Friday, October 13, 2017

A start instead of a finish

Hi everyone, and a happy Friday the 13th to you all!  Fun fact--several of my brothers and sisters and I all got married in October, and today is my brother's 16th anniversary, and another brother had a 26th yesterday.  (Others coming up, too, believe it or not.) Ours was last week (not saying how many decades) and we went on a small trip to go hiking and generally get away.  I didn't cook for four whole days!  What can I say--he knows the way to my heart! (A really pretty picture from our hike is at the end of this post.)

I know Fridays are supposed to be for finishes, but I didn't make that rule, so this week instead of finishing something I went ahead and started something new:

Yikes, that's a little busier than originally expected! This is the start of a new medallion quilt, which I started with an orphan block that has been laying around here for quite some time.  The quilt group I used to belong to made Tula Pink's 100 blocks from her book City Sampler, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks in the summer of 2013. Yes, I made all 100 blocks, and then some!  The center block here is actually four copies of her block #49, which were left over from a failed experiment.  Some day I'll show off the Tula quilts, but for today it looks great as a medallion center.

I have no real plan for this quilt right now except to make it colorful, use up some scraps, and have some fun with it.  There are three rounds here right now-- a first round with a pale yellow border and squares at the corners, a round of quarter square triangles, and a plain border of a black and white print just to break it up a small bit.  It measures 24-1/2 inches square right now.

Round one!

I'm not too sure how I feel about the rounds so far.  I feel like the first round should have been non-pieced in order to make the quarter squares stand out a little more.  I made the interior quarters of the squares all out of a (different) black and white print, but I think that gets lost a bit.  Maybe I'll try changing the first round, or maybe I'll just leave it until I've finished a few more rounds.

Speaking of which, what should I do for the next round? Flying geese? Birds in the air? Teeny half-square triangles? The good part is that there is no way I can fail at this, so it will just be fun.  If you look at antique medallion quilts, they're all over the place in terms of rounds and spacing and blank space, so there really are no rules.

And here's the picture from our weekend:

This was a waterfall near the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania.  It was a very overcast day, but we hiked up anyway and it turned out to be great. We had a wonderful time!

Hope you all have a great weekend.  If it doesn't rain, there is more yardwork in my future.  All the vegetables are out, but the flowers still need to be cleaned up, and everything else too.  I'm finding myself somewhat anxious for the first frost--to kill off the bugs! Know what I mean?

(I updated this post Friday morning to add in better photos.)

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and Oh Scrap!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Flinging some strings

Hi everyone! How was your week?  Okay, so I said last Friday that it was the last gasp of summer, but today I have the very last of the summer quilts to show off.  I'm so happy to have these done, and they're just in time for cooler weather, too.  Plus they're both scrap quilts, so they got a bunch of pieces out of my sewing room, which is always a win in my book.

This summer I made not one, but *two,* string quilts from Amanda Jean Nyberg's book No Scrap Left Behind, and now they're both finished!  Here they are:

Don't they look happy together?  Both are made from different leftovers of floral fabrics, which I am happy to tell you are now all used up.  Glad to have those old pieces used up!  I also used bindings from the basket of bindings that I've made from leftovers and the cutoffs from old backings, so every bit of these quilts are scrappy.

The first quilt is called Start of Summer, and was made from the Scrap Happy Rails pattern.  This quilt was really easy to make.  The pattern in the book is for a queen quilt, but it's very easy to adjust the size if you want to.  It uses a *lot* of strings, so be ready if you want to make this one.

I call the second quilt Crosswalks, and it is made from the June quilt pattern, which is also in the book and was a quilt along hosted by Amanda Jean on crazymomquilts.  This one is kind of hard to photograph because the colors are so light.  They are softer florals than the Start of Summer quilt, but in person they are just perfect.  If you look in the bottom right corner, I appliqued in a little bird that was left over from another project, too.

Both of these quilts make me really happy.  I'm so pleased with how they turned out, and I'm sending them off to two of my nieces, who will love them and use them, I'm sure.

Another reason to be really happy about these quilts is that they were quilted by my friend Diane Minkley, who has a new quilting business! Diane does beautiful quilting!  She's done a lot of quilts for me and her work is just great.  Her prices are really reasonable and she does both pantos and custom quilting.  Congratulations on the new business, Diane!  I'm so excited for you!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  This weekend is our anniversary, so you know what that means-- no cooking for me!

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazymomquilts, and Oh Scrap!.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Constellations quilt!  We are almost done-- this is our second-to-last block!  The color for this month is pink, which is one of my favorite colors, so I've got a lot of pink scraps.  I've got a granddaughter on the way, too, so there is sure to be lots more pink in my future.  Here is our block:

This is one of the more modern variations of a block called Clay's Choice, which dates back to the 1920s.  It makes beautiful sparkling stars that are very easy to construct.  This month's block would also be a good place to use up some of the leftover small pieces of background fabric that I'm sure you have floating around. 

Let's make some stars!


For this quilt section, we need to make 4 6-inch stars.  The first column gives the cutting directions for one star, and the second column is for 4 stars in case you are using one fabric for all four.  An alternate method for making the diamonds is given in the instructions but not included in the cutting directions.

From the background, cut:

For one star:                                                       For 4 stars:

8 2-inch squares                                                    32 2-inch squares
4 2 inch by 3-1/2 inch rectangles                        16 2 inch by 3-1/2 inch squares

From the pink, cut:

4 2 inch by 3-1/2 inch rectangles                         16  2 inch by 3-1/2 inch rectangles

To complete this quilt section, cut from the background:

2 4-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangles
1 2-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch strip
1 2-1/2 by 18-1/4 inch strip
1 2 by 14-1/2 inch strip

On to construction!


There is just one unit to make for these stars, a diamond-shaped unit.  Making the diamonds the way I've described here is easy and quick and saves time and seams, but there is an alternate method given at the end of these instructions if you want a different way to make them using half-square triangles.  If you want to try this method but are nervous about it, cut everything 1/4 to 1/2 inch larger and trim down to the correct size at the end.

First, take all of the 2-inch background squares and draw one line from corner to corner on the back:

Take one of these squares and place it on a 2 by 3-1/2 inch rectangle, right sides together.  Be sure that one end of the line on the background square is in the upper right corner of the pink rectangle.  Stitch on the line, then flip the resulting triangle up and press.

To complete the diamond, place another triangle on the bottom of the same pink rectangle, making sure to match the angle of the top triangle.  This means that the end of the line on the background square should be in the bottom left of the pink rectangle. 

Stitch on the line, flip down the triangle, and press.  These should measure 2 by 3-1/2 inches.

That's it--your diamonds are done!

Alternate method:

Cut a 4-3/4 inch square from both the background and the pink fabric for each star, then use these squares to make 8 half-square triangles using the Magic 8 method.  Arrange the hsts to make a diamond shape, then stitch the center seam to join them.   These should measure 2 by 3-1/2 inches.


Take the 2 by 3-1/2 inch background rectangles and join them to the right sides of the diamond units you just made:

Press to the background.

Lay out these units as shown:

Join into rows and the rows into a block, making sure that the  pink points meet in the center.  And just like that, we have a star!

Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!

Make 4 stars, then let's put them together into our second-to-last quilt section.  Onward--

To complete this quilt section:

Gather the background pieces from the cutting step.  To start, choose two of the stars and stitch them together, matching the seams as necessary.

Take this two-star unit and add the 2-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch to the left side.  Press to the background strip.

Halfway there!  Take the remaining two stars and add the 4-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangles to one side of each.  Press to the background pieces.

Stitch the two units you just made together at the center, putting the large background piece to the left on the top and the right on the bottom so that one star will be separated from the three others.  None of the seams will match, so don't stress over that.

Join the two sections and press well in either direction, then add the 2-1/2 by 18-1/4 inch strip to the bottom of the block.  Press to the background strip.  Finally, add the 2 by 14-1/2 inch strip to the right side of the section.  Press well, stand back, and admire!

This section should measure 14-1/2 by 19-1/2. Add this section to the orange section completed last month to add to the final row.

Wahoo!  We have just one more section to go before the quilt center is complete.  Here is how the center is looking so far:

This is going to be a great quilt!  I hope yours is coming along well.  Some people have expressed a desire to have the quilt completed for Christmas, but the first Tuesday in November isn't until the 7th.  To help with this, I'll post the final block on Wednesday, November 1, instead of the 7th.  Meet back here then for the last block and section!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC17.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Summer's last stand

Hi all! It's the end of another hot, hot week here.  It started out okay, but it has been over 90 degrees for the last several days. It's like summer has refused to give up and is hanging on for dear life.  If it dials back the heat just a little bit, I'm happy to let it stay.  Stick around, summer--we love you!

Anyway, this put me in a summer kind of mood this week, and I finally finished off the Sewcial Bee Sampler from Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland!

This quilt was super hard to get good pictures of because in addition to it being really warm, it was also very windy. It almost became a very colorful sail:

This was a sew along that began in February and ran all summer.  For the blocks I used a fat quarter bundle called Fresh Market from Riley Blake that I got as a gift.

This was wonderful fabric and I really loved the colors.  My biggest problem was running out of some of the fabrics I wanted to use.  There was a tiny orange and yellow print that I used for several backgrounds that I really liked, but I used it all up.  That's a good thing, right?  My quilt top is about 74 inches square with a 3-1/2 inch white border.  I think I have *just* enough of the black prints left over to do a scrappy "magic" binding, which will look awesome with that border.

For the block frames, I used Kona cotton solids in Goldfish, Buttercup, Soft Pink, Cabbage, and Bahama Blue.  I think Bahama Blue may be my new favorite, and Cabbage sounds awful but it's a really nice, useful green.  The intro to the sew along included a coloring page, so I planned out the colors of the block frames in advance.  I wish that I had planned the use of the fabric colors for the blocks too, but I wasn't thinking that far ahead.

I'm thinking of calling this the California quilt. Look at those prints!  Don't they just scream sunshine and beaches?  I really am looking forward to getting this all quilted up in the dead of winter when it's hard to remember what warm weather feels like.

Speaking of warm weather-- there is a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico right now in the wake of hurricanes Jose and Maria.  I've been to that beautiful island, and it is magnificent.  It hurts my heart to see it in such terrible straits.  Many of the places we enjoyed while we were there have been completely destroyed. If you are so inclined, please consider making a donation to help those warm, wonderful Americans rebuild their lives. HERE is a good list of reputable places to donate if you need it.  Thanks for considering a donation. They could certainly use all the help they can get.

Okay, enough of the soapbox! Hope everyone has a great weekend.  It's actually supposed to cool off some and you know what that means-- yard work.  Hope you have something happier planned!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and crazymomquilts.