Monday, October 28, 2013

Hemispheres QAL {Pinned Curves}

Ok everyone. The day is here. Time to tackle curves. Now while curves may seem daunting, they are actually not that scary once you get the hang of it. Pinning curves is the most traditional way to do them and is the method I will be using (don't forget that glued curves and pinless curves are also going to be coming up). I also suggest pinning your curves if you are new to curved piecing (personal opinion!). Many people have very strong opinions on whether to pin or not pin curves. Pinning takes longer, but I (personally!) think you get better results. I should also clarify and say that I have tried pinless curves and just cannot get the hang of it. However, many many other people say it is wonderful. Feel free to try all the methods and see which one you like most!

A couple quick things before we start pinning-
  • If you are new to curves, you might what to give it a trial run on some scrap fabric before using your beautiful quilt fabric, just to get the feel for it
  • Expect to un-sew. Like in anything else, not every curve will be perfect.
  • Remember this is fun! Don't stress yourself out over curves. When you step away from your quilt, you cannot see tiny pleats or any other common curve imperfections.
  • With pinned curves, the more pins you use, the better your curve will turn out.
  • If you need any more tutorials or explanations, you tube and the blog world have tons of videos and posts about curves. 

Fold your pieces of fabric in half (right sides together) and press them tightly with your fingers in the center of the curve. This will leave a crease that is easy to see but not as permanent as one made with an iron. I know it is hard to see in my photo, my apologies.

Then, you lay your pieces (right sides together) on top of one another like the picture below matching up your creases. This ensures you are matching the centers of each piece. Then pin through the pieces at the crease.

And at each end. Once all three pins are in, your pieces should look like this. 

The next part gets tricky. Here is where you have to really watch your fabric. You want to start filling in pins between the ends of the curve and the center pin. As you do, make sure to wiggle your fabric to get the edges to line up all the way around. Since the fabric is cut on a curve (that goes through the bias) it will STRETCH. It is very very important to be cognizant of just how easily the fabric will stretch. If you are seeing your background fabric looking very warped and wavy on the edges of your pieced curve once it is finished, it is probably because you inadvertently stretched your pieces.

This is why pinning is important. You don't want to stretch the fabric to make it fit, more try to mold it into place as it is pulled through the machine (or while you are pinning). Also, you want to try at all costs to avoid pleating you fabric accidentally. Your finished pinned piece should look like this. 

I have done so many of these in the last few days that I have gotten comfortable with just six extra pins, but I encourage you to use more than that if it makes you comfortable! There is no such thing as too many pins!

Sewing your curve is just like sewing any other seam, only you follow the curved edge of the fabric with your presser foot instead of just going straight. Try to turn through the curve smoothly to avoid the stop start turning that will give you an angled curve rather than a smooth continuous curve.

Now, I have a secret. I know it is wrong, and I know it is bad for my machine, BUT, I sew over my pins. Gasp, I know. But frankly, I don't care. I find this helpful when it comes to keeping the fabric in place and making sure the fabric doesn't stretch. Truthfully, I sew over pins any time I am using them.

The biggest thing to watch out for while you are sewing is pleats. If you see one coming, put your needle down, lift your presser foot up, and wiggle the excess fabric around to help the edge lay flat. Pleats in the seam will show up in your background fabric after it is pressed, and we all know how much fun unsewing is. 

Continue to work your way around the edge of the fabric and that's it! 

Another tip: it is important to make sure you are sewing with a 1/4 inch seam. Don't trust that just because you machine says it is a 1/4 inch, that it actually is. If you measure the seam with a ruler, you can be sure of how big it is. If you find that your machine is off, just move your needle position or change the foot. I have to move my needle 3 places to the right to get a 1/4 inch!! 4 if I want a scant 1/4 inch.

Once your are finished, your piece will look like this.

When pressing, I have found that pressing the seam towards the convex piece, or the hemisphere, is very important, especially if you have a light background. The only time I would reccomend not doing this, is if your hemispheres are light and your background is dark. 

If you have a light background and you press your seams towards the background, you will be able to see them after you make your quilt sandwich. I made that mistake when making my single girl. It's not the end of the world. I was 14 rings in when I realized it, so needless to say I did not fix it. But, if you haven't started yet, its something to be aware of.

Lastly, to make this whole process go faster, I have found that it is much easier to pin a whole bunch of curves and then sew them. If you pin one sew one pin one sew one it feels never ending. It is super easy to just sit in front of the TV, or whatever, and pin until you run out of pins, and then chain piece them on the machine. I have no idea why, but it feels like it significantly reduces your time.

