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.

Birthday Celebration Sampler Block 4

Spring Always Comes

Spring Always Comes

Are you ready to make another birthday block? We have several birthdays in March and then it trickles down to only about one a month, with a few months having two birthdays. Mine is the next birthday which is tomorrow. I named the block “Spring Always Comes” because I have been saying that so much lately. And it is true, no matter how bad or how long the winter seems, spring always comes. One day it is just there for us.

This evening as Jacob and I were about to sit down to supper, and before the rainy ice started to come down, we were treated to a great entertainment in the back yard. The whole yard was filled with cardinals, both the red and the brown ones . We tried to count them but there were too many, however we think it looked about equal of males/females so we were guessing that they were all paired up. I wanted to get a picture but it wasn’t working through the window and we didn’t want to open the door and scare them away. It rather reminded me of the book “A Redbird Christmas” which is one of my favorite books. Jacob and I decided that it was my birthday gift from God to have all the cardinals visiting at one time.

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

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

Yellow:
12 squares at 2-7/8”

Green:
4 squares at 2-7/8”

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all the background 2-7/8” squares and 6 of the yellow 2-7/8” squares.

With right sides together, pair up the squares with the diagonal lines and the other 2-7/8” squares as follows:
6 background with 6 yellow
2 background with 2 rose
2 yellow with 2 rose
4 yellow with 4 green

Take these pairs to the machine and chain stitch them ¼” on each side of the drawn lines. Cut on the lines, press out; trim the points. You will have 28 HST (Half-Square-Triangle) squares which each measure 2-1/2”.

We are going to make four 9-patch units which are all alike. Let’s make the first one by laying out squares just like the picture. Pay attention to the orientation. Sew the units into 3 rows and then sew the 3 rows together to make the first 9-patch square. Look again and make sure you have everything in the right place and then sew three more exactly the same.

Lay out 9 squares in this order.

Lay out 9 squares in this order.

Sew three rows.

Sew three rows.

Sew the three rows together and then make 3 more exactly the same.

Sew the three rows together and then make 3 more exactly the same.

 

 

When you have all four 9-patch blocks made, arrange them into a four-patch setting of two rows. Sew the two rows together to complete the block.

Make two rows.

Make two rows.

If you would like to make this block in a 9” finished size, cut your squares at 2-3/8” and 2”.
To make it in a 6” finished size, cut your squares at 1-7/8” and 1-1/2”.

I am looking forward to see what the other four March-birthday blocks will be.

Birthday Celebration Sampler Block 3

Double Hearts

Double Hearts

Block 3 in the Birthday Celebration Sampler, Double Hearts, was chosen by Carol whose birthday was in February. It seems Carol was still in the mood for some valentine celebration. This block has a few more steps and you need to pay attention to orientation, however, it is still an easy block to make. Carol had chosen a scrappy version for her block so I’m changing mine just a bit to only include three fabrics which I think will work just a little bit better in my sampler.

To make this block in a 12” finished size, you will need to cut the following:
Background:
1 square @ 3-7/8”
1 rectangle @ 3-1/2” x 6-1/2”
6 squares @ 3-1/2”

Light Gold: (center heart)
2 rectangles @ 3-1/2” x 6-1/2”

Purple: (large heart)
1 square @ 3-7/8”
3 rectangles @ 3-1/2” x 6-1/2”
4 squares @ 3-1/2”
4 squares @ 1-1/2”

Let’s start by making the center heart. Place your smallest purple squares on adjacent corners of the two light gold rectangles. Sew on the diagonal of each of the squares. You could draw lines if you don’t think you can get from corner to corner in a straight line. I do not draw lines on that small of squares and it always works out.

a

small squares aligned

Trim the seam allowances to ¼” and press out the corners. Draw a diagonal line on the back of two of the purple 3-1/2” squares; align these on the bottom of the rectangles—making sure you have the seams going in opposite directions. Sew on the drawn line and trim the seam allowance to ¼”; press out.

press out the corners

press out the corners

pay attention to direction of diagonal lines

pay attention to direction of diagonal lines

do your rectangles look like this

do your rectangles look like this

Note: When I cut off corners like this, I sew the leftover triangles together; press and then trim the square to 2-1/2”. In making a sampler, I might be able to use them and if not, then the squares can go in my Delightful Little Treasure Box along with all the hundreds of others just waiting to be used in a scrappy quilt. In making this block, you are going to get 8 of these nice HST squares so why would you just throw them away rather than trim to a useable 2-1/2” size. Just sayin’….

