Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts
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Napoleon’s Plan: 2015 Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop

2015 Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog HopThis project was very anxiety inducing for me. I tend to improv designs from inspiration photos and don’t follow patterns. Yet, I have never truly designed my own block, let alone written a tutorial for others.

The logistics of getting fabric to arrive in a timely manner in Costa Rica were impractical. A compromise was made; I worked from my own stash of solids and Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs was nice enough to sew my block (and give some feedback) by using the provided “Watermelon Summer” Prairie Cotton Solids from Fabri-Quilt that will be included in the final charity sampler quilts.

True to form, I did not design an original block; however, I modified the method used by another. Blossom Heart Quilts has a great tutorial for a paper pieced Houndstooth block. Being irrationally terrified of paper piecing and wanting to create a multi-color houndstooth block, I embraced Napoleon’s Battle Plan.

Napoleon’s Plan Houndstooth Block Tutorial
It’s a two part plan:
First- We sew up
Then- We see what happens

From 5 Fat Eighth colors cut:
2- 1.5″xWoF Strips
1- 3″xWoF Strip

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Cut 2- 1.5″ x WoF strips from each color

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

3″x WoF strip

Cut the 3″ strip into 3″ squares

Lay out the 1.5″strips in an order that has color combos that make you happy

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

My preferred color order/combinations

Take one strip from each color and shift down (or up if you prefer) to create new pairs.

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Shift 1 strip to create new pairs

Offset the strip ends by 1.5″

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Strips offset before sewing together

Sew strips together and press to the dark

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Strip pair sewn together

Using the 45° line on your ruler, cut triangles down the length of the sewn strips.

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Cut triangles down length of strip

You should get about 7 triangles total

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Cut down length of strip

Repeat for each combo of sewn strips

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

All combos cut and ready to go

To create your block layout, I found it easiest to work from the center diagonal out.

Working with pairs of triangles, the two small triangles will form the upper right corner of the “houndstooth” and two longer triangle sides will form the lower left “tails”

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

A design board or wall is helpful at this point

Once your layout is finalized, sew the 45° triangles on the long side (don’t worry this is not a bias edge) and trim to 3″square

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Trim down to 3″. Oh how I wish I had a bloc lock ruler!

In rows, sew the multi-colored squares to the solid squares and press to the solid square

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Press to the solid square

Sew the rows together, nesting the seams

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Nest the seams and press the rows to one side

Congrats! You have successfully executed Napoleon’s Plan!

Napoleon's Plan Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Final block measures 13″ square unfinished, 12.5″ square finished

Napoleon's Plan Houndstooth Block | Chopping Block Quilts

Finished block in Watermelon Summer colorway sewn by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs

Now for the real fun stuff
I encourage you to check out my fellow bloggers from today and earlier this week. From 6 fabrics, these immensely creative people have designed 60 different blocks using a whole variety of techniques.

Today’s Host: Stephanie @Late Night Quilter
Hannah @Modern Magnolia Studio
Cindy @Stitchin At Home
Abby @Hashtag Quilt
Lisa @Sunlight in Winter Quilts
Carrie @Chopping Block Quilts
Brianna @The Iron and Needle
Tish @Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
Jan @The Colorful Fabriholic
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Beth @Cooking Up Quilts
Leanne @Devoted Quilter
Liz @LizzyClips Design
Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Kitty @Night Quilter

Day 1 Monday Host: Quilting JetGirl
Day 2 Tuesday Host: Meadow Mist Designs
Day 4 Thursday Host: Childlike Fascination

One of my fellow bloggers, Jayne from Twiggy & Opal, has graciously created a Pinterest board of all the blocks from the four-day blog hop.

Giveaways.
Inspired by Fabric (Fabri-Quilt) is giving away a 1/2 yard cut of EACH of the 6 Prairie Cloth Solids in the Watermelon Summer colorway.

Watermelon Summer | Prairie Cloth Solids | Fabri-Quilt

Turquoise, Chartreuse, Lapis Blue, Aqua, Coral, White

Visit Stephanie @Late Night Quilter and  Inspired by Fabric for two chances to win!

Oh and wondering what to do with those extras not used in the block? I turned them into quilted soft blocks for my baby niece.

Napoleon's Plan Soft Block | Chopping Block Quilts

I sewed up, this is what happened.

If you have any questions or need clarification on the block construction please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by!

Carrie @ Chopping Block Quilts

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How to Measure a Year: “What the Hex” Finished Quilt

One year ago I started working on a twin-size quilt for my friend, Rommy, as part of an art exchange. She selected a set of aqua and green fabrics I had in my stash to use for her quilt. This quilt was full of firsts for me. I used new (to me) techniques: cutting triangles, piecing hexagons and sewing y-seams.

Finished twin-size

Finished twin-size “What the Hex” quilt (photographed on a queen size bed)

Binding Detail

Binding Detail

While piecing did not take long, the actual quilting took a few months. Between the 1/4″ spacing, stopping and turning, each unique hexagon took approximately 2 hours to complete.

Quilting Detail

Quilting Detail

Border Quilting Detail

Border Quilting Detail

The backing fabric came from a cotton shower curtain I rediscovered on a trip back to AZ. I thought the feminine print was a nice contrast to the geometric front. While it was wide enough, I had to piece in a bit for the length.  The only quilting difficulty came from keeping it smooth enough and preventing fabric tucks.

Backing fabric upcycled from cotton shower curtain

Backing fabric upcycled from cotton shower curtain

I also now understand the appeal of whole-cloth quilting. I love how the back shows off the intricate quilting design.

Walking foot quilting detail

Straight line quilting done with walking foot

Straight line quilting border detail

Straight line quilting border detail

After finishing the quilt, I decided to make two coordinating pillow shams from the scraps.  Embracing the “work with what you’ve got” philosophy, I used scrap batting in both shams and a plain white pillow case for the backing. Don’t tell my husband that I’ve started scrounging in the linen closet to supplement my quilting addiction.

Scrappy Pillow Shams

Scrappy Pillow Shams

I also made a hand embroidered label, mainly to cover up part of the backing that creeped up while quilting. It was the first time I ever tried hand embroidery and the first time I ever made a quilt label.

For Rommy | <3 Carrie 2015

For: Rommy | ❤ Carrie 2015

This has been my favorite quilt to date and I am a bit sad to give this one away. I take solace in knowing it will be going to a good home and be well-loved (and used) by Rommy.

Now to not-so-humble brag. Linking-up like crazy to:
Needle & Thread Thursday @My Quilting Infatuation
Sew Cute Tuesday @Blossom Heart Quilts
Show & Tell Tuesday @I Have to Say
Too Cute Tuesday @Funky Polkadot Giraffe
Can I get a Whoop Whoop?!?! @Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Link-a-Finish Friday @Richard and Tanya Quilts
Thank God It’s Finished Friday @Simply Pieced
Finish It Up Friday @Crazy Mom Quilts
Quilt for Keeps

Sardinia Saturday Night

What’s a girl to do on a Saturday night when her husband is watching the Costa Rica vs. El Salvador Gold Cup game? Why recreate a QAL pattern and figure out fabric placement!

As mentioned previously, I am considering joining the Yuma QAL by Gotham Quilts.

http://gothamquilts.com/category/yuma-qal/

The design seemed perfect for my collection of Sardinia by Jessica Swift fat quarters; however, I was stuck on exactly how to place them.

Yuma QAL Fabric Selection: Sardinia by Jessica Swift for Blend

Yuma QAL Fabric Selection: Sardinia by Jessica Swift for Blend

Thankfully, the EQ7 tutorial from Meadow Mist Designs saved the day! While I initially tried to recreate the layout using the triangle template Cheryl shows, it did not work. Her tutorial did lead me to discover some other design tools in the software that eventually allowed me to recreate the basic design.

Yuma by Gotha Quilts created in EQ7

Yuma pattern by Gotha Quilts re-created in EQ7

The Yuma pattern by Gotham Quilts is available as a free download here.

I imported fabric swatches and after tweaking the original design placement, I came up with six different options. Of the five, I really only like the following three.

Yuma QAL Placement Option 1

Yuma QAL Placement Option 1

Yuma QAL Placement Option 2

Yuma QAL Placement Option 2

Yuma QAL Placement Option 3

Yuma QAL Placement Option 3

Hopefully after a few days of meditation the winning design will be clear. There is already one option that has started to emerge as my favorite. I will probably start cutting into my fabrics tomorrow and do a basic layout based on blocks similar between the two designs. This will also give a better idea of how the final product will look with the proper scale of the prints.

Any thoughts on which of option might work best?

Linking up to:
Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times
Show & Tell Tuesday @ I Have to Say

Hop, Skip and a Jump!

So as mentioned previously, I am part of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers. The focus of this group is for seasoned bloggers to provide technical advice and support to us newbie bloggers. Part of the support is participating in my first blog hop and the Sew Fabulous Hive!

It’s fun for me to have new visitors to Chopping Block Quilts, its fun for the visitors because you get to discover some amazing new quilting blogs and are eligible to enter to win a slew of amazing prizes from our fabulous hosts!

Super Quick & Random facts about me:

On the Line, Ready to Play

On the Line, Ready to Play Ultimate Frisbee

Name: Carrie
From: Arizona
Currently Resides In: Costa Rica (the Central Valley near some Volcanoes, not the beach)
Husband: 1, married 6mo or 2.5mo depending on which wedding you count
Puppies: Bernadette Shiva Garbage Disposal (9mo), IsaDora Paulina Gozer Sombra (7.5mo)
Scared of: Balloons, Needles/Knives/Blood (I got 4 stitches from a rotary cutter accident in college)
Began Quilting: 2002

My First Quilt made in 2003, loved by Dora today

My First Quilt made in 2003, loved by Dora today

Check this out if you really want to know more quick facts and my quilting history.

Blogging Tip:
Get involved! Whether your goal is to increase readership, get sponsors or simply have a better blog, the quilt blogging community can help. I joined the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers on a whim and fairly last minute. While the technical aspect appealed to me most, I have been overwhelmed with the new followers, generosity of advice, and support related to all aspects of blogging and quilting.

As part of being more involved in the quilting community, I am starting my first Quilt Along on the Midnight Mystery Quilt from Meadow Mist Designs. Fabric has been selected (and I am toying with the idea of making a second colorway).

Midnight Mystery Quilt Fabric.  Print from 2012 Palmer Collection by Anna Griffin

Midnight Mystery Quilt Fabric Selection.
Print from 2012 Palmer Collection by Anna Griffin

I am anxiously awaiting the release of the first block in July. There is still time for new members to join this QAL and I encourage you to do so!

Meadow Mist Designs Mystery Quilt

Quilting Tip:
While quilting is fairly popular in Costa Rica, most of my quilting supplies have come from my stash in Arizona lugged down on various trips. Batting is included in said supplies. A few years ago I learned about the proper way to join pieces of batting from the Encyclopedia of Quilting (I just don’t remember if it was this one or this one)

To reduce bulk, you overlay the batting by a few inches and then cut along the overlap in a wave like pattern. The pieces are then joined together using a flat stitch.

Joining batting pieces

Joining batting pieces

The result when quilted is batting that does not have bulky seams where it overlaps. I must apologize for not having better photos but I am now inspired to create my first tutorial! Check back soon!

Confession:
I love musicals. Live, in movies, and on TV. Disney, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber and more. They are my go-to background noise when sewing. I can’t help but sing along.

Often times I wish life were more like a musical. I can make a song out of almost any situation. Usually they take the tune of some popular song with original lyrics. Sometimes they are awesome, sometimes they are awful. My brother can do the same, although he keeps his talent hidden. I think we learned it from our father as children. It makes life a little more joyful.

Hop! on over to the other members of my Sew Fabulous Hive this week:
Erin @ Twin Mom Quilts
Anja @ Anja Quilts
Adrian @ Quilting Fabulous

New Blogger Series
Skip! to our wonderful hosts:
Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter (our Hive “Queen Bee”)
Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl
Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Terri Ann @ Childlike Fascination

Jump! at the chance of winning some great prizes this week (and in the upcoming weeks). See our “Queen Bees” above for giveaway entry details!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Back to the Start

“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back”- Turkish Proverb

I started on my final Farm Fresh baby quilt about 2 weeks ago.  Inspired by this updated chevron design by Shea Henderson of Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio I began making 96 HST with the remaining pieces of Farm Fresh by October Moon for Riley Blake that I had.

Blocks were pieced and trimmed.

First block pieced and trimmed

First block pieced and trimmed

Arranged with the help of my husband.

Initial layout

Initial layout- sorry for the blurry phone picture!

Then sewn together incorrectly.  I thought about ripping it out and fixing it, but then decided to press on thinking it was “design” intervention.  Our newest addition, Dora, seemed to think it was fine.

Dora approved, even if it was sewn together wrong

Dora approved, even if the top was sewn together wrong

After using what batting I had and assembling it into a patchwork (making it work), basting begun.

Patchwork batting

Patchwork batting

Basting

Basting

One chevron quilted and I was done for the day.

Thinking overnight about it, I decided was not thrilled with the overall look of the top. The color balance, the patchwork look of some chevrons but not all.

Turning back from the wrong path

Turning back from the wrong path

So I am settling in with my seam ripper, Harry Potter, and copious amounts of coffee and taking it all apart and going back practically to the beginning.

I have figured out a much better HST design and will be busy sewing it all back together tomorrow while the hubs is in class.

Linking up with:

Michelle’s Romantic Triangle: Let’s Make Baby Quilts!

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Bringing Hex-y Back

As promised, I have a WIP Wednesday update on my “What the Hex” quilt!

The back was pieced together in December using an old cotton shower curtain from either Cost Plus World Market or Pier1 Imports (it’s been so long since I purchased it, I can’t remember where it came from). When making the top I had no idea what I would use for backing. Then on a trip home to Phoenix, I discovered the (future) backing sitting in one of my craft boxes stored under the bed.

Turns out, just a little strip was needed to add to the length. The teal, green and blues in the damask design match perfectly with the aquas and greens in the top. I also like the bit of juxtaposition of a very feminine and organic pattern on the back contrasted with the geometric design of the front.

Quilt back from old cotton shower curtain

Quilt back from old cotton shower curtain

Superbowl Sunday was spent basting; my least favorite part of the process. Had I been smarter, I would have used our nice new big kitchen table. Instead I did it on the floor (and with the help of Berna).

My "helper"

My “helper”

As much as I think I have basted enough, I find my quilts can always use more

As much as I think I have basted enough, I find my quilts can always use more

Finally! The front basted together

Finally! The front basted together

Frustrating part, because this was a lightweight cotton shower curtain, manipulating the backing to be smooth under the batting was near impossible.  You can see one part where the backing was too loose and sewed a fold.

This drives me nuts to no end! But not enough to rip out the quilting and do it again...

This drives me nuts to no end! But not enough to rip out the quilting and do it again…

For the actual quilting pattern, I had sketched out some ideas but really had no set plan.  Still too scared to try free-motion quilting, I have been using my trusty walking foot and a 1/4″ spacing all around.

I started with a center hexagon and have worked my way out in a somewhat circular pattern. Each hexagon has been quilted with a different design using a white cotton thread.  Overall the designs blend well into the quilt top.

Center hexagon that I started with

Center hexagon that I started with

See how well the thread blends?

See how well the thread blends?

My favorite part of the quilt has actually become the backing. I love the texture that has developed as the quilting has progressed.

Love the texture that has developed

Love the texture that has developed

I estimate I am about 40% done with the quilting on this one.  I have been averaging a hexagon a day since starting. Hopefully it will be finished before the end of the month so I can get this project checked off the list and give it to its future owner!

On a somewhat related WIP Wednesday topic, my husband and I are in the middle of a puzzle of Monument Valley, AZ. I picked it out because it was a piece of home. It has also been a very challenging project and we will be happy to have finished!

WIP Puzzle holding our kitchen table hostage!

Holding our kitchen table hostage!

Gallery

Shirt off my back

A few weeks ago I talked about one of the “UFO” projects I was trying to finish before leaving my parent’s house in Arizona.

Sadly I was not able to finish my brother’s t-shirt quilt.  Fortunately it was much easier to pack into my suitcase than a wood subway art sign or headboard.

I have since finished the quilt for my brother that was started almost 10 years ago.

Full-size bed quilt, slightly small for a Queen size bed

Full-size bed quilt, slightly small for a Queen size bed

Finished T-Shirt Quilt

Finished T-Shirt Quilt

Back side of quilt

Back side of quilt

When it came to the actual quilting, I wanted something that was a bit more masculine and modern to balance the sentimental feel of a t-shirt quilt.

IMG_1609

IMG_1608I decided to do a tight zig-zag stitch along the sections where the different directions of quilting met up.  This was to reinforce the start point of the lines and to cover the not-so-straight beginnings.

Front center detail

Front center detail

Zig-zag stitching on "joints"

Zig-zag stitching on “joints”

Zig-zag stitching on "joints"

Zig-zag stitching on “joints”

Zig-zag stitching on "joints"

Zig-zag stitching on “joints”

Detail close-up of back quilting

Detail close-up of back quilting

IMG_1606

Khaki colored thread to blend and give great texture effect

When it came to binding the quilt, I opted for the quick and dirty method.  I made a bias tape with the remaining khaki fabric used for the front sashing and backing. I then proceeded to machine sew it to the front and back side.

Since this is a quilt for my younger brother and will most likely be used as a couch quilt or “guest bed” (aka futon) blanket, I figured I could get away with an easier binding method.  I am not the best at this technique, but I wanted to get the quilt done and off my “UFO” list.

Machine sewn binding

Machine sewn binding

Overall I’m pretty happy with how it came out.

IMG_1611

There is a college t-shirt quilt that is a work-in-progress (WIP) for myself.  I will make sure to post more on the construction part of it in the upcoming weeks.