Monday, February 19, 2024

Cotton Candy Monthly Blocks

These are the fabrics I've been working with on a monthly quilt kit. It is traditionally pieced. I would like to have had more contrast and am really hoping that I like the finished quilt top. However, even if I don' would still make a perfectly usable quilt for someone. Keeping my fingers crossed!

 Here is the laydown of the grouping titled Cotton Candy by the quilt shop. I'm now about half-way through the quilt and was keeping up nicely each month until the holidays hit. I don't think I did much more than the CQ promotion for Dazzling Diamonds book the entire month of November. December/January were total busts...don't even remember what I worked on.

Feels like I'm coming out of a daze (have been ill off/on for months now). Hope to get enough energy back to really work on my quilts again soon.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Dazzling Diamonds - SewALong - Final Instructions

 We have arrived at the "bling" part of our blocks. Beautiful Silk Ribbon Embroidery (SRE) and beads/sequins/etc. layered on top of the fiber embroidery just completed.

Here is now Block #11 (which you saw me construct at the last post) now looks. If you compare the elements in the book photo (see page 59) you will note some minor changes. Well, the most obvious is that these colors are not the same as was used in the "Spring" inspired quilt in the book.

Sorry this seam is vertical...can't rotate it. But, you should note that I've chosen to add some light green bugle beads between the spokes in the center seam.

The bottom seam, more like branches or short one rose. I rant out of the orange 7mm silk ribbon. But, I'm okay with it not being there as no one else will think it is short. I might come back later and put a small butterfly charm near the spot where this last rose is diagrammed it. (see page 58 in the book)

Lastly, I substituted beads, sequins and a tiny glass butterfly bead for buttons in the top seam. This block was embellished last week, while I was attending a Retreat with friends. While I brought plenty of beads with me...not a single button made it into my car! 

The next task is for me to finish embellishing all of my blocks (and sewing together a few as well). As that is done, I'll post more photos.

Lastly, we will piece all of these finished blocks together following the piecing diagram (see pages 12-13). Blocks can be sewn together in two ways: (a) traditional with a quarter-inch seam allowance (but use a zipper foot to help prevent you ''running over" any sewn on beads, or (b) butt blocks together and "zig zag" down the center, catching both edges at the same time. The second option will require that you cover the butted-seam with lace, ribbon, bias binding, etc. to finish the top.

Borders can be added, these are attached just as you would any other quilt. Crazy quilts do not contain batting; but you will attach a "faux backing" to hide all of the embroidery and beading work on the back of your foundation piecing blocks.

I hope you will share photos with me when your project is complete!

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Happy Birthday Aidan!


My darling, my heart, my grand-daughter Aidan...seated at my left here; learning to sew a button on a bit of cloth...turns "20" today! Where has the time gone!

I loved showing her how to sew. I'm now looking forward to doing the same with her sister...who turns "4" in February. I'm hoping that my lessons will "stick" better with her sister. Ha! Love you Aidan!

Friday, October 27, 2023

Dazzling Diamonds - Part 2 - Embroidery Transfer

Today we will continue our Dazzling Diamonds Sew-A-Long adventure!

Hopefully, you have pieced most of the blocks this past week. Now, we are ready to embroider the seam lines. The specific embroidery stitches used are described in the book (pages 22-27). There will be some Silk Ribbon Embroidery (SRE) elements on many of these seams, but that instruction will be in our post on November 3rd. Today, we will concentrate only on the fiber embroidery elements.

Each seam begins with a BASE embroidery section. This is then enhanced with additional elements of fiber embroidery and/or silk ribbon embroidery as well as beads/sequins. To begin, we need a pieced block and the base embroidery design.


Then, we need to transfer the base embroidery design directly to our pieced fabric block. There are multiple ways to accomplish this:

1) Free-hand draw the design on to the block.

2) Trace the design to thin paper (like tissue paper), overlay that to the fabric block then for stitching through.

3) Print the overlay directly to sheets of thin paper (like tracing paper), overlay that to the fabric block and stitch through.

4) Print the overlay embroidery designs directly to printable water soluble paper sheets. (This is the method described in the book)

FHere is a link to download the Overlay Embroidery Designs for the blocks. Print and use one of the four methods of transfer above to place the embroidery guides on to your pieced blocks. Use the book to guide your actual embroidery to complete these BASE seams.

