Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bee in my Bonnet Row Along - Row One...

Good Morning!
Are you ready to row?

 let's get started on Row One of the 

The first row is easy peasy:)

 I snapped a picture of the rough draft that I drew up when deciding how many rows would fit.
You can sort of get a little better of an idea of the layout by my drawing.
It shows how many rows...but not necessarily the order that they will be in. doesn't show it here...but the border will be pieced:)
I hope this little sneaky peek takes a little of the mystery out of it for you!

*REMINDER...we will talk about background next week. We won't use any for this row.

Okay...let's get started!
Let's go through my important 
6 step quilting checklist together.

1. Make sure that you have a sharp blade in your rotary cutter and that your cutting mat and rulers are cute, clean and ready to use.

2. Plug in your steam please...especially when piecing small items.
 (A hot iron with steam tends to distort and to shrink 100% cotton fabric)

3. Make sure that your sewing machine is clean, oiled and running well....
it also wouldn't hurt to put in a new needle:)

4. Use 100% cotton thread in a neutral color
(I usually use white, cream or gray).
Wind your bobbin in the same thread and then wind a few more for backup:)

5. Make sure that you will be using an exact 1/4" seam allowance when stitching so that your seams line up correctly and your blocks turn out the right size.
Take note that you will ALWAYS sew with a 1/4" seam allowance throughout this quilt...unless I state otherwise.

6. Turn on some groovin' tunes...and by all means make sure that there is a doctor in the house...
(of course I mean Diet Dr.Pepper...haha:)

When you have successfully checked off the 6 are ready to row!

I like to save time and thread by
 chain stitching.

Chain stitching means feeding fabric block segments
 through your machine one right after the other without clipping your thread in-between....
a real time saver.
(not to mention thread saver too)

After you have stitched them together....
remove them from the machine and they will look like they are hanging on a clothesline!

Normally at this point ...
you would clip them apart...
Scroll down to the next step please:)

Feed them through your machine again...
sewing down the opposite side of each square.

Now they should look like this!

Now go ahead and cut them apart by snipping the threads in between with a small pair of sharp scissors.
I don't recommend using your large sewing scissors for this because it is too easy to snip into the fabric on accident.

Now set the seams with your iron by pressing...
always press...
instead of ironing back and forth so that you will not distort your pieces.

Always take note where your seam is...
and cut accordingly.

this is what they will look like when you cut them apart.


And press all of the seam allowances going one direction...normally you would press them towards the darkest fabric if possible...but it really doesn't matter for these.

Don't sew the same color next to each other and... 

before sewing them together...make sure that your already pressed seams are going the opposite direction so that they will lay flat.

***IMPORTANT...after your strip is all sewn together...DO NOT press seam allowances yet.

This is an extra piece...
save it for something else!

Now because you have not pressed the seam allowance...the other half will naturally fold back down...which is good...

because you are going to cut again...

but this time you will be cutting 2 layers at a time and a segment of 4 squares already sewn together will appear when you unfold it.

Continue carefully cutting down the row...

When you are finished...
you're 4-patches should be accurate!

If they aren't...there could only be two reasons...either your cutting is off, 
your seam allowance is off
...or both. 
Your 4-patches will need to be accurate to fit into the quilt.

You will have another 2 square segment leftover at the other end after cutting them all:)

Use your fingernails to open the center seam allowance...
 and then press them open with your iron (from the back)so that they lay nice and flat.

Scrappy happy 4 patch squares:)

When I am piecing tiny blocks together...I usually press my seam allowances open because I like them to be as flat as possible:)

First row complete:)
Was it fun?
I thought sew!!!

Please share pictures of your first row on the flickr group...
to join!

I really like this method for sewing small squares together...
 It's much faster, easier and more accurate than cutting a larger number of squares and sewing them together individually...right?

Of course if you are doing another can cut the original squares larger for bigger finished squares.

