 different fabrics in the quilt!

Monday, December 12, 2016

800 Quilt Blocks!!

What does 800 quilt blocks look like?

Full disclosure -  these blocks are very small; it's not like piecing a 12" block. Right now they're unfinished 2-1/2" squares.

These are the blocks for my first ever Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Each month for 10 months we make one or more blocks of our own choosing from scraps of a designated color. I'm really excited to finish this one, so hopefully I can have a completed quilt to show soon.

I'm working on a tutorial for making a ton of these little blocks very quickly. Sadly, it was sometime during month 8 that I figured out how to cut out 80 of these in about a half hour. That's compared to the first color I worked on, which took me 3 or 4 evenings - working a few hours each night! So if you have a lot of smaller scraps you'd like to use up, this might be a scrappy quilt to consider making.

I should have the tutorial with my super speedy method for cutting the pieces for a bow tie block posted sometime this week.

Linking up with the RSC16 ScrapHappy Saturday.