Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nifty Nines Quilt-Along - The First Quilt!

Hi, all!

Welcome to the first post for this year's Hands2Help Quilt-Along!  Some of you probably remember the Sweet Sixteen Quilt-Along from last year - six different sixteen-patch quilts to demonstrate some of the many ways you could use that versatile block.  This year I'm doing something similar with the nine-patch block - a great block for scrap-busting and charity quilting!  I hope you'll come join me as we spend the next six Sundays exploring some of the ways you can use a nine-patch block...

And here's this week's quilt!  Bright and sunny, it makes me think of summer and picnics...

Of course, while it was beautifully sunny today, it was hard to get a decent picture....

...because the wind was blowing the quilt almost horizontal!

But it was very pretty against last weekend's snow, even if I did get it hung up sideways!

While it may not look like your typical nine-patch quilt, I assure you that it is.  Setting the nine-patch blocks on point can really change the look of your quilt.  So without further ado, here's a tutorial for this quilt, which I'm calling Lattice Play!


Nifty Nines Quilt-Along
Lattice Play

Size - Approx. 62” x 67”

Fabric Requirements:

Background fabric - 2 1/4 yards.  This can be all one fabric, or a mix of low volume fabrics if preferred.  Cut 533  2 1/2" squares for background.

Darker scraps or a mix of fabrics totaling approximately 2 1/4 yards.  Cut 516   2 1/2" squares from print fabrics.

Block Construction:

This is an nine-patch quilt, but what I call an “engineered” nine-patch.  There are two basic blocks, put together in a very specific way, that form the body of the quilt.  

Block A looks like this: 

Block A is a simple 9-patch, with the background colors in the corners.  Make 52.

Block B looks like this: 

Block B is also a simple 9-patch, but the background colors form an L on two edges and another single background block in the corner.  Make 39.

Then there are three other blocks, also put together in a very specific way, that after trimming will form the straight edges of the quilt.  These are made in such a way that they conserve fabric, rather than making more of the two basic blocks and trimming away half of the block.

Block C looks like this: 

Make 21 of Block C.

Block D looks like this: 

Block D (right facing)

Block D (left facing)

(ignore the white corners - your D blocks will only have 6 pieces in each, and an irregular shaped edge.)

Make 3 of Block D (right facing) and 3 of Block D (left facing).  The left facing blocks will go on the left side of the quilt, and the right facing blocks will go on the right side of the quilt.

Block E looks like this: 

(Once again, ignore the white portions - your E blocks will only have 4 pieces in each, and an irregular shaped edge.)

These are for the upper corners.  Make 2 of Block E.

Quilt Construction

This quilt is put together “on-point” so you may find it useful to have a design wall or floor.  Personally, I find it hard to keep my design in the proper order without one!  But it is possible,
with a picture of the finished quilt in front of you.  Do whatever works best for you!  Here is a blow-out of the way the quilt is laid out.

Lay out all of your blocks, and begin assembling on the diagonal.  I assembled my entire upper left corner first - sewing one C block to each side of an A block, and an E block to the top of the A block.  Then I constructed my rows, joining each row to the assembled corner of the quilt.  You may find this gets quite bulky, and you can choose to assemble half the quilt from the top left corner, then the other half from the bottom right corner and then join the two pieces together in a final grand finale! 

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

You can see in this picture what your quilt top’s edges will look like at this point.    

To straighten the edges of your quilt, place your long ruler with the 1/4 inch line running along the patchwork blocks like this…

I've already trimmed this edge, but you can see
where the 1/4" line lies against the corners
of the blocks.

...and trim all around the quilt.  This will (hopefully) allow your blocks along the side to be whole and not cut off after binding.  Be careful - those edges are on the bias and can stretch.  You may also want to stitch around the edges of your quilt, about 1/8 of an inch in, just to keep them from stretching out of shape.  Quilt as desired, bind, and you are done!


I hope you've enjoyed this, the first of six tutorials to come over six weeks.  Some will be easier than this one, but all will be beautiful quilts perfect if you need an idea for your Hands2Help quilt!  Of course, they'll also make beautiful gifts and family quilts, too - feel free to make as many as you want.  I hope you'll post pictures of anything you make using the Nifty Nines tutorials - it will be great to see your own variations.  You can post them in the Nifty Nines Quilt Along group on Flickr - just click on the group name to be taken there!



PS - If you'd like a PDF of this quilt pattern, click the green button below and save to your device or print for your records!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Rockin' My Socks Off...

Hi, all!

It's finally Friday!  And you know what that means - it's time to get our whoop whoop on!!  I've been whooping a lot this week, and not just over quilt-y things - so let's get started!


First of all, you may have seen last Sunday's post, about Savannah's Sweet 16 Sock Drive...

I am so excited to say that the response has been UNBELIEVABLE!  Take a look at these pictures from just two days of shipments received....

...which resulted in a total of 1276 pairs of socks in TWO DAYS!!  She has another huge stack of packages she's sorting through right now, and I know there are still many people who haven't sent their donations yet (like me!)  Only five days into the drive, and it doesn't end until February 22nd!  If you'd like to become part of this fabulous story, please check out this blogpost for the full skinny.

