Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Hive 4 Tutorial "Crazy Block"

What is your name?
Samantha Harvey.  Sam or Sami usually, Honey to my hubby.  He thinks married folks should never call each other by their name, it has to be a lovey dovey name. 

Where do you live?
I live in Washington State in the U.S.A.  My address is Roy, WA.  I get my mail at the McKenna Post Office.  I work in downtown Tacoma and I usually shop in either Yelm or Olympia.  How's that for confusing?

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
I have been married to my hubby for 25 years this coming July.  He has several expensive hobbies.  Hence when I buy fabric or need a new sewing machine every 10 years or so there is very little squeaking from him!  He plays guitar and has a room in our house with his "music studio" in it, along with his other non-dusty hobbies, photography and metal detecting equipment.  He also does wood work and keeps honey bees.

  We have 3 kids, the oldest and his wife gave us our first Grand-baby, Korben at the end of October. My son is a commercial electrician who is into the old world art of "smithing", really, built his own forge and everything!  He's also learning guitar and gets cheap cars, fixes them up and resells them at a profit.  I doubt the Trans-Am that is in his garage right now is ever going to leave though. LOL!  His wife, who we love to pieces works where I work and is the reason I got that job!

My daughter who is in her early 20s and still lives at home does bead work and is slowly but surely working on her first quilt.  Since I've gone back to work she is my housekeeper and I pay her so she has a bit of spending money.  She also is a voracious reader and writer.

My youngest son will be 21 this month and still resides at home also.  He is an apprentice commercial electrician and a wonderful artist, guitarist and singer.

 We also have an Akita (Shiina) and two kitties (Tama and tIQa).

Now, back to Korben.  He will be 5 months at the end March.  Isn't he ADOREABLE!!

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
My maternal grandmother made quilts, usually simple utilitarian quilts.  When I was 8 or 9 years old she sat me down at her back up sewing machine and had me sewing 9-patches out of flannel for a couple of weeks out of the summer.  Before school started she had me help her put the quilt sandwich on the quilting frame my grandpa had built for her and we tied that quilt (a king sized) with yarn.  It took about a week to get the tying done.

From that point on I was pretty much hooked on sewing.  I made my first quilt when I was 12 out of whatever I could find (old polyester clothes) to give to my homeroom teacher (anonymously) for his and his wife's first baby.  That was the ugliest quilt in history, I wish I had a picture of it.  

When the kids started showing up I didn't really have much time for sewing and I didn't make anything for years.  About 15 years ago I got back into it and I become a worse addict every year! :D

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)
Where ever it will fit.  Seriously. Don't judge me based on this picture.  I do straighten before beginning each  new project. LOL!

Who is/are your favourite fabric designers?
Pretty much anyone who designs fabric.  I was really into Debbie Mumm a while ago.  I like Amy Butler off the top of my head.  Basically I don't know what I want until I see it and there have only been about 3 different "lines" that I HAD to own a cut of every fabric in them.  I like to mix and match as the mood strikes.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
When I first started back up in the quilting quiltiness, I used a ruler, pencil and scissors to cut my pieces and strips.  Hubby was all "there has to be an easier way" and he is the one who stopped at the local quilt shop and learned about cutting mats and rotary cutters.  Before then I was just using up fabric that people gave me and I didn't really frequent fabric stores.  Does this mean I can half blame him for my fabric addiction since he is the one who enabled some of it? LOL!

What is your favourite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
I love different rulers.  I don't own all of them that I'd like to own but my favorites are the Easy Hexagon, Easy Eight, Easy Six and the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers.  Those last two are AWESOME for Flying Geese, and if you know me you know that I do love Flying Geese borders.

Who is your favourite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
Heavens, do I have to choose just one?

I'm a HUGE Sci-Fi fan, Star Trek in particular and I love both the Marvel and DC universes.  I am also an avid reader and have read most of the "classics" so there are just a ton of people I could choose from.  I'll go with whatever comes into my mind today though... let me think....

Today I'm thinking Wonder Woman.  She's awesome.  She a woman, strong and able and she had that nifty Lasso of Truth.  I'd love to have one of those.  Granted, sometimes you don't want to know the truth.  "You Can't Handle The Truth!"  See... my mind just wanders.  Seriously, invisible jet?  Yeah!  I'm old so I remember the T.V. series with Linda Carter as Wonder Woman, and I must say, I never missed an episode, to the point of throwing a hissy fit once when my Dad wanted to watch something else and wasn't going to change the channel to Wonder Woman. LOL!

After I answered this question I saw this..... 

Okay... now my block... Crazy Quilt Blocks

I'm going to make it really easy on you and you get to use up scraps at the same time.  I have a HUGE scrap bin, and I'm betting that some of the rest of you do also and you can't bear to sort it and toss things so it just keeps growing and growing like mine.   Am I right?

Here is the plan.  One block, 12.5 inches square (unfinished).  That is all I'm asking for, of course if you feel like making more I would love it.  The more variety the better.  I don't have a color scheme just don't make them "dreary".  You can put darker colors in them just not all dark colors.  I foundation piece mine, meaning I cut a cheap piece of muslin into a 12.5 inch square and use it as the backdrop to piece my block on.  You don't have to do it that way, you can just "free piece" if you would like.

Basically start your square with an odd shape that will be easy to sew around.  Following are pictures of a couple of the blocks I made.  Make sure to press each addition out from the middle before adding the next piece.  You can start the block off center as one example shows.

Additionally I plan to add embellishments and embroider fancy stitches down the seams (with my machine, I don't have much patience for hand embroidering unless it is a small project) so if that is something you are into and you want to take the time to do it, feel free. 

This is an ideal block to use little bits of "ugly" fabric in also.  Honestly as long as there are 9-12 different fabrics, bigger scraps are fine also.  If you think of a better method for making them feel free.  I am showing you the way that I have found that is easiest for me.

The finished quilt will be gifted to my oldest son.  He wants a Victorian style crazy quilt made of satins and I've been working on that little by little and it might be done for his 35th Birthday,  but he's waited long enough between his "kid quilt" when he was 12 and a new quilt just for him now that he's 28, so no matter how much I love it, I will give it to him.  I will.  I promise. :-D

Thanks in advance ladies!!

Then you just start adding to it.  You can also do this without the foundation, just add fabric until you have a square big enough to trim it up to 12.5 inches square.

Make sure to trim anything you add even with the straight line you already have.  Additionally in some of the other pictures below you will see how I trim some things to they are not straight pieces but have an off kilter shape to them.

Below is an example of adding a larger piece and then trimming it to an odd shape.

When I get to long lines I dig around to find things that I've already pieced or I piece a strip to add.  Below this example is a strip of pieces that are not straight that I put together.  Ideally, as you will see in the examples below the tutorial, there are not a lot of straight pieces but they are more odd shaped.  I was in a hurry making this block for the tutorial so I was just digging through my scrap bin and pulling anything that would work out to use.

So you get the basic idea?  I have included links to other  Crazy Quilt tutorials at the end of the post.  Really though, just do whatever works for you.  I'm not super picky.  Below is another block that I started.

The blocks below are blocks that I made from clothing for a memory quilt.  You can see the pieces are much larger.  This type of larger piece block is also great.  You can also get the idea of what I plan to do embroidery wise from the following blocks.


Rachel said...

Hi Sam-- We're practically neighbors-- I live just North of you in Bellevue (eastside of Seattle). My DH actually lived in Roy when he first moved here (before we were married) and my dad was born in Tacoma.

Your grandson sure is a cutie. I'm sure you enjoy spoiling him a bit.

Love your block and will get right to it. Crazy is a good mode for me ; )

Celine said...

Hi Sam, should we use quilting cotton only or do you want a mix of fabric in the blocks?

supersara20 said...

ohmygoodness Korben is a cutie! Love the block, I had to do this one in January for another group and loved it!

Samantha said...

Celine, cotton would be great. I figure that way this will be a quilt that will last him for a long time and I won't have to repair seams on it.

I have done a quilt like this using all different fabrics and I ended up spending a lot of time repairing seams.


Rachel, are you a member of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild? I was going to try to get up that way for a meeting.

Sara, Thanks! I love crazy quilts and I figured a bunch of ladies making blocks will give me a much larger variety of fabrics than I'd get on my own.

sally said...

Super fun!!! I've been in an improv block style kick let rely, so this is perfect!!!!!

sally said...

*lately. Lol!!

Rachel said...

Sami -- I've attended SMQ guild meetings a few times, but I'm not a regular. They're pretty informal. If you follow Katie Pederson -- Sew Katy Did, or something like that, (she was co-author with Jacqui from Tallgrass Prarie quilting fame on a book about improv and modern quilting-- she is a key player, or at least when I went. Unfortunately, I don't have much opportunity to get out to evening events anymore since my son's dealing with some extensive medical stuff. Did you get a chance to go to the Sewing Expo thing with Tula Pink last weekend? That looked like fun.