Sunday, September 29, 2013

Preliminary Layout Sugar Block Club 2013 Quilt

The Sugar Block Club blocks are finished and I am ready to start putting them into a layout for a quilt top.  I have a small design wall in my sewing room, so this will not be the final layout by any stretch.  It does give me an initial feel for what will be going on here.  I am too heavy with the grays in the lower right corner so I will move that block and swap it out with the one in the upper left corner.  Then I think I will be happy.  I have some connecting blocks that will go in to this as well.  The blocks will not overlap when the top is finished, the entire set will be expanded outward and filled in inbetween with additional design work.  I want to leave a lot of white space to be quilted at a later date.  I have two white on white fabrics to use in completing this top, one is white with white dragonflies, the other is a white on white pin stripe.  

I bought two books used this past week, I was hoping they would come for my class but they did not arrive in time.  They are both on setting your quilt blocks and are good examples of breaking out of the "square" mold.  

The first one is Smashing Sets by Margaret J. Miller which I purchased on

The second one is Sensational Settings by Joan Hanson also purchased on

I like to purchase books used on, you can often pick up older titles for very little, just a couple dollars.  Nice to add to your library.  I also enjoy their downloads to my android through Kindle.

You can see that my setting resembles the cover photo of the Sensational Settings book, but it will be expanded and contain more elements like some that are in the Smashing Sets book.  Fun!

My husband John, now with his new glasses! and I went on a weekend tour, looking at longarms!  Wheee!  So much fun, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am able to get the one I would really love to have.  So, I didn't get a lot of sewing done.   It was great fun though, we stopped in Squaw Valley and picked up my son Andrew and both he and John stitched on the longarm!  Yes they did!  And loved it!!!  More to be revealed!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Burning Man 2013 Video - After The Blaze

Burning Man 2013 is over but never fear my can relive all the wonder by watching Jason and Jennifer Phipps incredible time lapse video!  It will whisk you right back; ah the playa dust blowing through your dread locks, the searing heat, the spectacle of lights, the frenzied hive like activity!

Jason and Jennifer hike way up to the top of a near by mountain, set up their cameras and you are witness to the amazing results of their efforts!  Enjoy!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Perfect Paper Piecing - The Setting

We will be meeting this Friday, September 20, 2013 as usual at 9am.  At this meeting you can finish up any blocks you wish or work on what ever you want!

We will be discussing possible settings for your blocks.  Last year we finished our quilts with sashing on the square.  I will have some other setting ideas for you to explore.  Doesn't mean you have to do it this way, you do what pleases you!  Maybe you are making a table runner and place mats with your blocks...maybe you are making a quilt...what ever you decide to do with them is fine!

Table runner above from:

Your setting is how your blocks are joined together to make your quilt.

Here are some examples of quilts from Connecting Threads website:

This shows how a quilt might look with alternating a solid block with your pieced blocks.  It gives space for the eye to rest and has a light feel about it.

This one, the blocks are touching each other, it's a more dense feeling but still very attractive and you can see a small secondary pattern formed by using the same block over and over.

This quilt has sashing, again giving the eye some rest and and interesting border which draws your eye around the quilt.  Maybe you want a sashing with corner stones?

Alternating a simple block can change up the look completely.  This example is from

Here is another example of a simple block alternated with your pieced blocks to give a very crisp look.  This is from

What happens if you turn your blocks on point and alternate with a simple block?  This

Here is a wonkie setting.

Here is another dynamic option from

Here is another link that can give you some ideas:

You can see that there is a wide variety of possibilities and we haven't even touched the surface. These are pretty tame possibilities, very conservative.   Examples to expand your mind a little.  Go online and google quilt block settings.  See what possibilites you come up with.  Dare to be different!  See you all Friday!  

The Fall Harvest Festival will be on Saturday, October 26th, starting at 4pm.  There will be games for the children, dinner at 5pm and "Trunk or Treat" starting at 6pm.  We will again be exhibiting our quilting, if you have something that you would like to show please contact me and we will display it.  Last years contributions were well received and I would love to have several items to show for this year as well.  

Our final meeting for this year will be on Friday, October 18th at 9am.  We will again have a pot luck brunch.  We can spend the morning sewing and I have some special little gifts for each of you!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our Final Block of This Year's Perfect Paper Piecing Group

This is a little late getting up, but here we go!  Woven Star, our final block this year.

my student Sandy's block

The Woven Star.  The beautiful block pictured above, featuring Kaffe Fassett fabrics, was created by one of my students, Sandy Simester.

Now there are some tips to make this block easy.  Get yourself a box of color crayons or colored pencils.  You want to be able to identify where your fabrics will be placed in your block.  Trust me, this is an important step with this block.  It looks easy, particularly after some of the other blocks that we have made, but there is no room for messing up on this one.

