FSF–Red/White Blocks, plus a few thoughts

You know how it is at the beginning of summer?  It’s like I face an unmarked calendar, and I make plans galore.  I want to sew this, design that, finish this, quilt that, and of course, maybe go to the beach, or read some books.  It’s like we make a list and start chipping away at it, applying the habits of type-A personalities to our unfettered summer.  I ran at the beginning of summer, so happy to be free of grading and lesson plans and student emails and admin requests.  I ran headlong into the quilting, cutting and sewing, and photographing–and yes, of course–blogging.  It was like falling backward into a cool pool on a hot hot day in July.

But now that it is July, the ol’ Get-It-Done engine has a few sputters.  The “free” time left to me is winnowing down, and soon I’ll have to return to teachery-responsibilites.  So, this makes my mind concentrate more on what I really want to have done by the time I head to my Orientation, and what can be left to sandwich in between teaching obligations all semester long.

I was hoping to have this quilt all done for FSF, but no–still quilting along.  I did get a quilt back from the quilter, but it’s going to be gifted, so no peeks yet.

But I can point to finishing the Red and White blocks in my little swap.  On the left is the block made up in Bella Solid Country Red and Kona Snow.  On the right the block is made in Kona’s Chinese Red (and Kona Snow).  While the Chinese Red is more brick-colored than the Country Red, when made up, you can only discern the smallest difference between them.

I use a quilting book to help me lay out the blocks, since they have a lot of pieces.  I made it from cloth, foam-core art boards, flannel and butcher paper.  I cut those into long oblongs (two-page size length and one-page size width; my pages are about 14″ square), layering the flannel with the butcher paper.

Stitch down the middle.  Create a pillowcase-type shape a little larger than your pages, and insert one foam-core art board cut to size in the bottom.  Stitch along the edge, then stitch about an inch away again, then insert the second board.  Whipstitch closed. Layer everything and stitch down through the middle to secure the pages.   Of course, I did it a much harder way–cutting all the pages individually, then enclosing them in the binding, but it was the first time, and I was finding my way through this.  I also have ribbons on it, so I can tie this up and transport it, which I have done to quilt classes, etc.  I’ve seen the use of foam-core art boards, stacked up in use at home, but I like this design because it is less bulky.

Here are the blocks, all loaded up.  I carry this to the sewing machine and just work from a single page.

I sew the small parts together, then into rows, then press.  I stitch rows together, then press, then true-them up, hoping not to cut off too many corners!


Sometimes unpicking is involved in quilting.

Here they all are, so far.

The book I listened to while stitching was Half The Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Pulitzer Prize winners.  More on this in the next post.

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