Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Longest Night: A New Block a Day

Greetings from the new location of 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks! If you don't follow 52 Quilts on Facebook or Instagram, you may not know I've moved to Parkland, Washington. It's wonderful to be near Elder Son, Dear Daughter and the grands.

I missed a Block a Day for Summer -- but here is the new one for Winter. It's an easy one, and a good way to use up scraps. I'm calling it "Framed Nine Patch."

To make the 9-patches, start with either 1½" strips or one white "Honey Bun" and one colored strip roll.  I'm using a Moda Bella Solid bleached white honey bun, and a Kona Cotton "brights" roll up.

Stitch together roughly half one colored and one white strip.

Press toward the colored strip, then cross-cut into 1½" chunks. The Stripology ruler works great for this.

Six "chunks" will make three 9-patch units.

Place three "chunks" on a strip of colored fabric, and three on a strip of white.

 Cut them apart and press toward the colored square.

To make the squares lie nice and flat, cover them with a wooden cutting board (or a book, or a ruler!) and let them sit until cool.

Like the "My Heart's in Colorado" cutting board my friend Joy gave me as a going-away present?

Stitch two 9-patches like this -- one "positive" and one "negative."

Press the seams on the "positive" block (the one with colored corners) toward the outside. On the "negative" block (the one with white corners) press toward the center.

Each block should measure exactly 3½" square.  If your blocks are too small or too large, adjust your seam allowance. Now is the time to make the adjustment, before you've made a pile of too-small blocks!

To frame the blocks, cut:

(2) 2½" X 3½" rectangles
(2) 2½" X 7½" rectangles

Frame the "positive" 9-patches with white fabric.

Frame the "negative" 9-patch with a print fabric.

Here are my first two finished blocks. Each is 7½" square, and will finish to 7" square.

Without a border, 90 blocks will make a quilt 63" X 70" -- generous lap size, or good for a twin bed.

My going-away prezzie to myself was this incredible Koala machine cabinet. It holds two machines and has an electric lift for each.

Notice I'm not showing you the rest of the sewing room!  It's 1/3 the size of my Colorado sewing room, with the same amount of "stuff." It will probably be next summer before I have it organized!

I hope you'll share your "Block a Day" blocks with me. Email AuntMarti at 52Quilts dot com.

Happy Solstice Day!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Spring!

Time for a new "Block a Day" project!

The BaD for Spring is one of the simplest blocks in the quilter's canon. And there's a story why I chose it.

As you've heard me say many times, "I make the quilts I like, and if you suck up adequately, you get the quilt." This is true most times, except for wedding and anniversary quilts. Then, the recipients get some input! The three questions I ask are:

  1. Bed-size or throw?
  2. Traditional or Modern?
  3. What color?

When I asked my nephew in England what quilt his lovely wife would like for their new home, his answers were:
  1. Bed size
  2. Traditional (he actually said "farm house quilt," but I'm interpreting that to mean traditional!)
  3. Purple
And what could be more traditional than the Friendship Star?

I promise you, the dark is purple, not brown!

This block is so easy, I'm almost embarrassed to offer a tutorial! But just in case you've never made one, here's how I made my 9" finished block.

To make the Friendship Star block, you need four background squares, one center (contrast) square, and two half-square triangles made from the background and contrast fabric.

My un-pieced squares are cut at 3½" and the HSTs (Half Square Triangles) start out as 4½" squares.

Make your HSTs by whatever method you like best. I'm using the "draw a line from corner to corner, stitch ¼" from either side, cut in half on the line, and press toward the dark" method.

I do love the Bloc_Loc rulers to square up HSTs. This one makes perfect 3½" HSTs. If you've never tried this nifty tool, here is a link to my post describing how to use it.

Lay out the squares and HSTs like this (be sure the points are "spinning" the right direction!):

Stitch them together and press. I press the horizontal seams outward, and the vertical seams inward. That way, when I sew all the blocks together, the seams will nest nicely!

Presto! One down, 89 to go!

Happy Spring!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The End of an Era

The last day of December, 2012, I challenged 52 Quilts followers to complete 13 UFOs in 2013. Since that announcement, every month loyal quilters have sent photos of their finished quilts. More than 400 in the four years following!

Since I've taken a job at my fav LQS, Ruth's Stitchery, this blog has been sadly neglected. And the number of UFOs completed has dropped dramatically.

So I'm sad to announce, this is the last UFO Parade hosted by 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks. I haven't decided whether or not to curtail blogging, but I will no longer issue a monthly challenge.

So let's enjoy the final UFO Parade!

Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts are very popular among the UFO Challengers. And it's easy to see why, considering the huge number of pieces each one has. Are you doing her current mystery, En Provence?

Kerry, of Kerry's Quilting, has finished several of Bonnie's scrappy quilts. This month, she sent a photo of her "Midnight Flight." More details on Kerry's blog, Kerry's Quilting.

And here's the photo:

Isn't it a stunner?

Sandi is another loyal UFO challenger, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last month in San Diego. It was like we had know each other forever! I look forward to seeing Sandi and Kerry whenever I visit My Little Sailor in San Diego.

It's been fun watching Sandi's latest "kwilt" come together. This one is made from blocks Sandi won in a 100 Blocks blog hop. Read all about it at KwiltnKats.

Sandi's second finish was a 52 Quilts UFO Parade prize back in 2014! She calls it Konstant Konnection, and you can read more about it here.

Another blog follower I look forward to meeting is Susan-from-Australia. I really hope you visit Susan's Sewing Space to read the story behind her UFO entry (entries!) this month. It's really special.

Most of my finishes these days are shop samples. I have five Strip Race quilts to share mid-month, I hope you'll come back to see them.

Thank you to all who have participated in the UFO Challenge these four years. It's been lovely getting to know you and sharing your UFO quilts!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, November 4, 2016

Some Friday Finishes

I may not have been blogging much, but that doesn't mean I haven't been quilting! 

November's Jelly Roll Party at Ruth's Stitchery features not one, but three easy strip quilts. All three are included in one pattern, "Strip it Three Ways II" by Nancy Rink Designs. The three quilts in this pattern are named "Earth," "Wind," and "Fire." (Hmm, sounds like a rock group I remember!)

When I started the sample for this class, I thought I would make only one of the three quilts. The first one I made is called "Earth." It's made with Robert Kaufman's Kona New Dark Palette roll up. The background is Michael Miller's cotton couture in the color "Earth." (I got a kick out of using that fabric for the "Earth" quilt. Note: the actual fabric is more of a brown color than it looks on the computer screen.)

Friend and long-armer Denise, of Pickle Dish Quilting, quilted this one with my favorite figure-8s design. We like Omni thread from Superior for quilting -- it comes in so many colors, and slides through the long arm machine like a hot knife through butter!

So "Earth" went together so fast, I decided to whip up "Fire."  I had two Wilmington Jewels "Wanted . . . Red or Alive" strip sets left over from making a 12th birthday quilt for my great-nephew. The strip set has red, orange, yellow, grey, and black strips -- so I selected only the bright colors, plus a few batik scraps. I used Northcott's Artisan Shimmer in grey with silver metallic dots for the background -- I think it looks like smoke.

Denise quilted this one with a "flame" pattern using a unique variegated thread from Superior called "Lava."

Fair warning: there are corrections for this pattern at Nancy Rink Designs.

The third, and last quilt in the collection is "Wind." Because my blog co-editor is a US Navy Sailor, I thought more of "water" than wind. The jelly roll I used is "Hearty Good Wishes" by Janet Clare for Moda, along with some scraps from her "Nocturne" collection. The background is also from "Nocturne."

Click on the photo so you can see the cool, wavy quilting design Denise's daughter, Kristina used for this one. Isn't it perfect?

So, choose one or all three! 

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November UFO Parade

How is this possible? It's November? And I didn't write a blog post for the entire MONTH of October?

It's not that I didn't make any quilts -- and I enjoyed some serious stash enhancement! I will try to get some posts up in November, but no promises!

In the meanwhile, the November UFO number is:


Some 52 Quilts followers are keeping up with their finishes for 2016. Look at this beauty from Susan-in-Australia:

As it's summer "down under," Susan's bright, summery colors will be perfect for a table topper! Here's what she wrote me about this beauty:

I started this in October 2013.  I was doing a "bargello" project with a group of ladies and wisely chose a smaller project - initially it was to be a runner for our outside table - but since then we have changed the table and what I had already started was then too wide to use on the table, so this will now sit on the servery between the kitchen and outside area.  I plan to make some placemats to match - but just in strips I think.   Enough bargello for now!
I understand, Susan -- my bargello for Jelly Roll Party last year will be my last -- for awhile at least! Read the whole story on Susan's blog, Susan's Sewing Space.

I love this modern quilt from Martha-in-Idaho. It's called "Sergeant's Stripes," from my favorite Boise shop, Quilt Expressions:

And look! She made a tuffet! Isn't it the cutest? So far, I've managed to resist this fad -- but Martha's tuffet might push me over the edge.

Mary J has some good advice for all of us -- finish those class projects! I'm sure I'm not the only quilter who starts a project in class, then lets it languish for months (even years).

Here are Mary J's placemats from a class she took with Karen Combs.  

Karen specializes on "quilts of illusion." See more of her designs here.  

Look closely at Donna's photo of the chenille table runner and placemats she made for a friend. The table runner reads "Home Sweet MotorHome!" So cute!

Sandi has two finishes to share this month -- as always, her quilt names begin with "K," 

First up, "Kloggs." 

First is Kloggs that I've made for my sister.  Both of us wanted something new for our king size beds so I decided to please her first.  Kloggs used warm colored fabrics and black.  Much of the fabrics were in my stash.  I added in a bit of the yellows and swapped out Lori Smith's suggested browns for black.  I enjoyed how the borders were made as blocks.  Here is the link on the day I finished  It is not a very good photo as it was difficult to get back far enough in my sewing room to capture the entire quilt.
Love it, Sandi -- that's a LOT of HSTs!

And second, Karduus:

Second finish is Karduus.  I saw this design by Karen Montgomery a very long time ago and knew I wanted to make it.  At the time I decided not to purchase the Tonga fabrics.  Frankly I forgot all about the project until I saw it again at Kerry's.  Kerry was quilting it for one of her clients who had made it with the Tonga batiks.  My interest was tweaked once again to make one of my own.  I looked high and low for the Tonga fabrics that I decided I wanted now, but couldn't locate them.  Instead I used a variety of cream batiks and most of the colored fabrics from my stash.  I purchased only a few coral FQs to bring in the desert color way.  Karduus was hard to photograph; I just couldn't get a picture showing the softness of the beautiful batiks.  Here is Karduus's finish

Incredible work, everyone! Next month, I'll make a count of all the UFOs we've finished this year!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October UFO Parade

October already?  Time for my favorite holiday -- Halloween!  You know, 'cuz you get to dress up, knock on strangers' doors, and demand candy!

First of all, the October UFO number is:

Lucky #7

My favorite number!

Some great finishes this month. First up, three finishes from Kerry that I missed for the September UFO Parade.  I just hate it when I do that, but in my defense, my desktop crashed hard last month. So if I missed your UFO, please let me know!

I happen to know Kerry's first finish is quite an accomplishment -- because it was a BOM at my LQS, Ruth's Stitchery. "Freedom Rings" is a design by Paula Barnes -- and it's a big quilt!

I'm always so impressed by the Bonnie Hunter quilts those California girls finish (and they have day jobs, too!).  This is "Winston Ways," and I don't even want to count how many pieces are in each block!

After two "big" finishes, Kerry also finished this "mini," called "Drop" by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

Read all about Kerry's finishes at her blog, Kerry's Quilting.

 Mary J is our overachiever for September -- she finished not one, but SIX quilts this month! They will all be donated to Ronald McDonald House. Mary, I'm sure they will be appreciated.

Here is just one, but you can see all six on Mary J's blog, Zippy Quilts.

Susan has another charity finish for September -- and a great scrappy quilt I want to copy!

Isn't that fun? It was her Leaders and Enders project for this year, and she's planning to donate it to an Aged Care home. Read the details on Susan's blog, Susan's Sewing Space.

I'm off to San Diego to greet My Little Sailor on his return from Japan! And, I get to attend Cozy Quilt's Strip Club next Saturday!

Happy October!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, September 30, 2016

30 Day Quilt Prep Challenge

I did it! 30 quilts prepped for the long arm in 30 days!

Now, to be fair -- all but two or three of these were completed tops, "flimsies." The challenge was to prepare the backing and cut the batting, so each quilt is ready to be quilted.

And I did it!  Six of them have been passed on to various long-armers. I'll quilt the smaller ones myself, and probably all of the Bonnie Hunter mysteries. I love looking at the empty shelf formerly filled with tops waiting to be quilted. Four years of "52 Quilts in 52 Weeks" makes for a lot of flimsies!

Half the doors in the house have quilts/backs/batting hanging from them:

And here is #30, "Jelly Roll Jingle." (The batting and backing are downstairs on the cutting table.)

Jelly Roll Jingle is my original design. It will be a free pattern for all who attend the December Jelly Roll Party at Ruth's Stitchery and buy a jelly roll. Thanks, Pati, for your help in deciding on a name for this pattern!

I'm off to San Diego next week to meet my returning Sailor -- and two 52 Quilts followers!

Come back tomorrow for the October UFO Parade.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature