Posts Tagged ‘zen sewing’

Stars of Twilight Block – Coloring and Settings Options

Friday, December 7th, 2018

It’s time to play a bit with the Stars of Twilight Block. This 16” block is very simple in it’s design (and construction) but is full of coloring variations.

Let’s take a look at a few. Take note that I kept the center bloom petals as I call them in the same 2 alternating colors in each of the next three blocks and just concentrated on playing with coloring the four-patches and background.

 

 

This first coloring is what I would call the traditional coloring with the four patch blocks composed of 2 colors and the background is all the same color. By positioning the darker color of the four patches as shown a gentle ring happens around the center petals and give a nice soft secondary pattern.

 

 

 

 

This next coloring uses 3 colors in the four-patch units and moves the darkest color into the position closest to the center, a medium color is given 2 spots in the four-patch and the final spot is the lightest color directly across from the darkest color. This coloring plays up the twinkle effect that of the star. And a second color is brought into the background which really give the block some depth.

 

 

 

This final block goes back to using 2 colors for the four-patches, but in 2 different combinations. And the dark color is positioned radiating out from the center in both color combinations. The background also uses two colors but instead of alternating around the block they are grouped together in corners for a unique look.

 

 

 

 

Now let’s look at this block in a quilt setting.

All of a sudden this very traditional block has a modern and unique look when twisted so that the block background has a zig-zag look. I placed thin sashing between the blocks as I felt then needed to be separated a bit or it was looking a bit mushy to me. This quilt would measure 70’’x70’’.

 

This quilt is the first block color discussed and set with no sashing. The background becomes a secondary pattern and really ramps up this setting I feel. The trick is not to let either the block centers or the background dominate. The colors and textures of the chosen fabrics really need to play nicely with each other. This quilt measures 64’’x64’’

 

 

 

 

 

The final quilt pattern steps everything up a bit by placing the blocks on point and using an ombre look for the center petals. This quilt measures 76’’x76’’.

Thanks to everyone for the orders already received and the notes about how much you like/love this block. I am so excited to see your blocks soon!

The pre-order special of free shipping is good until midnight on December 10, 2018. Orders will begin to ship out on December 14th in the order they were received. You can click here to get to the NEW category in my store where you will find both the Hand Piecing and EPP papers/templates for Stars of Twilight.

You can find previous blocks released also in the store under the Hand Piecing and English Paper Piecing categories.

 

How-to blogs will begin posting on Monday, Dec 17th. I know you may not have your templates at that time but of course you can always check back for instruction at an time. This way I will be able to get all the how-to blogs posted before the 22nd for those who wish to make a few blocks during the holidays.

Ok…that’s all for now…off to sew up a storm for a few days in the studio!

Enjoy your day,

Tennessee Circles – The Block Name

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Hi Everyone, 

 

 

 

Just a quick post to clear up some questions I have been getting regarding the name of the latest block released under the Mic’s Attic Pics line. 

Tennessee Circles is the given name of this block in the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman.   I always research the blocks extensively and use a given name if found.  If I can’t find a block in any of the resource materials I have I will let you know when the block is released and on the eventual Mic’s Attic Picks page that is being developed for the website. 

Yes, I do love Tennessee but this block was not renamed by me as a tribute to my admiration of this great state. 

Also, yes there is a similar block by the name of Royal Cross, but it is different as the center square is many times larger in that rendition.  

And yes you can place an order for any templates or EPP papers during my time away from my office and they will be processed and shipped directly from my manufacturer. 

Ok back to watching the leaves turn for me, 

 

 

 

 

p.s. For those new to hand piecing you can find several “how-to” videos on my facebook page MDQuilts.  These videos will also be docked to the Mic’s Attic Picks page in time. 

 

How-To Blog #1 -Tennessee Circles Quilt Block

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

It is time to tackle the Tennessee Circles How-To Blogs!

I am going to skip the detailed marking your fabric instructions as I will be covering that in the first Facebook Live segment. And I have covered it many times in the past with the last being for Carolina Favorite block blogs that you can find just by scrolling back to the August blogs. I am working on a general “how to mark” your fabric video that is going to be on the Hand Piecing page that this being created for the website as I type. This page is going to host links to all How-to blogs for each individual design and a host of other info. But as a “one woman” operation here I can only create so fast. It will happen soon. I have the holiday season into January off and I have quite a list I am determined to see thru to finished.

So here are my fabric pieces and here is the general template identification graphic that is included in your instructions in your template package. Just remember when tracing your templates, both inside and outside lines, on the backside of your chosen fabric you want to be as precise as you can on the “inside” line. Tilt your marking pencil or pen, at an angle so that the tip is as close to the template edge as possible. I pretty much use a #2 pencil about 90% of the time for marking. I keep my lines fairly faint, but have stepped up the pressure on them for the blogs so you can see them. I also use a Sakura White Gel Pen for making fabrics with a dark color. Always test your marking tool on a small corner of your fabric to make sure it does not bleed thru to the front.

I usually spend a day tracing and then have a cutting fest in the evening with a good movie on Netflix. Individual block pieces are then stored away in sandwich bags at the ready for piecing at a moments notice. Prep work makes hand piecing happen frequently and thus blocks truly get done faster then you imagined.

 

 

Let’s start with the piecing of the corners on this block. The D-E-D unit.

 

 

 

Using two pins (white in my picture) you are going to line up your drawn sewing guideline corner. In hand piecing we never line up pieces by using the fabric edge as we do in machine piecing. This is because we are human and cutting on a hand drawn line with scissors. Sometimes we wobble. So we use the inside line that we traced from the template. The line that we took the most care to trace and did not cut. By doing things this way our accuracy improves greatly.

After lining up my corners with the white headed pins I then pin on the drawn line. I use Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Pins for hand piecing, they come in two lengths, 1” (seen here) and 1.5”. They truly have changed my hand piecing for the better. So lightweight and easy to sew around which will make more sense in a moment.

Check the back of your pinning to make sure everything is indeed lined up.

Now it is time to sew. I used a Hemming Milliners needle size 11 and Aurifil thread. You can use any needle you like, sharp, applique, milliners, even straw, just make sure it has a sharp point. Hand needles can dull out just like machine needles. And they bend. I have never found one that doesn’t. So if you needle is pointing in the opposite direction as your needle eye it is time for a new needle.

Back to sewing. A simple running stitch with a back stitch every 3 stitches is what I use.

And this is IMPORTANT>>>

I DO NOT SEW ON THE DRAWN LINE.

I hover a thread or two above it into the seam allowance. Think hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch. Because my templates are ¼ seams and windowed (so you can mark both outside and inside edge in one setting) we need to reclaim the bit of space that is lost by the width of whatever marking tool you use. You are also going to want to start and stop your seams a thread or two also into the seam allowance.

Now it is time to add the second triangle to the D-E-D unit. Again pin the corners to align them. Make sure your right hand pin is only going thru the new triangle and piece E. The first triangle should be pulled out of the way. Now it is time to tackle the Roundabout Technique for making lovely tight intersections of fabric in hand piecing. Since you don’t sew out the edge of your pieces as we would do in machine piecing you need to make a Roundabout every time three or more fabrics come together to interlock the fabric and not have pin holes at your intersections.

You do have written instructions for this in your template box and I will be demoing this technique on Facebook LIVE this week. Look at the three fabrics coming together from the top and envision that intersection as a circle and you are going to go around it -TWO fabrics at a time. That is the key, you only move your needle thru TWO fabrics at a time.

 

 

 

 

So here we go – stab your needle thru the matched corners (you can remove the white head pin while holding your pieces in place) Triangle 2 to Square. Pull thread thru

 

 

 

Now Square to Triangle 1.

 

 

 

And finally Triangle 1 to Triangle 2. Make a back stitch and sew across to the opposite end of your seam line. Remember to HOVER over the line! Knot off and clip your thread.

 

Finger press (I rarely press any block until it is completely sewn) and viola your first D-E-D unit is done! Repeat 3 more times.

 

 

On to the B-C units. These are easy-peasy. One straight seam each! Make 4.

 

 

 

 

Here is where you should be.

The first Facebook LIVE segment is going to happen tomorrow at 9am. Yes it is early but remember you don’t have to be there at the LIVE time. It will remain on my Facebook Page so you can search it out whenever you can get to it or need it. I will cover marking your fabric and the Roundabout Technique.

The second half of the How-to Blog will post on Friday, Oct 26th with another Facebook Live happening on the following Saturday!

 

If you haven’t ordered your Tennessee Circles templates yet you can do so here or ask your local shop to contact me for wholesale pricing! And Tennessee Circles is also available in the English Paper Piecing format!

Have a wonderful day! 

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,