Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hive 9 - August Block Tutorial

What is your name? Where do you live?
Hi everyone! My name is Shelby and I live in beautiful Midcoast Maine :)
Literally, just look at the coastline of Maine and find the middle-ish spot. That's me!

Also, a special note --- I work for a wonderful fabric store that stocks modern quilting cottons as well as other lovely textile treats! I run the website but also get to work in the store and I just LOVE my job! The website is  I have to say you should really ALL check it out :D because its the best!

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
I live with my long-term (8 years next month! are we 'partners' at this point?) boyfriend and we are neighbors with my parents! We are both graduates of Maine Maritime Academy and love to be outdoors. To get through the long winters here I love to have multiple projects going! The only pets I manage to (barely) keep alive are a few house plants and some basil. 

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
My mum was a seamstress when I was growing up and -in her words- I could sew before I could write. I love to sew anything, I really love making clothing and other more instant gratification projects but I really want to learn how to run a long arm quilting machine so that I can make an entire quilt from start to finish!

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)
By color-ish. I have a set of shelves I try to keep everything neat on. Gallon bags and bins for scraps by size (very generally strips vs. pieces smaller than an FQ).
I am constantly trying to battle my fabric addiction because I am surrounded by so many beautiful things all day every day at my work.. it makes it very, very, VERY hard for me to see fabric go out the door knowing I'll never get a piece!

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
GAH there is just too much good stuff out there! Trust me I see A LOT of it. Like, I have to see everything the shop DIDN'T order, and then I have to seriously consider going online and buying it elsewhere. 
Carolyn Friedlander for sure, Joel Dewberry, Lotta Jansdotter, Parson Gray (or David Butler if you will), anything from Liberty of London. I love simple, modern and clean but I also love quirky fabrics and anything with a nature-y or sea-life print.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
How to properly pin and attach borders. Agh, pinning! Can't we just sew sew sew and get it done fast?! ;)

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
The ability to know when to rip out a seam or re-do something and when to know that -truly- you won't see it from the road! It is so easy to get caught up in making each seam and point perfect when at the end of the day even you really won't remember what it was that was so wrong! The point is to have fun and improve your sewing, not to be perfect each and every time!

AND good quality pins that you can iron over. Don't I hate a pin that isn't sharp or has plastic on it!

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
Harriet the Spy. Who can't love a gal that likes tomato sandwiches?

For my block I would love to have a scrappy scrappy wonky log cabin. This block is for sure a stash buster! I love to make a block here and there when I'm working on a project, and save them towards a quilt or if one is super beautiful just make it into a little potholder or something :)
For those of you who have never done improvisational quilting… prepare for an exercise in letting go! While I do want straight seams (no curves, please!) I do not want each log to be totally even… you'll see what I mean!

Inspiration from the shop: 
Here is a link to a pretty great tutorial in case you need another approach compared to what I have shown here:

Colors: Please use any and all hues of blues, greens, and neutrals (low volume to dark grays rather than tans but off-whites are fine too!). My sample block ended up being basically all blue but you do not need to follow that. Think cool, ocean colors!

Also, no solids please. I don't mind at all if you mix up the material types (shirtings, voile or lawn, flannel, lineny blends, etc) as long as they are high-quality and preshrunk if necessary. Heck, I don't even mind if you throw in a selvedge as long as it is pretty or says something funny! (NO boring old selvedge dots though please).

First: sort your scraps!
Second: iron those scraps!

Okay, let's start. Grab a piece of anything. I'm going to use these cute little clammys. Its fun to fussy cut something for the center but its not necessary! Any size is fine, a square or a rectangle works.

Find a a second piece of fabric that is the same size or larger and sew together with your first piece. Please use a 1/4" seam allowance!!

Finger press (hooray! no jumping up and down to iron!) and trim the ends up. 

Turn your center to the left or the right (it doesn't matter to me which direction you build your log cabin in, just remember which way you are going and keep that direction for the entire block) and continue adding scraps and strips, round and round, finger pressing and trimming, until the block is large enough.

I like to just keep pressing my seams outwards, away from the center.

Sometimes, you don't have a strip that is long enough, or your block is looking a little boring. Feel free to sew a few strips together and trim to use as an extra scrappy log! 

Once your block is ready, give it a nice final press with a hot iron. Then square up!
I am requesting a finished block size of 16". There are options here, people! 
-Feel free to make one giant 16" block or make several smaller blocks to make up the 16 inches. 
-For my example I made (4) 8-1/2" blocks and sewed them together to make a 16" finished size. 
-Another thought is to make 9 small blocks (they would each be around 5-7/8") and make those into a 16" square. If it doesn't matter to you, my preference is (4) 8-1/2" blocks made into a large one but really… Let your imagination run free!
You do not need to trim down, I am happy to do it once I receive all the blocks! But if that's your jam, then do what makes you happy!

PLEASE let me know if you have any questions or need clarification, I am much more used to communicating in person rather than over writing!

I'm super excited to see everyone's scraps and to get the variety I would never get if I just used my own scraps for a quilt! Thanks!! 
XO, Shelby

(excited about quilting!)

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