Free Quilt Pattern · Gridsters

Sawtooth Mania • Queen Bee February 2020

Sawtooth Overview Screenshot

I sat down one day to draw up a simple sawtooth block.  Thirty-five variations later, I got up.  Really, it’s all the same 8-inch block, but it is what’s inside that 4-inch square in the middle that makes it fun.  As Queen Bee of the mighty Gridsters this month, I am looking for some Sawtooth blocks from my bee-mates.  I’m calling it:

Sawtooth Mania Finalists

And like any beauty pageant there’s always a first phase; after looking at all of the first thirty-five, I’ve winnowed it down to these 25 semi-finalists.

I’ve left more explicit directions on our Bee Spreadsheet, but have fun choosing your favorite block to draw. Indicate which one it is on our sheet, and I’ll send you some templates.  Remember, I only want ONE from you, so choose your favorite.  And the reason why?

Tiny Envelope

Not only do I have a specific layout, involving just twelve blocks, it’s also because I want a different signature block: a Tiny Envelope block (also found here). More instructions and information are given on the spreadsheet, but here’s the download for the instructions for the 6-inch envelope block:

Tiny Envelope Flier

Gridsters: Remember to make it in the same color as your Sawtooth Center, but to use PRINTS that match your solid, with the exception of the white center.  Cut that from the fabrics that are coming your way for your Sawtooth Stars.

Everyone else: Feel free to use or borrow these sawtooth ideas.  Pattern coming soon for all of them.

200 Quilts

Tiny Envelopes Quilt

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_front

Tiny Envelopes
Quilt #129 on the 200 Quilts List

I was happy and pleased to hang this one out on my back-fence studio, and be able to see the shading of the Kona Snow and the Kona White in the background.  I smiled.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_detail2

This quilt had its origins in another, my most recent Four-in-Art, and instead of discarding the small envelopes, I let the fabrics and little squares and colors and strips guide me to another quilt, an interesting journey.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_detail1

Usually, with me, it’s always a block in my head, or a pattern done up in my quilt software, or a photo of a quilt I’ve seen and want to make, but this one?  It formed itself.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_detail3

I quilted wavy lines, an occasional circle to designate a postmark, and loops in the borders.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_quilting

The backing is one of my favorites, with pictures of a samara, those little maple seeds you split apart in summer and affix to things — like your nose — little seeds destined to fly away, like a letter to a friend.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt sleeve

The quilt sleeve and binding, a batik fabric, shown close up.

Tiny Envelopes Quilt_sofa

It’s not so big, really, but it was the size it needed to be.

Updated Goals List

I put two stickers on my Goals Chart–two things finished!

Someone Novel

I’m listening to Someone, by Alice McDermott and find that I’ve worked for hours, swept away as I am in this tale.  I’m more than halfway through, and need to take up another project so I can finish the novel.  Recommended by my mother, but really recommended by my sister Susan, who told my mother about it.


Believe it or not, California is supposed to get some rain.  So far right now we have about 1″ of rainfall, when normally it is 10.”  We’ve contacted a garden designer to rip out our lawn in front and put in some xeriscaping–plants that are more native to our area and require little water.


But this weekend?  It’s supposed to pour, and I know it will knock all the blossoms off my lovely blooming wisteria, the heady fragrance a spring’s welcome when I walk outside to photograph quilts.


wysteria from above

This is the view from the top of the trellis–a thick carpet of lavender and purple.



I hope that lovely blossoms are in your future, and that you receive some tiny — or large — envelopes in the mail, tiny, but with grand messages. Which reminds me that I need to get going on my Bee Blocks and my Cross-X blocks, and get those envelopes out in the mail!

Linking up with Lee, of Freshly Pieced on her WIP Wednesday.

200 Quilts

This and That, February Version

Dilbert work-life balance

This made me laugh this week, as I had NO life, yet TOO MUCH work.  A bit out of balance.  Papers to grade, lessons plans to prep, more grading, ACK!!   Finally, yesterday afternoon I pushed back from the computer, and went outside to breathe in some balmy Southern California air.

Justin Genius

First, a visit to the Genius Bar at an Apple Store, where they exchanged my Christmas-present phone for a new-to-me phone.  That should fix the battery problem, the Genius said.  Thanks, Justin.

Goal Sign

Next, writing out my quilting goals for a couple of months.  I tried to be judicious in my choices, not throwing EVERYTHING up there, but just the things I’ve committed to, or think I can do. I’m not doing the Finish-A-Long this quarter, but do like the push it gives me, so I have to generate my own push.  I think I’ll tackle the quilting on my Tiny Envelopes quilt.  It’s been pinned together for several weeks, waiting for me to finish my grading.

FMQuilting Notes

I always “test” my quilting in a doodle, then mark right on the fabric what the upper tension needs to be.  Here are a few other test drives.  I’m using King Tut thread by Superior Threads in the top, and So Fine thread in the bobbin.  I LOVE So Fine.  I often use Bottom Line thread in the bobbin, but then need to loosen the upper bobbin tension more.  Bottom Line is very fine, so “sinks” into your backing nicely.  I found the upper tension also varies between using my free-motion foot (needs to be lower), and my walking foot.  Test, test test.

Quilting Envelopes

First, quilt the little envelope shapes.

Postmark 1

Then I started looking up ways to quilt the larger design on the quilt, looking at all different kinds of postmarks on Google Images.  Did you know you can send your envelopes to North Pole, Alaska and they will cancel your Christmas letters for you, with a postmark that says “North Pole”?

Postmark 2

I thought this design had some potential, but I kept looking.

Postmark 4

The one in the upper left corner — a square with wavy lines — that was the one that pushed my quilty buttons.

Quilting Doodles Tiny Envelopes

I always print out a “faded” version of my quilts onto paper, then doodle some designs.  I’d been doodling for a while before I found that one.  I recreated it in the upper left corner, then went to work.  I Googled “wavy lines template” and found one here:  cutting_wavy_lines.  Click on that link and you’ll get a PDF file of some wavy lines.

Tracing Wavy Lines Quilting

I traced one of the wavy lines onto some heavyweight plastic from an old binder divider I had laying around, then traced the wavy lines onto my quilt with an air-disappearing marker.

hitting the wall baseball players

After a couple of hours of quilting, I hit the proverbial wall, but since the marker is a disappearing marker when exposed to the air, I knew whatever marks I had made would be gone in the morning, so I quilted until I ran out of thread in both the bobbin and on the spool.  I got the message, so called it a night.


So Here We Are–Tiny Envelopes

Pre-Quilt layout

I started here at the beginning of the week–the layout of the blocks with some turned and twisted.

Little Envelope Quilt

I ended here with a very random quilt.  I bordered the envelopes with different solids, interspersed Kona Snow and Kona White blocks, then added colorful strips.  I separated the rows with more Snow/White strips and sewed it together.

What is it? you ask.  No clue, I must answer. but it will give me a field in which to practice some FMQ, and that will either make it more random, or pull it together. It might need a border.   It’s too soon to tell.

Olympic Banners

Tonight is our Quilt Group Get Together, coupled with watching the Sochi Opening Ceremony while we chat, eat,  sew, quilt, and I need to cut some strips out of my Kaffe Fassett fabrics because I’m determined to have some sort of quilt top with those fabulous quilty designs on them that I see on every athlete’s vest, on the officials, and on the flags and banner.  Here’s a website describing the origins of this design.