Monday, January 23, 2012

Road Trip to Road to California

Friends Patty, Agnes, Barbara and Barbra and myself took a road trip up to Ontario, CA last Friday for the Road to California quilt show. It is the second biggest show in Southern California I think (next to the Long Beach International Quilt Festival in July). We were all excited to see the quilts and shop the vendors. It was a beautiful day and we arrived at the Ontario Convention Center a little before 10 am. I was looking for a specific thimble to replace my favorite that I lost a while back, so I headed for the vendors. I made it up one aisle with no luck and decided it was too crowded to try another aisle. The booths and aisles were just packed, with everyone in gridlock, barely moving in any direction. I went to look at the quilts and although there were a lot of people, it was much better than the vendors. I cannot express how beautiful the quilts were. It seemed like the next quilt was more exquisite than the last one. I took over 350 pictures, which I have posted on Flickr: I hope you will take a look at them. You won't be disappointed.

We all met for lunch and shared our purchases. I found my thimble and I bought a new applique glue called Appli-Glue. It is archival and has a skinny plastic tip that isn't supposed to clog like Roxanne's sometimes does. Also bought a jacket pattern using batiks and a little wooden sign that says "Just stitchin' bitchin'." Since my friendship quilting group is Stitch 'n Bitch Quilters, I thought I would paint out the "o" so it says "Just stitchin' 'n bitchin'." --Excuse my language, no offense intended!

After lunch I wandered over to the other hall, and right there at the entrance was The Quilt Show booth and there were Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson right there in the booth. I decided to buy a DVD set of one of their show series and chatted with Ricky for a few minutes while I waited to be rung up. He was so friendly and approachable. He even smiled for a picture with me. If you aren't familiar with their show, it is internet based. Just google The Quilt Show and you'll find it. The show itself, on which Ricky and Alex host well-known quilters every other week, is a subscription membership, but you can subscribe to their newsletter and get lots of tips, short videos and quilting news for free.
Here are a few of the wonderful quilts. There were also some fashions, The Hoffman Challenge and some dolls.

If you have never attended this show, you must do it sometime. The quilts are just magnificent.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Arrowhead Block Tutorial

The Arrowhead block is a very simple block to sew as long as you are careful to sew SCANT 1/4" seams, you cut accurately and you match seams carefully. This block finishes at 8 ½”. If you are making the scrappy version, layer two contrasting pieces of fabric, right sides together (RST), starch and press. Then cut an 8” square from the stack. Repeat with other scrap fabrics so you have sets of two 8” squares for each block. For the two-fabric version, layer the two contrasting fabrics RST, starch and press. Cut sets of two 8” squares for each block. Pin the stacks so the fabrics don’t shift. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Measure 2” down from the top right corner of one set of squares. Sew a SCANT ¼” seam down the right side, pivot ¼” from the bottom, and sew across the bottom to the end. Backstitch at the beginning of the stitching.

Turn the square so that the bottom of the square is now at the top. Measure 2” down from the raw edge at the top right corner of the square. Sew a second SCANT ¼” seam down the right side, pivot ¼” from the bottom, and sew across the bottom to the end.
Lay the square on your cutting mat as shown in the photo at right below, with the unsewn sections at the top right and lower left. Cut the square in half diagonally through the sewn corners. Be sure you do not cut through the unsewn corners.

Lay one of the sewn triangles on top of the other, with the sewn and raw edges matching. Wrong sides of the top fabric should be facing up in both triangles.

Cut a 2” strip along the left sewn side of the triangle. Without moving the pieces, cut another 2” strip from the other sewn side of the triangle. See photos above right and below right.
Open the sewn pieces and finger press the seam allowances. As you lay out and sew the pieces together, you may need to switch the direction of the seam allowances, so do not press with the iron yet.

Lay out the sewn pieces and the triangles as shown in the photo below left. Notice that opposite fabrics touch each other on all adjacent sides. Pinwheel the seam allowances of the small center 4-patch by removing the two or three stitches within the seam allowance at the seam intersection. See photo at right below.

The pieces are sewn back together on the diagonal. See photo at left below. Press seam allowances as shown in the photo at right below. Sew the three diagonally pieced sections together, matching seams. Press the seams as shown in the photo below right.

Photo below shows detail of seam allowance pressing directions.
You will notice that the outer edges of the block are uneven. That is how it should look. You will trim the edges after you sew all the blocks. Square up the blocks to 9” using the “true-up guide” to mark lines on your ruler (using narrow tape or a marker). The "true-up guide" is available in the book "Rotary Revolution." If you do not have access to the book, you can square up the block by marking off a 9" square on a square-up ruler. Then mark a diagonal line from corner to corner in both directions across the 9" square. Align the two diagonal lines across the center of the center 4-patch, with the corners of the 9" square aligned at the center of the four points at the corners of the block. Trim excess fabric away on all four sides.
When you sew the blocks together, you can sew them all with the same orientation or you can rotate alternate blocks 90 degrees.

Going to Road to California quilt show in Ontario tomorrow so will have loads of pictures to post in a couple of days. Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Patience Corner Block

This post is a tutorial on Anita Soloman's quick method of constructing the Patience Corner block. This block finishes at 9”. It is suggested that you starch your fabrics to reduce any distortion that might occur in the construction process.

Materials: For each block you will need a 7” square of a focus fabric and 1 framing strip, 2” x 34". Subcut the strip into 2 pieces, 2” x 7”, and 2 pieces, 2” x 10” (Photo #1 below. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.). There should be good contrast between the square and the strip. If you are making multiple blocks you could use a second framing fabric for alternate blocks so the pattern "pops" better. If you are using directional fabric for the focus square, be sure you keep the fabric oriented in the same direction for all the blocks.

Instructions: Sew two 7” strips to two opposite sides of a 7” square (P. #2). Use an accurate ¼” seam allowance. Press the seam allowances toward the strips. It should now measure 7” x 10”. Sew two 10” strips to the 10” sides of the unit. Press seam allowances toward the strips. It should now measure 10” square. (P. #3)

Cut the block in half vertically and again horizontally (1st photo below). You now have four pieces that are 5” square. Switch the piece in the upper right quadrant with the piece in the lower left quadrant, WITHOUT ROTATING THEM (see photos below). It should now look like the last photo in the group below.

Sew the 2 adjacent pieces together for each half of the block. (See photos below). Press the seam allowance toward the focus fabric. Sew the resulting 2 halves of the block together, matching and nesting the center seams. Press the final seam allowance open.

The block should be 9 1/2" at this point. When it is sewn into a quilt it will finish at 9". If your blocks are slightly different sizes, square them up on all four sides to the size of your smallest block. When you sew the blocks together be careful you do not rotate the blocks (unless you want to) so the "figure 8" tilts in the same direction. Hope you have fun with this block.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hiatus Over

It's not like I didn't have anything to write about for the last seven months. Like my trip to Alaska with my grandson this summer, or the San Diego Quilt Show in September or our great guild show in October. Not sure if it was being too busy to blog or just laziness or somewhere in between. I do know that I need to make it a habit to write here. Then it will automatically be in the front of my mind.

So I am back and plan to blog at least once a week. You can help keep me to that commitment by following and commenting!

We are at the beginning of a new year, so goals are in the forefront of many people's minds. Notice I didn't use the word, "resolutions." "Goals" just sounds better. Everyone should have goals. To find a job, save for college or a better place to live, or just to finish that quilt you started five years ago.

Here are my goals for 2012:
1. To finish one UFO a month.
2. To sew every day.
3. To tackle organizing my surroundings in small steps.
4. To blog here once a week!

To those ends I have sewn on three of the past five days, reorganized my kitchen and buffet drawers, and here I am blogging. Now I need to pick out a UFO to work on.

I am also taking a picture a day to archive small memories from the year. Here are some from the first five days. The first was a bread-making lesson from my friend Patty, an expert in the field, on New Year's Day. The second is 6 of the 14 log cabin blocks I sewed at our sew-in on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Below is beautiful Spring Valley on New Year's Day. My phone said it was 79 degrees.
On the 2nd I went to Weight Watchers at their nice new location in the Von's Shopping Center in Rancho San Diego. That's another goal--to lose some weight and get fit, or at least fitter. On the3rd I made a sample Patience Corner block for class, using Anita Soloman's shortcut method (coming in another post).

On the 4th our quilting mini-group, Stitch 'N Bitch Quilters, met for dinner. Here is our group, l-r Barbara, Donna, Anna, Agnes, Nancy & Patty.
On the 5th I did some organizing. This is the new tea basket with all my teas in one place.
That's it for today. Hope you all are having a fabulous 2012 so far.