Saturday, March 31, 2012

AYOS - March!

Wow!  I can't believe how quickly the month of March flew by and that it's already time to post this month's Another Year of Schnibbles project!

March's Schnibbles pattern was Bibelot by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

Photo Courtesy of Miss Rosies Quilt Co.
I know that a lot of people, especially Thelma over at Cupcakes and Daisies, see the letter "T" when they look at this pattern.  Me?  For some reason, I've always seen little T-Shirts.  When I first heard that this was the pattern of the month, I had envisioned little onesie-shirts in baby prints, but when I actually sat down to start working, all I could see were little Hawaiian shirts!

I have absolutely no Hawaiian or even tropical-esque prints in my stash, and was starting to do a little online shopping when I remembered that we had just cleaned out our closets last month ... and in the bag full of donation clothes was a Hawaiian shirt that my hubby had bought for the luau we went to on our first wedding anniversary in Maui.  Perfect!  The shirt was fairly easy to pull apart and provided more than enough fabric for a nice little wall-hanging.

I think I'll call it Tiki Time. :)

Be sure to stop by Pink Pincushion and A Quilting Life tomorrow to check out all of the other fabulous projects!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Growth {part 3}

Quilt-A-Long, Part 3: Strip Piecing and More Cutting!

Welcome to the Quilt-A-Long.  If you need to catch up on the Quilt-A-Long, you can visit Part 1 or Part 2.  Be sure to share your progress pictures and fabric selections with the Flickr Group!

Strip Piecing:
  1. Pin a 2.5" x 22" white background strip right-sides-together to each of the 24 - 2.5" x 22" print strips (6 Main Color strips and 3 strips of each of the other 6 prints).  Using a 1/4" stitch, sew down the side of each strip.

{Note}: Chain piecing makes this step go even faster!

  1. Press the seams towards the print fabric.  Be sure to press {lift the iron up and put down} rather than iron {moving the iron back and forth} to avoid any distortion.
{Note}: The white and print strips will probably be different lengths, but that's ok, as long as the shorter strip is at least 20" long.

  1. Sew three of the main color + white strips together as pictured; press seams towards the main color.  Repeat with the remaining three main color + white strips.

More Cutting:
  1. Square up the edge of the first main color + white unit (if needed).  Cut into 8 - 2.5" block strips, as pictured.  Repeat for the second main color + white unit to create a total of 16 - 2.5" main color + white block strips.

  1. Take one of each of the A, B, C, D, E, & F color + white strips made in step one and cut the unit into two 4.5” x 10” units, as shown.  Now, for each of the six color ways, you should have two large (at least 20”) units and two small 10” units.

A Little More Piecing:
  1. Sew the A, B, C, D, E, & F color + white strips into color sets as pictured below.  Make one large unit and one small unit for each color set.
{Note}: Be sure to pay careful attention to the placement of the white strip to avoid lots of seam ripping later!

 And A Little More Cutting:
  1. Square up the edges (if needed) and cut each of the units made in step 6 into 2.5” strips.  The large units will yield 8 strips and the small units yield 4 strips, so you should have a total of 12 sets for each of the four color combinations.

      Instructions for block construction are right around the corner.  Thanks for stopping by!

      Monday, March 26, 2012

      New Growth {Part 2}

      Quilt-A-Long, Part 2: Preparation & Cutting Instructions

      Welcome back!  I was going to wait until tomorrow morning to post these instructions, but if you're like me, you can't wait to dive into new projects!

      Just a few housekeeping-type notes before we get started!
      • Fat Quarters: They're are supposed to measure approximately 18" x 22" - but their actual size can be really varied.  For this pattern, as long as your fat quarter is at least 20" tall, you'll be just fine.
      • Starching: Using starch as you iron is a personal preference.  My starch brand of choice is Niagara Non-Aerosol spray starch - It's under $2 a bottle at Target, is biodegradable and ozone friendly, you don't have to worry about old starch sitting under the spray nozzle and then old, rusty, spray dripletts on your nice, white project ... and it also comes highly recommended by Ms. Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. fame!  Personally, I like to starch my fabric right before I cut it, rather than starching and pressing blocks (which could cause shrinkage and possibly a little bit of distortion).
      • Pressing Seams: Everyone has their own preference on whether to press seams open or direction-ally.  I say go with what you're most comfortable with.  That being said, though, I recommend for this project to press your fabric away from the background fabric, especially if you're like me and you're using a white background!

      By now, you should have all of your materials gathered and your fabric washed, pressed, and starched as desired.  {See part 1 if you need a refresher!}

      Since all four of the pregnant ladies I know are having boys, I chose to go with a nice blue and yellowy-green palate and my favorite white-on-white polka dot fabric for my background print - I went ahead and folded my fat quarters in half (so that the 18" edges are touching) just to make cutting with my Shape Cut ruler easier.

      Besides ironing your fabric, the only prep-work you need to do is to decide which of your fat quarters you'll be using as the main color - used in the second and fourth rows.  Once you've picked it, label the rest of your fabrics A,B,C,D,E, and F.  The quilt is supposed to look scrappy, so just make sure that you don't have two really similar fabrics right next to each other.  To help myself keep track, I like to take a photo of all my fabrics and label it for reference.

      Cutting Instructions:

      1. From the Main Color, cut:
        • 6 - 2.5" x 22" strips
      2.  From each of the remaining six fat quarters (A-F), cut:
        • 3 - 2.5" x 22" strips
      3. From the background fabric, cut:
        • 12 - 2.5" x width of fabric (width of fabric) strips;
          • cut each of these in half to make 24 - 2.5" x 22" strips
        • 5 - 4.5" x wof strips
          • trip four strips down to 4.5" x 40.5"
          • cut the fifth strip into 8 - 4.5" x 4.5" square
      4. From the binding fabric, cut:
        • 5 - 2" x wof strips

      Stop by tomorrow for the chain assembly and further cutting instructions.  Be sure to post your fabric selections and your progress on the New Growth Flickr group.

      Happy Sewing!!

      New Growth {part 1} - a free Poplun Designs Quilt Tutorial!

      I really love giving handmade gifts – Christmas, wedding or baby showers, house warming parties – you name it.  Unfortunately, I often grossly overestimate the amount of time that I need to finish and end up scrambling to finish at the last minute, pulling all-nighters that rival the days of procrastinating on my college papers!

      The other day, I was playing around with quilt designs in Electric Quilt 6, trying to come up with a design that could be whipped up over a weekend or during a couple of baby’s afternoon naps.  This was my favorite pattern - I’m calling it “New Growth” because it reminds me of tiny spring buds poking their heads up through the snow as winter starts fading to spring.

      Fabric in the EQ6 mock-up is Twirl by Me and My Sister for Moda

      As I was looking back over my posts from 2012, I realize that I never celebrated my 100th post back in January, so I've decided to celebrate now with a free quilt tutorial and quilt along.

      Lately, I've only been able to find time to quilt during my son's afternoon naps, so rather than posting this tutorial all at once, I've broken it up into several "nap time segments" that I'll be posting every few days between now and Easter.  So, in two weeks, we'll have a finished quilt.

      This project is strip-pieced, so the assembly goes super fast!  I think that if I didn't have any quilting time constraints, I could easily finish this quilt in a weekend, or even in under 24 hours if I was feeling super ambitious.

      So here's all the stats for the quilt!!

      Finished Size: 48" x 48"

      Materials Needed:
      • 7 fat quarters in various colors
      • 1 3/4 yards of your favorite coordinating background print
      • 1/3 yard for binding
      • 52" x 52" piece of batting
      • 2 1/2 yards {or 52" x 52"square} fabric for backing
      Supplies Needed:
      • Rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat
      • Water-soluble fabric marker or painter's tape (for marking the quilting lines on the finished top)
      • Iron, ironing board, and starch if desired
      Recommended Supplies (makes all the cutting go WAY faster!):
      • June Taylor Shape Cut ruler available at her online store or at JoAnns, or even WalMart!
      To get started:
      Wash, press and starch your fabrics.  Cutting instructions are right around the corner!

      So, please join me!  There's absolutely no pressure to finish by Easter - start any time and finish at your own pace!  I've set up a Flickr group so that we can all share pictures and progress.  If you'd like to be on the list of participants, please just leave me a little comment below with your blog information or email me at: Poplun{at}gmail{dot}com.  Be sure to grab the Quilt-A-Long button for your blog too!

      New Growth Quilt-A-Long by Poplun Designs

      Can't wait to see the quilts as they come together!

      Happy Sewing!

      Happy Monday!

      Just wanted to pop by and share a quick photo of my Monday morning design wall:

      My Robot-Roulette was the only quilt that saw any action recently since we were busy celebrating my hubby's birthday over the weekend.  We have quite the busy schedule for the next couples of weeks ... so I might have to change the name of my blog to "The Naptime Quilter."  Luckily, Aiden seems to be slowly coming out of his four month sleep regression phase, and has been taking some hefty naps lately, so fingers crossed!!

      This week I'm going {to try} to link up with these sites.  Please drop by to check out all the fun projects happening in blog-land this week!

      Happy Sewing!

      Wednesday, March 21, 2012

      Robot-y Luv!

      A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some Robot Factory (by Robert Kaufman) prints ...

