Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's My Week for Moda BlockHeads - Cat's Cradle

We are back again ... this time it is my week for Moda BlockHeads, Cat's Cradle is the pattern.  Hope you enjoy making this sweet block, but before we begin, let's answer the 
Question of the Week
In the 20 years you've been making quilts - is there a product invention that makes you the happiest?
First of all, I made my first quilt 35 years ago with scissors, cardboard templates and a pencil.
Without a doubt, the invention that I value the most is the combination of rotary cutter, acrylic rulers and self healing cutting mats.  Cardboard templates wore and got smaller as I drew shapes. It was frustrating and of course, not very accurate.  
I think the rotary cutter probably makes me the happiest, 
but where would it be without ruler and mat???

One month ago, I made all the blocks for August, with the exception of today's.  I knew I'd be back from some trips and have plenty of time to sew.  It is so funny how plans go ary when life gets in the way, NOT!  I completely forgot about a scheduled dermatology procedure Monday.  
Let's just say, I wish I had listened to my mother and not gotten so sunburned as a kid.
Those of you my age probably know exactly what I mean.  Television was full of Coppertone Baby commercials for sunbathing lotion, never sunscreen! I had beautiful tans, as I played outside all summer long, but every summer, I'd have a blistered  nose.  Thanks to new techniques, the offending spot is removed and hopefully will not ever return.  Ice packs and pain pills rock! 
Tuesday was an all day pajama day and I sewed up these sweet blocks. The worst part is wearing glasses to see!  LOL, glasses press and hurt, so just as soon as I finish typing, off they come. 
And yes, I wore them to sew...

Cat's Cradle

I had help...

Go to

for my pattern

Blogger doesn't like me today. copy the link to your browser.

I do suggest you starch your fabrics before cutting.

The best tip I can give you is to oversize 3 squares of background A and 3 squares of dark print B to 2".  Stitch them for HSTs and press to dark triangle. Then trim each unit to 1 1/2" x 1 1/2".
Having B fabric starched before cutting will certainly help with accurate cutting of the 1 7/8" squares into triangles.  Assemble units as shown, And then sewing units to background triangles is a breeze.  Tiny, little triangles tend to move and wiggle under the pressure foot. Starch, you won't be sorry.
Pieced HST units should measure 2".

Finally got Molly out of the way.

Inspired by the 6" block, I applied the same technique for the 3" Mini Penny block, but reversed values.

For A and B cut 2 - 1 3/4" squares of light print and 2 of dark print.
For B triangles, cut 4 - 1 5/8" squares of light print, cut once diagonally.
Hope you starched before cutting, these pieces are even more tiny!
For C, dark corners, cut 2 squares 2 3/4" cut again once diagonally.
I tried a different method for stitching the pieced triangle unit to C triangles. Notice, the red triangles are oversized. I positioned the parts so that there was extra all around. Pin in place and stitch. Press to the dark then using a block_loc ruler or regular square ruler, trim to 2"

Again, I think you will be happy you oversized. You could line up the hypotenuse of both triangles, just make sure you have extra on the right angle sides.

 Block measures 3 1/2" for a 3" finished block.
I think it is really cute!

Did you ever make Cat's Cradle with a loop of  yarn and your fingers?  Don't tell Molly if you did.

Please visit my BlockHead friends to see what they have made this week.

Time to ice my sore nose.

Until next time, 
Happy Sewing!
~ Betsy

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Twice the Friendship, Blockheads block #25 by Lynne Hagmeier

Here we are again for Week 25 Moda Blockheads!
This week's fun block is brought to you by Lynne Hagmeier.  Such a fun block to make.  I have not used Lynne's layered techniques for my blocks, so you will want to go to her blog for those special tips and the pattern for this week.
I love the movement in this star block!
Whether traditionally pieced or with Lynne's layered method you will enjoy making this block.
for the link to Lynne's blog and pattern.
 (both methods will be included in the pattern link)
I've added a sweet tan print from Grace's Garden (shipping in October) to tease you a bit. Indigo print is from Hope's Journey and the chintz background is from Rachel Remembered.

I kept the friendship star theme going with the 3" mini Penny block too.

