Thursday, November 29, 2012

This and That from Thanksgiving

Here are a few more photos from our Thanksgiving trek to see Kevin.  Aimee was able to go to her folks -- her grandma had been sick and Aimee wanted to spend time with her.  And Thanksgiving day with Jenny, Brian and the girls.
 I embroidered shirts for Sophia, Natalie and Emmalina, S&N's cousin who was there for Thanksgiving. Darn, the pink shirts are bright! 

Hum, they were snacking on cheese and crackers.  But, I'm taken with the similar expressions on Sophie's and Peka's face. (Yep, for some reason she calls him Peka. Or is that Peeka?)

I love the look of this bed and the quilt on it.  I made this quilt for Kevin the summer before he went to college. It is all flannel and that was before lots of print flannels were readily available.  I got quite a few of them in Lancaster, Pa while I was attending a retreat.  Oh shoot.  That means the quilt I am hand quilting is at least 10 years old.  Maybe it will come out this winter again.  I'm tickled that Kevin and Aimee are using it on this bed.  It looks so good with the iron bed. The pattern is by Terry Atkinson.  (If you want to know which book, email me as I need to actually look at the books to see which book it is in.  But I would be happy to let folks know. )

That's it for today.  I'm still working on Clue #1 of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery, Easy Street.  And, I'm still working on the units for Scrap Squad #6.  Have I mentioned I am making it queen size?  Yikes.  I'm hoping all the units will be together by the end of the week.  I'll keep you posted.

Happy Quilting All!  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Design Wall Monday 11-26-12

Again, a lot that I have been working on is under wraps.  But what I can show you is my blocks for the first clue of Easy Street.   I have only done one other of Bonnie Hunter's mysteries.  And, it's not done and I only did half.  I loved the idea that she was doing an easier quilt this time around.  Hum, could that be where the name Easy Street came from?  I hope so.  
Here's what's done so far.  There are 50 in the bag with the orange tag.  I have a stack ready to be sewn at the sewing machine.  These are awaiting ironing and counting.  And, other strip sets to mix and match.  This has been easy, almost pain-free sewing of lots of units.  This is why: 
This is a Shape Cut made by June Taylor.  It has slots every 1/2".  You line up the fabric on a horizontal line and then cut in the slots.  I used it to cut my fabric into strips.  Then when sewn I arranged the strip sets on top of each other, remember to snug where the seams butt, and then I cut. Voila, I have a bunch of 2" units already lined up to sew into the 4 patches.  Wicked easy.  I LIKE it. 

It may look odd to see that horizontal line not on the edge of the fabric.  It's actually on the seam line. Yep, how cool is that? And, it is pretty darn accurate. I have two of these, one 12" wide and one 18" wide.  Now I just need to figure out how to cut 1/4" and 3/4".  Time to look at the instruction videos again. 

Week of November 19
Work on SS #6√ 
Work on Natalie’s Christmas present
Clean off cutting table didn’t happen, more got thrown on.
Load 16 patch scrap quilt on Ruthie
Enjoy Thanksgiving with the family (so what happen to the full check mark???) 
Week of November 26
Work on SS #6 (am I crazy, I’d like to make it queen size…)
Keep up with Easy Street
Work on Natalie’s Christmas Present
Sing Lessons and Carols on Sunday evening
Finish blocks for FCQ Equilter and get in the mail
Try again... clean off cutting table
Here are two ways to see great quilting inspiration this week.  Check out Patchwork Times for design wall inspiration.  And then check out Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville's Quips and Snips to see how folks are doing on their Easy Street quilt.

I leave you with pictures of the girls on Thanksgiving day... 
Sophia was working hard on her tricycle.  Her little tongue was tightly clamped out of her mouth. Too funny.  She was adamant about not wanting any help but Uncle Kevin was close behind her in case she started rolling down the little hill. The girl could really pedal that thing.  

Natalie was drooling like crazy in all of the pictures I took with my iPad.  But she was a very happy camper playing.  
Happy Quilting All!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday 11-19-12

It's Monday again and I've gotten so much done this week.  Unfortunately, I can't show most of it.  Bummer. 

These blocks were sent to Alycia for her Quilts of Valor block challenge.  I was so happy to make these and use about a yard and half of my fabric.  (The more fabric that goes out the door, the more I can bring in new fabric.) You can find the pattern at Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville

Since a lot of what I am working on has to wait for reveals later this year, I was searching for things to share with you.  So, here it is, one lonely leaf hanging out on the front porch. 

And here is where all its friends are for now.  We have this beautiful Japanese maple in the front yard.  And it has been singing to me recently. And it has been dropping its leaves like crazy.  In our newly redone laundry room we have one small, octagonal shaped window.  And, all I've been able to see out it recently is this beautiful red tree.  It almost makes me happy to do laundry. Nah, I still hate laundry. 

One dog is home without her buddy.  Raggs is getting a Thanksgiving grooming.  Kona's waiting for him to come play with her. 
And finally goals from last week. 
Week of November 12
Load and quilt Jenny’s quilt
Load and quilt SS #5
Bind SS #5 nearing completion
Draw SS #6 in EQ
Finish and mail blocks for Alycia’s block drive
Work on Natalie’s Christmas present
Mail Sophia’s sweater decided to just bring it with us for Thanksgiving…
And, this week . . . 
Week of November 19
Work on SS #6
Work on Natalie’s Christmas present
Clean off cutting table
Load 16 patch scrap quilt on Ruthie
Enjoy Thanksgiving with the family
Take some time to visit Design Walls across the internet through Patchwork Times. 
Happy Quilting All! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

1800 Block of the Month

Here we are at the last 1800 block of the month.  Remember, I did several entries with two blocks which means you don't need to do anything but finish your top in December.  Yeah, right.  Like that is going to happen. 

Today’s instructions are for the last block of our 1800’s Quilt.  Additionally, I’ve given instructions for how to make a coping, or spacing strip to make sure the on point section of the quilt fits with the outside blocks.

First, I want to recomment “Grandmothers Choice,” a blog by Barbara Brackman. She is featuring a block and historical information and pictures “to recall the fight for women’s rights” each week. It started on September 1.  She had a few posts before Sept. 1 so scroll down the page and check the blog archive. The blocks are 8".

Let’s get on to our last block. Checking Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopaedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns I was able to find several names for the this block.  It has been called  School Girl’s Puzzle, Hour Glass and Old Maid’s Puzzle.  Old Maid’s Puzzle is also the name of four of these blocks put together to form one block.   Now we tend to name our blocks however in the 1800s block names were not as common. 

A word about colors. This quilt came from the book Quilts from the Great Lakes.  It looked to me that two fairly strong colors were used in the block.  I thought my quilt needed a weightier block than one using my light background fabric.  Thus, I chose red and orange.  Please feel free to use the colors that will suit your other blocks the best.  After taking a photo of the top with all the blocks, this might have been a bit too dark. 

A             4 – 2 3/4” squares in medium
B             5 – 3 1/8” squares in medium cut in half diagonally to yield 10 triangles
C             1 – 5 3/8” square in dark cut in half diagonally to yield 2 triangles3
D            3 – 3 1/8” square in dark cut in half diagonally to yield 6 triangles

Using the letters as your guide, layout the block.  Sew the triangles to create the half square triangles. Sew the A/B units into a four patch. For the “the wing” triangle first make a half square triangle.  Then add the two side triangles, one at a time. Sew the resulting unit to the larger triangle.Sew the quarter sections together. Remember to iron the major seams so you have opposing seams to spread out the bulk.
The last thing we need to do is add the coping strip to make sure our tree of life block fits the rest of the blocks.  First, check your blocks to make sure they are all about the same size if you haven’t been squaring them up as you go along.  Once you find your smallest block, that size is what all of your blocks will need to be squared up to.  If you have one block that is particularly small you might want to remake the small one.  I started by laying out my blocks on the outside edges. I rearranged them until I was happy with the results.  Then, I sewed the center two squares in the horizontal rows together.  I also sewed the two center squares in the two vertical rows together. 

Next, I measured the two blocks lengthwise and the center tree of life block that is now a square along the top.  Here’s the formula you need to figure out the width of your coping strips:
Width = border blocks – center block ÷2 + ½”
ARGH… yes it is math.  I hate math.  I’m not good at math.  But sometimes you just have to do it.
My two blocks sewn together were 18.75”. 
My center block was 13.5”.  

So here’s what the math looked like:

18.5” – 13.5” = 5” ÷ 2 = 2.5” + .5” for seam allowance = 3” 
I have to admit I made a set of strips without the extra ½” for the seam allowance and I was exactly ½” short.  Hum.  That’s when I added the ½” for the seam allowance and all came up correctly. 

I then cut 2 13.5 x 3” pieces and added them to the top and bottom on the tree of life piece.  I ironed the strips away from the tree of life block. First I tested the tree of life block (with the coping strips) against the sewn together blocks (see above.) Yes, they matched up perfectly. Then I measured the length of the block with the coping strips which was 18.5”.  I cut two more coping strips and added them to the sides of the tree of life block.  If when I go to sew all the outside edges together I find that the seams don’t match I will “fudge” the sewing to get them to match up. One way of easing in a small amount of excess space is to sew with the shorter length on top which allows the sewing machine’s feed dogs to help ease the difference.  If you find a large difference you might want to check your seams and take a little larger seams where the blocks are sewn together.  

So a few last words and comments.  First, I think the last block might be a bit TOO strong in this quilt. I will debate with myself a little and see if I need to use my regular background fabric.  (I hate redoing blocks but redoing this one might be a necessity.)  Because this was a design as you go and I didn't draft the quilt setting out before I did it, I think the tree of life block is way too small.  If I have enough of the red fabric left there is a good chance there will be a new tree of life block being made in my house.  Bigger.  Honestly, 5" of coping strips?  Gee whiz.  I should have figured this out first and then come up with the block size.  I am guessing know that a 12" block would have worked. (Yep, I spent some time doing some research.) Even if you use a 12" block you would still need to put on coping strips but they would have been much smaller.  

Sometime next year my guild will do a reveal of finished BOM quilts.  My goal is to have this quilt done long before whatever month that is scheduled for. I guess I better figure when that is! 

Please feel free to drop me an email if you need any help on any of the blocks. (brsinstitches @ gmail. com   just remove the spaces to use the address.)  I may be rusty trying to figure out what needs to be done but at least I can try to help. 

Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Design Wall Monday 11-12-12

It was pillow case day at Country Piecemakers quilt group. 

We ironed and pinned.

We sewed on our domestic machines.

We used our sergers. Hey, that's me on the far right on my 25 year old serger. 

And when all was done we had 362 pillow cases to donate to Conker Cancer.  Good job ladies. Rumor has it that at least 100 had been made before the event.  Possibly even more.  But, what a great feeling of accomplishment. 

And, what exactly do 362 pillow cases look like? 

All my current projects are either repeats or secret.  So here is Colleen's wonderful quilt made using the Sew Simple Pineapple block.  Notice the stripe fabric ... it goes different ways in the two different rows.  If you go to You Tube and put in Sew Simple Pineapple you can find a video on how to do this block. (Or just click on the link)

Weekly Goals:

Week of November 5
Finish Sophia's sweater
Finish SS #5 top 
Prepare backing for SS#5
Load SS#5 on Ruthie
Finish blocks for Alycia's block drive
Make and write instructions for last 1800's bom
Start on SS #6

Week of November 12

Load and quilt Jenny’s quilt
Load and quilt SS #5
Bind SS #5
Draw SS #6 in EQ
Finish and mail blocks for Alycia’s block drive
Work on Natalie’s Christmas present
Mail Sophia’s sweater

That's it from me.  But you can go to Patchwork Times and visit design walls across the country.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Design Wall Monday 11-05-2012

Not much I can show this week as I've been working on Scrap Squad #5. Hopefully it will move to the long arm soon. Here's what I can show you. 
Three blocks for Alycia's block drive. I hope to have 10 blocks to mail out to her at the end of this week.  Hey, I'm notorious for putting things off so I thought if I get them done a week early I can postpone the mailing by one day! I don't know why but I am having the hardest time following these directions.  I've got about 5 more tubes ready to cut apart and sew.  Hopefully they will go smoother today. 

I'm making more of these guys too.  I have some green print fabric that has the primary colors on it so I chose primary colors to do these pinwheels.  Then, I hope to use the green as a small border.  I've had the green so long... hum, 10 years plus.  It's time to let it go.  Of course, every time I pull fabric from it to use it up, it just doesn't seem right with the blocks.  Hopefully that won't happen again.  At least some of it I'll use  up in blocks.  I believe this block comes from Sew Simple Pinwheels which just happens to be on sale over at Connecting Threads. Do me a favor, wait until I buy the book before you guys grab this up.  Of course, I'm going to be looking for more stuff so I don't have to pay the shipping.  Hum, maybe some gray for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery.

Last week's goals.

Week of October 29
Put Zipper in Sophia's sweater
Finish SS#5 top worked on, not finished
Start SS #6
Finish pillow sham for blue and yellow
Finish the small hexagon top
It doesn't look like I did all that much but I did throw a charity quilt onto Ruthie and finish it. 
Week of November 5
Finish Sophia's sweater
Finish SS #5 top 
Prepare backing for SS#5
Load SS#5 on Ruthie
Finish blocks for Alycia's block drive
Make and write instructions for last 1800's bom
Start on SS #6

That's it from me.  Check out Patchwork Times to find inspiration across the internet. 
Happy Quilting.