Happy Seventh of July Block!

Yes, it’s Happy Seventh of July!

On this day in 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time. What other significance does this day hold? It’s National Chocolate Day! I could just stop this silliness there, but it’s also National Strawberry Sundae Day. The moral of this is if you don’t have sliced bread, you can head to chocolate or strawberry sundaes. Or chocolate-drizzled strawberry sundaes on top of sliced bread.

I don’t have a back of this block to show, but the title of this block is Provoslavni Park, named for where that beautiful church was located in Ljubliana, Slovenia.

Here’s the back of the 6th of July block, shown yesterday.

My mother always says that doldums come predictably after Christmas: in January you can expect a little mopiness as you clean up the glitter and tinsel. It’s just that living such a sustained high — in terms of activity and expectations and hopes and fun and parties — will inevitably result in a series of days where you can hardly drag yourself around.

So what are we to expect after having a series of days, in this Covid-time, where we have covidistraction, covidsludgenergy, or general covidecline–what can we expect after that?

I know we all looked forward to the 4th of July with all that hullabaloo, but given our numbers, if you stayed in the house and didn’t breathe you were to be commended. So that’s why I thought a little silliness these past few days might provide an occasional snort at a bad joke, a roll of the eyes, and yes, I do want to see pictures of your chocolate-dripped strawberry sundae on sliced bread.

And as usual, Pattern Coming Soon. Stay Sane.

The Original Shine: The Circles Quilt, just hanging out.

And that’s it for the Shine re-do-up-do for a while, while my fingers catch up on the rest of the blocks. Happy July, everyone. Only two more years of — what my science-y friends call — mitigation (masks, etc.)! By then this pattern will be out and I’ll have the quilt made, with any luck.

Stay safe and figure out how to do a social distance gathering, so you won’t feel so isolated as we wait out/suffer through this pandemic. And please keep the parts of the country that are exploding in cases in your hearts, and if you are so inclined, in your prayers. And please wear your masks. We’re all in this together by ourselves, Lily Tomlin used to say.

Never truer.

Happy Sixth of July!

I think I sense a pattern here…

Yes, you do. I’m working on re-doing my Shine: The Circles Quilt pattern in red, white and blue, and this is the third block, titled Ljublana.

I was inspired to make this pattern after visiting a church in Slovenia, and after getting permission from the Guy-in-the-Booth-at-the-front-of-the-Church, I snapped a couple of photos. Many of the blocks in this series are inspired by that exquisite church in that beautiful country.

Now comes the dream story.

In this dream, I was traveling with my husband in a foreign place and it was like, last week — you know, during Covid-time. I couldn’t understand the people and they couldn’t understand me (both wearing masks), and on the bus, people were just too close to me, and I carried giant canisters of sanitizing wipes in my suitcase, and it was all just so unpleasant. Has Covid-19 ruined us for the typical jostling and hustling and bustling of travel?

Don’t answer that. I want to imagine that it hasn’t, and that one day we will all board what my sister calls germ tubes and fly to far-away places and be jostled and bustled and hustled.

Until then, I will do my traveling through specials on TV, through watching videos from our past trips, and by re-visiting amazing painted churches in Slovenia with my quilt blocks, where cheerful and friendly guards encouraged me to take photos.

In Lithuania, the 6th of July is King Mindaugas’ Coronation Day, or Statehood Day. Kind of like our Fourth of July, only not the same day. And their colors aren’t the red, white and blue of this block. This is also National Air Controllers Day, and International Kissing Day…which don’t, unless the person you want to kiss is related to you, or in your pandemic bubble. (I only mention that because the theme of this post is travel.)

The original Shine: The Circles Quilt

Pattern Coming Soon.

A finally, a reminder: there is one week left on the discount for this pattern. Until July 14th, the pattern will be sold at a discount of 20% with the code: minidoublepocketbag20 — that’s all lower case, with the number 20 at the end. When you check out over on PayHip, you’ll see a place to put your code.

