Thursday, 29 September 2011

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas Gifts for Quilters post 1
Christmas Gifts for Quilters post 2
Christmas Gifts for Quilters post 3
Christmas Gifts for Quilters post 4
Christmas Gifts for Quilters post 5
Christmas Gifts for Quilters post 6

Really?  Did I really just mention Christmas in September?  That's not good.  But I have a plan you will like.  Coming up soon, once a week or so, will be a series of posts giving the people in your life ideas for presents for you for Christmas.  So you just leave your laptop lying open on my posts and wait for your significant others, friends and family to take the hint and buy you the kinds of things you would really like to receive rather than yet another cardigan two sizes too big, more soap, more candles or more pyjamas.

Why am I doing this?  Because over the next few months, blogs will be full of wonderful things to make and do for OTHER PEOPLE because that's what motivates quilters, making other people happy, giving other people nice things, making nice things for other people.  Well Lily's Quilts would like to do something to redress that balance.  On this blog, it's all about paying a little bit back to the quilters.

And in the spirit of it all being about US, there will be giveaways so that, even if your family won't buy it for you, you might be able to win it here.  See this box of Aurifil?  I have one of those to give away for example.
Quilting shops, fabric shops, fabric companies and notions companies, please feel free to come forward with ideas from your shops and companies and, if you'd like to give some away, the more the merrier, just get in touch with me at lilysquilts @ gmail . com.  And readers, please add comments to these posts with things you would like to receive for Christmas so I can add those to the ever-growing list.

Now in each Christmas post there will be three sizes of gift.  A small gift the person you work with might like to give you, a larger gift perhaps from someone in the family or a friend whose children you look after more than you would really like to.  And finally the BIG GIFT.  The one that someone who is either really rich or who really loves you might buy you.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Blocks, blocks, blocks and more blocks

I've been feeling a bit grotty for two or three weeks.  Nothing major or dramatic but just lots of life's little upsets that all combined together to make me feel stressed and anxious and I can't really get down to proper sewing when I feel like that.  Things are resolving themselves so I'm starting to feel a little sunnier.  But in the meantime, I got on with a few bee blocks because those are kind of small self contained projects to keep me ticking over.

Natalia asked for a simple stack of books block and I've put this one first in the post so it will come up in thumbnail in those blogs where I'm in the sidebar with small pics.  If you spot it in someone's sidebar in thumbnail, please tell me I didn't make Wall-E.  It's no use.  I already know I accidentally made Wall-E.  If you squint you'll see him - he even has a little scarf on I think.

Stack of books for Natalia

Melissa asked for a road vehicle for her son's trains, planes and automobiles quilt so I made her a Land Rover Defender in camouflage.  I live in the countryside and all the local farmers drive Land Rovers.  They are properly manly cars that can drive up the side of hills and through streams with large boulders in them, through thick snow and across the desert.  This car says "I am a man and proud of it".

Land Rover Defender for Melissa

Amber asked for a Christmas block so I made this block which was inspired by a Christmas card I bought for my parents years and years ago which looked a lot like this.  My two sisters and I have an informal competition each year to send my parents the best Christmas cards - only decent cards make it to my parents' mantlepiece so it's a tense moment when you find out whether your card made the cut each year.  I think I made it that year.

12 little Christmas trees for Amber

Yvonne sent out some Three Sisters Oasis fabrics and asked for a flower so I used my favourite stitch on my machine which is the blanket stitch.  I like it because it's really really neat and makes me look good.  My blanket stitch isn't that neat but as long as I don't tell anyone I did it on the machine, people can reel in awe at the neatness of my handwork.  It's a win win.

Flower for Yvonne

It was my month in the Ringo Pie bee and I asked for Design Classics.  Everyone else made amazing blocks which I showed you in previous posts but I didn't have a clue what to make.  I was going to make one of those old green telephones I grew up with but I thought that would be too hard.  I was going to make my favourite car, a Fiat 500, but I thought that would be too hard.  Then finally I realised I could make a union jack.  As I've made and designed about eleventy twelve UJ blocks, I can practically do these in my sleep so this was a quick easy block for me to do.  It was about 4" X 6" but set into a 12" white block but I've been getting so carried away recently with whiting out the background of my photos that actually it just looks like it's floating away down the blog here.  
Angela sent us some yellow and grey fabrics and we could make whatever we wanted with squares and rectangles so I made a block I've wanted to make forever, the brick wall block - I also want to make a brick wall quilt but that'll have to be added to the mile long list of quilts I want to make one day when I have some spare time...

