Jelly Roll Race Quilts with Grandsons

A couple of weeks ago, we spent a full week with our grandsons in Ohio. They are twins (8 years old), middle child (5 years old), and youngest (2 years old)–such an incredible amount of energy and fun and imagination in one house is amazing. This is one of all four boys at the zoo. You can see the little one in green running ahead.

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The twins have wanted to sew for a long time. Mom’s sewing machine needed service and repair the last time we were there. It had not been used in such a long time that the presser foot would no longer go up and down. Thus, in the interim we found a Pfaff dealer and the machine was serviced and repaired.

My friends, Wanda and Sherry, have made jelly roll race quilts with their granddaughters/nieces and that gave me the idea of what to make with the boys. One full jelly roll (42 strips) will make two lap quilts with a three inch border all around.

This was much more difficult than I imagined. Somehow my daughters learned to sew when they were 8-10 years old, making things like t-tops and shorts and it seemed easy for them. However, they both had been sitting at a machine (first on my lap) from the time they were old enough to sit. And then they made fancy stitch samplers using variegated thread by just selecting the stitches and pressing the foot pedal.

The boys had a very hard time stitching a straight seam–the seams always seemed to veer into the middle of the strip or off the edge. One of the twins wanted to race with the pedal to the metal and the other twin wanted to stitch one stitch at a time–both methods had serious issues for the teacher. Fortunately the Pfaff has a “sew slow” button.

We did get the quilts finished. I brought the tops home with me to add borders, quilt, and bind. I didn’t gete any pics of the boys sewing, but here are pics of the quilts on the quilting frame.


And just for fun–this was a “quiet” moment: 
 

An “Orange” Hunter’s Star

There are six grandsons and three granddaughters in our family now. The boys love quilts. Recently the oldest boys (twins) made their own jelly roll race quilts in blue and green.Their brother (a middle child) has chosen orange as his signature color. Even though this is not my favorite color, last year I did crochet my way through a very large orange “blanket” for him.

And then, this week, as he’s lying on the couch with a 102 degree fever, he announces that he wants Momma B to make him an “orange star quilt”. Orange is not a dominant color in my stash, although there are some pretty orange-gold batiks and one bolt of orange cotton that is truly not a pretty color.

Needless to say, I have spent time over the past few days auditioning and making star blocks to find a color and design that he likes. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how picky a five year old can be. First, let me show you the one he finally chose, and then the pictures after that are the ones that were rejected.

The one he likes best:

And all of these color combinations are the rejects. I agree the final color, even without as much contrast, looks better than the others:

 
 

Scrappy Flower Block or Cross Block with Bricks and Squares

Do you ever get tired of four patch blocks and want to do something different? Seems like cutting scraps into something usable often ends up in strips or squares–although sometimes I do tumblers too. The cross or flower quilt block is a classic quilt block but is usually made with all squares. Because I especially like brick quilts, I decided to adapt this block to my Qube and use the brick (Shape 8) as well as the square (Shape 2). By using the brick, one seam can be eliminated. And because I have a whole basket of 2-1/2″ strips already cut, it only makes sense to use up some of them as well as any new scraps that are cut, thus I chose the 8″ Qube Mix & Match Block set for this one. If I were starting with new fabric or scraps, I’d probably use the 6″ Qube Block set as I like smaller blocks more than larger blocks.

It’s also good to note that these blocks don’t finish at the size of the Qube because they are five “patches” across rather than four. Thus, the

  • 6″ Qube makes a 7-1/2″ finished block, the
  • 8″ Qube makes a 10″ finished block, the
  • 9″ Qube makes an 11-1/4″ finished block, and the
  • 12″ Qube makes a 15″ finished block.

If you’re making these for comfort or charity quilts like I am doing, you will need to adjust the layout so that the quilt is the right size. Just think how fun this would be for a baby quilt with four blocks and sashing using the 12″ Qube.

Here’s a picture of the individual block made with completely scrappy bricks and squares. As much as I like this block in a single color, the random scrappy look seems a little too scrappy and disorganized to me. Guess that’s my left brain kicking into gear.

So, I decided to try each block with a color theme, i.e., red, green, purple. That appealed to me much more, so this is what I got and I like this much better for a scrappy quilt and using up all those extra pieces that have been cut. There’s a lot more contrast between the background bricks and the flowers and each block has a color theme.

This is the basic unit that is a little more fun than a four patch and is nice for variety. So, it’s pretty easy to make these if you have the two patch units already stitched (which I usually do have as leaders and enders).

And then, it’s just a matter of making this block adding the colored bricks and center square. You can see that the individual unit is turned to get all the color squares around the center. I made this in three rows and then stitched the rows together. 

QUBE Tip: The nice thing about using the 8″ Qube was that when I wanted to use up pre-cut 2-1/2″ jelly roll strips, all I had to do was fanfold the strip across the Shape 1 die to make bricks and fanfold the 2-1/2″ jelly roll strip across the Shape 8 die to make squares. Just line the strip up with the blade on the long side of the strip, place the mat, and cut. Likewise, if you are using the 12″ Qube and have pre-cut 3-1/2″ strips, you can do the same thing–or the 6″ Qube and have pre-cut 2″ strips.

Here’s a picture of what the quilt would look like with sashing. I like the idea of a light flower/cross in the sashing to reflect the larger flower/cross pattern.

 
 

Sister’s Choice with Log Cabin Border

Finished the quilt for my sister for Christmas and thought I would share the layout and block construction with you. It looks complicated, but really isn’t. I was inspired by the Circle of Nine Quilt Book by Janet Houts and Jean Ann Wright. It’s possible to use their layouts and create beautiful quilts, but I came up with my own connector blocks and added some additional negative space for quilting.

This is the finished quilt:

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This is a closeup of the quilting:

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You can find the layout and diagrams of each block here
 

Squaring up Blocks from Stitch and Slash Quilt Blocks

Stitch and Slash Blocks are fun, but it seems they rarely end up the exact size they should be and in order to have a “square” quilt, all the blocks should start out the same size. There must be a very compulsive streak in me because I just can’t sew blocks together that haven’t been “squared”. All these years of stitching has caught up with me and arthritis in my hands has slowed me down a bit.

Sherry has been helping me finish up some UFO’s and I pulled this set of blocks out for a Patience Corners quilt. They needed to be slashed and squared. They were made for comfort quilts for children using novelty fabrics. Here’s one of the blocks that has been slashed. It is an 8-1/2″ square of fabric cut with the AccuQuilt GO! 8-1/2″ square and 2-1/2″ strips sewn on the outside. After slashing and squaring, these blocks will be a cut size of 6″ square and will finish as 5-1/2″ square. 2016-10-18_img_6151-300-ppi

To square up these blocks I am using the 10″ square with the AccuQuilt GO! Big Cutter, but you can also use the 8-1/2″ square with the AccuQuilt GO! Cutter.

The first step is to mark the die. I use Painter’s Tape for this because it removes easily. Once upon a time, I marked my dies with Sharpie permanent markers, but soon my dies had many, many marks on them. To mark for this cut, I placed a ruler on the die and carefully placed a strip beside each edge. In the photo, you will see that there is a slight shadow on the edge of the ruler from the lamp lighting, but in reality, the tape placement is very accurate.

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The next step is to place the fabric on the die. After getting this process going, it was easy to place two or three squares on each corner as the inner seam allowances fell on the foam and not on the die blades and the outer seam allowances could be alternated so there was no more than four thicknesses going through the cutter. Here’s the first square placement.

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And here’s the second square placement. (Don’t you love the two tone foam so you can see exactly where this will cut?) As I worked, I found that it was easy just to line up the edges of the blocks with the tape on the side and not necessary to flip back the center corner to place the second square.

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And this is what it looks like after going through the cutter. You can see the edges that have been trimmed and the perfectly squared blocks. In this example, I cut two blocks at a time.

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Can’t wait to show you the finished quilt.

And here’s one to show you that Sherry pieced, I quilted, and she is binding. It’s a comfort quilt for the Cancer Center.

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Big News and Other Things

Sherry won the Golden Needle award at the NC State Fair this week. She makes the most beautiful quilts and this was one of her very best. Sherry is an incredibly accurate piecer and her borders are always perfect. On top of that, she has a real gift with colors. Whenever I have a question about what will work together, she is my go-to adviser.

The winning quilt is a Blooming Nine Patch, and the colors are just exquisite. Not sure the computer will show them for the beauty they are. She let me quilt it–or my computer quilted it–but found a wonderful design and just love the way it turned out. Here are some of the photos.

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I love my Qubes. They are so compact and so easy to use for cutting quilts. And I get the most accurate size blocks ever. Quilts with triangles have never been high on my list, but now I’m stitching blocks and blocks with triangles–almost an addiction. Thought you’d like to see how I store my Qubes for easy access for cutting. They’re sitting on the shelf above my cutting table like books in a library. It’s so easy to reach up and select a die and cut and then slip it back onto the shelf.

QUBE storage 
 

Some Finishes – New and UFOs

The summer weather has been beautiful, and it’s been a great time to get some UFOs finished around here. Thought I’d give you a little quilt show of what’s been done before I ship these off to their recipients. While the political season is in full swing and does not make one feel positive in the least for the future and with other very somber news, I have been listening to the Cincinnati Pops Gershwin selections with conductor Erich Kunzel from an old CD. While audiobooks are usually the media of choice for me, some upbeat music is just what is needed right now.

These quilts have been finished in the last two weeks:

This one was pieced by Norma and quilted by me. Sherry will bind it. Great team effort on a beautiful “Brick” quilt.

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This is the car quilt that I made for the AccuQuilt blog post and shows a closeup of the cars. It is going to my second youngest grandson who is 18 months old. His older brothers have lots of quilts and this will be his. There is no more fabric like this–and it will truly be missed around here. I love this fabric with the Gulf and Esso and Phillips gasoline signs as well as the Route 66 signs. Do you remember that TV show?2016-06-07 Car Quilt for Holden

This is a quilt that I made ages ago–actually it was years ago and all those New York Star points are paper pieced using Sharon Schamber’s method. This was before I had an AccuQuilt to make the Drunkard’s Path blocks so these were cut with acrylic templates. This quilt is going to my daughter who needs a quilt to take to soccer practice and for games that won’t show red dirt stains. This has a batik backing that is black with colored checkered stripes all over it. I thought that would be perfect for a soccer quilt. 2016-06-07 NY Beauty-DP-1200

And this is a Hunter’s Star made with the AccuQuilt Hunter’s Star die. This is the third one I’ve made and I still love this die and the way it turns out. It is just so easy to make these blocks–no question as to which way to press. If you always press to the dark with this pattern, all the seams interlock and it makes a beautiful quilt. Four blocks make a star with a quarter star on each corner. 2016-06-07 Hunters Star002-1200px

There are a couple more quilts but I can’t show them because Sherry made them–I quilted them, and they will be gifted.

I had turned off comments, but have adjusted my email, so hopefully I will see the comments when they arrive. I always hold my breath when updates, etc., are installed as my technology skills have not kept pace with all the advances. 
 

Making an Ohio Star with the QUBE

After a long week and big project, I decided to focus on making another star. The QUBE is designed to make quilt blocks that are four patches across and four patches down. But I had seen an Ohio Star that was made with a QUBE. As you know, the Ohio Star is a 9-patch block (3 patches across by 3 patches down). And so finally I realized that the way to make a 9-patch block with a QUBE is that the block will be a different size than the QUBE size. Thus, a 6 inch QUBE will make a 9 inch 9-patch block.

But the nice thing about a QUBE is that no matter what the finished size is, for any given quilt block the Shape number / Die number from one QUBE to the next is always the same to make that block. Thus for the Ohio Star, whether you make a 9″, 12″, 13-1/2″ or 18″ block–the Die Shapes used are Shape 1 and Shape 4. This is the piecing diagram for any size block:

And this is the Cutting Chart for the Ohio Star Block using any size QUBE. Ohio Star

Thus:

  • a 6 inch QUBE makes a 9 inch 9-patch block,
  • an 8 inch QUBE makes a 12 inch 9-patch block,
  • a 9 inch QUBE makes a 13-1/2 inch 9-patch, and
  • a 12 inch QUBE makes an 18 inch 9-patch.

Cutting: Shape 1 = Square and Shape 4 = Quarter Square Triangles (QST)

  • Shape 1 – Cut 4 light and 1 center square
  • Shape 4 – Cut 8 light QSTs and 8 dark QSTs (if you layer fabric right sides together, the QSTs are ready to stitch when you take them to the machine)

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Stitch light and dark triangles together on the short side. I chain stitched them to be sure they were stitched in the same direction. And then they are stitched together again to make the complete quarter square triangle.

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Sew into rows and then into a block.

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And it’s done.

Now to more important things. The summer has been so nice. We’ve had lots of rain and a couple of very hot days, but we have had some beautiful days too. Our co-rec softball season is into the tournament and last night was a win with an early game against a team of much younger players. Over the years we always come out on top with this team and for some reason that makes them want to beat us that much more. We won again last night–but two of their best players weren’t there. The weather was nice, and hubby and I were able to walk to the game. It’s a little over a mile from our house and we can walk through the neighborhood and past the schools to the park.

File Jun 10, 7 42 16 AM