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Archive for April 2009

For about a year now, I’ve been working on a quilt design for my Sister-in-law and her husband for their 25th Wedding Anniversary.  I wanted a design that would have something interlocking and that would evoke the images of longevity, union, joining together, bond, marriage.   None of those terms quite match what I have in my head, but I hope it conveys what I’m trying to envision.   I’m happy to say, I have a design.  That being said, I’m still tweaking it.  Changing colour arrangement and such.


Version I went shopping with.

Last week I was visiting an out-of-town Quilt Shop, looking for fabrics.  I knew I wanted a burgundy (dark red), a medium pink,  a light pink (dusty rose), and a light brown for the background.   I didn’t find anything that jumped out and said “I’m the one you want”.  I was getting rather discouraged, here I was thinking buying the fabric for this particular project would be easy, because I knew what I was looking for.   As I said, I was getting discouraged… their anniversary is 4 months away, and I need to get started on the quilt.

Version with the green added.

Version with the green added.

You may be thinking “gasp, only 4 months”.    And you will probably gasp again when I mention that it will be a queen size quilt.   Are you still with me?  Take a few deep breaths, you and I will both be okay.  The main design of the quilt top, is fairly easy to put together, and goes together quite quickly.   The borders on the other hand, may give me some headaches.  I’ve only just started piecing my borders, getting away from the “long” borders.

I have been using EQ6 to help with the design, although, when I originally designed the unit (four units required to make the block), I did use graph paper and pencil.    I need to use EQ6 more, so I will be more comfortable with it.  I find it odd, that a computer person such as myself, has not mastered this program yet, and I’ve had it for 2 years!

I had made a lap quilt from the design, and have yet to quilt it, but it worked out well.   I considered doing the same thing, but making a queen size quilt for my Sister-in-law.   But then an idea struck me (carried over from my Fast Scrappy Quilt), what if I put the blocks on point.  And I’m really liking the design now.

Okay, so where am I.  My brain is jumping to “right now”, when I really need to write about what led up to “right now.

Design – check

Fabric – check

Oh.  Okay, I know where I am now.  While getting discouraged about not finding the fabric I want, or at least in the colour way I want, I noticed the shop’s selection of batiks.  Hmmm… the Burgundy works.  Oh, a very pretty pink.   Now for a background… there isn’t anything in the light tan/beige variety, but there is a bolt with the burgundy and pink on it… and it has a bit of dark green, and the main colour of the background is a pale green.  Hmmm… I don’t know… I really want the tan/beige.  Oh, I found some dark green, that really goes with the burgundy and pink.    There isn’t anything else to use for the background.  *frown*.   Okay… if I had this bolt here, which has more orange in it, but it has the same colour as the other colour in the burgundy print.    Hey, I think I’m onto something here.  Not so sure about that background, but as other customers are walking by, they are all commenting on the fabulous colour choices I have.    The pink isn’t going with the background print… but the other two fabric choices are.    The green I’m definitely adding… it’s just adding that little extra zip I was looking for, but didn’t know how to fit in.  Do now, I’m happy to say!  I had mentioned to my daughter who was with me, I wish I had brought my camera, so I could take a black and white, to see if I have enough contrast.


This is my fabric choices.  Look pretty good don’t they?  The fabrics were washed, dried and pressed… ready to be cut.  I really wanted to use that pink, but something wasn’t quite right with it, and the background.  I decided to take some black and whites, and I started having a hunch on what was going on… or wasn’t.   I decided to rule it out, and make two test blocks.  One with the pink, and one with the orange.

Test Blocks - orange vs pink.

Test Blocks - orange vs pink.

Doesn’t the pink and the burgundy blend nicely together.  And the orange and the burgundy.  But what is it with the block on the right?  A quick switch to black and white mode on the camera, and the answer becomes blazingly obvious.

Contrast is an issue here.

Contrast is an issue here.

That is what my eye was seeing (or not).  The pink and the background fabrics have the same value.   Value can be defined as “in painting and drawing, the lightness or darkness of a colour”.   As much as I wanted to pair the pink and the burgundy, there was no fabric available that was lighter in value than the pink and the background fabric I chose.   When two fabrics have the same value, they can disappear into each other.  This could be the desired effect, but with my design, I need the contrast, to make the pattern evident.    Sometimes I forget to use value, but in some cases, you may not want a lot of contrast.   Just over a year ago, I attended a one-day workshop on colour, and I learned a lot, and I know I still have much to learn.  Our instructor was Ionne McCauley who co-authored the book “Color for the Terrified Quilter” with Sharon Pederson.   It’s a great reference book, it has lessons and projects if you wish to learn more about colour.

Don’t feel to badly for the pink, I have a plan for it… it will be used in the border.  And yes, since I have bought the fabric, I have recoloured the border, trying different colour layouts.

Now its time to start cutting the fabric.   The unit is 10″ finished, and it takes 4 to create the interlocking squares.  (I haven’t come up with a name for this design, so I revert back to what it looks like).  When I made the test blocks I cut all the strips at 2½”.   The unit uses squares and rectangles.  Remember when I mentioned, my mind was in the “right now”… this was the thought I had up there.  I think my design would lend itself quite nicely to those jelly rolls that are out there.  Perhaps have each interlocking square a different colour.   I think that would be a neat design to play with in EQ.  But not right now… I need to share more!

I started thinking, that if I cut all the strips at 2½” that I would need to cut extra strips so I would have an even number of pieces, and to have complete finished units, with out “extras”.  I decided that cutting the fabric to the rectangle length, and then when stitched, I would then cross-cut to the 2½”.  This worked very well with the strip piecing.  And the blocks came together quite quickly.  I was able to make 17 units from the width of fabric (WOF) strip.  My husband was so amazed that I had those units done so quickly.   I have 32 more to do, and then I need to tackle the corner and side triangles.   The nice thing about EQ, it gives cutting instructions, to help make it easier.  We’ll see how that goes!

Here are the 18 blocks I have thus far.

The first set of blocks

The first set of blocks

The background fabric is really growing on me… and I know that I’ll be using that very pretty pink in the borders.  And the green is just going to make everything pop!  My focus for the next several months will be this quilt.  I have no idea how I am going to quilt it… I’ll wait until the top is done.

I mentioned the workshop on Colour, it was that workshop that I truly learned the value of my camera.    When working on bargello quilts, where a colour way from light to dark is required, the black and white feature on your camera is invaluable.   My West Coast Sunset bargello, the value of my fabrics didn’t quite match the pattern, I changed two of them, and it worked out much better.  I’m glad I found that out, before I started cutting, I don’t think I would have been very happy.

On your next quilt project, if you really want the design to be noticed, check out the contrast between your fabrics.   Take a black and white of your fabrics.  Arrange the fabrics how they would be in your project.   I’m sure you’ll be amazed with your results.  I’d like to hear about your experiences using colour value in your projects.



I was visiting one blog, which lead me to another, which lead me to another… don’t you love it when that happens.  You never know where you’ll end up, and there is so much inspiration, creativity and talent out there.

Well Thearica at PigTale & Quilts is having a Give-away.  Now this is the first time I have posted about another’s give-away… but I really like the reason behind hers.  Her daughter is celebrating her 30th birthday, and Thearica is giving away 30 FQs.   Check out her blog entry for all the details.

She has had lots of comments already, but you just never know… what would you do with 30 FQs?


I was visiting with a quilter who is new to our area.  We got to talking about this and that, and I mentioned the Shiva Art Paintstiks.  She said she had some, but didn’t know what to do with them.   I told her about my Stencilling and Painting workshop that I attended.  We both decided that we would like to pursue using the paintstiks.

While visiting at another Quilter’s a few day’s later, the topic of the paintstiks came up, and it was decided the three of us would set a date, and we would spend it playing.   What a day we had!

Nina brought some hand-dyes she didn’t much like.  With a few stencils, and home-made rubbing plates, she made some very pretty pieces.