August block for Angela

And finally, Reene sent out some Hope Valley and let us make whatever we wanted at all so I dragged out my Baby Go and its equilateral triangle cutter and cut a few little triangles and framed them in this kind of wonky random thang.  

Signature block for Reene

Corey asked for quilts on a line and I made this somewhat over the top psychedelic block.   I'm not quite sure what I was thinking.  The trouble is Peg and Becca from Sew Fresh Fabrics keep sending me these wonderful fabrics and I just love them so much, I get overexcited and kind of throw them all in together and perhaps sometimes less is more.  

Hanging Quilt for Corey

This last block feels a bit Magical Mystery Tour to me.  If you don't know what I mean because you're too young, please keep that information to yourself because my birthday is coming up shortly so I will be getting even older before too long.  

Dead Simple Quilt Cutting Fabrics

The starter post for this Dead Simple QAL is here and please feel free to join at any time.  I would love to see links to blogposts, palette and progress pics so please upload all of these to my Flickr group which you can find here.  Once your fabrics have arrived or you have pulled from stash, you are ready to start cutting.  If you want someone to put together a bundle of fabrics for you, get in touch with Peg and Becca from Sew Fresh Fabrics.  My bundle is a currently winging its way over the Altantic and is a mix of 25 FQs, both solids and prints but you could of course make up your fabrics from all prints, all solids or all scraps from your stash.

There are two sizes of quilt you could make following this QAL - 50" X 70" and 70" X 90".  And there are two sizes of "blocks" within the possible quilts - 5" charm squares or 9" squares obtaining by cutting a fat quarter into four squares (I will call these quarter fat quarters or QFQs).  Here is a reminder of what you need to cut for each type of quilt.  For a small charm square quilt, you will need 16 FQs cut into 192 5" squares to make a quilt 12 X 16 squares and 54" X 72".

For a small 9" square quilt you will need 12 FQs cut into 48 9" squares to make a quilt 6 X 8 squares and 51" X 68"

For a large charm quilt you will need 25 FQs cut into 300 5" squares to make a quilt 15 X 20 squares and 70" X 90".

For a large QFQ quilt you will need 22 FQs cut into 88 9"squares to make a quilt 8 X 11 squares and 68" X 93".

So,once you have your fabrics, come and show them to us in the Lilys Quilts Flickr group and I look forward to seeing stacks of squares of beautiful fabrics appearing too when you're ready.  Don't feel rushed or behind - my fabrics haven't arrived yet so you'll be ahead of the game if you're ready for cutting!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Any desperate housewives out there?

Jane (Want it, Need it, Quilt!)  is running a really fun program of block tutorials called the Desperate Housewives Quiltalong at the moment.  You can make some or all of these 8" blocks, as desired.  This week it's my turn and I will be showing you how to make a paint chips block.  


1.   Pick 15 fabrics in five piles of similar tones (eg bluey purples) but different values (darker, lighter).  I used Kona solids for this block but you could also try it using prints.   

2.   Cut a 2 1/2" X 1 1/2" rectangle from each one.  From the background fabric (mine is white), cut 2 WOF strips 1" wide and then cut these as follows:  10 pieces 1 1/2" long; 6 pieces 7 1/2" long and 2 pieces 8 1/2" long.  Lay out the coloured rectangles in the order in which they will lie in the block.  

3.   Sew the coloured rectangles into rows with the 1 1/2" white strips as separators.  

4.   Sew these rows together using 4 of the 7 1/2" strips as separators.  

5.   Sash the whole block by sewing the 2 remaining 7 1/2" strips down the sides then the 8 1/2" strips along the top and VOILA you have an 8" paint chips block.  

If you make this block, I would love it if you would add a picture of it to both the Desperate Housewives Flickr group as well as my Lily's Quilts Flickr group.  To find all the other block tutorials from this Desperate Housewives series, click on the button below.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Want to be a Quilter?

Tomorrow I am guest posting over at Madame Samm's blog Sew We Quilt as part of her Wantobe Quilter campaign - 3 months of posts encouraging wantobe quilters and giveaways galore.  Every post has its own giveaway and mine is no exception so, even if you don't want to listen to me droning on about how to make this fabulous Dead Simple Palette Pillow complete with zippered back, head on over there tomorrow to see what lovelies you can win.
Dead Simple Palette Pillow Tute
I'm not going to give the giveaway game away but let's just say that if you had kids or grandkids or nieces or nephews or friends with kids or grandkids or nieces or nephews and you wanted to win some super soft quilt backings, my post would be a good place to chance your arm.  In fact, if you haven't been following the Wantobe Quilter event, it's worth starting now for all the giveaways and sewing inspiration you'll find over there.  Just click your heels together three times, then click the button below to take you there.  

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sewing in the UK

I just thought I'd take a minute to mention to those of you Brit Quilters and sewers (is that the right word or is that the thing that takes poo away?) a website you may or may not have come across.  It's called the Sewing Directory. and is the place to find sewing supplies, sewing services, sewing courses, sewing groups, sewing related articles, sewing interviews and sewing competitions in the UK.

Want to find a sewing course in the UK?  This is the place to start looking.  Over 60 different course providers list courses on the site and offer thousands of sewing courses between them.  You can find local courses using the search box, choosing sewing courses and then your county.  Each month Fiona, who runs the site, features some of their upcoming courses on her workshops page which gets updated on the first of every month. She also regularly feature courses, special offers for class, last minute spaces etc on her Facebook & Twitter and the news section of the site. For instance one of her customers has a 2 for one offer in October.

And in other news, this month is National Sewing Month in the US and Overstock sent me a link to this wonderful sewing poster which I thought you might like to see.

And, as for the Hexalong and the Dead Simple Quilt, I got nothing (said in a New Joysey accent).   I'm waiting for 3 sisters Etchings yardage to appear in the Fat Quarter Shop so I can snap some up for the frame, backing and binding of my Hexalong quilt and I'm waiting for a delivery from Sew Fresh Fabrics of my Dead Simple quilt palette fabrics and, until then, there will mostly be radio silence over here at the Palace of Lily's Quilts.  Some may say that's a good thing.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Resistance is futile

Too busy to take on a very quick, easy and fun palette quilt?

Telling yourself you don't need another new project.  Well let me tell you, resistance is futile.

Take a look at this colour palette site my mate Corey Little Miss Shabby just wrote about in her Dead Simple QAL post.

Take a look at these pictures and tell me you don't want to make a quilt with one of those palettes.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Dead Simple Quilt Fabric Requirements

The starter post for this Dead Simple QAL is here and please feel free to join at any time.  I would love to see links to blogposts, palette and progress pics so please upload all of these to my Flickr group which you can find here.

Once your palette is picked out, you need to pull fabrics from your stash or go shopping to get together the fabrics needed for your quilt.  I have chosen my palette, matched the Kona solids to that palette and then placed an order for 25 FQs of fabrics from that palette from Sew Fresh Fabrics.  If you want to contact them to discuss them providing the same service for some or all of your fabric requirements for this QAL, they are happy to provide that service for this QAL.  I will be using a mix of solids and prints but you can of course choose all solids, all prints or a mix.

There are two sizes of quilt you could make following this QAL - 50" X 70" and 70" X 90".  And there are two sizes of "blocks" within the possible quilts - 5" charm squares or 9" squares obtaining by cutting a fat quarter into four squares (I will call these quarter fat quarters or QFQs).  You could also take the concept of the Dead Simple quilt, pick and a palette and go off and make any quilt at all and still sew along with us.

For a small charm square quilt, you will need 16 FQs cut into 192 charms to make a quilt 12 X 16 charms and 54" X 72".

