Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Stash Bee post

I'm a part of the online Stash Bee where we are grouped in hives of 11 quilters.  Each month, one member is the "Queen Bee."  We write a blog post introducing ourselves a little and include a block tutorial for everyone to complete in our own chosen colors!  This year I am hoping to finish a sweet purple and grey quilt with blocks made for me by quilters all over the world!!!  I'm the Queen Bee for February so here's a look at my post for my hivemates!

Feathers FMQ class at Festival
What is your name?  My name is Cheryl and I'm a stay at home wife and quilter (and Baylor grad/fan).  I'm new to the whole online part of quilting but I blog at Texas Quilting Gal, Flickr at mrscwatson81 and IG at texasquiltinggal.

Where do you live?  I live in Katy, Texas, outside of Houston.  I'm originally from Texas, but have moved quite a bit.  I've also lived in San Antonio, Waco, Dallas and Plano, Texas, Denver, Colorado, and Louisville, Kentucky.  My husband is an engineer contract worker so we move wherever the jobs are.

Tell us about your family:  I've been married to my hubby for 10 years last month!!!  We have no kids, yet, but do have pets.  We have a German Shepherd, Max, which we swear is part human!  He's my first dog and I can't imagine how I ever lived my life without one before!  We also have 2 birds, Bailey and Izzy.  They do talk a little, in which we realized very early, we have to watch what we say around them!
Tell us about how you got interested in quilting:  My mom has been quilting for 20+ years.  While she is more of a traditional quilter, I got the sewing gene from her.  I remember making my first quilt top in middle school with her.  Just last year, we found that top in her sewing room, so I took it and added it to my UFO pile!  My mom gave me her old Bernina 1090 when she upgraded about 8 years ago, so I've been sewing since then.  At the time, I was working as a surgical nurse, so I really only made little projects (table runners, aprons, lots of scrub hats for work).  My hubby encouraged me to take some time off the end of 2012 and ever since then, I've been quilting like CRAZY!!!  I'm sure he's thinking twice about wanting me to stay home now!
My first International Quilt Festival with mom in 2013
Our retreat quilts from September 2013
How do you organize your fabric stash?  Well, since I've just recently begun quilting more regularly, I've not got a huge stash!  And I'm a little embarrassed by my lack of a cute quilting space!  But, it works, for now.  Since we are moving a lot, I've got a portable closet set up with my essential supplies.  Fabric is in a hanging shoe organizer, large cuts of fabrics/panels/quilt tops are hanging, and batting is on the bottom.  I still need to organize my notions and books better on the shelves.  Our dining room is my "quilting studio!"
Sewing in the dining room, cutting mat on the kitchen island,  and fabric in a portable closet!  Don't judge me!  :)
My "design wall" is blocks and projects over finished quilts!
Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?  I LOOOVE Joel Dewberry, Anna Marie Horner, Kate Spain, Denyse Schmidt, Bonnie & Camille, Kate & Birdie, and Michael Miller, just to name A FEW.  HA! 
What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?  #1 Change your rotary blade more often!  Why on earth did I chew through my fabric for so long?  It's so nice when you have a sharp blade!  #2  My quilts aren't going to be perfect and that's OK!  If you can't see the mistakes as you're galloping by on a horse, others probably won't notice either!  I'm quite the perfectionist, so this is still a struggle, especially when trying new things.
What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?  FriXion pens!  They write like a regular pen and iron right off!  Genius!  I used it a lot in my block to follow!
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)  Ummm...I'm not a huge reader.  I mean, who has time with all the quilting, right?  I love (my husband says I obsessively watch) reality TV.  I know, totally embarrassing, but I can't help it!  I also enjoy Big Bang Theory, Pretty Little Liars/Ravenswood, Blacklist, and NCIS.


OK, onto the tutorial! 

I've been inspired by Pantone's Color of the year, Radiant Orchid (see here and here for the beauty in fabric and fashion!)  I've also wanted to make a Swoon quilt something BAD!!!!  So, here's what I've come up with!
Scrappy Nickel Dutch Rose Block
Double Nickel Quilts has done this tutorial that simplifies the swoon block a ton AND gets rid of some unnecessary seams!  YAY!   It also makes a smaller version at 16" finished (please don't worry about squaring up or trimming at the end).  I'm wanting a scrappy block of purples and greys with an off white background (I've used Kona Snow).  I also love low volume texts and if you have some that would coordinate, you could throw a little of that in, too (maybe corners or center star points).  Keep all the background OFF WHITE.  You also don't have to do colors in the same spot as me.  You could have purple center square with grey points, all the same fabric of purple for the large flower around and grey corners.  Mix it up, be creative! 
Tip:  I probably would choose no more than 2 of each color (purple/grey) to simplify the cutting. 
Tip:  Small and medium scale prints are best.  But, if you have a large scale print you'd love to use,  just use one so it's not competing with others and it shines!
Tip:  Florals, solids, and geometrics are all ok, just note the scale thing mentioned above.  Also, geometrics are harder to line up with the HST (maybe use in solid square sections, if you want!)

Examples of Purples/Greys/Off White/Maybe low volume texts
Here are my block's cuts
She uses 5" charms and her cutting instructions are based on that, so look at the picture with cutting instructions first.  You can easily cut 2 1/2 strips if you aren't using charms. 
Also, she does Half Square Triangles in a different way than I do, but I followed her directions and it works perfectly.  You don't have those little dog ears to trim down AND you get these little bonus HST sets at the end of the block that you can make something else with (OR send my way! Wink, wink!)
Look at those extra, cute, little HST
HINTS (from experience!): Sew ON the lines!!!  Use larger HST set in block.  Hold the thread tail or chain piece when starting new HST set so the corner is not eaten into throat plate!

How HST are marked.  Chain piecing goes quickly!

SEW ON THE LINE!  I had to rip a seam b/c I'm used to 1/4"
I typically press to the dark fabric (especially HST), but I understand that isn't always possible in this block.  I would suggest pressing along the way so things match up better. 

FYI:  In the tutorial, step #3 makes the bigger petal units at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock.  If you are using 2 different fabrics for floral ring, take note of this.

FYI:  In the tutorial, for steps #3, #4 & #6, be sure you put the shorter, marked line closer towards the outside corner you are sewing (see picture below) vs. towards the inside of the bottom fabric.

Here's how I chain pieced several similar rows quickly (see pic below).  Chain piece 1 (HST) and 2 (white) of all rows.  Then add piece 3 (grey print) to 1&2 set for all rows.  HINT: Use TRUE 1/4" seam when connecting pieces NOT a scant. 

There you have it!  Here are other pictures of swoon blocks for inspiration on fabric placement (NOT color choices)!  Hope you have fun and please don't hesitate to ask questions on Flickr.  Thanks for helping my swoon-y dreams come true!

machen und tun (Claudia) on Flickr

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl, you have won 1 Dozen FAT QUARTERS IN "SURROUNDED BY LOVE" BY MODA FROM We need your mailing address to ship your package! Congratulations and thank you from Old South Fabrics. Wanda & Gary