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