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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Drunken Chevron Quilt/Tutorial & a Giveaway!

 When I heard from Daniar at the Fat Quarter Shop asking if I'd like to take their challenge to make something I've never tried before for National Sewing and Quilting Month, I knew immediately what I wanted to make. 



A Drunkard's Path Quilt. I'd had this design floating in my head for some time, but just didn't know if I had it in me to tackle curved seams at this point in my life.  




You see, my MIL has recently been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer (if you're a praying friend, please pray for her peace and comfort), and it's all been happening so fast.  Less than two months from her initial appointment to being home on hospice..it's been devastatingly sad and still is if I'm being honest.. I wasn't even sure if I would finish this, but I managed it.. just in the nick of time.  It ended up being the perfect stress relief. Sitting and listening to the machine hum while processing this new reality.

So about a month ago, when Daniar asked what I'd like my personalized banner to say, I told her this:



Little did I know how true this would turn out to be.  Sewing up "Drunken Chevron" turned out to be great therapy for me.  The technique is so easy.  And NO curved seams!!!  And did I mention NO CURVED SEAMS? ;)




I figured out a way to make it work for me. Perfect for when you just want to sit at the machine, listening to it zoom along and give your brain a break from stress. Which we've been experiencing in abundance lately. But enough about that for now..let me tell you how I made this without a curved seam in sight.




I used lots of Notting Hill fabrics, plus some other prints from my stash. (these colors make me happy! well..as happy as I can be right now anyway..) You will need (39) 10" squares (layer cake friendly), and approx. 1 1/4 yd. of the chevron fabric.  Make sure it has plenty of contrast.  I found that out the hard way the first time! Take three of the 10" squares and quarter them into 5" squares, and set them aside for assembly of the quilt top.

Here are the tools I used:



Yep, that's a 6 3/4" dessert plate, a frixion pen, and a glue stick. :) I didn't have any templates so just made do with what I had on hand.  First, I traced and cut out (36) circles.

Then, to place them, I marked the centers of both the circle and the 10" square by first folding the circle in half..




..then in half again..




..then marking each side of the point with the frixion pen..



..and then repeating with the 10" square.  Make sure to fold and mark the circle with the wrong side out, and the square with the right side out.



Unfold them, and run the glue stick around the edge of the circle..



..and then match the "v" marks and smooth it into place, right sides up. If a wrinkle gets in there, just pull it up and smooth it back out.



..and then applique into place (I used a zigzag stitch)..




..iron flat (frixion marks disappear!), and then pull the two layers of the circle apart up to the seam, separating the glued layers.




Make a snip in the back layer only, about a quarter inch from the stitching, making sure that you are only catching the back layer, and then cut out the back layer of the circle.





(You will have an array of colorful circles left at the end of this project for another project.) :)



When all (36) 10" squares are appliqued and trimmed, quarter them into 5" squares. (the block may be slightly less than 10" after applique, but if that's the case, don't worry, it shouldn't be too far off and will all work out.)

Mix and match the 5" (cheater) Drunkard's Path blocks and sew together into blocks like this (make 30):



Using two plain 5" squares that were set aside earlier, and six of the above blocks, sew together into five rows like this with the two plain squares at the bottom. (The direction of these rows will alternate in the final layout.)


Then make the left edge row and the right edge row like so:


                 -L-      -R-

Final layout:



It was a lot of fun to sew up, and it's super forgiving, b/c if your circles aren't exactly scientifically in the center, it's okay.  There are no points to match really, they are drunken chevrons after all. ;) No templates, no brain-exploding math.. no complicated tools. Just a dessert plate, a glue stick and a zigzag stitch.  Priceless therapy.

OH, and the FQS also had a list of questions that they wanted us to include and a free pattern link for you, so here goes:

1. How did you start quilting/sewing?

My grandmothers quilted, but my mom taught me to sew when I was younger.  She used to sew clothes. Then I took a sewing class in high school.

2. When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter/sewer?

When I made a skirt and a lined jacket in high school--quilting came later.

3. Do you have any sewing/quilting horror stories/faux pas?

Too many to list. :) My worst quilting story is my run-in with the rotary cutter and a huge gash in my finger. :/

4. What advice to you have for someone who is just starting out sewing/quilting?

Make what you love and never give up!



Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for including me!! If you'd like, head over and check out their Color of my Heart free pattern sheet.

Also, they have very generously offered to give one of my readers a layer cake of Moonlight Manor:



Just leave me a comment to be entered. **Giveaway Closed**  I will pick the winner on October 1st. :)






Happy Fall!!!!
xoxo

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tiny Blocks!!

Hello! Is anyone there? It's been forever since I've blogged!  The last half of our summer seemed to drop several things on us at once.  (More on that later..)  I've still been trying to get in some sewing time, though.  It's been great therapy actually for these trying few weeks.  When so many heavy things are on my heart and mind, it feels good to just sit and listen to the hum of the machine.  So out of it all, has come this quilt project. 



It's going to be epic for me, b/c I'm not a matchy points type of person, so it's great practice. The 4" blocks are also the smallest I've ever made. And surprisingly addictive and cute. 



I've been having lots of fun making them, and could not be doing all of the HSTs without my trusty Triangles on a Roll



And chain piecing. I love to chain piece.



It's going to be all Oval Elements. The happiest dot fabric ever. :) I need lots of colorful happiness right now.



OH!  And I just realized I forgot to blog about this. A few weeks ago, my MIL gifted me with the most special treasure.



















It's an antique, cast iron toy Singer.  With its original clamp that clamped it to a table.  She played with it as a girl, and her mother played with it as a girl. And she told me that when she was little, she remembers her granny borrowing it back sometimes b/c it makes a pretty chain stitch underneath since there is no bobbin.

I would love it regardless, but the fact that my MIL, and her mother both played with it as children is the coolest thing ever.  We were able to research online a little bit, and from the number of spokes in the hand crank, it has to have been made between 1916 and 1922.  So the fact that my hub's great grandmother bought it new for his grandmother when she was a little girl kind of blows my mind. :)

In other news.. someone started second grade!  I can't believe it! And he lost one of his top front teeth.  So that's it.. he's officially a big boy. So bittersweet. :/  I just love him.





And there he went, out into the wide world.




OH, and something very exciting on the horizon.. be sure to check out the Nov/Dec of GenQ Magazine. You may or may not see this project in there.  I couldn't show you or blog about it for sooo long, but it's coming soon. 




I had more to blog about but .. no words right now.  Someday, I'm sure the experiences of the last few weeks (what I now jokingly but not really refer to as "the flock of bean eating pigeons flying directly over our heads for the last half of summer") will pour out onto the page, but right now, I need to just say a prayer and go sew, as I am prone to dissolving into tears at any given moment these days.

Hug your loved ones tight, cling to your faith, and sew on.

xx


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