Birthday Celebration Sampler

Union Square

Union Square

It has been awhile since we’ve had a new block to add to our Birthday Celebration Sampler. Did you get a lot of other projects finished while you were waiting? I know I did. I had good intentions of getting this block posted in early August, but as I always say, “good intentions are not good enough”. At least I’m getting it done before August is completely gone. Liz chose a variation of the Union Square block to celebrate her birthday. She did send me her choice early because she was bracing for a hurricane in Hawaii and their area did get a lot of damage along with several weeks of power outage. There are so many variations of this block depending on how you place your fabrics. You can find a few different versions on Quilter’s Cache which you can get to by clicking here.

To make this block in a 12” finished size, you will need to cut the following:
Background:
2 squares at 5-1/4”
4 squares at 2-7/8”
4 squares at 2-1/2”

Blue:
2 squares at 5-1/4”
1 square at 4-1/2”

Gold:
4 squares at 2-7/8”
4 squares at 2-1/2”

First we will make the corner units. On the back of the background 2-7/8” squares, draw a diagonal line. With right sides together, align these on top the gold 2-7/8″ squares.  Sew ¼” from each side of the drawn line. Cut on the line. Press open. Trim off points. You will now have 8 HST (half-square triangle squares) and they will each measure 2-1/2” square.

make 8 of this unit

make 8 of this unit

I have had a couple people tell me they don’t like this method of making this unit. I think as with all things, practice makes a big difference. I have been doing this for many (and I mean lots and lots) years and I’m sure all that practice has made it seem easy. However, there are so many other ways of making this unit so do it the way that works for you and adjust the cutting accordingly. There are many brands of paper where you layer the fabric and sew on the lines. Many brands have been on the market for years and in addition, there are quite a few new brands out more recently. These work wonderfully and make such perfect squares so you might want to give them a try. There are also ways you can sew lines on a larger square and then make several cuts to yield several squares at the same time. There are also methods where you sew bias strips together and then cut the squares. There is a method where you sew around the edge of a square and then cut which gives you these units with a bias edge if you like that. And the list goes on with various ways of getting the same unit. Remember, just because I’ve said to do it this way, doesn’t mean that is how you need to do it to get the same result.

And now, moving on. Paying attention to orientation, sew four of the HST squares to the background 2-1/2” squares.

make 4 like this

make 4 like this

Sew the remaining four HST squares to the gold 2-1/2” squares, again paying attention to orientation.

make 4 like this

make 4 like this

Arrange these 8 units as shown, and stitch together into 4-patch squares.

make 4-patch squares

make 4-patch squares

You will have 4 squares that are all the same and measure 4-1/2”.

make 4 units all the same

make 4 units all the same

Next, we will make the hour-glass units. As with the previous unit, there are also many methods of making the hour-glass block. I have several favorite ways of making this block. You will have to find the method you prefer and adjust the cutting/sewing accordingly.

With right sides together, align a blue 5-1/4” square with a background 5-1/4” square. Cut on the diagonal and without moving your units, make a second cut on the opposite diagonal, creating an X with your cuts. Repeat with the other 5-1/4” squares. (I usually put all 4 layers together and only have to do the cutting one time.) Sew the background triangles to the blue triangles as shown.

make 8 units like this

make 8 units like this

Sew the previous units into pairs, creating your hourglass block. All 4 blocks will be the same and measure 4-1/2” square.

make 4 squares all the same

make 4 squares all the same

Make three rows with your corner units, hour-glass units, and center square.

pay attention to placement

pay attention to placement

Sew the three rows and then sew the rows together to complete the block.

Sew three rows.

Sew three rows.

To make this block in a 9” finished size, you will need to cut your squares at 4-1/4” (for the hour-glass), 3-1/2″ (for the center), 2-3/8” (for the HST), and 2”.
To make this block in a 6” finished size, cut your squares at 3-1/4”, 2-1/2″, 1-7/8”, and 1-1/2”.

Once you have your block made, put everything back in the big project bag, set it aside until mid-September and get some other things done while you wait. Do you have all the blocks made for your Summer Mystery? I hope so, because Sept. 1 is right around the corner and that is when you will get the final clue.  Good thing I have my mystery quilts completed as I’m working on some other things now.  My good intentions became “good enough” since I made two mystery quilts!  Have you thought about a setting you might like to use for your Birthday Celebration Sampler?  I am making 14 blocks that will go around a rectangle medallion center.

First Haircut

Here is Miles getting his hair all nice and clean in preparation for his first haircut.

Before haircut

Before haircut

Hair is all cut and combed so nicely.

After haircut

After haircut

Time to escape so there is no more messing with the hair.

The great escape

The great escape

I always enjoy the pictures of Miles as he is growing so quickly.  I still find it surprising that he has such red hair and fair skin yet those dark eyes.  It’s quite the combination.  What a great blessing to have him as my grandson.

First Day of School

The summer went by much too quickly.  Jacob had to return to school on Monday to start in the third grade.

This is how he looked when he started Kindergarten.  How hard it was to send him off on the big bus that first day.

First day of Kindergarten

First day of Kindergarten

This is him on the first day of third grade.  He was all excited to climb on that bus this year.

First day of Third grade

First day of Third grade

I am so grateful to be here with him.

 

Summer Mystery Quilt Along

Have you been playing with your blocks trying to figure out the final arrangement?  Just a reminder that Aby would love to see a picture of your guess for the solution.  If you send her a picture of your blocks laid out in the same arrangement as she has designed, you might be able to win one of the magazines she will be giving away.  You have to have the picture submitted before September 1 as that is the date we are going to show you the last clue (which is the layout).

Aby will be buying a few copies of Quiltmaker’s 100Blocks Volume 10 which is scheduled to come out in mid-November.  Her block “Intersections” will be included in the magazine and I can tell you from the test blocks, there will be a lot of fun blocks that you will love to make.

Get your blocks made, lay them out, take a picture, put your blocks back in the bag, get some other sewing done, and then check back on September 1 to see the final clue.  You might even plan a sew day on September 1 and get your quilt top put together before your evening cook-out.  See you then.

Clue 2

Clue 2

Clue 3 block

Clue 3 block

Another Jelly Roll Quilt

Well, technically it is not really a “jelly roll” quilt, but terms such as jello or kleenex, are called those names no matter the brand.  I don’t feel the need to be terminology-correct so I’ll just go with it (and use those two little words that make life so easy—“oh well”.)

Anyway, I told you I was going to make another jelly roll quilt.  In the previous post I showed you a couple floral watercolor quilts I made.  I knew there were some 2” strips left from cutting fat quarters for those quilts along with lots of odds and ends pieces from the strips I did use and these were the fabrics I wanted to use for a jelly roll quilt.  I also wanted the stripes to run vertically instead of horizontally.  I played with the math and was sure it would work out.  I know I told you that I was going to use squares as spacers between the strips and pieces and then as I was getting out the box of florals, I remembered that I also had a bunch of 2” triangle squares left over from other projects.  I love to try different things so decided to just use those instead of cutting new squares.

And this is how it turned out with the 2” strips and pieces, triangles, and lots of flowers.

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Summer Days

The sky is so blue, the flowers are still blooming, the humidity is a bit less and the mornings are perfect to put the sewing machine out on the picnic table to just enjoy being outside.  It is still summer though and by early afternoon it has warmed up to the point where it is good to go back inside.  The days should soon get cooler and the picnic table sewing can last much longer.  Oh how I love those days especially when it gets just cool enough to know fall is making its way here.

This table topper is made with just a few floral fabrics cut into squares.  The blue reminds me of the sky.  It is such a quick project to put together.  I should say, the sewing part was quick but the playing around arranging the squares took longer than the sewing.

Watercolor Wreath

Watercolor Wreath

This quilt, on the other hand, was made with lots and lots of floral fabrics cut into squares and strips.  I really love mixing and blending all the fabrics together creating the smatterings of color.  Admittedly, this was definitely not a quick project!

Summer in Full Bloom

Summer in Full Bloom

I have a Delightful Little Treasure Box filled with strips and pieces of floral fabrics.  I brought the container into the studio to make another quilt and Jacob wanted to sort all the pieces but I told him that I really like them all mixed up.  I better hurry up and get out what I need and put the container back before he actually does sort them all out.  So what am I going to make from the floral fabrics?  You’ll see soon.

Scrap Quilt

Wobbles

Wobbles

This quilt is made with all squares.  In one of my Delightful Little Treasure Boxes, I have 5″ cut squares.  After sorting though them and pulling out lights and cool colors (blue, aqua, green, and purple), I debated which would be the background and which would be the triangles.  As you can see, the lights won for the larger squares and then I cut the other ones into four squares (each 2-1/2″).  I used the stitch-and-flip method of putting the smaller square on the corner of the larger square, sewing on the diagonal, trimming seam allowance, and pressing.  It’s such an easy method to create a fun block that can be made into many different arrangements.  I tend to just eyeball my diagonal stitch line rather drawing all the lines and it usually works out, saving a lot of time.

I presented a demo at Aby’s quilt circle using this method and Aby wrote up instructions for the group calling the unit a “half-snowball” and she showed several different arrangements of the blocks.  Jacob and I had named this quilt “wobbles” because of his observation–What happens when you cut two corners off a square?—It Wobbles!  I thought that was pretty clever for such a little guy.  I chain-pieced and used random placing so this top was made very quickly, probably about 4 hours total.  But then Jacob moved it (in his big cleaning/organizing spree) and it became another out-of-sight/out-of-mind project.  I wonder why I hurry and up and get a top made and then stop—doesn’t make a bit of sense.  Well, it’s done now and ready to go a new home.  Because I had made it so quickly, I didn’t really look at all the individual squares but when I was quilting it, I really saw them and thought what a fun quilt to look at with all the little bits of this and that.

The box of squares still seems full even after making this quilt.  I guess I’ll just have to make some more quilts!