Archive | October 2014

Trick or Treat?

Here is wishing you a Happy Halloween with this Lollipop Candy block. Candylicious?

Don’t forget to check in tomorrow for the block pattern! Meanwhile, have a scary,  spooky day.

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Sneak Peek at Block Six, Round the Year Quilt

First look at the sixth block of the quilt...

First look at the sixth block of the quilt…

I can’t resist sharing a peek at the next block, which will be posted on the first of the next month! Probably, my favourite block.

There are two ways of constructing it; in fact, there are two different patterns too! The prettier one entails more than just a little fabric wastage  – add just a bit more and you can get two blocks instead of one. I  am still debating which method to publish. Perhaps I will publish both? Or perhaps I will ask you which one you prefer…

Rainbow Venus – Block Five of Round the Year Quilt

 

This is Rainbow Venus, Block Five of the Block of the Month Quilt, Round the Year. I have named it after the birth star for those born in October, like my husband and son! Completely paper pieced, It is inspired by the beautiful folded star, which is made by folding squares or circles of fabric around a centre point. The block is 18′ square with a 15″ inset circle.

The paper piecing templates and instructions for piecing and assembly can be downloaded in pdf format from the links at the end of this post. I used Quilt Assistant free software to design this block.

The quilt itself is being designed in two colourways, Dusk and this one, Rainbow. Would you like to see the Venus at Dusk? You can do that and download the pattern from this link.

To get back to the Rainbow Venus, the colour design above uses a black and white geometric/ text modern print to set off fluorescent or bright coloured solids against a blue background, and a hint of grey.

Fabric Requirements and Cutting Instructions

I like to nicely starch and press my fabric before cutting – besides pressing after each step of piecing – to ensure a neat, crisp finish to my block. By the way, the `x’ in the chart after each Fabric number refers to the number of pieces of the fabric you need to cut. Just so that you can boast about it, there are 112 pieces in this block!

FABRIC USAGE

Important – If appliquéing the circle to the background, you need a 19.5” square of fabric#1  instead of 18” x16” specified in chart; do not cut fabric according to templates I and J.

 

Instructions

Round the Year Free BOM Quilt

Master Template – Venus Quilt

Print the Instructions file and keep it at hand.

Print all templates from the Templates File in portrait mode at actual size (or 100%) setting on your printer. Note that I have provided only one template of each kind– (viz A. B. I and J) – whereas you need four of each. So you can either print four copies of the templates file, or use any method you like ( like tracing or needle punching) to replicate the templates. If you plan to applique the circle to a background square, do not print the templates I and J on the first two pages of the Templates File.

I like to cut out the templates just a little larger than printed and trim to size after piecing. For this block, one can use a rotary cutter for trimming the straight sides after piecing, for a neat finish.

Piecing

The 8 templates A to H are pieced like individual two-sided log cabin blocks, beginning with the centre piece as Piece#1. Align the straight edge of the strip with the printed seam line at each stage. It saves time if you work on all the templates at the same time. Complete the piecing at each step, trim the seams and press, before moving to the next step.

Assembly

Join the 8 wedges to respective background pieces using the colour design and the Master template as a guide. Join in pairs to make the 4 squares that make up the block. Assemble these to make up the full block. The Master Template is a mirror image of the final block, which should not really matter here, as the design is symmetrical.

Step by step piecing instructions, with photographs, are available on this post with the Venus at Dusk pattern.

I leave you to consider two more options that I liked, when designing this block. Or, you could try out your own colour combinations on the Master template.

 

Here are the downloadable pdf pattern files. Happy star gazing!

Paper Piecing Templates for Rainbow Venus, Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

Instructions File and Fabric Requirements for Rainbow Venus, Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt.

 

 

Venus at Dusk- Block Five of `Round the Year’ Block of the Month Quilt

Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name…

( Lyrics from a popular song from the 70s, when I was a teenager!)

I find the folded star so very pretty and you see it everywhere these days! The reason that I could never get around to making it is that … as much as I may hate to admit it… I am a fabric miser! Therefore, I designed this paper pieced block, inspired by the folded star and named it Evening Star. There is already a quilt block with that name, so I thought of calling it `Morning Star’, but in Hindu mythology the Morning Star is the North Star, not to forget that this quilt is called “Dusk’!

I also wanted to dedicate this October Star, Venus, to my husband and son, whose birthdays fall this month. And then, Indian scientists decided it for me by sending a mission to Mars; if  men now have a place to head to, we women need our very own Venus!

