Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hive 12 - August Block Tutorial

What is your name?  Hello!  I'm Toni and currently live in Houston, TX.   I am a collector of fabrics, textiles and all things sewing.  My degree is in Clothing & Textiles which is how I explain my rather large collection of fabrics to people!  In addition to sewing and quilting, I enjoy needlepoint and embroidery.  I also have a weaving loom and hope to revive that hobby in the next few months. 

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)   I have been married for 37 years this month and have a daughter who is 26 years old.  My husband is a petroleum engineer and as a result we have lived the lives of gypsies, having lived in 4 states and 6 foreign countries.   Rounding out the family is a 2 yr. old French Brittany named Bowdrie and an 18 yr. old Silver Tabby named Xena, Princess Warrior Cat (who takes the Princess part of her name quite seriously!).   Also part of the family is our daughter's dog, Leo (doberman/hound dog mix).  Even though they moved out earlier this year both are back to visit quite often, especially at dinner time!


Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.  I don't remember life without quilts as my grandmother was a prolific quilter and I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by them.  When I was in college she taught me to make a log cabin block, entirely by hand as she did not believe in piecing or quilting by machine, which I turned into a pillow.  After that, I walked away from quilting for nearly 30 years.  I did not enjoy hand quilting, and having a collection of nearly 40 quilts, didn't have a need for any more quilts.  Then I discovered the Modern Quilt movement with bright colors and non-traditional patterns and was sucked into quilting. 

How do you organize your fabric stash?  We remodeled our home last year and my sewing room was part of that project.  I now have built-in shelving where an odd shaped closet used to be that I stack most of my fabrics on.   The shelves are 36" deep so what you see is only half of what I have.  It is divided up by type of fabric: fashion fabrics, cottons, decorator fabrics.  I have recently added some storage boxes to hold fat quarters and pre-cuts.


Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?  That's like asking which child you love best!  I love something about all of them!  I prefer bright colors and if you put a paisley pattern on it I am sure to want it!  Some of the new lines on my wish list are Gleeful (Sew Caroline), Emerson (Dear Stella) Lucky Girl (Jennifer Paganelli), Copenhagen Classics, Cotton & Steel, and pretty much anything from the Tana Lawn line by Liberty of London.  

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?  I wish someone had pointed out earlier that using a straight stitch throat plate when piecing would make my life much easier! 

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?   I don't really have a specific tool that is a favorite.  My recommendation that you buy the absolute best quality that you can afford when purchasing any tool or fabric.  It really does make a difference in the long run.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)  Scarlett O'Hara, from Gone With the Wind, was always my favorite character.  I like her spunk, tenacity and willingness to do what she had to in order to get things done.

And now on to this month's tutorial.  I have chosen to do a variation of a Double Pinwheel, based on  Pinwheels in the Park by Rachel Measham-Pywell.  The illusion  of movement and depth really intrigues me, so I thought this would be a chance to play with that.  Using a black background also gives us a chance to work with a traditional block pattern in a new and modern way. It is a simple block to construct, so the challenge will be in the fabric choices.

The colors I'd like for you to use are bright reds and blues.  The reds should not have any orange in them, but more of a blue undertone if moving away from a true red.  Blues should be in the range of a royal blue, not quite as dark as navy and no pale or aqua tones.  Think of the American or French flag for a reference point.  For the light fabrics, I prefer that the backgrounds be white, not an ivory or cream.  The black fabric I used is Bella Solids (Moda), but any true black quilting cotton should work.  Here are some fabrics I pulled from my stash to give you an idea of the colors.   If you do not have fabrics you feel will work, please let me know and I will be happy to send some for you to use.

2 Light/medium print fabrics
1 Medium/dark print fabric
Black solid fabric

Making the Block:  
Light/Medium Fabrics:  Cut a 7 7/8" square from each fabric. 

 Then cut each square in half diagonally to make two triangles.

 Medium/Dark Fabric & Black Fabric:  Cut an 8 1/4" square from each fabric.

Then cut both square in half diagonally, then in half again diagonally to form 4 triangles.

Sewing the Block:
Lay out your block as pictured above.

Flip the medium/dark fabric over to cover the black triangle.  Turn the triangle so that it looks like the picture below.  Sew using a 1/4" seam.  Sew all triangles with the medium/dark fabric on top as pictured.  This will ensure that your pinwheels will all end up facing the same direction.
Sew all four pairs together and press seams.  I prefer that the seams be pressed open.

Your block will now look like the photo above.  Flip the medium/light fabric triangle over the triangle that you just sewed.  Sew along the long edge, being very careful not to stretch the fabrics as you sew.  Repeat for all four square and press seams open.

Sew two square together.  It will help to use the photo as a guide to make sure the blocks are orientated correctly.  Repeat for the other two blocks.  Press seams open.

Now flip the top strip over the bottom strip, sew along the long side, taking care to match up center points.  Press the seam open.  You should now have a 14 1/2" square block.  Don't bother to square them up as I will take care of that.

**A tip I use to match seams is when pinning, insert the pin into the seam (between the stitches) of one side. Then stick the tip of the pin through the seam of the other piece.   Pin from center to side, then center to other side.  Your seams/points should match up very nicely.**

I hope you have as much fun playing with the colors and prints to achieve the illusion of movement as I did.   Thank you!


Willa said...

What a fun block!!! However, I can't get to it till the middle of the month. Thanks again!

Toni said...

Thanks! Look forward to seeing what you come up with! :-)

Francis Paul said...

nice block and I can use red and blue from my overwhelming stash :-)