For a small QFQ quilt you will need 12 FQs cut into 48 QFQs to make a quilt 6 X 8 QFQs and 51" X 68"

For a large charm quilt you will need 25 FQs cut into 300 charms to make a quilt 15 X 20 charms and 70" X 90"

For a large QFQ quilt you will need 22 FQs cut into 88 QFQs to make a quilt 8 X 11 QFQs and 68" X 93"

I have used my newly acquired EQ7 programme to produce these quilt mock-ups and, although I am only at an early stage in working out what this programme can do, producing these very simple quilt diagrams was dead simple and dead simple is a good thing for a computer numpty like me.  

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Download: Kona Solids Palette Layout Tutorial

To download Rebecca's Kona Solids Palette Layout Tutorial please visit here.  Thank you to Carol from Serendipity for the suggestion.

Kona Solids Palette Layout Tutorial

Hello everyone...  I am Rebecca from Making Rebecca Lynne and I am so very excited, and flattered, to be a guest on Lily's Quilts!  Just imagine me blushing as I say that...thank goodness this is all over the computer. Wink.

Flora Palette for Dead Simple QAL

I've been invited by Lynne to share a tutorial on creating a Kona Solids Palette Layout.  With some basic computer savvy you can quickly draft up your palette and use it to finalize which Kona Solids you are going to need for the Dead Simple QAL.  Creating a layout is a great way to finalize your palette choices or to determine the layout of your quilt.  Just heed my warning, this can quickly become an addiction!

Flora Palette Kona Colors

This will not require any fancy software and instead will utilize programs most of us use on our computers everyday - all it requires is a web browser, Word or Pages, and the patience to read my tutorial.  Ha!  I have tried writing this tutorial as a step by step guide keeping in mind that everyone has different computer skills.  I've included visuals wherever possible.  For those of you who know your way around a computer pretty well this should be straightforward.  Feel free to use the images to skip ahead to the parts where you may be fuzzy.

Step 1: Palette Ideas

An excellent place to start is with your idea, or ideas, for your palette.  I myself had multiple palettes I was choosing between which is what led me to go to the source before making my decision.  The source being the Robert Kaufman website, and more specifically, the Kona Solids page.  By looking for the colors of each palette I was able to narrow down my choice to the palette which the Kona Solids best suited.  If anyone interested in the Dead Simple Quilt QAL is hesitating due to palette deliberations feel free to visit my own palette conundrum here - I'm sure you will feel much better after seeing the palette mess I got myself into!

Should you be lucky enough to own one a Kona Solids Card (mine is on backorder...drat) is also a great place to start.  Once you have decided your palette using the card simply proceed to the Kona Solids page and hunt down your choices.

No palette ideas whatsoever?  No problem!  I guarantee that once you visit the Kona Solids page the natural fabric lust that all quilters share will kick in.  If that is too overwhelming you should refer to Lynne's post about generating some palette ideas utilizing some fun online tools.

Step 2: Gathering Your Virtual Swatches

Once at the Kona Cotton Solids page (be sure you are viewing 100% Cotton if that is what you are choosing to quilt with, refer to top left navigation box) find your colors.  Next, you are going to save the color swatch image for each color in your palette.  In my example I will use Melon (one of my new favs) which you can see on the multiple product page below:

Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 1.21.15 AM
Melon Swatch: 2nd Row, 2nd in from Left, as seen on multiple product Kona Solids Page
  • Place your cursor over the color swatch.
  • PC users Right Click and select Save Image.  I suggest naming them and saving to your Desktop so that they are easy to locate.
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 11.41.03 AM
  • Mac users Drag & Drop the Image onto your desktop or a blank document in Word or Pages
  • Continue this step for each color.   
TIP: Now, I know that those of you with an attention for detail have already observed that the small swatches on the multiple product page have rounded corners.  You may be wondering whether the white created by these rounded corners will skew your palette?  No worries - I have a solution.  If you are committed to your palette then by all means take the extra step by clicking into the individual product page for each color in your palette.  Once on the individual color page save the square color swatch using the same steps above.  See my Melon example below:

Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 1.21.41 AM

Step 3: Adding the Swatches to a Document

After all of your color swatches are saved you may leave the Robert Kaufman site and proceed to a blank Word or Pages document.  This is where you are going to add your swatches and create your layout.

  • Word: Go to Insert, Picture, From File, and choose the swatch from your desktop
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 1.39.58 AM
  • Pages: Drag & Drop or Cut & Paste your images into the blank document from your desktop
  • Repeat this step with each color until all of your swatches are on the document.

