Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pickle Dish Planning

In my last post I talked about my plans for a Pickle Dish quilt and my concern about the proportions within the block. Now that I'm satisfied with the block pattern, I'm playing around with fabrics and colorings in EQ7. I originally thought I wanted mostly black & white prints with colors for only the eyelashes, but I haven't been happy with anything using that combo so far.

I know I want a small scale print for the background so the seams where the blocks intersect will disappear. After auditioning several options I found the perfect print, from the Menagerie collection by Rifle Paper Co. The background is actually a deep hunter green. (Thanks Jane & Jenny!)

Some more play in EQ7 and here's the plan I'm going with:

This will be a long term project, a challenging one. This is not an easy block to construct; it's actually harder than the snake block. Stay tuned, and I'll keep you posted on progress.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, November 27, 2017

Eye of the Beholder


Ever since my friends and I have been working on the snake quilt* and Cherie taught me how to paper piece the arcs, I've been wanting to make a Pickle Dish quilt. So I played around and drafted a block.

Um, no, I don't think so.
For a 10" block, I started with 2-1/2" squares in the corners which makes the arcs 2-1/2" wide. There's too much "eye" in the center. I might as well just use a standard Double Wedding Ring pattern for an effect like this.

So I looked at pickle dish & similar quilts on Pinterest. Many use Kaffe Fasset's pattern, so I ordered the book.

And made another test block using their pattern.

I have the utmost respect for Kaffe Fasset and his pattern design team. But to my eyes, it looks like too much eyelash and a beady little eye, with big heavy 3-1/2" squares in the corners. In his pastel version with low contrast prints, featuring those prints in large corner squares makes sense. But I'm thinking of using black & white prints for my corners, high contrast, so such large corners feel overwhelming to me, especially for the small size of the eye.

So I tried again, and I drafted a version with 3" finished corners, halfway between my first attempt and the KF pattern. Knowing that some corner squaress will be light and some will be dark, I used light scraps for this test block's corners.

OK, I'm liking the proportion better. Personal taste. No disrespect toward the KF design team intended.

But are the light corners influencing my reaction? Let's look at it with dark corners.

Let's look at them all together on my design wall.

I'm satisfied with the 3rd version, medium eye and medium corner squares.

Next I'll play with colorings in EQ7. All these test blocks were made with scraps from my scrap bins. I'm thinking black & white prints with pops of color for the eyelashes. This ought to keep me busy for awhile....

*About that snake quilt - the blocks are done but we're still trying to coordinate our schedules so we can get together for another sew day to get the top finished.

Linking up with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, November 24, 2017

Original Log Cabin Triangles Finished

Whoo-hoo! No longer a UFO!

The blocks for this were made about a year and a half ago, and the top center was assembled at camp. But it was a not-very-useful size, 54" x 63" and I didn't have any more of the colors to make more blocks. So it sat in UFO status for awhile.

I finally found the perfect fabric for a border to make it larger, while I was in Florida in September.

Perfect! The addition of the borders brought the top up to 66" x 75" which is a better size for a throw. 

Some spiral quilting, around and around...

I used the same border fabric for the binding.

The back is a remnant of grey Wide Screen. It was too long and narrow so I pieced it to the right size along with a piece of another grey print to fill in the corner. 

Nice to be able to add this to the finished pile! And I get to cross it off the UFO list - Whoo-hoo!

If you're interested, the Log Cabin Triangle block pattern is available as a tutorial here

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 in the text of your comment so I can send the PDF to you. You may not be aware if you are a no-reply commenter, and if you are,
I cannot send you the PDF without your email.

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