Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hive 8 - February Tutorial

I'm super excited about joining this bee. Not my first bee, but certainly my first one that's blog based.

What is your name?
My name is Anna (DamascSt on Flickr and Instagram). I blog at

Sir watching me hand sew binding

Where do you live?
Just outside of Washington, DC in Maryland. However, I am originally from Germany, moved around a lot before third grade, and grew up primarily in Michigan.

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
I have been married for four years. My husband, Eric, is a chef (which isn’t as exciting as you might think, but we do have some killer dinner parties).

My husband and I at the National Botanical Garden right before our
Washington, DC Justice of the Peace wedding in 2009

We have one dog, Gwenevere (my husband’s), and two cats, Merlin and Sir Galahad (mine), as well as some freshwater fish, collectively The Squires (we share custody of those, although I mainly take care of them). We are currently trying to get pregnant with our first kid, so I guess that’s the next big adventure.

Merlin and Gwen

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
I have been sewing practically since I could hold a needle. I have dabbled in costume design and creation, and cross-stitch as creative outlets. When I was in middle school, my mother signed my siblings and me up for a quilting class. However, it didn’t take at the time, but about two years ago, I decided to make friends of ours a baby quilt.

My very first baby quilt, with my friends' baby

And once I did that, and found my way into the modern quilting world via the internet, I was hooked. I joined the Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild about a year ago, and having that group of like-minded people to bounce ideas off of and see what they create, has kept me going. And because sewing is my form of meditation and is so calming.

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)

I am fortunate enough to have my very own craft room (ok, fine, it doubles as our guest room, and will hopefully be turned into a nursery in the nearish future *sniff* but it's not too late to banish the potential offspring to the basement, right?).

I organize my half yard and fat quarters by color in a shoe organizer from IKEA.

My larger cuts (of which I have very few) and my bolt of Kona Snow are sitting in the same closet, along with my equally few pre-cuts.

My scraps are neatly cut into squares of various sizes and stacked in a box. I also have a few rectangles and strips in there as well. My selvage collection currently lives in its own cardboard box, although at this point, I probably have enough to try and make something with them. Finally, I have been cutting 2.5” strips from each fabric I cut into, with the original intention of making a Scrappy Trip Around the World, but after making one or two of the blocks, I’m not convinced that that’s the way to go (suggestions welcome).

My WIPs (of which I have many) and my UFOs (of which I have few, mainly because I haven't been quilting for that long... just give it time) are either in the little cabinet under my cutting table or in the 12x12 scrapbooking project boxes in the shelf next to my cutting table.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
Kate Spain, Tula Pink, and Lizzy House

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
That good fabrics are totally worth it. I spent a ton of time making quilts for my friends and my mother-in-law with cheap fabric from Joann’s and now worry constantly that they are going to fall apart.

My mother-in-law with her quilt
(all those pretty fishies are made with fat quarters from Joann's *head desk*)

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
The Frixion pen. I recently used it to draw quilting lines on my latest project and it was magical. Both in terms of not having to worry about using up all of my painter’s tape and because it just disappears under a hot iron.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
Keladry of Mindelan from the Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce. She stands up for what she believes in, she doesn’t just help people, but shows them how to help themselves, and she’s not ashamed of who she is.

Block Tutorial

My block is based on the Modified Bento Box tutorial found here.

This quilt will be for my mother, so I have some very specific fabric instructions from her, that I will attempt to pass along to you.

Here is my pull of potential fabrics. Any shade of the green or blue color families will work, including aqua, turquoise, citron, etc. Also, she seemed to like my more abstract/geometric prints, but also said that butterflies and seashells were fine (it's a little hard to tell in the picture, but that top seashell print has a hint of green in the background). She definitely does NOT want people, buildings, or animals other than butterflies. I’m also thinking that text prints are not going to work for this project either.

A couple more things: 1) please do NOT fussy cut something for the center square, as I may or may not end up cutting the blocks into quarters and reassembling; 2) please press all seams open so I don’t have to worry about having seams going opposite ways when assembling the quilt; and, 3) please make sure directional fabrics radiate outwards from the center so no one way is up or down (i.e. point them either in towards the center on all sides or out towards the edges, see my dark blue chevron for an example of what I mean).

To make the block, choose five fabrics. Here is my selection for my practice block. Then decide which order you will use them in. Any order is fine. With my own block I tried to make sure that any fabrics that ended up next to each other were going to be easily distinguishable. I don’t really care if you want to use all blues, or all greens in your block(s), just that the transitions from one fabric to the next are easy to see.

You will need to cut the following:

Fabric 1:
1 6” square

Fabric 2:
2 1.5”x6” strips
2 1.5”x8” strips

Fabric 3:
2 2”x8” strips
2 2”x11” strips

Fabric 4:
2 1.25”x11” strips
2 1.25”x12.5” strips

Fabric 5:
2 2.25”x12.5” strips
2 2.25”x16” strips

Make sure you are sewing 1/4” seams, so the pieces fit exactly without much or any easing. The block should be 16” square when you are done with it.

To make the block, sew the short strips of Fabric 2 to opposite sides of the Fabric 1 square, press the seams open, then add the longer strips to the other two sides and press the seams open. You should have an 8” square at this point. Repeat the process for Fabric 3, ending at an 11” square…

Fabric 4, ending at an 12.5” square…

And Fabric 5. If your square is slightly more than 16”, please don’t worry about it and don’t trim it down. I’ll do that once I am ready to put everything together.

As always, you are only required to make me one block, but I would certainly appreciate any additional blocks.

Happy Sewing!


Unknown said...

Great Block - can't wait to start it.

Rebeckah Austin said...

I love Tamora Pierce's books! Though I really like Diane and Alana better than Kel

Jamie said...

Just posted my block on flickr. Hope it will work...I kept running short on my fabric supply for the color scheme. Also I have newbornitis and swear I forgot how to turn my sewing machine on sometime within this last month! Sending it your way asap!