Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hive 7 - January Block Tutorial

Hive 7! Lovelies! My name is Audrey, and I'm currently living in central Illinois among corn and soybeans and lots and lots of snow. However, I'm originally from the southwest, and even though I've lived in the midwest for five years, I still think of myself as a desert girl.

I've been married to my husband for seven years, and I love that man something fierce. We have two boys, N and L, who are almost four and twenty-one months respectively. Life is loud and hectic and messy and sometimes full of fabric, and I adore every second of it. (Okay, not EVERY second. But most of the seconds.)

I can remember attending a craft fair with my mom when I was probably seven or eight, and there was a very traditional double wedding ring quilt for sale. I wanted one for my bed, and I told my mother I wanted to make one. But my mom didn't quilt, and I didn't know anyone who did, and the idea faded. I got into a lot of other crafty stuff, and then I met my friend K, who *did* quilt. I confided in her that I'd always wanted to learn, and she was a total peach and told me that she would teach me. (I'm not sure she knew what she was signing on for, but we're long past that now.) I still haven't made a DWR, and my style is definitely not very traditional, but I plan to make a modern version eventually.

Oh, my stash. I'm sorry if the pic above makes you want to cringe. There is some order here, I swear. Fabric is sorted by color and folded neatly--but not in a consistent manner--in plastic bins. There is no size organization. There are FQs in there. Half yards and maybe even some yard cuts. Some pieces that are leftover from projects, but too big to throw in my scraps drawer. Yardage of a more significant caliber is folded and stored to the side.

Scraps are sorted by color and stored in ziploc bags in the bottom drawer of a three-drawer unit. The top contains my solids collection. And the middle drawer? Oh, the middle drawer. That's my Tula collection. Which leads me to my next question...

I am a serious Tula Pink addict. While I don't have a piece of every fabric she's ever designed, I do have a piece from every single collection up through Acacia. I have yardage that I couldn't live without, and FQs and larger pieces from swaps, and leftovers from the queen-sized Parisville quilt I finished earlier this year. I love me some Tula. I also love Anna Maria Horner and Lizzy House and Lotta Jansdotter, but Tula holds my heart.

I think the most valuable quilting lesson that I have learned--and am still learning--is that I can and will improve. When I first started quilting, I thought HSTs would be the death of me. (Seriously. Don't laugh. I cried over messy blocks!) The idea that I would ever get my points to line up and be perfectly sharp throughout an entire block? I laughed hysterically at that idea. And sure, my current HSTs aren't always perfection. But sometimes they are, and I've seen the same thing happen with other techniques. Flying geese? Mmmhmm. Paper piecing? Um, yes. And now, as I'm hoping to dive into curves in 2014, I'm trusting it'll be the same thing. To remind myself of this lesson, I took an orphaned block made using some of my first HSTs, and I made a cushion cover out of it. The points are HORRIBLE, but now I can smile and know that I have definitely improved.

I can't really say my tools and notion collection is very large, so I guess my bestest tool purchase (of recent) would be my 6.5 x 6.5" ruler. I have a 6" x 24" and of course I love it to pieces, but having something smaller is amazing. I make my big cuts with my big ruler, then switch to my smaller ruler, which is so much nicer to wield. Love love.

I love Sherlock Holmes! I can remember watching The Adventure of the Speckled Band on TV with my parents and being so shocked by the ending, and so I've soaked up Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work and even read some really bad modern SH novels. I love the BBC Sherlock program, and I can't wait until January 19th so I can watch it here in the States!

Thanks for making it this far with me, and let's get on with the tutorial! I'd like you to make a Weathervane block.

I took my inspiration from this tutorial at Don't Call Me Betsy. Elizabeth's instructions are fantastic! I normally make my HSTs two at a time (method #2 on that page) and my flying geese four at a time, but I decided to follow this tutorial verbatim and see how it worked. (But more on that later.)

I found a divine pic on flickr that really inspired my color palette choice, and I decided on a kind of sort of jewel tone theme. For this quilt, I'd like you to use tone-on-tone prints with the exception of the neutral fabric, which should be a solid white. (If you're curious, I'm using Kona white, but by all means, use whatever white solid you have on hand.)

This is my fabric pull. As you can see, these fabrics have no white or black accents in them. It meant cutting out some great pin dot prints that I had initially pulled, but I felt it was the right choice to keep the colors really vibrant. Feel free to use colors from the above palette in whatever placement you think works. I'm so excited to see what you come up with!

And these are the particular fabrics I opted to use. You'll need five prints and some white, and I found it helpful to label my prints A-E. (This photo is actually a bit backward with the green being fabric E and the orange being fabric A.)

Following Elizabeth's diagram, you'll use fabrics A-C for the center square-in-a-square dealiemabob thingie.

Flying geese and HSTs follow using fabric E. If sewing your geese as per the DCMB tutorial, I really appreciated Elizabeth's tip to sew just to the right (closest to the corners) of the line drawn down the center of your neutral. I've had a problem in the past with slightly wonky geese because I've had to press hard to get the neutral to cover everything, and this eliminated that problem. My geese looked so much cleaner in the end.

I probably won't make my HSTs like this again. I am slightly paranoid about bias edges, and while I'm glad I gave it a try, I'd rather make them two at a time. That being said, my HSTs for this block turned out nicely, and you should use whatever method you prefer.

Once the borders are made using the flying geese, HSTs, and fabric D, I lined everything up to make sure it all looked nice and fit together. (It did.)

Two of the borders sewn on, and then the finished block! Your final block should measure 12.5" square, and I just know it will be fabulous. If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me an email. I can't wait to see your creativity and thank you thank you thank you!


Andi said...

Lovely color choices and fun block. Do you want us to place the white in the same placement as your to give you the traditional look, or do what ever we want? I know you gave us a great color pallet and said mix but your white was not so clear...

audrey said...

Thank you for bringing this up! I should have been more clear. Please use white where I have used it. If this quilt was for me, I'd say do whatever you want, the crazier the better! But it's going to a more traditional gal. :)

anyadahab said...

When I was pulling fabrics, I noticed that I pulled one of the same fabrics that you used. Would you prefer me to use a different one, or is it okay to use the same one? It would be the only matching one in my group.

audrey said...

Eep! Anya, I'm so sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I didn't see your comment until today! I believe your block is already done, but yes, that would be totally fine, especially if it was in a different spot.