Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Des Moines Modern Quilt Group Challenge + Charm Squares = Project Part 1

Bundle of six fat ⅛ths tied up.

All are text…some less directional than others.
One has a black background and one has a creamy background.
The rest are white backgrounds with black print.
Four 5'' squares of each of 4 colors from a
Dear Stella charm pack of  Zig Zags. 

This charm pack was unique in having so many of a single color. 
Each "block" needs 2 matching charm squares, and today's 
directions make 8 blocks.

I chose the black background fabric first because 
the bright zig zags really pop adjacent to the dark.
Cut two 1 ¼" x 21" strips and two 2 ½'' x 21'' strips to make eight blocks. 

Cut every charm square in half.

Yep, in half.

Seam one side of the charm square to the 1 ¼'' strip cut previously.

Chain piece four halves along the 21'' strip. 


Press, then seam the other half of the same charm square, 
cut edges aligned. (Pinked edges are to the outside.) This ensures directional fabric will be oriented correctly in the finished units. 

A unit with both halves seamed and pressed.

Now cut these units (only the ones with the 1 ¼'' strip inserted) 
in half cross wise.
Note orientation shown.

Two halves

Repeat sewing process with a 2 ½'' x 21'' strip and 
four remaining matching charm squares.
DO NOT cut them. You now have units to make four blocks.

Repeat the entire process through once more to make a total of eight blocks. 
Here is just one idea for assembling.  
More experimentation and playing will take place before Part 2 of this project is posted. The rules for the challenge are minimal, use some/all of the challenge fabrics, and the final project needs to be quilted. Where is this going? Making the "blocks" is really fun and somewhat addictive. How many do I need and for what? Hmmmm.

Till Tuesday

Monday, February 23, 2015

Quick Channel Quilting

jill here... Time often moves a little too fast.  Usually, we're more than willing to take a break after piecing and send our quilt top off to the machine quilting expert!  This turn around was quicker with QuiltCon looming.  Nothing like a deadline to encourage finishing it ourselves!

Two rules for our novice machine quilting:  forgiving backgrounds (ones with lots of pattern/ texture) and simple, low contrast in the quilting thread to hide any breaks of perfection.  TV Dinners has a vertical presentation so vertical channels seemed the most obvious modern choice for quilting.  And the lines were a built-in feature (without having to draw any extra, except in the border)!

Since this is a sample display, fewer lines, irregularly spaced were stitched with a medium aqua thread.

The blocks of color on the back make it fun.

The binding was cut from the same length of fabric as the borders.  It must have been a lucky day as it sewed like butter and caught the backside of the binding just perfectly.

'Till next Tuesday...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

QuiltCon, Modern Quilt Relish patterns and more

Marny here…so the time is almost here…QuiltCon starts Thursday! We can't attend this year [ :-( ]. There will be fantastic lectures, classes and shopping opportunities! We want to mention two merchants, Sew It Up Studio and Heartway International in particular.

Heartway International is in booth 414! We also know them as The Pat Pourri from Mililani (outside Honolulu), Hawaii! Our paths crossed at Quilt Festival in Houston this fall. We used our TV Dinners pattern to showcase their collection of Paint by Carrie Bloomston for Windham Fabrics very nicely. 

Look at these yummy prints and tone on tone solids.
Love the newsprint, lotus prints and the clever stripes!
yep, I should add that Carrie's company is Such Designs.
Key for the fabrics and positions they hold in TV Dinners.

Blocks made using the seven fabrics you see 
folded and stacked in the top photo.
¼ yards or fat quarters work great as yardage for the blocks.
The outside borders and binding all come from a single length of fabric!
This 'after' photo shows just how awesome the 
multidirectional newsprint looks used as a background!
Since I started with half yard cuts and an extra half yard of the aqua lotus print the back was easy to make from the leftovers! 
Just horizontal bands of colors interrupted vertically (but not centered) by the lotus print and a spot of orange. I love it when you can use up your fabrics from the front to create an playful back!

Next we want to mention Sew It Up Studio out of Hurst, Texas in booth 801.  They've made a Tasty Measures sample using an intriguing ombre running from pinks to orange to golden yellow. The quilt features a pretty floral! Kits and patterns will be available in their booth. Visit and take a peek!
A photo Sew It Up Studio sent of their quilt. 
Fun colors, ombre from pinks to golds! 
Wish I could see the quilt in person! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fabric For Your Thoughts Follow-up

Thanks for your comments.  We appreciate your views.  The winner, via the random number generator, is #2, PedalSewLightly!  Don't you love the name?  Please contact us with an address and we'll ship this cute charm roll off to your house.

