Thursday, February 24, 2011

A new quilt shop & step 2

Well, not exactly a new shop, but it sure looked like it. Sawdust And Stitches, the quilt shop in our little town is in a very old building.  They have needed new light fixtures in that store since day one.  They finally got them over the holidays. What a huge difference! (Yes, it's been that long since I have been there.)  I always enjoyed that store before.  Now I'm afraid with the new lights I'll enjoy it more!  (read: spend more)  Wish me luck. Actually, I was pretty good when I was there the other day.  I went in for some thread and only picked up 3 half yards to go with it.

My scrap box of A, B. and C triangles was stuffed. These are the triangles I use for my Thirtysomething technique.  So I sorted through all the pieces to see if I could come up with anything I could use to make a few more blocks.  I guess this was just for fun, because I have no use for these blocks. They were added to the pile of orphan blocks. Oh yeah, I remember why I went through that box. I was preparing for a class, and made the 6 inch blocks with the equilateral triangles. I call them the Fancy X block.  I made 3 of those and 4 other blocks.

Before I put the new orphan blocks away, I dug out a few other 12 inch blocks and placed the Fancy X over their centers to see if I could come up with some ideas for some new blocks.  What do you think?

 I put another quilt on the frame and I was sure I had enough thread on the spool.  I was really surprised when at the end of the 2nd row, I ran out of that thread so I had to place an order and have been waiting for it all week. So, while I have been waiting I made myself an apron using my favorite chicken fabric, and a new tote bag.  I made the bag I have been using all these years about 25 years ago. It's my favorite and I still have the pattern. So I made another one. And the apron has only been on my to do list for over 10 years. So I'm feeling pretty good about that

Now to begin sewing the Thirtysomething Mystery.

Step 1.  Sew a light triangle to a medium or dark triangle. Press the seam away from the light triangle. Make 24 half-square triangle units.

 I'm going to bet that won't take you long at all, so here's the next step.

Step 2. Make 12 Square-in-a-Square units. There are several ways to get the pieces lined up correctly for sewing. hopefully these pictures show that. One is to finger-press a crease at the center of the edges to be joined. Then match the creases, and sew. Another way would be to trim the pointy seam allowances using a trimming template. This should make the triangles fit the squares perfectly.
A 3rd way would be to center the triangle and make the little mouse ears sticking out the same size.  This is easier to see when the triangle is on the bottom.

Either way, sew a medium or dark triangle to opposite sides of a 4 3/4" light square; press away from the center.  Sew triangles to the opposite sides; press. Repeat to make 12 Square-in-a-Square units. They should measure 6 1/2" square.

I'm curious. Would any of you  rather make these units with over-sized triangles that are trimmed to size after sewing? Would you rather see directions telling you that? IF so, how much bigger?

Take care and sew long,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The mystery begins

I'll get to the mystery in a minute, but first I will catch you up on the last weeks quilting activities. I got the Whig Rose wallhanging quilted and bound; and I love it. There was quilting at church.  We missed last month due to snow so there was lots of show and tell. This comfort quilt was one turned in.  Most of the blocks are actually leftover from one of the raffle quilts we did for church. Most of the other show and tell was just tops.
 Only 5 of us this time and we never set up a machine or got the iron hot. Some cutting and organizing of the next raffle quilt and layering and basting. Still, it was good to get together again and we got stuff done.
I'm planning to get back to work on the next book soon.  I have mentioned this one before. I am calling it the Thirtysomething block book.  I was organizing my Electric Quilt files yesterday and today.  All 75 of them!. Cleaned out some duplicates, renamed some etc. Still have a ways to go.  I have about 150 blocks I intend to narrow down to no more than 100.  Don't ask me how. Tell me instead.  Please. I've had a hard time deciding how I want to do this book. I've not done a block book before.  It'll be great for anyone that loves to do samplers.

My mind is always racing with quilts I want to do. I have probably 9 piles of fabric for 9 different quilts just sitting around this room waiting for me. I will pack away all but 2 or 3 now so I can focus on the next book. I  am also doing a new class at Spring Festival in Cincinnati in April that I have to prepare for. So putting those things away will mean less distraction.  But Maybe I can kinda kit up those piles first. Sound good?

