Thursday, September 24, 2015

First Philly Finish

Hi everyone!  Have you had a good week?  We have had just a lovely time, but this weekend is shaping up to be just crazy.  The pope will be in town!  The road closings (including the freeway, which will be closed for 2 days) and general mayhem promise to make for a very interesting weekend. I don't have any passes to get through the security cordons, so I'll have to find some way to pass the time.  Can you think of anything I could do?

So, this week I'm celebrating my first Philadelphia finish!  Here it is:

Happy dance!  If you recall, this is my Terrestrial Star quilt, which I finished once, then finished again, and have now finally completely finished. Still can't get a picture where the blue shows up well, but I think it looks great!

This finished about 68 by 74 after quilting.  I love how it turned out!

This was long armed in an aspen leaf pattern in a green thread that matches the green in the quilt. And I zipped out a machine binding again, which only took me about an hour and a half for this whole quilt, including cutting and piecing the binding.  That is a major win in my book.

This quilt will be a gift for a friend, after it gets a wash.  I was looking for good picture places here near the condo, and found many promising places, including the little park on the property and this lovely gazebo.  I discovered after I took the picture, though, that this gazebo had been unused forever, because the dirt on those benches made the back of the quilt really filthy.  I was so sad!  My poor quilt!

I'm sure that it will wash fine, though, and very shortly be on its way to my friend.  That's my number one task for this weekend, then we may make some popcorn and watch the pope on TV.  Or maybe I'll sew!  What a novel idea!

Hope everyone has a great weekend with no traffic troubles! Happy sewing!

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

Friday, September 18, 2015


Hi everyone!  Very exciting news from here this Friday--the girls are here! The girls are here!

Good thing, too.  It was starting to get lonely around here.

Of course, I mean these girls:

Believe it or not, they almost got put into storage with my fabric, but they were rescued just in time, then finally made their way here to Pennsylvania.  Hey, everybody makes packing mistakes and ends up giving an important box to charity or tossing out their tax receipts or something.  At least I didn't do that!  These girls just got stuck in a box going the wrong way.  But it's all okay now, because they're back where they belong.

And they're here just in time to meet some of their new sisters!  I've been behind, so this week I tried hard to catch up and made both last month's and this month's dolls.  Here are the indigo girls, who are not really indigo but are at least blue:

That wild paisley skirt is actually a bit of fabric I saved from a Vera Bradley purse.  It makes a great dress!

And here are some of the orange dolls:

Yes, that girl with the candy corn dress is wearing a witch's hat. It's just how she rolls. It's a fashion choice.

And the last three sisters for this week:

Gosh, they look happy.

I am getting close to finishing up this family, so I need to start thinking about setting options.  I like the idea of them holding hands, which could almost be an "I spy" type of quilt, but I might also want to break it up so that it isn't quite so dizzying to look at all of them.  Any one have any suggestions?

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.  Along with the doll blocks, I also got a couple boxes of my scraps, which means lots of sorting and pressing in my future.  (But, oh, how happy I am to be doing it!)  I might also get to go to a quilt show, which we all know is just this side of heaven.  It's exciting just to think about!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addictsoscrappy, and Finish it up Friday.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Little tiny pieces

Hi all!  Are you ready for the weekend?  I sure am.  I have had a hard week, capped off yesterday by thunderstorms, which was nice for the temperature drop they brought, but not so nice for the traffic woes they also brought.  I can hardly wait to see what happens when the snow gets here.  That will be super-exciting, won't it?

So, because I was having a hard time, and a little homesick on top of it, I thought that I would make something simple this week.  You know, not a lot of complicated sewing, maybe something using some simple fusibles but would look fantastic, too.  Yeah, this is where I made a big mistake.

First, let me show you how it turned out, just so the pretty stuff is at the top of the post:

Kind of pretty, right?  It better be, for all the trouble it gave me.  This was a small McKenna Ryan kit.  I got a couple of them a few years ago when I was on a shopping trip with a friend and we both thought they looked easy and relaxing to make and would be pretty.  We were quite naive.

Here is what the kit looks like:

It came with detailed instructions and all the fabric needed to make the block.  Here's why I thought it would be easy and relaxing--all the pieces come pre-cut and pre-fused.  All I had to do was lay them out and fuse them, right?  Well, take a close look.  Some of those pieces are really, really tiny.

So I had this fantasy of an easy block and it quickly turned into a disturbing reality.  First, you punch out all the pre-fused pieces, which are still attached to the larger piece by tiny little tags, so I had to use little tiny scissors to cut the tags without cutting the pieces. 

Then the process calls for you to use an applique pressing sheet and assemble the major parts before they are fused to the background piece.  But at that point I had taken all the pieces apart and they were unlabeled, so I had a heck of a time figuring out how they were supposed to go together.

I peeled those babies apart several times because I couldn't figure out how they were supposed to fit together. Yes, there was a diagram.  It made very little sense to me.  I gave up more than once, but didn't want to let the stupid fabric defeat me.  Those tiny green stems almost did me in, though.

And we won't even talk about the squirrel, which may or may not have brought tears to my eyes. Did you see that the squirrel has both an eye AND a nose?
Those are not big pieces!
Anyway, I eventually figured it out, over the course of a couple of days, which was about 10 times as long as it was supposed to take, I'm pretty sure.  I'm actually kind of happy with the finished block.  My intention is to quilt it just a tiny bit, mostly outlining the pieces, and then put it in a frame, hang it, and enjoy it.  And not make another one ever.

I hope you had a much less stressful sewing week!  This weekend, I plan to sew using very big pieces and much easier construction.  And my scraps will finally get here! They've been stored for the last few weeks, but the scraps are finally coming, which will be a very happy day!

Just a cheerful flower!

Have a wonderful weekend! Happy sewing!

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Laying the floor

Hi everyone!  So, I've had enough of the heat, how about you?  Ever since we got to town it's been in the high 80s and 90s and I'm pretty used up on it.  Maybe three weeks is all the summer I can stand. Yikes!  What if I'm secretly a cold-weather person and never knew it?  At least I'll have quilts to cover up in!

So, this week I am working on the Roman Floors blocks.

Oh, how I miss the fence!

I need 72 and have about 30 now.  I also got a really beautiful black batik to use for a thin sashing between the blocks.  Here's where I need your help:  I can't decide if I want a 1/2-inch sashing or a 1/4-inch sashing.  Here's the 1/2 inch: 

I measured and that is a half-inch between the blocks.  The blocks are large, so it could work, but it looked too big to me, so I tried it with a quarter inch:

I like this better, but I'm not sure how well it fits with those big blocks.  What do you think?  Maybe I'll just split the difference and go with 3/8-inch sashing.

Boring pictures, I know!  But while I was fooling around stitching the (many) hsts for the blocks, I decided to try another block based on this floor:

I did it in pink, not orange, but this is what I came up with:

I like this a LOT.  I think I made the center square too big, though, so I need to try it again with a slightly smaller center.  It's hard to see, but there is a wrinkle where I pressed the bottom left triangle away from the square, which is what leads me to believe it's too big.  But it was fun and easy to make, so that's a plus.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to this week.  I'd love to get this floors quilt done, because I think it's going to look spectacular.  Plus, I'll be wanting something cozy to cuddle up in later this year, won't I?  It really will stop being hot sometime, won't it?  Hope springs eternal!

Hope you get some good stitches in this week!  See you Friday!

Linking to Let's Bee Social, and WIP Wednesday.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Strips with style

Hello everyone!  It's Labor Day weekend--can you believe it?  It has been a really wild summer for us and I'm not that sorry to see it wind down.  It would be a great time right now, but where we are the temperature is still in the 90s.  It's like the summer we didn't have before.  Now that we've tasted it, though, it can cool down any time.

My big finish for this week is this:

A fun liitle bargello runner!

This is a Row by Row Experience kit from Lyons Quilting in Colorado, where my husband's brother and his family live.  This little runner is destined for my sister-in-law, who wants it for a very specific place, I think.

Almost too pretty to cut up!

This is the very first time I've ever done bargello, believe it or not.  It's such a common technique that I can't believe I haven't tried it before. I thought it was pretty easy, though I did have some trouble making such a large strip set.

I've made plenty of strip sets, but this was 13 strips, which got a little unwieldy.  I found it better to alternate sewing directions with each new strip, and to press from the back instead of the front.  This made everything a lot straighter and a lot flatter.

This was a very easy technique, and I'm planning to try it again, but with a bigger pieces.  These little squares end up at 1 inch each, which is actually pretty small.

Everybody have a great Labor Day weekend.  We are planning to relax and maybe explore some of our new surroundings, if it isn't too hot.  There's nowhere for a grill or anything at the condo, so we're going to have to come up with some new traditions.

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Classic stitches--Orange

Hello all, and welcome back to the Classic Stitches row quilt!  We are getting close to the end now, with only three more rows to go.  This month's color is a bright, happy orange, and our block for this row is Dutchman's Puzzle.

Isn't it a nice block? This block is number 1339a in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia, and dates to at least 1894.  This classic block is also known as Flying Dutchman, Wheel, and Returning Swallows.  It is made with a super-easy method and stitches up quickly.

Instructions are for a 6-inch finished block.  As always, cutting instructions are given at the end for other sizes.


This block is constructed from 8 flying geese pieces.  Here I have made them using only squares, but you can use any method you like to get 8 geese that finish at  1-1/2 inches by 3 inches (so 2 by 3-1/2 unfinished).

For this block, you will need 2 4-1/4 inch squares of orange.  They can either be the same orange or a lighter orange and a darker orange.  I used the lighter and darker option.  You will also need 8 2-3/8 inch squares from a background color, shown here in white.

End of the cutting!


Mark your background squares as you would for half-square triangles, with a center line from corner to corner and stitching lines 1/4-inch away on either side:

Place 2 of the marked background squares right sides together onto an orange square, aligning the stitching lines.  These will overlap a little at the points, but that's okay.

Stitch on each stitching line, then take a deep breath and cut them apart on the center line.

Press the white pieces away from the orange, which will look something like this:

(This is why my friend Linda calls this the "heart method.")

Take another marked background square and arrange it on the "heart" piece as shown, then stitch on the stitching lines and cut apart again.

Open out and press, trim the dog ears, and you should have 4 identical geese! Make 8 geese for each block.

Once you have 8 geese, all that's left is to lay out the block and assemble!  Lay them out as shown and stitch together.

You can also arrange the pieces slightly differently to make a block called Mosaic 12, which was first published in the same period as the Dutchman's Puzzle block:

Whichever layout you choose, you can now stand back and admire your finished block!  Ten 6-inch blocks will make a 60-inch row, and 6 will make a 36-inch row.


This makes super-cute 4-inch blocks.  For that option, cut 2 3-1/4 inch squares of orange and 8 1-7/8 inch squares of background. Fifteen 4-inch blocks will make a 60-inch row.

For an 8-inch finished block, use 2 5-1/4 inch squares of orange and 8 2-7/8 inch squares of background.  Assemble as above. Seven blocks plus some sashing strips will make the 60-inch row.

For 10-inch blocks, use 2 6-1/4 inch squares of orange and 8 3-3/8 inch squares of background.  Assemble as above.

For a 12 inch finished block, cut 2 7-1/4 inch pieces of orange and 8 3-7/8 inch squares of background.  Or make 4 6-inch blocks and set them together into one 12-inch block.  Look what happens when you do that:

A pretty nifty star forms there in the center.  It's almost like magic.

For another variation, you can always switch the colors to have white geese and an orange background, which would be quite striking.

Another color possibility is open to you if you opt to make geese in a more conventional way using rectangles and squares or triangles.  Piece the right "wing" of 4 of the geese in another color to make a pinwheel within a pinwheel.  It would look something like this (this is an illustration and is not stitched):

If you are not making the row quilt but want to make a few orange blocks to go into a quilt, look at how terrific these look with the blue blocks from last month:

Have fun making the Dutchman's Puzzle blocks and come back on October 6 for our next-to-last row!

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