Sunday, February 23, 2020

Charmed, I'm Sure! An Oldie, But A Goodie!

Hi, all!

Welcome to the second week of Charmed, I'm Sure! A series of tutorials designed to be simple enough to use for comfort quilts to be donated, that will also help you build skills and learn new tips and ways to work quickly and efficiently!

Last week, I shared this quilt...

...along with a link to Amy Smart's fantastic tutorial for a simple charm quilt on point!  This was such an easy quilt to make, and a great scrap buster.

Today I want to share a pattern I've seen around a lot, so it's an oldie, but this was actually the first time I've ever tried it myself.  You may have made a disappearing nine-patch in the past (most of us have!) but have you ever tried a disappearing four-patch?  I don't know about you, but I really like cutting up blocks to create something new and different.  So it was about time to try a D4P!

I started with a bunch of two-patch blocks made using some batik charm squares paired with a black and white "etch-a-sketch" print.  While not scrappy, the batik squares had been in my stash f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and this was the tail-end of the black and white print.  I feel virtuous!

FYI, I pressed all the seams towards the B&W print.

I chose two of the two-patch blocks, a blue and a green, and sewed them together into a four-patch block, with the black and white squares on opposite corners.  I "spun" the center seams (click here for a great quick tutorial on the process by Beth Sellers) and then laid it on my cutting board.

Placing the 2" mark of my ruler vertically along the center line, I cut to the right side of the ruler.  Without moving the pieces, I repeated the process to the left side and also horizontally above and below the center line.

And this is what I ended up with!  Now it's time for the magic to happen.  Experiment with moving pieces around!  In the picture below, I took the top center and bottom center pieces and swapped them, and did the same with the right center and left center pieces.

And here's a sample layout that you could make with this block...

But I decided to try something a little bit different.  I took the same center outside blocks and just turned them around in place, and ended up with this block.

I made a few more, then started playing with layouts and ended up with this one...

I sure was happy to get to church and a functioning design wall!

And here's a tip - when you are trying to figure out how to lay out your colors with this layout, lay out your two-patch blocks so the colors match, then decide what colors you want to be on the other side.  Place the four-patch blocks in place before cutting and re-sewing to see how the colors will work.  As you can see, I figured this out late in the game, or I wouldn't have two blue blocks on the top half of this layout!  Alas - live and learn!

After making all the four-patch blocks on Wednesday night at church, I headed home with a picture and a plan!  I sliced-and-diced all the four-patch blocks and put them back together again, then assembled the whole top.

And voila!  A sweet little top just large enough for a baby or small child, or for a comfort item for a foster child.  The blocks finish up just slightly larger than 8" (finished), so this top made with 20 blocks is about 32 x 40.  It would be easy to make almost any size quilt, just increase the number of blocks made.  Time constraints limited this one, but I may make a larger one soon, because it is quick and fun!  

And now, I want to know - - - am I the only person in the world who has never made a disappearing four-patch block before?  

Come back next Sunday for another fun charm pack quilt.  Because those charms aren't going to sew themselves up by themselves!



Friday, February 21, 2020

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Snow Day, Sew Day!!

Hi, all!

Here it is, Friday again - and you know what that means!  It's time for us to get our whoop whoop on!  I hope you're ready, so let's get started!


This morning when I woke up, I checked the weather like I always do.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that they were predicting 1-3 inches of snow for us!  Well, in Tennessee that doesn't mean much -  we get lots of predicted snow that never happens.  But at 7 a.m. I looked out the window.....

Snow!!  Big fat beautiful flakes - and the best kind, because it didn't stick!  And you know what snow means - snow day, sew day!  So I headed up to my studio - my big, beautiful new studio that still needs a LOT of work - and did some sewing!  

In the course of that sewing, I lost at the game of "binding chicken"...

3/8 of a stinking inch!  That's all I would have needed to make it reach - but it's all good.  I found a piece of navy blue to stretch it just that little bit needed, and ended up with this pretty finished quilt.  FYI, I only did the binding on this one - it's a ministry quilt, pieced by one lovely lady, with a back made by a second lady and quilting by a third.  Lots of hands and love in this one!

Then I put the binding on this quilt, requested by one of the ministers on our staff for a special need.  The top was pieced (we think) by a lady, once part of our quilt ministry, who died a few years back.  She left us tons fabric and a lot of pieced tops that we are still working our way through.  This is a particularly lovely one that Rita quilted up on Wednesday night now has a binding and is ready to become someone's quilty hug!

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along 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!



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

I May Have A Scrap Problem... Reorganizing!

Hi, all!

It's been a busy week around here, and I'm  happy to say my sewing studio is finally starting to shape up!  My long arm machine is back up...

...and hooray, I managed to get my IKEA wire drawers underneath it!  At the other house I had plastic storage tubs full of scraps under the front of the machine, but I really don't think I want to do that here.  And that means it's time for a little reorganization!  

I think I'm going to use the wire drawers to sort and store my scraps by color.  I think the mesh is small enough to hold them, but if not, I'll have to come up with something to line them with.  That will be a project for this weekend, I think!


I've also (finally) started this year's tutorial series - it's called "Charmed, I'm Sure"!  The basic starting unit for each design will be a 5" charm square, which I have plenty of in my stash, since I've been cutting my scraps into that size among others.  And yesterday I managed to carve out some time to do some sewing!

These weren't scrappy charms, but they were a bunch that I have had in my stash for years (we won't say just how many!) and the tail end of some of that black and white print that I love so much.  I'll be sharing a tutorial for this on Sunday!  It's funny, but with all the quilts I've made, I've never done a disappearing four-patch before.  It's a lot of fun!

So what have you been doing with scraps this week?