Monday, February 11, 2019

golden galaxy quilt

Hi All! Today, I am very thrilled to share one of my designs featured in the current issue of McCall's Quilting Jan/Feb 2019 named Golden Galaxy. If you haven't purchased this magazine, you will want to because there is all kinds of cool information about sewing with elegant fabrics such as silk dupioni and satin. It just makes you want to start searching for some glam fabrics! Do you have any in your stash?

What I love about this magazine is the instructions for the quilts. Everything is explained in detail with diagrams, quick cutting/assembly instructions as well as coloring diagrams and full-sized templates. The patterns are tested as well!

I bet you are curious to see the quilt, right? Golden Galaxy is pictured below.

Golden Galaxy, Courtesy of McCall's Quilting © 2019 Photography by Matt Graves

This design was made from the beautiful hands of Ruthie Wasmuth and is classified as a challenging sewing level quilt. (I design so many quilts, I hardly have time to sew them all!) There are just three simple blocks, but the outer border uses blocks cut on the bias, which can make it tricky to sew. There are also curves, because curves are essential to enhance a design.

I would like to share with you a couple of different coloring options you could use to make this modern quilt. This is the original color scheme of blue and yellow featured in the magazine. My tip is to use small prints or even solids to really allow the design to shine.


Here, the colors (dark and light values as well) are reversed and black was substituted for the blue fabrics. I think this looks just as stunning. What do you think?

Or you could be a bit daring and choose only to use two colors. Just look at how the curved blocks change up the design. I could really see making this beauty!

Or you could go for something a little hot and spicy like this color combo of tangerines and plums. What do you think?? Hot enough for you?

So, if you are looking for some ideas for a modern quilt that uses some cool techniques, then check out this stellar quilt. I guarantee, you will be a curve master when you finish! You can download a digital copy as well at the Quilting Company if you don't have access to the printed magazine where you live.

I would love to hear your ideas on this design, if you care to share them. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your week!

Quilty Hugs,

Friday, February 8, 2019

easypatchwork quilt along

Hi Folks! I am really, really, really excited to share with you the first ever easypatchwork quilt along!! Can you tell I am excited? YES, I AM!

As you may already know, I've been designing quilts and quilt blocks for magazines and my own pattern company for a couple of years now. I thought it was time to share one of my designs with all of you so we can all sew it together! How does that sound? Still a little nervous about what you could be getting yourself into? Don't worry. I'll explain it all here.

First up, what is a quilt along?

A quilt along is group of quilters who sew the same quilt, either individually or together. Instructions are usually provided on how to sew the blocks and the quilt. All participants are encouraged to stay on track, stick to schedule, and share their progress with photos and text. We all should be supportive and comment in a proactive way.


Who can participate?

Anyone can participate! However, the skill level of this quilt will be for intermediate quilters. This is not for newbies. Although most everything will be explained in detail, this quilt has several different elements that can be tricky. We don't want you to get discouraged. If you are new to quilting, we still encourage you to try the blocks but not commit to the entire quilt.

What does the QAL Cost?

Instructions for this quilt along are FREE to participants! Feel free to use the badge below to show your participation in the QAL.

Please remember, these instructions are copyrighted © 2019 Karen Ackva. That means, you are not allowed to copy them and give them to your quilty friends nor are you allowed to distribute the printed material to teach a class on this design. Tell all of your friends where to find the information and let them do with work for themselves.

You are also not allowed to copy photos and other information and post onto your account nor to distribute for your own profit. Please respect copyright laws.

How long will the quilt along take place?

The quilt along will start on Friday, March 1, 2019. Every two weeks, new instructions will be given here on the blog on what to work on for the next two weeks. Share you progress here with hyperlinks if you wish and/or on social media using the hashtag:  #mosaicjigqal

March 1, 2019 Material and Fabric Requirements
March 15, 2019 Preparation and Cutting Instructions
March 29.2019 Center Medallion
April 12, 2019 Border Blocks
April 26, 2019 Mosaic Blocks
May 10,2019 Record Blocks
May 24, 2019 Finishing

What are we going to sew?

I have designed a medallion quilt with a couple different border designs. You can get an idea from the badge above. It is a generous wall hanging or throw quilt size ~ 68" x 68". It is designed with just five fabrics - a light, a dark, a contrast and two medium fabrics. I chose a monochromatic color scheme, but there are mock ups with several other different color combos. I can't wait to share them with you too!

Would you like to see the entire design or would you like it kept a mystery? Please share your opinion below with all of us.

What techniques are going to be used?

This quilt uses curved piecing, diagonal or strip piecing, appliqué and reverse appliqué as well as regular piecing. There is absolutely NO FOUNDATION PAPER PIECING. We will also be using self-made templates.

How big are the blocks? 

The block sizes are 3" x 3", 6" x 6", 6" x 24" and 30" x 30". There is only a little appliqué on that 3" x 3" block which you can decide to completely eliminate and just use a colored patch instead without appliqué. Don't worry, it sounds harder than it really is. : )

Is the QAL endorsed?

This quilt along is solely organized and endorsed by easypatchwork (Karen Ackva). There are no prizes per se, but there is also no tracking and no pesky advertisements either!

We should all be more supportive of each other without an agenda behind the kindness. This is also a great way to use up your stash and maybe even learn something new.

So, what do you say? Are you in for some springtime sewing fun together? I would love to have you join us!

Thanks for dropping by! Enjoy your weekend!

Quilty Hugs,

Friday, February 1, 2019

beginner sampler

Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you the sampler quilt I made for a beginner's patchwork class. I designed it from simple blocks that are essential for skill building.

First, I searched for a nice mix of small, medium and large prints with a variety of values (light, medium and dark) and decided on a monochromatic color scheme of blues/grays/white.

Fabrics from Makower, Moda and Robert Kaufman

I worked on the computer to design a 2 x 3 horizontal layout, sampler quilt using some of the oldest and traditional blocks - Nine Patch, Shoe Fly, Courthouse Steps, Trip Around the World, Old Maid's Puzzle and an Economy Block. I decided to frame most of them to "update" their style. It also makes it easier to unify them in a sampler quilt. All blocks measure 12" after framing and most measure 8" (Finished) before framing (if you want to make your own).

Mock Up Quilt Pattern

The Nine Patch and Shoefly blocks  introduce how to use a consistent seam allowance when sewing as well as how to nest seams. The Courthouse Steps will show how your blocks can tend to bow when adding new strips. The Trip Around the World is another one to show how to nest seams. The Economy block demonstrates that every time you add a new segment, you will have to square up the block again. This is shown in further detail with the Old Maid's Puzzle.

My biggest challenge was sewing an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. I have noticed when sewing a lot of foundation paper piecing (sewing on paper), I tend to forget where my 1/4" mark is on my presser foot is when returning to regular piecing. It also varies when sewing small and large blocks. The more seams you have in a block, the scanter the seam allowance will be when pressing seams to the side. If you are pressing your seams open, it won't matter as much. 

I also had some indiscrepancies in my cutting instructions which allowed me to produce this beautiful smaller sized Trip Around the World block. I think it will make a nice demonstration mini quilt for pressing directions.

Trip Around the World & Other Sampler Blocks

After sewing all of the blocks together and adding the border, I started to think about the quilting. (I have the biggest quilting phobia.) I first thought about a customized quilting, highlighting each block. This is a beginning quilt for quilters, so that idea was scratched. I am also a little disappointed when there is too much pull from the needle which produces puckering in the quilting on domestic machines. I thought of an allover design with simple diamonds. To avoid major visual complications, I decided to start with initial quilting lines that would not disrupt the Old Maid's Puzzle. I drew a quilting line 1 1/2" to the right and to the left of the diagonal line that intersects the four blocks pictured below. If you want a quilting line that goes exactly through the diagonal on most if not all blocks, you will need to space your quilting lines 2 3/4" apart and not 3".

Quilting Line Mock Up in EQ8
I used a different marking pen on this quilt. I chose to use one that disappears with air rather than water (purple Prym Trickmarker). I liked this better, because I hate removing the marks with water afterwards. They always seem to reappear too! I only drew the first initial lines as my starting point. After I drew those, I pin-basted the quilt. My prefered batting is a cotton-polyester 80/20 blend or something that allows the quilt to lay flat. This one is a low-loft batting.

Initial Parallel Quilting Lines to Form a Diamond Pattern

I tried something else, for the first time, which worked out really well. I decided to use electrical tape to mark the follow-up, parallel quilting lines instead of marking them all. This method allowed me to stand up after quilting each line and reposition the electrical tape. This probably wasn'tthe most efficient way, but it was a great workout. :)

Straight Line Quilting Made Simple with Electrical Tape

When quilting on the domestic machine, I first checked my tension by sewing on a test quilt sandwich. I adjusted both the bobbin thread to be looser as well as the top thread. I usually quilt with cotton thread on the top and polyester on the bottom. I find when using cotton in my bobbin, I have too many tension and machine problems. I also like a nice, heavy, punctured line of quilting to show on both sides.

I used a stitch length of 3.5 and 40/3 Superior Threads 999 (light gray) on top. I put a topstitch quilting needle into action as well.

Close-Up of Stitches

I just love a striped and plaid binding and couldn't wait to start cutting this one up. I only needed four strips of 2 1/2" wide fabric for double-folded, continuous binding. I will admit, I just sewed the first strips together at first. Then I stopped myself and re-sewed them. It irritates me when the stripes don't match. To get the repeat to match up, I first ironed the strip (I was adding) on a 45° angle. Then I glued it to the first strip exactly over the striped lines. I pressed with a hot iron and then sewed scantly to the right of the ironed line. I cut off the excess and pressed the seam open.

I connected the binding strips with a 2.0 stitch length, because they would be pressed open to reduce bulk. If your stitch is too long, the seam won't be stable anymore and will have the tendency to rip out.

Perfectly Matched Binding Strips

I applied the binding with a 3/8" seam allowance and a 3.0 stitch length.

When connecting the beginning binding strip to the ending binding strip I usually go back to this method. Overlap your beginning and ending binding strips with about a 10 inch unsewn. Cut off one of strips the length of the width of your binding strips. For instance, if the width of your binding strip is 2 1/2", the overlap with be cut to 2 1/2". If your width of binding is 1 1/2" (single fold binding), you will overlap the binding by 1 1/2". Then butt the ends perpendicular (90°) and sew through the diagonal line (drawn here in red) as you would piecing continuous binding strips.

Preferred Method of Finishing the Binding Tails 
To connect the binding to the back of the quilt, I machine closed by basting the binding strip to the quilt with Clover Clips. I machine stitched in the ditch from the front with matching thread on the front (blue) and back (in gray).

I did not iron the quilt after basting. Sometimes I do iron the binding before sewing it down, but this time I didn't. I am very pleased with the way this sampler quilt turned out.

Beginning Sampler Quilt

If you are new to patchwork and quilting and would like to make this quilt, you can sign up for this class in March at Stoffwelt in Neu-Um, Germany.

Here are the stats of the quilt: Beginner Sampler Quilt 2019 from easypatchwork
  • Dimensions: ~33" x 45"
  • Block Size: (6) - 12"
  • Fabrics: 7 Different Fabrics 
  • Time: ~ 20 Hours of Work
  • Technique: Pieced
  • Batting: Freudenberg 279
  • Binding: 3/8" Wide, Machine

Thank you for joining me today and reading about this sampler quilt. Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

minimal waste drunkard's path blocks

Hi everyone! Thanks for dropping by. Would you like to know how to cut Drunkard's Path patches with absolute minimal waste? Does that sound interesting? Then keep on reading.

About one and a half to two years ago I started making more and curved blocks and piecing them. Every time, I would do this, I would cut and make templates from Electric Quilt 8. As you know, after using cardboard templates a few time, they get a little smaller with every use. I wondered if there was an alternative such as a multi-purpose cutting tool for cutting curves. So I started researching. I not only found one, but several different brands that were helpful.

The following curved cutting rulers are on the market and come in a variety of sizes:

Quick Curve Ruler (Sew Kind of Wonderful) makes two sizes (one size per ruler). I have not confirmed if it will work for this tutorial. It incorporates STEP ONE in their description and use but does not include STEP TWO. To my knowledge, the curve is slightly distorted.

    Since I wanted the best solution for my money that could make as many different circle sizes as possible, I decided to purchase the Circle Savvy Ruler. It can make whole circles (diameter) in the sizes ranging from 3" to 15". It was very helpful when I designed a quilt that used ringed circles. You might remember the Retro Circles quilt?

    Some of you may fear and avoid curves like the plague, but there really is no reason to fear them. As with everything, practice and a steady slow pace help a lot. There are also a few tricks and tips about sewing curves on how to decrease puckering and reduce pinning. I am not going to talk about those today. There are already lots of tutorials and information out there about that.

    We are here to learn about how to cut out Drunkard Patch patches with little or nor waste. Let's begin with a little anatomy of the block. The concave part of the block should remind you of a "cave," because that is where the word originates from. The sun part of the block is convex.

    Unlike sewing together squares and rectangles, circles and curved edges will not be the same length when sewing them together. The length of the CONCAVE edge (circumference) will always be slightly shorter to accommodate the seam allowance. This is usually where some have problems, because the edge will have to be pulled to fit to the longer convex edge. You may think that cutting one curved edge from one piece of fabric will work but it does not. There are two more steps involved to make it work to produce an exact quarter circle.
    • STEP ONE. Make the lengths of the CAVE edge shorter by reducing the size of the block.
    • STEP TWO: Recut the curve on the CAVE edge so it will fit the curve exactly including the seam allowance.

    If you have a Quick Curve Ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful, then you already are familiar with the first step. This is done be sewing the CONVEX part of the circle 1/2" into the CONCAVE edge on both sides. Reducing the size of the block and cutting off the edges is actually done after the patches are sewn together. Step two is not carried out.

    So, that's a little bit of the background behind the idea. Now on to the practical exercise. This can be used with any size curve and curved ruler from the four mentioned above.

    For Four Inch Finished Drunkard's Path Blocks

    1. Cut two (5) inch squares.

    2. Mark a 1/4" seam allowance on the bottom and left side. This is where we will be matching up the cutting ruler including the seam allowance. [YELLOW LINES] After you become familiar with this idea, you may eliminate in the future.

    3. Mark an ending line on the top and side right sides where you will be lining up the curved cut. [RED LINES] Starting flush at the bottom left corner, draw lines to make a 4 1/2" square. Why? This includes a 1/4" seam allowance on all four sides. I am also right-handed, so this tutorial is showing the right-handed way. For left-handed cutters, you will rotate everything 90° to the left. 

    4. Line up the edges of the cut square on the seam allowance line of the cutting ruler. Your outer line  (4 1/2" square in red) will match with one of the slots of your circle cutting ruler. This is the 8 1/2" line on the Circle Savvy Ruler.

    5. Cut through the slot using a 28mm rotary cutter perpendicular to the the mat if possible.

    You now have a convex and a concave patch. The fun part begins. We will adjust them for the exact proportion and radius.

    STEP ONE: Measure and cut off 1/2" on each side of the CAVE patch as shown below to make the curved edge shorter.

    STEP TWO: Adjust the radius. Line up the CAVE patch with the seam allowance lines on the curved cutting ruler. Do you notice the number on the ruler is now 7 1/2"? There is always a one-inch difference of the inner and outer curves. Remember this for future cuts. Why is it one inch? That is four times your seam allowance. 

    Your CONVEX patch is slightly longer (8 1/2" cutting line) whereas the CAVE patch is slightly shorter (7 1/2"). Now cut again using a 28 mm rotary cutter perpendicular to the mat.

    Here's what you have - minimal waste, perfectly round, concave and convex patches for a Drunkard's Path block. My tip: speed up the process by cutting multiple pieces of fabric!

    Here is the quick formula to remember. Cut your squares at least ONE inch larger than your finished block size. Draw your lines (finished patch size plus seam allowance on all four sides) on a couple of squares to understand where you will cut. Then mark on your ruler with washi tape or removable marker to eliminate the drawing of lines on your fabric. You can always cut larger than needed and trim down later or make different proportional Drunkard's Patch blocks. 

    You can refer to this video from Creative Grids that inspired the idea for this tutorial. 

    I would love to hear what you think about the tutorial and see if how it works for you. Please Leave A Little Love (LALL). Thank you!

    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    business as usual

    What can I say? It's business as usual, or is it? The longer I have a blog, website and pattern business, the more I get frustrated with the whole deal. Please don't get me wrong. I love designing, writing patterns and teaching. I truly do. It is just the flip side that I don't like. Let me give you a little peak into the other world.

    I have been publishing my patterns and free tutorials in the Internet since 2012. I originally wanted to share my knowledge and help others to learn and feel good about themselves and their patchwork achievements. When someone makes one of my designs or uses my patterns and shares a photo of what they have sewn, it gives me such a great pleasure in knowing that someone liked my design enough to try it out and more importantly, succeeded in doing so.

    I am also there for you when it comes to trouble-shooting. When a customer is having a problem with a design, I answer questions freely and quickly, because I truly want them to achieve their design. With most of my designs and tutorials, they were provided without any financial compensation. That was okay with me. I only wanted a small thank you or a photo with a kind pingback to my website or blog. With my IKEA Cutting Table Hack post, I received many pingbacks, comments, questions and a few "thank you's." It is the all-time favorite post on the blog! It was even linked up in a book.

    My husband's beautiful work, my idea, my photos!

    Some of my most popular posts, original ideas and copied patterns are as follows:
    It plays on my heart, when I see a pattern or design that copies one of my ideas without reference to my original design. Why should it, you ask? The fact is - designs are not copyrighted! So I shouldn't feel offended. Only the text on how something is made is copyrighted as well as the actual photo. That is true. (And sometimes, even I fall into the trap of seeing something, getting an idea and running with it to form my own design.) However, you should reference your ideas! When I submit patterns to magazines, I am required to reference my ideas no matter how trivial. 

    What really bothers me here, is that more and more people, robots, websites are using my free ideas and tutorials to make profit for themselves! I check the statistics of my blog and Etsy shop sometimes to see where traffic is coming from. I was alerted once to see a website was referring readers to my shop. That sounded nice, new customers. How exciting! When I looked at the website in more detail, I realized the owner had downloaded and used my photos without my permission and posted them on her website (with a reference to my shop). That's fine and dandy, you say? No, because her website was set up with a great deal of advertising, tracking and was set up to make her a profit (Google Ads, etc.) with readers coming to her site. These are things I do not wish to associate with. I asked her to remove the post with my patterns. She kindly removed them in a prompt manner. I never would have known about this, if I hadn't checked the traffic to my sites. Please remember this too. All photos are copyright protected. You are not allowed to download and post other people's pictures without consent. They do not need the © sign to be copyrighted. The MONA LISA would look a little funny with © Leonardo DiVinci, now wouldn't it?

    Another point in case is the Mini Pinwheel Pincushion. I love the look of fabric manipulation. I saw an idea of a fellow patchwork group member, Birgit M., a few years ago making 3-D pinwheels for a baby quilt. I loved the idea and wanted to try it out. A pincushion is the easiest was for me to try out a new technique with quick results. I made a pin cushion and quickly posted on Instagram with some general dimensions and explanation - no tutorial.

    It was quickly written into a tutorial by another person and posted on their blog with reference to me. I WAS given credit for the idea. This same idea (mini pinwheel pincushion) was copied by one of the largest fabric and quilting supply retailers in the United States. When I saw their video demonstration on how it was made, my heart dropped. There was no reference to my idea nor to anyone. When I inquired about their idea, their response was, "we saw an idea on Pinterest." What is your take on this? 

    Case 3: At Christmas this year, we didn't give a lot of presents, and I didn't receive anything quilty from my family. I spoiled myself with a new book about miniature quilts after the new year. I waited for the right moment when all of the chores were done and a free moment was earned to sit down and thumb through the book. I was dumbfounded when I came to a page showing the "Forgotten Five Mini Quilt" called something else of course. The cutting and assembly directions were written differently, but it was still the same design and effect. The setting was in a 4 x 4 grid rather than my 3 x 3 grid. I believe coincidences can happen, and that people can truly get the same idea when designing. (It has happened to me, too. I try to retract my idea when it does though.) However, this idea was given freely and posted without compensation for the Moda Bake Shop in 2014 written by me. So, did someone take one of my designs for their own profit? I earned recognition for the post but was not financially compensated. 

    Moda Bake Shop Tutorials

    When I design quilts and pincushions, I research for new ideas. I want to create something unique and that hasn't been done before. I write and publish (what I know as) original ideas. It can also be the case that the ideas are already out there, and I have overseen them myself when researching. I apologize if one of my designs has coincidentally copied an other's idea for profit. Please bring it to my attention if it has happened.

    Case 4: With the help of one of my friends, Carmit E from Quilting Rainbows., I was alerted that a robot on Instagram had copied a photo of one of my creations and reposted it on their account. 

    New Pattern in the Works
    Yes, there was a pingback or reference to my account just like in Case One about the patterns. Don't expect robots to ask for permission to repost. The purpose of robots is to find, harvest and repost good, clear photos without identifiable watermarks or copyrights to gain followers. These are not real people! They have no interest in you. This account will, in turn, be sold for a profit. You might gain a couple of followers by the action, but the bots profit much more. This is happening on a more regular basis and that is why I am trying to watermark all of my photos with a copyright sign. Interesting fact: Press ALT + 0169 at the same time on your keyboard. There's your copyright symbol.

    I was able to report the repost on Instagram (with a long, lengthy process) and it was removed within a couple of days. I think it was removed quickly, because the photo was copyrighted with a rather pale print which was missed by the robot.

    I am also more careful about my followers on Instagram. I do check to see who is following me and if it could possibly be a fake account. Fake accounts are usually the robots who are harvesting beautiful, clear, high-resolution photos for their own profit. They also redirect followers from your account to their account. Beware of 10K+ accounts following you without even liking one of your photos. It is purely for the redirection of your followers to their account.

    With all of my frustration, I still am designing. In fact, I created a new pincushion - the Prairie House Pinnie featuring a log cabin design and prairie points. I made this as a special thank you to my #tobeabee German patchwork girls. I wanted to make them something nice. I am terrible at remembering birthdays too. So this is my present to them! I patterned the pincushion as less of a profit for myself and more of a security so others will not copy and profit from my design. I now know, that when I show something on Instagram or here, it will be copied. I'd better get the pattern out first, before someone else does.

    Patterns on Etsy

    So, it is back to business in a more secretive and sensitive way. I cannot show little glimpses of what I am working on no matter how exciting it is, because the fear of theft is just too great.

    I would really like to know your opinion on this. Maybe I see this all wrong? Maybe everything posted on the Internet should be free for use by everyone? 
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