Solar Eclipse Block • 2017

Solar Eclipse Block

Since I am completely ga-ga over the 2017 Solar Eclipse, happening August 21st (and I already have the next on penciled in on my calendar–April 2024, if you must know) when searching for decorations to put around my house, I came across a rendition of the Mosaic #19 block (originally published in 1897 by the Ladies Art Company) that is said to commemorate the 2017 All-American Solar Eclipse (who thinks up these names?).

After I read the above blurb,  I searched Google for her and found that not only has she redesigned an old block to celebrate something fun and exciting in our century, but that she’s also done a whole series of blocks to commemorate the National Parks.  I first saw them when a nephew’s wife showed me teeny screen grabs on her phone at a family picnic, and was happy to know who to give credit for those cool blocks.

Here are some other posters I discovered while search for eclipse-related images:

I have more eclipse-themed posters and info on my Pinterest Board: Eclipse.  If you want to make your own eclipse block, here is a PDF file that you can download, in 12″ finished size: Solar Eclipse Block_12. (Click on the blue print.)

I assume you have some knowledge of putting together blocks when I put this stuff up.  Most of us prefer to “snowball” the blocks onto corners. If you do, follow the very sketchy instructions below.  (You are basically going to make the outsides similarly to the flag block I wrote about recently, if you need to reference that tutorial.)

Cut the center block 6 1/2″ square.
Cut four corner blocks 3 1/2″ each, and sew diagonally onto each corner. This post on signature blocks shows how to snowball onto a corner.

To make the side geese, cut 4 rectangles  3 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ in dimension.
Cut eight squares 3 1/2″.  Snowball the squares onto each side of the rectangle.

UPDATE: If you are someone who likes to make the four small squares/one large square method of flying geese, head to this tutorial from Janet Wickell. More help can be found if you do a search on “chart for making flying geese from squares.”

To make the HST corners, cut 2 medium blue squares 4″ square. Match up with 2 dark blue squares 4″ square.  Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner and stitch 1/4″ on either side of it, then cut the triangles apart down the center.  Press to the dark side, then trim up to 3 1/2″.

Sew a flying geese on the left and right sides of the center square.
Sew a HST square on each end of the remaining two flying geese; sew these to the block. Press.

Here is the PDF pattern for a 9-inch block: Solar Eclipse Block_9inch.

If you are going to cut a large center square to snowball on your blocks, use a 5″ square (remember those seam allowances).  The smaller blocks with then be 2 1/2″.  You have the templates for both in case this is too confusing.

Solar Eclipse Block3

diagrams from my block-drawing program, Quilt-Pro

Solar Eclipse Block3aThe arrival of the eclipse also seems a fitting ending for our Book Giveaway of Summer 2017.  Thanks to all who were interested in these books.  I’ve contacted the winners of by email; books will go out as soon as I receive their mailing address.

eclipse Double Dates

Happy Eclipsing!







August Gridster Block • 2017

August17 Gridster

This month we are doing blocks for Debbie, who requested that we make blocks from the  Moda Be My Neighbor quilt, from 2016.  I found all the free, downloadable blocks on Sew Let’s Quilt It website, and enjoyed figuring this out.  My advice: lay out all the pieces as you cut it out, so you don’t get confused with what goes where.

Gridsters 3 houses

I was the designated mailer for two other Gridster members who are close by, and was able to pose the blocks together.  A lot of the blocks are showing up on Debbie’s Instagram feed, so head over there to get some quilty eye candy (and not only the Gridster blocks!).

One fun thing I did in Utah last month was to take a tour of the Hand-Quilter factory.  It’s an impromptu tour — you just show up — but it was interesting to see how things are put together.  I wanted to take a picture of the table that shows them “testing” out/breaking in the machines, but they asked me to wait to get this one, from above:

Handiquilter Tour

They also had a series of quilts, with lots of interesting texture and of course…free-motion quilting!  Click on the circles for a close-up.

Kneaders Seafood Sandwich

Continuing with the “What I Did On My Summer Vacation,” we left Handi-Quilter and had a Kneaders’ Seafood Sandwich, which unfortunately, I can’t get near me.

I arrived home a day or two early from that trip, in time to hit the 7th Annual Good Heart Quilters Retreat, organized and hosted by the amazing Lisa J. who helped found our group nearly twenty years ago. It was a day of fun and very cool cookies (thank you, Simone!).

SLC slogans YouAreHere

Aaron T. Stephan created the “Point of View” art installation in downtown Salt Lake City.

I wish I’d taken a photo of me on that bench, but it’s unfortunately placed, behind the traffic light pole.  Still.  It could have been cool.nasa_eclipse_map

Even though it is a couple of weeks away, I can’t end this without reminding you to set your alarms on your phones to watch the eclipse, coming up on August 21st.  Vox prepared this nifty celestial calculator that shows you what you’ll see in your part of the U.S. and what time it will show up.


Congratulations to Sandy A., who won the latest book giveaway.

Giveaway Winner_Sandy

I’ve sent her an email and will get the book sent off shortly.

Only two books left:

Book Giveaway3

Since summer feels like it’s fast coming to a close, I’m doing both of them this week.  At the end of this post, leave a comment to win either Kathy Doughty’s Mixing Quilt Elements, or Kim Diehl’s Simple Christmas Tidings.  Both are exemplar books by women at the top of the quilting world.  Thank you to all who entered these past few weeks!



Not All That Wanders Is Lost • Traveling Threads Bee Quilt is Finished

Not All That Wanders Is Lost
47″ high by 56″ wide
Quilt No. 186

In March 2015, Megan asked me to be a part of a Traveling Threads Bee.  My initial post about the process is here

…and shows my package (including little book, above) that was sent off to the person in line next to me, the idea being a circle — from one to another to another, roughly every month.

the logo I made for the group

Monthly was probably too ambitious, and at one point my package skipped a quilter because of time pressures, so in the end I had six lovely quilters make a block (or blocks) for me: Megan Evans, Amber, Emily V., Marci Debetaz, Toni Lovelady and Lisa Johnson. Our group on Instagram was #travelingthreadsbee and we all made such different quilts (click on their names to see their groups of blocks).

I love that it is a meeting of far away and close, new and old, friends.

I put my signature blocks on the front of the quilt, and in the lower right is the signature of the fabric designer, Alison Glass; all are contributors to this quilt. I put the label and a statement about the quilt on the back:I liked the idea that the quilt wandered, and then came home. This was the first project I started quilting this spring, using its beautiful qualities to help propel me back to my groove in free-motion quilting.  I posted each block on my Instagram feed as I finished it. I took it on the back patio, in the setting sun, so the slanting rays could amplify the quilting lines.

Luckily I caught the un-quilted section (blue triangle) before finishing it up with a faced binding.  I like to put that invisible binding on busy quilts, as it gives a clean finished edge (tutorial is *here*).  Okay, it’s the OPQuilt Summer Book Giveaway Time.

Third book is gone, given to Simone according to the guidelines of the Husband Random Number Generator.  I’ve already contacted her via email and it will go off tomorrow.  So, let me tell you about the next book, the Simple Simon Guide to Patchwork Quilting:

I took this photo from their site, a fun place to go and read and get great ideas for all sorts of homemaking-type projects.  Their tagline is “Two girls. Same name. One mission. Teach the world to sew.” and this book is a great example of terrific projects made simply, with a lot of pizazz.  To enter the giveaway for this book, please leave a comment below.  I’ll let it run for a few days then I’ll notify the winner by email.  By the way, this is a signed copy (both authors!).






Rose Window • Four-in-Art Quilt


It’s Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal day today, the penultimate challenge in 2017.  We began this art mini-quilt group in November of 2012, and we are in our fifth year.  Bette, Rachel and I have been with the group since the beginning, with additions and changes here and there.  It’s been wonderful to have this to look forward to four times a year, a chance to stretch and try some new things, all contained in a mini-quilt (we are more flexible with the size now, but originally, it had to be contained in a 12″ square).

Rose Window_front

Rose Window
13 1/2″ wide by 18″ long
Quilt Number 185

Since I chose the challenge of Stained Glass Shadows, obviously I’m in love with the highly saturated blocks of color left on the floors of cathedrals and churches when the sun shines through stained glass windows.  I originally thought I’d try some figurative work, but the colors are what always catch my eye.

So I began with the warm tones, adding the layers of earth-colors as they moved toward the bottom, and celestial-colors as it moved upward.

I also knew that somewhere on this quilt there had to be a Rose Window, that enormous circular window high above entryway doors.

Then it was quilt the background, and I went with the idea of the rose window as the center, with thread-streams of color coming out from there: navy and deep colors from the top and the warmer yellow-orange-red tones as the sun filters downward through the stained glass. My solid fabrics are Paintbrush Studio Solids, and the thread is Magnifico by Superior Threads (with Bottom Line in the bobbin) with some So Fine here and there, as the color dictated.

Details of Rose Window quilting.

Rose Window_back

Back of quilt, with standard label, and added corners for easy hanging.

Rose Window_front

Please visit the others in our Four-in-Art group, and see how they interpreted the Challenge of Stained Glass Shadows:

Betty        Blogpost on Four-in-Art







All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

Our next challenge is Illumination, and will post on November 1st.


National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.


Stained glass window from Prague Cathedral, by Edward Mucha

Rose Window_real

Rose Window, Italy


Hot Mitts • July 2017


It was time.  When I last made hot mitts, it was 2013 and now,  many hot pans later, I was in desperate need of new hot mitts.  Scary picture of old mitts, below.


I made it really small so you wouldn’t faint.

DON’T DOWNLOAD THIS for pattern!

So I looked up my tutorial about when I first made these oven hot mitts.   I printed out the pattern at 100%, checking that picture of the ruler to make sure it matched 1″ on a real-life ruler. I taped the two parts together (shown above…again DON’T use that photo as your pattern!–refer to the tutorial), and set them aside..  Layer up the fabrics, according to the directions in that original post.


I chose my thread, using a variegated So Fine for the Amy Butler floral, and quilted the fabric layers together by just scribbling and swirling all over it. I’ve also used my walking foot and done straight lines.  It really doesn’t matter what you do; just get those layers secured together.


I cut out enough for two mitts: that’s four hand-shaped pieces.  Remember to reverse the pattern when cutting a pair (as shown in the top photo).  Then it was make bias binding time.

making-bias-tape1I followed the instructions, as before (old picture, above), but if you need a more detailed refresher on how to make bias tape, head here, to the Dritz website..  (Or download their PDF file here, if that link doesn’t work: dritz-tutorial-how-use-bias-tape-maker)

I now have some handy-dandy new hot mitts.  Reminder: they are a little big until you wash them a couple of times.  I built in that shrinkage to the pattern.


Mitts in action.  Recipe is my go-to Summer Pasta Salad, found on, my recipe blog (see below).


Now I can cook in style.


The ongoing OPQuilt Summer Book Giveaway is still going on: you get a new book and I get more shelf space in my sewing room.

OPQuilt Summer 2017 Book Giveaway

Here’s the total stack of books I’m giving away.  The first two titles are lined out as they are all finished, and next up is the Denyse Schmidt book.  I’ll let this one run until August 3rd, and will notify the winner by email.  I’m letting you know what is coming up so you can either enter all the giveaways, or just the one you want.  I’m still very happy to receive your comments, though!  This week’s Intentional Piecing has been given, in accordance with the strict rules of the Husband Random Number Generator, to Andrea in Florida.


The penultimate Four-in-Art reveal for 2017 is coming up on Tuesday, with the Challenge of Stained Glass.  Join us all then to see the quilts our group makes.

Denyse Schmidt Book

Leave me a comment below to enter the giveaway for this week.