I’ve done several types of signature blocks, so thought I’d update my tutorial on how to make a signature block for friends. The basic kind I make (L) is a small block, that the people in the Bees I participate in, send with their blocks. The larger size (R) is suitable for a friendship quilt, which we made for our friend Lora when she moved away.
Cut one white, or light, 3 1/2″ square and two 2 1/2″ squares. I like to use the fabric that was in my block that I sent. (Click on any circle to enlarge it.)
Place the smaller block on the top of the larger block, aligning corners, right sides together, and draw a diagonal line. Stitch one-to-two threads away from this line, towards the corner. This is the same technique used when making snowball blocks, in order to give room for the fabric to turn over the stitching line. Trim off the excess corner, leaving 1/4″.
In Circle 1, I’ve trimmed away the excess fabric and pressed the block. The center should measure about 1 1/2″ wide (Circle 2). In the last circle (seen from the back), I pressed a scrap of freezer paper, shiny side down, to the wrong side of the white strip in order to stabilize the area where I’ll be writing.
I’ve made myself a card that I place underneath the white area, to help keep my writing aligned; I use paper clips to keep it in place. I use a Micron Pigma 08 pen to write.
What to write on a Signature Block that is included with bee blocks? In our bee, we suggest: Name, IG name, the date (in smaller writing) and the city where the quilter lives.
When making the larger signature blocks (quilt shown above), I used a 6 1/2″ white square and a 5″ contrast square. It gave a good amount of room for Lora’s friends to write their names. I did back every white part with strips of freezer paper, and collected signatures from all the church ladies to give her a good send-off. Many wanted to write a message, but we encouraged them to just leave a signature.
I’m sure you can see the double stitching on the corner. Because this was a larger block, I did two lines of stitching on those corners, 1/2″ apart, then cut right down the middle when I trimmed. That yielded a sweet-sized HST to use for other projects.
Some time ago, I made myself a signature quilt, collecting names of those who were significant to me at that time in my life. Some six years later, all these sweet granddaughters who signed a block (above) have grown up.
In this case, I used the center of the King’s Crown Block (also the basis for the popular Meadowland block that is currently all the rage; see below), sending around white blocks of fabric backed with squares of freezer paper all over the country, asking them to write their names in pencil (which I later traced over with my Micron Pigma 08 pen).
However or whatever your need for signature blocks are, I hope these tips are helpful!
I participated in a new experience this month, when I signed up for a booth at the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds‘ Meet the Teacher meeting. I had been encouraged to do this by a fellow quilter, and she was really helpful in sending me tips of what to do. In my more fretful moments, I searched the internet for more information, so I write this post to document my experience, to show what kinds of booths were there, to help others who may choose to do this. This post is picture heavy, but full of wonderful quilts.
It was held in Carson, California at the community center. The area we had of this center was one large room, with “wings” of rooms, open to the main room. You could hear all that was going on, and it was a busy, fun feeling. We entered the area at the top of this paper, checked in (we received a cookie!) and went to our booth areas, which consisted of two chairs, a cloth-draped 8-foot table that was about 24″ wide. I was on the left side of the above diagram, next to a really lovely woman who did embroidery. The people on the other side didn’t show, so we used that table for eating lunch, as did others.
What to bring? Here’s a listing of what I would suggest (you can get more ideas from the pictures that follow this list:
• 1 or 2 quilt stands. We strung a pole (one of my HangIt Dangits) between the two so I could show three quilts.
• A sign for your booth. They did provide a sign, but mine had migrated and was two tables over (I found it later).
• Quilts that you want for background atmosphere and backdrop. You can see I draped the table in my basket quilt.
• A book showing classes you’ll teach. Keep it simple. The Guild Board Members always seemed to be in rush, so they don’t spend a long time at your booth.
• Quilts that are samples of classes you will teach. These were invaluable, as people want to see the class samples. Many took photos of the quilts to show to their Guild.
• Bowl of wrapped chocolates. I went to the store and bought two bags of foil-wrapped chocolates (Dove Mixture and a Reese’s peanut butter candy). These were a hit.
• Fliers showing a brief bio, a photo, one of your quilts (if possible) and contact information. I did 100 half-sheet fliers which yielded 200. I put some out on the Flier Table in the front hallway, and offered up chocolate and a flier to everyone that came by. Because I had too many fliers, I wasn’t worried about running out.
• Decorative items for your table. I brought my Tiny Quilts, showing what was available on my blog for free. (I am not a pro on this one, but you’ll see other booths who had more.)
• Lunch will be a rush. While I did buy the offered lunch, I only ate about 1/2 of it. For us, it might have been better to have brought small grazing items, for when we were hungry, I think. We brought a small cooler that we tucked under the table, filled with three bottles of water (could have used four), a soft drink and some snacks and grapes. They had iced tea and water with lemons in it in the main welcoming area, it that interests you.
• I also brought a cushion to sit on, not knowing what kind of chairs they had. They were fine, but it was helpful to be a bit higher in my chair when I was doing business.
• Put an app on your phone so you can take a photo that will scan the contracts you sign. They carry away the copy, and you’ll probably want to know what you signed.
• Printed out calendars, with the dates you aren’t available blocked out. Most of these Guilds are working two years out, so bring three years’ worth of calendars.
• A helper. I brought my husband, and he was invaluable. They do have booth sitters that come around and can give you a break.
Here’s my Instagram post, with videos, showing bits of this day. We arrived about 8:15, and set up; we were ready to go in 30 minutes. At 2 p.m. it was all over with, and we packed up and left.
You’ll also be asked to give a 3 minute talk, and they are serious about 3 minutes. I wrote mine out, using one of my blog posts as the basis, and showed only two samples of things I could teach. Others brought oodles of samples to show and talked mainly about their classes. They have two helpers onstage to hold up your items while you talk. I’d suggest timing your talk so you know how long it will take, but they do have a woman at the front with signs, telling you when to get off the stage (they run a tight ship). I’m guessing the Guild board members basically want to see what kind of person you are, and if you are coherent. It can be a mind-rattling experience, so be prepared. Because I was, I thought it was fun. The talks go on throughout the day, with breaks in between every so often so the guild members can get to the booths.
Here come the photos. They are meant to be helpful, if you are planning to do this, so draw from them what might work. For the rest of my readers, have fun looking at the quilts!
We drove home through intermittent LA traffic (part of life, here), arriving home tired, but happy. I put this photo here to let you know you won’t be cooking–go out and enjoy a meal after all your hard work!
Hanging from the thick strands of my wisteria vine, my baskets quilt found a home for a few minutes, while I took photos. Many of these blocks were made for me by my beemates in the Gridsters Bee, and while I was in recovery, I made some more. I finally got them all sewn up, after trying to figure out the arrangement, and got the borders on. I’ll send it off to Darby soon (I’m working on finishing another quilt top, and want to send her two), and then finish this up.
It seems like I’m in a Finishing Mode right now, and it feels good to get some of these quilts out of the cupboard and done.
This giant cookie is a first for me: first gluten-free recipe ever made, and first recipe that has tahini as an ingredient. Recipe from Joy the Baker. Review: I liked the tahini, but husband didn’t. Baked it in a 9-inch cake pan, it needed 10 more minutes baking than she said in her recipe, but 8 more minutes would have been better. I thought it was yummy.
The garden is slightly underwhelming right now, as we’ve been eating the winter vegetables of Rainbow Chard and lettuce, but the addition of March’s blocks to my Temperature Quilt livens things up! I decided to plant my tomato seed directly into the garden, and then put plastic cups over where I’d planted, so I could keep it moist. I’m happy to report that all four varieties have now sent up sprouts. The big-leafed plant in front is a zucchini, from the garden store.
From food baskets, to a giant cookie, to gardens, this post is now at an end. To bring it full circle, the genesis of the basket quilt was that I had been saving food fabrics for eons, and finally decided I wanted them to go into baskets. So I close this post with some food quotes:
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner. ~Byron
“Here, dearest Eve,” he exclaims, “here is food.” “Well,” answered she, with the germ of a housewife stirring within her, “we have been so busy to-day that a picked-up dinner must serve.” ~ Hawthorne
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Proverbs 15:17
This quilt, made of 6″ blocks designed by famous Japanese quilter Chuck Nohara, is finally finished. We took it out to the local area for some shots with wildflowers, as it’s been such a beautiful year. My husband was the best quilt holder (thank you, dear). Although her name reads masculine, Chuck Nohara is a woman who taught quilting to many in Japan in the 1970s and 80s.
While I am currently past 200 quilts in the listing, I first posted about this top at the #188 slot. Rather than rework my lengthy listings, I decided to slide it into place where I first wrote about it. I will link it to this post, showing its completion (which is why I don’t like to only post the quilt tops, preferring instead to number the quilts when they are finished).
Why has it taken so long? I had always wanted to quilt it myself. But one bad week during my recent recovery from rotator cuff surgery, I realized (or believed) that I would never quilt again, so had my husband help me box it up and send it off to Darby for quilting.
I chose this meandering loopy pattern for the quilting, and I’m quite happy with it.
The title comes from a poem by Robert Pollock, a religious poet from Scotland. I liked the idea of that line, that we are all friends in heaven, as this quilt was made when Susan from Australia, and I (from California) corresponded and chose blocks to work on, as we both had a hankering to make a “Chuck Nohara” quilt. That seems so far away, although with FaceTime videos, emails and notes, the distance does shrink.
When I first did research on all these little tiny blocks, one blogger called them Friendship Blocks. They were made by the hundreds by Japanese quilters, sent in to teams who would take all the blocks, make quilts with them, which would then be auctioned off with money going to charity at the Tokyo Quilt Show. Now these blocks are pretty widely called Charity Blocks, but because Susan and I, friends across the ocean, chose to make them together, I’ve always thought of them as an expression of friendship. And as we participated in the online groups, we made other friends. So they still remain Friendship Blocks in my mind.
We each chose two per month, and I’d make a little sign like this and we’d put them up on our IG accounts and blogs and get to making. I realize that the quilt photos in this post are from far away, you can head to the link #chucknohara_opquilt on Instagram and see all the blocks that I have posted. We also tagged them #chucknoharaQAL so they’d be grouped with others around the world who were making these tiny blocks.
My first set of blocks, finished in December 2015. Yes, from start to finish, it’s been a little over three years to finish up this quilt. I seem to excel at the long game. Here’s Susan’s quilt:
Such a different, and wonderful, quilt from the same blocks. Here’s a closer picture of my quilt without the quilting:
The upper left block is her signature block. The lower right block is mine. I planned that the outer stars would run from deeper green, to yellow, and back to green as they moved along the edges.
Sometime ago, I glimpsed this quilt in an Instagram feed:
The description says it’s from the North Country of England, so I’ve taken to calling it the North Country Patchwork Quilt. The more I looked at it, the more I liked how those red squares just kind of blended into the background on the outer rings, but floated over the foreground in the middle.
I tried to convince my husband to buy it. That was funny, as he made some comment about didn’t we have enough quilts? Seriously, he’s nearly perfect, but in the end, I decided to go ahead and make it.
Because I sure need another project.
But the project I need is a hand project, really–one that can be toted around in the car. I finished my hexies project, and I finished (thankfully) my millefiore quilt, so now what am I going to do on long car rides? Just sit there?
So I drew up the block, working between two different pieces of software: QuiltPro and Affinity Designer, and have created this pattern (click on the following link for free PDF file): North Country Patchwork Quilt
This quilt has 624 pieces in it, and if you divide that by four, you’d have to print out gazillions of the pattern page. So here are my tips for making that go more quickly:
Print off several of the free North Country Patchwork Quilt page. Like 10.
Stack each printed page with about 4-5 plain pieces of paper. Staple them together inside the pieces, as shown on the left.
Cut them apart in chunks, like the image on the right, using an old rotary cutter that you’ve dedicated to paper; or, a guillotine paper cutter; or, your paper scissors.
Then further cut them into the individual shapes: a honeycomb and a square. Remove the staples.
That ought to get you started. No, I didn’t use cardstock, but I had some 24 lb printing paper that I used. And yes, I’m gluing the fabric to these pieces of paper. I used this paper when I did my Shine EPP quilt (most blocks are free on this blog) and it worked out just fine. Repeat this process as you need to.
I’m going to vary from the fabrics in the original quilt, as I fell in love with this Vive La France line of fabrics from French General. I’m over the moon for those dusky blues and strong reds.
I worked out some variations of this quilt in QuiltPro software, and they vary by how much of a border is around the central rectangle. Here they are:
I also had some fun with putting the blocks in more contemporary colors (lower left), but decided I didn’t like that version. The top three are sort of in the colors of the original quilt and it looks like to me, it was someone who was making do with cast-offs from her household clothing, as well as men’s shirtings. But I’m anxious to get going and trying this out in the Vive La France fabrics.
I have no idea how I’m going to sew this together, but I will be concentrating on those arms that come into an X, and somehow I’ll do the red square.
Lastly, a reminder to pre-wash your fabrics: working with reds can be tricky.
I recently asked Lisa to make me a tote bag out of a Dream Big panel by Hoffman. I ordered everything, and the bag turned out to be a good size, one that could hold a queen sized quilt, perfect for taking along binding projects.
I chose a summery floral for the inside (I like bright colors inside my purses/bags, so I can find things).
Beauty shot in the flowers by the front door. Thank you Lisa, I love it!
If you decide to make these, I’d suggest switching up the order–put #9 on first, then #8. It’s a sturdier constuction that way.
But here’s the cool thing: her center will be four “straight” Flying Geese blocks, with our curvy ones being added to it, for lots of motion in her quilt.
Nancy who blogs at Patchwork Breeze, and is on Instagram @patchworkbreeze, asked for a patriotic block for a summer quilt. I guess it’s not too early to get started on the red, white, and blue, a good reminder to work ahead of the seasons and celebrations (anyone for Halloween quilts? Christmas?).
Finally, I decided to tally up what I accomplished last year, in terms of completed quilts. If you remember (or are hoping to forget), it was the Year of Frivols. So here’s the totals:
• Twelve Frivols
• Three Mini-quilts
• One Baby quilt
• One Small quilt
• Two large quilts
• One large quilt that will show up inFall 2019 Simpy Moderne
And for 2019? It’s hard right now because while I can sew the tops, I can’t quilt them myself. Quilts are only being finished when I can send them out. But here’s the list of projects so far:
• Plitvice (finished)
• Chuck Nohara quilt (binding being sewn on as we speak)
• Nameless other large quilt, being kept under wraps/headed for publication
• Home-keeping Hearts (top only at this point)
• Merrion Square–there are three of these small quilt tops in circulation, and are samples at guilds where I’ll be speaking
• Basket quilt is still on the design wall, as I audition borders.
When I finish them, I’ll catalogue them, above, on the 300 Quilts list.