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Nov 29, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL: Assemble the Quilt Top

Nov 29, 2011
Pin It This week in the Charmed Prints Quilt Along, we have made all our feature blocks and are ready to assemble the quilt top.

Gen X Quilters
Have you arranged, rearranged, and moved all the squares a bunch?  Well, if you're like me, you've played with the layout quite a bit.  Here is a photo of my final selections.  I've moved positions on many and even completely swapped out some of the charms I had initially chosen.

This is my final answer.


Once you're comfortable with your layout, let's get moving on the sashing.

1.  For each row, sew a 2 1/2" x 5" sashing strip in between each charm as shown in Figure 1 below.  

Start by stacking your charms, with the left most charm on top and the right most charm on the bottom, keeping your preferred order.  Make sure to keep them oriented correctly, if any of your fabrics are directional.  And keep the rows separated.   My friend Elizabeth once mentioned she puts each row in a labeled file folder to keep the rows separated and in order.  This works fabulously!

Place one sashing strip, right sides together, on the right edge of your charm and sew a scant 1/4" seam.

Repeat all the way down the row stack until you reach the last charm.  Chain piecing really helps keep your rows in order at this step.  Do not add a 2 1/2" x 5" sashing strip to the last charm in your row.

Clip your chain piecing threads, making sure you keep your rows in the correct order.  Press seams.

Continue chain piecing and pressing until your row is complete.  Repeat the above process for all of the rows.  

Figure 1:  Sashing in between Charms in rows

2.  Now add a widthwise sashing strip to the bottom of each row (with the exception of the top row).  You should have cut 7 strips 2 ½” x 37 ½ “ for the child size quilt or 10 strips 2 1/2" x 57" for the lap quilt.  Sew the strips to the bottom of each row unit from step 1 using a scant 1/4" seam.  Press toward the sashing.

Figure 2:  Adding sashing to bottom of rows


3.  For the top row, add a sashing strip to the bottom AND top of that row.
Figure 3:  Add sashing strip to bottom AND top of TOP row

4.  Piece all rows together using a scant 1/4" seam.  At this point, your quilt top will look like Figure 4.
Figure 4:  Piece all rows together

5.  Add the last 2 remaining sashing strips vertically to the unit from step 4.  Sew using a scant 1/4" seam and press.
Figure 5:  Add 2 vertical sashing strips

6.  Add Borders:  Sew the two 3 ½” x 41 ½ ” (3 ½” x 61" lap) horizontal strips first as in Figure 6.   Press toward the border.
Figure 6:  Sew horizontal border strips

7.  Sew the two remaining vertical strips to finish the quilt top.  Press toward the border.
Figure 7:  Sew vertical border strips

Charmed Prints QAL Complete Top


Can't wait to see your lovely tops!  Everyone's fussy cut blocks have been so fun to look at.  stop by the flickr group for Charmed Prints to see everyone's work.
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Nov 27, 2011

Electric Quilt 7 Review and Software GiveAway

Nov 27, 2011
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A few weeks ago, my friend Lee asked me my thoughts on Electric Quilt 7, a quilt design software, since I had been using it for about a year.  My hubby gave it to me for Christmas last year and I have been thrilled to be learning, experimenting and designing with EQ7 since then.  When I responded to her, the review that followed was something I thought many of you would be interested in hearing.

The Electric Quilt Company, based in Ohio (like me!), is being extremely generous in offering a GiveAway copy of EQ7 here at Gen X Quilters.

So for anyone who has been curious about EQ7, here are my thoughts as a modern quilter.  Maybe you'll add EQ7 to your holiday wishlist this year - and don't forget to enter for your chance to WIN your own copy!


EQ7:  Electric Quilt 7 Quilt Design Software Review

BLOCKS:  There is a block library with 5,000+ blocks, all of which are copyright free.  All the standards are in there - every nine patch you could ever think of, stars, dresdens, ny beauties, pineapples, applique, foundation pieced, classically pieced, etc, etc.  If you are brainstorming for a quilt, you can create a "sketchbook" and drop all the blocks you think you like into the sketchbook to view your likes with one click.

Here is an example of a pillow I made.  It uses the Honeysuckle block from EQ7.  I customized it to a 16" block - the size I wanted.

There is also a "face" of the software for designing your own blocks.  You can choose the block size and set up a grid.  The grid contains snap points that make it easy to draw (for example, mirror images).  This is absolutely your own design - it can do strange angles or curves if you want it to.

Any block, your own design or one from the library, can then be printed.  Your print options include an actual sketch, rotary cutting instructions, paper piecing printouts, or templates if you prefer to piece that way.
The software labels the pieces, tells you how many of each to cut and the correct cutting dimensions to obtain your desired finished size block.  For my pillow, I chose to print out paper piecing templates because of all the triangles and funky angles.
I really like this feature.  I am always searching for a particular block and modifying it to the size I want.  It makes the rotary cutting estimates simple.  But I do find sometimes that the program wants you to piece triangles a lot - so I usually modify the instructions slightly.  For example, instead of piecing 2 triangles to make a HST, I would typically use one of the short cut methods (like here) which changes your cutting dimensions.  I don't mind doing a little math to piece with my preferred method.

I still double check all measurements the software gives you.  I never rely completely on EQ7 quilty math - but it definitely gives you a good target to shoot for.  I guess it's the engineer in me that checks and double checks.  Since I like to change piecing methods, it keeps me on my toes.


QUILTS:  Another face of the software allows for quilt design.  This is where I love the software the most.  There are forms you can pick from (A rows x B columns, horizontal strip quilt, vertical, etc.) or you can design your own.  There are entry points where you type in your desired block size and then sliders that let you add sashing, borders, etc.  and change their dimensions.

This instantly lets you visually see whether 2" or 4" sashing looks best with your design. This is incredibly valuable to me.  I am always changing dimensions on block sizes, sashing sizes, borders (adding a border, ditching it, changing widths).  It also gives you the finished size of the quilt when you change all these dimensions, so if you're shooting for a twin size quilt, you can see very quickly how many blocks you need.

COLORING:  There are built in fabric swatches (+5,000), but not many I feel are modern.  I usually paint my quilts with either solids or actually upload the jpgs of the fabric line I want to use for the quilt.  I also like being able to see what the quilt will look like using actual swatches of the prints.  You can download the fabric swatch jpgs for current lines at the fabric manufacturer's website.  It's so easy!  For older fabrics, I have also scanned the fabric and then uploaded the swatch to the software.

Printing out a quilt offers similar features to printing out a block.  You can estimate fabric requirements based on usable WOF.  This is where I have found fault with EQ7.  It overestimates the amount of fabric you really need.  Again, I don't mind the extra fabric for me, but if I'm designing for a pattern, I double check all the yardage estimates and usually reduce the recommended amount.  There is some comfort in knowing that you'll never be short though!

PHOTOS:  There are tons of options I've never used about uploading photos and making them into quilts.  I'm guessing it can digitize a landscape, etc and turn it into blocks.  This is something I'm sure the art quilters love, but personally, I have no use for.

OVERALL: I found the software quick and easy to pick up with the online video tutorials they offer.  I always start out using the software.  In looking at the user manual as I write this, I can see I've only just begun to tap the software's capability.  But!  I only want to review those aspects of the program I am most familiar with.  I've had it almost one year (it was last year's xmas gift) and I have used it on the majority of quilts I have done this year.  The engineer in me loves turning quilt work into CADD work (Computer Aided Drafting & Design).  The ability to change dimensions on blocks, sashing, borders, etc. in a click or two is absolutely worth it in my book if you like to design your own quilts, like to re-engineer quilts, or just have an aversion to working from patterns.


I hope this review was helpful for anyone who may be considering investing in Electric Quilt 7.  Enter for your own chance to win a copy of Electric Quilt 7 from the Electric Quilt Company!

GiveAway / Here's how to enter:  
1.   Comment to tell me what feature you would find most helpful in quilt design software.  

2.   Comment to say you follow this blog (new followers welcome).  

3.   Comment to say you spread the word (twitter, facebook, blog, etc). @genxquilters

** please be sure that an email address is available on your profile or is included in your comment if you are a no-reply blogger**

Enter by Saturday, December 3, 2011 at midnight EST. A winner will be randomly drawn on Sunday.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
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Nov 24, 2011

Black Friday Fabric Shopping!

Nov 24, 2011
Pin It Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  While we're all eating lots of turkey, it's fun to make our Christmas lists with lots of fabric and sewing deals happening this weekend too.  Here's a list of Gen X Quilters' sponsor specials for the weekend.  Enjoy!


Fabricworm Black Friday Sale:
 12 Hour Clearance Sale! (5pm 11/25-5am on 11/26) 30% off all fabrics in sale section, including new additions:
 Taza by Dena Designs
 Monica Lee
 Alice Kennedy Bright Owl
 Hoo's In the Forest by Doohickey Designs
 Aneela Hoey Little Apples
 Fabric Finders
 Melissa Averinos
 Rashida Jones I Heart
 Sarah Jane
 1st 14 orders over $50.00 get a free apron!



Fabricworm Cyber Monday 24 Hour Sale:
 15% Off Orders of $50 or more with coupon code: cyber24
 1st 20 customers to order $50 or more get free cosmetic case!
 Runs from: 12am-11:59pm on 11/21


Swell Cloth is offering 15% off site wide using code TURKEY15. This includes discounts off already reduced fabrics!


Fresh Squeezed Fabrics:  is offering 20% off throughout the entire shop.  This will continue through Sunday.  The code is christmashop20.



Crafty Girls' Workshop:  Marking down all $5/yard fabrics down to $3.50 a yard! Isn't that amazing! Plus of course all other printed fabrics are $5.99, plus printed patterns are just about half of the original price!



Sew Fresh Fabrics:  is offering a shipping special.  It's flat rate shipping for all orders (no minimum) for $2.50 in the US/ $5 to Canada and $7 for all International. Refunds will be made via PayPal after the order has shipped. The deal starts on Thanksgiving and runs through Sunday 11/27. SFF will not be shipping orders during that time. Orders placed will begin to be processed Monday so there may be some delay from our usual speedy shipping. 


Stay tuned for a BIG giveaway later this weekend here at GXQ!  Come back again soon!

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Nov 23, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL: Pinwheel or Right & Left Block

Nov 23, 2011
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To print this tutorial, go HERE to view the PDF file.


This pinwheel is a cute and simple version of the pinwheel with a perfect place to highlight a center print.  It is a little more challenging since you will be working with 2 triangles sewn together to form a third triangle.  Just remember not to pull or distort the triangles as you're sewing.  It looks gorgeous when it's done!


unfinished block size:  a charm - 5"
finished block size: 4 1/2"   


1.     **Use a scant ¼” seam allowance for all seams.**

To fussy cut is to target and cut a specific motif that's printed on fabric, rather than randomly cutting yardage as we normally do.  From About.com.


Fo1.  Following the table below, cut your selected charm square down to a 3 5/8” square, making sure to fussy cut the elements you would like to include in that reduced size.



Pinwheel Cutting Requirements
Fabric
Quantity
Dimensions
Charm
1
3 5/8” square
Frame Print
1
3 1/8” square
Sashing/Background
1
3 1/8” square




2.     2.  From the selected framing print and the sashing or background, cut one 3 1/8” square each.  Cut the 3 1/8” square across each diagonal to create four triangles.   

      3. Pair one sashing triangle with one print triangle, right sides together.  Sew along one of the legs using a 1/4" seam.  Open and press toward the print.  Make 4 units.


3.    4.  Fingerpress the center square in half to mark the center of each side of the square.  Then take 2 of the triangles for the right and left sides of the center square.  Place a triangle, wrong sides together, on top of the center square as shown, matching the centerlines.   The hypotenuse of the triangle  should be centered vertically over the center square.  There will be some overlap (dogears).  Stitch using a ¼” seam.  If you take the time to pin here, it will really improve your accuracy.



4.  5.   Open and press seams out.  You may trim the dogears here if you like.

5.     6.  Repeat step 3 and 4 with the remaining two sides of the center square.  Square up your blocks as necessary.


 That's it!  This is the last block tutorial for the quilt along.  Remember, it's up to you how many of each block tutorial you make, so try them all, and if you fall in love with one specific block, go back and make some more!

Don't forget to add photos of your completed blocks to the flickr group!
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Nov 22, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL: Diamond in the Square Block

Nov 22, 2011
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To print this tutorial, go HERE to view the PDF file.


The Diamond in the Square is the easiest of the 4 selected for the Charmed Prints QAL.  These should whip up in no time!

unfinished block size:  a charm - 5"
finished block size: 4 1/2"     

**Use a scant ¼” seam allowance for all seams.**

To fussy cut is to target and cut a specific motif that's printed on fabric, rather than randomly cutting yardage as we normally do.  From About.com.


Fo1.  Following the table below, cut your selected charm square down to a 3 5/8” square, making sure to fussy cut the elements you would like to include in that reduced size.
Diamond In the Square Cutting Requirements
Fabric
Quantity
Dimensions
Charm
1
3 5/8” square
Frame Print
2
3 1/8” square

2.     2.  From the selected framing print, cut two 3 1/8” squares.  Cut the 3 1/8” square across the diagonal to create two triangles.  Repeat for the second square. 



3.    3.  Take 2 of the triangles for the right and left sides of the center square.  Finger press a center line on the triangles and square to mark the centers.  Place a triangle, wrong sides together, on top of the center square as shown, matching the centerlines.  The hypotenuse of the triangle  should be centered vertically over the center square.  There will be some overlap (dogears).  Stitch using a ¼” seam.


4.   4.   Open and press seams out.  You may trim the dogears here if you like.

5.     5.  Repeat step 3 and 4 with the remaining two sides of the center square.  Square up your blocks as necessary.


 That's it!  Easy right?  Tomorrow I'll show you the Pinwheel block.

Don't forget to add photos of your completed blocks to the flickr group!
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Nov 21, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL: Works in Progress Week 3

Nov 21, 2011
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Gen X Quilters

Welcome to the third week of the Charmed Prints QAL Link up!  Anyone participating in the quilt along may join me in showing some progress on the project over the past week.  Don't worry if you're behind - or if you're just getting started!!  Please join in on the QAL at any time.

This week two block tutorials were revealed (Star and Greek Cross) and work on the quilt began.  I love watching everyone's versions pop up in the flickr group!  I made two versions of both blocks.  Here they are:


Star Blocks
Star Block for QAL - doggy star



Greek Cross Blocks:

Greek Cross for Charmed Prints QAL

Greek Cross 2 Charmed Prints QAL


Thanks to everinprogress, who flipped the outside HSTs accidentally on the Greek Cross block to create Churn Dashes.  This is a great classic block, works well framing the fussy cuts and adds another option for anyone out there who may want to add another block to the QAL.  Love it!
100_0660

I hope we have some links this week.  Last week there weren't any.  Maybe there was nothing to show?  
 Link up here if you write a blog post about the Charmed Prints QAL. I love hearing about your experiences!


This week we will have the second 2 block tutorials for the feature blocks... tomorrow is the Diamond and Wednesday is the Pinwheel block.
See you then!


And please add any photos you take of your progress to the Charmed Prints flickr group too - half the fun is seeing what others are up to!



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Nov 19, 2011

Japanese Imports Fabric Swap 2 - Another Success Story

Nov 19, 2011
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The second Japanese Imports Swap at Gen X Quilters is complete!  This swap was an absolute success.  I didn't think these ladies could outdo the charms that were swapped in the first round, but this charm pack is just as good, if not even better!


There were lots of linen/cotton blends from Kokka (which are my absolute favorite) and a couple of Heather Ross prints too, which are always an added bonus.
Gen X Quilters
Thank you to all the ladies who participated in the swap!  Great job making your selections - and I think everyone will be happy with what they receive.  If you haven't received your package yet, be on the lookout.  They should arrive soon!
Gen X Quilters
If the results of the swap inspire you, we'd love to have you join in the Charmed Prints Quilt Along going on now.  It's not too late to join in! Pin It
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