You will need to print out 4 copies of the blocks.  Now the blocks are too large to print on one sheet, so you will need to match them up, tape them and then use them to paper piece as we normally do.

If you have access to legal paper and a printer, tape one copy together and print them out as needed on your copy machine.
If not, you will be making 4 copies of each piece and taping them together to form 4 triangle components that will form your block.

As we have done before, please trim the excess paper, leaving about a 1/2 inch extra all the way around.  Remove your thread from your machine, including the bobbin thread.  Stitch all your lines to pre-perforate your paper pattern, making it easier to see where your fabric will go, easier to fold and eventually easier to remove.

Lay your pieces out as shown above, this is how they will form your block once they are trimmed down.  Select your fabrics, match up a color crayon and mark each of the areas of your block with the corresponding color.  Looking at the block above, you see the pink color in the small #1 triangle, looking to the right, moving counter clockwise, you can see that pink again on the next component block in the triangle #4...I want that area of both of those blocks to be the same color.  Study the block at the beginning of this blog and you can see how the colors move around the block.  If you do not mark your pattern pieces and carefully assemble them, you will not be happy with your results.  Take your time.  Check and double check that you have your pieces in the right place.  As you can see, it's not a difficult block to sew at all, it's only complicated by the placement of the colors.  Here is another example below.  Think about your colors, your textures, what you want to express in your block.  You might select your background fabric and then weave 4 other folded fabrics together and lay them on top to audition them.

Woven Star Block

Before you stitch your 4 component blocks together, Trim the excess fabric and lay them out on your mat to make sure that you have everything where you want it.  Stitch 2 of the component block together, and do the same for the other two, press your seams in opposite directions and then nestle your center seams as we have done in class before.  Stitch the 2 halves together and press your seam open to reduce the bulk.

Here is what this block might look like replicated in a quilt top.  I have put a link at the top of this blog to the patterns and there is one at the side as well.  Have fun and be sure to share what you make!  Remember, the block will finish up at 12.5"

Sandy's block in mosaic

my block in mosaic

Monday, September 2, 2013

UPDATE: Kaffe Fassett, Philip Jacobs And A Storm At Sea!

Top Finished, ready for quilting

Philip Jacobs Lavinia on the cutting board

I woke up yesterday and pulled out my stash of Kaffe Fassett, Philip Jacobs and some random batiks and knew exactly what I wanted to make!  Last year a friend recommended that I purchase the Fast2Cut Template by Wendy Mathson.  So I did.  I have been sitting on it mentally hatching a quilt and finally decided to do something about it this weekend!  

I decided to get Wendy's book which was also recommended.  I have read it cover to cover several times.  You can get a copy at your local quilt store or online at  I can recommend it to you!

I decided to make the quilt that she is showing on the cover...but I want different colors than what she had here goes!

Cutting out the bits and labeling them.

Sewing the first sub component.  The ruler does all the work for you, it's so easy!  I had to pay attention the first couple times and then it's like magic!

The first two rounds are up on the design wall.

Adding the third round

Half way though the fourth round I realized that I was short on the light green Philip Jacob Lavinia that I was using...EEEK!   Why didn't I buy the whole bolt when I had the chance???   Honey!  We have to go down the hill, I have to go to the fabric store...I'll buy you lunch!  Down the hill we go...lunch eaten...fabric store closed?  REALLY???  Okay, calm down.  Honey?!  We have to drive to Rocklin to Beverly's to see if they have any.  Down the hill still further we go.  The traffic is horrendous!  They don't have it!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Back home, dejected, sorting through the piles of fabric on my table...wait, what is this?  Is it?  It is!!!  One single strip left, just wide enough, if I am careful, to get out the bits I need!!!!!  Oh Happy Day!!!  Oh Happy Day!!!
Thanks Honey for being so patient and sweet.

Adding the fourth round, there are two more to go before I am ready to stitch all the sub blocks together.  Looks very different from the book cover doesn't it?

I am loving me some jewel tone fabrics right now...back to the sewing table...You will have to check back to see how this finishes up!

On the home front, it has been raining all day!  Thankfully!  We have the windows open and fresh air is streaming in. I'm sure this is helping with the fire up the road and the one in Yosemite.  Grateful for the relief from the smoke!

Andrew has returned from Burning Man 2013, I have not spoken with him, but I think he had a good time.  Here is his finished costume complete with lighting!  (All they are missing are some trick or treat bags...LOL)

Along with all the costume fun...I decided to start a mug rug swap on here is a little quick pic of my finished mug rug for my swap partner.  She loved it!

All Finished and going out in the mail today!

If you would like to join us in our next swap...come on over to and join in the fun!