300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt Finish

Sunflowers for a Daughter-in-Law • Quilt Finish

Sunflowers for Kim, Quilt #268, 62″ square

It takes a lot of steps to make a dance, a lot of pages to make a book and a lot of pieces to make a quilt.

Relationships are similarly intricate, especially the relationship between a mother-in-law (MIL) and her daughter-in-law. In my first marriage, I tried to develop a relationship with my new mother-in-law, but she and I were just too different to make it. When the son of this woman and I divorced, we made a deal: I’ll take the children to see my parents, and you you take the children to see yours. Within eighteen months time, we’d split the property, I’d met my Real Husband, and he and I married and moved to Southern California.

A few months later, I tasked the children with cleaning out their closets, and one of the kids handed me an unopened envelope from the former MIL. I opened it gingerly, and in it she took me to task for moving her grandchildren away from her, and for generally ruining most everything. I don’t know what happened to that letter, but now, thirty-plus years later, I recognize how right she was. I did move away, I did take the children some distance. But I also recognized her sorrow and from then on sent her school pictures, short notes, had the children write letters, trying to keep up a connection that her son was unwilling to do. I never saw her again in person, but mourned her when she died.

When my sons married, it was my turn. I have found in moving through the world, you either love your mother-in-law or she drives you crazy. There doesn’t seem to be too many in the middle. Sometimes we love our MILs because they raised our husbands, and we give them the respect owed to them for bringing us this wonderful human. Other times we wondered what in heavens’ name they were thinking to raise someone who _________ (fill in the blank). Sometimes we form a close enough bond that we move in sync, and there is no competition. However, mostly as a MIL, you bite your tongue. Eat your words, if needed. If the occasion calls for it, follow Emily Dickinson’s advice: “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant.”

As far as the MIL game goes, I’ve had two, one mentioned above, as well as a near-saint who was supportive and yes, raised the Best Quilt-Holding Husband in the trade (one among many of his fine talents and qualities). Between handing over my sons to their wives, as well as watching my mother and her MIL, my sisters, my friends and their MIL relationships, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve made all kinds of mistakes, but hope for forgiveness. and try to practice that as often as I can. Whatever your relationship is with your mother-in-law/daughter-in-law, there are a lot of pieces that have to come together to make it work.

I have made quilts for all three of my daughters-in-law (besides the wedding quilts); one carted both quilts off in their divorce; I’m waiting for the new love in my son’s life to let me know what she would like. I don’t know if they like their quilts, but I like thinking about these women: strong ones, smart ones, women who like to laugh, women who are partners to my sons. Women who raise interesting children, and sometimes include me in their lives, for in this new century of no social rules, I am the “away grandma” as my son reminds me and contact can be sporadic. Yes. It’s my turn.

This quilt is for Kim, a daughter-in-law who loves to laugh, doesn’t hold grudges, is a great mother, a fine partner and wife for my son, and doesn’t let him get away with too many shenanigans, while escaping when she can for hers. She always has a game ready for us to play, welcomes us to her home, and is easy to talk to. She loves sunflowers, those being the flowers she carried at her wedding, some twenty years ago. Happy Anniversary, Kim, for making me your mother-in-law, then redeeming me from that awful fate.

And many thanks to my Quilt-Holding Husband, who found us this wonderful mural backdrop, and to Jen, for her fine quilting using an E2E of Baptist Heart Clams.

This updated pattern is found in my PayHip Pattern Shop. If you have already purchased this PatternLite Pattern, thank you. The newest version can be downloaded using the email you received when you bought it.

(PatternLite Patterns: costs less than a pumpkin-spice drink at the local coffee shop.)
BlockBase+ · Free Quilt Pattern · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

Too Hot to Think • Blockchain Quiltblock Freebie

from here

It’s too hot to think, but here’s a fun sketch from a traditional block, originally called Boise (Brackman 2306). The periodical, Hearth and Home, which published this block, was in operation from 1885 to the 1930s.

The block, exploded.

The 7″ block, set on alternating verticals. All of these can be found in BlockBase+ which is software that is basically the Brackman Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. I modified this in my design software, Affinity Designer by Serif, a reasonable cost design software (NO, you don’t have to buy Illustrator. YES you should buy BlockBase+.)

And I think we should give the quilt a name. I know it’s the capitol of the state of Idaho, but I’d like to give it a more contemporary name: Blockchain. What does that mean? Since I just donated to Wikipedia (you should too), here’s their definition:

blockchain is a type of Digital Ledger Technology (DLT) that consists of growing list of records, called blocks, that are securely linked together using cryptography.

So couldn’t we define a quilt as “a growing list of blocks that are securely linked together with thread”? I think so. I was amused to see that a lot of the images used to depict the idea of blockchain are some of our traditional quilt blocks, like baby’s tumbling block, among others.

If you’d like the 8-inch version, I’ve got that for you here, as a free download. I didn’t monkey around with it too much, so it’s rather a no-frills set of templates (remember, it’s too hot), but you can see how nicely the templates are generated for you by Blockbase+. [Okay, I did do a bit of monkeying…]

Download the free PDF file for an 8″ block here:

Here’s the 12-inch version, which finishes at 52″ square, with those 2″ borders and cornerstones. To get this layout, I did four columns of the Blockchain block, doing half-blocks at the top and bottom of columns 2 and 4. I’m sorry I didn’t include the 12″ size block, but it’s hot, and we are about to head to our traditional Labor Day Cookout: a trip to In and Out Burger, where they do the grilling for me.

from here

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

Secret Garden • Quilt Finish

What is it about Kaffe Fassett fabrics that pulls us in? The rich hues and full range of shades? The interesting patterns, many from old wallpapers and fabrics? I have a couple of stacks of his fabrics and it’s always a delight when I can pull them out from my shelves and start playing.

Secret Garden, quilt number 235, is the original size of my Triad Harmony pattern, measuring 28 1/2″ by 31 1/2″ and was made for a class sample, since my friend Susan loved Kaffe fabrics. She was the program chair and had me teach this class for their Guild.

After several weeks of lallygagging around — or so it felt — this week I put on the binding and the label:

The quilting goes fast with this size! (Click any image to enlarge.)

It also helped to get back into a Guido Brunetti Mystery, after a long time away.

Here’s another scrappy version.

And a bigger version, Eris.

And the first in the series in Jennifer Sampou’s ombré fabrics. I put them all together in a reel on Instagram. (See my tip in my next post for how I deal with that app.)

Triad Harmony and her sisters. One more is coming…

Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quick Quilt

Sunflower Block & Other Flowers!

This block, also known as Rolling Star (Brackman 3795) has several variations that are well-known. I’ve seen this block used in multiple quilts including mine, but what amazes me is how versatile it is just by changing up the colors and the center.

Here’s a line-up from one of my Home, Sweet Home classes — the quilts are similar, but different.

I changed up the center block and added seaming for windows and doors to get this one, after I saw so many quilters turn away from the fused doors and windows, wanting to seam them instead.

Several years ago I’d written a post where I talked about making up some block ideas for my neice-by-marriage, and I still can’t believe how popular the poppy block was from that post, but of course it was a free download and those are ALWAYS popular (I don’t mind). See Notes (at the end) for link to block.

So I thought I would slide down the sunflower rabbit hole this week, and finally get the sunflower version added to my Home, Sweet Home pattern:

I put the pattern on sale (now only $7 instead of the usual $12) as a way of making it easy (no coupons to enter), and hope those looking for this pattern will enjoy it.

Home, Sweet Home with Bonus 18″ Sunflower block available here.

But the rabbit hole of sunflower blocks got deeper and I decided to do a PatternLite pattern (costing less than a Pink Drink at Starbuck’s) with a changed-up method of piecing, to emphasize the petals of the sunflower. I also added a detailed series of instructions for a Four-in-One Flying Geese block, as well as how to trim it up accurately. I put a lot more in this one than usual, but I just kept going, making blocks and having fun.

The PatternLite Sunflower! is now up in my shop.

Make some end-of-July fun!

Notes on this block:

About every other month, someone writes to me, asking if they can buy that sunflower pattern, which was an illustration on the Poppy Flower post (which was very popular in Australia). I popped it into a Google Search, trying to figure out what rando had taken off with my image, and found this:

It’s a sham website, ranking dead last in safety, in security. Don’t go there, but these guys are in the habit of stealing images and trying to sell them off to unsuspecting quilters (9 Pretty Barn Quilt Patterns for $42.88?).

Make this one, instead. It’s a lot cheaper!

Other posts about other Flower Blocks
Poppy Block and debut of Sunflower idea with the free Poppy Block download
April Flowers with a link to Totally Tulips Quilt from Missouri Star
Field Flowers with a link to Sherri McConnell’s pattern Flowers for Emma
June Flowers — a really early day post of mine, with a tutorial for a nine-patch tulip It makes me snort smile to see this post from nearly a decade ago.
I still love Blossom, which has flowering snowball flower blocks in three sizes.
Last, Sunny Flowers quilt, another PatternLite.

Hope that’s enough flower blocks for you. Since August is right around the corner, so many of mine in the garden have dried up with July’s heat. Guess we’ll just have to make them in fabric!

Italy’s field of sunflowers
Free Quilt Pattern · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

New York Beauties, Block 4: Ocean Gleam

We should stop meeting like this.

But it’s Wednesday, it’s June, and we’re ready for the fourth make in this series of New York Beauties. And the last in this foursome is Ocean Gleam, the dark dapples and glints that show up when you are lying on that proverbial beach and the ocean’s waves lull you into relaxation. Or something like that.

I dedicated a lot of digital real estate in the last New York Beauties Quilt post talking about how I work with FPP. Head over there if you need more info; scroll down as it is below Block Three. This block has two rows of rays and two bands, but you are up to this task, I know.

Q: How did I get here so fast? A: Read this. (Scroll down)

Checking for colors: bits of Block Four pinned up next her sisters.

Sew the parts together, and as usual I have the convex on top.

Yes. I am trying out colors again, but I have committed and am starting, judging by the sewn triangles on the upper arc. (The lower arc’s pieces are just laid out.)

Do you remember in the last post that I told you I figured out I didn’t need the paper on everything? It came from sewing this together. First I ripped off the seam allowances, like I’d learned. I was still wrestling with it under the needle, so I started ripping off the paper on the triangles. This photo was taken when I stopped to rip ALL the paper off. I had already pinned my four marked intervals together, so I didn’t need the paper for that.

Back view. You can see the press marks on the burgundy arc, and the pins on the upper arc, ready to be matched up.

Stitching, again without paper. I use those tweezers to help grab parts that need lining up. Tweezers are definitely recommended.

I just noticed they made a heart! These patterns come with a lot of love, so I shouldn’t be that surprised.

Time to sew them all together. Do your best, but really…remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Magnifico Thread into action!!! (Kind of like a super hero or something.) I use either So Fine or Bottom Line from Superior Thread in the bobbin. Test, test, test.

I love a heavily quilted pillow, and I sketched out a lot of possibilities. But in the end, I decided not to have a Battle with the Beauties, and did a lot of outlining and stitching around the bits. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun:

New York Beauty Mini Quilt/Pillow • 20″ square • Quilt #266

Now I have some ideas for more blocks!

This all started when the pillow-of-the-month came from Riley Blake and I wanted something a little brighter. And yes, I know we have four, if not six blocks, and possibly a quilt hanging out there, waiting in the wings. Do you want to keep going? Do you want the whole family of Beauties, even if I charge for them? Leave me a comment below letting me know, if possible, what you think the ideal situation is. July is always busy, but maybe around August, when it’s too hot to go out and you need a jolt of fun? Like I said, let me know what you think.

Ocean Gleam (Block Four) is ready for download in my pattern shop.

Our hashtag on Instagram is #newyorkbeautiesquilt so please post and tag and share your beautiful blocks.  If you feel inclined and want to say a thank you, I’d appreciate a follow on either my blog where I post weekly (or occasionaly bi-weekly).  You can also follow me on my Instagram

Take a breath…and keep quilting!

Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

New York Beauties Block 3: Radiate

Third Wednesday of June means the third block of New York Beauties, and since I love that orange band out there and it reminded me of the glory days of being a teenager and feeling the warm sun on my face, I called it Radiate.

Stats: It will measure 9-inch when finished. Remember to print it off so that the size gauge of 1″ is one-inch square.

Honey, I shrunk the rays.
But then I added the band, so all is good. Are you getting the hang of this? I’ve written a longer post about how I manage foundation paper-piecing (FPP) if you aren’t. Keep reading.

You know the drill by now: overlap and tape or glue at pink dotted line to make the larger arc.

And then do the rays, Piece C. I cut off the little bit of overlap on the top piece and throw it away.

Remember in Block Two how I cut out a rough shape of the ray? I did the same thing here.

Checking colors. I also did a half-ombre on this set of rays — from lighter pink on the outside rays to darker pink in the middle. I like how the blocks all play together nicely with the shaded areas leading the eye around the circles.

More checking colors. The arcs are just pinned up for the Radiate Block.

Rays block, before the haircut — er, trimming. You can see the gradation of the pinks here. I also tried to color them slightly on the pattern; hope that helps. I pressed this, trimmed it, then set it aside.

I started from the center, sewing the coral-orangey-red quarter circle to the yellow band. I always press marks at the center, and half-way to the center on both pieces to help with pinning. I have more success with the concave piece on top, and the convex piece on the bottom.

Here’s a drawing for you, if you need it like I always do. The green arc actually has both a concave surface (where it faces the yellow quarter-circle), and a convex surface (on the right side of the arc).

In the top photo, you can see my press marks to help in sewing the arcs evenly onto the matching convex surfaces.

And in the bottom photo, three are finished. I’m working on the fourth one now, and I think I can probably share how I think about the weird-o parts of FPP. The first time I did this ever, it was a nightmare: limited fabric, doing it for someone else, and too much for a novice to tackle. I was terrified about running out of my beemate’s fabric because I was always sewing and cutting it backwards.

Verushka (and you might really really want to take her class–so many good things and I think she explains them well) taught us to fold the next segment backwards, gauge the size of the fabric piece you’ll need, then proceed from there. I’m am using segments from Block Four in these illustrations, and I know so so many of you are Total Pros and will find these tips sophmoric or useless. (Then just move on…it’s for the rest of us.)

There are two basic rulers used in FPP. One is Add-A-Quarter-Inch and it’s yellow. The other is Add-An-Eighth-Inch and it’s the green one, above. This green one has the sweetest edge, right there by the red arrow. It’s really thin, so it helps in folding (this step). Align that thin edge with the line for the next seam. In this case, we are working on the blue triangle.

Keeping it in place, fold the paper back over the edge, and put a good crease in it.

Remove the ruler. I know you are probably rolling your eyes at this step, but it’s just in case you are sewing at night and your brain is fried.

Notice the position of everything: the completed rays are to my left. I work left to right, and concentrate on keeping this oriented this way. Also notice–that triangle marked in green (the blue ray) is what I’m focusing on. If you compare FPP Tip #2 with FPP #4, you can see I’ve brought in a blue fabric triangle and laid it in the approximate position I’ll need to sew that seam (*marked in Tip #3 with a red arrow*).

Now I’m going to show you this step from another set of rays–a little bigger so you can see more easily.

A bigger triangle, same green outline. If you can see behind the deep purple seam allowance, I’ve positioned a lavender piece of fabric, which is cut larger than I need, but in the approximate shape. (Remember how I always trace the ray, but a bit bigger? This is that piece of fabric.)

Okay, back to the small rays.

I’m holding it up to the light (this is where some people use a light table, which is a great idea).

Now here, in 6a, You can see the oversized blue triangle piece behind the FPP assembly (marked in blue). I try to line up the side edge about 1/4″ away from where the seamline will be (red arrow). Some people like to trim this edge to 1/4″ before lining it up. I’ve done that. But when I’m working with small bits and am on a roll, it’s another step. Your call.

Pin the fabric in place, or just hold on to it tightly. Unfold back your paper, exposing the marked seamline. Stitch with a 2.0 stitch if you are using vellum, or something a bit tinier if you are using computer/copy paper.

DON’T GO ANYWHERE OR PRESS ANYTHING YET!

Head to the cutting table. Fold back the paper one more time. Reach for the yellow Add-A-Quarter-Inch-Seam ruler. Lay the inner edge (yellow arrow) bumped up against the folded edge. Lay your rotary cutter against the outer edge (red arrow) and slice off the excess.

Please notice that I still keep the orientation the same: the active place is on my right. The completed and sewn section is on my left. (Verushka has a great way of describing it to help you remember. I am forever indebted to her!)

Now you can go to the ironing board. Unfold the paper (again), and smooth the fabric over. Press from the “right” side. Remember that everything looks reversed now, but this is the weird-o-ness of foundation paper piecing. You’ll start this whole process again, this time with a lavender triangle/ray.

I’ve become much faster at this, and if you are not already a pro, you’ll get get faster, too, as you go through these New York Beauties.

Final Tip

After working on these blocks, it suddenly occurred to me that after I made each arc of rays, and trimmed them up…I didn’t need the paper in there anymore. So I peeled it off before sewing the ray-arcs to the plain arcs. I referenced this a little bit in the last block, where I tore off the paper at the seam allowance. Generally, in FPP, you only need the paper where the seam lines will be lining up. Generally. But in these NYBeauties, the paper just got in the way. Without the paper, I can use a more reasonable stitch length, and the fabrics will work together. Try it and decide if you like it.

Because it’s June and Why Not? I’ve left up Blocks One and Two, so with this post, now you have three (and a peek at Block Four). I love all the sweet notes you write–if you feel like following this blog, that is also a nice thank you. I post weekly (but this June, it’s like bi-weekly). I’m also on Instagram, if that’s more your style.

Our hashtag on Instagram is #newyorkbeautiesquilt so let’s post and tag and share our beautiful blocks!

Radiate (Block Three) is available for download in my PayHip Shop.

Take a breath…and keep quilting!