Little Bits Quilting Bee

Squadron … A single bed quilt — By Kathreen Ricketson

Throughout February I will be featuring quilts from my book Little Bits Quilting Bee (published by Chronicle late last year). Because designer fabric is often only in print for one season it can be difficult for quilt designers and authors to choose fabrics that will be still available when the book or pattern is published; so to help you out I will be offering advice and alternate fabric choices for many of the quilts in my book. 

Squadron is inspired by planes flying in formation — such fun to watch — the blocks in this quilt are made with an improv method and once the blocks are done there are endless formations you can arrange them into.

For this quilt I used a Jelly Roll of Bar Harbor by Minick and Simpson for Moda. This fabric range is no longer available, I have searched out some other bold fabric ranges to use it its place – just make sure that the range you choose is not too floral as this quilt is perfect for a boy.

Here are some ideas for alternate fabrics:

  • Pezzy Print by American Jane for Moda Fabrics – this collection is a little more colourful with the addition of green and orange and yellow to the mix. (available at cotton blossom farm - pictured below)
  • Lost and Found (My Mind’s Eye) for Riley Blake Designs  – (you’ll need 2 rolls as these have only 30 strips instead of the regular 40) this collection is a little more graphic – grey and red combination — would make a great teen girl quilt using this range)
  • Stars and Stripes (My Mind’s Eye) for Riley Blake Designs  – (again you’ll need 2 rolls here as well) this collection is the closest you’ll get to the one I used – and in fact it might even be more perfect. A great mix of red, blue and white with hardly any florals at all (available soon) and some fabulous plaid, polka dot and star prints.
To make this quilt top you’ll need:
  • 1 Jelly Roll (40 strips), you’ll also need a neutral cream fabric or an unbleached muslin fabric for the background 4 1/3 yard (3.4 m) should do it. You will also need to get some extra yardage of one of the fabrics from your charm pack for the binding 1/2 yard (46 cm) will be enough, or use leftovers from your jelly roll strips or a couple of matching fat quarters to make a scrappy binding.
  • You’ll also need a copy of my book - and they are available in all good book shops and online too.
  • I quilted this in a free-style overlapping square design and used a neutral cream coloured thread so that the quilting blended in rather than standing out.
Quilt images are copyright John Paul Urizar who did a great job on the photography in the book. And thank you also to my two kids who did a great job of pillow fighting each other and getting photographed.

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Cloud song … A cheerful wall hanging or lap quilt by Kathreen Ricketson

 

Throughout February I will be featuring quilts from my book Little Bits Quilting Bee (published by Chronicle late last year). Because designer fabric is often only in print for one season it can be difficult for quilt designers and authors to choose fabrics that will be still available when the book or pattern is published; so to help you out I will be offering advice and alternate fabric choices for many of the quilts in my book. 

Cloud song was made as a toddler quilt, it is so cheerful that it is perfect for a bedroom or playroom, the cartoon style clouds and bold rain drops were inspired by children’s drawings and give this quilt a dream like character.

I used Robert Kaufman Solids charm packs (colours pictured below) for Cloud Song, and luckily they are still available, (I also like their organic solids for this quilt too) in fact pre-cut solid fabrics have since become so popular that many other fabric manufacturers are making them too – there is so much to choose from.

Some more options for you include:

  • Silent film kona packs – this would make a moody cloudy quilt – you could mix these up with a more colourful set or have a monochrome quilt. (Try Kona Ash for the background and Pepper for the binding)
  • I quite like these 1930s Bella solids (Try Bella Solids Grass for the binding and Hometown sky for the background)
  • As well as these Bold designer solids pack from Free Spirit (although you’ll need 3 packs of these) — both great choices for this quilt. (Try Free Spirit Grey for the background and Kiwi for the binding)

To make this quilt top you’ll need:

  • 2 packs (65) charm squares, you’ll also need a pale fabric for the background 1 1/2 yard (1.4 m) should do it. You will also need to get some extra yardage of one of the fabrics from your charm pack for the binding 1/2 yard (46 cm) will be enough.
  • You’ll also need a copy of my book - and they are available in all good book shops and online too.
  • I quilted this in a whimsical free-style cloud design and used a neutral cream coloured thread so that the quilting blended in rather than standing out.
Quilt images are copyright John Paul Urizar who did a great job on the photography in the book.

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Throughout February I will be featuring quilts from my book Little Bits Quilting Bee (published by Chronicle late last year). Because designer fabric is often only in print for one season it can be difficult for quilt designers and authors to choose fabrics that will be still available when the book or pattern is published; so to help you out I will be offering advice and alternate fabric choices for many of the quilts in my book. You’ll also need a copy of my book to make the quilts – and they are available in all good book shops and online too.

What is pre-cut fabric?

Pre-cut fabrics are a series of co-ordinating fabrics — usually from a single collecton — especially cut and packaged by the manufacturer. Using these pre-cuts has a few benefits:

  • 1. You get a whole bunch of different fabrics at once – making it easy to build up your stash. You can use them together in one quilt or mix them with other fabrics from your stash too.
  • 2. Coordinating fabrics and colours for a quilt is easier.
  • 3. The packs are cut into handy pieces allowing you to whip up  a quilt very easily and quickly.

Do I need to pre-wash pre-cut fabric?

Pre-cut fabrics are a little difficult to pre-wash, because the pieces are so small they get tangled up in the wash and are time consuming to iron. I usually don’t worry about pre-washing my pre-cuts – however there are a couple of exceptions:

  • 1. You should pre-wash hand dyes and batiks as the colours are likely to run.
  • 2. You should pre-wash dark colours – especially red, purple and navy as these are more likely to run.
  • 3. You should pre-wash reds especially if you are using them with lighter colours.

If you didn’t pre-wash your fabric before making the quilt and you are worried the colours might run (especially if you have a white background) — all is not lost, there are a few things you can still do to ensure the colours in your quilt do not run the first time you wash:

  • 1. Wash your quilt in cold water on a gentle cycle and throw in some colour catchers to soak up any dye that might come out.
  • 2. Wash your quilt in cold water with vinegar – the vinegar will set any colours that are likely to run.
  • 3. Use a product such as synthrapol in the wash, this special detergent is used to remove unattached excess dye.

In my book Little Bits Quilting Bee, I use four different types of pre-cuts to create the 20 unique quilts: Fat Quarters, Charm Squares, Jelly Rolls and Layer Cakes.

Fat quarters:

Fat Quarters are the most widely available and used pre-cut fabric. A fat quarter is literally a 1/4 of a yard of fabric, but it is not cut selvedge to selvedge it is cut by cutting half a yard of fabric in half widthways. Fat quarters are generally 18 inches by 22 inches. Most fabric companies offer Fat Quarter bundles, which contain every print in a collection.

Charm Squares:

A charm square is a 5 x 5 inch square of fabric, and are great for easy patchwork quilts. Charm packs are made up of about 40 pieces of  5 inch squares and are equal to approx 3/4 of a yard of fabric.

Jelly Rolls:

Jelly Rolls are a Moda invention, but are available under other names from different fabric manufacturers: Bali pops, Design rolls, Strip-tease buns, Sushi Rolls, and Roll-ups are just some of the names these are sometimes called. They usually contain forty strips (well 40-44 strips — but check before buying how many are included as different manufacturers offer different amounts of strips) and are a standard 2 ½ inches wide. These are perfect for binding and sashing but are also great in any strip type quilt design.

Layer Cakes:

Layer cakes are 10 inch square packs of fabrics, containing usually 40 squares. The total fabric yardage is about 3 1/2 yards. Layer cakes are fun to use because they are so versatile, you can use them as they are and they make for a quick and easy quilt, but you can also cut them into squares and triangles or use them for applique too. Various fabric companies, as well as Moda, offer these 10 inch square packs under other names, but the amount of squares in a pack may vary.

All images are copyright John Paul Urizar who did a great job on the photography in the book. 

 

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The blog tour for my book Little Bits Quilting Bee (published by Chronicle books) is now over – there were lots of giveaways, peaks at the books, reviews, interviews, some block sewing too and even a tour of my home – hope you had a fun time.

This week I also launched my book locally [at the very lovely Paperchain independent bookstore] – thanks everyone for coming along – here are some pics of the night.

Thank you to all the bloggers and readers who participated in the tour, commented and congratulations if you won a book – thanks so much to my publisher for giving away all those books too!

Here is the blog tour round up.

  • The colorful photographs, vibrant fabrics, and charming vintage-modern styling give this book a warm and inviting feel: The Long Thread (Ellen makes a quilt block)
  • Before starting this blog I wrote for Whipup for about a year and a half. I became a huge fan of Kathreen’s and admire both her eye and her heart: Craft Nectar (interview)
  • The is a sublime dessert of a book, beautifully written and charmingly hand illustrated…. What I really like about the quilts in this book is that they don’t have that obvious ‘precut look’. … Instead, they are fresh, fun, modern and inspiring.  Put together but not too put together if you know what I mean. Comfort Stitching  (book review)
  • I adore that [Kathreen] designed quilts around “small sparks” of ideas like lollipop tress and her children’s drawings.  All of the quilts in the books are lovingly designed and quilted and have that fantastic aesthetic of kathreen’s that we all enjoy. -  luvinthemommyhood (book review)
  • The book is beautiful, the designs are young and graphic, and the directions are thorough.  Elsie Marley (discussion on fabric choices)
  • Little Bits Quilting Bee is fresh on the shelves, and several of its patterns are going straight onto my wish list. – True Up (My five fave fabrics)
  • I especially love how [Kathreen] uses solids, together with prints and shining on their own. She also doesn’t stick to the simple square and rectangle shapes that pre-cuts come in. There are patterns with curves and appliques, projects that are easy for beginners and some that offer a little more challenge.  – House on Hill Road (Review)
  • I think the assembly directions for each quilt design are well-illustrated, covering block assembly where needed, and showing a full-quilt diagram. The foundational techniques that are part of any quilt project, like backing, sandwiching, quilting and binding, are covered in an earlier “Anatomy of a Quilt” chapter. Each project refers you to the pages you’ll need for those steps, so the whole thing is easy and logical to follow. Craftypod (review)
  • Along with being super informative, if I had to use one adjective for the book, it would be cozy. There’s just something about the photography and the great hand drawn illustrations that make reading the book a comfy way to spend some time! – Handmade by Alissa (Review)
  • My favorites of Kathreen’s designs involve circles. She has a play quilt that looks like a scrappy, colorful sun and another that reminds me of the Spirograph I received for my 6th birthday, with interlacing swooshes and circles. The photography is fresh and clean– and there’s a pattern pack included! That’s the best. Hello My Name Is Heather 
  • I love craft books that offer more than great projects – that tell a story or share history or resources we can all enjoy. Kathreen includes an engaging section at the front on the history and culture of community quilting, from traditional bees to online swaps and groups – I loved reading this part. – West Coast Crafty (Review)
  • I only dabble at quilting and don’t really consider myself a quilter but her book about using pre-cut fabric packs–which is also good for your pocket book—is full of ideas and step-by-step instructions making it a great book for crafters like me. Foxy Art Studio (Review)
  • When I buy a quilty type book, I usually just peruse the pictures for inspiration rather than reading the ‘how-to’ bits … so I really LOVE a book with fabulous photographs. And this book doesn’t disappoint in the photography department. – Patch Andi 
  • What I usually don’t like about pre-cut books is that they all use the same size squares, rectangles and triangles – but Kathreen manages to avoid that and has produced a book full of original, interesting and diverse designs that don’t look like pre-cuts at all. -  The Last Piece (Interview)
  • Let me tell you, compared to my last attempt at curves, this went 1000 times better. No gathers, no puckers, I only lost a a few points on the edges to the binding. And let me tell you, every seam in this block has curves! And I did it! :) … The directions were really easy to follow and the templates were great. The little notched corners made it super simple to match up the edges, even for a curves dummy like me!  In Color Order (Jeni makes a quilt block)
  • Little Bits Quilting Bee is a lovely book with colorful images and great ideas for using pre-cuts that many of us have in our stash or could easily create from our scrap bins. It’s sure to inspire your use of these small bits of fabrics in new and creative ways. Pink Chalk Studio (Review)
  • [The Crimson Cross] is a quilt I would love to make. I could see it being used by everyone in my household. I love the simplicity of the design and it would be a fabulous beginner or just really quick quilt. – Camp Follower Bags & Quilts (Review)
  • From the moment I opened the envelope, I knew this book was special. … The quilt I am most likely to make — and soon! — is Squadron. The main block of this quilt — an improvised strip-pieced block — is designed to resemble an airplane, but I was struck by the secondary patterns that emerge when many of these blocks are sewn together. I’m a big fan. – Quilt Dad (Review)
  • First let me tell you that Kathreen and I have one Giant thing in common.. big shapes .. holey moley look at those adorable big popcicles! And I love the tabs on the border too! – Pat Sloan (peak inside my house and interview)
  • If the quilts, patterns, and colorful photos hadn’t already sold me on the book, her dedication at the back cinched the deal. The book is dedicated to her female ancestors… Pleasant Home 
  • The book is rich with color and detail for using pre-cut fabric to make modern, vibrant quilts. … If you’re inspired to orgainze a quilting bee with your local or online friends, the book has information on different ways to share the work, as well as so many beautiful projects to choose from. - Duofiberworks (discussion on quilting bees)

