Stars and Pinwheels QAL – Block 4 – Paper Pinwheel and Bonus Block – Cowboys

hanger2 (2)This is block 4 in Susan’s quilt-along featuring stars and pinwheels, called Paper Pinwheel.

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-paper-pinwheel/

I am participating in the quilt-along by making small projects with the monthly blocks.  This is an easy block and I made two 12-inch versions which I used to make a favorite hanger cover.  I tape together three wire hangers, make a tube to cover the loop portion and a cover.  I’ve been making these covers for over 7 years (tutorial here)  and find it’s a good way to recycle wire hangers while providing a nice soft surface for clothes.  I don’t usually make the cover this long but wanted to take advantage of the pretty blocks.

hanger2 (1)The second post was using the same block in multiples, creating a secondary pinwheel.

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/stars-and-pinwheels-multiple-blocks/

I made the blocks in a 4-inch size and combined them with an embroidered panel I had adapted from a favorite Helan Barrick decorative art pattern.

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This made a very nice wall hanging.

Susan4 (2)The third post was a bonus block …

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/stars-pinwheels-qal-bonus-block/
https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/more-versions-of-the-cowboys-block/

It was perfect for adding a couple of panels and a backing to create a comfortable cushion for my sewing chair.

Susan4 (1)I’m enjoying making the blocks and then finding ways to use them.

Cozy Afternoon Quilt-Along – Block 4

blk4 (2)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.

My version of Block 4 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.

Jacquelynne also provides a pattern for an embroidered or appliqued center.

This was an easy block to make and made a nice frame for the embroidered center.

Stars & Pinwheels QAL – Block 3 – Chunky Star

Susan3 (3)This is block 3 in Susan’s quilt-along featuring stars and pinwheels, called Chunky Star.  Once again, Susan has offered two versions – one with half-square triangles as shown in the picture at the beginning of the post   ….

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-chunky-star/

…and one with flying geese.

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https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-july-block-the-fg-way/

These are both easy blocks with good instructions.

I’m using the blocks from this quilt-along each month to make a small project.  I decided to put these two blocks together in a favorite tie bag.  I found this pattern online about 15 years ago and have made it in a large variety of sizes and fabrics.  Along the way, I adapted it to make better use of the fabric and it took very little to make this nice lined bag which will be a gift for someone later this year.

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Cozy Afternoon – Free BOM – Block 3

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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.

My version of Block 3 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.

Jacquelynne also provides a pattern for an embroidered or appliqued center and I made another block using the embroidered mug and a different set of fabrics.

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The block pattern is generally easy, but I did not get the results I wanted for the four corner patches using the method given.  This could be my fault – I don’t do well when I have to sew pieces together and then slice them apart.  I’m not always as precise as I should be, but when I tried very hard on the second block and didn’t like the way it turned out, I drew the patch on my Electric Quilt software and got the measurements for a 3-inch finished block.  This one turned out perfectly.  I’m including the measurements and directions in case someone wants to do it the old-fashioned way.

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Cut one “A” 2×2 inches

Cut one “B” 2-3/8×2-3/8 inches (Cut on diagonal and use both patches.)

Cut one “C” 3-7/8 x 3-7/8 inches (Cut on diagonal and use one patch

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  • Sew one light blue triangle to right side of pink square.  There will be 1/4 inch tails on either end.

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  • Press seam open and sew white triangle across bottom of pink square.

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  • Press seam and trim tails.  Place on blue triangle, right sides together, and stitch across long side.

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  • Press open and trim tails.  Patch should measure 3-1/2 inches square.  The pink patch should measure 1-3/4 inches from seam to edge, which will match up perfectly with the other squares in the block.

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This is a really nice BOM series and there’s still time to get the patterns and instructions for later use.  Jacquelynne does not archive her patterns for long periods of time.

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.

 

Laura in Redwork (and Bluework) Wall Hangings

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My younger daughter has been a life-long devotee of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books (Little House on the Prairie et al – the TV series, not so much).  She has always wanted to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, MO, and had a chance to make the trip with her sister last month.  Her excellent report on this trip is here.

One of the souvenirs she brought home was a gift for me – a pattern for a wall hanging called Laura in Redwork by Johanna Wilson (Plum Creek Patchwork*).

I like to do simple embroidery and had red-checked gingham on hand, so I made up the original pattern for my daughter.

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I made a label that incorporated a picture of my daughter standing in front of Laura’s house in Mansfield.

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I gave her the quilt on Mother’s Day and she was very happy with it.  It measures 38×38 inches – a big wall hanging or a small lap quilt.  Her dog, Daisy, looks anxious to have it on the couch where she can get cuddly with it.

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I wanted to make a wall hanging for myself but not that big and I didn’t want to work with the same materials again, so I reduced the pattern by 50% and came up with a wall hanging in blue that is 22×22 inches.

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I like both versions very much.  It would be a good pattern for a quilter with a bit of experience rather than a beginner since the instructions aren’t too detailed.

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*Plum Creek Patchwork – 1410 County Highway #5 – Walnut Grove, MN 56180

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.

 

Flat Pocket Gift Bag – Tutorial

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At Christmas time last year, I had embroidered pillow cases for two friends who live out of state.  I wanted to enclose the cases in something that could be mailed in a padded envelope and that might be useful after the gift was opened.  I designed a flat bag with a deep pocket to hold the gift and the bag could be used to store many items throughout the year.

In this case I used some pretty Amish fabric for the outside of the bag and assorted scraps for the pocket and lining.

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For Easter, I made dishtowels with an appliquéd bunny.  Once again, I turned to the flat bag design for a nice gift bag, using orphan blocks for the outside of the bags.

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This is an easy bag to put together, can be done in a short amount of time and makes good use of scraps, embroidered pieces or orphan blocks.

Here is how I made the bags (my example finished at 7-½ x 7-½ inches.  It’s easy to change the dimensions to fit whatever item is going into the bag – flat items like books, Cds, DVDs, towels, pillow cases, etc., work best.

You will need:

A piece of focus fabric, quilt block or embroidered piece the size of the gift plus an additional 1-½ inches to width and length.  (Example:  gift is 7 inches square.  Front piece = 8-½ inches square.
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A piece of fabric for the back of the bag that is the same size as the front plus ½ inch lengthwise.  (Example:  Cut back fabric 8-½ inches wide by 9 inches long.)

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Sew the front panel to the back with ¼ inch seam, joining at the top of the front panel.

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Press the seam toward the front panel.

Cut a piece of fabric for the lining that is the exact size of the joined front/back panels.  (Example:  8-½ inches wide x 17 inches long.)

Place lining and front/back panels right sides together, pinning from just below center seam on front/back panel, along side, across bottom of front/back panel and down other side to just below center seam, back-stitching on each side.

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Cut ½ inch from edge just below sewing at center seam on both sides and trim corners of sewn portion.

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Turn sewn portion and press.
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Cut pocket fabric the width of fabric and the length doubled.  (Example:  8-½ inches wide x 17 inches long).

Fold pocket fabric in half lengthwise and press.  Line up fold of pocket with clipped sides and raw edges on the lower part of the front/back panels.  Pin in place or baste.

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Beginning at the folded edge, sew ½ inch seams down the side, across the bottom and up the other side, back stitching on each side.  Trim corners and trim the clipped pocket portion on a diagonal.

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Turn pocket portion and press.  Top stitch 1/8 inch from edge around piece …

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…and fold in half to form flat pocket bag.

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