Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Hexagons! Log Cabin Snowflake

 By Kaelyn Angelfoot

Quilt in a box!
Since I'm never satisfied with just one project, I've started yet another quilt. This one is another paper-pieced log cabin variation. The pattern was downloaded free from CompuQuilt, and is copyright them. I've provided a link to it as I cannot repost without risking copyright violations.

I actually started this quilt prior to the kaleidoscope one, and I ended up using fabric I had on hand. It was just luck that I had purchased all thirteen fabrics for a couple of different quilts that never made it past the planning stage. I had exactly enough in each color to make a jewel-toned log cabin. I also find it amusing that I can fit an entire quilt into a shoebox. It took a decent amount of experimentation to find the correct strip size for each piece. I ended up erring on the generous side, see the table below for the sizes I used.

There are several different choices for block arrangement. I chose what I have come to call "snowflake." This quilt would be gorgeous with the two matching sides in blue and the third side in silver to make a winter themed quilt.

Close up of block arrangement

The finished block will be approximately twelve inches across. I will need a minimum of twenty blocks to make a decent sized lap quilt, or 120 triangles. The only question is whether I have the patience to make a quilt that large. As you can imagine, its a very time consuming block to make. The pattern has thirteen pieces per triangle.

Layout of final quilt

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kaleidoscope in Outer Space II

By Kaelyn Angelfoot

It took almost three hours to settle on a final arrangement for my kaleidoscope quilt. There were problems with the colors. Part of the space fabric was a teal Saturn-like planet surrounded by lavender. Because of the way the blocks were cut out, these teal and lavender creations just didn't seem to mesh well with the rest of the quilt. I was unable to come up with a satisfactory arrangement that included them. After removing them from the layout, I came up with the following design which I am very happy with.

Final kaleidoscope quilt arrangement
I am piecing the quilt together in long strips, very carefully, as this is not a forgiving block. Small errors result in large issues with combining the various blocks. I was forced to discard a couple of blocks that had errors in the seams which caused the hexagon to be less that 360 degrees when completed. At the top and bottom of each strip I have added a black triangle that I will trim to make a straight edge. I was also unable to come up with a satisfactory arrangement that would allow me to make two quilts - there just aren't enough blocks. This one will be a lap-size when completed.

One thing I strongly recommend is taking pictures (like the one above) of your final layout. I have already had to refer to this a couple times to make sure I'm putting the hexagons in the correct order while piecing. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paper Piecing: Tips for Funny Angles

By Kaelyn Angelfoot

My newest project is paper-piecing. I love the space quilt I'm working on so much I decided to experiment with the fabric a little further. I choose a pattern from "101 Log Cabin Blocks" published by DRG. The pattern I selected was named "Vertigo" and can be found on page 26.

First of all, I had to make copies of the pattern. Because the pattern was in a bound book, I decided to cut the pattern page out of the book so that it would lay flat in my copier. The next thing I noticed is that the copier was feeding paper at an angle, so my blocks were printing slightly crooked. I was eventually able to compensate for this. It is very important to check your printed patterns against a square before you begin sewing.

The first thing I learned was that it is nearly impossible, due to the unusual angles of this block, to line up your fabric strips by sight. I ended up developing an easy system to compensate, which greatly reduced both fabric waste and time needed.

As you can see from the picture, once I got to a certain point, it was very difficult to determine where to lay the next strip.

To help me line up your fabric strips, I flipped the pattern over so the back was showing and placed a pin at either end of the pattern line that will be stitched.

Then I flipped the pattern over to the front and placed two pins in the top of the pattern where the pins from the back were showing through and removed the back pins.

Finally, I laid fabric strip so that it lined up with where the pins enter the fabric, then shifted it up to cover the pins by approximately 1/4", pinned in place and stitched!

The final block is 7" x 7", with a half inch seam allowance. I will trim the seam allowance down to 1/4" before I stitch it to other blocks.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Welcome and Kaleidoscoping Outer Space

By Kaelyn Angelfoot
Welcome to the House of Baline Project Corner, where members of Baline can post their creative endeavors. If you are interested, please contact me, I'll get the ball rolling, but I hope to soon have several members sending in content for this blog. 

I finally have my very own craft room, largely thanks to my wonderful husband who insisted that we buy a house instead of renting an apartment. I believe he will on some level come to regret this because I seem to be spending more and more time sequestered with my various projects.

One of the things I desperately wanted was a counter height table on which to do my cutting and sewing. However, our budget is severely limited! Here is the solution I came up with: an inexpensive but sturdy second hand-table on bed risers (found those at Walmart for $8). Its not pretty but it is gosh-darn functional. The table was free - trash picked after a yard sale closed.

The organization of my craft room is far from complete, but that hasn't prevented me from starting several projects, including two quilts and new Dagorhir garb.

I'm working on a new ladies surcoat to go over a short dress. The combination will hopefully be functional, allowing me to move freely in battle, and light enough to wear in the summer. And it has to look wicked-cool.   I've pieced together the front of the surcoat. It will have a skirt, made out of the purple moleskin, that falls to the bottom of the dress.  The purple dress was a full length princess-cut dress pattern purchased commercially that I shortened to make a long fitted women's tunic, approximately knee-length.

My next project, one that I have been working obsessively on since this past Thursday, is a Kaleidoscope quilt. The best tutorial on this I've found is at Connecting Threads which also has a couple great videos on how to cut the fabric and lay out the blocks.

The basics of a Kaleidoscope quilt are this: the fabric is layered in such a way that the pattern of the fabric is lined up and identical on every layer. The quilt pieces are cut from from these layers, resulting in 4-8 identical pieces, which are then arranged into a square, hexagon, or octagon. I choose a finished size of six inches for my hexagon.

Here are some lessons learned from this project:

Original fabric next to some half-blocks
 1. Measure the repeating pattern of the fabric in the store and purchase enough yardage (plus extra for potential errors) for the number of layers you want.

2. My fabric had a large repeating pattern, so I was required to buy 4 yards of fabric to get six layers. This produced approximately 80 usable blocks. That estimation is on the low side, as I cut my first set wrong and had to discard those initial blocks. This will give me a four-foot by five-foot quilt before borders are added. If you want to make a much larger quilt, you will need a lot more fabric.

Completed Half-Hexagon Blocks

Close-up of some completed blocks
 I think I am going to split these into two smaller quilts and use extra fabric to create a geometric border, resulting in two lap quilts. I still need to settle on a final arrangement of blocks. I have purchased black fabric to use in the border and the backing.

I am experimenting with quilt-design software to set up a good layout. However, the demo versions do not allow me to save or print my designs! If anyone knows of a good, full access time-limited demo version of a quilt software I can test out, I'd love to hear about it.