Tessellations with the 4 1/2 inch strip die

From Wikipedia: “A tessellation or tiling of the plane is a collection of plane figures that fills the plane with no overlaps and no gaps. One may also speak of tessellations of the parts of the plane or of other surfaces. Generalizations to higher dimensions are also possible. …”

I am so excited. My 4 1/2″ strip die came yesterday. I just let it sit for a few hours as I was working on other things. Then I opened it, looked at it, walked around it awhile, and then a wonderful idea just popped into my head. It has a blade right down the middle which means that I can make my favorite pinwheel tessellation with it. It was late last night when I started, but the ideas are spinning in my head.

So far, this is what I have done:

I cut a 4 1/2 inch strip, and then cut it again into squares. I made stacks of squares all with the right side up.

Then I marked the die so that there is a parallel line exactly one inch on either side of the center blade. I made this line a different color than the blade lines.

Then I laid stacks of 6 squares on the die with the upper right corner touching the line on the right and the lower left corner touching the line on the left. You can reverse this; but if so, the blades of your pinwheel will rotate counterclockwise.

Then I cut them.

I stitched and pressed. This gives me a wonky rectangle.

The wonky rectangle goes on the 3 1/2″ square die using the registration lines to get them fairly even across the blades. It doesn’t matter if they’re a little off.

Then I have four squares which make a finished 6 inch block.

Labor Day Quilting

I’m using the computer with the soft keyboard, so let’s hope I can get through this without too many typos–and that I get through this without accidentally hitting a key that ends it all!

I did a little quilting over the weekend and finished a couple of quilts to add to the collection at Womancraft. I’m not sure if I told you, but I am now a member of the Womancraft cooperative and can display and sell my quilts in the store at Eastgate Shopping Center. It’s a wonderful group of very gifted craftsmen and women. I was a member of Womancraft back in the days when my children were small. It has been a goal of mine to rejoin that group when there was time. I’m not sure there’s time now, but I have rejoined. This will be a balancing act between making things to sell and making things to give away.

Here are two of the projects I finished this weekend. The table runner still doesn’t have binding, but the quilt is completely finished. The table runner has feathers quilted in opposite directions. I used Warm and Natural 50/50 cotton/poly batting and Aurifil 100% cotton, 50 wt thread. Doing feathers this way gives a  little more flow than the usual feather meander. The Christmas quilt is a meandered holly leaf freestyle quilting. I used Glide thread from Fil-Tec on the top and the magna-glide polyester bobbin. The batting is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton/poly.

Closeup Bricks Boxed Christmas Quilt
Closeup table runner
Closeup Table runner with opposite feathers
Table Runner

Dueling Triangles Quilt Block

I’ve been working on a new block including a video and written instructions. I am almost there. After multiple takes, I finally decided to just finalize the video and accept my imperfections as a recording star <big grin>. The written instructions will be here soon, hopefully later today. I have to go to the pool first and do my workout, then back to the studio to finish writing. For now, here’s a video. I spent more time on this one – it’s nine minutes long – too long in my book. But hopefully this will be useful to beginning quilters.

Quilt in Progress – Naming It

I have so much trouble naming my quilts. Perhaps they should just be numbered–but that wouldn’t be fair. I absolutely love this one in progress. Names I’m thinking of: Dueling Triangles and Triangle Float. I thought of a couple of others yesterday, but didn’t write them down and couldn’t remember them last night.

So, here’s what I’m working on. I really do like making blocks and then layering them with a solid block or another block, stitching from corner to corner and seeing what the surprise turns out to be. Not long ago, I ordered a pattern that looked like this:

However, when I read the instructions and started to make this block, I was not happy. It required that I cut half square triangles, add strips to either side, then trim the strips and stitch one triangle to the other matching those seams. That seemed like a lot of work. Thus, I had to rethink whether I wanted to make this really pretty pattern.

I started thinking about one of my favorite patterns which is a “Half Fast Log Cabin” (yes, that’s a pattern–and a great one–and don’t say it too fast or you’ll be in trouble with the other quilters in the room!). With that pattern, a log cabin block is made in rounds of color, a solid block is layered on top, marked corner to corner and stitched on either side of the line to make two new blocks. It has become one of my most favorite patterns for showcasing large prints.

So, I decided to try making something simpler than the half fast log cabin and simpler than the new pattern for which I paid real money. I made a square, added 2 1/2″ strips and then added a solid block and marked it corner to corner and stitched quarter inch seams on either side. This is what I got:

I worked on it in Electric quilt and you can see the drawing in the previous post below. However, when I started making it up in fabric, and put it on the design wall, the design I wanted to see didn’t show up very well. I decided it was because I used 2 1/2″ strips all around and that if the strips were narrower, the triangle would show up more.

So, back to the drawing board. I was able to cut the blocks down so that the strips were narrower as if they had been 2 inch strips originally. Once this went on the drawing board, I was much happier. Now, I have stitched some of these together into rows and I am liking it better. Color choice has something to do with this too. I am using two very vibrant fabrics and that makes the actual design disappear a bit – if one fabric were stronger than the other, the design would definitely be more evident. And now that the blocks are smaller, I’ve got to make more blocks.

Here’s what it looks like so far. I’m still not thrilled with the way it looks in fabric, but have a feeling that it’s going to get better when I finish the rest of the blocks and stitch the rows together. I will use quilting to make the rows more apparent – perhaps some straight lines through one color of diagonal lines.

I’m also working on the instructions. That always takes longer than I expect–I was certain they’d be done yesterday, but hopefully, I’ll finish them today. This is a lot of fun–and it goes so fast when each block turns into two–maybe I should call this Double or Nothing! Or maybe I could name it Double Fun!

Brick Ripple Correction Posted

I posted a correction to the Brick Ripple quilt – the yardages were correct, but the number of bricks to cut  had been halved. I must have been dreaming–or wishin’ and hopin’!

The link in the original post and on the Links page will open the corrected version. Here’s a direct link to the corrected version: Brick Ripple Instructions

Back to Work and some ideas

I’m so happy to be back and in the swing of things. Always before I leave for a trip, I frantically work on a thousand projects because I can’t bear the thought of going away and leaving my fun at home. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the trips away. This time, we went to Phoenix to decide whether Ezri would have gamma knife surgery or not. In the end it was decided that she would not have the surgery and that was a good decision. But getting there was exhausting–and I’m still feeling some of that exhaustion. It was a good trip – anytime we’re with family, whether stressful or not, it’s a good trip. It’s good to be home too!

Now, I started working on this before I left. Here’s the Electric Quilt version of this quilt. I’m making it in red and green and yellow and will have more pictures and some instructions sometime tomorrow. For now, here’s a little teaser.

Handwork for a trip?

Last week and this week have been very busy as I am getting ready to take a trip with Kat and Ezri to Phoenix to see Dr. Rekate and talk about the tiny residual tumor left in Ezri’s sweet little brain and what to do about it. What is left is like a couple of strands of thick thread. Although it’s not growing, it will cause trouble as long as it’s there. Ted will stay home with the dogs and Ben’s Mom will take care of Kes. I will only be gone three days, but it’s taking 14 days to get ready.  I babysat yesterday while Kat spent the better part of the day at Duke trying to get the most recent three pages of medical records.

My next project is to find a project of handwork to take with me. It’s a little hot to be knitting. I am thinking I will take some hand piecing. Wish I did needleturn applique, but i’m not very good at that. Maybe this is my time to master it. Hmmm–I have to decide soon what I’ll take. Any suggestions for a small, but endless project?

Still catching up – a few comfort quilts to show

Here are photos of some comfort quilts that I just finished. On most of the comfort quilts, I have just been quilting large swirls. That is a design that I really love, but it’s probably because it’s so easy for me. I find it rhythmic and soothing, sort of like meditating. And besides quilting them the same way, I also do the same patterns – strip twist and patience corners – most of the time. There’s one that is made of four patches that were done at the beginning and ending of the seams for the other two. I really do need to branch out and do some other things for a change <very big grin>

August must be for very busy bees

It’s hard to catch my breath there is so much going on so far this month. Last Saturday we went to a housewarming/birthday party for a dear friend. I made a quick gift of a table topper. This is what it looked like when it was finished. I say “quick” gift because I have a stash of log cabin blocks that I have made using Elmer’s glue and Sharon Schamber’s technique while watching old movies in the evening. Then, when I need a gift, I can just whip out some blocks and stitch them together. Some of the blocks are hand pieced and some I use to “sew off” from other blocks. Here’s the table topper I made for Tim and Anna:

Table Topper for Tim and Anna 7-31-2010

And, I’m working on one for a wedding gift for the wedding I am going to today. I added some stars to this one. I think I’m going to like it. I’m going to do a little more custom quilting on this one.

Table Topper - not yet quilted - for Clarence and Sinead

I have to deliver some comfort quilts this morning – too busy to actually go to the retreat – but I have photos and will post them this coming week.

Ezri has to go back to CHW this week for checkups and to talk about whether she will have gamma knife done on the last remnants of her tumor. I am going to go for the Friday appointments, so this coming week will be busy too.