SMQG Lottery Block: Little Vines Tutorial

*** Elizabeth's tutorial for Little Vines is back up!  Go find it here! ***


July's lottery block for the Seacoast MQG is the Little Vines block by Elizabeth Hartman!  I was feeling very clever because we had a fun tutorial on bias tape applique at our June meeting and everyone would go home with a fun project to practice the skill!  Then I found out that the tutorial had been scrubbed from the internet.  :(

So, I've reverse engineered the block and written my own tutorial.  I don't want to step on toes, but desperate times and all...


At the meeting I gave out these templates.  If you didn't get any, don't worry, they're just a guide.  I'll show you after how to make the block without them.


Take the two pages with ends, use a ruler to draw a line across all the cut off lines.  This will be where you line up these pages with the first page.  Cut your paper a little past the drawn line.


Match the letters and tape your template pieces together.


Cut only along the curve on the larger piece, and cut all the way around the smaller piece.  


Lay your template down on a 12.5 inch square piece of fabric.  For this month, your background fabric should be white or "reads as white".  Trace your two arcs onto the fabric. 

(Savvy quilters may notice that I pulled out my trusty Frixion pen, which is silly, because we'll need to iron on the petals to fuse them which will erase that line.  Go for a water soluble pen or even just pencil.)


Here's where I explain how to not use the templates.  Duplicating the curve exactly isn't the most important part of this block, where the arcs end is.  So if you didn't get the templates, mark the edge of your fabric at 2.25 inches and 6.25 inches from the bottom left and top right corners, then freehand a curve.


Now on to the petals!  There were two petals on your template sheets, you can simply cut them out and trace, but it'll be much easier to trace all those petals if you fuse them to a couple pieces of freezer paper or trace it onto cardboard and use that to make your petals.  (If you didn't get the sheets, any petal shape will do.  The larger petal measures 2.5 inches from tip to tip, and the smaller is 1.75 inches tip to tip.)

Trace your petals onto the paper backing of your fusing material, I used Heat 'n' Bond Lite, fuse that to the wrong side of your scraps, then cut out your petal shapes.  You'll need 12 of the larger petals, and 10 of the smaller.


Lay out your petals along the curve.  You'll want to keep them just to the side of the curve, so touching the line, but not crossing it or touching the other petal.  Iron to fuse them.


To raw edge applique the petals, sew a zig zag stitch around the edges.  To keep all the thread ends hidden under the bias tape, start where the petal meets the line, sew along the first edge, pivot at the outer point, continue from the second edge to the third without cutting your thread, pivot at the second point, and sew down the fourth edge ending where you started.  

You'll want your zig zags to be mostly on the petal, with the outer stitch just barely going off the petal into your backing fabric.


When turning your work, always stop with your needle down on the outer edge of the petal, lift your presser foot, and adjust the fabric.  


For the vines, we'll need 1/4 inch bias tape in black or "reads as black".  Steph showed us all how to use the cool bias tape makers, and you can find 1/4 single fold bias tape in the store. 

Here's my big fat cheating part.  I could only find 1/2 single fold bias tape at the store, so I decided to just make it work.


Lay it out along your curve and cut it a little larger that you need.  

If you're cheating with 1/2 inch tape, place your bias tape flat side down on your ironing board, glue along one of the flaps with Elmer's or another sewing safe glue, fold in half, and iron.  I made sure that when I folded the tape, I was entirely covering the bottom edge with the top edge, so that when I sew it down, you'll only see the one fold.  


Lay down a line of glue on your drawn arc, finger press your bias tape along that line, then iron to dry the glue.  Sew along the two edges of the bias tape with black thread, as close to the edge as you can.  Trim off the ends of the bias tape.


When I was done, I was a little concerned with how lumpy my block was, but a quick starching flattens it out nicely.


Here's the finished block again!  Can't wait to see them all together at July's meeting!

Friday Finish: The Testy Snake Mini

This is probably the tiniest and quickest finish I've ever posted.  My guild (go Seacoast MQG!) is putting on an exhibit at a quilt show later this year.  We're showing what we think Modern Quilting is in a show that is very traditional, so as a side challenge, we were given traditional blocks to modernize, interpret, and make into a mini.

This is not that mini.

After figuring out my direction (which took quite a while) I made a template.  And I was just about to cut into my fabric, when I had a moment of reason: I should test out my template first.  With scraps and fabric that I didn't care about.  (I'm pretty sure this is my most responsible quilting moment to date.)

The blocks finish to three inches, so those curves are tiny!  I'm pretty glad that I got a chance to practice my curved piecing before really getting into it.  I'm not the most proficient curve sewer, so I needed the extra credit work.  

I made up four blocks and declared that my template was a winner.  Not all those curves are perfect, but it did what I wanted it to do.  And I'm really okay with ripping out stitches and resewing in the final product, but there's no reason to rip out on a practice piece.   

And when I get into my mini for the show, I really need to work on sewing the blocks together, but the seam between the bottom aqua curve and the yellow is spot on!  I might have to draw up a diagram to keep track of which way to press my seams.  I was pressing them all the same way, but these nested really well, and I think that was what made it so successful.

The next step is obviously to quilt it to death.  I just did some echoing curves.  I'd like to say it was a very deliberate and artistic choice, but it just seemed like the easiest design with the same foot I had on the machine already, because who wants to pull out the free motion foot for a tiny block of sewing.  

Once it was quilted, I just went into autopilot mode, and put on a binding.  I did get a little creative with it and pulled up this tutorial from Sew Fresh Quilts for a flanged binding that I've had bookmarked for a while.  This seemed like the perfect chance to try it out, because if it was tedious, I only have 36 inches of binding to sew.  

(Turns out, it's super easy.  Once you sew it to the back, you wrap it around and then stitch in the ditch between the flange and the main binding color, so it's super fast.  I'll be adding this little detail to many quilts to come.)

And now it's a mini mini?  It's about six inches square, which makes it perfect for a mug rug, but all that white is going to be stained the second I walk near it with my coffee cup.  So I'm just going to hang it on my wall for now.   But now I have a cute thing and I know my template works, so I can get started on the real check-list item!

Linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday!