Friday, December 15, 2017

Skill Builder 2017-18 - HST Star blocks by Stephanie Baldwin

Moving on from the square and strip based blocks, we are now moving on to the Half-Square Triangle (or HST) based blocks! This month we will be exploring HST Star Blocks:

Summer Star quilt by Craft Paper Scissors

The HST block is incredibly simple to produce and is the basis of a huge variety of different designs. They can be used as a stand-alone block, such as Izzy's HST quilt:
HST Quilt by Izzy

Or to make up blocks that form a larger design:
Comma Comet by Janet Gannon

I really love HST star blocks... there is so much variety and flexibility in them. They can be simple or complex, imperfect or precise, and the result they give is somehow both whimsical and geometric. They lend themselves well to asymmetry, minimalism, scale, abstraction, alternative gridwork, improvisation, negative space, etc.

So! How do you make an HST block? Being such a basic component in many quilt designs, there are plenty of tutorials out there on the interwebs for you to use:

Blossom Heart Quilts - 2 and 4 HSTs at a time methods
Blossom Heart Quilts - HST strip method
Missouri Star Quilt Co - Magic 8 method (as part of an HST quilt tutorial)

Be aware that most of the methods for making HSTs involve sewing and cutting on the bias (diagonally across the grain of the fabric), which means that as you sew, cut and press the blocks they will be stretched or warped slightly out of shape. Now, if you're doing wonky stars or going for an improv/ruler-free look, then no worries! If you want straight lines and matching seams, then you will need to square up your HSTs before moving on to the next step of your pattern. In this case, I strongly recommend that you cut your squares slightly larger than you need them to be so that you have some wiggle room to trim down and square up the HSTs.

For example, to make a 12.5" block, I would cut my squares as follows:
2x2 block = four 7" squares
3x3 block = nine 5" squares
4x4 block = sixteen 4" squares

Once you have your HSTs done (squared or not), you can then move on to constructing your star block. You can follow a pattern or design it yourself... for these kinds of blocks I find a design board/wall to be especially helpful as it allows you to move blocks around and try different combinations.

Now, on to some examples to get your creative juices going. As we move along through these traditional blocks, there will be lots of opportunities to use multiple blocks at a time:

Star, Rail Fence and 9 patch block: 
Inverted Stars by crossquilt

There is a great Missouri Star Quilt Co tutorial on making Rail Fence Star blocks.


HST Star and Log Cabin: 
Log Cabin Star by Cluck Cluck Sew

Wonky stars (using improv): 
Wonky Stars by The Running Thimble

Fussy-cutting: 
Fussy-cut Star by Freshly Pieced

Scrappy: 
Scrappy Rainbow Star by Happy Quilting

HST Stars are also great for creating secondary designs: 
Moroccan Lanterns by Freshly Pieced

HST Stars can be large scale... 
New Star Rising by Huntspatch Quilts

Or they can be small scale... 
Epic HST block by Coriander Quilts

And you can even play around with the positive and negative space: 
Positive and Negative stars by Gen X Quilters

This is, of course, just a small sample of the possibilities. If you'd like some more ideas, check out our Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.ca/qowstudio/skillbuilder-hst-star-blocks/

Now it's your turn to create a modern take on the HST star block! We would love to see what you make, so please share your blocks on Facebook or Instagram, and feel free to tag us and/or use the hashtags: #mtlmqgskills  or  #mtlmqgskillbuilder

Friday, December 08, 2017

Meeting reminder

Just a quick reminder, our next meeting is Tuesday December 12th at 7pm. Time to take a break from all those holiday gifts you're working on and come relax and have some fun!


We will be raffling off some mid-year goodies, having an ornament swap and enjoying some seasonal treats. Please feel free to bring along something edible or drinkable to share!

For those of you who wish to participate in the swap, simply make a fabric ornament and bring it with you to the meeting. No need to bring it in a bag, we will put them all in one large bag to draw from. There is no required pattern to follow, but if you need some inspiration you can check out this Pinterest board for some ideas.

If you wanted to learn how to make the Scandinavian star ornament and couldn't attend Stacy's demonstration at the last sew-in, you can find the written tutorial here, or if you're a more visual learner you can check out this tutorial on YouTube:


Hope to see you on Tuesday!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Member Spotlight: Isabelle Jean

This month, we asked our Vice-President, Isabelle, to talk a little about herself and her quilty journey.


Your social media coordinates (blog/website, Facebook, Instagram, etc):

I have a blog at dizzyquilts.blogspot.ca and I'm also on Instagram as @dizzyquiltsblog.


What did you study in school and/or what do you do for a day job?

During the day, I manage a team of instructional designers who develop online learning. I've been with the same company for 28 years and I still love it!


How long have you been quilting?

I've been sewing for a long time (I used to make clothes for my teddy bears), but I discovered quilting only about 8 years ago. I ventured in a JoAnn's in the U.S. to buy fabric for curtains and right at the door, they were selling little kits to make baby quilts. I thought they were cute so I bought one. And that was it - I was completely hooked!

Guitar Quilt I made for my hubby a few years ago


What first got you interested in modern quilting?

I was browsing the Internet looking for tutorials and landed on modern blogs. I immediately fell in love with the graphic, colourful, very bold designs.


How did you find the MMQG and why did you decide to join?

I was looking for a guild in the Montreal area and the MMQG was the first one I found. I sent an email to Cinzia to get some info and attended a presentation she led on modern quilting. The guild was rather small back then, but I knew I had found "my tribe".


Whose techniques/style/philosophy do you most admire in the modern quilting community?


I love many different styles, techniques and the work of many quilters in the modern quilting community. I'm a huge fan of Jacquie Gering, I really like the style of Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs and of Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl. 
 



Do you have any favorite quilting related social media accounts that you follow?

There are probably too many to list!


Where do you look for inspiration or ideas for your quilting projects?

I look at blogs, Instagram and modern art. A friend of mine just retired and she took up painting - she's amazing and her work is giving me all kinds of ideas for quilt designs!


What is your favorite project that you have completed?

I think my favourite finish is my CrossCut Quilt made during a QAL with Debbie of A Quilter's Table. I love the design, the colours I chose and I especially like my quilting on this one.


CrossCut Quilt


What would you consider to be your quilting ‘superpower’?

I'm really fast! I get very little time to quilt between my day job, the kids, the house and my grand-babies. I've learned to make the most out my time in the sewing room and use many time-saving techniques such as chain-piecing.


What is your favorite part of the quilt making process? Why?

I love the quilting part of it. Sometimes I love to spend hours stitching FMQ designs on the quilt and sometimes, I like to keep it simply and just stitch wavy lines with my walking foot. Either way, I just love it!


FMQ and walking foot quilting


More FMQ and some ruler work


What project or technique is next on your “to try” list?

I recently installed an app on my iPad which allows you to "play" with Josef Albers' colour explorations. I would love to make a series of small quilts inspired by his work.


Missing the U Quilt


What is the best quilting tip or technique you’ve discovered?

The best tip I ever learned was Cinzia's binding technique. I use it for every quilt I finish and it works perfectly every time!


What is the best bit of quilting advice you’ve ever received?

I love Angela Walters and I think the best quote from her is "A finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt top". I don't stress over how I'm going to quilt my quilts and I don't freak out when I mess up anymore - I just want a finished quilt that my family and friends will get to enjoy for years.


HST Quilt


Describe your creative process in three words:

I don't think I can describe my creative process in 3 words! I'm not even sure I would refer to my process as "creative". I make quilts!


Describe/share pictures of your creative space:

My sewing room in the basement of our apartment so I refer to it as my woman cave. I have a huge TV in it, a huge table where I can board baste quilts and of course, lots of room for everything I need. The only thing I'm not crazy about is the lack of wall space - I need to pin my design wall to the dining room wall when I design.


My Juki TL-2010Q