Thursday, November 16, 2017

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour Road Rally



Welcome, to everyone visiting on the Quiltmaker's 100 Block Road Rally! I'm excited to be part of this tour. But before we get started, let me tell you a little about myself.

I live in St Louis, Missouri with my husband and 5 daughters, ranging in age from 5 to 17. Yeah, it's busy and if I had magical powers, I would put a spell on my house so that it would be self cleaning, but I still make plenty of time to quilt. 

I also like helping people learn to quilt. If you are just learning, or want to stretch your skills, you might like my book You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners (and more advanced quilters). If you are more of a visual person, my iquilt.com class, You Can Piece!, might be more up your alley.


What kind of quilts do I like to make? Scrappy all the way! I have rarely, if ever, bought an entire line of fabric, and prefer to mix and match. The scrappier the better!


I have recently started making super scrappy foundation paper pieced half square triangles and I am in love! You can read more about them here. I will be posting a new foundation pattern every Tuesday for the next year if you would like to make them with me. You can find more pictures on my Instagram feed or with the hashtag #yearofscrappytriangles. Like the blocks, but don't know how to paper piece? I've just wrote up a detailed tutorial. You can find it here.



But enough about me, let me tell you a about my block from the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine. Rocky Road is a traditional block. Just a simple grid of 4-patch units and half square triangles. Honestly, a bit boring when you put tons of them together, but look at what you get when you put the blocks on point.


 Much more interesting in my opinion.



The block becomes especially striking when the background of the quilt is changed to black and the on-point blocks are alternated so that the background is broken up. Love!


 This layout is my favorite. With some of the 4-patches oriented horizontally and some vertically a whole new secondary pattern emerges. There are so many options with this little block! You don't have to stick with a traditional grid layout. Get creative!



With the open background, one of these quilts would come together quickly. I timed myself making a block and it took about 40 minutes. You can speed the process, especially if you are making more than one block, by strip piecing the 4-patch units. Easy as pie!


I have a copy of the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks and a 100 Blocks Calendar to give away. Just leave a comment below telling me what some of your favorite books are to be entered to win. I listen to a lot of books on tape and would love to get some new recommendations. I will pick the winners on November 22nd.

Thanks for stopping by!






Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Block 6 - Year of Scrappy Triangles



While digging though my scrap basket, I kept on finding fabric strips that were too narrow to use in my scrappy triangles. Annoying. On the bright side, I can design blocks to use whatever sized scrap I want, so this week's block is purposely designed to use various lengths of narrow strips to piece the central square. Another plus? The side triangles needed a 5" square, so I used one of those extra 5" charm squares I had hanging about (it's not just me, right?).  A scrap busting win-win.

Fre
Do you have a specific size of scraps that you need to use? Let me know and you might see a block for them in the future!


P.S. Want to learn how to/improve your paper piecing? I posted an Ultimate Guide to Foundation Paper Piecing last week. Check it out!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Foundation Paper Piecing


Five years ago I was terrified of foundation paper piecing and couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of putting fabric on the back of paper and then sewing on the other side of the paper. It was just weird. But after making a few foundation paper pieced blocks, it became one of my favorite piecing methods. When I started the Year of Scrappy Triangles, I wanted to link to a post where people could learn how to paper piece if they didn't already know how, but I couldn't find one I liked. So, here is my contribution.  Let's get started!

Foundation Paper Piecing 

What is Foundation Paper Piecing? (sometimes called paper piecing) Foundation paper piecing is when the outline of a quilt block is printed on a paper foundation and fabric is sewn together on the paper using the outline as a sewing guide. When the block is complete the paper foundation is removed. Amazingly accurate piecing is possible with foundation paper piecing, even with the smallest of pieces. Each foundation pieced block is different, but same basic steps and techniques apply to all.

   


Step 1:  Copy the Foundation
The first step is to copy or print the needed foundation. You can use regular printer paper or use specialty foundation paper. Foundation paper is a thinner paper which is easier to see through and tear off after finishing the block, but it is more expensive. 

After copying, always check that the pattern has copied or printed to the correct size. There will usually be a line or box that is 1" square that you can measure to test if the foundation printed correctly. I like to provide the finished size for all paper foundations in the instructions.  With my foundations, measure the foundation along the solid inner lines verify it is the correct size.  

Step 2:  Cut and Prepare Fabric
Each section of the foundation is numbered and a different fabrics will go in each section. Decide which fabric you wish to use in each section and cut all pieces as instructed. You may wish to write the color of fabric you will be using for each section on the foundation so you don't get confused about what fabric goes where mid-piecing. (Don't ask me how many times I have sewn the wrong fabric to the wrong section!)

If there are no cutting instructions with your foundation, cut fabric approximately ½” larger than the area the fabric will need to cover. You can also print an extra copy of the foundation, cut it apart, and use it as a 'pattern'. Cut around each pattern piece with a ½” allowance on all sided. If there are many different pieces, you may want to label them.

Step 3:  Prepare Your Sewing Machine
 The foundation paper pieced block will be sewn together on the bottom of a piece of paper. When the block is finished, the paper will be removed, and this is much easier if the stitch length is smaller. More perforations in the paper = easier tearing. 

Prepare your sewing machine by reducing the stitch length to 18-20 stitches per inch. (Some people prefer even more stitches per inch.) This is a 1.5 setting on most sewing machines. The smaller stitch size will allow the paper to be pulled off easily when the block is finished. To determine what setting you should use, set your stitch length at 1.5 and sew on a piece of scrap fabric. Measure off one inch and count the number of stitches. If it is between 18 and 20 you are good to go. If not adjust the stitch length until you have the correct setting for your machine.

Step 4:  Trim and  Sew
When sewing the fabric pieces together, you will sew on the lines that divide the sections. For example, if you were adding piece 2 to piece 1, you would sew on the line between piece 1 and 2.




To start, place the wrong side of the fabric that will go in section 1 on the back side of the paper foundation. Hold them up to a light to make sure the fabric covers the entire area of section 1. It should also overlap the other sections by at least ¼” on all sides.  Secure the fabric with a flat head pin or a dab of glue stick. (Ball head pins will not work well when it is time to trim.)



Locate the line that runs between section 1 and 2. Using a postcard or piece of cardstock as a guide, fold the foundation back along the line between section 1 and 2.
       


Line up the ¼” line on the ruler with the edge of the paper and trim the exposed fabric to ¼”. 



  Fold the paper back down and flip the foundation over to the backside. Place the second piece of fabric on top of the first piece of fabric, right sides together and lined up along the trimmed edge.  Pin in place if necessary.




Flip the foundation over to the printed side. Double check that the stitch length is reduced and sew along the line between sections 1 and 2. Start a ½” before the line so the beginning of the sewing will be in the seam allowances. You can use the fold as a sewing guide until you hit the line. Continue sewing and stop ½” past the end of the line.

If you are making multiples of the same foundation, sew all of the 2 pieces onto the 1 pieces.  Trimming, pinning, and sewing the same numbered section to all the foundations at the same time speeds the piecing process.



 Set the seam and press piece 2 open. If the paper starts to curl up or brown, the iron is too hot and should be turned down.



After pressing, hold the foundation up to the light and make sure the 2nd fabric covers section 2 completely and overlaps the other sections by at least ¼”.



 The paper side up, place the cardstock on the line between section 3 and sections 1 and 2. Fold the foundation back over the cardstock. Some fabric will come up with the paper. Simply pull the fabric down and off of the paper. Using the edge of the paper as a guide, trim the fabric to ¼”.

Fold the foundation back down, line up the 3rd piece of fabric with the newly trimmed edge, pin, flip and sew, remembering to start a ½” before the line. 
Press piece 3 open.



Continue to repeat these steps for all sections of the foundation.   The basic foundation piecing formula is trim, sew and press. It is that simple. As you go, hold the foundation up to the light to make sure the fabric covers all sections completely.



Step 5: Trim to Size
Once the block is pieced, trim the paper pieced unit to size by lining up the inner solid line with the ¼” line on the ruler. Then trim off the excess.  I trim the blocks this way because it is difficult to be sure the ruler is lined up exactly on the outer dotted line and the trim is more accurate when measured from the solid inner line.

Step 6: Sew the paper pieced units together
To sew the foundations together simply line up the edges and sew along the line. There is no need to press the seams to the side with an iron. In fact, pressing can sometimes leave a “shine” on the fabrics because of all of the layers of paper and fabric in the seam. Instead, fold the paper along the stitching line.

If you are instructed to sew the foundation paper pieced unit to a traditionally pieced unit, simply leave the paper on and sew the units together as normal. Remove the paper only after the foundation is sewn to other quilt pieces on all sides.  This will eliminate any possible stretching and distortion of the block.



That's it! Just follow these steps and you will be foundation paper piecing like I pro. Now go and make all those foundation paper pieced projects you've always loved! 

Check out the Year of Scrappy Triangles for some easy, fun foundation paper piecing.



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Block 5 - Year of Scrappy Triangles



Hello! Here is Block 5 in the Year of Scrappy Triangles. I say it every time, but this is one of my favorites. It might be because of the square in a square motif or maybe it is just the fabrics I choose. Either way, I think I need to make some more!




The easiest way to cut fabric for the triangles in the block is to cut over-sized squares in half on the diagonal. Design wise, I like having the inner square and the strips be similar in color because I think the strips provide a nice frame. But of course, the sky is the limit with color choices.

Speaking of which, I have been blown away by how good the Scrappy Triangles look in all of the different colorways I have seen on Instagram. Keep them coming!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Block 4 - Year of Scrappy Triangles


It's week 4! This block is an interesting mix of triangles and strips. It makes a fun change from the usual symmetrical blocks.


Because it is unsymmetrical, it looks extra scrappy and there are lots of fun fabric options.





I have loved seeing all of the blocks you have been making on Instagram. Be sure to tag your photos with #yearofscrappytriangles. Check out everyone's blocks here: #yearofscrappytriangles and follow me @sewnbyleila

* * * * *

Question: Would anyone prefer to post pictures of their blocks on Facebook? If there is interest, I can start a group.

* * * * *

How can you be sure not to miss a pattern?
  1. You can also sign up for my newsletter (on the sidebar). I will send out a newsletter every month with links to the foundation patterns and other news. (And an occasional Bonus Block pattern!)
  2. Follow me on Instagram @sewnbyleila. I will post pictures of each new scrappy triangle and provide a link to the pattern in my bio. 
  3. Invite a friend to piece along with you this year. You can keep each other on track!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Block 3 - Year of Scrappy Triangles


Welcome to Week 3 of a Year of Scrappy Triangles. Last week, I said Block 2 was one of my favorite blocks ever. But so is Block 3. I love it! Especially in that fall colorway.


 Block 3 is half of a traditional log cabin block and there isn't anything better than scrappy log cabins, in my opinion, except maybe for scrappy log cabin triangles. :) It's constructed in the same way as a regular log cabin block, except you'll start with the small central triangle and then add 'logs' to just two of the sides. Fast and easy!



Not only is this block easy to make and super cute, it helps me use up my long narrow scraps. I've got a lot of those and I am sure you do too. Feel free to make more than one! 


I have loved seeing all of the blocks you have been making on Instagram. Check out everyone's blocks here: #yearofscrappytriangles and follow me @sewnbyleila


* * * * *

How can you be sure not to miss a pattern?
  1. You can also sign up for my newsletter (on the sidebar). I will send out a newsletter every month with links to the foundation patterns and other news. (And an occasional Bonus Block pattern!)
  2. Follow me on Instagram @sewnbyleila. I will post pictures of each new scrappy triangle and provide a link to the pattern in my bio. 
  3. Invite a friend to piece along with you this year. You can keep each other on track!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Block 2 - Year of Scrappy Triangles




It's been fun seeing the scrappy triangles people have made on Instagram this week. There are so many different looks depending on what fabric is selected. It's made me want to start another set, but I have resisted - so far. Click on over to see what people have been making and leave them some quilty love.



This week's triangle is divided into even more triangles. The center triangle is perfect for featuring a favorite fabric or fussy cut motif.


I love how the bee fills this center triangle. 


I can't wait to see what you guys make!




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Block 1 - Year of Scrappy Triangles



Today is the first day of the Year of Scrappy Triangles! It is going to be awesome. Before we get started, let's go over a few things.

The basics
The scrappy triangles finish at 6" square and I will post a link to a new foundation template on this blog every Tuesday morning for at least a year. Please, share a link to my blog if you have any friends who would like to participate, but don't email or mass print the templates for others.

Where can I learn to foundation paper piece?
I've got a tutorial for that! Read The Ultimate Guide to Foundation Paper Piecing and you will be paper piecing like a pro in no time.

How can I be sure I don't miss a post?
There are a couple of options:
  1. Sign up to 'Follow by Email' (on the sidebar). It will send you an email notification every time I post on the blog (one or two times a week). 
  2. You can also sign up for my newsletter (on the sidebar). I will send out a newsletter every three or four weeks with links to the foundation patterns and other news.
  3. Follow me on Instagram @sewnbyleila. I will post pictures of the new scrappy triangle each week and provide a link to the pattern in my bio. 
Please, share pictures of your blocks on social media with the hashtag #yearofscrappytriangles. I would love to see them!

 Let's get started!




When printing the foundation, remember to disable the fit-to-size option. After printing, measure the inner square and verify that it is 6" square. Then get to piecing!




I love the line of small rectangles in the middle of this block. It reminds me of a fence, or railroad ties. The first time I made this block, I used the same pieces of fabric for the end triangles. Not a good look, in my opinion. I didn't bother to remake it because it won't matter in the overall quilt, but the next time I tried a different fabric placement.



I think alternating two fabrics looks much better! 



Then I alternated three colors. It looks scrappier, but in a controlled way. Of course, you could choose a different fabric for each section too. The sky is the limit!

One last thing, before you start digging through your scrap bins. When choosing the background fabric for the solid half of the block, remember to choose a fabric that contrasts well with the pieced half. Otherwise, the two halves of the triangle will bleed into one another. Not cool, unless that is what you want them to do. In this block, the long strip (A7) will need to contrast well with the large triangle (A9).

I think that is it.
If you have any questions, comment and I will respond both by email and in the comment section.

Thanks!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Year of Scrappy Triangles


I have been playing around with these foundation paper pieced half-square triangles for a while and they are So. Much. Fun. I have made them in rainbow colors, full on scrappy, and low-volume scrappy. It is so relaxing to pick through my box of scraps to find the perfect fabric for each block. 'Cause that's how quilters relax. We play with fabric. And these triangles are the ultimate in fun, relaxing foundation paper piecing.


Not only are they fun to make, but they are very versatile. So many different quilts are made with just half square triangles. I could substitute these into any of them. So many options.


To keep me on track and to share the joy, I am going to post a link to a foundation paper pieced pdf pattern for a Scrappy Triangle every Tuesday, here on my blog. A different triangle every week for at least 52 weeks! (I have over 80 drafted, so I might just keep going....) To help keep us on track, we will have some link ups and prizes too.

I hope you will join me!

Click the links below to get patterns for the blocks we've made so far!

Block 1      Block 2      Block 3      Block 4      Block 5


Edited:

How can I be sure I don't miss a post?
There are a couple of options:
  1. Sign up to 'Follow by Email' (on the sidebar). It will send you an email notification every time I post on the blog (one or two times a week). 
  2. You can also sign up for my newsletter (on the sidebar). I will send out a newsletter every three or four weeks with links to the foundation patterns and other news.
  3. Follow me on Instagram @sewnbyleila. I will post pictures of the new scrappy triangle each week and provide a link to the pattern in my bio. 
Please, share pictures of your blocks on social media with the hashtag #yearofscrappytriangles. I would love to see them!