Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Land of Magic Quilt Sew-A-Long Mermaid

What's more magical than a mermaid? Maybe a Unicorn is but we have to wait two more weeks on that one. Today for the Land of Magic Quilt sew along, we are releasing the Mermaid block. If you are new to the sewalong or missed one of the blocks, you can click on the links to learn more about each one here and catch up as you can: Crown, Star, Castle, and Dragon. To sew your own Land of Magic quilt using all of the Sarah Jane Studios new Magic fabrics, just as I designed this quilt with, you can purchase a Land of Magic quilt kit from the Fat Quarter Shop. There are limited quantities available - so get one before they are all gone. You can find all of the patterns in my Kid Giddy Etsy shop.

I designed this mermaid block based on two of Sarah's mermaids in her print, the one in the top left corner of my block and the one just below her hand with the crown on. There was not enough time to capture her wavy curls, but I tried best to capture the movement in the tail, and the sweet simplicity of their hands. I chose not to embroider the face as I feared ruining all of my hard work up to that point. I'm going to practice on some scraps though first and add it soon to finish her. 

The block I made and used (as seen above) in the final quilt was actually the second mermaid. The first one I sewed together didn't work because of the fabric shade I used for the mermaid skin. Do keep that in mind when choosing your mermaid's skin color and background. Before proceeding with the second mermaid, I decided to play with some scraps on top of the original block to see if there was a different color combo I might like better than the first. In the end I only changed her hair to solid white, but the exercise was fun.

Today's paper piecing lesson involves the seams. When paper piecing really small pieces, you'll have areas where there will be bulky seams - you may even deal with this on large pieces where multiple seams intersect. Once the paper is removed, it will help a little, but there will still be fabric that needs to be pressed certain ways to help it even more. As you are piecing the mermaid together, you'll have only two diagonal sections to piece together, and a few areas where bulk can easily be an issue.

Using the mermaid's waist line as an example, notice the skinny area in the center. As you are piecing these smaller areas, trimming the seam allowances is especially important.
Once sewn together, you'll see two seams, on the reverse side, with a section in the center. I have taken out the paper in the center so you can see the seams. If you were to press the two seams together, they will overlap and create too much bulk in the center area. The side seams here are not a concern either way, but because of the center bulk, in this case, it will be better to press the seams apart.Sometimes it will be better to press seams open, press to one side or the other, and when there are 8 seams coming together, you would press them in a circular pattern. Although you won't be pressing any seams until the paper is removed, it's important to consider which way you will be pressing them as you are sewing sections together. This will help prevent twisted seams in the end.
As mentioned in the dragon block tutorial, it's important to double check your fabric pieces within each section before sewing it all together. The white triangle piece between the mermaid and the crown in the picture below, is not supposed to be white. I truly didn't notice it was wrong until I put the blocks together with the sashing. I knew if I didn't go back and fix it I would be really bummed. I figured since I took all of these photos I would share that mistake so you wouldn't. 

The other two tips I wanted to share when piecing: in the photo above, you'll see a very small piece of fabric above the crown section that was a tad too small. My general rule of thumb is if it's at least 1/8" away from the seam, I'll leave it as is. If not, I will replace it. If you'll notice her arm pit on the right of the photo below, my piece of fabric just barely made it into the seam allowance. If it's too close, the seam will eventually come undone. It's of course easier to notice when the section is trimmed, but keep an eye on your seam allowances as you go along.
Lastly, always sew each seam all the way from end to end including the seam allowance. That means to sew at least 1/4" beyond the lines. When you do this - the pieces near the edges will stay in place and stay strong. This also helps to ensure your fabrics will be sure to extend in the seam allowance and not be missed.

There are two awesome mermaid bloggers to share today. Giuseppe (aka Giucy_Giuce) and Alisa (aka A Stitch in Between).
First up is Giuseppe's mermaid Amara. I love his story about her and you can check it out on his IG feed. Isn't she beautiful?!

Alisa made two mermaids - the original size and a smaller version too. You can read more about her mermaids and how she made the smaller mirror imaged one on her website A Stitch In Between. They remind me of my daughters and I can just imagine them having so much fun together!

For those of you playing along and sewing along with each new block release...we have an awesome giveaway from Michael Miller Fabrics. They are generously offering a fat quarter bundle selection of their Cotton Couture solids.

There are 150 different solids in their collection and the bundle will be a surprise collection of some of the colors. One of the sew a long participants that finishes their mermaid block and posts it on Instagram will have a chance to win the bundle. You must be following myself (@kidgiddy) and @MichaelMillerFabrics using the hashtag #LandOfMagicQuilt so I can see your block and will choose a winner. You will have until the Unicorn block is released in two weeks to get your Mermaid block finished and entered for your chance to win the bundle.

As always, please advise any questions you may have and thank you again for joining with me in this sew-a-long. Thank you again to all of my awesome Land of Magic sew-a-long sponsors too!


Disclaimer: I received fabric from Michael Miller Fabrics back in April to design this quilt for Sarah Jane Studios Quilt market booth. Opinions are my own, and there are no affiliate links. Thank you.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Queen Bee Quilt

I'm honored to share this recent design with you all. Back in mid to late August Carrie Bloomston asked me along with many other designers if I could make something with her newest Dreamer fabric line with Windham Fabrics. Normally I would immediately reply yes, but I had this power struggle going on in my mind and heart as I had so much on my plate at the time and knew one more thing might break me. I talked it over with her and asked her to send the fabric and I would surely make something but it might not be done in time to make it into her Dreamer lookbook. She was ok with that and sent me the fabrics of my choosing.
They arrived a few days later and all the pinks and greens...and bees kept pulling me in.

I had an idea and began sketching it out. But it wasn't the Queen Bee. It was totally different and I myself wasn't sold on it being the right concept. I slept on it for the night before cutting into the fabric knowing I had one chance to get it right.
The next day social media was all ablaze with the horrible news that millions of bees had died in the south, as they sprayed for the zika virus. I saw this one image over and over of these tiny bees lifeless piled up in someone's hands. It was devastating, and in an instant my mind switched gears completely and I knew what I wanted to do, and what I wanted it to say or represent.

I have suffered with allergies all of my life. They became horrible when I moved to Maine as I became surrounded by more trees, more grass and more flowers of all kinds. I took medication for said allergies because that was the only thing that helped. But I quickly began to feel like a walking medicine cabinet and had to find a better solution. I found the bees. My sister told me all about the benefits of bee pollen when it came to allergies. As I began digging further - I found out that raw honey could also help if it was local to me. This liquid gold held all the promise. I found a raw honey maker around the corner from me and bought a few jars. I drank hot water with fresh squeezed lemon and honey everyday, and had some on my toast with peanut butter (when I could eat those two things). A year later and I was no longer taking meds for my allergies. It's now been at least 6 or 7 years but I've lost track. The honey bees saved me and I am forever indebted to these tiny creatures that work their entire lives making only 1/4 teaspoon of honey each.

As I worked on this quilt, I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to a save the bees foundation. I spoke with Windham fabrics, asked if they would be willing to do that too - and quickly found out they already had plans in motion to do donate to Xerces. It just seemed like all of the wheels were in motion and it was coming together just as someone higher up had planned. I too will be donating a portion of the proceeds of my Queen Bee Quilt pattern sales to the Xerces Society and hope that you'll consider making a donation as well.
Windham fabrics will be selling Queen Bee Quilt kits (printed pattern and fabric) so be on the lookout for that info. I'll be selling a PDF version of the quilt pattern - formatted on larger paper (due to the size of the bee) and will advise when that is available as well.

For your chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Dreamer for your own creations - visit Carrie's Dreamer fabric post to leave a comment.  

Thank you so much already for the love and sweet comments on this quilt (from facebook and instagram). I appreciate your support more than you know!


Disclaimer: I received fabric from Carrie Bloomston for the making of this quilt, but all opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Land of Magic Quilt Sew-A-Long Dragon

Hello everyone - Thank you so much for all of the well wishes and your patience as I experienced a little medical emergency and was unable to get this Dragon post up in time for you all on Tuesday. I think I am on the mend and wanted to make sure you have this Dragon post before the next Mermaid post is scheduled. This Dragon block is the 4th block in the Land of Magic Quilt sew-a-long. If you are new to the sew-a-long, and don't have the  Land of Magic Quilt Fabric Kit, you can get one on the Fat Quarter Shop website. I was told they only have 16 left - so get yours quickly before they are all gone. You can purchase the LOM quilt pattern in my Kid Giddy Etsy shop, or on the FQS website as well. If you only want to do a specific block or two, you can purchase the blocks individually as you wish. (anyone catch that Princess Bride reference?)! the Magic fabrics are from Sarah Jane Studios newest fabric release with Michael Miller Fabrics and this quilt was directly inspired by and created with Sarah for her quilt market booth.

My momma always told me I should not pick favorites - but I think this Dragon might take the cake. In Karate - The Dragon represents "wisdom and fighting spirit". It has always been one of my favorite animals as I've trained in the martial arts for the past 9 years and am enthralled by this mythical magical creature. After designing the Crown and Star, this was the next block I designed not being able to wait any longer. I originally looked to Sarah's Magic Parade dragon as the inspiration for this block, but wanted this dragon to represent the "fighting spirit" and add to the quilt, a feeling of power and fierce determination. The Magic Parade dragon was so sweet and also intricate. The little Tiny Dragon print dragon was a simple silhouette that worked perfectly and fit the image for the quilt.

I used Sarah's Castle Plans print in white as the background, as if to say this is the land the dragon presides over. The Castle Plan print is a directional print. If you are making this quilt using the kit from the Fat Quarter shop, or as is, all you have to worry about is making sure to keep your castle plan pieces upright (this is also true for any directional prints you may want to use). See the previous photo tip from the Castle Block post to fussy cut your pieces. As you can see in my photo above, they don't have to match up perfectly along side each other as they tend to blend nicely on their own.

As part of the Dragon block release today, I'm sharing my tools tips and troubleshooting. If you are new to paper piecing, you can find some detailed information on learning to paper piece with the Land of Magic Crown tutorial (working 1 full block), the Land of Magic Star tutorial (working one block in multiple sections and connecting at angles), and the Land of Magic Castle block tutorial (working with directional prints and "fussy cutting").

When working on any paper piecing project, I always have the following tools near my machine. I used to get up every five seconds, run to the iron or cutting mat and then back down to sew the next step - it wasn't just exhausting it was time consuming. By having these items nearby, you can save a lot of time while sewing. You will still need your iron for larger pieces, but a seam presser will be great for those smaller pieces.
(Small self healing cutting mat, clear ruler with 1/4" line, seam ripper, fabric scissors, rotary cutter, seam presser)

The Dragon block is the first block that will utilize many large fabric pieces. Some of these large pieces are only one large piece as it's own section. When working with large pieces, you can pin the larger fabric piece in place before attaching additional pieces, or glue baste them to stay in place. I don't prefer to use pins as they are often in the way when trimming edges. Glue basting the fabric to the paper with one or two little dots and then pressing (on fabric side) will keep it in place and offer the ability to easily sew and trim without shifting or having to remove pins. If you have a piece shift (large or small), as I did below, you'll need to unstitch the pieces and adjust.
As I continue sewing large sections, I will stop and check each previous piece that I have sewn. The best way to check is to try to see if you can push any excess fabric towards the most recent seam. If there is any give in that fabric piece, that fabric will buckle while quilting. You can see in the pic below the amount of excess fabric there was based on the seam allowance. It doesn't take much to make a difference.

You may not have to unstitch the entire seam, only the portion that is buckling with excess fabric. While unstitching, be careful not to rip the paper. To avoid this from happening, I start ripping the seam on the fabric side first. If by chance you do rip the paper, use a piece of washi tape or masking tape to hold it back together. Using a stronger tape, could make it more difficult to tear part later when taking all of the paper off the block. Once resewn flip it over and re-trim the seam.

Before trimming and piecing all of the sections together, lay all of them out to be sure the image looks correct. This can help you to discover any fabric mistakes prior to having the block entirely pieced together. Check again once all sections are trimmed, and continue to do this as smaller sections are sewn into larger sections.

Our guest blogger Angie from Gnome Angel was also very excited for the Dragon block. Angie picked an awesome "scale" like print and shares all the details of her block on her website. Isn't this photo awesome? I can't wait to see what she makes with the block. I can see a whole quilt of dragons too though.

To see some other awesome dragons made by my pattern testers, check out my instagram feed throughout the next two weeks.

For those of you playing along and sewing along with each new block release...wanna know what prize you'll be hoping to win? This time we have an awesome giveaway from Electric Quilt Company. I could not have made these blocks as quickly as I did with out the awesome EQ7 program I use on my Mac. I have now had this program for only 2.5 years and have learned so much from simply using it. I love their program so much, and they love my patterns too - and decided to make me one of their DoYouEQ artists! How awesome is that? Their website is chock full of books, software and so much more. They have some tutorials to help you along the way and an awesome FAQ and help section as well.

The Electric Quilt Co is generously giving away 1 EQMini software program to 1 lucky participant that finishes their dragon block and posts it on Instagram. EQ Mini is a scaled down version of EQ7. You must be following myself (@kidgiddy) and @TheElectricQuiltCompany using the hashtag #LandOfMagicQuilt so I can see your block and choose a winner. You will have until the Mermaid block is released to get your Dragon block finished and entered for your chance to win. This is an awesome opportunity to get your feet wet in designing your own paper piecing quilts. This is open to a domestic or international winner. Depending on your location - you will either receive your prize as a hard copy of the software, or a digital version.

As always, please advise any questions you may have and thank you again for joining with me in this sew-a-long. Thank you again to all of my awesome Land of Magic sew-a-long sponsors too!


Disclaimer: I received fabric from Michael Miller Fabrics back in April to design this quilt for Sarah Jane Studios Quilt market booth. I have not received any product or monetary means from the sponsors of this sew a long for this sew a long or for their participation as sponsors. Opinions are my own, and there are no affiliate links. Thank you.