A Dog Gone Cute Block for Ann

I wrote about this block a while ago, and until now, couldn’t find the time to post about it. In August, Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting very fittingly chose a dog block, designed by Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts.

Elizabeth Hartman sample

Ann asked that we choose a block that looked like a dog we’d had as a pet. I have only owned cats as an adult, but when I was little, our family had two dogs—Shamrock and Sandy. Sham was a great dog, a mutt, who was mostly German Shepherd. She was gentle, smart, and the most wonderful dog ever. Dad used to tell us he’d see her every day in the pet store window as he walked home from work, and one day he just couldn’t resist her and he brought her home. Lucky us!

Flynn family summer of 1963 reduced size

Sandy was our adopted dog. Someone let her out of a car right in front of my two brothers, and we took her in. Sandy was a bit untamed, but she quickly responded to our loving care. She came along just in time for Shamrock who in her old age wasn’t eating well and who would often wander too close to the street when we let her out to relieve herself. Sandy would protect her from the dangers Sham could no longer see, and by her simple presence, also encouraged her to eat more. Sandy probably gave Shamrock a few more years of life and I’m forever grateful for that.

Here is Sandy (on the left), with Heather (in the middle). Heather was the first of my Aunt Betty’s Scottie dogs. Shamrock is there on the right.

sandy heather and shamrock reducedI chose greens for my block because Shamrock was Irish <grin>. I modified the pattern to match her sweet floppy ears and her coloring. Ann, I hope you like your block! It’s in the mail to you.

Ann block1

Jen, I’m working on yours now. First stop, a look at my color wheel so I can pick appropriate tertiary colors. Man, your quilt is going to look wonderful! What a great idea for the coloring.

Janice, at least I’m not officially late on yours. <grin> Love your block and all it’s possibilities!

You know, I love being a part of this bee and sewing up the blocks each month! I’ve just started a new job so time is short but with a little patience you will all soon have blocks from me.

Ann block 2

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These Blocks Inspire Me!

July was my month as Hive Queen for the Bee Inspired online bee. So what does that mean? Did I get a crown or something?

New Years 2015 1

Alas, no crown for me! <grin> Being Hive Queen does mean however that I get to choose a block and my bee mates will each make that block for me. Makes me feel like a queen, and I don’t have to wear a funny crown! Win-win.

I chose a block of my own design, which I call Irish Eyes. My intention (once I receive the blocks from my bee mates) is to create a modern Irish Chain quilt.

Sample quilt 1

Let’s take a look at the blocks I’ve received so far. The first block I received was from Irene @ Patchwork and Pastry. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me. I could be wrong, but it seems that Irene is almost always the first one done with the block for that month.

Irenes block 1

I’d asked everyone to send a scrap bit of the fabrics they’d used in their blocks, to help me make the border for my planned quilt and Irene sent two! Isn’t she sweet?

Next, I received a block from Velda @ Granny Can Quilt. Not to be outdone, Velda sent me two blocks! She also sent some fish fabric by Kaffe Fasset. How did she know I love his fabrics?

Veldas block 1

Sue’s block (Sue @ Seven Oak Street Quilts) arrived next, along with a bright square of matching fabric. I had asked my bee mates to place the darkest green fabric in the center of the block, with gradually lighter greens radiating outwards. Isn’t Sue’s block wonderful?

Sues Block 1

It was only a day or two later that Emily’s block (Emily @ The Darling Dogwood) arrived. Like Irene, Emily included two lovely scraps of green fabric.

Emily's block 1

I received Paige’s block next (Paige @ Quilted Blooms). Her block includes the loveliest bright greens! Isn’t it beautiful? Paige included three strips of green fabric matching the fabric she used in her block. I’m simply overwhelmed by her generosity! The scraps that each of my bee mates have sent will really help me make a wonderful coordinating border for my quilt.

Paige block

Here are the blocks all together. To add to this wonderful collection, I have the block I made as a sample, and a block I received from my friend Alice. Alice saw my block tutorial (it’s here) and she loved it so much she made me a block! You can pick out Alice’s block easily–she adores shiny fabric!

Blocks I Have Gotten So Far 1

A few more blocks are on their way, and I’ll share them when they arrive. We are an international group and sometimes blocks take a while to get here. We are also a group of busy quilt bloggers and so sometimes, the business of quilting must take precedent. Frankly, I hope they take their time because I love the anticipation!

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Yippee, It’s My Turn at Hive Queen!

Yippee, It’s My Turn at Hive Queen!

This month is my turn at hive queen, which means I get to choose a block for the other Bee Inspired bee members to make for me. I had a tough time choosing, but in the end I designed a block I’m calling Irish Eyes.

Irish Eyes block signedI’m Irish you see, and the truth is I’ve always wanted to make an Irish Chain quilt but I could never decide if I liked single Irish Chain or Triple Irish Chain quilts better.

Lately, I’ve been wanting to make something that looks like an Irish Chain but with a modern twist. I’ve been trying to design my take on a modern Irish Chain block for some time now, and becoming Hive Queen this month was the push I needed to finally decide on something.

The block finishes at 12” and uses the No Waste Method Flying Geese method. Here’s what you’ll need to make one block:

White
(4) 4-1/2” squares
(8) 2-7/8” squares
(2) 1-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangles
(2) 1-1/2” x 2-1/2” rectangles

Dark Green
(1) 2-1/2” square

Medium Green
(1) 5-1/4” square

Light Green
(1) 5-1/4” square

Use (1) 5-1/4” Medium Green square and (4) 2-7/8” squares to make (4) Flying Geese using the No Waste Method. If you need help with that, click here to view my tutorial.

Repeat, using (1) 5-1/4” Light Green square and (4) 2-7/8” squares to make (4) more Flying Geese. Sew (1) 1 Medium Green and (1) Light Green Flying Geese together. Repeat with remaining Flying Geese.

If you don’t want to use the No Waste Method, the flying geese finish at 2″ x 4″ so you can easily substitute stitch and flip for example, by using one 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ green rectangle and two 2-1/2″ white squares for each flying geese unit.

Flying Geese units 1To make the Center, sew (1) 1-1/2” x 2-1/2” rectangles to either side of (1) Dark Green 2-1/2” square.

Making center 1Sew (1) 1-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangles to the top and bottom of the unit.

Making center 2

Layout the Center, (4) Flying Geese units, and (4) White 4-1/2” squares as shown. Sew the block together in rows, then sew the rows together. Trim to 12-1/2”.

Unsewn block with glying geeseHere’s what I might make with my blocks. I just love this, and all the quilting possibilities it presents. But mostly I’m psyched by the idea that I’ll have a quilt that reminds me of my Bee Inspired bee mates!

Sample quilt 1

Now what I’m hoping for here is a scrappy look. So in the instructions above, the light/medium/and dark greens are relative, and not literal. If you look at my sample block you’ll see that my lightest green isn’t really all that light, but it is lighter than the other two. I really would like bright greens, fully saturated like the ones shown here. The greens you use can be darker, but please don’t use a green that’s light or pale. Pale just isn’t me. <grin> Also, I’m looking for the greens to radiate out from the center, from relative dark to light.

The background should be a white tone-on-tone or low volume like the one shown here.

I hope you all like making this block! Thanks for the push I needed to finally design it! <grin> If you notice from my quilt layout, I could use some scraps of green from the blocks you make. So if you could, I would love a 5-1/4″ square of one of the greens you use, or a finished flying geese unit if you’re so inclined. Can’t wait to see what everyone creates!

March Bee Block for Kate

Here it is almost the end of March and I’m just getting my bee block done! Here’s the fabric pull for the block—I have a lot of Christmas fabrics although I could have used any red or green to make the block.

Fabric Pull 1

I have a reason besides a lack of time for getting the bee block done so late: I wanted to finish my mini quilt for Kate and send it along with her block. Since she lives in England, it made sense to bundle the two together. Well, I finished my mini and it’s cute as a button! I won’t show it here, but if you want to see it, you can see it here on my blog. I will however show you the block I made for Kate though.

My Block for Kate 1Kate choose a block that includes wonky trees and wonky gnomes. Wonky is not really my thing because I’m a planner and wonky requires working without a plan. But I have to admit the block turned out pretty cute and it was totally worth the struggle. Everyone elses’ blocks are so cute, I can’t wait to see how Kate’s quilt turns out.

My Block for Kate 3

I had lots of fun making the block, and you will too if you want to give it a try. The block really lets you play with fabric scraps, one of my favorite things. For the pattern, Kate pointed us to a tutorial by Sylvia @ Flying Parrot Quilts. This block is perfect for dipping your toe into the wonky pond if you want to give wonkiness a try.

My Block for Kate 2Now to get a label on that mini quilt and ship the mini and the block off to England and Kate!

February Bee Block for Sue

February is almost over, and I’m in just under the wire! I finally found time during this crazy short month to make my bee block for Sue. Sorry for the delay!

This month’s block is called Inside Addition, designed by Jessica @A Little Gray. Jessica’s original design resulted in a 7 1/2” finished block. Sue wanted a 12 1/2” block, so adjustments were made. For colors, Sue requested a monochromatic block using mid to dark tones made with solids, blenders, hand-dyes or batiks. I choose purple, my favorite color. We were to use white or cream for the background.

my-block-5

I used my four-at-a-time HST method to make the HSTs.

my-block-1

The block sews up easy and looks super cute. I can’t wait to see Sue’s finished quilt top.

my-block-6In lieu of sending an extra square of fabric with the block, Sue requested that we tell her more about where we are from. I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, located in the Midwestern section of the United States. A lot of people mistake it for Minneapolis which is in Minnesota, but as you can see they are located nowhere near each other. <grin>

firefox
2/28/2017 , 3:03:30 PM
Google Maps - Mozilla FirefoxNor is the weather in Indy anything close to that of Minneapolis, which I imagine is covered in snow most of the winter. In Indy we get maybe one big snowfall a year—which could mean a foot or more. Most of the time though our “big” snowfall of the season is only a few inches and it melts the next day.

winter-1One of the biggest things Indy is known for is the Indianapolis 500. My husband and I are big fans and we go every year. In fact, attending the race was one of our first dates. The Indy 500 appeals to my love of racing and of history, so it’s a natural fit. You have no idea how big the place is until you are inside it. I’m in awe every time I visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

I live near a small art district known as Broad Ripple. It’s a wonderful place to walk around, grab a bite to eat, take photos, and people watch. One of our other first dates was to a restaurant in Broad Ripple—Ambrosia—which has since moved. Although its menu has changed, Ambrosia remains one of our favorites.

Indiana is basically flat, which I hate. Southern Indiana where my mom’s folks are from is lovely though, and very hilly. I love to take a drive there and walk around Brown County State Park. In fact, I went there with Scott one fall to take photos of my quilts in a fall setting. We had a lot of fun that day, celebrating our anniversary and my quilts. Fall is one of my favorite seasons–here in Indianapolis the weather is always changing and I like that too. I guess I like variety. <grin>

Indiana has a large Amish community and thus, a lot of vintage quilts and covered bridges. I find both inspirational.

I really hope you like my block Sue, and my story. The post office is closed now, but tomorrow I’ll put your block in the mail to you, all the way over the pond to Australia!

 

 

My Block for Sharon

My Block for Sharon

Sharon is Queen Bee this month and she chose a block called Split Hatchet that’s foundation paper pieced. Scared of paper piecing? You don’t have to be. I’ve got a step-by-step photo tutorial here if you need some help. I’ve also got a few additional tricks:

  • First, precut your fabrics. Hopefully, your pattern will tell you what size to cut your pieces. If not, you can easily figure it out yourself by measuring the size of each section and adding 1” to each dimension. When measuring, align your ruler with the seamline for that piece. If a section measures 4-1/4” square, then cut a square of fabric 5-1/4”. This gives you 1/2” seam allowance all the way around the piece, and that’s more than enough to line it up properly on the foundation when paper piecing. For the Split Hatchet block, cut your white/cream pieces 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and your colored pieces 5″ x 5 1/2″.

Measuing a block 1.jpg

  • Second, use foundation paper. It’s thin and made specifically for paper piecing. Yeah, I used to just print my patterns at home on regular printer paper, but I soon found that the paper was not only thicker but also harder to remove. In addition, my blocks seams would sometimes stretch out with the effort of removing that thick paper. So save yourself some grief and get some foundation paper and print your foundation pattern out on it.
  • My next trick you’ll learn if you read the tutorial. But basically, it involves this gadget—the Add-a-Quarter™ Ruler. Also, in the tutorial you’ll learn to use a sharp needle and a small stitch. Both of these things help you remove the foundation papers later on.

add-a-quarter-ruler

Sharon requested cream or white scrappy background fabrics and just about anything for the colored fabrics. That was too much liberty for me, but luckily she also mentioned that her favorite designers were Tula Pink, Corey Yoder, Me & My Sister, and Bonnie and Camille. Thank you tons Sharon for doing that! I happily took that info and went off to take a look at each designer’s fabrics to get a sense of what might please Sharon.

I noticed a lot about these fabrics that was similar: with the exception of Tula Pink they were soft and they all featured coral, blue, turquoise, yellow, and lime. Once I had an Idea what I was looking for, I pulled some fabrics from my stash and started cutting. Putting together a color palette is probably one of my favorite things so I had a lot of fun.

fabrics-january-1

The block went together really fast. I think a quilt made with these blocks would be awesome so I can’t wait to see Sharon’s. Everyone else must have done what I did because it is amazing how all the blocks use a similar color palette. My block is all done and ready to ship. Woot! But first I’ve got to choose a charm square to put in with the block. I think each month I’m going to choose a favorite fabric that matches the color palette. Off I go, back to my stash!

jan-block-2

One last question you might have about foundation piecing: to remove or not remove the foundation papers after you are finished with a block. I tend to leave the papers on until my blocks are sewn together because the lines on the papers help me to achieve that perfect 1/4” seam between the blocks. The papers also stabilize the blocks and keep them from stretching out of shape when there are bias edges. In any case, since I’m shipping this block I’m going to remove the papers. One of my fellow beemates, Sue @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts, has just written an awesome article that steps you through the process of shipping a block safely and cheaply, even internationally! I plan on following its guidance step by step when shipping my bee blocks.

See ya! I’m off to the post office. <grin>

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Hello from the Midwest!

Hi I’m Jennifer and I’m addicted to fabric. <grin>

studio-11

I learned to sew when I was little, and made garments and home dec items. I loved fabric even then. The best part of the process for me has always been choosing just the right fabric for a project. As you can see, I love to shop for fabric! <wink>

I blame(??) my quilting hobby on my daughter Katerina. It took us a long time to get pregnant and when I finally did, I guess the hormones got the best of me. <grin> I quickly decided to make my new baby a quilt (despite the fact that I’d never made one) and visited a store near me to look for just the right pattern. I saw this beautiful quilt on display and signed up for the class. The quilt was scrappy, so I decided to go scrappy too! The store had a barrel of quilt scraps—so much a bag. So I went through that whole barrel, digging out fabric that was baby-themed or baby looking, and filled my bag. When I arrived at class with my fabric scraps all pressed, I learned how to cut them into tiny triangles using a plastic template we created in class. Then I learned how to sew all those tiny triangles back together. Not well, mind you, or straight even. But they were back together.

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Lucky for me, I was completely ignorant of strip piecing methods and so was the instructor, who was a hand-piecer who preferred templates and sewing little triangles together. So I happily started out on my first quilting adventure. I was making my baby a quilt!

I soon learned however that sewing tiny triangles together (instead of making HSTs en masse) is not how I like to make quilts. So the baby quilt took about 5 years to complete, as I put it aside pretty early on and focused on my new baby and also learning how to really make a quilt. It’s not perfect and most of the points are either cut off or don’t match up, but Katerina loves it and so do I.

blame-five

ig-quilting-for-square-inventoryI started my blog a little over a year ago after I published a book on quilting. Yep, it seems that I do everything in an backwards kind of way! My book, not that you would have seen it, was published by a traditional book publisher (Pearson) who sells only into traditional book channels (Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc) and despite my best efforts, not into quilt stores. So mostly I sell the book myself on my website so other quilters might eventually find it and like it. Despite the title, it’s a complete guide to all things quilting, from beginner to intermediate. It contains 18 quilt patterns and projects. I’m kinda proud of it, even if no one will ever see it.

Since you’re wondering, I’ll tell you. I’m a technical writer by profession, and I’ve written about 200 books on boring stuff like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, upgrading computers and editing digital photos. So when Pearson wanted someone to write a book on quilting, they thought of me and that’s how I got the gig. I’d love to do another book someday, using an actual quilt book publisher. <grin>  I currently write and edit quilt patterns for various fabric manufacturers and that’s a wonderful change. I’ve published several of my own patterns and I sell them on my blog.

Oh! I almost forgot to say. I live in Indiana and I’m a huge IndyCar racing fan. My husband, daughter, and I attend the Indy 500 every year and we really enjoy it.

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The three of us are lucky enough to have a cat named Lucy who allows us to share a home with her. <grin> Lucy is a rescue kitty from a local shelter and she’s sweet and independent. Previous kitties used to get up near my sewing machine and sit on my quilts, but Lucy doesn’t. It’s funny, but I kinda miss that. <grin> I love dogs too but we haven’t got the yard for one to roam around in, but I love seeing your photos of dogs, cats, and other pets so please share!

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Gee whiz this post is long! Sorry. Guess once you get me started….

Jennifer xoxoxo

www.inquiringquilter.com