If the trimming instructions trip you up, feel free to ask any questions here or in the Flickr group.  I will cover it fully in the next post, but I know some of you have or will be getting started on trimming before then.

Well there you go. I hope this helps to put rest the fear of curves. Once you get to know them, they are just like any other seam, they just need a little extra love and care. I cannot wait to see all of the beautiful pictures of your hemispheres start popping up!!!! If you have any questions still, feel free to ask and/or check out the Flickr Group.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Finish #1

I started this year on the #finishit2013 train.....I have finished very little. But I have started quite a bit. So, from now until the end of the year, for each new thing I start, I will finish one of my WIPs. Today's WIP, which can finally be deemed a finish, is my Scrappy Trip Around the World.

You may remember when the Scrappy Trip Fever hit Instagram at the beginning of the year. It took like wildfire. I was on a long term project in Columbia, SC, living in a hotel. But I still made my Scrappy Trip because I was so in love with what I saw. I quilted it on the diagonal echoing a diamond in one of the lower corners. I tried to photograph it, but it's kinda hard to see.

I put this binding on it, wasn't in love, so somehow it found its way to the closet.

I pulled it out the other day and was like 'I am going to finish this thing'. So I put the new navy binding on (Domino Dot Navy), and now I like it a lot more! Yay for a finish....finally!!!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hemispheres QAL {Color, Fabric, and Cutting}

Are you excited!??!!? I am. Obviously. Haha. Ok. Let's start talking about your quilt! If you have not gotten your pattern yet, pop over to Aria Lane and scoop one up!


The first step will be to decide what kind of fabric you are going to use. Solids? Prints? Both? You've seen this image a few too many times by now. It's the original Hemispheres done in Kona Solids.

Here are some pictures of the quilts done by our testers. This first one is a take on the original. Multi colored with a gray background done in a twin size. 

Twin size Hemispheres quilt top by Stephanie Daniel

This one is done monochromatic with one pinwheel popped in the bottom corner. Pretty, right?

Throw size Hemispheres by Brooke Boon

But how about some prints? What would it look like in prints? Just as beautiful, see! And print/solids combos are always wonderful!

Crib size Hemispheres quilt top by Abby West
Crib size Hemispheres quilt top by Lisa McGriff
Wall size Hemispheres quilt top by Kelly Smith


If you haven't noticed, this is a very versatile pattern. You can change the look of the quilt in so many different ways just by where you place your color. So, if you look in the back of your pattern, you will notice that you have a coloring sheet! How fun? Here is what I came up with for the wall quilt I will be making during this Quilt Along using mine. I need Halloween themed decorations!


But that's not the only option to change up the pattern with color placement. Check out theses color mock ups. 

See how it changes! It is all the same pattern. So get out those colored pencils or markers, and see what you come up with! I am sure there are more variations out there waiting to be discovered than just the ones I have shown.


So cutting. The MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to know about this pattern is in regard to the templates. When you print out your pattern, you MUST MUST MUST set your printer to 'no scaling'. If you don't, your templates will not print out the right size. Once you print it, measure the little one inch box to make sure it measures exactly one inch. If you aren't sure how to make sure your printer is not scaling your prints, feel free to comment here or in the Flickr group, and we can help you for sure.

Another important cutting tip to maintain precision is to use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut all of the straight edges. You will need to cut the curves with scissors (unless you are awesome with a rotary cutter!), but you can speed up the process and keep your pieces accurate if you use a ruler for the straight edges.

Ok, so Week 1 is pretty benign. But these decisions are important! They will shape the whole quilt. I hope you enjoy coloring with your design sheet and finding your favorite layout. Once you find your ideal scheme, get cutting and get ready for next week!

Also, please share your photos of your fabric picks and coloring sheets in the Flickr group and using #hemispheresqal on Instagram. We want to see your progress!

Monday, October 14, 2013

There's More?!

Ok, so I know I just showed you Hemispheres, but, there is another one! Frames has also been released! I designed this one for the boy in my life as an actual "man quilt", with no girly influences.

Check out the optional coordinating back! The Aria Lane Patterns all come with these.

And the patterns are very visual and easy to read. This pattern would be great for someone who doesn't have many quilts under their belt, but is looking to try something modern and fun without the intimidation factor.

I am excited to say that this is my second pattern, and definitely not my last! If you have never stopped over to Aria Lane, check it out some time! As more and more designers come on board, more and more unique patterns are being added. 

And now, back to our regularly scheduled sewing talk! Thanks for putting up with my pattern announcements!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hemispheres Quilt Along!

It's time for a new Quilt Along! This Quilt Along will be using my FIRST pattern Hemispheres available on Aria Lane. I am so excited to finally get to debut this finished quilt and pattern!!!!

The pattern is available for purchase as a PDF on Aria Lane, and in order to participate, you will need to buy a copy since we will not be providing templates or specific details of the pattern in the Quilt Along posts.



Nov 4: Piecing with Glue
Nov 11: Piecing Freehand/Curve Master
Nov 25: Quilting
Dec 9: Link Up
Dec 10-12: Voting
Dec 13: Grand Prize Award


Tammy of Marmalade Fabrics is our wonderful Quilt Along Sponsor and will be providing the Grand Prize, as well as two other prizes for me to give away on a whim during the course of the Quilt Along. The grand prize will be a rainbow stack of 40 Robert Kaufman Kona Solids. The prizes to give away during the Quilt Along, well, you'll have to stay tuned for those! :)

Tammy will also have Kona Kits available in her shop soon specifically for Hemispheres! How exciting! If you want to make a rainbow one like mine, she will have all the yardage you need packaged together, ready, and waiting for you! Thanks Tammy!


Some of my lovely blogger friends will be posting about this Quilt Along over the next two weeks and each day one of them will be giving away a free pattern! Check the schedule below to see where you need to go each day to win a pattern!

Oct 8: Alyssa
Oct 9: Lindsey
Oct 10: Christina
Oct 11: Jennifer
Oct 12: Sara
Oct 13: Emily
Oct 14: Angela
Oct 15: Rachael
Oct 16: Shannon
Oct 17: Kelly
Oct 18: Shannon
Oct 19: Diane



Show us your progress in the Hemispheres Quilt Along Flickr Group! We can't wait to see your quilt!


Find the Hemispheres Quilt Along Button on my sidebar! Feel free to grab it and share it on your blog!

Link UP and How To Win

So! On December 9th there will be a linky party set up right here on my blog. Upload your finished quilt to be in the running for the Grand Prize. Alyssa and I will pick finalists from the pool of linky party submissions, and those finalists will be posted here on December 10th. Then it is up to all of you! Come back and vote for your favorite quilt and help pick the winner of the Hemispheres Quilt Along!!

Thanks to everyone choosing to participate! It is so fun to get to share this with you and see everyone's different interpretations come to life!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Penny Sampler Progress

Here's a quick one just to update on the Penny Sampler progress. We moved in to precise piecing (who doesn't want tips on that?!?) and I have mastered some pretty perfect points, if I do say so myself.

I really struggled with the Penny Candy (small crosses), not because they were hard necessarily, but because of personal error. I tried working on them after my exhausting trip home from summit, and messed up round 1 due to not reading the instructions (which I am mildly famous for). I got round 2 pieced correctly, but then realized I used the wrong background color for how my color scheme is arranged. Grr. Round 3 luckily was perfect and in the right colors. Thanks to all of that, I am a little behind, but I plan to catch up this week. Lesson learned, don't sew when you are exhausted.

All of my boyfriend's siblings were in town this weekend (which is rare since there are 7 of them), which meant a lot of fun and a break from sewing. Haha. Now it is back to the grind before work tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SuperTote Envy

So while at the Sewing Summit, I kept seeing this awesome bag go by. I mean everyone had one. And it was so cute! Big enough to carry everything they needed, not so big that it was overwhelming, and totally substantial. And there I was, trying to carry all of my fabric and supplies in my regular purse.

Well I got home determined and inspired to make this bag. It is called the Super Tote by Noodlehead. I bought my fabric right away and was ready to go!

I should disclaim that I don't make bags regularly. In fact, I hardly ever make bags. I understand the concepts, it's just not something I often do. Ok, back to the bag. If you look at the super tote hashtag (#supertote) there is no shortage of inspiring images of this bag to get your creative gears turning.

So far, I have successfully cut out all of my pieces. (loving that carpet, right?)

I was a little confused by the cutting directions at first because of how many options are given, but with some help from my Instagram friends, I got it all figured out.

Tip: if you don't use Instagram yet, it is definitely something to consider. You get immediate feedback and help from all the wonderful people in our sewing community. It has helped me through many a sticky situation having my friends are right there to talk me through it.

Anyway, I found out that I don't actually have the interfacing I need in my stash, and I don't get paid until Friday. So, my epic bag got put on hold...until Friday. To be continued....