(I have turned off the comments on this post.)

Happy Fifth of July Block!

I couldn’t just stop at one, could I? After all the original Shine quilt has sixteen. Let’s just say I have been busy, although given the CovidSludgeyFeeling that all of us have, it’s sometimes been difficult to power through.

But I’m feeling good this particular day (let’s not talk about last Thursday, shall we?) and so I am pressing forward with some Red, White and Blue creations to brighten up your mailbox.

I call this block Sunshine. (I’m sure that is a big surprise.) And we’ll get a lot of it with temps soaring into the near-100s this week.

I’m not shy, says Mr. Sunshine. I’ll show you my backside.

Pattern coming soon. Happy Fifth of July!

(Apparently this is also Mechanical Pencil Day, Bikini Day (invented in 1946), and in various countries, Independence Day.)

Original Shine: The Circles Quilt

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

Shine: The Circles Quilt, finished

1shinecirclesquilt

Shine: The Circles Quilt
Quilt #170
2shinecirclesquilt

This quilt finally finished, I took it out for a photography session with the help of my husband.3shinecirclesquilt

I started sewing the first block in June of 2014, and finished the top a year later.  The quilting was finished at the end of September, but it wasn’t until now that I could get time to take it up to our university’s Botanic Gardens to get some photographs.
4ashinecirclesquilt

My husband’s favorite block.  As some of you know, many of these blocks were inspired by art in a church in Slovenia, as well as designs from our travels.  Most of the patterns and accompanying tutorials are free on this blog, found *here* as well in a tab labeled Shine: The Circles Quilt.  4shinecirclesquiltl 5ashinecirclesquilt

This shows the quilting.  I was trying out double batting (polyester with wool), and found it was a challenge to move the heavy quilt around on the machine.  It took me nearly 4 months to quilt this thing, as I was hobbled with a shoulder injury.  But I was able to finish it!7shinecirclesquilt_label

As I quilted, I thought a lot about my brother-in-law Tom, who passed away a little over a month ago.  He maintained a beautiful small garden in his backyard, and so in one of the corners I quilted in a flower in his memory (shown below).  Many offered advice and help while I was quilting: thank you, everyone.6shinecirclesquilt shinecirclesquilt_detailback

detail of quilting from the back

shinecirclesquilt_frontl

This closes a chapter in my life.  Lovely to see you here, Shine!

Circles Block #16-EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circles 16_OPQuilt_markedRadiating Compass Rose
Final Block of Shine: The Circles Quilt

This is the Sixteenth and Final Block for my project Shine: The Circles Quilt.  It’s kind of a bittersweet moment, as I spent more than a year designing and sewing these blocks, and have sent them out into the world with a wish and a hope that others may enjoy them, too.  And I hope you have!

The first twelve blocks are free on this website (do not distribute them or print them off for anyone else.  Please send them here to get them for themselves).

(Note from the 2020 Elizabeth: A new, revised pattern is coming soon, so I’ve removed the old ones.  Many thanks.)

The patterns for the last set of four (this one included) can be purchased on PayHip, but I have left the tutorials here, as they are photo-heavy. The Finishing Instructions pattern for Shine: The Circles Quilt is also listed on Payhip.

As I did for the fifteenth circle block, I based my design on the fancy compass/North designator of old maps, throwing my ideas into EQ7, and having fun.  There are elements of other blocks in this one, with the undulating narrow blades and the small points.

EQ7 Circle 16

For this final block, I liked that this design had echoes of Circles Block Four, and that you can see a dimensionality to it.

Count your pieces (I have too many outer points and outer arcs by accident–you only need sixteen, not thirty-two), and gather your fabrics (below) and jump in.

Circle 16_1A circle leftover from another center circle for another block.  It worked great here!

