Sunday, January 29, 2017

tiny dresses

I have a new great niece due to arrive next month. I thought she could use some tiny geranium dresses for summer so I set to work. I love this pattern by Made by Rae, it goes together beautifully and is a perfect dress for every size girl. I picked up 2 pretty, old fashioned florals from the quilt shop & set to work.....
Love the pink polka dot I lined this one with, and the little bit of pink ricrac poking out above the gathered skirt...
Itty bitty buttons up the back are the perfect finishing touch.
This lavender and yellow floral worked it's way to the cutting table too...
This one is lined with lavender solid and I opted for a pleated skirt instead of gathers...
and again with the itty bitty buttons!
I made them in size 3-6 months which only takes a yard of the main fabric (less really! I had plenty left over) and 1/4 yard of the contrast. I hope they are well loved.

Friday, January 27, 2017

funky dresden tutorial part two.... let's sew!

At the end of the last post, we had all of our pieces for the funky dresden cut and were ready to put them together. If you're just now joining us, hop back there for all of the cutting instructions. Today we sew!

We'll start by sewing our dresden wedges into a circle. Flip your pieced wedges over on top of the next-door solid wedges...
flip the pink ones too, like I did the white ones here...
and chain piece them together. begin at the top and sew to the bottom of each pair...
Once you have them all sewn in pairs, lay them back out in your circle. This is your last chance to move them around and change the layout! 

Happy with the way you have them? Ok, now sew your pairs into fours, fours into eights and so on, until you have a complete dresden circle...
I have to admit to you, when I got to this point in my first funky dresden quilt I searched my house for something that was a perfect 20 inch circle. I found nothing. Then I realized, all I needed to do was go back and carefully trim the little triangles that popped up at each seam, smoothing the edges. 
Once I smoothed them out, I was ready to appliqué it onto my background. First, join your two background pieces (the 16 1/2 x 30 inch pieces) along the 30 inch side with a 1/4 inch seam. Press the seam open. Now lay your dresden circle on top, carefully matching the top and bottom when the dark and light backgrounds come together...
At this point, applique your dresden on top however you like to appliqué. I confess, I am not an appliqué genius! I chose to pin mine down, really really well, making sure it was laying completely flat, then I raw edge machine appliqued using the buttonhole stitch on my machine.
I changed my thread color to match each background fabric...
Turn your quilt top upside down and carefully trim away the excess circle in the center, leaving a good seam allowance (mine is about 1/2 inch). Be very very careful not to cut your dresden circle. This will reduce the bulk of your quilt top.

Now we need to deal with the hole in the middle!

I auditioned lots of different center ideas. On my first funky dresden, this was the subject of debate on my instagram page. For that quilt, I ended up going with a 2 1/2 inch wonky square. This time I decided it wasn't my favorite option...
The 2 1/4 inch split circle was ok...
I even tried that one reversed, as was suggested to me on instagram. not bad...
In the end, this time I decided to go with an orange center that matched my pieced dresdens...
Again, I pinned it down really well and blanket stitched around it....

And your quilt top is done! 
Ready to quilt as you wish. I did my first one with radiating lines from the center. I really want to try spiral quilting on this one.... we'll see if I can get my nerve up!

After quilting, trim your topper to 30 inches square. On my first quilt, I trimmed the excess off of one side, leaving my circle uncentered, just the way I wanted it! I think I will do the same with this one.

Finish off with matched binding to keep the background uncluttered. Or do something different! If you decide to go with matched binding, I recommend Debbie's tutorial here

If you make a funky dresden quilt, I hope you'll post pictures on instagram. Tag me (ellynz) and use the hashtag #funkydresden. Have fun with it!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Funky Dresden Tutorial part one... cutting

Thank you all for your interest in my Funky Dresden quilt! I had so much fun creating it, and it seems some of you would like to make one too. Since I didn't take any pictures of my process the first time around, I decided to make another, in completely different colors, and document as I go. Today I'll step you through the cutting process.
As I mentioned in my last post, you will need one yard each of two background fabrics, a light and a dark (here the dark pink and the white) and 1/2 yard of your contrast (orange print)
Let's cut the background fabrics first. I stacked mine on top of each other. First cut two strips from both fabrics, 2 1/2 inches wide x the width of your fabric. Set these aside for your binding....
Now even the rest of your fabric out to 30 inches. From your 30 inch pieces, cut one 16 1/2 x 30 inch piece (set aside for your background square), one nine inch strip (for solid dresden pieces) and one 7 inch strip (for your pieced dresdens). Cut these from both background pieces (you can only see my white here, but the pink is underneath).
from your contrast piece, cut two pieces, each one 6 1/2 inches by 30 inches
Now take the two pieces you just cut and the two 7 x 30 inch background pieces, join them with a 1/4 inch seam along the long edge, and press well, pressing the seam allowance toward the contrast piece.
ok, back to the cutting table. It's time to cut our dresden pieces. I used a creative grids 18 degree dresden ruler. If you have a different ruler, you  may need to adjust some measurements of the number of wedges you need. With the 18 degree ruler, you need a total of 20 wedges for a circle. 
Place one of your pieced strips right side up on your cutting mat, with the contrast piece toward the bottom. You will need 5 pieced wedges from this strip, all of them with the narrow end on the contrast. This is important! Cut your first side, as shown below
Please note... I'm a lefty! if you're right handed you'll want to start at the other end of your fabric. Cut up the side and across the top, just to the end of the ruler....
Now flip your fabric around so the cut edge is on the other end.

and cut down the other side...

as you can see, now your angle is going the wrong way to cut another wedge for your circle. No need to waste fabric straightening it out. Just go ahead and cut a wedge the other direction and set it aside for another project.

Now take your remaining fabric, and trim 3/4 to 1 inch off of the contrast edge, making it smaller.

