Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Make a Tuning Fork

I'm often asked how I make my tuning fork quilts.  There are really 6 steps, all pretty easy steps, really.  I made Tuning Fork #19 this week, and this is how I did it.

Step One:  Cut some strips and chunks of the colors you want to use.  I like to vary the sizes of my blocks, making the background blocks larger than my "color" blocks, so I cut strips of varying widths. Without using a ruler - I like a more fluid line in my pieces.
 Step Two: Cut the strips into smaller rectangles and pair two colors together to make a tuning fork shape.  The example below will be a yellow tuning fork with a dark gray background.
Step Three: Sew the tuning fork units together.  Make lots and lots of them in all of the various combinations you will need -- color with color, color with background and background with background.  For example, I made approximately 500 yellow on yellow tiny tuning forks for Tuning Fork #13.
 Step Four:  Lay out the pieces on the design wall into a pleasing design.  In the example below, the units are just stuck to the felt of my design wall.  Nothing has been sewn.  I don't sew anything until I have an arrangement that I like.
Step Five: This is my favorite part.  I stare at the design wall and try to pick out areas I can sew together without resorting to partial seams and y-seams.  I avoid both of those if at all possible.  I can usually figure out "sections" that I can sew together to form a larger unit, and then sew those units together.  Below I've sewn the left half of the quilt together.  At this point, I am adding and subtracting pieces as I go, both for design purposes (I'll think, "This needs some red here" or some such thing) and for construction pieces (I use small partial blocks and small rectangles of background to help make it fit together).  I plug away at the piecing until I have it all together and then trim the top into a rectangle or square (more or less).
Step Six:  Quilt as desired.  And I love what I call "corduroy quilting" -- very close more or less straight lines.  I have found that my quilting lines are getting very close together -- usually not more than 1/8" apart and often less than a 1/16".  I just love the look of the dense quilting.
Tuning Fork 19, 18" x 21"
And VOILA!  A finished Tuning Fork quilt.  I actually have this photo turned 180 degrees from the way I pieced it on the design wall.  I think I like it better that way....

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall FridayFriday Fabric Frenzy and Confessions of a Fiber Addict.  Go see all the wonderful work there!


Gemini Jen NZ said...

Oh wow! What a creative lady - thanks for sharing!

One Wee Bird said...

Quite simply stunning! I love the different shades of the background fabric too, I think it gives even more movement......the quilting must be a test of patience!!

Claire said...

I like the recent one (forgot number); thanks for the process info.

I get antsy with half inch quilting; can't imagine 1/16.

Jay said...

Great technique, Heather...thanks for sharing the how to!! I enjoyed that! I wasn't sure of all your I know! Good to see you yesterday!

Norma Schlager said...

You are so kind to share your process. I love this piece, as I do all you work.

Fort Worth Fabric Studio said...

Love this quilt! It is so modern and the quilting just adds to the overall design! You did a great job, thanks for the tutorial!

Thank you for linking up to Fabric Frenzy Friday!
Fabric Frenzy Friday

carolegoldquilts said...

I'm snooping around after hopping over from Whoop Whoop Friday, and couldn't resist a peek into your process! It's so interesting to see how people work. Thanks for sharing!

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