February Reading List

I am re-reading some books in honor of Black History month. Here’s my February booklist, and yes, all are about women. You may have read some of these, but The Bondwoman’s Narrative is one of my favorites because it is the first known book written by a female African American slave.

I also purchased two books with biographical sketches: one is a book about African American women in science, and one is a book about 100 African Americans who shaped history. When I was growing up our church library had a whole section of biographies. Many of them were about African Americans like Booker T. Washington and others. I love biographies and will enjoy learning about these individuals.

This is my list:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts
  • Cane River by Lalita Tademy
  • Red River by Lalita Tademy
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

 
 

Comfort quilt from Found Four Patch Squares

Sometimes things just happen. As I was looking for a particular fabric yesterday, I happened onto a little box that was full of 3-1/2″ squares and some half finished four patch blocks. I think these were made when my Mom was living at our house the year before she died. I even recognize some of the fabric she and I used at a retreat or two. I decided to stop what I was doing and finish the four patch blocks. That exercise turned into a finish of a comfort quilt for the cancer center. Sherry had given me some Kaffe Fasset fabric awhile ago and it was a print that had all the colors that I saw in the four patch blocks, so I put it together and this is what I have. I will get it quilted today and send to Sherry for binding. I love it when a project gets done so quickly.

Four Patch Quilt

Ted has introduced the children to roller blades – he pulled our old blades out of the closet. They are so excited. But disappointed they have had to wait for the new helmets, knee, elbow, and wrist pads to come. Today is the day. 
 

Stars and Triangles

How have two weeks passed since I wrote last? Virtual 8th grade is pretty intense. However, we got results back from the progress made since school started in August. The students take iReady tests in Math and Reading to determine how much they have achieved. We were absolutely thrilled to see that Ezri tested three grades higher on her Math and one grade higher on her Reading. It tells us that the one to one attention for a Special Needs student makes all the difference. Since Ted does the Math and I do the Language Arts, it also makes me want to work even harder with her on that. It’s not our favorite subject because we have to do the readings that are assigned rather than choose our own. But we have decided to do some reading just for fun besides Fablehaven and the assigned readings.

I watched a Lori Holt video tutorial on Youtube about 10 days ago. It was for a star block that is similar to one I saw on a Missouri Star Quilt video. These stars on floating on the background – an effect that is really pretty. The Lori Holt tutorial made a lot more sense to me for the size squares it uses. This is a link to the video

During 8th grade classes when I was not needed – like chorus and PE and Math – I dashed upstairs and made some star blocks. I used Lori’s method for the stars:

4-1/2″ background squares with 3-1/2″ color squares for 12″ blocks and

3-1/2″ background squares with 2-1/2″ color squares for 9″ blocks

and I made star blocks. Of course I tried different ways to make them. I used my half square triangle dies instead of squares to see if I had to use a square or if I could make the star points by placing half square triangles on the background squares. It works all right but getting the placement right is easier using a colored square. With a  plastic bin of 2-1/2″ color squares and a bin of background scraps to be cut already on hand, it was easy to use  strip dies to cut the background squares.  In the end, working with squares was the best way to make these stars.

The first blocks made were 12″ finished. But because it’s easier for me to work with smaller squares, I changed to 9″ blocks after I had 12 of the 12″ blocks finished.

The 12″ blocks made a 36″ x 48″ top and that would have been a nice baby quilt. But it is nice to have a bigger quilt, so the 4″ half square triangle die was used to make a triangle border. By using two 2″ finished borders and a 4″ triangle border, the finished size was 52″ x 64″. This likely won’t be a comfort quilt, but will keep to use as a gift when one is needed.  I like the Riley Blake Bee Basics fabrics by Lori Holt.

 
 

Happy 2021! Leaders and Enders

Happy New Year! What are your plans for 2021? New projects or finishing some UFO’s? I have some that were started in 2020 and need to be finished. One is the Mariner’s Compass which expanded to be a big bed quilt and needs multiple borders to get to the right size. I also have the pink and white with uneven nine patches. And I’d like to make a quilt for my brother and his wife for 2021.

This past week was spent working on a quilt and pattern for AccuQuilt but can’t show it to you yet. The quilt was shipped on Thursday, but I’m still writing the pattern and hope to have it sent on Monday. Here are the cut pieces:

Have you been following the Bonnie Hunter Grassy Creek Mystery? It’s a lot of fun – I love to follow the clues, but have too much going on here to be able to actually do the stitching. In reading her blog post she talked about a leaders and enders project she has in her free patterns. I looked at it and know it’s more productive to use leaders and enders while finishing other big projects.  After making a couple of Bonnie’s blocks, I realized I would need connector blocks or sashing to make them look the way I would like. And, scrappy just doesn’t always work for me. My friend, Sherry, has suggested that when doing scrappy it helps to stay in a more synchronous color path. I like that idea – it helps my scrappy look a lot better.

So I set out to make a leaders and enders project that works for me. My criteria are that 1) that the blocks can be set side by side, and 2) that the seams will interlock block to block when stitching them into rows and rows into a top. So this is the leaders and enders project for 2021. It is a nine patch made up of four patch units and is a 9″ finished block. The two colors that I use most in quilts are turquoise and purple and there’s enough different ones here that it will definitely be scrappy.

This is the quilt showing blocks and patches.

I am spending some time prepping my leaders and enders so that the parts needed for blocks will be at my fingertips. The four patch units will be made using the strip die and subcut after stitching the long strips together. The plain units will also be made using the strip die.

This is how the leaders and enders will go together.

  
 

Another way to Make Diamonds with Triangle in a Square Die

You saw the Mariner’s Compass and the diamond sashing that I made with the Triangle in a Square (TIS) die. This die is included in the Qube Companion sets so I have every size of that die. Recently I needed the smaller size and ordered the individual 2″ finished Triangle in a Square die. This is what the die looks like. On the larger Qubes, the triangle and side triangles are separate dies.

The way I have always made the diamonds is to complete the two TIS’s with seams pressed open and then pinning together matching the seams very carefully. Yesterday, just for the fun of it, I decided to sew the center triangles together first and then add the side triangles. WOW! that is so much easier. There is no pinning and the diamonds are just perfect. You can be sure there will be lots of diamond sashing in my future.

Perhaps the rest of the world already does it this way, and I’m the last person to the dance. No matter, it is truly an AHA moment for me.

This is the traditional way where two of these units are joined to make a diamond. The seams on the outer edges are pinned to match the points exactly.

This is the way it is done when the two center triangles are joined first.  The fabric is dark, but you can see the seam is pressed open.

And then side triangles are added on opposite corners. The order doesn’t matter, but this worked best for chain stitching and pressing.

And then the last two side triangles are added to complete the diamond.  And you can see the seams pressed open again.

And best of all – NO PINS!

 

  
 

Mariner’s Compass

You know I always say that quilts evolve over time and truly believe that they are “birthed” as much as designed and stitched. We start making them and then something happens, and we change the fabric or the layout or the size. Sometimes it’s simple, like adding another border or taking a border away. Sometimes the quilt sits for a week or a month or a year or two and then it becomes something else. The Mariner’s Compass I’m working on is evolving in much the same way.

AccuQuilt sent me a Mariner’s Compass die and asked that something be created with it. There were no restrictions given. I made a block and it turned out to be easier than one would expect. Then in order to make something quilted it needed to be drawn in EQ. Using computers is so much easier than drawing by hand and it gives accurate numbers for cutting so that was the next step.

And then the evolution began and is still in process. This is where I am right now. The plan was to make a wall hanging with the Mariner’s Compass blocks floating among the waves. The diamond Triangle in a Square sashing represents gentle waves and the border quarter square triangle waves are splashy waves.  Now, I’m trying to draw more so that it will be a King size bed quilt. I got a few drawings in EQ, but have decided maybe to put the Mariner’s Compass on point which means I have to go to Adobe Illustrator to draw something that complicated. I’ll keep you posted. 
 

Butterfly Quilt in Love of Quilting Magazine

The butterfly quilt that I made is on the cover of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine. I am tickled pink. It was fun to make and I’ve been in love with those butterflies for a very long time. Here’s a link to the cover.

https://www.quiltingdaily.com/love-of-quilting-january-february-2021-issue/ 
 

Holiday Door Banners

AccuQuilt has published a recent blog post I wrote showing the door banners that I made using holiday applique with the new Pickup Truck die and the Gingerbread Cookies and their decorations. These were a lot of fun and so quick and easy to make. Depending on the applique shapes, one can make them any size needed. Without the letters, they would make great banners for inside doors or they could be made with names on them to hang on individual bedroom doors. I love the removable hangers that have the stick-on and easy pull-off adhesive.

 
 

Sherry’s Christmas Quilt for the Little One

Over Thanksgiving weekend I quilted a Christmas quilt gift for Sherry’s granddaughter. Sherry made matching quilts for the little girl and her baby doll. They are just perfect – and the quilting is a design that I love. It is the Be Mine digital edge to edge by Patricia E. Ritter and Leisha Farnsworth of Urbanelementz.

This is the baby doll quilt:

And this is the little girl quilt. I took this photo just before taking it off the quilt frame.

And Ted is much better. He still has a low-grade fever, but it is definitely not COVID so that is good news. He is corresponding with the doctor regarding some lab tests and an antibiotic so life will be back to normal soon.

We had birthdays over the weekend. Ted is a day younger than me. Our grandchildren in Cincinnati called to wish us a Happy Birthday. We had the longest conversation with the 3 and 6 year olds. They were so excited about their Christmas decorations. They got to help set up the Nativity scene and reassured us that they had added a little Santa, three gnomes, a chick, and a bird for baby Jesus. 
 

Adding Stars to a Jelly Roll Race Quilt

Happy end of Thanksgiving weekend to all. It was so busy here with five grandchildren that we didn’t take pictures, but we had a wonderful time. It is so nice that during this Covid pandemic that we can see the local grandchildren because they have remained as isolated as we have. Our duties with virtual school for Ezri require that both they and we maintain our distance from the rest of the world as best we can.

I wrote on Facebook that “one of the best things about being a grandma is being able to tell the 5-year old who is worriedly scrubbing the glob of cherry pie off the white tablecloth with her napkin that she doesn’t need to worry about it, Grandma can wash it out just fine and it won’t hurt the tablecloth at all.” And I did wash that tablecloth and there wasn’t a hint of cherry pie left.

Now to quilting – last summer I made a couple of Jelly Roll Race (JRR) quilts for charity. We usually use a 42 strip jelly roll and can make two quilts with wide borders for them. In getting these ready to quilt, I realized that they did not meet the 42 x 62″ measurement that we use for comfort/charity quilts. In thinking about ways to lengthen this quilt, it reminded me of what I had seen on Pinterest showing blocks placed at the top of JRR quilts. Thus, a search of the orphan block bin ensued to see what I could find.

These stars are left over from a quilt I designed for AccuQuilt called “Star Surprise.

And sure enough, these star blocks are perfect to lenthen the quilt to 42 x 64″. To match the inner width of the jelly roll strips I needed 32-1/2″ and the blocks are 6″ finished. So the width needed between the blocks was a total of 8-1/2″ which doesn’t work out to an even number. I started with 3″  between the outer blocks and that left 2-1/2″ to use between the inner blocks. A 2-1/2″ sash between the jelly roll strips and the stars was added and also the top border was stitched onto the top of the stars.

And suddenly our lives have a minor complication. Yesterday Ted said in the morning that he had been achy all night and then about 11 am he was cold and decided to take a nap. This was so unusual. I was working on a quilt project upstairs and when I came back down an hour later, he was in bed with fever and chills. This has really scared me as we have stayed isolated and one wonders how one could be sick with anything at all. Anyway, he had fever the rest of the day and during the night. Will likely take him to urgent care today to find out what is wrong with him. He does not have symptoms of Covid, so must be an infection of some sort.