"She seeks wool & flax, And works willingly with her hands" ~ Proverbs 31:13

April 26, 2013

Pixelated Quilt Tutorial Series - Pixelated Four-Patch {Part 2 of 4}

Today's tutorial is the four-patch method for piecing a pixelated quilt. 

For this tutorial I will be using a pattern designed by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces.
Part one (using strips to piece a pixelated quilt) of this four part series can be found HERE.

Today we'll be working with Luigi, a favorite of many Super Mario fans.

1. Prepare Pattern 
Once you've chosen the pattern for your block you're going to divide the block into quadrants, and mark off the quadrants with a sharpie. Once you have the main quadrants marked off, use a different colored sharpie and begin marking four patches. Use a ruler to achieve straight lines.
Helpful Hint: 
Notice in the pattern below that while the block is square with an even number of rows there are not an even number of paired rows. You don't want to divide a pair into two separate quadrants...keep them together.  i.e. the upper left quadrant is 4 pairs across while the upper right quadrant is 5 pairs across.

2. Cut Squares & Stay Organized
Cut 1 1/2" strips the length of the fabric and then cut as many 1 1/2" squares as needed. 
Refer to Tutorial 1 for a helpful hint when cutting squares. 
Staying organized and labeling colors is important, especially if you're working with similar hues that can be easily confused. Use whatever system works best for you.

3. Layout a Quadrant
It doesn't matter which quadrant you begin with. Choose where you want to start and using the marked diagram lay out the pieces for that quadrant and only that quadrant.  

 After laying out the quadrant, working from left to right and top to bottom begin pairing squares that will be chain stitched. Leave the farthest left hand vertical row where it is and flip the row to it's right on top of the first row with right sides together.  Starting with the top pair begin stitching seams (which will be the right hand side of the pair - as long as you keep things oriented as they are).

4. Chain Stitch Pairs
If you chain stitch these pairs together in order from top to bottom keeping them with the second row pieces on top, they will be ready to pair up to easily create the four patches. You can work with one row at a time or chain all the pieces before moving on to the next step.

5. Pair the Pairs - Create Four Patches
To easily create the four patches clip the chain stitching between every other block. This will leave you with pairs ready to press and stitch.

Take each pair and press the seam allowances in opposite directions.
You can finger press these seams if you like...but be aware that it won't be as crisp and precise.
Using an iron will give you crisper seams and make matching seams even easier.

Personally when I press I use a good shot of steam on every seam. I know the "Quilt Police" say never to do this, but I feel it gives me a cleaner, crisper seam.

6. Sew Four Patches Together
Match the seams and "lock" them together where the seams butt up against each other.
Stitch all the pairs of rows together. 

Two Options for pressing seams of the four patches:

1.Swirl the center. 
This will reduce the amount of bulk and ridges in your finished block.
If you utilize this method you will need to clip the thread from the chain piecing that we didn't clip earlier. After clipping that little thread, pull apart the couple of stitches in the seam allowance to open up the center seam allowance. Once you open up the center section the seams have a natural direction they will want to lay. Lay it out flat and  press the seams in a swirl/pinwheel.

 2. All One Direction. 
Leave everything as it's stitched and press the seams together in one direction.
If you choose this method, it's helpful to coordinate the pressing of the other four patch center seams so that you can continue to utilize the locking method for matching seams.

After you have all your four patches sewn together lay them out again, using the pattern diagram to verify to everything is sewn together correctly.

Now you'll treat each of these four patches as a single square and begin creating bigger four patches.
You'll notice in the photo below that this quadrant cannot be divided into nice four patches there are a couple of extra pieces making it more of a 6 patch. This is totally okay. Make the four patches first stitch to two extra pieces together and attach them to the end of the four patch next to it.

7. Sew Large Four Patch Sections Together 
Once you have all the bigger four patches and six patches sewn together it's time to sew each of those together to finish that quadrant.

8. Complete Quadrants
Repeat steps 3-7 to complete each of the other quadrants

9. Sew Quadrants Together
Once you have all four quadrants complete it's time to stitch the quadrants together.
Match and lock the seams pinning if necessary and stitch.

Press the seams in opposite directions, match seams of last two sections, pinning again if necessary and stitch your final seam.

10. Finished! Time to Celebrate and Admire your work!

Advantages of the Pixelated Four Patch Method: 
 1. Blocks are divided into sections that can be completed in a small amount of sewing time.
2. Don't need a huge amount of space to layout one quadrant at a time.
3. Easily stored away until the next time you have sewing time.
4. Seams are easily aligned, using the "Locking" Method
5. Seems to go together fairly quickly.

Disadvantages of the Pixelated Four Patch Method: 
1. There will be more ridges than with the other methods.
Swirling the centers will reduce the amount of ridges created.

Thanks for stopping by today!!
I appreciate your support and the love you all share with me. Thank you!
The next tutorial in the series will be: The Stabilized Method

Happy Quilting!

April 16, 2013

A Tea Cozy {Finished}

Finished up the cutest little tea cozy today.
This was a special order that I was honored to be asked to make.
Of course I had to add a few extra special touches....I just couldn't resist. 

Hot Pink Chevron Tea Cozy
 The only direction I was given was 1) a tea cozy that sits over the teapot and 2) pink chevrons.

I used the Medium  Hot Pink Chevron from Riley Blake Designs. 
The direction for this little cozy didn't call for any quilting, but it was just calling out for it. 
Using a walking foot, I used the edge of the chevron as my guide, lining it up with one edge of the foot and echo quilted the chevron print. I thought about adding a second line of quilting, but this seemed like just the right amount. 

The binding is the Hot Pink Solid from Riley Blake Designs.
(both the chevron and this solid are available in the shop www.littlepinkrose.com)

The binding is cut on the bias using the continuous bias binding method....my favorite binding. 
To attach the binding I stitched it down, folded it over the raw edge, covering the stitching line and used a stick glue (for fabrics) to tack the binding in place. 

Then from the side that I had just stitched I top stitched about an 1/8" or so from the edge, using the presser foot as a guide and making sure to catch the opposite side in the stitching.

The final little touch was choosing an adorable little dot print that coordinated well with the pink chevron. Because of the way this little cozy is pieced together it's also reversible, with that in mind I picked an adorable little dot that coordinated with the pink chevron quite well. The dots are from a retired collection called "Sunshine" by Riley Blake. If she gets tired of looking at Pink Chevrons there are cute little dots hiding just a turn of the cozy away!!

Reverse side of Tea Cozy {aka Inside lining}

I'm heading off to spend some much needed time with my youngest "not-so-little" man. 

Leaving the hubby at home....this way I can spoil the child a bit....shhhhh! 

Miss you gals already!
I'll be back in the shop next week
But, in the mean time I'm leaving you with a "Vacation Special" 

FREE Shipping on all Domestic orders 
$10 off all International orders
April 17-23

To Visit Little Pink Rose click HERE.

Happy Stitching &
Many Blessings!

Special Deal

1 Day Only Special
While Supplies Last

LUXE in Bloom Fat Quarter Bundle
$20.00 -- SAVE 28%
Expires April 16 at 10PM EDT or Out of Stock

Visit Little Pink Rose HERE
Click on the photo to go directly to today's deal. 

Happy Stitching &
Many Blessings,

April 13, 2013

New Pincushions

I've had a great time putting all these together along with several more just waiting to be filled with crushed walnut shells!  The buttons all came from my collection....some are vintage buttons that I've been collecting over the years, some are hand dyed buttons and others are fun novelty buttons I've found browsing fabric shops around the country.  I love buttons almost as much as I love fabric.

These are all available in the shop: www.littlepinkrose.com

While I was digging through my stash I came across several pieces from the quilt that I made my mom and new she would love a pincushion out of the same fabric. I can hardly wait to give it to her!
It'll be a great little birthday gift, from her favorite daughter! 

I am a bit of a introvert .......okay that is probably the understatement of the year......but I can be quite content and happy being alone for very long periods of time.  I know for you extroverts that's a completely foreign concept, but for me it's true. 

For a long time I really didn't see anything wrong with this comfort and for the most part I still don't, after all it is how the Lord created me. 

But, I have come to realize that even though I'm okay with lots of alone time, I do need time with people. I need to be around others, interacting and engaged in activities with others...even if just for a short time. Since I can be so content being alone I've also realized that I have to force myself to get out of the house and engage with others.

With that realization in mind I made the decision to join the Quilting Clubhouse at Kelly Ann's Quilting in Warrenton, VA.  Once a month I make the drive over to Kelly Ann's to spend some time with wonderful ladies who all share a common bond, the love of quilting and sewing!

While Kelly Ann and I are technically competitors, I don't see our relationship as one of competitors and I'm pretty sure she doesn't either. She has offered me invaluable advice as I've worked to set up and grow my online shop and I always feel welcome in her shop and free to pick her brain when I'm in need of help on the business side of life. 

Below is the quilt top from last year (I'm in the middle with my quilt).
Once quilted this quilt is going in on our guest bed, along with some coordinating pillows.

2012 Swirly Girls Clubhouse Quilt "Weekend Getaway"

Last week we received the fabric, "Poppy Love" for the 2013 Clubhouse. 
This quilt will be going on my own bed and will become the decorative theme for the master bedroom and master bath. We've lived here for over two years now and I couldn't decide on paint colors or curtains or anything for our bedroom, but when I saw this I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Though I am going to have to invest in several yards of extra fabric to complete the vision. 

These blocks are extras....made from the scraps leftover from the month 1 block.
The one on the left is my first attempt at improv piecing. I guess it's not too bad. 
We'll see what the rest of the ladies think.... 

I have decided that if they don't care for it, I'll keep it and make up a lap quilt or one of those bed runners, or maybe a pillow.

Thanks for stopping by and hanging out with me for awhile! 

Happy Stitching &
Many Blessings,

Stop by the Shop and save 25% on your entire order.
Use Coupon Code: TAXDAY25
ends April 15th 10pm EDT

April 9, 2013

Coming Soon {New Cathedral Window Pincushions}

I absolutely LOVE making Cathedral Window Pincushions!!!!! 
...and since I'm low on these wonderful little gifts in the shop, I just have to make some more. 

Future Cathedral Window Pincushions

I spent the afternoon going through my stash and playing with several different color combinations and just having a blast.  I love it when work is really more like playtime! 

See anything you like?

With a little arm twisting I could persuade me to make a special order just for you with your favorite color combination. Okay, okay you wouldn't have to twist my arm at all, I'm thrilled about any excuse to be able to make up more of these beauties!! 

If you're interested in making up your own little Cathedral Window a tutorial for these is found HERE.

Happy Stitching &
Many Blessings!

April 8, 2013

Pixelated Quilt Tutorial Series - Pixelated Strips {Part 1 of 4}

Since I began the Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along last year I've been thinking about putting together a tutorial on how I went about putting together this pixelated quilt.  Then Saturday I did a demo on 3 of 4 ways that a pixelated quilt could be put together and knew that I wanted to do tutorials on those methods as well. Which method is the best really boils down to two things....
1. The look you're going for with the quilt.
2. Personal Preference. 

Proper Credit: I did not design these patterns. These were designed by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces
Angela's tutorial for this quilt can be found HERE.
If you are interested in the Super Mario Brothers patterns, they can be found HERE.
Each unfinished block measured 18 1/2" square and finished at 18" square.
The fabric is Michael Miller's Solid Cotton Couture.

Super Mario Brothers
The Pixelated Quilt that inspired this tutorial series

Today we'll go through one of the four methods for making a pixelated quilt....Pixelated Strips.
This is the method I used to piece the entire quilt pictured above. 

Once you have chosen the design and decided on the size of squares you want to use, it's time to cut out all those squares. For this quilt I started with 1 1/2" squares.

1. Cut Squares
 Cut 1 1/2" strips the length of the fabric and then cut as many 1 1/2" squares as needed. 

Helpful Hint: 
 It is possible to stack several layers of fabric and cut lots of strips and then to turn your ruler the other direction to cut the squares. When I tried this I found that if I worked with more than 4 layers of fabric at a time the squares were not as accurate as I wanted/needed.

I got bored really fast trying to cut all the squares for the whole quilt. There are 3,888 squares in the entire quilt, that's a lot of squares to cut all at one time! After I had a bunch of each cut, I quit cutting so I could get to piecing.  Once all of those were used, I pretty much cut what was needed for the next block.

2. Stay Organized
To stay organized I labeled each of the fabrics with their color name or where it would be used in the blocks (i.e. shoes) so that I could keep straight which green was which and which brown was for shoes, etc.
I also placed them all in a small box to keep everything contained and easily stored away. 
Stacks of 1 1/2" squares

3. Layout Design
 Using the Pattern design layout all the pieces row by row. Keeping the rows straight, makes things easier later.

Helpful Hint:
 I used my cutting mat for two reasons it made the design movable and it provided a grid to help me keep the rows straight both vertically and horizontally. 

4. Prepare for Easy Chain Stitching
Next, pair up each row. Starting with the bottom right square....flip it over on top of the square to the left. Keep flipping squares until you have paired up several rows of squares. It is important to keep everything lined up and in the proper rows.

Keeping the same orientation of the block I transferred the pairs to the area on the left of my machine, putting all the pairs in easy reach. I pair and move as many rows as that area on the cabinet will hold.

Helpful Hint: 
I like to keep the side where the seam will be stitched, on the right (facing toward the machine...exactly like it will be when I place it on the machine to stitch.
Transfer pairs closer to machine

5. Chain Stitch
Starting with the row closest to you (the bottom row) begin to chain stitch the pieces together.
Begin with a leader and at the end of each row place a scrap of material. These scraps will help to easily identify where each row begins and ends. Allow the chain to pile up behind the machine until all the pairs are stitched.

Chain Stitching Defined: 
Simply put it's sewing without breaking or cutting the thread between each piece.

Helpful Hint:
1. Start stitching on a scrap (leader) and this will keep the thread from trying to ball up on the first piece.
Chain Stitching

 6. Prepare to finish piecing each row. 
Locate the pattern. Clip the thread after the last pair is stitched.
Keeping the last pair to be stitched on top, bring the entire pile of stitched pairs next to the machine.

Helpful Hint:
From here on keep the pattern handy for referencing while piecing.

7. Clip apart the Pairs.....Row by Row
Locate the end of the first row and clip the thread between the scrap and the left most pair.
Place this string of pairs in front of the machine.
Without moving the pairs clip the threads between each pair.

Helpful Hint: 
Open up each pair laying out each piece in the direction it needs to lay.
Pay close attention to which row you're on and the orientation of each pair when different colors are involved. On the row pictured below this doesn't matter, but the rows with different colors this will matter greatly. 

  8. Stitch Pairs to Pairs. 
Starting on the right flip the first pair over onto top of the pair next to it and stitch the seam.
Reminder: Begin the row with a leader scrap. 

9. Finishing the row.
After stitching the last pair of pairs together, stitch a scrap piece leaving it under the presser foot, clip the thread between it and the chain of pairs behind it. Clip  between each piece and lay out the pieces in the proper order in front of the machine. Continue stitching sections together until the row is complete.

10. Lay out all the rows. 
Because the first row chained together was the bottom row, the first row that was completely pieced is the top row. Lay it aside in an area where there is room to layout all the rows in order as each is finished.

Helpful Hint: 
DO NOT do any pressing at this time. Wait to press until all the rows are pieced.

11. Pressing Seams
Starting with either the bottom or top row, press all the seams in that row the same direction.
It doesn't matter which direction the first row goes....the only thing that matters is that every seam in that row is going the same direction.

Place the row back in its place.  Take note of which direction you just pressed seams in the first row and press the next row the opposite direction. Continue to alternate the direction the seams are pressed until all the rows have been pressed.
Seams pressed in alternating directions.

12. Stitch Rows together. 
Starting at the bottom pair rows pair up the row with right sides together.
Pinning is not necessary, but pin if you like
Match the seams and "lock" them together where the seams butt against each other.
Stitch all the pairs of rows together. 

Helpful Hint:
 I found it difficult to continually match the seams on these small blocks as I stitched when the row was not pinned.  If you have a computerized machine and choose to pin, be sure to remove your pins as you come to each and avoid stitching over the pins. Stitching over pins messes with the settings on the computer and can cause the need for a trip to the repair shop.

13. Press seams open.
To create a flat block pressing the seams open is the best choice.

Helpful Hint: 
With these long rows it is easier to pair up the next set of rows after these have been pressed open. 

14. Continue Stitching and Pressing Rows.

15. Finished....
Starch the block if you like.
Celebrate and Place Your Finished Block on your Design Wall!
Finished Flower Block

Advantages of the Pixelated Strip Method:
1. Makes for a very neat and tidy block.
2. It's straight forward and doesn't take any extra planning time or thought.

Disadvantages of  the Pixelated Strip Method: 
1.  Laying out the entire block at one time takes up a lot of space.
2. Once it's laid out it is not easily moved or stored, until the rows are stitched together.
3. It can be difficult to stitch the long seams and keep everything lined up and straight.

Thanks for stopping by!!
The next tutorial in the series will be: The Four Patch Method

Happy Quilting!
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