Archive for the ‘Hand Piecing’ Category

How-To Blog #2 – Little Boy Britches Quilt Block

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Ready to finish your first Little Boy Britches quilt block?   This quilt block sews up so fast that just two “How-to Blogs” are really all that are needed.   Just imagine how quickly enough blocks for an entire quilt would sew up.  And I make no secret about the fact that while I love to hand piece quilt blocks, I have no desire to sew them together in row or sew rows together by hand.  Nope, I will piece the blocks by hand, grabbing snippets of time here and there throughout a busy day, or settling in with a movie at night, but when it comes to long straight seams I head to my machine.

And a lot of times an entire pieced border is sewn my machine and added.   It is hand piecing the blocks that gives me great joy and zen time.   So I am not a “purist” regarding an entire quilt being sewn by hand.  But I am good with that.  

Let’s get started.  

The next piece to sew is the corner squares (piece B) to the edges of the A/Ar unit just completed.  “

If your corner square (piece B) is to large this means that more than likely you sewed the wrong edges of A and Ar together in your first piecing.  Go back and check.  The smallest edge of the A/Ar units make the center seam.  The middle length edge is what will touch the edges of the square (piece B).

Pin the square into place on both edges and begin to sew your seam.   When you reach the opposite edge of your fist side you will encounter your first ROUNDABOUT in this block.   I am going to link a previous blog here that covers the roundabout technique in detail.   It is very simple and is the trick to making crisp points and corners, with no pin holes, in your block.   Just work your needle and thread thru two pieces of fabric at a time in a clockwise direction until you have gone around the entire intersection.  Then make a back stitch and begin sewing your next seam.   Repeat this three times.

One thing to note is I don’t usually press any hand pieced block until the end unless I find it will help in the sewing construction.  This is because my hand piecing is usually done away from an iron and blocks are constantly shoved back into small carry along containers/bags so pressing would be wasted energy.   But if you wish to press as you sew along please feel free to.  I will only give instructions to press when it helps in construction.

Next seams to sew are the triangles to the sides two of the pieced A/Ar/B units just completed.   If you have a color/texture pattern in your block you will want to make sure these triangles are sewn to A/Ar/B units that are opposite one another in the block.

And the remaining A/Ar/B units to opposite sides of the center B square.    These are all straight line seams, no roundabouts, just short seams.   Another reason why this block is so fast to sew.

Down to the final two seams.  And these may take a bit of concentration when you reach the center area because there are THREE roundabouts. 

And yes make the effort to do all three.  You may think the center one can just be skipped and sewn over as if you are machine piecing,  but your there and it will make the seam a bit flatter when pressing so do the roundabout.   It’s like veggies, you may not like them at meal time but they are good for you.

Viola! Your block is done!

I hope you enjoyed making your first Little Boy Britches block.  If you have any questions please free free to post them here or join me for the Facebook LIVE presentation at 11am central time on the MDQuilts page tomorrow.  I will sew a few seams live on camera, talking you thru a few more and will answer questions.

If you would like to order a set of Little Boy Britches hand piecing templates you can find them here in my webstore.  And note that all designs under the Mic’s Attic Pick’s series of blocks are available in hand piecing and English Paper Piecing format.

The next block in the series will be revealed on Friday, April 26th and preordering will be available with shipping happening as always the 2nd Friday of the following month.

Enjoy your day,



How-To Blog #1 – Little Boy Britches Quilt Block

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Let’s start to handpiece a Little Boy Britches block today.

These are the ¼” windowed acrylic templates for the block.   I am going to link the first how-to blog for the Carolina Favorite (August 2018 release) here.   The instructions given in this blog will cover using the templates to mark your fabrics, filled with tips regarding marking tools used, etc.

I am going to make a scrappy blue block.   Note: the templates shown in the picture are in a hard plastic case.  Those cases were no longer available to my manufacturer at the time of release of these template sets.  

A supplier of hard cases was located and an order of them are on their way as I type.  Problem is they are coming from overseas.  And that takes time.  

This household is learning that given Paul Jr’s boxes of personal items was a at his overseas shipping company on January 23rd and as of this posting he still has not received his items in Sweden.  Last he heard the boxes were in Germany and would be there soon….two weeks ago.  Define soon.   Not two weeks. 

As soon as the new hard cases are in stock I will be selling them in units of three (not absolute on the number right now) for anyone interested in obtaining them for past block sets.

Onward!

As you can see by this diagram, taken from the instructions included in each set of templates.  The A template is used in reverse in this design. 

Be sure to note that the two shorter sides of the A templates are NOT the same length.  There is definitely a correct orientation to the shape. The shorter side, marked with MDQuilts.com, is the center seam of the britches.  The longer side, marked with Unit A/Ar,  is the side that matches up to the corner square, piece B.   

Make sure you remember to flip the template over when marking for the Ar pieces!

I always cut and lay out all my block pieces to make sure I am happy with my choices and orientation before I begin to sew.

The first seam sewn is the center seam that joins piece A/Ar.  I am again linking a previous blog here that covers all the tips and tricks for lining up your pieces and sewing them together.

Let’s Sew!

Repeat this for the remaining 3 sets of A/Ar pieces and join me on Friday for sewing the rest of the block together in a how-to blog.

Tomorrow I will go LIVE on Facebook at 11am central time.  This LIVE will cover marking your fabric pieces, cutting them out, and sewing your first seams.  

The LIVE segments for each and every block released under the Mic’s Attic Picks series are hosted on the MDQuilts Facebook page and easily found by clicking the videos tab there.

If you have any questions please feel free to post them here and I can cover them in tomorrow’s LIVE segment and reply here if they are posted after that event.

Happy Sewing,

Introducing – Little Boy Britches Quilt Block

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

So you may of noticed there was no block release at the end of January in the Mic’s Attic Picks series. That is because I decided to shift the block releases to the ODD months of the year vs the even months. This schedule will be much easier with holiday’s, quilt community events, and honestly it worked out well with our son’s moving to Sweden adventure!

After a 4 week delay now…he is all good with the Swedish government and has been issued a work permit so he is off to Stockholm on Sunday. YAY!

But now let’s talk about the next block to be released. It is Little Boy Britches! Or Boy Britches, Little Boy Breeches, and even Lil’ Boy Britches/Breeches. I decided to use Little Boy Britches. This block is accredited to KC Star with a release sometime in the 1930s. Which is most definitely the time period for the antique quilt top in my collection that inspired this release.

We are back to 12″ finished size. Hand Piecing templates AND English Paper Piecing papers/templates are available. Shipping for the product(s) is March 8th.

Place your pre-order now and received FREE SHIPPING*. This pre-order special will expire on March 2nd at 11:59pm CST.

*Free Shipping is for Domestic US orders only. If you are outside the US I will send an invoice for shipping after your order is placed.

Looks like How-to Facebook Live events and blogs will post the week of March 18th for Little Boy Britches. This is such an easy block, I say it is great for beginners but with some play in coloration it will keep intermediate and experienced piecers intrigued.

Here are the links to the product or head to the store page and check the NEW category here!

I’ll be back next week with a blog to share some coloring/setting ideas I have for this block. First, I need to get dear son out of the country and then I suspect I may sleep most of Monday away. I have been living life in multiple “time zones” for weeks…this girl needs sleep….lol.

Enjoy your day,

How-To Blog #3 – Stars of Twilight Quilt Block

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Yay! Final How-To Part for the Stars of Twilight Quilt Block. This means you can kit up some blocks hopefully for yourself to retreat to and enjoy piecing after the fun and festivities of the upcoming holidays!

Let’s get started. We are on step #6 if you are following along with the instructions included in your Stars of Twilight Acrylic Template set.

It’s time to sew in Piece C (center) to one of the previous multi-piece units made in the last step. Now there are going to be a lot of roundabouts in this step. Don’t bypass any of them as they are important.

It’s time to sew in Piece C (center) to one of the previous multi-piece units made in the last step. Now there are going to be a lot of roundabouts in this step. Don’t bypass any of them as they are important.

Step #7 is a slightly longer seam that will bring both halves together as one unit.

Step #8 has you sewing in the final two four patches in the spaces created for them. Be sure to have them oriented correctly to match your other four patches. Trust me on this one…double check. Ask me how I know to make sure.

Ok we are in the homestretch now but it is very important not to loose focus. Make sure to read all the way thru this blog to avoid one easy “trip” as I call it.

