Category Archives: cheddar and indigo

Cheddar and Indigo Quilt: Quilted, Trimmed, and Ready to Bind

It’s always a happy day when I get to pick up a quilt from my longarm quilter. Karlee of SewInspired2Day does such nice work. Because this quilt features a very traditional block (known as Economy and Square-in-a-Square), I chose a very traditional quilt motif: Baptist Fan. I love the look of the curved quilting lines on the straight edges of the diamonds and squares.

Here’s a look at the entire quilt after trimming:

The trimmed quilt measures 62½” x 71½”. I cut the border strips extra wide (6½”), giving me the option of trimming them after quilting if I wanted them narrower but I find I like them just the way they are.

Although the prints from the “Cheddar and Indigo” line by Penny Rose Studio for Riley Blake Designs are traditional, I did sneak in a couple of modern prints, most notably the cheddar in this block:

It’s called Barcelona City Map from the “Barcelona” line by Zen Chic by Moda. I used some of it in 2020 while making Scattered Stars, my first indigo and cheddar quilt, and liked it so much I replaced it in my stash — and bought the same print in three other colors!

The indigo print in this block was a vintage find, produced back in the day when selvages carried little or no information at all about the fabric designer or manufacturer:

The selvage on this fabric reads “© Springs Ind., Inc.” Out of curiosity, I googled that just now and much to my surprise a website popped up with a brief but fascinating history of Springs Industries, a cotton textile company founded in 1887 by Samuel Elliott White of Fort Mill, South Carolina. You can read about it here. The website is run by the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina.

Here’s a look at the back of the quilt . . .

. . . and a detail shot:

I’m going to bind my quilt in an indigo blender by Maywood that reads as a solid. It’s a fabric I use so often I buy it by the bolt.

The only decision remaining is what to name this quilt. The quilt is based on the free pattern Floating Squares by Carried Away Quilting. The only thing I have come up with so far is “Diamonds and Squares Afloat” which is descriptive but not very clever. If any of you have suggestions, I’m all ears.

 

 

 

Posted in cheddar and indigo, economy block, floating squares, square-in-a-square, update | 3 Comments

Cheddar and Indigo and . . . Calico?

There you have it: 42 cornerstones attached to my Floating Squares quilt top:

I’m loving the look but what a pain it was getting those seams lined up. I daresay it will be a while before I opt for 1″ square cornerstones again.

One more thing to do: add borders! Here is my finished quilt top:

Right now the top measures 63½” x 73½” — a good size for a lap quilt. I can envision napping under it. Coco is apparently ready to nap on top of it:

 

 

 

Posted in cats, cheddar and indigo, economy block, floating squares, square-in-a-square, update | 7 Comments

Floating Squares, Floating Cornerstones

The weather in Portland has been so lovely the last week that I’ve spent very little time in my sewing room. Instead I’ve been outdoors helping the Dear Husband in the garden. We’re still clearing weeds but the good news is we’re gaining ground. And the vegetables, flowers, and shrubs planted so far are all doing nicely.

All I have to show you for my sewing time over the last few days are the sashing strips and cornerstones sewn to three of the six rows in my current project based on the free pattern Floating Squares by Taunja of Carried Away Quilting:

I had forgotten just how fiddly cornerstones can be! Sashing strips without cornerstones would’ve been a breeze — no seams to match between each block. These cornerstones finish at 1″ and that means there’s no room for error in attaching them. If you’re off by even a couple of threads, the seams won’t line up properly — and it will be very obvious.

After attaching the first sashing strip, I had to take part of the stitching out, make my cornerstones just a wee bit smaller, and resew the seam:

With subsequent sashing strips, I made the adjustments before sewing the strip on. There were at least a couple of cornerstones on each row that had to be tweaked like this.

Think about the math. There are four cornerstones in each row. Each sashing strip goes between two rows of blocks (except the top and bottom ones) so that means there are 16 seams to match per row. Each intersection has to be pinned very carefully to make sure the seams nest properly. When I’m done with the horizontal strips, I’ll have two more to add to the sides.

The beauty of Taunja’s Floating Squares pattern is that the points in each block float inside the block rather than go all the way to the seamline so matching the points where the blocks and rows are sewn together is not needed. By deciding to add cornerstones to my sashing, I’m adding many hours of additional work. The irony is not lost on me. But I’m not sorry I made this choice because I think my finished quilt will be the better for it.

 

 

 

Posted in cheddar and indigo, economy block, family, square-in-a-square, update | 4 Comments

Floating Squares Update

The final 10 Floating Squares blocks have been made and added to the previous 20 to complete my 5 x 6 layout. It took several days of wandering in and out of the Annex (the room across the hall from my sewing room) and rearranging squares on my design wall to get to this point:

While I’m very happy with the balance of blocks in terms of color and scale, the feeling remains that the blocks need to be separated to tone down the cheddar factor.

If you’ve been following my progress on this from the beginning, you’ll recall that my options to achieve this were to 1) turn the blocks on point and alternate with plain cream blocks, 2) separate the blocks with sashing strips, or 3) add another round of triangles to each block using indigo or cream fabrics but not the cheddar.

I was predisposed to setting the blocks on point and alternating them with plain blocks but surprised myself by deciding on a simple 1″ lattice between blocks and rows. To test it before cutting and sewing strips I separated the blocks on my design wall:

This is so much more pleasing to my eye!

Here are the first three rows with sashing strips added between the blocks:

Totally on the right track. But it turns out I wasn’t quite finished tinkering with the design. What would it look like, I wondered, if I added cornerstones between the blocks? And what if they were cheddar? They would be tiny — only 1″ finished — so it might work.

I cut some 1″ test squares out of scraps and stuck them up on the design wall:

Oh my! I love this look. Isn’t it funny? I changed the layout of the quilt to soften the effect of the strong cheddar and then turned right around and added cheddar back into the mix.

 

 

 

Posted in cheddar and indigo, economy block, floating squares, square-in-a-square, update | 6 Comments

Next Batch of Blocks

I’m popping in to show you blocks 15-20 in my current WIP (Work-in-Progress) based on the pattern Floating Squares and my stash of cheddar and indigo fabrics:

Here are all 20 blocks, arranged to spread the cheddar, indigo, and cream fabrics more or less evenly across the surface of the quilt:

I’ve decided to make 10 more blocks for a 5 x 6 layout. I’ll have to be very careful in selecting the remaining fabric combos. Four blocks will have cheddar in the outer triangles and the remaining six blocks will be divided between indigo and cream outer triangles. My goal is to get a mix of prints in such a way that neighboring blocks will not share fabrics. My problem is that I have a plethora of cheddar prints and several indigos but only two cream prints remaining from the 2015 “Cheddar and Indigo” line by Penny Rose Studio for  Riley Blake Designs.

While I haven’t decided on a final layout yet — blocks as laid out in the pattern? blocks on point? blocks separated with lattice? — I’m definitely leaning in one direction. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind when I have 10 more blocks.

Block production has slowed as the weather has improved. The Dear Husband and I are in full weeding/planting mode at the moment. Is it okay to hope for rain?

 

 

 

Posted in cheddar and indigo, economy block, family, floating squares, square-in-a-square, update | 4 Comments

A Value-able Lesson

Here are my two latest Floating Squares blocks:

Aren’t they pretty? You’ll notice the one on the right has a fussycut center from the same print as an earlier block but in a different colorway. I wish I had more of the one dark and one light outer triangle fabric but I only had enough scraps to finish those two blocks.

When I first started making these Economy blocks using leftover indigo and cheddar fabrics from a previous quilt, I quickly realized that the cheddar fabrics were dominating the blocks. Remember my first six? Here they are again:

You’ll recall I thought of turning the blocks on point and alternating plain blocks of a creamy white background to lower the cheddar factor . . .

. . . but I wanted to make a few more blocks before coming to any firm conclusions about what direction to head.

Well, now there are 14 blocks:

Let me say first that I love these blocks individually. But collectively? They still feel a bit overpowering. And I’ve figured out why. Yes, the cheddar is dominant but there’s something else:  my palette of indigo, cheddar, and cream represents dark, medium, and light values. Nothing in between! No medium lights, no medium darks. There is nothing in the overall palette to soften the sharp contrast between dark, medium, and light.

Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing — but it is something I hadn’t considered when I chose the fabrics. If you take a look at the fabrics Taunya of Carried Away Quilting used on her pattern cover quilt . . .

. . . you’ll notice that the overall effect of the quilt is soft because of the variation of values used across the quilt. I see several medium lights and medium darks in addition to the usual dark, medium, and light values.

I will not be able to achieve that softness with my fabrics so I need to consider my options. I’ve already considered putting my blocks on point and alternating with plain blocks of creamy white. If you go back to the first photo, you’ll notice the block on the left includes a creamy tone-on-tone paisley print in the first set of triangles. I believe there’s enough of that fabric from my stash to make alternating blocks as well as setting triangles.

Another possibility is to separate the blocks with sashing strips of the same creamy white. Not a bad idea. Certainly worthy of consideration.

Yet a third is to add one more row of triangles to my floating squares, using indigo or cream where the cheddar triangles would normally go. That would relegate the cheddar to the center squares and first set of triangles. Also not a bad idea because it would tone down the cheddar factor considerably. But it would also create a larger block, one that finishes at around 13″ rather than 9″. Of course putting the 9″ squares on point would do the very same thing.

I’m going to make a few more blocks (because it’s so much fun!) and continue to ponder my options. Lest you think I’m disappointed at the possibility of changing course with the quilt design, let me assure you I am not. Even experienced quilters can be caught off guard. This has been a valuable lesson for me in considering fabric values — and sometimes these kinds of lessons result in quilts that surpass original expectations.

Regardless of the outcome, I am going to love this quilt.

 

 

 

Posted in cheddar and indigo, economy block, floating squares, square-in-a-square, update | 5 Comments

Jacks, Anyone?

Making their appearance are three more cheddar and indigo blocks made from the *free* Floating Squares pattern by CarriedAwayQuilting:

As I showed you in my last post, two sets of squares of three different fabrics yield six blocks, none of them the same. I only had enough of the light background fabric to make one set of squares so my yield is only three. No matter; I have plenty of other fabrics to keep me going.

The design in that light fabric reminds me so much of the game of jacks. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re probably not a Baby Boomer like me (born between 1946 and 1964). The game of jacks was a favorite of mine as a kid; my twin Diane and I would play for hours.

As I was happily sewing these blocks today, I wondered if anyone born in subsequent generations would even knows about jacks. Out of curiosity, I googled “game of jacks” just now and — wonder of wonders — you can actually buy new sets. This is what jacks look like:

The object of the game is to bounce the ball and pick up a jack before the ball bounces again. I’m tempted to buy a set to have on hand when Diane comes to visit next.

But I digress. I have one more block to show you:

This one was made with a fussycut center. The blossoms are oriented so that they’ll still look good if I wind up putting the blocks on point:

I’m having so much fun playing with these cheddar and indigo fabrics! Several sets of squares have already been cut and are just waiting to be transformed into quilt blocks. Although Floating Squares is a simple pattern, there’s a bit of a challenge in finding just the right balance of small, medium, and large-scale prints in each block.

More anon!

 

 

 

Posted in cheddar and indigo, economy block, family, floating squares, square-in-a-square, update | 7 Comments

Floating Squares

Earlier this month Taunja of CarriedAwayQuilting released a free pattern called Floating Squares:

As you can see, I downloaded it.

It’s a fresh and clever take on the traditional Economy block, also known as Square-in-a-Square. Each block is made up of a center square surrounded by triangles. By making the triangles that surround the center square a bit larger, the square “floats” in the block because its points don’t touch the next seam.

As Taunja notes in her pattern, this means you don’t have to match points when the squares are sewn together, and you also avoid the possibility of cutting off points. I don’t have a problem with either of those things because I pin and sew carefully. Still, I was drawn to the design because of its ease of construction and slightly airy look.

Her pattern calls for 21 fat quarters. I don’t have many fat quarters in my stash (because I seem incapable of buying pieces of fabric less than a yard in length). As I was pondering what fabrics I might use for some test blocks, my eye fell on one of my very favorite quilts, Scattered Stars, made in 2020 from a collection of fabrics from the “Cheddar and Indigo” line by Penny Rose Studio for Riley Blake Fabrics:

After finishing Scattered Stars, it was plain to see that there was enough fabric left over to make one or even two more quilts.

Although not fully committed to making another cheddar and indigo quilt, I decided to make a few blocks anyway. Three fat quarters yields six 9½” blocks. I started with these three fabrics . . .

. . . and here are the results:

Oh my! That’s a lot of cheddar. Too much cheddar?

Let’s see what putting them on point looks like:

Imagine that with a creamy white fabric in the alternating blocks. Oh yeah!

Before making any final decisions about settings, I’m going to make another set of six blocks using three different fabrics. The blocks go together easily, and Taunya’s pattern is beautifully written and illlustrated.

