Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Technique Tuesday: Rocking Out in the Hen House

Funny things are happening in the Hen House!
Today our Featured Designer for Technique Tuesday is Debby Kratovil and she is working with Fowl Play by Kanvas. These fabrics are based on a real life urban chicken farm (the names of the chickens are real!), so that really gives personality to the whimsical prints of chicks, hens, chicken wire and even chicken scratching! Pop on over to our Facebook page to see the entire Fowl Play collection.

Debby, why did you choose this particular collection to work with?
How could I not? I absolutely love bright prints with good contrast. And I so enjoy the challenge of working with panels and fussy cutting motifs so they get center stage. Those panels of chickens have actual names of real birds from a real farm. How could I resist?
Stack 'em up before I chop 'em up!
How did you decide on a project? What is your process for making a set of blocks into a quilt or other project?
I always listen to the fabrics. Once they come into my home and I've folded and stacked them, they begin to get comfortable enough to start giving me ideas. Like I said, I always love the challenge of working with panel prints. I love to get them centered into a block, but not a boring block. The block I share today is my Tilt Block. I began making this around 2001 when I bought Darlene Zimmerman's Tri Recs tools. Rather than bore you with words, let my photos do the talking.

This is the block we are making today
Let's get started:
Why did I use the Tri Recs tool and not just cut oversized squares or triangles? Because using this type of triangle, the outside edges of all four sides stay on the straight of grain. NO BIAS EDGES.

Not to worry if you don't have the Tri Recs tool. Here is the link to the pdf file for cutting triangles just like this: Hen House Template

The angle of the Tri Recs tool is about 57-1/2 degrees (I think), so I had to guess the height of the triangle to use to "tilt" my block. Not to worry; because we will eventually shave a little off the overhanging edges, this will be fine.

Cut a 5-1/2" x wof strip of the chicken scratch fabric (I had to do a little guessing here)
When the fabric is on the fold, you will get mirror image triangles.
I will use only the triangle on the left in the picture above. You can't mix these two mirror image triangles in one block.

I fussy cut the panels into 5-1/2" squares. Then I audition my triangles to make sure I've got them in the right position.

All four of these triangles tilt in the same direction
The two sets of triangles I will use for my two blocks.
For the red block to tilt in the opposite direction, I use triangles that are the mirror image of the yellow ones.
Time to pin and sew: 
Pin a triangle to two opposing sides. Sew with 1/4" seam. Press AWAY from the center.
 Sew and trim; ALL the outside edges are on the straight of grain. NO BIAS!
Block with all 4 triangles sewn on; trim excess overhang, leaving 1/4" seam allowance
 And can we see several blocks together?
It's always good to lay out all your panels and the matching triangles
I sewed 3 yellow and 3 red blocks. I cut 1-1/2" x 7-1/4" sashing strips (a total of 17). And I cut 12 black chicken wire squares 1-1/2" x 1-1/2". Here are two blocks with sashing strips:

Press toward the sashings and the seams will nestle in opposite directions for a perfect match.
I cut up the border print and used the black background with the nosy hens and chicks as my top and bottom borders. A perfect fit! Here's my little Rocking Out in the Hen House table runner:

Here are the fabric requirements to make this simple runner. I let the fabric do all the work. That's what they told me they wanted to do and I just followed their directions.

Hen House Rock Table Runner
Block Size: 6-3/4" square
Runner Size: 22" x 33"

Fowl Play Fabrics:
One strip of 6 panels with white background (6205-09)
1/4 yard of red with yellow chicks (6204-10)
1/4 yard of yellow chicken scratch (6203-33)
1/4 yard of multi-colored geometric (6200-33)
Fat 1/8th of black/gray chicken wire (6202-12)
1/2 yard border print (6201-12)
1/4 yard red with white dots (6206-10)
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  1. this block is such fun and now you have given me more ideas foe using the tri rec tool which just sits in a bag at the moment.

  2. I am soooo totally in love with this...Debby what a delightful quilt, love the colours, your tut is excellent....wow!

  3. Love this chicken fabric and the happy feet print - too cute. I hope my LQS gets this in.

  4. Cute table runner - thanks Debby.

  5. Thanks Debby! I just bought that ruler, so I love seeing another project to use with it!!

  6. I can see why you HAD to make something with these chickies LOL they are adorable and I love the way you set the blocks

  7. Great project! I LOVE the cute fabrics and the wonderful thought of no bias edges when using the Tri Recs ruler.

  8. I love this quilt. It is so adorable. The fabric is so bright and cheery. Thanks for sharing

  9. Can I just say that I think you're a genius! I've always liked the tilted block look but didn't like the wasted fabric and the outside grain on the bias...and I never even thought about my tri-recs ruler! Guess what I'll be playing with soon! Thanks!

  10. So cute, and yes, great use of Tri Recs to get the tilt!

  11. This is so cute. And funny enough, I just got the tri tools in the mail and was wondering what the half one would be used for. I love tilted blocks, this tutorial came at the perfect time, thanks!

  12. OMG!!! This fabric line is awesome!!! Love it!!

  13. I have had the tri-recs ruler for years - it is still in the shrink wrap!!! Now I have found a use for it. Great tutorial - thank you.

  14. Cute project, I have a tri recs ruler so I'll have to try this out, love the fabrics too.

  15. How much fun that is! I will have to look for those fabrics, though it would be cute in any focus print.

  16. This is too cute! Love the chicken blocks set this way. I have some other novelty fabrics I think this technique will work with, so I am going to have to give it a try!
    Sandy A

  17. That is completely adorable and I'm totally going to steal that idea to use in some place mats for Christmas

  18. I love the idea of this quilt, and especially love the fabric. Does anyone know where I could get the fabric? I quilt with 2 ladies that raise chickens and we would love to make this quilt....and these cute chickies remind me of their chickens.

    1. Hi Amy, if you do a google search on "fowl play" fabric, you should find some options. Good luck!

  19. These fabrics are absolutely adorable! And your quilt is so darn cute! Love it so much!
    Now, I have to hunt down for this fabric.

  20. Thank you Debbie - I have been struggling to make tilted blocks for some "Maxine" panels - your idea is Perfect!
    I can now get busy....