Today's Featured Tutorial!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Today's Featured Tutorial -- Dresden Kaleidoscope Tutorial

Here is a basic tutorial on making Dresden Kaleidoscopes.

I also have an Ebook available with more detailed directions and projects:
Patchwork by Rhonda

Here is the fabric I used for this lesson

Now you need to decide on a place in the fabric to place your template

Then trace the features in the fabric onto the plastic template. Trace around the edge of the template also
I like to pin the spot you marked so I can go back and find it later when I have marked all my blades.
But you can also just cut each one out as you mark them if you prefer.
I show this with the template just off to the side so you can see where my lines are

Here is the template so you can see my tracing.
Place the template on the next repeat and continue to trace and cut out each blade

This is showing you where the repeats are in this fabric. Find a feature and then look to see where it repeats in the fabric. You will need to make sure you have enough repeats in your fabric before you start.
My template makes 10 blades and you will need to make sure you have at least 5 repeats in a half yard

Okay after you trace and cut out your blades you need to sew them together. This is so easy!

Now you have 2 sets of 2. Sew the 2 sets together to make 4. I add a 5th one to this and make a half at a time.
Repeat this step with 2 more sets of 2 and then add the 5th one to it. Then sew the two halves together to make a whole DK

I didn't have enough fabric to do the whole thing but I wanted to give you a look at the process.
Here you see the 4 blades sewn and you begin to see the Kaleidoscope effect beginning to come out.

Now you can see how to put a Dresden Kaleidoscope together. You can use them to sew to a background for a quilt block or you can make a project with them as in hotpads or tote bags or anything you want.

Here is a link to the Dresden Kaleidoscopes I have made in the past.

More Kaleidoscopes

Kaleidoscope projects

Pansy Kaleidoscopes

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Today's Featured Tutorial -- Boston Block Hotpad Lesson Three

Okay now we are ready to finish the hotpad.

At this point you can choose to quilt the hotpad and add a binding.
I don't like bindings so I use the pillowcase method or the birthing method.

Place your top face down on the backing(face up)
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Trim the backing to match the front
Pin the top and backing together
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Lay the top on the batting and cut out 2 layers
slightly larger than your top
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Make sure you put the top against
the batting. It makes it easier to sew
No seams to catch on the needle this way
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Pin the top to the batting
and trim the batting
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IF you want to use a loop
You can add it now.
Find the middle of one side and
sew on the loop. I fold it in half
and sew the two raw edges together.
then sew it to the edge of the hotpad
I use a shoestring for the loop.
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I like to baste the border to the batting
so when you turn the hotpad right side out
the batting won't seperate
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Now sew around the hotpad.
I leave an opening about 2" or so
to turn the hotpad through

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Turn you hotpad right side out. Use a turning tool to poke out the corners.
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Set the bottom right edge under the needle and lower the needle down onto the fabric.
I hold the other edge so the fabric is pulled taut and I use my scissors to tuck the material in the opening til the opening is even with the sewn edge
Then sew along that edge catching the opening in the seam
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I sew all the way around the hotpad. Here you can see the finish seam along the edge
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If I don't get the opening closed well enough I use a needle and thread and sew it shut using a blind stitch. I sink the knot on the inside at one end of the opening
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Then you slide the needle through the folded edge and come up about 1/2" and switch over to the other side and slide the needle through that side.
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Continue alternating between both sides til you get to the end. Then I sew back the other way for a stitch or two to lock the thread
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Here is my closed opening using a blind stitch
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I like to spray the hotpad with Magic Sizing. I spray it well so it will stiffen. Iron it dry.
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Here is my finished hotpad~
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Hope you enjoyed following along on how I make my hotpads.

If you want to use insulbrite you surely can. Just use it as the backing or you can put it in the middle between the batting.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Today's Featured Tutorial -- Boston Block Hotpad Lesson 2

Today we are going to assemble the Quilt Block Top for your hotpad.

In the last lesson you learned to make my Boston Blocks.

Now you need to cut the plain blocks:

1 med 2 1/2" square

4 light 2 1/2" squares

Here is the layout for the Boston Star Quilt Block:

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You can sew them into rows and then sew the rows together if you like.

But I like to sew them into sets of 2 and then assemble the sections.

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My unfinished quilt block is 6 1/2"

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When I sew seams together I like to use a tack.

This is just a stitch across where the seams meet.
I think it is more secure than pins.

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When you have your quilt block assembled

You can stop there if you like the size or
You can add borders to make the quilt block larger and
to give it a finished look.

I cut my borders abit larger than I think I need.

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Then I cut down to the size I want.

I use a 6 1/2" quilt block and then I add
borders to get to 8 1/2" unfinished size.

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Here are some ideas for quilt blocks using my Boston Block shortcut.

I usually design using 6 blocks across by 6 rows or 36 blocks.
To get the 6 1/2" size I use a 1 1/2" template.

If you like the designs but don't want to use a 1 1/2" template you can use a 2 1/2" template and make the quilt blocks 12 1/2" for a quilt. Or use them to make a tote bag or pillow etc.

You can use any size template and make a larger quilt block if you like. It is all up to you!

This is one of my original designs


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If you look at the layout this quilt block is made with Bostons and HSTs
Easy to do but looks complicated.

To see more of them check out this thread:

Rhonda's Sampler Quilt Along - Boston Blocks

You also can use the Boston Block to make some traditional quilt blocks.

Here is my version of a Card Trick quilt block made with my Bostons
Rhonda's Version of Card Trick Quilt Block

The cut down method allows you to make intricate looking quilt blocks with easy steps!!

Once you know the trick you can see it isn't hard to make at all. They just look hard!!

Hope you enjoy the process!! Rhonda

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Today's Featured Tutorial -- Boston Block Hotpad - Lesson One

Boston Block
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I have developed several shortcuts using my cut down method.

Basically the cut down method means you sew fabric together and then cut out with a template from the center of the joined fabrics. This allows you to do more intricate designs without handling small pieces. It also eliminates some math. My intention is to make it easier and faster to piece beautiful patchwork quilt blocks into projects or quilts.

Okay we are going to learn to make a Boston Block today. Once you have figured out how to do this you will need to make 4 of them for your quilt block. This is easy to do I promise!!

Here we go........

Cut out one strip of light fabric - 2 1/2" x 16"

Cut out one strip of medium fabric - 2 1/2" x 8 1/2"
And cut out one strip of dark fabric - 3 1/2" x 8"

[if you are using a 3" template you will need to make your strips and squares larger]

Once you have your strips cut then

Cut: 2 -2 1/2" white squares 2 -2 1/2" medium squares 2 - 3 1/2" dark squares
Cut them on the diagonal

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You need one light triangle and one med. triangle

Sew the light and med. triangles together
For our quilt block we need the med on the right.
But depending on the quilt block you are making the med can be on either side.
You need to pay attention and make sure you get the med on the rt side in all 4 of your Boston Blocks.

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Next sew the joined light /med to the dark fabric

and lay it on a cutting mat. A mini mat is the best if you have one.

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Cut with a rotary cutter along the edge of the template.

Make sure you hold the template still as you cut. Don't let it move or you won't have an accurate square. Try to be as accurate as you can because this will make it easier to get a good result later on.

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You need to try to make sure your corners of the template are on the seams so you won't get a corner that isn't even on each side of the seam. Here you can see I have more pink than white. When you sew two of these together in a quilt block you will lose points if this corner is off.

You can gently trim it even if you see one after you have cut out the block.
I put the template back on the fabric and retrimmed with the rotary cutter but be careful you don't trim too deeply and end up with a lopsided square.

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And here is our


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Picking the right fabric:

You want to make sure you have fabrics that are clearly seperate so that you can see each one when you stand back and look at them. If 2 of them blend then you need to exchange one for a darker value fabric.

Light and light - blends too much for me

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I seperate them into lights - the background is white or cream or a very very light color

this may or may not have a pattern. Either is fine.
Mediums - This has a color that is not real light nor real dark. there are a lot of variations in this value. I seperate down to a light medium / medium medium/ dark medium
For me I like a medium medium. this falls somewhere in the middle of the color range between light fabrics and dark fabrics.
Darks - This value is as it says dark. this would include Navy or Hunter Green or Black or anything that is darker.

This is my selections

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Or you can put a pink with the burgandy

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If you are not sure about the color values then lay two together and stand back and look at them. Can you clearly see the med? from the dark? Does the dark stand away from the med?