First you need to piece 4 A/A units as shown in this picture.

Now here is where the tricky part comes in.

I have placed a pin in my center unit to help you see the orientation situation in each picture. Honestly either format is right for the block, it doesn’t change the end size. But it does change the look and lining up of pieces so if you choose to make your blocks using one center format (stay with me this will make sense in two more pictures) I would keep it the same for the entire quilt……or not…this certainly opens up some more design options.

Look at where

Look at where the pin is, the 12 o’clock position and the A/A units are place on each corner. The center C piece, brown square, is presenting itself SQUARE in the middle of the block.

Now look at the pin, located at the 2 o’clock postion. Just one twist of a four patch unit to the right…and the center piece C, the brown square, is now presenting itself as ON POINT.

So choose your orientation and be sure to be layout the corner A/A “brackets” in front you before piecing your first one to the block center. You can piece all four A/A brackets continuous around the block center. You should not be able to do it with one strand of thread (if so your thread is way to long and should be shortened in your needle to approx. 18-22 inches).

Pressing on this block can be individually decided but I tend to press one set of the B or Br pieces (which ever is lighter in color) flat. Meaning their seams fall into the other pieces. With the exception of the edge around the center square. The center square unit is also pressed flat with no seams towards it. The piece is to small and to many seams behind it will make it bulky and puffy in your quilt. Then let the block dictate what needs to go were in regards to seams from that point on, whether this is determined by how things naturally lay down or color shadowing behind the block.

Viola! A finished Stars of Twilight Quilt Block. And at 16″ it covers a lot of ground quickly in quilt making. Just 16 blocks, set 4 x 4 with some simple sashing (2″) and an 8″ border will make a 88″ square quilt.

I can’t wait to see the Stars of Twilight blocks start to appear online. Please be sure to share them either with me on the MDQuilts facebook page or the Piece & Hexiness facebook page. The later page is my “open quilt guild” type of page where you can share any and all your quilting projects or questions with one another. You are asked to join, this has kept that group troll free for years online, but you are not limited to just discussing my patterns, blocks etc. It’s your group….enjoy and share all you want.

If you would like to purchase a set of Stars of Twilight Acrylic Templates for hand piecing you can do so by clicking here and heading to the NEW category in my store or by searching Stars of Twilight I the store search engine. You will also find all the other blocks in the Mic’s Attic Picks series and several others.

And as always please feel free to contact me via email, or a message from Facebook or Instagram with any questions you may have. Note if you are looking for a lengthy replay I ask that you email me as it is much easier to answer via that format then the others.

Watch for the Facebook Live sessions for piecing this block to begin after January 1st. A bit delayed from the unusual format but I am sure you understand. If you are stuck and really want to do some piecing over the holidays don’t be afraid to send an email/message. I may not get to it immediately but I will get to it.

Enjoy your day,

How-To Blog #2 – Stars of Twilight Quilt Block

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Time for part #2 of the How-To series of blogs for the Stars of Twilight Quilt Block. 

Let’s start today’s How-To blog with the simple sewing together of a B/Br Unit.   

Place pieces B and Br on top of one another with right sides facing.   I place a pin (white)  at the beginning and end of each seam.  This pin is stuck thru both fabrics perpendicular lining up corners.  Then using Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Pins (which really are perfect for hand piecing) I pin thru both pieces of fabric directly on the drawn line. 


Start your line of sewing a thread or two outside the corner point towards the seam allowance.   In order to get back the thread or two in width lost when tracing (pen/pencil lines add width) you should sew your block together using the drawn lines as guides.  And sew hovering above the drawn lines.  Think of it as hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch.   NOTE: you never sew fabric edge to fabric edge in hand piecing as you would in machine piecing.  

sew your seam hovering above your drawn line

One done – repeat three times! 

Now join a B/Br unit to another B/Br unit as shown in the picture – twice.

The final step in today’s blog is to sew three 4 patch units to each of the B/Br/B/Br units just completed.   This will involve the Roundabout Technique in the convex  AND concave corners.  By doing this you will obtain nice crisp intersections.  

This is where we are ending for today.  You will need two units exactly like this finished before Friday’s blog to follow along.  

