6943 Lakeside Avenue · Richmond VA 23228 · 804-262-0005
Tue & Thurs 10-8 · Weds, Fri & Sat 10-6 · Sun 12-5 ·. Closed Monday

The Friendly Shop for Everyone Who Creates with Fabric!

Mar 25 15

Arcs Quilt – Working On

Phoebe

arcs quilt - savor each stitch by carolyn friedlander

 

Well, I must confess, right off the bat, that this is not the project that I’d intended for today’s entry. I got bogged down and was having trouble, so I decided that I’d cut my losses and temporarily postpone that entry. I’d waited too long to start the project, and it was taking longer than I though it would, etc. So, instead, I decided to show you a project that I’m really working on – a personal project. This quilt is the Arcs quilt from Carolyn Friedlander’s book Savor Each Stitch. This project is actually pictured on the cover of the book, but you can find more versions inside. Disclaimer: please keep in mind that since I decided to change the entry at the last minute that you might not be able to find the fabric on our website yet (but we have it in the store!), nor is the project done – all those blocks need to be squared up!

 

arcs quilt - savor each stitch by carolyn friedlander

arcs quilt - savor each stitch by carolyn friedlander

 

This quilt is all hand appliqued, but small enough to be complete-able. I started mine over the weekend and have been finishing, on average, 8 blocks a day (I’m sure there will be less today). Since there are only 24 blocks in the quilt, that makes it somewhat bittersweet that I’m already almost done, so I’ve decided to make more Arcs quilts! This quilt only has directions for one size, but because it is made out of individual blocks, it would be easy to make it larger or smaller. The Arcs quilt could also be done with either hand applique or machine applique. The book includes directions for Carolyn’s technique for hand applique, but I’ve slightly adapted her directions to suit my own techniques.

 

arcs quilt - savor each stitch by carolyn friedlander

arcs quilt - savor each stitch by carolyn friedlander

 

The Arcs quilt uses only a 1/4 yard total of the applique fabrics, but there are many options to make up the content of the applique pieces. You could use scraps, cuts from 2 1/2″ strips, or mini-charms, which is what I’ve used here. Carolyn told me that she’s been collecting the mini-charm packs and is making a larger Arcs quilt in a scrappy style. I’ve been using a mini-charm pack from Kate Spain’s newest line Paradiso that came in last week. The background is a pale pink Sketch Bias Hatch, which lends just a little bit of color without competing with the blocks. The borders will be one of the prints from the line, with a coral-ish sketch for the back, and this amazing, gorgeous petal-ish print from the Sunday Morning line by Timeless Treasures for the binding.

 

arcs quilt - savor each stitch by carolyn friedlander

 

I have a stack of five fabrics on my cutting table right now trying to decide which one I should use for my next Arcs quilt! And, I guess I should’ve said this earlier, but there are many other awesome projects in Savor Each Stitch – they all focus on applique and paper piecing – a fun and unusual combination. I, of course, want to make all of the applique quilts, and I’ve actually started another one. But, for now, with the craziness in my world, I’m sticking with the super-fun, and easy, Arcs quilt. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s handwork, it’s beautiful, and it makes me feel like I’m actually finishing something.

I can’t wait for the next one.

Phoebe

 

Mar 20 15

Dutchman’s Puzzle – Hand Pieced Quilt

Phoebe

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

I’m happy to give you the latest installment in our hand pieced block of the month – the Dutchman’s Puzzle block! This block is made up of four flying geese segments, which are my favorite blocks of all time (flying geese, that is), which means I’m extra-excited! The Dutchman’s Puzzle block is fairly easy to piece, but gives you a chance to practice sewing points correctly. That being said, I’ve found that I never mess up sewing points when I’m sewing them by hand – it’s so much easier to be accurate.

You’ll noticed that I’ve toned-down the scrappiness of this block a bit, compared to the last one, and decided to use just 3 fabrics – 2 for the geese (the larger triangles) and 1 for the background (the smaller triangles). You could any number of geese prints or background prints – it’s totally up to you! I used approximately 1 fat eighth for the background and 1 fat eighth’s worth of fabric for the geese.

I’m also pleased to point out that you can now find links to all of the hand pieced blocks in our blog sidebar right over there

<<<—————

somewhere. I’m afraid the arrow thing isn’t perfectly accurate, but it’s close! You’ll find links to the first two blocks, as well as a link back to our original hand piecing tutorial in case you need to reference it. Should make your life easier!

 

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

Dutchman’s Puzzle Block

* Download the templates for both the 6″ and 12″ blocks here. Make sure they are printed to the correct size – the larger rectangle should measure 3 x 6″ and the smaller 1 1/2 x 3″. Trace templates onto freezer paper or template plastic and cut apart. Trace onto your fabric – the traced lines are your sewing lines. The arrows indicate direction of the fabric grain.

 

Cutting

For the 12″ block:

From the background fabric cut -
16 of the smaller triangles – you can use 1 fabric or more!

From the geese fabric(s) cut -
8 of the larger triangles – you can use 1 fabric or 2 (or more!)

For the 6″ block:

From the background fabric cut -
16 of the smaller triangles – you can use 1 fabric or more!

From the geese fabric(s) cut -
8 of the larger triangles – you can use 1 fabric or 2 (or more!)

 

Piecing

Step 1 – Using the templates made above, mark and cut all your pieces.

 

Step 2 – Take 1 “goose” triangle and two background triangles to make the first block section. Align one of the smaller triangles along the larger triangle as shown and pin.

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

Step 3 – Piece the two triangles together, making sure to back-tack occasionally to stabilize your seam. Press towards the background triangle.

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

Step 4 – Place the second background triangle along the geese triangle as shown. Pin, and sew the seam. Press towards the background triangle.

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

Step 5 – Repeat with all remaining geese and background triangles.

 

Step 6 – Take two completed geese units and stack them as shown. If your block has two different colors, these two units should be different colors. Whichever color you want on the inside edge of the block (it will almost form a pinwheel), should be on the bottom of the stack. Pin the two units together and piece. Press towards the top triangle (away from the point). Repeat with all remaining geese units.

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

Step 8 – Take two of the units made in step 6 and place them next to each other as shown. Make sure that the geese to the left are pointing up and the ones on the right point towards the right. Pin together and piece. Press away from the points (towards the right in this picture). Repeat with remaining two units.

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

Step 9 – Arrange the two rows as shown, pin, and piece together. Spiral press so that your seams are always going towards the base of the geese.

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

dutchman's puzzle quilt block - hand pieced block of the month

 

And you’re done with your Dutchman’s Puzzle block!

Phoebe

Mar 17 15

Embroidery Floss – Back to Basics

Phoebe

Here at Quilting Adventures we carry quite a few lines of embroidery floss to give you a wide array of choices. We’ve got hand dyed, variegated, and solid embroidery flosses, in a variety of prices. So, what’s the difference, and what’s the best floss for what you’re working on? Let’s see…

 

embroidery floss

 

Notes on Embroidery Floss

 

Hand-dyed vs. Variegated Floss

Hand-dyed floss. Hand over-dyed floss. Variegated floss. They all can have mutliple colors or tones, but what’s the difference? Here’s my understanding:

Hand-dyed floss and hand over-dyed floss go hand-in-hand. First, and most importantly, these are done by hand, in small-ish batches, by small business. They have worked out a process to receive consistent results on a large scale, but it’s still being done by real human beings, largely in the country of their largest market (for example, Weeks Dye Works is based in North Carolina). Most of the flosses we sell that are done this way are hand over-dyed flosses to give them their amazing color depth. The fibers are dyed, occasionally leaving, in varying amounts, some of the white or neutral thread color showing. They are allowed to dry, and then dyed a second time with another color – probably done in a lightest color to darkest color order. This process is repeated until all the colors are done. This is how you would achieve a single-colored floss, but getting an excellent depth of the color. One thing to be aware of with this process is that occasionally not all of the dye particles will be washed out of the floss. What this means is that they will seem to bleed if washed (although, in actuality, it’s a different process from bleeding). If you are concerned about this, see the next section: colorfastness.

A variegated floss is colored by a machine. What’s great about that is, a) the color changes are predictable, b) the dye lots are going to be slightly more consistent, and c) these flosses are more likely to be colorfast. The catch is, though, they will never seem quite as “natural” and glowing as a hand-dyed or hand over-dyed floss.

 

Colorfastness

Not all embroidery floss manufacturers are created equal, nor can you compare a solid floss to a hand-dyed floss. If you are making something that will never be washed, such as a cross stitched or embroidered wall hanging, then it doesn’t actually matter. But sometimes your embroidery is on quilts or garments, in which case these things need to be considered.

When it comes to solid floss, I really believe that you get what you pay for. We carry two different brands of solid embroidery floss – Presencia and Sullivans. Both of these are much nicer than DMC – you’ll find that they are more colorfast, and easier to work with. It’s always a good idea to test your floss before you work with it, but I have found Presencia to never bleed.

To test your embroidery floss for colorfastness, cut a piece and wet it, allow to dry on a white paper towel. If the paper towel is stained, than your floss is not colorfast. Another option is to take a few stitches in white fabric, and wet both the fabric and the floss, and look for the same staining when dry. One thing to keep in mind is that when floss is hand dyed, part of it might be colorfast, but another section may have loose dye particles, so it may be best to just pre-wash:

The most important thing with pre-washing is to make sure your floss doesn’t get tangled. Remove the cardboard or paper headers and wraps. Slide your finger between the loop of floss, and submerge in a bowl of room temperature water. Make sure the floss is completely submerged – swirl gently. If the water has changed colors, then continue rinsing until water remains clear (change the water every time). Once the water is clear, allow to dry on a white paper towel. Check the paper towel once dry to make sure that the paper towel isn’t stained with dye. If it is, re-wash.

 

Working with Embroidery Floss

When you go to purchase your embroidery floss, you’ll find that many cross stitching and embroidery patterns will call for a specific brand of embroidery floss. Well, the good news is that there are conversion charts out there, and many colors can be converted among brands (it’s easier with solid flosses than with hand dyed or variegated flosses). We have some conversion charts in the store.

Most embroidery flosses are 6-stranded embroidery floss, however most embroidery and cross stitch patterns call for working with 1-3 strands at a time. It’s best to work with a piece of floss that isn’t too long – it is less likely to tangle, and will keep it’s sheen the less the needle wears across it – I usually cut mine around 18″ long. When separating the embroidery floss, you’ll want to pull out one strand at a time to allow the to relax separately before putting them together to stitch – you’ll find that your stitches look better this way!

When it comes to care for your finished embroidery or cross stitch, it’s best to hand wash, if possible. If the stitching is on a garment, then wash inside out, perhaps on the delicate cycle. Theoretically, if there was any chance of bleeding, you would’ve pre-washed your floss, but if you didn’t you’ll want to keep an eye on the water to make sure that the flosses hadn’t bled. If they do bleed, keep washing (do not dry!) until the water runs clear. Try using a color catcher, Retayne, or Synthropol, as appropriate for your floss.

To press your finished stitching, make sure to use a clean pressing cloth on top of the cross stitch or embroidery so you don’t crush or snag the stitches.

 

embroidery floss

 

Our Embroidery Floss

99% of the embroidery floss we carry, and all of the floss mentioned below, is 6-stranded 100% cotton floss.

Presencia – Precensia is our highest-quality solid floss. It also comes in a few variegated colors. I would use this any time you need a solid color for hand embroidery.

Sullivans – Sullivans is a good-quality solid floss and comes in a wide array of colors. I would recommend this as a good solid-colored floss for cross stitching.

Weeks – Weeks Dye Works hand dyed floss comes in a wide array of colors, some of which are colorfast, some of them aren’t. These are ideal for both cross stitching and embroidery.

The Gentle Art Sampler Thread – The Gentle Art hand dyed floss comes in a wide array of colors – test for colorfastness. These are ideal for both cross stitching and embroidery.

Classic Colorworks – Classic Colorworks hand dyed floss comes in a wide array of colors – test for colorfastness. These are ideal for both cross stitching and embroidery.

Cosmo Seasons – Cosmo’s Seasons variegated embroidery floss comes in an array of 80 colors. These are more widely used for embroidery than cross stitch, but could be used for either.

 

Let me know if you have any unanswered questions about embroidery floss in the comments, below.

Phoebe

 

Mar 11 15

Big Block Modern Quilt – Tutorial

Phoebe

big block modern quilt - star - baby size

 

For awhile now I’ve been wanting to make a quilt with just one large block in the center – a big block modern quilt. I thought it would be fun to start with a baby sized quilt, but a part of me wants to even go bigger than this – how cool would a king sized quilt be with one big block in the center and tons of amazing quilting? For me, that’s what this is really about – the chance to show off some amazing quilting, in fact, as you’ll read below, I think I want to make more just so I can quilt them.

This particular quilt is so quick and easy to make! I completed this top in just over two hours – it would make the prefect last minute quilt, or a gift for an acquaintance who doesn’t know how much time a quilt usually takes. I would not say that this is an ideal quilt for beginners, but maybe do-able for advanced beginners – if you’ve ever sewn half square triangles and have an okay 1/4″ seam allowance, you’ll be fine!

Now, one little disclaimer (and I really hate to have to make it), but this quilt is much prettier in person. The sunshine washed out the beautiful green in this quilt – it’s really like the color of… well, springtime. As happy as I am about spring and sunshine, winter really is a better time to take photographs of quilts! In fact, if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the post to see one of our many “flub” pictures – the wind was just so strong!

 

big block modern quilt - star - baby size

big block modern quilt - star - baby size

 

Big Block Modern Quilt – Baby Size

Supplies

  • 1/2 yard of star fabric – Kona Shadow
  • 1 1/2 yards background fabric – Kona Kale
  • 1 5/8 yards backing fabric (you may need more if you are sending your quilt to be long-arm quilted)
  • 1/2 yard binding fabric (double-fold binding with 2.5″ wide cut strips)
  • 48 x 60″ piece of batting (I would use Quilters Dream Cotton in a Select weight)
  • matching 100% cotton 50 weight piecing thread
  • rotary cutter, mat, ruler, pins, scissors, marking pencil, etc.

 

Cutting

Star fabric:

  • 4 – 7.25″ squares
  • 4 – 6.5″ squares
  • 1 – 3.5″ square

Background fabric:

  • 2 – 12 x 38.5″ strips
  • 2 – 6 x 27.5″ strips
  • 4 – 7.25″ squares
  • 4 – 6.5″ squares
  • 4 – 3.5 x 12.5″ strips

 

Directions

Step 1 – Using your favorite marking pencil, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of your 7.25″ squares cut from the star fabric. Place them right sides against the 7.25″ background squares and pin.

big block modern quilt - baby size - sewing half square triangles

 

Step 2 – Sew 1/4″ on either side of the line.

big block modern quilt - baby size - sewing half square triangles

 

Step 3 – Cut the square apart on the solid, drawn line. Press towards the darker fabric.

big block modern quilt - baby size - sewing half square triangles

 

Step 4 -Square up your completed half square triangle units to 6.5″ inches square.

big block modern quilt - baby size - sewing half square triangles

 

Step 5 – Take your 6.5″ background squares, your 6.5″ star squares, and your completed half square triangles, and make four identical units as shown below. Press the seam in row 1 to the left (towards the square) and to the right in row 2 (towards the square). When joining the two rows, press the seam open.

big block modern quilt

 

Step 6 – Take the units sewn in step 5 along with the center 3.5″ square and the four 3.5 x 12.5″ strips and sew into rows as shown. The 1st and 3rd row’s seams should be pressed towards the center strip, and the middle row’s seams should be pressed away from the square.

big block modern quilt

 

Step 7 – Sew the three rows from step 6 together. Press seams towards the center row.

 

Step 8 – Take the two 6 x 27.5″ side borders and sew them to the left and right sides of the block. Press towards the borders.

big block modern quilt

 

Step 9 – Take the 12 x 38.5″ top and bottom borders and sew them above and below the block. Press towards the borders.

big block modern quilt

 

big block modern quilt - star - baby size

big block modern quilt - star - baby size

Ta da! Done. You can really see how simple it is to whip one of these up, and with such stunning effect! The other thing that I really love about this quilt is that it’s easy to figure out how to quilt it, and would be a great way to practice either hand or machine quilting: echo quilt around the star and throughout the background, straight line quilt – either on the diagonal or on the straight, or do an all-over design. I am itching to quilt this one, but I can’t quite decide which way to do it – maybe I’ll just have to make more!

Enjoy!

Phoebe

 

bigblockflub

 

Mar 6 15

Free Hand Embroidery Designs – Flowers

Phoebe

free hand embroidery design - flowers

free hand embroidery design - flowers

 

As I write this entry, we’re receiving a mixed bout of precipitation – mostly snow and ice. Since yesterday was warm, and I can work from home, the cold and inclement weather are not that much of an inconvenience to me – a warm day can hold me over for awhile. However, I know that everyone, to varying degrees, can get tired of winter – so I’m happy to give you this month’s free hand embroidery design sheet full of flowers to celebrate the upcoming end of winter!

 

free hand embroidery design - flowers

free hand embroidery design - flowers

 

My idea with the flowers was to make it so that you could almost pick-and-choose your bouquet. There are a few different vessels, and a plethora of different flowers. You can mix and match them, or embroider them as-is. You could plant them in the pot. You could extend the stems to make the vases transparent. You can change the scale before your print them to make the flowers much bigger or much smaller. I really wanted this free hand embroidery design sheet to give you choices, choices, choices!

 

free hand embroidery design - flowers

free hand embroidery design - flowers

 

I’ve decided that I’m going to try and take one design each month from my free hand embroidery design sheets and stitch it up using my badge tutorial from last summer – that way at the end of the year I’ll have a whole bunch of badges to show off! I’m also thinking these designs would be super-cute lined up and embroidered along the bottom of a kitchen cafe-style curtain! So many ideas, so little time.

 

free hand embroidery design - flowers

free hand embroidery design - flowers

 

To stitch up my little flowers I used Presencia floss in color 4730 for the stems, Cosmo Seasons in 8067 for the flower, and 8053 for the blue Ball jar on some of our wool felt. If you want to learn more about the differences in all of our flosses, make sure to check back in a few weeks for my back to basics entry covering embroidery floss! It will also be the first time that we’ll have our entire stock of embroidery floss, including The Gentle Art floss and Classic Colorworks/Crescent Colours floss online.

 

free hand embroidery design - flowers

free hand embroidery design - flowers

free hand embroidery design - flowers

 

You can download this month’s free hand embroidery design sheet here. Feel free to crop and print these pieces larger or smaller as you need them.

Enjoy!

Phoebe