Friday, February 12, 2016

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Squirrel!

Hi, all!

Friday has rolled around once more, and you know what that means - it's time to get our whoop whoop on!  I'm really excited to see what everyone has been working on this week - so let's get started!


I've got a bunch of projects I'm working on, and no finishes this week, but I do have some fun things I'm whooping about! 

I'm whooping about the fact that I didn't lose my favorite purple, fleece-lined, warm and fuzzy socks!  I could not find them this morning and was totally bummed - but then I looked in a few odd places and found them!  Whoop!!

I'm whooping because I love seeing guys who aren't afraid to use a long arm!  This is Tommy, one of the members of our quilt ministry, quilting his gorgeous red quilt.

I'm whooping because I love love love my new ironing station!  It's directly behind me when I'm sitting at my sewing machine, and all I have to do is swivel my stool around to press each step in the blocks I'm making!  But no worries - I do get up after finishing each block to put it on the design wall, so I won't lose circulation!

And I'm definitely whooping because I managed to finish all sixty-four blocks for this commission quilt today!  No, there aren't really flowers on there, but I have to hide the pictures so that the ultimate recipient won't be forewarned...

The Polaroid blocks are a lot of fun - any interest in a tutorial?

And one more thing, since we're talking about socks - do you remember Savannah's Sweet Sixteen Sock Drive?  The current sock count is - - - 7,306!  Isn't that amazing?  And there's still ten more days to go.  I can't wait to see how many socks she ends up with!

So that's what I'm excited about this week -
 can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!  

What's making you whoop it up this week?

What's got you dancing the happy dance?

Share - we want to dance with you - 
And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight.

Hope to see you there!



Monday, February 8, 2016

Make-A-List Monday - Happy Chinese New Year!!

Hi, all!

Happy Chinese New Year, and welcome to the Year of the Monkey - or as Emmy would say, welcome to the year of the "silly monkey" (one of her favorite phrases!)  It's always fun to have an excuse to eat Chinese food, and that's just how we celebrated yesterday - but I miss the dumplings we got in China!  

OK, enough of that - let's see how last week's list went!

1.  Keep working on the secret gift quilt.
Done!  After making final fabric choices...

...and refining my block and making a working sample... I managed to make some of the blocks for this quilt!  As this is a commission quilt that will be a gift, I'm covering over the images - but wanted you to see how cool it's looking!  There are photographs underneath those flowers...

2.  Bind six quilts for the quilt ministry.
Done!  I didn't get a pic of the six finished quilts, but I did take a picture of all of the quilts (including those six) waiting to be gifted that are on our shelves right now!

3.  Finish the fourth Nifty Nines quilt top.
Done!  I not only finished it, I liked it so much I used it for this past Sunday's tutorial!  

4.  Write up an estimate for a t-shirt quilt for a friend.
Done!  Now it's just a waiting game to see what she wants to do.

5.  Start working on the fifth Nifty Nines quilt top.
Started!  The pieces are all cut, and I've actually started assembling the blocks.  I think this one is going to be a favorite of mine!

6.  Keep working on the My Small World Kits.
This one fell by the wayside this week, and I'm afraid is going to stay there until I get a few other things done!  

7.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
Only one quilt this week...

This quilt went to a woman with multiple health issues who is going into rehab this week.

So last week's list went pretty well, with the exception of the Small World quilts.  Fortunately I have a lot of time to work on those!  This week looks like it will be pretty busy - here's what I've got planned...

1.  Work on a new commission job - two weighted blankets.

2.  Keep working on the secret gift quilt.

3.  Keep working on the fifth Nifty Nines quilt top.

4.  Contact more potential sponsors for Hands2Help.

5.  Write the tutorial for the third Nifty Nines quilt.

6.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.

So that's the plan!  Certainly more than enough to keep me out of trouble - especially if I can keep on track.  Tomorrow should be easy - we're supposed to get snow off and on all day, and bitter cold temps.  Fortunately, I don't have anywhere I have to go, so I'm going to put a pot of beans on the stove, bundle up in yoga pants and a nice warm sweater, and sew sew sew!  


I also want to update you on Savannah's Sweet 16 Sock Drive, which I posted about here.  As of Super Bowl Sunday, 6274 pairs of socks had been donated, and they're still rolling in every day!  Today Robin even posted a picture of a package that came today from Spain, and I know of at least one that will be coming from Australia!  If you've been thinking about sending some socks, I hope you will - I'd love to see that number top 10,000 pair of socks!  Wouldn't that be amazing?  All the info about the Sock Drive and where to send socks can be found here, or you can look for the Facebook page, Savannah's Sweet 16 Sock Drive.  It's fun to follow along on the page and see each day's package pile and new socks!


So now, the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Nifty Nines Quilt-Along - Are You Ready For Another?

Hi, all!

Welcome to the second week of the Nifty Nines Quilt-Along!  I hope you're enjoying this as much as I am - it's been fun to revisit the nine-patch block and see all the wonderful variations out there! If you missed last week's quilt, Lattice Play, you can see it by clicking here.  

And without further ado, here is this week's nine-patch quilt - one I've affectionately named Time for Chevrons!

The name comes from the hourglass blocks and the chevron-like border of this quilt.

I broke into my long-hoarded stash of Kate Spain Terrain fabric for the nine-patch blocks, and used some Kona white and a pretty green fabric I had on hand for the hourglass blocks.

This simple quilt packs a lot of impact, but works up fairly quickly. Here's the tutorial for Time for Chevrons!


Nifty Nines Quilt-Along
Time for Chevrons

Size - Approx. 60” x 60”
All seams are 1/4”

Fabric Requirements:

Light background fabric - 1 3/4 yards.  This can be all one fabric, or a mix of low volume fabrics
Cut:  Twenty 7.5” squares
Thirty-six 6.5” x 3.5” rectangles
Two 4” squares

Dark background fabric - 1 3/4 yards.  This will look best as one fabric.
Cut: Twenty 7.5” squares
Seventy-two 3.5” squares
Two 4” squares

Darker scraps or a mix of fabrics totaling approximately 1 5/8 yards.  
Cut: 369   2.5” squares

FYI - this pattern is fat-quarter friendly! If you don’t have a stash of scraps, a fat quarter will yield 48 2.5” squares - more than enough for the 41 nine-patch blocks in this quilt.  So nine fat quarters will provide you with enough fabric for your 2.5” squares, or you can mix it up and use more to make your blocks different!

Block Construction:

This quilt is comprised of four different blocks. 

Block A looks like this: 

Block A is a simple 9-patch, made of all scrappy fabrics cut in 2.5” squares.  Make 41.  Trim to 6.5” if needed.

Block B looks like this: 

If you’ve never made an hourglass block before, it couldn’t be simpler (at least for a two color block!)  Here’s how you make this block.  Take the 7.5” squares you cut, and draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the light blocks.  Lay a light block on a dark block, right sides together, matching the corners, and stitch 1/4” from each side of that line you drew.  Cut the block apart on the line you drew, and carefully press the seams to the dark side.  (FYI this is also the process for making a half-square triangle block, also known as Block D.)  Do this with all of your 7.5” squares, making 40 HSTs. 

Now, take twenty of those HSTs and draw a diagonal line from the light corner to the dark corner, crossing the stitched line. 
Lay one of the marked HSTs on top of an unmarked HST, with the seams matching and the colors in opposite position, as shown above.  (The top HST is folded back so you can see the alternated colors.)  Pin across the pencil-marked stitching line, making sure that your seams are butted together nicely and corners line up.  Stitch 1/4” from either side of the line you drew.  Cut on the line to separate your work into two hourglass blocks!  Tada!  Continue until you have 40 hourglass blocks.  Trim to 6.5” if needed.

Block C looks like this: 

Block C is a flying geese block, with a light “goose” and dark corners using the 6.5” x 3.5” light rectangles and the 3.5” dark squares.  To make this block, take your 3.5” dark squares, and draw a line from corner to corner.  Lay one square on the right corner of a light 6.5” x 3.5” rectangle, right sides together, matching right and top edges and with the line running from center to lower right corner.  Stitch on the line. 

Now at this point, you can choose to do another line of stitching 3/8” to 1/2” away from your first stitching, closer to the corner, and cut between the lines to create a “bonus” HST to use in another project, or you can simply cut off the outside of the corner 1/4” from your stitching line.  After cutting, press the corner out, with the seam toward the dark side.  

Take another dark corner and lay it on the left side, matching left and top edges and with the line running from center to lower left corner.  Stitch on the line.  Create a bonus HST or simply cut off the outside of the corner 1/4” from your stitching line, and press the corner out, with the seam toward the dark side.  Make 36.

Block D looks like this: 

Block D is a half-square triangle.  (See directions for HSTs at beginning of Block B directions.) Using the 4” light and dark squares, make 4.  Trim to 3.5” square.

Quilt Construction

Even though this quilt looks “on point”, it is set out in a horizontal fashion.  Here is a picture of the center of the quilt. 

Using your A and B blocks, lay out the center of the quilt checkerboard style in a nine-by-nine block grid.  Be sure to start with a nine-patch block (A block) in the upper left.  The hour-glass blocks (B blocks) will alternate their orientation in each row, with the dark triangles on the top and bottom in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th rows, and on the right and left in the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th rows.  This is what forms the “on-point” effect.

Now it’s time to use the C and D blocks to create the chevron effect around the outside edge of the quilt.  Place the flying geese blocks (C blocks) around the edges, alternating their orientation so that they complete the square surrounding the nine-patch block they border.  Place the half-square triangle blocks (D blocks) in the corners to complete the framing.

Here is a complete picture of the quilt layout for your reference… 

Quilt as desired!


 I hope you'll give this quilt a try!  It was easy to make, and a so much fun to see the pattern emerge.  As always, feel free to make as many of these as you want - especially if you're making for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, which starts just a few weeks from now!  You can post pictures of any quilts you make using the Nifty Nines tutorials in the Nifty Nines Quilt-Along page on Flickr - just click on the group name to be taken to the page!  I can't wait to see your own personal variations!

If you'd like a PDF version of the tutorial emailed to you, please leave your email address in a comment below.

And just because it's pretty, here's one last shot of my finished Time for Chevrons quilt!

Hope to see you next week!!!



PS - you can see what I made with my "bonus" HSTs by clicking here...