Seems like the comments were quite varied as well as affirming of the previously posted study.  When Marny and I were at Houston Festival last fall, the audience appeared much as described; at least in age.  As baby boomers near retirement, their discretionary income seems to increase spending on hobbies.  Time and money together is something to look forward to.  That doesn't mean there aren't more younger quilters.  They may just have less money to spend and less time to sew and comment!

The internet has allowed all of us to become very resourceful.  Visually tempting fabrics and designs are readily available at our fingertips.  Instagram,  Twitter and Facebook are pushing forward to gain an even bigger (and somewhat different) audience. Fewer of us have land lines! And the neighborhood quilt shops still play an important role of support, education and immediate gratification.

Quilting is often elevated to an art form; improvisational and individual designs are an important statement of the maker.  We hope we can offer inspiration. We welcome any comments and suggestions to make our blog worth reading.

"Till next Tuesday...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Free Fabric (at least a chance) for Your Thoughts

Robert Kaufman Fabrics was kind to give us some fabric for our upcoming book.  Fortunately, for some lucky random winner, we're willing to share!  It's a charm roll from the Color Composition/Primary Colorstory.  We ask that you answer just a few questions  and comment on your profile/preferences as a quilter.

Here's the food for thought:  data from FabShop News’ summary of the Quilting in America survey conducted by F+W and Quilts, Inc.

Demographics of the Dedicated Quilter indicate she is female; about 64; is well-educated (79% attended college); has a household income in excess of $100,000; and has been quilting an average of 20.3 years. Among Dedicated Quilters, 81% are traditionalists, while 38% embrace art quilting, and 35% enjoy modern quilting styles. Some enjoy multiple types of quilting.
The Dedicated Quilter owns, on average, almost $13,000 worth of tools and supplies and has a stash of fabric worth nearly $6,000, which the majority  (88%) store in a studio or room dedicated solely to sewing and quilting activities.
And quilters are also tech-savvy, with 87% owning a tablet or eBook reader today. The percentage of quilters who access the Internet daily has grown to 86%, up from 73% four years ago. The data indicates that quilters spend 3.5 hours per week watching quilting-related online broadcasting to learn new tips and techniques, get inspiration, purchase fabric, tools, and supplies, and to search for free patterns.


  • I sew mostly (using a purchased pattern, a book, a magazine article, a free pattern, totally improvisational ...or equally from all).
  • I spend most of my quilting funds (at a quilt shop, on line, quilt shows, Facebook Group, all).
  • I'm (30 something or less, I'm older, I still have a land line).
  • Any comments that dispute the above study?
Thanks so much.  We'll share the results and the winner next week! 'Till Tuesday...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

String Quilts for Des Moines MQG

Marny here…
The Des Moines MQG sent out a request for members to make blocks for a donation quilt. We are using Blooming Poppie's tutorial.  The given parameters were to start with a 14'' muslin base, to stick to a particular color scheme, and to cut strips between 1'' and 2 ½''. Making a string quilt is lots of fun and it can look so fresh!
Hopefully a cohesive but interesting pile of aquas.

First strip centered corner to corner on the square.

Second strip placed right sides together. Sew ¼'' seam along right edge.

Adding one strip at a time. Pressing after each seam.

Muslin base is completely covered with strips.

Back side

Trim off the excess on all sides

Getting pretty!

Low volume neutral square, marked corner to corner (more accurately than appears in this photo), placed right sides together. Sew on ¼'' on either side of correctly drawn line. Then cut along drawn line.

And there you have it! Two squares already done for the quilt. These will be trimmed once all the squares are gathered together. When multiple sewers are submitting blocks it is often smart to save the final trim for one person to do.

Till Tuesday…

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Taffy Twist Again

jill here...reminds of a song from my adolescence!

I stopped by Sioux City at Heart and Hand Dry Goods last week.  Ann has a wonderful quilt shop filled with great fabric and a good selection of our patterns.  I offered  to make a new sample for her shop and spied this cute collection.  Taffy Twists is a great pattern for graphic prints or solids  in various combinations; could even be easily adapted for just two twist fabrics and a background.

This rendition utilizes four prints and a staple background from Moda's "basicgrey"(it's cream colored with  a slight white overlay to add a sparkle).

The collection is "Walkabout" by Beth Studley for Makower.  I love the different scales of prints and the grey with the orange.

The intersections are a bit more challenging to piece but really fun to see how they come together with the strip sets.  You like a little challenge, don't you? All the negative space gives the twists lots of focus so in no time, the quilt top is satisfying and complete.

The oranges give the graphic read an exciting contrast!

Quilting will add a level of depth and texture.  Check back later !

"Till next Tuesday...