I took the pledge ~

I'm committed to one more block of the month.  Who could resist the offer Pile O'Fabric and Sew Mama Sew threw out there.....join in the big block fun they've  collaborated to provide for the next several months.    I selected my fabric, cut the blocks, stitched it up in the time it took me to put the binding around this casserole oven mitt!!!  I worked and worked and this is the very best I can do.  I'll save this project for someone else to finish.  No, on further thought, I think I'll scrap this one altogether. 

Casserole Oven Mitt

 I told the HuMAn that if I worked in a factory that paid by the piece, I would owe the boss man $24.30 by the end of the day!  I'd be begging them to give me a pink slip. 

I'd rather be making super-sized blocks.  Each block will finish at 24 inches.  Bring on the big-block-fun.  Block No. 1 - Up From Here an Alyssa Lichner block pattern was finished from some of my mustard and gray scraps from a previous project yet to be blogged about!

Super-Sized BOM - Up From Here an Alyssa Lichner block pattern


Making Tracks

Modern Quilts Illustrated #3 - A Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr quilt magazine has three modern quilt patterns, all of which I want to make.  My first one - the one they call Blowing in the Wind - I call Making Tracks - is improvisational with structure.  Theirs is made with gray solid background and yellow prints, mine is lime green with gray highlights.  When I finished,  it just reminded me of steel gray tracks on a green countryside.  Whatever the name, it is a delight to my eyes and was great fun to make.   Approximately 50" x 72"....a napping quilt.

A Weeks Ringle, Bill Kerr quilt pattern

And did I mention that I purchased the kit while at Austin QuiltCon in February from Material Girl Fabrics. 

Also see more patterns from Modern Quilt Studio.  Go ahead,....make tracks!

Pretty: Organized

I was gonna say something, but just can't remember what it might have been.  Oh, well, in the meantime, I'll just start on another subject.  This may become a new blog series.  When I can't think of what it was I was going to blog about, I'll just post pretty pictures that may show some organizational skills.  I'll just call this series "Pretty:  Organized"  (I had to hurry and get that typed and saved before it slipped my mind.....again!)

bird collage

 Birds in my garden are always pretty to watch. Their organizational skills continue to amaze me.  They can get so much done in so little time.  First they scan the crowd for a likely mate, do a lot of flirting and courting - seemingly in an hour or two.  Then they build the house, have the kids, give them their basic living-in-the-real-world-skills and scoot them on their adulthood way!   Wow, that was quickly done.  They know what they want and know how to go about getting it in a very organized fashion.     They can be counted on to be there in the morning, singing me a happy wake-up tune, and they who...who me at setting sun.

 Whether flowers in the garden or organized or not doesn't matter one bit to me: always pretty regardless their state of bedlam.   Therefore, they should always be included in my Pretty: Organized blog series.

Grandmother's Books

Groupings almost always show organizational skills - don't you think?  For instance in these books, boats and bottles!   How to get them all aligned in the space allotted where all are visible and ready to grab at a moments notice.

Boats off the coast of Italy

Blue bottles at Oak Point

At a busy street-side restaurant, the tables are ready for diners.  Time is money!

Tires ready to grab.  I can just see Danica Patrick's little feet stamping now if she lost a lap caused by a race car team without organization.  Jobs are immediately endangered when the timing is off in tire changes. The team has to have that skill honed to a fine art.  

And finally....what I loved about this picture.  Not only that every cottage in this row is so beautifully kept - that should be a given in every community - but look at the placement of  the mail boxes.  All together now, one, two, three, four, five.  How many stops did this postal employee have to make to get the post to these five cottages?  How many steps did he save?  How can this simple ingenuity save the system thousands.  Instead of cutting services,  couldn't they just get the system organized.   Couldn't the public be asked to participate in cost-cutting by getting their neighborhood organized?  What we do and how we do it?  Pretty:  Organized.

Improv Curve Block: How To Make with Lisa Calle

Lisa Calle of Moda Bake Shop demonstrated at Quilt Con....improv curve block with the 10" layer cake.  Also machine sewing hexagons with honey combs.   Great tutorial.

