Thursday, September 22, 2022

Strippy Improv Halloween QAL - Week 1

Hello! I'm so excited that you'll be sewing along with me for the Strippy Improv Halloween QAL! If you still need the pattern, you can order it here.

It's Week 1, so let's talk fabric! 

But really, before that, let's talk block choices, because the blocks you decide to make will steer your fabric choices. 

The pattern includes 9 different blocks (yes, I got carried away when I created the pattern, but what could I leave out?!?). I'm showing all 9 here - you can use this as an overview, and you can also refer back to them as you read the fabric choice section below. 

Pumpkin


Black Cat


Ghost


Spider


Candy Corn


Bat

Witch Hat


B-O-O


Select 4 different blocks, or use all the same block, or maybe 2 and 2. It's up to you! 

Here's where color factors in. 
Block background:
Your block background should be dark (or darker) so the pieced strips don't show through the reverse applique. If you choose appliques that are typically black or very dark (like the bat, cat, spider, witch hat), you'll want to pick a block background that is light enough to create contrast (but not too light, like white!). I wouldn't go lighter than this light gray below.




Strip colors:
These blocks are great for using scraps, particularly leftover strips. I recommend paying attention to the value of your strips - for example, for the pumpkin, you want your oranges to have enough variety that the individual strips stand out. Otherwise, you could just use one piece of orange for the whole pumpkin. 

I personally prefer prints that are more tonal, because I don't want individual prints distracting from the overall applique. But if you are making four pumpkin blocks, a little more variety might be fun! In my B-O-O blocks, I used more variety because I knew the letter would pop off the background. 

A note on whites and blacks - these can be tricky, because so many black prints read as black. Look for some darker grays as well (as long as they're darker than your block background). For whites, definitely raid your low volume stash! 

Whatever strips you choose, audition them by laying the strips together to see if you like the look. 

And finally, take advantage of all the fun Halloween prints in quilt shops for the border! 


Have fun choosing your blocks and fabrics! Meet me back here on Thursday, September 29 where we'll talk about making the blocks. 

Here's the QAL schedule: 
Thursday 9/22: Fabric and block choices
Thursday 9/29: Make 2 blocks
Thursday 10/6: Make 2 blocks
Thursday 10/13: Assemble and finish!

I hope you'll join in the fun! I'll be posting here on the blog and also sharing posts on IG (@quiltyzest). If you're going to sew along, use the hashtag #strippyimprovhalloween to share your block and/or fabric choices!

Press the easy button and order the kit here.
Choosing/using your own fabrics? Order just the digital pattern here

Curved Piecing Doesn't Have to Be Scary (or Perfect!)

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Back to School Blog Hop! 


Raise your hand if you've ever admired a quilt pattern with curved piecing but decided not to make it, because... "oooh...curved piecing!" 

I'm here today to reassure you that curved piecing doesn't have to be scary. It doesn't even have to be perfect. 

The tricks to curved piecing are pinning - lots of it! - and patience. 

Let's take a look.  (Scroll down for the video version of this tute!)

Step 1: Fold and press the quarter circle in half wrong sides together to mark the center of the curved edge. You can finger press, but I prefer a quick press with my iron so it's more visible. Tip: If you use the iron, you can also press two at a time if you've cut the pieces out in pairs.

Do the same with the background piece, making sure to press opposite so your pressed center points can nest. (My background fabric is solid, so either side works - if your background fabric is a print, press right sides together).


Step 2: Match marked center points and pin together as shown with #2 (makes sure to nest the folds!). Follow up with pins at #1 and #3, the two ends. Manipulate the fabric so the straight edge of the quarter circle and the straight edge of the background circle align. It'll make the unpinned sections lumpy - don't worry - we'll fix that next!

Step 3: Flip the pinned pieces over so the background is on top (You can pin in step 2 with either side on top). Again manipulate the fabric, being careful not to stretch it too much, and add in additional pins to match the curved edges. 

Step 4: Take the pinned pieces to your sewing machine and begin sewing. Go slowly, gently adjusting the fabric edges so they're always straight and even before going under the sewing machine foot. You will always be sewing "straight" rather than on a curve. If you see a potential pucker, stop and tug gently on fabric to remove it before stitching that area. 

Step 5: Press the curved block. I think it's easier to press toward the background fabric, but both directions work. For my upcoming pattern, two quarter circles will join, so I'll press half each way so the seams can nest. Measure your block and square up if needed. 

One more tip: Keep a spray water bottle handy to help with any pesky almost-puckers. A quick spray will also help flatten the block beautifully. 

