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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Make It! Red and White Challenge

I'm back with a different challenge entry today. Sew Cal Gal 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.  Check it out by clicking the graphic below!
The challenge is issued in 4 phases. This entry is for phase 3, 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.) I had entered the design phase with several designs which I did in EQ7, which was lots of fun! But I actually came up with another design when I took a workshop on Drunkard's Path variations from Pepper Cory, which was offered through my guild. It was a great workshop! Pepper is a terrific teacher, and I actually came up with my own block design which I've been exploring since. I call the block "Capture the Stars" because it looks to me like a bead with stars embedded in it. This is one of the many variations I've been playing with.

Set of four "Capture the Stars" blocks.

This one reminded me of Christmas ornaments, so I decided to make my red and white challenge quilt using this block. I think it will make a nice Christmas throw or wall hanging, don't you?

Curved piecing is not my strong suit, which is one of the reason's I was taking Pepper Cory's workshop in the first place. She did help me with my pinning (I need to pin, and with thin, small pins) and slowing down when sewing those curves. Also, I learned to use a stiletto (or my seam ripper) to pin down the fabrics at the end of the seam so that the fabric doesn't just slide out of alignment. As you can see, I've been practicing, and the curves are getting better.

Here are the fabrics (all from my stash) that I pulled to work with and I cut the blocks using Pepper's templates, which made the pieces fit together much more easily. They come in 6" or 8" sizes, and I used the 6" for this quilt. I was able to rotary cut them with these templates and a 45mm cutter, though the inside curve was easier when I used my 28mm cutter. Pepper also recommends a revolving cutting board, but I didn't have one, so I just turned my mat as needed.

Once the pieces were cut and sewn, I set them on point, added some raw edge applique "ribbons" and "bows" and then added a border. Here's the quilt put together and sandwiched for quilting:
I've got most of the seams stitched in the ditch right now, and am working on the rest of the quilting. 

This part of the challenge is for making the quilt. To see the finished quilt in all its quilted glory, you'll have to come back later in October for Sew Cal Gal's Virtual Quilt Show. I'll be entering the category for original design. Hope to see you then!  :^)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Handmade Christmas Challenge - September

This month, I have been working on improving my curved piecing. It has been a challenge for me - I usually avoid curves - but in poking around for tips, I ran across a tutorial for making beaded stilettos (a helpful thing to have when piecing curves.) They are my September entry for Sew Cal Gal's  "A Handmade Christmas Challenge".
I took a pledge in January on Sew Cal Gal's web site to make handmade gifts and decorations for Christmas. Those of us who took the pledge post them then link them up and get a chance to win a prize via a random drawing at the end of the year. 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. So I decided to take the challenge! (The prizes are really pretty cool, though, so you might want to take the pledge as well. Never to late to get started on those Christmas gifts!)

Mary's Stilettos

I first saw these stilettos and a link to the tutorial on The Quilt Show. (I do love this website and the videos and tutorials. Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson have great guests and learning the new techniques are so much fun! In any case, the tutorial is by a quilter by the name of Mary Tosch, but the actual tutorial is posted on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville website. The link is here.

This is a really easy thing to make; useful as well as beautiful, so I just had to make some for my sewing friends. Basically, you glue the beads to a turkey lacer that is slightly modified. The tutorial directions are clear and easy to follow. I didn't have the glue she specified, but I did have glue for jewelry making (another hobby I enjoy) that would hold glass to metal. It's called Dazzle Tac..

The only other change I had to make was because I didn't have any clothes pins, at least that I could find. So instead I cut some slits in the bottom of an egg carton just big enough to hold the loops to keep the stilettos upright while the glue cured. I left them alone for 48 hours for maximum strength.

These are the final results. Pretty cool, don't you think? I hope my friends think so, too.

Don't forget to check out the other Challenge entries. There's always something inspiring at SewCalGal.