Monday, October 30, 2017

A few more rounds

Hi everyone!  Hope you are all feeling well and healthy today!  So, I got a flu shot about a week ago, and I had a bad sort of reaction to it.  This happens to me every few years.  A flu shot can't give you the flu, but it certainly can cause a reaction.  That's what happened this year-- I spent the last week feeling achy and tired, with no motivation to do anything.  Not even stitch something!  It seems to have run it's course, though, and I am happy to kick it to the curb.  Now to catch up on everything, including the dishes and the laundry.

All I have to show today is a few more rounds on the medallion quilt.  Here is it's current state:

Gosh, I like this.  I guess I've added four rounds since I last posted it-- a round of squares, then plain white, then the triangles, and finally another round of black and white.  I've had no plan for this, just making it up as I go along.

The triangles were fun to make and were made by just cutting triangles with the TriRecs ruler and piecing them together in opposite directions.  This took a lot more triangles than I anticipated, but I do love how it came out. The rows of triangles did get pretty stretchy, too, so I had to use a bunch of Magic Sizing on them to get them to behave.

I wasn't sure what to do for the corners of the triangle round. I considered using a square in a square block, and also hsts, but in the end I drew out and paper pieced small "ray" shapes:

These were really easy and I think they look a lot better than something else in the corners. 

I think my next round here will be the flying geese, then another solid and then one more element before it's finished.  I'm sure I have enough scraps to fill out those rounds, and after that it should be a decent size and ready to finish.  Any suggestions for the last element? 

This has been a really fun project to work on, and playing with those happy colors certainly made me feel a bit better.  Hope you are all feeling good and enjoying the fall weather.  Happy Halloween-ing, too!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and Oh Scrap!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ready for landscaping

Hi all, and welcome to the end of another week in 2017.  Doesn't it feel like it's going way too fast?  We're almost to November, for heaven's sake! It's getting to be pretty chilly at night, too, and Halloween is just around the corner.  Can Christmas be far behind? Yikes!

Once again, we are at a Friday and I have no finish. Oh, well!  I don't feel too bad about it, though. Why put pressure on myself?  I had a tough week and sewing is supposed to be fun.  So for fun and relaxation I worked some more on my chapel quilt:

Holy cow, that's starting to look like Joan of Arc chapel!  No one is more surprised by this than me, really.  All along I wasn't super sure it would work out, but apparently it has!

The chapel building itself is pretty much done, except that it needs some details, like the big stone window on the front.  It's circular, so I'll have to cut it out and applique it on.  Then it's just a matter of finishing off the landscaping.  The real chapel is beautifully landscaped and makes a real oasis on campus, so I can't hope to actually reproduce it exactly, but I have a floral panel that I plan to cut up for some flowers and whatnot.

I spent some time making the limestone details on the sides and roof lines of the chapel:

Doesn't that look great?  I'm just a little proud of it. In the spirit of free piecing, I just kind of laid out the pieces and stitched them together into a slanted line, without measuring.  It was a little scary.  It's a subtle detail, but in person it makes all the difference in the building.  I'll enhance it with some quilting stitches when the time comes.

The trees that I have in the background here were cut from one of those Van Gogh-type impressionist pieces.  I did a kind of "half applique" for the trees.  That is, I cut them out and lined them up on the sky pieces, then stitched the raw edges into the seams, leaving the tops free to be appliqued down.  (Did that make sense?)  I messed up on one of them and ended up with a hard edge:

That looks very non-treelike!  I think I'll have to open up that seam again and add in another piece to bridge the gap over to the other side of the seam.  It will bother me forever if I don't fix it.

So that's where I am on this project!  I'm actually pretty thrilled with it.  It "feels" right, you know?  Once I figure out how to do the window and where to put the flowers, it won't take long to finish this up.  Probably the fussy cutting will take longer than the stitching. 

If you'd like to make your own copy of any building, check out Julie's book, Build a Barn, No Pattern Construction. It's very, very helpful.  And when it says "don't trim," really-- don't trim.  Don't ask me how I know!

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  I'll be out looking at furniture, which I find incredibly boring.  I know exactly what I want, why doesn't anyone sell it?  Yet another mystery of the universe!

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

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.