First Monday Sewday for March 2020

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We had our First Monday Sewday this week, and the little group grew by two new participants.  For those who don’t know about how we started, it began because a young woman in our church wanted to learn how to quilt.  Then we found out a couple of more wanted to learn also.  I rounded up a couple of capable experienced quilters, and they agreed to teach and serve as a resource, and Beth offered up her home for us to congregate.

Above is Amber, who finished this month’s block.  It’s called Tipsy Two-fer, and was designed by the fabulous Simone, shown below giving her little mini lesson.

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Illustration March 2020 handout

Download the block pattern from Simone’s website at  simonebradford.com, where you can also see lots of different ways to put the block together. I also have a First Monday Sew-day handout you can download (PDF file; sample above): FirstMondaySewday_3_2020

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Hayley and Caitlin are working on their blocks.

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We had eight children under the age of six here, and Beth was also getting new fences.  Vanda’s mother (visiting from the Czech Republic) agreed to keep an eye on the chaos children.

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And it was Beth’s birthday, shown here hoisting up her son to help blow out the candles.

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Since I’m a record-keeper, here we all are together.  I’m impressed that Vanda could smile as her son was trying to bolt off her lap to Grandma (who took our photo).

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Since you know what I’ve been doing for weeks and weeks (house painting and trying to cram it all back in my sewing room), it gave me the opportunity to cull through some fabrics; I took four shopping bags of fabrics that quickly were sorted through and taken to new homes.  I also brought some magazines, and remembered that I had a quilt published in the back of this Quilty issue.  Amber jokingly requested my autograph, and we laughed together — but really it was all about the good mood present.  Not a whole lot of quilting went on, but the young moms were able to talk and visit and we had cake and a Simone-block and a really great time.

Other First Monday Sew-day handouts are here:

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This handout is about the basics: rotary cutting, accurate seams and pressing.  Simone also talked about how to choose colors for a quilt.  That day we sewed four patches together.

Click to download PDF file: FirstMondaySewday_D19FirstMonday Jan2020 Sample

We tackled half-square triangles and snowball corners on this day.

Click to download PDF file: FirstMondaySewday_Jan6_2020

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Flying Geese were up next, with Laurel teaching the lesson.  All the secrets for Flying Geese are in this handout.

Click to download PDF file: First Monday Sewday_Feb 2020

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Sawtooth Mania • Queen Bee February 2020

Sawtooth Overview Screenshot

I sat down one day to draw up a simple sawtooth block.  Thirty-five variations later, I got up.  Really, it’s all the same 8-inch block, but it is what’s inside that 4-inch square in the middle that makes it fun.  As Queen Bee of the mighty Gridsters this month, I am looking for some Sawtooth blocks from my bee-mates.  I’m calling it:

Sawtooth Mania Finalists

And like any beauty pageant there’s always a first phase; after looking at all of the first thirty-five, I’ve winnowed it down to these 25 semi-finalists.

I’ve left more explicit directions on our Bee Spreadsheet, but have fun choosing your favorite block to draw. Indicate which one it is on our sheet, and I’ll send you some templates.  Remember, I only want ONE from you, so choose your favorite.  And the reason why?

Tiny Envelope

Not only do I have a specific layout, involving just twelve blocks, it’s also because I want a different signature block: a Tiny Envelope block (also found here). More instructions and information are given on the spreadsheet, but here’s the download for the instructions for the 6-inch envelope block:

Tiny Envelope Flier

Gridsters: Remember to make it in the same color as your Sawtooth Center, but to use PRINTS that match your solid, with the exception of the white center.  Cut that from the fabrics that are coming your way for your Sawtooth Stars.

Everyone else: Feel free to use or borrow these sawtooth ideas.  Pattern coming soon for all of them.

Tiny Envelope & More Blocks

Gridsters January 2020

It all started, this idea of Tiny Envelopes, when a) I came down with a bad cold and everything I’d ever done in the world seemed lame and stupid, and b) Carol, our Gridster Queen Bee for January had us all make wee televisions for our signature blocks, in order to match up the larger block of Lori Holt’s vintage TV.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate on the first reason, but this is my THIRD cold of the season, and I am sick and tired of being sick-and-tired.  And I live in sunny Southern California, and no one ever feels sorry for you in the winter.

Then, last night, when the cold and sniffles had interrupted my sleep and I lay there, pondering this (can you tell I’ve been watching Jane Austin’s Sanditon on PBS, where they belabor every point, and examine everything to the point of madness?), following in Carol’s footsteps seemed the way to go.

Tiny Envelope

This little 6″ finished block will be my signature block for when it’s my turn, which is coming right up next month.  Last fall I spent many hours making a variety of my chosen bee block in my quilt program, in preparation for my turn at Queen Bee.

And it was that, which all of a sudden seemed so inane.  So last night this made perfect sense.

Tiny Envelope Illustration

So here are my instructions for making Tiny Envelope blocks, in downloadable PDF form (it’s slightly different than the illustration above):

Tiny Envelope Flier

(The usual caveats apply: don’t download for classes, parties, or your best friend.  Please send them here to this blog to get their own copy.)

Here are a slew of pictures to go along with the Tiny Envelope blocks flier:

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All the bits.

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I sewed one slender envelope strip on one side, trimmed it; then repeated the process.  Press.

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Now take that square that you cut in half and sew to one side, letting the tip of one side of the triangle extend 1/4″ past the edge.  The other side will really extend.  (Pay this no mind.)

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Sew the other side on.  You can see the 1/4″ bit of the tip extending on the upper left side. Thankfully, it does the same on the bottom.  Stitch, trimming off that excess first triangle.

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Now for the background.  Same idea.  Look for 1/4″ on the lower right edge, and let the rest of the triangle flow off the top.

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Sew the other triangle on.  Trim and press.

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The sides were bugging me.  I laid a 4″ ruler, so that the 45-degree angles matched up perfectly with my inner envelope, and trimmed both sides.

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I sewed on the strips for both sides, then evened up the top, too.

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Lower strip is on.  True the whole thing up to 6″ square, or leave it for me to do when you send it.  Either is fine.  And also for my Gridsters, use a background that is lively (no low-volume stuff), but that still reads “light,” like this one.  The envelope part will match the color of your eventual choice next week.  Like that makes any sense, but soon it will.  The rest of you can just make fun little envelope blocks.

In other news blocks…

Tri-Ball

My friend Simone designs new and interesting blocks for our chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  This is the Tri-Ball block that’s coming up to submit to the March drawing.  I really love this one!

Extra HSTs from Tri-Ball

Snowball Triangle Example

Since this has some snowball corners, if you double-sew that seam 1/2″ apart, then cut in between the two lines of stitching, you can get some fun HSTs.

Orange Fields HSH

I’m also re-writing, re-freshing my Home, Sweet Home pattern, and changed up some of the construction techniques, so I made up a new version.  I call this my Orange Grove Houses, especially now that its January and all the citrus is popping out in Southern California!

Quilted My Small World

Lastly, before this cold hit, I was able to finish up the quilting on My Small World. It’s good to hit the pause button now and again, to enjoy the (here comes my Jane Austin voice) fruits of our labors, the blessing of our handiwork.

Now I’m going back to the bed to practice some fainting and work on handling those nasty spells that come over a Victorian woman.  But boy, do I love all the clothes they wear.  It’s worth watching that show, if only to catch a glimpse of Miss Heywood’s dress with the pineapple sleeve caps!

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Happy Quilting!

Wonky Hearts Aflutter

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How do I make nearly 60 wonky, improv-y hearts and not go crazy? Now there’s a challenge.

Wonky Heart Illustration

I started here, with a rough pattern of how big I wanted my “improv” wonky heart to be. The free PDF file is available for download.  It finishes roughly at 5 1/2″ wide by 7 1/2″ tall.

Click here: Unfussy Wonky Heart

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I started with the heart pieces. I layered up seven pieces of different pink and red fabrics, pinned on the heart pieces and placing my ruler along their outer edge, I cut around them with a rotary cutter: it wouldn’t really matter if I was hyper-accurate…close enough would do.  I repeated this nine times.

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Then I did the same thing with the background pieces, but was careful with my directional fabrics: I kept the pieces oriented as they would sew into the heart block.

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Everything’s stacked up.

Word Quilt in Process

These photos were taken over two weeks’ time, as I tried to fit all the words together. Words were made in The Spelling Bee, from 2016.

I shuffled the fabrics so no two fabrics would be together, and made a sample heart (at the top of the post). I pinned it next to the quilt of words I’d been working on, closed up the machine, turned off the iron, and enjoyed the sunset:

Sunset July 2019

Word Quilt Mock-up

When I woke up in the morning, I decided to try a digital mock-up of the quilt with the hearts as a border, as I wondered if the hearts were too big.  I sent the photo to my two of my quilting buddies and they gave me two thumbs’ up.  I’ll probably try to sneak in a narrow red/pink border between the quilt center and the outer border of hearts.

 

I’ve become braver about being wonky and improv-like, skewing seams, overlapping, cutting off points, generally going at it easy, instead of pristine.

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I have a few more hearts, now, and while the widths vary from 5 1/4″ to 5 1/2″ (I just trim them where it feels right), I’m forcing them to 7 1/2″ tall (that’s before seaming).  Because I am tired of cutting off the points, I’ll now be cutting about 1/2″ off the bottom heart section before I seam it to the top part.

This is one of two long-term UFOs that haunt me in my dreams.  The other one is Small World, which I keep in parts in a basket in my shelves.  I do have hopes on finishing that one, too.  I signed up for a Jen Kingwell class at Road to California in January; I suppose one goal would be to have it finished so she could sign it?  Right.

July Gridsters Block 2019

In other sewing news, I finished July’s Gridster Bee blocks for my beemate Linda and sent them off.

 

And I’m trying this new type of tomato, developed for scorching temperatures.  This year we were almost chilly and foggy until June, then the temps shot up high.  I haven’t had good luck with my garden in three years, after a stunning first year of beginner’s luck.  But hope is a thing with feathers, said Emily Dickensen, or my case, tomatoes.

 

I’ve also started quilting City Streets, a quilt of my own design.

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I’d picked up this Magnifico-cousin (same type of thread) when I visited Superior Threads last time.  It’s color 101, and it looks like a gold thread, but isn’t a metallic thread:

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I hope I don’t run out before I finish this quilt.

Random Quilter

Finally, in my discussion about how the internet irritated me, I read a ton of blogs, some of which I can’t quite remember.  But I did take a screen shot of this gem, a featured quilter on a truly dedicated quilter’s blog. (Given what he says about his favorite fabric color, I don’t think he would like my gold thread.)  However, I leave you with the hope that you, too, have started quilting several times, as well as the ability to make the quilts in your head.

 

 

Delectable Baskets: Quilt Finish

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Delectable Baskets • Quilt #220
Approximately 70″ wide by 90″ high

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Delectable Baskets gets its name because each basket is filled with food — well — food fabrics. I’d been collecting for over twenty years, so I had a few to choose from.  In February 2018 I was Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and put up a post about making basket blocks, deciding that I wanted to use my collection of fabrics with food motifs.  I sent each of my beemates a couple of squares. (There is a free basket tutorial on that post, if you are interested in making some baskets.)

Baskets of Food quilt top

Not only did my Gridster Beemates send me blocks, but a few other long-time friends sent them also; I had so many blocks that my quilt grew and grew, and then it was overflowing, a lovely dilemma to have.  So I pruned it a bit, as I was aiming for twin-size, and still have enough baskets for an upcoming wall-hanging.

Cathy of CJ Designs did an expanded Baptist Fan on it, leaving it nice and soft, which is a good thing, as I intend it for use in the guest bedroom, which is currently the quilting-and-thread-storage bedroom.  I promise that maybe I can share.

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The back, using some Phillip Jacobs (on the right) and some Marimekko (from Crate and Barrel’s outlet sale some years ago).  The signature blocks (the white Xs) are pieced into the Phillip Jacobs, or at least I think that’s who designed that fabric.  At any rate, the print is a lovely-as-can-be radishes.Food Basket Quilt_5

Thank you to everyone who sent me blocks.  Delectable Baskets has been on my radar for  a couple of decades or more, beginning with visits to Fabric Patch quilt shop, the vendor mall in the early years of Road to California, a couple of Southern California Shop Hops, and an occasional trip to Utah.  There were no mail-order shops then, as there was no internet then.  We bought fabric from JoAnns which it wasn’t then (maybe Cloth World?).  I accrued fabrics a yard at a time, a piece at a time, a slow compilation.

This quilt was finished in an era where everything is on hyperdrive.  The internet runs, assists and invades our lives, helping and hindering us in our quilting.  Sometimes we are in a quilt bubble, making the same quilt (see my Flag Quilt from last post), using the same colors, same fabric lines.  Other times it brings us news of friends in Australia, in Japan, Canada, Germany and certainly from around the United States, and allows us to meet and be friends with people all over the world.

Our gathering of Gridsters would not be possible without the internet, and all members, past or present, contribute to my life is a positive and beneficial way.

I am happy to know you all, Gridster Bee member or not.  Thank you for enriching my life, making it a veritable feast.  I dedicate Delectable Baskets to you.

Betsy’s Creation: Flag Quilt Top

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Betsy’s Creation • Flag Quilt Top Finished!

Last week in another post, I threw together a fun little worksheet about how to make a flag quilt, then got busy and not only made this quilt top, but also a wallhanging:

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In case you didn’t see that free worksheet…

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…click here to download a PDF version of this: Betsy’s Creation_OPQuilt

It’s a just a worksheet and assumes you know how to put together a quilt.  Why did I have enough for a quilt and a wallhanging?  Seems I had a bit of a miscount, excited as I was to be cutting into all my reds, and whites and blues. I overshot my mark of 15 sets.

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I put each strip set on my design wall, then added a blue rectangle to coordinate.

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Progress!

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I mixed them around until I found an arrangement I liked, putting four to the side for the wallhanging, then sashed and bordered them with the light blue.  I used Painter’s Palette Solids in Aruba (121-100), available from Pineapple Fabrics, if your local shop doesn’t carry it.

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Then I went outside and fought the breezes to get these few shots.

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I did all the cutting, the sewing and fighting-the-breezes-for-a-picture in three days.  I tell you that so you know it’s a quick quilt to make.  I’ll hang the smaller version in our front hallway in July, but the larger one will be quilted and tucked into the car for fun picnic blanket getaway events.

 

Happy Red, White and Blue Sewing!

Flag waving

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Other Red, White and Blue projects I have made:

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Red, White and Blue Star

SweetLandLiberty_front

Sweet Land of Liberty

Red White Blue Quilt

Red, White and Blue Quilt (friends blocks)

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America Is A Tune (it must be sung together)

Fourth July Tiny Quilt

Happy Fourth of July (Tiny Quilt)