We will be trimming 4 times to get different variations in our wedges. Since you have about 4 inches extra width to work with, be careful not to cut off too much or your last wedge will be too short.  moving on....

Take your trimmed fabric and cut your next wedge. See how it extends farther into the background fabric since you trimmed the contrast? You'll need to cut that little extra bit of the side edge too.
Then cut another upside down wedge to set aside.
Now trim a little more off your contrast side again and continue in this manner until you have five dresden wedges with the narrow edge in the contrast fabric (and five backwards wedges for another day).

Repeat this process with your other pieced strip. Here are your 10 pieced wedges...
You also need five solid wedges from each of your background colors. You can stack them up and cut them together...
Also, since these are not pieced, you can use the wedges that are cut upside down as well. No need to cut extras.

And your cutting is done. Now you can play with laying out your dresden circle. You will want all of the dark background wedges (solid and pieced) on one side of the circle and all of the light background on the other side. Alternate pieced wedges with the solid wedges. Play around with wedge placement until you have a design that makes you happy. 

I'll be back soon to start you sewing!

Monday, January 23, 2017

my Wicked Funky Dresden

Last Friday morning I woke up with a quilt design dancing around in my head. This doesn't happen to me often, but every now & then things come to me in my sleep! Often I roll over and ignore them and then they are gone forever. This time, I dashed to my studio for graph paper and pencils and got it drawn out before it got away. Boy am I glad I did!
By the end of the weekend, my drawing was sewn into what I lovingly referred to as my "funky dresden".  Once it was all assembled, I was perplexed as to what I should put in the center. My first instinct was a split circle, to make it look like the background was coming through. But then I began to consider other options. I took to Instagram to see what others thought...
My original idea is top right. And many liked that too! The green dot, top left, got lots of votes from more traditional folks who wanted a place for the eye to rest. And the split square on the bottom? Also popular, mostly with those who wanted a bit of the unexpected. In the end, the votes were split almost perfectly in thirds! Well, that was helpful!

In the end, after examining the options for a day or so, I decided to go with the square.

Jennifer, who is tenseturtle861 on Instagram, suggested I name it "Wicked Dresden" based on the color scheme which reminded her of Wicked, the musical.  Brilliant! So this particular one is named Wicked Funky Dresden, but the pattern overall is just Funky Dresden. Thanks Jennifer!

By Sunday evening, I was stitching down the binding on my finished quilt (maybe my fastest ever quilt finish)

My background colors are charcoal gray and white, with the lime green pop of color. Finished quilt is 30 inches square and the very feeble quilting was done on my domestic machine, just radiating lines which s fine, I guess. I'd really like to try a spiral on my next one, but I've never done that before & frankly it scares me. We'll see.

I also did matched binding so as not to take away from the simplicity of the quilt.

So there you have it. There has been interest in a tutorial. Naturally I was in such a hurry to get this done I didn't take any pictures of the process. So, I will work on a tutorial, but I'm going to need a few days. Meanwhile, if you're anxious to jump in and make one too, here's what you will need:

1 yard dark background
1 yard light background
1/2 yard contrast
18 degree dresden ruler - mine is creative grids. This will give you a 20 section circle. If you have a different size, that's ok, you just might need more or fewer wedges for your quilt
batting & backing bigger than 30" square.

 I can't wait to see what others come up with!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

baby quilt finish

A quick baby quilt finish shipped off to my niece who is expecting her first little one....
Made with fat quarters from my stash and brushed cotton on the back, making it so soft and cuddly. I used Debbie's quarter cut baby quilt tutorial for the second time. I love the way it comes together! Finished quilt is 40" square.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

modern mystery block of the month

Hubby and I have been flat out on the couch with the cooties for about 10 days. Neither of us has been sick like this in a long time. boo. The good thing is, we have binge watched The Crown and it gave me plenty of hand sewing time. I was happy to finish up the binding on this quilt so I can share it with you. Today was a nice day for a photo shoot, so we mustered up some energy and headed outside.
my trusty assistant

Last year, one of the gals in the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild designed a modern mystery block of the month. It was a skill builder of sorts, nudging us to try different techniques. I enjoyed making the variety of blocks using gray prints and bright solids from my stash.

I really like the end result! With a few tweaks to the provided layout, mine ended up about 54" X 60".  A nice lap size, or toddler sized quilt. I sent it off to my friend Sandy for quilting. Told her "do something modern" and this is the pattern  she used....
The pattern is called "water dance" & I think it adds the perfect modern touch to my quilt. Guild has allowed us a couple more months to finish up our quilts, so I'll have to wait to see what the other gals have done. I loved all of their blocks throughout the year, and I just know the finished quilts will be outstanding!

This is my first finish in the 2017 Finish-along.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Finish Along first quarter goals

It's time to link up my first quarter goals for the finish along! 

First up, I WILL finish my Liberty Plus quilt, which I have decided to make into a pillow. As you can see, I'm almost finished with the English Paper Piecing....
Second, I will finish my Modern Block of the Month from McKinney Modern Quilt Guild. The topper is pieced, it needs to be quilted and bound. This has been a fun project!
Third, this beautiful bundle of scraps needs to become a pillow cover for my friend, Chris. The guild had a scrap swap and I was lucky to choose Chris's fabric to work with!
Fourth, I will make my Word of the Year quilt for 2017. I haven't chosen fabric (or even a color scheme!) yet, but I've been doodling a bit and playing with ideas. Oh, I also haven't shared my word here yet! It's Present, as in BE Present (not "buy me a present" haha). I look forward to exploring this more....
Fifth, and finally, I'm going to get back to making myself some garments. I'm thinking this fabric and pattern will be a good place to start...
So that's my list for the first quarter. I'm linking up here.