So many folks had a different favourite from the book (from Crimson Cross, Squadron, Constructivist, Cloud Song …) did you follow along on the tour – did you win a book? which is your favourite quilt that you spied?

 

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The blog tour for my book Little Bits Quilting Bee (published by Chronicle books) is well under way. Hoping you are loving what you have seen so far!

Monday, November 7 – The Long Thread (sample project review)
Tuesday, November 8 – Craft Nectar & Comfort Stitching (interview and review)
Wednesday, November 9 – luvinthemommyhood & Elsie Marley (reviews)
Thursday, November 10 – True Up (my five fave fabrics)
Friday, November 11 – House on Hill Road & Craftypod (reviews)

Next week there is more…

Monday, November 14 – Handmade by Alissa & Hello My Name Is Heather
Tuesday, November 15 – West Coast Crafty & Foxy Art Studio
Wednesday, November 16 – Patch Andi & The Last Piece
Thursday, November 17 – In Color Order & Pink Chalk Studio
Friday, November 18 – Kristin La Flamme & Camp Follower Bags & Quilts

Monday, November 21 – Quilt Dad & JCasa *handmade
Tuesday, November 22 – Pat Sloan & Pleasant Home

Something that you won’t see in the book though is the friendship quilt that I made with the help of some of my blogging friends, unfortunately it was not finished in time to be professionally photographed for the book – but the instructions and the illustrations for the quilt are in the book along with some information on how to organise your own friendship quilt and why you might want to!

I sent a group of blogging pals a little package of fabric and some notions with some basic instructions on making a simple block design – they were able to decorate, embellish and sign it any way they wanted – the results were varied and interesting and really quite exceptionally lovely. The finished quilt is a perfect momento of my blogging and crafting journey and the making of this book.

Here are some snippets from the quilt – and thank you to all the participants.

 

EVENTS: For those in Canberra Australia - I will be launching the book and showing some of the quilts at Paperchain independent bookstore in Manuka on Thursday 17 November (5.45pm) – all welcome (rsvp to info[@]paperchainbookstore.com.au)

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