Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 - Another New Year's Eve, what is ahead?

I had planned for a wonderful week after Christmas of sewing, cleaning up my sewing room, planning for next year and blogging.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans, right?  The day after Christmas I got hit hard by the flu and have been down for the count.  Today is is day 6, and I'm feeling a little improved, but literally have zero energy and can hardly keep my thoughts in order.  But I didn't want to miss out on the #2018PlanningParty, so I got myself together and set a few goals for 2018.

2018 Planning Party
I have lots of goals for quilting and designing this year, but the number one thing I want to accomplish is to finish my Dear Jane Quilt.  I decided that I want to start by assembling the rows that are completed - maybe that will encourage me to continue pressing on to get the rest of the blocks and triangles done!  This project has been on my list every year for what seems like forever at this point, and I want to regain my excitement over the project. 

My second area of goals is a Healthy body.  My husband and I have been working on making healthier choices for our meals, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, so I plan on continuing that as well as being better with my water intake.  Our exercise routine will be continuing as soon as I am well again and I also want to work on a better sleep routine-  less screen time in the evenings and not staying up as late.

The third goal I have for myself is a healthy mind.  I want to read at least 12 books this year.  I also want to remember to ask for help when I need it, and not to feel responsible for making everyone else happy all the time.  Which means it's all right to say "No" when I need to. 

I hope by keeping it simple I can stick with and follow through on completing these goals!  I have more goals that I want to set professionally, but am going to give myself some time to think through what I want to accomplish this year when I am feeling better.  I had so many irons on the fire last year that I struggled to keep up with everything, so I think I want to keep my goals a little more simple this year.

Wishing you and yours a happy (and healthy!) 2018.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Chirstmas Star Block - Quilter's Recipe Box, Alternate Block for Triangle in a Square Unit

Merry Christmas!  I can't believe I made it - this is the final block for the Quilter's Recipe Box Block of the Month. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas, we just finished a big family get together, so am relaxing in the recliner finishing up this post!  This block is pretty easy and quick to make, but very pretty.   I am calling this final block Christmas Star -

You only need two colors for this block, I use a dark blue and bright yellow (fabrics provided by Island Batik)

For the Triangle in a Square units you will need four 3 1/2 triangles from yellow and eight half rectangles in blue (half righties and half lefties)  The corner blocks are butterfly units, so cut eight 2 inch blue squares and four 2 3/8 inch squares (cut in half for half square triangles)  From the yellow, cut four 2 3/8 inch squares (cut in half for half square triangles).  Finally, cut one 3 1/2 inch square of yellow for the center.

Sew four Triangle in a square units, these will face with the bottom of the yellow triangle facing the center of the block.

Using the yellow and blue 2 3/8 inch triangle units, sew 8 half square triangle units, then sew these with the 2 inch squares to make four butterfly units.  Arrange as above, then sew your units together.  You will have to do a bit of careful sewing to keep all those points looking good, but it's worth it when your block is done!

This will be the last week to download the free Recipe Cards with unit and block instructions.  On January 1st I will be removing the free links, and move the set to my Craftsy store along with the finishing instructions for a sampler quilt.  Click the Quilter's Recipe Box tab at the top to find the links to the free downloads this week. 

Come back tomorrow to find out about my plans for next year!  Always something fun going on here - 2018 will be Christmas All Year for me - doesn't that sound like fun?  I think so!  Have a wonderful day, hugs and love from me, and wishes for happy sewing!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box Alternate block for Triangle in a Square Unit - Christmas Delight

Today I give you the 47th block in the Quilter's Recipe Box series - it's been a fun process and a challenge for me.  I am very pleased in the fact that I have followed through and completed my vision for making all of these blocks and sharing them with my readers!  This block I have called Christmas Delight.  It features the Triangle in a Square unit combined with Half Square Triangles and a Square in a Square for the center (my fabrics were provided by Island Batik):

You will want a dark green, light green and red fabric to make this block as seen here.

For the Triangle in a Square unit you will need eight red half rectangle pieces for a 3 1/2 inch unit (four righties, and four lefties) and four large triangles from light green.  You will also need one 3 1/2 square of the light green for the center unit and two 3 7/8 inch squares cut in half for the Half Square Triangle units.  From the dark green cut two 3 7/8 inch squares cut in half for the Half Square Triangle units and four 2 inch squares for the center Square in a Square unit.

Sew the four Triangle in a Square units and place them with the red points facing out for the star points.


 Sew the four Half Square Triangle units and place them in the corners with the dark green on the outside, and sew the Square in a Square for the Center.
Sew together, matching the points of the center unit with the Triangle in a Square point.  Your finished block will look like this:
This block looks especially striking when placed on point as I have illustrated below:

If you haven't downloaded your instructions and templates for the Triangle in a Square unit, or any of the other Quilter's Recipe Box units, make sure you do so in the next couple weeks.  After the first of the year I will have them available as a complete set, but will be charging for them.

Have a great week!  Hope your Christmas projects are coming along, I know I will be working on mine!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Time to Relax and Stitch for Myself!

When did life get so busy?  I think it just sneaks up on you and before you know it, you realize that you just can't fit one more thing in!  Of course, this time of year is always hectic with gifts and parties and such, but it seems like this year is over the top with all the commitments and deadlines.  I am happy to say that most of that is behind me at this point and now I can relax a little and get into the holiday mood.  The decorations are up and looking lovely:
And somehow the tree is in the right position, and the stars must be in the correct alignment because my pretty angel topper does not look like she is ready to throw herself down for once!  Every year I struggle with trying to make sure she is upright, and this year she is just standing tall and proud with no help from me at all!  Wonder of wonders!

My husband is happy because I made the first of our special treats...fudge!  I will work on baking a batch of sugar cookies this afternoon and he will be in seventh heaven - he loves his Christmas cookies!

I'm ready to work on Christmas PJ's tomorrow, and today I plan to enjoy some free time in the sewing room.  Yesterday I started cleaning up and ended up playing in my scrap pile.  I picked up a telephone book off the floor for the umpteenth times and decided to start making some string blocks.  What fun!

I ended up with 33 blocks made out of a modest pile of scraps.  I decided I want to make 100 then I will put together a top.  So much fun just stitching away!

I also pulled out my embroidery floss to find a few more colors so I can work on finishing up this embroidery piece:
I want to use this as the cover for my 2018 Quilter's Planner, so I need to get it finished up in the near future!

I'm excited to find time to work on some projects for myself for a change...the next couple of weeks are going to be wonderful!  Make sure you schedule in a little time for yourself, this time of year can be crazy and we all need to relax and enjoy ourselves instead of grinding away all the time.  I'll see you tomorrow for the penultimate Quilter's Recipe Box block!  The final one will publish on Christmas day, then on New Years Day I will show you all the blocks I've done throughout the year.  It will be fun!

This post is linked up with Slow Sunday Stitching, and Oh Scrap...two of my favorite things!



Slow Sunday Stitching

Quilting is more fun than Housework

Monday, December 11, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box alternate block number one for Triangle in a Square Unit

I was so delighted with this block that I decided to withhold the name of it until I can show you what it looks like, so you will have to get to the end of my post to see what it is.  That said, I suppose I will get the making of it underway!

Cutting:
You can use your templates from last week's Fifty-Four Forty or Fight block, or cut using the Tri-Recs ruler set.  You will need four triangles in Green (3 1/2 inch).  Cut four right and four left half triangle units in blue, as well as four 3 1/2 inch squares and five 1 1/2 squares.  Cut four 1 1/2 squares in red to finish the cutting.  (Fabrics provided by Island Batik)

Sew four Triangle in a Square units, using the green triangles and blue half triangle units
Arrange them facing out from the center.
The solid squares fill in the outside.

Sew a nine patch from the the red and blue 1 1/2 inch squares and place in the center.
And you now have Four Pines.  Isn't this a fun block for Christmas time? 

Hope you enjoy making this!  Two more blocks and we'll be at the end - I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone by.  I'll be back next week with another block using the Triangle in a Square unit!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Secret Stitching

It's that time of year, lots of secret stitching going on for various projects, so I can't really show you what I am doing - but this little bit of hand embroidery is not a secret:

Love how relaxing it is to do a bit of handwork in the evenings.  I'm debating on whether to make all the flowers the same color or embroider them in different colors.  and there is a frame of running stitches that I haven't decided what color to do yet.  So I suppose I'll pull more floss this evening and decide. For this part I've used Aurifloss, I have a set of lovely colors in browns and tans (Biscotti) that was really nice for the lettering.  The leaves are done with a single strand of 28 wt thread from another set (Macaroon)  Both are wonderful for this kind of stitching - in fact I kind of prefer the 28 because it is has a lovely sheen to it.

This is the pattern I am working on - but these aren't the colors I am using ;)  It's going to be lovely!  This will be a pattern for more experienced quilters, so it's a bit of a switch for me.  I usually design more toward beginners, and for quick and easy projects.  Personally, I enjoy a challenge, so I hope there are more quilters out there looking for something that will give them a good workout of their quilting skills!

I have a stack of lovely flannels, so the Christmas PJ party will soon be in session!  They are going to be a lot of fun - I found some wonderful prints this year.  No peaking, girls - you will have to wait for Christmas time to see what you are getting.

Wait till you see tomorrow's block for the Quilter's Recipe Box!  I know I say this all the time, but this one is surely one of my very favorites.  It's perfect for this time of year!

With that I'll bid you a fond farewell for the day.  I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching, so take a few minutes to see some lovely hand stitching going on!


Slow Sunday Stitching

Monday, December 04, 2017

Quilters Recipe Box, Unit 12 - Triangle in a Square - Fifty-Four Forty or Fight quilt block

Welcome!  Are you ready for the final unit of the Quilter's Recipe Box block of the Month?  I hope so!  This unit is a little bit of a tricky one, but I promise that you can do it and it is a powerful tool in your skill set.  This unit is a Triangle in a Square and I used it to make a Fifty-Four Forty or Fight Block.

Click on picture to download Recipe Card File and Templates
 
The thing about this block, is that you really need to use a special ruler, or a template, or foundation paper piecing to get good results.  So, you will need to go download the Recipe Card for this month which will include an extra sheet with the needed templates if you don't own a ruler for cutting this.

Cutting for Fifty-Four Forty or Fight Block:
From your background you will need four Isosceles triangles for a 3 1/2 inch Triangle in a Square unit and ten 2 inch squares for Four-Patch units.  (These fabrics were provided by Island Batik)

Color 1 - Eight half rectangle units for Triangle in a Square units, four lefties and four righties.

Color 3 - Ten 2 inch squares for Four-Patch units.

For this block I am including some detailed cutting instructions because that is where you need to start for an accurate block!

For your background triangle you will need a strip of fabric 3 1/2 by 12 inches (this gives you enough extra for an error or two.)  

From your strip, cut four Triangles using your Tri tool or paper template.  (The paper template will be a tad taller at the tip, but line up the bottom line at the edge of the strip and it will be fine.)  As you can see, if you alternate cutting from the top and bottom edge of the strip you will have no waste in between the cuts!  

If you are using the paper templates, place template on fabric, then carefully place your ruler on top of the template so you can use your rotary cutter.  You can also print your templates on card stock, make a pencil line and cut one that using scissors or rotary cutter and ruler.  A great tip for using paper templates is to make sure to always line up the sewing line 1/4 inch away from the ruler just in case you accidentally cut a sliver off the edge of the template cutting line!

Now to cut the side units - they are half rectangles.  You will need a strip 3 1/2 inches by about 13 to cut them.  Fold your strip in half so you can cut the righties and lefties at once!

Line up the 3 1/2 line at the bottom of the strip and carefully cut the sides.  (A rotating mat is super helpful for this step.)  
Make sure you cut that little notch off at the top of the strip, this is going to help you get the perfect alignment when you sew your unit together.  The angle on the printed template is a little different, but does work just the same, so make sure you cut those little corners off.

Just a word of caution before you start sewing.  It will be really tempting to line up your pieces as above because they fit just right!  Don't do it that way, it won't work :)

You need to line it up with the pointy end facing the bottom of the big triangle.  Line up that cut out with the bottom of the triangle, and sew your quarter inch seam.  

See how the seam goes right where the notch lines up with the bottom?
When you press the small triangle out you can see that the seam does NOT go straight to the corner.  This is the correct angle, and when you sew this unit to the block beside it, you will see how the point matches up all the way to the seam allowance and doesn't get cut off before it should.

Now for the other side:
Line this one up just like the first one and stitch with a quarter inch seam.  The little tips at the corner look a little off, but look at the edge of the block and it should match up perfectly.
This one was a little too high.  See how it doesn't match at the tip or at the top?  This one had to be taken out and re-done correctly - 
This is how it should look!  Now, take a couple minutes to measure and trim your units.
Perfect - look ans see how the three points of the triangle all are 1/4 inch away from the edge of the block.  Trim up those dog ears and you are ready to move on!  

Lay them out, then sew Five four-patch units from color 3 and the background.  Add those, with all the dark ones facing the same way:
Sew together and admire your finished block!

All the star points should be 1/4 inch from the edge of the block, and the center Four-Patch seams should line up with the background point. 

Combine this block with a block that uses half square triangles in the corners and you get a quilt with a very neat circular motion!
I hope you enjoy this unit and block.  I'll be making three other quilt blocks using this unit this month, then we'll be finished!  I found a good tutorial for the Tri-Recs rulers on Craftsy if you would like more information on using those:
And Bloc Loc has a great set of ruler as well, if you wanted to make a ton of these for a quilt, it might be a good investment!

If you are just now seeing my Block of the Month, make sure you visit the tab at the top of my blog for the Quilter's Recipe Box.  All patterns will be free to download through the end of the year.  

Thanks again for following along!  Have fun learning this new unit.  

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Saturday Sewing

Today's plans got changed not just once, but twice!  But for me it's all for the good and will make this coming week a lot more relaxed and easy going.  First I had to cancel out on the annual church Ladies Christmas Tea.  I was super sad about that, but I was scheduled to work at the quilt shop and had already switched days earlier in November.  I decided to make the best of it, even though I was going to miss out on a fun event. 

Then, when I arrived at the shop, the other person showed up!  Turns out that somehow we were all mixed up and she asked me if I wanted to go home - Yes, Ma'am I do, I have two quilts that need to be finished this weekend and mailed out.  So now I get to spend my day catching up on some computer stuff and working on my quilts - it's a win for me for sure :)

First of all, I basted this candy cane quilt -

Sweet, isn't it?  Oh, that paper piecing was a challenge!  Then I really wanted to make a pinwheel border, but only had so many charm squares to work with.  In the past I've always thought that the quick method of making pinwheels by sewing around the edges of two charm squares wouldn't really work very well because of all the bias.  But I took a chance and was delighted with the results! I used a little Best Press on them and they came out perfectly.  In the end I miscounted and was still 4 squares short, so I made the cornerstones from a pretty green fabric - now I have some spearmint pinwheels to go with my peppermint ones!
Isn't the green with candy canes perfect for this quilt?  The candy cane blocks are a mini quilt pattern - Peppermint Twists.  They were very tune consuming, but super cute.  The pattern includes those little candy corner blocks as well.  If you like foundation paper piecing, you have to check out the whole website - so many fun quilts there!  eQuiltPatterns.com is the address.  You'll love it!

Next I added the borders to this quilt:
I was a little distressed about finding something for the borders on this, and that red plaid was just the ticket.  This is a delightful and cozy looking lap quilt now - or it will be after I get it quilted up as well!  The pattern for the block is also a mini quilt, this one by Quilt Doodle Designs called Snow Much Decorating.  I did two the regular way, and reversed the other two to make it a little more interesting.  This was a fun project and I totally recommend this pattern as well!

Do you have your Christmas music going as you work in your sewing room?  I am enjoying listening to mine, and am looking forward to more fun holiday projects when I finish these.  I love this time of year!