Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Just for fun

Hi everyone!  How's your week going?  Mine is insane.  It's time to face the facts--it's not possible to continue with the regularly-scheduled quilty projects and work *and* move at the same time.  It just is beyond the limits of normal humans.  I don't claim to be all that normal, but I did pack up most of my fabric and other sewing things this past weekend.  I had 5 boxes, which seems like a lot to me, since this is such a tiny condo.  I may have a fabric problem.

You know I just had to leave some fabric out to play with.  You know, for stress relief purposes. There's plenty of that around here right now!  So here's what I was playing with earlier:

This is a test block for a quilt I drew up for this thing that's going on on Instagram called 30 days of quilt design.  The idea is that you draw out some thing to do with quilty design for 30 days between now and the end of October.  There are prizes, too, but the exercise is what I'm really interested in.  Rachel at Stitched in Color is running this, and her post about it is HERE.  Go read it for more!

A long way of saying that this is my sketch for this quilt:

Just hsts and squares kind of mixed together.  I called this quilt design "Kissy, kissy" because all of the pieces "kiss" in the center of the block.  The colorful parts here are 8 inches square, so the larger block up at the top of the post is 16 inches square.  A few of those would make a fast quilt!

Alternate layout for the individual blocks.

These were fast, easy, and fun!  And relaxing!  Everything I want sewing to be.  I don't have a pattern or anything, but the hsts are 4-1/2 inches and finish at 4 inches, and the square sections are made up of 2-1/2 inch colorful squares, 2-1/2 inch white squares, and 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 strips.  You can make 2 blocks from 3 charm squares, if you have any matching ones,  Or non-matching!  You could make everything smaller or bigger, too, depending on how fast you'd want that quilt to come together.

Another alternate layout!

 As I said, I was just playing around.  It was relaxing.  I have some more fabric out, but realistically I probably won't get much done this week.  There are more boxes to fill and a husband to keep fed--oh, and students!  Let's not forget them!

One last thing for this post--Bernie at Needle and Foot nominated this little blog for a One Lovely Blog award!  I'll say more about this later, but many, many thanks to Bernie, who has a lovely blog that you should definitely go visit!

Everybody have a great week!  I have a post planned next week for the Intricate Stitches quilt, plus a nice finish post for the week we actually move, so I'll still be around.  And you know that I'll be reading your posts obsessively and living vicariously through you, so be sure to pet some fabric for me!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Finished or Not Friday.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Life in flux

Hi everyone! How was your week? Life around here has been crazy.  Why did we decide that a good time to move was right at the beginning of a school year, at the end of summer, and during the hottest time of the year?  I guess we are desperate to get out of this condo.

So, this week the only thing I accomplished was to catch up on the Grandma's blocks for one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  Here are the blocks in this month's colors:

Definitely grayed tones, which were not helped by the afternoon light.

When I counted my blocks, I discovered that I was 9 blocks behind, so of course I decided to make them all at once.  Why not?  There's nothing else going on, is there?  Here are the 9 that I accomplished this week:

Whoo-hoo, I'm all caught up!  At least for the next 4 days.  Some of those colors are really great, too.  The yellow and coral on the left are my favorites of this batch.

I cut all of these out at once and made them assembly-line style, and it still took me all week.  I am putting things in boxes and doing various other things in between as well.  For some reason, the hubs still wants to eat every day.  Even though I am packing up many of the pots and pans.  Can you imagine?  The nerve!

Just to congratulate myself, I laid many of the blocks out on a bed (sorry for the lumps) just to see what the quilt will look like:

I've been thinking all along that I wouldn't have sashing but would just stitch the blocks and let a secondary pattern come through.  Now I'm wavering.  What do you think?  Also. does anyone have any opinion on any missing colors?  I know we have 2 months to go, and one of those has to be a red, but I need 6 more blocks to finish it up.  Any suggestions?

Everybody have a great weekend.  It's going to be hotter than blazes here, and we'll be packing. When did we get all this stuff?  We also have to shop for appliances, so it looks to be an expensive weekend for us.  I think I may need to have a break with some ice cream or something midway through!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and soscrappy for RSC16.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Black and white

Hi everyone!  We are back from our visit to our grandson and I already miss him so much!  I'm also missing the cooler weather and the clean air, but not as much as those baby fingers!

Since we travelled this week, I didn't get a lot of sewing time, but I did manage to make up these:

As they used to say--do not adjust your set! A black block and a white block for the postage stamp quilt!  I tried laying out the 16 blocks that I had and decided that I want the quilt to be rectangular and not square, so I need 4 more blocks.

I wasn't planning to make a black block or a white one, because I was afraid that either one would be too dull and would act as a "hole" in the quilt.  I was so wrong!  These two turned out to be a couple of my favorite ones!  There is so much to look at in each of them.  I'm really glad that I went for it.

I swear to you that this block is straight!  The photo lies!

So I still have 2 more blocks to make, which means more sorting, which is frankly the worst part of the whole endeavor.  Don't know what color they'll be, but I want to wrap this up by the end of next week, because we move in 3 weeks!  No tiny pieces left behind!

I have these two little pieces left over.  I couldn't decide if they were black or white, so I left them out of both.  Where would you have put them?

In other news, I have finally joined Instagram!  I wasn't planning to, but there are some fun things happening over there that I want to participate in, so I took the plunge.  Come on over and join me @academicquilter!

Everybody have a wonderful weekend.  I have brought out the boxes and am beginning the task of packing up the condo.  This is a happy thing, right?

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Oh Scrap!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Bonus Block 2

Hi all, and welcome back to the Intricate Stitches quilt!  Today is block number 10!  Recall that the Rainbow Scrap Challenge only has 10 months this year, so we have had to double up for a couple of months so that we can have a full 12 blocks for the quilt.

Here is the second bonus block, which I made up in blue, green, and yellow:

I love this block!  This has a couple of names, the earliest of which is Kansas Star, from the Kansas City Star newpaper in 1932.  Carrie Hall, also from the 1930s, calls this Eight-point Allover.  It's number 1732a in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia.  Here is the best part of this block--it is made with 9 repeats of one unit, and the whole pattern comes from the placement of the colors.  This makes it super easy to cut and piece, which means you can knock this one out before school starts up again.  And we all know how fast that's coming!

A note about colors:  I made my block using scraps in various colors.  The success of this block depends entirely on the values of the colors chosen.  Use any colors you would like, but keep the values the same as the ones shown in this block.  Your lightest color should correspond to the yellow, with the darkest color corresponding to the dark blue.  This will make sure that the pattern in the block comes through.


There are only two sizes of pieces to cut in this quilt!

Cut 2-7/8 inch squares:                                          Cut 3-3/8 inch squares:

2 yellow                                                                    4 yellow
2 dark yellow or gold                                                  5 dark blue
4 dark green
4 bright green
6 medium blue

Cut all of the 2-7/8 inch squares in half from corner to corner to make two triangles and you are finished with the cutting!


This block uses one unit, a simple square in a square.  Take 4 of the appropriate colored triangles and add them to the edges of the 3-3/8 inch squares.  These units should be 4-1/2 inches each, to finish at 4 inches in the block.

Make one using the 4 dark yellow or gold triangles and a blue 3-3/8 inch square.  This is the center square for the block.

Make 4 using the remaining dark blue squares, 3 medium blue triangles, and one yellow triangle:

Make 4 using the yellow 3-3/8 squares, 2 of the bright greens, and 2 of the dark green triangles:

That's it!  All the units are made!


All the final assembly requires is to lay out the units as shown:

Stitch together into rows and then join the rows to make the final block.  Give it a good press and admire!

A little wrinkled from being carried in my pocket!

One tip for this block--I never advocate pressing seams open, but it helps a lot with this block to press open the final seams that join all the square in a square units.  Backstitch at the ends to be sure the seams don't pop.

Have fun with this not-very-intricate but uncommon block, and be ready for block 11 (!!) coming up on September 6.  We are racing towards the finish of this quilt!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and soscrappy for RSC16!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friends in the forest

I don't know if you all have noticed, but it is almost mid-August.  How did this happen?!  I am looking forward to the end of summer, but I didn't know it was coming so soon!  Yikes!

This weekend, the hubs and I are off on our last trip of the summer, a visit to our son, daughter-in-law, and sweet grandson.  I cannot wait to hug that baby, but that reminds me that I never did show off the quilt I finished for him:

This is Forest Friends, another pattern by Lorna McMahon.  Since our son and daughter-in-law love the outdoors, especially camping, this is a perfect quilt to get their little boy started learning some animals.

