Posts Tagged ‘Mics Attic Picks’

Tennessee Circles Quilt Block – Coloring Ideas & Quilts

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Just the name of this block makes me smile from ear to ear.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know that Tennessee is where we wish to retire. Someday the dream is to find us at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. It all began when I visited the area a few years back to teach at the Pigeon Forge Quilt Show.  I  came home and told Paul that he must visit this area with me. I knew he would love it as much as I did. We went back less than a year later and both were smitten. Every year we count the days to our next visit. We move around in our cabin choices so we can experience different views, proximity to town(s) etc. We are even beginning to move the timing of our trips around the calendar to experience different seasons. Some day soon we will buy that house and begin the big move.


When I chose this quilt for #2 in my Mic’s Attic Pics series I didn’t know the name yet of the block. I just new I loved this top when I purchased it years ago and I wanted to play more with the secondary patterns it could make. When I researched the name of the block and found it to be Tennessee Circles it was kismet.

I was originally drawn to the quilt top makers placement of the bubble gum pink in the blocks and the pattern it made while also holding together the scrappy blocks of her quilt.

By using the technology available to use today I am able to easily play with color placement and secondary pattern of this block.
Here would be what I would deem the traditional coloring of this block.

 

And here is it set side by side with no sashing. Can you see the secondary pattern. The gentle round circles even with no play in coloring. I love it.

 

Now let’s play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional block.

And what if we colored it this way?

 

Look what happens with 4 blocks are set side by side with a twist of each block so that the unique corner meets in the center. Oh yeah…this would be very fun!

 

 

And then I play some more, this time setting the block on point and playing with accenting the circles to determine the quilt center and border without piecing any other blocks but Tennessee Circles. You know I love my one block quilts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then again what if we mixed Tennessee Circles with Carolina Favorite? 

Yes this would make a beautiful quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I have only made a few blocks, changing up coloring and playing with many different fabric genres I can envision them in the settings I just shared. Especially that combo of Tennessee Circles and Carolina Favorite…that one may have to happen.

If you would like to give a Tennessee Circles Quilt Block a try you can find BOTH Hand Piecing Acrylic Templates and English Paper Piecing materials in my webstore under the NEW category. You can click here for an immediate link. There is special pricing good until October 10, 2018 with shipping of product to begin on October 12th.

Note items will be shipped in the order received so it may take a few days after the 12th to see “shipped” on your status the longer you wait.

 

If you would rather support your local quilt shop, and I am all for that! Please let them know about the templates and ask them to contact me and I will provide them with the links to make a wholesale order. I am really hoping to get more shops interested in carrying hand piecing items. There are MANY quilters who love the zen of piecing by hand along with sewing on their machines, all we have to do is ask out shops and they will discover this too.

I am also writing the “how-to” blogs this week for this block and they are going to begin the week of Oct 22nd.

Have a great day,

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, 

 

How-To Blog #3 – Carolina Favorite Quilt Block

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Let’s finish the block!

You should have four of each of the “Half Square Units” shown in the picture to the left.

 

Sew them into squares down the center “half square” seam line. I always start from the outer corner and sew towards what will be come the center of the block. You will have two roundabout intersections (see detailed instructions for this technique here).

After sewing this seam a total of  four times, you will have four quarters of your block completed. YAY! Truly the hard stuff is done. The next three seams are all straight seams.

                                                                                  Layout the blocks as indicated in the picture.

Sew the vertical seam between the top two squares, and the same seam between the bottom two squares, to form two rectangle halves of the block.

 

One LONG straight seam to go!

Right down the middle. The most difficult part of this last seam is that you are starting and ending with a Roundabout. There are a total of 7 of them. Don’t worry you got this. Just go slow. Before you know it you will be at the center and then it’s coasting to the other end for the finish!

 

YAY! Look at that! The block is finished.

Now regarding pressing the block. I did a Facebook LIVE segment all about pressing this block yesterday.

Head over to my facebook page – MDQuilts and take a look at it. I will have it pinned to the top of the page for the next few days.
Eventually several if not all the Facebook LIVE How-to segments will also be available on a special page on this website. Working on creating that now. When it is done I will give you a heads up in a blog/facebook post.

I hope you enjoyed making your first of what will be many Carolina Favorite Quilt blocks. I would love to see yours so please feel free to post them on either the Piece & Hexiness Facebook Page. That is the easiest page for everyone to see them immediately. Otherwise if you post them to the MDQuilts page I have go thru an acceptance and sharing task to get them to public view (it is a first generation professional page that has it own special set of rules…ugg)
And if you haven’t joined in the Carolina Favorite fun you can click below and I will get a set of templates out to you pronto!

Piece & Hexiness,

How-To Blog #2 – Carolina Favorite Quilt Block

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Are you ready to piece?

The Carolina Favorite block is actually just an elaborate four patch block. Meaning it is composed of 4 alike units (pieced squares) that are slightly oriented differently around the center. This means everything we cover in today’s blog you will need to repeat a total of four times for the entire block.

I am going to follow the piecing sequence I provided in your instructions that came with the templates. When I write block piecing instructions I first look for any combination of seams that could be sewn in thread length. As a handpiecer it is best to sew as much as possible before knotting off and starting again. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you wish to look at it there are no long combo lengths of sewing that can be done on this block. So things will be strictly one seam and  start anew for all that is going to be covered in today’s blog.

This is what makes this very complicated looking block actually very easy to hand piece. So see that is the fortunate part. It just may take a few minutes longer then if you could sew a long a winding path combining several pieces together in one thread length. That is the unfortunate part.
First up you will want to sew Piece C to D. Now here is the magic of my pinning method. Normally if we were machine piecing we line up our edges and let whatever tool we have on our machines help guide us to the perfect quarter inch. And for many that is how they have tackled hand piecing in the past.

I want you to ignore the cut edge of your pieces and use the drawn inner line to line things up. And this is how you are going to do that.

Using any pin that is at least an inch in length poke the pin straight thru the corner of piece C and also the corresponding corner of piece D. Your pieces will be right sides together. Normally I would just poke straight thru and push the pin down to the head and leave the pin dangle. That works on a straight line of sewing. But this is a gentle curve so I do bring the pin back to the front as you see in the picture, back thru piece D and then C to just hold it in place.


Now do the same on the opposite end of your seam.

Next you will want to use the finest pins you have available to you. I use Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Pins for my hand piecing, you can find them in my store or check your local quilt shop. Remember no shop can truly carry everything but most put in weekly orders for supplies and if your willing to wait a bit I am sure they will be happy to order them for you. We must support our shops! (in fact please them about my templates because they are available for wholesale orders for shops!)

You are going to gently maneuver the edge of piece C until it looks to be about right, and then pin directly on the drawn line. You will check where the pin falls on piece D and make any corrections you need to so that it also falls on the line.

These pins are short and so two are needed. I actually would like you to use two pins regardless of the length you have as it will make it easier when you are sewing. Repeat this process with a second pin. Use my picture as a guide.

 

Right now your piecing should look a little like a porcupine. That is normal. Now load up your needle with 18-22” of thread single strand, knot one end. I like Aurfil Mako 50wt. Be good to yourself and use a good quality thread when hand piecing. It will make a world of difference in your experience. The needles I use are Hemmings Milliners size 11. The milliners needle is going to be a tad bit longer then a sharp but not as long as a straw needle. If you are more comfortable with either of those needles then use them. I have had students use quilting betweens because they were comfortable working with that length of needle. Use whatever helps you be successful.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT! You are not, I repeat NOT going to sew directly on the drawn line that you pinned on. You are going to sew a thread or two above that line, or a scant quarter of an inch. This will compensate for the thickness of your marking pen and the fact that no one/thing can get a line drawn beneath the inner edge of the template. This is also why you want to make sure whatever you are marking with does not show on the front of your fabric.

I begin with a backstitch slightly above and one or two threads to the right of the first orientation pin. You will want to remove this pin at this time but keep a firm hold on your pieces to keep them in place until you can get a few stitches made. It is a running stitch that is used in hand piecing with a back stitch every 3-4 stitches is my style. If you stitches are longish at this time, based on your skill set (note they will get smaller and you will get faster the more you stitch) you may wish to bump up your backstitch to every other stitch. Basically you want a backstitch in every quarter inch of stitching.

 

Since I am using very fine pins I can actually leave them in and stitch past them, I am hovering above them. This is a great reminder to stay off the line! Stitch across following the gentle curve until you reach the opposite orientation pin. End as you began, a thread or two into the left hand side seam allowance and always end with a backstitch.

Knot.

Clip you thread.

VOILA! You first seam is done!

Since this is a curved seam you will need to clip some ease into the seam. Three or Four snips about slightly over half the width of the seam allowance should do it. Open and finger press. Look how nice that curve is.

You did it! Be proud!

 

 

 

Ok on to the next piece. No resting. Your fingers are warmed up.

 

 

Pin your seam following my image as a guide.

 

 

Don’t catch the seam allowance of the intersecting seam in any of your pins.

 

 

It needs to be free to allow you to make the roundabout move (RED CIRCLE in illustration) . This move is what will make all your points nice and sharp in the block and no pin holes at your intersections.

You have a page of general instructions included in your templates and I have been and will continue to demo the roundabout move on Facebook LIVE for the next week or so. I am going to dock one of those instructional videos onto a special page on my website so it will available to you for viewing whenever you need a refresher very soon.

 

Sew this seam. Make your easing clips. Finger press.

The final part of making this unit, UNIT 1, is adding piece A. You will see in my next image I lost my mind and actually added it to UNIT 2 (which is the mirror image of UNIT 1). It really doesn’t matter which unit you put A on just make sure 4 of them are sewn to one or the other.

 

 

Get yourself to this point where you have 8 “halves” totally, 4 left and 4 right, with the A piece sewn somewhere and we will tackle the rest of the block in Sunday’s blog post.

Piece & Hexiness,

How-To Blog #1 – Carolina Favorite Quilt Block

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

It’s finally time to get to the “HOW-TO” blogs for the Carolina Favorite block. I am loving seeing the excitement of receiving the templates and some who are experienced hand piecers are already posting block for all to see on the Facebook page – Piece & Hexiness. That is the group page that acts like an open forum in connection to my professional page of MDQuilts. By joining the Piece & Hexiness page you can partake in the posting there. And when you do so ALL can see your posts vs waiting for me to share them on the MDQuilts page. Here is a link to the Piece & Hexiness page.

Let’s get on to the block.

This is a 4 piece template set. Three of the templates, B, C, & D, will be used also in reverse position. A template is right side up if the wording on it can be read. You will have a brown backing paper adhered to your template. That is left on for shipping purposes and you can remove it if you would like. But I have found most people like the paper left on the template as it provides a crisper edge to see when marking on light fabrics and easier to orientate between right side and reverse. There is no correct decision regarding the paper. The choice is yours.

These are the marking tools I use. Either some form of pencil, traditional #2 or a mechanical pencil, or a gel pen. I like the Sakura opaque white pencil for use on dark colored fabrics or any other fun color that shows up. ALWAYS test your gel pen on a scrap of the chosen fabric. There are several factors that can be detrimental to your success. As we all know not all cotton fabric is of the same caliber and a loosely woven fabric will have allow the gel ink to seep thru to the front making it visible. And the longer you use a gel pen most tend to bleed out their ink faster. It has to do with the warmth of your hands. So if your going to spend a day marking and kitting up blocks please keep this in mind. I tend to used 2-3 different pens on that day and change them out. I have also found a quick pop in the freezer (5mins!) tends to slow them down for use.
Once you have chosen all your fabrics and how you wish to have them appear in the block (see my previous blog here about coloring options) go ahead and trace the required number of each piece on the BACKSIDE of the chosen fabric. When tracing be sure to angle your marking pen/pencil so that you get as close to the edge of both the inside and outside. If you wobble a bit on the outside edge don’t fret it but try to keep that inside line as clean as you can. And make sure you get your corners clearly marked. That inside line is the more important line. It will all makes sense tomorrow when I go over pinning.

 

 

Cut out your pieces, again don’t worry if you wobble a little but do try to give yourself the full ¼ seam allowance to avoid any fraying of your fabric as you handle it.

 

 

 

Once you have everything cut out I always lay my block out to check my piece count, my fabric placement and then I take a picture of the block for future reference.

I usually kit up several blocks at a time and work on them over a several weeks, sometimes months, so having a reference photo in my phone is helpful. Especially when I am piecing on the go and cant have the block in front of me.

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in joining in learning how to hand piece you can order your set of Carolina Favorite Acrylic Templates right here!

That’s it for today.
New blog on Friday –  we pin and sew!

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,