Monday, January 28, 2013

Design Wall this week

Single Block
This weekend DS informed me that there are 175 days until their wedding, and the design wall this week has the first several blocks for their wedding quilt! 

As a mechanical engineer, he has a mathematical predisposition, and has always liked the Celtic Knot and other twisting geometric quilt designs.  We looked at different traditional wedding blocks and several knot blocks.  Then my son got to work designing a block for their quilt that used three colors and when put together created interlocking squares that are reminiscent of a double wedding ring.  Here's what they look like so far.

Four blocks
 He did an excellent job of designing.  There are no set in seams.  The pieces are easy to make, sewing long 2" strips together and sub-cutting in to 3 1/2 inch segments.  Each individual block is 16 segments.   The overall design is similar to Plaited Block (Nancy Cabot) but without the half square triangles, though the individual block is quite different.

I haven't been able to find a block like it in any of my books, so I'll have to come up with a name for it.   Do you have any suggestions?   Or maybe you've come across this block before?

Most of the strips were cut a week ago, and are now sewn in pairs and pressed.  Hopefully piecing the blocks this week will give me some badly needed down time between times spent at the hospital with DH.

Sharing progress with :   Patchwork Times

Monday, January 21, 2013

King's Highway

Are you one of the lucky ones to have today as a Holiday?  Today is set aside (at least for U.S. government workers and students) to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The traditional block called "King's Highway" has a fitting name to help recall the journey toward civil rights in the United States, and the road Dr. King walked toward his dream of racial equality for all.

It's a large block, and measures 18 inches square when made with 2 inch blocks. But it's not very difficult.  If you have time to quilt awhile this week, perhaps a single King's Highway block with some borders would make a nice doll quilt.

I selected a nice floral print from my 2 inch scrap bag along with several coordinating colors, and one piece from my 5 inch scrap bag.  The 4 and 8 inch lengths will be sewn and sub-cut, so I'm usually a little generous cutting those lengths.
Floral: cut (2) 2x4,  cut (1) 2x8, cut (12) 2x2
Dk green: cut (4) 3.5x5
Red: cut (2) 2x8
Purple: cut (2) 2x4, cut (2) 2x2, cut (1) 2x8
Yellow: cut (2) 2x8, cut (4) 2x4, cut (8) 2x3.5, cut (16) 2x5

Stitch together the 8 inch pieces: (purple, yellow, red) and (red, yellow, print)
Stitch together the 4 inch pieces: (yellow, print, yellow), (yellow, purple, yellow) and (purple, print)

Sub-cut into 2 inch strips.  Sew a 4-patch from the purple/print and 9-patch blocks from the remaining strips using the photo as a guide.

The remaining pieces are assembled into strips, then joined together. 

There is plenty of the yellow and the print fabrics, and some red, but not quite enough to go all the way around.  Not a speck of the purple or green left.  Time to get creative!

So that's what is on my design wall today.
Now that I have photos taken and posted it's time to check in with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nearly too big to photograph

Hurray! Hurray! Easy Street top is finished! 
I'm so excited to have it done.

Usually my queen size quilts are taken outdoors and photographed from the clothes line, but it's only about 10 degrees F here in Minnesota today and I'll stay inside my cozy home, thank you very much!   LOL

I pinned one edge of the quilt right at the ceiling in the living room, and it draped to the floor.  The piano got in the way a bit, but I couldn't back up any further.  Held the camera against the far wall and took my chances. 

Unfortunately I won't be quilting this one up right away.   There are three more quilts that I really need to get started on - and have deadlines to finish.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Easy Street, Pleasant Avenue, Quilter's Lane

The Easy Street  blocks are coming along.  There are only 4 Block A's left to finish, and I'm hoping to get that done before my errands today. (Update... ALL my Easy Street blocks are Done!!! So I get to link up with Sarah!) 

Have you noticed that each of the blocks look great on their own?  Maybe they should get their own names Bonnie!   Someday I might just make a Block B quilt.  Love how that one looks all by itself!

