Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Easy, at Least in Theory

It's Y-seams I'm thinking about when I say they're easy in theory.  Those five pieces of fabric in this block should be able to be stitched together in a snap.


But they don't sew up as easily as I think they should.  This is my first old-style bow tie block.  It turned out pretty well, although I had to unstitch several times to get it right.  And then, of course, pressing went a long way to help flatten it.   This is Block 18 for Cheddarback, a 5" block.

I'm almost finished stitching the applique letters on the upper border of Sweet Land of Liberty.  You wouldn't think 18 letters would take very long to stitch but they seemed to go slower than some of the larger applique pieces.


This is the first time I've appliqued onto a large section of a quilt.  I noticed that the edges began to ravel.  Not a good thing when there's only a 1/4" seam to begin with.  I finally decided to cover them with strips of fabric, pinned to hold them in place.  How do you deal with raveling edges when you applique?


And last, I want to share a thought about solid color fabrics.  I know Kona is really popular, and Moda Bella, too.  I find Kona a little hard to hand quilt and I think both Kona and Bella are just a tad rough.  A while ago I won a gift certificate (I can't remember from whom or for what online shop) and purchased some brown fabric.  It came, I washed it, I made a note what line of fabric it was, then put it on the shelf.  I pulled it out to use on Liberty and wow, am I impressed! 


It's Riley Blake Confetti Cottons.  It's soft, smooth, and easy to stitch -- and I love it.  (I know the photo above suggests lines but it's the photo and not the fabric.  The color is a solid.)  I often use solid color shirts from local thrift shops but if I ever need a color I don't have, I think I'll see if Confetti Cottons has the color I want.  (Riley Blake didn't pay me to say this, just in case you're wondering if this is an advertisement.  It isn't.)

I'm still missing my Hannah.  Sad days at our house.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

One Monthly Goal for June

I'm taking it a little easy this month and choosing just five blocks to make for my One Monthly Goal.  They are not the only things I'll be doing but I'm not highly motivated just now and have a few other non-quilting things I need to do.


These are the Cheddarback blocks for this month, not in numeric order.  They are blocks 16-20, one 12" (on the lower right) and four 5" blocks.  I've laid out possible fabrics that I already own that I think may work to keep the same feel as the original blocks.  But, of course, I may probably change them if I see/find other fabrics I think are closer to the originals.

You can see the blocks for June at Sentimental Stitches and you can still download them for free until June 30.  You can see the fabrics and colors of the original blocks there.

So, that's my One Monthly Goal for June.  I'm linking to One Monthly Goal Link-up for June at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.
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Sunday, June 2, 2019

A Sad Farewell

This is a my-life-when-I'm-not-quilting post.  
I won't be offended if you don't read it.

They say, "Life is merrier with an Airedale Terrier."  It's true!  It's more evident than ever after only one day without our dear Hannah.  She became an Aire-Angel yesterday.

Airedale Hannah
She was diagnosed with lymphoma last December.  Dogs with lymphoma usually live only four to six weeks.  We had the blessing of nearly six good months with her.  The past few weeks her health declined until we had to make the difficult choice to let her go.  How I miss her! 

Hannah came to stay with us as a 2-year-old foster girl in the spring of 2008.  She had been in a situation of neglect and abuse and was afraid of everything:  steps, doors, drawers, kitchen utensils, the computer mouse, lights, the TV, a sheet of paper, a change in flooring, men, hands, noises, and anything new.  And everything was new to her because she'd spent the first two years of her life tied to a tree with her brother.  She was not house-broken and did not recognize words.  It didn't take two hours for me to begin thinking about how soon we could find her a forever home (that wasn't ours).

I spent her first night sleeping on the floor with her because I wanted her to feel as comfortable and safe as possible in this new situation.  I was surprised that she nestled right next to me.  When the sun rose the next morning Hannah yawned, stretched, almost smiled, and did a little playbow.  Her eyes were alight with joy and, dare I say it, love.  I sensed that she recognized me as pack leader and felt that she belonged to this new place in her world.  That was when I began to fall in love with Hannah.

Airedale Hannah
So Hannah stayed and blossomed.  Her timidness with new people continued but she overcame her fears in so many other ways.  She gained confidence little by little -- safe throughout the house, safe in her fenced-in yard, safe for a walk, safe with me.  She learned her name and the basic commands:  come, sit, down, wait, and stay.  She also learned to "say please" with a sweet head bob:  at mealtimes I asked her to sit and wait, say please, then I kissed her on the forehead and gave her the okay to eat.  She loved squeaky and stretchy toys and often invited us to play.  Sometimes she was just as pleased to play by herself, grabbing a tissue box or one of her stuffed toys and tossing it around.  We used to laugh when she did this, which only encouraged her to continue or repeat the behavior.  Never laugh at an Airedale's antics:  it only encourages them.  Airedales have a great sense of humor and never seem to mind playing the clown if someone's laughing.

I consider it no small compliment that Hannah chose to love me above everyone else in our home.  She liked to be wherever I was, watching or interacting with me, and came to find me if I moved from a room while she was napping.  When I asked her for a hug, I usually received one.  There's nothing like a hug from an Airedale!

I spent most of Friday night on the floor nestled next to Hannah.  I didn't want her to feel alone and I especially wanted her to know that she was--and is--loved.  It seemed like we'd come full circle.

Being Hannah's adoptive mom has been one of the best experiences of my life -- both a blessing and a joy.  How I love her!  And how I miss her!!!

--Nancy.
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Friday, May 31, 2019

May's Cheddarback Blocks

These are my May blocks, with annotations.  Just look at the photos if you prefer.  (I sometimes write/type too much and give too much information, though I'll be glad to have it later when I've forgotten what I thought or did.)  You can see the photos of the original Cheddarback quilt at Sentimental Stitches where Gay Bomers is hosting a sew-along this year.  Blocks are free the month they are published, then $5.00/set after that.  You can see the May blocks here.

Block 11
Cheddarback Block 11
This is a 12" x 12" block.  When I first saw it on Sentimental Stitches I saw red and white stripes and several dark/navy blues.  I didn't have a red and white narrow-striped fabric so when I came upon a shirt made with the fabric at a thrift store, below, it came home with me.

The red is a little on the rose side and now that I've made the block I think it looks very pink --  too pink!  And as I look at the original block again I see red and off-white, and something else different about the stripes that I didn't notice before.  It's a waviness, though it's hard to tell whether it looks that way because the quilt has been washed and dried or because the fabric is printed that way.  I will probably remake this block if or when I find a different background fabric.

The other thing about this block is that the pattern as Gay wrote it makes an 11 7/8" finished block.  In the directions she said, "I need you to be a little scant on your 1/4" seam allowances to make up the 1/8" we need for our block to have a 12" finished size."  All of my 12" blocks have come out a tad too large so I used the same seam allowance I usually use and this block is the perfect size.  That tells me I'm not really sewing a 1/4" seam.  There are times when it matters more than others and this is one of them!

Blocks 12-15, below, finish at 5". 

Block 12
Cheddarback Block 12
The original of this block had y-seams.  Gay kindly created a simpler pattern for those of us who wanted to use it.  I simplified her simple version even more by using just one red triangle in the center of the basket instead of a small square and two triangles.  Both the background fabric and the blue and white check fabric were shirts. 

Block 13
Cheddarback Block 13
Many people who are members of the Cheddarback Facebook group thought Block 15 was really challenging, and it was.  But I found this block just as challenging.  Gay offered two versions, one for paper piecing and one for rotary cutting.  When I first looked at this block I saw what I thought would be an easy way to sew this block by creating the triangles in each square, sewing the triangles together into squares, then sewing the squares together.  Gay's paper-pieced pattern was sewn that way, and that's the pattern I used but I sewed it by machine.  It looks easier to sew than it was.  The blue striped fabric had been a thrift-store shirt.  

Block 14
Cheddarback Block 14
The original of this block has a purple and black fabric similar to the one above.  That blue and black fabric is not one I would ever buy, at least not a fat quarter or yardage.  This came in a bag of 3" squares I bought at a quilter's yard sale last year.  I wasn't sure I would have enough but since there were four blocks I was able to sew them together in pairs and cut four 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" strips for the border.  It was a little tight but it worked. 

Block 15
Cheddarback Block 15
This was the hard basket so many talked about in the Cheddarback Facebook group.  It received its own post a week or so ago.  The only change I wish is to have reread Gay's description again before making this block so I would have known (or remembered) to use a solid red for some of the triangles.  (I would also have used a plaid for the basket but I didn't have one close enough in color to the original.)  This is a sweet basket but this is a block I will not remake!

Here they are together.  What a variety of blocks there are in this quilt!  I haven't decided whether making these blocks is a test of my mettle or a good learning experience.  Probably both!.
Cheddarback Blocks 11-15

As I work on these blocks I continue to be amazed as I remember the original creator cut by hand without the use of a rotary cutter or acrylic ruler.  Amazing!

I've chosen fabric for the light sashing but I haven't found a light blue/blue grey floral print for the sashing around the side and top edges, so I haven't sewn any of the blocks together yet.

I'm linking this post to Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More.  Thanks for hosting, Wendy.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, May 30, 2019

May Goal Accomplished

There was lots to do in May for Lori's Sweet Land of Liberty sew-along (hosted on Cheri's Facebook page).  I knew I wouldn't be able to finish everything so I set a goal for what I knew I could reasonably finish.  I'm pleased with the progress, and especially pleased that I was able to get all of the vine and the two birds and star on the right side appliqued. 

Sweet Land of Liberty, Cheri Payne pattern

The hand, basket, berries, and eagle are ready to be stitched down (though the eagle has been flying around trying to decide exactly where to perch).  I still have to prepare the letters and stitch them into place, too.  There's plenty to do to be caught up but, on the other hand, I have July's sections finished already, so perhaps I'll catch up by the beginning of August.

Sweet Land of Liberty, Cheri Payne pattern

Just now I noticed that the heart fabric on the hand is the same fabric in the flag the angel is holding.  I may change the heart fabric.  I added a 1½" strip on the left side between the flying geese and the rest of the quilt (above) and a 3" strip (instead of the 2" in the pattern) on the right side between the economy blocks and the rest of the quilt (below).  I know that means I'll have to adjust the width in the rest of the quilt.  I hope it won't look obvious.  I wanted a quilt that was closer to 60" than 57".  I also want a longer quilt but I'm not sure if I can successfully accomplish it.

Sweet Land of Liberty, Cheri Payne pattern

I think this is my second primitive style quilt.  (The other, Baskets of Plenty, is still blocks waiting to be sashed and quilted.)  I don't know how this one will look by the time it's finished but I suspect it won't have the quaint, inviting, truly primitive appearance that Cheri's does.  But it will keep someone warm for a nap.

Since this was my One Monthly Goal for May I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal May Finish link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.
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Monday, May 20, 2019

Little Problems along the Way

I'm working on the Sweet Land of Liberty (SLoL) sew-along for my One Monthly Goal in May.  No smooth sailing this month.

The first problem was the stars.  We need four paper-pieced stars that finish at 4" x 6".  I knew I'd made five so I thought I was set to go.  Unfortunately for me, the stars I made were not the stars for the upper border but, instead, for the lower border and finish at 5" x 7".  I realized this only after I'd cut the 6½" strip of fabric for the top border and placed my stars next to it.  They were too big. 

Stars for Cheri Payne's Sweet Land of Liberty

After looking at the pattern directions again it didn't take many minutes to realize the problem.  So I cut and stitched four new stars.

