Blog Archives

When the cosmos pokes you…

pay attention. Last week I poked myself three times and then dropped a needle on the floor. This reminded me of PYN–plant your needle. Not in your shirt, not in work–in your pincushion. I found my needle with my heavy duty magnet. The wand is fine but it is only magnetic on the tip so it doesn’t always work. I left the room and when I returned, I sat on my large. It must have caught on my sleeve when I left the room. Enough already.

I no longer have time to volunteer as a docent or hospital aide; however, I do find time to make quilted items for good causes–blocks for Pulse, fire victims in California, Vegas shooting, etc. This year, NW Modern Quilt guild will send a donation quilt for viewing at Quilt Con and we made placemats for Meals on Wheels. I also decided to make a house quilt for The House Quilt Project. These small quilts go to people who were formerly homeless and now have a home!

I started with a paper-pieced house found in The Foundation Piecer, Autumn 2001 (www.zippydesigns.com), both of which appear to have been discontinued. You can find back issues on e-bay. Then I added a Sue Spargo embroidery technique to give the roof some texture. Backstitch with floss (I used two strands) and then weave in and out with a heavier thread (#8 perle cotton). Her tip: weave in and out with the eye end of the needle to prevent splitting your backstitches.

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Because I thought my house block was dull and depressing, I found some swirls from a previous project and made two more and the “home” lettering from a similar piece of fabric. I used a simple zigzag for the swirls and satin stitch for the lettering. The old swirls ironed down well–the needle didn’t gum up. The new ones and the lettering, however, gummed up, even after repressing with a very hot iron–to the point of scorching my parchment paper. I even tried steam. I’m going to experiment one more time with this Steam-a-Seam 2 before it goes bye-bye. Guidelines asked for simple hanging rings (pop-tops) but I crocheted my usual curtain rings instead.

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P1140182.JPGYou can find more details on Jamie Fingal’s blog or you might have seen the call for entries in the Quilting Arts Oct/Nov 2018 issue (deadline is December 7, if you’re an over-achiever).

http://thehousequiltproject.blogspot.com/

Placemats. Since it’s still fall, I bought some Real Tree fabric for the backing and binding and dove into my strip stash to make some improv mats. Do we ever really use up our stashes? I don’t think so, but I try. I took some of the leftovers to make a log-cabin-ish block which I’ll find a use for at some point. Final total: 53 placemats!

Can you see me now?

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At our final Modern Guild meeting each year, we play Dirty Santa (a white elephant gift exchange) with handmade items and bring food. It’s a fun meeting. Here is my nifty-gifty–a pieced, small biscornu pincushion from self-dyed fabrics with beaded stiletto/accessory (hat pin).

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I went home with a cool wallhanging made by friend Judy S.

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TIP OF THE MONTH. In case you have to stretch a block just a little to reach the desired size, learn three ways to block a quilt block here.

 

Till next time–

 

Soldier Boy Quilt Block Tutorial

As promised, here is my version of a traditional quilt block. Print out both pages. You may use this pattern for your own use free of charge–just tell ’em where you got it.

Soldier Boy

Soldier Boy Paper Pieced Units

Soldier Boy Block

Soldier Boy Blocks

Since my husband served in the Air Force, I’ll make my Soldier Boy using blue fabric. I have previously made this block in light tan for a Quilt of Valor. These quilts are distributed to wounded soldiers. Check with your local quilt guild or go to the link for more information.

www.qovf.org

READ THROUGH THIS ENTIRE POST BEFORE STARTING, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE NEVER PAPER PIECED BEFORE. If you have questions, email me.

After printing the paper pieced units, trace them onto quilting paper or tracing paper. Either of these will rip easily away when you are finished sewing. Sew several stitches beyond the outside line or the stitching lines will not be caught when you sew the units together. I also used a colored pencil to denote where my blue fabrics were placed. I had the fabrics reversed in my first draft so my first unit was all wrong.  Do over. After you are finished tracing, cut out the other fabrics as directed on page 1 (Soldier Boy).

