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 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.
There has been no stitching in this house this week. But I’m determined not to let the blog sit idle, so will tell you what we’ve done. First of all we have a Christmas tree up. And in the entry way, there is a little 3 foot tree that is my favorite. This year it has gold balls and colored lights. We are big fans of colored lights so both trees have colored lights.
The children came over on Friday night. After playing outside in the cold for an hour, we had hot dogs for supper, homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert and Christmas songs karaoke using the Amazon music app on our TV. That was really fun. My cousin said it was a “weiner, winter, winner Friday.” I would agree – and much better than the Covid 3 W’s. Today is our 45th wedding anniversary so that was the biggest part of the celebration. Vance really liked the sparkling grape juice at Thanksgiving and asked if we had any more – I told him that was special and we will have it at Christmas. The last picture is Ezri working on her Lego Elf House.
Also for our anniversary, Ted is painting the downstairs bathroom. When we opened the paint (at least 12 years old) that matches the rest of the downstairs walls, it appeared to have mold in the top. He had already taken the toilet out so there was no going back until the room was painted. There was paint left over from the bathroom in the new addition, so that’s what we used. The bathroom has wall paper and he’s painting over the wall paper. After much research he found that was the recommended way to deal with wall paper. I was skeptical, but the wall that is finished looks great. In the picture you can see the finished wall as well as the next wall that only has a first coat on it. The paint is not nearly as dark as it looks in the photo – it’s actually a very pale gray – almost white.
Now for the week before Christmas – I think I have some stitching to be done. Maybe some pillow cases out of novelty fabric for the grandchildren. And Christmas cards to send. What are you doing this week?
This is what I worked on last weekend. It was hard to set aside the Mariner’s Compass and some other projects, but Christmas is coming and it’s the season to finish. The Gingerbread Cookies were done last year, but since then, a new die has come out with an applique dress and a bow and buttons for the Gingerbread people, so these designs needed an update. In working on this, I wanted to create a set of machine embroidery that would work for stitchers who have the new die and for those who don’t. Thus, I kept the designs from the old set and just added new ones.
There is still work to do to finish these, and they won’t be done until just before Christmas. I can see that the cookie with a scarf and top hat is taller than the others. His hat will have to be a little shorter and lower on his head in order to keep him proportional. This set will be perfect for anyone wanting to get a head start on next year instead of shopping the after Christmas sales. Once these samples are done, they will definitely be stitched into a pretty quilt or table topper or something.
While I worked, I listened to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Lately I’ve been getting books not only from Audible, but also ebooks from my local public library. It’s wonderful to have access to so many books. This particular book was set during World War II and described working class people living on a street in Germany and their lives during the war. It is a very touching story, and I cried for them at the end. This book also reinforces how important it is for all of us to protect our Constitution and our freedoms.
And the weekend weather was nice so Ted was outside working, and I was inside working. During the pandemic and cooler, wetter weather, I have truly missed those days where I can work long periods alone. Virtual 8th grade also keeps Ted, Ezri, and me inside and together way too much – LOL!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.