Monday, September 25, 2017

FAL Q3: Molecules of Moda Quilt + Update

My second finish for the 3rd Quarter of the 2017 Finish-A-Long is the big project I worked on this quarter - my Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids quilt. I made this quilt for the Moda Bella Challenge. I shared it a week or so ago here when I finished it. 
Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt Designed & Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.

I spent six weeks working on this and have many hours in it. I wish I would get in the habit of tracking my hours, but I never think about it. I did, however, track my machine quilting time, which was just over 50 hours.
Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt Designed & Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.

I put a lot of thought into this quilt, some of which I shared in my previous post, but not everything made it into the final quilt. Originally, I had planned on block printing cotton molecules onto some of the fabrics from a stamp I carved. But I felt like the stamped blocks in the background would take away from the colored atoms and molecules sewn in the quilt and decided to leave them out once I started sewing the HST background blocks.
Molecules Block Printing By Thistle Thicket Studio.

****And Now For An Update****
I'm so thrilled to share that my Molecules of Moda quilt made it as a finalist in the Moda Bella Challenge! I am so over-the-moon excited! This is the first time I've entered a quilt in any kind of competition - except for the local county fair. And it's really my first time designing a modern quilt - except for a mini. Originally, Moda was going to award prizes to the top three quilts, but in the notification I received today, they said they were going to award some honorable mentions also and plan to have a permanent exhibit! There were a total of 84 quilts entered in the challenge and I hope that Moda will showcase all the entries in a series of posts on their blog sometime. I just think it is so interesting to see how everyone approached this challenge.

I'm sure this won't be the last time that I blog about this quilt - I'm just warning y'all! I'm linking this post up to the FAL Q3 Linky (go check out all the finished projects there). Here is my 3rd quarter goals list, if ya want to see what I didn't get done! See y'all soon!


FAL Q3: Halloween Mini

It's the end of another quarter of the 2017 Finish-A-Long and time to link up our finishes. This quarter I got one little mini and one huge quilt project completed. I'm going to start by sharing this cute little mini - a Halloween Bat.
Halloween Bat Mini Quilt Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.

I was looking for a quick little project to work on Friday afternoon and this free paper piecing pattern by Made by Marney fit the bill. She has several really cute Halloween minis to choose from and I can't wait to make more. This bat finished at 8". I did simple SID quilting around the bat, but I may go back and fill in the background with some quilting now that I've looked at it in this photo - but it's finished for now.

You can see my 3rd quarter FAL list of goals here. And I'll be linking up to the FAL Q3 finished projects here. Stay tuned, because in a day or two I'll share my big project that I finished with an update and takeout scenes (what didn't make the cut for the quilt). In the meantime, go check out some of the awesome projects finished this quarter for the FAL!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Circle Quilt Block Tutorial

I'm back as promised to share a tutorial on how I made the inset circles in my Molecules of Moda quilt. This technique will give perfect circles that are inset rather than appliqued. These are easy peasy and I made them up to 17" in diameter for my Molecules quilt.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
For this tutorial, I am going to make a 6" finished block with a 4" circle, but as I mentioned, you can make them as big as you want. 

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Cut one background square 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" (or cut them 7" x 7" and square up the block when finished to 6 1/2" x 6 1/2") and one color or print fabric for the circle 5" x 5". 

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Cut a piece of freezer paper the same size as your background square. Draw diagonal lines from corner to corner in both directions on the paper side of the freezer paper to find the center of the square. Then draw a 4" circle using a protractor or other circle making device using the center mark as the center of the circle. I am using a 3 1/2" x 12 1/2" Creative Grids ruler that has holes drilled down the center specifically for drawing circles and arcs. By the way, this is my favorite go-to ruler (no affiliation, just a fan). Cut out the circle on the line.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Now iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the background fabric, making sure to line up all the edges.
Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Lightly draw a line next to the edge of the freezer paper circle on the wrong side of the background fabric. This will be your sew line.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Cut the center of the circle out approximately 1" inside the paper edge.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Clip around the edge of the fabric to within 1/8" of the paper and in approximately 1/2" increments. The larger the circle, the further apart the clips can be.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Run a line of fabric glue along the circle edge of the freezer paper and fold down the clipped edge along the paper edge. I use a Sewline Fabric Glue Pen (again no affiliation). Work your way around the circle until all of the clipped edge is folded and glued down, making sure you have a nice crisp folded edge with no wrinkles.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Press the background square.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Center the background square over the circle square with right sides of both squares facing up.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Fold half of the background square over and run glue along the edge of the circle on the wrong side of the background circle. Lay background fabric back flat against the circle square pressing the glued portion down. Fold the next section of the background fabric and repeat the glue process. Work your way around the circle until the entire circle edge is firmly glued to the circle fabric. Press with an iron to set.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Gently loosen the clipped background fabric from the freezer paper and remove the freezer paper. If any areas of the background fabric pull away from the circle fabric, reglue them.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Now it's time to sew the circle. Place the circle block face up on the sewing machine. Flip the edge of the background up. Sew along the drawn line. Sew a short section, then stop, rotate the block and lift the next section of background fabric. Work your way around the circle. I used a zipper foot on my machine to sew the circle.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Sew a second line of thread around the circle a bit larger than the first as a stay stitching to keep the clipped areas from fraying if washed.

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Press the seams towards the outside for an inset circle look or press them towards the center for an appliqued block look. I like the inset look, so I press the seams towards the outside. Trim your seams. I trim the circle fabric shorter than the background fabric so the color doesn't show through, especially on a lighter background. 

Inset Circle Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Ta-Da! After seeing the final photo, I went back and trimmed my seams more so that the clipped seams didn't show as much. Lastly, square up the block.

Molecules of Moda Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Just in case you didn't see my Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids quilt that I finished last week, here it is again. The solid color inset circles on this quilt were 9" and the woven circles were 14"-17". You can read more about this quilt here.

I really enjoyed making these circle blocks. I have cut up my left over Bella Solids fabrics from my Molecules quilt and I'm working on a circle quilt that will be 42" x 48". I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you make any circle blocks, please be sure to share them with me!


P.S. I'm linking this post up with Yvonne's Quilting Jetgirl Tips and Tutorials Tuesday linky party. Check out the tutorials featured in the link up.

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Moda Bella Challenge Quilt

It's been so hard to wait to share my entry in the Moda Bella Challenge here on my blog (I did share on Instagram last week though) but I wanted to share it as part of the Blogger's Quilt Festival this week. So be sure to stop by Amy's Creative Side to check out the details on the festival and visit festival participants to get your dose of quilty goodness!

Now without further adieu, let me introduce my Moda Bella Challenge quilt......Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids.
Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids designed, peiced & quilted by Thistle Thicket Studio.

In case you hadn't heard about the challenge, Moda is celebrating the 15th anniversary of their Bella Solids fabric line. They chose 12 fabric colors from the collection that had to be used in the quilt - all 12 had to be used and no other additional fabrics could be added. It was open internationally to anyone who wanted to create a contemporary art quilt. The quilts were to measure 72" x 90" and had to be an original design. The quilt had to be finished, quilted, bound and quilt label attached. The deadline was last Tuesday, September 12. I made it with 6 hours to spare! WooHoo!!!

Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt Drawing by Thistle Thicket Studio.
My inspiration came from the idea that solid fabrics or colors are the basis of a quilt and its the combining of 2 or more fabrics/colors that creates the patterns of a quilt. That made me think of the same relationship in all things, that when 2 or more atoms combine, they create molecules. With that thought in mind, I also had seen a couple of people on Instagram who were weaving fabrics to create patterns and I had been wanting to try it. I also had seen several people who were making circle blocks which was something else I had never done before. I always think part of a quilt "challenge" is to challenge yourself to try something new. So all of things came together in the above drawing of my quilt design idea. The ink lines and color pencil markings were the design, and the pencil lines were construction notes on how to sew the blocks into sections and how to shade from top to bottom.

The challenge was announced by Moda back in February and I purchased my first fabrics soon after in March. But, in keeping with my usual procrastination, I didn't do anything with it for a couple of months. I thought I'd start after wheat harvest, but then my mom fell and broke her shoulder in June and I stayed with her for 3 weeks to help her - until I fell in mid-July and fractured my elbow and hands. So finally the first week of August, when I could stand the pain of pushing on a rotary cutter and ruler, I started working on my quilt. I really didn't hold out much hope that I'd finish in time, but by then I had purchased more fabric after calculating what I thought I needed for my plan and thought I had to at least try because I had a lot of money wrapped up in this project. 

Stack of Half Square Triangle Blocks by Thistle Thicket Studio.
And so began my love-hate relationship with half square triangles - 720 of them to be exact! I used the Triangulations method by Brenda Henning to make the 3" HSTs which helped to make accurate and square blocks.

Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt in the Construction Phase by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I worked in sections, starting in the top left corner and working my way down to the bottom right, shading from white to dark gray.

Thistle Thicket Studio's Molecuels of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt During Construction.
I sewed a section of HSTs together then would add the circle.

An Inset Circle in the Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I found a fun technique for making my inset circles on You Tube and will share a tutorial later this week here on my blog.

Triaxial Fabric Weaving by Thistle Thicket Studio.
The fabric weaving was fun although I struggled with making the bias tape (I cut my fabric strips on the straight of grain because I didn't want them to stretch) because it didn't want to pull smoothly through my bias tape maker. I chose a different weaving design in each of the woven circles. To help weave the strips of fabric, I purchased a Wefty Needle designed by a friend on Instagram - Tara Curtis.

Oops! That's Not What I Planned To Sew!
The construction of the quilt top was time consuming but really I didn't run into too many problems - except this. I managed to sew right through the middle of my finger! I wish I had taken a photo before I pulled the needle out because it really did go all the way through and I had to use pliers to pull it out. Luckily, it didn't hit the bone and was relatively painless. I've been sewing since I was a kid and that was definitely a first that I didn't plan on including in this challenge!

Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt Back by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Once the top was complete, I decided to use some of each color of the left over fabric along with some black and white yardage to make the backing. I just love a pieced back! And I love how the quilting shows up on the back of the quilt!

Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilting Threads by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I ran into a couple of issues once I started quilting. It didn't take me long to realize my original quilting design plan was going to result in a BAZILLION threads that I was going to have to knot and bury (something else I had never done before) and because time was ticking down (I had a week left until deadline) I decided I needed to get creative. Sometimes hurdles are a good thing because I think the resulting quilting designs added so much more dimension and movement to the quilt.

Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Close Up by Thistle Thicket Studio.
The other big hurdle I ran into was that the woven circles were too thick and my quilting machine just would not sew through it. It resulted in big areas of skipped stitches. So I decided that instead of machine quilting those areas, I would do some big stitch hand quilting. I really like the juxtaposition of the organic hand quilting next to the precise machine quilting stitches. Again, it just adds to the texture and movement of the quilt.

Big Stitch Hand Quilting the Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
But, it still wasn't a piece of cake getting those woven areas quilted - even by hand.

Close Up of Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
But in the end, I just love how the quilting turned out.

Each solid fabric circle has a different quilting design stitched in it, all designed by Karlee Porter. The bulk of the background patterns are either designed by Anita Shackelford (Modern Gem, Pearls Fill, Spikey Fill) or patterns that I divided and manipulated to fit into areas of the quilt.

Close Up of Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
In total, I have 50 hours of machine quilting in this quilt. All of the dense quilting really made the size of the quilt shrink though. It started out at 72.5" x 90.5" and ended up 70" x 86.5". I hope that doesn't disqualify the quilt! (It shouldn't, I asked Moda in an email before I started because I knew I wanted to do dense quilting and they said it wouldn't.)

I hope you enjoyed my behind-the-scenes post on how the Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids quilt was created and the thought behind it. I'm crossing my fingers that it makes it as one of the 6 finalists. The top three winners, which will be announced on October 20, will be purchased for Moda's CEO, Mark Dunn's, personal quilt collection and will be displayed at Quilt Market in Houston the end of October.

I'll be linking this blog post up with the Blogger's Quilt Festival. 


P.S. I also linked this post up with Laura's TGIFF linky party over at Slice of Pi Quilts.

Monday, September 11, 2017

52 Quilters Takeover

Guest Hosting on 52 Quilters by Thistle Thicket Studio.

This week I'm pleased to announce that I will be guest hosting on 52 Quilters social media sites. According to 52 Quilters' blog, it "is a social experiment in quilty communication and collaboration." Through 52 Quilters social media sites, you can "discover a virtual patchwork of quilters throughout the year as each week a new quilter takes over the 52 Quilters Instagram, Twitter and blog. The goal of the project is to document the collective crafted life of quilters."

So stop by once in a while this week at 52 Quilters. I'll try to cross-post on my Thistle Thicket Studio Instagram and Twitter accounts also - if I don't get totally confused with all this techy stuff. Hopefully we'll have some fun and get to know each other better this week.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

More Happy Mail!

Just wanted to stop by and share the latest goodies I was so lucky to receive. Jessica and Donna of Simply Love Fabrics held a little Instagram giveaway over the Labor Day weekend and I was shockingly chosen as the winner. They have an Etsy shop - check it out here - where they sell scrumptious fabrics, notions, books, patterns and other quilty goodness. And their prize package was just as yummy as their shop!
Instagram Prize on Thistle Thicket Studio. A Little Sweetness fat quarter bundle by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake, Seams Sew Easy seam guide by Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet, and magnetic pinbowl and Ruler Pal by Jodi Nelson of Pleasant Home.

So what did I win? A beautiful fat quarter bundle of A Little Sweetness by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake Designs, a Seams Sew Easy seam guide by Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet, and a gingham magnetic pin bowl and Ruler Pal by Jodi Nelson of Pleasant Home. All color coordinated in red!

I just love it all! Thank you Jessica and Donna! Can't wait to finish up some of my WIPs so I can cut into this lovely stack of fabric! But in the meantime, I have some fun things happening this week, so stay tuned!