Rosette #6 for the New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-A-Long

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Here’s my rosette #6 for The New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-Along.

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And here is the original.

Why did I change it?  I started looking at all the composite views of the rosette and just thought the star was too prominent, that it started a new conversation in the middle of the living room when the party around it was already having a nice chat, thank you very much.  While I thought the original design was very clever, I needed it to change.

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Here are the changes I made:

In the black Circle #1, I created a new piece — that of two tall 30-60-90 triangles merged into one equilateral triangle.  I studied my friend Laurel’s rosette (she is all finished with her quilt top) and noticed that in hers, as well as in many others, the right triangles of 30-60-90, when placed back to back with another, create a third pattern.  It does the same thing in the original block, above.  But I wanted to use this bargello/flame fabric and I only had a little bit, so that made my decision for me.

In the dark pink Circle #2, I looked at other blocks that I’d sewn in my previous rosettes, because I wanted to nab their papers and re-use them.  I found this shape in an earlier rosette, figured out that it would work, and am happy with the “ribbon” the multi-colored light-green fabric made.

I had to sew on my equilateral triangles on the center section first, then the next inner row of partial hexies, in order to make it fit (the ones with the bold radiating circle design).  Then it was add the last round, alternating the birds and the citrus fruit hexies.

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Here it is, laid out in Photoshop, which isn’t really the greatest approximation of how it looks in real life, but I’m not yet to the sewing-it-together phase. I’m still not 100% sure about the colors of Number Six, but I will try to bring in one more yellow spot somewhere — maybe in 10a — so I can balance those brights.

Stay tuned.

Roxanne’s Quilt Shop in Carpinteria, California

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Roxanne’s Quilt Shop in Carpenteria, California is filled to the brim with colorful, quirky, to-die-for fabrics, yarns, threads and painted Featherweight sewing machines. I spent quite a bit of time looking at everything they had, including this banner which greets you as you are in the shop: Live the Creative Life.  Can I just move in here for about a year or two? roxanne_3j roxanne_3g

Main fabric room, with a clever roof-line on the back wall behind the cutting table.

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They are renowned for their cutting table.  Detail shots, next two.roxanne_3c roxanne_3d roxanne_3b

The Kaffe Fasset corner is currently anchored by this bright quilt, made of triangles. Info, next.

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Cute displays everywhere, including their collection of repainted Featherweights.roxanne_4

Three of us brought home signs made of strips of license plates.  I won’t make you guess whose is whose.
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Out front is an old-fashioned sign, so of course, I made everyone pose.  After you stagger out of there with your bags and bags of goodies, you’ll see some more of Carpinteria’s fun quirkiness:roxanne_1b

Mary says John Wayne, on the middle upstairs balcony, has been there like “forever.”  I’d like to be here, too!

Beachside Quilting Retreat

quiltretreat2016_Shortly after meeting Mary at QuiltCon, she texted me to say we ought to get together for a weekend at the beach, and suggested a date: September.

quiltretreat2016_1 quiltretreat2016_1aThat seemed so far away, but finally the weekend arrived and Lisa (L), Leisa (R) and I drove over to Carpinteria, where her beach house is located.  We were more than happy to spend time with her as we think she is the Cat’s Meow, besides being a great quilter.

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First up: exchange little gifts with each other.  I always like what Simone de Beauvoir said: something to the effect that if the universe were run by women, they would bestow little gifts upon each other all day long.  She certainly knew about quilters!  I had a package which contained socks, a candy bar brought from Denmark with funny words on them, and a few other trinkets.  We set up our machines and began sewing.

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View from the balcony towards Arco Island.  While the official name is Rincon Island, the locals call it after the oil company.  They also never call the city by its full name of Carpinteria, but rather, call it “Carp.”quiltretreat2016_4a

After sewing all afternoon, and after dinner, it was time to go and watch the sunset.  We adopted the rhythm established by Mary and her family, and were always happy to have a break out in nature before we tackled the evening’s sewing.quiltretreat2016_4b quiltretreat2016_4c quiltretreat2016_5

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Many of the rocks on this area of beach have holes in them and through them.  We joked that all our suitcases were pounds heavier with our souvenirs from Carp.quiltretreat2016_5goodbye quiltretreat2016_6

Saturday morning, Mary told us all it was National Sewing Machine Day, so I documented us all at our machines.

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Since Mary and I like to cook, I’ll give you an idea of the food we had all weekend, beginning with her shashito peppers from her garden, lightly heated with a bit of oil, then dipped in soy sauce.
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We all contributed to this stack.quiltretreat2016_11c

Mary’s Tomato and Cheese Galette, served with fresh greens.quiltretreat2016_11d

Melon wrapped in proscuitto, tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella.  I’d forgotten my vinegar, so Mary’s BIL lent some and it was amazing (the “good stuff” he said, and he was right).quiltretreat2016_11e

For lunch one day we were out at The Spot, where the ladies were photo-bombed:

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Another day we went to Summerland Cafe, known for its breakfasts. . . so I had breakfast, while the other quilters had a lunch entree. quiltretreat2016_11g quiltretreat2016_11h

After finding two pumpkin-shaped Le Creuset pots in an antique store, Mary taught us all how to make her famous bread.  Link to the story and the recipe is *here.*  We also visited the famous Roxanne’s Quilt Shop; write-up with photos in the next post. I’m still recovering.quiltretreat2016_orchid1

We visited one of the local orchid farms, Westerlay Farms, where there were a gorgeous array of colorful orchids.quiltretreat2016_orchid1a quiltretreat2016_orchid1b quiltretreat2016_orchid1c quiltretreat2016_orchid1d

Westerly also had a planter of beautiful succulents out front.
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So did we do more than eat and have field trips?  Yep, yep.  I brought my unfinished Traveling Threads Bee quilt, as it had languished too long.  After we taped up the design wall (see below), I slapped all my blocks up there and began moving them around.  And around.  And around.quiltretreat2016_project1a

I went downstairs early the first night to be the first in her jammies, and got quilt-bombed with Lisa’s batch of 50 nine-patches.  This was Lisa laughing with me in the morning, as it took me a minute to figure out why my quilt looked so great, but then she made me give them back.  Pity. They were sunny and bright in my quilt of fall colors.  She did this set of 50, and then another set of 50 three-inch nine-patches for a guilt swap she is participating in.quiltretreat2016_project1b

After noodling on this for a very long day (asking everyone what they thought of it about every time I moved something an inch — they were very patient), I finally got it sewed together.  Now to quilt it.  I took mine down and Lisa put hers up:

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This is the photo at the end of the weekend, after she sewed and sewed and sewed. It’s a Lizzy House pattern.quiltretreat2016_project2 quiltretreat2016_project3

I completed two backs for quilts: Oh Christmas Tree, and Halloween 1904.  Sorry they are so wrinkled.
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Mary had the actual First Finish, when she held up this appliquéd chicken, quilted and bound.  She used a special technique to appliqué the pieces down.
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Leisa worked on several projects, but this is her quilt from a Road to California class using Little House on the Prarie fabrics. quiltretreat2016_project8 quiltretreat2016_project8a

Leisa also finished up her Halloween 1904 quilt (on the right).  It was part of the Quilt-A-Long here on the blog this summer.quiltretreat2016_project9

Mary finishing up her Christmas Tree skirt, using the trick of a glue stick to hold the binding in place for top-stitching. quiltretreat2016_project9b

Here it is!quiltretreat2016_project9a

She also finished up a quilt-a-long with Bonnie Hunter, with stars and strips.
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Lastly, Mary made two red Xs for the 70273project by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, found *here,*  with Introductory Post *here.* Mary’s set is on top, mine’s on the bottom.  We had one more set by the time the weekend was finished.

quiltretreat2016_goodbye2Stuff ready to get packed into Lisa’s car.

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Good-bye until next year!

Happy First of September

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A new month begins with this. . .the list of the Chuck Nohara Blocks to work on.

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I finished up Mary‘s block and sent over to her.  This 12″ block comes from a free paper-pieced pattern from Amy Friend of During Quiet Time, found *here.*  While it took some time, and while I always seem to have to un-stitch (aka, rip out) some pieces because I put the fabric on backwards, it was not difficult.

Barbara Word

Our Spelling Bee is coming down the home stretch, with only three more months to go.  In August it was also Mary’s turn, and she requested a series of names.  I chose Barbara, because that is my daughter’s name, too.
Cleaning Out Teacher Files

I started cleaning out some of my teaching stuff, since I retired this year.  Yep, that life is over with.  I even sent in my letter and they are working on transferring my sick leave (which, as an adjunct professor, was always kind of useless) to service hours towards my retirement (which again, as an adjunct professor, I don’t have).  But there you go.FMQ class

I taught a lovely group of women Free Motion Quilting this past Saturday, who boldly jumped into the waters of quilting.  It was a great class, shown here holding up their samples.

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I found a new recipe for Panzanella, that delicious dish you make with toasted ripped bread, fresh tomatoes and a whole bunch of summer.  It’s on my recipe blog *here.*  I started keeping my recipes on a blog, as I’m always downstairs and the recipe is upstairs, so now I can have these favorites wherever I go.Rosette #6

This past couple of weeks I worked on my Rosette #6 of the The New Millefiore Hexagon Quilt, which at this point, because we’re a year out, isn’t very new (but that’s the name we’re sticking with), while I was here:

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We traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark (that’s Nyhavn you see above) and Stockholm, Sweden.  This time, unbelievably, I only went to ONE fabric shop, Stof 2000, in Copenhagen.

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And I ate some of their smorrebrod, deliciously stacked sandwiches atop thin slices of rye bread.  6scandiskip_chocolate

Oh, and maybe a little bit of this.  I’d send you all some but we’re expected to be nearly 100 degrees today–actually a cooling trend from this week’s Last-Week-Of-August-Weather.  And that is another reason why I’m welcoming in September with open arms: it should start to cool down.  Happy News. . . Happy September!

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.
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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!

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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

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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.

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.

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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.”

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Tranquil blue

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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. . .

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. . . 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

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.

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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.
OhChristmasTree7_Final

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!