Playing with Bloc Loc rulers

Tomorrow my guild is having a ‘Ruler Roundup’. I agreed to demonstrate the Bloc Loc rulers. I bought a half-square triangle (HST) and a half-rectangle triangle (HRT) ruler about a year ago. I rarely buy specialty rulers, but when I saw these at a quilt shop demo, I was sold. I also rarely make traditional blocks, so they were innovative and efficient enough that I thought I needed them for the rare occasion that I make a traditional block.

So, tomorrow is almost here and nothing motivates me like a deadline – it was time to break them out and put something together. My sister loaned me a couple of Bloc Loc block design books to show at the demo, so that’s where I started. Side note: the books are really nice – spiral bound so they lie flat and glossy pages that aren’t going to easily rip.20160502_163940I thumbed through both of the books looking for something that used both the HST and the HRT rulers. Originally I was planning to use up some old fabric and be done with it. Then I came across this ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ block (their version is a little different in the value selection and has a little more depth, but that wasn’t going to work with my collection of fabric).
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Next, I grabbed a stack of Christmas fabric that I have been collecting and started cutting.

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The blocks in the book have cutting instructions for four sizes. The sizes vary depending on the grid of the block. This block had: 6″, 7 1/2″, 9″ and 12″. I went with 9″. Each piece is cut slightly large. I pieced the blocks in a traditional manner – the instructions for the HST have you draw a diagonal line, stitch on either side and then cut … that’s way to much work for me, I’d rather just cut and sew. Then press the seams to one-side – I prefer them that way anyway, but it’s a requirement with these rulers. Then you nestle the seam into the groove on the underside of the ruler and slightly push (more like a light tension than a push) to make sure the stitch line is up against the groove. Then slide the ruler down so you have some edges to trim. Spin the ruler around and slide it to the other side lining up the marks to the cut the finished size.20160502_163805

I really like the fine lines on the rulers, it makes everything so easy to see. If you’ve used Bloc Locs, you’ll know from this picture that I’m left-handed! If you’re right-handed, this ruler would be rotated 90 degrees! Luckily, I can cut with both hands, so I’ll be able to demonstrate for lefties and righties tomorrow.

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The triangles come out absolutely perfect! The cutting is way faster than using a traditional ruler: it’s not rocking across the seam, you’re not trying to make sure everything is aligned, etc. I even found myself getting a little sloppy with the piecing knowing that the rulers would make everything perfect for me. 20160502_163848

I am so happy with the results – and I don’t use pins when I piece so that shows just how perfect these sub-units are. It was so fast and easy that I’m actually going to make an entire quilt – not just a demo block. There’s a bit of a list in front of this quilt, so I’m organizing the pieces to use as enders and leaders – so it’ll be a while!

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Loading a Quilt Top

A few people have asked me about how I load a quilt top, so here goes. I’ve tried all kinds of things over the years; I thought of this a couple of years ago and I think this is it! Fast, easy, doesn’t stretch the top, and doesn’t leave a funky wave at the end.

First, I load the backing – I’ll try to remember to take pictures next time and post that. Then I unroll the quilt top leader and lay it out on the backing making sure it is smooth and straight.

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Next, I lay the top over the back bar and onto the backing. I straighten it and lay the edge along the leader just where the leader lying on the backing meets the roller making sure that it is parallel to the roller.

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Then I pull the top over the back bar to make sure there is some slack in the quilt top when I roll it.This is very important – otherwise the quilt top will stretch and pull. Make sure that you don’t distort what you’ve already laid out when you do this.

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All that’s left is to roll it up! Gently roll the leader and the top onto the roller bar. The quilt top gets caught in the leader – no need to pin or anything else. Just straighten the top and make sure it’s lying straight and flat on the roller as you go. That’s it!

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Quilting, is it always a quandary?

It’s always such a good feeling when I finish a quilt top … then I’m hit with: How am I going to quilt this? Sometimes I can envision the quilting as I’m making the top, but most often I’m left slowly loading my quilt while I try to figure out what I’m going to do. One of my latest tops is this improvisational piece made with Peppered Cottons and Kona Steel for the background.

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I decided that I’m just going to do overall quilting and not worry about the piecing. I loaded it sideways so that I don’t have to think about the circles right now. I don’t know if I’ll just continue over them or do a different quilting design in each ring … things to ponder.

