Queen Bee for Gridsters: Piggies!

Queen Bee

I am the Queen Bee this month for the Gridsters Bee, and thought and thought and thought of what I could do.  I happened on this design while surfing the blogs, and something about it just made me smile.  Since I am one month post-op on my interminable rotator cuff repair recovery, I realize that it’s probably because I just needed some happy-cheery-goofy-fun in my life.

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IG: #gridsterbee

Yes, I made the tutorial and wrote it all up before I went in to surgery, perhaps anticipating the need for something happy-cheery-goofy-fun. To start us off, here’s something to get you in the mood for making my block this month (stop it about 3:00):

babe-the-gallant-pig

For those of you who can’t see the link, it’s from the movie Babe, The Gallant Pig, completing his “sheep” trials. (Go to the blog if you want to see it.)

Yep.  Somehow little piggies have gotten in my heart and under my skin and I want a whole quilt of them, although I may add a barn or tree to break things up.  I first found them on Gayle’s blog, Mangofeet, where it says she is a bonafide farmer.  She found them on Sally’s blog, The Object of Design, which is where I found a tutorial for littler guys.  And I found Gayle, by following a link from Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville’s Linky Party for her En Provence mystery quilt.  Connections everywhere!

Before I leave all the attributions, please visit Sally’s tutorial page, where she has other tutorials for bunnies and fish and all sorts of creatures.

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But mine are slightly different, both in size and in style, so I wrote up atutorial for what I want.  Since they are small, I’d like you to make me two, if you wouldn’t mind.  I used Gayle’s post for inspiration (also look *here.*). To make it easier on yourself, make them both the same, but if you get adventurous, it’s okay to flip the orientation of the piglets, or make one going up and one coming down.  But really, keep it simple so you aren’t calling me names in the middle of this process.

Again, while Sally has a tutorial (linked above) and she is the designer of this block, I changed up a few things (like the dimensions), so please follow along and make my piglet according to my tutorial.  The piggies are all scrappy, but I do need:

  • sky–a consistent low-volume or “background–no need to make them the same fabric, but the do need to be the same lightness: pale blue, cream, white, tan, low-volume with grey/tan/etc. prints.  Avoid prints with too dark of  text or design so that it throws it to a muddy tonality.  Some background prints are fun and will make the quilt more sparkly.  It’s okay to mix up the borders, but I’d probably stick to the same fabric around the piglet.
  • body–a medium value fabric: small print or geometric, floral, Kaffe, but avoid fabrics that look “splotchy” when cut this small (such as cutting a giant polka dot in half)–generally anything in your stash.  Have fun.  Make me some colorful piglets.
  • ears, feet, snout–a darker-toned fabric that stands out from the body fabric
  • tail–embroidery floss/Perle cotton to match your piglet, to embroider the tail. Pattern is not given for this, but below are some piglet tail ideas. Please use a back stitch.  More info in the tutorial.

piggy-tails-composite

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Gayle showed hers on a tilting grassy hill, which I like quite well, so that’s what I’m asking you to make for me.  Copious amounts of photography and images and text follow, but really it isn’t too hard.  The following directions yield one piggie, so cut everything out double, out of two different piles of scrappiness.

Lastly, I follow standard print journalism standards: the caption in UNDERNEATH the image (MQG had theirs backwards on their award-winners page and I was so confused!)

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Cut the background (sky).piglet-tutorial_opquilt_2

Cut the body fabric.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_3

Cut the accent pieces of snout, ear and feet.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_4

Step one is to snowball body fabric onto the background fabric, using the 2- 1/2″ square pieces of background and the 1 -1/2″ square pieces of body fabric.  Then the last snowball is a double: use one 2- 1/2″ square of accent fabric and snowball on one 1 -1/2″ square of background and one 1- 1/2″ square of body fabric.  Press the snowball corners to the dark side, and trim after pressing.  With the double-snowball, you’ll press one square’s seam allowance toward the accent fabric and the other toward the body fabric.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_5

Step two is to gather the other pieces together:  Line up the 1 -1/2″ x 4″ pieces in body and background, AND the 1- 1/2″ x 3″ pieces in body and accent.  Place on the front accent piece (snout) and the back background piece on the large body piece (lowest piece).piglet-tutorial_opquilt_6

Step three: sew the strips together and then press to the dark side on the top one.  I don’t care which way you press the bottom one, but I went towards the dark as well.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_7

Now cut those strips in half.  Exactly.  The top strip set (A) will yield two with body and background fabric that will measure 2″ across.  The bottom set (B) will yield body and accent fabric that will measure 1 1/2″ across.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_8

Step Five is to lay them all out.  If you were going to make a reverse-direction pig, you’d need to fiddle with that ear (double-snowball) piece to sew that up differently, otherwise, everything else is the same/can be moved around.  (See second pig at the end.)piglet-tutorial_opquilt_9

Sew the top row together, then the middle and yes…sew the bottom row of pieces together.  Pressing instructions are in a minute, but generally press towards the dark.  PLEASE DO NOT PRESS THE SEAMS OPEN. piglet-tutorial_opquilt_10

Babe!!! Babe!!piglet-tutorial_opquilt_11

This is how I pressed the seams.  I just realized I pressed the legs the wrong way.  Oh well.  Either way is fine, but just not open. [NOTE: I show it correctly in the second pig, at the end.]piglet-tutorial_opquilt_12

Time to tilt this little guy.  Start by sewing on a 2- 1/2″ strip of ground–can be green for grass, or flowery for a meadow, or brown for forest floor or purple for Outer Space.  It just has to have contrast to the background and side strips.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_13

Sew on three side strips, by FIRST sewing on the top, then the two sides, all 2 -1/2″ wide strips.

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UPDATE FOR MY BEE MEMBERS:
Please do not trim.  After sewing on borders, just send untrimmed, untilted.  

Now back to our regular programming.

Now to cut.  Please check the areas in those red circles to make sure you are leaving 1/4″ seam allowances (one above the line, one below the line).  Lay your ruler with the edge along the black line, above.  Cut.

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_13b

Now lay a square ruler at the bottom (newly cut) edge.  Now play with the adjacent side it a bit, making sure to leave that 1/4″ in the circled area.  Cut.

Now think about it as a beginning rectangle.  Turn the piglet 1/4 turn clockwise so that the newly cut green line is at the bottom of the mat and the black line is to your left.  Measure over 7 3/4″ from the black line; cut.

Measure 9 1/4″ up from the green line; cut.

Tilt the pig back to a proper vertical and it should look like this:

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_15

The piglet’s rectangle will measure as shown above: 7-3/4″ high by 9-1/4″ wide..

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Again, this is the most important corner when you cut for the tilt.  It’s so the ground will look merged together when seamed.
piglet-tutorial_opquilt_14a

I made you an overlay, if you are nervous.  Download the PDF file: piglet-tilt-overlay1 and print it out on vellum paper, or make a template out of this (too much trouble, I think).  It will help you get the right angles.

screen-printing-settingsPlease print it at 100% or you will again find yourself cursing.

If you are really truly too nervous to cut this pig, send it back to me untrimmed and when I get better, I’ll be happy to trim it up.

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16a

Now let’s add the pigtail.  Draw on a squiggle, originating from the pig’s backside edge.  My drawn line is really faint, above because I don’t want to have to figure out how to get the pencil off.  Sometimes I’ve just eyeballed it.  Sometimes I’ve just scratched it in.  See the picture at the top of the post for pigtail ideas.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16b

Tie a knot in your perle cotton (I used size 8, but 5 or 12 is fine, too) and bring it out at the fold, at the beginning of your drawn line, hiding the knot in the seam.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16c

Take one stitch (#1) and then skip a stitch, coming out as shown in the photo on the left.  Now put your needle in the same hole as where you came out on your starting stitch (#2) and backtrack and stitch that empty place, which will put you on the road to backstitching the piglet’s tail on.  piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16d

Insert the needle in the last stitch and pull it to the wrong side.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16e

On the wrong side, weave your thread down from the top , then make a knot (below) by making a loop and drawing your needle through it.  Continue weaving your thread for one or two more stitches, then cut it off.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16f

Okay, let’s do it again, but with the pig flipped to the other side.

piggy_opquilt_1

You can see how the ear needs the double-snowballed corners switched.piggy_opquilt_2

