With the publication of “World of Geekcraft,” I’ve come up with the harebrained scheme to come up with an ENTIRE BOOK of geeky math-and-science related patterns. My parents, both geeks (obviously) have been great resources for coming up with ideas. My dad, however, went above and beyond the call of duty to work on a design we called “Escher’s Chainmail,” though I think it would be better called a “triple wedding ring.” Dad drafted up a rough pattern in Visio and sent it to me last night, and the more I look at it, the more I think that A) it’s a killer design; B) I think I could pull it off if I made plastic templates, approached the design sensibly, and sewed carefully; C) it’s definitely a unique take on a traditional pattern; and D) This might be a good option for publication as a small book, especially if I could pitch it to Omnigrid and have them make a set of acrylic templates.
The construction would be done very similar to a double wedding ring, with circles and a series of “wedges”, plus there’d be a three-sided middle piece (as opposed to a traditional four-sided curved square shape) in the middle. In my head, the drafting would go something like this:
- Start with the green circles (outlined in purple), and piece those using a series of wedges: one triangular, one sort of rounded/slanted, and one rectangular.
- Then, you’d move on to the “melons” (outline in yellow on the top-left block), which would have a pieced center with triangles, rectangles, and TEENY rectangles at the sides.
- Then you’d piece the red curve the same way you did the green circles and add it to the side of that unit.
- Next up would be the middle of the green rings; you’d start with the curvy-edged hexagon and add the two pieces to the end. That would let you piece all of the green circles.
- Then you’d need to piece the “Z” units (light yellow), which would operate pretty much the same way as the orange pieces.
One of my best friends, who I know through World of Warcraft, has a birthday coming up. She loves Hannah Montana, so I initially thought I could find some fun fabric and make her a fuzzy pillowcase as a birthday gift. Then, I hit the motherlode: 5 yards of HM fabric on eBay for cheap! Looks like somebody is getting a quilt… only this time, I’m taking it a step further and making a “quillow,” a quilt that folds up into a pillow.
I have the top completed, but I’m trying to figure out how to do the pillow-pocket bit right now. All of the instructions I’m finding online basically have you stitch a square to the back of the quilt that you can fold it up into; the quillow I had as a kid had a pocket that hung off the edge of the quilt, and that’s the design I’d like to use instead. Problem is, I’m having a hard time figuring out how to finish all the edges and have it turn out nicely!
I *think* I have the logistics of the pillow-pocket figured out. I’ll construct a pocket using two sandwiched panels, quilt both sides using the free arm of my sewing machine, and then attach binding to just the side with the backing. The raw edges at the top of the front of the pocket will be stitched to the raw edges of the not-yet-bound quilt, and then I’ll finish it like normal.
We’ll see how it turns out. I’ll figure it out *somehow*, and when I do, I’ll make up some drawings of the whole process and then post them for others to use
I’ve been trying to come up with something to do for a graduation quilt in pink, white, and black for quite a while now, but nothing’s really struck me so far. Cue some early-morning surfing for block designs, some leftover Thangles paper, and a beautiful inspiration quilt on Flickr to help me come up with something awesome using the “Lady of the Lake” block:
I’m super-excited to put this one together! My only hope is that I have enough fabric for the blocks (I know I’ll need more for the border); I have about two yards of white (plus six for another project that I’d rather not poach), three yards of black, and two of bright pink.
We’ll see what I can put together today, and I’ll be able to come up with something really cool in the next few weeks!
Another one of my best friends from high school is having her first baby, and I’d like to work up a quilt for her before her due date in January. My only direction was that she’d like neutral colors, like yellow and green, so that the quilt can be used for future babies as well.
I poked around my favorite pattern websites, and came across this pattern, which I think would work fabulously for a baby quilt. But instead of buying a book to do the patterns, why not use my computer? I’ve got a ton of fonts, and I can easily download more, and I can make appliqué patterns just by printing letters off to trace.
So the finished project should look a little something like this. Scrappy beige prints for the background and three or four different shades of green for the appliquéd letters. EQ only has one font for overlaid letters, but I’d like to use as many different fonts as I can, as well as a mix of upper- and lower-case letters.
I’m really excited to work on this one, but I have the one-block wonder still hanging on the design wall, waiting to be assembled, plus a wedding quilt that’s taking me far longer than it ought to. Priorities, priorities!
Now that I’m almost finished with the Tennessee Waltz quilt, it’s time to get a new project or two started up.
The first is a pattern using charm squares I bought from Connecting Threads using their “Impressions of Kyoto” line. I haven’t gotten it put into Electric Quilt yet, but I’ll be taking “in progress” pictures soon.
The second project is a bit more ambiguous, as I don’t have a pattern yet. I spent an hour and a half wandering around the fabric store without any sort of inspiration, until I discovered a few “jelly rolls”* sitting around in a hidden corner of the store. The set is made up of assorted blue and green batik fabrics, so I figure I’ll do something scrappy with them, probably along these lines:
I haven’t seen a whole lot of good jelly roll patterns on the Internet, so I imagine I’ll write up a step-by-step tutorial for this one as I work my way along the pattern.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m newly unemployed, so I’ve got a lot of spare time for sewing (when I’m not busy updating my resumé and searching for leads). I haven’t had a lot of time for quilting as of late since I’ve been busy with life in World of Warcraft, but now I’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the projects I’ve been hoping to start for a while.
An LJ friend is learning to quilt and was interested in a pattern sort of like this:
So I’ve taken the basic idea and made it into a beginner-friendly pattern that will end up something like this (black lines indicate seams):
Colors are just for instructional purposes, feel free to change them!
SHOPPING AND CUTTING LIST:
1/3 yard of blue
cut 4 strips 2.5″ wide
1/4 yard of green
cut 3 strips 2.5″ wide
1/4 yard purple
cut 1 strip 6.5″
1/4 yard orange
cut 1 strip 4.5″ wide
1/4 yard red
cut 2 strips 2.5″ wide
3/4 yard white
cut 4 strips 6.5″ wide
2 yards any color
Do not cut!
== MIDDLE ==
Cut each strip in half and then trim so that each are 20.5″ long.
To make the “half-green” strips, trim…
two green pieces to 12.5″
two blue pieces to 8.5″
Stitch the rows in order (like in the trip around the world) as follows:
half-green (blue on left side)
half-green (blue on right side)
Press that piece flat so that all seams point in the same direction.
== INNER BORDER ==
From the red, cut two strips (44″ long) that are 2.5″ wide.
Stitch one piece to each of the long sides of the center– there will be a lot of extra, trim it off.
Now stitch the remaining pieces of red to the short sides of the piece, making a full border around the middle.
== OUTER BORDER ==
From the white, cut four strips (44″ long) that are 6.5″ wide.
You’ll be making outer border in the same way as the red one, but “backwards.”
Start by sewing a strip to each of the short sides from edge to edge. Trim off the extra.
Take the two “extra” pieces and attach one to the end of each remaining strip.
Now stitch each of these strips to the long sides of the piece.
Voila! You’re done!
Yeesh, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything! I got myself caught up in some fairly hardcore raiding in WoW, but I took a break fairly recently and now I have time to sew again.
I finished this project about two months ago for a co-worker who gave birth to her first kid. I took the new mom shopping for fabric, and she found three reproduction prints in both pink and blue that she really liked. While I had one design in mind at the quilt store, I ended up doing something *completely* different… funny how that happens sometimes!
The quilt was fairly straightforward to make, especially considering that I made it up as I went along!
Abby’s Baby Blocks
Finished size: approx. 35″ x 43″
1.5 yards background (white)
.25 yard each of six colors (three blue and three pink)
1.5 yards backing
.5 yard binding
* I used quarter-yard cuts for the blue and pink fabrics, since this was done with strip piecing, but it could be easily done using fat quarters!
2 X 2.5″ strips
~16 x 1.5″ strips
1 x 2.5″ strips
3 x 1.5″ strips (2 for blocks, 1 for border)
1. For center/sides, sew two outer and one inner strip together. Press seams to center and cut 2.5″ pieces. You’ll have 42 pieces with white borders (7 per color) and 7 blocks with white centers and each color on the outside.
2. Chain-piece these against a strip of the outer color. Clip and repeat on the other side. Press seams towards the middle.
3. Lay out blocks and stitch top together one column at a time, leaving connecting threads between rows.
4. For the border, alternate remaining 1.5″ strips of colored fabric with 1.5″ background strips. Press to one side and cut into 1.5″ strips.
5. Stitch this piece to another 1.5″ strip on each side. Press seams outward.
6. Attach border to quilt, trimming border and adding corner squares as necessary.
7. Sandwich the quilt and finish (tie, quilt) as desired. I used a non-pre-shrunk cotton batting and stitched a medium-sized meander in white thread. Not only did the quilting go quickly, but the batting’s shrinkage after washing gave a neat effect.
I’ll be the first to admit that my morse-code quilt was quite an undertaking, and there are certainly aspects of it that could have turned out better. That being said, it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks– it just takes a bit of planning and a lot of strip-piecing!
For a roughly twin-sized quilt, you’ll need:
* ~6 yards background color and binding
* 4 x 1/2 yd pieces in different colors for the “letters”
* ~6 yards for the backing
* batting of your choice
* plenty of graph paper (you can print some out here
* several colored pens/pencils/crayons/etc.
* a Morse code chart
Step 1: figure out your quilt size and message length
- decide on a finished size for your quilt
- subtract the width of your borders all around; for a 4″ border, subtract 8″ from the width and length
- divide the length by 2 (for 2″ blocks) and the width by 3 (for 2″ blocks plus 1″ sashing)
- multiply those numbers to determine the number of squares in your “grid”
So for a twin quilt with 4″ borders:
63 x 87 – (8 x 8) = 55 x 71
divide length by 2 = 36 (rounding up)
divide width by 3 = 24 (ditto)
36 x 24 2″ blocks with 1″ lengthwise sashing = 864 squares
To figure out how many letters you’ll have, we’re going to assume that one letter takes up about 6 spaces, using one square for a dot, three for a dash, and one square space between them. Divide your total grid size by 6 to get a rough estimate of how many letters you can use– in my example, you might get around 144 characters.
Step 2: compose your message
- start scratching out your secret message and counting the characters, including spaces. You might want to try a few versions of differing lengths, just in case.
- convert the text into code, either by hand or with an online translator
Step3: get the message to fit
Prepare for some trial and error here! This part took the longest of any of the planning steps.
- grab your graph paper and mark out an area that matches what your quilt top will contain.
- start marking out your message on the graph paper, using the morse code chart as a reference. Use one space between characters, and three between words (if you like).
- rather than just shading in squares, start by writing the letter inside each square.
- mark each letter with a different color. Not only does it make things more colorful, but it helps to distinguish characters when they “break” to a new line in the quilt.
You should end up with something like this– keep rearranging things until you have the entire grid filled, which may take a while!
This will be your piecing reference, so you may want to enlarge it. I found white tagboard with an “invisible” 1″ grid at the $1 store, and transferred my final layout in magic marker.
Want to make your own Tetris quilt? I’m working on a “fancy” version of the pattern in PDF, but until then, here are the basics
I hope you have a big stash, access to lots of FQs, and/or very patient cutting-table ladies at your local quilt shop, because you’re going to need a LOT of different pieces of fabric! You’ll need sets of fabric in red, orange, yellow, light blue, dark blue, green, and purple; for each color, get one quarter-yards each (FQ or yardage, either one works) in five gradiating shades. Small prints work best, though larger tone-on-tone patterns are fine if that’s all you can find.
If you have difficulty finding enough pieces at once, break your fabric shopping and sewing into separate sessions. I ended up working on these blocks one color at a time, as fabric discoveries (and the cash to purchase them) permitted.
With so many fabrics to deal with, I found it was helpful to glue a scrap of each to a piece of tagboard and mark the color number with a sharpie.
In order to get the 3-d effect, each 4″ colored block is made as a nine-patch with the five different colors; for reference, 1 is the lightest, and 5 is the darkest.
For one block, you’ll need the following:
Color 1, 2, 4, and 5: one strip, 2.5″ x 1.5″; one 2″ square, cut across the diagonal
Color 3: one 2.5″ square
You will also need a stack of 4.5″ squares in a black tone-on-tone print.
For this layout, make:
18 light blue
12 dark blue
39 non-pieced black
1. Assemble the cornerstones:
for each block, you’ll need:
1 and 4
1 and 2
5 and 4
5 and 2
If you need more than one block of a particular color, layer the two squares together, draw down the diagonal with a marker (sharpie is okay, since the ink will be inside the seam allowance) and sew 1/4″ from each side of the line.
TIP: use a 4.5″ square quilting ruler to trim each block when you’re finished sewing and pressing. With so many small blocks, it’s important that everything be square!
2. Assemble each row:
Following the diagram above, attach one corner to each side of the middle strip for the top and bottom rows. The middle segment can be speed-pieced with two 1.5″ strips and one 2.5″ strip, which is then cut into 2.5″ slices.
3. Assemble three rows into one block, pressing seams towards the center.
Following the layout above, assemble the top, chain-piecing the first two columns of each row together without clipping the threads, Do this for each column, and then fold the rows together to finish the horizontal seams. Having the blocks connected helps to line up all of the seams!
For this top, I finished with long-horizontal grey borders measuring 2″ wide, a 6″ border of small, multicolored dots on a black background, and another 2″ border in bright red to tie all the colors together.
An easy way to machine-quilt the top would be to simply stitch in the ditch between each block and outline the borders.
Alternately, you can freehand an all-over pattern in either single-color or variegated thread. A meander pattern would work well, though for my top, I used angles instead of curves for a neat effect.
Finish the quilt with a red binding and make sure to add a tag. Congratulations! Now you can play too much Tetris, dream about it, and have it decorate your bed, too!
If you make one of these on your own, I’d love to see it! Send me a pic, and I can start a gaming-quilt gallery!