Friday, January 17, 2014

Scrap Block Tutorial

I've had some requests to do a tutorial on the scrap block from my last post.  First I have to say that I did not design this block.  It comes from a pattern by Ann Weber of The Gingham Girls.  I can't tell you how much fun I'm having making them.  They go fast and you can make as many or as few as you like from your scrap pile!
First find two scraps that are big enough to give you a 6 inch block and an 8 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch strip. I like to make sure I have a light and a dark or medium rather than two lights and two darks.  It's your quilt, though, so you can decide what you want!
From the larger scrap cut a 6" square.  It really helps to have either a 6"  or 6 1/2" square ruler with a diagonal line down the middle.  You'll figure out why a bit later here.
From the smaller square cut a 1 1/2" by 8 1/2" strip.
Whoops - forgot to tell you to cut the 6" square in half diagonally.
Now you're ready to begin making your block.  I like to grab a huge pile of scraps and cut as many as I can so I can chain sew these together.
With right sides together sew one side of your strip to the diagonal cut side of one the triangles. I don't use pins here as I try not to mess with that diagonal cut too much.  If it helps you can finger press the center of each piece, but they should fit perfectly end to end without doing that.
Press to the triangle.
Repeat with the other triangle.
Now you're ready for some trimming.
Here's where it helps to finger press down the middle of the strip.  Line your ruler up with the diagonal line down the middle of the strip.
Rotate the block and align the outer edges with the 5" mark on the ruler and trim again.  You may be thinking this is a lot of waste, but remember, you're using scraps to begin with!  If you can't stand the waste, then adjust your pieces smaller so there is less.  I find when I get in the zone of cutting these that I can easily make a mistake, so I'm glad for the extra waste!
Now you have a perfect 5 inch block!  With a little math you can enlarge these blocks or even make them smaller to suit your needs!
For a look at another great scrap block tutorial, be sure to visit to Stephanie at Loft Creations!
I took a break from cutting and sewing to find Gracie May in the dining room sunbathing her tummy!
It was all I could do to keep from getting down there with her!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Project!

Recently Stephanie over at Loft Creations had a post about using up your scraps to make string quilts.  She offered a no rules, informal, string "non-challenge" and I decided to play along.
I am going to turn this.....
...into these!  They may not be your typical string block, but I do think scraps qualify, right Stephanie?
I plan to make lots and lots of these!  Perhaps enough for a large, queen size quilt - something that will still fit on my longarm but be big enough for the bed.

Don't tell anyone, but I have another scrap bin just like this, full to the brim!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Granny Stripe Progress

The other day Stephanie posted her Granny Stripe Blanket progress HERE.  So far in our "Friends Helping Friends" project I think we're both making great progress!
It's a very dark and dreary day here so I thought I would try to liven up the photos with some of my copper lustre collection.  I don't think it helped much, but maybe makes the photos look a little more pretty.
This is slightly closer.  I crochet 10 rows of one color, then a row of a variegated yarn before I switch to the next color.  I am thinking of crocheting an edge all around when it's done in the same variegated yarn.  It seems to go faster and faster as my arthritic hands begin to get used to the motions.  Only a couple more color changes and I'll have a sweet little lap blanket!  It's amazing what you can do with yarn you had and didn't like!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Calendar BOM is a Flimsy!

Thanks to all of you who suggested ways to sash my Kathy Schmitz Sweet Stitches Block of the Month!  As you've heard me mention before, these were supposed to be individual little quilts.  I chose to make them one large quilt.  I can't believe I finished in under a year, too!  I tried several different fabrics as sashings, but  not a single one worked for me.  Quilt Sue had a great idea - use the same fabric from the center stitcheries!

I can't thank you enough for your suggestion, Sue!  It was right there in front of me all this time, but it just took a clever quilter to point me in the right direction!  Sue also suggested I make scrappy flying geese around the outside - one fantastic idea, but at this point I am just ready to put this quilt to bed - literally!  Sorry for the lighting - I have my design wall in the laundry room.  
Here is a slightly closer look.  I decided to lay them out in rows according to seasons.  Sasha wanted to make sure I got her in the picture - she's such a ham!  Gracie May is still banned from the laundry room - too many nooks and crannies for her to find trouble, so we'll wait until she's too big to fit into them!

I hope all of you in the midwest and east get through the nasty cold!  Now that we're retired and don't have to be anywhere, we would sure like snow in our neck of the woods, but we'll have to be satisfied with watching it around the rest of the country.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Supreme Finish

Stephanie at Loft Creations has been creating again! I recently had the opportunity to test her new pattern "Prairie Tote".  The pattern is available as a PDF download and also kitted from Connecting Threads HERE.

When Stephanie first told me about the pattern, I immediately had something in mind for fabric!  It was the reference to the name that got me thinking about Basic Grey's Curio line and....
this book, one of my favorites, by Isabella Bird.  I thought the fabric line was reminiscent of something you might see out on the prairie during Isabella's time.  This is a great read!  It's a journal of her 6 month journey, alone and on horseback, mostly during winter through the Rocky Mountains in 1873.  A journey like this was unheard of for that time, let alone, a woman!
I can just imagine Isabella sitting at the train station with her small trunk waiting to head West across the prairie for her adventure!  I bet she didn't use anything from her trunk!
She could have carried a similar bag on her person for any "necessities" she might need for the long train ride west, and perhaps it even survived her 6 month journey through the high wilderness if for nothing else but to transport her precious journal back home.
I used 21 wale corduroy for the base of the bag and the handles.  I just love working with it!  It gives a little extra stability to the bag and feels so luscious! Oh, and not to forget, Stephanie's new book, Uncommonly Corduroy, comes out next month and has all kinds of projects, including quilts using corduroy!
I wonder what Isabella would have thought of cell phones had she lived to our electronic age!

Do hop on over to Stephanie's blog and see her creation.  Don't forget, you can buy it kitted or the PDF download only at Connecting Threads!