I forgot my camera, so wasn’t able to take photos!  I was going to bring it, but didn’t have it ready to go, and completely forgot about it, when it was time to leave for the play date.

Shawn got very creative with the paints and the rubbing plates.

It was hard at first, just “letting” go, and allowing oneself to “play”.    Once I got used to the idea, of just trying this or that, without having an end in mind, it was much easier.  The day was meant to see what the paints could do, and what we could do with them.

I took three Fat Quarters with me – a yellow tonal, a blue tonal and a pink tonal.

I started with the yellow fabric.


I used one of the rubbing sheets that was in the package with the paintstiks when I bought it.  I learned several things on this day.  The first… be sure to press your fabric before painting, because you cannot do it until much later after the paint dries which could be up to 7 days, depending on how heavy it is applies.

I used the yellow iridescent paintstick first.  I rubbed the paintstick across the fabric which was on the rubbing plate.  I liked the definition it added to the fabric.  I then used the orange iridescent paintstik.  I used a stencil brush before I did the rubbing, and I liked the way it softened things.

I did the same thing with the red… except for the last rubbing on the right.  I didn’t like the way the red turned out.  The last piece I rubbed and then used the stencil brush, and I like the definition of the way it turned out.  (Or I have this completely backwards, and I rubbed and then stenciled on the orange and the first 2 red).

The next piece of fabric I played with was the blue.


Three of these techniques are rubbings, and one is painting.  The top one is using a rubbing plate.  I tried to stencil a small dog over it, but I think waiting until the first layer dried (which takes 24 hours), would have been best, or a larger stencil.


The second technique is using a ripped piece of pressboard (cereal box).  It is then moved along, and different colours of paint are applied, to get an overlapping soft effect.  I quite like this effect, and will probably use it on a larger piece of fabric to add dimension to it.

The third (orange, yellow red) paint, is using a home-made rubbing plate.  Nina had provided a few.  This particular one was made with craft foam.  It reminded me of tiger stripes, so I played with several colours to see what I would get.

The last one is another home-made rubbing plate.  It is craft sticks (match sticks) glued onto a piece of bristol board.  I used two shades of green for a different effect.

The last piece of fabric, the pink one… I really experimented on.


One of the neat rubbings we discovered was decking samples.   A small piece of wood, painted with deck paint.  It gave a really neat effect.  Not so much on my pink piece, the paintstik had begun to dry over, so I ended up with little knobbies of paint.  I also tried one of the decorative leaves I had brought (the brown smudge on the upper left).  The leaf did not have enough dimension to rub through.  I then tried a colour experiment.  The centre and right rubbings on the top are of the same rubbing plate, but with two different colours of pink paintstik.   In real light, they look like a brown and a beige.  I then used a plastic stencil and stenciled the meandering flower over top.

The middle section was a lot of fun.  You may need to click on the photo to see the detail of the rubbing.  This was made from an 8″ piece of cording.  I taped either end, and laid it down.  Rubbed with one of three blue paints or a white.  I would then lift an end of the cording, and rearrange it.  I think this would be a really neat look with a longer piece of cording and a larger piece of fabric to work with.

The last third of the fabric was more playing.  The yellow dots were from a piece of embellishment that had rhinestones.  I turned it over to see if I could get some of the detail, but all I got was dots from both sides.  It seems that I have chopped off some of the photo, well it was chopped off at time of the photo, not the editing after.

I used an orange and rubbed over a chain.  It didn’t really show up too well.  The “brown” shape just under the blue is the rubbing of the chain.  The chain kept moving under the fabric as I rubbed, so some of the detail is smudged.

The lower right hand corner is a rubbing of fern leaves.  I added some red and yellow to highlight the spines of the leaves.  This was an experiment to use several colours to bring out an image.

