Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tutorial - Sashing Your Blocks and Assembling Your Quilt Top

In this tutorial, we will learn how to sash our blocks for this quilt.

I love me some Kona Cotton!!!  We will use 2 1/2 inch strips for our sashing...why?  because you can buy them precut in a jelly roll if you like and save time, or you can buy by the yard and cut your own.  It's a standard size and easy to work with.  If you want more space between your blocks...use a wider sashing strip.

For this quilt top, I have used 15 strips.

Take a strip and sew it using a 1/4 inch seam to one of the shadow sides of your block. can cut strips to fit your block, or you can feed them one after another onto your strip as you sew and cut them apart after, which is what I like to do.  Don't butt them right up against each other, leave about 1/2 inch between blocks. You will be able to get three blocks to a strip.  

When you have stitched one side on all your blocks, press them open with the seam toward your shadow. Trim any excess fabric even with your blocks. Stack them all the same way, next to your machine and do the same for the remaining side of your shadowed block, as shown below.  Your block should look like it has 2 "L" shapes on one side of it.

Again, press toward the shadow.

Now, lay out your blocks in a way that is pleasing to you, stand back and take a may want to switch some.  Make sure that your shadow is falling the same way for all of your blocks!

If you have a camera, take a picture of your layout.  Sometimes, things will pop out at you in a photo that you don't see with your natural eyes.  This is the time to change it up, before you start sewing.  If you are happy with the layout, proceed.

Now we will sew our blocks into rows as shown below.

Be careful as you are transferring your blocks to your machine to sew that you are not rotating them, keep all your shadows in the same direction.  Now we will stitch our rows together and our quilt top will almost be finished!  Oooooh!  You can see the illusion of the blocks floating above the background!  Isn't that fun?!

We need to stitch two lengths of background fabric to the two remaining sides.  To do this, you will need to piece two strips together for each side as they will not be long enough on their own.

Again, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch your strips to your sides and you are ready to start thinking about borders!

At this point, your quilt top will measure 56" x 56".  You can add borders to fill it out to the size you would like.  My suggestion is that you audition possible borders, think about the fact that the drop shadow design in this quilt is really the focus.

Next in this quilt tutorial will be the borders.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Creating a Drop Shadow - Tutorial

We will be continuing with the blocks we created the other day.  Directions for how to create a Stack and Whack Block can be found here:

Starting with the blocks, we will square them up to 11 inches.  To do that, I place my square up ruler on my block, lining up the 5 1/2" line with the center seam going both ways, trim around those two sides and turning your block around 180 degrees, do the same for the remaining two sides.  Do this for all of your blocks.

Now we will create the strip set for our drop shadow.  For this block I have selected a black shadow and white background fabrics. You can use a multitude of colors for the shadow, yours may be dark gray or light gray, navy blue...actually any color.  Your background fabric will need to match the fabric that you will be sashing your block with in order to create the illusion.


2- Strips       11" x width of fabric   Shadow fabric
2- Strips         2" x width of fabric   Background fabric

You should have two strips like the ones in the photo above.  My strips are folded in half as you would cut them.  If you are uncomfortable working with a long strip set, you can cut the fabric strips in half on the fold and work with shorter strips.  

Next we will seam these together using a 1/4" seam as shown below.

You are now ready to start cutting your drop shadow strip set.  Lay your ruler along one edge, making sure that you have lined it up straight before you cut.  You will be cutting strips measuring 1 1/2" wide by the width of this strip set as shown below.  One of the ways you can make sure you are cutting this straight...Line up one of the lines of your ruler along the seam line between light and dark fabric.  

You will need to cut 2 strips for each block in your quilt.  My quilt will have 16 blocks.  I will need to cut 32 strips for this quilt.  

Carefully lining up the background fabric with the edge of your bock, stitch one strip to the side of your block, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, as shown above.  ALWAYS start from your background fabric with your stitching, not from the shadow end. Press your block. Trim away any excess even with your block.

Take your second strip and sew it to the bottom of your block as shown above, again STARTING from the background fabric and stitching toward the shadow fabric.  Press your block and trim off any excess at the end.

The next in this tutorial series will be sashing the blocks.  You have finished creating the shadow illusion.  You can set them out as I have on my background fabric to audition your blocks for your final layout.  

That was fun!  Look at the great effect we are getting with that drop shadow!  If you don't want to make the Stack blocks, you can substitute a feature fabric.  Let your mind go, there are lots of possibilities with this technique!  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

FB Page Give Away!

To celebrate the launch of my Facebook page, Sister Of The Divide, I will be giving away 5 fat quarters of Kaffe Fassett Fabric to one lucky winner whose name will be drawn at random.  To be entered into the drawing, you much like the facebook page, leave a comment under the posting and share.  For an additional entry, leave a comment on this blog. Drawing will be May 31st.  There is nothing to purchase to enter.  Good Luck!

Stacking Fun!

Last class I did a demo of the Stack and Whack method and promised I would put it up here for you to see.

For clear cut directions on how to select and stack your fabric here is a link to the directions by Quilter/Author Bethany Reynolds:

This was my starter fabric, a bold print by Free Spirit Westminster Fibers called Stylized Tropical Garden.  I bought it about 3 years ago and knew the minute I saw it that I wanted to do a Stack with it.  It has been sitting in my stash waiting for this moment.  And since this is my year to work from  my stash...well, here we go!

Following Bethany's instructions for stacking the fabric, I stacked 4 repeats one on top of the other.  I then decided to cut 6" strips across the width of the fabric.  Why 6"?  My ruler is 6 inches wide, it's easy and I'm  I then subcut them again into 6 inch squares as shown below.

This creates "sets".  A stack of four pieces that are exactly the same.  I can have lots of fun with these!  First try putting the stack together different ways, rotating the pieces.  You can get some interesting blocks from this. 

From my "set" above, I can arrange them to create the following four options just by rotating them.

Isn't that cool?!  Yes!!!  And each "set" will create something entirely different.  These blocks finished at 11 1/4 inches.  They may vary depending on your 1/4 inch seam.  The nice thing is they are incredibly easy to square up to the same size when you are all finished!


Okay, lets have some more fun!  Let's take that 6" set and cut it diagonally both directions as shown below.

Now we have created 4 more "sets".  (to keep your sets together, place a pin through all four layers until you are ready to use it)

Let's take one of these "sets" and put it together in a block as shown below:

There is only one way that these blocks will come together, there is no optional rotating with these, but the results are great also!  Here are the four blocks that were created from this cut.

Such variety from one little square set of fabric!  Your mind is racing right?!  

Infinite possibilities depending on where you cut.


Okay, what to do with may find that you have some odd bits left from your strip, they didn't quite measure 6 inches square...You can go ahead and cut them into 3 inch pieces or 2  1/2 inch pieces or even 2 inch pieces.  Subcut them again to make squares or in the case of the 2 inch can lay them side by side for another unusual effect.  

These don't look like much do they...but see below...


So I hope you will try this technique, there are a myriad of possibilities.  Just look at the blocks I got from my six inch strip of fabric below... And these aren't all of them!


If you like this technique and want to learn more, you can get some great books by Bethany Reynolds:

 Here is a link to another post in my blog that also discuss this technique:

Have fun and show me your photos!!!