Friday, August 28, 2015

Finished moving!

Hello everyone!  Here's my big finish for this week--we are finished moving!  Can you say hallelujah?  We are finally into a rented condo and are starting to feel like real humans again.  Yesterday I even cooked.  It was a moving miracle.  And classes have started and along with them my new job, which I like very much so far.  I totally fail at moving, but things are starting to look up.

Now that we are finished with that, I am really ready to get back into a sewing routine again.  I did have another go at the breakfast room, but I've also been doing some handwork.  Take a look at these:

Hand applique!  Who would've guessed I had it in me? These were back-basted, which I've never done before, but I think they're turning out okay.  I just need to add leaves to all of them and then I can sew them into the rest of the pattern.  Don't worry, I'm sewing the rest of the quilt by machine!  I might also put the rest of the leaves on by machine, but we don't want the quilt police coming around, so don't tell anyone, okay?

There is also this piece, which I have been working on for literally years:

I honestly don't know where to go with this now.  I have some hexies basted for the corners and partial flowers for the end, but after that I think I'm finished with it.

Finally, before I left a friend gave me this bag of little bits:

The quilt shop sells these bags really cheap because they're the really little pieces left after they cut up strip packs and other pre-cuts.  I sorted them out and kept only the pieces that are bigger than 3/4 inch.  Yep, that's really tiny!

I think there are some string blocks in my future, don't you?  Seems like a good way to warm up the machine in its new home.

Everybody have a great weekend.  We are still unpacking and getting things set up, and some time very soon I need to go looking for a new quilt shop.  Anyone out there near Philadelphia, please let me know where to look!

Happy sewing! Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict  and Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hello again!

Hi folks!  I am insanely happy to see you all again! We have had a wild ride for the last couple of weeks, including a literal wild ride from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania that included a night in a hotel where they forgot to tell us (and a whole bunch of other folks, too) that they were shutting off the water at 5 am.  Just ponder all that that means for a while.  At least we weren't as bad off as the families with kids!

Here's the other part of the wild ride--we are STILL in a hotel and will likely be until Monday, which is the day classes start.  My first impression of PA has not been really welcoming, I'll tell you.  I've never been asked to prove I'm not a criminal so many times. And, yes, I know your horn works.

Anyway, in the middle of all this chaos I was missing my machine so much that I finally asked if it was okay for me to use the breakfast room at the hotel for a couple of hours.  No one cared, so I whipped up these:

These are friendship stars for the months-long swap I'm doing with friends.  These make me so happy! It felt so great to sit at the machine again. It's like I have my soul back or something.

In addition to these happy stars, I've been working on some hexies and some hand quilting.  I have no pictures, though, so I'll try to get some for next time. 

Just so we have some more pictures, here is a very good thing about Pennsylvania:

This campus has flowers everywhere.  I've been scouting out good quilt-picture-taking places, which is something I didn't have on my last campus.

And here's a gratuitous campus picture:

Very collegiate, no?  This is the view from my side of campus, and every time I see this I think "I'm Batman."  Clearly, I need to settle down and remind myself that I am a very serious scholar.

Anyway, I'm back, and it feels so good! I may have a little trouble posting on a regular schedule for a couple of weeks, because at some point we will move in to a rental, but at least I am working on something other than moving.

Oh, and here's another thing that happened while I was away--this post became the most popular one I've ever had, with more than 3,000 page views for that post alone!  Somebody want to clue me in to what happened there, or did Blogger have a glitch?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Everybody have a great sewing week.  I'm going to try to sneak in some more time in the breakfast room, and something really fun may come out of that. 

Linking to Let's Bee Social, and WIP Wednesday. and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Classic Stitches--Indigo

Hi all, and welcome back to the Classic Stitches row quilt!  We are somewhere in transit right now, but this month's block won't wait!  (Thanks to everyone for your good wishes, by the way!)  The color for this month is indigo, gray, or black.  I don't have much of any of those colors, so I am using blues that tend toward royal blue for my row.  This block looks great in any color or even a mixture of colors, so grab whatever scraps you'd like to use up and let's get to it!

Here is our block for this month:

This block is traditionally know as True Blue. In her Civil War Sampler book, Barbara Brackman notes that this block dates to the Union side of the Civil War, whose supporters were "true blue." This block pattern was published in a book by Ruth Findley in 1929.  It is constructed of two very simple smaller blocks, with the particular arrangement of the parts giving the block its striking effect.  It goes together really quickly, which should kind of make up for last month's very "piecey" block.

Instructions are given for a 6-inch finished block.  Instructions for other sizes and variations are given at the end.


For one 6-inch finished block, you will need a background and your focus color.  In this case, I am using a royal blue.  From the blue, cut 2 2-7/8 inch squares and EITHER one 1-1/2 inch by 13 inch strip OR 8 1-1/2 inch squares.

From the background color, cut one 2-1/2 inch square, 2 2-7/8 inch squares, and EITHER one 1-1/2 by 13 inch strip OR 8 1-1/2 inch squares.

That's it for the cutting!


First, use the 2-7/8 inch squares to make 4 half-square triangles that measure 2-1/2 inches to finish at  2 inches in the quilt.

That's all for the first block unit!

Next, use either the 1-1/2 inch strips or the 1-1/2 inch squares to make 4-patches that measure 2-1/2 inches to finish at 2 inches square in the quilt.

If using the strips, stitch the blue and the background together along the long edge, then press toward the blue.  Cut into 1-1/2 inch segments and then assemble into 4-patches.

And that's the second block unit!

All that's left is to lay out the block as shown and assemble.  Pay special attention to the orientation of the 4-patches because it's easy to get them turned around:

See? Easy-peasy! Seriously, these blocks go very quickly and look terrific. If you aren't making the row quilt, this would make a great alternate block in any quilt.  Ten 6-inch blocks will make a 60-inch row, and 6 will make a 36-inch row.


There are a lot of color variations for this block.  First, you could switch the colors and make white blocks on a blue background.  (To do this, just replace the center white square with a blue one and turn the other pieces around.  Really easy!)

Another possibility is making the 4-patches in one color and the hsts in another color.  I did this for the 12-inch block--see the picture below.  Other variations are given in the Brackman book, which is completely worth checking out. (From the library--get it?)

Make a Prairie Queen variation, which uses the same units but has a solid center square:

This is from an older quilt of mine.  Always save your old pictures!

For a 7-1/2 inch finished block, cut 2 3-3/8 inch squares and 8 1-3/4 inch squares from the blue, and one 3 inch square, 2 3-3/8 inch squares, and 8 1-3/4 inch squares from background.  Assemble as above.  I chose to make my row from 7-1/2 inch squares, and 8 of them will make a perfect 60-inch row.

For a 9-inch finished block, cut 2 3-7/8-inch squares and 8 2-inch squares from blue, and one 3-1/2-inch square, 2 3-7/8 inch squares, and 8 2-inch squares from a background color.  Assemble as above.

For a 12-inch finished block, cut 2 4-7/8 inch squares and 8 2-1/2 inch squares from blue and one 4-1/2 inch square, 2 4-7/8 inch squares, and 8 2-1/2 inch squares from background.  Assemble as above.  Or make 4 6-inch blocks and combine them into one 12-inch block. This is what I did for my 12-inch block:

This block turned out okay (yes, I see the misalignment, thanks. I promise to fix it.), but I am not really happy with it.  I think the block pattern got lost with the color changes.  I'm not unhappy enough to remake it!  Exchanging the white centers for blue ones might be in the cards, though.

I confess that with the move I have fallen behind, but I promise that finishing my row is tops on my list.  Meanwhile, here are my two blocks together:

See what I mean about the pattern differences that come from the color choices?  Live and learn!

Have fun making your True Blue row, no matter which color you choose to use, and come on back September 1 (!!) for the next block. Happy sewing!

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and at soscrappy for RSC15.