Friday, August 4, 2017

Leftovers in the oven

Hi all!  Can you believe it's August already?  Where is the summer going?  I even bought some school supplies this week.  Something must be wrong with me.  Maybe it's the heat.  Do you think some ice cream would help?

This week I have a small finish to show off.  I took these pictures just as it started to rain, so they don't really do the quilt justice in terms of colors.  They're much more saturated than they seem. Any spots you see are raindrops, not dirt:

This is an unexpected little quilt.  I call it "the leftovers quilt" because it is made entirely of fabrics and pieces from other projects. The starting point was obviously the blue triangles, which are leftover from the Ocean Waves quilt.  I made these in 2014, and I knew that if I put them back in a zipper bag they would never see the light of day again.  

To use them up, I thought I would use the blue and white triangles to make giant quarter square triangles.  I tried it and it was boring.  Then I tried a smaller version:

I didn't like that at all either.  Yellow to the rescue!  I love yellow and I always have a bunch of yellow pieces laying around.  I used up scraps of about 5 different yellows in this quilt top.  Along with all the blues, that makes for a lot of scrappy goodness.

All I did was use the blue triangles as they were and stitch them into quarter triangle squares with the yellows.  Once they were all trimmed to the same size, all it took was turning every other block to get the pattern shown.  I also used up the fabrics for the borders, which were also leftover pieces from other projects.  I used up every inch of the inner border fabric, and I have about 10 inches left of the outer border.   I call that a win, don't you?

This little quilt measures about 42 by 52, which is a bit on the small side.  But I actually really like it, and it turns out to be the perfect size for my office.  As with most offices, it gets pretty chilly, both in the air conditioning and in the winter.  I have a thermostat, but I suspect that it's mostly a decoration.  This will be a great quilt for my lap or for students to wrap up in.  I have some dark blue Cuddle fabric, but I don't know if I want that on the back or not.

With that little finish, we are off!  We have some vacationing to get to, including a trip to see our tiny grandson, so I will be gone for a little while, though I will be posting some things on Instagram (@academicquilter).   See you there, and I'll see you back here in about 10 days!  Enjoy August while I'm gone!

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Constellations--Light neutrals

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Constellations quilt!  This month we are using light neutrals to make a spectacular block that will really add some zip to the quilt.  If you're also constructing the quilt as we go, as I am, we are also finishing off the third row, which means we'll be finished with 3/4 of the quilt!

Here is this month's block:

Isn't that lovely? I didn't realize it would be so patriotic-looking. In my head I've been calling this the "supernova" block, but it's real name is Rising Sun, which appeared in the Dakota Farmer in 1926, and appeared in other variations as far back as 1895. This block looks complicated but it has nice sized pieces and easy units, and it goes together quickly.  I had to adapt it a little bit to fit modern methods, but it looks substantially the same as the historical block.

For my block, I used a white print for the neutral, along with some red to bring the warm colors down to this end of the quilt.  The center is quite large and would be great for a fussy cut piece if that's something you do.  Orange or yellow would also look good as an accent if you don't want to use red.

Let's get to it!


(pieces marked with a * can be oversized if that's something you do)

From the white, cut:

1 6-1/2 inch square
2 4-1/4 inch squares*
8 2 inch squares (see instructions before cutting for an alternate method)

From the red, cut:

1 4-1/4 inch square*
4 2 inch squares

From the background, cut:

1 4-1/4 inch square*
4 3-1/2 inch squares
8 2 by 3-1.2 inch rectangles (see instructions before cutting for an alternate method)

To complete the quilt section:

Cut from the background:

1 2-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch strip
1 2-1/2 by 14-1/2 inch strip


There are only three easy units to make for this block.  Let's start with the center square.  First, take the 4 red 2-inch squares and draw a line on the back of each square from corner to corner.  Arrange the squares on the corners of the 6-1/2 inch white square as shown:

Stitch on the line on the back of the red squares to "snowball" the corners of the white square.  Trim 1/4 inch from the stitching and press the red square up.

This unit should measure 6-1/2 inches square.