There is one change I will make in constructing the next six blocks, though. To maximize the use of fat quarters, Taunja’s instructions call for four triangles to be cut from one square, meaning twice on the diagonal. This results in the outer edges of each triangle being on the bias. (Because of this, I starched each block after the second round of triangles was added before squaring it up to 9½”.) Since I’m cutting my fabrics from yardage, I’ll use squares that have been cut only once on the diagonal, which will make the outer edges of each triangle on the straight of grain.

To see more photos of the beautiful quilt on Taunja’s pattern cover, read her blog post here. The post includes a link to download the free pattern.

 

Posted in cheddar and indigo, economy block, floating squares, square-in-a-square, update | 8 Comments

First Light Designs: Best of 2020

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2020 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of the year. It’s a fun way to look back over the last 12 months and identify some of the high points. (And wouldn’t we all much rather dwell on the high points of 2020 than the low points?!)

My top five are below, in reverse order. Clicking on the links will take you to the original posts.

5. Uptown Funk. My version of Dresden Neighborhood by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams. It was so much fun to make!

Uptown Funk (24″ x 26″) by Dawn White (2020)

 

4. Something in Red: New Oven Mitts. Every oven mitt I’ve tried on in a store has been oversized, and every tutorial I’ve found online has included a pattern that’s too big. What’s a quilter to do? Why, make her own, of course! I just started making oven mitts in December and am still tweaking my process but I plan to offer my own tutorial and free pattern in early 2021.

Mitts that Fit! Made by Dawn White (2020)

 

3. A Bee in my Bucket Hat. A reversible hat made using the Sorrento Bucket Hat pattern from Elbe Designs.

Dawn’s Sorrento Bucket Hat (2020)

 

2. Love Rocks. All You Need Is Love, made using the Love Rocks pattern and alphabet (both contained in Sew Kind of Wonderful’s latest book, Text Me) and the Wonder Curve ruler.

Love Is All You Need (38″ x 44″) by Dawn White, quilted by Sherry Wadley (2020)
back of All You Need Is Love (38″ x 44″) by Dawn White, quilted by Sherry Wadley (2020)

 

1. Scattered Stars, an original design using a block first seen in Jenifer Gaston’s quilt Churning Stars.

Scattered Stars (66″ x 88″), made by Dawn White, quilted by Karlee Sandell (2020)

 

Thank you so much for checking out my “top five” blog posts. If you’re a blogger, you can join Cheryl’s party, too. The link is open until January 2. Be sure to check out the top five posts of the other quilting/blogging partygoers — and prepare to be inspired!

 

 

 

Posted in bucket hat, cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, home dec, machine applique, tutorial, update, wall hanging, Wonder Curve Ruler, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 10 Comments

Printing Quilt Labels on Fabric: A Tutorial

Back in May — doesn’t that seem like a hundred years ago? — I wrote about a method I discovered quite by accident of printing computer-generated labels on fabric. It requires only two items: fabric and fusible interfacing — no freezer paper involved. I described my method and promised to write a proper tutorial on it. Here is that tutorial. Better late than never, right?

I’ve written this tutorial in two parts. Part 1 is all about getting the fabric ready. Part 2 is about creating the label on your computer.

Part 1, Preparing the Fabric for Your Label

Step 1. Choose a fabric for your label that allows the type to show clearly. The fabric can be a solid or tone-on-tone print in a light to medium-light value. You might also be able to use a printed fabric — perhaps one you used in your quilt – if it’s not too busy or too dark in value to make the printed label hard to read. I’m illustrating this tutorial by making a label for my most recent UFO finish, Lilacs in September, using a medium light spring green fabric with a crosshatch design.

Step 2. Cut the label fabric about ½” larger all around than a printed page. In the United States the standard paper size is 8½” x 11” so you would cut your fabric about 9½” x 12”. It doesn’t have to be exact. I just lay a piece of paper on top of my label fabric and cut around it with scissors:

Step 3. Choose a featherweight or lightweight fusible interfacing. I use Pellon 911FF (the FF stands for featherweight fusible) for most of my labels but other brands will work equally well.

Step 4. Cut the fusible interfacing slightly smaller than you cut the label fabric. I do this the same way, by laying a piece of paper on top of the interfacing and cutting around it with scissors:

Cutting the interfacing slightly smaller assures that you won’t accidentally fuse it to your ironing board cover when you iron it to the label fabric. No need to ask me how I know that . . .

Step 5. Place the fusible side of the interfacing on the wrong side of the label fabric, making sure none of the fusible extends beyond the edges of the label fabric . . .

. . . and fuse in place following the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 6. Place the fabric on your cutting mat interfacing side up. Trim to 8½” x 11”:

Make sure your cutting is precise because the piece of interfaced fabric needs to fit perfectly in the paper tray of your inket printer.

Step 7. Place the fabric in your printer’s paper tray. (Make sure you know whether the fabric side needs to go in the tray right side down or right side up, as it varies from printer to printer. It goes right side down in my HP Office Jet Pro 8620.) Now print the label:

Voilà! It should slide out of the printer just as if it were a piece of paper. (You’ll notice I put two labels on my page; I’ll explain why in Part 2.)

One more thing to do:

Step 8. Heat-set the ink on the label using a press cloth and plenty of steam:

This helps to keep the ink on the label from fading with repeated washings. Irons vary widely so let me caution you not to have the iron too hot as it may scorch the label, even with a press cloth on it. I like to set my iron on medium high and, with the press cloth on top, steam the writing on the the label for 10 seconds. I let it cool and steam it for 10 more seconds.

Now you’re ready to finish your label and attach it to your quilt. You’ll see in Part 2 below that I like to make my labels round but yours can be any shape you want. Squares and rectangles are popular and easy because all you need to do is turn and press the raw edges under ½” or so and stitch the label to the quilt.


Part 2. Creating the Label on Your Computer

Step 1. Open up a new document on your computer and type the information you want to include about your quilt. What you put on your label is entirely up to you. At a minimum I always include:

the name I have given my quilt
my name
my city and state
the name of my quilter (if I didn’t quilt it myself)
the year of completion

Notice that each line is centered.

If my quilt is an original design I might say “designed and made by Dawn White.” If the quilt was made from one of my own patterns I might include the name of the pattern or say “designed and made by Dawn White of First Light Designs.”

If my quilt was made using someone else’s design, I always credit the designer:

If I tweaked someone’s design, added my own design elements, or significantly changed construction techniques, I might add a line such as “based on (pattern) by (name of designer)” or “inspired by (name of designer)”:

Step 2. Determine the point size and typeface of your label. The point size refers to the size of the type, e.g. 12 point, 14 point, etc. The typeface refers to the design, or style, of the lettering. Most word processing programs offer dozens of typefaces to choose from. On my computer these typefaces are called “theme fonts.” (Did you know that font is the French word for face? Now doesn’t the word typeface make more sense?)

The point sizes you choose depend on the size and shape of your finished label and how much information you want to include. My label for Lilacs in September has five lines of copy. I put the name of the quilt in 24 point boldface and italic. The lines underneath are in 14 point. I auditioned a sans serif type face called Arial and a serif typeface called Cambria. Both labels fit on one page so I could make my final decision on which one to use after this page was printed on fabric. (Putting two labels on one page is just an option, of course. You could create one label and center it on the page, which would give you a lot of flexibility in deciding later on the shape of your label.)

Step 3. Save your document.

Step 4. Print your label on paper. This gives you a good sense of what the label will look like printed on fabric. Here is my label for Lilacs in September, printed with black ink:

If you have a color printer you can experiment with different colors of ink. Print the labels on paper first to test the depth of color. You may find the ink doesn’t look quite as dark or as vivid on fabric as it did on paper.

I used red ink on my label for All You Need is Love:

Take another look at the label for Scattered Stars, my cheddar and indigo quilt. I used indigo ink which turned out to be not as dark as I was expecting but I still chose it over black:


Most of my round labels are made using a compact disc as a pattern. A CD measures 4⅝” in diameter so a label with a few lines of text fits inside that circle nicely. My label for Give Me the Simple Life has eight lines but still fits inside the compact disc pattern size:

The addition of the red ring made the label finish at about 6″ in diameter.

Below is a computer-generated label I made in May to replace a label on Ramblin’ Rose, made several years ago. I had omitted two significant pieces of information — the inspiration for my quilt and the name of the longarm quilter — and wanted to correct those oversights. In the photo below the original label is still on the quilt, about to be removed and replaced with the one on the right:

I used to write all of my labels by hand, a time-consuming endeavor. Creating them on the computer and printing them directly onto fabric has turned out to be quick and easy — and rather fun to do. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to hand-printed labels.

I hope you find my tutorial helpful. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions. As always, thank you for visiting First Light Designs!

 

Note: I followed up this tutorial with a new one, posted Nov. 6, about how I make my round labels using a compact disc. You can find it here.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, Hazel's Diary Quilt, quilt labels, tutorial, update | 9 Comments