Step 4: Formatting

Formatting sounds like a big scary word but it doesn't mean anything fancier than telling the software to let you play with the images you've added!  So quick and easy here we go...

Your images are probably large on the page right now and all stuck we will need to shrink them down a bit to get them all to play together well!  

Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 1.43.50 AM
Stuck Together on Page
  • Word: 

    • While holding down the Shift key click on each of your swatches so that they are highlighted.  Should look like this:
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 1.58.23 AM
    • Next go under Format > Object > Layout and choose Tight (default is usually In Line with Text which won't allow you to move the swatches easily on the page)
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 1.51.19 AM
    • Resize every swatch by placing your cursor on the corner of the swatch and dragging it towards its center to make it smaller.  Choose a manageable size to allow you to have multiple swatches for your layout.  [I chose 1"]
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 11.11.03 AM
  • Pages:
    • While holding Command key (the one right next to keyboard) click on each of your swatches until they are all highlighted.  Or Select All using Command+A.  It should look like this:
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 2.00.41 AM
    • Using Inspector go under Wrap > Select In Background, Background Objects Selectable and be sure to deselect Object Causes Wrap (should look like image below)
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 1.56.05 AM
    • Resize every swatch by placing your cursor on the corner of the swatch and dragging it towards its center to make it smaller.  Choose a manageable size to allow you to have multiple swatches for your layout.  [I chose 1"]
Screen Shot 2011-09-06 at 11.11.03 AM
Step 5: Layout

Whew, got through formatting.  Finally the fun part!  Now that you have your swatches on the page all formatted nicely you can start making decisions about layout.  To create additional swatches to use as blocks in your layout simply Copy & Paste the swatch you'd like to replicate and voila, you have more to work with.  If your swatches need to be reformatted then return to Step 4 and follow instructions for each swatch.  
  • Word: When you Copy & Paste a formatted swatch the copy remains formatted
  • Pages: Unfortunately, when a swatch is Copied & Pasted in Pages the formatting reverts to the default formatting for the copy.  But - in Pages you may Select All (Keyboard Shortcut = Command+A) and reformat all of the swatches at the same time.
TIP: When creating my layout I copied & pasted each swatch multiple times and formatted them all at the same time.  This gave me the freedom to choose from my pile of swatches rather than pausing to copy & paste and format.  I preferred seeing the colors laid out at the same time, just as you would if the fabric were cut and laid out before you.  Wherever my eye went was usually the color I added to my composition next!  See example below:

Step 6: Sharing on Flickr

This is the most important part!  Now comes the time to brag about your amazing palette by posting it on Lily's Quilts Flickr Account to share with the rest of us!  If you have a PDF creator, such as Preview on Mac, you can open on Preview and convert the document to a jpg, png, or tiff.  Otherwise, as a shortcut, simply take a screenshot of your palette and create a jpg immediately!
  • PC: Alt+PrtScrn
    • I'm embarrassed to admit I've never done a screenshot on my PC!  But, thank goodness for Google.  I found instructions you can easily follow for various versions of Microsoft here.
  • Mac: Command+Shift+4 
    • Hold down these keys and watch your cursor convert to a little bullseye with a cross inside circle thingy (very technical description I know)...simply drag it across your image and you will see box form...once you let go of the keys a screenshot will be added to your desktop.  Easy!
After creating your screenshot simply add to Flickr as normal!  Consider this one more reminder to add it to Lily's Quilts so we can all see...  I for one cannot wait to see your palettes and layouts!  Now that you have the knowledge to create a computerized layout you may find yourself running to your computer for every quilt layout!  After all, you can always substitute the Kona Solid swatches for the virtual swatches of any fabric out there...hee hee... I know I do... 

Again, thank you to Lynne for letting me share this geeky computer stuff!  Should you have any questions, about the Tutorial or about other computery thingamajigs, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me directly.  If you'd like to learn more about me, my modern quilting, or my computer tomfoolery I love a good visit!  But, most importantly I hope you will have fun creating your layouts!

Please visit here to Download the Kona Solids Palette Layout Tutorial.