And the back, showing the pressing, this time with the correct pressing for the legs.piggy-trimming_opquilt_1

You have to think on this step: do you want your piggie going uphill? Or downhill? piggy-trimming_opquilt_2

I voted for downhill since I already have an uphill.
Here’s how I laid my ruler, keeping an eye on those 1/4-inch seam allowances.piggy-trimming_opquilt_3

Now you can see how I use my square ruler to find the next edge.  piggy-trimming_opquilt_4

It’s really straight, even though the photo doesn’t look like it.piggy-trimming_opquilt_5

I put the ruler on as I described above, and worked it until I had the correct measurements of 7-3/4″ by 9-1/4.”  I ended up trimming off a slice of a previous cut to get those dimensions.  Then I do the tail. piggies

Here they are together, but not sewn together.

piglet-c_opquilt

That’ll do, Pig.

Thank you everyone!  I look forward to a whole farmyard of little piggies, running around my design wall.  While I attribute all these ideas to two very fine quilters: Gayle, of Mangofeet (she is hilarious to read) and Sally of The Objects of Design (who has made a stunner of an En Provence Mystery Quilt), all the photographs and instructions above are my own.  Please do visit their blogs to see all the fun piglets that are running around there.

February Bee Block for Gridsters Bee: Pineapple!

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IG: #gridsterbee

gridster-feb_4finalPineapple Block for Sherri for February 2017

This month, Sherri, of A Quilting Life, is our Queen Bee and she’s asked us to make her pineapple blocks.

green-fabrics_2017

First step: make a mess of the sewing room pulling out greens to get the best ones.  (It also helps with re-organizing my messy shelves.)

I downloaded the free pattern, and also pulled up the post from Sherri where she makes her block, so I could glean any tips she had when she made it.

padesky-pineapple-tut-from-ig

She suggested we scroll through Jackie’s IG feed until we found the tutorial, which really helped me understand how we put these together (that’s a screen shot of her image above), as the pattern is a bit sketchy on details.  Click on the tutorial link to head over there.

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What confused me was that the pattern calls for cutting all the blocks the same size, different than what I would do if making half-square trianges (HST).  After reading the IG tutorial, I see that Jackie sort of “snowballs” on the white corners, instead of making HSTs.  She marks the line, and sews just inside of it–to the seam allowance side.  She then cuts off the excess.  One advantage of this method: there are no dog ears to trim!

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Yellows sewn: check.  Green pineapple crown sewn: check.

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One other difference in the construction of this block is that the low-volume white is added to the corners of the yellow block after it’s all sewn together, then sliced off and pressed.

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Ta-Done!

gridster-feb_4finalsigAnd here it is with its signature block–with yellow on one corner and green on the other–albeit a bit blurry.

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If you want to make a bunch and exchange them, Elaine’s Quilt Block Quilt Shop in Salt Lake City is having a swap of pineapple blocks–both in the yellow and in a range of colors.  Click here to go their IG page where they announced it.

Next month I am the Queen Bee–can’t wait!

Gridsters Bee • January 2017

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IG: #gridsterbee

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Susan of PatchworknPlay starts off our new year of our Gridsters Bee with having us make her some New York Beauty blocks.

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She sent us to a webpage (Ulas Quiltseite–it’s German) that had ten different New York Beauty blocks on it, and we could pick two different ones (if we were making two).

gridsterbee-january-blocksThere was even a block for beginners.  I chose Block #1 and Block #6.

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Helpful tip: These words mean that she split them to get them printed.  You may want to join the outer pieces together so there is no seam.  You’ll see what I mean.

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I always remember Leann’s tips for sewing curved edges together (her quick video *here*): it’s best to put the concave piece on top, and the convex piece on the bottom.  But since I had a curved shape with gazillions of pieces, I reversed it.  Don’t know if that made it harder or easier.gridsters-january-2017_3

The second block had another challenge.  If you go and look at it, you can see I was using striped material, and I didn’t want that stripe to tilt.  First piece on (above), and I don’t glue my foundation paper piecing, I pin.gridsters-january-2017_4

I marked the center of the lower edge of the piece (opposite its point).  I folded my fabric scrap in half lengthwise and line it up with both centers.gridsters-january-2017_4a

Keeping it in place, I fold back one side, mimicking the slanted edge that needs to be sewn.  I finger-press it.gridsters-january-2017_4c

Then using all my skills, I move this carefully to the other side of the unit, holding it up to the light to line up that folded edge where it needs to go.  Sometimes it’s easiest to note where the edges are and adjust from there.

