Then I got two graduation announcements and wondered about gifts–and the lightbulb went off. I could make some cute clipboards!
I hope they like them!
My latest fabric collection is called Christmas Morning. It has this panel:
I know it’s a little hard to see, but as I get the blocks embroidered, I’ve been posting them on my Anna Lena Facebook page. You can “Like” the page and you’ll see the blocks as I finish and post them.
The blocks tell a story. The first one is darling kids mailing their letters to Santa.
In the second block, Santa has received their letter and is looking it over.
Meanwhile, the kids are decorating their house in preparation of Santa’s visit.
Now I think these children are just adorable, and I also think they need names! So, will you please leave a comment with a suggestion for names for these two? I’ll pick my favorite boys name and favorite girls name, and the winners (the first to suggest the name) will each receive a free Christmas Morning panel. You have until March 17 to leave your comments!
It’s time again for a new round of quilts at A Quilt Block A Day. That is the Facebook page I have where a group of us does a block a day for three months, four times a year! We change blocks with the seasons, and, since tomorrow is the first day of fall, it’s time for a new block!
This is an easy block with a lot of impact—the Tessellating Cross. This is one I made for my book Fat Quarter Fun.
In this quilt you have the same design in the light and dark areas. In other words, you have light crosses, the white, and dark crosses—the black in the sample above and the red in the sample below.
I’ve chosen to use a bunch of my lavender scraps for my quilt. Here’s how I did it. I grabbed my bin of lavender scraps. I pulled out several hunks that were still full width, i.e. from selvedge to selvedge. From each of those I cut a 2-1/2″ strip. Then I cut 2-1/2″ strips of a cream-on-white print. (*See below if you don’t want to use strips.)
Stitch the two strips together along the long sides. Set the seam with your iron.
Fold back the dark strip and press. Do you know that if you have your dark fabric on top, when you lift and press it, the seam below will always be pressed toward the darker fabric?
From your strip, cut eight 4-1/2″ segments. This is enough for two blocks.
You should have a little more left, so cut two 2-1/2″ segments. You can use these later in the border, if you want, or use them to make four-patches for another project.
Take your 4-1/2″ segments and lay them out as shown below.
Stitch the top half, then the bottom half. Press toward the long dark strip and stitch the two halves together.
From the back, you can see that I pressed that last seam in two different directions. On the left, I pressed it up (toward the lavender print) and on the right, I pressed it down (toward the lavender print). To do this, you have to wiggle the seam in the middle a bit. It will open up and everything will lay nice and flat!
The finished block! There are only four seams here—three if you strip pieced the first part!
When I put four of them up on the design wall, you can see the white cross in the center!
So, won’t you come on over the A Quilt Block A Day, click “Like” and enjoy the progress of the rest of the group? If you make just one block a day (three seams!), you’ll have 90 blocks by the time winter rolls around!
You can CLICK HERE for the tutorials for previous A Quilt Block A Day tutorials.
*If you don’t want to use strips, you can use scraps for your blocks. You will need four 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ of light and the same of dark fabric for each block.
Got scraps???? I’ve got the perfect block for you, then–STRINGS!
These things are like potato chips–I bet you can’t make just one! They’re a great way to use up strips and scraps from old projects.
I keep a bin (well, two) on the bookshelf behind my cutting table. Every time I need to straighten the edge of a bolt of fabric (or a hunk of fabric), I toss the resulting strip into the bin. If I’ve been using strips for a project and have leftovers, into the bin they go. And what about those 2 or 3 or 4 inches of fabric left after cutting out the pieces of a project. ZIP! Into a strip and into a bin!
I like to use a fabric foundation when I do string blocks. You can use paper, but I hate to tear away paper if I don’t have to! So, if you’re ready to begin, follow along. Layer four pieces of your foundation fabric–anything goes!
Cut into 10″ squares. I like 10″ because you get the best use of your fabric. You could do any size.
String pieced blocks are simple, easy, forgiving even!