If your intrigued and what to join in on the Stars of Twilight fun you can find templates for hand piecing and papers for English Paper Piecing  (and EPP templates) in my store by clicking here.   Or just click the product link below and head to the NEW category in the store for everything mentioned. 

Enjoy the day and see you on Friday for the final part of this “How-to” series, 

How- To Blog #1 – Stars of Twilight Quilt Block

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Yay! The templates are on their way and some have even reported receiving them already! 

Stars of Twilight template set & my fabrics

Paper Pieces/Quilt Exchange which is the manufacturer of my templates did it again with being able to fulfill all orders and get them out the door a day prior to the stated December 14th date.  A round of applause to them! 

 

The format of announcing the block and taking pre-orders gives them the manufacturing cushion to make this happen so it is a format we will keep for the new year.

Yes more blocks will be released in 2019!   I have 6 more designs on the horizon…and maybe a surprise or two. 

But today let’s begin to tackle the Stars of Twilight block and it’s construction.  As before I am not going to tackle tracing instruments (pens, gel and chalk) and the actual tracing guidelines.  Those instructions were covered in depth here in the first how-to blog for Carolina Favorite.  I will touch on them in the Facebook LIVE segments that will begin the first week of January but you can also look back at other Facebook Lives for that info.  I suggest the first how-to’s for Carolina Favorite LIVE segments from August.   You can find them under the videos tab on my MDQuilts Facebook page. 

Ok let’s look at the templates.  Just three shapes in this block.   A square (c), a petal shape (B) and a trapezoid (c).   It’s the trapezoid shape that looks different from trapezoids of the past, ie Castle Wall Quilt block.  This trapezoid is only half it’s size needed with a thicker edge in the center.  It is what I have named a HINGED Template.   And the name says it all.   When picking out blocks, and knowing this would be a larger size at 16″ vs the 12″ of the previous blocks I knew we would have to address the size of the trapezoid template.  It needed to be smaller for several factors, fragility (the larger they are the easier to break in shipping), wanted the templates to fit in the plastic case, and cost, less acrylic used the end price reflects that savings. 

How to use Hinge Templates instructions included with templates

Cut out all your pieces and lay them out in front you checking orientation of the four patch fabrics.   Keep in mind that half your template B pieces will be the reverse of the template (Br) , meaning you will flip the template over and trace with the words that are engraved on template itself touching the backside of the fabric.   And check back in my previous blog on coloring the Stars of Twilight block for some ideas. 

I am going to end today’s blog with making of the EIGHT four patches in the block.   I know some will say why hand piece a four patch?  Well because it is needed in this block and there is nothing wrong with hand piecing a four patch.  They sew up so quickly they are almost instant gratification.   You hand piece them just as you would on a machine with the exception that you don’t sew thru seam allowances to the edge with hand piecing. 

  

Four Patch Unit – make 8

This fact plus using the ROUNDABOUT technique in the center will give you a nice crisp intersection.    Again I will LIVE demo that technique after the holidays on Facebook but you can catch it on previous videos and the written instructions enclosed with your templates.  They actually use a four patch as the general unit in the instructions so very easy to follow along and learn.

Ok that is all for now.   Choose and cut your fabrics and get the four patches done.   On Wednesday  I will tackle steps 3-5 of the Stars of Twilight Quilt Block.  

If you are interested in joining in the fun you can place an order for either the Hand Piecing Templates discussed in the blog or English Paper Piecing packs and EPP specific templates from my webstore here.   Just head to the NEW category and you will find all thing Stars of Twilight there at this time. 

See you Wednesday, 

Introducing – Stars of Twilight Quilt Block

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

Yes it is that time again! A new Mic’s Attic Picks block release.

Several years ago this quilt was found during a trip to a flea market in Wisconsin.  I spotted it and new I had to have it.  The use of yellow as the prominent color in the quilt and lavender as the secondary just called my name as I love this color combo.  It ticks all my 30’s Girl Fan boxes.

