Merry Medallion Quilt Week 1: Cutting Fabric

Ok, is everybody ready? Unfortunately, this quilt project kind of starts with a whimper, not a bang, because we have to spend the first week cutting fabric. Lots and lots of cutting! Because you want all the prints all mixed up, there’s no good way around cutting everything at the start, which is, admittedly, a little anticlimactic. On the other hand, most of the cutting will be done and the rest is all sewing fun, fun, fun!

Merry Medallion Cut Fabrics

To make it simpler for you, I’ve made cutting diagrams for each color of fabric, and a checklist, which you can download and print below. This should be totally straight-forward, but shout if you have any questions. Now, please keep in mind that these diagrams are what you need to cut if you have the minimum fabric requirements – if you want to add more fabrics or scraps, use the checklist to divide each piece type by the number of fabrics you have. Does that make sense?

Download Merry Medallion Cutting Diagrams and Checklist Here

So this week’s assignment is to cut all of your red, green, and low volume fat quarters – in the end, you should have an array of squares and rectangles like you see above. Don’t worry about the mid-volume fat quarter or the low volume half-meter cuts yet, we’ll do that last tiny bit of cutting when we need them.

Download the PDF above and get your rotary cutter all warmed up – and see you back here next Friday to start sewing!

Christmas In July-along Starts Today!

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

Ho Ho Ho! On this most-heat-wavest of days, I welcome you to Christmas in July at button button! This was Mom’s idea last year and it was a great one – whether you’re joining in the Merry Medallion quilt-along or stitching up some Christmas patterns from Little Dorrit & Co. — or working on something not designed by me at all :) — I hope you’ll join in the festive summer fun!

Over the last handful of years, I’ve really turned into a Christmas Grump – grouchy and resenting the whole thing, just counting the days until it went away. Until I realized that my grinchy outlook started right around when I started making tons of stuff during the holiday season – gifts for friends and family, gifts from friends and family to others, decorations, quilts, new patterns … the holidays went from being a cozy, flannel bubble to a sleepless panic. Ho Ho Ho?

Mom’s idea was to use Christmas in July to get a head start – to minimize December’s to-do list, leaving more time around the actual holidays for snuggling under quilts and drinking hot chocolate. And it’s fun to do these projects together, when we can just enjoy them and not be freaking out about how many days left until Christmas! So no matter what projects or gifts you’re working on, join in! Whatever you want to be done for this year’s holiday season – pull it out and let’s craft together this month!

If anyone out there is with me, be sure to share your projects in the comments or tag photos with #xmasinjulyalong so we can all cheer each other on!

(The photo above is detail from my free Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!)

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

Today I’m going to share a little tutorial for a really big Churn Dash block – I like to call it the Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial. :) This is really for my peeps in the Bee Europa quilting bee – this is the block I’ve assigned them for my turn at the wheel – but I figured I might as well share it for anyone else thinking that Churn Dashes would be even better if they were, like, quite large.

This block is a totally traditional Churn Dash, nothing tricksy going on, but finishes at 18.5″ (18″ when assembled into a quilt). I will end up with 16 blocks in total, which will be arranged in a four-by-four grid to end up with a 72″ x 72″ finished quilt.

If you’d like to use this tutorial to make a full quilt, you will essentially need two contrasting FQs per block. You’ll have lots of scraps, but a FQ isn’t quite large enough to get multiple blocks out of. You may want to do some math with half-metre cuts, but I liked the idea of having no repeating fabrics combined with a fairly strict color scheme, so I stuck with FQs.

Notes: Everything in this tutorial is sewn with 1/4″ seam. I pay special attention below to how to handle directional prints, because almost all of the packages sent out to my bee pals have directional prints in them. Just skim over those bits if they don’t apply to your fabrics!

What You’ll Need

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

Each block will have a background fabric and a, erm, Dash fabric. (Reminder to bee peeps: the background fabric is the larger piece in your package!) Cut the following pieces:

Background Fabric:

– two 7″ squares
– one 6.5″ square
– four 6.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles (NOTE: if your fabric is directional, cut two vertically and two horizontally!)

Dash Fabric:

– two 7″ squares
– four 6.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles (NOTE: if your fabric is directional, cut two vertically and two horizontally!)

You’ll also need a ruler, a fabric marking pen, and keep your rotary cutter (or fabric scissors) handy.

Making The Pieces

First, we’ll sew our rectangles together in pairs. Make pairs like this, keeping the direction of the print(s) in mind:

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

The background fabric on the outside, the dash fabric on the inside.

Sew these pairs together, press seams towards the dark side (ha!) and set aside.

Next, we’ll make half square triangles with the 7″ squares. Take one pair of 7″ squares – the lighter is easiest, unless one print is directional, then choose that one. On the wrong side of each square, mark a diagonal line from one corner to the other. On directional prints, mark them this way:

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

And you will end up with the fabric going the right direction on all resulting triangles!

Pair each marked square with an unmarked square (in the other fabric), place right sides together, and sew 1/4″ away from the line, on both sides of the line:

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

(If you have a 1/4″ foot, that’s handy for this step. I use the left side of my foot on this machine, which is exactly 1/4″ away from the needle. You can also mark lines 1/4″ away from the center line if that’s easier.)

You’ll end up with two pairs, both with a line drawn down the center and two sewn lines on either side of it. Cut down the drawn line with a rotary cutter or sharp fabric scissors, and you’ll end up with four new squares, each made of one light and one dark triangle. IT’S MAGICS!

Press seams towards the darker side.

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

Now, you might notice that your new squares a little wonky. Don’t worry, that’s totally part of the magic. We made those squares a teensy bit bigger than they had to be, so that we can trim them nice and perfect before the next step.

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

Line up the diagonal on your ruler, or your cutting mat, with the diagonal seam, and trim each of these blocks to 6.5″. You’ll only end up shaving a wee bit from each side, but you’ll end up with a nice, neat square.

Assembling The Block

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

Now, lay out all of your pieces as seen above – again, minding the direction of the prints. Nobody likes an upside-down bunny, am I right?!

Piece the three top blocks together, then the three middle, then the three bottom. Press the middle row seams outward, and the others inward. Then sew the three rows together and press those seams towards the center.

Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial

Hurrah! A great big honking Churn Dash! Isn’t it lovely?! This is the perfect size to turn into a throw pillow or a mini-quilt, as is, or you can make 15 more and have a great big honking quilt.

OR, you can get your bee-mates to do it for you! :) Thanks, peeps! I’m so excited about this quilt, I can hardly contain myself!

Freaky Flowers Swap: Venomous Tentacula

Venomous Tentacula - pattern coming soon!

I made this embroidery for my swap partner, Amanda, in the Freaky Flowers Swap over at &Stitches. Amanda mentioned that she is a book lover and a Harry Potter fan, so we were a perfect match! Only a few plants are directly mentioned in the Harry Potter-verse, that I could find, and only this one didn’t have a strong visual counterpart in the movies; I didn’t want to mimic a look someone else designed, I wanted to imagine what the plant might look like myself.

Not much is known about the Venomous Tentacula, except that it is toothy, has grabby arms, and is fully poisonous. I based my colors and basic plant structure on real-life carnivorous plants, the nearly neon orange-red against the bright spring green is a common palette for these creepy plants. And my inspiration was antique botany illustrations, which I absolutely love.

I really hope Amanda liked her Freaky Flower and, since reaction to this little guy has been pretty great so far, I think I’ll add it as a pattern to the Little Dorrit & Co. pattern shop very soon!

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