Quilt block skill building: One block at a time

Happiness is learning new skills or refreshing those that are dusty from lack of use.   It was a little bit of both getting the Skill Builder BOMs pieced together this month.  Alyssa of Pile O' Fabric has put quite an effort into developing skills of those who choose to follow her modern BOMs.  

Here's my finished Woven Star....block #5.

SkillBuilder Block 5:  Woven Star

And Woven Chevron.....block #6 in the skill building series. 

SkillBuilder Block 6:  Woven Chevron

I almost followed Alyssa's instructions to the T....however, I continue to find it easier for me to cut larger than required and trim to size afterwards.  I often add a quarter to a half inch when making half-square and quarter-square triangles.  It takes a little bit of effort to trim to size, but well worth it when I get perfect finished blocks.  That diagonal line on the ruler was put there for a reason!

Thanks, Alyssa...I enjoyed making these blocks, so full of color and happiness. My hand-dyed fabric (mixed with some off-the-shelf) is working beautifully with the multi-colored poppy background fabric.

Robin: ColorBoard No. 23

The Robins have been flirting around in my back garden for several weeks now.....feeling frisky! Must be the warm day temps sharing spring with cool night air.

Robin:  ColorBoard No. 23

Have a great weekend!

One fly, two fly, shoo-fly all

Looking for an easy quilt top.  A shoo-fly quilt block is nothing more than squares and half-squares triangles.  First determine what size quilt you want...or what size block you want.  Then, do the math.  Oh, no....not the math.  In this case, it's easy.  I decided I wanted 12 1/2" blocks.  I can see from the picture that there are three rows and three columns; therefore, each block must be 4 1/2".  What if I wanted my block to be 9"......then each block must be 3".  Or, if I wanted it to be 10", then each blocks must be 3 1/3".  See, it's that easy.

Determine fabric for each block.   Again, I can see from the picture that I have 4 squares of focus fabric and 1 square of light background fabric, each will be cut to 4 1/2" square.

For the four corner half-square triangles, I cut two focus fabrics and two light background fabric 1" larger than my required block size....in this case 5 1/2".   That's my 4 1/2" block plus the 1".  Lay the light background on top of the focus fabric and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. I use a light pencil.   Sew 1/4" on either side of the line.  Cut on the drawn line and press toward the dark.  The beauty of over-sizing this block is that you have fudge room to square it up to perfection.  Every one of your half-square triangles will be the same size with no wonkyness about it at all.

You can see here the four corner blocks are needing a trim down to 4 1/2".  After I do this, I will line the rows up and sew each block to completion.

One block down, 30 more to go to make my 60" x 72" shoo-fly quilt.

shoo-fly quilt block

 Shoo-fly quilts are a great way to use up assorted fabric .  The combination of large and small prints and the mix of colors  adds to the scrappy-ness charm.  I don't worry that an orange is next to a green, yellow or purple.....or that a bold chevron zig zig is next to a delicate floral....it's the background fabric that holds it all together.

This one finished at 60" x 72".  See, the math was easy!  So, why did I wind up with six blocks too many???
Oh, well! Might as well use them.  I took some of the left over fabric and pieced it together for the backing.  Added one of the left over shoo-fly blocks off-centered in the top corner to satisfy my need to add a taste of modern to this traditional quilt.   It was a beautiful spring day when I got these pictures in my back yard.

Shoo-fly No. 2  used up four more of my left over blocks and more of my fabric left overs.  I'm determined to get this out of the house!  Adding three borders gave me a 42" square quilt for a table topper or child's floor quilt.

And, finally, more left overs and the final shoo-fly block for the back of the table topper.  

Shoo-fly blocks are so fun when super-sized.  I made two super-sized  quilts a couple of years ago. Here's one pictured.   Again, I first made the decision that I wanted my quilt to be approximately 72" square.    Okay, that must mean that each block is 36" square.  Which means that the four square focus fabrics and one background apple green fabric in each block must be cut @ 12 1/2" to get my finished 36" square shoo-fly block.

Taking it through the final math step,  the two focus fabrics and the two apple green background fabrics would need to be cut 13 1/2"  to get the perfectly trimmed half-square triangle blocks.   I added an apple green border all around to float the shoo-fly blocks in the quilt top.    It's washed and dried and smelling fresh as sunshine.