The badger does have eyes, they just blend in!

This pattern is not paper-pieced, but it did use some very small pieces.  It was not difficult, just a little putzy.  And the results are absolutely great.  I quilted this up myself using just some basic wavy lines in an antique gold thread from Connecting Threads.  It has a very cute blue flannel on the back:

I'm not sure how well those wavy lines work.  When other people do them they turn out great, but my own I'm not too sure of.  Also, the flannel was very bulky--but totally worth it because it's so cozy!--and that made it hard to make the lines close together.  Not sure about using flannel on the back again.  I do really like the dark green binding, which makes a nice frame.

You can buy this pattern in Lorna's pattern store , and the pattern includes a couple of sizes and some alternate blocks (including a Canadian beaver!), plus some ideas for using the blocks in different ways.  I already plan to make myself one of the love birds blocks for a small wall hanging.  (For the new house!)

Everyone have a wonderful weekend.  Here's hoping you don't melt!  I recommend popsicles, AC, and maybe ice cream.

Sharing at  Finish it up Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A bear paws through the woods

Hi all, and happy Friday!  Guess what?  We finally found a house and have an accepted offer!  I am so excited.  Here's the best part--we walked into one room and my husband said "This would make a great sewing room." Best husband ever! Is he a keeper or what?  The really great part is that he was totally right--it will make a great sewing room!

In between looking at houses and negotiating the offer, I did do a little sewing.  For this week's finish, I have this to show off:

Isn't this darling?  This is the Bear's Paw pattern, which I tested for Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts. Lorna has the cutest patterns and I can tell you that they are terrific.  They always turn out so nicely.  And they are all pieced using regular-sized pieces--they are not paper pieced!

We all know that I have trouble making a quilt exactly as the pattern shows, so I made a few different choices for my quilt.  (And of course I had to make it as difficult for myself as possible instead of following the pattern exactly.)  Lorna shows the quilt with all the Bear's Paw blocks in the same color, which looks terrific in her quilt.  I had a stack of 10-inch squares in solids, so I made the Bear's Paw blocks using those squares.  You can cut one of the Bear's Paw blocks from a 10-inch square and have some nice-sized scraps left over.

The other thing I changed was the color of the bear.  My daughter-in-law loves black bears so I made this bear black as well.  I think he turned out pretty well. Pretty sure it will show every little bit of dirt, but don't bears collect stuff in their fur anyway?  I have this piece with some fun owls for a backing:

I have a couple of tips for success with this pattern.  First, read the entire pattern before you start.  I get the patterns as a download, but then I always print them out and write all over them.  I also cross out as I go, because otherwise I get confused, and that's never pretty.

My second tip is to label all the pieces as you cut them:

It's just so much easier when everything is labelled and I don't have to guess.  My last tip is to sort the pieces by block after they're cut, which means you can grab one stack and sew without having to fuss with finding the pieces.

Lorna plans to offer this pattern as a quilt-along later this year, but you can totally buy the pattern in her pattern store and make your own before then.  She has a lot of other really fun patterns, too, so you should totally go and check it out!

Thanks to Lorna for another great pattern!  This little quilt is becoming a part of my Grandma stash, which is a bunch of quilts that I have for tiny humans when they come to my house. Who doesn't need some of those around all the time?

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  We will be sorting and putting things in boxes, at least until the thunderstorm knocks out the power again.  Seriously, is the power grid made of paper mache? It has gone out a lot these last few weeks.

Happy sewing!

Sharing atConfessions of a Fabric Addict and Let's Bee Social.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Purple again

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Intricate Stitches quilt block of the month! This month's color is purple tending toward gray, with another lovely green accent.  Green is one of my favorite colors, so let's put a bit of it in this block, okay?  This month's block turns out beautifully and is not difficult to construct, but it does include a partial seam in it's construction, so be sure to read all of the directions before starting.  I promise that it's not too difficult!

Here is the block:

This is Double Aster, another Nancy Cabot block from the 1930's.  It's number 4206 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia. Asters are very pretty and are the "official" flower for September, which is my birthday month, which means that I like them very much.  This block takes longer to describe than to sew, so let's get going!


You will need 2 purples, at least one green, and a yellow scrap, plus a background.  I used a deep purple, a lighter purple, and two different greens, plus a scrap of yellow for the center.  I used the different greens because I wanted to use up some pieces, but you could definitely use the same green and have the block turn out great. You could also make the center green, or the background color, instead of yellow.  Also, some of these may seem oddly cut, but cutting them this way keeps the grain lines correct and makes the cutting easier.  Feel free to adjust the cutting as you deem necessary!

From the dark purple, cut:

One 7-1/4 inch square
(If you don't have a piece this large you could cut 2 5-1/8 inch squares instead)

From the lighter purple:

2 3-7/8 inch squares

From the green:

2 5-3/8 inch squares* (the lightest green)
1 4-1/4 inch square (in my block, the darker green)
2 2-3/8 inch squares (lighter green)

*These squares are used for the corners of the block.  I chose to use green, but you could use yellow, white, or a pale purple for your block.

From the white:

3 4-1/4 inch squares
2 2-3/8 inch squares

From the yellow:

One 2-5/8 inch square.


It's all about making units and combining them!  The first unit is green half-square triangles.  Take one of the white 4-1/4 inch squares and the (darker) green 4-1/4 inch square.  Cut each of these from corner to corner twice to make 4 smaller triangles.

Pair the triangles and stitch to make 4 half-square triangles.  Pro tip:  If you stack the two squares together and then cut, the triangles will be properly paired already. The hsts should be 2-5/8 inch square.

Next, take another white 4-1/4 inch square and cut it the same way, corner to corner twice.  Add one of the resulting small triangles to the top of the green hsts as shown:

Note that the seam allowance of the triangle hangs over the edge.  Align the pieces along the right edge and it will be fine.

First unit finished! You should have 4 of these units. Put these aside for now.

The next unit is the main flower unit.  Take the (lighter) green 2-3/8 inch squares and 2 white 2-3/8 inch squares and cut them in half once diagonally to make two triangles.  Pair the triangles as shown and stitch:

Make 4 of these.

Next, take the remaining white 4-1/4 inch square and cut it in half twice diagonally to make 4 triangles.  Arrange these triangles and the units you just made as shown and stitch:

Moving right along!  The next step is to take the lighter purple 3-7/8 inch squares and cut each of them in half diagonally once to make 2 triangles.  Arrange these triangles and the previous units as shown and stitch:

Only one more step in the flower units!  Take the darker purple 7-1/4 inch square and cut it twice diagonally to make 4 triangles.  Arrange each of these triangles with the previously made units as shown and stitch to make 4 flower squares:

These units should measure 4-3/4 inches square. Take a second to admire these units, then arrange them with the hst units made previously as shown and stitch:

All the units are made!  On to the assembly of our block.


Take the green 5-3/8 inch squares and cut them each once diagonally to make 4 triangles.  Arrange these, the yellow 2-5/8 inch square, and the units you just made as shown:

The final assembly is not difficult, but does require some attention.  First, take one of the flower units and the yellow square.  Put a pin in the yellow square from the right hand edge over about 1 to 1-1/4 inches.  This measurement doesn't have to be precise but should be just less than half the length of the yellow square.

Stitch to the pin and STOP.  Backstitch a couple of stitches to keep the seam from coming apart in handling.  This is your partial seam which makes it possible to construct the rest of the block. The left edge of the flower unit should be free.

Add the second flower unit as shown.  You should stitch a full seam here.  Do the same with the third flower unit.

For the final flower unit, join it to the piece with a full seam.  Fold the free edge of the first flower unit away from the piece to give you access to stitch this seam.

After the fourth flower unit is added, return to the first unit, fold it over to match the seams, and finish stitching the partial seam.  You should now have a complete flower unit where all the seams are secure.

Eep!  I'd better press that better!  Bad quilter!

The final step is to add the remaining triangles to the corners.  Give your block a good press, stand back, and admire!

I think this block would look spectacular with the pink flower block from last month!  A whole garden of lovely flowers.

This is block 9 for the quilt, and August is a two-block month so that we can end up with 12 blocks for the quilt.  Block 10 is coming up on August 16, so have fun with this one and come back for the next exciting installment!

Sharing at Linky TuesdayLet's Bee Social, and soscrappy for RSC16.