If you don't want to miss any Row Along information...
make sure that you scroll up...
and on the right side of my blog in-between the camera and the typewriter...
you will see where you can subscribe 
to get my posts directly into your email inbox...very convenient:)
Thank you all for rowing along with me:)
Until next time...

P.S. If you are new to my blog and my teaching methods...and you are wondering what the heck  a design board is...
for my explanation and tutorial.

I promise...this quilt will be alot easier and more enjoyable if you use one.
I made 2 of them to use when sewing the blocks for this quilt.
I cut one foam core board in half and made 2 the same size...
(so that I can sandwich my blocks in-between them for protection while traveling to class)

***update July 2013
The pattern and instructions for the 
Bee in my Bonnet Row Along Quilt
are in my new book
"Quilty Fun"

to get your copy!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

More "Row Along" Fabric Info...

Hello again cute people!
 I'm so excited with the positive response to yesterdays post.
I'm so glad that you all will be 
"rowing along" with me!

I've had several of you ask a few questions about the fabric for the
so I thought I would answer them in this post.

Question: What do you mean when you say
that this will be a scrappy quilt and how much fabric do I need?

It means that the quilt will not be made from one line of fabric you can just use scraps from your stash.
The focus will be on the colors that I posted about previously....for example...I am using the color red throughout the quilt but this doesn't mean all of the red will be from the same piece of fabric...I will use several reds from my stash that I think go well together as far as color tone and style.
The same goes for all of the colors I will be using.
If you want to buy some new fabric to fill in gaps that you might have in your stash...
I would suggest not buying more than a Fat Quarter each. The key is variety!
If you are overwhelmed in choosing fabrics...all you have to do is simply choose the same colors that I will be working with in the tones that you like.
For example...about the color red again...if you don't care for cherry or tomato reds because they are too bright for you...choose deeper reds to work with.
If you don't like aqua...choose the shade of blue that you like....
if you don't like apple greens....choose deeper shades.

 Continue choosing your fabric the same way until you have several pieces of fabric together in each of the 6 or 7 colors....keep in mind you will need at least 6 to do justice to the quilt.
(You could also add a color such as orange or purple...just because I am not working with them in this quilt...does not mean they won't be nice in yours:)
After choosing several scraps or fat quarters from each color....
keep them all together to use throughout the quilt along.
 This doesn't mean that you will use every piece for every many you use at any given time will depend on the type of blocks in the row that you are working on.

Don't worry!
This is a stress free quilt along and we are just going to have fun playing with fabric scraps!
It will all work out in the end!
Remember...this is not a quilt where you will be buying all of your fabric at once before you start.
We will be doing one row at a time and that's all you need to think about at once!

With that being said...I thought I would show you which fabrics from my pile that I have chosen to use for the first row that we will be doing.
First I chose 1 piece from each color that I thought went well together. 
They all have small scale designs on them because the pieces in the first row will be 1" finished and I don't want the designs on the fabric to get lost in the cutting:)

Then I chose 1 more print from each color that each had a little more white in them...making the tones and textures a little bit more interesting together.
So for the first row I chose 14 different fabrics...2 different pieces from each color.

When choosing what to use from the pile that I have gathered...
First...I always make sure that I have several different scales of polka dots and flowers.
I usually add a plaid or a stripe, then I throw in a few fun prints like the bee fabric and Pam's darling red on pink letter fabric that you see above. 
And last but not least... I always add a gingham fabric or two in at least one color.
This is how I choose for a scrap quilt...and I hope this helps those of you who have asked.

After choosing which prints to use for the first row...
I cut squares from each of the 14 fabrics for a total of 28.

Of course we will be using a background fabric in this quilt but not for the first row.
We will talk about choosing background fabric later....
 For right now...
 just decide on your colors and then pull them together for the quilt. 

I really hope this has answered your questions about the fabric amount and colors!
I'll chat back at you in a day or so!

P.S. The Bee in my Bonnet Row Along 
Flickr group has just been created...
to join up!