Venus - Block Five of the round the Year Quilt

Venus ( at Dusk) – Block Five of the round the Year Quilt

So…introducing Venus, Block 5 of the Block of the Month quilt ” Round the Year”, designed in two colourways, Dusk and Rainbow. I used Quilt Assistant free software to design this block. This colour design shows the ‘Dusk’ Colourway in four shades of the main colour (blue here) and four shades ranging from yellow to deep orange in the contrast colour. My contrast colours are not symmetrical, because I liked the idea of a twinkling star, please make necessary adjustments in the fabric requirement if you want a `steadier’ star.

Fabric Requirement – Venus at Dusk

Venus - Block Five of the round the Year Quilt

Fabric Requirement

Instructions

Print all templates in portrait mode at actual size. Also print the first two pages of the Instructions file and keep at hand. If you want to refer to the step by step piecing and assembly instructions, print the whole file! The links are at the end of this post.

Number and label each fabric colour. You can use the master template given below for trying out colour combinations.

I like to cut out all the pieces of one colour and pin them to the respective templates before I move to the next colour fabric. This helps me avoid a lot of confusion and heartburn later!

I suggest you piece the 8 templates A to H like log cabins. Align the straight edge of the strip with the printed seam line at each stage. It saves time if you work on all the templates at the same time. Complete the piecing at each step, trim the seams and press, before moving to the next step.

For more tips on paper piecing the blocks of this quilt, refer to this blogpost!

Assembly

Join the 8 wedges A to H to respective background pieces using the colour design and the Master template on Page 1 as a guide. Join in pairs to make the ¼ squares. Assemble these to make up the full block.

Here is the Master template – this is a mirror image of the colour design and shows the block from the printed paper side.

Venus - Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

Master Template -Venus – Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

Step by Step Piecing and Assembly Instructions

Anuradha Bahuguna of anumrinal.wordpress.com was sweet enough to test the block for me! All these pictures were taken by her. Would you believe this was her first attempt at paper piecing?

Like I said, the block templates A to H are pieced like individual log cabins, beginning from the centre ( yellow to oranges here).

1.I would recommend you sort out all the pieces template-wise and pin them to the far end of your template ( near the piece # 10-11) in the order of stitching – the longest piece at the bottom of the pile and the shortest on top.

For convenience, I am giving the piece number, size of the piece and fabric number here.

Venus - Block Five of the round the Year Quilt

Paper piecing sizes

2. So we start with the 1.5″x2.75″ piece and pin it on the unprinted side of A1. The wrong side of the fabric should touch the paper at all times.

Note that the fabric extends at least ¼” beyond both seam lines, adjoining A2 as well as A3. Align the long edge of the fabric to the seam to be stitched – in this case between A1 and A2. Do this for all pieces to come.
(Note –
In the picture below, one can afford to move the fabric piece a bit upward, toward A3, so that the corner between A1 and A2-A3 is better covered.)

Venus - Block Five of the round the Year Quilt

Hold against the light to see if your fabric placement is correct

What I am going to show you now is incorrect, because the ¼” margin is not available toward A2.

Venus - Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

Incorrect!

Now place the 3″ x1.25″ fabric #3 on the just pinned piece, right sides together, and long edges aligned at seam A1-A2.

Venus - Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

Piece #2 pinned along seam line to check placement

Venus - Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

That seems fine – all margins covered!

Anuradha has pinned it on the seam allowance to check that fabric for area A2 completely covers it when opened. In the next picture she shows us how it looks from the flip side.

Venus - Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

From the right side, Pieces # 1 and 2

That looks good.

Set the sewing machine to a stitch length between 1 and 1.5 so that it is easy to tear away the paper. Sew on the seam line A1-A2, extending the stitching line about ¼” on to A3.

Similarly stitch the first two pieces on all the templates, before heading to your ironing table and pressing the seams to set them. Then trim the seams to ¼” and open the piece #2 on all templates.

3. Pin piece#3,
which is fabric#3 and 3.5″ long, right side down, aligning the long edge to ¼” beyond the printed seam line between A1 –A2 and A3, the way you would in a log cabin. Do this for all the templates and then do the stitching of piece #3 to pieces #1 and #2.

Press seam to set. Fold away the paper template after stitching the seam and trim the seam to ¼” before pressing open piece #3.

This is how your templates should look after this stage…

Venus - Block Five of the Round the Year Quilt

Pieces # 1, 2 and 3

4. Similarly attach pieces 4 and 5…

Round the Year Quilt - Venus Block

Checking if pieces # 4 and 5 in place?

