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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What a Giveaway!!!!

Admittedly I am NO GOOD at free motion quilting nor did I ever think I could manage due to the high price of classes. (Let it be known I learned EVERYTHING I know quilting-wise through the 3Ws.. google.. etc., etc., etc., )
Christina at A Few Scraps is hosting a giveaway... a boatload of free motion quilting supplies. But Wait there's more!!!! That's not even the BEST part!! She is also hosting a quilt-along that teaches free motion quilting. Wow gurrrl, you are an Angel!!! I will most definately definately be playing along with this one. Everybody - - she has 3 ways you can join in the giveaway.. look for her button on the right side of my blog for a link to the quilt along. Make sure you tell her that Katie from Katiesquiltsandcrafts sent you!! ; )

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Twisted Log Cabin Adventures

Sorry to everyone who purchased the book "Log Cabin With a Twist" by Barbara Kaempfer -  It actually does NOT contain the pattern for this quilt.    However you really don't need to buy a book or use a pattern for this quilt.   Just a general knowledge of quilting and paper piecing and you can do it totally on your own.   This pattern might look complicated, but it's actually quite simple.   Read on and I will show you how it's done.   

Side view - ahhh pleats are SO awesome!!

This is my blocks before sewn together

You MUST MUST MUST start with an equilateral triangle image.
If your sides are not equal, your blocks will not fit together properly.
So if you draft your own triangle, be sure to measure measure measure.   If you print your triangle make sure to measure after printing because some printers will alter the size of your triangle quite a bit.    You might find it easier to use a ruler that is an equilateral triangle.

Fons and Porter Pyramid Ruler

Your triangle should be about the size of a piece of copy paper.  Any smaller and it will be difficult to sew, and any larger and you will have to use bigger paper.    (although you COULD use some kids tracing paper from the dollar store which is a bit larger and would work really well with paper piecing)

You will also need a clear acrylic quilting ruler for this project

Once you have your triangle on your paper,  you will add your 1/4" seam line which surrounds the block.   Just take your ruler and draw a line that is 1/4" beyond your triangle.  

To draw the inside lines:  
1.  Start at the top point of your triangle.   Measure down the right side 1" and make a dot to mark your place.    Now take your ruler and line up the lower left triangle point to the dot you just made and draw a line.  
2.  Follow the line that you just made to the lower left corner.   Measure 1" up from the left corner of your triangle and make a dot.   Take your ruler and line it up with the lower right corner and the dot that you just made and draw a line.    
3.  Follow the line that you just made to the lower right corner.   Measure 1" to the left and make a dot.  Take your ruler and line it up with upper triangle point.  (Not the original triangle point, but the point that is now made by the lines you have drawn.) Draw a line connecting the upper triangle point to the dot that you just made.  
4.  From now on just ignore the original triangle and only work with the smaller, center triangle that is created by your drawn lines.    Starting again at the top, measure 1" down and make a dot.   Make a line connecting the lower left corner to the dot you just made.  
5.  Continue in this way, going counter-clockwise around your triangle until you get to the center.  The center allows some creative freedom,  Doing another 1" mark looks strange, so you can just eyeball it here.   Try to imagine your spiral and how you want the points to look in your finished quilt.   It can be drastic or subtle.   I went with subtle here.  My small center triangle is around 1" in size, but you could probably omit that smaller triangle and just leave the large center triangle instead.  Or...   if you wish you could even add an additional, even smaller triangle.   I'm sure by now you have searched and seen many beautiful varieties of this quilt.   I suggesting looking at images of finished quilts and studying the centers to see which option would work best for you.  

After you have completed your triangle block and are satisified with how it looks, it is now time to make copies.    Start with one copy and measure all the sides to make sure that they are all equal.   Even 1/8" difference can add up and ruin a perfectly good quilt.

In the photo below, I have my original drafted block, and the block after it was copied.      After printing one side was over 1/4" larger.   So you may have to do some tweaking to get all of your blocks to be the same size.   I ended up scanning the image into the computer and editing the image so that it printed properly.
Also, one thing that I forgot to do here before making copies is label the paper pieces with numbers.   I recommend you do this before you print them, or you will have to write them all out on your paper pieces by hand.   It's just an extra step that could easily be avoided.  
To label your pieces, start in the center and put the number #1, The next piece will be the one directly above the center triangle.  In this piece put the number #2.    The next piece will be the one directly to the LEFT of the center block and the next piece will be the piece directly BELOW  the center triangle. . . .  depending on how you did your center block, just make sure that you are working counter-clockwise in a spiral.  (there's a photo of my numbered blocks a few photos down )

The lines on your paper are what is going to appear on the BACK of your final quilt.    So, if you want your spirals going in a certain direction, make sure that you reverse your image , or your final quilt will be backwards//reversed.
  It isn't really SO terrible to have the image reversed. . . it still gives the beautiful twisted log cabin quilt results, just in reverse.       Just wanted to make you aware of that.

For this project you will also need some colored pencils. You will need 1 color of pencil for each color fabric you are using.  I used 12 different colors so I needed 12 colored pencils.

Crayola 50ct Long Colored Pencils

Cut out all of your triangle blocks on your seam allowance guide and lay them all out on the floor to form your quilt pattern.   Now it's time to have some fun!   Take your colored pencils and draw your quilt exactly how it will look in the finished quilt.   At this point it might be helpful if you write down all of the pieces you will need for your quilt so that you can have the information handy when you go to cut your fabric.  
For my blocks, I had 7 pieces for each of my 3 colors in each triangle, plus one center triangle.  You can make the center triangle a continuation of one of the spirals, OR, you can choose to make all the center triangles a  constant color.  For this quilt, I choose to make the center triangle a continuation of  one of the spirals. If you have already colored your quilt, you probably have already made that decision.  
It also might be helpful to photograph your colored quilt blocks all laid out on the floor.   Upload the photo to your computer, and label each block  A, B. C. ,  There are 24 blocks total if you make a hexagon shape like this.   Label your photo on your computer so you have that as a guide, and also label each corresponding block as it's laid out on the floor so that you can easily put the blocks together after they are finished.  
So to make your list of pieces - I would start with block A and then to each spiral section 1.2.3
For example, if you look at the photo below,  the block that is underneath the word "blog" is made up of two white spiral sections, and then a red/yellow section.    So if this is block A I would write
Block A:
Section 1 -                                     Section 2 -                             Section 3 -
Piece 1:  Yellow 1.5" square         Piece 2:  White 1.5" x 2"       Piece 3:  White 1.5" x 2"
Piece 4:  Red 1.5" x 2"                  Piece 5:  White 1.5" x 3"       Piece 6:  White 1.5" x 3"
Piece 7:  Yellow 1.5" x 3"             Piece 8:  White 2" x 4"          Piece 9:  White 2" x 4"
and so on. . . .

This is just an example though.   Allow yourself at least 1/2" of seam allowance for each paper piece.   Measure the largest width of each piece and also the largest length and then add at least 1/2"!    If you are new to paper piecing you might want to add a whole inch, or more.    

You don't have to really saturate the blocks with color, it's just a guide for yourself.  

Next you will want to cut out all of the pieces required for this quilt.   This is an OCD person's dream come true.   (hint=ME)    In the below photo you can see all of my pieces I have used for the quilt and then organized by quilt block.   Now when I start to quilt, I can easily grab the pieces I need for my block and sew without too much thinking.  

Refer to the piece list that you made earlier, and cut each piece so that it can be ready for when you start to sew.   Now what I would do is take each block, and pull the fabrics needed for each piece, in the order that they will be sewn.    So for example put the largest number on the bottom, and then put the #1 piece on top.   Now when you go to  sew your blocks, you can take the cut fabric piece from the top of the stack, and feed it through the machine, without too much thinking. . . (see a theme here?)

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here, there are many many helpful videos and tutorials on HOW to paper piece.    If you are a beginner, I recommend watching some videos to get yourself acquainted with this technique - at least somewhat before beginning this project.

Just keep adding your pieces starting with #1, and ending with your last piece.    After each piece is sewn,  fold it over to make sure that it covers the next piece including seam allowance.   If there is good coverage,  fold it back over and trim your seams.    
I find this is easiest with scissors.   I just quickly do a fold check for coverage, quickly fold it back, do a quick snip of my seams to around 1/4" (it does not have to be perfect!)   Then I fold the piece BACK over, and I pin in place.    Some people choose to press each piece with an iron after sewing.  I just do a quick finger press and pin in place.  I find that when it's pinned in place for a while, it will stay flat and keeps it from shifting without the need for an iron.      I only iron when all the pieces are sewn into place.  

I also recommend leaving all of the paper pieces on the piece while you are sewing.   After you sew two blocks together to form your rows, I recommend removing just the outer paper that makes up the seam allowance.  With the paper in tact while you are sewing blocks together, you will have a line guide in which to sew.    After two blocks are sewn, and you remove the paper covering the seam allowance, you can move on to the next block or row.   That way you don't get paper stuck underneath multiple seams.  

And although it's alot of work to have to do later,  I really do think it's best to keep all the center paper pieces on until the very end.   Press everything as usual, even with the paper pieces.  Then once the paper is removed, press again, with starch.

Other helpful hints****
Keep an old box or bin underneath your sewing machine to throw your fabric and thread scraps into.  You will need a large box or you might have to make a few trips to empty it out.  There is lots of waste in paper piecing, but it's the only way to get absolutely perfect points and pieces without too much thinking ;c)

Again here is my finished quilt top.   I don't have a photo of the finished quilted quilt because it got ruined in the washer.  =c(  Yes I was devistated!!!!    However, I did finish a 2nd twisted log cabin quilt and the blog post for that can be FOUND HERE