Monday, January 30, 2012

Sneak Peek | My Fat Quarterly Quilt

Sneak Peek | My new FQ quilt!

Sneak Peek | My new FQ quilt!

Tomorrow, Tuesday 1/31, issue 8 of Fat Quarterly will go on sale. I'll actually have two quilt patterns in this issue! My twins are giving a sneak peek of one of them above. I call this quilt Double Happiness, and it was made from Kate Spain's new line for Moda (Good Fortune) and it was so beautifully quilted by the talented Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quilt Works.

I'll reveal more of this quilt, as well as my other quilt from this issue, shortly. In the meantime, if you've received issue 8, I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blogger's BOM | Block 5

Hello, and welcome to everyone participating in Jackie's Blogger's Block of the Month quilt-along! I've really enjoyed seeing the designs that have been posted so far, as well as all of the fantastic blocks filling the quilt-along's Flickr pool.

I'm excited to bring you January's block, the 5th block in the program. Because it looks like an hourglass, I call it the Sands of Time block. Finishing out at 8" square (8.5" unfinished), it's a quick & easy block to make -- something I thought you'd all appreciate as you catch up from the holiday rush.

Blogger's BOM | January

Ready to get started? Here we go ... !

First, cut 8 - 1.5" x 8.5" strips from assorted prints. You don't necessarily need 8 different prints -- you can see that I used 5 prints here, and just repeated 3 of them.

Sew the strips together into two sets of 4 strips each. This will yield 2 rectangles, each measuring 4.5" x 8.5".

Blogger's BOM | January Block

Find the spot along the bottom edge of your first rectangle that is 3" in from the left hand side. Mark it lightly with a pencil. Using your rotary cutter and straight-edge ruler, make a cut from the top left corner of the rectangle to your pencil mark. Repeat on the right side of your rectangle, making a slice from the top right corner to a mark along the bottom edge that measures 3" from the right side.

This sounds really confusing, but just take a look at the picture below. It's way easy, and only sounds complicated.

As you can see in the photo, you'll do the same steps with your second rectangle, but this time you'll be measuring in 3" from the left and right sides along the top edge of the rectangle, and cutting from the bottom corners.

Blogger's BOM | January

See? It's actually very easy.

OK, from a background fabric, cut 4 rectangles measuring approximately 4" x 6". You'll see in a moment why it's not important that the measurement is exact, as long as you have enough surface area to square up the block later. If (unlike me) you're obsessive about not wasting fabric, trial & error should help you determine the exact measurement that you'll need to minimize waste.

Place your rectangle along one edge of your trapezoid as shown below, eyeballing that you have enough overhang on the top and bottom edges to allow this rectangle to "replace" the triangle you just sliced off. Again, this sounds more complicated than it really is! The pictures help ...

Blogger's BOM | January

With right sides together, sew the rectangle to one side of the trapezoid, and press open.

Blogger's BOM | January

With your ruler and your rotary cutter, and using the top and bottom edges of your trapezoid as a guide, trim the edges so that the height of your pieced block is back to 4.5".

Blogger's BOM | January

Repeat these steps for the remaining 3 sides of your trapezoids. You should now have two strange looking pieced shapes that look similar to the ones in the image below:

Blogger's BOM | January

Line up the two smallest strips and, with right sides together, sew the two pieces together. Press open. The height of the pieced block should now measure 8.5".

Blogger's BOM | January

Now all you have to do is trim the width of the block down to 8.5". Be careful to center your block as best you can. The block should now measure 8.5" square.

Blogger's BOM | January

And there you have it -- my scrappy Sands of Time block! I hope you enjoy making this block, and I can't wait to see all of your color and print variations. If you make a Sands of Time block, be sure to add it to the Blogger's BOM Flickr group. And, of course, I'd love it if you also added it to my Quilt Dad is my Homeboy group.

Blogger's BOM | January

Big thanks to Jackie for asking me to be a part of this wonderful quilt-along. As a reminder, here is the full schedule of the other amazingly talented bloggers taking part in the Blogger's BOM quilt-along:

October - Jackie Kunkel - Canton Village Quilt Works

Sunday, January 22, 2012

October & November Quilting Bee Blocks

I've been working on getting a bunch of new things finished up and should be able to get some pictures posted soon, but in the meantime I thought I'd catch up on sharing some quilting bee blocks that I made in late 2011.

October was my last month in the do. Good Stitches charity bee. We made string x-blocks using this tutorial with bright modern scraps for the center part of each block, and any shade of grey for the background. I had a great time raiding my scrap bin for these blocks and, when all was said and done, I wound up making seven!

do. Good Stitches | October

I had a bit of a panic attack when Amisha requested hexagons for her blocks from members of the Bee Tweet group, inspired by Rashida's quilt from the Block Party book. I had only tried making hexagons once before, for Tacha in the bee inspired quilting bee back in 2009. Let's just say that hand piecing was not my thing, and I vowed never to attempt English paper piecing again.

Lucky for me, Amisha didn't care how we made our hexagons, as long as we just made them! So, while I was at the Triangle Modern Quilting Guild retreat at Wrightsville Beach NC last fall, I cooked up my own way of completing the task. I used cardboard templates to cut and fold under the edges of the blocks, pressed the hexagons liberally, adhered the hexagons to the background fabric using fusible interfacing, and topstitched around all of the edges. I actually kind of loved making them, once I devised my own strategy to get them done. I also LOVED Amisha's palette -- Habitat prints by Jay McCarroll against a background of Moda Cross-weave in Natural.

#beetweet block for amisha!

