Birthday Celebration Sampler

Heather's Star

Heather’s Star

This block for the Birthday Celebration Sampler is Heather’s Star.  I showed another version of this block in a previous post and the instructions for making the block are in my Pattern list.  (There is a tab at the top of the blog to take you to the pattern list.)  This a 12″ finished size block.  I arranged the fabrics a bit differently in this block from the original post.

Aby made this block using yet another arrangement of her fabrics.  I love how you can use different fabric arrangements to change the look of blocks.  Several members of Aby’s quilting circle are participating in a round robin exchange.  They each started with a 12″ square block for the center and this block is what Aby used for her center.  I am looking forward to next month when we get to see how the block has now been turned into a quilt with the several rounds that have been added each month.

Aby's "Heather's Star" block

Aby’s “Heather’s Star” block

 

Just as a reminder, the Birthday Celebration Sampler is an all-year project and the blocks will be posted at inconsistent intervals throughout the year.

Sampler Quilts

One of my friends and I were talking about how much we miss Thimbleberries Club. It was always fun to have a new project to work on together every year. This first quilt is one of the earlier Thimbleberries quilts. Although it was not an official “club” quilt project, it is one that several of us made together. I love all the houses and trees that were often found in Thimbleberries quilts. This sampler, called Thimbleberries Village, was a huge quilt and since I prefer smaller quilts, I made mine smaller by changing the size of all the pieces while still keeping the original design.

Thimbleberries Village

Thimbleberries Village

 

One year the club quilt was this next quilt called House and Garden. It was incredibly huge! The first picture is of the top which I made as a sample for the shop where we met for Thimbleberries club. It was so huge that it was too long for my stand that I use to take the pictures. Even at the maximum height, I still had to fold the bottom in order to take a picture. I am glad I didn’t have to quilt that quilt!

House and Garden original size

House and Garden original size

 

This is the one I made for myself, again reducing the size of the pieces to make a smaller version. It was still quite large so I left off the outside borders.

House and Garden

House and Garden

 

By reducing the size of the quilt, I had enough fabric left over to make some of the projects that were club ideas suggested by using the units from the original sampler design. The first one is called Tulip House. This is quilt I really enjoy. The table runner is called Sweetheart Hearts.

Tulip House

Tulip House

Sweetheart Hearts table runner

Sweetheart Hearts table runner

 

A couple years later, the club project was called Village Green. The first picture is the top I made as a sampler for the shop. The second picture is the same quilt I made in a different colorway as there were several options of colors that year. The third quilt is another I made using the same fabrics as the first one except I changed the borders somewhat and I arranged the blocks differently.

Village Green Midnight

Village Green Midnight

Village Green Dusk

Village Green Dusk

Village Green

Village Green

I have quite a few more Thimbleberries quilts which I will show you in other posts. As you can tell, I love sampler quilts and Thimbleberries samplers have always been fun to make.

Birthday Celebration Sampler

Aby's Circle

Aby’s Circle

This newest block in the Birthday Celebration Sampler is one I designed and am calling “Aby’s Circle” in honor of my friend Aby, who is such a blessing in my life.

To make this block in a 12” finished size you will need to cut the following:
Background:
4 squares at 3-1/2”
4 rectangles at 2” x 5”
4 rectangles at 2” x 3-1/2”
8 squares at 2”

Blue:
4 rectangles at 2” x 3-1/2”
8 squares at 2”

Gold:
1 square at 3-1/2”
8 squares at 2”

Sew the background and blue 2” squares into eight pairs. Use these pairs to make four 4-patch units. Paying attention to the orientation of the 4-patch, sew a background 2” x 3-1/2” rectangle to the left side and then the larger background rectangle to the top. You will have four units that all look the same and each should measure 5” square.

Make four 4-patch units

Make four 4-patch units

Sew rectangles to side and top

Sew rectangles to side and top

4 units all the same

4 units all the same

Draw a diagonal line on the back of the gold 2” squares. Align one on a corner of a background 3-1/2” square. Sew on the line, trim seam allowance to ¼” and press out. Repeat 3 more times. Align the remaining gold squares on an adjacent corner, sew on line, trim, press. You will have four units all the same and each should measure 3-1/2”square. Sew the blue 2” x 3-1/2” rectangles to the top of these units.

Align corners

Align corners

Add another corner

Add another corner

Sew a rectangle to the top

Sew a rectangle to the top

Arrange your eight units and the gold 3-1/2” square into three rows. Sew the rows and then sew the rows together to complete the block.

Make three rows

Make three rows

Blessings and Fun

I love getting mail. It is especially fun to open the mail box and find an exciting surprise which is what happened recently. I was very surprised to learn that I had won a book from Quiltmaker magazine’s blog “Quilty Pleasures”. I did not know what book I had won until I opened the package. The book is called “501 Quilting Motifs” from the editors of Quiltmaker magazine. What an inspiring book this is—filled with all kinds of different quilting motifs that can be used for either hand quilting or machine quilting. The motifs can also be re-sized to fit a project and there are diagrams to show various ways to combine and use them. This book is one that is sure to be used for years to come. In addition to the book, there were also 3 fat quarters of bright happy fabric. Since most of my fabric collection is Thimbleberries and other older fabrics, it is quite a thrill to get some new modern bright colors such as these are. I am sure I will find just the right project to put them to good use.

You too could win prizes at the Quilty Pleasures blog as they quite often have give-aways. My name was drawn in a random drawing from a comment on a blog post. I never have any expectations of winning but have to say, it sure is fun to do so. Getting the package in the mail really did make my day!

Prizes from Quiltmaker

Along with the surprise of getting an unexpected package I have also had the pleasure of having Jacob here all of last week. His school had so many weather days this past winter but they were still able to keep spring break by having the make-up days scattered through the rest of the spring and extending school slightly longer. Today was originally a day off but they went back today and will also have a couple more Saturday school days. We were able to spend some time outside burning bunches of the branches we’ve collected. Jacob for some reason just loves to have camp fires. We had expected to spend most of the days outside but the weather turned cold and raining. In fact we even had heavy frost a couple mornings. It is a bit unusual here that we need to turn the heat on this late in April. By having the cold and rain, we switched to inside activities and even made a quilt (which will be another post later) and we played games which involved multiplication. He is getting quite good at multiplying now. He wrote some really cute stories, we did crafts, lots of games, and he even went along with the singing ministry I go to. He didn’t want to sing with us so he played a quiet game instead. Jacob does love to sing though, and it surprised me later to hear him singing some of the praise songs—and he knew all the words! He has continuously been singing the hymn “He Lives” and now I can’t get it out of my head either. What a blessing to have him get these songs in his heart. Yesterday after the Easter egg/candy hunt at church we were on the way home and he told me that he ate some of the candy and now every time he moved his mouth, it made his ear itch!

Charmville

 

Charmville North Carolina

Charmville North Carolina

Here is my finished “Charmville”, which I am calling “Charmville North Carolina” because of all the tall trees around the houses.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have made mine into a “snuggle” size.  You will also see this quilt on Aby’s blog on May 1 when she reveals the next group of Charmville quilts made from her pattern that was featured in McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine.  Be sure to check here on May 1 to see what others have done also.  This quilt was so much fun to make and making it used up at least a little smidgen of my scraps.  It is hard to tell from the picture but each tree has five different greens in it and each house has 8 different fabrics along with the gold window and then the roofs are yet a different fabric.  In addition, each star is a different gold.  The outer border is made from one of my Delightful Little Treasure Boxes–the one with the already-cut medium/dark 2-1/2″ squares.  I love opening these boxes to use in a project.

There is still time to make some of these charming little houses and submit your project to Aby.  Not only will you have fun making the houses and using some of your scraps, but you will also have a chance to win a prize.  At the very least, you could have a cute wall-quilt to display and make you smile every time you walk by it.  Go grab some scraps and get started.

Scrap Quilts

I started sewing and making quilts when I was very young (a long, long time ago!). I wish I still had the old black Singer sewing machine my mom had at that time. It was in a cabinet and had a knee lever which was used to run the machine. At some point in my teen years, we got another sewing machine that had drop-in cams to make different stitches. What a horrible machine that was. It was hard to feed the fabric under the pressure foot and it would often eat the edge of my fabric—or at the very least, chewed it up! I figured out to start with a scrap rather than what I was working on and that seemed to work better. Eventually I bought my own (much better) sewing machine and while it didn’t have those issues, I was already in the habit of using that starter piece. It occurred to me that if I were to sew squares together that I could make a scrap quilt with the squares. It was fun to see a quilt coming together bit by bit without even trying and also great to be using all the thread that would have otherwise been wasted. I made several quilts with just squares until one day it occurred to me that I could make other quilts by that method. Then I got really creative and made many different quilts, which I still do to this day.

Later as I joined the internet craze, someone told me they had seen someone else on the internet doing this same thing and that she had a name for it—leaders and enders. This was the first time I had ever heard of Bonnie Hunter. Her website was just beginning to get popular and she showed quilts she had also done by using this method. I loved the name she used—leaders and enders– which has since become the universally accepted name for this method of making quilts. Now everyone uses the “leaders and enders”—or at least they should! When I teach anyone to quilt, I get them started doing this during the first lesson.

I make quite a few individual blocks and often the blocks will produce more leader/ender pieces than a long line of chain-piecing. It can be surprising how quickly those pieces grow into a quilt. While scrap quilts remain my favorite to make, I also make planned quilts with just a few colors. Usually I will cut it out and work on sections at a time while working on blocks or other quilts. I just make sure both quilts use very different fabrics from each other. I keep the pieces to sew on the right of the machine and then throw them into a basket on the left as I sew them. Here are just a very few scrap quilts I’ve made with “leaders and enders”.

I made this quilt top for my friend Marcia of Quilter’s Cache. She had it quilted and I’m sure she must have a finished view of it on her website.

Scrap Squares

Scrap Squares

Log cabin quilts are among my favorites to make and these lend themselves well to the leader/ender method of making quilts.

Rustic Log Cabin

Rustic Log Cabin

Spring Thaw

Spring Thaw

Summer Cabin

Summer Cabin

This quilt uses a split 9-patch block and the setting can be similar to the variety of log cabin block settings.

Pieces of This and That

Pieces of This and That

This quilt took a bit more attention as each block had to have the pieces set correctly to form the block, but one block at a time will soon produce enough blocks for a quilt.

Wind Farm

Wind Farm

The pieces in this quilt are cut at 1-1/2” x 3-1/2”and the darks were a pair for each block. It still was easy enough to use the leader/ender method. Now I have a big stack of all scrappy pieces in one of my Delightful Little Treasure Boxes and plan to do a similar quilt without the pairs. It has to wait awhile though as I have two other leader/ender projects right now. I can only work on one at a time so they have to wait their turn. I better hurry up and make more planned quilts in order to use all my leader/ender “ready-to-sew” scraps!

Scrap Basket

Scrap Basket

Aby’s Charmville

In earlier posts I told you about my friend Aby’s little quilt called “Charmville” which was featured in McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine.  Aby shared a quilt-along on her blog and encouraged others to join in by offering a viewing with a voter’s choice.  There were three “charming” wall-quilts and a very cute needle case made and submitted.  You can see the winning wall-quilt on her blog here.  As you know from my previous posts, I had also started a “Charmville” quilt.  Because my quilting commitments often require me to switch from one project to another at the drop of a hat, Jacob and I have dubbed this as “stop, drop, and roll” whenever a new assignment arrives.  (He learned the term in kindergarten when learning about fire and not only is the term rather appropriate for what I do, using the term helps keep the idea in Jacob’s mind.)  That being said, I have recently had to “stop, drop, and roll” several times which meant “Charmville” was delayed.

When I first saw Aby’s Charmville, I instantly want to add some trees to the houses and use larger squares to make a larger size one for a friend that I know who would love it.  Then when I played with the blocks, the smaller houses had much “charm” appeal, so back to thinking wall-quilt instead of lap sized.  I had already made the small houses and small trees when I remembered that I know my friend would prefer a lap-size rather than wall-size.  Nothing like being fickle in the middle of a plan!

Here is how much I had done at the deadline of Aby’s quilt along.  I have since added—wait, I’m not going to tell you what I’ve added—but I will assure you that the top is done and ready to be quilted.  Once the quilting is done, then you will get to see first hand what else I have done to my Charmville quilt.  I’m calling mine “Charmville, North Carolina”.

center of "Charmville North Carolina"

center of “Charmville North Carolina”

The finished quilt is lap-size or as Jacob and I call it–cuddle-sized.  We prefer not to call a small quilt a “throw”.  Jacob told me that he did not like to call them “throw” because it reminded him too much of “throw-up”.  I said, “Yes, I can see why that would not be a very pleasant picture, but perhaps you could make your mind see something else when you hear the word throw.”  He thought for a few minutes and came up with “throw away”, “throw across the room”, “throw it over a bad guy’s head”, and “throw it like a fire-cracker”.  Hmm, yes, I can definitely see that the word “throw” really does not bring a picture of a pretty quilt.