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06-24-2013

The Secret to a Stellar Quilt…

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What’s the first thing you notice about a quilt…

Is it the fabric…the color…the design or is it the colors of the design in the fabric???

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Well, most likely it’s ALL of these. I think the Secret to a Stellar Quilt is COLOR!!! It’s what catches our eye and makes the design and fabric come to life!

Today’s post is about color theory……I know, I know…. it’s scary and exhausting to think about. I’m going to tell you about some basic principles of color theory, so you can add it to your quilting tool belt.  Understanding a little about color theory can go a long way with a quilter. So…..here we go.

                                                          colorwheel

What are these things anywho?

col•or wheel

noun
a circle with different colored sectors used to show the relationship between colors.

That’s pretty simple right?

Let’s look at some color relationships that you’ll find in the Wheel of Mystery(aka-color wheel).

Rule: If it looks good in nature, it looks good anywhere!

After all it was designed by the greatest artist EVER:)

monochromaticcolors

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Why do we love the ocean so? It’s beautiful shades of one color.

Monochromatic– many values within one color hue.

Ahh, so relaxing.

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analogouscolors

Or a beautiful sunrise or sunflower?

Analogous– 3 colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Creates a smooth, rich effect that blends.

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complementarycolors complementarycolors2

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Complementary Colors- opposites on the color wheel.

Very bold, vibrant and have a POP! factor.

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Split Complementary

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Split Complementary– opposite on the color wheel, but split on one or both sides forming a triangle(triad) or square(tetrad). Great when you need some harmony!

So how do I use these in my quilts?

Well, if you have a fabric you love, but don’t know what to do with it—-pick out some of the colors in it and see where it fits in the color wheel!

Look at the colors beside it for something to add richness(analogous) or stay right in one spot and see if monochromatic suits your fancy. Maybe, go opposite on the wheel for a fabric that really pops! Let’s say you have a project where one color seems to be taking over>>>>look to the triangle or square shapes in the wheel for a couple fabrics you can throw in to even it out a bit.

Here is a great website to check out for awesome color palettes to browse:

Design Seeds

Just look at these gorgeous color palettes!!! If you can’t find inspiration here, you ain’t gonna!

flora boldgrassy brights

setting toneswooden hues

Visit PlayCrafts and check out their awesome palette builder where you can create a palette from your own photo! (cool right?)

Upload your photo to create an amazing palette! Thanks Play-Crafts.

A few tips for a Stellar Quilt

1. Avoid overly matching fabrics!

2. Use a fabric lighter or darker than the others for an accent fabric.

3. Use shades within a hue to coordinate, try removing the ones that match exactly.

4. Don’t forget Neutrals/Duller fabrics! We don’t usually see these at first glance,

but they are what make the brighter fabrics sing:)

5. If not sure how it’s looking, use your camera to take a black&white photo to check out contrast.

These are not rules,  just helpful thoughts and ideas for your inspiration.  I hope the color wheel is a little less scary and can now help you out when your staring at that piece of fabric you love and have no idea what to do:)

So, go get you some inspirational fabric, photo, or one of these lovely palettes and get to quiltin’

Keep it Sassy

Links:

Stitch by Stitch  plum and june 

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04-18-2013

Quilting Rulers you can’t live without!

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(happy-go-lucky by Bonnie and Camille for Moda fabrics)

Well, guess what?  

The Sassy Quilter has reached 1,000 views!!! So in honor of our Happy day I am giving away two, Happy -Go- Lucky by Moda charm packs:)  

That’s 84, 5″x 5″ squares of quilty fun!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below and subscribe to follow my blog. To subscribe look for the box to the right or at the very bottom of the posts, depends on your device. The contest will run Friday thru Sunday, 12p.m., the winner announced on Monday!

Now, onto the post…

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Do you ever get to the quilting ruler isle and your head starts to spin, feel a little woozy, or just break into a sweat?……Well, don’t panic!

We are gonna break it down for you.

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Some basic ruler info:

1.They align and hold fabric firmly to your cutting mat for proper cutting and measuring.

2. Made of acrylic and are see-thru. If too thin, rotary cutter would jump the edge and…you could be visiting the E.R. with a finger in your pocket.

3. Printed vs. Laser Cut. Markings can be printed, or laser cut. Laser cut is more accurate.

4. The more markings the better. Thin lines that measure down to 1/8″ are great.

5. Grip is good. One side may be rougher for more grip on your mat. Rubber pads or sandpaper discs can be added to help.

6. Consistency within a project can help. Different brands can vary, so use the same rulers during a project.

Here are some popular brands available:

 OmniGrid, OmniGrip, June Tailor, Quilt in a Day, Fons and Porter, Get Squared, Creative Grids

 

3 basic patchwork rulers you can’t live without are:

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6 x 24– this long ruler covers the WOF and keeps you from having to fold the fabric to get a nice straight cut. You will also use it for just about anything you need to cut or measure. Some like to also have a 6 x 12 for a shorter ruler when the length is not needed. 30/45/60 degree lines marked.

6.5 X 6.5– great for squares and triangle squares, diagonal markings. Common smaller block size. The one in the pic above has an additional square size in the center…bonus!

12.5 x 12.5– this one is also great for squares and triangle squares, includes all smaller square sizes, and is a common larger block size. And, yes it does include the 6.5 x 6.5, but is a lot bigger so having the smaller is still beneficial.

Specialty Rulers???

These are rulers for……yes, you guessed it…special shapes and projects!

The list of specialty rulers can be never ending, but here are some basic categories and examples.

strip cutting– ShapeCut, ShapeCut Pro♥

triangles– HST, QST, flying geese, setting triangles, corner triangles

1/4″- marking…1/4″ seams, straight lines

circles-will need 18 or 28mm rotary cutter

wedge-Dresden plate, tree skirt

wave edge– scallop borders

shapes– apple core, tumbler, hexagon, diamond, templates

Just in case you wanted to know…my favorite specialty ruler is the ShapeCut Pro! I can cut all my strips in a jiffy and even whip up my own “sassy” jelly roll!

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Happy Measuring and Cutting! Safety First:)

What’s your favorite ruler???

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04-12-2013

3 Things every Quilter should know about Thread!

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1. How is it wrapped onto the spool?

Is your thread cross-wound, loaded onto the spool in a criss-cross pattern forming and x around the spool, or is it stacked, loaded parallel and stacking on top of itself?

2. What is your thread made of?

Cotton, polyester, rayon, nylon, metallic, silk, or wool?

3. How thick is your thread?

30wt., 40wt., or 50wt.?

Is your mind spinning, did you not know thread was this complicated? Well, it really isn’t. Let’s address these one at a time…..

1. How your thread is loaded tells you how it should stand on your machine. If it is cross-wound(right in the pic below), it should be horizontal with a spool cap to keep it in place. If it is stacked(left in the pic below), it should sit vertically. If not in the right direction it doesn’t come off the spool properly and can get tangled or you may even notice some tension issues. If your machine will not hold the spool both directions, there are thread stands to help you out. Thread stands are also used for those large cones of thread.

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2. What your thread is made of will depend on your project and different size needles may be required.  Here is the 411 on some common types.

Cotton-natural, soft, durable, not as strong as polyester, and a low shiny factor:)(sheen).

Polyester-strong, durable, colorfast, various finishes(shiny factors).

Rayon-mostly used for embroidery, cheaper, less durable, not colorfast, high shiny factor.

Monofilament-invisible,strong(but brittle over time), not colorfast(yellows over time),not heat resistant.

Metallic-not really thread(plastic cut into strips), need special needle, can break easily.

3. How thick your thread is, or the weight of your thread, is not that complicated either.

• 30wt.-thicker, very common.

• 40wt.-finer.

• 50wt.-very fine, great for making your stitches blend, great in your bobbin, too!

