Monday, 16 March 2015

.: Bust-A-Kiss block - our first blogtorial :.

February was Jodi's month in our Care Circle of doGoodStitches - and as February was also QuiltCon month, I ran a little behind in sewing my blocks.  Jodi had asked for improv blocks, using rainbow colours - all the rainbow colours + navy + pink - with a low volume background.  I had no real plan in mind for Jodi's blocks when I started, but I did have Rachel and her baby Eleni on my mind, and ended up with wonky, scrappy, rainbow kisses/x's.

When I shared the blocks on instagram, a couple of lovely people asked me if there was a pattern for the kisses/x's - so I thought I'd have a go at my first-ever tutorial for the blog - or as my husband has been calling it - a "blogtorial"!  I figured the block needed a name that was a little more catchy than rainbow-scrappy-kiss/x, so after a little pondering and a glass of wine, came up with 'Bust-a-Kiss' - as these x (or 'kiss') blocks are perfect for scrap-busting - are you with me?  I'm hoping you've now also got Young MC's 'Bust-A-Move' in your head, ready to sing out loud while busting through your scraps.

So - this blogtorial is to make one 12.5 inch block.  I 'sew big and trim down', so there's plenty of wriggle-room for fabric-placement - this may not be your way of sewing - see how you go - your blocks could end up a little bigger, which is a nice bonus!

1. Start with a 12.5 " square of low volume fabric - you can create a piece of fabric by sewing together some low volume scraps, or just use a single piece of fabric. I've sewn four blocks - three with scrappy low volume backgrounds, and one single-fabric background.

2.  Piece together two bust-a-scrap strips measuring 2.5 " x 18.5 " - this length gives you plenty of fabric to work with so you can trim down later, remembering my whole 'sew big, trim down' philosophy of sewing (which others may call 'don't bother measuring too carefully' or 'she wastes fabric' ... but I figure this is a great scap-busting project, so you'll be sewing from your scraps anyway).

3. Slice your low volume background square in half on the diagonal - either diagonal is fine.

4. Pin and sew a bust-a-scrap strip to one of your low volume background triangles.

5. Iron your seam towards the bust-a-scrap strip.

6. With right-sides together, lay your remaining low-volume background triangle on top of your sewn-piece, roughly making sure that the corners line up - I would never normally actually check that the corners are exactly in line, I would just eye-ball it, but for the sake of the blogtorial, I wanted to be sure you knew what I meant (the numbers on the ruler in the pic don't mean anything, the ruler is just to show you the corners are in line!).

7. Sew together, and iron your seam towards the bust-a-scrap strip.  I should mention at this point too, that I rarely sew with solids - and take a look at that awesome green! - a solid!

8. At this point, you can trim up your square a little if you like - down to 12.5 " if you like - but you don't have to.  I have trimmed my square to 12.5" for this step, just so you know - and just a little tip for you when you are trimming, make sure the corners of your 12.5 " square ruler (or whichever ruler you are using) are centred in the middle of your bust-a-scrap strip, so your kiss-corners are even-ish.  Slice your square in half on the diagonal, as shown in the pic below, cutting straight through your bust-a-scrap strip.

9. Pin your second bust-a-scrap strip in place and sew, again ironing the seam towards the strip.  If you had trimmed your square to 12.5", the strip will overlap the ends of your low-volume background triangle.  If you had not trimmed down, the strip will not quite reach the ends of your low-volume background triangle - so just centre it as best you can.

10. OK last step - lay your remaining background piece right-sides-together on top of the piece you have just sewn, taking care that the bust-a-scrap strips line up, as shown in this pic - see how I've folded-back the top-piece, so you can see that the strips are lining up?

11. And oh look! - you've made a Bust-A-Kiss block!  - trim it back to 12.5 " square (see the little trimming-tip in step 8 above).  Here are the four finished blocks I made to share with you.  The blocks are the perfect size for a pot-holder - or they'll make a very gorgeous quilt if you keep on going - see how the joins in the kisses all meet up? - cute!

I'll be back soon to share what I've sewn these blocks into - I haven't yet decided on a mini or potholders or whether I'll add them into my AusModBee + Sew Sisters quilt.  Happy Monday!  xoxo cat

Saturday, 14 March 2015

.: Auction + Flowers for Eleni :.

After seeing all the wonderful doGoodStitches quilts at QuiltCon, and reflecting on what a significant and far-reaching impact Rachel Hauser has had on the quilting and wider community, it was with such great sadness I read about her beautiful baby Eleni's birth complications.

Rachel and her family have hoped and planned for, and anticipated Eleni's birth with such longing and love.  And now Eleni is here, and she and they need lots of love, care, uplifting and support.

Marika has started the Auction for Eleni - which is being held 4.00 pm EST Saturday 14 March til 4.00 pm EST Sunday 15 March (US time) - which I think is around 6.00 am Sunday 15 March - 6.00 am Monday 16 March in Queensland; and our very own Jodi, from our doGoodStitches Care Circle, has started Flowers for Eleni.  Please click through to read more and if you can, to help.

These are my flowers for Eleni, and they are on their way to Jodi, to stitch into the big, beautiful quilt she is making for Eleni.  Vee and I have given two tote bags to Marika's auction.

This quilting world of ours is huge and diverse, and we are spread out across the world.  But really, at heart, it's not so big.  We are all makers, who express our love of family, friends and community by making, and by sharing what we make.  So please help Rachel, Eleni and their family if you can - keep them in your thoughts and prayers - and share their story, so that others may help too.

'til next time (and oh yes, I do still have one more QuiltCon post to share with you).  xoxo cat

Thursday, 5 March 2015

.: QuiltCon 2015 - Gee's Bend Keynote - post 5 :.

The Gee's Bend Keynote at QuiltCon was wonderful.  The quilters started their talk with a spiritual song that included the words "I don't want nobody to praise me when I'm gone; give me my flowers while I yet live" - meaning we should share and give kindnesses now, don't save those sentiments til it's too late - it was a pretty powerful message to open with.   I've heard a few different reactions to the experience of being in the room during the Keynote, but I found it uplifting, affirming, welcoming and pretty emotional.  The Gee's Bend quilters shared several spiritual songs and stories of their upbringing, and talked about their own quilting histories.

Mary Ann Pettway, Lucy Witherspoon, China Pettway, Gloria Hoppins.
Mary Ann and China did pretty much all the talking during the Keynote.
Mary Ann Pettway is the current manager of the Gee's Bend Quilters' Collective.  There does not seem to be a current website for the Collective, though they do have a Facebook page.

It was interesting to learn that there is not really any collaborative sewing or quilting at Gee's Bend anymore.  Both Mary Ann and China said they now prefer to sew by themselves, and that they like their stitches to be the same size!  But in continuing to travel, teach and share the stories of Gee's Bend, they are ensuring that this significant chapter of quilting history in America lives on.

The quilt show included an exhibition of a number of quilts from Gee's Bend.  Here are a few:
"Olympic Housetop" by Mary Ann Pettway c.2012
"Corduroy Mix #01" by Qunnie Pettway c.2008
"Square Blocks 1970s" by Rachael George-Carey

"Denim and Corduroy Blocks" by Flora Moore c. 2004

I recorded the last song that the quilters of Gee's Bend sang and wanted to share it here - their voices and songs were moving and awesome - but I've had way too much trouble uploading it to this space - I think the file is too big and I'm too blog-clue-less to know how to sort it out.  I might figure it out one day!   Only one more QuiltCon blog post to come - the people, wahoo! Enjoy your Thursday, I'm hiding in the air-con today in 36-degree Brisbane - hopefully Brisbane realises very soon that it's autumn, not mid-summer.  xoxo cat
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