Life is like a one-way street ~

One-Way Street in Italy

Just the facts, ma'am.....just the facts:

  • The first one-way street was in Lima, Peru.
  • To calm traffic, especially in historic city centers.
  • To increase traffic flow and potentially reduce traffic congestion.
  • Life is like a one-way street.  It will never lead you back.  So, enjoy life every moment as none of them will happen the same way again.....Unknown Author.  
  • If you want life to move in another direction, take the one-way street that will move you upward and onward.....Marty Mason 

Playing Catch Up on my Blocks of the Month.....

My challenge to self this year was to stretch:  stretch to be creative, to use fabric in a different way....even use different fabrics that I don't usually put in my quilts....in other words be less static.  Gen X Sisters' Ten Blocks of the Month are helping me achieve the goal.  The March blocks- School Girl's Puzzle - in two colorways are now complete.  Individually, I'm not sure they look like too much!

 Did I really put these fabrics in the same block?

 Or these????

When I joined this BOM and made my fabric selections (if you could call this a selection), I just started pulling from my stash....enough that would make twenty 9 1/2" blocks for the quilt top.  My challenge to self is not to go for more.  This should force me to use what I've pulled for the blocks - even if I must use a fabric next to a fabric that I wouldn't ordinarily use!!  Oh, and the palest blue background is a linen.

January                                               February                                                March 

If these first six blocks are any indication, I think this quilt top will be smashing.  
Want to see more, here is the link to Sisters' Ten Flickr group.  
Happiness is being caught up on BOM challenge.  

Calla Lily in my front garden

Zantedeschia Aethiopica or as I know it, the calla lily blooms in my front garden.

Calla Lily

AKA Varkoor - an Africans name meaning 'pig's ear.'

Growing hints:  plant calla lillies outdoors in a location that gets bright morning light.  Keep them well-watered and weeded.  Look....I'm just printing what I read.  Now, the truth is, mine are planted in a location that gets mid-day through late afternoon sunlight....also gets watered when it gets watered and weeds!  Yes, it is surrounded by weeds.  As a matter of fact, that's how I found this beauty yesterday, I was out in the glorious warm weather pulling weeds - glanced up and lol there it was.

Lyrics to Live By: Tell Me A Story

Tell Me A Story

Tell Me A Story
by Frankie Laine 

Tell me story, tell me story
Tell me story, remember what you said
You promised me you said you would
You got to give in so I'll be good
                                                         Tell me a story, then I'll go to bed

A Feather Quilt Block: In my cap ~

We've all heard of  'a feather in one's cap'  which means you've been successful or have done a good deed.  Not only is the feather your reward to self but it also serves the purpose of letting others know what a good boy or girl you've been.....

Well, Anna Marie Horner was a very good girl when she shared her Feather Bed Quilt PDF with us.

And, I was a very good girl when I decided to join the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild BOM.  Block No. 2 in the BAM-BOM is the FEATHER.

Ann Marie Horner block pattern....feather

I printed my template pattern, gathered my fabric, cut my strips and sewed them together....hey, I'm liking this.

fabric strips for the feather block

Until, I had a mental block on how to get those feather strips going in just the right direction.  It was one of those hey....get a life moments until finally, my brain cleared and the four feather pieces came together at just the right angle!  I further decided that if the four corner pieces that attach to each end of the feather were cut larger than the template, the construction would be  much easier. Sew them on, then trim to size!

Here, my feather block joins Block No. 1.....Film Strip - here's how to make the block.

Film Strip and Feather Blocks

P.S....I'm now going to rip the center seam of the feather block and turn one of the feathers in the alternate direction.  That will add more interest to the feather block.....I think.

Streak of Lightning: Again

Hooray for the team (of one) on completion of a quilt top:  Streak of Lightning ~  I started it a few weeks ago and it has been a slow work in progress.  I had a few hours of uninterrupted sewing time this afternoon - enough time to finish the top and piece the left-over fabrics for my quilt back.   It's a fair weather day, but this streak of lightning is ready to work its way across town  to my favorite quilter to put the longarm quilters' touch on it.  

streak of lightning quilt top