Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Red, White and Blue · Shine: The Circles Quilt

The Last of the Shine RWB Blocks: 22

Happy Birthday to this blog!
Fourteen years of blogging: writing, sewing, quilting, venting, writing-back-to-you, reading and I still love writing this. I still love reading your letters and with a few exceptions was able to write back to everyone. Like I said, there are a few exceptions, but I try to keep the conversation going, so comments are back on for this final post of Shine blocks.

Block 22: Double Rosette

This block was very nearly infected with a virus, but I made some quick switches, and saved the quilt from this fate. It starts at the beginning when I choose fabrics, not always seeing the end from the beginning.

First up, attach the teensy little blue points to the large two-color points, already seamed using the quick trick I’ve mentioned before. But it’s easier if you work from the back, aligning the lower edge, taking a stitch to tack it together, then work upward to the point/shoulders of the two:

I never glue down that lower edge, so if you have, straighten it out, then you can see the bottom of the patterns. Take a stitch while you are looking at them. No, take two stitches.

After sewing one teensy point onto the same side of all the Inner Rosette units, repeat the process to sew two of these units together: work from the back, tacking the alignment into place. Sew the seam.

Twos, the fours. Notice that I sewed my little point onto the LEFT side of all the Inner Rosettes.

The blue diamonds went on, keeping the little blue dot pointing towards the center (I’ll show you that in a minute). It’s easier to add the outer sections if you are working in segments.

All the outer wedges are on, units are sewn together and it’s time to go hunting for a middle.

Because this circle is so much larger than my templates, I trace it on to the dull side of freezer paper, but also add a row of dashes at 1/8″ away from the circle and 1/4″ away. As I tell you on the pattern, it’s best to make your circle a little bit bigger.

I went to the ironing board and with the shiny side of the freezer paper facing upward, I tack it in four places with the tip of a hot (cotton setting) iron, kind of melting the shiny side of the freezer paper to hold the seam allowance in place.

I then work my way around, smoothing it into place. I will smooth out any bumps when I hand-stitch it down. Notice that the seam allowance is closer to 3/8″ — I will trim it down after it’s sewn to the larger EPP circle.

I measure from the edges to the center circle to make sure it’s evenly placed in the center.

And even now, I didn’t see what was happening with that blue polka dot against those teensy blue points.

I carefully stitched the center circle on, flipped it over for its papers-in beauty shot. See the little blue dots in the Outer Diamond E piece? They are there to help you know which side goes towards the center.

NOW I see it. It looks like a giant virus. This just won’t do.

I dithered about what to do for a day or two, then took off the center circle.

I replaced it with a medium blue center. But after another day, I added the final dark circle in the middle. I kept thinking I should dream up some more EPP for the middle, but frankly, I was kind of . . . done. And so I called the last block of the series, finished. (See the photo at the top for the final version.)

So, at this point, the Shine Blocks are all a family: The first sixteen, the second batch of ten, making 26 blocks out into the world. I love it when I see other people’s blocks, so I’ll leave you with Linda’s final block of her quilt.

Shine on, everyone!

And Happy Birthday to me this week!
Illustration by @flora.forager

Because it’s my birthday this week, here’s a coupon code to get yourself a little present in my pattern shop!

The Fine Print: 25% off • Expires Saturday, January 9, 2020

Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Red, White and Blue · Shine: The Circles Quilt

Happy New Year with Shine Block 20

This is the second of the three last posts for the Shine quilt done in red, white and blue, and these last three are all new blocks, found in the Nine More Blocks from Shine pattern in my pattern shop on PayHip. And yes, I know I put Block 21 before Block 20, but in spite of that I still think I’m doing pretty well these days. I have named this block Dresden Rosette, for every creation needs a name.

It all always starts with this, doesn’t it? I started Block 20 by doing the quick method of EPP, as described in the General Instructions: I pieced a couple of the fabrics together in strips, then laid out the pattern and cut/glued that to the paper. There are some tips in all the blocks, but I also think I did this in Block 19: Compass Star. Here I’ve paired up the Dresden-looking pieces:

The pairs were joined up to make a foursome, then the pieced diamonds were added to them, with one extra kind of hanging out there on the end.

Nothing prettier than a Dresden Rosette. But we’re not done yet. I’ve stitched the three sets together, but if you look at the photo at about 1-o’clock on the dial, you can see I’ve left one complete seam open. Trust me when I tell you it’s easier to sew the outer wedges on, if you have not sewn it into a circle.

Outer Wedges: On!
Final Seam: Sewn!
Now to hunt around for a middle…

Found the middle I wanted, and now am trying to decide between the two arrangements. You can which one I went for at the top of this post.

