Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Block 10: Around Four Corners





Today, we started Week 10 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the block, called: Flowering Tree by Amy Friend. You can see my version of Amy's block, here.

Although I've never had the pleasure of meeting her, I'm realizing how much I love RachelDaisy's aesthetic. In fact, RachelDaisy is this week's block designer. Check out her blog, here. She's from Australia, which explains to me why I love her design style. I've found how so many Australian designers are super-skilled about combining color and pattern into the most dynamic quilts! 

RachelDaisy's block is called: Around Four CornersHere is my version:







The design of this block is so clever! When I first took a look at the image of the block in the pattern, I wasn't quite sure how it was all going to go together. However, while making the block, I was amazed at how easy (and fun!) it was.

There was one small thing I did differently. Before sewing them together, I laid out all of my 3-patch units that make up the circles so that the seam allowances would line up with the background fabric's seams, as well as with the adjoining pieced circles. Doing this also helped me to line up everything before I hand-appliqued the circles to the background.

The first fabric I chose to use was the dynamic black typewriter keys print by Cosmo Cricket. You can read about the fabrics I'm using, here, here, and hereI love what a bold statement the typewriter keys print makes and felt it worked well as the backdrop to the applique. When I began introducing fabrics for the center spot, I liked the juxtaposition of the small type print, in comparison to the typewriter keys, for the center of my block. And finally, I decided how the large, 3/4 circles should be a place for the eye to rest, so I chose mottled solids, there.

Here's an image of the back of my block:






After finishing, I chose to cut out the bulk from the back of the applique. You'll see my Helen Stubbings' Hugs 'n Kisses Applique Paper that I used to make my circles showing through. I love knowing how it will wash away once I launder my finished quilt. 






The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Block 9: Flowering Tree





Today, we started Week 9 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the block, called: My Flock by Brenda Ratliff. You can see my version of Brenda's block, here.

This week, meet prolific Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) pattern designer, Amy Friend, of During Quiet Time. Amy is a two-time author of books covering the same subject. In fact, she's giving one of her books away through her blog post, today, so go check it out for a chance to win.

Amy certainly knows a thing or two about art and design and her work is always filled with interest and gorgeous color. I love everything she does! You can easily find her through her website and Instagram (@duringquiettime) to see her eye-catching designs. 

Amy's block is called: Flowering TreeHere is my version:







When I first started quilting, I taught myself how to FPP. I started by making a tea cup and saucer pattern. Once I figured out the rhythm of foundation piecing, I really enjoyed the process. In fact, shortly after learning this technique, I designed one of my first FPP patterns, called Rocky Mountains Sunset. The pattern came in a variety of sizes.



Rocky Mountains Sunset quilt pattern by SuzGuz Designs



At that time, we were living in Massachusetts and I was reminded of how beautiful our sunsets are, here in Colorado, when I came across these gorgeous batiks at a quilt shop in Arlington, called Fabric Corner.

Back to Amy's block: After I completed it, I noticed how my version looked slightly different from the pattern. I then realized that I added the "sky" pieces before I added the tree trunk/center pieces. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, I go into a zone and think I'm doing it right, when, in hindsight, I wasn't paying attention and took the steps in a different direction. When I find myself making mistakes, I believe that whatever I'm making is supposed to turn out the way it did and I'm okay with it. I've decided to keep my block as-is since the only difference you'll see once the block is sewn into the quilt top will be at the bottom portion of the trunk; the piece across the top will be hidden in the seam allowance.

Last week, I mentioned that we had a shop hop going on. On Saturday, my husband and I drove to the last three shops on the list and I ended up purchasing a few more potential candidates for my Splendid Sampler II blocks.






I'm not sure if I'll have opportunity to use it, but I sure do love the berries print. The sweet Corey Yoder stripe is great, but the only drawback is that I haven't used any pink, thus far, so that may end up in my stash, as well. It's surely the cutest stripe I've ever seen!







The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Splendid Sampler II, Block 8: My Flock





Today, we started Week 8 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the block, called: For the Love by Sharon Burgess. You can see my version of Sharon's block, here.

This week, meet American designer and shop owner, Brenda Ratliff of Just a Bit Frayed and Pink Castle Fabrics. Although I've never met Brenda, I have heard great things about her Glamp Stitchalot weekend sewing retreat AND I love the fabrics she sells in her shop!

Brenda's block is called My Flock. She says in her blog post how she loves flying geese. What I love most about this block design is how the row of flying geese are off-center. I feel this adds interest to her block and there are lots of things you can do to make this block interesting. Although I stuck with the 3-fabric version Brenda used, I could easily see this block using scrappy same-color prints for the small flying geese triangles and 4 different-color coordinating fabrics for the large triangles, then trim out the row of flying geese with a larger print that includes all the colors of the large triangles, therefore, lending a sense of cohesiveness.

Here is my version of My Flock:








I haven't yet used a lot of yellow in my Splendid Sampler II blocks, so I thought I would use my yellow dot print for my large flying geese triangles. If you haven't yet noticed, I love dots, so this space in the design allowed me to show off those dots well!

I wanted to keep the corner triangles interesting without having to use a solid or mottled fabric, so I decided upon the gray and cream "X" print. Finally, I decided to go with the all-over large print to bring in all the fabric colors into this block so that it will still coordinate well with some of the other blocks I've made, thus far.

Because I'm using two different, older Moda collections (that I've been hoarding for a special project, such as this!), and because I'm limited, due to the amount of fabric I'm working with (I'm using fat quarter bundles), I'm beginning to shop for coordinating fill-in fabrics.

I'm fortunate in that my local quilt shops are hosting a shop hop that started today, so I hit 3 shops who are participating in the hop, just this afternoon. My husband is going to join my on the hop one of the days, so that should make the traveling fun! This is what I picked up, today:






Because I started with Moda bundles, and because Moda is one of the sponsors of the Splendid Sampler II block-of-the-week, I've decided to stick with using strictly Moda prints (not a requirement, but something I want to do). Besides, I've found that many of Moda's fabric collections coordinate, so rest-assured, I know I have the best luck of finding coordinates if I stick with this plan. One of my favorites out of the above purchases is the multi-print fat quarter along the bottom by Jen Kingwell . . . I love every one of her fabrics! Her quilts are mighty amazing, too! 






The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Splendid Sampler II, Block 7: For the Love







Today, we started Week 7 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to Rose and Dot by Lori Kennedy. You can see my version of Lori's block, here.

This week, we travel back to Australia to meet England-born designer Sharon Burgess of Lilabelle Lane Creations. Although I've never met Sharon, I feel a kindred spirit in her because of her love of English Paper Piecing. I also relate well to what she says on her website: "You will not find a colour wheel in my studio. I threw that out when I started my La Passacaglia and I am so pleased that I did." La Passacaglia comes from the book, Millefiore Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein.






As mentioned on page 7 of my book, All About Strips: Colorful Quilts from Strips of Many Sizes (Martingale 2015), I talk about how using the color wheel tends overwhelm me. What I mean by this is that it feels overwhelming to use a tool when it's much more freeing to rely upon my instincts because I feel that combining pattern and color come naturally to me. I believe that once I start messing with that natural ability, I start second-guessing myself.

Sharon's block is called For the Love. As she says in her blog post, she gleaned inspiration from the beautiful tulips that grace the public gardens of her home town.

One of my very favorite things to do is to English Paper Piece. Although it's become a project that I've set aside temporarily, I'm making a quilt using large hexagons sewn into oversized diamonds that I will be sashing and making into a quilt (you can see a few images of them on my Instagram page: @suzguzdesigns).

Here is my version of For the Love:








I began selecting my fabrics by choosing the red dot fabric. Next, I decided I definitely wanted to use the ivory type-print for the background; I love how it contrasts with the dot print and how some of the words are outlined with red. Next, I decided how I wanted to use different prints for the outside petals of the flowers and decided upon the variety of robin's egg blue prints of one of the collections I'm using. Lastly, I chose to use the dark honeycomb-like print (by Moda) I picked up at my local quilt shop for the center square to ground the design. Besides, who doesn't want a honeycomb nearby for the bees to pollinate the flowers, right?

I made my block in the same manner that Sharon made hers; English Paper Pieced the template pieces together and hand appliqued the finished cluster of flowers to the base fabric.

You'll see that I carefully placed my diamond templates on the dot fabric so that they would appear the same. I also chose to lay the blue stripe in the manner I did for the one set of outside petals. One other thing I did that I've never done in the past is that I placed a dab of glue in the middle of each template piece to avoid the template from shifting as I basted-down my seam allowances. That was a great help, especially because of the small size of the pieces you'll work with while making this block.

Here is the back of my block. I used my red Aurifil thread to hand applique the red dot tulip centers and my light blue to tack down the outside petals so that the stitching blended in with the fabrics I used.






After finishing my block, I pulled the fabric away at the front (to avoid cutting into it) and then trimmed out the cream type-print base fabric to alleviate the bulk at the back. Besides, I might need that scrap piece of fabric for a future block!







The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Splendid Sampler II, Block 6: Rose and Dot








Yesterday, we started Week 6 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the Week 5 block designed by Susan Ache, called Point Taken. Here's my version of Susan's block.

This week, we meet designer Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt. Lori's block is called: Rose and DotIt's such a sweet block and I love its simplicity because it allows you to show off prints using larger pieces of fabric.

This block was so much fun to plan and make. Here is my version of Rose and Dot:







As I did with Clamshells and Balance, I used Helen Stubbings' wonderfully easy technique using her Hugs 'n Kisses Applique Paper to make the leaves and 2-piece flower head.








The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Splendid Sampler II, Block 5: Point Taken








Yesterday, we started Week 5 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the Week 4 block designed by Wenche Wolff Hatling of Northern Quilts, called Balance. Here is my version of Wenche's block!

This week, we meet designer Susan Ache of Instagram account: @yardgrl60. Susan's block is called Point TakenI love how cleverly the name of Susan's block correlates to the design!

I had trouble figuring out what version of the block I wanted to end up with because I couldn't decide on what fabric combination I wanted to use. I did know that I wanted to use my red type print for the main body of my star. So, I started with this version for my block:







However, something was bothering me about this. I'm going to share something with you: I don't typically mix solids with prints if I can help it. Why? Well, if I have an option to use a print in place of a solid, I prefer using a print because I feel it gives my designs added visual interest. And, I'm okay with a "busy" look.

So with that said, I went through the fabrics I'm using and thought I would re-make the block using a different background in place of the cream solid, and I thought I would like the addition of the green dot fabric. After I re-made the block, I stuck it on my design wall to let it simmer.






I left it alone for a few days and kept thinking about it and realized that something was bothering me. I ended up tacking up the pieced center of the first version I made and realized that I preferred the lightness of the cream mini flower print over the visual heaviness of the green dot fabric. And although the "X" print I used in place of the solid cream doesn't perfectly meet up along the center edges of my block, I'm okay with that, so I remade my block for the last time, and here it is:






I think I'm really going to like the boldness of the red star once I sew it into my quilt top; this star will become a bold spot for the eye to land once it's finally placed!






The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Splendid Sampler II, Block 4: Balance








Today we start Week 4 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the Week 3 block designed by Helen Stubbings of Hugs 'n Kisses, called Clamshells. 

This week, we travel to Norway to meet designer and shop owner Wenche Wolff Hatling of Northern Quilts. Wenche's adorable, I-want-to-make-more block is called Balance.

Here is my version of Wenche's block:







Before beginning, I knew I wanted to make my elephant from polka dot fabrics. I decided upon my yellow and cream polka-dot print to make my sweet polka-dot elephant, reminiscent of the spotted elephant from Misfit Island in the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Rankin/Bass film from my childhood. I so wanted to adopt her when I was a young girl.

After choosing my sweet elephant's print, I then choose the blue ticking background fabric and decided how the wobbly stand needed to have visual strength (for my girl to stand upon). Therefore, I chose a dark gray and red mottled solid from the fabric collections I'm using. Then, with just the right hue, I chose An Auriful dark gray cotton embroidery thread for the outline of her head and ear, her eye, and her tail. I contemplated adding an upshoot of water coming from her trunk and, for the time being, will keep her as Wenche designed her: Oh-so-sweet upon her circus platform!






I once again used Helen Stubbings' Hugs 'n Kisses Applique Paper. Many years ago, I taught myself how to do turned-edge applique using freezer paper and I am now hooked on Helen's paper and technique. She has easy-to-follow instructions on how to use it through her YouTube videos.






Please let me know if you have any questions! I hope you enjoy making this block as much as I did!




The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!