Friendship Swap

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A few months ago, Vicki contacted me and asked me if I wanted to do a Friendship Swap.  I almost said no, as I had sworn off of swaps, but I so like her work that how could I not say yes?  So I agreed to do one more swap.  We chose the theme of summer, set a date and a size, and we went to work.

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I found this cute free watermelon table runner *here* (I think you have to register with them to get it, but there is lots of great stuff on this site), and set to making it.Tablerunner_5a

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I had to stop working on it when I injured my shoulder, but when Vicki told me she was all finished and could she send hers early? I just put my brain and body into gear and finished it up.  She has received it and said she really liked it, which is so nice of her.

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She sent me hers, which I love love love, and a small mini (below).Tablerunner_3a

This is typical of Vicki’s kindness, as well as her creativity.  Who else could have made a fabric cut-out so cute, with all those darling borders?  She said it’s in honor of me, going to a quilting retreat.Tablerunner_1

We keep her table runner on our kitchen table, and after we’d opened our anniversary cards, I set them out next to the little birdhouse I’d placed in Vicki’s leafy tree-tops.  What a terrific and fun swap to end on!  (And yes, I’m really done now with swaps, but I know Vicki is still going strong!) This is Quilt #168 on my 200 Quilts list (in above tab).  If you haven’t started making  your list of your quilts ane projects, I’d encourage you to start now  It’s very fun to keep track of your quilts and creative endeavors.

Summer Bee, Quilting, and Chuck Nohara Updates

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Updating you on my Chuck Nohara block progress.  I finished off the incredibly complicated floral wreath block in the upper left.  Susan and I (and Bette) are working together on this, with Susan choosing two/month and me choosing two/month.  Yes, I chose that one (never again).  But June was finished up.Chuck Blocks_July2016

July’s blocks were interesting.  I did the sunglasses on the road to my Gwen Marston class.  I did the lower two blocks at the quilting retreat, and promptly had to re-do them again.  But I could now cross July’s blocks off the list.

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I launched into August early because of some planned travel, and hit my first roadblock with a Dresden-plate block.Chuck Nohara Dresden_1

I drafted my own little Dresden template, then proceeded the way I always do.
Chuck Nohara Dresden_2Chuck Blocks_August 2016

I had prepped up the bird before our road trip to two family reunions, but lost it somewhere between my sewing room and the great state of Utah, so I prepped up a second one, stitching it to completion while watching the Olympics opening ceremony.  Yep, I changed a few things, but here they are, all done.  I need to get them all up on the design wall, all together.  Next week.

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My friend, Laurel, showed us her COMPLETED New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt, so I thought I should resurrect that project and get it going again.
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So I laid it out on the bed in the extra bedroom. . . (warning–lots of nighttime quilting pictures ahead)Rosette_6b

. . . found the package with all the pieces and tried to make sense of it.  I hated disliked the strong star shape of that rosette (seen here in Katja’s quilt), so after studying Laurel’s rendition, I made some changes, combining some pieces.

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Now comes the fretting part.  Will it work in the bluesy-purpley combo I have going?
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Luckily I hadn’t cleaned up the stuff of the extra bed yet, and so I laid it out, section by section.  I think it will work! I said to my husband, then packed it all away to take traveling with me.  It was hard to get going on this, as I’d forgotten how much trial and error is involved in the making of these rosettes.

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Here’s three sets of bee blocks for the Mid-Century Modern Bee (top is Mary, middle is for Sherri, and the bottom is for Rene).  Can’t wait to see what they do with them!

July Spelling Bee_2016

I did finish Simone’s Spelling Bee Block for July while at the retreat, and it was the one thing I didn’t have to re-do.  You’ve seen this before, but since this is a round-up post, I wanted to include it.JunePrince Edward_Spelling Bee

I made an extra set of words for Kerry for her Canadian Provinces list of Spelling Bee words.  Okay, we are almost to the end (I’ve been saving all this up for a while).