      ... in the hopes that at least one of the four little bundles of joy expected among family and friends would be a little boy.  It turns out that ALL FOUR babies are BOYS!  While part of me is dying to make something flowery and cutesy in shades of pink or aqua, but I'm also excited to dive into this fabric.  I've found two great inspirational projects to make two quilts.

      First up is this cute little {scrap friendly} piece called Scrap Jar Stars by Amber @ A Little Bit Biased!

      Photo belongs to Gigi's Thimble
      Visit her website for a fantastic tutorial!  I'm using the patterned Robot fabric for the checkerboard squares and plan on using some coordinating solids for the star points.  So far, I've finished the star centers:

      My other quilt was inspired by this Kaleidoscope Quilt-along by Jennifer @ Sugar Stitches.

      Photo belongs to Sugar Stitches
      Jennifer has a fantastic tutorial for making this quilt, but since it required a specific ruler called a Kaleidoscope Smart Plate ...

      ... that does look pretty awesome, but isn't in my crafting budget this month, I'm using my template from Fig Tree & Co's "Salt Water Taffy" quilt and making my own sort of hybrid pattern.  So far so good!

      We have a busy weekend coming up, so I'm planning on burning the midnight oil -- ok, the 10:00pm oil -- to make some progress!  Hopefully, I'll have more pictures to share soon!

      Monday, March 19, 2012

      She's {finally} finished!

      Thank you so much for all of the Southern Belle love over the last few weeks!  I'm happy to say that she's FINALLY finished - just have to finish up the binding tonight after bedtime!  Have you ever had one of those projects that you feel like you're constantly working on ... but not getting anywhere?  That is totally how this quilt has been!  I love it to pieces, though, and am so very happy with the finished project!!!

      The thing that I think I love most about this quilt is how organically the pattern evolved ... but more on that in another post ...

      I'm in the process of checking over my pattern and my construction notes, but I'm hoping to have the pattern in my etsy shop any day now ... provided that the weather cooperates a little more so that I can take some outdoor pictures.  We've had way too many stormy days in a row now!!  As a special thank you for all the cheerleading, if you're interested in purchasing the pattern, please email me at poplun{at}gmail{dot}com, and I'll send you a code for a 50% off discount for the pattern!

      This week, I'm linking up with the following sites.  Please be sure to swing by to see all the creative peeps out there!

      Monday, March 12, 2012

      Design Wall Monday

      First of all, thank you so much to all of you who weighed in on my hexagon dilemma last week.  Everyone had the same opinion - use the hexagons, not the diamonds, to connect the paper piecing blocks!  I think this was the way I was leaning, but all the votes helped to solidify the decision!  I have a gazillion more blocks to piece, but here's a sneak peek at three of them, connected with the hexagons

      Well, thanks to some beautiful weather over the weekend, I really don't have much else to share today.  I did finally manage to get the outer borders on my Southern Belle quilt:

      The borders aren't as wonky as they look - the upper right corner is just pinned a little too aggressively to my design board.  I'm working on some very clean, basic straight line quilting around the carpenter stars and the red stars ...

      ... and I'm about 1/3 of the way through.  Aiden is taking his best nap in weeks right now, so we'll see how much further I can get today.  If he keeps napping this well, I should have the binding finished and the pattern listed in my Etsy shop next week!

      This week, I'm linking up with Design Wall Mondays by Judy at Patchwork Times.  Be sure to stop by and look at all the great projects this week!

      Tuesday, March 6, 2012

      Productive Tuesday!

      I managed to sneak in a little bit of sewing time between housework and playtime with Aiden, and used it to finish my fourth Swoon block.

      Only 12 more blocks to go!  Quilt progress charted here.

      Monday, March 5, 2012

      Opinion Needed!!

      Well, despite the gorgeous weather we're having today and having my hubby home for a three day weekend, I managed to make some progress on my Southern Belle quilt!

      I just have a few borders to add and I need to tweak the instructions a bit, but the pattern should {hopefully} be ready in a few weeks.  I only bought enough fabric to make a wallhanging, but as I'm looking at the photo, I'm starting to see a gorgeous bedspread.  Might have to make another version soon!  I'm linking up with Patchwork Times' Design Wall Monday, Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday and Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday.  Be sure to visit and check out all the great WIPS!

      I've spent most of my sewing time working on my English Paper Piecing - I'm loving how easily these Jewel Stars are going together, and California Girl is such a beautiful line!!!  Now that I have about ten blocks assembled though, I find myself with a dilemma: how should these be assembled?

      I'm planning on using my favorite white polka dot fabric as the connecting fabric, but I can't decide whether to put the blocks together using small diamonds, or large hexagons!  Since I'm planning this as a summery throw blanket, right now I'm leaning towards using the larger hexies.  The small diamonds almost seem like they'd be better suited for a smaller project, like a wallhanging or tablerunner.  What do you think???