Friday, October 31, 2014

Hive 10 - November Block Tutorial

Hi everyone!  I have been looking forward to this since January, I can't wait to see how all of the blocks come together :)

What is your name?
My name is Lissa, short for Melissa.  My mom was really close to naming me Lisle (Sound of Music), but resisted the temptation.  Not that I would have minded :)  And she was adament that I was not a Mel or a Missy so she decided my nickname would be Lissa and it stuck!  You can find my sporadically updated blog at and I am also on Instagram as violinchick22.

Where do you live?
I currently live in Milwaukee, WI.  I am finishing my Masters degree in Music Performance on violin.  It was definitely not my first choice to come out here...I am still suffering from SMWS (severe mountain withdrawl symptoms).  I am a Colorado native and grew up in Golden and did not own enough warm sweaters, coats, socks, or snow boots to survive last winter (whats up with those polar vortexes?!?!).  I now have a heathy collection of all of these things :)
Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
Most of my family is back in CO, including my parents, brother, half of my grandparents and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins.  I miss them all, but I especially miss my dog.  He's adorable and really likes to walk all over the quilt blocks I put on the floor when laying out designs and is super spoiled in that his bean bag is covered in a handmade blanket :) Someday (when I am not moving every 9 months to a year) I will get my very own puppy, technically my dog is my mom's, but in the meantime I am seriously considering getting a fish.
Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
My mom is a quilter.  She started a beautiful quilt for me when I was a baby that was finished around my 9th birthday.  I love it and for 9 years it lived on my bed.  She then made a double irish chain quilt, also for my bed, and when I went off to college I got a brand new quilt for my dorm room.  At this point, I was not interested in quilting.  I crafted with her (scrapbooks, beading, jewelry, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch), but no real sewing.  The summer before my junior year of college, I was looking at bedding for the furnished apartment I was renting in the fall and absolutely could not bring myself to buy a comforter after having a quilt on my bed for so long.  Being the fabulous mother she is, she offered to help me make one and turned me loose on her collection of books/patterns and fabric stash :) The rest is history.  That first quilt, started 6 years ago, was finally finished this summer!  I did complete several quilts before it and have loved doing this with my mom :)
How do you organize your fabric stash?
Let me start by mentioning that my fabric is currently living in three different places...I have the bulk of it with me in WI, but I still have some of it at my parents house (you know, so I have things to play with when I'm home visiting!) and some more is in storage in my grandma's basement along with most of my books, kitchen things and furniture that didn't fit in my car when I moved to WI.  Here I have my fabric sorted in boxes by color, project, or season.  My penchant for rainbow quilts has led to a love of saturated colors.
This was the first bed sized quilt I made all by myself!  I love that it's bright colors help keep the cold, gray winter days at bay :)
Christmas/Winter, blues and purples, greens and browns

Neutrals (including white, gray, black and cream), Warm colors (red, orange, yellow, and pink), bundles and coordinating fabric, multi-colored

Candy Corner quilt, scraps, projects in progress
These bins live in the linen closet, on my bookcase, or underneath my sewing table.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
I don't have a good answer to this...I like bits from lots of designers, but I rarely like entire lines.  I tend to lean towards blenders and tone on tone prints rather than all over designs or prints.
What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
How short my attention span is.  Seriously, I would never have picked several of my projects with blocks containing 61 (yes, 61) individual pieces that need 20 blocks.  I still gravitate towards those blocks, but instead of creating an entire quilt of them, I make a mini or save them up for the worlds craziest sampler.  I get bored with making the same block over and over and over again, so it's good for me to pick smaller projects or larger blocks :)
What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
I absolutely love my Frixion pen and my 9.5" square up ruler.  I want Frixion pens for everything in life (they don't smudge and you can erase them which = no more pencils!) and I love my square up ruler so much I have started collecting them in all sizes.  Next on the list is the 12.5".
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
I have a long list of favorite fictional characters...I'll give you a few because I couldn't narrow it down!  Harry Potter (I've loved him since I read the first book when I was 11 and decided I would attend Howarts), Elizabeth Bennet (she grows so much and I love how she sees the world), Sherlock Holmes (the book character and the portrayal on BBC's show), and Gru (who doesn't love a super villian who is terrible at being a super villian).


This month I would like you to make me a 12.5" unfinished (12" finished) star block.  I'm going to try and give you as many suggestions and inspiration ideas as possible.  I would love to end up with a sampler type quilt of stars :)

The aesthetic I'm going for is modern-traditional.  I really love the look of traditional quilt blocks with a modern twist to them.  I made two blocks that are a good example of this:
The block on the left is a Stencil Star Block, designed by Lee Heinrich and featured in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks vol. 9, and the star on the right is a Star in a Star Block from McCall's Quick Quilts Feb/March 2014 (The other blocks are bits and pieces I've been playing around with that I forgot to take off, please don't look at them for color guidance...)
For your fabric choices, I am looking for whites (bright white/true white/white on white), grays (lighter is better than super dark), shades of blue ("true" blue, think in the navy or royal blue spectrum and not teal or aqua), and shades of purple (think amethyst and not pinky purples) as tone on tone or very moderate patterned fabrics.  Please don't use fabrics that don't read as one color.  I like batiks, so feel free to use them.  I am planning on using this as a couch quilt in the long winters in WI and would love snowflake fabric if you have any in these colors :).  The star in a star block I made uses only snowflake fabric.

If you have a favorite star block, go ahead and whip it up!  I am not a fan of wonky stars or improv stars, so please stick to pieced or paper pieced stars.  If you really love an 8" finished star pattern (like some of the beautiful paper pieced patterns from Wombat Quilts), feel free to use them and add a border around the sides to make it a 12.5" unfinished block.
I will be sashing all of the blocks with this kind of pattern so feel free to use blue or purple as the background fabric and make the stars white or gray.
Here is a list of tutorials I have found for star blocks I like that measure 12.5" unfinished:

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