Monday, April 29, 2013

Island Detour (aka Hat Trick)

Here's my version of Hat Trick using two packages of Tonga Treats batik fabrics in the Island Punch color way. 

I really enjoyed adding my own touches to this pattern by adding borders on the sides as well as the top and bottom and adding embroidery in the setting squares.

I'm calling my version Island Detour.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Still Detouring

I’m still detouring.  This time I’m detouring from the “Hat Trick” pattern by adding borders to the sides as well as the top and bottom.  Here it is with the inner border added all around:

I’m also adding embroidery in the setting squares.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Detour Ahead

If you read this post, you know I planned to work on “Meadow Lark” based on "Lateness is Rudeness" pattern by Country Threads and using “Meadow” fabric by Three Sisters for Moda as my April charm square quilt.  Well, I’m taking a detour.  I am joining the Schnibbles quilt along this month and I’m making “Hat Trick” using two packages of Tonga Treats batiks in the Island Punch colorway.  I don’t usually work with batik fabrics, so that is another detour for me, but these are so happy and bright and just scream summer to me.

I bought a few batik fabrics at the Quilt Expo to add to the charm squares. 

I will use the orange for one of the borders, the navy for the binding and the neutrals for the setting squares and triangles.  After I got the fabric home, I decided one looked too grey so I bought a few more very pale aqua, green, and yellow batiks to use as neutrals.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weekend in Boston

I told you earlier in the week that we spent last weekend in Boston.  I had planned to post on Monday about the fun we had on our trip but due to the tragedy in Boston, I decided to delay this post.  I'm certain that the folks responsible for the bombings thought they would strike fear and terror into the hearts of average Americans.  But I know they don't reckon with the American spirit.  We did have fun in Boston before the bombings.  It has always been one of my favorite cities and the bombings won't and can't change that.  We will go back to Boston and have fun there again.  So that the bad guys don't win, I'm still going to tell you about the good time we had.  
Since the Quilt Expo was held about 40 miles west of Boston,my favorite big city, we decided to stay overnight there and do a few things we haven’t yet experienced.
We stayed on the waterfront and had a nice view from our room:

Since the guys were good enough to come with me to the quilt show, I figured they would enjoy a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery.  We got directions to the brewery from the hotel concierge and took the “T” to get there.  We got off the T at the Stonybrook stop and followed the directions to the brewery helpfully posted on the wall of the station.  Just outside the brewery was the Stonybrook Fine Arts studio.  Although this kind of sculpture is not my cup of tea, you have to admire the use of old tools and junk metal to create art. 

I really liked the ornamental gates in front of the studio:

I didn’t get any pictures inside the brewery, but we all had a good time on the tour and enjoyed the free tasting!

After the brewery tour, we took a trolley tour along the Freedom Trail.  Although we’ve walked along the Freedom Trail every time we’ve been to Boston over the years, the trolley tour was a great experience and we had a lot of fun!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

More pictures from the Quilt Expo:

Here are a few more pictures of the quilts exhibited at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Worcester, MA last weekend:

The Route 66 quilts

California or Bust by Mary Ann Hildebrand

Petrified Forest Painted Desert, Holbrook, AZ
Vicki Sohnhoff

I love how the quilting brings out the texture of the petrified wood and the mountains.  Just beautiful.

Hawaiian Trapunto by Regina Carter

Storm Clouds at the Cabin by Mary Derry

Scraps I Couldn't Bear to Toss by Gina Thackara

My Scrappy Love by Sharon Moran

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sewing and Quilt Expo in Worcester, MA

Lucky for me, I have a husband who is willing to attend a quilt show with his wife.  Actually, one of our sons came with us, too.   I wanted to go to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Worcester, MA and they agreed to come along. 
Prior to this show, I have only been to small guild-sponsored quilt shows.  I’ve enjoyed those, but have wanted to experience a larger show.  I guess I was expecting something like what I’ve seen about Quilt Festival, with crowded aisles and lots of big names from the quilting world, but it wasn’t like that at all.
There was a nice exhibition of quilts and I’ll show you some pictures of my favorites today and later this week.  As for exhibitors, there weren’t as many as I thought there would be and at least half of them were sewing related rather than quilting related.  I was very glad that there were not that many people since I love people, but not crowds.
I brought a list with me and I stuck to it.  I only bought a 4 half yard pieces of batik fabrics for a new project I’m going to start. 

I didn’t find any of the Indigo Crossing fabric I want so it looks like I will have to buy that online.
All in all it was a great experience and I would consider going again.
Here are some pictures of some of my favorites of the quilts that were exhibited:
White Tail Morning by Dustin Farrell

Woodpecker Artist by Dee Ann West

The House That Kaffe Built

Designed by Kathryn Patterson, machine quilted by Rebecca Segura.  
From McCalls Quilting May/June 2011

Heritage Stars
Designed by Sherri Bain Driver
Made by Sherri and friends, machine quilted by ZJ Humbach
From McCalls Quilting March/April 2012

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


My husband, son and I spent a few days in and around Boston last weekend and later this week I will tell you about the quilt show we went to and some sightseeing we did.  But today I just wanted to say that my heart goes out to the victims of the bombings and their family and friends.

While we were in Boston we met a few people that were in town for the marathon and spent some time with an entire family from Seattle that was in Boston to support their daughter and sister.  We didn't learn any of their names but we spent over an hour with them talking, laughing, having a great time.  The runner and I had a conversation about our interests - quilting and running.  She had spent some time working in a physical therapy office and gave me hope that when I have my knees replaced I will be back to feeling good and being active very quickly.

They were a really, really nice bunch of people who travelled so far to support their family member.

I am praying that they are all safe.

Boston is a city that epitomizes the spirit of fighting for freedom.  I hope Bostonians and all Americans never lose that spirit.

Bunker Hill

Friday, April 12, 2013

April BGBOM Version C:

I was inspired by this block, by Lissa from the Moda Lissa blog, for my third version of the April BGBOM block.  After coloring several options, I knew I wanted a white “star” for the center surrounded by red.  I tried red for all the 2 ½” squares but thought it was too much red, so I colored another version gold and loved it.

When I saw that there were 4 red squares, I realized I could make them using the square in a square technique instead of the flying geese.  That also allowed me to sew half square triangle squares for the corner blocks.

For the all white square-in-a-square blocks, I could have used a plain 4 ½” square of white, but I liked how my inspiration block used two slightly different blues, so I used a tone on tone white fabric and really liked how it came out.   I probably would not have ever put a plain white together with a tone on tone white fabric but after seeing these together, I will definitely try this combo again.

I didn’t have enough of the red fabric with the moose and bear to make all 4 side square-in-a-square blocks the same, so two are the moose/bear and two are the red polka dot.  If you are using two different fabrics for your center star and a directional fabric for the center of the square-in-a-square block like I did, you have to be careful to put the second center fabric on the proper corner.  This is where a graphed and colored version of the block comes in handy!

There are loads of methods out there for making half square triangle squares but since I needed eight units and all used the same two fabrics, I used the eight-at-a-time method as follows:

1)      For 8 2 ½” squares, place two 6” squares right sides together and mark the back of the light fabric with diagonal lines from corner to corner and  vertical and horizontal lines through the center like so:

2)      Sew a ¼” away on each side of both diagonal lines:

3)      Cut apart on the vertical and horizontal lines:

4)      Cut apart on the diagonal lines:

If you have a Quilt in a Day Triangle Square Up ruler, you will trim the units to size before pressing them open like so:

1)      Line up the 2 ½” line on the seam line and trim off the excess from both sides of the triangle.

2)      Rotate the triangle upside down, line up the seam line on the 2 ½” line again and trim off the dog ears.

I pieced the triangle squares with the 2 ½” gold squares into 4-patch units.

If you used two different fabrics for the center star and directional fabrics for the square-in-a-square units, this next part requires careful attention!

Lay out your units in the order you need to sew them so that the directional fabrics are facing the right direction and that second color of the center star is lined up with the proper corner of the center square-in-a-square unit.

Sew into rows.

Sew the rows together.  You will be more careful than I was and you will not sew the bottom row on upside down! (See where I took it apart and had to sew it back together?)  I didn’t notice until I put it up on the design wall and realized I didn’t have a star in the center.  Ooops!

I think I may have been able to piece this third version a little faster than the other two, but then I had to take apart that third row.  Oh well!

Here are all three April blocks together.  You would never know they were all from the same basic design.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

BGBOM for April

I really enjoyed sewing the April BGBOM blocks together.  Graphing and coloring the blocks gave me something to do during the week when I couldn’t get into my sewing room and made it easier to figure out the fabrics I needed to cut. 

Each block took me about two hours to put together.  I was hoping the second block would go a bit faster but it took just about the same amount of time.  Both blocks were fairly simple to put together. 

I am partial to my Quilt in a Day flying geese rulers but I like Monique’s construction method for the flying geese, especially when the “air” triangles are two different colors.  So I used her method to put the blocks together and the Quilt in a Day method to trim the blocks.

I really like the inner stars for both of these blocks.  They would make great star blocks all on their own!


I especially love the green whirligig that’s formed when the inner square is the same fabric as one of the star points.

I used a different method for the third color version of this block that I’ll tell you more about later in the week.

Here’s the finished A and B versions:


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ohio Star Progress

I was up before the sun on Saturday and spent a little time working on graphing and coloring a few more options for the BGBOM April blocks.  I picked my three favorites and spent about an hour cutting the pieces to make the blocks.  I decided I want to make the quilt a bit bigger so I will be making 4 more blocks.  I will end up with 3 blocks for 4 of the designs. (I bet you can guess one of the blocks I won’t be making for a third time – you got it, Month 2!)  

I was running errands for most of the day but I did find a couple hours to spend in the sewing room in the late afternoon.   The third row of the Ohio Star blocks went together smoothly.  While Miss Maggie (the old lady dog) whined and carried on because it was getting close to dinner time, I finished all the blocks.  Then while Maggie really whined because it was a smidgeon past dinner time, I arranged all the blocks on the design wall so I could take a picture to document my progress and so I wouldn’t forget how I wanted the blocks laid out.

Ta Da!! Nothing left to do but cut the sashing strips and cornerstones, sew them all together, and feed the poor dog!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Appliqué using starch and April Goals

After spending a lot of the last week reviewing You Tube videos and trolling through Appliquéd blogs, I felt ready to try the template/starch method of prepping my appliqué pieces.  With Templar and Magic Sizing in hand, I traced and cut out the appliqué motifs and gave it the old college try.  I would not say I ended up with any “Perfect Circles” and my flowers don’t look anything like any you can find on Erin Russek's blog, One Piece at a Time. 

I did not pre-wash my fabric, since I was using bits and pieces left over from other projects.  I wonder if that was the problem.   In my week of research, I did see that the fabric should be pre-washed.  At this point, I will just try to make the best of it and needleturn any stray bits that didn’t get pressed into place.  Next time, I will pre-wash the fabric.
It’s going to be a busy month, but I still want to try and meet my monthly goals:
  • Finish the Ohio Star blocks
  • Blogger Girl’s Block-of-the-Month Blocks
  • April charm square quilt (Meadow Lark)
 If I have any time left over, I will try to:
  • Make some of the sashing units for the BGBOM
  • Cut the sashing strips and blocks for the Ohio Star quilt
  • Work on Anne’s Log Cabin blocks.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

45 Minutes

Sarah, the nice physical therapist, agreed with Dr. H that I should not do any activity for longer than 45 minutes before taking a break.  She said I have limited range of motion in my neck (turning side to side and bending my head down) as well as residual weakness in my left arm.  She gave me a few exercises and said we will be working on increasing the range of motion and strength for the next few weeks.

I decided to follow doctor’s orders and only work at one task for 45 minutes at a time.  So what can I accomplish in 45 minutes?

I can trim 24 hourglass blocks.

I can piece the center row of 18 Ohio Star blocks.

I can piece the top row of 18 Ohio Star blocks.

I can sew the center and top rows of the Ohio Star blocks.

I can rake a winter’s worth of accumulated leaves, pine needles and dog “gifts” from half the backyard.  

If it’s a windy March day, I can return an hour later and the yard will look like I never touched it (except that the dog “gifts” are still gone, thankfully)!

It looks like Dr. H and Sarah may be on to something.  If I stop sewing or doing housework after 45 minutes, then do my neck and shoulder exercises, then walk upstairs and fold a load of laundry, then start the cycle of sewing/exercise/laundry over again, I can get through a day of sewing and chores without too much pain.  Who knew?