This and That: Pattern Release, Quilts, and Variations on the Puss-in-the-Corner Block

Recently QuiltMania Magazine and I entered into a collaboration — one of those collaborations that finds you in the middle of the night cleaning out the front closet, or tidying up the bookcase in the family room, or hunting all your sewing studio for your favorite piece of fabric. So I tidied up rewrote wrote a new finishing pattern and it’s now up for sale on PayHip. This pattern provides the setting templates and instructions for putting all those circles together cohesively.

Eventually I’ll put out a pattern with all the blocks, but for now, the Shine series consists of the free ones on QuiltMania, four more blocks for purchase, and this pattern to set the quilt together.

The original pattern was from my write-it-up-in-Microsoft-Word days, all the while plugging in poorly lit photos of the steps. Now it has many illustrations, as I’m finally getting the hang of my creative software, and what I don’t know how to do, I’ve figured out a few workarounds. The above illustration was one of those.

I made up a new EPP circle pattern, Summer Day, and threw that in at the end, figuring whoever checks this out would like a freebie.

Last week I taught a live-online lecture for the Alabama Station Quilt Guild, and the Criss-Cross Quilt below was sent to me by Gisele, one of the participants. I love the colors she chose and thought the quilt was really terrific.

A few weeks ago my friend Mary of ZippyQuilts sent me a photo of her version of my Merrion Square pattern, made larger as it had a specific size need. I love her interpretation and the cute bunnies in the town square.

Last year, in April 2019, I received this comment from Karin on an old post:

“I’m just embarking on making this quilt (Crossed Canoes) as a memory quilt for my parents. We lost my brother, an avid canoeist, in December. Thank you for that idea! I’m making mine with my brother’s shirts and a few other fabrics from my stash for extra vibrancy.” My original post was about my sister and her group of friends making a memorial version of Crossed Canoes quilt for a friend. I love this pattern, and this post tells that story as well as provides a free downloadable pattern of this block.

Last post I had put up our Gridsters Bee Block for September, attributing it to a variation of Puss-in-the-Corner block.

On further look, it is more like a variation of Illinois, from the periodical Hearth and Home, published from the 1880s to the 1930s.** What a difference a few well-placed color shifts can make! What would happen if I made a few color shifts, or line shifts, I wondered? The following riot of squares and triangles ensued. In my defense, it was late, and I was too tired to do the dishes, so I sat down to play with what my friend Janet calls “a quilter’s video game,” our quilting software.

These are grouped by first, the block, then a grouping of possible quilt designs. There’s a lot so feel free to just scroll quickly.

The basic Puss in the Corner block. I guess those little square blocks are the farmhouse cat, tucked away in the corner sleeping.

Basic Quilt with no sashing. If you squint, you can start to see a secondary pattern emerge. #needshelp

So I added some color. It needs some value shifts, I think.

Variation. I cleared out the undergrowth.

This final rendition has some different versions of coloring the blocks, along with some sashing.

I thought the prominance of the flying geese might make for some goose tracks throughout the quilt.

Here’s the basic Illinois block, in the coloration from Hearth and Home publication.

Okay. Maybe we could do something with this one.

I must have been really tired to use so much purple.

Okay, how about I keep the flying geese and Puss-in-the-Corner corner blocks, but just turn them all inward-facing?

Busy, but could be fun as a scrappy quilt, playing around with where the blocks touch. Of course, our quilting foremothers would have always had sashing, right?

This was a neighbor to Puss in the Corner, and is called Big T.

I went this direction first, swapping out the center. Nah.

Here’s the variations of that block. I kind of like how it looks like the corner edges are folded down.

Here’s what I played with, all capsulized. And below are the blocks in white, and then further down, a PDF of the pattern templates.

Final thoughts: The top left block looks like it has more possibilities, less places to call a halt to other ideas. The other three blocks kind of box in the quilter, confining the creativity to the block itself. I would like to try matching these up with other nine-patch variations, and see what kind of quilts those combos could yield.

Here are the basic block PDF files for download. They all make a 12″ block.

Happy Stitching!

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
**This information was gleaned from the quilter’s bible, The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman.

Bee Happy QAL Progress • June 2019

BeeHappy_June_1The wheeled devices in the So Very Cute Project I  lost my mind and decided to do are completed.  It’s nice to see it before it goes to a Time Out in my closet, so I can get some Real Quilting Work done.

But before I tell you about the basket of flowers in the back of the truck, you need this chart from Whip Stitch:

WhipStitch Bias Tape Cutting Guide

Head to her website to read all about it, or download it here.  Trust me, you’ll want this, as the weensy little instructions with the Clover bias tape makers will drive you batty.

BeeHappySewAlong Logo.png

This is Lori Holt’s logo for this delightful project.  Notice the dog in the back of the truck.

BeeHappy_June_2

Notice how the people who live in my quilt realized that they needed the space in the back of the truck for hauling baskets of flowers.

Make 1/2″ mini-hexies for the flowers, fussy-cutting a couple. Cover some triangles, sized in relation to the flowers, then give each a pleat in the lower edge before sewing them on.  I used three “leaves” and five flowers.  I used the lower edge of piece D8 as a pattern for the basket, then turned it upside-down to get the wider edge at the top.

BeeHappy_June_3

It is really dense in that section, with the layering of fabric.  I’m one who cuts away from the back whatever I can to lighten it up for quilting:

BeeHappy_June_6
one more wheel to cut out
BeeHappy_June_7

The Guidesheet for this week can be found in the tab above, Bee Happy Tutorial Sheets, under Projects for 2020.
See you later, Bee Happy-Sew-Along-gator!

LadybirdQuilt_June13

I’m still working on this quilt, which I call Ladybird, because it reminds me of a ladybird beetle (sometimes called a Ladybug).

IMG_E6529

I finished the first book (long, but good) and am now onto another:

SAVE ME THE PLUMS -- cover
IMG_6832

And this happened. Yes, no more PT. Now I’m getting ready for my project for tomorrow, Flag Day, the day when we find our rolled up flags in the front hall closet, and hang them out front, a prelude to the month of July, when it’s all red-white-blue all the time.

Betsys Creation Wallhanging

Okay, my wannabe flag quilt morphed into this flag-like wall hanging.  I say flag-like, because I read one Instagrammer say that she had to make another less flag-looking quilt because her family didn’t want to lay hers on the ground for picnics.

Flag wall hanging
Another version

I opened up my QuiltPro program, guessed out the proportions and figured it out.  There is no pattern in my worksheet, because I do assume that you’ll figure out how to make this, if you really want to.  Again, if either of my arrangements bother you, make one that you like.  I was inspired by a lot of what I saw on this post from Quilt Inspiration, where you can find lots of free flag and flag-like quilts for your patriotric needs.

BetsysCreation_Illustration.png

Here’s my worksheet, with all the dimensions, in a downloadable PDF file:
Betsy’s Creation_OPQuilt I named it after the original creator of the flag: Betsy Ross.

Happy Flag Day!!

Vintage Flags.png

Scrappy Radiant Star

scrappy radiant star_1

Mary, of NeedledMom, chose this block for her June turn as Queen Bee of the Gridsters.  Originally found on Wombat Quilts website as a free illustration, I redrew the block to Mary’s specified 6-inch (finished) size.  Four of these blocks are put together to make Mary’s larger 12-inch block.

scrappy radiant star_2

Scrappy Radiant Star Illustration

Click on the download PDF file here:

Scrappy Radiant Star

You’ll need four copies to make one 12-inch block, as shown below:

scrappy radiant star_4

sketch I made to keep the colors organized

Notice there are FIVE colors per Mary’s larger block.  Four corners have the same color, which when sewn together make that center star.  But in looking at the way she designed it, the colors are to be distributed throughout the quilt.  You can see her initial thinking about this version on this blog post (where you’ll also get a glimpse into her gardens and cooking.  I love reading her blog).

Peek Marys Chart

Just a peek–download below.

Mary gave me permission to post the chart she drew up to keep her ideas straight.  You can download this as a PDF:Mary’s Chart_ June Gridster Bee

You can see that she’s diagrammed the main stars (in the center), and the secondary stars in the corners.  We Gridsters each chose two blocks, identifying our choices using her coding on the sides and are now sending them to her.

scrappy radiant star_5

To further my tributes to Mary today, I’m making her bread recipe to go with my version of Italian Wedding Soup.

Have fun making these blocks!

Frida Kahlo Tote Bag Tutorial

Frida Bag_1

I recently had two birthdays to celebrate, that are near each other in the calendar.  I cut up my precious Frida Kahlo canvas fabric (made by Alexander Henry), yielding two bags from one yard.

So I wrote a little tutorial, for everyone should know how to make a bag out of fabric.  Hope this helps.

Frida Bag_Fabric Cutting

Do the same cutting with your chosen lining, trimming 2″ off the upper edge of the lining, as you want the lining to be slightly shorter than your Frida fabric.

Keeping Frida on her feet, seam the selvage sides Right Sides Together (RST), and then sew across the bottom.

Sew the lining bag sides, then across the bottom seam BUT LEAVE A 7″ OPENING IN THAT SEAM at the bottom of the bag.  You’ll need an opening later in this construction process, and leaving the bottom seam with a gap will later allow you to turn the bag.

Frida Bag_2

To make the bag have a flat bottom, you’ll line up the bottom seam with the side seam (where there wasn’t a seam, I pressed the side edge with my iron).  When you get them lined up, pin.  I went for a six-inch bag bottom, so I lined up the middle of my ruler along the seam, and drew a line.

Frida Bag_2a

You can see the faint pencil line here, on the lining. This is from the folded side of the bag, and you can see the ironed crease in the side, heading up to the point.

Frida Bag_2b

Stitch along that line, then 1/4″ away from that line, into the peaked corner.

Frida Bag_2c

Cut off the excess, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.

Frida Bag Illus_2

Frida Bag Illus_2a

Frida Bag Illus_3

Matching the edges, stitch around the top of the bag using a 1/2″ seam.  Turn inside out through opening on bottom.  Line up the bottoms of the bag and lining, allowing the Frida fabric to roll over into the inside:

Frida Bag_3

I pressed the seam towards the lining fabric, into the bag.

Frida Bag_3a

Stitch in the ditch, just above the fold of the lining, using thread that matches the Frida fabric.

Frida Bag_3b

Stitch the opening in the lining bottom closed, by topstitching the two edges together.  It can also be done by hand with tiny stitches.

Frida Bag_4

Time for handles.  On the front of the bag, find the center (matching up sides).  Mark with a pin.  Each bag handle is placed 3-1/2″ from the center.

How long to cut the webbing?  It depends on your use and how tall you are.  I wanted these to go over my shoulder, yet stay off the ground when using the handles to carry, so after pinning it at different heights to try it out, I finally cut two pieces of webbing 27-1/2″ each.

Pin them to the bag, making sure each handle stays on the same side of the outside.  In other words, don’t attach one end to one side of the bag and one end to the other.  The bag handles should be attached the same side of your bag (otherwise it won’t open widely).

I placed the handles lower than the top edge of the bag, leaving an inch free.  I then sewed them down with a cross-in-a-box design:

Frida Bag_4a

Back, showing the stitching pattern for handles.

Frida Bag_5

Done!  I marked one side of the bag, so the user can find the “front” easily.  One has Frida’s Garden selvage label (shown above).

Frida Bag

The other one has a woven ribbon that says Ahali, which means “family relations.” (It’s for my sister.)

Now you have a quick tote, that is perfect for everyting, and because it’s lined, it’s sturdy and looks neat.  It took me a couple of hours from first cut, to this photo, for both bags, but having done this multiple times, I’m kind of fast at this sort of thing.  My grocery sack tutorial is a similar bag, but unlined. That site has a downloadable instruction page, if that works better for you.

tiny-nine-patches

I wanted to close out this post with a couple of photos from two women who attended my workshops.  It’s always a delight to see how others interpret the pattern.  If you have made one of my patterns, don’t hesitate to send me an photo!  You can also tag me on Instagram: @occasionapiecequilt.

Sheri MSquare

Merrion Square, version by Sheri

Charlotte HomeSHome

Home, Sweet Home, version by Charlotte

 

Happy Fourth of July 2018

Fourth July Tiny Quilt

To honor the 4th of July, I stitched up another tiny quilt.  I love being patriotic, as the meaning has a sense of loving America and its peoples, the history and the early settlers, and those who set up the government in 1776.  It helps that my nickname in my childhood was Betsy, but I do love the red, white and blue.

Fourth July Tiny Quilt_1

I went through my Orphan Quilt Blocks box, found one that wasn’t being used, and smallerized it, using this PDF pattern to cut it out: Fourth July Tiny Quilt Star Center

Fourth July Tiny Quilt_2

I put on two borders, quilted it (so fast because it’s so small) and put a single-thickness binding on it (cut your strip 1-1/2″ wide), gluing down the back binding and top-stitching it down.  It is one of those quilt projects you can take at full throttle–no fussy cutting or intricate piecing.  Put your pedal to the medal and crank out a 4th of July star tiny quilt!

Fourth July Tiny Quilt_back

It slips over the back of one of those cheezy plastic stand picture frames (under 2 bucks at Walmart). [More on the quilt underneath it at the end of the post.]

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_front on frame

Here’s a post with general directions as well as how to make a sailboat design.
And I have also made:

Mini Quilt Spring 18_4

a snowman,

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_front

a harvest pumpkin, (which has more directions, especially on that binding)

 

Tiny Trees

and some Christmas trees. (I included the directions for the smaller trees.)

AmericaIsATune_frontAmericaIsATune_backAmericaIsATune_label

 

I made the quilt above quilt five years ago at the same time we had a government shut-down, and I was moaning about government needing to behave itself then.  I now look back on that particular chaos with a wistful glance; would that we had that steadiness now!

Shout Hurrah for America

Yet, I still believe that America is a Tune, and that we must figure it out — sing it — together, no matter how painful things are.  After reading the book Hamilton, I value what those early fathers of our country (and mothers, too) must have faced and appreciate how much work they did and how inspired they were to come together and get the framework off the ground.

Uncle Sam

Have a Happy Fourth of July!

 

Basket Block Tutorial • February 2018 • (Gridster Bee Month for Me!)

gridsters-250-buttonx

I belong to an online bee called the Gridsters, and February is my month to choose a block that my beemates make for me.  You can find all our work on Instagram, using the hashtag #gridsterbee. 

Basket_8

I chose a basket block.

Basket_food fabrics

I also have been saving food-themed fabrics forever for a basket block quilt with the baskets full of food beginning at least a couple of decades ago, and continuing as I picked up a food fabric here and there.

I was also inspired to make basket blocks by Barb, of Fun With Barb and Kelly of Pinkadot who decided to do it together; their tutorials are on each of the links, above.  I upsized the basket block to 10 inches in size, so the making would go faster.  (You’d think with all the quilts in this house, I would have enough twin-sized, but I don’t, so I’ve already decided that’s the size it will be.)

If you want to join in with me, or Barb and Kelly, in making baskets, I’d suggest we follow their request to tag our Instagram photos with #basketswu [Baskets Sew With Us]. (Gridsters please tag them also with #gridsterbee.)

For the Gridster Bee

I’ve sent you some food fabrics; please use those for the A section of your blocks.  I don’t care what you use for the basket–it can match, it can contrast, it can coordinate, it can clash–choose what you think creates the look you want.  You can use small scale prints, large prints, florals, novelties, checks, whatever.

For the low-volume background, use these types of fabrics:

Basket_low volumes YES
They are a range of creamy-toned fabrics, without strong secondary designs.

