It’s Wednesday and it’s been a long time since I’ve linked up with the fabulous Lee at Freshly Pieced Fabrics and I mean to remedy that today. I’ve got all the Schnibbles bits up on the pin wall and I need to get them all sewn up and quilted and DONE, because my bee-mates are sending me my green and snow blocks for my Santa’s Village quilt, and I want to see them all arrayed. Funny how one project pushes another to completion. It’s like how tiny the toddler is at the tail end of the family until you bring home the newborn. Then it’s time for that kid to grow up, get potty-trained and pull their weight in the family. Yep, this is kind of like that.
Two of my Mid-Century Modern Bee buddies, Carla of Lollyquiltz and Susan of PatchworknPlay have teamed up to run a Friendship Swap of the Cross-X blocks. I had originally pled “no way!” but then Krista of KristaStitched wrote and asked me to be her swap buddy. How could I ever say no to Krista? Besides I’ve had a veritable obsession with these blocks for some time, as witnessed by the evidence below:
It’s been kicking around in the back of the closet for eons, it seems like, and I purposely left the wrinkled up template page for the full effect of ancientness.
And because I might have a wee obsession with text fabrics, I’m hoping that Krista and I can work something out so I can use these.
I did some wandering (yes, I’m avoiding the grading–how did you know?) and found a post on Mrs. Schmenkman’s Quilts blog about her foray into the Cross-X Land, and her beginning quilt. While Carla and Susan have decided to go the coordinated route, I’m kind of liking this from-the-stash look, with light backgrounds. So I think, yes, that’s it, and then I find this:
All of the current rage for this came from Amy of Badskirt, who saw it in a Japanese Quilt, reverse-engineered it, and put up a tutorial. However, if you have Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, it’s easy to find out that Nancy Cabot first published it in 1938 with the name Spool Block, # 1970 on page 248. (For some unknown reason, I bought my book when it first came out, but even at the elevated prices of used books right now, it is worth having. I use it a TON.)
And this whole story goes to show you that every old will be new again. While Amy’s block comes in at 7.5″ inches (finished), here’s templates for a 10″ block: Cross-X Blocks 10-inch and a 12″ block: Cross-X Block 12%22 (although that feels too big too me if it’s the scrappy, cozy quilt top look you want).
Click on the links at the top of the post to see what Carla and Susan have come up with, including a Flickr Group to help keep the quilters motivated. Krista and I are still working out the bits and pieces on how we want to do it. Anyway, how ever you cut it or however you do it, the bottom line is to grab a quilty pal and to get going.
Bees are interesting things. I’m in a new one and am still figuring out how it ticks when this block arrived in the mail. The instructions read to leave the quadrants unsewn as the bee-er wants to really make her quilt scrappy and move the blocks all around. It’s paper pieced. Seventy-two pieces per block (4 quadrants). It took me over 7 hours, closer to eight hours, to finish the two blocks. I began wondering about this quilter–who would send out such a complicated block to the bee and expect us to do not only ONE, but TWO blocks? I began wondering about what a sheep I was to follow along, when I should have just sent back the unused fabric after the first block and the scraps for the little triangles, and kept it to one. The end result was that I didn’t feel very good about her, nor about myself–for not standing up and saying “This is excessive.” I was more than happy to send that off this morning!
This is the blocks from another bee-er in the same bee. Because my first batch of fabric got lost in the mail, I was doing her September blocks in October. These blocks were already cut out, and both went together in under an hour. I’m happy to spend more than an hour on a bee block, but the contrast between this quilter’s and her bee-mates was astounding. I felt good about things as I mailed off her blocks this morning.
On our walk yesterday morning, we passed by the house of an older neighbor, who was downsizing and moving up to the high desert. Stuff had to go, including this funky green sewing machine. We continued on our walk, never mentioning it, but on the return loop, I said to my husband, “Want to go and get the car . . . and your wallet?” He laughed. When he came back there were two machines waiting for him to load into the car (I didn’t take a photo of the other), but I got both for $55, including the matching cabinet that the father-in-law had made for this green machine.
I took them right up to my Sewing Machine Whisperer, and he said they were worth tuning up, so into the shop they went. “You know, you have no foot pedal,” he said, gesturing to the green machine. In my defense, it was early in the morning, so when I went back, the older neighbor went up into her sewing room, but couldn’t find it. I left my name and phone number, and hopefully it will turn up. I’ll get these two older machine back in a few weeks; I plan to give one to my granddaughter, who wants to learn to sew.
Today I plan to sew my brains out. And NOT on complicated funk-inducing, grumpy-generating bee blocks.
These were the goals of Quarter Three of the Finish-A-Long, hosted by Leanne of She Can Quilt.
1. Hunter’s Star is finished, and is renamed At the Bandstand, Under A Starry Night — Quilt #47 on my 100 Quilts List. I had started in 2002, and finished it up this year.
2. Rhonda got her hot mitts, and then I made a second pair for my daughter-in-law Kimberly, who liked them so much.
3. The colorful tote, made in Keiko Goke fabrics, is finished and I’ve been toting it around as a purse, I like it so much.
4. Lollypop Tree is still a quilt top, hanging in my closet.
5. Ditto the Friendship Quilt.
6. The so-called Facets quilt is finished, and has been re-christened as Juxtaposition, quilt #121 on my 200 Quilts List.
7. The Four-in-Art quilt with an owl theme was completed, and is named Congruence, quilt #119 on the 200 Quilts List.
8. The Citrus quilt was quilted together, quilt #118 on the list.
In addition, I completed a quilt for a new grandson: Charlie’s Quilt.
I’m taking off most of the oldies and adding three new quilts: a Christmas Quilt, a Schnibbles that I never quilted, and the Map-themed project for our Four-in-Art group (that’s the preliminary sketch there in the middle). I left on the Friendship Quilt just to keep it alive–if I can just get the top together, then I’ll take it to my quilter to finish it up.
(Well, at least the center is done!)
It’s good to set goals. It’s also good not to turn them into sticks to beat yourself with.
Linking up with Leanne’s 2013 Finish-A-Long. Do you have some things you’d like to finish?
To prove to my Mid-Century Modern Bee, that I am on task, getting ready for their blocks, I decided to start on the center Santa. And instead of raw-edge fusible applique, I went with needle-turn hand applique. The directions are sketchy, at best, on this center square, just the big piece of art (shown in disguise, above) and a note to cut the finished center piece to 24 1/2″ square. I didn’t catch that one at first, and started appliqueing.
I traced the pattern, in reverse (taped up onto a window) onto freezer paper, which I then ironed onto the top of the fabrics, and cut 1/4″ around. This pile was where I started on Saturday morning, while I listened to our church’s General Conference, a respite in the wild and crazy world.
I was pretty far along when I realized that the picture was too big for the alloted measurement, by 1/4″, and that was with no seam allowances. So I cut the top of the tree off.
This is where I am tonight. I must have really gotten excited about shrinking this as it now measures 22″ top-to-bottom approximately, but now I have enough room for a smaller inner border of red. That’s the quibble. Now to the Muse(s).
My grandchildren came for the weekend. This is the first set (4 girls) –well, three of the first set. We made cookies that we later decorated when the second set (4 boys) arrived. I’ve made each grandchild a quilt, so you could say their very arrival on this earth served as inspiration.
The father of the four sons, Chad, is on the left and the father of the four daughters, Matthew, is on the right, flanking my saintly husband. While they look fully grown to you, in my mind, their are young boys, scrappily fighting in the upstairs bedroom over who gets the Transformer toy, like Chad’s boys in our front room shortly after they arrived. Boys will be boys, and that always involves a bit of wrestling around.
I was the muse for my sister Susan, when she made me this beautiful shawl/scarf, which I’ve already used a couple of times to keep me warm while grading. A noted historian, she writes comments on my blog like:
“I find the names of these blocks quite interesting in their historic nature. Fifty-four Forty or Fight refers to the battle over the Oregon boundary between US and Great Britain. It was a campaign slogan in 1844. Clay’s Choice no doubt refers to the great Whig politician Henry Clay, who helped broker the Missouri Compromise that would set back the sectional conflict until the eruption of the Civil War in 1861.”
I love her and was glad to learn about my quilt blocks!
My quilt group is also inspiring–we’ve been going strong for about fifteen years, and Caitlin (above) is a new member with her first quilt top, just finished last Friday night.
I saw this when we went to Greek Days at the local church, just a couple of miles from us. It reminded me of the Marcelle Medallion, which has been so popular around the web, and I can’t tell you how many pictures of stone floors I have from around Europe, quilt patterns in all of them.
I was quite impressed by the stories told by the priest, as he led us through his sanctuary, telling us of connections both modern and ancient, and it was an interesting point and counterpoint to the thoughtful talks I listened to in my church’s conference, as all these things remind me that we are more alike than different in our hearts and our minds, whether or not we worship the same.
This morning, we tiptoed out of the house, the grandchildren still asleep before their big day at Disneyland, to see this glorious sunrise. We stopped to take it all in, then moved on, pausing at each street, savoring the changing colors. This, too, is a muse of grand proportions.
It seems that every time I hit a rough patch, it stills me enough so that I can move in a new direction. Who would have thought that after finishing Kaleidoscope, with all its fussy English Paper Piecing, I would be appliquing a Santa down to a new square of cloth? But this is the direction the Muses have beckoned me to follow.
I am always frustrated by the rough patches and I can hear my parents chuckling in the background, as they know I like things to always be still and placid and never, ever, in turmoil. I’m a harmony junkie, if you will, not only in relationships, but everywhere in my life. “This too will pass,” my father used to say to me when I’d come to them in tears, upset by something or another, yet I always found it hard to believe their soothing counsel.
But I feel quite enriched this weekend, in spite of the chaos of an afternoon of eight children. I savored their noise and games, hoping it would never end, but of course realizing (that for sanity’s sake) it needed to. The trip to the Greek Days Festival on a hot October’s day. A visit to my sister last week. A new sewing project. Thoughtful and touching messages to the heart. And last, but not least, the best inspiration of all: the anniversary of our first kiss, twenty-five years ago.
May your muses find you this week. Happy Quilting!
As Susan, one of our the members of our Mid-century Modern Bee says, I’m the Queen Bee this month.
And I’ve chosen to have my bee-mates help me on my Christmas Quilt. But so that the copyright gods won’t be mad at me, I’m not showing the picture of the pattern and I’ve also chosen different green and cream blocks for my bee-mates to make, plus I made downloadable templates from my quilt program to serve as a guide for these 12″ blocks (finished measurement–raw edge measurement should be 12 1/2″). Below are the blocks, plus their templates for downloading.
Caution: These template prints out the correct size on my printer, but I don’t know what they’ll do on yours. A general guide for making a half-square triangle block is to cut the finished measurement, plus 7/8 inch, before stitching on the diagonal and cutting apart. So, I’d use that as a general gauge for how things ought to look when you print out your templates. (In other words, for the corner squares for this first block, cut one white square and one green square to measure 4 and 7/8 inches.)
Fifty-four Forty or Fight • Template: 54-4o or fight
Fifty-four Forty or Fight, version 2 • Template: 54-40 or Fight_version2
Clay’s Choice Variation • Template: Clay’s Choice Variation
Ohio Star • Template: Ohio Star
Swamp Angel • Template: Swamp Angel
Peace and Plenty • Template: Peace and Plenty
Mock Eight-Point Star • Template: Mock Eight Point Star
Memory • Template: Memory
Martha Washington Star • Template: Martha Washington Star
Flying Geese • Template: Flying Geese Block
Double Star • Template: Double Star
Crosses and Losses • Templates: Crosses and Losses
Birds in the Air • Template: Birds in the Air
Autumn Star • Template: Autumn Star
For my bee-mates, I’ve listed the blocks you’ve chosen on our Flickr group site, for reference.
And congratulations to Carla for winning Anne’s very cool pattern. If the rest of my lovely entrants would like a pattern for their own, please visit SpringLeaf Studios, and you can download one instantly. I have purchased both of hers, as I like buying quilt patterns that make me reach for new fabrics and new ideas. (I hope to put her Cascade pattern on my To-Do for next spring.)
Many thanks to Anne for donating her pattern to this giveaway!!!