If you can't tell where one fabric ends and the next one starts then there is not enough contrast to make a good Boston Block.

You can use any colors you like but for the best effect I highly recommend a good contrast between the three fabrics.

Another thing to watch out for are two fabrics that have a print that might connect making the light and med blend. I saw a block made with a flower fabric for the light and another one for the med. Overall they worked okay but there was a flower that matched in both fabrics making it look like the flower flowed from the light into the med. This doesn't stop the eye so the eye sees the two fabrics as one fabric. So you lose the effect you want.

I hope you have a good time trying out my Boston Blocks using my cutdown method. Thanks everyone!!

One more note - I dont' have any problem with bias but if it is an issue for you - use spray starch and spray your fabric. I iron mine dry or you can let it air dry before you work with the fabric.

Also you can check out my original method for Boston Blocks here:

Rhonda's NEW UPDATED Boston Block Tutorial - No Waste Methods

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Today's Featured Tutorial -- Bear's Paw Coin Purse

This is the third project to make using my Bear's Paw Quilt Block made with my cut down method.
        You can see the other links here:

Rhondas Bear's Paw Class - Quilt Block Lesson
       Rhondas Bear's Paw Class - Checkbook Cover Lesson

Rhondas Bear's Paw Class - Bookmark

Ok this lesson is how to make a coin purse. You can make it larger and use it for many things. One thing it could be is a makeup bag or add a handle and use it as a purse. If you keep it small and add a handle it could be a little girl's purse. It could be used to store things in a suitcase. I am sure there are many uses for it.

In the first lesson you learned to make a Bear's Paw Quilt Block. For this coin purse quilt top I decided to skip the sashing steps and turned the Paws. There are several ways you can use these Paws.

Refer to the first lesson for the size to make the paws. I usually aim for an unfinished 5" x 5" size for my coin purses and 7" x 7" for the makeup bags. This size is the quilt block and the borders together.

I trim the borders so the whole will measure 5" (or 7"square.You can use a 1 1/2" template for making the quilt block for the makeup bag. The finished coin purse should be about 4 1/2" and the makeup bag 6 1/2". You can use larger templates and use this method for larger projects if you like.

I chose to make mine scrappy this time. And I turned the paws opposite of each other.
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Here is my strips for the borders
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to sew these on so they are interlocking you need to sew the first strip on half or part way. Leave one end un sewn for now
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Trim the green first strip even with the quilt block only on the sewn end. Then add the second strip
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Add the third strip
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Add the fourth strip
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Trim strip 4 on the right end
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Pin the green strip back in place and sew it on
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Here is the quilt top plus borders I trimmed the borders to 1" from the seam. You can choose whatever size you would like your borders to be. You can also add another border all around if you would like.
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You could also turn it on point and cut out with a template. You could add triangles on the sides instead of the strips if you wanted to use the on point look.
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Attached Images Attached Images   

After you have your quilt top all ready then it is time to cut out the linings and the back fabric.

Choose what you want to use for the 2 linings and the one back.
Lay your top face down onto the 3 layers of fabric. Pin in place and then trim around the top.

Seperate the top and one lining from the second lining and the back. Put a pin in the top edge of both halves so you can remember which is the top. Pin them in place on all corners
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You will need a strip of velcro about 1 1/2" shorter than the width of your top. I use nontoxic glue stick to glue the velcro half in place so it won't move before I get it sewn down.
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Postion the velcro strip about 3/4" below the edge and center. Sew it down. I sew around it at least twice and backstitch several times on each end.
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Here are both halves with velcro
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Replace the folded back parts and repin
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Starting at the bottom sew around the edge til you get back to where you started. Leave an opening about 2" wide to turn it with. Make sure you backstitch when you start and when you end.
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Turn each half right side out and iron
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I sew a finish seam across the top and across the bottom of each half. The bottom finish seam will close the opening. Then match the velcro and pin the corners together. I sew across the bottom first because when I started on the sides first more often than nought the corners at the bottom would be wonky. so if you match the bottom corners first and anchor the bottom then when you sew the sides you can work in any fullness while sewing the sides. I backstitch several times at the top on both sides. This wil get alot of stress during use.
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and here is the finished coin purse!
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I scanned the coin purse so you could see a better picture of the colors.
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