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Friday, February 28, 2014

Design It! Red and White Challenge Entry

I'm back with an entry for a different challenge today. Sew Cal Gal has issued a Red and White Quilt Challenge to inspire her followers to design and/or make a red and white quilt and show it in her virtual show. As usual for Sew Cal Gal challenges, there are some great prizes that will be awarded. In this phase you even have a chance to win fabric for your design and maybe even work with Island Batik to have your pattern offered as a free pattern on their website! Check it out by clicking the graphic below!

The challenge is issued in 4 phases. This entry is for phase 2, the design phase. (I don't own a red and white quilt, so I wasn't able to enter phase 1, which was to show red and white quilts made before 2014.)

This challenge started with a blog hop with tutorials on how to use EQ7 to do some quilt design. I have EQ7, but hadn't used it much except for recoloring or rearranging blocks (think electronic design wall), and hadn't really drawn blocks from scratch. I followed the tutorials and got hooked! I've designed so many quilts in the last couple of weeks, it's crazy! The program is just so much fun to play with! I drew all these blocks from scratch for practice, even though the traditional blocks are probably in the program. It was more fun that way.

I'm choosing my favorite four designs to share here. The program was so much fun, I actually saved 31 different blocks and 22 quilts in my sketchbook for this project!  I started my design exploration by playing with straight line components that give the illusion of a curve when put together. My first two designs are fairly traditional. I'm printing the name I gave the quilt pattern, the finished size, and the yardage requirements which EQ7 provides me as requested by Sew Cal Gal.

***Note on yardage requirements: because I was learning and didn't know how this would show up, I have several different red and white fabrics in each quilt. It is very difficult to differentiate them in the blog, so I would have to go back to the EQ7 file to make sure which is which, or if I wanted just one white fabric and one red fabric, I could total the various yardages and buy that.

Quilt #1
Starry Scarlet Netting

This is a combination of a star block and a snowball block. I love the illusion of a curve here with the red stars and the large white diamond shapes provide plenty of open space for some fancy quilting.

Quilt #2
Crimson Constellation

In this quilt, I replaced the snowball block with a monkey wrench block with a divided center. Again, this has a nice suggestion of curves, though it's made up of straight line piecing. In my mind, I see 4 pointed white stars with red centers in a white circle connected by the red 8 pointed stars with white centers. Not so much room for quilting, but nice, I think.

The next two entries are a bit less traditional. I found some of the blocks by applying some of the "Serendipity" functions to my blocks, then adding or removing some seam lines and rotating blocks as needed. All really easy to do in EQ7, even for a beginner at the program like me. The results were sometimes very complicated. These were two of my favorites of these type of quilts.

Quilt #3
Scarlet Starburst

I love this quilt, and I think it would be fun to paper piece.. It looks like an explosion of stars! It seems much too complicated to rotary cut or use templates and piece conventionally. Luckily, EQ7 allows for paper piecing and I can print the necessary foundations directly from the program! I'm printing the yardage requirements the program gave me, but I would probably buy more fabric than this - just to be sure I have enough to cover the different pieces. Paper piecing does seem to use more fabric - all that trimming.  Again, I like that there are some nice open areas for fancy FMQ here.

Quilt #4
Crimson Crosses

This pattern has the look of a royal insignia or jewel to me. There are nice open areas for FMQ and a strong graphic statement that I see as crosses, but others might see as flowers.

This was a really fun and exciting challenge, and I don't really feel like I'm finished, but the more I play, the harder it gets to choose favorites... so the longer the post becomes. I decided to post and link up now, but the challenge doesn't end until March 23rd, so why not give this one a try? At least check out the other entries.They are great! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February Entry - Handmade Christmas Challenge

Today, the last day possible, of course, I'm posting my entry for Sew Cal Gal's  "A Handmade Christmas Challenge".

 Each month Sew Cal Gal encourages her followers to post things we have made either for our own homes for Christmas, or to use as Christmas gifts. We link them up and get a chance to win a prize via a random drawing. I didn't enter for the prizes, but because I really like the idea of making some nice things for Christmas, either as decorations or for giving. I usually don't think of doing something like this until Thanksgiving, and then it's too late and I'm too busy. This is a chance to to get ahead of the game.

For February, I'm taking to heart my one of my new daughter-in-law's causes. She hates to see all the pretty wrappings we use for gifts piled up and thrown out. All that paper wasted! So she asked me to make some reusable cloth gift bags. I went through my stash and found some nice Christmas fabrics and decided to start on the project.

This month, I thought I'd make a simple drawstring type bag about large enough for a shirt box. It took me longer than I thought (I had to make up the pattern as I went along), but after about 2 and a half hours, here's the result.

It's not easy to see in the picture, but I used box corners, a contrasting casing for the drawstring, and some grosgrain ribbon for the tie. It turned out nice enough that I've cut two more bags and casings out from other farics - I'm thinking of running to the fabric store to look for other ribbon, or perhaps some fancy drapery cord and tassels. Actually, these bags would be great in home dec fabrics as well. (I just used quilting cotton.)

I will try to take pictures as I make my next bag so that I can try my hand at writing a tutorial. No time today, though; I need to get this cleaned up so that I can get dinner on the table.

Please check out the Sew Cal Gal Handmade Christmas Challenge and see what everyone is making. There are a number of inspiring projects. Maybe you can get a head start on your homemade Christmas as well!