Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Twilight Garden - Finishing Your Top

Putting it all together

Well, If you have been following along, month by month, with me, then you know our patterns have some issues.  I was hoping that the final assembly would just go together smoothly, and for the most part it did.

Like any other sampler quilt, there are always adjustments to be made, and this quilt is no exception.  I would like to give you just a fool proof set of instructions for assembling the blocks in this quilt, but I believe whatever cutting dimensions I supply would work for some of you, but not for everyone.  I think you have to be open to adding in a little more sashing, or cutting some sashing pieces a little narrower, to make things fit properly.

My approach was to lay out all my blocks in their approximate locations.  The quilt is assembled in 4 rows, and your goal is to make each of those 4 rows the same width, so everything fits properly.
The first thing I noticed is that one of the three blocks on my bottom row (the Twinkling Stars block) was not as tall as the other two blocks. Not sure why, but it really doesn't matter. I just added another row of the 1" finished scrappy squares to the bottom of the block and that brought it up to the same height as the other two.
From measuring the width of all the blocks, I gathered that my middle row of blocks was going to be the widest row, so I sewed the blocks in this row together, and used this as my target width for the rest of the rows.  The bottom row was narrower than the middle row by about an inch, so I added another row of the scrappy 1" squares onto the right side of the row. Then it matched up nicely.
The row of piano keys goes above the middle row of blocks.  This is an easy row to size. Simply measure the target width of the middle row and sew together that many piano keys.  They are each 
1 1/2" by 5 1/2" so each key will finish at 1" wide. For my quilt I used exactly what the pattern says, 39 keys.

With the bottom 3 rows assembled, all we have to do is adjust the width of the 2 black sashing strips in the top row so it finishes at the same width.  For me, I had to cut these sashing strips at 2" x 12 1/2" rather than 2 1/2" wide as the pattern stated. but with this simple change, the top row fit perfectly.
After sewing all the rows together, it was then a simple matter to add borders.  I chose to add a very narrow border of solid black before adding the next border of red.  My red border is made exactly per the instructions, using all the leftovers of red fabric from my kit. I then added the outer border using the charcoal stripe fabric with woven stars.  I purposely cut this border along the length of the fabric, partly because there is less stretch to your border if cut this way, rather than across the fabric, and also I like the stripe pattern better this way.

 Even with the pattern issues, the majority of this quilt came together with little difficulty.  I really do like the way it turned out, especially adding in the very narrow border of black.  It frames the center beautifully.
I will be custom quilting this top, as i think it will enhance the quilt a great deal. Unfortunately, I have a fairly long queue of tops to quilt, so I won't be getting to this one for a while.   I have selected a print fabric for the backing as I think it will be a little softer than the yarn dyes used in the top.  My binding is already cut out and prepared from the same fabric as the outer border.

Thank you for following along as I constructed the Twilight Garden Quilt.  I hope you are as pleased with your version as I am with mine.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Friendship Triangle Exchange

Hi Everyone,
I would like to propose that we do a Friendship Triangle Exchange, roughly following the guidelines layed out by Edyta Sitar in her book "Friendship Triangles,"published by Landauer.
Please note this exchange is only for participants with a U.S. mailing address (this includes Alaska and Hawaii).  I am sorry for those outside of the U.S., but shipping cost makes it prohibitive.
The idea is to trade half square triangle units, made using triangle paper for accuracy. These are easy to make in groups of 20 or so at a time, all from the same 2 fabrics (1 dark and 1 light). Then we will trade,  and I will return to you a wonderful scrappy mix of HST units made from a huge variety of fabrics. You can use new fabrics purchased for the exchange, or, better yet, use up some fabrics from your stash. We all have different tastes in fabrics, and so I am going to set color guidelines for this exchange to be "Country Colors".  This is meant to be fairly broad, and should include any color in the color wheel, but not brights.  Country Colors can be rich and saturated, or softer in shades. They are not bright jewel tones, and they are not sparkling fabrics overlaid with silver and gold, just a nice blend of colors that you would see on the couch in a country home. Avoid novelty prints (unless they read strongly as a single color). 1800's repros, old Thimbleberries or fabrics from designers such as Edyta Sitar or Kim Diehl fall nicely into this color range. You can include prints, solids, homespuns and batik.  Just about anything as long as it is 100% cotton quilting weight fabric, and falls into the color guidelines.  If you do not care for the colors in this exchange, I am sorry, but I can only handle one exchange at a time.  Perhaps sit this one out, and if the exchange is a great success, we will repeat the exchange and go with a brighter color palette the next time around.
We will exchange these half square triangle units to increase our color and fabric variety, and most importantly, to have a little bit of each other's fabrics in scrap quilts that we will make at the end of the exchange. It will be fun and should not be that time consuming.  A word about fabric quality.  We  all would like to make quilts from good quality fabric. I am not going to police this exchange to make sure everyone is using quilt shop quality fabric. The point of this exchange is to have fun. I know some of you do not live extremely close to a quilt shop, but wherever you acquire the fabrics used in this exchange, be sure you are using good quality fabrics that you would be proud to use in your own quilts.
The rules for the exchange are as follows:
1. Half Square Triangle (HST) units must be sewn using triangle paper made for these units. The size of the units will be 2" finished.  Make sure the paper clearly is marked for 2" finished half square triangles (not Quarter Square Triangles).  You can use any brand of papers that you like. Some examples are Triangles on a Roll, Thangles, Triangle Exchange Papers from Laundry BasketQuilts, or other similar papers.  You can also print your own triangle papers from CD masters made for this purpose, however, if you choose to print them on your printer, you MUST use paper made for paper foundation piecing, not standard printer paper.  This assures that the paper will tear away easily.
2. We will exchange in groups of 40 HST units for ease of keeping track of numbers.  Whatever number of HST units you send in, that is how many you will get back. You can sew them in groups of 10 or 20, or any number that works for you.  However, I do ask that you don't make any more than 20 units from the same two fabrics.  Switch it out so we have greater variety of fabrics in the exchange. If you are using up smaller scraps, you may be making them in smaller groups, but we will still exchange them in groups of 40.
3. For those of you who have not made HST's using triangle paper, please review the technique, either in Edyta Sitar's book (mentioned above), or watch an instructional video on Youtube before you get started. You will want to layer your fabrics with the dark fabric right side up, then the light fabric on top of that, right side down, then the triangle paper on top of that, printed side up.  This order is important so that when they are opened and pressed, the seam will be pressed in the direction of the dark fabric. Sew on all the dotted lines, then cut them on all the solid lines using a rotary cutter and ruler. When sewing triangles using triangle paper, reduce your stitch length from a normal 8-10 stitches per inch ( 2.5 to 3.1mm), down to about 16-18 stitches per inch (1.4 to 1.6mm). This will make tearing the paper off much easier.  Be very careful when sewing and cutting, accuracy is important.
4. IMPORTANT!! Once the units are cut apart, do not remove the paper! and do not open and press them!  We will be exchanging them at this point. They are protected from stretching with the paper still on them.  Just count out 40 and put them in sandwich size ziplock bags to be sent off for the exchange. The recipient will press them open and remove the paper (hence the reason to reduce your stitch length when you sew them, and to use a good quality, easy tear triangle paper).  It's like a little surprise each time you open and press a unit to see the fabrics you have received in the exchange.
5. Select a light and a dark pair of fabrics for each set of HST units you make. The lights can be creams, beiges, tans, or any pale light color that looks good as a neutral scrappy background. Avoid pure whites. Lights can have print patterns, but nothing too distracting. (example - shirting prints are ok,  small calico prints are ok, large/bold checkerboard prints, not so good). Make sure your matching dark fabric has good contrast with the light you choose. The darks can be medium to dark value as long as there is good contrast. Think about using a mix of colors and scales of prints for variety.
6. You can choose to exchange as many units as you wish. They must be packaged in groups of 40 in sandwich ziplock bags. So you can do 40, 80, 120 . . . etc.  It is good to look through some patterns that use 2" finished HST units so you have some idea of how many you will need to make a quilt. Great patterns that use a lot of HST units include Broken Dishes, Tree of Life, Ocean Waves, and many others.  Whatever number you turn in is what you will get back.  We will open your ziplocks, count them to make sure your bags contain 40, then sort them, so every bag will be a mix of units from everyone. The members of my small quilt group have volunteered to help sort, package and return ship units to all the participants.
Jamestown Landing by Bonnie Hunter
Broken Dishes
Tree Of Life
Ocean Waves
Tree Of Life
Jamestown Landing

7. You can send your HST units to me using whatever courier you would like to use.  I will be returning them ALL to you via the USPS in padded flat rate envelopes, as these will hold a lot, and they are economical to send.  You will need to include $7.50 return postage along with your exchange units. This can be cash or a check made out to me, Steven Lennert (I suggest putting this in another ziplock bag with your name on it, and tucking this in to your shipment). A padded flat rate envelope will hold around 12 to 14 bags (each 40 units), or a total of 480-560 HST units.  If you will be sending in more units than that, that is fine, but you will need to send $15 return postage to allow for either two envelopes or a medium flat rate box.
8. With the Holidays coming up, I would like to give everyone plenty of time to make their units, so I am setting January 31, 2018 as the date that all exchange units should be mailed in. Please do not mail them before January 15th, as I do not have space to store them. We will then work on them during February and should have them returned to everyone sometime in March.  Exchange blocks received after February 7th, 2018 will not be included in the exchange and will simply be returned to the participant. NO EXCEPTIONS! Exchange units can be sent to: Steven Lennert, 11237 SE Vernazza Ln., Happy Valley, OR 97086
9. For the sake of variety, I would like to have at least 30 participants in this exchange. Please share this with your quilting friends who may want to participate.  I am setting a limit of 100 participants, as I think that is all my small quilt group can comfortably handle in the exchange. So sign up soon if you would like to join in.
If you have read through these instructions and you would like to participate in the exchange, please send me an email stating you would like to participate in the HST exchange,  to oneworldfabrics@yahoo.com,  and include the following information: Your full name, your email address where you can be reached (please include this even if your email was sent from this address), and a telephone number where you can be reached if we have any questions (This is REQUIRED), and your mailing address for return of your exchange units (in case you forget to include this when you send your units in).  I will not share any of this information with anyone, it is just for us to contact you if necessary. I will send out a confirmation email to all who have signed up around December 1st. (please notify me if you should be signed up and do not get a confirmation email). And, I will also send out a reminder email in mid-January about the deadline for mailing in your exchange units.  
If you have any other questions, please email me at oneworldfabrics@yahoo.com