Friday, March 30, 2012

No Y-Seams 8-Point Star Tutorial!

Do you love the 8-point star block but hate the Y-seam construction method?  Well, have I got a tutorial for you!  This is one of my favorite blocks.  Recently Mr. Squash got me the fabric to make a gorgeous bed quilt that is made up of 8-point stars.  I've dreaded wanted to begin making this for quite a while, but well, there is the matter of those tricky Y-seams.  A while back I learned a new method for making 8 point stars and decided to make some practice blocks to see if I liked it better than Y-seams.  Turns out I liked it so much that I had to show you how! This method comes from the Book "Stars by Magic" by Nancy Johnson-Srebo. You can find copies of the book in print - I got mine at Amazon.  Please refer to the book for more sizes and other star blocks.
Here is my finished practice block.  I'll do my best to show all the steps.  Feel free to comment or email me if you think I've left anything out or have questions!

This particular block measures 9 1/2" unfinished.  You will need:
 a dark and a light for the star points - 4 pieces, each measuring 2 3/8 x 5" (a total of 8),
8 - 2 3/8" squares of background fabric,
8 - 3 1/8 x 5" rectangles of background fabric

Begin by placing a 2 3/8 square right sides together on one end of each star point.  Draw a diagonal line as show above on each square. 
 Stitch down the diagonal lines and remove the excess as shown above.
 The arrows above indicate the direction in which to press your seams.  It's very important to press as indicated in order for your seams to all nestle together perfectly as you sew.
Here is another way - my preferred method of sewing that diagonal line.  My friend Mary over at Marin & Colusa has this great product called Stitching Lines.  (In case you're wondering, Mary did not pay me to advertise her product.)  Stitch down the center line on the paper and tear away!  No line drawings required.  For more information on this great product look here!
You will make a total of four light units and four dark units.  
Now take your 3 1/8 x 5" background piece and sew to each star point unit as shown above.  The green arrows indicate the direction in which to press the seams.  Make four light and four dark of each unit.
Now take the units with the dark fabric, turn them over to the wrong side and draw a diagonal line as shown above.  You can also use Stitching Lines instead of drawing the line. 
 Next you'll need one of your light units.
 Place these two units right sides together as shown above.
 I'm a pinner, but if you've done you're pressing correctly, these two units will nestle together quite nicely!
 Stitch down the drawn line, removing the pins just before sewing over them so that you don't damage the timing on your machine!
 Next, draw a second line 1/4" away and to the right of the line of stitching you just made.  Now, line up the edge of your presser foot so the new drawn line is to the left and sew to the bottom of the block.  This is a surprise for another post.
 Place your ruler on the drawn line and cut the two pieces apart with your rotary cutter.
 You now have two pieces.  Take the piece that the arrow points to and set it aside for my next post!
 Open the other piece and press in the direction of the arrow.  Do this for the three remaining light and dark star points.
You now have four finished units - and you haven't sewn a single Y-seam! Just a few more steps now.
Place the bottom two units right sides together and stitch.  Press seam to the right.  Do the same for the top two sections, and press to the left.
Now you have a top and bottom unit.  Place right sides together - if you've pressed correctly so far, all the seams will nestle together perfectly!  Sew and press to one side.
I feel good enough about this block to even show you the back!

Make sure you save those scraps I mentioned earlier - I'll show you a neat trick with those on my next post!

Thanks to everyone who purchased goodies on my fabric sale!  A few items still haven't sold, so don't hesitate to let me know if there is something you would like!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Third Times a Charm Fabric Sale!

After many issues yesterday with commenting that I couldn't seem to resolve and now have, I truly hope this post finally works!!
Here are the particulars:
  1. Payment is via Paypal only within 7 days of this posting.  If you do not have a Paypal account you can sign up for free here:.
  2. Items will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.  Please leave a comment if you wish to purchase something and I'll get right back to you!
  3. All shipping costs will be based on first class mail unless you request otherwise.   As soon as I receive notification that you are interested in an item and I get your shipping particulars, I'll figure shipping and send a Paypal invoice to you for the total amount.
  4. Due to the fact that most items carry a bit of weight, I will only ship to US locations.

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I originally bought this Bunny Run quilt kit and pattern (inside magazine) designed by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill for $86 back in 2008 and have decided I won't make it.  Included is the entire kit except for backing as well as the pattern from Australian Homespun magazine.  Finished quilt size is 36" x 45".  $40 plus shipping.

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Jennifer Paganelli's Girl's World Book - complete with all patterns, unused - $12 plus shipping

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Fabric from "Posies" line by Sandy Gervais.  Included are 15 Fat Quarters, 5 pieces 22 x 15 1/2", 8 pieces 22 x 13" and a bunch of usable scraps from the same line. $30 plus shippingSOLD

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6 Fat Quarters from Joel Dewberry and 1 yard of Chocolate Lollipop by Anna Marie Horner $12. SOLD


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24 different red/white fabrics - all have a length of 22" including selvedge on one end and range in size from 9" wide to 12" wide - all less than a fat quarter but larger than a fat eighth.  $20 plus shipping. SOLD

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"Spring" kit without pattern.  I bought this quite a few years ago and it was made up if I recall with the bunny panel in the center, the stripe around that and bound in red.  I believe the green floral print is the backing. It did not come with a pattern.   The colors in this are much softer and less red than my photos.  The line is "Anticipation" by Sandy Gervais.  It includes the 25 x 44" bunny panel as well as 1 1/2 yd green floral, 1/2 yard red print, and 2/3 yard stripe print.  $15 plus shipppingSOLD

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These cute prints are from Timeless Treasures 2003.  Includes 3, 1/2 yards (bottom 3 prints), 1 scant third of a yard (green dots) and one fat eighth (yellow dot). $10 SOLD


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For those of you who might be collecting Irish prints - 3 fat quarters. $3 plus shipping.

Your comments come directly to my email, so please let me know if you would like something!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blogger-Operator Issues!

I wanted to say how sorry I am that my last two posts haven't worked very well!  In my first post for the fabric sale I asked folks to email me from my profile page if they were interested in purchasing something.  Having gotten no response from that, I decided to enable the comments on the second post today, but found that somehow they weren't enabled!  Someone else pointed out that I wasn't showing up in their Google reader, so I decided to pull today's Fabric Sale post and try to figure out what went wrong!  I do think I have the commenting issue resolved, but need to know from you, dear reader, if I'm showing up in your Google Reader now and if you're able to comment.  If all goes well, I'll have the fabric sale back up and running tomorrow!

Don't you sometimes wish (just once in a while) that we were back in the days of less technology where Ernestine the telephone operator could be heard saying one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy......

Friday, March 23, 2012

Block 5 Done & March Snow!

After a small hitch in my giddyup, I've finished Block 5 of my current Block of the Month from the Quilted B. 
Getting these done soon after they come in each month is great!  Only five more to go!
Imagine our surprise when we woke up to this yesterday morning!  Overnight we got about 3-4 inches of spring snow!  Taken from inside, this is looking southeast.....
 ....and southwest!  I was worried the tree crew wouldn't be able to finish up today, but they arrived right on time!  Those two bug stumps sticking up over the arbor are now gone!
This is the view from the window in the front door.  Later on it all melted and the sun finally came back!  I hope to finish our winter cleanup next week and get the garden ready for planting!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TIMBER.......

Ever since we purchased the Squash House, there has been an Ailanthus tree in the neighbor's yard which has been the bane of my existence here!  It makes thousands of seed pods, each pod holding another thousand seeds, which all fall or get blown into our yard - and most of them germinate!  I've spent hours and hours pulling little baby Ailanthus trees out of the beds and the lawn.  Mr. Squash has also pulled his share of them and raked and raked the mess from it for what seems like each month of the year!  Even the neighbor who owns the tree doesn't like it!  Well, from now on, neither the neighbor or us will have any more worries from the tree because yesterday it came down!  We reached an agreement with the neighbor to have it removed.  A certified arborist and his crew began the work yesterday and will finish today.  I thought you might like to see some of the dramatic moments from the removal process!

Here is the tree prior to the crew arriving.  You can see it was dark and rainy all day!
Andy is just getting set up in the cherry picker.  He said they normally climb the trees and cut them, but since this one is next to the alley and very spindly in sections, along with the weather,he felt it best to be safe.

 If you click on this photo you can see one large section being lowered to the ground.
 Click on the photo here and you can see Andy ducking just after he cut another large section!  He was fast!
Here's a short video I made of an exciting piece coming down!  The noise you hear is from the chipper they had running in the alley as well as the engine for the cherry picker.  I pretty much stayed in front of the window all day - I was somehow fascinated by this process!
 I was really afraid they were going to destroy our new fence here, but they were always in control!
 Not long now!
 This is what the alley looked like to the left....
 ...and to the right!
 Finally, the last limb comes down!  This was around 2:30pm - not bad for having started around 9:30am!
Today this will all be gone, and so will our days of the dreaded Ailanthus tree!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Snails Trails

Fortunately, these snails are not in my garden!  This is the fourth month of my Cottage Charm BOM from the Quilted B.  They were paper pieced and I had a lot of fun making them!  In fact, the more I do paper piecing, the more I like it.  I may just add this quilting method to my permanent repertoire!
Speaking of gardens, it may still be winter on the calender, but the primroses and winter pansies under our Dogwood trees look like this!  In fact, many of the primroses bloomed all winter long -- something unheard of when we lived West of the Cascade Mountains! 
I just received Block 5 for the Cottage Charm sampler, so with any luck I'll get it made over the weekend and show you the finished block on Monday!  Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2012

No More Storage Wars!

Friday my new bookcase/cupboard was delivered. I am so in love with it! The color perfectly matches another primitive cupboard in my studio and the size of this is perfect!  Here it is against the wall.  I placed a fat quarter pack on it just to get an idea of how it would look loaded with fat quarters.  The cupboard is pine with Candleberry paint that has been antiqued outside and the inside has been stained a walnut color. 
Here is a closeup.  You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.  I spent all weekend going through the fabric I had stored in tubs, baskets and drawers.  I ironed all the loose fat quarters and re-folded them to my preferred method.  Call me weird, but I love ironing fabric!
Much to my astonishment, I don't have nearly as much stash as I thought I did!  Can you believe it?  Look below - there is still room for more fabric!   OK, I have to admit that I have two large tubs of leftover scraps and one tub of nothing but yardage, but all in all, this isn't bad! 
I still have to fill up the drawers below but haven't decided what to put in them just yet.
Now that I have all my fabric out in the open, I think it will be much easier to use it up!  I found my taste has changed a lot since I began quilting.  Plus, I found quite a bit of fabric and even some kits that I will never use.  Hence, I'll be having a stash sale soon and my friend Stephanie at Loft Creations will join in as well!  Stay tuned for the date!  Everything will be at bargain prices!  Given the price of fabric in quilt shops these days, this will be a sale not to miss!

***Note to Kathie from Odessa, WA:  You commented on my last post but unfortunately your comment did not include your email address.  I would really like to respond to you, so please email me directly at copeck@msn.com!***