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!

Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

New York Beauties Block 2: Cool Rays

Second Wednesday in June means the second block of my New York Beauties and since it has a lot of green in it, I went with Cool Rays. I used variegated greens from dark to light in between the rays, just for fun. Because this series is about having fun, right?

STATS: 9-inch blocks, finished Yes, the rays are a bit wonky on some blocks. The perfect is the enemy of the good, as I used to tell my Freshman English classes.

I made the rays on this block twice, because I neglected to follow this one rule:

Yeah, duh. I printed out the first one at 97%. Close, but not close enough. It was a nice set of rays, too.

Fun times: the spliced outer corner pattern from Wild Sunflower (block #1) is the same for all the blocks, so I just used it again.

Splicing action needed.

Nice work. I had a question from a reader about the paper I use. It’s vellum, and from what she wrote back, it may be hard to find in a ream. I’ve seen it in smaller packages, so hopefully if you want that, you can find it.

Auditioning fabrics. Notice the range of greens. I tried to color them on the pattern from lighter to darker, too.

I took a scrap of my paper, traced off the two different sizes of my rays very loosely, and used that as a template to cut out fabrics. Since I’m using solids, there is no right or wrong side.

Progress. I always work from left to right.

Cut your arc on the bias, to give it a chance for ease around that outer edge.

I cut out two arcs because I didn’t know which one I would like. No, they aren’t sewn in yet, just draped.

I press in four creases and pin. I also do better if the convex is on the bottom and the concave is on the top, although I keep trying it the other way, which leads to use of the seam ripper. You can pin as much as you want to. No rules.

Ta-Done!

I took them outside to play.

Cool Rays ( Block Two) is available for download in my PayHip Shop.

Because I’m a nice girl, I left up Block One. Why not? It’s June! We are having fun!

Just breathe…and keep quilting!

This-and-That

This and That • June 2022

Solved!

Remember this block? The one I did for our GridsterBee this year? And how I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it, nor could anyone I talked to, nor did Bren, the Queen Bee?

This is the pattern Woven, available for free on the Robert Kaufman website. It was designed by Elizabeth Hartman, using one of her fabric lines. I’d also made it before, for Mary of NeedledMom:

And here is a picture of Mary’s blocks, all laid out:

Okay, that mystery solved, and the Heart’s Garden Mystery QAL put to rest, what’s next?

June blocks, from Leila Gardunia, are a series of scrappy triangles, with white-on-white as the opposite side. Leila provides a free download of 52 of these blocks, plus a few bonus ones– a fun pattern to keep around when you have too many scraps and need a way to make them useful.

My friend Jean sent me a photo of her finished Polaroid quilt. Some time ago (2013), we’d had a Polaroid swap, and she was happy to send me a finished photo. The directions to make those little blocks can be found in this post. I don’t care when you start a quilt, it’s the finish that needs celebrating and I celebrate this!

I started this: Ring Cycles on Steroids, a version of a popular quilt made huge by Lorena of Sydney. She sent me the pattern ages ago, and I finally started putting it together. I do love me a nine-patch block.

I also cut out a dress. That is all.

Since bashing on Instagram is a favorite thing in this house — we love it and we hate it — I was interested in this advice from The Washington Post in their IG feed and more on the stranglehold they have on our data in an article on Privacy Policies. I’ve yet to convert my feed over, but do try to keep my eyeballs-on-screens time down to a manageable level.

Culture Department: This is the stage where the Ukrainian band, Kalush, won the Eurovision Song Contest. Now that song is stuck in my head, and I don’t even speak Ukranian. One of the members is known as Carpet Man, and he is covered in a patterned balaclava that looks like patterned carpet. You can listen (and see Carpet Man) in this video, a song that is a combination of rap, a plaintive melody and a chorus that is all too catchy. Be sure to admire the man with the one of the traditional Ukrainian woodwind instruments, a telenka.

As a bonafide surface pattern enthusiast, I think I fell in love with their traditional shirts.

And no, I haven’t forgotten about this horrendous week of news we’ve had, and the video that sums up all the horror of what our children are exposed to. I remember hanging out at school, playing ball on the schoolyard, and absolutely nothing like what this young woman in the video described. I voted by mail this week, giving a NO vote to a particular leader who didn’t represent my views on this, or on pandemic caution. I urge you to vote in your Primary if your state is having one, or will have one, and I thank those who did vote. Let’s leave our children and grandchildren a world where they have the freedoms we did.

Maybe it was in response to the oppressing sadness that I designed this happy little pattern? I don’t know, but for four Wednesdays in June I’ll put up a new block. Thanks to the nice comments you’ve sent to me, and hope you have been able to download it from my pattern shop (link to PayHip is on upper right).

Take a breath, and quilt!

Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

June Fun • Why not?

This is the final pillow of the series of twelve from Riley Blake and I was supposed to make it for June. Except I got sidetracked:

I decided to make this instead. Much more interesting, less anemic.

Then I went here in my brain:

And then I wised up:

Focus. So how about one block at a time?

Free?

So you could make a mini-quilt or a pillow?

Block #1: Wild Sunflower is in my pattern shop if you want to go and get it.

Every Wednesday in June I’ll put up another block, and take down the previous. I guess I’m going through withdrawal after Heart’s Garden. But I want a 9-inch block. Most blocks are 8 inches. So there’s some splicing to do on a couple of pieces. But really–any project goes faster if it’s bigger blocks, right?

So you can put up with splicing together a couple of pieces? In thinking about the New York Beauty block…I mean there are a billion New York Beauty blocks out there on the web, free, in patterns, in a book, in several books. We must really love New York Beauty blocks, I think.

Let’s just start with one step. One block: Wild Sunflower. I did have fun naming all my blocks. You’ll see all the names in the pattern. Blocks? Names? Yes, I didn’t really stop playing around until I had designed eight blocks, and then I was tired (see cartoon, above). They aren’t fancy-schmancy with flying geese and everything. (THAT book has already been written.) But if you just want a fun June project, here ‘ya go. You can always save the patterns for later, if you are already up to here (makes motion at eyeballs) with lists of quilting projects.

Confession: I used to hate FPP: Foundation Paper Piecing. Then I took a class at QuiltCon from the Pride and Joy Quilting lady, Verushka Zarate, and a big lightbulb went on inside my head. This is her trick of ripping away the seam allowance paper if you don’t need it (but sometimes you do). She has an online course, if she isn’t appearing in person somewhere close to you.

And my trick is to draw the outside corner seam allowance 1/4″ past the pattern, so you have some scooch room when trimming up. Just place the 9-1/4″ mark on each end of the arc, then trim.

Wild Sunflower, done. And I actually had fun! I titled this series New York Beauties, and then subtitled it “for Barbara.” She’s my daughter and was born in New York and would live there the rest of her life, if she could–it’s such a strong attraction. So I think of her when I’m working on this.

Totoro and Maya are helping out

Thanks to all who entered in the drawing for some Sew Sassy. I actually found extra spools, so I chose four winners. Check your email box for the email around noon. Tomorrow I’m going to sleep in!

Just breathe…then quilt!