In the April 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, designer Jean Wells teaches us how to expand our piecing horizons with a new technique — itty bitty piecing — and shows us how to play with color. The editors were so excited to learn this technique and create their own projects. See what they made below and share your own creations inspired by Piece & Play using the hashtag #apqlearnalong on Facebook and Instagam. And follow along with new projects and inspiration at www.allpeoplequilt.com/learnalong.
Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, editor of American Patchwork & Quilting
Elizabeth says: “I used more of the intense colors from my palette box in the February Piece & Play pillow I made, so this issue, I decided to go with some of the more subtle fabrics and include just a few pops of more intense color. I did the Itty Bitty Piecing in Log Cabin style for my pincushion and used greens, corals/oranges, pinks, and browns/tans for the four sides of the Log Cabin.”
Jill Abeloe Mead, editor
Jill says: “The Kaffe Fassett stripe used in the first round of the Log Cabin-style block inspired the palette for my pincushion. Four of the solids used in the block are shot cottons. (FYI: Shot cottons are fabrics woven of two slightly different colors. The subtle contrast in colors of warp and weft add light play and depth to the fabric.) To make these more loosely woven, lightweight fabrics easier to work with, I spray each with a light coat of sizing while pressing the yardage before cutting and sewing pieces.”
Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
Lindsay says: “I fear little pieces, so this Log Cabin piecing project was a challenge. Instead of cutting pieces small, I pieced two or three fabrics together, then cut the fabric strip thinner or cut the ends off. This allowed me to get the look of small pieces without having to work with tiny fabric. I fussy-cut a beautiful flower for the center of the Log Cabin (fabrics from the Hadley collection from Dear Stella) and built out my colors from there, making sure to balance the prints and colors. Brown is my favorite color, so I love the unexpected look it gives against the bright colors.”
Over-dyeing black-and-white prints is a concept that has intrigued me for years. I was inspire by an article on the Marcus Fabrics website by Lisa Shepard Stewart and then discovered another article by Lisa on the RIT dye site where she overdyed zebra prints. I’ve wanted to experiment with this technique, so I finally did, making the Log Cabin block in Valerie Krueger’s Get Comfy quilt (American Patchwork & Quilting, April 2015, page 98). While Valerie’s quilt is very traditional in fabric colors, I made a version of the Log Cabin block using black-and-white prints for the “lights” of the block and the same prints overdyed for the strips for the “darks”.
Since I was only dyeing enough fabric for a few blocks, I used a disposable plastic container and the microwave technique outlined on the RIT studio website. I used powder dye, but only used a portion of the pouch as I wanted this light shade.
While I was thrilled with the results, I did learn several things, so here are some tips to ensure your success:
1. You may find that different fabrics, even if they’re 100% cotton, may take dye differently, resulting in a different hue of your color. As you can see below, all of the fabrics dyed beautifully, but one came out a slightly different shade than the others.
2. Match the amount of fabric you’re dyeing to the technique you’re using, because if you want the same intensity of color for each piece, they should be put into the same bath for the same length of time. So if you’re doing yardage or multiple larger pieces, use the stovetop method, pail method, or washing machine method and follow the instructions on the packaging or website for those techniques.
3. If you’re using a partial pouch of powder dye, measure your powder dye, don’t just eyeball it. The chances that you’ll make the next dye bath the same exact color is slim if you’re guessing. When the one fabric came out a different color, I thought maybe I needed to make a new dye bath. The result was some beautiful more-darkly-dyed fabric, as I was guessing at how much powder to add. Unfortunately, neither piece came out the same color as the other cut strips shown.
4. If you’re dyeing fabric for piecing, dye the fabric before cutting, as you’re putting fabric into a hot-water bath which might cause shrinkage plus you can expect your fabric to ravel a bit as you handle it during the process.
5. Do as they say: wear gloves!! Teal fingers aren’t attractive (at least not on me!), though mine only lasted a day. There’s a phrase that says, “If you can’t be a good example, be a horrible reminder.” Let me be your horrible reminder.
Next up, I might have to try to dye white-on-white prints! I’ll keep you posted…
Quick-Cut Bias Binding
To quickly cut binding strips on the bias, start with a fabric square or rectangle. We used a stripe fabric, resulting in a barber pole effect.
Diagrams below show a 5/8-yard length of fabric. If your fabric piece is a different size, the folded fabric may look different, although the instructions will be the same.
1. Lay out the fabric so the selvage edges are in the upper right and lower left. Fold the lower selvage edge to the cut edge, creating a 45º angle.
2. Fold the bottom corner up on top of first fold.
3. Fold top corner down on top of first and second folds.
4. Using a rotary cutter and acrylic ruler, trim off left-hand folded edge.
5. Cutting from trimmed edge, cut the desired-width bias strips.
6. Strips will be a variety of lengths; piece strips to equal the desired length of binding strip.
Fabric: Winter’s Kiss collection by Lonni Rossi for Andover Fabrics
Choose a favorite fabric and make this quick-to-sew pincushion. Stack two buttons to top of your cute creation for bright accents. Make a bunch for your sewing friends or keep one handy for on-the-go sewing. This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, howtosew.com. Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.
- 2–4-1/2″ squares red print
- Polyester fiberfill
- 1–1-3/8″ diameter white button
- 1–5/8″ diameter yellow button
Assemble the Pincushion:
1. Layer two red print 4-1/2″ squares with right sides together. Pin pieces together.
2. Beginning in the middle of one edge, sew together pieces using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave a 1-1/2″ opening along one edge for turning.
3. Turn right side out. Use a chopstick or knitting needle to push out corners; press.
4. Use a chopstick or knitting needle to gently push small tufts of fiberfill through the 1-1/2″ opening.
5. Using a needle and matching thread, sew the opening closed.
6. Stack and sew buttons through all layers to complete pincushion.
Every month, we highlight a trend in quilting and show you how you can add this hip style to your projects!
Paper-piecing is hot right now! From beautiful and intricate quilt patterns to helpful products and books to get you started with this technique, we’re seeing paper-piecing across the quilting world!
Paper-piecing products for your shopping list (in order going clockwise):
- Paper Piecing thread from Coats & Clark
- The New Hexagon: 52 Blocks to English Paper Piece by Katja Marek for Martingale
- Arcadia Avenue from Sassafras Lane Designs
- Scrappy Pineapple Block Foundation Piecing Pattern from Red Pepper Quilts
- Quilt Talk: Paper-Pieced Alphabet with Symbols & Numbers by Sam Hunter for C&T Publishing
- Precut Iron-On Hexies from Hugs ‘n Kisses