Now I have to wait several days to use the fabric.  After the first 24 hours, the fabric is dry to touch, but the paint requires anywhere from 3 to 7 days to cure (depending on the thickness of the paint).   Then it requires heat setting.  To do this, I will use a Press cloth, and just press with a dry iron.  Then it will be ready to be used in some project or other.  Maybe I’ll just sandwich it, and use it for quilting practice!  *Grin*

If you have a piece of fabric that just isn’t doing it for you anymore, why not play a little with the Shiva Art Paintstiks and add some dimension to it.   Before you apply paint to a finished project, or to a piece of fabric you want to use in a project, play and test it first with your rubbings.  I also suggest try your rubbings with paper and pencil.   If I had used that theory, I wouldn’t have ended up with a brown smudge on my fabric…. but that’s okay… I was learning and playing.

I have since visited one of our discount stores and have stocked up on all sorts of things to create rubbings and/or stencils with.  My goal is to create a useable piece of fabric and to use it in a project!

My challenge to you, is to try using a different medium on a project or fabric, and see if you like the results.   Take the time to play… let every thought escape, and just do it!


As you can tell from the previous posts, I am using my Fast Scrappy Quilt as a learning process. Well, why not, I am all about learning.

I have decided to piece one of the borders. To make a flying geese border in fact.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are many ways to make flying geese. I have used rectangle and 2 squares technique.   I also did another little thing. I’m making ½ square triangles in the process… who knows… it could become a “free quilt”.

Are you intrigued? Okay… this blog will be more of a photo blog.


Many books and quilters will mark a line from corner to corner on the squares.  I chose to press, and use that line to stitch on.  If you find it difficult to see the crease while stitching, I recommend marking.


Here are a number of the squares pressed in half.


Some people will pin.  I haven’t.  You can just make out the creases or stitch line.


Here I am stitching along the crease/fold.  I also chain piece.  I like to piece from the outside corner to the centre edge.   I do about 6 before I snip them off to cut and press.  Coming up, I’ll explain why I only do a small amount.


Now to trim off the unnecessary parts.  I line the 1/4″ mark of my ruler along the stitch line, and trim off.


When you are making  flying geese, you will get a lot of unneccessary bits.  Keep reading to find my solution to all these bits.


In making flying geese using the rectangle and 2 squares technique, you always end up with 4 triangle pieces left over. In some cases they are quite small to try and stitch together. Well, I wasn’t about to toss them out.  I can’t remember when or even where, I read about this.  Instead of just trimming off those extra bits, and having them sit around, add another seam 1/2″ away from the first, to create a pre-stitched half square triangle.  I estimated where the 1/2″ was.  It does need to be 1/2″, as you will cut 1/4″ away from the stitching line to cut 1/4″ seams on both your flying geese piece and the half square triangle piece.   Free pieces for making a free quilt.


You can premark both stitching lines.  After marking one to demonstrate, I’m thinking this would be faster than pressing 400+ squares for the flying geese.


These pieces have the double stitched seams.


I’ve aligned the 1/4″ mark on the long stitch line, and cut.   Admittedly not all my half square triangles have perfect 1/4″ seams, as I have “eyeballed” the distance between seams.


The pressed open beginning of a flying geese block and a half square triangle.  Remember I mentioned only doing about 6 at a time.   Can you imagine having to press 20+  flying geese open, and then pressing open 40+ half square triangles?   Little bits in moderation!  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but with my back the way its been, sitting and standing for any length of time is not a happy thing, so I do little bits here and there.


Laying out the second square.


Again, I like to stitch from the corner to the centre.


Two pieces with the second square double seamed stitched.  How odd that sounds.


Trimming the second half square triangles away.


Two flying geese and two half square triangles.  Remember… for each flying geese (goose), you will have two half square triangles.  If I was careful with the measurement of the 1/2″ between the seams,  I might have been able to get a bit larger square.  As it is, most are trimmed down to 1 3/4″ squares.

So what to do with all those half square triangles?  Originally all the pieces were put into a bag, for my DD#2 to perhaps do something with… or me, when I was ready to work out another scrappy type quilt.   Then another idea struck me, and yes, I am okay!