I’m sure you noticed all those little bits of seam allowances at all the tips. How do I handle those? Here’s three photos to show you. I first fold over and tuck under one side (#2), then fold and tuck under the second little bit (#3). Finally I stick a pin there, or quickly put in a couple of stitches.

Before
Photo #2
photo #3 (sorry about the color–I was outside and the sun shifted)

After it is all stitched down, I press. First I press from the top, then I set the circle on a well-padded surface, and really give some heat and steam to those protruding seam allowances. They usually fall nicely in line.

On onward to the last of the Shine Blocks. Again, I have turned off the comments for this post, too, as I’m doing them in such quick succession. My contact info is above in About Me, if you need to send me a note.

Gridsters · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Red, White and Blue · Shine: The Circles Quilt

Happy New Year with Shine Block 21

Something short and sweet for you today: how to make block 21. I’m posting these last few blocks of Red, White and Blue SHINE in quick succession, so others can these posts for references.

The going is quicker, so I swiftly moved from the above, to the layout below.

This is an easy block to start with, if you are just a beginning EPP-er. This block can be found in Pattern 121, the final nine new circles, and is available in my PayHip shop. The quick trick is explained in the General Instructions, as well as in other Shine Block instructions (on this website).

Follow the steps on the pattern. You can see I made the inner circle first, then added on the red/white star points. Then next is making the outer wedge-point-wedge units. Sew them in between the star points. Applique a small circle on the center. Appliqué the circle to the background square, deciding if you want the red/white star points UP, or the blue smaller points UP. You can tell from the first photo which one I chose.

We’ve just had Christmas, come through the bulk of 2020, and I thought a short and sweet post would be best. It’s touch and go as to whether I get the top finished by the Inauguration in January, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

In other news, I finished the feather for Jen in our Gridster Bee for December. She wanted organic-looking batiks for the feather part, and solid black for the feather’s shaft. You can see a whole bunch of the feathers here. The pattern was a free download from ZenChic designer Brigitte Heitland.

I have turned off comments for this and the next two posts, as I am finishing up the SHINE block construction information; hope you won’t mind. If you want to get ahold of me, my email can be found on the About Me tab, above.

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Sawtooth Stars

Sawtoothmania • Reflections on Fertile Ground

Sawtoothmania, Quilt no. 239

All the signatures of the Gridsters, who contributed blocks to the quilt top.

the label

All photographs above by my husband or I, taken from a frontage road on the 680 freeway, to the west of Grizzly Bay and the Cordelia Slough, off Lopes Road near the Bay Area in Northern California. We just can’t resist those Northern California hills, as he and I have significant history there.

He went to UC Berkeley for his doctorate in Environmental Health Sciences (aka Toxicology), and when he wasn’t in the lab or studying his brains out, he was out in his vintage Dodge Dart exploring the Bay Area, Muir Woods and other areas. I, on the other hand, spent my teenage years in Portola Valley on the other side of the Bay, my father a professor at Stanford. We’d just come back from two years in Peru (and how we got there is another story about the life my charmed parents lived) and instead of returning to the mountain-west states, our family landed here. That was when houses were dear, but not astronomical, and somehow they pieced together a way to get a house on a professor’s salary. I grew up in the wooded hills, the large California Oaks standing alone in the the golden grasses in autumn, just like they were this day, when we went hunting for a place to photograph my quilts.

One of my children was born not too far from this place; however, my husband and I didn’t know each other then. As we drove down to my brother’s house from the Sacramento area (where this same Mr. Claus took this Mrs. Claus to get her Christmas present…more on that later), I narrated where I used to drive this child to the orthodontist, where he went to the surgeon to correct his cleft lip and palate, where I visited the attorney for my divorce. Then my husband took his turn in narration: the place where he used to go to school, his tale of arriving for grad school on a Friday, then heading to San Francisco on Saturday, to see what was there, all before beginning his studies on Monday. We drove by the Oakland Temple, of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, where we first met on a hot July evening, and gradually fell in love, sitting on the low stone wall around the property on summer nights, just talking, and watching the shimmer of lights from across the bay as we figured out how a newly-divorced woman with four children could fall in love with a single, brilliant young man, and about how they could take the leap together into a new life, the fertile ground of the northern California hills under their feet.

And so we did leap: into a life of raising children, of tracking the academic life, of quilting, of learning. It’s been a good journey, with lots of love, a few intense discussions, a life of forgiveness and kindness, a happy and creative life together…all of this reminiscing while finding a place to photograph a few Sawtooth Stars.

Other Posts with Sawtoothmania:
Sawtoothmania! – the beginning of this quilt
Some Thoughts on Our Nation’s Milestone — where Sawtoothmania makes an appearance at the end
stars shining brightly — a sister to this quilt
The Ides of March — where a few blocks show up after we build a new design wall, and I write about possessions, and an old recipe held together with a straight pin
Tiny Envelope & More Blocks — where I wrote you a free tutorial to make those very cute signature blocks on the back of the quilt

The quilts above, are Criss-Cross Color and Sawtoothmania, both available in my pattern shop.

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilts

Criss-Cross Color • Quilt Finish

Criss-Cross Color, quilt no. 233
49″ wide by 68″ high

The quilting by Kelley of Wolf Girl Quilts really looks lovely in this light.

IKEA fabric, from back in the day: a series of numbers. It was what I had.

the label

All photographs above by my husband or I, taken from a frontage road on the 680 freeway, to the west of Grizzly Bay and the Goodyear Slough, on Lopes Road near the Bay Area in Northern California. I like how the shadows are playing with the quilt in this image.

These last two photos were not taken on Lopes Road, but at my brother’s, as I knew they had a picturesque playhouse from when their girls were tiny.

I listed this as Quilt #233, as I got over-eager when the quilt top was done. Kelley, a long-armer friend, did the fabulous loopy quilting texture on the quilt. It’s been a good series for me, challenging me to think differently about color, texture and size.

The pattern is sold in my pattern shop on PayHip. There is a discount running on this pattern right now, until January 15th, if you are interested in purchasing it. Details are at the pattern shop.

Other Posts about the Criss-Cross series of quilts:
Criss-Cross Color, completed top, Criss-Cross Autumn, and the follow-up to the workshop
Criss-Cross Autumn
Christmas Criss-Cross, quilt finish
Criss-Cross, the genesis

300 Quilts · Giveaway · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt Finish · Quilt Patterns

Pomegranates • Giveaway

Where does inspiration begin?

Does it start here? How about both places? Today is a pattern announcement, a quilt top done announcement and the best part: a giveaway!

My friend, Kenna Ogg of Madison Cottage Design, is launching her line of batiks from Banyan Batiks (made by Northcott) and asked me to help her share the pictures and flavors of her line of fabrics. And at the end of the post, be sure to enter to win a fat quarter stack of these beautiful fabrics, rich in the tones of fall and winter.

So when she sent them to me to dream up a quilt, I kept thinking about my friend Karen’s pomegranate tree, and how she was always so generous with the fruit:

Pomegranates come on in the fall and into winter, so the two ideas merged into one.

(Posed under a citrus bush)

I arranged the fabrics, trying to get a feel for the richness of the color, then one night drew up the quilt idea in my Affinity software, and a quilt pattern was on its way!

I drew up a pomegranate shape, adding the bit at the top (the calyx), then traced it onto fusing material, cutting out the center of the circle so the quilt wouldn’t be too stiff. I then cut around the outside and fused it down to a four-patch.

All are on! Now the borders.

It’s a fun way to show off the luscious tones of this line of batiks. I had a hard time photographing them in the night when I was working, so here’s a photo from Kenna:

This is what she’ll send the winner of the giveaway: Twenty Fat Quarters. Yes, you can make the Pomegranates quilt from that. But now you can also score a discount on the pattern, as I’m launching it at the same time. Head over to my pattern shop on PayHip, navigate to the pattern and for a 30% discount on this pattern enter the following code at checkout:

PomegranatesOPQuilt30

There are three places you can enter the giveaway:

The giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to Esther, who wrote:
“Love the fabric and the pattern! Pomegranates and the pomegranate tree are beautiful. The tree and fruit provide habitat for birds. Maybe this will be the year I plant a tree or two, there are a number of varieties, some with pink arils and lighter rind that I think would make a nice combo with the standards. I think there are many references in the bible and poetry as to their beauty and symbolism, though right now I can’t pull one out of my memory. As far as harvesting the arils, I just “go for it” since I’m only cleaning one at a time. If I was ambitious, I’d make pomegranate jelly. I like to use the arils in a salad of winter greens, with slices of bosc pear and fuyu persimmon and a vinagrette.”

Here, on this blog (I’ll pick a winner on Thursday evening, and email the winner). OR, on my Instagram account. OR on Kenna’s Instagram account. And of course, you’ve figured out by now that if you enter all three places, that’s three times the chances. I will mail your name and address to Kenna and she’ll send them out. Good luck.

Leave me a comment below, telling me what you think is the easiest method to get the arils (the seeds) out of the pomemgranate: get on an old shirt and head out to the picnic table and just go for it, or submerge the fruit in a water bath, letting the arils sink to the bottom while the pith floats to the top. And of course, since I love your stories, any pomegranate story or memory you want to leave me will make me smile.

A red-stained juicy pomegranate smile!