Monday, November 28, 2011

A Different Thanksgiving

Our family held Thanksgiving this year without the patriarch of the family.  My beloved father-in-law passed away unexpectedly on November 7.  He lived to be 84, with all his faculties,  many family members by his side as he was wheeled into surgery.  He never regained consciousness.  Following the shock, and the funeral, is a new reality for my mother-in-law and all the siblings and families. We've pulled together, taken care of business, cried, and celebrated a life lived with greatest integrity.  It's been an incredibly difficult time but we are thankful for many blessings which did occur during this time.

So now, after Thanksgiving, I'm sewing again, working on our little blocks, considering the next step and whether I want to finish it next month, or keep going....your comments will be most welcome.  My first thought is I love making the blocks and I have plenty of Layer Cake fabric to keep it going.  My second thought is that I could use the rest of the fabric in the setting.  What would your choice be???

Here is the November block: 8" finished Maple Leaf

Pink and Brown Test Block
This is not normally an 8" block but, it does work and the numbers aren't bad.  I started with oversized pieces for the triangles (4" squares) so I could trim them down. 

For one block cut:
(1) Background piece for stem 3 1/2" square-cut in half on the diagonal. 
(1) Stem -rectangle 1" x 5"
(2) Dark and (2) Background squares 3 1/2" -cut in half on the diagonal
(3) Dark and (1) Background square 3 1/8" (cut a "generous" 1/8")

Piece the stem section first: Sew one triangle on and press toward the stem.  Align the second triangle, sew, and press toward the stem.  Trim to a "generous" 3 1/8". 
Try pressing your seams open throughout and see if you like it better.  I did this for the second block and I think it lays flatter and nicer.

Piece the triangle units and then sew the squares into three rows.  Sew the rows together to make the finished block. 
Layer Cake Block
So, although the leaves are off the trees and the wind is beginning to blow colder, you will have this maple leaf block to remind you of the fall season. 

Happy sewing!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guild Show and October Blocks

Did any of you locals have the chance to see the guild's quilt show this past weekend held in Westfield, Indiana?  I think it came off quite well.  I say it that way because I was on the show committee this time.  Although many people worked on it for two years my part of it required the most hours over the past seven weeks.  I'm guessing I put in about 75 hours in that time although I didn't keep track. I'm glad I did it but, it did put me behind on several projects such as the Block of the Month I've been doing for all of you.  Nevertheless, I am so glad to have met and gotten to know several more members of the guild by working on the show committee.  I think it really helps someone to feel more a part of a large group like that when you get involved in one of the activities of the group.  And, the quilts by my fellow oh-so-talented guild members were a delight to see.  Bravo to all!

October's block is Chimney's and Cornerstones.  It's a block I've always wanted to make and with colder weather coming I started thinking about cozy fireside evenings especially those at my Dad's. 

Here is my test block in Pink and Brown. 

For this block you can use leftover pieces from your layer cake squares or choose new ones to cut up.  I used 8 different fabrics but it could be made with as little as four fabrics. 

I started by selecting the two fabrics that create the X but, I'm not sure that is the easiest way to do it :).  Then I considered what I wanted to do with rectangle units.  I chose to repeat the fabrics on opposite sides of center going from lightest to darker (although none are "darks").  The tricky thing about choosing fabrics for this block is to make sure that even the darkest of the rectangles still has adequate contrast with X fabrics.  I probably made it more difficult by choosing a pink for one of these as the rest of the pinks had to be quite light in order for it to work.  But, I really like the way it came out so, I did my Layer Cake block the same way.  Here it is:

Layer Cake Block
There are many possible variations such as creating concentric squares or making each quadrant a different color or creating a log cabin effect instead of courthouse steps as this one is.  Use the cutting instructions below and lay out the pieces so you can make adjustments for the color scheme you select. 

Here are the full cutting instructions:

From X fabrics:
Cut (8) 1 1/2" squares of two feature fabrics. They do not have to be light and dark.  They can be any two fabrics which will contrast with the rest of your block pieces.

For next round cut (4) 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles.  (Two of each fabric if you're using my coloration.)
For the second round cut (4) 1 1/2" by 4 1/2" rectangles. (Two of each fabric if you're using my coloration.)
For the third round cut (4) 1 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles.   (Two of each fabric if you're using my coloration.)

To assemble:
1.  Sew together the four patch in the middle.
2.  Add a small pink print rectangle to two opposing sides of the four patch.
3.  Add the X squares to each end of the small beige rectangles.  Add this unit to the top and bottom of the four patch unit.
4.  Continue each round by adding the (pink) rectangles to the sides and adding the X squares to each end of the logs for the top and bottom before sewing the beige rectangles on to the unit.  Block should measure 8 1/2" square when complete. 

Thanks for hanging in there!  Hope you have some time to sew today.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September Blocks

I had Another day to play Catch-Up (Thursday), now it’s Saturday….

After taking care of a few errands on Thursday I had a break in the action to work on this post.  I didn't finish it then but after a busy couple of days I can post it for you now.  I hope you have time to look at it over the weekend.  The weather has turned a little cooler and it feels lovely to be outside even if I’m just doing errands.  I’ve got my schedule under better control since last month.   I did finish the Railroad Crossing quilt as well as my other class samples and a couple of customer’s quilts too.  I've also had time to start another quilt top.

I made three blocks for you this month… twice.  One batch in pink and brown and, one from my layer cake squares.  I’ve got lots of 10" squares left and as I’m thinking about setting them I have one idea for using just 12 blocks to make a wall/throw size quilt which will finish at about 62” x 62” but I wanted to offer another option with more blocks in case you want to make it a bit larger (and have less leftover fabric.)  So, this month you can choose which one you want to make or make all three.  Or, if there was one you especially liked in an earlier month you could always make another of one of those.  The second setting I offer will grow more easily to suit the number of blocks you make.

The first block was chosen as a nod to the changing of the seasons and it is called Flock of Geese.  The second one uses up some of smaller leftover bits that I can’t throw away.  And, the third is a tribute to my beloved New York called Yankee Puzzle.  Once a Yankee, always a Yankee; September no longer goes quietly by without my thoughts returning “home”.  

Flock of Geese:

Version 1: Two Fabrics

From both a Light and a Dark 10” fabric square:  Cut  (1)  4 7/8” square, and cut (4) 2 7/8” squares.  (Note:  For the smaller triangles you could also use an easy angle tool.  In that case, cut (2) strips 2 ½” x 10”, layer dark and light strips RST in one stack and cut 8 pairs of triangles with 4 cuts.)

Pair the large squares right sides together and draw a line diagonally on the back of the light square.  Sew ¼” on both sides of the diagonal and cut apart on the drawn line.  Yield 2 HST units.   Press the seam open.  Square up, if necessary, to 4 ½”.   Repeat using the sets of the smaller squares.  Square these up to 2 ½”.  Lay out the block as shown in the photo at right.  Sew smaller units in groups of two then sew twos into fours.  Keep the units all facing in the same direction-light sides facing one way, dark facing the other.  Pressing the seams open will help the block lay flatter especially in the center.

Version 2:  Scrappy

Cut (1) dark and (1) light square 4 7/8”.  Choose 4 different lights and 4 different mediums (pinks) and cut (1) 2 7/8” square from each.  (Stack ‘em and cut them all out at the same time.)  You should have lots of pieces left from previous blocks.  Using them will help tie all the blocks together!  Use the instructions above to assemble the block.


From one or more Dark fabrics cut a total of (4) 2 7/8” squares.  From one or more Medium fabrics cut a total of (8) 1 ½” x 2 ½” rectangles.  From one or more Light fabrics cut a total of (8)  1 ½” x 2 ½” rectangles AND, (4) 2 7/8” squares.  Lay the pieces out as shown in the photo at right.  Using the squares and the same method as in the Flock of Geese block for making Half-Square Triangle units, layer, mark and sew on both sides of the diagonal to make 8 HST units.  Sew rectangles together into groups of 4 by sewing them together along the long edge.  Sew the center of the block together.  Add a group of rectangles to the sides.  Add a HST unit to the end of each of the remaining rectangle units.  Sew these new units to the top and bottom of the center unit to complete the block. 

For a scrappier effect choose a wider variety of fabrics for the rectangles and further mix placement of lights and mediums.  This pink and brown version really isn't much scrappier than the blue and brown block above.

Yankee Puzzle:

From one light fabric (center pinwheel):  Cut (2) 2 7/8” squares.  From another light cut (6) 2 7/8” squares (or 2 2 ½” strips using an easy angle tool).

From Medium fabric:  Cut (2) 2 7/8” squares (or 4 triangles from a 2 ½” strip using an easy angle tool).

From Dark fabric:  Cut (1) 5 ¼” square, cut in half on both diagonals and (2) 2 7/8” squares (or, 4 triangles from a 2 ½” strip using an easy angle tool).

Using 8 matching light triangles sew onto both short edges of each of the 4 large dark triangles making four flying geese units.  Using smaller dark triangles, sew together with 4 matching light triangles to make 4 HST units.  Sew Medium triangles together with remaining light triangles.  Lay out block according to photo at right.  Sew a pair of triangle units onto the bottom of each flying geese unit to make 4 block sections.  Sew 2 sections together to make each half of the block.  Sew the halves together to complete the block.
My two blocks aren't much different from each other.  The top one is from my layer cake squares, the bottom one is from my stash.

Note:   I use an easy angle tool much of the time especially with 10” squares.  I feel like I get better usage out of my squares.  From (1) 10” square I can cut (2) 2 ½” strips and (2) 5” squares.  With those units I can cut almost every piece for these blocks, both triangles and squares.  However, I did not pre-cut my squares into these units. 

I hope you will enjoy making one or more of these blocks!  Enjoy the season!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Good Day for Chicken Tortilla Soup!

I have the day at home today so I am busy with all types of housewife-y things.  You’d think that I’d have a regular schedule for these activities but my work schedule varies so I end up catch as catch can.  As I rev up my machine quilting business I see the need for more deliberate scheduling on my part so I can get all my quilting done as well as my customers.  Thus, being home today meant cleaning, laundry, making homemade soup and banana bread; all things I could work on while I did a little sewing.  Throw the laundry in, get the bread in the oven, sew.  Start the soup, take the pictures, finish the last block, finish the soup.  And, so here I am, ready for dinner, and ready to post the August  block.  Yippee!   I think that means I’ll get to sew the borders on my Railroad Crossing quilt tonight. 

I thought I’d share a couple of other little things before I give out the instructions for the next block but, if you’re in a hurry, just scroll down and come back up here when you have a chance.  I took a workshop last Friday with Susan Cleveland called Piping Hot Binding.  It was wonderful!  Susan is the real deal.  She is the kind of person you’d want for a best friend.  Not only that, I think almost every single person in the class came really close to completing the project IN CLASS!  I’m about 90% done and that has never happened to me before.  I have about a dozen tubs of UFO’s from workshops I’ve taken.  But, this one I will finish, and soon.  Check her out.  And, if you get a chance to take one of her classes do so.

I also finished the graduation quilt for my niece and will bring it to her soon.  She starts college at the end of the month.  I’m glad I have some time to show it around a little bit before handing it off!  And, yes, those are super-sized Hexies.  I hope she loves it. 

Now for the August block.  It’s called Indian.  And, I also made a variation of it called Indian Star.  If you have in your layer cake a square with a motif you’d like to highlight then this block will do that for you.  There is a 4” finished square in the middle so you can fussy cut something for it if you want to.  I just used a pretty print.

Let's cut the pieces for it:

From the Light print cut
 (1) 4 1/2" square, fussy cut if desired
 (4)  2 7/8" squares
 (2)  2 1/2" squares
From the Dark print cut:
(4) 2 7/8" squares
(2) 2 1/2" squares

Next, using my Quick Quarter Tool by Quilter's Rule, I draw a diagonal cutting line and sewing lines on the wrong side of the 4 light squares.

 Pair each light square with a dark square of the same size and sew on the outside lines. Remember some of your pieces will have a pinked edge.  Here is how I line them up.  You can see the dark print showing beneath the pinked edge.
Here is a super close up of sewing just towards center of the drawn line.  If you have had trouble with your units coming out to small adjusting your seam allowance like this may help.  Doing this allows for the thickness of the thread.  Sometimes a tiny adjustment like this makes all the difference!

Cut them apart on the center line to yield 8 half square triangle units.  Open and press the seam allowance towards the darker fabric.  They should measure 2 1/2" square.  Trim, if needed. 
Lay out all the pieces like this:  Pay attention to the direction of the triangle units.  Dark is always next to light and vice versa. 

Sew the triangle units together in pairs.  They should each measure 4 1/2" by 2 1/2".  It's easy to let your seam allowance change and then you end up with your pieces ruffling or skewed.  Sew straight in and straight out of the seam. 

Add the squares to the top and bottom row pressing away from the center.  Sew triangle pairs on to the sides of the center square and press towards the center.   Three rows complete.   Now sew the top row onto the center row and press towards the center.  Repeat to sew the bottom row on.  Your block is complete!

Here are my other sizes and variations:             You can use a third print for the center square or, you can put a four-patch in the center and turn the triangle units to look like a star (you'll use the same number of triangles) or, you can make it scrappy and 4 different lights and 4 different darks for the triangles.  When I did this I cut the squares in half on the diagonal before sewing them so I could mix them up even more.  Just be gentle with the bias edge.
Four a 4" finished block:
The center square is cut at 2 1/2".  The corner squares (all dark this time) are cut at 1 1/2".  The squares for the triangle units are cut at 1 7/8".  If you want a four patch in the center instead of a plain square cut 2 light squares and 2 dark squares the same size as the corner squares 1 1/2". 

For a 2" finished block:
The center square is cut at 1 1/2".  The corner squares are cut at 1".  Cut the triangle squares (4) light and (4) dark at 1 1/2" and trim them up to 1".   (They're easier to work with if you start out a little bigger and trim them.)

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you enjoy the rest of your day!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just in the Nick of Time!

The July Layer Cake Blocks are Here!  For any who have been following along I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to get these posted.  But, if your summer has been busy or you’ve been out of town maybe you weren’t ready for them anyway.  But, before you think I’ve been slackin’ and just sittin’ around the pool sipping something icy cold and delicious that is far far far from the truth.  First off, I really don’t enjoy the HOT weather we’ve been having unless I were at the beach which I’m not.  So, I’ve been sewing and quilting A LOT, just not on these blocks.  My July list of completed projects includes quilting 7 quilt tops for others, sewing two dozen pillowcases (most for charity), completing a quilt top for a graduation gift before my niece heads off to college (that’s the next one to get pinned on my long-arm), and spending a week out in New York visiting my family, and work.   I’ve enjoyed it all and feel like I’m gaining control over my sewing room.  August should be busy too preparing my samples for the next round of classes I plan to teach.  Today’s block taken from one of the quilts I’m designing for a fall class.  It’s called:

Railroad Crossing 8” finished**:

Railroad Crossing-Layer Cake (left), pink and brown (right)
Choose 3 squares from your layer cake, one dark, one medium, and one light.

Pieces cut
From the 10” Dark (brown) square cut:

(1)    5 ¼”  square and cut it on BOTH diagonals to yield (4) dark side triangles

(2)    2 7/8” squares and cut them ONCE on the diagonal to yield (4) corner  triangles

From the Medium (tan) square cut:

(1)    3 ½” strip and from that cut (1) 3 ½” square and then trim the remainder to 3 3/8”.  I trimmed off the pinked edge.  Then cut (4) rectangles 1 ½” x 3 3/8”.

From the Light (blue) square cut: 

(2)    3 3/8” strips and from that cut (8) rectangles 1 ½” x 3 3/8”.

Block Layout
Use the picture to the left to lay out your block.  

Rectangle units pieced
To assemble, sew 2 light rectangles to either side of a medium rectangle making (4) units.  Press towards the light rectangles.

Pieced Rows
Take two of these units and sew them on to opposite sides of the 3 ½” square.  Make sure you are attaching the units along the side that's pieced!  Press towards the center square.  This is the center row.

Then, sew the large dark triangles to pieced units matching the edges; the points of the triangle should extend 3/8” above the pieced  unit.  Press away from the pieced unit.  This completes two more rows.   You now have 3 rows.  Do not attach the corner triangles just yet.
Sew the rows together matching and pinning seams in place.  Press towards the center row. 

Lastly, sew the 4 corners to the ends of the pieced rectangle units (not onto the side triangles, they won’t fit there!)  Press towards the corner pieces.   Done!

 **My blocks came out a little big.  You know how you’re usually told to sew with a scant ¼” seam?  You don’t want to do that with this size block.  I’m not really sure it’s meant to be made in an 8” finished size.  My 12” ones are much more accurate with what I call my “regular” seam allowance.

I did not make 4” or 2” blocks this time.  Instead I used my flannels to make 12” blocks! 

Here are the measurements for a 12” block:
From the Dark:

Cut (1) 7 ¼” square and cut it on BOTH diagonals to yield (4) dark side triangles

Cut (2) 3 7/8” squares and cut them ONCE on the diagonal to yield (4) corner triangles

From the Medium:

Cut (1) 4 ¾” center square

Cut (4) rectangles 1 7/8” x 4 ¾”

From the Light:

Cut (8) rectangles 1 7/8” x 4 ¾”
Follow the assembly instructions for the 8” block. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy June Days to All!

June is one of my favorite months.  Most of the time I can have the windows open to enjoy the breeze. And, there's so much going on it's hard to know which way to turn.  I suspect you’re all super busy these days, too.  I had these blocks made about three weeks ago and only now am I getting them posted.   This month’s block is called
Windmill Square
The corner unit is a real good one to know; it shows up in lots of blocks and is a good unit when setting blocks on point.  So, let’s get started.  Here is the finished block:

Finished 8" block

For an 8” finished block you’ll need 3 layer cake squares, one light (blue floral), one medium (brown), and one dark (pink).  Cut the following pieces from your layer cake squares. 

From both the light and the dark cut a 5 ¼” square. Layer them right sides together and cut on both diagonals to yield four triangle pairs. (If you leave them together like this then it's quick to chain piece them.) 

Also cut from the light a 2 ½” strip and Subcut into (4) 2 ½” squares.

From the medium print cut (4) 2 7/8” squares and cut them in half once on the diagonal to yield 8 triangles. **If you have an easy angle ruler, use it! Instead, cut (2) 2 ½” strips, layer them so they can be cut at the same time and cut 8 triangles. (Oops, the brown triangles aren't pictured.)
There's always quite a bit left over...I'm working on that part but, if you like the block when you're done then go ahead and make another out of leftovers from any month.  :)

It might help to arrange all the cut pieces like this:
  (Again, I left the large blue and pink triangles together once I got the hang of it.)
  Sew the large blue and pink triangles together along the short edge.  Press towards the pink (dark).
Now let's make the corner units:  Start with the corner 2 1/2" square.  Align the half-square triangle as shown.  If you have cut them with the easy angle tool notice how the tip is already cut off and makes it easy to align the edges.  Sew the top edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Repeat for the other three corner units. (This is called chain piecing.  Do this whenever possible to make for quicker sewing.)
Press the seam away from the square.  Make sure the edge across the top is straight.

Position the second triangle.  Flip it over, right sides together with the lower edge of the square.  It will overlap the first triangle.  This is necessary so that when the unit is completed the seam allowance for the next seam remains.  (See the next picture.)

Corner unit complete

Sew the corner unit each to its own triangle pair forming four block quarters:

Four quarters complete
Sew them together in rows.  Press the top row to one side and press the bottom row in the opposite direction so the seams will nest nicely.  Sew the two rows together.  Finished!

Here is my pink and brown block: 
For this one I chose to use a fourth fabric for the corner squares.  To do that cut (4) squares at 2 1/2".  What do you think?  Do you like that option?  Options are always good.  Just when you think you have enough fabric for something.... you don't.  So, we need options...and everyone might just think you were so clever to do that when, in fact, you were feeling bad for running out of fabric. 

And, finally, here is the 4" version:

Here is what to cut for this little one:

From the light and the dark cut (1) 3 1/4" square and cut on BOTH diagonals.
Also from the light fabric (for the corner squares) cut (4) 1 1/2" squares.

From the medium cut (4) squares 1 7/8" and cut ONCE on the diagonal.  OR, use an easy angle tool and cut (2) 1 1/2" x 10" strips and cut 8 triangles.

Follow the instructions above to assemble the block. 

One last little tip:  If you like this block a lot and would like to see another wonderful possibility check out Lori’s blog Humble Quilts. As I was reading her blog I noticed a project she posted last year called Cheddar cheese and crackers. She used a variation of this block with an alternate block of a 16 patch. It’s fabulous!

Since I’ve started posting these blocks each month it’s funny how I’ve come across quilts using them time and time again. I’ll try to direct you to where I’ve seen them but I bet the same thing will happen to you too!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the beautiful month of June.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Finish

Does this count?  I think it does.  It's not a quilt but it uses lots of fabric; I estimate busting 10 yards of fabric on this one.  I love it.  I actually made it for my laundry room but it took a better picture placing it outside the door.  It might be hard to tell but there are some really bright fabrics in it that make it sparkle.  My laundry room has pale blue walls and white cabinets, white tile flooring and white trim so I put some white and blue in the rug too.  It looks so happy in there!  I see it all the time because the laundry room door is across from the garage door and I keep the laundry room door open at least a little bit all the time.  I made it over the course of several months so I really don't know how long it took to make.  It's 30 inches in diameter.  The strips are cut 1" wide and crocheted with a size P hook.  I have another one in progress in dark colors, reds and browns yet still scrappy but is an oval rug that I'll use in a hallway when it's large enough. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The May Blocks Are Ready!

I LOVE this block!  I think it's my new most favorite block.  I can just see a beautiful quilt made from dozens of these. It’s simple and fast to cut and sew so I hope you love it too.

I made my blocks, one in my tester colors, pink and brown, and the other from my layer cake squares, both 8" finished in size; there's no little bitty blocks this time.  I'm pretty sure it would involve templates so I didn't work on that.  Here are the cut pieces for the Next Door Neighbor block:

Stack your three colors and cut (1) 5 1/4" square and (1) 2 7/8" square from each.  Cut the large square on BOTH diagonals and cut the small square ONCE.  How fast and easy was that?!  (You will need one more 2 7/8"square later, see below).

I like to lay all the pieces out before I start to sew:

Do you see the blue pinwheel in the block?  I like the way it stands out using the blue fabric in that spot but you could try other placement of your fabrics since all three fabrics are cut the same. 

Once you are happy with your layout, did you find out you were short 2 pieces?  Cut one more 2 7/8" square (cut in half on the diagonal) for the one you decided should be the pinwheel.  Those two pieces will fill in the remaining two corners.

Now we're ready to sew!  I sewed the middle block pieces together to make two halves and I continued by chain piecing the brown and blue units together and then finishing the center unit by sewing the halves together. 

At this point the rows will be sewn together-diagonal rows.  But, don't sew the (blue) corner pieces on just yet. 
When sewing the side triangles on to the brown/blue triangle units align the straight edges.  See the tips sticking out?  They should stick out 1/4".  The center row units should all be the same size. 

Sew the rows together. 

Add the blue corner triangles. Again, the points should stick out. Trim them off after giving the block a good press. I hope you enjoy putting this block together!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I have do some major cleaning...the house kind, not the quilting kind, unfortunately.  I would much rather be cutting up fabric scraps and making piles of pieces for my next quilt but, I've ignored the house cleaning for too long.  Oh sure, I do the regular stuff; I don't want anyone to be grossed out or anything.  What I haven't done for awhile is the other stuff, like cleaning the baseboards and the cabinet doors and closet doors and that kind of stuff.   This is partially the result of a discussion that ended with something like this:  "well, you know, we have lived here for about 11 years, and it's starting to show"  Yikes!  He was right.  Well, I don't think 11 years is a very long time for a house and it was new when we moved in so that means anything that's happened to it is all on us.  So, it really is time for more than a spit shine. 

So, in case I have nothing fun to write about for the rest of the month you'll know why. 

I will pass on the recipe for the cleaner I am using for all our painted wood surfaces, tile floors, sinks, countertops (solid surface, not granite); it works fabulously on grime:

To a half a bucket of hot water add 1/2 Cup amonia and 1/2 Cup rubbing alcohol and a squirt (2 tsp?) of dishwashing detergent.  It doesn't need to be really sudsy.  

I do have pictures of a little paper-pieced daffodil block I made into a mug mat for my Mom for mother's day.  I'll try to get that up soon.  And, I did finish the quilt I made for my nephew.  And, I do need to make and post the May Layer Cake Blocks.  If anyone is in a hurry for those email me and I'll do my best to get to it. 

Hope all the moms out there are having a great day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recipe for Peach Cobbler

If the picture of the peach cobbler in yesterday's post made your mouth water and you were wishing you could make some for your best quilting buds, here is the recipe:

From Better Homes & Garden September 2005

2 29 oz cans, peach slices, drained

1 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

½ Cup all-purpose flour

½ Cup granulated sugar

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 Tbsp butter, melted

½ tsp vanilla

¾ Cup flaked coconut

1 Cup whipping cream

2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. For filling, in a large bowl combine drained peaches, cornstarch, and lemon juice; toss well. Pour into a 2-quart square baking dish. Dot with the 2 Tbsp butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Meanwhile, for topping, in a medium bowl combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add egg, melted butter, and vanilla; stir well. Fold in ¼ cup of the coconut. Dollop topping over filling. Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Bake for 35 minutes; cover with foil after 20 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Cool 30 minutes.

In a chilled bowl combine cream and powdered sugar; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Serve warm cobbler with whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

That's it!  It goes together quickly and tastes good warm or cold!  Enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

All Kinds of Happenings!

How’s everybody doing? Has the spring weather arrived in your neighborhood? The tulips and pear trees are blooming as are the forsythia and redbuds. It makes going for a run almost a pleasure.

Just in time for Easter! I had a group of gals over the other day for a class on making this basket.  Isn’t it cute! It was fun to make and a really fun group to work with. They all did a great job. Each basket is unique and their fabric choices were so cute!

                                                       I served Peach Cobbler, too.

Here’s what I have on my design wall this week. It’s almost done. There’s a block or two I want to change and I think I'd like to lighten up a couple of the plain squares and then I have to choose an outer border and binding. The pattern is from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville. It’s called Random Ohio Stars. It’s a graduation gift for my nephew who graduated this past December from Clemson. Clemson’s colors are purple and orange so I included those colors but I didn’t want them to be over-powering. So what do you think?

Hope you all had a great Monday!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Well, I did it.  I bought fabric on Sunday for my Eventide quilt!  I hope to post pictures of my fabric choices soon.  I may not get to start on it right away, even though I'm itching to.  I have a recipient selected as well but, I won't say who it is yet, but, it's not for me.  My goal is to work on it during the summer and have it ready for Christmas giving.  I have a couple of grad quilts that really must come first! 

I decided to put in fewer hours at the shop this month in order to get caught up.  I put the next charity quilt on the frame today and will finish it tomorrow.  This one has been sitting waiting for me for a couple of months.  Another one awaits.  They must get done so they can be given to their needy recipients!  I completed a third a couple of weeks ago.  After those have been moved along it's back to piecing and a couple of other must do's. 

But, tonight I am enjoying the Butler/UConn game!  It's phenomenal!  I would love to see Butler win but either way these young men are amazing.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Layer Cake Blocks!

Are you ready for Spring? I know I am! But, it isn’t quite here yet. It was sleeting when I went out to the bookstore last night. (I’m some Hot date for a Friday night aren’t I). I bought an Art Quilt book because the ideas in a book like that help me get outside the box, or blocks. It’s very fun to peruse what so many quilt artists are doing.

April’s block is a variation of Crosses and Losses. It’s cousins are Anvil and Fox and Geese and Old Maid's Puzzle. There are several possibilities for color placement, as always; that’s what I LoVe about QuIlting, there are always so many ways to play with color in even the simplest block! This block adds more piecing to and is similar to the January block but it’s not difficult.   Be sure to read all the way through for other color ideas before you start cutting and sewing!!

Here we go. First the measurements:

For an 8” finished block:

From Light (Dotted Background):

Cut (1) 4 7/8” square

Cut (2) 2 ½” squares

Cut (2) 2 7/8” squares

From Medium print:

Cut (1) 4 7/8” square

From Dark print:

Cut (2) 2 ½” squares

Cut (2) 2 7/8” squares

The Pink squares in the picture are an alternate choice for the dark brown squares. You’ll see a picture of that below.
To Piece the Block:

Pair the Light and the Medium large squares right sides together. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the light fabric. Stitch ¼” away on both sides of the line. Cut apart on the drawn line. Yield (2) HST units which should each measure 4 ½”. Trim if needed.

Using the small squares, pair one light and one dark square and again draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the light fabric. Stitch ¼” away on both sides of the line. Cut apart on the drawn line. Yield (4) HST units measuring 2 ½”. Trim if needed.

Trimming away even a small bit like this can make a difference later!

Lay out the pieces like the picture below. Sew the block into four sections by sewing a plain square to a small triangle unit.

Sew two sections together to make two halves of the block. Notice that triangle points do not reach the outside edge of the block. The points should be ¼” inside the edge of the block so that when the blocks are sewn to each other the points will still be there.

You could add a fourth fabric and make it this way: Choose two fabrics for the large Triangle units and two other fabrics for the small triangle units and small squares.

I also thought about adding in a fourth color this way:
Doing it this way would give you a chance to use up leftover pieces from previous blocks and it helps carry color themes or accent colors throughout a quilt.  You could also bring in a fabric from your stash to help create a more unique look to your quilt; now your quilt won't be just one line of fabric.  There's a general guideline out there somewhere that suggests adding 20% of "other" fabric to your quilt if you're using one line of fabric. 
Which do you like better?

Do you want to make a 4” block too? Here it is next to its big brother and little sister. (My alternates are in pinks and browns because I have so much pink and brown to use up. So, I’m actually making two quilts at a time, one in my layer cake and one in pink and brown. If I have some time this month I’ll go back and use my leftovers from the LC blocks for alternates in those colors):

For the 4” block which is the true Crosses and Losses block cut:

From Light print:

(1) 2 7/8” square for the large triangle units

(2) 1 7/8” squares for the small triangle units

(4) 1 ½” squares

From the Dark print (pink):

(1) 2 7/8” square

From the Medium print (tan):

(2) 1 7/8” squares

Pair the same size squares together, draw a diagonal line on the light fabric, and sew as before. The larger units get trimmed to 2 ½” and the smaller ones should measure 1 ½”. Follow assembly directions above.

For the 2” finished block cut:

From Light print:

(1) 1 7/8 square for the large triangle units

(2) 1 3/8” squares for the small triangle units

(2) 1” squares

From the Medium (pink) print cut:

(2) 1 3/8” squares

From the Dark (brown) print cut:

(1) 1 7/8” square

(2) 1” squares

Pairing the same size squares together, as before, make HST units and trim larger units to 1 ½” and smaller units to 1 inch. I actually found it easier to handle the small ones by making them the same size as the larger ones and trimming them down.

Here’s the block called Road to Oklahoma, taken from Nancy J Martin’s perpetual calendar called 365 Quilt Blocks. See the same dark unit has been turned around so the points point away from the center of the block. If you like this block you can do it by cutting (6) dark squares and (6) light squares according to the size block you want to make and then continue with the same cutting numbers to make the small triangle units.

Ah, so many ideas…I hope you will have some time today to play with one or two of them!