Next, I realized that the Economy blocks I made might not be quite right for the upper right side border because two birds and a star will be appliqued on them.  I won't take the time to prepare and stitch applique pieces that won't show, so I want to have a choice of Economy blocks in lights, mediums, and darks when it comes to choosing the fabric for the birds. 

Economy blocks for Cheri Payne's Sweet Land of Liberty

So I cut and stitched a dozen more Economy blocks.

Economy blocks for Cheri Payne's Sweet Land of Liberty

Yes, some of the squares are floating but I'm fine with that.  I love the look of Economy blocks all over again.  And now I have enough blocks to play with placement when I choose fabric for the birds.  But, of course, I'll probably make more of these wonderful little blocks.

Partially or already done:
  • The vine and berries are prepared.
  • The basket is prepared.
  • The eagle is cut out.
  • The patterns for the letters are all traced and cut out. 
  • The star for between the birds is ready to stitch.
  • The hand is prepared to applique but needs to have the heart attached (which is ready).

Still to do this month:
  • Finish appliqueing the star to the basket block.
  • Cut and sew the 1½" strip to the top row.
  • Sew the stars and 6½" strip together, then stitch to top of quilt.
  • Position the vine and berries.
  • Choose and sew together 5 flying geese for the left border, then attach to the quilt.
  • Choose, cut, and sew a strip that goes between the main part of the quilt and the Economy blocks.
  • Choose and sew together 5 Economy blocks for the right border and sew to the quilt.
  • Applique the heart to the hand.
  • Choose fabric for the birds on side border (on the Economy blocks).

To do when this above is finished, either this or next month:
  • Applique the vine and berries. 
  • Applique the hand.
  • Applique the eagle.
  • Cut, prepare, and applique the birds.
  • Choose fabric for and prepare the letters, then applique them.  (I think this will take a lot of time!  Those letters look challenging.)

I like lists a lot but I felt much better about my progress before I wrote these lists.  Putting it all in writing makes it seem like there's lots more to do than when I was just thinking about it.  But, hey, I have 10 more days!  I can do this.  Right?

I'm linking this post to
> BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts
> Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
> Main Crush Monday (MCM) at Cooking Up Quilts
> Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cheddarback Block 15, that Really Hard Basket

Most everyone in the Cheddarback Facebook group who's made this basket and shared it commented about how hard it was, so I was prepared to cut carefully and sew even more carefully.  I guessed it might take me a while to make it so I set aside today to do it.  And it did take me the better part of the day!


Gay Bomers of Sentimental Stitches graciously provided a non-paper-pieced pattern which is the one I used.  I was extra careful as I cut all the pieces, laying each on a board to keep them in order for sewing.  I sewed 6 triangles to make 3 squares.  I anticipated that they should measure 1 3/8" like the corner square at the tip of the basket.  But they were smaller.  I wasn't sure what to do, especially when I calculated the measurements and they didn't come out to 5½".  I finally decided to sew a scant ¼" seam.

And, surprise of surprises, it worked!  It measures correctly and I didn't lose any points.  (How I wish I'd found a good plaid for the basket.)

Cheddarback Block 15

Well, except for one on the very bottom of the basket.  It's not as obvious as one of the red points would have been.  I had to unstitch and cut a larger triangle of background fabric.  The pattern called for a 2½" square cut diagonally but it was too small.  I cut a 3" triangle and then trimmed it after I sewed it to the block.  

I don't like baskets all that much but I have to admit this one is cute, probably because it's so petite.

I've been working on my Sweet Land of Liberty quilt.  All has not gone smoothly but that quilt will get a post of its own.

I also pulled out my quarter cabin blocks and have been making more as leaders/enders.  I had to cut more red centers and used leftovers cut from the excess backing fabric from a quilt before binding.


I don't have a plan for these but I'm trying to envision them on-point in a strippy quilt.  I have 78 finished and several dozen in progress.  They will finish at 4".   I had to do something with my abundance of strings!


I hope you're having a great weekend.

--Nancy.
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