Stars and Pinwheels QAL – Block 8 – Christmas Pinwheel Star

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This is block 8 in Susan’s Stars and Pinwheels QAL called Christmas Pinwheel Star.

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/stars-pinwheels-qal-christmas-pinwheel-star/

Since I’m making a small project each month with the featured block, I decided to use this block in a cover for a lumbar cushion.  Because the cushion is curved, it’s difficult to cover and I used a lined 30 inch x 10-½ inch panel with Velcro on either end to fit over the center of the cushion.

I reduced the size of the pattern to 8-½ inches unfinished (2.5 and 3.5 inch squares) and added borders plus some longer pieces for the cover to join in the back.

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I thought this was a very pretty block and it was easy to put together with half-square triangles.

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Stars and Pinwheels QAL–Block 7

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This is block 7 in Susan’s stars and pinwheels quilt-along, called Expanding Star.

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-expanding-star/

I’m using these blocks-of-the-month to make a different project each month rather than saving them for a quilt.  This month, I reduced the block size to 8 inches (unfinished) and made three of them to incorporate in a table mat for a special table in my living room.  I fussy-cut three designs from a Christmas panel and added some festive fabric to make the red diamonds.

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I bought the vintage sewing table in an antique store several years ago and it gets constant use as a table for sewing, eating, watching TV, working with photographs, writing notes and cards, and is the regular Sunday dinner table for my reclusive 16-year-old grandson.  I keep a mat on it at all times

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This is an easy block which has a good secondary design.

 

Stars and Pinwheels QAL – Block 6 – Pinwheel 7

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This is block 6 in Susan’s stars and pinwheels quilt-along, called Pinwheel 7.  Colors are distorted in the picture – fabrics are white and dark green polka dot.

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-pinwheel-7/

I’m using the blocks in this series to make a different project each month rather than saving them for a big quilt.  This month, I decided to replace a 30-year-old mixer cover for my 30-year-old Kitchen Aid mixer.

My daughter had brought the cover back from a trip to Ireland and it’s still in good shape, but it’s time for a different look for that part of the kitchen counter.

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I used the old cover as a three-part pattern (center and two sides).  I reduced the block size to 7 inches finished and used four of them plus two end pieces to make the center of the cover.

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I found two Dutch embroidered panels in my stack of hand-embroidery and used one for each side.Susan-B6 (4)

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All I needed was a lining and some binding around the bottom to complete a new, very different cover for the old Kitchen Aid.

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Cozy Afternoon – Free BOM – Block 5

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Jacquelynne Steves has offered another series of free blocks-of-the-month called Cozy Afternoon.

http://jacquelynnesteves.com/cozy-afternoon-block-of-the-month/

There were five blocks in the series, each with a pattern to embroider or applique for the center.  I have a large hassock with a lid which I’m going to cover, using five blocks – one for the top of the lid and four for the sides.

My version of Block 5 is shown in the top picture.  This will be one of the sides of the hassock cover, using a vintage embroidery pattern for the center.

011I made all of my blocks with a beach or nautical theme.

Jacquelynne has completed the series with suggestions for setting and borders, but since I will not be making a wall hanging, I will work out how I want to place these blocks using one top panel and four side panels to make the hassock cover.  More on that in a week or two.

Jacquelynne always offers interesting blocks that are simple and easy to make but very pretty.  I’ve enjoyed this quilt-along.

Stars and Pinwheels QAL – Block 5 – Split Star

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This is block 5 in Susan’s stars and pinwheels quilt-along, called Split Star.  I’m using the blocks in this series to make a different project each month rather than saving them for a big quilt.  This month, I wanted to make a cover for my piano bench which accompanies my 1960s era piano.
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I reduced the blocks to 7 inches and made 8 of them plus borders to make a 15-½ inch by 31 inch cover.

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I had the chance to choose some pretty fall-themed fat quarters on a recent visit to Amish Country to use in this project.  There are several ways to arrange the blocks and I chose this design.

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The Split Star pattern is pretty, easy to sew and easy to reduce in size.  I think it made a very nice bench cover.

Cozy Afternoon – Free BOM – Blocks 1 and 2

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Jacquelynne Steves is offering another series of free blocks-of-the-month called Cozy Afternoon.

http://jacquelynnesteves.com/cozy-afternoon-block-of-the-month/

There will be five blocks, each with a pattern to embroider or applique for the center.  I have a large hassock with a lid which I’m going to cover, using five blocks – one for the top of the lid and four for the sides.  I used a fussy-cut center for the top which will get a lot of wear.

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I’ll be adding corner triangles which will make this a perfect size for my hassock.

The embroidery pattern was so cute that I made another block with a redwork cup.  This piece will probably be turned into a gift bag.

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Jacquelynne included block 2 in this post which I made using a panel with vintage embroidery of a sailboat.

 

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A pattern for a teapot applique (or embroidery) was included and I couldn’t resist making up another block to be used later in another project.

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Both of the blocks are very easy with good results.  I particularly like block 1 and will find other good uses for it.

There’s still time to join in the fun and make some really nice blocks.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

 

Stars and Pinwheels QAL – Block 2 – Flying Fan

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Susan of Desertsky Quilting has posted the second block in her block-of-the-month series, Stars and Pinwheels QAL.  The new block is called Flying Fan.  https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-flying-fan/

This is an easy, fun block   I am using the blocks in this series to make a different project each month.  This month, I used four of the Flying Fan blocks – the original 12-inch block and three blocks I reduced to 7 inches (thanks to my Electric Quilt software).

I wear aprons all the time and thought a new one for the July 4th holiday was in order.  I like roomy aprons without strings at the neck or waist and with a good pocket.  I used a pattern which is adapted from a 1930s era apron I found in an antique mall.  https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/a-vintage-apron-clone/

The 12-inch block is part of the design element at the top of the apron and a 7-inch block was lined and is used as a pocket.

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I had enough fabric left for two potholders, using the 7-inch blocks.  I like to make “slipcovers” for oven mitts and pot holders (this is how I do it).   I’ve been using some good-quality mitts/holders for over 20 years, laundering the “slip covers” as needed and replacing them when they become worn.

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This was a good block to use in these projects and I’m looking forward to next month’s block which should be a star.  I’m already thinking what I could put in the center of the star and what the new project might be.

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Stars and Pinwheel QAL–Block 1 – Indian Star

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Susan at Desert Sky Quilting is hosting a block-of-the-month quilt-along featuring stars and pinwheels.  The first block is Indian Star – an easy but interesting block offered in two options.  The first option is using squares and half-square triangles; the second option has flying geese patches.

Since I have back problems and don’t make large quilts any longer, I’m participating in this quilt-along by using each block as I make it into something I can use at home or into a project that will make a nice gift.  I made the blocks in both versions.

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I used the first block to make a book bag for carrying my requisite 4-books-at-a-time back and forth to the library.  The back of the bag includes a vintage embroidery piece adapted from an old coloring book.

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The second version was made into a project box which I designed to set on my sewing table with pockets on the inside to hold instructions and other essentials along with the fabric for the project.  I lined the bag with medium-weight canvas and added stiff interlining so the bag will set upright.

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The embroidered panel is from one I found on the internet and good for me since I do almost all of my quilting on the machine.

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This promises to be a fun quilt-along and Susan is meticulous about her instructions which makes everything easy and enjoyable.  Hope you’ll join us here.

 

From Scraps to Panels to Backings and Linings

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In 2008, I made a nice hooded jacket out of some really cute Scottie fabric and ever since then I have been shuffling around a small bag of scraps, hoping to find the perfect project for them.  Since I reached my goal for 2014 of using up every small scrap I had other than special fabric like this, I’m a little ruthless in wanting to avoid saving any more small bags of scraps.  I decided to go ahead and use this material in one of my favorite ways – to make panels that can be used as backings for wall hangings and small quilts, backings for cushions, linings for tote bags and other small projects, etc.

The first step is to take all the crumpled pieces of fabric out of the bag and press them.  Then begin cutting them into pieces that will be formed into blocks.  I like to make 5-inch blocks partly because they are easy to work with and partly because my ruler is 5 inches wide and makes measuring/cutting easy.  So, first I cut any 5 inch blocks I can get out of the fabric.

Then, I cut strips 5 inches or more longer x 1-½ inches wide.

The rest of the fabric is cut into blocks, strips or rectangles at least 1-½ inches and on up to 5 inches.

The fabric pieces are placed in stacks – 5-inch squares, strips or pieces that are 5 inches wide, pieces that are various widths and shapes, and strips.

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I start first with the various pieces and strip-sew them to one of the strips, using ¼ inch seams.

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This sewn strip is cut apart …

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…pressed….

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…and trimmed.

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Then, these joined pieces are sewn onto another strip, cut, pressed and trimmed until all of the pieces have been joined to something.  These joined pieces are sewn to other pieces to form a 5 inch block.

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Any 5-inch wide pieces are to sewn together or to other joined pieces to form 5-inch blocks.  If I run short of fabric, I keep a supply of white or neutral colored strips on hand to finish off blocks.

When all of the fabric has been used, the blocks are sewn together in panels.  If I know the measurement for a particular project, I sew the blocks to form that size panel.  If I’m sewing for storage, I like panels that are two blocks across and three blocks down.  This happens to work well for the projects I make.  The panels can be joined or cut as needed.

The Scottie fabric gave me enough to make one panel that is 22-½ inches long x 9-½ inches wide.

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I try to use this process whenever I finish up a project.  Any piece over 5 inches is saved but all of the other bits and pieces are sewn into something that can be used later.  It’s actually rather relaxing to do some mindless sewing like this after completing a project and at the same time, make good use of pretty scraps rather than dealing with them 7 years from now.

 

Sew Sweet Simplicity Panel Curtains

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Last week, when I completed my Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM blocks and made them into kitchen curtains, I said I would post pictures of the curtains as soon as a non-snowy and sunny day came along.  Well, there are still some small hills of snow around, but the sun is bright and the sky is blue – so, here are the curtains.   The top picture shows the bay window area and this is the panel over the sink.

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I tried several approaches to making the blocks into curtains and decided to use a simple, streamlined method of using the blocks with sashing and borders to make panels which are very much like wall hangings with a sleeve on the back rather than regular curtain casings.  I wanted the panels to hang similar to a blind without any gathers.

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This project worked out well for me and at a distance and in the right light, the panels look almost like stained glass windows.

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