I started at my white board to play with different fill patterns and chose three that I want to combine – a primary pattern, a background relief and a fill to add in every now and then.

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This is what it looks like at this point.

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Modern Evolution

A few months ago … okay so more like a year ago … I got some friends together to join me in my Modern Evolution Project. In short, it’s a round robin that I designed to try to avoid some of the pitfalls that I’ve experienced with previous round robin groups: producing medallion quilts; the last round where you have to do the most work and your interest in the project has somehow all but disappeared; having one quilt that looks like six different people made it – if you’ve ever participated in one, you probably know the drill. Some may have been a little skeptical, but everyone dove in with enthusiasm!

There were six of us in the group, so we had six rounds. The first two rounds were just published in Generation Q Magazine (Spring 2016) – along with a lot of other cool projects and interesting articles. Ironically, my copy arrived the very same day that we made the last swap and we each got our quilts back! They are amazing – better than I ever expected! I am so excited to share the final results, but in the meantime, you can see what we were up to in the magazine and Gen Q published our guidelines on their website, here.

Generation Q Magazine, Spring 2016

Generation Q Magazine, Spring 2016

Blog Tour and a Giveaway!

I am so happy to have been asked to join in on the blog tour for Optical Illusions! This is a beautiful book, I could spend plenty of time just looking at the pictures – but knowing the designers at Kansas City Star, that doesn’t surprise me! Other than the gorgeous photographs, I like that this book is pretty representative of what I see in Modern Quilting today – a wide range of modern-traditionalism to an all-out Modern aesthetic. But all of the quilts follow my definition of Modern design – simple lines with a strong design.

op illusionsOn the more modern-traditionalism end of the spectrum there are the block-based quilts. Melissa Corry‘s Old Dutch is reminiscent of a traditional windmill block which any quilter would love. Tia Curtis‘ Tropical Storm reminds me of an Ocean Waves block. I love that she added a few surprises in the quilt – if only I could stand to make that many half-square triangles! Then there is Jessica Toye‘s Water Ripples, a modern take on a snowball block. I love her well-planned color placement.

CurtisTropical Storm by Tia Curtis

Moving further into the modern spectrum, there is Katie Larson‘s Curvilinear with its strong lines and very modern appeal kind of reminds me of a Storm at Sea quilt in the way that it moves and fools your eye into seeing circles. Karen Hansen‘s Surfs Up brings to mind a Drunkard’s Path – updated in both the approach and setting.

LarsonCurvilinear by Katie Larson

Next we move to the quilts that remind me of classic Victor Vasarely art work. There is the very Op-Art inspired Blurred Vision by Penny Layman. 3-D Diamonds by Jenifer Dick is very modern in its simple, bold lines – but not a simple design. Then there is Mary Kay Fosnacht‘s Tangerine Tumbler – I love her layout and modern take on the classic Tumbling Block.

3d diamonds3-D Diamonds by Jenifer Dick

The last quilt on this spectrum – in my opinion – is Jamie David‘s Aura. Inspired by the Modern artist Josef Alber, it has a very modern appeal.

DavidAura by Jamie David

It think this book will appeal to a wide range of quilters – from traditional to someone wanting to add a little modern influence to their quilts to someone who has a very modern aesthetic and is looking for a little inspiration.

Speaking of inspiration! I have a giveaway to take care of! I am giving away a Kona Color Card. I have my own card sitting next to me for another project that I’m working on. I find that card to be invaluable! It’s great to have access to a library of colors that are actually rendered in fabric. Just leave a comment about how you get your inspiration and I’ll randomly choose a winner at the end of the tour!

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Jenifer Dick is also blogging about this book today … and has a different giveaway! The rest of the tour finishes up tomorrow:

Jenifer Dick, http://www.42quilts.com

Nov. 14 Jessica Toye, http://www.jesstoyequilts.wordpress.com/blog-2/
Jacquie Gering, http://www.tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com
Shea Henderson, http://www.emptybobbinsewing.com

Thanks for stopping by!

American Quilter

Look what came in the mail today! The latest issue of American Quilter Magazine – November 2014.