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In looking at the looming deadline for Road to California entry, I kept pushing forward on getting this quilt finished.Quilting Circles_Aug2

Peas Ice Pack

Which led to many rounds of this on my aching shoulder, and a trip to the doctor’s office.  I’ve not stitched much since then, which is like tying my hands behind my back and not letting me use them.Make America Quilt Again

So instead, I read a lot, finding this “Cap Slogan Generator” on the Washington Post website, and thinking that THIS is the slogan we all need to see more of.
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And since once an English teacher, always an English teacher, I corrected all the logical fallacies in the questionaire sent to me by one of the major political parties (such errors in faulty reasoning!) and yes, I sent it back to them (they had, after all, provided me with a postage-paid envelope). Quilt Postcard in Vignette

I won’t leave you with politics, after all I do have a heart, but instead with this little shot of the shelves above my computer.  I’d sent Marsha of #quilterinmotion some of my scraps and as a thank-you, she sent me my first-ever fabric postcard. (I was so excited.)

So, summer’s almost over.  Enjoy the last few days of the Olympics, avoid politics, and keep quilting!

Keagan’s Quilt

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Keagan, my first grandchild, came to visit me last month (along with her Mom–our daughter– and family.  She’s crazy about Paris and France and all things French, so I collected a few fabrics before she got there and surprised her with them.

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And you just can’t leave it at that in a quilter’s house.  Keagan_3 Keagan_4

L’Amour recoufortand de Paris, quilt #167
Pieced and quilted by Keagan Charon and Elizabeth Eastmond
July 2016

Keagan_8 Keagan_9L’Amour recoufortand de Paris, the title, means Paris’ Comforting Love, because she considered how quilts give comfort and since it had all things Paris in it, she thought it up and had my husband translate it for her.

Keagan_5We got all the pieces cut out, then I had to go and Take Care of Things, and when I came back, this was the design she’d carefully put together on the design wall.  We sewed the pieces together–me on my regular machine, and she beside me on the Featherweight– and we put the top together.  Her brother Riley helped iron the blocks; it was a team working together.

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I stitched most of it on the Sweet Sixteen machine, but had her take a turn at the quilting, so she could say she’d help quilt it, too.
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Since we were working against a deadline, we used a glue stick to tack down the binding, and then I top-stitched it into place.Keagan_10

And then, just like that! it was time to head on home.  Here they are Sunday morning, all the kids (Keagan and Riley and Maddy) lined up for a picture before they piled in their van to drive home.

Legacy

Mom and her quilt

This is my Mom.  Dad is nearby, as always, watching over her.

Mom's Cross-stitch

This is a quilt that took her two years of living life abroad in Lima, Peru to make, putting in one cross-stitch after another.  She sat in an upstairs window seat in our home there, overlooking a quiet suburban street — quiet, except for the time that someone missed a stop sign, careened into our yard, the car turning upside as it landed near our front window.  My dad said he thought the maid had thrown the vacuum cleaner down the stairs again.  Luckily the Clinica was a block away, so it turned out all right.

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My mother didn’t really speak Spanish, although she tried her best to communicate with the household help she was expected to keep: a maid for the household, a maid for the laundry, a man to wash the cars, and a gardener.  She took Spanish lessons, socialized with the faculty wives at the college where my Dad taught, and tried to corral her four blonde teenaged American daughters, along with the raising of the three younger sons.  But when she wasn’t juggling all that, she sat and stitched in the window seat on the second floor, by the large upstairs landing that was like a second family room.  All our bedrooms led off this landing, and perhaps it was a way to keep herself at the center of our lives? When the two years was finished, she brought the quilt back to the United States, had it quilted up by some ladies in Provo, Utah (the city to which they returned) and carried on with her life.

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On my most recent visit, her eyesight failing, she finally let me take it home.  I had her pose for a picture before I carefully put it back in its zippered pillowcase and carried it away to my upstairs extra bedroom.

We bandy about the word legacy in our quilt world so easily some times, as we confront our stacks of fabrics and magazines and books, sewing away madly, trying to keep up with the deluge of digital media and blogs and print materials and keeping our local quilt shop in business.  We are busy, aren’t we, as we are always cutting and sewing and cutting and sewing and frantically trying to outdo ourselves with the number of quilts we’ve produced in a year, going for our Olympic best, in the best competitive fashion.  Numbers!  Quantity!

My mother didn’t have Instagram.  Or the internet.  Barely any English-language magazines.  But she had a plan, several boxes of DMC teal embroidery floss, some needles and a pair of scissors, and a series of stamped cross-stitch panels that when sewn together, would make a quilt.  And she quietly worked on that.  I remember many conversations with her hands drawing the thread in and out of the fabric, as she listened, and gave advice.  Sometimes I thought — in my little 13-year-old teenage way — that she was all by herself in this thing.  I didn’t think of my mother as her own self at that point, and if I had I might have thought loneliness might be a part of the stitching, but I don’t really know. Knowing my mother made it I realize that there’s probably some of her finger-pricked DNA floating somewhere in that cloth, as well as her feelings, thoughts and memories (she missed her own mother during that time).  It has the essence of her, in a way that only a quilt that has been held and worked on for two years can have.

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Legacy’s origin comes from the Latin word “lex,” meaning law, or group of laws that are written and have become canonical, or ingrained and accepted.  And in a derivative sort of way, it (the laws, the legacy) can be a messenger, an ambassador of sorts.  And so it is with this legacy, this quilt: it is a message from a time in her life when she sat quietly and stitched, raising her seven children in a home in Peru.

Barbara SMALL

Quarterly Challenge for November 2016

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Since we are doing a yearly theme of color, the next challenge also has to do with a particular hue.  Rachel just announced our theme of “I’ve got the blues” for our November 2016 challenge.  As you all know, our art quilts are smallish (no exact size anymore) which allows us to complete them quickly, and to follow our hearts in constructing them.

I immediately thought of some blue quilts when I read the new challenge. Enjoy the show.

Rosette 1_OPQuiltcom

Rosette #1 from a quilt in progress

But “got the blues” can also mean sadness, as in this quilt, depicting a mother saying good-bye to her newly deceased newborn child:

Most of these quilts are from past Road to California quilt shows; here’s what I wrote at that time:

Surrender was a quiet quilt, tucked in among some showier ones, but took my breath away for the depiction of a mother saying good-bye to her newly deceased newborn. Maria Elkins of Ohio, paid homage to all those moms who have had to say farewell at birth.  She dedicated it to her grandchild, “who was given into the loving hands of her daughter and son-in-law.”

And finally, another inference, as shown by this quilt:

Kathryn Nolte, from La Habra Heights, California created this visual feast, titled Take in the Night Blooming Jazz, Man.  Sinewy, fluid shapes echo the subject of her quilt, with a real live “piano key” border.  This, too, could be a rendition of “I’ve got the blues.”

Blue

Blue

Tranquil blue

Blue

Blue

Blue...

Blue ....

(All photos above from a Flickr search)

Can’t wait to let this one percolate into something fun!

Jill in the Pulpit: Four-in-Art Challenge • Aug 2016

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Jill in the Pulpit
Quilt No. 166, August 2016
#3 in the Color Series: Purple Passion

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I have no serious thoughts about the color purple even though there’s a novel with that title, and even though it has so many interesting connections (which were explored in my last post and which seems like it was written about a year ago, but really it’s only been several days).  Where do summer days go to?  To family picnics, visiting relatives, long interstate drives, trips, lounging around in hot weather cleaning house. . . the usual.  And then I had to ponder what I’m passionate about?  Quilting, for sure, so in the end, the reality is to Get The Thing Done, diving into my passion of quilting, but hampered by. . .

only a flesh wound

. . . my shoulder going rogue, rendering me only a bit less helpless than the Black Knight in Monty Python, which is the standard by which we judged all injuries when raising the children.  Yes, “tis only a flesh wound,” became our rallying cry for getting up and going, and so I did, and got the quilt done.

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All the purples in my stash (with the exception of the Kaffes) were purchased about the time of the Knights of the Round Table — all plummy and grayish and dated — so while in Utah, I visited *this* shop and *this* shop, acquiring a few new fat quarters.

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Just before sleep one night, I sketched out an idea (top).  The next day I proceeded to massacre my idea (the rest of the photos).  Finally I decided that I should just slash it where it had problems and insert other fabrics, so I did, using *this video* for help in sewing curves.

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I line up fabric underneath the slash, position it, then move it about 1/4″ back from my imaginary positioning line, then rotary cut along the shape.  Stitch a 1/4″ seam. Press.

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Repeat with other side.

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Keeping the bag of frozen peas balanced on my “flesh wound,” I quilted this, stopping often to rest and ponder the state of the universe. . . or what I was doing.  I hate that I have a new quilting machine, and haven’t really been able to use it much.  “Soon,” my husband says, as he rubs my shoulder nightly and soothes my worries.  “Soon.”JillinPulpit_10

I whacked it here a little, there a little, turned it and whacked it again, until I got this ungainly flower-like thing quilt in a sort-of balance.
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Now you know why I named it Jill in the Pulpit.  It’s irrelevant whether you like the candidate or not, as the Big Deal is that we have come far enough to nominate a woman, and I thought that deserved some recognition.JillinPulpit_9

So there you go–my Purple Passion Challenge.

Please visit the rest of our group, to see how they interpreted Color: Purple Passion.  We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simon         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         http://patchworknplay.blogspot.com

Purple Passion

(Please note the updated directions on the final Oh Christmas Tree post (highlighted in pink).  Thanks. Okay back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

What is Purple Passion?

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A drink from the 1980s?PurplePassion6

A variety of potato?PurplePassion3

Asparagus?PurplePassion8

Hair color?PurplePassion2

Muppet’s Collection Nail Polish?PurplePassion4

Floral Arrangement?PurplePassion7

Eulogy for Prince?purple passion chick

A purple-clad seductress?  (FYI: I always hang out in feathers and beads when I’m not quilting.)

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Worshippers in Peru during the month of October?  (called Mes Morado, and yes, they really do wear a lot of purple)PurplePassion5

A unique flower?

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A quilt made from the image of that flower? (I think it was the pipe cleaners that sent me over the edge.)

Nope, none of those, at least not this time.

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It’s the theme of this quarter’s Four-in-Art Challenge.  This will really be a challenge, for unlike some people, I don’t tend to use purple in my quilts.

Spectrum_detailWell, maybe here and there.

Rainbow GardensOkay. . .at least twice.

Purple embodies the balance of red’s stimulation and blue’s calm. This dichotomy can cause unrest or uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined, at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone. With a sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite color of adolescent girls.  (from here)

I laser-beamed in on the words “well liked by. . creative. . types.” Couple that with the image of the purple chick above, and I’m totally down with this theme.  It’s due in about a week, on August 1st.  Guess I’d better get going (as the voice in her head starts shrieking, It’s August already???!!!??).

According to the leaders of IDEO, a design and innovation firm, one way to become more creative is to practice being creative.  They often use creative exercises to push into new ways of thinking about a task, or an idea.  They note that “exercising your mind can sometimes feel more daunting than exercising your muscles.” So they’ve “developed ten creativity challenges to jump-start your practice.”  Note the word “challenge.”  That’s one reason why joining a group with challenges can help you practice your creativity.

David Brooks, in an article titled “The Creative Climate” says that creativity is “the joining of the unlike to create harmony. Creativity rarely flows out of an act of complete originality. It is rarely a virgin birth. It is usually the clash of two value systems or traditions, which, in collision, create a transcendent third thing.”

I’m definitely working on clashing here, having culled a few photos from my photo stash for inspiration (you don’t have a photo stash?  I recommend it), and working towards that transcendent third thing.

That transcendent third thing.  In purple.

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Reveal date: August 1, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree QAL • Step 7 (Final)

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Today is Step 7 — the final step — of our Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-a-Long (#ohchristmastreeqal), following a pattern by Wendy of FlyingFishKits and which was published in Simply Moderne issue #3, by QuiltMania. As always, we have an assist from Wendy of  Wendy’s Quilts and More (blog) and wendyquiltsandmore (IG).  Our hashtag on Instagram is #ohchristmastreeqal so look there for more ideas.

Wish Upon a StarI’ve been keeping a log of the steps in the tab above, Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-A-Long, so consult that page when you need to find a post.

Yes, today we are wishing upon a star, the final part of this quilt.  We started this journey 7 months ago in January 2016, right after the magazine came out, and today we’ll finish it up.

OhChristmasTree6_first border on

Your tree should have the red triangle borders on.  See earlier post for how to get them on.

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Wendy has laid out several fabrics for her stars, above.  I thought I wanted to go with traditional Christmas colors of red and green, but realized quickly that I should go with colors that coordinated with the flowers and birds.  In other words, be bold in your star colors.

WendyStarPoints

With your fabrics chosen, now it’s time to make the stars, but before you start, one issue with wonky stars is getting the star points too close to the edge.As Wendy writes: “Yellow star is what NOT to do.  Points are at the edge and will be cut off during trimming, or lost in seam allowance.  Star points need to finish further down the sides.”  I’ve circled them in red, so you’ll recognize this when it happens.  It happened to Wendy (that’s her block), it happened to me.  Consider that your Training Wheels Block.  Now one way to be aware of this is to cut all your blocks a bit larger than they ask for, and to slice the diagonal a bit differently as well.

First up, here’s my chart of how big I cut things.  It’s a downloadable PDF document:  Oh Christmas Tree wonkystarchart

Wonky StarMapAnd here’s your roadmap/key to the letters.  I put the “f” in lowercase and italicized it, as everything was getting a bit overwhelming with that alphabet floating around.

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You’ll notice on the chart I mention to cut the f-triangles “skewed.”  Cut them like the above shows, so there is a chunky bit on one end.  If you haven’t made wonky stars before, you can try it first by cutting it on a strict diagonal, and after some construction, see which one you like.  I like this way because I feel like it gives me a good angle and I’m less inclined to get the star points too close to the edge.

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Find the narrower center piece, “E” and lay them out.  Layer four f-triangles on top, with the chunky top down from the top edge, as shown.  Try to have the lower pointy edge near the middle of the lower bottom edge of the E piece.  I often finger-crease a little mark in that bottom edge of the E-rectangle so I know what I’m aiming for.  See the next photo.OhChristmasTree7_2aOn this piece, I’ve got a pretty good start. What counts is the seam line.  So at the top right, it’s down about 1″ to 1-1/2″ and the seamline is about midline, or just a bit to the side of it.  As long as you are in the ballpark of the red X at the bottom, you’re fine.

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Fold it back to check.  Press.  Trim off that wedge underneath the star point fabric, as shown below (I’m doing a stack here.)OhChristmasTree7_2c OhChristmasTree7_2d

Now line up the next set.  Yes, they are all upside down, as that’s how I’m going to sew them.  Again, the chunky tip is near the top edge, and the pointy edge overlaps the first wonky start point.OhChristmasTree7_3

Stitch, press and turn.  If you are worried, check it before you stitch it by folding it back to make sure your star point fabric covers the background E piece all the way on those two lower corners.OhChristmasTree7_3a

Now trim it up to 2 -1/2″ by 4.” In the photo above, I laid my ruler on the outline of the E piece for placement.OhChristmasTree7_3b

Now trim off that underneath piece.OhChristmasTree7_3c OhChristmasTree7_3d

Done with one!  Repeat three more times for one star block.  Don’t try to get all the points the same–let them be different lengths and placement, as your block will be more interesting.  DO make sure you are not too close to the outer edge–you’ll need that extra space for trimming.OhChristmasTree7_4

Now line them up as shown, with the H-piece in the center and the four corner G-pieces in their place.

Now you are going to make a “web” of thread, as you sew the pieces into rows.  Keep reading.

Wonky StarMapSewing

  1. Unit #1: I stitched G-1 to E-2.  Without cutting the thread, I slipped the next pair under the needle and kept stitching:
  2. Unit #2: I stitched E-4 to H-5. Without cutting the thread, I slipped the next pair under the needle and kept stitching:
  3. Unit #3: I stitched G-7 to E-8.

Sew onto a leader/ender piece (mine are just scrap, even though I always think I should be piecing another quilt or something.)

  1. Now to Unit #1 above, stitch on G-3. Without cutting the thread, I kept stitching:
  2. Stitch Unit #2 to E-6. Without cutting the thread, I kept stitching:
  3. Stitch Unit #3 to G-9.

If you can get the hang of this, you can keep all your star points together and really crank through them.

OhChristmasTree7_4aWEbThreads

Here, I’ve circled the bit of connecting “web” threads.  Press as shown: the center row has the seams pressed to the center, and the top/bottom rows have the seams pressed towards the G-piece (outer corner block).

OhChristmasTree7_4b

I’ve sewn them, pressed them, and now I can stack them, ready to sew the rows together.  Because of the thread-web, I won’t get a piece turned around, or upside down.
OhChristmasTree7_4c

There’s no magic, just press them how you like them, but I do always believe a seam will generally indicate which is the easiest way for it to fall.  In this case, it was away from the center.

OhChristmasTree7_7arrange

Arrange your stars around the tree how you think you’ll like them.  Take a photo, re-arrange if you want.   In my case, I ended up making some brighter, bolder stars, and shuffling several times.  It also helps if you go get some lunch, or fold a batch of laundry, or maybe snack on some chocolate.  Anything to take a break so you can bring some fresh eyes to the process.   Do this until you are happy with how they look.OhChristmasTree7_5trimmingNow for some measuring fun.  You know that each corner of this quilt will have a star.  And generally, the finished measurement is 8″, or trimmed to 8-1/2.”  Both Wendy and I caution that you need to make VERY SURE that your H-block is centered in your trimming.  Pay attention to the diagonal line and make sure it’s running through the center of the H-piece.
OhChristmasTree7_5trimming2

Trim FOUR blocks only, and set aside.  What you see above is me making sure that the middle row of my stars would line up when they were placed next to each other.  I took my time trimming.  If you don’t have the middle of the star lined up, you can fudge it a bit, but not by much.

confusing diagram

Diagram of how to get the Wonky Star borders attached

Now comes the hard part.

Take a measurement across the top of Border #1 (triangle-border).  Mine was just over 39.” I called it close enough to 40″ as that would fit five star blocks nicely (8″ blocks x 5= 40″); I can also sew a seam or two with a bit bigger seam allowance to get it closer to my measurement (yes, there are all sorts of ways to make our Zen Quilt behave).  In my case, I trimmed them to 8 1/2″ so they finish at 8″ when they are sewn in.

Once you get that figured it, trim up TEN blocks. Use the trimming trick above to make sure the star blocks will line up.

OhChristmasTree7_5trimming3

See how that trimmed edge is away from those star points?  (And yes, I’ve re-done a couple of blocks in my lifetime of wonky star blocks when I trimmed them off.)  Sew the FIVE top star blocks together in a row. DO NOT SEW THE CORNER BLOCKS ON YET.

Border2_stepone

Press the seams to one side, and stitch that row of Border #2 (wonky star) on to your Border #1 (red triangles).  Repeat with the bottom row of star blocks.  Press seam toward the red triangles border.  Your quilt should now look like this.

chocolate

Before you start on the sides, get more chocolate.

OhChristmasTree7_6trimming

Here comes the part where Wendy says it is kind of like childbirth: you’ll forget about it once it’s over with.  I measured the side border, counted up how many blocks were shown in the pattern, and divided that into the border measurement.  That was a scary number, so I subtracted one block, and did the dividing again.  I ended up needing SIX blocks of just about 7 3/4.”  This is the same as the pattern.
OhChristmasTree7_6trimming2

Because the measurements were kind of weird, I decided to cheat.

OhChristmasTree7_6trimming2AI kept my blocks at 8-inches finished “north-to-south” but cut them to be 7-3/4 inches finished “east-to-west.”  Which means I was trimming them to 8-1/2″ and 8-1/4″ as shown above by the blue tape.  The “West Side” tape is at 8 1/4″ whereas the “South Side” tape is at 8 1/2.”

I just wanted to make sure that I had at least 3/8″ to 1/2″ away from the pointy edges (blue ovals).  Most of the time I succeeded.

Go Zen QuilterTrim up your blocks.  Now rotate them so the 7-3/4″ finished dimension is running north-south, and the 8″ finished dimension is running East-West.  (This is an update from the original post.) Then sew them together.  Press and hold them up against the border.  Chances are they won’t fit–they’ll be too big.  So. . . cheat again.

Take a bit bigger seams between all the blocks: from 1/4″ inch to 5/16ths of an inch.  Check your sewn row again.  If they are still too large (and can’t be eased in), choose the two stars that have the most room between the tips of their star points and the seam, and make another teeny bit bigger seam.  Now you should be fine.

Breathe Deeply.  Go Zen.

NOW sew the star corner blocks to each side border strip–two to each side strip of stars–one on the top and one on the bottom.  Press all seams on the strip towards one side.  Stitch these borders to the existing quilt.
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I then pressed all seams toward that red triangle seam, even if it didn’t want to go there.  Now, in looking at it, can you tell that the side blocks are sized a tiny bit differently than the top/bottom blocks?  Didn’t think so, and no one else will be able to tell either.  I think the solution to the challenging measurements was a success.

As Gwen Marston said, “Nobody ever said, ‘I need a little more stress in my life–think I’ll make a quilt.’ ”  Quilting should be fun, even if it’s challenging (and this was definitely a challenging quilt).
Wendy_finished quilt OCT

Here’s Wendy’s…

Betty OCT

…and Betty’s.

Now let’s see yours.  Shoot me an email when you get yours done, with a photo of your quilt, and if (I mean, when–I’m thinking positively) I get a few, I’ll put up a post showing off your hard work.

Happy DanceTry not to dance, but you are done!  It’s over!  You made your quilt!!
(Click *here* for a fun dance scene from On the Town, a favorite movie of mine.)

Thanks for joining us on this journey, from January to July, of making the Oh Christmas Tree quilt.  I’ve appreciated all your enthusiasm, your comments, and seeing photos on Instagram.

My_Place_Or_Yours

Here’s one of Wendy’s new patterns, My Place or Yours, if you want to feast your eyes on something new.  Pattern can be purchased *here.*

Pieces O My Heart Williams

Another one of hers is Pieces O My Heart, which just won a blue ribbon at the Sydney Quilt Show.  Visit her Instagram feed for more inspiration.

Lastly, if you are not a follower of my blog and you’ve enjoyed this quilt-a-long, I’d like to invite you to become an email follower. Just enter your email in the box above.  I generally post about twice a week, with occasional longer gaps. I try to post worthy and interesting content with an occasional “friends and me doing quilty stuff.”  I think by building communities and sharing discussions about issues and happenings in our world, we shorten the distance between us, forming strong links of like-minded quilters.

Happy Quilting!

Good Heart Quilters • Quilt Retreat 2016

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The 5th Annual Good Heart Quilters Retreat began last Friday morning (7/8/16).  For those of you who don’t know yet about this small quilting group I participate in, The Good Heart Quilters began meeting about 20 years ago, and have been meeting about once a month, taking summers off.  Five years ago, Lisa decided she wanted to do a retreat, so she clears out all the furniture, brings in tables and chairs and we come and sew (or mostly sing and talk, it seems like) for two days in July.Retreat2016_2

She also invites her relatives to join us, so they all schlep down from Utah/Washington, which is really fun.  Above is Elly, our newest member.  In the background are Nycole and Brittany. Retreat2016_4

I always believe I will get something done, which is a complete fantasy.  On Friday, I made four log cabin bee blocks, all the wrong size, and put this Chuck Nohara square together, then had to rip it apart when it didn’t fit.  I did make it over to Costco at dinner time and brought back an  “All-American Chocolate Cake” (aka, “Death by Chocolate”) so the day wasn’t a total loss.

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Lori just puts her head down and goes.  This is the culmination of her LQS Sampler Saturdays.Retreat2016_6

Jean is another who quilts and quilts and gets her blocks sewn together at retreat.  She’s amazing.Retreat2016_7

Coming back from dinner.  I think we had about 12 sewers on machines, and one doing handwork.  Retreat2016_8

We had two more join us on Saturday, which is when I pulled out all my words from the Spelling Bee I’m in, and tried to make some to fill in where I didn’t have.  Again, a total illusion that I’ll actually get something done. Retreat2016_9

We do Show and Tell at Saturday lunch.  This is Brittany’s.Retreat2016_10

Charlotte did a quilt with Monopoly Fabrics.Retreat2016_11

Nycole made a quilt in her husband’s favorite soccer team’s colors, and played us the RSL song that is sung at the games.Retreat2016_12

Laurel finished her exquisite Millefiore Hexie Quilt-A-Long, and even has it backed to a border.  I love this one!  (Mine sits in pieces on the guest room bed–six months down, six to go.) Retreat2016_14

Simone’s been working on a baby quilt: free-form hexies will be appliquéd to a very creative front.Retreat2016_15

And YES!  I finished something: Simone’s word for this month’s Spelling Bee.  She’s playing with all our minds and asking us to make the names of colors in a color other than is indicated.
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Lisa sent us home with lots of goodies, all in a Daiso Japan zipper case — thank you, Lisa!! See you all next year!

Hallowe’en 1904 QAL–Step Six • Final Post

Step 6 halloweenQAL

First up, some business to take care of.

UppercaseGiveaway7_2016

I recently had a post about creativity/uniqueness/Uppercase/Collaboration, where I had a giveaway with two Uppercase magazines and a charm pack of Uppercase Fabric.  So many of your comments were incredibly thoughtful about the process of creativity and the quality of being unique.  Several were very encouraging to me, which was quite appreciated and touched my heart.  Of course, I’ve pasted them in my journal for those less-than-stellar creative days.  Thank you all so very much.

I used the True Random Number Generator (I like to spread the love around the random number generators), and it picked Mary, of NeedledMom.  Email is on it’s way to you, Mary, and I’ll get the treats mailed off to you this week!

Okay, back to Halloween 1904.  This was our schedule:

Step 1 (Preparation): February 13, 2016–buy all the fabrics and find the pattern.  Patterns are available from Primitive Gatherings.  The quilt measures 90 by 90, which is too large for me, so I’m only doing nine blocks.  Each block is 20″ square, and with the outer borders, that should come to roughly  65″ square.  I may change my mind, but this looks good from here.

Step 2: March 13, 2016–Cut out the quilt: the tan backgrounds of the squares, the border triangles, the smaller half-square triangles, strips for the wonky stars, but save the piano key border for later.

Step 3: April 13, 2016–Assemble four blocks and add large appliques; use Thelma’s method (of Cupcakes and Daisies) for adding the curlicue stem. Make and add half-square triangeles (HSTs) around these blocks, using the 8-at-a-time method of HSTs.

Step 4: May 13, 2016–Cut and make the wonky star blocks from templates and strips.  I’m doing five blocks, so will need to make twenty wonky stars and true them up.  Add on the large outside triangles.

Step 5: June 13, 2016–Assemble the rest of the star blocks, by adding their HST borders. In the pattern, they are mixed up and varied, but also harmonized (some have a mix of orange and black, some have just black, some have just orange.)  Make your own rules and go with it.

AND NOW!  WE ARE AT Step 6: July 13,  2016–Arrange the blocks on your design wall and stitch together.  Cut the pieces for your borders.  Make the four corner pinwheels. Sew borders together and attach them to the quilt. Ta-Done!!

Halloween4_ninesquares

We finished up here last time, with the center of the quilt put together, the blocks placed and sewn together (and yes, I fixed the lower sawtooth edge on the right). Leisa and I are making a 9-block quilt; the pattern calls for 12 blocks.

Halloween6_0Make more HST blocks: there are four blocks per pinwheel, so this time I didn’t use the eight-at-a-time method, but instead, followed the pattern’s recipe for two-at-a-time (check there for dimensions). Halloween6_0a Halloween6_0b

Trim each HST to 3″ using your favorite method, then stitch four together to make a pinwheel.

Halloween6_2Press, as shown, with all seams to the dark, popping a few stitches in the middle to allow the seam allowances to make their own tiny pinwheel.Halloween6_1

True the corner pinwheel square to 5 1/2.”

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You’ll be making four corner pinwheels.

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Cut your pieces for your borders, following the pattern directions.  For the smaller nine-block quilt, adjust down to 24 total per side.  I tried to randomize the sewing of the oranges in between the black pieces, as I had many more different types of orange.  Just do your best. Halloween6_2bHalloween6_2c

Press the seams going one way.  You’ll notice that you begin with a black and end with an orange piece (or visa versa).  I chose to press my seams toward the orange, from the black, doing the same on all four border strips.  Halloween6_4

Matching all the seams, pin and stitch on the borders: I sewed on the top border and the bottom border and pressed the seam away from the quilt top (towards the border).  Then I sewed the sides on, but I left one inch free on the beginning of that seam and on the end of that seam, which would allow me to stitch on the pinwheel blocks later.  You can kind of see where it’s not sewn down, above.

Now, audition your pinwheels–you’ll like them going one way or the other, or swap them out to get the look that pleases you.  But please don’t overthink this step.  When you get them how you like them, stitch them on the side borders at both ends.  Press.  Then finish stitching the side seams.

Halloween6_5Now press those seams away from the quilt top, towards the border.  You are done!

Halloween6_quilt2I went outside in the sunset and took pictures of the completed quilt top.

Halloween6_in the garden Halloween6_quilt1 Halloween6_quilt3I know when you were deep in wonky stars and then deeper in making millions of half-square triangles, you wanted to quit; however, this last part is easy-peasy, so you should come roaring into the finish line.

Congratulations on finishing your Halloween Quilt, and so early!  Thanks for following along our QAL.  Hope you enjoy your quilt this Halloween!

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When you finish, send me a photo (or two) and I’ll put them up on the blog.  Happy Haunting, everyone!