Grab a handful of strings. I like mine to be between 1″ and 3″. I like the look of narrower strings in my blocks, but the wider ones come in handy for corners. More on that below. The don’t have to be straight. In fact, some slight angles make the blocks look better!
Take a string of fabric and place it right side up, diagonally, on one square.
Now place a second string, right side down, on top of the first string, aligning the right edges, then stitch down that right side with a 1/4″ seam allowance–or not! It doesn’t really matter!
Press the top strip over–and repeat until you have covered up your square!
You don’t have to use white fabric, and you don’t have to use yardage. Do you have some “ugly” fabric that you are never, ever, ever going to use in a quilt? It’s perfect for the foundation for your string blocks. When I do this, I use the back, as it’s usually a bit lighter. Here’s and example. This is the back of a red print fabric. The red was just a bit “off” and didn’t seem to work with other reds in my stash.
I did my string piecing on it, just like I did on the white foundation.
When you’re piecing these blocks, it works great just to feed a whole stack of them through your machine, one after another.
When you’re finished, they’ll look like this! Notice that I used wider strips on the ends. You don’t want to end up with a teeny tiny strip at the end. It makes it bulky when you’re putting your blocks together.
Just take them to your cutting mat and lay them upside down.
You can either use your foundation square as a guide for trimming, or measure and trim. If you use your foundation square as a guide, your blocks may be a little smaller that the 10″ you started with, as the stitching tends to draw the fabric up a bit. No matter, just make them all the same size.
There’s a lot you can do with string pieced squares. Here are a couple of great examples. This is a vintage quilt I saw on Ebay.
Here’s one from Em’s Scrapbag.
But my favorites look like they have sashing like this one from Quilting Board. Guess, what? They don’t! It’s faux sashing!
Here’s how it’s done. On your foundation block, mark a diagonal guide that’s 1-1/2″ – 2″ wide, centering it with the points on your square.
You aren’t going to sew on these lines, you’re going to line your fabric up with them. If you marked line is 1-12″ wide, your “sashing” will be 1″ wide.
Lay your first string down along the edge of the line and stitch.
Press your string over…
…and keep going!
Arrange your squares and, magically, you have sashing!
It’s fun to play around with your squares, arranging them in different ways.
You can get creative, like this quilt I found from Blue Ridge Girl on Flickr.
And, oh! Your ”squares” don’t have to be square. They could be rectangles, like this one from Leedle Deedle Quilts.
And your sashing doesn’t have to be white! Check out the controlled color palette and black “sashing” in this example from Angelina79.
So, are you ready to try string piecing? I hope you do. And I hope you’ll join my Facebook page, A Quilt Block A Day, and share your photos.
A Flat Stanley arrived in our mail box recently. He was sent to us by our grandson, Justin. Justin enclosed a letter saying Flat Stanley was looking for adventure on the Long Beach Peninsula, and we were asked to be his guides. Following is the story of Flat Stanley’s time with us.
We welcomed Flat Stanley into our home.
He immediately made friends with the Dala horses.
But he’d heard a rumor there were tractors in Papa Bob’s shop. He loved Miss Alice, because she matched his shirt.
But then he decided John Deere green is really his favorite color!
He said the pretty mint green on Grandma Karen’s old Dodge was almost as pretty as John Deere green.
He took a sewing lesson on Grandma’s Featherweight…
…but decided it was more fun to play hide-and-seek in the fabric bolts.
We took Flat Stanley on a trip into town. He wanted to drive, but Papa said, “No.”
So he rode on the dashboard and watched for the Welcome to Long Beach sign.
He was getting hungry so we went to Doogers for lunch. Flat Stanley ate crab!
While the grownups were visiting, he climbed on the pilings….
…and hung around in the fishing net.
But what Flat Stanley wanted to see the most was the ocean, so we drove down the beach approach.
We thought about having a picnic at the pavilion, but we were too full. And, besides, there were too many seagulls there.
Flat Stanley found a sheltered spot out of the wind and did some sunbathing and played in the sand.
He even got to ride on a silver salmon!
There are lots of things to do in Long Beach, like fly kites and go to the Kite Museum.