Circle 16_2

To get the blades going the same way as shown in the illustration, lay the printed side DOWN.  I include lots of tips and tricks for these circles in each pattern, so if you found this one first, head to the tab up above marked Shine: The Circles Quilt EPP to find the others.   Circle 16_3 Circle 16_4The outer points have no direction, so you can place them printing up. . . or down.

Circle 16_5 Circle 16_6All the pieces are glued down to the papers.

Circle 16_6aI print out a smaller version of the illustrated circle and carry it around with my pieces as I’m working on the project.

Circle 16_7 oopsPay attention to which way you sew on that first blade wedge.  This is an OOPS! on the right.  Un-sew and do it again.

Circle 16_7a

First round all sewn.

Circle 16_8

Second round all sewn.

Circle 16_9

Join the blades of the rays together.  Because I have such strong color shifts in these pieces, I opted to use different colored threads in each section. Here I’m sewing the teal pieces together, then I’ll switch to other thread and join the next band. . . and the next.

Circle 16_10

Start joining the units into pairs.

Circle 16_11

I just thought this was a fun photo of the project tucked into my Sew Together Bag.  There’s a mini version tutorial of this on my blog (with pattern on Craftsy), but you do have to have the original pattern to figure it out.

Circle 16_12

Okay, back to the sewing.  To place the points on accurately, pinch to find the center of the curved edge.

Circle 16_12a

Align that as shown. I use one pin to keep it in place, but start sewing from the point’s outer corner, as shown in the next photo.

Circle 16_12b Circle 16_12c

Repeat the pinch-to-find-center-action and sew on the next point.  I always take a stitch at the point corners to join them to each other.

Circle 16_13

Here’s how they look when finished.  Keep going until you’ve gotten the points on all your ray-pairs.

Circle 16_13a Circle 16_14

Join a ray pair together.

Circle 16_14a

Then stitch down the loose yellow point. Repeat with the other two pairs.

Circle 16_15

Now you are getting somewhere!  This looks great, doesn’t it?  Don’t sew the two half-circle parts together.  Yet.Circle 16_16

Time to add in the dark blue outer arcs in between the points. Again, I take one stitch at the outer points to join the arcs together too.

Circle 16_17

This is what you have so far.

Circle 16_18

Join the two units, sew down the yellow points, then fill in with the arcs.

Circle 16_19

Nice work!  Here it is from the back with all the papers still in.

Circle 16_19a

Remove all but the outer arc papers.  You’ll need those to appliqué the circle onto the background.

Circle 16_20

Don’t put it on the background just yet.  First appliqué the center circle, as in Circle Block #1.

Circle 16_21

Lay your center circle over the center hole, measuring to get it on evenly, then appliqué with tiny stitches (above).  Changing the size of the center circle is just fine; I decided to make it a little bigger than I’d planned.

Circle 16_21a

I trim out the excess.

Circle 16_21b

And then trim more excess–this time the appliqué center, leaving about 1/4″ seam allowance.

Circle 16_22

Cut a background square 14 1/2″, and as in the other circles, decide the placement of your circle and pin it down.  When you come to a place with the seam allowances. . .

Circle 16_22a

. . . first fold in one side. . .

Circle 16_22b

. . . then the other, and keep stitching it to the background.

Circle 16_trimming away background

When finished, cut away the background.

Circle 16_trimming sa

I also trim off some of the more wild ends of seam allowances, as you don’t need all that bulk.

Circles 16_OPQuilt_markedAnd you are done with all your circles!!  Congratulations!!

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

Now you can finish your quilt.  I wrote the finishing instructions in a pattern and put it up on PayHip so you can finish yours too.

I hope you have enjoyed this series.  It all started when I wanted something to sew by hand at night to relax, but was tired of all the straight edges of hexagons and such.  Just after I started, we visited an ornately painted church in Slovenia, which inspired many of the circle blocks.  If you are sewing them, please send me a note by way of comment, or share a photo with me by way of email.  I can’t wait to see your creations!