Sunday, January 26, 2014

Easy Piecing

I stumbled across a nice looking block while surfing around in Pinterest the other day. It's called Anita's Arrowhead.

I thought it was worth checking out and the blogger said it was a pattern she found in Quiltmaker. Doesn't it look complicated? It's not! You cut squares, stack them, sew around the edges just so, make 3 cuts and your piecing is done! Press and sew them all back together to wind up with one of these. I immediately made four in one sitting. 

Which layout do you like better? #1

Or #2

I have enough of this fabric to make 12 more blocks. I can easily make 4-6 in one night' session. That will give me 16 by the time I'm done. Sewn together, I'll have a 48" X 48" top. Add some borders and you've got a pretty throw for the back of a couch or for a child's room. Not bad for a few days of easy piecing!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

BBQAL - 4-Patch

Every quilt needs the 4-patch in it. This one has three blocks out of the 48 that will go in the completed quilt. 

I chose colors that were in my stash. No buying anything for this quilt, I hope!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BBQA - Fabric

I'm piecing and quilting with Leah Day in her Building Blocks Quilt Along project. Fun!

The fabric stash is raided and here are my choices! I'll use a set for two block patterns in the quilt. When, and I do mean when, I run out of a color, I'll get another comparably-toned replacement to pinch hit. I have a lot of these colors ready to be used up!

On to making the beloved 4-patch. Which pair of fabrics should I use for them? (upper right, upper middle, upper left, lower right, lower middle, or lower left)

If you want to join in on the fun and learn some good stuff in the process, go to, get everything you need for the quilt along, and have fun with us!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Celtic Solstice Mystery Project - Completion

Well, not exactly completion. More like a reveal that a completion! But here we are, linking up with the Celtic Solstice mystery on Quiltville again! 

So, I managed to get the blocks done on schedule! Not much to show for techniques since it is all about lining up the seams and sewing blocks together. We got that down from my last two posts for this clue!

I laid out the blocks and a little bit of the border options on the floor, since I do not have a design wall yet, to get a look. Love it!
I placed this picture on quiltville's Facebook page when Bonnie asked for progress shots. I also asked her about my border idea. She said to "save it for another quilt. :)"

Sewing blocks and then rows and more blocks and more rows... suddenly I only had three seams left! One on top, one on the bottom, and one down the middle. Right sides together- let's sew it up!

It really is a great quilt. My hubby can't wait til it's done as it's his last Christmas gift! 

The sashings and borders still have to be done. I am going to complete it as the pattern says and add my little border on the top edge so you always know which way is up!

Thanks for checking out my posts during this adventure! I'll link up on February 3rd to show this quilt in action!

I hope I gave some decent food for thought about some techniques in my many posts throughout this mystery. Let me know if you make my easy-level mystery quilt. I plan to release another mystery project in the spring! 

Please stop by and chat with me some more in the future. I have some interesting things developing this year and will be blogging about it all. You can also visit my Facebook page. All the best to you in '14!!!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Celtic Solstice Mystery Project - Clue 6, Part 2

The second block in Celtic Solstice is Bonnie's own design called Birthday Girl. I shared the background of 54-40 Or Fight in my last post. I wonder the story behind this name. Who was the birthday girl? tell!

It has a few challenges for me. There's a lot of angles and bias lines on this pretty block and it can be harder to match lines up. I'm sure if you had the Quiltmaker's book mentioned in the clue, the instructions would be helpful. But I don't have a copy of it so here's how it panned out for me.

Right out of the starting gate, I laid out, and consequently sewed the first two piece sets wrong. The V is pointing down instead of up. Doht! At least I realized after the second one instead of after the twenty second one!

Even though there weren't as many seams to "marry", I took advantage of them where I could. 

I eyeballed the top of these squares to get them in line before zipping that side seam up.

I love chain sewing. Don't you?

Some of my points lined up great and some not so much. C'est la vie! This quilt is going to my hubs and I know he won't notice that the points aren't all perfect.

It's exciting to get to this stage in the construction. Only 2 seams left!

Sweet satisfaction! 25 Birthday Girl blocks sewn, pressed, and ready for quilt-top action!

One other thing I made today was some artisan bread. 4 ingredients, no kneading, and perfect with a hearty soup. We woke to a temperature of -8 degrees this morning. My oven had to go on today!

How's your quilt coming along? I still have more of my custom border to complete. My next post will be the assembled top! Check back soon!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Celtic Solstice Mystery Project - Clue 6, Part 1

Happy New Year! We were fortunate enough to get the final clue for the CS mystery a few days early! I remember seeing the post on Facebook but thought it was good wishes for the new year. Off to bed I went and the next morning I actually read the post. There it was, the final reveal! I'm glad I didn't see it at midnight on the 31st, I would have stayed up all night! 

I had a family dinner party to be at on the first so not much sewing was done. I stitched up the two blocks, just to see them, and put it on hold until later. Our party was wonderful fun. Then I banged out five of the 54-40 or Fight blocks. 

Ever wonder why this block got that name? I asked my mom, who is a quilter, about it at our party. She said it had to do with the American expansionists moving out west and seeking claim of land from Oregon up towards Alaska in the 1800's. The numbers represent the parallel north navigational line that was desired for claim. There was a documented "dispute" over this movement and the catchphrase, also the name of this block, was adopted in 1846. The 49th parallel line became the boundary between the US and Canada in 1846, causing the US territory to not extend northward as planned. The quilters of the day must have thought it to be a good name for this detailed block. 

Makes history pretty interesting, doesn't it? I was never very good in that class in school. Maybe if someone told me about it while making this block, I would have remembered!

In this block, I quickly realized three things: 1) lining things up well is important, 2) it matters what side you sew on, and 3) chain piecing will keep everything in order.

The first thing I did was count out the pieces for each row and laid them out in the way they needed to be sewn. Picking up pieces and trying to figure out which way they go each time did not work well and wasted lots of time. Even though I thought I could remember how I sewed the last pieces together, as soon as I got the next set in hand, I forgot how the last set was put together. After ripping out more seams than I care to admit in the first 5 blocks, I knew I had to do things a better way. Setting out the rows first did the trick.

Lining up the sets well and it matters what side you sew on:
Some of the sets can be lined up at the point of the V and the seam of the 4-patch. Line up on the seam line, not the edge of the seam! Once you see it looks good, slide the blocks together so the edge is matching. You can pop in pins if you feel the need. Turn it so the V is on top when you sew. It matters what side you sew on!

When you are lining up the third block, you can use the seam line and the stitch line as the guides. Double check the sides to match up points and edges. Pin it if you need to. Place the block with the V on top when you sew. It matters what side you sew on!

Chain piecing will keep things in order! Because all the pieces for all the blocks have been counted out and set up first, you know exactly what and where to sew. Isn't that freeing? Start on two piles for a set, like the upper left and middle piles, chain sew them all, and press. 
This is not showing the V blocks on top. Things lined up more consistently when that point was in view while sewing. You can't control stitch placement when you can't see where you're sewing!

Then move on to the middle row, then the lower row. Then set them up next to each other again and sew through all the sets in the top row, then the middle row, and the bottom row. Press. 
Only two seams left and these blocks are done!

It was a snowy day in the northeast. I managed to complete all 24 of my 54-40 or Fight blocks!

Sparkie and Sasha are pleased!