Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sly Patch

Borders are on Sly Patch and he's so cute!  It has started to rain lightly outside, so an indoor photo with flash will need to work for now.

The pattern is from Quiltmaker Magazine July/August 2014.   All ready to quilt up this weekend.   Those twins will be here within a week or two, so I think I'll be done just in time!

Now to get cleaned up after myself.  There is so much clutter around the house right now.  Boxes of paperwork that I need to go through from my parent's house are on many of my usual quilting work surfaces.  So I did layout work on the living room floor, cutting at the kitchen table, and pressing at my desk in the guest room.

DS and DIL are coming for dinner tonight, and a roast has been in the slow cooker since 10am.  Sure smells good in here!  But I need to get out the vacuum and get things picked up.  I sure can leave a tornado of a mess behind me some days.  LOL

Just Freakin' Adorable

The borders just went on Rascal Patch and it's just adorable!  I'm usually a traditional block quilter and don't venture into whimsical quilts too often.  The pattern is in Quiltmaker Magazine July/August 2013.  Isn't he cute as can be?

Next up are the borders for Sly Patch.  I should be able to quilt these up over the Labor Day holiday weekend and they'll be all ready for the arrival of my niece's twins.

Last night I headed over to the fabric store and debated a long time over A) batting and flannel backing or B) fleece backing only.  The softness of the fleece won out.  Rascal Raccoon will have a mottled light blue backing and Sly Fox will have mottled bright green.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Design wall Monday

Marcus fabrics has a 'Sew-along' series of blog posts out that began August 1st called Friends and Companions.  I've been trying to keep up, and am trying the blocks in several colorways.

Here are the first three blocks, #2, #1 and #3.  In this version I have used yellow in place of cheddar, olive green in place of blue and light turquoise in place of green.  Light print, red and black are the same as the pattern.

In this version I have used brown in place of cheddar, orange in place of red, and light green in place of blue.  Light print, olive green and black are the same as the pattern.

This version is closest to their colorway.  I have used gold in place of cheddar and very dark green in place of black.  White, red, blue and olive are the same as the pattern.  One little problem...I don't have enough of the olive color to do all the blocks, so I'll have to find another similar fabric to put in, or just have scrappy olive greens.  This is where the creativity kicks in!

But that olive green must all go, because it's been in my stash from a quilt that was started 28 years ago!  Yes, I remember, because my girlfriend and I collaborated to make a Tall Pine Tree quilt for my wedding and it took 10 years to finish because we were side-tracked by moves, children and life in general.

But it's never too late to finish up a UFO!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A day at the Fair

It was a very warm and muggy day at the Minnesota State Fair yesterday, but that didn't stop me and about 100,000 other folks from enjoying the day.  And no, I'm not exaggerating.  The past several years have had opening day attendance easily in excess of that number.

On the bus to the fairgrounds I met a couple who had just flown in from Dallas, TX to meet up with friends at the fair.  They even had their luggage with them!  We enjoyed talking as we rode along.  She is also a quilter and I was able to clue her in on the several locations where quilts are displayed at the fair.

I met up with my sister, her hubby, and a niece for a while.  My sister particularly liked this quilt made by a quilter from Plymouth, MN.  It won a lovely pink ribbon, but her name and other details were obscured.  Here is one quarter of her quilt.  This might be a great layout idea for a combination of orphan blocks of different sizes.  I do always wonder what to do with those.

One of the high school bands in today's parade was from Eden Prairie, MN.  Another of my nieces is in the band there.  I didn't see her, but I was too far away as they passed by. I love a parade with marching bands, don't you?

In the horticulture building I snapped this photo of a very unusual pepper plant.  It was labeled Chinese Five Color Pepper.  Look at all the colors!  Purple, Yellow, Red, Orange, and Green.  Wouldn't it make a great colorway for a quilt?

Just before heading home I stopped by Rosebud's Cottage.  She has a local quilt shop in White Bear Lake, MN.  And while I've not yet been up to the shop, I do enjoy seeing her booth at the fair and all the lovely quilts and patterns.  I picked up Sweet Summertyme from the 2014 Row by Row Experience Shop Hop.  Log cabin style watermelon slices!  Totally adorable.  It will probably become a table runner for the cabin.

State Fair sew-along finish

The last step for the State Fair quilt is to assemble all the blocks and add borders.

It's just a huge 9-patch, with Sunflower blocks in the center & corners, and Single Irish Chain blocks on the sides.

The first border is green and cut at 2-inches wide. The second border is cut at 1-1/2-inches wide from a chocolate brown. The final border is cut 4-inches wide from a sunflower print that was leftover from a project my sister-in-law did years ago.  Time to use that up!  The final size is 39 inches square unfinished, so a single width of fabric will perfectly fit for a backing. A dark green fabric should look nice for the binding.

I hope you had the chance to sew along.  This would be such an adorable baby quilt, and you could easily change the colors of the flowers.  Sew many possibilities!

There are such beautiful quilts here every year at the Minnesota State Fair.  I have never entered anything at all, but way back in the 1920's and 1930's my grandmother won ribbons for her smocking, my mother won a ribbon for her sewing, and my mother-in-law entered her 4-H calf and won a ribbon too! Have you ever entered anything in your State or County Fair?

