Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday

Happy Easter everyone!  He is risen!  I hope you are having a lovely day with family, friends, and/or tasty food.  My husband and I will be going out for brunch since it is just the two of us.

Today and hopefully every Sunday for a while, I'm joining in with Kim as she is launching a Scrap Basket Sunday sew-along.  She blogged that her scrap basket was getting a bit out of hand and so she wanted to make some scrappy quilts and has invited anyone else to join in.  It is never too late, either!  Just blog about your scrappy projects on Sunday and visit her and link up.  Easy.

She is planning to work on a project from this book:
(Edited:  Whoops, I can't seem to remember book titles too well.  Kim is using Simple Grace by Kim Diehl, not Simple Charm)
I have this book too, and while I think I got it last fall, I still have yet to make a project out of it, even though it is full of fun things.  Out in Blogland, I kept seeing quilts from this book that I didn't remember.  Finally, I had an "ah ha" moment and realized it wasn't the book Simple Charm by Kim Diehl that they were mentioning, it was this book, Simply Charming, by Tara Lynn Darr.  Once I had that figured out, I got it, too.
Have you seen it?  Oh my.  As much as I love Kim Diehl's book, this one is even better.  It is full of at least 16 small quilts, all made from scraps and charms and I want to make every one of them!  Usually there is at least one or two or maybe even a few more projects in a book that I don't want to make, but not this one!

As for scraps, I do have some, but not really that many.  This is my scrap drawer.
Every time I have a bit of something, it goes in here.  This is my huge confession:  when I move, I don't take my scraps with me!  I decided long ago that I had enough stuff to move and didn't want to have to deal with scraps, so I give them away prior to a move.  That means that right now, I only have about 6 months of scraps. 

I also have this drawer above the scrap one:
It is full of left-over pieces that I cut for other projects.  These are mostly from the big, Patriotic, King-sized quilt that I just finished.  It is nice to have stacks of the same-sized pieces in there. 

I will also confess that I have plastic bins full of strips.  These I do move with me, and I guess that they are also "scraps."  I have 1 1/4, 1 1/2, 1 3/4, 2, and 2 1/2 inch strips.  So all in all, I do have a good amount of pieces to get going with, if I don't have the huge supply that others do.

I thumbed through the book and decided on my first pattern.  It is shown in blue and cream, but I wanted to do it in red and cream, and it was easily made in an afternoon.

Here it is, all layered and pinned, waiting for some quilting!  I will bind it in red, too.  All I had to do was make some easy 9 patches and set them with cream squares.  I think it finishes around 15x18."  I love these small quilts--they are like potato chips, you can't just make one! 

I think I'm going to love these Scrap Basket Sundays!  I get to "find" cute quilts "hiding" in my scraps!  What can you make with yours?

Have a great day,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sashing Complete (Almost)

I set about making the next units for my sashing and I took photos to show you the steps.  The technique uses Monique Dillard's Fit to Be Quarter and Companion rulers.  If you are interested, you can find them here.

These are the rulers.  They come with wonderful instructions about how to achieve your desired finished unit.

The first thing you do is cut the required pieces:  this will include the center of the square-in-a-square block, which is cut as a square, and then the corners which are cut as triangles (for me they are of my background fabric.)

You take the center square and align it with the appropriate size square on the Companion ruler.

Then you trim the corners off.  Easy!
Sew one of the corner triangles to one diagonal edge.
  You can see that the triangle is larger than what would be required.  This is so that it can be "squared up" later for a perfect unit.  It also means easy sewing as you don't have to be absolutely exact!

Here the seam is stitched, but I used light thread so it is hard to see.  Sorry!
Press by setting the seam and then opening the triangle.  It is intuitive to press it that way just like when making a flying geese unit.  However, when I began piecing everything together for the sashing, I realized that the directions said to press some of them (the middle units--my red ones) toward the square, not the triangle. Oops!

Next add another triangle to the other side.
When it is pressed, you end up with a wonky unit like this.  Never fear!

Using the Fit to be Quarter ruler in the set, you line it up at the bottom right corner with the original size of the square that you cut.  You can see that one of the diagonal lines will match the right side's diagonal seam.

When it is all aligned, you trim off the side and top with your rotary cutter.

The turn it around to the third edge and trim that, too,
You end up with a nice, square unit again.
Turn it upside down and repeat the process...

...by removing the other two corners
Then sew on the other triangles in the same manner as before
It is easy chain sewing

Press the third corner
Add the fourth

now you have another half true, half wonky block.
Just use the ruler and trim the three sides and
A perfect square-in-a-square block!

It takes quite a few steps, and lots of trimming, but the perfect block is so worth it!  I've made these the traditional way and no matter how careful I am, they come out a bit wonky or skewed.
I finished all of these and added the top and bottom strips and went on to sewing them together into the sashing strips.  However, the points needed to match so I had to pin!  I try to avoid pinning at all costs, but it is necessary here for good matches.
It occurred to me that not everyone may know the technique (which is pretty common--it isn't my idea at all, I can't remember when I learned it) that I use to match points.  I think it is referred to as "the three pin technique" (or at least it is in my head, ha ha!)
Start by using one pin to match the point.  Push the pin from the back of one unit, right at the intersection of the seams of the point
Then continue pushing the pin through the point on the right side of the second unit
Ram both pieces tight together and up to the head of the pin.  You want it all tight together so it doesn't shift!

Next you put a second pin as close to one side of the first point as possible, and then use a third pin on the other side. 

Remove the first pin. 

Sew the pieces together.  I leave the pins in and go slow so I don't hit one.  (sssh, don't tell the sewing machine police that I sew over pins!)  You don't have to, but I want to keep it all from shifting even a tiny bit, and sometimes when you remove a pin, things move.
Or, after you "three pin" several, you can remember that you have those nifty "fork pins" and you can use them instead.  With the matching, first pin in place, straddle it with the fork pin!
These points match much better in person than the photo seems to show!  Really!!
I had to press this seam open because there was so much bulk where those points met, so that slowed me down a bit, too.
This is a complete pieced sashing!  I have several done but need to finish the rest today.
Do you want to see a sneak peek of how all of this is going to come together?  I sure did!!!

 I think all this work on the pieced sashing is totally worth it!  Look how it "floats" the blocks!!!

I can't wait for the rest of the patterns!  This is going to be a great quilt!
Have a great day!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Sashing

Hi Everyone,

I spent all of yesterday afternoon making another unit for the Blogger Girls BOM sashing.  I've mentioned it in passing the past two days.  It is a free Block of the Month by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts.  If you are interested, you can find all the instructions that we have so far here.  We make one or two blocks each month for six months.  I'm making two, so I will have 12 blocks when completed.  We have half the block patterns so far, and a week or two ago, Monique released the finishing instructions so I'm working on the sashing so that I can have it done when the blocks are all done.  This is proving to be a good plan because this pieced sashing is taking quite a while to do.

This is what we need:

As you can see, we are making many square in a square blocks.  Monique has the coolest rulers that yield the most perfect square in a square, however, it requires "squaring up."  I will take pictures of the steps today when I work on the final unit.

So far, I have the top "G" units completed.  There are 20 of them and they are the corner stones.  I did them on Tuesday.

I spent all yesterday working on the "H" units of the sashing.  We need 31 sashing units, so I had to make 62 of the "H's."  Today I will work on the "I's" and hopefully can get all of them done as well as assemble the sashings.

The blue units are the corner stones and the red units are the "G's."

This is the back of the red.  You can see how the rulers/technique really make for a perfect block.

I'm off to work on the next step!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Feeling Fallish

Have you ever noticed that in the fall we welcome cool days and nothing is more exciting than the first snow of the season?  We are so relieved to be over the heat and humidity and we look forward to the beauty of the fall leaves, crisp apples, comforting soups, etc.  Six short months later and we are sick of the cold, tired of snow, so over wearing pants and sweaters!  Where are the flowers?  Can't I wear sandals yet?  I think the only consistent thing about us is that we are always hoping for a better day!

I tried to appreciate the snow we had Sunday and Monday and not resent it as much as I wanted to, so I went to my quilt room and got into a fall-feeling.  It was actually a bit of a quilt show day, as yesterday morning I had a committee meeting here for our guild's upcoming show.  There are five of us on our committee and it is great fun getting to know the others and they are so organized that it is fairly stress free, so far.  We are the Presentation committee, in charge of demos, door prizes, and the viewer's choice ballots/awards.  The show isn't until the end of October, so it is still early in the planning stage. 

After the meeting, I went up to work on some blocks that we are doing for a raffle quilt for the show.  The show has a fall theme so we are making a quilt in fall colors consisting of rail fence blocks and leaf blocks--all in batiks.  I had fun as I had a partial Bali Pop with all the appropriate colors.

Here are my results from just an hour or two of sewing:

Each stack of rail fences has about 6 in it--they are the results from one length-of-fabric strip set. 

I also worked on the sashing for the Blogger Girl's BOM and got all the corner squares done.  It seems like I have such a pile of "bits and pieces" of things to work on or finish.  I feel easily distracted.  I going back to try to get some of these things finished or put away, or....  something.

I hope you all have a great day!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Visitor

Hi Everyone,

Well, on the quilting front, I have to confess that I haven't got much to share.  I do have a small project that I am working on, but I'm going to share that on Sunday.  I'm joining in with Kim over at Kim's Big Quilting Adventure with her Scrap Basket Sundays--it was perfect timing as I was just starting in on making some projects from my scrap basket.  Otherwise I have bits and pieces of different projects going, but not underway enough to share.  I also want to get started on the sashing for the Blogger Girl's BOM, but haven't managed that yet, either. 

Saturday around noon, I went and got the mail.  We had a visitor arrive!

This is Flat Kiley and she is visiting from South Dakota. 
Are familiar with the book, Flat Stanley?  It is a children's book written about 30 years ago.  It tells the story of Stanley, a boy who is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him (if I remember the details correctly.)  Since he is flat, he can be mailed  to California to visit relatives.  When he returns home, he is able to foil an art thief ring by dressing up and standing in an empty picture frame in the museum.  He is sad, though, to be flat and his brother re-inflates him with a bicycle pump.  This book has launched many school projects with different "Flats" getting sent to relatives or friends in different parts of the country/world.  We last had a Flat visit us in Alaska, and it was great fun.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, so in the afternoon we took Flat Kiley out for her first adventure (the requirement is just to do a write-up of where the Flat visited, but we have lots of fun and do creative adventures, etc.)  Anyway, when we were out, we ran into a teacher from Oklahoma who was taking her class's Flats on the same adventure!

So we photographed the moment!

You may see Flat Kiley on the blog once in a while.  Hey, my life is not that full at the moment.  I think Kiley will be helping me organize paperwork later but I suspect that she will be terrified by the shredder, ha ha. 

The weather may have been gorgeous on Saturday, but it snowed on Sunday and rained all of yesterday.  I'm so ready for spring!

I planned to spend the rainy day yesterday up in my quilting room sewing, but I had recorded the first season of "Call the Midwife" on PBS Sunday, and I only meant to watch one of them yesterday and I ended up watching it all!  Wow!  I had previously not been interested in the series, but there has been so little that I like on tv lately that I decided to try it.  Wow!  I fell in love.  By the time I watched them all I was a bit of an emotional wreck, but in a good way!

Hopefully I shall get some stitching done today.  Have a great day!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Several Small Finishes

Good Morning Everyone,

Boy, last Sunday when I started going through my piles to hang things on my new rack, I sure discovered quite a few unquilted tops!

I would like to say that that was motivation enough for me to do some finishing, but of course it wasn't.  What did motivated me was that I had begun this one
with the express purpose of donating it to the spouses' club I belong to for a door prize for our upcoming gardening-themed luncheon.  That luncheon is...    today!
If you look carefully at the photo from Sunday, you can see this quilt hanging there on the left, and if you could look really closely, you would see that the flowers are still just pinned in place and not even appliqued!
Obviously, I needed to get to work!  I layered it and quilted it, then appliqued on the flowers, so that I didn't have to worry about quilting over the applique--I'm pleased with how it came out.  Next I cut and sewed on the binding.  Then I turned my attention back to the other projects on the rack. 
I joined the Temecula Quilt Co's monthly mini program this year.  So far I had pieced the January and February projects.  I was contemplating hand-quilting them, as the demos were, but since they were still hanging around, I decided it may be best to just machine quilt them.  If I was going to do them, I may as well piece the March project first, so I did, and then I layered them all and quilted them.
I'm loving these mini projects!  You get a small kit for them and it is so much fun to have something to do on those days when you don't feel like doing something else, you don't feel like "thinking" about something, etc.  I just pull out the kit and do some cutting and sewing and in an hour or two, there is a pieced top!
This pinwheel was the January project.  I love the red and tan "rogue" blocks.  It makes it look so "make-do."  I don't think I've ever bound something in muslin before, but that was what was provided, so I did so.  I really like how it looks, too.
This log cabin was February's kit.  I quilted it with a variegated pink/red thread that I had.  There wasn't much of it and I was afraid it would run out before I was finished, so I quilted really fast!  Ha ha, do you ever do that?  When your thread is running out, especially while hand sewing, do you go faster, seeming to race it to the end, hoping you will get there before it runs out?  Luckily, there seemed to me more thread than I thought and so I had plenty.
And finally, this green project was the March monthly mini.  I love how it looks like shamrocks for St. Patty's day, and yet, they aren't, so it could be out all year.  This is the only one that I have "meddled with."  They provided 5 fabrics for the blocks, and I used them.  When I began to lay them out while consulting the photo provided, I noticed that the shop sample had used a sixth fabric.  I attempted an arrangement with the five fabrics, but couldn't manage to find a good layout without having the same fabrics touching.  Yikes!  I couldn't have that!  I looked into my stash and found another of these green prints and so made a few more.  Much better! 
Yesterday morning, all four of the quilts had the binding attached and I took them to my bee and spent that time hand sewing the binding down.  I had time to wash and dry them and they came out with their crinkly goodness and then I called the door-prize coordinator to let her know I had one!  I don't like to commit if I'm not sure I can follow-through!
It was fun AND feels great to have all these finished!
Have a great day!