Unfold it, being careful not to move it.  gridsters-january-2017_4d

Stitch on that line, trim seam allowances and continue on.  They all line up nice and vertical.gridsters-january-2017_6a

We make each other signature blocks, using a white 3 1/2″ square and snowball on two 2-1/2″ squares on either corner, using fabric from the blocks we made. (Click on the link to see a how-to, as well as how we’ve used our signature blocks: sometimes on the back and sometimes on the front of the quilt!)

The key to success:  IRON ON A SCRAP OF FREEZER PAPER to the back before writing, as it stabilizes the fabric.  I use a Pigma 08 to write.

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We always write our name, but other things to write could be:

  • IG/blog name
  • month/year
  • hometown
  • name of the bee or why you made the quilt

Looking forward to the rest of year with my Gridster Beemates!

Spelling Bee 2016 Wrap-Up

Last year I had this idea that I wanted to try, and so I rounded up some willing participants and we made ourselves a Spelling Bee.

quiltabecedaryI started it by creating a blog that was dedicated to free tutorials to make these free-form letters, without the use of patterns or papers.  Some were pretty wild, but it was a great challenge.  And then we all started by choosing a phrase or a poem or a group of words and entered them into a Google Spreadsheet (we were all tired of trying to use Flickr).  This is the wrap-up post, showing our collective work of The Spelling Bee ( found as #spellingbeequilt on Instagram, where we posted our photos).

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This is my phrase, done in reds, creams and pinks.  I do have plans for it.johnson_spelling-bee

Lisa (aka Nymblefyngers on IG), a first-time bee participant, decided on lots of bug words for her quilt, and people carried out the theme by making them in bug fabrics.mary-s_spelling-bee

Mary, who writes the Needled Mom blog, made fun sewing-themed blocks to add to the words in her quilt.carla_spelling-bee

Carla, of Grace and Favor, recently opened a yarn shop in her town, and requested knitting terms.snooks_spelling-bee

Susan finished her quilt the first, showing it off here and on her blog, PatchworknPlay.  This truly typifies Susan’s attitude towards life!foster_spelling-bee

Just to keep us on our toes, Kerry of PennyDog Patchwork,  decided she wanted us to try her “digital” alphabet, and we made up the names of the provinces of Canada, her new country. While the how-to’s for the regular alphabet are free on the blog Quilt Abecedary, this style is Kerry’s own.bradford_spelling-bee

Simone, of Quiltalicious, tried to make us all go crazy by asking for color names, but in different shades.  A couple of us dutifully cranked out our word, only to realize that we sewn it up in the wrong color.  We were all getting pretty good at this point.kolb_spelling-bee

Mary (aka maryonlakepulaski on IG) wanted the names of her family.rachel_spelling-bee

Since bee-keeping was a new passion for Rachel (The Life of Riley), we all sent bee-words to her.
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Brenda (aka brendaandblue on IG), requested words that describe all those things that make her happy: “comfort words.”

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Cindy of LiveAColorfulLife, is doing the words to one of her favorite songs; unlike her name, she went with black, white, cream and grays to put together her phrase.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this wrap-up of our word adventure!  If you ever jump in and make a word or two, drop me a note as I’d love to see them.

 

tiny nine patches

Coming soon: a new bee!

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tiny nine patches

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free.
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Mid-Century Modern Bee 2016 Wrap-up

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Four years ago, Cindy and I sat at this computer and designed this logo for a bee she was starting.  She brilliantly gathered up a coterie of quilters, all over the age of 50, and I helped her with the spreadsheet, organization, and the design.  Some members have come and gone, but as I am one of the original members, and since 2016 is our last year together, I thought I’d do a wrap-up of blocks and quilts.

Riverside Sawtooth_labeled

January 2016 was my month and I asked for blocks to make the above quilt, titled Riverside Sawtooth.  

Riverside Sawtooth_small2I used my sample blocks to make this little table topper.

February was Cindy’s turn, and she asked us all to make little books.

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I chose ballerinas because I knew this was headed to make a quilt for her granddaughter.

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She arranged all our signature blocks on the back with some fussy cut blocks that were representative of her, so her newest grandchild could associate these cute blocks with her grandmother.wiens_mcm

The quilt is like a library of books!

March was Linda K. we were ready for some bright colors.

March MCM bee blocks

She asked for 4″ churn dash blocks in fun colors, with a few “oopses” in the construction of the blocks to make it interesting.  I switched around some of the corner blocks and substituted in another block of color.

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These are all the blocks, arranged up on her design wall.  Those colors just pop!

Stephanie had April and was interested in having us make blocks representative of the windows at her daughter’s school.

MCM Bee Sewing

The idea was to make a raffle quilt to benefit the school, but it was sold before the raffle could be held, so I’m hoping she keeps the blocks we sent her and makes a quilt for her daughter.

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They do look like multi-paned windows, sparkling in the light.  She sent us Paintbrush Studio Fabrics to use, and I have to say again how much I love those solids!

Once again, in May, we made churn dash blocks at the request of Carla F. but with a twist: they could be subdivided up inside the 12″ square requirement to add interest.

MCM May 2016_Carla

I made one jumbo block.  She asked for something skewed as well, so I made two sides skinnier.

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This is quite an array of sizes and shapes, and should be an interesting quilt, or a good start to something fun.

June MCM_2016 rene

Rene kept it simple and fun for us in June, asking for Raspberry Kiss blocks (tutorial found *here*).

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The collection is here.  Rene is one of the quilters involved with the Pulse Heart quilts, and she has been incredibly busy this year helping with that project.  Click *here* to see them delivering the quilts to the first reconsiders on the scene. It’s a really sweet video with all those quilts.  Rene is about 2:44 if you want to see her in action.

July 2016_MCM

Sherri, in July, asked us for scrappy Log Cabin blocks to add to a quilt she’d already started.  I don’t have a picture of all the blocks, but I’m sure it will be terrific.

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Here’s a screen shot of some of the other blocks that our group made for her.

Aug MCM block_MaryS

Mary, for August, found a quilt she liked on the Robert Kaufman website, called Woven Pattern, and wanted us to make blocks in the color of the beach: sea and sand.

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She laid them out on the floor at my request, and I really love those colors!

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Mary K. is a star-lover and always has great blocks for us to try.  September’s Confetti Star block was no exception and the free pattern can be found *here.*

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Isn’t this a great layout of stars?  We made each other signature blocks, and you can see them laid out in the lower right corner.  And yes, there are 12 of us in this bee; sometimes we have forgotten to send them along.  She asked us to make the signature blocks two-toned, rather than just out of one fabric. [Here’s a post with another one of Mary’s choices for stars, also including a free pattern.]

Roaring into October found us making B’s and E’s for Anne’s choice.

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She asked us to do one in a color we wanted to and the rest in “barely there” sort of colors, but with enough contrast to distinguish them from the background.

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I can hardly wait to see wait Anne’s imagination conjures up from these letters.

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Fittingly for November, Nancy asked us to make these leafless trees, in sky color and green.

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Lastly, for December Elizabeth R. asked for us to make blocks out of Anna Maria Horner fabrics in the blocks we requested.

december-mcm-blocks-2016

Since my choice (the Riverside Sawtooth block) doesn’t look good unless there are four of them, she gave me permission to make something different, so I enlarged a Chuck Nohara block and made her two.

erich-composite-mcm

Here’s the composite (so far–people are still sending in their blocks).  But while it’s stunning, and makes me want to make a quilt only out of AMH fabrics, some of the genius is in seeing how different the blocks are from the originals:

nancy-trees

Nancy’s tree blocks become transcendent in this new fabric.

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And Stephanie’s window-pane triangles completely change character in the different fabrics.  There’s a great lesson for us all to learn–sometimes we don’t have to change our blocks or patterns, but instead think outside the box on our fabrics.

Other wrap-ups are found here and here.  Our blog is here, and since we all know whatever we put up on the internet stays until someone takes it down, you can find many of our blocks up there on the blog.

So, thank you all, to the Mid-Century Moderns.  It’s been fun!