Now for the Mystery.
At this point I intend to post one clue a week.  Normally that would  be agonizingly slow for me, but as I just mentioned, I will have plenty to do. I don't intend to delete these directions either, so at anytime, even after the mystery has been solved, anyone will be free to get them for free and make this quilt.  If you would like to print the directions, I would suggest that you simply highlight what you want to print then just "print selection".

Today, we will just cut some of the light background fabric.  The medium and dark fabrics needed are the triangles and strips listed last week. I showed you the fabric I planned to work with, but before I cut any fabric for a scrap quilt,  I go through my scrap boxes and find any that will work. I found a bunch of triangles.

So from the 1 3/4 yards light background fabric, cut:

2 strips, 4 3/4" x 42".  Crosscut just 13 squares, 4 3/4".  Trim the remainder of the last strip to
3 ½ inches and cut 4 squares, 3 ½" x 3 ½".

2 strips, 3 7/8" x 42".  Crosscut 12 squares, 3 7/8" x 3 7/8".  Cut each square in half diagonally to make 24 half-square triangles.

10 strips, 3.5" x 42". We will cut  pieces from these later.

I hope nobody needed a picture for that. Happy cutting.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Announcing a new Mystery

My 1st cut-and-paste wall hanging is ready to quilt. If you've been following my blog for a while, you should recognize this.  It took me a while to get this far because I wasn't happy with the 1st red that I chose for the appliqué in the center.  Too bad that meant I had to go shopping for more. The appliqué block is a variation of the Whig Rose. Most quilts that I saw with this block have that jagged zigzagging red piece colored green, but it didn't look very organic to me, and I didn't think that the block needed more green so I used red there. I've got this one basted and I'm going to quilt it on my domestic.  It's only about 28" square.

 I have decided to post the next quilt that I'm going to be working on as a mystery!  I have conducted a few mysteries when I 1st started teaching quilting.  I ran those differently than most teachers would have. Basically we all worked on the same components for the quilt, but how you decided to arrange your pieces in the end was entirely up to you.  I did not provide a final plan for those mysteries. They were fun because everybody's turned out different.  I won't do that to you this time, I have definite plans.

There are Thirtysomething units in the mystery quilt. If you're not familiar with those you can follow this link and print off detailed directions on how to make Thirtysomething units. You could make a few before you decide if you want to participate in the mystery. The quilt will finish 48" square. I'll post a new clue once a week.  If your friends like mysteries, invite them to join the fun. Use your medium and dark toned scraps for this one, or do what I did and pull a range of co-ordinating batiks from my stash. Here's the requirements.

Light background - 1 7/8 yards
Medium and dark scraps - 18 strips 2.5" x 20".  Not cut with a zigzag like in the jelly rolls.
And 36 squares, 3 7/8" x 3 7/8". Cut each square once diagonally to make 72 triangles.
Border - 5/8 of a yard for 3 1/2"  border. You can select this when you're through piecing if you wish.
Binding - 1/2 yard
This is what I'll be working with.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter wonderland

More snow.  We are lucky we haven't been dumped on too much this winter. I love it. Just hate driving in it.  I'm kinda keeping it to myself around here lately cause Mark is having trouble with his snow removal equipment. Just what he doesn't need. He does 4 driveways.

One thing I like about the snow is that it keeps me home where my sewing machine is.  Those quilt seeds I mentioned last week were the inspiration for this quilt I'm calling Snow Trails. Most might see it as a Jacob's Ladder variation. I rummaged around for old bright scraps to use up to add to that pile of seeds. Below is the block, just different enough from the World's Fair quilt even though they use the same pieces. (Yes, more triangles in this one.)

Yesterday I was called away from the longarm just as I was about to finish a quilt. Just two 4" flowers left. I am going to go do that now. Then it is off to a Super Bowl party.  The Packers are playing. 
Coming up next : bright batiks in a Thirtysomething design.