Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Palace Steps Tutorial - {Faith Circle} August 2013 Quilt

What am I doing? I'm kinda sitting here in shock! I can't believe it is August tomorrow! But it is, and it's my turn to design and quilt a quilt for the {Faith} Circle of the do.Good Stitches bee. I really like to keep the blocks simple. And the piecing simple. I've had to make complicated, convoluted, time-consuming blocks before, and while they look lovely, I don't think the person who receives that quilt will be any more blessed than the person who receives a quilt made with simple blocks. Amen? :)

So I spent some time the other night looking at different books and magazines, and came across the "Tumbling Down" block by Kim Deihl in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol 4. I like the look of the finished quilt, but didn't like the idea that we would have to piece together a bunch of tiny squares. So I decided to modify it just a smidge, and instead of using squares, we will use strips.

Here is a mock-up of the finished quilt:
Faith DGS Gray and Yellow

Modern, simple, bright, a blessing...I hope so! :)  We give quilts to Restore Innocence, which is an organization that provides assistance, housing, counseling and mentoring to young women rescued from sex trafficking all over America. They don't give a quilt to every girl rescued, mind you, but they do give them to girls that stay in the program. We have given them 6 quilts so far, and there are about 5 more in the works. :)

We will need two different orientations of block to achieve the ombre effect. Here are EQ7 mock-ups of each block. The finished size is 12.5" tall x 24.5" wide. Members of the circle will only have to make one block (woohoo!), and use 16 pieces of fabric. I think that qualifies as "simple"! :)

Block Orientation A (Stitchers will make this one)
DGS Gray and Yellow block

And Block Orientation B (Quilters will make this one)
DGS Gray and Yellow block B

See how they're opposite? THAT is how it works! :)

So here's where the tutorial starts.

I hope it makes sense, and PLEASE ask questions if you have any! I'd much rather answer a question now than anyone have to remake a block later. :(  Also, I am humble enough to admit that there more ways to make a block than my way. If you want to do it differently to achieve the same result, go for it! :)

Everyone will cut the same fabric.
  1. Collect 6 pieces of varying shades of yellow (could be print or solid, but please be sure that it reads yellow).  Arrange them from darkest to lightest, and label them alphabetically from A (darkest) to F (lightest). 
  2. Cut one strip from each yellow that is 2.5" wide by 14.5" long.
  3. Now pick your gray solid. It needs to be a solid, and please keep it medium gray or lighter. The brand doesn't matter, but please use the same gray throughout your block. Kona grays that work are Medium Gray, Ash, or Iron. I don't have a color card for other brands, but just keep them on the light-to-medium side. :)  You will need a total of 2 2.5" x WOF strips that you will cut.
  4. Cut strips of gray (2.5" wide) according to the following list. Cut two (2) of each: 10.5", 8.5", 6.5", 4.5", 2.5"  It's a total of 64" of gray fabric.
Here is a picture of my grays and yellows:
Fabric Cuts for Palace Steps Tutorial
Remember, you need TWO of each measure of gray, you just can't see it there because they're stacked together.

Here's a picture of my gray strips glue-basted to my yellow strips for Block A:

Stitchers, for Block A, you should attach your gray strips as follows, identical to mine. 
A -- 10.5" on right side (nothing on the left)
B -- 2.5" on left side, 8.5" on right side.
C -- 4.5" on left side, 6.5" on right side
D -- 6.5" on left side, 4.5" on right side
E -- 8.5" on left side, 2.5" on right side
F -- 10.5" on left side

The Quilters will do it opposite, and make Block B, to achieve the ombre effect. And for those of you who might still be reading, wanting to make this quilt, you should make 6 like that above, and 4 like this below:
Here's a picture again. :)
DGS Gray and Yellow block B

A -- 10.5 on the left side (nothing on the right)
B -- 8.5" on the left side, 2.5" on the right side
C -- 6.5" on the left side, 4.5" on the right side
D -- 4.5" on the left side, 6.5" on the right side
E -- 2.5" on the left side, 8.5" on the right side
F -- 10.5" on the right side.

Make sense? I hope so!! I sure hope so!! :)

Then press your seams, and sew Strip A along the long side to Strip B, and C to D, and E to F, then A/B to C/D, and then E/F to the bottom of A/B/C/D, and it should be perfect! You shouldn't need to even trim it! It should finish to 24.5" wide, and 12.5" high. Done!

See? Block A. Easy!
Palace Steps Block - Finished

I hope you find this easy, and rewarding. Please please PLEASE let me know if you have any questions! :)

I'm linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced, and her regularly-scheduled {WiP}Wednesday party. :)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Please note. As I stated, I was inspired by Kim Diehl's block. I have never seen a block like this, or a quilt like this. If someone else has already made one, I am happy to link to that quilt, although I won't say I was inspired by them. Because I wasn't. :) If you would like to notify me of another block or quilt like this, please feel free to email me at the address listed in my profile. Thank you for being polite.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 29/52

I'm this close to finishing my do.Good Stitches quilt. I finally pieced the back the other day and spent less than 2 hours quilting it - and that includes thread and bobbin changes! Stippling is the way to go when you need a fast finish!
Wonky Zig Zag quilted!
All that's left is the label, really. Last night I finished the binding -- it was magical!!! I used Susie's Magic Binding technique, demonstrated here on my friend Marti's blog. I stink stink stink at machine binding, so I wanted to try this, thinking maybe this will work and it won't look like something the dog rolled in!  And it does! It does! It DOES!!