But one of the most fun things is visiting Marsh’s Free Museum and seeing Jake the Alligator Man.
There were lots of seashells and coral there, too.
And a great white shark! Flat Stanley wasn’t even afraid to have his picture taken in the shark’s mouth.
It was getting cold, so Flat Stanley slipped inside this sweatshirt pocket.
Like a good citizen, he visited city hall.
He learned that the rhododendron is the state flower of Washington.
He was even more excited to learn that Long Beach is the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail, and that William Clark carved his name in a tree here over 200 years ago!
After all this sightseeing, everyone needed some refreshments, so we had a hot chocolate at Angie’s coffee shop.
Then we went to Uncle Sidder’s grocery store.
Uncle Sidder let Flat Stanley play with his baseball bat collection.
Flat Stanley knew all about cranberries because Papa Bob used to be a cranberry farmer.
He looked in the vines for some cranberries, but it was the wrong time of the year to find any.
But it was still fun to be at the bogs.
Flat Stanley asked if he can come back in October for harvest.
Then we went to the port dock in Ilwaco, where the fishing fleet is moored.
Flat Stanley got to go onboard a boat!
But just as we were leaving, Flat Stanley was snatched up by a giant condor! Luckily Papa Bob was quick and grabbed Flat Stanley out of the condor’s mouth.
Grandma and Papa were worried that Flat Stanley had been hurt by the condor, so they called an ambulance.
The paramedics put Flat Stanley on the gurney and took him to the hospital.
The doctors in the emergency room checked Flat Stanley out. Luckily, he was okay.
And he was very glad get back to Grandma and Papa’s house after his big day!
Well, except for this one…..I don’t know who needed it more, Flat Stanley or Grandma and Papa!
I got to be Guest Blogger at SewTimeless this week! I was asked to create a project from my new Red, White and True Blue fabric collection and came up with these quilt-as-you-go placemats. There’s a complete step-by-step photo tutorial.
Once I finished them, I knew I had to invite my sister’s Charmin’ Chatty over for a tea party!
Well, I’m going to be on the radio–tomorrow!
Do you know about American Patchwork and Quilting Radio hosted by Pat Sloan? It airs every Monday, and Pat usually has four guests. Tomorrow, I’m one of them! We’ll be chatting about fabric design, design inspiration—all kinds of things. To listen live, tune in at:
I’ll be the third guest.
If you miss the live broadcast, you can download a podcast and listen later. Just click this link to find all the info.
I’m busy making Market samples from my new line of fabric – Bavaria. Yesterday, I took a break from appliquéing roses to make a laptop sleeve. I need to go shopping for a big red button and some Velcro for the closure.
Since it will be displayed in the booth at Quilt Market, I didn’t want to put my real laptop in it. Luckily, my sister recently bought a laptop sleeve, and it came with a nifty foam insert. Perfect!
This was so simple to make. Here’s the “formula!” By the way, this would work for an i-Pad, Kindle or any size notebook!
Measure the width of your laptop and add 2-1/2″.
Measure the height of you laptop, double it an add 5″.
Cut two pieces of fabric and some fusible fleece this size.
Layer and quilt.
Round off the corners on the top edge. I used a sewing basket lid as my guide!
Cut a strip of binding 2-1/4″ wide and bind the bottom edge.
Fold up the bottom, using your laptop as a guide. Stitch the edges with a scant 1/4″ seam.
Using more 2-1/4″ binding, bind the sides and top of the sleeve, turning the binding under at the bottom edge to finish.
Voila! It’s that easy.
Note: I used the Four Flowers print for the lining of my sleeve. When it was time to quilt the fabrics together, I just followed the path between the clusters of flowers. No marking!
We had so much fun with the Summer Bow Tie blocks that people are clamoring (well, at least asking) if we’re going to do another block for fall. Well, of course we are!
What was the Summer Bow Tie Block Challenge all about? It was about making a quilt block a day. It was about getting into your sewing room if even for just a few minutes. It was about using up some scraps!
