Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and your family a happy turkey day!

We'll be visiting my sister-in-law and her family. By popular request, we're once again bringing party mushrooms* and candied sweet potatoes and wine. The quilt above, Maple Leaf Star, was given to SIL for Christmas last year. Here's another seasonal quilt:

Hoping you'll be enjoying good food and great company -
Happy Thanksgiving!

*No, not that kind of party mushrooms. Recipe for sauteed mushrooms & pearl onions in America's Test Kitchen 2007 cookbook (no affiliation).

Monday, November 20, 2017

Spiraling Around

Last week I mentioned that I want to get my original Log Cabin Triangles quilt finished. It languished in UFO status for over a year until I finally found border fabric for it. I pin basted it last week.

I ran out of pins, but after getting more I finally got the basting finished and started quilting. I'm quilting it in a spiral starting at the center of the motif. 

Around and around and around...  Just keep going...  I do think this style of quilting suits this piecing layout, but it sure is tedious. Music helps!

I used Connecting Threads (no affiliation) 50 wt. cotton thread in a pale grey called Silver. It's nice for quilting but a little thick for piecing. I have a lot of trouble with thread breakage with some types of fine threads on this machine, but much less breakage with CT thread, so for continuous quilting like spiraling around, CT was my preferred choice. 

There are plenty of wobbles and bobbles but overall the quilting looks fine. 

Maybe I'll be able to get it trimmed and bound this week. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

He Likes It

DH really likes his birthday quilt. As he was opening it he saw the back and said "I know where these fabrics came from!" I had to tell him that was the back, then he looked at the front. He really, really  likes it.
He says it's warm. It should be, with flannel front and back, and wool batting.

Murphy likes it too.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Original LCT

About a year and a half ago I worked on this original block and quilt layout resulting in a small top which has remained a UFO. This block is called Log Cabin Triangles, or LCT for short.

The block design, in patriotic colors, became the QOV block for the 2016 block drives hosted by Alycia in Colorado, Dar of QOV-Eastern Missouri, and others. Click on the 2016 QOV block tab above for more on that and a link to the tutorial.

After I sewed the blocks together, I never did much with this top because it isn't a very usable size, 54" x 63".  The dark fabrics were random fat quarters and I used them all up and couldn't get any more. I thought of adding a third color, maybe teal, but by then I had used up most of the extra light "logs" and couldn't replace some of those fabrics either.

I have a trunk show coming up and I no longer have the QOV I made from this block design, so I want to finish up this quilt so I can talk about it. I've been searching for something to use as a border to make it larger, and while I was in Florida in September I found the perfect print.

This week I added the borders, bringing the size up to a more usable throw size, 66" x 75" (here shown sideways on my design wall).

Now I'm in the process of pin basting it. Ran out of pins, need to get more...

I will spiral quilt this the same as I did my QOV verson. But I learned from that one and this time I'm pinning closer together, and facing the pins so I can easily remove them as I spiral around. Here's what the QOV looked like with its spiral quilting:

My goal is to have the original LCT version quilted by the end of the month.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, November 13, 2017

Propeller Block Layouts

I handed out propeller block instructions to my bee mates at guild on Saturday (see Friday's post below) and someone asked me how I plan to lay the blocks out. I'm thinking of staggering them with some negative space in between. This way the darks will create strong diagonal movement.

Here's how this layout would work going both directions (the center would be a pale background similar to the other backgrounds). There would be lots of partial seams if I use this layout.

Or I could stagger them in vertical columns, which still gives me diagonal movement but also creates some interesting shapes in the negative space. No partial seams here, just columns. 

As long as I stay away from a plain boring straight setting, I think I'll like whatever I come up with. I'll figure it out when I get the blocks back from my friends and see how many I have/need and what size it comes out to. This will be a donation quilt and my plan is for it to be suitable for an older boy. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Propeller Block for Sew Bee It

This month is my turn to hand out the block for my bee in STLMQG, called Sew Bee It. I'm posting the instructions here for the girls in the bee, and anyone else who's interested is welcome to use this tutorial to make their own blocks.

I'm asking for Propeller blocks:

Color palette for Sew Bee It:
-        Background: Any pale low volume, as long as it reads neutral. Nothing feminine.
-        Feature color: Any bright hue in the lime/green/teal/turquoise/blue/indigo range, again nothing feminine. Please use the same fabric for all the colored pieces in the block. 

-        Background:
o   cut (2) two 5” squares
o   cut (4) four 2-1/2” squares
-        Feature color:
o   cut (2) two 5” squares
o   cut (2) two 2-1/2” squares
o   cut (1) one 2-1/2” x 6-1/2” piece

-        Mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of each of the 5” background squares.
-        Place 5” background and feature color squares right sides together and sew 1/4” on each side of the marked line.
-        Cut on the marked line, press seams open, and square up the HSTs to 4-1/2”.
-        Sew a 2-1/2” background square to each end of the colored strip. Press seams toward the color.
-        Sew a 2-1/2” background square to each of the small colored squares. If your print is directional, sew the background squares to the top of one and the bottom of the other colored squares.
-        Lay out the parts like the block diagram; note which way the HSTs rotate. Sew the top row together and the bottom row together.  
    -    Sew the three rows together, making sure the seams line up so the center plus shape doesn’t look crooked. Press seams toward the center row. 

Thank you for making blocks for me!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Alternative First Saturday

Some friends and I have been participating in a local quilt shop's BOM series for several years on the first Saturday of each month. We're in the habit of getting together for coffee after the BOM meeting. The next series starts in November but this year we all decided we have too many WIPs and UFOs and we didn't want to start another project.

So instead of starting the new LQS series, we're having our own Alternative First Saturday meet-up for coffee and conversation. Six of us met this past Saturday for the first get-together. We each declared a project that we have to show progress on at the next meeting. Some of the projects include Broken Dishes blocks, Farm Girl Vintage blocks, and log cabin blocks, and all are commitments to finishing WIPs.

My project is the red project, story here and here. My goal is to make one checkerboard block and one Dresden Plate block each month. I started in early September and here are my blocks so far:

The Dresdens still need centers; I'll wait till I have more of them and decide whether I want blue centers or maybe an amber or bronze color. I don't want this to read as a red, white, and blue quilt. The Dresden blocks are oversized; they'll get trimmed down and snowball cornered later.
We're a talkative and eclectic group. The conversation ranged from the Andrew Wyeth museum to class reunions to warts & toenail fungus; chakras & crystals to titanium replacement knees. Oh, and there might have been some talk about our quilting projects, too.

The first Alternative First Saturday get together was very enjoyable - but wait, there's more! Another LQS was having a FQ sale, so some of us adjourned after coffee to go shop for FQs. The sale price has gone up - gasp - to $1.09, but still, how can you beat that?!

So I indulged in a little stash enhancement. No particular purpose, just stuff that I liked.
Corals and pinks

Aquas and greens


No particular need, just pure stash enhancement, but my usage numbers are good this year so no guilt. Sometimes you just need to supplement the stash to have a fresh take on pulling a palette together. I picked up 16 FQs for 4 yards in, and kept it to less than $19 including the tax. 

All in all, I'd say my first Alternative First Saturday was a smashing success, and I'm looking forward to more monthly meet-ups. The girls have asked for a Murphy update, so I'll have to try to get some new pics of him for next time.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars QOV Tutorial

Earlier in October I posted a QOV top that I had completed at retreat. The blocks were mostly leader/enders that were already made. Here the top is shown horizontally on my design wall.

This is a super easy project, a great scrap buster, suitable for all skill levels, and it's a great throw size, 60" x 84".  I promised a tutorial, so here it is.

Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars Tutorial

copyright 2017 Jan Ochterbeck

Nine-Patch Stars QOV, 60" x 84"

Use as much variety as possible. If using scraps, pieces must be large enough to cut 7” squares.
·       Assorted dark prints: reds, blues, tans, etc., about 3 yards total.
·       Assorted light neutral prints, about 3-1/2 yards total.
·       5-1/4  yards backing fabric

·       3/4 yard binding fabric

·       Cut the following from assorted Light prints:
o   35     7” squares
o   16     6-1/2” squares
o   224   2-1/2” squares (or 14 WOF strips)
·       Cut the following from assorted Red prints:
o   16     7” squares
·       Cut the following from assorted Blue Prints:
o   19     7” squares
·       From assorted dark prints (reds, blues, tans, etc.) cut the following:
o   262   2-1/2” squares (or 17 WOF strips)

Make blocks:
·       Half Square Triangles: Make 16 assorted red HSTs and make 19 blue HSTs
o   Mark each 7” light square on the diagonal on the wrong side
o   With a light and a dark 7” square right sides together, stitch 1/4” on each side of the diagonal line
o   Cut apart on the diagonal line and press seams open
o   Square up and trim to 6-1/2”

·       Nine-patch blocks: Make blocks as scrappy as possible. Note: strip piecing will speed up the process; sub-cut strips into 2-1/2” units. 
o   Make 46 nine-patch blocks with dark corners
o   Make 8 nine-patch blocks with light corners

·       Lay out blocks and plain light squares in rows following the diagram below.
·       Note that the light-corner nine-patch blocks are used only within the stars, alternating with dark-corner nine-patch blocks. All other nine-patch blocks used elsewhere have dark corners.
·       Sew blocks into rows; press seams in odd-numbered rows to the left and even-numbered rows to the right.
·       Sew rows together.
Row Assembly Diagram

·       Piece backing to 70” x 94”
·       Layer, baste, and quilt as desired.
·      Cut 8 WOF binding strips 2-1/2” wide; join lengthwise and bind using your preferred method.

This easy layout of simple nine-patch and HST components would make a great throw in any colorway, not just for QOV. Does someone on your list need a quilty gift this holiday season?
Christmas Colorway

Girly Colorway

If you would like a PDF of the tutorial, please leave a comment.
Be sure to include your email address so I can send the PDF to you. 

Link-ups:  Sew Fresh Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Monday, October 30, 2017

October Stash Report & Goals Update

But first, here's what's on my design wall today:

A scrappy baby quilt top. This is made from some of the scraps I picked up at the scrap scramble at  retreat, plus some leftovers from Ben's baby quilt, leftover backing from something else, and bits of partial FQs from stash.

This will be a donation, either as is (top only) or finished quilt. Meanwhile, it was fun to pull some prints together and play with them. I may have to do this kind of playing more often.

Since it's a finished flimsy, I can count the fabric used in my October stash report. October was an excellent month for finishes and therefore for fabric out.

October Stash Report: 

IN this month: 7-1/4 yards (from Sew Me STL swap, scrap scramble, and donated by other members; binding for flannel quilt)
OUT: 19-3/8 yards (Backing for flannel quilt - 2-1/2 yds (plus shirt parts); Binding for flannel quilt - 5/8 yard.  Solstice flimsy, 7-1/4 yds.  Sew Me STL swap, 7/8 yds.  Nine Patch Stars QOV flimsy, 6-3/8 yds.  Scrappy baby quilt top for donation, 1-3/4 yds)

IN YTD: 102-3/4 yards
OUT YTD: 127-7/8 yards
Net Change: 25-1/8 yards OUT

Best year yet for stash usage since I've been keeping track!

Goals Update: 

October Recap:
1. Assemble Nine Patch Stars QOV top at Sew Me STL. DONE
2. Make HSTs for donation quilt at Sew Me STL. Done - Assembled as many as possible given the available cut pieces but ran out of lights. Cut more lights and finished the HSTs later.
3. Cut and work on sashing strips for Solstice Challenge blocks. DONE. Made all the sashing strips, made nine patch cornerstones, and completely finished the Solstice flimsy. 
4. Make one Dresden block and one Checkerboard block for the red project. DONE
5. Work on WIVSP hand piecing project. Stitched more than an hour of hand sewing.
6. Bind Gary's Flannel Quilt. DONE
7. Add borders to Original LCT top. Not done.
8. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE.
9. Work on improv project from Jean Wells book. Not done.
Other: Made scrappy baby quilt top

Wow, having so much time to sew at Sew Me STL helped me get a lot accomplished this month! The Nine Patch Stars top was assembled at retreat and the sashings for Solstice were started. Then later this month the entire Solstice flimsy was completed. And Gary's flannel quilt came back from the quilter and got bound. It's been a very good month for finishes!
Nine Patch Stars QOV Top

Gary's Flannel Quilt

Solstice Flimsy

November Goals:
1. Plan and write tutorial for Sew Bee It bee block for November, to hand out at Nov. 11 meeting.
2. Write and post tutorial for Nine Patch Stars QOV.
3. Make one Dresden block and one Checkerboard block for the red project.
4. Add borders to Original LCT top.
5. Work on WIVSP hand piecing project.
6. Make one scrappy donation top to play with fabrics & use up stash.
7. Keep up with bee blocks.
8. Work on improv project from Jean Wells book.

Looking forward to another productive month in the sewing room, but I'm sure I can't top October for finishes.

Link ups: Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
                Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, October 27, 2017

Finished Solstice Flimsy

A picture-heavy post...

The finished top:

I enjoyed making the blocks each week as the patterns were released. 
Some favorite blocks:

This block, not part of the series, was a test when I got my 
new Studio cutter last spring. I see more blocks using these 
units in my future since they came out so well. 

Since I don't have an immediate need or purpose for this top, 
I'll add it to the growing to-be-quilted pile. 

I have enough of the olive sashing print to use for binding, so I'll 
put the print away with this top, to be ready when the time comes. 

A question for those of you who keep track of your stash usage: 
How do you account for fabric that was used for unused blocks and related parts that didn't make it into the finished top? I have at least seven 12" blocks and several 6" companion blocks that were not used, but the fabric has been used in them and is no longer available as stash. How to account for it?

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Christmas Tree

You may remember that back in July I participated in the "12 Days of Christmas in July" blog hop hosted by Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. My contribution to the blog hop was the Christmas tree wall hanging I made for my son.

His home doesn't have space for an actual tree, and with three cats and a toddler, a real one isn't wise anyway. So a wall hanging on which he can hang real ornaments would solve the problem.

The plan was to give it to him at Thanksgiving, but due to his work schedule he doesn't think he'll be able to come for Thanksgiving. He was here this past weekend, so I gave it to him then. He really, really, really likes it.

It occurred to me that there's still time for anyone who wants one of these to make one before the holiday decorating season. It's actually pretty fast and easy.

Here's a link to the tutorial, if you're interested. It's easy, pieced in rows and straight line quilted.

Then stitched loops are added to hang the ornaments.

When I posted this in July, a lot of people commented that it would be great for a nursing home resident's room, or a dorm room. Now's the time to start making one so it'll be ready to decorate for the Christmas season. 

If you make one, I'd love to see photos. I hope you like your Christmas tree hanging as much as my son likes his. 

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sashing and Cornerstones

After retreat last week, the Solstice project looked like this: 
blocks with sashing sewn into rows.

Since then I made 30 little nine patches for cornerstones.

The rest of the sashing strips are sewn but not all cut to length. 

I used up all I had of the light fabric in the sashing, 
so I found something else for the cornerstones. 
It's used elsewhere in some of the blocks, 
so it still looks fine with the rest of the quilt top. 

Goal for this week: get the rows all sewn together for a finished flimsy. 

Link ups: