Tutorial-ish

Craftsy Open Studios

Who is going to be at Quilt Festival in a few weeks? If you are there, please come say hi to me at the Craftsy Open Studios! Open Studios are designed for you to drop in on fiber artists while they are working, learn a few tips and ask questions. Last year I demonstrated appliqued circles and had a great time.

This year I will be in the Stitch Studio on Thursday, October 31 from 2-4pm demonstrating Paper Piecing. And again on Friday, November 1 from 2-4pm demoing how to prep your circles for applique.

Check out the full schedule. I know I will be sitting in on a few of the demos!

Quilt Labels

Putting labels on quilts is important, just look at my last post. But who likes to do it? Certainly not me. This is what my labels usually look like. Quick and dirty. (I almost always make circular labels because I do not like to applique the bulky corners on square labels. Form follows function.)

Last week, as I was procrastinating putting on labels, I had an idea....what if I had labels pre-printed so all I had to do was write in the title and the date? I looked at several options, but using Spoonflower.com seemed to be the easiest and most cost-effective option for me. Spoonflower is a service that allows you to design your own fabric and they print it in as large of quantity as you need.

First I created a 3"x3" jpeg in Photoshop. This was the hardest part. Photoshop is not a program that comes naturally to me.

Then I uploaded the image to Spoonflower's website and used their software to repeat the images across a piece of fabric. This whole process took about 2 minutes.

A week later, a printed fat quarter arrived at my house. 42 labels and the total cost to me was $10.45. I know I will save $10 in time and frustration. I still have to cut them out and sew them on, but aren't they pretty?

First label applied:

There are a few design choices I will make differently on my next order, but for the next 41 quilts I am quite happy with these.

How I Avoid Templates

I have patience in spades to do many things, but cutting out fabric using templates is not one of them. Traditionally, Endless Chain patterns are made with templates - which means that every piece of fabric in the quilt is cut out individually. The way I avoided templates while making Catena was to paper piece. Now I'm not saying that paper piecing is any less of a pain-in-the-neck than using templates. It's just a different kind pain that I can tolerate, while template cutting is not.

Drafting a pattern was the hardest part of the process. First I used a hexagon ruler and traced it on a piece of paper. Next, I had to be reminded of my high school geometry to figure out the angles and how to divide the hexagon into 12 wedges. Luckily I have smart friends who remember those things and helped me out.

I cut the hexagon in half and added a 1/4 inch seam allowance around each piece. Now is a good time to make a few photocopies of the pattern. I had to remake the 1/4 inch pattern more than once because I kept using up the last one. Which is why this example looks like it was copied onto scrap paper. Because it was!Then I paper pieced the two halves, using the two fabrics. I alternated the fabrics around the wheel. I won't explain how to paper piece because I am sure there are a million tutorials/books/articles that explain how to do it much better than I can.

I sewed the two halves together and ripped the paper off of the back, and felt a big sense of accomplishment.

Finally, I a circle was appliqued onto the center. And I had a block. The beauty of the circle is that if your points do not come come quite together in the center, it doesn't matter. The circle covers that.

One down, many more to go to make the chain endless.