I made a comfy critter (another blog about that soon – or check out my blurb about it at AllPeopleQuilt.com).   As they are made from large patchwork panels, I thought that colour coordinating some of the half square triangles and arranging them in different ways, would be a great way to make more of these critters.   I’m not sure about the all the black, but it does set off some of the colours quite nicely.  It is something I’m working on.

Then I started thinking, as I was laying out the half square triangles for the photo shoot for this blog, that perhaps, I could just colour coordinate and make blocks, then stitch all the blocks together… and perhaps a free quilt!  Gotta love that idea.


Purple and pinks coordinated.   Stitched up this particular arrangement would make a block approximately 6″ in size.  Remember… I did say, I was going to end up with 400+ half square triangles… no, I haven’t calculated how big ti would end up!  LOL.  Of course, the pieces could be re-arranged to create any number of design combinations.  Or perhaps other things could be made from them… pot holders, trivets, doll blankets… the possibilities are endless.

Then I started thinking… and re-arranged the squares.


Remember, this was on the fly, and the corner pieces would have to be something else… but I could always use these pieces for a border.  Not on this quilt, but on another.  Just some ideas.

It is going to take me some time to finish my flying geese.  I am in no rush.   It may be sometime before I get the next step done for this quilt.  But I when I make some progress, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I’ve asked you what you do with your scraps.  Now what do you do with the left-over bits.   If you’ve been tossing those triangle bits, perhaps rethink that… and save them and use them for another quilt.  You may find you have a free quilt, you didn’t even know you had!


I decided to make a quilt from some of the blocks. You can get an amazing amount of scrappy blocks in no time at all, then the fun part is putting them together. I decided to put the blocks on point, and to add sashings and cornerstones. To be honest, piecing all those odd seams together in one big piece was a bit overwhelming. Although, I may just have to try that anyway, just to see what kind of a quilt it would become!

So onto the sashings and borders… and colour choices. When fabric is cut into smaller pieces it is amazing what goes together. I think that is the charm of scrappy quilts. What colour or colours was I going to choose for the sashings and borders. Why not black and red? And a vibrant red at that! Remember, this is a learning experience.

So I started cutting the black into 2½” strips, and then cutting pieces 2½” x 8½”.. I used two different black fabrics, to encourage the scrappy look. I also cut 2½” squares from the red fabric. I decided to make the setting triangles and corner triangles the black fabric as well. Cutting those blocks didn’t appeal to me either. And I’m thinking, that perhaps this will encourage the blocks to float… something I had only just read/heard about.

Here is a photo of the blocks hung on my design wall, with the sashing, cornerstones, and setting triangles.


I also added a small black border.


This is the top so far all pieced together.  Notice how somebody got herself in the photo!  That Tazzie!

Now to decide on the next border. Remember, this is a learning experience, so I’m going to go outside of the typical (for me) straight borders. I’m going to try my hand at piecing something. But what. FLYING GEESE! Don’t know why, but it is something I wanted to try. I want to make the geese the vibrant red, and use the black. I don’t have enough of the red… but I’m sure I can find some vibrant red somewhere… and I did at Galena Bay Novelty Fabrics. Fortunately for me, she is local, and I made arrangements to go up and see what she has. She has really nice fabrics, do check out her online store!

In the meantime, my thinking is changing about this quilt. I’m starting to feel, that the geese in black and red will overpower the quilt. I still want to do the flying geese… hold your horses… why not make scrappy geese! And that is what I did.

I did go and see Lainey, and bought some oriental fabrics – for another project yet to be started. And I have decided on a colour scheme for my SIL and her husband for their 25th wedding anniversary. Although my plans to visit Lainey changed, it was still a good shopping trip.

I’m going to create another blog on the Flying Geese Border. There are many ways of creating flying geese, and as I had several 2½” strips of various scraps, I decided to use the more traditional way (I suppose its traditional).

What have you done lately to jazz up an experimental learning quilt? Have you made one? Share it with me!


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April 2009
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