***update July 2013
The pattern and instructions for the 
Bee in my Bonnet Row Along Quilt
are in my new book
"Quilty Fun"
to get a copy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Announcing the Bee in my Bonnet Row Along......

I spent a little bit of time in my studio this morning choosing some
 fabric from my stash for a new "row quilt" that I will be
 designing and teaching.
This class will be for 
beginning quilters... 
taught to the women in my church group.


 I am happy to announce that I am inviting all of you to join me online ...
because I will be doing a free tutorial on each and every row of my quilt!
I will be posting a new tutorial every two weeks ...starting this week and we will finish up in the spring.
I will keep all of the tutorials up on my blog until next summer when I will compile them into a pattern:)

***update July 2013
The pattern and Instructions for the 
Bee in my Bonnet Row Along Quilt
are in my new book
"Quilty Fun"

to get your copy!

So if you want to join the
 grab some fabric from your stash 
and get ready for the 
first row along tutorial this coming week.

The quilt will be a twin size scrap quilt...and I will be using 
"my scrappy happy colors"...
which are the tones that 
I love to work with the most:)
of course you can use your very own 
happy colors 
if they don't happen to be the same as mine:)

I've just pulled 8-10 from each of the colors that I will be working with to give you an idea of what to choose for your quilt.

For the first few blocks...I will be working with small squares so I have chosen small to medium scale prints.

Shades of Aqua

Leaf and Apple Greens

Tomato and Cherry Reds
(and of signature red gingham)

Butter and Squash Yellow

Rosy Pinks

 Pewter Grays
Milk Chocolate Browns

I always add a neutral color or 
two like these to my quilts.
I am using gray to tone down 
my "happy colors" just a little...

And I like to use the brown
 to add warmth...
therefore...creating a 
charming vintagey palette:) 

The fabrics are laid out 
on my cutting mat.
Although I will only be choosing 12 
of the prints for the first row...
(two from each color way)...

I will keep all of them together to use throughout the quilt and I will also be adding more prints as I go along.

 Although I have already designed the quilt...
I havn't completed it yet...
(I will be adding a row to the quilt every two weeks)...

You cannot see the finished quilt now.
 It will be somewhat of a mystery quilt...
or a happy surprise quilt...
however you want to look at it...haha

But just to give you an idea of what
 the quilt will be like...
It will be an original Bee in my Bonnet pattern designed by me!
I will be using and teaching my 
for most of the blocks.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to 
join in on the fun...
let's row along together!!!

The rows will be...
 flowers, spools, apples, fall leaves, mittens, mugs, baskets and butterflies.
There will also be rows of small 
traditional blocks inbetween.

I think it's going to be a really fun quilt to make 
and I can't wait to get started!
Until then my friends...
Have a quilty kind of day:)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Love This Book Series!!!!

It's no secret that 
I'm no stranger to the library...
I'm a library card carrying kind of girl:)
I have always loved books.

So I wanted to tell you all about a series that I have read this summer that I
 really really love:)

The first in the series is called
"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie"

The setting is in the charming country landscape of 1950's England.
The books are written in the voice of 
11 year old Flavia De Luce... 
who lives in an old victorian mansion 
with her father and two older snobby sisters.

Flavia is my new heroine.
 She is a chemist/crime solver...
 who loves to get back at her older sisters for being so snobby. 
I fell in love with her immediately...
she makes Nancy Drew look like a 
goody two shoes...haha!!!

Come to find out...
I'm not the only one who feels this way about Flavia!
 The books have won several awards and there is a Flavia De Luce fan club!!!

Second in the series....

Third in the series...

And the latest in the series.
There will be another coming out early next year called
 "Speaking from Among the Bones"
 and then another 
after that called
"The Dead in their Vaulted Arches"
I can't wait!

I don't normally read murder mysteries
 but these were just too wonderful 
to pass up and besides...
 getting to know Flavia De Luce 
is the icing on the cake :)

I love a good series...
how about you?
What's your favorite reading this summer?
I'd love to know...
I'm always looking for the next good read:)

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