Avoid these types:

Basket_low volumes NO

Solid in creams is okay, but avoid white, grey, tan, beige, white-on-white (I really don’t like beige for this quilt, but understand the limitations of our stashes–just do your best).  Many of the above fabrics have strong motifs and patterns, so reject those too.  Basically, I want the background to recede without being dull or same-same.

Basket Tutorial

Basket Block_ESE

Not to size, for reference only–please use the PDF link below.

Here’s my cutting sheet for this tutorial, in PDF form, but the usual requests apply here–don’t print off a million copies for your mother and your friends, but please send them here to get their own: Basket Block 10 inch_OPQuilt

Basket_1

All my basket pieces laid out.

First, make the Half Square Triangles.

[Background:  One method is from Alyce, and she has a nice chart if you want to figure out your own eight-way Half-square Triangles.  However, I also have a different chart on this post which came from Jeni Baker, who encourages the use of a bigger initial square.  That means for us (and especially if you like to trim your HSTs) you would begin with a 6″ block, which is what I’ve specified on the cutting chart. BTW, her book on triangles is a good one to have in your library. ]Basket_2
Place one 6″ background square and one 6″ basket square right sides together. Mark two diagonal lines, and sew 1/4″ on either side of the marked lines.  On the left is the pieces with the sewn diagonals.  Press it flat to settle down the wrinkles, which you see on the right.

Basket_4b

I moved mine apart to demo this; leave yours close together.

Cut on marked lines.  Now without moving your squares, cut on mid-lines, crossing the centers, as shown below.  Press, with seam allowance to the dark side, trimming out dark fabric, if necessary, so it doesn’t show through.  Trim to 2-1/2″ inches square.

Basket_3
Make center half-square triangle (piece A-1):  Place a food fabric (measuring 6-7/8″ square) onto a basket square (same size), drawing a diagonal line, then stitching on either side of that line.  Press, then cut on marked line, then press towards the basket.  You’ll have an extra center to toss into your Random Patches Box.  (You do have one of those, don’t you?)

Press seam allowance ALWAYS towards basket, to give that dimensional look that something is IN the basket.  Now trim that center to 6-1/2″.

Basket_5
Here are all the pieces, laid out.  I chose a stripe to demo, so you can see the direction the stripes go.  If you use the eight-at-a-time half-square triangle method, you’ll have no problem getting the stripes in the small half-square triangles go the direction you want.  Yes, I did cut the 6-7/8″ square (basket) on the bias, so I could have the stripes go across the unit.

Basket_5a

I made two blocks at once; one had a light center, and one had a dark center.

Stitch together the three small half-square triangle pieces; press in the direction they want to go, which is usually toward the flat triangle piece.

Basket_5b
Stitch one 2-1/2″ block onto one unit (shown in upper left corner).  It helps to arrange your square as you go, so you get everything all sorted out right.

Basket_5c
Sew the first three-unit “basket handle” to the center HST, as shown on the left.  Press seams away from basket, even though they don’t want to go there, again to preserve the illusion that something is in your basket.

Basket_6
Sew the second three-unit “handle” with the C square to the center unit, as shown.  I pressed the square C-block toward the three-triangle unit so that the seams would nest neatly when I arrived at this step.

Basket_7
Create basket stand by sewing one of your small HST to the D-rectangle.  Pay attention to which direction the triangles are going.  Stitch this first unit onto the basket.

Repeat with second HST and D-rectangle.  Sew ONE of the C (2-1/2″ squares) to ONE of the basket stand units.  Stitch this onto the existing basket.

Basket_9
And you are done!

There are lots of fun ways I can finish this basket quilt:

Basket Setting

from here

I like this setting, with all those energetic chevrons in between the baskets.

Looks like red is a pretty popular color for setting these blocks.  I have more basket ideas on my Pinterest site, if you want to see more block settings.  (I’ve been collecting these ideas for ages.)

Thanks to the Gridsters for making me baskets this month, and I hope you all have fun making a few for yourselves.