Happy Fourth of July Block!

I decided to give my Shine: The Circles Quilt blocks another run, prompted by a backdoor agreement that won’t be mentioned at this point, but when/if it happens, I will be more than happy to splash it all over.

This time, the blocks will coalesce into one pattern, which will soon be available up on my pattern site, PayHip.

I remember my Clothing and Textiles teacher telling me that the inside of a garment is where the real story is. So here is the inside of this circle. Carol showed me her Red, White and Blue stack of Mackinac Island prints from Minick and Simpson, and yes, they arrived at my house probably only a day after they arrived at her house. (Quilt friends can be quite wicked that way.)

They, of course, are last year’s treasure, but I’ve been finding other prints that have been joining the stack growing to the side of my cutting table. And Minick and Simpson do have a companion collection coming out later this year, so we’ll see if I need any more.

I call this first block Swirlygig, but it floats a different direction than the original block.

This was the original Shine quilt. It’s time for a up-do-re-do!

Pattern coming soon. Happy Fourth of July!

This free tiny flag quilt pattern is up under the Tab: Past Endeavors -> Tiny Quilts
This free four-patch flag pattern available here

Sawtoothmania!

Framed Pattern Cover

Sometimes I get an idea, and it becomes like a dividing cell: one idea becomes into two, then four, and in this case, 23.  Sawtoothmania, the idea I am referring to, began about six months ago I started working on how to create a different sawtooth center.  First I made over 33 different designs, then whittled it down to 26, and then to 23 for this final pattern.

Bee Block Sawtoothmania Bette

I was aiming to have the pattern finished by the time I was Queen Bee in February for the Gridsters Bee, but I wasn’t.  I was far enough along though, to send them each some Painters Palette Solids: blue and white, plus a color to make up the center.  I also asked them to make an accompanying Tiny Envelope block (a free pattern on this blog) as their signature block, using a print that would coordinate with their block.

Sawtoothmania Process_0

This was the original set of colors, along with a little card I sent them so they could choose their block.

Then I kept making, kept testing, putting up blocks on Instagram as I finished them.  Today, the pattern is finished, and is up on my PayHip site, where you can purchase it if you’d like.  Many thanks to my BeeMates for testing these blocks, and for making me such a beautiful array of 12 blocks (I added four to the mix to get this arrangement):

Sawtoothmania Process_1

Then there was Border Angst.

I started with the solid blue border on the left, then tried the right, yes yes that’s the one. Then no no that’s not the one, how about I cut it up?  And then add squares?  And then go back to the solid blue?  And then sash them?  And then too many colors, take some out? And then go to bed, freaking out?

Sawtoothmania Process_front

I ended up here, and called it done.  I actually like it, although I include the plain fabric border option in the pattern, too, just in case you liked that one.  In the end, there were too many colors in the outside border, so I just used cool colors for the squares and smaller sashing to tone it down.  It’s not that noticeable, but it is significant.

Sawtoothmania Process_Gatesawtoothmania Small

I had several blocks I didn’t include, but that they were used as testers, so I made this smaller version, and this one will get the plain print border.

So, there you have it–my Sawtoothmania Pattern!  I had fun designing it and making it and if you decide to get one, I hope you’ll send me pictures of how you decided to make your Sawtoothmania.

I’m sure the length of time from inception to completion was complicated by the onslaught of Covid-19 news and all our living through it.  But since my last post, I’ve tried to get the rhythm of my days, which usually goes a couple of productive days alternating with what I call…

Lowenergy day_covid19

…”a low-energy” day.  Sometimes reading the news will trigger this, or frustration with various current events.  At least now I can predict it a little bit, and work with it.

City Streets Vivid_quilting

Trying to finish up the quilting of the second rendition of my City Streets pattern, this one done in fancy Tula fabrics.Gridsters May 2020

I was able to finish up Rachel’s Bee block for our Gridster Bee: a wagon wheel in the strongest contrasting colors we could use, with a black center.

Sneak Peek Metastructure

And I started and finished my Urban Challenge quilt for the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild.  But this is just a sneak peek, as the due date isn’t until May 25th, and won’t be announced until June 13th, at our Guild’s Zoom Meeting.  Since I run their blog, I have seen some of the entries that have come in, and I’m pretty excited about it all!

Zoom May 10_2020_3

I’ll leave you with this shot from our family Zoom meeting on Mother’s Day, when my son Matthew admitted that he hadn’t gotten a card out to me and shared his screen with us to show this.  It still makes me laugh.

So, between finishing up long-term projects, dodging around the emotions of Covid-19, and receiving Mother’s Day cards via Zoom, it looks like we are all figuring this out.

Happy Quilting!

First Monday Sewday for March 2020

FirstMondaySewDay_March6

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.

FirstMondaySewDay_March2FirstMondaySewDay_March1

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

FirstMondaySewDay_March5

Hayley and Caitlin are working on their blocks.

FirstMondaySewDay_March4

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.

FirstMondaySewDay_March7

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

FirstMondaySewDay_March8

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).

FirstMondaySewDay_March3

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:

FirstMondaySewday_Dec 2109 Illus.png

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

First Monday Sew Day_feb2020

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

tiny-nine-patches

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:

TinyEnvelope_1

All the bits.

TinyEnvelope_2

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

TinyEnvelope_3

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.)

TinyEnvelope_4

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.

TinyEnvelope_5TinyEnvelope_6

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.

TinyEnvelope_7

Sew the other triangle on.  Trim and press.

TinyEnvelope_8

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.

TinyEnvelope_9

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

TinyEnvelope_10

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!

sanditon-charlotte-heywood-sidney-parker-1571036275.jpg

Happy Quilting!

Wonky Hearts Aflutter

Wonky Hearts_7

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

Wonky Hearts_2

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.

Wonky Hearts_2a

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.

Wonky Hearts_1

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.

Wonky Hearts_5

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.

Quilting City Streets_5

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:

Quilting City Streets_4

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.