Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Different Scrap Bee Block

Hi everyone!  While dreaming up what sort of block I would make for the scrap-bee, I came up with this:

I put a few of these blocks together to see how I liked them.  They were ok, and I'll probably end up making more and making a quilt top eventually, but they just didn't work for me right now for some reason...

See what I mean?  They're ok and I'm sure they will look good once I make more and put them together, but there's just something missing I think.

Monday, March 28, 2011

April is my month for the quilting bee!

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited, April is my month for the on-line quilting bee I belong too.  I've never done this before, and I am very excited by the prospect of receiving quilt blocks from some fabulous quilters across the U.S. 

There have been some great blocks made so far this year.  You can check out what we've been up to here: http://www.15minutesplay.com/

There are two quilting bees going on at the same time, the one I belong two is the Scrap-Bee.  We have to use "made" fabric in our block, so unlike many quilting bees, there are no requests for any traditional type blocks, like say a log cabin block, or sawtooth star etc. 

I've had red and white quilts on the brain for some time now, and thought it might be fun to put a modern/liberated twist on a classic look.  Here's what I came up with.


The final block.  Each one will be different of course, and that's part of the fun, seeing how everyone interprets the instructions for the block.

I began with a 6 1/4 inch square of phone book paper for my foundation and a pile of red scraps.

I placed my first piece of fabric on the paper (you can place it anywhere you like).

Added a second piece of fabric over it, right sides together of course...

...and sewed them together.  When I use paper as a foundation, I always change my stitch length to a smaller stitch.  It makes tearing off the paper when I'm done that much easier.

Continue adding fabric until your paper foundation is covered.  Trim off the excess fabric, using the paper as a template.

It's now time to add the white slash of fabric.  I decide where I want to cut my block, place my ruler and go for it!  Sometimes this is the hardest part because you are worried it might not turn out as you imagined it...don't worry, keep going, it will be all right in the end!

Here are my two pieces, ready to carry on...

...add your white fabric, sew to one side.

I didn't like how wide my white fabric was, so I place the other red piece on it at an angle and the sewed it together.

Voila!  Here it is, pressed, trimmed to size (it's now a 6 inch block) and ready to go.  I think I may even make a white block with a red slash just for interest and well, just to be contrary too I guess! :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Charming stars

Hello everyone!  I've finally managed to complete my "charming stars" blocks and they are ready for sashing, cornerstones and a border.  Now that my sewing room is in working order...sort of...I hope to get this done as soon as possible. 

I love the cheerful fabric, it's 'Dilly Dally' from Me and My Sister Designs.  I've really become a fan of theirs this past year, they have great designs and their fabric is always so cheerful...lots of fun.  Check out their blog if you have the time: http://meandmysisterdesigns.com/blog/

Oh yes, in case you are wondering about the pattern for this quilt, you can find it at Moda's Bake Shop:  http://www.modabakeshop.com/2010/10/charming-stars-quilt.html#more


Had a sewing day with friends yesterday and I managed to finish the last two blocks for this quilt.

Finally done, now on to putting it together!

I'm making my quilt smaller than the original pattern as I only had two packs of charm squares.  No matter, I think it will be perfect as a lap quilt.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stitchin' and a Laughin'

Hi Everyone!  Last Thursday the Sew'n Sews got together for another evening of fun and quilting.  Our chosen block for March was the Ohio Star.  We also discussed our mini-quilting retreat coming up in July where we will put all our blocks together and quilt them.  We are even going to give hand quilting a try, so it will truly be an old-fashioned quilt bee for us this summer.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we'll have nice sunny weather (and no snow, which has happened...seriously!).


Pressing the fabric before we start.

Trying to hide from the camera in the kitchen...gotch'a!
I'm busy supervising here and having a nice cuppa.  :-)
Sue's the picture of concentration.

Tah - dah!  Sue chose some lovely Christmas fabrics with an old-fashioned feel to them - beautiful!

Michelle's block has a more contemporary feel to it.
A closer look at Michelle's block.  Aren't these fabrics yummy?  I think we all wanted to take some of this fabric home with us.

Yvonne's pride in her block shines through.  Love this block, it's too cute!

A closer look at the whimsical fabric she chose.
Here's Marilyn with her block, another beauty.  Some day I will actually get a photo of her looking at the camera!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ohio Star Tutorial

Hello everyone!  Last night, the Sew'n Sews gathered at Marilyn's for another evening of laughter and sewing.  We made Ohio Stars to add to our growing collection of blocks.  Now I know many quilt blocks often have different names but I've always known this block as the Ohio Star.  If you know this by a different name, please let me know. 

For our blocks, each of us selected three different fabrics, a light, a medium and a dark.  One fat quarter of each is more than plenty.  I used scraps from previous blocks.  

Cutting instructions:

From the light fabric cut: 
1 - 4" x 4" block
4 - 3-1/4" x 3-1/4" blocks

From the dark fabric cut:
1 - 4" x 4" block

From the medium fabric cut: (these blocks make the star)
2 - 4" x 4" blocks
1 - 3-1/4" x 3-1/4" block


My fabric selection.  I selected the medium fabric, the turquoise, as my star fabric. 

Here are my 3-1/4" squares.

Here are my 4" squares - please note I have twice as many blocks in the photo because I made two blocks instead of one.  The cutting instructions found above are for one block.

Place one dark square over one medium square, right sides together.  Place one light square over one medium square, right sides together.

Draw a diagonal line, corner to opposite corner on your block.  Pin together.

You will now sew a scant 1/4" seam from the middle line.  Do this on both sides of the line.  Repeat for your second block.

This is what your block will look like.  The line you drew and used as a guide for sewing is now your cutting line.

Lay both blocks on your cutting mat, use your ruler as a guide and cut your block.

You will now have two pieces for each block.

Press open.
Take one light block and place it on top of the dark block, right sides together and seam to seam.  Make certain the light fabric is placed on top of the medium fabric...

...as shown here.

Now, draw a diagonal line opposite your existing seam.  Pin together.

Sew a scant 1/4" seam on each side of the drawn line.

Cut along the diagonal line, you now have four hourglass blocks.

Press open.  Trim the dog-ears - those little pieces of fabric found at each corner of the block.

Lay out your squares to see how everything fits together.  The dark fabric creates a "circle" around the center square.  Be sure to measure your hourglass blocks to make certain they are the correct size - 3-1/4".  I had to trim mine down a bit as I made my seams a little smaller than I should have.  Once everything is squared up, begin sewing your blocks together, row by row.

Press and enjoy your beautiful Ohio Star block!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Renovations finished

Hello everyone!  At long last the renovations are complete.  My supposed two week reno turned into eight, but I am told that is not unusual.  Now comes the fun of unpacking...a slow process...isn't that always the way?  Packing up seemed to go rather quickly and truth be known, I don't really want to put things back as they were.  A change of decor is in order to go with the new look of the house.  Even my sewing room is in disarray, but that's not unusual either is it! :-)  Now I can get back to working on projects I've set aside and planning new projects for the days ahead.

Here are a few photos of the house, now that it's shiny and new.


It's good to have the sewing machine set up and most of my fabric stash put away...note the box and containers on the floor still waiting to be put away.  I think my fabric miraculously multiplied during the renovation because I'm sure I didn't have that much before!  Naturally, all the shopping I did had nothing to do with it. :-0
Note the brand spanking new carpet in a neutral colour...gone forever is the dark forest green carpet that once graced my floors!

The living room with another neutral on the walls and the hardwood flooring.  All this beige is driving me a little mad...I'm thinking of turquoise and perhaps eggplant purple and some sort of green as accent colours.

Those accent colours I mentioned are in a favourite oil painting of mine. 

A new light over the table. 

New tile to replace the worn linoleum.  Much easier to keep tidy.
New low-flow toilets for each of the washrooms.   
New sinks, faucets and countertops for the washrooms upstairs.
Ahhh, my favourite thing of all, a rain showerhead in the new custom shower.