Sharing this week's finish at

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

State Fair sew-along Sunflower block

We're continuing to celebrate the end of summer, and the sunflowers are in full bloom.  Today we'll work on the Sunflower block for our State Fair quilts.

The easiest part is the center.  A simple 3-1/2-inch chocolate brown square.  You will be making five Sunflower blocks, so you need five brown squares.  Done!

Yesterday's post had the instructions for the 3-1/2-inch blocks made up of one white 2-inch square, one green 2-inch square, and one 2 x 3-1/2 inch rectangle.  Those will be the corners of our Sunflower blocks.  So, lets get started on the last section, the sunflower petals.

Cut an assortment of yellows, cheddars and golds into 2 x 3/1/2-inch rectangles.  You will need 8 for each block, or 40 total.

Cut 40 assorted white/neutral 2-inch squares, and draw a line on the wrong side diagonally from corner to corner.

Place a white 2-inch square in the upper left corner of a yellow rectangle, right sides together. Stitch across the line you have drawn.  Open, press and trim off the excess fabric.

Sew two of these together to make a pair of Sunflower petals.  You will have 20 pairs.  Check them to make sure they are 3-1/2-inches square and trim if necessary. 

Now sew your Sunflower blocks together as you would do for a 9-patch.  Watch the direction of your green block in the corners, so that it points to the center of the block.  Watch the direction of your petals so that the yellow side faces the center and white faces the outside.

Press your blocks well and square up to 9-1/2-inches unfinished.

If you want a larger quilt, just make more blocks.  Tomorrow we'll put it all together!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

State Fair sew-along Single Irish Chain

Hopefully, you've had some fun sorting through your 2-inch and 3-1/2-inch scrap bags for whites/neutrals and greens.  For this State Fair quilt you will need four Single Irish Chain blocks and five Sunflower blocks.  The blocks finish at 9 inches square (9-1/2 inches unfinished.)

I'm going to call the background 'white' just to keep things simple, but use a variety of light neutrals, whites  and creams if you like a scrappy look.

Start with your 2-inch white scraps and 2-inch green scraps.  You will be making 16 green-and-white 4-patch blocks. They will be used in the corners of the Single Irish Chain blocks.   As you can see from the photo below, I was able to do a bit of strip piecing with my scraps. Take a minute to check all your 4-patch blocks and make sure they are perfectly 3-1/2 inches square.  Trim a bit if necessary.

As long as we have the 2-inch scraps out, let's work ahead.  You will need 20 blocks made up of one white 2-inch square, one green 2-inch square, and one white 2 x 3-1/2-inch rectangle as shown in the photo. Once those are pieced, take a minute to check them all and make sure they are perfectly 3-1/2 inches square.  Trim a bit if necessary. They will be used for the four corners of the Sunflower blocks, so set those aside until tomorrow.

From your 3-1/2-inch scraps, cut four green 3-1/2-inch squares for the centers, and sixteen 3-1/2-inch squares for the sides of the Single Irish Chain blocks.  The Single Irish Chain blocks are assembled in 9-patch style.  Watch the direction of the green squares in the 4-patch corners.

Press your four Single Irish Chain blocks well and square up to 9-1/2 inches unfinished.  Tomorrow we make Sunflowers!

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's State Fair Time!

The Minnesota State Fair begins this week and runs through Labor Day.  It is the official end of summer event here and I have always loved to attend.  I'm not sure exactly what it is about the State Fair that draws me back every year.

It was a family tradition when we were children, and my Dad loved to go and see all the sights.   The cattle and horse barns brought remembrances of his childhood summer days spent on his grandparents farm in South Dakota.  Mother enjoyed seeing the creative crafts and cooking.  Woodcarving, knitting, sewing, canning and baking ribbon winners were all closely examined.

Even though the food at the fair is a major attraction in itself, Mother always packed a picnic lunch for us. She was always very health, and budget, conscious.  But, a day at the Fair was never complete without a buying Chocolate Malt from the Dairy Building and a bag of apples from the Horticulture building.

One summer, as a teen, I worked for a neighbor who had a book booth in the Grandstand building.  The noise from the race cars on the track nearly drove me insane!  The qualifying rounds for the evening races went on all day and echoed through the old concrete building.

There is a traditional quilt block called State Fair!  Actually, it's two blocks, a Sunflower and a Single Irish Chain.  Together they make a really cute little quilt to celebrate the Fair and the end of summer.

So, pull out your scrap bags of 2-inch and 3-1/2 inch blocks and strips.  Let's get started!

Look for light neutrals for the background, greens for the chain and 'leaves', yellow/gold/cheddar for the sunflowers, and chocolate brown for the flower centers.  Cutting instructions will be posted tomorrow.

Do you go to your State or County fair?  What are some of your favorite memories?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Just checking in

There was some quilting going on last weekend at the Lake.  I finished up Sunshine and Shadows as a table runner and donated it to the Lake Association Picnic as a door prize.

The other project I was able to make some headway on is the first of two baby quilts for my niece's twins.  Here's Sly Patch so far...  lookin' foxy.

I was also working on a quilt top that would make a fun and easy sew-along.  So, watch for that coming up soon and start looking through your green, yellow/gold/cheddar and creamy neutrals for 2 inch and 3.5 inch scraps or strips, and look for a few nice chocolate brown 3.5 squares too.