Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Splendid Setting, Part 2

Last week I promised a few more details about my Splendid Sampler project.

On and off, between other projects, I’ve been working on quilting my quilt. I’m treating each block individually with quilting customized to suit the design. The block I designed, The Early Bird, and its neighbors are featured in this photo

Like many folks, I absolutely loved making the blocks in this year-long journey, but I ended up with a lot of odd-shaped leftovers. I suppose I could have followed the ScrapTherapy process outlines in my books, and cut up the pieces into 2”, 3-1/2” and 5” squares. But there were a lot of coordinated leftovers and many of the leftovers were odd-shapes or skinny strips.

Enter the Mini Pineapple Trimming Tool from Creative Grids

Since you know from all the grumbling I did when paper pieced blocks were introduced (mild grumbling, I’m really not that contentious about it!) Pineapple block patterns often start with a paper or foundation piecing technique. This ruler takes all the foundation stuff out of the picture. The blocks are pieced from strips that are slightly oversized. And the mini tool is perfect for some serious scrap consumption!

The entire block is worked in rounds. Start with the center square, trimmed to size and add four strips centered and pressed to each side. That blue pops out in several Splendid blocks and in my cornerstones, so I have plenty of that for lots of pineapple block centers. And the cream was also made regular Splendid appearances in my quilt.

Once the first round is pressed and sewn, use the lines on the trim tool and the white center square markings labeled “round 1” to trim the block edges.

And Round 1 is trimmed! Ready to add scrap strips for round 2. (By the way, the trimming tool comes with REALLY detailed instructions so you know exactly what size scraps you need)

Round 2 scraps are sewn around the four sides of the block. Line up the ‘Round 2’ lines with the center square and the block and trim. . . .

Round three set the stage for the remaining rounds. . . Once the rounds start stacking up, it can get a little confusing. So before I trim each round, I count from the center out - the center is ), then I count 1, 2, 3 by zig-zagging along the triangularly shaped corners. . .

After Round 1, the even-numbered rounds use the marked squares on the tool for line-up lines before trimming, two sides of the block at a time . . . . The odd numbered rounds take advantage of a line 3/4” away from the flat edge of the ruler (arrow) and the two dotted white lines marked with an *. Align these markings with seams, then trim one side at a time for the odd-numbered rounds.

I continued to add cream-colored odd-numbered rounds, and scrappy even-numbered rounds, trimming with the tool after the completion of each round. To make a 6” round, I need 10 rounds. Ta-da!!

For this last round, before I use the Round 10 center square alignment routine, I use the 3/4” marking on the flat side of the tool to trim each scrappy strip on the round, even though this isn’t an odd-numbered round . . .

Once trimmed, add the half-square triangles (the tool instructions give you the cutting specs) . . .

. . . now line up the center with the Round 10 lines. . .and trim

 . . . and repeat! Repeatedly!

Now, I don’t know how many of these fun 6” blocks I’m going to make. I guess I’m just going to keep going until I run out of “Splendid” scraps. Then I’ll decide what to do with them—probably add some cream-colored sashing to define the blocks and add some sort of border. It’ll make a nice lap quilt, and a great project to sew one seam at a time in between the other deadline-sensitive stuff I’m working on.

As long as I was playing with this cool tool, I also tried using my scraps from my ScrapTherapy bins. Turns out that I could make a single 4” Swirly pineapple block with four 5” scrap squares. Add another for backing and a strip for binding and, *POOF!* A really fun coaster!

This tutorial makes a whole lot more sense when you have the ruler in your hand and can play with it step by step . . Would you like to try out the tool with your scraps, Splendid or otherwise?

Tell you what, I’ll throw in my pattern notes for the Swirl coaster as well as a couple of 5” fusible foam batting squares for fun. Click on the link below to grab one just for you!

UPDATE: What if you already have the Creative Grids Mini Pineapple Trim Tool, and just want Swirl? Well, click here and we've got you covered.
Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Splendid Setting, Part 1

This week, after the release of the 100th Splendid Sampler block, in the Splendid Sampler Facebook group, I posted this photo of me with my quilt top (sans border) and Pat Sloan. The photo was taken back in September when Pat happened to be teaching a workshop just minutes from my home.

My quilt center was done even though all the blocks hadn't been released yet. The design team had access to the patterns before they went public, so I was able to binge-sew during the summer.

The setting I chose for my blocks would work with just about any sampler quilt. A year ago, I started the project with a couple of packs of pre-cut 10” squares from Hoffman California Fabrics, one from Timeless Treasures, a partial pack of 2-1/2” strips, and some yardage amounts—all batiks in variations of turquoise, sea blue and beachy/earthy browns—and a fair amount of natural-colored flat cotton. After all the blocks were constructed, I still had a fair amount of fabric left.

I decided to put those fabrics to work to frame each and every block before adding thin sashing and cornerstones. The effect was to highlight each individual block in the quilt. For each block frame, I selected a fabric from the group of leftovers that suited the block itself. and cut four strips 1-1/4” wide (finish to 3/4”) by 7-1/4” long. (The blocks are each 6-1/2" square (unfinished size).)

I could have bordered each block with a strip on each side, then one on the top and the bottom. Instead, and for no other reason than to do something a little ‘unexpected,’ I added the strips to the block starting with a partial seam.

I aligned the first strip along the left edge of the right-side-up block with the top edges aligned.

Then I sewed a 1/4" seam, with the block right side facing down while sewing, leaving the last 2” or so unsewn. Pressed the attached part of the strip toward the strip.

Rotated the block 90-degrees, and added another strip to the adjacent side, and press. The ends lined up pretty good with the block!

Continued until all four strips are sewn, and pressed, leaving only a partial seam on the original strip to be sewn (between the red arrows, below).

Sew the partial strip.

Press, and Wah-lah!

With so many fussy, lovingly-sewn details on these special blocks, framing each one helped to show them off individually and set the stage for a cohesive, but scrappy quilt.

I then added very narrow (1/2” finished width or 1” cut width) cream sashing strips and vibrant turquoise cornerstones to complete the quilt center. Yup indeed, the sashing is really, REALLY narrow, but added the ‘pop’ that was needed to set off the blocks without making the quilt super-huge. 

Only problem: I still had lots and LOTS of blue and brown scraps left. . . What to do?? More on that next time . . .

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sea Sewing

A quick photo journal from the highlights of the Scrappy and Happy 2017 Cruise that wrapped up last Sunday.

Winter toes need a little TLC before they make an appearance. Pokey-spots, and ready to go!

To avoid potential travel delays involving flights to and from Syracuse, New York. I arrived at the hotel a day early. The coy fish in the hotel pond didn’t seem to mind the chilly Florida temperatures.

Just down the road from the hotel in Port Canaveral is the Manatee Park. No manatee, but plenty of birds to see!

On board, ooh, there’s a Starbucks!

A cabin-pet. . .

A beautiful ship! Oasis of the Seas carries up to 5,400 guests. This is the view from the back of the ship looking toward the front and up from Deck 6. Behind me is the outdoor movie theater and dive pool. The curved shapes along the sides are balconies for the rooms overlooking the 'boardwalk' neighborhood.

A view of the ship from our first port, Labadee, Haiti. Beach time!

Back on deck, the sun sets on a beautiful day in Haiti.

. . . and smiles on our next port: Falmouth, Jamaica.

Lots of vendors set up at the port. Jewelry, rum, clothing, and crafts are available for purchase. Bargaining is allowed! Leave it to me to find some birds!

Back on board ship, quilters were busy assembling their quilts. Quilting time is available 24/7.

Quilt workshops happen on the sea-days. So everyone can enjoy the ports if they wish. Or come back a little early for a stitch or two!

This is the life! Quilting. Beautiful ship. Tropical ports.

On to Cozumel, our last stop. Lots of shopping, and bargaining. Something about this sign . . .

The ship’s photographers are everywhere. By the end of the week, the photo lounge is full of happy faces and captured memories.

One last day in Port Canaveral for me before the flight back home. A walk to the beach . . .

. . . and one more opportunities to put the pokey-spotted toes in the surf.

Walking back to the hotel, peacocks everywhere! I’m told the neighborhood is a hot spot for them. They are welcomed, and even traffic comes to a stop to allow the birds to cross the road at will.

You know, there is something about a week at sea, sewing, laughing, sewing some more, eating lots, and sewing, shopping. . .  so much fun!

But do you really want to know the secret sauce? It’s not the sewing, the food, the baubles . . . it’s the people! New friends, and quilty acquaintances . . .

. . . Table mates and serving staff!

My table mates for a week full of fun dinners: Front row: Rose, Kim, Kelly. Back row: Richard(OK), me, Nancy, (hey, who’s the photo bomber!), and Harry.

. . . and a little something to bring home to preserve the memories. Couldn’t resist this hand-beaded piece from Cozumel!

Let’s do it all again. . .

. . . but different! Join me for my next quilt cruise. This one is with Quilt Retreat at Sea. Our ports: St. Maarten, St. Kits (including a special excursion to the batik factory), and Puerto Rico. I canNOT wait! March 2018. Talk to Michele ((210)858-6399) and get on board.

Here is the very first sneaky peek at the fabric for our on-board project. Brand-spankin’-new pattern is in the works.

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford