Thursday, 31 March 2011

My blender bundle and Sherbet Pips in da house

Peg and Becca at Sew Fresh Fabrics have made an official "Lily's Quilts Blender Bundle".  Click on the blender photo below the Pips to take you there.  Also. pre-cuts of Sherbet Pips are now available at Sew Fresh Fabrics.  These sell as soon as they hit the shelves - be warned!


Mug rug for Penny, originally uploaded by Lynne @ Lilys Quilts.
Have you tried this new flickr feauture out? There's a little B icon over the pic you want to blog, press that and, hey presto, you have a blogpost - it's so quick and easy for a one-pic post. I made this mug rug for Penny sewtakeahike as a little extra for her - she'd asked for a kitchenalia block and I made her the robot lady coffee pot but, being British, I felt she ought to have a cup of tea too. My mate Mandy from Simply Solids gave me a FQ of this fabric when I was loitering round her studio one day - it's cool to have a friend with a fabric shop where I can loiter.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sheriff Lynne

OK trying out new Flickr feature where you seem to be able to blog a pic direct from Flickr - just noticed this right now. And, BTW, I made this scrappy Sheriff's badge for Penny Sewtakeahike today. The block is my own design so I think I will call it Sheriff Lynne. I like blocks with my name in. Makes me feel important.

Fabric Friday, I mean Wednesday

Boy do I love blenders (from Sew Fresh Fabrics).

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

QAL - piecing the inner circle

Want to join the QAL?  It's never too late.  Go to the starter post here and work you way through the posts.  Join the Flickr group and post your progress there even if you're making your dresden circle in 2012 or later!  

Now, it's the big week.  Inner circle piecing week.  I'm posting this a day or two early to give you extra time to take over this step.  Don't feel rushed if you're still making dresden circles though.  Deep breath.  here we go.  

1.   Place your inner circle right side up on top of your dresden (also right side up) and mark each seam line taking care not to mark beyond the seam line (I used pencil).  

2.   Take the top edge of the dresden, fold it over until the edge meets the top of the circle.  Match the seam with the pencil mark and pin.  Some people like to point their pins towards the centre of the circle but I point mine to face me as I sew.  

3.   Pin the seam next along to the next mark on the inner circle, then the next then the next until you have pinned all 21 seams and end up with the frilly dresden on top and your inner circle underneath like this.  

4.   Now, shoulders down.  Grab a coffee (or a glass of wine).  Put the music on.  Set your machine to slow if it has a speed setting.  Set your machine to finish with the needle down if you have that option.  And tell yourself that you are not in fact about to piece a scary circle, you are just going to sew 21 short seams.  Simple as that.  

5.   Start inbetween two seams, jiggle the fabrics about so that the very short section you are going to sew to reach the next seam is lined up just like a normal seam.  Remove the pin through the upcoming seam and sew to that seam.  Just a few easy stitches.  Deep breath.  Shoulders down.  Sip of coffee / wine / vodka whatever. 

5.   With the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot and jiggle the next run of fabric so it all lines up nicely - just until the next pin - remove that pin and slowly sew to the next seam.  Keep doing this 21 times until you get back to the start.  

TOP TIP: If you feel that you are ending up with more fabric flapping around on top than you have underneath, try to correct this as you go with a bit of what quilters call easing (and I call pushmepullyou).  Try to stretch the circle underneath and kind of squidge without puckering the fabric on top bit by bit until you're back on track.  You may need to do this a few times on your way round.  Do not ignore this problem as you go or you will end up with a big bunch of spare fabric at the end.  

TOP TIP: If you do get to the end of piecing your circle and you suddenly get an annoying flappety bit, just cheat.  Stop sewing the circle.  Take the whole dresden out of the machine.  Make that one final seam between two dresden leaves a bit wider then go back in and finish your perfectly fitting circle. 

6.   When you have sewn the whole circle, check for puckers.  Your seams may be crinkly in places and you can fix this with a good bit of ironing with steam but if you have a proper, folded pucker, unpick a couple of inches each side and re-sew easing (stretching) the fabric to get rid of the pucker.  At this point, your dresden circle will look a right mess - all crinkly and pouffed up like a marshmallow in the middle.  Do not worry, a hot iron full of steam will deal with it nicely.

7.   Flip your dresden so it is right side down and gently press the seams towards the middle.  

8.  Then place the dresden right side up on the ironing board (I use a towel flat out on a table which allows me to press much better than an ironing board), set your iron to fell steam ahead and iron (I know, all you trained quilters out there are screaming at me to press, lift, press, lift).  I start in the inner circle and iron outwards flattening the edges of the circle and then the leaves and pressing them hard so they flatten onto the towel-on-table in meek submission.

Voila! Your first dresden circle is pieced.  The hardest part of this QAL is over.  At this point it will still looks a bit flappity but piecing it into the outer circle (next week) and quilting will solve any remaining bulges.  Please let me know how you got on, how pleased you were with yourselves, how you're no longer afraid of piecing circles, how much easier it was than you had thought and how glad you were you tried.  And come and show me those pieced circles in the Flickr group.  

And please do feel free to ask for help if you get stuck.  I do not want to hear of anyone getting stuck and giving up in despair.  You have a whole group of quilters of various levels of experience to help and advise you.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Four days until... first Fresh Sewing Day.  Where we celebrate whatever project you've been working on this month which has brought you the most happiness, fun, pride, joy.  We're going to have linkys and encourage you all to blog hop a bit and leave comments as you go.  A bit of love sharing in blogland.  Someone will win a feature post on my blog and someone else will win this fabulous fabric bundle from Sew Fresh Fabrics, the shop that I hand picked to partner with me on the blog.

I'd been waiting to find the right partner shop for this blog, a shop that would be my dream shop if it was my LQS.  Not only for the wonderful fabrics they carry but for the way Peg and Becca put them together.  And a couple of weeks ago and knew I'd found the shop I'd been looking for.  Just take a look at this bundle they put together especially for you - see what I mean?  So come back on Friday for our first Fresh Sewing Day and a chance to win the giveaway.  And who knows whether adding this button to your blog might confer some kind of additional advantage in the giveaway.  I couldn't possibly comment on that...

Sew Fresh Fabrics
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sew Fresh Fabrics"><img src="" alt="Sew Fresh Fabrics" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


Quilt blocks always have their own names but I don't know if this quilt block is a new one or already has a name.  Until someone tells me what this block is officially called, I will call it LynneBobSquarePants.  Using the directions here, you will make a 12" finished block.  

Wanna play along and have a go at making this block just for fun?  Good practice for accurate cutting, accurate seams,  matching points and playing with scraps.  I have made it from Kona charcoal and some fabulous Liberty "scraps" I won in a giveaway from my comedy friends, Yvonne and Reene at Nellies Niceties.  If you are using your Liberty scraps, a healthy dose of starch spray on them before starting prevents them from slipping and stretching as they are wont to do (oooh I sound like Shakespeare).


You will need:

Sixteen 3" squares of coloured fabrics
Twelve 3" squares and eight 2 1/2" squares of neutral fabric

1.   Pair up the twelve 3" neutral squares with twelve of the 3" coloured squares.  Pair up the remaining four coloured squares into two pairs.  For the coloured pairs, I matched darker with lighter fabrics to make the main square pop.

2.   Mark a line along the diagonal on one of the fabrics.  I used a pencil

3.   Sew two seam lines 1/4" either side of this line.

4.   Cut along the line.

5.   Press to the dark side.

6.   Trim your blocks to 2 1/2" square ensuring that you align the diagonal on your ruler or cutting mat with the diagonal seams.  This is the bit to take time and care over.  Make sure you cut so that the diagonal seam sits rights on the diagonal line of the block.

7.  Lay out all your HST squares and neutral squares to make the pattern in the finished block.

8.  Sew into rows pressing to the left in one row, to the right in the next, to the left in the next and to the right in the next so that, when you join the rows, the seams can butt up against each other.

9.  Sew the rows together and press these seams open and VOILA you have your very own [insert your own name here] BobSquarepants.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Afternoon Delight

That scene from Anchorman where they sing Afternoon Delight really makes me laugh and it has nothing to do with the mug rug and quilt going into this post, it just popped into my head.  So the fishy sewing from yesterday got chopped up a bit more, had some wavy quilting added and is now a mug rug for my partner in the Doll Quilt Swap.

Mug rug for my DQS partner

And then Viv (Sew Vivid) only went and made my day by making this extremely cool Dr Seuss version of my Hexagon Park Moda Bake Shop quilt.  I love that she's taken away the sashing and the outer round of squares and just done her own thing with it.  

Dr Seuss - Quilt 4

Friday, 25 March 2011

Wanna learn some fishy piecing?

In the calm before the storm of piecing the inner circles of your dresdens, let's have a little play with curved seams.  Grab a couple of squares of fabric (I used a couple of layer cake squares), some strips of a solid and have a little play with this.  Don't worry about planning what you're going to make,  just have fun with the process, play around with a few scraps of fabric and see what you end up with.  If you like what you've made, you could make yourself a little mug rug from it like this one.

A mug rug for my partner

1.   Grab 2 fabrics.  Mine were ten inches long (layer cake slices) but, by the time you've finished, they'll be shorter than that in the block so add a couple of inches to the final size you're looking for.   Lay one on top of the other, both with their right sides up, one slightly to the left and one slightly to the right.  Cut an S shape through both fabrics with your rotary cutter.  The first photo in the mosaic below is the finished fishy piecing just so you can see where I was heading in my mind as I went along.
My creation

2.   Cut a few 3/4" strips of a solid about 1/2" longer than your original pieces of fabric.  Now, set your machine to slow (if you have a speed button on your machine) and line a skinny solid strip up against the side of the first wavy cut piece.  Start your seam and continue all along the seam, constantly moving the skinny strip and the wavy piece so that the edges of both sit against the edge of your 1/4" foot  or against your 1/4" marker.   This will make a very crinkly, messy seam.  Flip over and press like crazy with steam, towards the skinny strip,  You may need to push and pull and cajole and even starch to get all of it to lay flat and it might not quite all lay flat at this point.  

My creation

3.   Grab the other half of the S shape you cut and piece it alongside the skinny strip in exactly the same way as you pieced the skinny strip.  Go slow, hold onto a piece of fabric in each hand and keep twirling them left and right so that the bits under the needle have a 1/4" seam.  You can see it looks a bit crumply and messy before you press it.   I press the seams in the same direction - i.e. this time press away from the skinny strip.

My creation

4.   Once pressed, start the whole process over again, this time using the green fabric on the left with a gap of 2-3 inches away from the new fabric (in this case, the red fabric used again), cut a new S, the same way or the other way, or a different wavy shape.  The more extreme the curves, the more likely you will have little puckers in the finished piece but I just aim some of my quilting right over these and that squishes them into submission.  Here I've added more red and green using the same method each time to finish with a little run of fishy shapes.

My creation

5.   Keep adding and pressing until you have as much as you want.  Then have fun cutting a shape from your finished fishy fabric - maybe cut straight or at an angle.  Maybe cut it into four smaller shapes and re-assemble using skinny strips in between.  I cut mine into a rectangle than added a round of skinny strips to the outside.

My creation

This is the finished piece I made.  I haven't decided what to do with it yet - I might make it into a mug rug if I get time later today.  If you have a go at this, I'd love to see what you make (even if it's not a finished item, as mine isn't) in the Flickr group.

Wanna learn fishy piecing?

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wanna tute?

I made this mug rug as a little extra for my partner in the Doll Quilt Swap and wondered whether anyone would be interested in a little tute for piecing these kinds of waves, as a sort of build up to piecing circles next week?

A mug rug for my partner

QAL - sewing the dresden circles

For anyone with some sewing experience, this part is not difficult.  The simple version of this post is - sew all 21 dresden leaves into a circle, place it face down on your ironing board and press anticlockwise.  But I have taken it step by step anyway.  DO NOT PANIC if your sewn dresden circle does not lie perfectly flat.  Not one of mine has and this corrects itself when pieced into the circle.

1.   Lay out one whole circle of 21 dresden leaves on the table to decide on your layout.  Mine has seven fabrics repeating three times although yours doesn't need to.

2.   I sort mine into three piles of seven so I can keep track of what goes where.

3.   I chain piece the leaves in pairs feeding one pair into the machine straight after the previous pair to avoid stopping and starting seams.

4.   Then I sew two of the pairs together and the remaining single pairs with the remaining single leaves and keep going until the whole circle is made.  Flip over and check everything is in the right place.

5.   Place right side down on the ironing board and press all seams anti-clockwise.

TOP TIP: DO NOT PANIC if your dresden is not perfectly flat but has a little bulge.  Each one of mine has had a little bulge and this rights itself when pieced into the circle.

6.   Now measure the diameters of the inner and outer circle.  Here the inner circle measures 7". 

And the outer circle measures 25".  The inner and outer templates are now designed with a selection of diameters on them and there are also instructions on how to make your own templates in this post:

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

QAL - template adjustments - this is a very boring post

In this QAL, I have discovered that miniscule differences in seam allowances, cutting templates and cutting fabrics multiplied over 21 templates with two seams each can result in different dresden circle sizes.  My outer diameter measures 25" and the inner diameter measures 7" but others have different measurements.  And so, here are some additional templates to cover that issue.

Inner Circle

Template LQ QAL2 has additional circles to cover diameters from 6" to 8".

Inner Circle if you cannot print templates

If you cannot print this template to size, you will need to make an inner circle template using a compass. The diameter of your inner circle template needs to be one inch larger than the diameter of your dresden circle.  For the following inner circle diameters, set the compass to the following distance between point and pencil and draw a circle on a piece of paper.

Diameter: 6"      set compass to 3.5"
Diameter: 6.5"   set compass to 3.75"
Diameter: 7"      set compass to 4"
Diameter: 7.5"   set compass to 4.25"
Diameter 8"       set compass to 4.5"

Outer Circle - the best solution

Templates LQ QAL3 and LQ QAL4 cover diameters from 24" to 26"

Outer Circle - alternative solution

If you have already cut your fabrics and your circle is smaller than 25", Template LQ QAL3 (extension template)  allows you to alter the ends of the outer circle template to compensate for a different sized circle.  This will not result in a 100% perfect circle so I would only suggest using this solution if you cannot use the best solution above.

Outer Circle if you cannot print templates

Cut out a square of paper (I use newspaper because it is big enough) 14" square.  In one corner, mark two lines 1/4" away from the edge of the paper. This point is the centre of the (quarter) circle you are going to draw.

Now take your ruler, put the zero mark on the centre point of the circle and make a mark at the 12" mark (for a dresden circle of 25").  The radius of the quarter circle template is half of the diameter and the diameter must be one inch smaller than the outer diameter of your dresden circle.  For outer diameters listed below, you mark points on the ruler as listed below.

24"    outer dresden circle diameter - 11.5" on ruler
24.5" outer dresden circle diameter - 11.75" on ruler
25"    outer dresden circle diameter - 12"
25.5" outer dresden circle diameter - 12.25" on ruler
26"    outer dresden circle diameter - 12.5" on ruler

Keep rotating the ruler and inch or so until you have a series of marks making a curved line.

Join these together to make your cutting line.

Cut along the cutting line to make your outer circle template.

Please feel free to ask for clarification of any of this in the Flickr group as I don't know how well I've explained it.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Choosing Fabrics QAL Guest Post

This is a guest post so I had better introduce myself.  Hi, I am Kerry, I live in the UK in a little city near the sea with my husband, daughter,  cats and dog.  I blog about my vintage and sewing life at verykerryberry.  Thankyou Lynne for inviting me to your blog!   I love quilting and sewing and I like to make things which include a lot of different fabrics.  My plan for  Lynne's quilt-a-long is to make a mini quilt with scrappy pieced and ticker tape wedges.  I recently made a doll quilt using these techniques.
and I am going to explain a more straightforward version for you here!  This post is about choosing fabrics and there will be a second about piecing and ticker taping your wedges.  It makes me sad when I read on blogs and Flickr about people being afraid of colour.  If you know what you like, you can put colours and fabrics together!  I will take you through my process for this mini quilt- there are a lot of pics to take you on the journey.  I think I will call my method, Goldilock's choice- you will see why...
My starting point is these picture based fabrics, the green and pink are from Lecien Grandmother's Flower Garden and the Viewfinder print is from Melody Miller's Ruby Star Rising.  I plan to use a viewfinder circle as the centre of the Dresden.
From these  prints I am getting images of home, Famous Five by Enid Blyton, 1930s colours, and  kitchen cottage granny chic!  So I pull out some more prints- I am looking for colours and prints that fit in with these ideas.  Some of these come from Lecien and Melody Miller but there are some outsiders there as well.
 Just to show you what wouldn't work, I put some more Ruby Star Rising colourways in but you see the colours are not right, too bright and shouty, this is going to be a quieter, faded colour palette. They are rejected.
 Next I start to add anything from my vintage stash that might work- these are piled on the left- hmm, looking a bit busy, too many patterns and the big yellow flower fabric on the top is not right at all- the pattern is far too big.  The other pile on the right is the mixer pile- spots, stripes and text fabrics.  These help to break up the busier patterns and picture prints whilst adding interest- and who doesn't like a bit of text fabric?
 You can see how I've started to pare this down.  I've taken a lot of the vintage away- patterns that are too big, colours didn't match, so now only three vintage fabrics remain. 
 Nearly there.  Time to add the solids.  I get everything that might possibly work.  These are Kona cottons and Kaufman Handkerchief linen. 
 Again, I look at the pile and pull anything out that jars or makes me wrinkle my nose.  The aqua is the wrong blue- it doesn't truly match with anything so that is out.  Whereas the Zucchini green matches some of the other fabrics perfectly, it stays in.
 At this point I decided to look at the text fabrics again and I pulled some out.  The newsprint and the peach text print looked a bit urban and I am thinking village green,  so a more whimsical text print comes in, the Michael Miller Sentence Structure print from the Dick and Jane range is perfect "Run Spot run.  See funny Jane go." I love this print!  I also added a little text, tea and sewing theme print that works well too.  I am happier with that section of fabrics now.
 The last bit is to pull any strips and pieces from my scrap box that might work.  These bits of Moda (from 'Hello Betty' by Chloes Closet) are in.
 These scraps are out- mainly because the colours are not a good enough match to the other fabrics.
 So like Goldilocks, you need to try a bit of everything and keep rejecting until your selection is just right.  Even now, some of these might get rejected, nothing is fixed.  I know this looks like a big pile of fabrics for a mini quilt but I am only going to use a little from each one.  I divide them into piles for cutting.  First on the left are the picture prints that require careful cutting.  I will want whole images and fussycut strips on all of these.  Next, are the solids and last of all, the patterns- both these piles can be cut in a range of widths.
That's all for now.  I'll be back soon with another guest post about cutting, piecing and ticker taping.  In the meantime I look forward to reading all the other guest bloggers colour and quilting secrets.  
If you have a question you can email me kerrykit (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk
and if anyone fancies some of the Michael Miller Dick and Jane Sentence Structure print- I just bought a large length from USA. So if you are from UK/Europe  and you are interesting in buying a FQ, drop me an email I am happy to sell a few as it is impossible to find in these countries.
Thanks for having me Lynne!  Do I get a party bag? 
Kerry x