Here is a picture of the purdy mitered corner...
Such a lovely corner!

And here you can see the front and the back. Honestly, this is the closest-thing-to-perfect my machine binding has EVER looked!!

Susie's Magic Binding

I'll put a label on it this week, and take it to Restore Innocence.  They were very appreciative the last time I took them some quilts, and I know they are so happy to bless the girls with these quilts. :)

And then I'll put my sewing machine away. I've got a lot going on this weekend, and sewing isn't going to be a part of it. :(  But then next week, I will put on a brave face and make Janice's paper-pieced blocks for our Bee Happy bee. I'm only marginally better at paper piecing than I am at machine binding!  

And I've designed a few quilts that I am SUPER eager to make! Aunt Spicy is my partner in crime on these, and keeps encouraging me to make more! What a friend, right?!? And I loved getting back to the long arm. It seems I'm prolific at the first and last steps of the quilting process, but I'm a slow turtle at actually MAKING the quilts! I need to get faster. I have two baby quilts to make, and only know the gender of one of them. If the unknown is a boy, then I'll give my Huckleberry quilt I made when Latifah Saafir was here in May. If it's a girl, I'll do something quick and easy and double the recipe. ;-)

I am linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. Go check out the linky party. There's some beautiful stuff being made!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 28/52

I am very aware of how blessed I am - and how much I take for granted. Really, I am. My life is FULL. Busy. Blurry from all the activity, really, and I know that will only get worse as the kids get older. But it's a good busy, a good full. I know that.

But it's exhausting, too. As an introvert, having 3 people in my face, on my leg, on my hip all day long can add to the exhaustion. So when they're all finally in bed, and the house is quiet, it's my time. My time to sew, or blog, or catch up on blogs, or read.

What? Read? What's that? :)

I'm just saying that it's all good. I wish I had time to sew more, and blog more, but the most important thing I can do every day is take care of my family. I know that. It's tiresome, but it's the right thing to do, and it's what I want to do! But I also want to be creative and productive and make this gigantic to-do list just an eensy bit smaller! :)  That being said, I'm hoping to put a bit of normalcy back into my life, because it's been far from normal lately!

We just got back from a week in LA, visiting friends, visiting the LA MQG, visiting with some of my Bee Happy hive, going to Disneyland...for THREE days... ugh!

We've been home for 2 days now, and we're still trying to get back to normal and acclimate! It's not like we've got jet-lag,'s more like vacation-lag! :)

This is what I sewed just before we left. They are called Starburst Cross blocks, and they are for the Faith Circle of the do.Good Stitches bee. The tutorial is by Sew Crafty Jess., and it's going to be a stunning quilt! I just love the bright colors!

Sunburst Stars

And then we left for California. It was a GREAT trip, really. Not long enough!

I took over a thousand pictures over the course of the week, but I won't hit you with all of them. I need to do a separate blog post about the whole trip just so I can remember it all! :)

Here are a few of my favorites, though.

Hugging Cinderella after they twirled together in their dresses (Ramona was kind enough to let us borrow Bean's dress for the day!)
Magic. #disneyland #twocinderellas

Waving back at Rapunzel who waved first. Starstruck. :)
Quite possibly my favorite picture from yesterday. She was star-struck when Rapunzel waved back at her.  #latergram #disneyland

Here's Buzz at the Mickey and the Magical Map show -- he was mesmerized!!

Our Disneyland passes had a blackout day on July 4th, so we went to the beach instead. It had been a very long while since Mookie had been to the beach, and I don't believe Sprout had ever been! And I know Buzz hadn't ever been! :)

Mookie really enjoyed the water, Sprout enjoyed the sand, and Buzz didn't really enjoy any part of it!

We went to California Adventures the next day, and after we had a spontaneous rendez-vous with Mr The Mouse himself...

...we headed for Monsters, Inc. Here's Buzz practicing his scream. It sounded a wee bit like his tiger roar, but it was darn cute! 

Then after lunch, Dave took Mookie on the Grizzly River Run (think Thunder River...)  She had a blast!

And on the third day, Dave and I split up so he could take Mookie on more big kid rides, and I could keep it simple with the little ones. We happened to see Rapunzel in her tower, which was kind of amazing.
Unfortunately, most of those pictures didn't turn out because, not surprisingly, it's kind of hard to manage an active one-year old while a three-year old meets her all-time favorite princess!

In the afternoon, we got to meet Tinkerbell, which was equally amazing, and equally hard to photograph! Honestly, I think the girls were kinda done having to smile for all the paparazzi! :) (they get that from their father...)

And then on Sunday we went to church and then spent some time with friends from church, and got ready for the journey home on Monday :(  Sad and exhausting journey home.

Yesterday was a lazy, lazy day recovering from our wonderful trip, but last night I needed to really get down to business on the aforementioned gigantic to-do list, so I made my July blocks for the Faith Circle. This time it's Modern Cross Blocks, featured by Faith of Fresh Lemons in her Summer Sampler Series.

Modern Cross blocks for the Faith Circle (do.Good Stitches)

And tonight, I've got one more bee block for June, and I've got to piece a back, and maybe even get it loaded onto the long arm. Wouldn't THAT be grand!

It feels great to link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. Go see what others are doing, and have a great week!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced