Friday, January 31, 2014

Full Day - Enlarged Split 9 Patch Ideas

For the first time in weeks I felt warm today (made it to the upper 20's, rather than single digits) and it gave me a burst of energy....not too big a burst, but enough to clean the bathroom from top to bottom. :)  I spent time paying bills, washing a couple loads of laundry and even changed the sheets on the bed!

I so appreciate those of you who shared your opinions on my last blog post and plan to allow a few more days for any other opinions to come in before making a decision on how to finish my Design Challenge quilt.

In the meantime, I continue to play in my sewing room.

My Leader/Ender Split 9-Patch rows are no longer simply webbed together.  It's completely sewn and only needs borders added.  YIPPEE!  A total of 144 blocks!  Whew!

To get full instructions from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville website, go HERE.

Several people have commented that they really like the layout but have no interest whatsoever in using small 6 1/2"  blocks (made up of 2 1/2" squares and triangles) as I did using Bonnie Hunter's pattern.  One person wondered what it would look like using a 12 1/2" unfinished block (made by cutting 4 1/2" squares and triangles).

After playing with my EQ7 software (SO happy my dear hubby gave this to me for Christmas), this is the results.....

Option 1:

In this option, you would only need to make 36 - 12 1/2" blocks.  Blocks would be placed 6 across and 6 down.  To get a 96" x 96" quilt, simply add a 4" inner border (cut 4 1/2" strips) and an additional 8" outer border (cut 8 1/2" strips).

Option 2:

This option allows more of the "design" to shine through but it requires 64 - 12 1/2" blocks.  Blocks would be placed 8 across and 8 down.  Without any borders, this will give you a 96" x 96" quilt top.  In the diagram above, I added a narrow 2" border, which makes the final measurement 100" x 100".

On another subject....

Unlike so many others who started and have already finished Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt called "Celtic Solstice"....I started and am slowly but surely plodding along like an old turtle.

There's no rush and I'm happy doing it on my own pace.  Maybe I was being a tad ambitious planning to make the king size version, but it's good to live dangerously once in a while.  I WILL complete the king size eventually! :) :)

So far, Clue 1 is finished.  Concerning Clue 2, I have 60 completed Chevron blocks and ONLY need to make 84 more before moving on to Clue 3. :)

I think I'll head back to my sewing room and work on a few more chevron blocks before bedtime.

Until next time!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Opinions Requested - Design Challenge

Would you mind giving your opinion on the finishing border for my Design Challenge Quilt?

First Choice - simple borders, inner border would be 1 1/2" finished (cutting 2" strips), and outer border would be 3" finished (cutting 3 1/2" strips).  Final quilt top measurement = 69" x 72"

Second Choice - a little bit fancier, using four of the remaining challenge blocks as the corner squares (each corner block would be different - use your imagination), side borders would be 1 1/2" strip (cut 2"), next to a 3" strip (cut 3 1/2"), next to another 1 1/2" strip (cut 2").  Final quilt top measurement = 72" x 75"

Either of the two above layouts will make a nice sized lap/sofa quilt.

Originally, I had planned to make one more row of house and tree blocks to result in a full size bed quilt. The final measurement, had I done this would have been 78" x 96".  It would have looked something like this....

The main reason I changed my original plans from a bed size to a lap size was because the blocks I was given to use in this Design Challenge ended up looking so dark.  (The mock-ups above use much lighter block examples in the middle of each house.)

Reminder of what the TRUE blocks look like....

What would YOU do?

Option 1?
Option 2?
Or would you search through your stash to see if you could find enough similar fabrics to make another entire row of blocks and make a bed size quilt after all?

Thanks for the help!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Design Challenge - Sashing

As I searched through my fabric stash for something suitable to use between the rows of houses and trees (including a top strip and bottom strip), I knew I wanted green, and I knew I needed something to lighten up the darkness of all the house blocks.  I pulled out a lime green with little purple flowers and hoped I had enough.

I decided to cut strips 3 1/2" x WOF, giving me a finished 3" sashing between the rows of houses.

You will need five sashing strips that measure 3 1/2" x 48 1/2" long.....( if seams were sewn with an accurate scant 1/4").  If you are worried, then measure your rows to determine exactly how wide you need to make them. :) :)

If you cut seven 3 1/2" x WOF strips of fabric then you will have a gracious plenty with pieces to toss into your scrap basket.  Having said that, I must admit that I had JUST enough fabric to cut not seven, but only SIX 3 1/2" x WOF strips.  I could have changed my plans and cut the strips narrower, but I really wanted that wider prayed I wouldn't make any mistakes and could squeeze by with JUST enough. :) :)

It worked....and here is a picture of the scraps I had left over when all was said and done.....

Speaking of scrap baskets, as I was sewing, I turned around and spotted this precious sight.  My Talia (one of my house full of tiny fur babies...a Mi-Ki) curled up and sleeping peacefully on top of a pile of scraps in a basket next to my rocking chair.  She is 9 years old and weighs only 4 lbs.  She has plenty of beds to choose from, but obviously none compare to a pile of scraps. :)

My goodness, all that's left to do with this Design Challenge is to add the borders and quilt it.  There are a few ideas running through my head....I just have to settle on which one to do. :)  Once that decision is made, I'll share it with you!

Stay warm and happy quilting!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Design Challenge - Row Assembly

As you can see, I was able to finish making the eight Tree blocks needed for my quilt guild's Design Challenge project.  Sewing the blocks into rows went together with no problems thankfully.

My only hint would be to always sew with the Tree block on top so that you can see the lower "corners" of the tree and ensure you don't chop the corners off with your seam (even if you have to fudge a little bit to do it!) :) :)

I'm currently searching through my stash of fabrics to choose one to use as horizontal sashing strips in between the rows and top/bottom.  Once I find something, I will share the next step in constructing the quilt top.  I've got a cute border idea to finish up the quilt.

On a totally different topic....I've received a few more sets of birthday blocks in the mail from online quilting friends.

From Michelle in Texas...

From Hollie in Texas...  (**Hollie had already sent a set of blocks but she wasn't happy with them.                                                     She surprised me by mailing another completely different set.  I love them all! :)

From Teresa in Missouri...

If you missed my post showing all the other blocks I received for my 50th Birthday in December, you can find it HERE.

I think there are only two more sets left to arrive before I can start constructing my Birthday Quilt top.

We've had more snow (with more to come) and the temperatures are frigid.  It's very windy which makes it feel even colder.  My crystal ball tells me that I'll be spending a lot of time in my sewing room...which hopefully means I'll get tons of stuff accomplished.

Until next time...stay warm...and keep quilting!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Design Challenge - Block Two - Quilt Neighbors

I'm so excited to share the second block for my Design Challenge quilt!!!

One thing that my hometown in Tennessee and my current home in rural, Upstate New York have in common...TREES!!!!!  Every neighborhood must have trees!!!!

I researched and found numerous TREE quilt block patterns, but it seemed that everything I was finding was set "on-point" (which wouldn't work this time).  I did find paper-pieced blocks (too time-consuming), and of course there are unlimited applique ideas (too much work for me).

I finally found one pattern that had promise...but wasn't quite perfect.  So with some tweeking here and is the winner!

The block as you see it measures 6 1/2" x 12 1/2" unfinished.

Placed next to a house block.....instructions for House block can be found HERE.

Do you want to give it a try?

***In order for all the cuts, angles, etc., to be correct, we will be cutting enough pieces to construct two separate tree quilt blocks at one time.  Trust me, if you try to cut one block worth at a just won't work!! :)

1)  Using a neutral fabric, cut TWO rectangles measuring 4 1/4" x 10 7/8".

     Using two different green fabrics, cut TWO rectangles measuring 3 3/4" x 10 7/8".

2)  Place both green rectangles RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.   Rotary cut from one upper corner to opposite bottom corner.

Do the same thing with the two neutral rectangles, make sure to place them RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.

You should be able to lay out your pieces like this.....

3)  From the same neutral fabric, you will need to cut 4 rectangles measuring 3" x 3 1/2" (enough for two completed tree blocks).

4)  From a brown fabric (tree trunk), cut 2 rectangles measuring 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"  (enough for two completed tree blocks).

Now we are ready to sew.... for each block, place both green tree pieces right sides together and sew center seam.

I usually press to one side, but this time I chose to press the seam open, then trim off the dog-ears at the top.

Place the right neutral "triangle" right sides together with the "tree"....matching up with the top corner....

You will notice that the bottom of the neutral triangle extends past the green tree...that's what it should do. :)

Sew this seam....

I pressed this seam towards the outside, neutral triangle.

Notice the little, pointy tip?  Don't cut it off.  This will guide you in placing the left neutral triangle.

Place left neutral triangle, right sides together, matching top corner as shown..

I found it easier to pin and "flip over"....sewing from the top of the tree to the bottom....

Press to the neutral fabric...

This section will be too large at this point, and we will need to trim it down to a 6 1/2" x 9 1/2" rectangle segment...

In order to keep out "points" nice and sharp when all the block are attached later on, notice that we need to place our ruler's 1/4" line on the very tip of the "tree" as our guide....   DON'T CUT YET.......

Also notice that I am using the center seam as a guide to place my ruler before trimming.  Place the 3 1/4" line of the ruler on the center seam.  If you happen to own a 6 1/2" x 12 1/2" ruler, you will find that it is a tremendous help in trimming the block perfectly.  :) :)

Once everything is lined up, trim right, top and left sides....

Final trim is to measure 9 1/2" from top of block and trim off bottom excess...


The most difficult part is over....the rest is a cake walk!! :) :)

Using the two neutral 3" x 3 1/2" rectangles and one brown 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangle, simply sew a neutral rectangle to each side of the brown (tree trunk) rectangle.

Once sewn, the section should measure 6 1/2" x 3 1/2"

One last bottom section to top section....

Completed block should measure 6 1/2" x 12 1/2" at this point.

I've decided that I need a total of 8 Tree blocks to go with the 12 House blocks already finished.  Guess it's time to get busy again!!! :) :)

I'll be sharing my progress with you.  It's hard to believe that we'll soon be ready for sashing and borders. Can you sense my excitement??? :)

Stay warm and keep sewing!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just Love Productive Days!

It is SO COLD here in Upstate New York...oh my goodness!!!!!!  It's just too cold to do most things in the house so I forced myself to cozy up in my sewing room. :) :) :)  Of course, I must be honest and say that it was very tempting to just bundle up, snuggle under some quilts and read the day away with a cup of coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate.

I finished piecing together 12 quilt blocks for my Design Challenge quilt...YIPPEE!!!

I'm really tickled pink with how they are turning out so far.  The instructions for making these blocks can be found HERE.  I was able to pull out little scraps to make all the sky, chimney, house and door pieces (even though my scrap basket doesn't look like it has been touched and is just as full as when I started!).  I did end up using three different FQ's to cut the roof pieces from because of their larger size.

My design is slowly coming together in my brain and I'm excited to share that I plan to post the instructions for a SECOND block on Friday.  It's going to be so cute....I promise. :)

On a totally different subject, I was able to web together the 144 Split 9-Patch blocks that I have been making as my Leader/Enders since Bonnie Hunter issued the challenge last summer.

I even got the top four rows sewn to each other.  Slow and steady wins the race! :)  Interested in doing the same thing?  Bonnie Hunter's Leader/Ender Challenge and instructions can be found HERE.  Not familiar with the Webbing process?  Bonnie Hunter's Webbing Tutorial can be found HERE.

Last but not least....the final project I worked on last night was to make the binding for a special quilt that I can't reveal until it is received by someone for his birthday.

I know that just as soon as I share it in this blog, "he" will see it and the surprise will be ruined. :)

What did YOU get accomplished yesterday?

Until next time....keep quilting (and smiling)!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Design Challenge - Block One - Quilt Neighbors

My last post (found HERE) explains the Design Challenge I'm participating in with my local quilt guild.  As I started dreaming of ways to use the challenge 6 1/2" blocks in a completely new quilt design, I started thinking of all of the Barn Quilts that I see whenever I travel Interstate 81 from Upstate New York to my hometown in Tennessee.  I've always got my eyes open, hoping to spot a pretty painted quilt block on the side of someone's old barn.

Instead of barns....why not houses...why not a neighborhood?  Each home would display a quilt....a village of quilting neighbors!!  :)

Why not something like this????

After looking at my EQ7 software and seeing several "house" blocks with slanted roofs and complicated piecing involved, I decided to design an easy block, easy and quick to rotary cut and quick to piece together.

Here is what I came up with....the blank space is where my Challenge blocks (or ANY 6 1/2" unfinished quilt block design) will fit.

So easy to cut and piece together....

This block is perfect for using your scraps....this is what you will need:

Diagram A - SKY - two pieces that are 2" x 2 1/2" rectangles

Diagram C - SKY - one piece that is 2" x 5 1/2" rectangle

Diagram B - CHIMNEY - two pieces that are 2" x 2" squares

Diagram D - ROOF - one piece that is 5" x 12 1/2" rectangle - this is the largest piece needed for the block.

Diagram H - DOOR- one piece that is 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangle

Diagram E - HOUSE - one piece that is 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangle

Diagram G - HOUSE - two pieces that are 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangles

Diagram I - HOUSE - one piece that is 1 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle

Diagram F - Quilt Block - any quilt block design that is an unfinished 6 1/2" square.  In my case, one of the Challenge blocks provided to me.

When placed together, your pieces should look like this....

Let's piece the block together in sections.

First sew together the sky and chimney pieces.... (A+B+C+B+A)

Next...the door and house column sections on each side....(G+H+G)

Now sew the top house section (I) to the top of the door/house column section....

Next, sew any 6 1/2" quilt block to the far right section of the house (F+E).....

Now sew the door/house section to the quilt block section....

At this point, you should have three distinct sections of the house ready....

Almost finished.....

Sew the top SKY/CHIMNEY section to the roof.....

Then sew the bottom of the roof to the top of the house......

Your completed block should measure 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" square....

Yippee!   Whew!  What a relief!  The measurement is perfect.  Be sure to use a scant 1/4" seam.

Use your imagination!  Wouldn't it be adorable to make this block and have a completely different "quilt block" on the side of each home?  I don't have the luxury this time to use a different design for each house since I'm using the challenge blocks provided by my local guild.  Thankfully, even if my blocks are all the same design, at least they use different fabrics/colors in each block.

Now I need to continue digging through my scraps to make 11 more continue deciding HOW I will use these blocks to design a final quilt top. :) :)

If you decide to make this block....I'd love to see your interpretation!  Don't be shy!  I'd love to see pictures!!!

Until next time!