 Embroider Design Overlay

All of the above methods of transfer have pros/cons. Other than (a) you will be removing paper or water soluble paper after completing the basic embroidery. If you choose the water-soluble method, steps are included in the book on page 19. Removing water soluble requires the application of water to dissolve the soluble material. This is best done under a running tap of water, with the embroidered block facing down. As the water-soluble material softens it can be gently scrubbed with your fingers (underneath the block, directly on the embroidery, as water continues to run through the fabric block).

Wet blocks will then need to be pressed dry. If you did not pre-wash your fabrics, then the cotton fabric block will shrink slightly. That is fine, as each design included an extra seam allowance measurement for this purpose.

I’ll post photos of the water-soluble steps discussed above on my blog ( as I work on Block #11. So, if you need more information on on the how-to portion, jump over there tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Piecing Block #11

Thought you might like some more photos. So, here is my piecing of Block #11.

First, I used my light table to trace the major portions of the block to my foundation fabric.

Here is what that looks like if I turn off the light table. This is what you should be seeing when you trace your blocks as well. REMEMBER to flip-over your pattern page so you are tracing the reverse image....since we are tracing on the back of our foundation fabric.

Next we need out fabric patches to sew to this foundation layer. Page 17 of Dazzling Diamonds explains this approach in more details.

Beginning at the center of the block, on the foundation...I place the first fabric down. Next, I flip the next patch over that and sew along the seam. The fabrics go on the front of the fabric...NOT on the side where you have the lines drawn; so use the light table to help you see these alignments better (or draw lines on both fabric sides).

Continue placing parts until the full block has been assembled. Now you are ready to place the embroidery overlay on top of the block. We will cover this in our Part #3 post on 27 October.


Monday, October 23, 2023

Organization Continues - Block Construction Beginning


I have printed out the Block Design sheets (use the link in the book, see page 16 in the book, under Block Construction heading.

Using the crayon colored page shown in the previous post...I transferred all of the Fabric Palette color references (ALPHA) to each page (block) of design sheets. Here in Block #1 you can see (above) that I will be using the fabrics A, K, H, and B for this block construction.

My next preparation task is to take my Foundation Fabric and cut out a rectangle large enough to hold the TRIANGLE block size. For me, I cut up some cotton in a light color...27 blocks...measuring about 6 1/2" x 10 1/2" to hold the full block dimensions. Now, I will use my light box to trace each block diagram using a #2 lead pencil. I will trace the inside and outside shape lines lines (1 solid, 1 red dot) on to the fabric. Then, I will trace the red dashed lines that mark the Fabric  Seam Line (see where the pencil point above it indicating) on to the foundation fabric block outline.

These lines will help you to place your fabric; and can provide a sewing line for you to "flip'n'sew" your block". You can use individual pattern pieces if you cut your printed pages along the seam lines (shown in the book). Or, you can use the drawn lines and wide stripes of fabric (I'll be cutting one strip of 4.5 inchs wide from each fabric) to more quickly piece these blocks. Where an area is larger than 4.5", I will have to cut a new piece of fabric to cover. Where an area is less than 4.5"...well, I will have wasted some fabric in favor of quickness.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you choose to trace the block outline as described above...remember to flip-over the pattern page so that you are copying the REVERSE of the block design since you will be working from the back of the foundation fabric to piece the block on it's front.

Block #1 - Here you will see that I've flipped the paper page over on my light table. I traced (using a ruler) the solid black TRIANGLE shape and the most outer (red dashed line) triangle shape. Then I've added the inside seam lines (red dashed lines).

Here is what the traced lines look like, after I have turned off the light box. I will also add the "Letter" of the fabric piece to each patch to help me remember...and hopefully, speed up the addition of the color fabric patches to the front of this Foundation Fabric. Remember than the pencil lines are on the back side...which is why I reversed the paper page pattern on my light box.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

My Fabric Palette & Design Plan


Here is a photo of my fabrics, pasted to my Palette Guide. You might also note a small "color smidge" next to each fabric block...that is the crayon color used to represent that specific fabric in my Layout coloring page.

Here is my color layout page. I developed it by first considering the number of different fabrics planned to be used in the quilt (16 for me) and then dividing the possible patches in the quilt (100 by the way) to find that I should try to use each fabric color (6 is my number).

So, I began with a single color and tried to use it six times across the quilt; never letting that color "touch" itself as I selected the patches for it. I also tried to balance the color by spreading it across the quilt as much as possible.

While the embroidery will be the STAR of this project; it is important to still have a nice combination and balance of color in the placement of fabrics.