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Why am I so excited about this particular issue? Linda Hungerford of Flourishing Palms wrote an article about my book, Accentuate the Negative. I made all new quilts for the article – so there are not any duplicates from the book – using each paradigm from the book. They asked me to design a pattern to be featured with the article. So I designed a quilt called ‘Spiraled Squared’.

spiraled squares

It was quilted by Tammy of Quiltin’ Kaboodle – she has detailed photos of the quilting on her blog. Another Tammy, this one from Marmalade Fabrics, has put together a kit for the pattern. If you would like to purchase the kit from the exact fabrics that I used, click here. If you would like a kit, but you’re not keen on the colors, you can just send Tammy a message and she can work with you to make up a kit in a palette you would love – she is great with colors!

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If you make this quilt, please let me know. I’d love to see photos!

Fall Quilt Walk

One of the guilds that I belong to is having a quilt show in a couple of weeks. I love this guild because we are made up of all kinds of quilters: modern, traditional, contemporary, art – you never know what you are going to see at show and tell! Well, we are going to be showing our quilts off on October 11th at the Overland Park Arboretum. We will have quilts hanging from the fences, information about our charity projects: Quilts of Valor and Safehome, and a series of bed-turnings. Some of the bed turnings include:

Ida Houston – ThreadPlay
Barbara Bruce – Petal Play
Trisch Price – Modern Quilting
Joan Nicholson – A Quilting Journey
Carla Timberlake – Quilting with Scraps
Nikki McDonald – Finish What You Started
Shirlee Vieria – As the Applique Turns
Shirley Peterson
I’ll post the final bed-turning schedule soon! I’m hoping to add one more!
quilt walk

Creative Mojo

I was interviewed on Mark Lipinski’s Creative Mojo earlier this week. Mark was great and he even likes Modern quilts now! YAY! If you want to listen to it, click here (it’s the April 23rd show). At the end we were talking about making quilts with fabrics other than cotton. The Silk Bricks quilt in my book is made of silk dupioni and linen. The silk was a breeze to work with. I didn’t have to do anything to it – however, everything in that quilt is cut on the straight of grain so that helps. The only thing I found necessary for the silk was a lint roller!! The linen was a bit of a pain. I used regular linen used for garment sewing because I loved the look of it. Even after starching it, it still loves to shift. The biggest issue with the linen is the quilting. It really misshapen it. By the time I was finished with the quilting, I had a 3-D quilt! So, I blocked it. I had to avoid getting water on the silk – I used a lot of reds and they all were prone to bleeding. I just laid an old towel over an insulation board, sprayed the linen until it was pretty wet and then pinned it down everywhere. Here are a couple of pictures of the blocking.

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Waves Before Blocking

Lots of Pins!

Lots of Pins!

In the end, it’s nice and flat and I still love the look of the linen. However, if I was a beginner, I’d consider using Quilter’s Linen instead!

Mod Roses – The Quilting

When I originally conceived the idea for my book, Accentuate the Negative, I never envisioned it as a book about how to quilt negative space but rather a book about how to make negative space and use it to its fullest. I have come across a few comments from quilters that are interested in the quilting. Given that, I’ve decided to write a little about the quilting of each of the quilts. I’m going to start from the back of the book and work to the front! So, first up: Mod Roses.

The background of this quilt was generally quilted with an all-over, simple meandering leaf motif. Nestled in the leaves are quotes about roses – there are six quotes on the quilt.

roses 7Each improv rose is framed as is each of the pieced leaves. I just did SID around each of the frames and chose to leave the frames free of quilting. As far as the roses, I just quilted wiggly-concentric circles starting in the center of the rose and working my way out to fill the space. The leaves in the rose blocks just got a little swirl and SID around the outside. I filled the background with horizontal and vertical lines – that was my only rule. I didn’t use any rulers, and everything is randomly spaced.

roses 6I filled the background of the leaf blocks with pebbling.

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Another Giveaway!

Kansas City Star’s My Stars is sponsoring a book giveaway on their facebook page. They are giving away four sets of four modern books – my new book, Accentuate the Negative is included in the set as well as the book that I was in last fall, Classic Modern Quilts! All you have to do is ‘LIKE’ their facebook page! To make it more convenient, just click this image, or the button on the right side of the page. Good Luck!

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