Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Problem child

I hope you all had a wonderful first weekend of summer!  Ours was quite nice.  I'm happy to tell you that our experiments with various Philadelphia treats were generally successful.  Water ice is a kind of creamy snowcone-like frozen dessert.  They can also make it into a slushy drink, which is definitely what I would recommend.  

So, raise your hand if you have ever made a bad color choice on a quilt.  Good to know I'm not alone! I made a bad color choice and have been correcting it for the last week or so, and will be for a little while longer.  What else was there to do?  Here is the original block:

The back story:  My daughter got married in April and I am making a quilt for their wedding present.  This is what I've been doing "in the background" for a while now, which is why there have been so many small projects posted lately.  I haven't wanted to show it until it's all done, and they haven't seen it yet. The kids chose the Eureka pattern for their quilt, which is made log cabin style:

To choose colors, we spent some time with the Hoffman color panel. It worked great!  I am never cutting this panel up! I bought fabric and got to work.

The pattern is really well organized and very easy to follow, though it does have a few quirks.  You'll probably want to make the triangles differently, for example.  Although the design looks complicated, the blocks are easy to make and the pattern is very detailed. (My only tiny problem with it is that there will be bias edges on some of the blocks along the perimeter of the quilt, but I plan to stay-stitch the edges anyway, so it's not a big deal.)

The pattern calls for 4 "creams" as backgrounds, but I decided to go ahead and use all one color for the backgrounds.  That was my bad decision.  I made a bunch of blocks (not all!) and you can see that they turned out to be pretty bland.  I knew there was something wrong but couldn't put my finger on it.

Yep, it was the decision to use the same color for all of the backgrounds.

So, what to do but get some more fabric and grab the seam ripper?  This is the new block:

The ripping has been zero fun, but I think it's totally been worth it. (And yay! I get to stitch miters again!)  I chose the deeper yellow to match their wedding flowers, and together the whole mass of blocks reminds me a lot of the bouquets.  Adding the yellow also gives the quilt a lot more life.

I'm a lot happier with this quilt now, and I bet they will be too!  I know there's a lot of ripping to do, but there really aren't a lot of changes to be made, so they can be stripped in pretty easily.  Still no fun, but there's a big payoff in the end.

May your color choices all be perfect so you don't have to follow in my footsteps!  I'm off to rip some more!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Double friendship

Summer has suddenly arrived!  It was more than 90 degrees on Thursday and it's supposed to be hot all weekend.  Last Saturday it was chilly enough to wear a sweatshirt, but not this weekend!  Plus, we were having a really bad air quality day.  In fact, I don't know if I've ever seen air quality numbers that bad, but I am assured by people who should know that it's going to get worse as the summer goes on.  Should be exciting, no?

With the heat and the bad air, what else was there to do but stitch up a few things?  Here's the big finish for this week:

A decent, if sunny, substitute for a clothesline!

Friendship stars, set on point!  The blocks came from a swap that I did with one of my quilt groups last year, so none of the blocks were made by me.  But I finally put them all together into a quilt that is a little different from the usual friendship stars. I think it loses something in this layout because the connections between the blocks just aren't that prominent.

Since these were all solids, the rules for the swap called for gray "ribbons" in each block.  Who knew there were so many different gray solids?  I used Kona Ash for the setting triangles and corners, which I think looks pretty good. A little light in the picture, but pretty good otherwise.

Why is this post called "double" friendship?  Because:

Yes, that is a gigantic tree!

I made two quilts from the stars!  The larger one at the top of the post measures 76 by 85, a nice lap size.  The smaller one measures about 42 by 42, a good baby size.

I was originally planning to donate both of these quilts, but now I'm feeling a little anxious about that.  I didn't make these blocks, and it's stunning how different the interpretations of a quarter-inch seam are.  At first I started redoing some of the ones that I thought were really off, but then I ended up just giving in and tugging here and easing there so that most of the points and seams would match.  It took a LOT of Magic Sizing to get the larger quilt to lay flat.  I guess I will have to quilt them up and see what I think.  Solids are nice, but they are very unforgiving!

