Foundation Piecing

March Island Batik Challenge

I'm an Island Batik Ambassador, and each month we get a new challenge.

This month's Island Batik challenge is to try a quilting technique that's new to us. This was a challenge for me, since I love trying new things and have thus tried a lot of quilting techniques such as paper-piecing, machine applique, partial piecing, and so on.

Try a Technique.jpg

To find something I'd never done, I reached into my Someday list--making a Lone Star quilt.

Let me explain a bit about how you make a Lone Star quilt and why making one has been on my Someday list for so long.

Making a Lone Star typically involves cutting and sewing diamonds (with bias edges) into large diamond shapes (with longer bias edges) that you then sew together by insetting squares and triangles (using partial piecing) between the diamonds until you end up with a square.

More or less. <grin>

Yep. Partial piecing and bias edges! No wonder a lot of people that attempt a Lone Star end up with a quilted pimple and not a flat quilt. Knowing this, I'd put off making a Lone Star for years---until I heard about QuiltSmart.

With QuiltSmart, you use a lightweight printed foundation to foundation piece rectangles into diamond shapes. With this method, you trade bias edges and partial piecing for foundation piecing. Frankly, I consider that a fair trade since in return I was practically guaranteed success.

After deciding on the Island Batik collection I wanted to use (Plum Delicious), I cut my rectangles and arranged them in stacks.

I then sewed the rectangles together in rows. To get the diamond shapes you sew at an angle, sewing on the lines marked on the diamond foundations.

After completing the four rows, you sew the rows together using the lines on the foundations.

You then press the back of each diamond and trim it.

The QuiltSmart method ensures that you'll get diamonds that look like diamonds. That's pretty cool, but so is their quilt top construction method! Instead of sewing the diamonds together using partial piecing methods and inserting triangles and squares between the diamonds, with QuiltSmart you basically create large HSTs and then sew them together into a quilt top. Because you're working with squares when you sew the top together, it's easy to achieve good results.

So after creating the diamonds, you add triangles along two sides of each diamond to form a big right triangle. Then you sew these right triangles together to form what are essentially large half-square triangles. Then you just sew the HSTs together to create your Lone Star!

It's a good idea to square up these HSTs before sewing them together---what you need here is a right angle at each of the four points of the center. The QuiltSmart method works so well, I would definitely use it again to make another Lone Star.

I quilted the diamonds with shallow curves to emphasize their shape. I used thread colors that matched each diamond. Can you tell I had fun picking out the colors? <grin> I love my thread collection!

I quilted the background by creating a circular area that I filled with a curvy loop design. I filled the next section with small circles, and the outer section with parallel lines.

Have I shown you the back? I used a lovely purple dot batik.

Here are the details:

"Sunset at St. John's"
20" x 20"
Fabrics: Island Batik Plum Delicious collection (star) and a blender BE24-A2 (Marble-Blackberry, for the background and binding). For the backing, I chose another blender, BE31-B1 (Bubbles-Raspberry).
Pattern: QuiltSmart, Little Lone Star
Batting: Quilter's Dream Request
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2610 Light Blue Grey
Quilting Thread:  Robinson-Anton J Metallic 40 wt (Gold), WonderFil Konfetti 50 wt #KT402 (Drab Orange), Aurifil 50 wt. #2530 (Blossom Pink), Sulky 40 wt. #1190 (Medium Burgundy), Wonderfil Konfetti 50 wt #KT605 (Purple), Wonderfil InvisaFil 100 wt #708 (Deep Pansy Purple), Aurifil 50 wt #2395 (Pumpkin Spice), and Wonderfil InvisaFil 100 wt #710 (Deepest Burgandy)
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

I'm going to call this experiment into Lone Star quilt making a success! Zora loves my new quilt too.

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Disclosure: The products featured here were provided to me free of charge by Island Batik.

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tell me..have you ever made a lone star quilt?

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 I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

April Fools: It’s March Mini Madness Time!

Yep, you read that right. I finished my Island Batik March challenge—a mini foundation pieced quilt—just in time for April! <grin>

I did however get the top (flimsy) done in time to post about it while it was still March, so at least I’m not cheating too much. <wink> Anyway, I hope you agree that the wait was worth it.

It was a windy day so it was hard to get this quilt to be still, but I really love it! I simply adore how the Island Batik fabrics—from their Pressed Petals collection—really pop! Aren’t the colors gorgeous? So much fun to play with!

I also love how the quilting looks. Not to toot my own horn, but didn’t this turn out beautifully? I used a Fantastico variegated thread on the dark blue batik and I love how it just shimmers.

This was my first time using the Fantastico threads by Superior and oh were they so yummy to use! And of course Aurifil quilts like a dream in my hmo. My goal this year is to stock these in more colors because I love the quality and how they make the quilting look.

The pattern is my own and I’m currently having it tested by my bestie, Alice. I’m calling this “Sliced Orange Peel” because the pattern is based on the classic orange peel block.

Here are the quilt details:

“Sliced Orange Peel”
24” x 24”
Original Design
Fabrics: Island Batik Pressed Petals collection
Batting: Soft N Crafty 80/20 1 Loft
Piecing thread: Aurifil #2900 Light Kakhy Green
Quilting thread: Superior Threads 40 wt. Fantastico variegated in #5160 Fiji and #5006 Niagra; Sulky 40 wt. #1333 Sunflower Gold and # 1177 Avocado; Aurifil 50 wt. #2145 Yellow Orange
Pieced and quilted by: Jennifer Fulton

I will say that I’m not thrilled with the batting and won’t use it again. I got it at Joanne’s back when I was working on my quilt book and I needed a large variety of battings for a photo. Quick, give me my Hobbs 80/20, Warm and Natural, or Quilter’s Dream!

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Tell me…do you like batiks? Why?

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I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

March Bee Block for Kate

Here it is almost the end of March and I’m just getting my bee block done for my online bee, Bee Inspired. Here’s the fabric pull for the block—it’s a Christmas block so I pulled a lot of Christmas reds and greens.

I have a reason besides a lack of time for getting the bee block done so late: I wanted to finish my mini quilt for Kate and send it along with her block. Since she lives in England, it made sense to bundle the two together. Well, I finished my mini and it’s cute as a button! Since Kate is a frequent visitor and I want to keep the mini a secret, I won’t show you the quilt but you can see it here. I will however show you the block Kate choose for her month as Hive Queen.

As you can see, the block includes wonky trees and wonky gnomes. Wonky is not really my thing because I’m a planner and wonky requires working without a plan. But I have to admit it, the block turned out pretty cute. So it was well worth any struggle I had. The other blocks are so adorable, I can’t wait to see how Kate’s quilt turns out!

I had lots of fun making the block, and you will too if you want to give it a try. The block really lets you play with fabric scraps, one of my favorite things. The pattern is by Sylvia @ Flying Parrot Quilts and her tutorial is real clear. This block is perfect for dipping your toe into the wonky pond if you want to give wonkiness a try.

Now to get a label on that mini quilt and ship these off to England and Kate!

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I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

January Bee Block for Sharon

Recently I mentioned that I’ve joined an online bee. The bee mostly consists of my friends from the New Quit Bloggers group, and it’s international! Isn't that cool?

I’m in two local bees, but I’ve never participated in an online bee before. There’s so much to learn! First we discussed the rules and picked out a name: Bee Inspired.

Every month, one of us is the Queen Bee. We get to choose a block pattern and suggest colors/fabric types. Everyone then makes the same block and mails it to the Queen before the end of the month. This month’s block is called Split Hatchet, and it’s foundation paper pieced. There’s a free tutorial for the block here, at Six Two Seven Handworks.

Scared of paper piecing? You don’t have to be. I’ve got a step-by-step photo tutorial here if you want to give foundation piecing a try. This block would be a good one to start on because it only has a few pieces. I’ve also got a few additional tricks that make me successful every time:

  • First, precut your fabrics. Hopefully, your pattern will tell you what size to cut your pieces. If not, you can easily figure it out yourself by measuring the size of each section and adding 1” to each dimension. When measuring, align your ruler with the seamline for that piece. If a section measures 4-1/4” square, then cut a square of fabric 5-1/4”. This gives you 1/2” seam allowance all the way around the piece, and that’s more than enough to line it up properly on the foundation when paper piecing.
  • Second, use foundation paper. It’s thin and made specifically for paper piecing. Yeah, I used to just print my patterns at home on regular printer paper, but I soon found that the paper was not only thicker but also harder to remove. In addition, my blocks seams would sometimes stretch out with the effort of removing that thick paper. So save yourself some grief and get some foundation paper and print your foundation pattern out on it.
  • My next trick you’ll learn if you read the tutorial. But basically, it involves this gadget—the Add-a-Quarter™ Ruler. Also, in the tutorial you’ll learn to use a sharp needle and a small stitch. Both of these things help you remove the foundation papers later on.

Sharon (this month’s Queen) requested cream or white scrappy background fabrics and just about anything for the colored fabrics. That was too much liberty for me, but luckily she also mentioned that her favorite designers were Tula Pink, Corey Yoder, Me & My Sister, and Bonnie and Camille. So I went off to take a look at these designers' fabrics to get a sense of what might please Sharon.

Tula Pink

Tula Pink

Cory Yoder

Cory Yoder

Me &amp; My Sister

Me & My Sister

Bonnie &amp; Camille

Bonnie & Camille

I noticed a lot about these fabrics that was similar: they were soft and they featured coral, blue, turquoise, yellow, and lime. Once I had an Idea what I was looking for, I pulled some fabrics from my stash and started cutting. Putting together a color palette is probably one of my favorite things so I had a lot of fun.

The block went together really fast. I think a quilt made with these blocks would be awesome so I can’t wait to see Sharon’s. My block is all done and ready to ship. Woot!

One last question you might have about foundation piecing: to remove or not remove the foundation papers after you are finished with a block. I tend to leave the papers on until my blocks are sewn together because the lines on the papers help me to achieve that perfect 1/4” seam between the blocks. The papers also stabilize the blocks and keep them from stretching out of shape. For some foundation pieced blocks, that might be a concern but not this pattern. In any case, since I’m shipping this block I’m going to remove the papers. One of my fellow beemates, Sue @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts, has just written an awesome article that steps you through the process of shipping a block safely and cheaply, even internationally! I plan on following its guidance step by step when shipping my bee blocks.

See ya! I’m off to the post office. <grin>

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Tell me…do you belong to an online bee? What do you like about it? How does it differ from a regular, in-person bee?

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!