Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop: Transparent Play {Tutorial}

fabri-quilt-new-block-blog-hopWhen I was invited to join the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop with the challenge of creating a new 12″ finished quilt block and sharing a tutorial, I immediately thought of transparency. I’ve been seeing fellow quilters play with transparency a lot lately (Yvonne’s Triangle Transparency quilt and the Transparency Bee Blocks by Hilary of Entropy Always Wins Blog and Leanne at She Can Quilt stand out in my mind most), and have yet to give it a go.

Watermelon Summer Color Palette
Colors chosen: Chartreuse, Turquoise, Coral, Aqua, Lapis Blue, White

As soon as I saw the color palette chosen, I knew that transparency it was (I’ll save the chartreuse and coral for an actual watermelon project)! I had fun creating a block that both looks cool on its own, but also can result in many fun layouts when replicated for a quilt. I call it Transparent Play (original, huh?!)

Today I’m going to share a tutorial for how to make the new block Transparent Play that I created using fat eighths provided by Fabri-Quilt. While I’m not typically a prewasher, I would definitely recommend prewashing the Fabri-Quilt solids with a color catcher or two.

TUTORIAL- Transparent Play BlockNote that part of the challenge for creating this block was to make it out of only fat eighths of fabric, so cutting instructions assume a fat eighth is being used. Fat eighths typically measure 9″x21″.

General Notes

All seams are sewn with 1/4″ seam allowance unless otherwise noted. I like to press seams open since it helps the block lay flat and helps me better match seams. Do what works best for you.

Fabric Requirements & Selection

For this block, you will need a fat eighth of each of the following fabrics:

  • a neutral background (I used white)
  • a dark (I used lapis blue)
  • a light (I used aqua)
  • a blend or medium (I used turquoise)

Since the block is designed for playing with transparency, try to choose fabrics that give the impression of transparency. The blend fabric should be a color that could result from the dark and the light fabrics being overlapped. Note that while I made my block mostly monochromatic (one color), this block could be made with color blends, too. For example red as your dark, yellow as your light, and orange as your blend.

Cutting Instructions

Again, this tutorial is assuming a fat eighth of fabric is being used for each color. Strips should be cut along the long edge of the fat eighth (usually 20-21″ long and called length of fabric (LOF) in this tutorial). Note that many sections of the block will be strip pieced, so the initial cutting keeps this in mind.

label cut piecesBe sure to label your pieces with the coordinating letters so that piecing is a breeze!

From white:

Cut 1 strip 1 1/2″ x LOF and subcut (1) 1 1/2″x10″ strip (A); and (2) 1 1/2″x5″ rectangles (B).

Cut 1 strip 3″ x LOF and subcut (2) 3″x3 1/2″ rectangles (C); (2) 3″x4 1/2″ rectangles (D); and (1) 1″x5″ strip (E).

From lapis blue (dark):

Cut 1 strip 2 1/2″ x LOF and subcut (1) 2 1/2″x5″ rectangle (F); (1) 1 1/2″x5″ rectangle (G); (1) 1″x5″ rectangle (H–note, this fits next to G in the strip); and (2) 1 1/2″x3 1/2″ rectangles (I).

Cut (1) 2 1/2″x7 1/2″ rectangle (J).

From aqua (light):

Cut (1) 1 1/2″x11″ strip (M).

Cut (1) 2 1/2″xLOF and subcut (1) 2 1/2″x5″ (N); and (1) 2 1/2″x10″ (O).

From turquoise (medium):

Cut (1) 3 1/2″xLOF and subcut (1) 3″x5″ rectangle (K); and (1) 1 1/2″x11″ strip (L).

Piecing Instructions

Making the Top and Bottom Panels

KHSew H to K along the 5″ side. Cut into two equal 3 1/2″x2 1/2″ rectangles as shown above. These are the HK units.

IKHSew I to the top of each HK unit, ensuring that the dark lapis blue  H strip is on the left. You will have (2) 3 1/2″ squares (above). These are the IHK units. Set aside.

AOSew A to O along the 10″ side. Cut into two equal 5″x3 1/2″ rectangles as shown above. Set aside.

FBSew F to one of the B pieces along the 5″ side. Cut into two equal 2 1/2″x3 1/2″ rectangles as shown above. These are the FB units.

CFBWith F on top, sew C pieces to the left side of the FB units along the 3 1/2″ edge. These are the 3 1/2″x5″  CFB units.

top bottom panelAssemble the top and bottom panels as shown above. Note that they can be assembled identically, but we will rotate one of them 180 degrees as the bottom panel before final assembly of the block.

*Accuracy Tip*

Pin AFTER seamWhen matching seams, line up the full length of the seams to be matched (not just at the raw edge) and then pin directly after the seam (about 1/16th “). This will ensure your seams stay in position without the pin skewing the fabric alignment when sewing. It will often result in perfectly matched seams.

Making the Center Panel

MLSew M to L along 11″ side. Cut into two equal 2 1/2″x5 1/2″ rectangles as shown above. These are the ML units. Set aside.

BGSew B to G along 5″ side. Cut into two equal 2 1/2″x2 1/2″ rectangles as shown above. These are the BG units. Set aside.

MLBGSew ML units to BG units as shown above. These are the MLBG units.

MLBGJSew MLBG units to long sides of J as shown. Note that the bottom MLBG unit has been rotated 180 degrees. Pay close attention to the position of the colors to ensure the MLBG units are mirroring each other. Set aside.

ENSew E to N along 5″ side. Cut into two equal 3″x 2 1/2″ rectangles as shown above. These are your EN units.

ENDSew D to the bottom of each EN unit, ensuring that the background white E strip is on the left. You will have (2) 3″x6 1/2″ rectangles (above). These are the END units.

center panelAssemble the center panel as shown above. Note that the right END unit has been rotated 180 degrees. Pay close attention to the position of the colors before sewing. The center panel should measure 12 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ at this point.

transparency play block assemblySew top and bottom panels to center panel to complete the quilt block as shown above. Note that the bottom panel has been rotated 180 degrees.

transparent play block tutorial

Congratulations! You just made your first Transparent Play block. It wasn’t nearly as tricky as it first looked, was it? Strip piecing is awesome.

This block is fun to play with when it comes to layout, since by simply rotating the blocks, you can create a number of different visual layout effects. Here are just a few:

Layout 1: All blocks in line

Transparency Block 4x4 Quilt Layout 1

Layout 2: Bull’s Eye

Transparency Block 4x4 Layout2

Layout 3: Braid

Transparency Block 4x4 Layout3
I also couldn’t let a post go without including a peek at a rainbow, so here’s a sample block using color gradient transparency instead of monochromatic transparency.
Transparency Play Block rainbow colorand a resulting layout:
Transparency Play with color rainbow layout3

I hope you’ve had fun making your Transparent Play block, and please tag me @nightquilter on social media if you make it–I would love to see!

There are many other wonderful free block tutorials (60+!) posted in this Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop. Here are the others posted today:

Host – Stephanie @Late Night Quilter
Hannah @Modern Magnolia Studio
Cindy @Stitchin At Home
Abby @Hashtag Quilt
Lisa @Sunlight in Winter Quilts
Carrie @Chopping Block Quilts
Brianna @The Iron and Needle
Tish @Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
Jan @The Colorful Fabriholic
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Beth @Cooking Up Quilts
Leanne @Devoted Quilter
Liz @LizzyClips Design
Kim @Leland Ave Studios

Also be sure to visit the others hosts’ pages (Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs, and Terri Ann @Childlike Fascination) for links to all of the blocks posted Monday through Thursday of this week. All of these blocks are being mailed to a host, who is assembling them into charity quilts.

inchworm friend

I made an inchworm friend while photographing this block. He was testing out my seams for good measure! (get it!? LOL) Have fun inching your way through the rest of the blog hop!

I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday at Late Night Quilter.

Hello, Love! Flimsy Finish & Pattern Release

You’re probably familiar with the pinkalicious quilt I made for my sister in law a few months back. The heart in a speech bubble I designed for that quilt was begging to be made into a mini of its own, and I’m excited to announce that it’s ready for release!

Hello Love mini quilt patternI named this pattern Hello, Love! , which I, well… love! The mini quilt finishes at 20″x20″ and would also be perfect for a pillow or as part of a larger quilt. The pattern is my first publicly available traditionally pieced pattern (that’s right–it’s not paper pieced! *gasp*) and is fat quarter friendly. There are clear instructions for cutting and piecing, including diagrams and tips. The pattern also includes diagrams showing how to make two half square triangles (HST) at a time.

hello love mini quilt patternThis pattern is a great way to showcase your favorite fabrics, or show your love for anyone or anything. The heart is a great place to applique anything under the sun, be it the name of your bestie, your kiddos, your fur babies, or a picture of a unicorn, camera, or kale (don’t we all love kale?). Note that applique details are not included in the pattern.

Hello, Love! is available in my Craftsy store (and Payhip for those of you in the EU) and will be on sale for only $5 for the first week, after which it return to its normal price of $8.

hello love tester versions
Just a peek at some of the testers’ Hello Love minis! Makers left to right: Christopher @the_tattooed_quilter, Lisa @duhquilts, and Michelle @frustratedquilter.

Many thanks to my testers, who provided helpful feedback and spotted my late night typos. You may have seen a few of these minis around the Instagram world already, and can see more by checking out the tag #hellolovequilt. When you make your version, please tag #hellolovequilt and @nightquilter so that I can see!

I’m linking up my flimsy and pattern finish with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday. I bought a new sewing machine, so I’m waiting until it arrives before I quilt this mini, but I just couldn’t wait to share the pattern! Enjoy, and I can’t wait to see what you create.

Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Wow!! I was floored by the response to my Doe & Aurifil giveaway last week in conjunction with the Fat Quarter Shop Layers of Charm quilt blog hop. 354 comments! Thank you all so very much for your kind comments and new follows. I apologize for not being able to reply to everyone. I appreciate every single comment! For those of you who said you wanted to make the same quilt I made–if you do make it, I would LOVE to see it, so please tag me @nightquilter! Now, without further ado, it’s time to announce the winner!

text here

Mr. Random Number Generator chose lucky 219:

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 12.19.29 PMI counted through all of the comments (don’t worry–I counted twice. Remember: measure twice, cut once. Same rule applies for finding giveaway winners.) and Kriss is our lucky winner!

Kriss, I’ve sent you an email requesting your mailing address, so once I hear back from you and your winnings are received, you’ll be well on your way to making your own Layers of Charm quilt!

Thank you all for entering!

 

Finishes New and Old

Remember back before Christmas, when I only showed you tiny peeks at most of my projects since they were to be given as gifts? Well now that the holidays are long over, now that I’m back and getting into the groove of home life, now that I finally have a free minute to blog about them,  now I can show you the full gifts!

I also have finalized and posted another Valentine’s Day themed foundation paper piecing pattern, which goes live in my Craftsy (for US buyers) and Payhip (for international buyers) today! It’s a day full of finishes, both new and old. A picture is worth a thousand words, so without further ado…

Open Wide Zippered Pouch by Noodlehead

I made this pouch for my sister, since her favorite colors are teal and lime green. The zipper installation was my FIRST ever zipper, and I think it came out quite well. I used linen blend fabric leftover from my Go Anywhere Bag, and I think my sister loved it! Anna from Noodlehead has the best tutorials, and this one was a perfect first-zipped pouch tutorial.

noodlehead wide open zipper pouch teal lime greennoodlehead wide open zipper pouch teal lime greennoodlehead wide open zipper pouch teal lime green

One thing I learned while making this pouch, though, is that when the directions say to “align… the side/bottom seams” while boxing the corners, you really need to line them up perfectly. The bottom and side seams for mine (as you can see in the photo above) did not line up perfectly, since I flew past that little bit of instruction, but now I know for next time! I’m hoping that the chocolates inside the pouch distracted my OCD sister from this slight misalignment! (Love you, Lucy!)

Reversible Tea Cozy

When talking to my mom about quilting about a year ago, she made it clear that she thought making a quilt was too much work and too time consuming, and therefore she did not want me to make her a quilt. She instead requested “a tea cozy for every season”, since it’s a quick project that can be completed in a couple hours. She also drinks tea from her tea pot every afternoon, so it will be well used and loved. It has taken me a while to get this first one made, but I don’t think the next one will be far behind. I used the fabulous tutorial by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl. I definitely will be using her tutorial again, since the tea cozy fit my mom’s large teapot quite well. Here are the two Christmas-themed sides of the tea cozy I made for my mom.

Reversible tea cozy christmasReversible tea cozy christmasReversible tea cozy christmas

A New Paper Piecing Pattern!

And finally, a recent finish: a new paper piecing pattern called Love Struck. Special thanks to Julie from That’s Sew Julie for her awesome pattern testing! This pattern includes printable foundation paper piecing templates including two “printer pages” to help save paper when printing multiples, clear assembly instructions, a coloring sheet on which you can try out color schemes before beginning, and sewing tips along the way. You can find in on Craftsy here (for those in the US) or on Payhip here (if you’re international). Both this and my Key to My Heart pattern are on sale for $2 until Valentine’s day!

Love struck pattern

We’re getting lots of snow this weekend up here in Maine, so I know what I’m doing all weekend–sewing (and playing with my kids in the snow). If you’re looking for a good weekend project, turn this block into a festive table runner or pillow. Here’s the pillow Julie made from four blocks. AND she says she “whipped up this whole thing in a week while taking care of five kids, one sick, and getting a double crochet hat order together.” Holy smokes, Julie! You’re amazing!!

love struck pillow by julie schloemer

Get the pattern here:

Craftsy (if you’re in the US)
Payhip (if you’re international)
…or go to Julie’s blog and comment to enter for a chance to win a free copy of the pattern!

If you do decide to make this pattern, share the love and tag me @nightquilter on IG or twitter, and use #lovestruckpattern. I’d love to see!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday and TGIFF. Happy weekend sewing!

Works in Progress: Star Crazy & Baby Plus, Take 2

Most of my sewing projects fall into two main categories: gifts for friends and family, or a new pattern that needs to get out of my head and into reality. This past week, I’ve been working on projects that don’t fall into either of those categories!

Star Crazy Quilt

Many months ago, I did something crazy. I started a quilt just for me! I made some progress on the quilt, and then it got tucked away in a corner for a good long time. This past week, I pulled it out again and made some more progress. My Star Crazy quilt is slowly coming together, and I love it!

star crazy quilt progress

A few months ago, I made the decision to leave grey fabrics out of the “light” sides of these blocks, but noticed that some of my “lights” still read pretty dark. One of the quilters I follow on IG posted about checking fabric values by turning a photo black and white (if it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit!). Trying this method, you can see that some of my “lights” are indeed quite dark.

star crazy value txt
Note how the light star on the right is noticeably darker than the star on the left.

I’m going to aim to group the darker ones together so that each star is all one value. In making more blocks for this quilt, I’ve also decided that I’m going to be okay if two of the same turquoise prints are next to each other. These are little design details that have been holding me back from forging ahead with this quilt, so I feel a bit relieved that I’ve made the executive decision to let go of avoiding turquoise samesies and aim to match the “dark” lights. Onward with the star crazy!

Baby Plus Quilt, Take 2

I couldn’t help it; I started another Baby Plus Quilt. I had so much fun putting together my Pink & Grey Baby Plus Quilt that I immediately pulled fabric for a second one the day I sent the pink & grey top off for quilting.

fabric pull for baby plus quilt
from @nightquilter on Instagram

The butterfly & flower print was the inspiration piece for this version, and I opted for mostly solids or blenders as my accompanying fabrics. Amazingly, this entire pull was from my stash! After spending a couple hours cutting and playing with layout, I’ve finally begun to sew the rows together. Four (4) down, seven (7) to go.

baby plus quilt 2

Design Wall

One last important work in progress from this past week is the final acquisition of a design wall that actually works! You may remember my old design wall (read: epic fail), which I built out of carefully framed 2″x2″ wooden boards, complete with a cross-support beam, and wrapped with white felt. The amount of work that went into building that design wall was inversely proportional to how well it held quilt blocks. In other words, blocks wouldn’t stay on that design wall for more than 2 seconds. I learned from that experience, and this time I bought a $2.99 vinyl tablecloth with a flannel back. The lightest color our local Reny’s had was bright pink, but I realllly wanted to get something to use as a design wall so I bought it. It works SO AMAZINGLY WELL! I apologize for the internet “shouting”, but I am absolutely floored at how well quilt blocks–both solid fabric and already-pieced–stick to that table cloth! It is amazing. Ugly as sin, but amazing!

design wall loaded
My cheapo design wall, weighed down with WiPs. It works SO well!

I’m linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced’s Work in Progress Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday