Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Hurray for Finished Blocks!

I'm always so pleased when the Cheddarback blocks are finished, and even more so when they're particularly difficult blocks like the ones this month.  I cut the fabrics for all the blocks (except 49) at the beginning of the month and worked on them when I had time, pinning, stitching, pressing, etc.  I finished them last week but haven't had time to post.  These are this month's blocks, most to least favorite.

Block 50
Cheddarback Block 50
I love this block pattern!  It's almost like spools but not quite.  This block probably has a name but I haven't found it yet.  I'm making a few more blocks for my Everyday Patchwork sampler quilt and will definitely make one of these.  This is a 5" block that was paper-pieced in three rows.  I don't enjoy paper-piecing but I admit that, when carefully sewn, the blocks are about as perfect as one can make.

Block 52
Cheddarback Block 52
This was an easy block because each triangle/square needed to finish at 1".  Gay provided a great pattern.

Block 51
Cheddarback Block 51
This is a 5" block and the first pineapple block I've ever made.  This, too, was paper-pieced.  The original was created somewhat differently with a triangle on each side where the brown bars are.  Doing it this way prevented the need to sew Y-seams.

Block 49
Cheddarback Block 49
This is the 12" block for the month.  I'm surprised and pleased it turned out so well (even though some of the points around the edges will disappear when stitched to the sashing).  I think this was one of the most difficult in the whole quilt, so far.  Gay gave us a pattern for a simpler block, but many of us wanted to do a block like the one in the original quilt.  Someone in the Facebook group found a Jack's Chain and made that.  She gave finished sizes but the sizes of the cut triangles was hard to figure out.  I cut the pieces and the next day Gay posted a pattern she found and adapted to the correct size.  Unfortunately the sizes I cut and the sizes of her pattern didn't match.  I combined the patterns, cutting down some of the pieces but left the triangles since they were off by such a small amount.  It worked but it wasn't the best way to make a quilt block.  And those Y-seams!  Challenging, to say the least.

Block 53
Cheddarback Block 53
This 5" block is my least favorite of this month's group.  The pattern, too, is a simplified version of the original.  It was quick to stitch and we didn't have to sew more Y-seams.

I have several months' worth of blocks to sew together with sashing and cornerstones.  Maybe I'll get to them in March.

You can see photographs of the original Cheddarback blocks at this post at Sentimental Stitches.  Many thanks to Gay Bomers for creating and giving us the patterns and hosting the sew-along on Facebook.

Finishing these blocks was my One Monthly Goal for February and since I've met the goal I'm linking to One Monthly Goal February Finish Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thank you for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Hue, Tint, Tone, Shade - Saturday Snapshots

Fishing Pier at Dania Beach, Florida

The ocean is one of my favorite places to be.  It's been years since I set eyes on ocean waves and dug my toes into the sand.  It is one of those places that is always the same yet always changing.  And I love it.

Fishing Pier at Dania Beach, Florida


I had forgotten how the ocean's color changes from place to place, from day to day, from morning to night, sometimes from hour to hour.
Hollywood Beach, Florida

This time I was struck by how bright and beautiful the water was. Blues from pastel to navy, aquas, turquoises, teals, greens. And near-violet several times, too.  Hues, tints, tones, and shades.
Hollywood Beach, Florida

The waves were gentle and the water was warm.
Hollywood Beach, Florida

One day was cloudy. (Florida was lightly cloudy compared to Ohio's dense, dark clouds that sometimes necessitate lights on inside during the day to see what we're doing.)

Hollywood Beach, Florida


Hollywood Beach, Florida


My daughter had the last week of January and the first week of February off  work.  At the beginning of January she suggested, spur of the moment, that we take a little trip somewhere for a few days while she was off.  New York City and Florida were the two locations we discussed, then wavered back and for a week or more.  My older daughter's husband was able to get time off so she could go, too.  And we ended up in Hollywood, Florida, in a hotel that was on the beach.  Glorious sunshine, sand, and ocean!

I would have loved to spend all day every day on the beach but we three had different ideas about what would be the most fun so we compromised and spent time at the ocean and time doing other things.  One of our favorite places was the Anne Kolb Nature Center where we saw a mangrove forest.  Oh so interesting!  Looking into the forest (growing in water) we saw a mass of roots sprouting from the trunk of the trees, some above and reaching for the water, more already deep into the water.  A tangle of roots!  We visited twice:  first in the afternoon, then a few days later just before sunset.  During that last visit we kept hearing snaps, pops, cracks, and squeaks coming from the water where the mangroves were.  We couldn't see anything making the noises, nor any movement in the water.  We learned that the mussels in the water were closing their shells.   
Mangrove forest at Anne Kolb Nature Center, Hollywood, Florida

Mangrove forest at Anne Kolb Nature Center, Hollywood, Florida

Another day we visited Tree Tops Park in Davie where we saw a banyan tree.  The photos below start with what we saw at eye level, then a little higher, and finally toward the top of the tree.  There was no way to get the whole tree into one photograph.  The diameter of the group of roots was perhaps 40 feet or more, growing in a semi-circle.  I could not tell if the branches were reaching for the ground to put down roots or the stems were growing up.  Beautiful and fascinating.  

Banyan tree at Tree Tops Park, Davie, Florida

Banyan tree at Tree Tops Park, Davie, Florida

Banyan tree at Tree Tops Park, Davie, Florida

It was a joy to spend five days with my daughters enjoying sun, sand, ocean, and nature.




--Nancy.
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Friday, February 7, 2020

More Paper Piecing and Y-Seams

Had I wanted to practice a new technique or two I couldn't have found a better sew-along than Cheddarback.  I decided early in the sew-along that I didn't enjoy y-seams and last month I learned that I don't enjoy foundation paper piecing.  No matter.  This month we have a large block with too many y-seams to count and two more paper pieced blocks.  I'm hoping that "practice makes perfect" even if it is for techniques that I hope not to use too often in the future.

These are patterns for this month's blocks and the fabrics I will likely use.  Original blocks in beautiful color are here

The first block on the left, above, is a substitute pattern Gay gave us for the original block, at right.  Though it will be more difficult I prefer the original block in all its quirkiness but had no idea how to recreate it.  I was pleased to see that Robin had a version on her blog made from a pattern her husband created from the original image.  And then someone on the Facebook group posted a link to Jack's Chain at Quilter's Cache and gave measurements for printing.  Jack's Chain uses 9-patch blocks for the squares but other than that it looks very similar to this block.  I'll try that pattern using squares instead of 9-patches and hope for the best.

You can see all the originals for this month's blocks at this post at Sentimental Stitches and order the free patterns till the end of the month.  Many thanks to Gay for making these patterns available to us.

Finishing these blocks is my One Monthly Goal for February.  I'm liking this post to One Monthly Goal February Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thank you for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.
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Friday, January 17, 2020

January Cheddarback Blocks

One of my daughters suggested we take a trip for a few days this month since she has two weeks off.  Sure, I said.  And then I knew I couldn't put off the Cheddarback blocks and got right to work.  But they took longer than I thought.  Whew!  Some of them were very challenging.  Many thanks to Gay Bomers of Sentimental Stitches for creating this sew-along of an antique quilt.  You can see this month's blocks here.  Block 44 is the only 12" block.  The rest are 5".  Here they are with a few notes/comments about each.

Block 44
Cheddarback Block 44 made using foundation paper piecing
This block required foundation paper-piececing, a new technique for me.  This was the second ever that I've pieced using this method (and also the second in this set of blocks).  Though I don't enjoy foundation paper-piecing I'm pleased with the accuracy of the process.

I've you've read recent posts you'll know that I altered the colors of some of the fabrics for the blocks in this set.  The original Cheddarback Block 44 had a striped fabric similar to the one in the center of this block.  The stripes in the fabric I had were a pale grey.  I used a Micron 08 to draw the lines darker.  Also, the original fabric for the large triangles has solid dots so I may fill in the ones in this block.

Block 45
Cheddarback Block 45
This is the last block I made because I thought it would be easiest, and it was.  I would never in a million years put red and lavender/purple together, but those are the colors in the original block so here they are.  I used to have a fabric similar to the light fabric in the original block but it's gone.  I think I passed in on because it was poor quality.  I doubt people who use my finished quilt will search out the original and compare all the fabrics.  Sometimes the best I can do is a similar color.

Block 46
Cheddarback Block 46 made using foundation paper piecing
This is my first-ever foundation paper-pieced block.  It looked like the hardest of the five for this month and I wanted to get it out of the way.  It's probably the most imperfect of all the blocks in the whole quilt but it's DONE!  If you want to read more about that experience click here.  For the briefest of moments I considered trying to find a striped fabric for the gold triangles.  I came to my senses before I wasted my time, realizing that dealing with stripes would be one too many challenges in this already difficult block.

Block 47
Cheddarback Block 47
Isn't this a sweet Ohio Star?  But again, it's not perfect.  Others mentioned that the block turned out too small.  I was grateful for the heads up and remembered that 5 doesn't divide into thirds evenly and guessed we'd need to sew scant ¼" seams.  I cut the blocks a 16th inch larager and took slightly scant seams and it's still slightly too small on one side.  Not so small that I'll remake it, though.  This is another block in which I altered the color of the fabric so it would be closer to the color in the original quilt.

 Block 48
Cheddarback Block 48
This 5" block is almost perfect unless you look closely.  (Please don't.)  You'd see valleys that don't exactly match, points that don't exactly meet, and fabric that has waves.  And worst of all, with a tape measure, you'd see that this block that is supposed to measure 5½" measures 5¾".

I knew this would be hard because of the 8 points that meet in the center and the 8 y-seams (but not as hard as the foundation paper-pieced blocks).  I cut out the pattern then stitched the star together, stopping the seam a ¼" from the edge of the fabric on the outer points.  I stitched the points in twos, those into halves, and the halves together.  Then I pressed it.  At that point I looked at Gay Bomers's excellent instructions for sewing y-seams and realized that I'd already made a few mistakes that I couldn't easily undo.  I went ahead with my original plan, to stitch the y-seams by machine.  It turned out better than I expected so even though not perfect, it will go into the quilt.

The background fabric in the original star block is a black/blue thorny print on a light background.  I knew I'd never find anything similar so used a fabric I thought reminded me just slightly of the original.

Several of these blocks were really difficult for me.  When I finished them I breathed a sigh of relief and hoped we were finished with the hard ones for this quilt.  Then I looked at Gay's photo of the quilt and realized there are more challenging ones to come.  Gosh, I'm learning so much.

Finishing these blocks was my One Monthly Goal for January.  I'm linking this post to Patty's One Monthly Goal January Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Altering Fabric Colors

Finding and choosing fabric for Cheddarback blocks can be a challenge, especially when trying to find fabrics similar to the ones that are 100 or more years old.  Sometimes I have a fabric that's somewhat similar but missing a little color.  To help I've been experimenting with ways to alter the color of fabric.

For example, in this photo, the top strip is the fabric I have.  It's similar to the fabric in Block 48 but that block has pink and green.  So I added green and pink to the strip at the bottom.  It's a subtle change but it brings the fabric closer to the original.


Before Christmas I saw these markers when we were in a school and craft supply store shopping for our grands.  I was thrilled when I received them for Christmas.  Not to let a gift sit on the shelf, I used them to add the colors to fabric above.  They are permanent when ironed. 


They stiffen the fabric just a little but not enough to make it a problem, and it's wonderful to have the option to add a touch of color.  I would not use them to add a design to a plain piece of fabric though they could be used for that.  My interest is in altering the color of fabric just a little.

Another challenge for Cheddarback was finding a white/off white fabric with black stripes.  I had this fabric with grey stripes but the stripes didn't stand out the way they do in fabric in the Cheddarback block.


I pulled out a metal ruler and my black Pigma Micron 08 pen and traced the grey lines to turn them into black lines.  They are not perfect but they work for me.

Do you change the color of fabric sometimes and, if so, how do you do it and what do you use?

--Nancy.
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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Circles, Stripes, Shadows, Other Snapshots




pomegranate half




grapefruit half

ice crystals on freezer door at store

What my eyes saw....

What the camera saw....

The source of sunlight creating the shadows.

I hope you've had a good week and have a great week coming up.

--Nancy.
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Friday, January 10, 2020

First Foundation Paper Pieced Block

This is the result of my first attempt at foundation paper piecing.  You'd think it would be perfect but no, those side triangles contorted the block a little so it's askew.  It's possible that the points in the corners will not be points when I sew the sashing on.  I'm not going to remake it, though.  I think it's good enough for a first effort. 

Cheddarback Block 46, foundation paper pieced
 
I used Gay Bomers's directions, here, and I thought they were excellent.  She used a much simpler block than this as an example.  I had trouble getting the hang of reverse -- the printed side of the pattern is the back -- and I kept making thoughtless mistakes. 

Do you know dogs and their behavior?  Have you ever seen a dog go through a difficult experience?  Maybe it was tumbled by another dog, or perhaps it fell from a step, or maybe it chased a cat or a rabbit that got away.  It had a rough time but the dog picks itself up, gives itself a good shake to right itself, then trots on to the next adventure.  I wish I had a little video to share.

Anyway, I feel like that dog after this first attempt at foundation paper piecing.  It was a rough experience but I've shaken myself right again and am working on the second foundation paper pieced block for Cheddarback this month.

I'm glad this block is finished!  One fifth of my One Monthly Goal down, four to go.  In the word of my blogging friend Robin about the blocks for this month, "Whew!"  I agree.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

One Monthly Goal for January, 2020

I debated this goal for several days, wavering back and forth:  Cheddarback blocks or the last several rows of hand quilting Little Rubies for this month.  I decided on the more difficult goal:  the Cheddarback blocks.

My goal for January is making the five blocks this month for Cheddarback.  Three of the blocks require paper piecing, a new technique for me, and the other two don't look much easier.

You can see the blocks here, at Sentimental Stitches.  Many thanks to Gay Bomers for offering this sew-along.  And, of course, thanks to the creator of Cheddarback.  I continue to be amazed at her piecing abilities as well as her willingness to accept less than perfect blocks.  (She has a number of points that disappear into the seams.)

These are fabrics I may use though I'm still looking for ones I think will match better than these. 


I had a fabric that I thought was close for the coral in Block 47 but it was a tad too dark.  I also had a packet of Rit color remover that I'd purchased a few years ago after reading a review and seeing photos in a quilting magazine.  I decided to just see what would happen if I used a few pinches of the packet.

I heated the water in a plastic container and sprinkled in maybe half a teaspoon of the color remover.

This is what happened!  The fabric in the background is the original color.
The gold strip was the result of putting it in the solution and leaving it for a minute.  It was almost like magic.  Whoof and it was yellow!  It lost the color faster than I could get it out of the solution.  It's much too light for the intended block.

The middle strip I put in the dye and removed it more quickly but it was still too light.

For the strip at top I poured about a cup of the solution into another plastic container, added more hot water, and added the fabric.  It's hard to tell the true color of fabric when it's wet but I think I pulled this one out just in time.  In color it's a close match to the fabric in the original Cheddarback block, Block 47.

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal January Link-up at Patty's blog, Elm Street Quilts.  Many, many thanks to her for organizing and hosting this link-up every month.  I can imagine it could be a thankless job.  I'm thank for it because it makes me push myself a little more than I might otherwise.

--Nancy.
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