Ok, getting off my little soapbox and back to making the block. Sew your two rectangle units together to form the center heart.

center heart measures 6-1/2"

center heart measures 6-1/2″

Draw a diagonal line on the back of two background 3-1/2” squares. Right sides together, align these on the bottom of two purple rectangles. Make sure your lines are opposite. Sew on the line; trim seam allowance; press out. (And save those corners too!) These two rectangles are going to go on the sides of the center heart.

be sure you have opposite directions before you sew

be sure you have opposite directions before you sew

There is a flying geese unit above and below the center heart. First draw diagonal lines on the back of two background 3-1/2” squares and two purple 3-1/2” squares. Place one of the background squares on a purple rectangle, aligning the edges. Sew on the line; trim seam allowance; press out.

g

h

Do the same thing on the opposite corner. Your flying goose should measure 3-1/2” x 6-1/2”.

i

flying goose unit

flying goose unit

Follow the above directions using the background rectangle and two purple squares.

k

l

m

n

Draw a diagonal line on the back of the background 3-7/8” square and align it, right sides together, with the purple square. This time your stitching will be ¼” from each side of the drawn line. Cut on the line; press; trim the points, and you have two Half-Square-Triangle squares which each measure 3-1/2”.

you will have two of these

you will have two of these

Arrange your units into three rows. Sew the rows and then sew the three rows together to complete the block.

make three rows

make three rows

See that was easy enough and you have those 8 little squares all ready to use in something else and in addition, the center heart forms a 6” finished block which you might like to use in other quilts.

Birthday Celebration Sampler Block 2

Pieced Hearts

Pieced Hearts

The second block in the Birthday Celebration Sampler, Pieced Hearts, was chosen by Dot whose birthday was on Valentine’s Day. I love the block she has chosen. This block could be made with all the hearts the same color or a two-color combination, or as I have done with each heart being a different color.

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

Color:
4 squares at 3-1/2”
8 rectangles at 2-1/2” x 3-1/2”
1 square at 2-1/2” (for center square)
(Note…if you want 4 different colors like mine, for each heart you will be cutting only 1 square at 3-1/2” and 2 rectangles at 2-1/2” x 3-1/3”)

The smallest background squares are going to be used to make “stitch and flip” corners on the rectangles. With right sides together, place the squares on adjacent corners of the rectangle and sew on the diagonal. You might like to draw lines if that is helpful to make your stitch line straight—but I never make lines on that small of squares—it always works out. Once you’ve done the stitching, trim the seam allowance to ¼” and press the corners up.

All the rectangles will have 2 corners

All the rectangles will have 2 corners

Sew one of the rectangle units to the large color square. Paying attention to orientation, sew a 2-1/2” background square to the remaining rectangle and then sew those two units together to form each heart. Your squares should measure 5-1/2”.

Look before you sew.

Look before you sew.

You will have 4 hearts.

You will have 4 hearts.

 

Arrange the units into 3 rows; sew the rows; sew the 3 rows together to complete the block.

Make 3 rows.

Make 3 rows.

And Jacob said…..

For those of you still dealing with the cold and snow of winter, I wish you were here with us today.  It has been 70 degrees and most lovely.  So nice to have the windows open and to be able to eat lunch and dinner outside once again.  A few days ago Jacob and I started picking up all the pinecones and branches that came down from the ice storm.  We filled several huge trash bags with pinecones (which we are saving for our campfires) and we had picked up several big piles of sticks.  Today after church we spent a couple hours picking up more sticks, branches and even trees that came down.  We are not even close to being done so will have to keep working at it before the spring growth gets going.   Jacob said, “Grandma, do you think we are have enough wood to burn for many years?”  He was rather disappointed that even though the wood piles are higher than he is,  a few campfires will use it all up.

When Jacob spends the night on weeknights, I have to drive him to his own neighborhood to get on the school bus and we have to leave quite early as it is very difficult to get onto the highway.  A few days ago when he was staying, it was also raining super hard so I told him we had to leave even earlier than we usually do.  He was being extremely good to hurry and get ready; in fact he was so quick that we had a little leeway time.  He is so funny.  This is what he said to me, “Grandma since I have a little extra time would it be ok if”—ok I’m going to pause here and I bet you are thinking as I did that he would be asking to play—but no, this is what he said, “Grandma, since I have a little extra time would it be ok if I sweep the kitchen and dining room?”  You know I let him.  But then soon it was time to leave and you gotta love this boy–he said, “Grandma, would it be ok if you just save the rest for when I get back?”  I can only hope it is a long time before he stops wanting to do that!