Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Can't remember much about 2012 except my sisters, Leslie and Kris, and I went to Alaska together that summer and had a great time.
In 2013 however lots of things kept me busy. I "retired" from teaching quilting in our public adult school program, but stayed on as a substitute. My daughter, Kecia, and I took a trip of a lifetime to Scotland, England and Paris in April. It was actually a gift from her and my son-in-law. We took a 12-day tour of Scotland and England and then had four days in Paris on our own. I was thrilled to see Scotland as my grandmother emigrated from Glasgow in 1899. And also because both Kecia and I are big fans of the series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander, that are set in 18th century Scotland and in colonial America. And what can I say about Paris that would express my feeling about that wondrous place? Just think "April in Paris." It was lovely. We visited as many places as we could in 4 days--the Louve, the Musee D'Orsay, a bus tour of the city, Sacre Coeur, a day at Versailles, Notre Dame and a walk along the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, eating in cafes, and a little shopping at a quilt shop we found (tres expensive!). Wish I had blogged about the experience then as we had such a wonderful time.
I had my house painted this past year. Stayed with basically the same colors-a pale green with a dark green trim. Also had to buy a new furnace in November. The old one was 47 years old, the original when they built the house, so I guess I'm lucky it lasted as long as it did.
I went to Alaska again last summer to see my son and daughter-in-law. This time I took my grandson, Garrett, with me. He is 11 and had a good time. He went to a baseball camp, several baseball games (college players in the Alaska Baseball League), did some climbing, hiked up Mt Alyeska, went to the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Zoo, saw a couple movies, and ate crab and salmon.
I am currently working on a commissioned quilt for a family friend and am in the final stages--adding borders. It is a king-size and I drafted the pattern from a photo of a small section of a quilt he liked. I need to finish it and get it to a longarm quilter soon.
I also bought a Sweet Sixteen quilting machine last summer. It is what is known as a mid-arm machine and you sit at it to quilt. I don't have room for a regular longarm machine. It has a huge arm opening and a table so it is wonderful to quilt on, but I'm not ready to try my hand at a king-size so I'll be taking this quilt to a longarm quilter. I won first place for a quilt I entered in our guild quilt show in October in the challenge contest. It happened to be the first piece I quilted on the new machine.
Well, I'll sign off for now and wish you (anyone who is still out there) a very happy and healthy new year!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Recently I finished a long overdue gift for a dear friend in Pennsylvania. I thought she would get a kick out of a whimsical portrait. I decided that a tote bag would be the best option to show off the portrait so I designed a bag for that purpose. The back of the bag has a large pocket and the sides are cinched with some cute bows.
The inside features pockets on both sides, a covered stiff bottom piece and a magnetic closure.
Friday, March 2, 2012
This is one of her rows of small Stack 'n Whack blocks and the finished top.
This was another project Kecia worked on using some chintz fabrics she brought back from Amsterdam a couple of years ago. Leslie with a small wall quilt top she finished.
This was the other project I worked on--a kit I bought in Alaska. I only discovered that the last block in the second row was set wrong after I saw this photo. I have fixed it. I also made a pillowcase, a snap bag and a paper-pieced tree block for another quilt.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Here is a tutorial for the Square in a Square block for our row quilt. This block finishes at 6”. You will make 8 blocks, but only use 7 in the row. The blocks are cut in pairs and pieces switched to make positive and negative blocks. Filler pieces may be required to make the finished row 45 ½”.
This block can be cut either by making copies of the cutting template or by marking your cutting mat as we did with the Old Italian block. The instructions below are for using the paper cutting template. To make a paper cutting template, draw an accurate 6 3/4" square on a piece of paper. Then draw a seam allowance of 1/4" around the 6 3/4" square so now you have a 7 1/4" square outside the 6 3/4" square. Divide each side exactly in half and draw a horizontal and a vertical line dividing the square into quarters. Draw diagonal lines from the center of one side of the 6 3/4" square to the center of the adjacent side of the 6 3/4" square. Repeat for the other 3 quarters of the square. You cannot reuse the paper template once it has been cut, so you will need either 2 or 4 copies depending on how many squares you cut at one time.
If you are using a paper template as your cutting guide, rough cut two 7 ¾” squares of contrasting fabrics. (You will need 4 squares of each fabric total.) Starch and press them together right sides up or down, it doesn’t matter. The rough cut stacks in the photo below left each have two contrasting fabrics. The two squares will make 2 blocks. Trim the paper cutting template about ¼” outside the outermost lines. Place the template on top of your stack of 2 or 4 fabric squares. You can either lightly glue the paper down to the top square using a glue stick, so the paper doesn’t shift, or you can use flathead pins (like the flower head pins by Clover) to pin the paper to the fabric. If you use pins, I would suggest you only cut two squares at a time so the pinning does not distort how the paper lays against the fabric. Pin in all four corners. Do not use round-head pins as they will interfere with your ruler. Trim around the outside of the template so you have a 7 ¼” square.
Then, using your ruler, cut on the four solid diagonal lines across the corners. You will end up with some tiny triangles at the middle of each side. Discard them. Remove the paper pieces and switch the outer triangles and center squares so you have a positive block and a negative block. See the photos.
To sew this block, flip one corner triangle over on top of one side of the square and sew a scant ¼” seam. Be careful not to stretch the fabric as these are bias edges. The starch should help stabilize the fabric. Pick up the corner triangle on the opposite side of the one you just sewed and sew that one to the center square. Press the seams toward the corners. Repeat for the other two corner triangles and again press toward the corners.
Square up the block to 6 ½”. Be sure you have ¼” beyond the points of the center square. If your block is smaller than 6 ½”, wait until you have all your blocks done, so you can try to square them up to approximately the same size. You will cut and sew 4 sets of 2 squares which will make 8 blocks, 7 of which you will use in your row. When you sew the blocks together, you will have a little bulkiness where the seams meet at the edges of the block. Pinning will keep the blocks from shifting. You could also insert a narrow sashing (1” cut, ½” finished) between the blocks and avoid the bulky seams issue. This would also eliminate the need for filler pieces at the ends of the row, if your blocks are 6 ½” unfinished.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The Arrowhead block is a very simple block to sew as long as you are careful to sew SCANT 1/4" seams, you cut accurately and you match seams carefully. This block finishes at 8 ½”. If you are making the scrappy version, layer two contrasting pieces of fabric, right sides together (RST), starch and press. Then cut an 8” square from the stack. Repeat with other scrap fabrics so you have sets of two 8” squares for each block. For the two-fabric version, layer the two contrasting fabrics RST, starch and press. Cut sets of two 8” squares for each block. Pin the stacks so the fabrics don’t shift. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.
Measure 2” down from the top right corner of one set of squares. Sew a SCANT ¼” seam down the right side, pivot ¼” from the bottom, and sew across the bottom to the end. Backstitch at the beginning of the stitching.
Turn the square so that the bottom of the square is now at the top. Measure 2” down from the raw edge at the top right corner of the square. Sew a second SCANT ¼” seam down the right side, pivot ¼” from the bottom, and sew across the bottom to the end.
Lay one of the sewn triangles on top of the other, with the sewn and raw edges matching. Wrong sides of the top fabric should be facing up in both triangles.
Cut a 2” strip along the left sewn side of the triangle. Without moving the pieces, cut another 2” strip from the other sewn side of the triangle. See photos above right and below right.
Lay out the sewn pieces and the triangles as shown in the photo below left. Notice that opposite fabrics touch each other on all adjacent sides. Pinwheel the seam allowances of the small center 4-patch by removing the two or three stitches within the seam allowance at the seam intersection. See photo at right below.
The pieces are sewn back together on the diagonal. See photo at left below. Press seam allowances as shown in the photo at right below. Sew the three diagonally pieced sections together, matching seams. Press the seams as shown in the photo below right.
Photo below shows detail of seam allowance pressing directions.