Recently in Diagonal Squares Quilt Category

Unfinished Quilting

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So I've been feeling like my crafting mojo is ramping back up. Funny how an enthusiastic 2 year old can make you want to do things for and with them.  I'm supposed to be working on a project for a twin-sized quilt for same 2 year old, but as I was sitting down to do that, I found the pieces for a paper piecing purple/yellow color study that I started in early 2008 as part of a class on paper piecing (so compared with my Blooming 9 Patch, this project has only been in progress for 2 years.

20100516_PPColorStudy.jpgOn Saturday I finally got my act together and sewed the darn things together.  I'm not going to label this as one of my most amazing sewing efforts, but, really, the project was meant to let me play with paper piecing and do the color study more than it was meant to show off my machine skills.  It's not very large -- maybe 2' x 2' and is composed of only 5 fat quarters.   When I had finished sewing it and removing the paper backing, Ms. Z got her hands on it.

That's very nice, Mama!  Can I have it?  I want to go ninach* with it.

Then she grabbed and ran off to stuff it in her crib with all her other treasures (I swear, she's got hoarding skills like a dragon).  After I convinced her to give it back, I told her it wasn't quite finished yet.  I'm actually hoping to machine quilt this piece myself using what Carolyn taught me before Z was born and the walking foot for my sewing machine, and then get a refresher course on binding the edges.  The quilting will probably be simple, perhaps just long diagonals -- but for me, even something simple would be an accomplishment! 
* "ninach" (which I suspect is spelled more like nynacz... but I've typed it out phonetically) is roughly "to bed".

Quilt Variations

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This project was a color study based on 5 fabrics that featured yellows and purples in varying depths of shades and  degrees of domination of one particular color.  I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.  It was even a little bit more fun, because all 5 fat quarters came out of the Quiltology bargain bin.   Clearly I lucked out when I found enough fabrics containing two colors that are opposites on the color wheel. The whole project has only cost me 10 bucks!  Definitely a nice way to experiment with both colors and paper piecing. 

By limiting myself to 5 fat quarters, I also forced myself to figure out what size I needed to make my squares so that I would have enough fabric.  I also had to work out how to cut out my fabric strips to get the pieces I needed.  Since I hadn't played with much "quilty" math before, it was a great exercise.  And after that, sewing the paper-pieced blocks together was a piece of cake. 

Once you have the basic squares made it's no end of fun to move them around to see what a group of them can become.  The very top image is the one I had in mind when I made the squares, but these simple squares can be rotated so many ways to create many possible quilt tops.  The first one is still leading the pack now that I can start thinking about sewing them up.  The center of it is intentionally a little disjointed.  I wanted to make the viewer's eyes jump around a bit and and find multiple interesting patterns; maybe fool the viewer into believing that they weren't looking at 16 identical squares.

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Paper Piecing Blocks

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So here is my idea for my paper pieced quilt project and the 5 fat quarters I picked up for the project.  Due to an indoor shot with flash, the purples look a lot more blue than they are and the far left fabric is not quite as orange as all that.  Yellow and purple are color wheel opposites, so they tend to go well together.  Which is good rationalization now for the blog.  When I was at the store picking them out, they were in the sale bin and I just happened to like them -- and I knew that for the quilt I was going to make, a big floral wouldn't end up looking all that big or floral when cut into strips.

The design for the quilt was made with the help of Electric Quilt 5.  It's a rough approximation of the colors I have.  I didn't feel like scanning the fabrics in, so I just used the closest things I could find that were already in the program's fabric library.  The individual blocks are pretty close to the same as the striped block in my previous post, although I made a few small modifications to make some lines match up better.  I spent a while rotating blocks to see what interesting designs I could get with those stripes.  When I happened up on this one, I knew it was the project I wanted to work on.

20080412_PaperPieceBlock.jpgThen I had to spend some time figuring out if I had enough fabric (just barely when it comes to the two darkest colors) and what I needed to cut and measure to get the pieces I needed to start with.  Both some measuring and some math was done to make this determination.  One thing that is nice about this style of block formation: I didn't need to be too rigid about cutting.  The cutting of strips was more about making sure I had enough fabric than anything else. 

I like the strips and how they go together after laying them out the way they will be arranged in the square.  Now it's just a matter of getting to the business of sewing them together so that I can start playing with orientation.  If my in class experience is any example, it shouldn't take me too long to get 16 6" x 6" blocks made up.  Having all the strips pre-cut and being able to chain piece the sewing should make the block construction a breeze.




Paper Piecing

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When Spring rolls around, I always get the urge to get out of the house and learn something new or meet some new people.  Since I don't think I'm going to get to MS&W this year (I'm going to try to shoot for Rhinebeck again) I thought it would be fun to treat myself to another quilting class.   I enrolled in the Paper Piecing workshop at Quiltology and the first evening was just a big scrappy hoot!

There was a big pile of scraps to work from and we all got to try out the templates for a couple of simple blocks.  I was amazed at how fast I got these together!  I probably had both of them done in about an hour, and there is nothing cooler than having these wonderfully perfectly square blocks!  The stripey one is probably the one I like best, because I just grabbed scraps as I went and sewed them on.  I didn't think too much and I am pleased with the result.  It had never occurred to me before this class to think about keeping scraps of fabric, but this class has changed the way I look at those left over bits of fabric from my projects.

As part of the class, I am going to work on a very small quilt project based on the stripey square    It's going to be 4 blocks by 4 blocks and that featured fabrics are going to be purples and yellows.  I spent some time playing with Electric Quilt 5 to get a pattern I really like that isn't something you'd entirely expect -- I say that because it was something that just sort of popped out at me as I messed around with the tools, and I definitely wasn't expecting it either. 

Time to get cutting and sewing!

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