That's it! Not difficult, I promise. Because you're sewing on bias edges, you have to be gentle, but you also have a little "give" if things aren't matching up perfectly. 

If you're more of a video learner, here's the YouTube tutorial:




One last thing...I perfect my curved piecing because I'm just about finished with a new quilt pattern. Below are two versions - they're reversed versions of each other. (And one is scrappy; the other uses the really fantastic Shibori prints from Benartex.) I'm stuck on a great name for the quilt though--will you leave me a comment below with your name idea? 



Thanks! I hope you enjoyed my Back to School post!

The Back to School Blog Hop is PACKED with tips, tricks and tutorials for quilters and sewers. Check them all out!

  • Sept 15 - Geeky Bobbin - Press for Success! - https://geekybobbin.com/pressing
  • Sept 16 - Katie Mae Quilts - Storage Solutions From The School Supplies Section - https://katiemaequilts.com/blog
  • Sept 17 - Quilting Jetgirl - Make A Design Wall You Can Use Your Hera Marker Against - https://quiltingjetgirl.com/
  • Sept 18 - Karen Bolan - How to Get Perfect Tension - https://www.karenbolan.com
  • Sept 19 - Devoted Quilter - How To Trim HSTs Without A Specialty Ruler - https://www.devotedquilter.com
  • Sept 20 - Sarah Ruiz - Calculating Quilt Backing and Binding Fabric Requirements - saroy.net
  • Sept 21 - Andy Knowlton - How To Sew Quilt Blocks With Partial Seams - https://www.abrightcorner.com/
  • Sept 22 - Lisa Ruble - Curved Piecing Doesn't Have To Be Scary (Or Perfect!) - quiltyzest.com. --YOU'RE HERE!
  • Sept 23 - Sarah Goer Quilts - Tips for Piecing Precise Points - https://www.sarahgoerquilts.com
  • Sept 24 - Faith and Fabric - Spinning Intersections On Four Patch Blocks - The Easy Way! - https://faithandfabricdesign.com
  • Sept 25 - Judit Hajdu - Draw String Bag - For Lunch Or Gym - quiltfox-design.com
  • Sept 26 - Sugar Sand Quilt Co. - The Care And Feeding Of The Wild Longarm Quilter - https://sugarsandquilts.com/
  • Sept 27 - Hilary Jordan - Quick & Easy Pattern Matching Technique for Quilt Backings - https://byhilaryjordan.com/
  • Sept 28 - True Blue Quilts - Sketch Then Stitch...Better FMQ Through Doodling - www.truebluequilts.com
  • Sept 29 - Sunflower Quilting - A Quilting Tip - www.sunflowerstitcheries.com
  • Sept 30 - Slightly Biased Quilts - Perfect Hand Binding Tips - www.slightlybiasedquilts.com

     **************************************************************************
    And one more last thing...
    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
    Find me on IG here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)
  • Wednesday, September 21, 2022

    Harvest & Halloween Blog Hop


    Hi and welcome if you're new here! I'm Lisa Swenson Ruble of Quilty Zest (formerly Love to Color My World...rebranding is quite the process!) 

    This time of year, I'm all about Halloween, specifically Halloween quilts and candy. When I saw some of the fun orange and black prints from Michael Miller Fabrics, I knew they'd be perfect for a version of my Strippy Improv Halloween quilt! The witch-on-a-broomstick fabric reminds me of the tv show Bewitched! And those spider webs...



    I used those fabrics to create four of my favorite blocks in my Strippy Improv Halloween pattern. (The pattern has 9 different block options...so much Halloween, so little time!). 

     Here's a close-up of each block. I chose to do straight line quilting because I wanted texture without taking away from the design. I think I succeeded! 

    Witch hat

    Pumpkin

    Ghost

    Black cat



    This technique uses a bit of improv piecing, and then the magic comes from reverse applique. 

    I'm starting a Quilt Along on September 22nd - I hope you'll join me and sew your own Strippy Improv Halloween quilt! You can finish it before October 31st! Find more details about the Quilt Along here

    Grab the pattern here!

    Purchase the pattern here.


     **************************************************************************
    Make sure you catch the rest of the Harvest & Halloween hop! 


     **************************************************************************
    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
    Find me on IG here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)


    Thursday, September 15, 2022

    Strippy Improv Halloween Kits + QAL!

    Halloween is right around the corner, but guess what?! 
    There's still time to create a Halloween wall hanging! 

    And...there's a kit available! I worked with Sit 'n Sew Fabrics to choose the fabric for this Strippy Improv Halloween kit. Can I just say, I LOVE that border print! 

    But the best part of the kit is that the reverse applique shapes come pre-fused AND pre-cut. No time-consuming, careful cutting to create the bat, ghost, pumpkin and candy corn shapes. Woo hoo! 



    The fabrics: (includes backing and binding)


    Those cut-out reverse applique shapes I mentioned! 


    Now is the perfect time to grab a kit because starting Thursday, September 22nd, I'll be hosting a QAL to sew a Strippy Improv Halloween project. The main goal? To help you finish yours before October 31st! 

    Here's the schedule: 
    Thursday 9/22: Fabric and block choices
    Thursday 9/29: Make 2 blocks
    Thursday 10/6: Make 2 blocks
    Thursday 10/13: Assemble and finish!

    I hope you'll join in the fun! I'll be posting here on the blog and also sharing posts on IG (@quiltyzest). If you're going to sew along, use the hashtag #strippyimprovhalloween

    Press the easy button and order the kit here.
    Choosing/using your own fabrics? Order just the digital pattern here

     

    Thursday, August 18, 2022

    Cake? Yes please!

    I love cake. Especially chocolate cake! My current favorite is this dark chocolate cheesecake. I highly recommend it - sooo delicious! 

    So when Thermoweb suggested a cake theme, of course I was all in! I decided to make little cake postcards. They could be used as actual mail-able postcards, or as birthday cards, or just for a fun little gift! My Cake Love Postcards tutorial is now live on the Thermoweb blog.

                                            


    These projects go together so quickly because it's all applique. What took the most time - seriously - was narrowing down the fabric choices. I had fun browsing through my stash to find "chocolate" or "vanilla" or frosting fabrics. I used HeatnBond Lite Iron-On AdhesiveHeatnBond EZ Print Transfer Sheets and HeatnBond Lightweight Non-Woven Fusible Interfacing to make these cuties.

    I loved the stripe for this cake and the sprinkle frosting.


    Confetti cake with pink frosting


    I envision this one as a chocolate caramel cake. 


    Yellow cake with a chocolate frosting.

    Which flavor appeals to you? 


    Head over to the Thermoweb blog to find the full tutorial!

    Tuesday, August 16, 2022

    Pretty Pairs Block of the Month quilt

    I've been waiting for this day! Today I'm releasing the Pretty Pairs BOM quilt. 
    This quilt features 9 different blocks - 1 per month, and then a 10th month for quilt assembly. The pattern focuses on various. methods for half-square triangle and flying geese unit piecing.
    Purchase the pattern here.

    For this quilt, I picked some of my favorite fabrics from Nancy Halvorsen's new line for Benartex, Wander Lane. I fell in love with the house print and ultimately chose it for my quilt backing. 

    I wanted to give these blocks a fresh, modern setting, so I create a two-color sashing layout. Picking the aqua and teal prints for the sashing was an easy choice - if you've followed me for any amount of time, you know that's my favorite color! Both of those prints are stripes, which adds a cool effect to the background.

    Here's a close-up of block #1. Lots of half-square triangles! 

    When you purchase this pattern, you'll receive the cover with yardage requirements for the whole quilt, as well as directions for piecing block #1. At the beginning of each month, you'll receive the pattern for one quilt block. The pattern available in my Etsy shop and is 20% off through Saturday, 8/20 using code PRETTYPAIRS20.

                              **************************************************************************
    If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll stay and look around a bit. 
    If you like what you've seen here, you can also find me:
    To find all of my quilt patterns, visit my Etsy shop
    Find me on IG here.
    Sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar or here
    (You'll receive a free pattern for my Diamond Drama quilt (below) as a thank you!)

    Monday, July 4, 2022

    Firecracker Mini Quilt - 3 Block Assembly

    Happy 4th of July! My Firecracker Mini Quilt tutorial is up on the Thermoweb blog. I made that version with four blocks all stitched together. I've also created a version with three blocks and sashing and border, and I'm sharing that assembly here. 



    The 3 Block version:



    Cutting:
    From the white:
    (4) 2" x 6-1/2" pieces 
    (2) 2" x 24-1/2" strips

    From the blues and reds:
    A total of 85" of 2-1/4" wide strips for binding


    Assemble the Quilt
    Step 1: Lay out the 3 blocks alternating with (4) 2" x 6-1/2" white pieces. 


    Step 2: Sew the blocks and white pieces together. Sew the (2) 2" x 24-1/2" lengths to the long sides of the quilt. 

    Step 3: Layer the backing right side down, batting, and quilt top right side up. Baste layers together and quilt as desired. Use short sections of the (6) 2-1/4" x 21" red and blue strips to bind the quilt. 




    Block close-ups: