Monday, December 11, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box alternate block number one for Triangle in a Square Unit

I was so delighted with this block that I decided to withhold the name of it until I can show you what it looks like, so you will have to get to the end of my post to see what it is.  That said, I suppose I will get the making of it underway!

You can use your templates from last week's Fifty-Four Forty or Fight block, or cut using the Tri-Recs ruler set.  You will need four triangles in Green (3 1/2 inch).  Cut four right and four left half triangle units in blue, as well as four 3 1/2 inch squares and five 1 1/2 squares.  Cut four 1 1/2 squares in red to finish the cutting.  (Fabrics provided by Island Batik)

Sew four Triangle in a Square units, using the green triangles and blue half triangle units
Arrange them facing out from the center.
The solid squares fill in the outside.

Sew a nine patch from the the red and blue 1 1/2 inch squares and place in the center.
And you now have Four Pines.  Isn't this a fun block for Christmas time? 

Hope you enjoy making this!  Two more blocks and we'll be at the end - I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone by.  I'll be back next week with another block using the Triangle in a Square unit!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Secret Stitching

It's that time of year, lots of secret stitching going on for various projects, so I can't really show you what I am doing - but this little bit of hand embroidery is not a secret:

Love how relaxing it is to do a bit of handwork in the evenings.  I'm debating on whether to make all the flowers the same color or embroider them in different colors.  and there is a frame of running stitches that I haven't decided what color to do yet.  So I suppose I'll pull more floss this evening and decide. For this part I've used Aurifloss, I have a set of lovely colors in browns and tans (Biscotti) that was really nice for the lettering.  The leaves are done with a single strand of 28 wt thread from another set (Macaroon)  Both are wonderful for this kind of stitching - in fact I kind of prefer the 28 because it is has a lovely sheen to it.

This is the pattern I am working on - but these aren't the colors I am using ;)  It's going to be lovely!  This will be a pattern for more experienced quilters, so it's a bit of a switch for me.  I usually design more toward beginners, and for quick and easy projects.  Personally, I enjoy a challenge, so I hope there are more quilters out there looking for something that will give them a good workout of their quilting skills!

I have a stack of lovely flannels, so the Christmas PJ party will soon be in session!  They are going to be a lot of fun - I found some wonderful prints this year.  No peaking, girls - you will have to wait for Christmas time to see what you are getting.

Wait till you see tomorrow's block for the Quilter's Recipe Box!  I know I say this all the time, but this one is surely one of my very favorites.  It's perfect for this time of year!

With that I'll bid you a fond farewell for the day.  I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching, so take a few minutes to see some lovely hand stitching going on!

Slow Sunday Stitching

Monday, December 04, 2017

Quilters Recipe Box, Unit 12 - Triangle in a Square - Fifty-Four Forty or Fight quilt block

Welcome!  Are you ready for the final unit of the Quilter's Recipe Box block of the Month?  I hope so!  This unit is a little bit of a tricky one, but I promise that you can do it and it is a powerful tool in your skill set.  This unit is a Triangle in a Square and I used it to make a Fifty-Four Forty or Fight Block.

Click on picture to download Recipe Card File and Templates
The thing about this block, is that you really need to use a special ruler, or a template, or foundation paper piecing to get good results.  So, you will need to go download the Recipe Card for this month which will include an extra sheet with the needed templates if you don't own a ruler for cutting this.

Cutting for Fifty-Four Forty or Fight Block:
From your background you will need four Isosceles triangles for a 3 1/2 inch Triangle in a Square unit and ten 2 inch squares for Four-Patch units.  (These fabrics were provided by Island Batik)

Color 1 - Eight half rectangle units for Triangle in a Square units, four lefties and four righties.

Color 3 - Ten 2 inch squares for Four-Patch units.

For this block I am including some detailed cutting instructions because that is where you need to start for an accurate block!

For your background triangle you will need a strip of fabric 3 1/2 by 12 inches (this gives you enough extra for an error or two.)  

From your strip, cut four Triangles using your Tri tool or paper template.  (The paper template will be a tad taller at the tip, but line up the bottom line at the edge of the strip and it will be fine.)  As you can see, if you alternate cutting from the top and bottom edge of the strip you will have no waste in between the cuts!  

If you are using the paper templates, place template on fabric, then carefully place your ruler on top of the template so you can use your rotary cutter.  You can also print your templates on card stock, make a pencil line and cut one that using scissors or rotary cutter and ruler.  A great tip for using paper templates is to make sure to always line up the sewing line 1/4 inch away from the ruler just in case you accidentally cut a sliver off the edge of the template cutting line!

Now to cut the side units - they are half rectangles.  You will need a strip 3 1/2 inches by about 13 to cut them.  Fold your strip in half so you can cut the righties and lefties at once!

Line up the 3 1/2 line at the bottom of the strip and carefully cut the sides.  (A rotating mat is super helpful for this step.)  
Make sure you cut that little notch off at the top of the strip, this is going to help you get the perfect alignment when you sew your unit together.  The angle on the printed template is a little different, but does work just the same, so make sure you cut those little corners off.

Just a word of caution before you start sewing.  It will be really tempting to line up your pieces as above because they fit just right!  Don't do it that way, it won't work :)

You need to line it up with the pointy end facing the bottom of the big triangle.  Line up that cut out with the bottom of the triangle, and sew your quarter inch seam.  

See how the seam goes right where the notch lines up with the bottom?
When you press the small triangle out you can see that the seam does NOT go straight to the corner.  This is the correct angle, and when you sew this unit to the block beside it, you will see how the point matches up all the way to the seam allowance and doesn't get cut off before it should.

Now for the other side:
Line this one up just like the first one and stitch with a quarter inch seam.  The little tips at the corner look a little off, but look at the edge of the block and it should match up perfectly.
This one was a little too high.  See how it doesn't match at the tip or at the top?  This one had to be taken out and re-done correctly - 
This is how it should look!  Now, take a couple minutes to measure and trim your units.
Perfect - look ans see how the three points of the triangle all are 1/4 inch away from the edge of the block.  Trim up those dog ears and you are ready to move on!  

Lay them out, then sew Five four-patch units from color 3 and the background.  Add those, with all the dark ones facing the same way:
Sew together and admire your finished block!

All the star points should be 1/4 inch from the edge of the block, and the center Four-Patch seams should line up with the background point. 

Combine this block with a block that uses half square triangles in the corners and you get a quilt with a very neat circular motion!
I hope you enjoy this unit and block.  I'll be making three other quilt blocks using this unit this month, then we'll be finished!  I found a good tutorial for the Tri-Recs rulers on Craftsy if you would like more information on using those:
And Bloc Loc has a great set of ruler as well, if you wanted to make a ton of these for a quilt, it might be a good investment!

If you are just now seeing my Block of the Month, make sure you visit the tab at the top of my blog for the Quilter's Recipe Box.  All patterns will be free to download through the end of the year.  

Thanks again for following along!  Have fun learning this new unit.  

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Saturday Sewing

Today's plans got changed not just once, but twice!  But for me it's all for the good and will make this coming week a lot more relaxed and easy going.  First I had to cancel out on the annual church Ladies Christmas Tea.  I was super sad about that, but I was scheduled to work at the quilt shop and had already switched days earlier in November.  I decided to make the best of it, even though I was going to miss out on a fun event. 

Then, when I arrived at the shop, the other person showed up!  Turns out that somehow we were all mixed up and she asked me if I wanted to go home - Yes, Ma'am I do, I have two quilts that need to be finished this weekend and mailed out.  So now I get to spend my day catching up on some computer stuff and working on my quilts - it's a win for me for sure :)

First of all, I basted this candy cane quilt -

Sweet, isn't it?  Oh, that paper piecing was a challenge!  Then I really wanted to make a pinwheel border, but only had so many charm squares to work with.  In the past I've always thought that the quick method of making pinwheels by sewing around the edges of two charm squares wouldn't really work very well because of all the bias.  But I took a chance and was delighted with the results! I used a little Best Press on them and they came out perfectly.  In the end I miscounted and was still 4 squares short, so I made the cornerstones from a pretty green fabric - now I have some spearmint pinwheels to go with my peppermint ones!
Isn't the green with candy canes perfect for this quilt?  The candy cane blocks are a mini quilt pattern - Peppermint Twists.  They were very tune consuming, but super cute.  The pattern includes those little candy corner blocks as well.  If you like foundation paper piecing, you have to check out the whole website - so many fun quilts there! is the address.  You'll love it!

Next I added the borders to this quilt:
I was a little distressed about finding something for the borders on this, and that red plaid was just the ticket.  This is a delightful and cozy looking lap quilt now - or it will be after I get it quilted up as well!  The pattern for the block is also a mini quilt, this one by Quilt Doodle Designs called Snow Much Decorating.  I did two the regular way, and reversed the other two to make it a little more interesting.  This was a fun project and I totally recommend this pattern as well!

Do you have your Christmas music going as you work in your sewing room?  I am enjoying listening to mine, and am looking forward to more fun holiday projects when I finish these.  I love this time of year!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Shocker - Quilter's Recipe Box Variation for Square in a Triangle

Finally!  My block is done and I have time to create this post - it goes to show that I should have been working ahead, but it just didn't happen this month.  In honor of our crazy weekend I have named this block "Shocker":

It was so lovely to have sunshine in my studio this morning as I worked, and I love these bright and cheery fabrics (provided by Island Batik).

This block uses four different fabrics - here are the cutting requirements - for this one I will simply call them by the colors I used:

Blue:  two 3 7/8 inch squares cut in half diagonally for the Square in a Triangle units, four 2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles for Split Square units, one 3 1/2 inch square for the Square in a Square unit.
Purple:  four 2 3/8 inch squares cut in half diagonally for the Square in a Triangle units and four 2 x 2 inch squares for a Square in a Square unit
Green:  four 2 inch squares for the Square in a Triangle units.
Yellow:  four 2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles for Split Square Units.

Sew four Square in a Triangle units, four Split Square units and one Square in a Square unit.  I had a good time chain piecing all my units like I did in the last block!

Then I played a little and tried some alternative layouts:
 This one was kind of fun - I was tempted to change my plan!

And this one was also interesting, but didn't work with the units I had already sewn.  Maybe another time!

 Here is the block laid out and ready to sew, then after it was completed. 
Here is how it looks when you sew them with sashing:

Kind of interesting with the cornerstones added.  I'm still learning the new EQ8 upgrade, but so far so good! 

Thanks for being patient and waiting for this week's block!  I'll be right on time Monday with our final unit - woohoo!  Four blocks to go and I'll be ready to put them all together into a colorful quilt...still deciding on sashing, but I'm getting closer :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Life is Crazy Right Now!

I can't even tell you how crazy life is here right now!  I am working on a couple of custom lap quilts, as well as hosting Thanksgiving for 3 of my 5 daughters plus ended up having a bizarre electrical problem in our house this weekend.  Needless to say, I'm running late, but am hoping to have my Quilter's Recipe Box post up for the week later this evening.  Sorry for being late, but it really could not be helped this week!
Don't burn your oatmeal on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  When your Range hood shorts out because the light switch somehow came loose and pulls out a wire you will never be able to get an electrician to come out and figure out why your lights will only come on halfway and most of your house electricity is not working as it should!  Yes, that crazy run on sentence perfectly sums up that day.  Thank goodness for the wonderful helper that came and figured out that one of our main breakers had halfway tripped as well as the breaker for the circuit that the range hood is on.  It is such a blessing to have dependable electric service again (and that all those good leftovers didn't have to get spoiled!)

Hope your Thanksgiving was happy and stress-free! I'll be back later with this week's quilt block.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Quilters Recipe Box Variation for Triangle in a Square - Ninja Star

Welcome to another week of Quilter's Recipe Box!  Today I have for you a block of my own design.  I call it Ninja Star:

It's an interesting block, almost a blend of Churn Dash and Friendship Star.  My idea was to try out using the Square in a Triangle unit in the side position of the block to see if I could come up with something interesting, and this block definitely fits that description, whether or not you love it.  I'm kind of on the fence, but it was a good design challenge!

Cutting instructions (my fabrics were provided by Island Batik):

For one block you will need three colors, a light (blue), medium (green) and dark (purple).  For the triangle in a square units cut the following:  light fabric, cut two 3 7/8 inch squares and cut in half diagonally for four half square triangles; medium fabric, four 2 inch squares; dark fabric, four 2 3/8 inch squares, cut in half diagonally for eight half square triangle units.  For the corners, cut two 3 7/8 squares from medium and dark fabrics cut all in half diagonally for four half square triangles of each color.  For the center unit - Square in a square, cut one 3 1/2 square of light fabric and four 2 inch squares of dark fabric.  Mark the dark squares with a diagonal line on the back.

Start by sewing a dark 2 3/8 inch triangle to one side of each of the medium 2 inch squares for the square in a triangle unit. 
Have you heard of Leaders and Enders (Bonnie Hunter technique) or Thread bunnies?  Basically these are both units that you sew at the end/beginning when you are stitching units so that you don't have to cut the thread.  Well, I often use this technique when I am sewing my blocks together so that I don't have to keep trimming the thread.  So, when I finished sewing my triangles to the squares, I sewed one of the corner squares to my square in a square unit before snipping the thread at the end of my chain.

Press the Square in a triangle units, then sew on the second triangle.
Then snip the square in a square unit which is now at the beginning of the chain and sew the second triangle on the opposite corner.
Clip the Triangle in a Square chain off, press and trim to be sewn to the half square triangle unit:
After you sew these, snip the Square in a Square unit off and trim and press that so you can sew the next square on.  Now you are ready to sew the Dark/Medium half square triangles for the corners.
Snip the Square in a Triangle Unit chain from the end, then snip the Square in a Square unit off and add the last square to the final corner, making this the last unit in the chain.  Now you can press and trim all the units and you are ready to assemble your block!
This block works out perfectly so you never have to cut thread at your machine needle until you have all the units sewn.  I love working this way because you never have to worry about those pesky thread ends - though it might get confusing if you don't keep track of your units.  Lay out your block like this:
Then sew the units together and you end up with the final result:

It is an ok block by itself, but I think this one really shines when you put a set of them together into a quilt top:

This would make a cute baby quilt!  

Next week I'll be back with our final Square in a Triangle Unit - hope you find some time to do some stitching this week.  I'm a little busy with Thanksgiving prep, but I have a project waiting for me to go work on, even if it's only 15 minutes at a time - just that little bit of sewing really makes me happy, and I feel like I'm making progress, even if it's just part of a block at a time!