Cutting for the 3" blocks is as follows:
From light background 5 - 1 1/2" squares for corners and center 
From background and tan print 2 - 2" squares each for HSTs
From secondary brown print 4 - 1" squares for connector corners
Make HSTs and trim to 1 1/2"
Sew tiny squares on diagonal line to center square and fold back to corner. Trim excess away before adding the next corner. Trim center square in a square to 1 1/2"
Block should measure 3 1/2" for 3" finished block.

Question of the Week......We are half-way through the 48 weeks, Have you decided on a setting?
Short answer, NO. 
I have thought of settings, though. I'm leaning toward sashing the blocks, but in what manner of sashing, no clue.  To tell the truth, I may not decide until we have made all the blocks.  Setting or fabric, which comes first?  Which dictates the use of the other?
I'm a fairly indecisive person, but also spontaneous.  I'll know the answer when I've thought of it in the shower.  ;-)

Go visit my friends to see what they have been doing this week.  Links below.

Where has August gone?  and Summer?  Texas heat usually makes the days of summer long, endless and miserable!!!  While it has been hot and humid, the lawns are still pretty and green with frequent rains.  Certainly a welcome change, but quite different from what we are accustomed! 
One more week of August....

If you need to catch up, use the following link for past patterns.

Until next time, 
Happy Sewing!
~ Betsy

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Home from Alaska for Week 24 Corn No Beans

I can't believe one week ago, we were looking at glaciers in the Tracy Arms awesome!  What a good thing it was to write the post for last week early because the ship's internet when working, was s o o o  s l o w! I tried to post to Instagram and Facebook and never got one post through.  Anyway much thanks for Carrie posting the block for me!  When I could post, it seemed anti climatic.  Oh well. Was only a slight glitch.

View from ship in Juneau.

 View from our room in Skagway. We will be getting on that train.

Just one of the breathtaking views, high above town, from the White Pass train.

I'm ready to go back!  I saw an eagle sitting in a tree and a giant something, whale or dolphin, as it jumped out of the water on the far side away from the ship going into Juneau.  I'm saying whale.  Of course neither time did I have the iPhone ready.

Question of the Week....Rulers, which size and brand do you reach for the most?  Olfa Frosted and Bloc_loc rulers are my go to rulers.  I have multiples on the sizes shown and of a 4" Olfa Frosted ruler too. the long skinny ruler is called a 1" x 12" but is actually 1.25"x 12.5".  I use the 4", 6", 1"x12" and 6"x12" the most. The 1"x12" is a very versatile ruler...a great straight edge and when 3/4" finished strips are needed for log cabin strips, it cannot be beat! For Bloc_loc, the 4.5" HST is my most used...I have a spare. and I have every size flying geese Bloc_loc makes

Carrie Nelson brings us today's block, week 24, Corn No Beans.

Mine looks like Corn, Beans and Salsa!  OR better yet Nachos!  Can you tell I'm craving Tex- Mex...chips, salsa, queso, enchiladas and everything else!!!  I love this block, Carrie! But it's making me hungry.  Thank you!  
Fun to select fabric and to sew.  

Click here 
for Carrie's pattern on the Moda blog.
Visit our other designers to see what they made. Links below.

Mini Penny

Cut  1 3/4" squares of light and dark prints, OR use leftover triangles from other blocks.
Trim each HST unit to 1 1/4".  These little tiny HSTs finish at 3/4".

Happy Sewing!

Until next time ~

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Week 23 Winneconne Star by Lisa Bongean

Hello everyone,  I'm writing this post early because as you read this, I'm in Alaska!  Well, actually on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas cruise ship teaching Hope's Journey wild goose chase quilt.  I hope I'll have some pretty photos to share.

Question of the Week...What is your favorite  brand of rulers?
My absolute favorite brand is Olfa Frosted. I prefer it because of the frosted backing that helps to keep the ruler stable while I cut, and because of the very thin black lines for accurate measurements.
Short answer, more on rulers next week....

and now for this week's block...
Winneconne Star by Lisa Bongean

As each week goes by, I'm having lots of little pieces left over. While some are perfect for a 3" mini, others have to wait until the right project comes along.  Lisa's pattern is the perfect time to use lots of random squares.  Most of you probably toss these little tidbits, but they hang around on my sewing or cutting table, waiting patiently. Very rarely do I throw them away. 
It's almost an obsession to save them...almost. 
 My camera angle is distorting the sizes somewhat, or is it the seam allowance,
 but the corners look huge! lol
I've put some pinks in from the upcoming Grace's Garden along with a favorite pink from Lizzie's Legacy, then tossed in some squares of Hope's Journey, Rachel Remembered and one square from Eliza's Indigo.  Scrappy fun!

for the link to Lisa's blog and the pattern and her tips.
Be sure to stop by my friends' blogs to see what they are up to. Links below.

Aren't they cute?
 The mini this time quick and easy, and yes from leftovers. 

Since I pieced the star points using the connector method in the pattern, I had 8 sets of triangle leftovers from the blue and cream prints.  I stitched the triangles together using a scant seam, pressed to the dark and trimmed the unit to 1 1/2" square. Cut 3 blue squares 1 1/2". Sew together as shown.
Block should measure 3 1/2" for a 3" finished block.

Have a wonderful week. I hope I can post to Instagram and Facebook while cruising.

Until next time ~

will be missing these cuties

Lynne - 
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Betsy - 
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Lisa B - 
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Jan - 
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Jo - 
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Moda - 
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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Moda BlockHeads Week 22 Birdhouse by Jan Patek

Question of the week... What kind of batting do you use?
I primarily use Hobb's 80 - 20 especially for really scrappy quilts with LOTS of piecing.  I have found the seams nestle in very well.  When I want a quilt super drapey, I like wool. Another batting I've used is called Legacy, I think, but I don't know who makes it.  And bamboo is nice and drapey. I had a hard time wrapping my head around bamboo, but why not, I started quilting with polyester in 1980!  My quilters would know best what I use, lol.  I machine or hand quilt small quilts myself and use leftover pieces from the larger quilts, but I never know what is what. If it drapes well, I use it and have been known to split wool batting...boy is that ever a pleasure to hand quilt!!!
Have you ever had a batting that didn't needle well? Chances are it was over resined in processing. It happened to me YEARS ago when I was hand quilting for the public.  I talked with the Hobbs man at Market and he said I should send it back, it had too much resin...right. will do... totally hand quilted and bound and in the hands of the recipient...NO, too late, thank you very much.  I remember how that batt felt...stiff like a layer of glue was on it. It hurt to quilt.  
Too much resin, something to look for...before quilting!!!

Here we go...Week 22, Birdhouse by Jan Patek, is another cute applique pattern.  
Isn't it cute!  I'm not a 'live' bird person, but do like birds in applique, especially folkart birds.  For this block I planned to do back basting, traced the back of my pattern and traced the pattern to the back side of  my fabric....then thought, oh I'll try freezer paper on this project.  Why? Because I was preparing this in anticipation for a trip and the need to schedule this post early and really didn't think I'd have time to applique.
Ok.  The day I traced shapes and cut out parts, my brain left on its own trip. I traced patterns for freezer paper applique, pressed fabric to paper and glued the shape's seam allowances in place. Cool, really happy until I placed everything on the pattern...backwards.  Who cares, right? quilt afterall.  No can do...had to re trace and start over with new bird and roof, the other shapes were fine.  Roof went in the trash but the backwards bird became a mini block, shown below.

For Jan's pattern, CLICK HERE to go to her blog for the pattern link. 
Jan will have all the tips and tutorials for you to use in your applique.
Enjoy stitching this little cutie, I did! Yes, it is all stitched down! :-)

Be sure to visit the other Block Heads' links below to see their blocks. Also check out Instagram and Facebook and the permanent link
if you need to catch up .
So here is a super trash to treasure use for the backwards bird 3" Mini Penny Sweet TWEET.
and a super quick 3" pieced block.
For the pieced block, cut the center square 2".  Cut 4 rectangles 1 1/4" x 2" and 4 squares 1 1/4".
Super easy to do. Block should measure 3 1/2" for a 3" finished block.
The pieced block is made of leftover pieces on the sewing those handy scraps!

in closing, a couple of small human form...

Madison was in such a good mood...tried to capture a good smile, but caught her  mid laugh or was is a yell??
and Reed with Grandad...looks like he is ready to box!

Wish you could hear Madison say has about 40 syllables! Love it!!!

Until next time,
~ Betsy

Lynne - 

Betsy - 

Lisa B - 

Jan - 

Jo - 

Moda -