Speaking of quilting these up, it's just about time for a quilting marathon day around here.  There are a bunch of things all piled up and waiting their turns through the machine.  If the air is going to be that bad, I think I should plan many indoor activities.  Time to start piecing together some batting for all these tops.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  We are planning to go to a state park and maybe to a historical site, too.  If we don't melt!  And can breathe!  Plus there's this Philadelphia treat called water ice that we're planning to try.  Can't be too bad if it's hot and the drinks are icy, right?

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and crazymomquilts!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Bonus Block 1

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Intricate Stitches block of the month quilt!  In order to have 12 blocks for this quilt, we have to double up on blocks for a couple of months.  This is one of those months!

Here's today's block:

This is a block of many names.  I found it as The Hunt, a 1939 block from the Farm Journal.  It's also sometimes known as Black Beauty and is just a tiny bit different from Nancy Cabot's Blackford's Beauty.  If you want to know more, this is number 1983 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia.  This is a really easy block and doesn't take nearly as long as some of the other Intricate Stitches blocks.

Let's get to it!


For this block you will need a darker color and a background color.  I know the RSC color for this month is green, but I wasn't feeling it, so I chose this lovely blue-purple.  I think it looks really good in just two colors, but you could substitute a different color to emphasize the interior star if you'd like.  My background is a plain Kona white.

From the purple, cut:

1 16-1/2 by 2 inch strip OR 2 8-1/2 by 2 inch strips
1 3-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch strip
4 2 inch by 3-1/2 inch rectangles
16 2 inch squares

From the background, cut:

1 16-1/2 by 2 inch strip OR 2 8-1/2 by 2 inch strips
1 2 inch  by 8-1/2 inch strip
8 2 inch by 5 inch strips
1 3-1/2 inch square

That's it for the cutting!

Make the units:

This block has only 2 units!  The first one is the 4-patch units.  First, take the 16-1/2 inch purple and white strips and join them on the long edge to make a long strip set. Press.  Cut into 8 2-inch segments, then join them together to make 4 4-patches.  These should measure 3-1/2 inches. (Sorry that I didn't get pictures, but you know what a strip set looks like!)

Take the purple 3-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch strip and the white 2 by 8-1/2 inch strip and join them along the long side to make another strip set. Cut this into 4 2-inch segments. Add the 2 by 3-1/2 inch rectangles and the units you just cut as shown to finish the 4-patch units:

This unit is done!  These should measure 5 inches square.

The second unit to make is what I'm calling double-flag units.  These essentially are chevrons made with strips and squares, but these are very easy with no weird cutting of the white strips.  Start by drawing a line from corner to corner on the back of each of the 2-inch purple squares.  Now take the 5-inch white strips and place the squares on each strip as shown:

Notice that the lines on each strip go in the same direction.  You'll need 4  pieces where the lines angle to the left and 4 where they angle to the right.  Stitch on the drawn lines, trim, and press.  Pro tip:  don't cut until you check to be sure that the stitched lines are in the proper direction!

This should give you 4 of each of these strips:

Join one "left" and one "right" to make a complete unit.  Make 4.

That's it for the units!


This could not be simpler.  Lay out the units you've made, plus the remaining 3-1/2 inch square, as shown:

Join into rows and then join the rows into a beautiful finished block!

That's it!  Your block should measure 12-1/2 inches square to finish at 12 inches in the quilt.  Here's the blocks for the quilt so far:

It;s turning out even better than I expected! Hope you have an easy time with your bonus block.  Come back on June 7 (eep!) for another exciting block.

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and soscrappy for RSC16.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Making it up as I go

Ever have one of those days when you have so many projects going on that you can't decide which one to work on, so you end up working on nothing?  Yeah, I've had those, too!  I almost had one this week, in fact.  I have a lot of unfinished stuff laying around here and I organized it all and then couldn't decide which one to take on first.

Thankfully, I have had this same problem before, so I knew the best thing to do was just grab whatever was closest and start stitching.  That's how I ended up working on the 1-1/2 inch square project.  In the process of stitching up more blocks I also figured out how I plan to set them:

Yep, this will be it!  As you can see, the first thing I did was put a 1-1/2 inch white strip around the 100-patch blocks.  This stabilized all the little seams on the edges of that block and also meant that there would be no nightmare scenarios that would involve matching all those seams from block to block.  (Can you imagine?)

I had played around with having strips of alternating white and colored squares surrounding each block, but it turns out that all those strips of squares are really stretchy!  Plus I had this thing about making sure all the seams matched up with the seams in the block, even though they were separated by that solid white.  Talk about crazy-making!  So I gave up on that and went with just the squares in the corners.  That way I'll still get to use up some more of the eleventy-billion squares I have and I'll get this cool pattern:

Is that cool or what?  If I use 4-patches as cornerstones with some white sashing, I'll use up even more squares and have a super-cool secondary pattern too.  And I am all about the super cool secondary pattern!  For some reason I hate making 4-patches, but I'll do it for this.

These blocks are actually going pretty quickly, considering.  The hard part is sorting out all the colors:

I know I should have sorted them all at once, but I did start out with about 12,000 of these babies, and that's a lot to sort through!

I don't know how many of these blocks I'll eventually make or how big the quilt will be, but I'm pretty sure it will look good, and I'm having a good time making it, even if it is a mess:

Hope you all are having a good time making fun messes too!  It's still raining almost every day and it's pretty cold for May, and I have no garden, so I expect to get a bunch of sewing time in this week.  At least I hope that's how it goes--you know what happens with sewing plans!

Linking to Let's Bee Social and Oh Scrap!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Grandma's gone green

Wow, I am feeling a lot better now!  Yesterday I cleaned the kitchen, made some blond brownies, scrubbed the tub, and then I sewed for several hours!  I feel like a real person again, and since it's been raining for something like 15 out of the last 17 days, all of that seems like it was a grand idea.

Of course, the first things I stitched up were these:

Green Grandma's blocks!  I braved a break in the weather to take a picture among the other green and growing things, but I didn't dare take the rest of them outside.  I'm sure they would have blown away and ended up in the street somewhere, in a puddle. 

Because I need 30 blocks for the quilt, I made a lovely light purple one too:

The accent color for this month was supposed to be brown, but I just can't face brown right now, plus I always think green and purple look really good together. It looks kind of gray in the picture, but I promise that it's really lavender.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  I think I'm going to make some chocolate chip cookies and then go back to the machine.  There are so many things to sew!

Yep, it was wet outside!

Linking up with Angela at soscrappy for RSC16!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Shopping spree

Whew!  I am done with exams!  I feel like I've just come up from underground.  Anything interesting happen while I was buried under paper in my office?

Now that I don't have to drive 40 to 45 minutes one way twice a day (to go 11 miles!  Midwesterners, this is why people on the East coast are so cranky), I am so looking forward to getting in some serious sewing time.  I've already decided that there will be no "dining room" table in the condo for a while.  I'm getting fabric out and leaving it out and making a mess. 

Because I was reading approximately 100,000 papers, I did almost no sewing this week!  No wonder I feel antsy!  Well, I did make a small bag, but then I forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it away to a friend.  All I have a picture of is the fabric:

Believe me, it turned out to be a lovely little triangular bag.

So that I could maintain my sanity, I occasionally took a small break and bought some fabric.  Okay, maybe I took a few more breaks than I should have, because I bought a bunch of stuff.  Here are some of the best treasures:

Rainbow fat quarters!  Those are sure to cheer anyone up.

These are some Allison Glass fat quarters that were on sale, along with another set that I thought were pretty.  I have a bunch of the Moda 12-pack patterns and I think it might be fun to make some of those up this summer.  Because, you know, I don't have enough projects that need finishing.

I also bought these random fat quarter stacks:

The two on the left are Angela Walters fabric and the other is just some happy-looking batiks.  No real plans for these, but they were too pretty to resist.

I also got this kit from Craftsy:

It came with a pattern, but I really just got the kit for the fabric.  Look at all those yummy polka dots! It was on clearance, too, so it was a really good value.

I also got some more hand dyed fabric and Lara Bucella's new book, Crafted Applique, but I didn't get a picture of either of those.  Maybe I'll use them together! I've only paged through the book so far, but there are some fun projects in there.

So I've pretty much used up my fabric budget for a while, but I got lots of fun fabric to play with. That's my plan for the weekend, after I take a nap.  I also plan to get some potted plants for this little tiny patio, just to make it a little more cheerful.

Hope you get some stitches in!  Have a nap first--they're fun!

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Green

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Intricate Stitches quilt!  This month's color is a deep green, which I have to admit I was just not feeling right now, but I think I've chosen an okay block for this month:

It's been raining all week, so I apologize for the somewhat gray pictures!

This is Triangle Star, a block from the 1920s.  This is #2243 in Barbara Brackman's encyclopedia and is usually made in just two colors.  However, I just had to toss in a second green to liven it up a tiny bit.  You could just do away with the second green and make those pieces white instead.  Or heck, choose another color altogether and make those pieces in that color.  I suggest a really bright fuschia. :)

Let's get going--


From the white, cut :
     4 3-1/2 inch squares
     4 2-1/2 inch squares
     36 1-1/2 inch squares
     8 1-7/8 inch squares

From the first green (the dominant green) cut:

     2 3-1/4 inch squares
     8 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 rectangles
     32  1-1/2 inch squares
     8 1-7/8 inch squares

From the second green (the accent color) cut:

     1 4-1/2 inch square
     4 1-7/8 inch squares

Done!  On to construction!  When making ths block, use your best judgment about how to press the seams.  I always press toward the dark or toward the least-pieced side.  There are a lot of seams here, so press so that there is the least bulk in the seam and things lay flattest.  

Make the units:

I don't know how anyone in the 1920s made this block, but like almost all the blocks with many pieces, this block can be broken up into a number of smaller and more familiar units.  All of these units are super-easy to make but may be smaller than you're used to.  Just take it slow and you'll be putting this block together in no time.

Half-square triangles:

This block needs 24 half-square triangles that finish at 1 inch.  Don't be scared!  For a size this small I like to make what I call "cheater" hsts.  It wastes a little bit of fabric, but it's well worth it for the aggravation it saves.  To make cheater hsts, take 24 of the white 1-1/2 inch squares and draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each one.  Pair these up with the green 1-1/2 inch squares and stitch right on the line.

Cut 1/4 inch away from the stiched line, open up, and press.  This should give you 24 perfect 1-1/2 inch hsts.  Put these aside for now.

Flying geese:

You'll need 8 flying geese that will finish at 1 by 2 inches in the block.  Use the green 3-1/4 squares and 8 1-7/8 white squares to make the flying geese using the "heart" method.  (found HERE)

Geese should measure 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 inches.

House units:

You'll need 4 "house" units for this block.  Use the 2-1/2 inch white squares and 8 1-1/2 green squares to make this unit.  Draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each green square.  Place these as you would to make a flying goose unit, stitch, trim, and press.  Make 4 houses.

Flag units:

These are super-easy, but make sure that you place the white squares properly.  Take the 8 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 inch green rectangles and the 8 white 1-1/2 inch squares.  Draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each of the white squares.  Place the squares on the ends of the green rectangles as shown:

Stich on the line, trim, and press.  Make 8 of these flag units, 4 with the triangles to the left and 4 with triangles to the right.

Square in a square units:

Last pieces! You should have the 4 1-7/8 inch squares of the accent green left.  Take those and the remaining 1-7/8 inch green squares.  Cut the dark green squares each in half once to make 2 triangles.

Take 4 of the resulting triangles and add them to the sides of the accent square to make a square in a square unit.  Make 4.

That's a lot of units!

Now that they're finished, it's time for assembly.



Take the 3-1/2 inch white squares, the 24 tiny half-square triangles, and the 4 1-1/2 inch white squares.  Lay them out as shown:

Notice that the long sides of the green triangles touch the large white triangle.  Stitch up 4 of these units.

Side units:

First, take the flag units and the flying geese and stitch them together as shown.  Notice that these are mirror images of each other.

Make 4 each.

Next, take the square in a square units and the house units and stitch them together as shown.  It may help to use a pin through the points so that they match while stitching.

Make 4 of these units.

Take the pieces you've just assembled and stitch them together as shown.  Again, some pins may help to match the points.

Make 4 of each of these side units.

Time for final assembly!  Lay out the units as shown, stitch into rows, and then join the rows together into a block.

Give it a good final press and stand back and admire your beautiful block!

We are almost halfway through the blocks!  Here is the set so far:

May is a two-block month so that we'll end up with 12 blocks at the end of the RSC challenge in November, so come back on May 24 for a second block.  It may or may not be green, but I promise that one will be very easy!

As always, if you've made some blocks and have some pictures, I'd love to see!

Sharing at  Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC16.