Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hive 3 - July Tutorial

Hello fellow hive mates,

I am Martina and we currently live outside of Lille, France. We have been here for a year and will move again next year. Where to we don't know yet...but I'm sure the military will let us know at some point ;) This is my first year with the stash bee and I joined because moving around so much makes it difficult for me to stay connected with a guild, but I also wanted to participate in a bee!

I used to have an Etsy shop. I just closed it this week because it just wasn't worth it anymore–both from a creative and financial aspect. I got to a point where the business was doing ok, but I was stuck making pencil cases and wet bags while not really making any profits (and I had to start thinking about liability insurance, consumer product safety compliance, exemptions, etc.).

Like many others I went back and forth between my block choice. At first I wanted wonky stars made by "make fabric," then I saw some whirlygigs, and so on. In the end, I settled for a block that I always wanted to make but never got around to-a string pieced, bright and scrappy block.

Sherrie from a quilting life has a wonderful tutorial on how to make 8 1/2"string quilt blocks. She uses muslin as her foundation but I use newsprint/scribble pad paper and trim it down to 8 1/2"square.

I would like for you to make four (4) 8 1/2" block sections, with a 1 1/2" (that's the size to cut, it will finish at 1") off-white (think Kona snow, oyster, natural) strip running down the middle. This way, I can create a secondary pattern when I join the blocks.

As for colors, it's time to dig into your scrap bin. Think bright, fun, summer colors. Don't overthink it, just grab a strip and go. I cut my strips between 3/4" and 1 3/4" wide, but you can make them wider if you want. Variety is key as it adds a dimension of surprise to it :)

Here is one of my blocks:

Please no browns, greys or blacks.

A quick step-by-step:

Take the 1 1/2" off-white strip and align it with the corners of your foundation paper, pin it in place or use some washable glue stick. Take a colored strip and sew it to one side of the center strip with a 1/4" seam and a shortened stitch length (I use 1.8), flip it open and finger press it. You can press it with your iron, but I don't like getting up after every strip so I finger press them!

Once the whole 8 1/2" foundation paper is covered, flip it over and trip the strips to size.

And voila:

Also, if you could not join the blocks and send them to me with the paper still on the back, I would appreciate it - pretty please and thanks!

A short recap:

  • 4 - 8 1/2" string blocks, with a 1 1/2" off-white center strip (it finishes at 1" once the strips are attached)
  • foundation paper (newsprint, scribble paper, foundation paper, copy paper)
  • bright colors if possible, feel free to use batiks - if you only have a muted scrap bin or stash, that's fine too!
  • no browns, greys or blacks please
  • short stitch length to make paper removal easier
  • please leave the paper on and please do not join the blocks
  • if you could include a small signature block, nothing fancy, just something with your name and place/date on, I would love to put that into the backing to always remember who contributed to the quilt :)

Lastly, I would like to know what machine(s) you work your magic on and which particular feature you absolutely love, what you don't like and if you could buy any machine, which one would it be?

I used to sew on a very basic Brother and I wasn't happy with the limited space to the right of the needle. Once we moved to France, I splurged on a Janome Memory Craft 8900 QCP. I love the ample (11") space to the right of the needle and the fact that I can change the needle plate with the push of a button. It makes cleaning out the bobbin case and changing plates so much easier, and the space lets me quilt large quilts at home.

I don't like the fact that it does NOT tell me when the bobbin is running low. A feature which even the cheap brother had, and which I really wish the Janonme had :(

If I could buy any machine, I would get a Bernina 800 or 700 series and a long-arm machine ;) But that remains a dream :)

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