Today I made some progress on my Sea of Squares quilt. I'm following this tutorial from Christa Quilts. All my "X blocks" and "O blocks" are sewn together and pressed open.
Trust me when I tell you that chain piecing is the way to go on this one! These blocks come together in no time. Just remember to keep everything organized so you don't accidentally swap any pieces between the two types of blocks. Now that these are ready, I can start laying them out. I love that part of the piecing progress; it's when you can really see what the quilt will look like.
Ha! The man of the house just decided to rename my blocks for me.
Instead of "X blocks" and "O blocks" I now have "X Bocks" and "Bo Tocks" (Xbox and Botox). Never a dull moment around here!
I used this tutorial from Modern Handcraft. Let me tell you, it was quick and easy! The tutorial recommends using a Sizzix machine for cutting the hexies but since I don't have one, I just cut mine the old-fashioned way - with a ruler and a rotary cutter. Also, instead of using fabric for the background square I used more felt. That may not have been the best idea as the background square shrunk 1/8" in each direction after sewing down the hexies. It all worked out though.
Now for the tip! Did you know that steel wool/stainless steel wire scourers will help keep your pins sharp?!
I like to shove some in my pincushions to keep my pins sharp as sharp can be. No more dull pins that leave big holes in your fabric! You should be able to find some steel wool in the cleaning products aisle at your grocery store.
It's that time of year when it seems as though everybody you know gets sick. I thought we might dodge the bullet at my house this year. *Sigh* Maybe that was just wishful thinking. What this really means is that I haven't been able to sew in days. I'm going to take this opportunity to show off some sewing projects I gave as gifts over the holidays.
First up is a paper-pieced throw pillow. My niece loves Twilight. I mean lurves! I had the brilliant idea to make her something that highlighted the four book covers from the series. I quickly realized that paper-piecing was the way to go and I completely lucked out and found that Cat Magraith had already made PP'd patterns for the books and they were free. Yep, free! I found the blocks on Fandom in Stitches.
So, it's confession time. Obviously, that is not the finished pillow, it's just the top. I don't think I ever photographed the completed pillow. :( I'll have to do that the next time I visit my niece. Next confession, I totally deviated from Cat's version of the block on the lower right (I think that's the cover for Breaking Dawn). Cat's block calls for PP and applique but I decided I needed a challenge wanted all the blocks PP'd, so I did up my own pattern for that one. Also, Cat's blocks finish out at 5" square but I sized mine up to 8". Last confession, this was my first foray into PP. It was so EASY and I love how the blocks turned out. Seriously, if you've never paper-pieced before you need to try it!
Moving on, the next crafty/sewing gifts I made were some library totes for the kids of some friends. The mom wanted bags with the kids' names on them. I was inspired by this pillow tutorial by Shruti from 13 Woodhouse Road. I used generic canvas bags from the craft store and a different variegated thread for each bag.
Here is a close up.
These bags were super fun to make up and super fast and easy. For those of you who aren't used to FMQ, it's a great way to get comfortable with the technique and the motion of moving the fabric around under the needle. I think next time I'll make a pillow for myself like Shruti did.
Okay, that's it for today. I hear some coughing in the background which is my cue.
I'm working on another Sea of Squares quilt. It's an older QAL by Christa Quilts. I made this quilt last December as a gift for my MIL. It was a quick finish and this is the only picture I took before giving it away.
I modified the pattern slightly by adding an extra column and an extra row because, well... I had the fabric and I'm of the bigger = better mentality. The quilting was minimal. I straight-line quilted just a quarter-inch inside every block. The minimal quilting and super soft fabric made for such a smushy, comfy quilt that I hated giving this one away. So, The only solution was to make another one for myself. This time I'm using some long-hoarded charm packs of Sphere by Brigitte Heitland.
I've got my charm squares all sorted into my "X" blocks and "O" blocks. That really is the hardest part of this quilt pattern.
I also cut my "X" blocks and "O" blocks accordingly.
As long as I can keep them all in order; with some chain piecing, this baby will be pieced into a top in no time.