Tips:

Monofilament and Metallic like to fall off the spool, so a net that fits over the spool keeps it in place and helps with tension. I bet you didn’t even know what that netty thing was for:)

Quality, quality, quality! Cheap thread is linty and will get inside your machine and drive you nuts with machine troubles. A not so expensive thread I love is Gutermann brand, and with a Joann’s coupon or a 50% sale, I like to stock up.

Grey is an amazing neutral color for thread, Light or dark grey blends with most anything.

Don’t listen to rumors! Experiment, try lots and see what you and your machine love♥.

Here my picks for good thread, give ’em a click to check ’em out:

Red Rock Threads

Superior Threads

Joann’s

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04-05-2013

Strawberry Jam- Part 3

sj9

Click here for pattern

Okay, let’s wrap this thing up and finish this quilt top!

The center blocks of your top are done and put together in rows, all we need now is to add our borders and the top is D-O-N-E.  The problem with borders is, the pattern tells us how to cut them the perfect size, and well… those borders…..only fit on perfect quilts.   Your quilts can come out a little over or undersized.  All those seams combined with the stretchiness(is this a word???) of fabric can lead to some distortion in your finished product.  This is the method I use to add my borders so that they are perfect every time;)

After I construct  my border strips(so they are long enough),  I don’t make the second set of cuts to the exact size.  This leaves them a little over-sized.  Next, I fold my border in half and rub my fingernail over the fold to make a crease in the fabric; marking the mid-point of my border.  Because the center of our top is 6×6 blocks, I know my  mid-point on the top is the seam between the third and fourth block.  Line up your crease with the seam and pin together, make sure right sides of fabric are facing each other.  Did I mention we are starting with the side borders?

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Working on a flat surface, like your table, continue to pin your border along the quilt top. About one pin at every seam line, this is where it wants to move the most.  The trick here is not to stretch the border or the quilt top. All those seams have a lot of give…so take it easy!  If you pin too tightly, when you take out the pins it will relax and be wavy.  If you pin too loosely, you will have puckers or folds along border.  Just let the fabrics lay naturally together and you’ll be fine:)

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Go ahead and pin both sides, and then sew ’em up!  Now take it to the ironing board and press open your border. Be gentle, but make sure to press your border all the way open.  Next, I lay it on my cutting mat and make sure everything looks square and then trim the excess with my ruler. Do this on both ends of each border.

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Time for the top and bottom borders and…..your oh, so, sassy, Strawberry Jammy quilt top is done!

Here is mine:

strawberryjam2

Hope you like it:) Stay tuned for the finished quilt!

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03-29-2013

Strawberry Jam- Part 2

sj8

Click here for pattern!

Alrighty then! Now that your strip blocks are done and the solid blocks are well…….. solid…….let’s join them together and make our rows

     Lay out all your blocks to see how the center of your quilt top will look.  If you have a design wall, this is a great time to use it.  If your like me and don’t, just lay them out on the floor.  Once you have your layout the way you like it, piece your rows together. Press your seams between the strip and solid blocks toward the solid block.  Now, back to the floor and layout your rows.  Laying things out lets me see how the quilt is looking, hopefully spotting mistakes sooner than later.

combiningblocks

I recommend using a few pins when joining rows together. Your sewing line will be long and there will be seams to fight along the way. Pins free up your hands for other adjusting.  Now here comes the part about locking/nesting your seams.  Where both rows seams come together they line up(hopefully) and produce a lot of bulk.  This is hard for your machine to sew and quilt through and can even break your needle.  To keep things flat and smooth we try to press the seams so that when they line up they will be going in opposite directions.  Not only does it reduce bulk, the seams butt into one another(lock/nest) and make sure your piecing lines look accurate on the topside of your quilt.

lockingseams

Once you join your two rows together, press to either side. It won’t matter for these seams.  Sew the rest of your rows together and Voila!!!!

blocksdone

The center of your quilt top is complete.

Happy Quilting!!!

Stay tuned for Part 3—>Borders:)

 

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03-23-2013

Strawberry Jam- Part 1

sj7

Click here for the new pattern!

Well, I have been working on creating a couple of easy quilt patterns that would be perfect for new quilters to give a try. This one is called Strawberry Jam! Follow me as I piece and quilt this quick and sassy pattern.  So far I have cut all the yardage and constructed the strip blocks.  I am making this top with some fun, grey-on-grey polka dot yardage combined with strips from a jelly roll called “Odds and Ends” by Julie Comstock for Moda fabrics.  Jelly rolls make 2 1/2″ strips easy, but they are also easy to cut yourself.  I love my Shape Cut Pro Strip Ruler by June Tailor. It has slots for my rotary cutter so I can’t go wrong cutting my strips.  Here are a few tips and tricks to look out for while following this pattern:

strip1

When trimming your selvages at the end of strips, trim just enough!  If trim too heavily, you will not get enough cuts out of each strip.

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Use a scant 1/4″ seam when piecing strip blocks! When you press open the strips we lose a little of our fabric in the fold. By making our seam slightly less than 1/4″ (about the width of one thread)our piecing comes out more accurate. Notice the picture on the left the line of thread is just out side my 1/4″ , and the pic on the right the line of thread is included within my 1/4″.

strip2

After sewing your first two strips together, press seams to one side and then measure to make sure you are keeping the proper width of your strips. If you are off on each of the four strips it can make the block WAY off!  If you are new do this for the first few blocks to make sure everything is going smoothly.  It is easier to fix a strip or two than 18 blocks:)

strip3

Notice the picture on the left…the seams are all pressed to the right. It doesn’t matter which direction, just all the same within the block.   The finished strip block on the right is 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″. Check with your ruler and trim any excess to square up block.  If block is too small…check the width of your seams or you may have not pressed seam all the way open.  There you go…blocks done!

Let me know if you run into any road blocks and I would love to see your pics!

Happy Quilting!

Stay tuned for Part 2—>Piecing your blocks and rows together:)

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03-10-2013

Work in Progress(WIP)

what i did this weekend

So this weekend I am plugging away at one of my WIP’s, work-in-progress that is. Check out the Sassy Dictionary for quilt lingo definitions here . It is a quilt I call “Cardinal Stars”.   It has cardinal fabric and the piecing forms several different star-like shapes, I know…you never would have guessed:) My current location on my quilt journey has me working on perfecting my machine quilting. I have taken a couple of Craftsy classes(have loved every one) and done my homework, but one thing I have learned is none of that makes up for practice, practice, practice!!! All the experts say it takes about 25 hrs. to finally get it and one day you will just realize your stitches are fabulous. Well, I haven’t kept a log, but no aha! moment yet.  You have to be willing to sacrifice some fabric and quilt tops to the quilting gods for practice, painful I know, but you can do it:)  Anyway… after making my quilt sandwich and pin basting my quilt, the first step is to do some basic quilting in the straight seams of your quilt(SITD).  This stabilizes your quilt before you venture to quilt the more open areas with FMQ.  I did this with a walking foot or even feed foot. This foot looks like a big, clunky, monster of a foot. Unfortunately, It usually has to be purchased separately.  Here is a pic:

walking foot

 

Your sewing machine has feed dogs down in your machine(they look like teeth)under the presser foot, they pull your fabric forward from underneath while sewing.  The walking foot has another set of teeth that also pull the fabric from the top, this keeps the fabric evenly feeding into your machine from both sides of the quilt sandwich.  This foot is primarily used when you’ve got a lot of layer action going on and are only wanting some straight-line quilting.  It is also great for attaching binding.

SITD

Now that it is secure I can take out some of my safety pins(this will free them up for my six other quilts ready to be sandwiched!!! Yikes.)  I think I will do a lot more practicing before I tackle the FMQ areas. I will keep you posted on my progress:) Maybe, we can practice together….. Oh, and by the way, you can quilt your whole quilt with the walking foot.  All you have to do is make it a straight line design! Happy Quilting. xoxo.

 

 

 

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