The quilt was marked $225 and I remember I talked down the seller to $175. My entire “quilt budget” for that day at the flea market. I didn’t care. The quilt was mine. A very rare purchase for me, a finished quilt. Not a top, not a stack of blocks…a quilt. I think I smiled all the way to the jeep and then home. The yellow and lavender quilt was safely tucked into my shelves of my collection. Someday I envisioned it on a bed for a granddaughter. (I can now hear the rolling of eyes by Fric ‘n Frac -those are my soon to be 28 yr. old twins for new blog readers)

I have heard the request for a larger block, with larger pieces,and no curves.  A block that I would consider very easy for a beginner. This 16” block checks off all the requests and provides many coloring/design opportunities making it also very exciting for all skill levels. 

The following information about the block is provided by the Encyclopedia of Pieced Block Patterns by Barbara Brackman.

The historical name given to the block is Stars of Twilight by Home Art Studios.
Home Art Studios – A mail order pattern source from Des Moines founded by H. VerMehren. Patterns appeared under the names Nancy Lee, Colonial Quilts, Bettina, Hope Winslow and others in periodicals during the 1930s.


Stars of Twilight is available in Hand Piecing Templates and English Paper Piecing papers and templates. There will be several information filled blogs over the next week or so and then the “How To” blogs covering hand piecing will begin on Monday, December 17.

 

The Hand Piecing templates/EPP papers/EPP templates are all available for pre-order at this time with FREE SHIPPING. The Pre-Order special will expire on December 10th with the first wave of templates shipping out on December 14th. Place your order early to get into the first wave of shipping and have them in time for Christmas. You can find everything in the NEW category in my store or type Stars of Twilight in the store search engine.

Due to Christmas the Facebook LIVE segments for this block won’t happen until after December 25th.

And by the way Happy December!  I can hardly believe it is December already…my this year has flown by. 

Watch for another blog on Stars of Twilight in a few days!

 

October’s Attic Pick Block is….

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

SURPRISE!   I woke up this morning and thought why wait to release when wi-fi and time (very early morning flight home on Sunday) may be a stumbling block to a easy Sunday morning release.    So YAY! for a Thursday release!

 

…introducing the newest block in the Mic’s Attic Picks series 

                         TENNESSEE CIRCLES QUILT BLOCK 

Oh I have loved this block and it’s spectacular secondary patterns for many moons.    This top has been in my collection for many decades and I am so happy to share it. 

 

The name Tennessee Circles was given to the block in 1931 when it was published in a Prairie Farmer periodical.  This periodical was published out of Chicago and sold mail order patterns.  This pattern appeared in issue #1. 

The hand piecing templates and English Paper Piecing papers are now available for pre-order.   Shipping of the product will begin on October 12, 2018.   You can order up to October 10th at the pre-order special on the templates but they are shipped in order of receipt so if you wish to have them early place your pre-order early.   FREE SHIPPING is standard on the Hand Piecing Templates and some of the packages of EPP papers. 

All domestic order of $25 or more on any combination of hand piecing/EPP products from my webstore is FREE SHIPPING, $75+ for International orders.   If shipping is charged – I had to keep shipping on some items in the store – please note it will be returned as soon as the order is processed on my end. 

If your order includes items other than hand piecing templates and/or EPP papers/templates shipping will be charged for those items (first class shipping is always an option). 

I will post a blog or two next week sharing some coloring ideas and quilt designs for this block.   And the standard “How-T0” blogs and Facebook LIVE posts will happen beginning approximately Oct 19th.   I am in a heavy travel time on my calendar but this will allow everyone who preorders to have their templates in hand and ready to follow along. 

You can find the Hand Piecing Templates here in my store.   And the English Paper Piecing items here

OR just go to the store and check the NEW category! 

 

Ok, that’s all for now,

Have a great day, 

 

Carolina Favorite Quilt Block – Quilt Ideas

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Let me go on record with the statement that I am a fast handpiecer. Speed comes with years of practice. It is like anything else in life, the more you do it, the more accurate you become and speed picks up.

BUT…there is no way I can ever make a quilt of each block I intend to share with you in the next few years, let alone 3 or 4 showing different layout and coloring ideas.

This is where my computer and skill with programs such as EQ8 and Adobe Illustrator allow me to bring to you some visual images and then send you on your way with ideas sparking inside your head.

Here are some easy quilt designs I came up with for the Carolina Favorite block.

 

1. SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE. That is what this layout is. Just side by side rows of the block sans sashing. I colored this image as 2 color but I think this would be a great layout for scrappy Carolina Favorite blocks.

 

 

 

 

 

2. The same simple layout with a thin sashing and cornerstones. Add some fancy coloring of the D pieces (see previous blog for block lettering) and sashing/cornerstones to make a soft textured secondary design in the background.

 

 

3. On point and colored to resemble flowers. YES! I say. This may actually happen someday in my studio. Note the two-toned D pieces again for depth.

 

 

 

 

4. On point again but this time different values of background are used to draw attention to the center blocks. A strong color (black in the image) used on every other A piece gives the block a twirling movement.

So there you have it. I hope some of the ideas in this blog and yesterday’s have you thinking …hmmm…I really like this block and I think I can do this! Because let me tell you I know you can. I have taught hand piecing to hundreds if not a few thousand, over the last 5 years and I haven’t lost a student yet. And this block truly is much easier then it looks as the curves are quite gentle.

I may toss up another blog during the week showing the final two sample blocks and keep an eye on August 15th for the start of the “How-to Piece” blogs.

Don’t forget the pre-order special on the templates ends at midnight on August 7th. You can find all the details and place your order by clicking here.

Enjoy your day!

Piece & Hexiness,

Carolina Favorite Quilt Block – Coloring Options

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

I think part of my attraction to the Carolina Favorite Quilt Block is the various coloring options that I see when I look at it. I realize that this is not something everyone can easily do.

So I was also excited when I wrote out an outline for myself on presenting these “Mic’s Attic Picks” blocks that numerous sample blocks would happen. I can play and provide what I hope to be jumping off points for your own creativity.

So let’s get started.

Here is the block as it was done by the maker of my vintage top. Very traditional two color/fabric palette. Simple and yet so very effective for this design.

 

 

My version using Civil War prints. Obviously the most important guideline with making a 2 color version is to have high contrast between your choices.  Both in color and scale of print. 

 

 

 

I want to share with you one of the graphics in the instructions you will receive with your template set. I have labeled each piece with it’s corresponding template letter. A small “r” behind the letter means the template is reversed for this piece. Having this key will help with descriptions of coloring on the next samples.

 

You can also see that this block is composed of 4 sections. And the sections are basically two units that mirror one another with the addition of a piece A on one unit. Now I hope you are seeing just how easy this block truly is to piece. And wait to we get the blogs showing the process with all the tips and tricks I have for you on that. (remember August 15th – How To Blogs will begin to post)

Here are four more samples I have made of Carolina Favorite

1 & 2. In these samples I decided to use the same fabric in piece A (center) and the same fabric in B & Br. Stay away from using directional prints in A when using this coloring variation (unless you are going to take the time fussy cut those pieces for a unique look). Using a fabric that melds with itself presents a nice look where the seams disappear and don’t distract. This coloring variation allows a larger print (sample 1) to be used in the B/Br pieces effectively. There is enough exposure that a large print does not lose impact of design. Choosing one fabric for C and one for Cr. gives some dimension/depth to the block as they appear to be coming from behind. The A and B areas can feel a bit “flat” when colored with one fabric each, using two fabrics in C/Cr gives dimension and life to the design I feel.

3. I made one subtle change on this block in that I brought my fabric choices for C/Cr to the center A pieces. Strong bold choices make the repetitive coloring very appealing. Note that my B/Br pieces are a softer fabric in print, a floral, even though it is still bold in coloring. That is also very attractive to the eye in any block, mixing soft prints with strong graphic prints.

4. This is the same coloring style as 1 & 2 but done in solids. This is the block you will see me making in in the How-To blogs. I like to use solids for teaching as they are easier to see and identify. I will also make a few more solid blocks during the Facebook Live segments so you can actually see the sewing and tips as I do them. Plus then these solid blocks will be the samples sent to guilds/shops who may wish to book the workshop.

Ok…that’s it for now. I do have two more samples I am making showing two more variations of coloring. I will post a blog on them later this month. But if you have been following me on Facebook this week you have already seen one being made!

You can order your set of Carolina Favorite templates here in my webstore.  Be sure to read about the pre-order special there that is available until August 7th. 

…tomorrow I will share some simple yet exciting ideas for block layout in a quilt.

Piece & Hexiness,