 

5. Sew pieces # 6 and 7 to each of the templates.

Venus Block - Round the Year Quilt

Pretty!

Aren’t they pretty?

6. Here comes Piece#8. It will be followed by piece #9.

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

Piece 8 coming up

…the final blue pieces# 8 and 9 attached!

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

The star takes shape

7. Turn of the golds! Anuradha was a bit confused here, so she coloured the pieces 9 and 10 with pencils! Remember – the master template is a mirror inage?

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

Coloured pencils ensure you don’t get confused!

Not for long though! She attached the yellow to orange pieces at Areas # 10 and 11.

7. Here are her eight wedges, that will make up the 15″ circle, all pieced!

 

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

Ooh! That looks good!

The pattern suggests that you join each of these eight large pieced wedges to a corresponding background piece.

While I suggest a diagonal kind of dark/ bright background, Anuradha wanted to experiment with other `looks’. Time then, for some more confusion, while Anuradha tried out various settings for her circle! This..hmmm…I quite like this..

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

Light against dark and dark against light!

…this(which is also delicious)…

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

Light against light and dark against dark!

…and this! I am not so sure about this one…

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

Alternating the darks and lights…

Anuradha, I think, liked this! She joined the wedges to the backgrounds…

Wedges joined to the backgrounds

Wedges joined to the backgrounds

but changed her mind! She joined these wedges into pairs to make four squares. The squares were joined ( like a four patch) to make up the final block. Here it is from the wrong side, withe paper removed!

The paper removed!

The paper removed!

Anuradha does not care much for the centre of her block from the back. It refuses to lie flat.

The centre needs some work!

The centre needs some work!

I  promised to show her how to make those seams meet in a swirl and lie perfectly flat. For that she needs firstly to ensure that her seams are pressed in one  direction. I tried looking for a good tutorial that teaches you how to do it , in vain. It is very similar to the what you would do in a pinwheel block.  She has not got back to me on this, so perhaps she has found a solution?

When I make my block, I will share with you (and Anuradha)  how to make the wrong side of your block look like this.

Eight point star - swirl centre seam

A star on th wrong side of an eight point star – tute coming up, soon!

 

The front is perfect, all points matched, just so. Here it is, Anuradha’s gorgeous Venus Block, flipped over, from the right side.

Venus Block - Round the Year Block

The Venus, shining brightest, amongst all the twinkling stars!

Now is that not absolutely gorgeous?

Anuradha’s block is ready, waiting to see yours ! Meanwhile, the Venus song is stuck in my head.

She’s got it 
Yeah, baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire

(Do go listen to the full song, it is `awesome’!)

Before I log off, here is a look at the Rainbow Venus, in its original avatar.

 

And finally the Instructions and templates in pdf format. Remember, print at actual size! You need  Adobe Reader to be able to read these files, Adobe Reader is downloadable for free.

Instructions file – Venus, Block 5 of the Round the Year Quilt. The step by step piecing instructions and pics are included in this file, page 3 onwards. If you do not want them, print only the first 2 pages.

Paper Piecing Templates File – Venus, Block 5 of the Round the Year Quilt

Layout Option 3 – Round the Year Quilt

So here we are, on Layout Option 3 for the blocks for the Round the Year Block of the Month Quilt. You may also like to see Option 1 and Option 2 , which were posted quite some time ago!

This layout, inspired by the Chopsticks Quilt Pattern found on oneworldfabrics.com, is my favourite! I shall probably be using this for my quilt, using two shades of blue for the background, instead of the greys here.

This makes a 100″ x 100″ quilt, with plenty of negative space to showcase each block and to show off your quilting! Bonus – you get to use all of your scraps for the chopsticks!

With this, my work is done.  I am yet to join the circles to the squares, I will be stay in touch as I share with you my learnings during the process.

I hope you have been enjoying this whole journey, which now nears its finish line!

Happy quilting and please keep sharing your blocks on my Facebook page!

About Eye Candy, Mental Blocks and Blocks Round the Year

I see to have hit some kind of a mental block trying to do calculations for the Layout Option 3 for the Round the Year Quilt. So I decided to share the real blocks that people have been making, using the free Block of the Month patterns on this blog!  Links to the patterns for these blocks are given towards the end of this post.

