Author Archives: Dawn

A Slight Miscalculation. . .

Have you ever made a block that didn’t turn out quite like you expected? Perhaps you were surprised by one of the elements but kept on making the block, not realizing you had made an error. That’s what happened to me a few days ago when I made a test block of Star Drops, designed by Margot Languedoc of the Pattern Basket.

Before I bought the pattern I had studied the design, guessing (correctly) that the outer star points were made from hourglass units that were trimmed on one long side. When I made my test block I resized it from 6″ to 12″ finished, adding an additional design element at the last minute. I wrote about that in my last post.

When I trimmed the hourglass units using the calculations I had made for a block that was double in size, I was surprised that the small triangle in the center wasn’t larger. And when I converted the center square into a snowball block by adding a triangle at each corner, I was surprised that the triangles were larger than the ones in the hourglass blocks. I concluded it was because the center square is larger than the other blocks.

I was wrong.

I had cut a quarter-inch too much off the hourglass units. That’s why the blue triangles were smaller than I expected. Oops! And then I cut the four corner squares a quarter of an inch too small. Oops again. My block was supposed to measure 12½” unfinished but it’s a half-inch shy of that.

To illustrate the difference, I drew the blocks in the software program EQ7:

The one on the left is a mock-up of the block I made. You can see that four of the triangles are larger than the other four. This block measures 12″ unfinished, 11½” finished.

The block on the right is a mock-up of what my block would have looked like had I trimmed the hourglass blocks properly and made the corner squares the correct size. It measures 12½” unfinished, 12″ finished. (I’m sure this star block has been made many times before and has a name but I haven’t actively searched for it yet. If you happen to know, kindly leave a comment.)

What to do about my oddly sized block? Well, if it were destined for a quilt of 12″ finished blocks, I’d have a real problem. Happily, I am planning to incorporate this block into a Junior Billie Bag panel that finishes at 14″ x 17″ so I’ll simply cut the sashing strips a bit wider to compensate.

So my block is actually a mistake. But you know what? I love it anyway!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, snowball blocks, stitch-and-flip, update | 5 Comments

The Perfect Excuse

I’m teaching a Junior Billie Bag workshop next month so I had the perfect excuse to make a 12″ test block for one of the front/back panels. I’ve been wanting to try Margot Languedoc’s Star Drops pattern since first seeing her charming design on Instagram last year. She has several patterns I want to make, all of which are pictured on her website, the Pattern Basket.

I bought the pattern and studied the construction. Her block finishes at 6″ so I resized it to finish at 12″. Here are the components of my block ready to sew together:


Just as I was getting ready to pin the rows, a thought occurred to me. What would the block look like with eight blue points instead of four? I made a snowball block from the center square using the stitch-and-flip method and wound up with this:


I have double Star Drops! The blue triangles are larger around the center square because the center block is larger than all the other blocks.

As good as the block looks as a square, look at it on point:

Is that not sensational??

It appears my next Junior Billie Bag will be black and blue and white. The floral print in the center of the block is one of several pieces I bought last April in a fit of fabric lust and wrote about here. I think I will make a kaleidoscope block out of that floral for the other front/back panel of my Junior Billie Bag.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, snowball blocks, stitch-and-flip, update | 6 Comments

Scalloped Corn and Beans

We have scalloped potatoes. Why not scalloped corn and beans?

Kidding, of course. It’s just that I have Corn and Beans and Other Things, Block 5 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, completed and ready to show you. Here’s the block with its red scalloped frame, set on point:

I must confess that after all that moaning and groaning about needleturn appliqué in my last post, the handwork went pretty smoothly on this block. Maybe I am getting the hang of it.

I now have four blocks framed:


Four down, five to go!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 5 Comments

Little By Little . . .

. . . the Christmas decorations are getting putting away. Little by little the days are getting longer. And little by little I’m making progress on my needleturn appliqué on Hazel’s Diary Quilt, following the directions in Shelly Pagliai’s book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s.

Some days are better than others. I run the gamut from feeling like my appliqué skills are visibly improving to becoming frustrated when a curve doesn’t turn out as smoothly as it should. When that happens, I simply put the appliqué aside and do something else. And I remind myself that when the finished quilt is laundered, its soft puckery texture will disguise a multitude of imperfections.

I thought you might be interested in a little change I made to the way the blocks are prepared for the reverse appliquéd red scalloped frames. In the photo below I have drawn around the plastic template with a white pen to mark my scallops:


Did you happen to notice the template doesn’t go all the way to the edges of the red fabric? That’s because I added an extra half inch all the way around. The red square measures 19½” instead of 18½”. I also added a half inch to the sashing strips around the pieced block it goes on top of so it measures 19½” as well.

I discovered with my first scalloped frame that no matter how carefully I pinned and stitched, the layers shifted a little during the appliqué process resulting in a block that didn’t measure 18½” square because the raw edges weren’t exactly even. The solution? Make the block bigger and trim it to size after the scalloped frame is attached.

This is what I did on subsequent blocks. With the pieced block and the frame in place, I machine basted around the outside close to the raw edges to hold the layers together. Next I cut out a big square in the center (yielding a generous scrap of red fabric for another use), revealing the pieced block beneath:

Now I’m ready to trim close to the drawn lines on a couple of scallops and start hand stitching around the block. Instead of using lots of appliqué pins to hold the red fabric in place, like I did on the first block . . .

. . . I can use just one or two pins to hold the layers together right next to the appliqué line because the basting around the outer edges (a little hard to see in the next photo) is holding the frame in place:


When I’m done appliquéing the frame, I’ll take out the basting and press the red scalloped frame nice and flat. It matters not that the edges of the two layers aren’t even because I can measure a perfect 18½” square, draw around the block on the cut lines, machine baste inside the cut lines to hold the layers together, and then trim the block on the cut lines.

When it’s time to sew the individual blocks together, they will all measure exactly 18½” square and the two layers of each block will be held fast by the stitching.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 4 Comments

Looking Back on 2018

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2018 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of last year. It’s a fun way to look back over the past 12 months and identify some of the high points.

Finished projects are always high points for me so that’s where I’m taking you now, showing you five projects in random order. Clicking on the links below will take you to the original posts where you can read more about the finishes and see more photos.

Number 1. Quilt Finish: Checkerboard Curves

This 44″ square quilt was made from the pattern Dancing Churndash by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of sewkindofwonderful.com. I’ve made several quilts using their Quick Curve Ruler; this is one of my favorites.

Number 2. Quilt Finish: Hip Hop

A lively print featuring kangaroos was the inspiration for this wall hanging made using my pattern Full Moon Rising. Finished size: 16″ x 59″.

Number 3. Quilt Finish: Bluebirds for Bethany

Scraps from another quilt went into this lap quilt for granddaughter Bethany featuring Karin Hellaby’s method of making pineapple blocks. The quilt measures 57″ x 58″.

Number 4. Project Finish: Junior Billie Bag #8

The essential quilter’s tote, designed by Billie Mahorney. It’s 14″ wide, 17″ tall, and 7½” deep. I’ve been teaching Billie’s design for three years now and make a bag every time I teach a class. This one is a gift for a dear friend.

Number 5. Quilt Finish: Spokesong

I became quite enamored with Corey Yoder’s pattern Idyllic and taught it at a quilt retreat last year. This quilt was my class sample. It’s a lively design so I simplified three blocks to give the eye a place to rest. The quilt measures 53½” x 67″.

Joining the Best of 2018 Linky Party has been a useful exercise in reviewing my quilting accomplishments over the last year. I’m also inspired by looking at the work of other  quilters who blog. Take a few minutes right now and join the party! Clicking on the link will transport you right there.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, free motion quilting, home dec, Idyllic, pineapple quilt block, Quick Curve Ruler, quilt retreat, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Year-End Progress Report

When I started working on Hazel’s Diary Quilt at the beginning of the year, my goal was to end the year with nine blocks completed. That may not seem like a very ambitious goal but these nine blocks came with a significant challenge: a lot of hand appliqué. Not just a different appliquéd floral design in the center of each pieced block but also a scalloped frame around each block applied using reverse appliqué. As if that weren’t enough, I set myself the additional challenge of using the needleturn method of hand appliqué.

I’ve shown it before but you really have to see Shelly Pagliai’s gorgeous quilt to understand what I have taken on:

Hazel’s Diary Quilt, designed, pieced, appliquéd, and quilted by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts, 95″ Square

You can see from looking at Shelly’s quilt that once those nine blocks are completed, there’s a lot more piecing and hand appliqué required to finish the quilt.

As of today I have all nine blocks pieced but only three of them have their red scalloped frames in place. You’ll see those in just a bit. For now I want to walk you through the nine pieced blocks, set on point per Shelly’s design.

Block 1, Missouri Farm Girl

 

Block 3, Canasta

 

Block 4, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter

 

Block 5, Corn and Beans and Other Things

 

Block 6, Best.Christmas.Ever

 

Block 7, Aunt Ruby’s Choice

 

Block 8, Domestic Bliss

 

Block 9, Fancy Farm Girl

 

Block 10, Fair Weather

These blocks measure 12½” unfinished. Once they have white border strips added and  the red frames appliquéd on top they will measure 18½” unfinished. Set on point, they will finish about 25½” wide.

As dramatic as the blocks are above, see how much more striking they are framed. First up, Block 4, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter:

Next, Block 7, Aunt Ruby’s Choice:

And third, Block 3, Canasta, which I finished framing just yesterday:


Seeing these three blocks framed makes me eager to get started on the fourth frame!

Thank you so much for following along with me this year. I hope you’ll follow along in 2019 as I work to complete my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt.

Speaking of 2019, it is mere hours away! Have a safe and Happy New Year, friends, and I’ll see you next year.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 11 Comments

Fair Weather, Friend

Presenting Fair Weather, Block 10 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt:


I am so in love with this block! Here it is on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:

I think it may be my favorite of the nine pieced blocks that go into Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the lovely sampler quilt designed by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts.

Tomorrow I’ll post pictures of all nine blocks. One of them will go in the center of the quilt as part of a medallion, and Fair Weather may be the one. I’ll wait until all nine blocks have their red scalloped frames before making a final decision.

I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for a look.

 

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 7 Comments

Junior Billie Bag #8

I finished this quilter’s tote, the one and only Junior Billie Bag, last month and plum forgot to post pictures. Better late than never!

The bag, a scaled down version of the original tote designed by Billie Mahorney, measures 14″ across, 17″ high, and 7½” deep. You’ll notice the bag is wide enough for a 6½” x 24″ ruler. That’s my favorite feature of Billie’s wonderful design because it’s an awkward size ruler to carry around.

Here’s a look from the other side:


Every time I make a Junior Billie Bag (or JBB, as I like to call it) I have a lot of fun picking out fabrics and deciding what 12″ blocks to incorporate on the front and back panels. The inset circle shown in the first photo is a favorite design; this one was made from an octagonal kaleidoscope block. A more recent favorite is the windmill block shown above. I fussycut the bloom in the center into a square and added a ¼” strip around it.

Take a peek inside the bag, where you can see layers of pockets on all four sides:


Flat items like file folders, books, and patterns fit nicely in the larger pockets, and the smaller pockets hold a plethora of smaller items. There are outside pockets, too. All told, this Junior Billie Bag has somewhere around two dozen pockets. Anything too big too fit into a pocket can go in the center of the bag.

This JBB bag is currently hanging as a class sample in Montavilla Sewing Center‘s Lake Oswego store. In February and March I will teach a three-part workshop so experienced quilters can make their own versions. (Incidentally, in January I will teach a class called “Going in Circles” that highlights the no-pin freezer paper method of making inset circles, a variation of Dale Fleming’s method. More on both classes here.)

After the class is over I’ll have the pleasure of giving the JBB to a very dear friend.

This JBB is the eighth one I have made. If you’d like to see the first seven bags, you’ll find them here.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, update | 6 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Fair Weather (Block 10)

What a busy month this is turning out to be! The result: not much time spent in my sewing room. I did manage to finish piecing Fair Weather, Block 10 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt:

This is the second version. I didn’t like my first attempt, which had a different print where the blue squares are now. This version is much more pleasing to my eye.

Shelly Pagliai, designer of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, started with the traditional Weathervane quilt block and added an original appliqué design in the center:


That’s quite a bit of appliqué!

Before embarking on the handwork for this block I decided to test my choice of fabrics by photocopying them and cutting the shapes out of paper. Here’s my mock-up:

You have to imagine the red polkadot petal and black semicircle on all four flowers. The dollar coin in the center is a stand-in for what will probably be a solid red circle.

I’m eager to get started on this one! Then it will be back to work on those scalloped red frames. . .

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 5 Comments