Marking some pieces

Marking some pieces

Oops--wrong colors--fix pattern

Oops–wrong colors–fix pattern

After tracing, cut out leaving 1/4-inch seam allowance around. Then pre-fold each line of the paper.

Prefold on lines

Prefold on lines

Start with a background piece of fabric (1b). The paper will be face down and the fabric will be right side down. Fold the paper back and cut the fabric including 1/4-inch seam allowance as shown. (The photo is actually after adding fabric 2). The process is always the same–fold the paper back, add a seam allowance, add the next fabric (right sides together), sew. Set your stitch length to about 1.5 instead of the default (2.2).

Trim beyond fold line

Trim beyond fold line

Fingre press seam

Finger press seam

Here #2 is sewn to #1; finger press the seam. Continue until all pieces have been sewn. Trim the outside edges, being sure to add the seam allowance, unlike I did here on the end. I had to go back and resew the last two pieces.

Oops--cut off seam allowance

Oops–don’t cut off the seam allowance

When you paper piece the hat, start with the background fabric. Usually, you leave all the papers attached until you sew your units together; in this case, go ahead and remove the papers. Fold the paper back at the seam line, and tear away.

Tearing paper away

Tearing paper away

Position all of your pieces as shown below.

Lining up the rows

Lining up the rows

Sew each vertical row. Press toward the dark fabric EXCEPT, press away from the hat toward the face–your seam will lie flatter. Then sew the rows together.

Rows sewn together

Rows sewn together

Press your final seams as shown.

Pressing direction

Pressing direction

Here is my finished fly-boy. His name is Dave. Isn’t he 35-10?

Finished block

Finished block

If you wish to add a face, here are a couple of ideas.

Doll faces

Doll faces

You could also embroider the face. If you’re not sure about adding a face, iron a piece of freezer paper to the back of your face fabric (stabilizes the fabric for drawing) and draw before piecing your soldier.  I TOLD you to read all the directions first. I hope you enjoy making this block. Till next time, be kind and do something creative. Better yet–make a Quilt of Valor. Here is one I made–all my other photos are non-digital. I quilted this with a loop-d-loop with stars design in variegated red/white/blue thread. The center medallion was an original block; the star blocks were a block of the month (Star-Thangled Banner, 2008) by Jan Williams, Calico Cut-Ups Quilt Guild.

And if you like mystery quilts, go to the following link. The quilt is in red/white/blue and started in January 2016.

www.calicocut-ups.blogspot.com

QOV08WIP

A Memorial Day Memory

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

For some years, my husband’s family had a tradition for Memorial Day weekend at the Calvary Cemetery in Duluth, Minnesota. On Friday, we would plant flags at the graves of those who had served in the military and on Monday we would take the flags down. We would also attend the ceremony on Memorial Day complete with honor guard and bugler playing taps. It was always bittersweet and sometimes heartbreaking. I only remember one speech that was way too partisan and inappropriate but otherwise, speeches were short and fraught with meaning and love for our military. Often we put those flags up and took them down in the pouring rain–Memorial Day weekend in northeastern Minnesota is often like that. It was a small sacrifice. As time passed, there were less and less veterans and volunteers to perform this duty–now you go to the cemetery and pick up a flag at the entrance if you wish to place one on a loved one’s grave. My father-in-law has long since passed, along with all of his brothers and American Legion friends. Please take a moment to think about all of those who have died to keep us in America and around the world free.

Here is a traditional block called Soldier Boy. I have changed the dimensions so that two blocks together will make a 12-1/2 inch block. I’ll try to upload the pattern this week–it’s just a rough sketch right now. And don’t worry about the funky triangles–that part is paper-pieced. If you would like to make a Quilt of Valor for wounded soldiers, go here for guidelines. Or make a quilt for your own veteran family member, neighbor or friend. God Bless America.

http://www.qovf.org/

Soldier Boy Block

Soldier Boy Block