Next we are making some quarter triangle squares.  Take all of the 4-1/4 inch squares and cut them all (in all colors) from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles:

Arrange the triangles as shown, with white on the left and red and blue on the right:

Stitch the center seams.  You should have 4 pairs of each color.  Press to the red and blue triangles.

Arrange the pairs as shown and stitch, matching the center seam:

Press in either direction.  Each quarter triangle square should measure 3-1/2 inches square.  Trim if necessary. Make 4.

The final unit is a unit I call flags.  The flag units are made by stitching a square to one end of a rectangle, forming a triangle at the end of the rectangle.  They're very easy, but if you are nervous about making them, I suggest cutting all of the pieces 1/4 inch larger, then trimming down at the end.  (An alternate method for these units is below.)

Take the 8 white 2-inch squares and draw a line on from corner to corner on the back of each one.  Arrange the squares on the triangles as shown, with the lines facing in opposite directions.  You should have 4 squares with the line to the left and 4 with the line to the right:

I drew on this photo to enhance the lines.  My stitching is not really that messy!

Stitch right on that line, then trim 1/4 inch from the seam and flip the triangle up, making a flag unit.  Make 4 in each direction.  These flags should measure 2 inches by 3-1/2 inches.

Alternate method for flag units:

Use a 4-3/4 inch square of both the white and the blue to make 8 2-inch half-square triangles.  Arrange the hsts in the correct direction, then add a 2 inch blue square to the bottom of each hst.  These should measure 2 inches by 3-1/2 inches.

That's the end of the units!  Let's put this block together!


First, make the side pieces.  Take the quarter triangle squares and the flag units and arrange them as shown, paying special attention to the direction of the flag units.

Stitch and press in either direction.  Make 4 side pieces.

That's it!  For the final assembly, lay out the units as shown, making sure that the red accent pieces form the circle in the center of the block:

Join the units into rows and the rows into a finished block.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!

Your block should measure 12-1/2 inches square and look spectacular.  Take a small break, have a cool drink, and let's finish another part of this quilt.

To complete this quilt section:

Add the 2-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch strip to the left side of the block.  Press well, then add the 2-1/2 by 14-1/2 inch strip to the bottom of the block.  Press well.

Take the quilt section that was completed last month and join it to the Rising Sun section to make a complete row.  Make sure that there is a 2-1/2 inch strip at each end of the row.  Row 3 is complete!

Measure your new row and the larger quilt that has already been assembled.  Adjust your row at the the seam between the sections if necessary to make sure that the larger section and the row you just completed are the same.

Adjust at this seam if necessary.

Be sure to measure, because being off by just a little bit on each of those seams can make your row too long.  And who wants wrinkles stitched into their new galaxy?  I had to adjust mine by about 3/8ths of an inch.

Fold row 3 in half to find the center of the row, and mark it with a pin or chalk mark.  Fold each end to the center pin and mark at the folds as well. Do the same for the larger section. This seems like a waste of time, but the row is long and has no seams to match, so it's important to keep the new row from becoming stretched out while stitching or otherwise becoming askew.

Join the new row to the larger quilt, matching the centers, other pin marks, and the seams at the sides.  Interior seams will not necessarily match. Don't worry about this. This is what keeps the quilt from looking "blocky."  Be sure to match the seams at each end as these are a part of the first border.

Press well and do a happy dance.  75% of your quilt is complete!

Thanks for coming along on this quilt with me!  Next month we start the last row, with the big finish in sight.  Meet back here on September 5 for that exciting chapter!

Sharing at soscrappy and Let's Bee Social.

Friday, July 28, 2017

I spy something cuddly

Hi all! This has been a very busy week for me, how about you?  I did get a lot done, but somehow I still have more to do.  How does that happen?  It's like the scrap basket--the more you take out, the more there seems to be left.  Do you know what I mean?  On the upside, the heat broke for a bit, so I have been unable to fry eggs on the driveway for a few days. (Has anyone ever actually tried this?)  It's been lovely and pleasant, which is a nice change.

This week I did finish up this little lovely:

I quilted up the I Spy quilt!  When I went to take pictures of this little quilt, I planned to go to a very pretty park a little ways away from us.  Lots of shade and it's well watered so it's still really green.  On the way there it started to sprinkle, so I stopped at a different park that was closer to take pictures before the rain showed up in force.  I took some pictures on the playground equipment, and they turned out pretty well.  There were no children there because of the rain, and if there had been I probably wouldn't have done it, but it was great for a children's quilt.

To keep this little quilt cuddly, all I did was stitch in the ditch (or near the ditch) of all the blocks, including the diagonals.  It was quick and easy and felt like I made a lot of progress really fast.

In the setting triangles, I free-motioned some words! I hope they show up okay in the pictures. These are a few of the things found in the quilt, like cows, frogs, cats, etc.

I chalked in the first three words just to get started, but then I just "wrote" the words in each triangle as I went.  It was pretty easy and I was actually kind of sad when it was over.  But now my favorite tiny human will not only have a cuddly little quilt but also some of my "handwriting." I will definitely try this again on another quilt, too.  Maybe a stripe so I can keep the words straight.

I used a stripe for the binding and some cute owls on the backing.  The quilt was a little too wide for one width of fabric, so I added a strip of polka dots to fill it out.  The binding is Susie's Magic Binding, which is still awesome.  I messed up somewhere, though, in either the binding or the setting triangles, because I ended up losing most of the points on the edges.  I'm thinking that I trimmed the edges a little too closely on the sides.  Live and learn.

So that's my happy little finish, done just in time for taking to our tiny grandson.  I'm not sure he actually needs another quilt, especially at the height of summer, but what's a grandma to do?  I guess I could hang on to it for a while, but it's much too cute. I wouldn't want him to be deprived!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I am seriously looking forward to packing up and getting away from the construction zone that is the house for a little while.  I'll also be looking for some ways to eat all of these:

These are my tomatoes and a small zucchini, which is what I've gotten so far from the two plants that I have. (Those are fingerprints on the rim, not dirt!)  I'm amazed by the tomatoes, which taste like fresh air and sunshine.  I've never grown this many this early.  Hope my neighbors like tomatoes!  I've been pinching back the zucchini, too, so I hope not to get too many of them, but the first one is always great!

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Like a wave out on the ocean

Hi everyone!  Hot enough for you?  I know, it's not funny, but it was 100 degrees today with about 95 percent humidity, so my brain may be a bit foggy. These are the days when all there is to do is stay inside and have a bunch of nice cool drinks, and maybe do something non-stressful. So you don't get all sweaty, you know?

Seems like a good time for some cool blues!  This week I finished off the Ocean Waves quilt top, which I am super-happy about:

It did kind of go all limp and wrinkly when I took it out in the humidity!  I started this quilt top back in 2014, and pulled it out again recently.  To be honest, it was in a ziplock bag and I forgot all about it.  All the parts and pieces were already made,  and I already had 8 of the blocks assembled and put together into quilt sections.  I had enough pieces for a much larger quilt, but I didn't use all of them and made this smaller one instead. 

This turned out to be 46 by 66 inches, which is a nice cuddle size.  Unless the hubs falls in love with it (or one of my kids claims it) this little quilt is destined for charity after it gets quilted.  I'm amassing quite a pile of things to be quilted, so there may be a bit of a quilting marathon coming on sometime soon.

I like the way this quilt looks, but I wouldn't say that making it was fun.  There's definitely a reason why it became a UFO! There has to be a good way to make an Ocean Waves quilt, but this is not it.  Don't look too closely because there are a *lot* of missing points.  The central parts, which are made of the smaller triangles, kept stretching out and becoming distorted, especially when I pressed them, so I used a ton of Magic Sizing on them.  I used so much that I think I may want to gently hand wash this top before I quilt it because some parts of it are as stiff as paper.

Even though it wasn't especially fun, I'm glad I finished off this quilt top! One more thing out of the closet and turned into something useful.  And it is pretty, isn't it?  I have a lot of pieces left over, but I don't know what I'm going to do with all those yet.  It's possible that I'll get another small quilt out of the leftover pieces, but it won't be another one like this.

Hope everyone is staying cool!  It's a little odd to be making quilts when it's 100 degrees, isn't it?  Must be all that air conditioning going to our heads.  And where better to be when it's so hot than in a cool, happy sewing room?

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, crazymomquilts, and Oh Scrap!