Then, on the quilt-y front, I quilted and bound this sweet child's quilt for the quilt ministry...

...pieced a really nice men's top that will be part of the upcoming Nifty Nines Quilt-Along...

...pulled this beautiful batik top together in about two and a half hours the other day...

...and started piecing blocks for not one, not two, but three My Small World quilts!  In a moment of absolute lunacy, I decided it might be fun to make one for each grandchild.  Oh well, at least I've got until Christmas - nothing like starting early!

So that's what I'm whooping about this week!  


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you dance the happy dance?

Share - we want to dance 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!



And a quick reminder - between the busy holiday season and the first flowers of spring lies the perfect time for creativity.  Celebrate with BIG savings on supplies at Craftsy, at up to 50% off!  Get great deals on art supplies, fabric, yarn, baking tools and more.  Browse the sale prices now before the best products are gone!  This sale runs from now until Sunday, January 31st at 11:59 PM Mountain Time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's On The Bookshelf Wednesday - Raising Grateful Kids...

Hi, all!

Today on What's On The Bookshelf Wednesday, I'm going to step outside of the quilting/crafting genre and share a brand new book with you - a great book if you have any part in raising children, whether as a parent, grandparent, or teacher.


I have been a fan of Kristen Welch for quite a while now, ever since I saw her posts start popping up on my Facebook timeline.  Kristen's blog, We Are THAT Family, shares stories of her journey through life teaching her three kids how to live Godly lives.  Those stories resonate with so many people that they are shared across Facebook thousands of times.  I highly recommend you check it out if you've never seen it before.  

Kristen writes:

"I never wanted to write a parenting book.  When I started writing on my blog about gratitude in the face of entitlement, I was writing from a place of struggle, not success… I’m writing from the middle of my mess, not from my accomplishment.  I am in the thick of it."

She may not have wanted to write a parenting book, but she has written a powerful book for parents (and those of us helping to raise kids)...

The most important thing I learned from this book?  Our kids are entitled because we ourselves are entitled.  I wanted to say, "I don't feel entitled."  Then I took a hard look at myself while driving (why doesn't that person get a move on so I can get where I'm going?), while shopping (oh my gosh does she have EIGHTEEN items in the speed lane?), at home (why can't you get your own drink? I don't want to walk back upstairs!) and it became clear that yes, I do feel entitled.  Is it any surprise that our kids feel entitled too?  

Kristen is the first one to say that this book isn't written from a place with all the answers - she is in the trenches too and shares the struggle.  She is real and down-to-earth and speaks from the heart.  She speaks about parenting against the flow, the value of service in teaching children (and their parents) gratitude, dealing with the everyday problems of social media, technology, overcommitment, all from a faith-based framework.  This is an inspiring book and one you will want to read! 

Released on January 26th, 2016, it is now available on as a paperback, Kindle edition, or Audible audiobook.  

Choose gratitude today, my friends!  



Monday, January 25, 2016

Make-A-List Monday - Second Verse, Same As The First...

Hi, all!

Are you still snowed in?  I hope those of you who got snow this past weekend stayed safe, warm, and got to SEW!!  I certainly did - we received about eight inches of snow on Friday that kept us in most of the weekend.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot to some of you, but in Middle Tennessee, it was a record one-day snowfall.  We're just not equipped to deal with that much snow!

Well, since I did get to sew, let's see how last week's list went...

1.  Work on a special secret quilt project.
I did make some headway on this one, and hope to start sewing a little later this week.

2.  Finish at least one of the Nifty Nines quilt along quilt tops.
Done!  And not just one, but two quilt tops are finished!  You've already seen the first, but here's a sneak peek at the second...

3.  Start piecing blocks for three My Small World quilts (these will become the annual quilt for the grandkids this year!)
Started!  I made the hourglass blocks and the large pinwheels for all three quilts.  I plan on working on these quilts a little bit each week so it will go slowly for a while...

4.  Contact possible sponsors for Hands2Help.  (If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, drop me an email at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!)
I did not get to this one.  I really want to take time to do this properly, and I got so caught up in sewing I completely forgot this was on the list.

5.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
Done!  Three quilts this week...

This quilt was given to a little 9 week old girl with Kawasaki syndrome, a heart condition...

This one went to an eight-month old boy with pneumonia...

And this one was given to a man just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a month or so to live.

I also wrote up an estimate for a commission job, which involved altering the size of the requested quilt and re-figuring the fabric requirements (an all-afternoon job that strained my math brain!)

So that was last week!  Not too bad, but I've got to get to work on the H2H stuff.  So let's see what's on tap for this week...

1.  Continue working on the special secret gift quilt.

2.  Continue working on the My Small World quilts.

3.  Start working on another quilt top for the Nifty Nines quilt along.

4.  Contact possible sponsors for Hands2Help, and finalize the charities.

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

Looks a lot like last week's list, doesn't it?  The first two will be ongoing projects for a while, and Hands2Help has next priority.  Hopefully I'll get to work some other things in, though - quilting some ministry tops, for example!

And if you missed last night's post, I hope you'll check it out...

I've been blown away by the fabulous response already to my post - but it's only a drop in the bucket compared to the response that my friend Robin has received already to her initial request!  You can read about it here - and I hope you'll join me in showering Vanderbilt Children's Hospital with socks for their young patients!  Here's what I picked up today for the drive...

I may have gone a little overboard - but it's such a good cause!


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



Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Very Special Appeal...

Hi, all!

This evening, I have a very special appeal to share with you, something near and dear to my heart.  I hope you'll take a few minutes to read this post, and join me in becoming part of this story!

This quilt may look familiar to many of you... may this beautiful face and smile!

For those of you who are more recent-comers to this blog, the little girl is Savannah, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in 2006 at the age of six.  As part of our quilt ministry, we made a quilt for Savannah in January of 2011.  Unfortunately, Savannah went home to God in March of 2011, and is dancing with the angels now.  

Savannah's story (posted here, here, here, and here) has been the most-viewed story on my blog, with well over 6000 views.  Being part of her story has taught me more about the love of God than any other single event in my life, and continues to amaze me.  

So now to the heart of today's post.  This morning when I got on Facebook, I saw this beautiful face smiling at me, and the following post and appeal from Savannah's mom:

Please read.  I need your help!

In one month, on February 23, 2016, my sweet daughter, Savannah would have turned 16 years old.  While I may not be able to bake her a cake, throw her a party or take her to get her driver's license, I CAN do something special in her memory to celebrate the amazing person she was during her eleven years on this earth.  During her battle against childhood cancer, we were blessed with a tremendous amount of love, support, kindness and generosity from family, friends and strangers.  She may not be a patient at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital anymore, but there are many, many children who are now or will be in the future.  These children will have to endure chemo, radiation, CT scans, PET scans, MRI's, blood and platelet transfusions, bone marrow biopsies, surgeries, clinic visits, hospital stays and much much more was they sacrifice their innocence and childhood.  NO child should have to experience any of this, but they do...7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Speaking from our personal experience, I will tell you it takes seemingly small things to bring these children smiles, joy and happiness.  One of these "small things" that Savannah loved and appreciated was socks.  Yes, socks!  Socks that were fuzzy, warm, colorful, fun, silly and could be worn during her time at Vandy and at home.

I'd like to donate as many pairs of new socks as possible to the boys and girls at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital on February 23, 2016, Savannah's Sweet 16 birthday.  Please help me in this very special mission to show some kindness to these courageous children and celebrate my little girl's day of birth.

You can either drop them off in a special purple bin on our front porch (if you're local) or mail them to me at:  

     Savannah's Sweet 16 Sock Drive
     C/O Robin Landes
     1809 Brisbane Lane
     Mt. Juliet, TN   37122

Please share and spread the word and help me show Savannah she will always be remembered!


I hope you will join me in helping fulfill Robin's wish and making Savannah's Sweet 16 birthday a day of joy and remembrance, as we bring a little bit of joy and happiness to a child with cancer.  It's such a small thing - and you too can be a part of the story!  

You can even participate without even moving from your computer - there are some great choices on Amazon, many with Prime free two day shipping - that you can have sent directly to Robin in plenty of time!  Just search "colorful children's socks" and you'll see some fabulous choices!  They are looking for any size from baby to teenager, colorful and cheerful that will brighten up a child's day.  

Let's flood Robin with socks to celebrate Savannah's Sweet 16, and bring joy and happiness to lots of sweet children!



Friday, January 22, 2016

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? And So It Begins...

Hi, all!

It's Friday again, and that means it's time to get our whoop whoop on!  Are you ready?  I had hoped to be a little farther along on my project, but I'm going to whoop about the progress I've made anyway, so let's get started!


First of all, let me preface this by saying that I spent lots of time last weekend working on designs for the Nifty Nines Quilt Along - a reboot of the Sweet Sixteen Quilt Along I did last year before the Hands2Help Challenge.  It's been a lot of fun coming up with new designs, and when I got home from my weekend away, I started working on the first top for the quilt along.  It didn't hurt that we had a snow day...

True, it doesn't take much snow in Tennessee to close schools!  But it was nice to have a day where they were recommending we stay off the roads, so I had good excuse to park behind my sewing machine and sew sew sew!

Here's a progress shot from Wednesday... you can even see the snow outside the window...

And this is how far it got before I had to quit on Thursday. I really wanted to finish putting the top together before I had to write this blogpost, but unfortunately, it just wasn't happening!  I should have it finished sometime Friday, though.  They are predicting more snow for us - predictions range from 1" to 6" or more, so we'll either get nothing at all or a blizzard!  But I've got plenty of fabric on hand, so it's all good....

I'll be posting a tutorial for this, the first of the Nifty Nines quilts, on January 31st.  I hope you'll come check it out!  There will be six quilts in all as part of the series, all utilizing nine-patch blocks - a little cornucopia of easy designs that will be perfect for using up scraps from your stash!

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!

What are you whooping about this week?

What's got you doing 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!