Block B of Easy Street- straight set
Block A of Easy Street - straight set
Easy Street: Blocks A and B - straight set
Good thing I took these photos to show you.  It's funny that your eye sees things differently from a photo than in person. I'd better re-check those four-patch blocks.  There is at least one turned the wrong direction on one of the B blocks!  Good to catch it now before the whole top is pieced together!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

U-turns on Easy Street

Last night after our kids had headed back to their respective homes and DH was settled down to a football game on TV, I pulled out my block sections to work on Easy Street.

It seemed that what ever I did, half had to be ripped out again!  Sew 5 patches together into a row... Sew 2 rows together....oops sewed on the wrong side.  Rip out.  And so it went.

As much as I thought I was paying close attention, apparently I wasn't. When I finally ripped off a block that I thought was wrong, but was actually just fine, I knew it was time to stop!

But today is a new day, and the 9 B-blocks are done!  Here they are.  Don't they look great just by themselves?  But I'm not going to be tempted to quit here! There are more A-blocks on the schedule for today and then dinner with my High School girlfriends.

Yep, it's nearly 40 years since our graduation, but the 7 of us still try and keep in touch.  One has moved out of state, and another isn't available this time, but 5 of us will be getting together.  We've tried to connect like this a few times each year, and otherwise it's Christmas Cards, but over the years we've always been there for one another - as divergent as our paths have taken us. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Easy Street Blocks

Woo Hoo!  The first two Easy Street Blocks are done!

There's still lots of piecing to do because I am quite a ways behind, but forged ahead and put two whole blocks together to make sure I was going to like the color placement and choices.

How could I go wrong?  After all this IS a Bonnie Hunter design.  She does such a marvelous job of creating scrappy quilt designs that look great no matter what!

So her scrappy White/Black is my White/Navy (3 different fabrics),
her Grey is my Navy,
her scrappy Turquoise is my medium Blue (2 fabrics so not scrappy),
her scrappy Apple Green is my dark Green (yes, I had enough to be scrappy here)
and her Purple is my Red (only one fabric but from deep stash - 1995 ish)

I'm liking how it looks so far!  Check Bonnie's link to see what fabric choices some other quilters have made for their Easy Street Quilt.  The variety is amazing!  Be patient, it took a long time to load on my computer - probably because of all the links to view the quilts.

Monday, January 7, 2013

First finish of the year!

Here's today's finish.  The color combination turned out quite nicely - very woodsy and a little masculine in spite of a few peachy florals.  It will go on the day bed at the lake cabin.  It's one row wider than the original pattern so it can easily drape over the bolsters on the day bed.

The pattern was very easy to put together.  The block color placement is designed to be random, which made it fun to see how it all came together.   (By the way, that's a plant leaf or two in the lower left & not part of the border.)

It might be a good pattern for quilts for my great-nieces.  I have an assortment of pinks and greens to work with.  Here's the post with the fabric photos.  The quilts would be the same pattern, but colors would fall in different places in each one.  So the quilts would each have a different 'personality', just like the girls.

Haven't thought of a name for this one yet.  'Mystery Quilt 7' sounds too dull.  The original was subtitled "Nana's Surprise" which is fine except I'm not a 'Nana' - and won't be for a while yet.  I like the french horn block that ended up in the middle.  Usually as I'm working on a quilt a name comes to me, but this one just isn't speaking to me yet.  Might need a little help.....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Redwork update

A Redwork Christmas is finished - or at least the top is all pieced.   I worked hard this weekend to get it finished because I have a couple other quilting projects that are about to take priority.  Here's what it looks like now.  Don't you just love crisp red and white!!!  

The hunt for more red fabric was interesting.  Nearly all the red from my de-constructed Christmas quilt from 1984 was used, and I found two more small pieces (just under a yard each).  One is the exact color of the older fabric and I was able to use it for top and bottom borders.  The other is a shade darker and will be used for binding.

The pattern is from 'Country Quilts for friends' by Margaret Peters & Anne Sutton. 

The Redwork is machine embroidery.  Here are a few closeups:

According to my calculations I used 4 1/3 yards of fabric, all from my stash for the completed top.   That's the way to start the year out right!   I've decided to count fabric as 'used' as soon as it's cut and pieced.   Small steps of progress are much more encouraging than waiting until a quilt is completely finished to count the fabric as 'used'.  So count 9 more yards for Easy Street which is now all cut out and ready to sew.   On the other hand, in late December I purchased 25 yards fabric for three quilts which will be made and given as gifts this year.   It's only fair to count that in my 2013 fabric log.  I plan to get started on those this month.

New this month:  25 yards
New this year: 25 yards

Used this month:  13 1/3 yards from stash
Used this year:  13 1/3 yards

net: 12 2/3 yards

A little late for Friday, but still linking up to share a finish at 'Can I get a Whoop Whoop?'  Hope you can take a look there at some of the other wonderful projects finished this week.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

Yes, I know this is a quilting blog and I should stick to that topic, but Sheryl at Quilting Tizzy asked for my Wild Rice Soup Recipe and this is the easiest way for me to share it.  Add to that another quilter, Judy at Patchwork Times, has issued a 'What's Cooking?' challenge and the weekly ingredient - Carrots- happen to be an ingredient in the soup.  So it's a two for one blog post I guess.

Now recipes are just a guideline for me.  I can't ever stick to the exact ingredients, especially for soups which are so flexible.  Go with what you have on hand and be creative!  So here's my recipe with a few side comments. 

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
serves 4  (recipe can easily be doubled to serve 8)
from Jean at

1/4 cup butter/margarine
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
4 oz mushrooms, chopped (canned or fresh)
1/4 cup raw wild rice (may be pre-cooked)
1/8 cup raw white rice
 3 cups chicken stock/broth
2 Tablespoons cooking sherry or white cooking wine (secret ingredient)
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 tsp if using boullion cubes to make chicken stock)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup diced cooked  chicken or turkey
1/2 cup diced cooked ham
(optional) a cup of frozen peas or a Tablespoon of dried parsley for color
1 cup milk or half & half
1&1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch (2 Tbsp if using milk)
1/8 cup slivered almonds

You can pre-cook the wild rice according to package directions.  The wild rice does puff up more that way because you can use higher heat than the simmering for soup. (Even though this is Wild Rice soup, you could use just all white rice or brown rice and it would still be pretty good.  I like a mix of wild and white rices.)
Pre-cook meat (I often boil up a chicken breast or use leftovers.  All chicken/turkey, all ham, or a combination all work well.  Use less salt if you just have all ham.)
Saute' chopped onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms in butter.
Add chicken stock, bay leaf, salt & pepper, rice, and meats.
Cover and simmer until rice is completely cooked. (1&1/4 hours for raw wild rice, 30 min for just raw white rice.)
Mix cornstarch into cold milk.  Add to soup and heat through to thicken the soup.
Add almonds and remove bay leaf before serving.

Sorry there's no photo - we ate the soup all up before I thought of taking a picture!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Redwork blocks on the design wall

Lest you think I've been slacking off over the New Year, here's what I've been up to. 

Eight more redwork blocks finished.

For the very first time I actually bought some machine embroidery designs off a computer website.  I'm so glad they offer free designs to download and try first.  I was able to try that a couple of times and gain confidence that I understood how to download and that it would work.  Then there was a New Year's sale at Embroidery Library and the designs I wanted were $1.13 each.  So, out came the credit card at last.

Don't you just love the holiday instruments?  Drum (my niece is a percussionist), Handbell (my cousin's wife directs the handbell choirs at her church), French horn (my son plays horn), and Saxophone (my sister and my future DIL play sax.)

Then there's Santa with his reindeer, a lovely Angel, an ornament & bell, and a Christmas tree.  The first three were some of the free designs I tried out first.

I still have to decide how many blocks to make.  A queen size quilt might be nice on our bed for the holidays, but would take 30 blocks!  Sashing, or no sashing? Lots of options.  I suppose it depends on how far the red fabric will go before I run out.

The borders will need to be something other than white.  Learned that lesson long ago!  The natural oils in your skin, over time, will turn a white border yellow where you pull the quilt up at night, and it's impossible to get clean again!  Dark green pin dot?  Or should I look to see if I can match the red?