If you’d made one quilt block each day from the beginning of summer until the end of summer, you would have made 94 blocks! I’m not sure anyone managed the one-a-day approach, but it still kept many people sewing. Lots of people are finishing up their quilts now and posting them on the Facebook page. Here’s Toni’s that she posted today. There are lots of photos on the Facebook page. Feel free to check them out.
Ready for the next challenge? How about Hour Glass blocks for fall? Did I hear a moan? Really, they’re easy. It’s just a twice sewn half-square triangle–kind of like biscotti–twice baked cookies! If you make one block each day during fall, you will have 91 blocks made before the first day of winter even sets in! Here’s what an Hour Glass block looks like.
A few minutes ago I decided to make a few blocks and takes photos so I could post this tutorial Since I have shelves full of fabric bolts, it’s really tempting to just pull a few down and start cutting. But, I really need to do something with all my scraps. So, I pulled out one of my scrap bins.
I cut a bunch of 4-1/4″ squares. These will make a 3″ unfinished Hour Glass block. Note: You can make any size blocks. The formula is this–add 1-1/4″ to the finished size you desire.
I cut some cream solid to go with them. You can get ten 4-1/4″ squares from a strip. Mark a diagonal line on the solid squares.
Pair a solid square with a print square, right sides together. I used two matching solids and two matching prints. This will yield four Hour Glass blocks.
Stitch 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line.
Cut apart on the drawn line.
Press to the print fabric. (Yes, I have an orange iron!) You’ve made a half-square triangle–and you’re half way finished!
Now take two of your half-square triangles and put them together, light against dark, dark against light. Snug up the center seam.
Draw a diagonal line that passes through your stitched seam.
Stitch 1/4″ on either side of the line and cut apart.
Voila! An Hour Glass block. Wasn’t that easy?
Here’s a little pressing tip. Wiggle the intersection a bit to loosen a stitch or two.
Finger press seams in opposite directions. This really eliminates bulk in you seams. A teeny tiny four patch will show up in the middle if you do this correctly. Your seams will press to the light, but that’s okay.
Turn it over and give it a press. Trim away the dog ears. There it is–your first Hour Glass block. Actually, you’ll get two blocks from each pair of fabric.
Since I did two pair, I ended up with four blocks. This is a very traditional way to put Hour Glass blocks together, but there are lots of possibilities with this block.
Use two different prints when sewing your half-square triangles together.
Much more scrappy.
If you put your four blocks together with all the browns facing in, it forms a pinwheel. Magic!
Or you can just mix them up for a scrappy effect.
You don’t even have to use a solid if you want to go totally scrappy, like this.
I hope you’ll join in the fun. Come to the new Facebook Page, A Quilt Block A Day. Even if you don’t make blocks, it’s fun to watch everyone’s progress.
Last summer, we had such fun making a Nine-Patch block everyday. Well, summer is upon us again. This summer, let’s do Bow Tie blocks! These are soooo simple. It’s basically a four-patch. What could be easier?!?
I’ve set up a Facebook page so you can share your progress, post photos and get more ideas on what to do with your blocks. CLICK HERE to become a fan!
Now for a quick tutorial for a 6″ Bow Tie block
For each block you will need:
1) 3-1/2″ x 7″ light fabric
1) 3-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ dark fabric
Cut the light fabric into 2) 3-1/2″ squares.
Cut the dark fabric into 2) 3-1/2″ squares and 2) 1-1/2″ squares.
Put the two small dark squares on a corner of the light squares.
Sew diagonally from corner to corner on the dark squares. These are so small, you don’t really need to mark them. If you’re not comfortable eyeballing them, you can finger press the small squares in half and sew down the crease.
Trim 1/4″ away from the stitching.
Press the little dark squares over. Now, all you have to do is piece your four-patch!
Stitch along the vertical seams. Press toward the dark fabric.
Join the horizontal seams and you’re done!
I do like to press the last seam open to reduce bulk in the center.
If you want to make 3″ finished blocks, cut your “large” squares 2″ and your “small” squares 1″. In fact, you might want to make some of both sizes. They can be very cute in the same quilt!