Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rainbow Shamrocks....

After making a bunch of green shamrocks from my Mini Shamrock Tutorial, I decided to try out a rainbow version.  This little block soon became a favorite and now I'm addicted to making them from my huge scrap pile...The squares are cut 2" and finish at 1.5".  The whole block is 6.5" unfinished!

So I kept on making more and more blocks and I'm at this stage.  It might stop here, as a 24" x 24" mini quilt...but who knows??  I still keep making more blocks so I could go a bit larger or maybe just turn them into mini-mini quilts or mug rugs...

Anyhow, this is what has been going on lately at my house.  Today I need to quilt up my green shamrock mini quilt and get it bound.  Maybe you'll see that one tomorrow!!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scrappy Shamrock Tutorial

During an online search for a shamrock pattern, I found this shamrock tutorial from QuiltingWorks.com, but it was for a 12.5" x 12.5" block.  I thought the basic idea was great and decided to scale it down to a 6.5" x 6.5" unfinished block.  I would love to ask permission from QuiltingWorks, but I can't find a way to contact them and it seemed to be a free tutorial with no credit given to the original designer.  I've seen other blocks like it from other sources, so I doubt it is a truly unique design, but QuiltingWorks is the place I saw it first.  A big thanks to them for the inspiration!

So after debating about it, I decided to give them credit for the design, scale it down, and write a tutorial with a bit less wasted fabric.  Here it goes....a mostly picture tutorial....

The block:  6.5" x 6.5" unfinished

Cut the following pieces:

(12) - 2" x 2" green squares
(1) - 1" x 4.5" green stem rectangle
(5) - 2" x 2" white background squares
(1) - 4.5" x 4.5" white background square

Arrange the pieces for the shamrock block as shown below.  Pull out the three inside squares that will remain 2" x 2" and the stem and background square--set them aside.  The remaining nine 2" x 2" squares will have one corner cut off in the next step

How to make the template to cut the corners:

From a piece of paper, cut a 1" x 1" square and cut it in half diagonally.  Tape one half of the paper square to the bottom of a clear acrylic ruler and use this as a guide to cut off one corner from each of the nine green squares.  To save time, stack several squares on top of one another and make the cut...

Next, cut the five 2" x 2" background squares in half diagonally and sew them to the corners of the cut green squares.

Here is another view of how to center the white triangular background piece on the cut green square...be sure that the two pieces are centered on one another (the white triangle tips on the left and right sides should be the same size).

Press the seams open and trim the squares to 2" x 2".

To make the stem unit, take the 4.5" x 4.5" background square and make a cut 3" from the left of the bottom right corner, and 3" up from the bottom right corner.  Place that triangular piece off to the side for now.  Rotate the remaining piece so that the cut you just made is horizontal and lined up along a grid line on your cutting mat--also, make sure that the top tip of this piece is lined up on a vertical grid line on the cutting mat. Make a vertical cut up to the corner (cutting the piece into two mirror images).  Use the grid on the cutting mat to help ensure that this cut is perpendicular to the first cut.

Sew the 1" x 4.5" green stem piece in between the two halves of the background square.  Press the seams open to reduce the bulk.  If necessary, trim the edge of the pieced unit so you have a straight edge prior to attaching the corner triangle.  Center the tip of the triangle in the center of the stem, align the bottom edges of the two pieces, and sew the triangle to the pieced unit.  Press the seams open.

Next, trim the stem unit to 3.5" x 3.5".  Center the 45 degree line of a square ruler up through the middle of the stem. Trim the top and right side of the unit.  Rotate it 180 degrees and trim the other two sides to square it up to 3.5" x 3.5"

Finally, layout the shamrock pieces into rows and sew them together.  Sew the rows to one another and attach the stem unit to the bottom two shamrock rows.  Press all seams open to reduce bulk.  The finished shamrock block should be 6.5" x 6.5".

I made several mug rugs from these little blocks for friends and family.  One thing I might do differently than most is that I use single fold binding for mug rugs, mini-quilts and wall hangings.  I cut the binding 1.5" wide--here is a tutorial for single fold binding, if you need it.  In my opinion, double fold binding should be used on quilts that will get a lot of wear and tear.  If a quilted item won't be handled very often, why waste the fabric on a double fold binding that only creates bulk around the edge of a small quilt??  Just my two cents...

Anyhow, I hope that you enjoy this tutorial.  If something doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll adjust the pics/words to clarify the process.  

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

All Kisses...No Hugs!!

In January I started a little EPP project for Valentine's Day using enlongated hexagons and squares.  It will be a mini-quilt when it is finished, measuring 22" x 22".  There will be 5 x 5 "x"s...25 total.

The fabrics used are a bit of #love, a little Miss Scarlett and some Natural Kona cotton.  I love EPP, but this pattern seems a bit harder than the diamonds and jewels I've used in the past.  Oh well, my goal is to finish it by Valentine's Day.  We'll see how that goes....

I did finish a couple of dog placemats for Buddy.  I found some scraps when I was cleaning out my sewing room and decided to make use of them...then I decided to do some simple crosshatching, which turned into a ridiculous amount of crosshatching for a dog item...


And though I LOVE my Juki, it doesn't come with a guide that can be attached to the walking foot for evenly spacing the crosshatching.  So I made a rigged guide from an expired insurance card to try to keep my lines evenly spaced....very hinky!  But an improvement from my last one made from cardstock....this one is actually laminated!!!

Juki--hear me now!!  I love your walking foot and perfect stitches, but I'd like an adjustable guide that attaches to the foot to help me with perfect crosshatching!!  Is that too much to ask??

But the stitches are perfect and Buddy is already enjoying his new mat.  Isn't that all that matters??

I'm getting closer to retirement...less than four months away!  Happy Quilting!