With my group in the do. Good Stitches officially done, my only November bee commitment was for Bee Tweet. Jen (aka bettycrockerass, my favorite Twitter handle ever!) sent us all a kind of super awesome holiday assortment that wasn't red and green and traditional, but very hip and retro cool. Here's what I came up with:

Bee Tweet Block | November

Bee Tweet Block | November

Modern and improv-y log cabin variations -- my favorite kind of block.

As you can see, my quilting bee commitments slowed down towards the end of 2011, but 2012 is a new year with some new groups that I'll be playing with! Along with the continuation of Bee Tweet, here are a few new groups I'll be sewing for:
  • Free Bee -- led by the always fabulous Lynne from Lily's Quilts, this group is filled with an eclectic bunch of modern quilters with an emphasis on free piecing.
  • The Bee Bee -- I'm very excited about the row robin bee, where we'll all be sewing with one of my most favorite fabric lines: Melody Miller's Ruby Star Spring. (Note: The Bee Bee got its name from that fabulous large cross-stitched bee print!)
  • The Traveling Quilts -- I've teamed up with my PIC (partner-in-crime) Heather to start this new group, which is kind of a new concept in virtual quilting bees. I think it's going to be GREAT (and with the likes of Jacquie, Ashley, Alissa, Monica, Amber, Elizabeth, Faith, Penny, and Kerri taking part, how can it not be??) I'm sure I'll be posting more about the Traveling Quilts in an upcoming post.
So what does that mean? Lots of great more monthly sewing (and monthly sewing posts) in 2012!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The #SSSwap

#ssswap received!

Before the holidays, I participated in one final swap for 2011: the #SSSwap (a shortened Twitter handle for Secret Santa Swap), organized by the super fun (and funny) Amy. Over 40 really talented quilters and designers signed up for this swap, in which we were free to swap anything we wanted -- handmade or not -- up to $15 in value with a secret partner.

It was great fun and a wonderful lead-in to the holidays. As you might expect, quilters and crafters also happen to be FANTASTIC gift-givers!


I must have been a very, very good boy last year, because I was fortunate enough that Rachel pulled my name in the swap. Imagine my surprise when I opened my swap package and pulled out not one, but four gift bags!

#ssswap received!

Yes, that's one big bag for me, and a smaller bag for each one of my children! Now how thoughtful is that?! The drawstring bags were made using Jeni's great tutorial.

#ssswap received!

The smaller bags were filled with some fun goodies for the kids. (I am sure there were more things in the bag, but they made off with their bags before I could take any good photos. I tried to gather everything back up to take some pictures, but their gifts had already been cast to the dark, far corners of their rooms.)

#ssswap received!

As for my big, dad-sized bag? First, I LOVE that it was made with some of my most favoritest Joel Dewberry & Patty Young fabrics. And inside I found ...

#ssswap received!


#ssswap received!


#ssswap received!

(Including the LEGO guard at the top of the post, as well as these fun Superhero Squinkies to keep me company in my sewing room. It's not a well-kept secret that I'm kind of a LEGO and comic book nerd.)

Thank you so, so much, Rachel. Words can't really express how much I truly appreciate how thoughtful and generous you were to me and my family during the holidays.



I had the pleasure of pulling together a holiday package for Elizabeth Hartman (who you probably already know from her amazing quilting blog, Oh, Fransson!) Here's what I packed up to try to surprise Elizabeth:

#Ssswap package for ???

I also made a drawstring bag using Jeni's tutorial. I used a cheater patchwork Echino print and some solid Essex Linen for the top and interior of the bag. I also used a favorite woodgrain print by Joel Dewberry for the drawstring.

#SSSwap Bag

I also made this needle book, using this tutorial and some of Melody Miller's Ruby Star Spring fabric (love those bees!)

Ruby Star Needle Book

I stuck some coordinating floss and needles inside.

Needle Book for #ssswap partner

I hope Elizabeth enjoyed her gifts as much as I enjoyed making them for her! And I also hope there will be a #SSSwap 2 next year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy 2012!

Modern Starlings

Hi everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I know it's been a bit quiet 'round these parts. I wound up unplugging and taking an unexpected (but much-needed) break from most things electronic over the holiday break.

We had a great Christmas here in the Quilt Dad house -- we actually stayed home for the first time, and it was a joy to see the kids wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning. After Christmas, we headed up to New York City, where we visited with family, saw the tree at Rockefeller Center, and took the kids on their (now annual) pilgrimage to the American Girl store on 5th Avenue. We stayed in the Big Apple -- more specifically, Brooklyn -- through New Year's, and returned home on January 2nd.

Modern Starlings Block

While I work on gettin' my groove back, I wanted to let you know that I put together a new block pattern to celebrate the start of the new year! I call it "Modern Starlings", and the free pattern is available over on the Generation Q blog. I was excited that Scott, Jake, and the crew at Gen Q invited me to be a Guest Block Designer as part of their Playdate series, and quickly actualized this block that had been rattling around in the back of my head for weeks. I think it's a fun block with a lot of potential -- Scott and I have even been batting around some full quilt pattern ideas using this block.

I hope you like the block, and if you make any, I'd love to see them. Be sure to add them to the Quilt Dad is my Homeboy Flickr group.

Oh, and P.S. thanks for all of the love on my Hey Girl post. I am so glad that it was able to provide some laughs to so many of you over the past few weeks. I literally received hundreds of positive comments via the blog and Twitter, and one really ugly, nasty, negative email from someone who I clearly offended. Oh well, you can't win them all. I haven't had any flashes of Hey Girl inspiration since before the holidays, but who knows ... Ryan may make another appearance here on the blog soon.