Friday, February 10, 2017

60° Rainbow Diamond Block Tutorial

Hello everyone and welcome!
This is a tutorial for setting 60° diamond blocks with 30° background pieces for a 12.5" block that looks like this:
I am not explaining how to make the 60° diamonds in this tutorial, but I do offer tips for how to get matching points on them.  Here is a great tutorial for making diamonds  (45°) at the Moda Bake Shop, be sure to make your cuts 60° if you use their tutorial.
- use a small stitch length (1.7 on my machine, ~15 stitches to the inch)
- press your seams open as much as possible to reduce bulk
- use Mary Ellen's Best Press or starch on your fabric BEFORE cutting, as the majority of this block is assembled on the bias
- you will need a ruler with a  30° and 60° line on it (standard on most 6" x 24" rulers, I have one of the Olfa Frosted rulers)
- you will also need a large square ruler that will give you a 12.5" square
Fabric Needs (for one block):
(8) 2.25" x 6.5" background pieces
(1) 8.5" x WOF background, sub-cut into (4) 30° triangles (explained below)
(4) 60° diamonds (I made mine from 2.5" strips cut from various fat quarters).
 First, you want to make your diamonds.

To get your points to match, take two pairs of diamonds and line up your pieces so that the seams meet as shown above.  In my case the light green and the dark green seams will be aligned.  You will also see on either end little tips sticking out, similar to the jeans photo below.
This photo is from the backing of my niece's quilt I made in 2016 :)

 I like to pin the points like this, it helps keep the fabric from folding under when being pushed/pulled by the feed dogs on the sewing machine.  After sewing this seam, press your diamond open.
 Fold the 8.5" background strip in half and trim the unfolded edge so the ends are even.  Line up your ruler as shown, with the 30° line along the cut end, and cut (2) triangles.
 Move your ruler to match up the other 30° line on the cut you just made and cut out another (2) triangles.
 Decide which point you want to point to the outside of your block, and place one of the 2.25" x 6.5" rectangles on it, letting the extra hang over the end that will be the outside corner.
 Sew and press open the background and trim off the excess even with the diamond.
 Now place another 2.25" x 6.5" on the other outside portion of the diamond and sew on.
Press open the background and trim off the one end as indicated in the photo.
 Take one 30° triangle and mark the small pointed end about half an inch in, then line up the inside diamond with the marked point so that when they are sewn together, the background triangle will be on the right side of the diamond.  Sew the pieces together from the inside point out.
*If you sew from the outside in, your points are far more likely to become uneven and create a mound in the center*
 Press the seam open and trim off the excess INNER point, do not trim the outside away.
 If needed, trim the background to be about 1/8" from the inner point of the diamond.
 Repeat for the other three diamonds.  The centers should look as if they are slightly off-center, this is to account for the next seams.
Sew the quarters together, again from the center out.

The points should look like this.
 Then sew the halves together.
 Your block will look similar to this now, a little rough around the edges.  :)
 Now square up the block by aligning the points with the 12.5" marks on your ruler.  This block happened to match perfectly on all four diamond points, my next one did not, but there is plenty of background to still get a 12.5" block.  And it still looks great!
I have a total of five blocks made so far and plan to get up to nine in the future, but have a number of previous projects to catch up on first.

If you make this block I would love it if you send me a picture (brandizzle7133 at gmail dot com) and feel free to ask questions or leave suggestions if anything is unclear.

Have a wonderful day!


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Friday, February 3, 2017

Happy First February Friday!

Good evening my friends!  I hope you have had a nice winter thus far, we are still enjoying our 24° weather with snow now and again.  I love the snow.  Not so much the ice.
I took time this week to build a snowman.  He is waving hello!
I am quite excited to share some news, I had the honor of testing a pattern for my new friend Teresa, of Teresa Down Under. (The link will take you to her blog post about her new pattern release and where you can purchase it.)  She named the pattern "The Four Seasons of the Heart" because there are four ways you can assemble the quilt.
I used the 15-91 to sew my blocks together.
The pattern starts with a basic shoofly block.
And then you can make something like this:
I still need to quilt this little pretty, I am calling it the Ice Crystals Baby Quilt because when I was assembling it we were having ice storms all week, and the weather seems to have been reflected in my fabric choices.  A family friend had a baby that week too, so I figure he'll enjoy it (as soon as I get it put together LOL).  The actual block construction goes quickly and it's really neat that this pattern has four different ways you can lay it out starting with one simple block!  I had a blast testing and reviewing the pattern.  So much so that I signed up to test another lady's pattern the day after I was finished with Teresa's!
In the mean time, I have been sewing up a storm with some other blocks that have been catching my eye:

I was inspired by the block on the Freshly Pieced website but decided to change it up a bit after making the first block so that less fabric is involved where the points meet in the middle, and no paper piecing is involved.  I like to paper piece, but at the moment it is difficult to print anything (it involves driving in the weather we're experiencing).  This block is made with 60° diamonds.  I hope to put together a tutorial with my changes in the next week or so.

I spent most of my morning working on the Hunter's Star quilt and feel really good about it.  I had completed 24 blocks the last time I worked on it and decided this morning that if I add another 16, it should be large enough to cover my father.  So away I went!  I was very fortunate to find that our LQS still carries the fabric we had picked out for the backing three years ago, can you believe my luck?  I have increased the size of the quilt by quite a bit from when we first picked out fabric, so needed more backing.  Hopefully I have it all now.
I experimented more with this disappearing block, and found I can make this gigantic one starting with 10" squares.  I am excited to show it to the ladies of our local Quilts of Valor group tomorrow at the sew-in we are having.  They have blocks all ready to be sewn together tomorrow, but I am wondering if they may like a pattern for this one for the future.
In other news, my mom and I get to take a Chocolatier Class at Walla Walla Community College on the 11th and I am SO excited.  I can hardly wait, here is the class description:
In this Valentine's Day chocolate class we will be covering the basics of the chocolate-making process (from bean to bar), taste different types of chocolates, and learn gourmet chocolate recipes that you can tailor to your own vision. Chocolate truffles (with and without chocolate molds), fudge, and cake brownies will all be covered in this hands-on, two hour class. Experience why chocolate is considered to be the 'food of the Gods'.
This weekend is very busy, I have the sew-in all day tomorrow, a 21st birthday party for my cousin tomorrow night, and then Super Bowl Sunday to participate in.  We are having a chili feed on Sunday, which John is making a batch of chili for and I am bringing brownies.  It will be a great weekend, especially if the ice stops falling from the sky. :)
Thank you for stopping by, have a wonderful day!
Thomas has mixed feelings about the snow, he can see the birds a lot easier, but we never open the windows and let fresh air in anymore...
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

A good start to the new year

Hello all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I am happy to share my newest addition to the sewing family, a Singer 15-91.
I was on the internet late one night a few weeks before Christmas and discovered a place in Spokane, WA that sells machines.  I sent the link to my parents as an idea for a gift, not thinking it would come to anything.  Then my dad sets this heavy box on my lap Christmas morning... he and mom actually drove up to Spokane to pick out the machine!  I am so happy to have a second machine that I can rely on for years to come.
This is one of the first blocks I made with the 15-91, and I have learned that I definitely need a seam guide.  I found a magnetic business card that is rather thick, about the thickness of a credit card, and is working well so far.
I put in extra effort to contribute to the Christmas gathering this year, originally planned on a Yule Log (my first) and then I wimped out, I just couldn't settle on a cake or filling recipe.  I'm open to suggestions!  Instead I took the time to make some royal icing snowflakes to decorate a cheesecake.
I also made monster cookies, caramel corn, macaroni and cheese, and eggnog.  The eggnog is new to our family, none of us had ever had it, and I'm pretty sure this is going to change.  I am thinking this is a new tradition for us.  Tasty goodness.
Our customary delicious lasagna dinner spread.
My sister Jen and I very much looking forward to dinner.
Sometimes my family are good sports about goofy pictures :)
Thomas was quite helpful with binding this quilt on New Year's Eve.
I worked all day finishing the quilting on this quilt for Cheryl, making myself the promise that it would be done before the year ended.

And I did!  John took photos for me, this is one of my favorites.  The quilt finished at 94" by 71", and is based on the colorway of an Allison Quilt Designs pattern called Dandelion Wine.  The quilting was all done on the Bernina.
I also made a pillowcase at Cheryl's request.  I quilted the stripes and pieced the back together all from scraps from the top and backing.  We met up for an exchange of quilt and baskets on January 2nd, and she was beyond thrilled with her quilt.  I am ecstatic about my baskets, and of course they have been cat approved.

The very first thing I made this year was a batch of fudge.  I felt it was a great way to start the year off right!
Belle has had quite a time watching the birds lately, we've actually had snow, during December and January!  It's been a long time since we had a good winter, so I have not been complaining about slippery roads (awful drivers however... seriously, some people are just ridiculous!) and have been trying to keep the birds and our new porch cat fed in the single digit weather.  It's been this way for about 3 weeks now, and looks like it will keep up this next week for Walla Walla.
I have taken advantage the last couple weekends to stay inside and get some sewing done, and it really felt wonderful starting the year with a finish.  Now to tackle that UFO list again!
Highest priority: Dad and Jen's quilts.
Here's to a new year and finished quilts!