A few of the Dahlia blocks had been shared earlier, on  this post. Here comes some more magic…

Block 1 Dahlia

Cindy Ellerbe's Ribbon Dahlia

Cindy Ellerbe’s Ribbon Dahlia

Vicky Trerotola

Vicky Trerotola’s Purple Dahlia

Revathi Sampath

Revathi Sampath’s Blue Ribbon Dahlia

Jaya Parker's  Colour Wheel

Jaya Parker’s Colour Wheel

Block  2 Evening at the Pond

Anuradha Ramesh

Anuradha Ramesh’s Rainbow lights up the Evening at the Pond

Devi Nair

Devi Nair’s Peaceful Evening

Diptee Raut

Diptee Raut’s geese circle a green-blue algae infested pond against the pink sunset!

Jaya Parker

Jaya Parker’s gorgeous colour wheel!

Vicki Trerotola EveatPond

Vicki Trerotola’s purple evening…

 

Here are blocks 3 and 4 by Vicki…

Vicki Trerotola

Vicki Trerotola’s Card Trick

Vicki's Sapphire Fire - actually, her Amethyst block!

Vicki’s Sapphire Fire – actually, her Amethyst block!

This is the test block that Anuradha Ramesh did for me , Block 4, Sapphire Fire.

Anuradha Ramesh's Block 4

Anuradha Ramesh’s Block 4

After Anuradha finished this block, I came across a picture of a gemstone that is uncannily similar to her block – the Ametrine.

The Ametrine - a gemstone

The Ametrine – a gemstone

Isn’t that amazing?

Those of you who are interested, can find the block patterns on these links. There are step by step instructions for making them, too!

Block 1 Dahlia

Block 2 Evening at the Pond

Block 3 Card Trick

Block 4 Sapphire Fire

Before I sign off to do more calculations on the third layout option for the quilt, I will let you have a peek at what I am designing…

Layout Option 3 - inspired by the Chopsticks Quilt by oneworldfabrics.com

Layout Option 3 – inspired by the Chopsticks Quilt by oneworldfabrics.com

Wish me luck! And happy quilting to you 🙂

 

 

 

Around the World Blog Hop

When the amazingly talented Tina Katwal of Holy Scrap! Invited me to participate in the “Around the World Blog Hop”, I immediately said yes! Tina can rightly be called one of the queen bees of quilting in India. I love the whackiness – the flash of genius – she brings to her work. Tina administers Desi Quilters, a great online group for Indian quilters across the world AND she also runs a lovely Bernina store in Chennai, The Square Inch, dedicated to crafts supplies, classes and what have you!

I am supposed to answer a few questions which will give you an idea of what I do and why, before I introduce you to the quilters who will take this chain forward! Let me warn you, I love to talk – so here we go!

What am I working on?

Well, on the sewing machine, actually and sadly, nothing for the last five weeks. I have been on enforced rest because of sciatica. When my doctor forbade me to sit, ( I am allowed to stand or lie down – neither being conducive to sewing!) I had just finished this quilt for my son and daughter in law for their first wedding anniversary. The Oh, Fransson! Mod Mosaic pattern blocks were made by members of my online quilting bee.

92″ x92″ quilt using Mod Mosaic blocks (Elizabeth Hartmann)

A closer look at the Mod Mosaic blocks

,,,and had been working on this stash buster apple core quilt…

A Fons and Porter design for an Apple Core Quilt

But you can’t keep a quilter away from her quilts can you? So I have been spending my time reading some wonderful blogs, drooling over some lovely quilts on pinterest and flickr and adding to my about-to-explode list of must-make quilts!

Okay, but I have also been doing some work – a lot of fine tuning of designs and fresh designing too. Beginning July 2014, I am hosting a free Block of the Month quilt on my blog, Round the Year. I am doing the quilt in two colourways – four blocks are already up!

Round the Year Quilt Block 1 Dahlia

Round the Year Quilt Block 2 Evening at the Pond

Round the Year Quilt Block 3 Card Trick

That was the Dusk colourway, and here is the Rainbow.

Round the Year Quilt Block 2 Evening at the Pond

Round the Year Quilt Block 4 Sapphire

 

I decided to utilize my time away from the sewing machine to try various quilt layouts on Quilt Assistant, a great free quilt design software.

I am currently also drafting foundation paper piecing templates for the Nearly Insane Quilt, which is next on my list of to-do-quilts, as soon as I can get some half a dozen UFOs out of the way! Like this Just Takes-2 2012 quilt top, lying ready to be basted and quilted, for over a year and a half now!

Just Takes 2 2012 – Quilt Top “Monsoon Evening”

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Does it? I don’t really know! Let me try to list what I feel defines my `style’ :

  • I like working with strong, striking colours.
  • I love the beauty and symmetry of traditional quilt block patterns, but I like to put my own twist on them.
  • I am fascinated by blocks which make secondary and tertiary patterns, besides tessellations. Favourites – winding ways, kaleidoscopes…
  • I also like patterns, designs and techniques that challenge me – which teach me something new every time.
  • I don’t think I can make a quilt where I would be required to piece the same block again and again and again! It would bore me to tears! This is probably the reason I like to make small quilts. Here are my experiments with the wedding ring and cathedral window blocks!

    Mug Rug for a wedding anniversary gift

    Cathedral Windows in a small table runner

  • These days, I have come to be captivated by the design element in `modern’ quilts. I find myself incorporating negative space in my quilt designs – also because I wish to practice free motion quilting, which I have embarked upon recently. I do not have access to modern fabrics and am not sure if I would use them in my quilts if I did.
  • I hate slipshod, untidy work! My points must match ‘just so’! So Jack, the Ripper, is my closest friend when I sew.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Because.

I am. Therefore I create. I create. Therefore, I am.

Like the blurb on my blog states , “This and that, some rhyme, not all reason. I don’t think I could live if I did not create every day of my life – paint, write poetry, embroider, design or quilt.

How does my writing/creating process work?

Design Process – calculations galore!

I have been enjoying doing my own designing for the last two years or so. My creating process is usually triggered by something – it could be a quilt or a quilt block or a quilt technique which I wish to master, a fabric, a picture or even a poem, The process takes over my being and I cannot sleep until I have worked out the design and then the process in my mind. I get up in the morning and put down on paper what I have visualized. Here are a few of my `original’ quilts…

For my sewing area, the `Hippie Happy’ quilt… I tried a lot many techniques here, for the first time.

The Hippie Happy Quilt – Peace, Soul and Tranquility!

 

…a small quilt “Winter of Hope” inspired by a poem…

“Cruel harsh winter, Ablaze with flowers of hope. Summer’s in my heart.”

Another one inspired by a fabric and a desire to try out prairie points…kantha style quilting here…

Trapunto and 3 dimensional flowers and leaves to bring alive the fabric print…

The Octopus’s Garden came into being, inspired by the presence in my stash of the perfect ocean themed fabric for the convergence technique  and the delicious fossil fern fabric for the Octopus…

I’d like to be, under the sea…

Here is a panel from a counting quilt inspired by the most beautiful little girl, born to a favourite niece!

Seven kites, eight clouds, nine stars – all in in silk and satin!

And finally, pictures of a quilt inspired by a wedding in the family, coinciding with the Husqvarna Viking India quilt challenge. In this quilt, I loved bringing alive the magic of the winding ways block, sewn together to represent the sacred fire which forms an essential part of the Hindu wedding ritual.

The Saptapadi Quilt won me a Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine ! This is the sacred fire circumambulated by the couple during the wedding ceremony.

The pieced back of the Saptapadi quilt

If you look closely, you can possibly see the quilted footprints which give the quilt its name Saptapadi (Seven steps taken by the bridal couple while enunciating their wedding vows)

Thank you for visiting my blog. Hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you! Before I sign off, I must introduce you to my tag-ees for the next week.

The first is the beautiful, multi-talented Brinda Crishna, whose signature style is traditional Indian fabric and hand quilting! She embroiders; she crochets, amongst other things, the most delightful little animals for her lovely grand children; she does water colours, and maintains the most fascinating hand written journal with her lovely sketches of everyday happenings. I do hope she will share some of this other stuff with you too; don’t forget to head to her blog http://embroideringmytale.blogspot.in/ next Monday, 13th October, 2014.

My other tag-ee is Sobana Sundar, at her blog http://thequiltbug.blogspot.in/. Sobana lives on a self sufficient farm, growing her own vegetables and fruit, besides gorgeous water lilies (which she has immortalized in a pretty little quilt!). She loves embroidery, especially cross stitch, besides of course, quilting! She was more of a traditional quilter till very recently, but is becoming decidedly more adventurous now! She too will be sharing with you what makes her (quilting) tick, on 13th October, next Monday.

The third quilter I am tagging is also from India, the gorgeous Elvira Threeyama! Her trademark is a great choice of fabric and the neatest, crispest finish you would see on anything that went under a needle – whether a quilt, or a wallet, pouch, bag, tote or even a skirt or a pair of trousers! She blogs at http://chez-vies.blogspot.in. I hope you will check her great sewing and quilting next Monday!

 

Keep quilting and dreaming of quilts!