Thursday Tutorial–basic and almost traditional!

I’d almost bet one of the first blocks you made when you were learning about quilting was a four patch. Easy to learn and easy to do in an improv way. And since I’m also about quick, I love to work in a stack and slash manner.

I like to make these blocks with each part being a different color so I usually start with four square-ish fabrics, stacked right sides up. As with other improv blocks, these can be any size.

With your rotary cutter and a ruler, make a cut across the stack, somewhere near the center, but off center. Make a second cut across the first cut, so that you have four stacks of pieces. Now you need to re-arrange the stacks by moving one piece from the first stack to the bottom of that stack, two pieces from the next stack to the bottom of that stack, 3 pieces from the top of the next stack to the bottom of that stack and you can leave stack number 4 as is.

Cat throw1

Cat throw2

Sew the layers together, not trying to match edges! My system for keeping things straight as I chain piece these is simple. I lay half of each block on each side of the needle.

Cat throw4

Then I sew the top pieces (top half of the block) followed immediately by the bottom pieces from the same block. As they come off the machine each block is kept together and ready to sew the next seam, with no confusion as to which half goes with which block. You only cut the chain piecing threads between blocks and the pieces of each block stay together.

Cat throw5

When you are trying for wonky, you are happy when your seams don’t match. But sewing them together can be a problem if you are used to precision piecing. Place them so that they overlap enough to make a seam and sew along the straight edge. You may certainly trim to make an even edge but I don’t usually bother.

Cat throw6 Cat throw7

When you are trying for wonky, you really don’t want to match those seams. But sometimes, just by accident, you match more perfectly than when you are trying to!

Cat throw8

Cat throw9

So, that’s how you do it. Trim up your blocks to size, lay them out and bam! you have a quick quilt! I have often used them as a border, too. It adds another level of interest that you don’t get with a single fabric border.



Using stash stuff–again!

I think I’ve shown this tub of silk to you before, but I’ve done several projects from this fabric…

and it is STILL mighty damn full! I’m gonna hit it up again for another project, but I’m betting I won’t work it down very far this time either.

I love flying geese, so I’m going to make some……….70, because that’s how old I am today! I might end up with a totally different number, but that’s a good starting point. The largest piece I’ll need is this big.

It’s less than 12″ square. And this is how much fabric I have.

Yeah…..I’ll use it up………sure! Anyhow, I’ve decided that I love all of the colors, so I’m going to make this bright and colorful.

My ‘goose’ is going to be this nice light gray, but it has a lovely stripe along the fold line.

This must have been sitting around for a looooong time before it was given to me. I’m glad I’m not using it for garment making ’cause that would make it UNuseable!

And here is what I have already prepped for use.

The rest of this is going to be a pain, but I’m sure I can figure it out. I always pre-wash because silk always runs and it’s stiff (with seracin, I think it’s called). I only need a strip from each color to start with and then I’ll use fusible interfacing before actually sewing with it. Because silk shreds!

And that pre-washing and pressing is all the further I got, but I think I’m going to like where this is going.

Simple, regular shapes and no improv for this one. I’m going to make it easy on myself and only play with block arrangement. Simply because I want to play with this silk!

Finishing up

I debated for quite a while about what to use to finish up my seascape. The center, which I wanted to be the focus, was quite bare. I added some lines of stitching with regular thread, yarn and metallic thread.

Nothing else seemed to fit so I listened to the piece and called it done. I even came up with a title, finally! Since it’s all from my imagination, it seemed to be Near the Coral Sea…………and it’s faced and finished!

Near the Coral Sea 34 x 38

The string flower definitely called for a funky edge finish! I love working with this organdy because it’s kinda stiff and doesn’t fray easily. I cut 2″ strips and sewed them evenly along the edge on the back and pressed it towards the front.

I treated it mostly like regular binding in the corners but I did try to get a little extra fullness.

I pressed it once again over to the top and stitched it down. I went over it one more time with couched yarn. That 2″ width ended up being a bit too wide, but I planned for possibly trimming it down, rather than crying about something that was too small!!!

I actually got the sleeve sewn on this one, but no label yet. Close enough to call it finished now, too, though.

Funky Flower

Happy, happy day……….both of these pieces finished way quicker than I thought possible. Of course, that means it’s time to think up something new, but that’s always fun and exciting. I am ready for the challenge!!!



Center of attention

That’s right–the center of the undersea piece, the intended focal point is very, very bare.


I have some simple quilting lines in it but it’s not enough. I’m planning on adding some type of thread or yarn, but I don’t want something that will cover up the beauty of the dyed fabric that I fell in love with.

I’ve already eliminated several choices and the colors don’t show up very well in this photo. The top turquoise has a sparkle of gold, so I think that will go in. And the bottom one that looks white is actually a nice light turquoise. I’m really leaning toward that darkest color and the sparkly one. Just a few lines across the quilted surface should do it……………at least, I sure hope so.

I might have two finishes by the end of the weekend! That will feel very, very good. But if I get distracted by plants……………….

Thursday Tutorial-wonky nine-patch

Wonky nine-patches are definitely my favorite scrappy block to make. I’ll show you a finished quilt first and then tell you how to get there.

Build a Scrappy City

These are potato-chip blocks—you can’t eat….make just one! I like to use just two square-ish pieces at a time. Any size you wish, remembering that the finished block will most likely be an inch smaller than your starting size.

Stack right sides up.

Make two cuts from top to bottom, at a bit of an angle.

Switch the center strips and sew each layer together.

Re-stack the blocks and make two cuts again, across the length.

Switch the center strips again and sew each layer together. BOOM! You’re done!

I’ve shown this several times over the years……………….

And I add variation by inserting pieces into some of the larger blocks, too.

And if you go back to the very first picture, you can see that you can make these ANY size and even incorporate different sizes into the same piece. Mainly, remember to have fun!!!

Almost there

I couldn’t sleep the other night so I got up and did some quilting! I finished my black and white flower and promptly went right back to bed and back to sleep. Niiiiiiice!

Better than sitting around playing games on the computer, for sure. And when I did face the day, the lawn mowing was done and I decided not to weed or plant anything. The weather was delightful and I spent most of it sitting on the deck and stitching.

I’ve trimmed up that black and white flower now and need to decide what kind of finish it needs.

My first thought was facing. Then I had the crazy idea that a funky edge of organdy might be fun.

So now I’ll sit around for a day or so having a mental debate with myself over that!

Must mean another day for sitting on the deck, stitching away. Hooray!

Mostly start to finish

I’m not quite done with this project but the major elements are in place. Here’s my picture story of how I got to this point.

Grabbed some black and white strings.

Arranged them in a flower shape.

Fused them to green/turquoise organdy.

Stitched them to the organdy. This is the back.

This is what the front looked like.

Next step was to place on the background and get it stitched in place. All the stitching thus far was free motion, big, not concerned with small or even stitches.

Layered the batting and top but did not add the backing yet. Chose black and turquoise cording to further define my shapes. I don’t like zig zag stitches showing on the back if I can avoid it. I want to get the “ugly” stitching done and then add backing for nice quilting.

After I got those outlines done, I trimmed the organdy, leaving a little margin.

I might add a touch of metallic thread around those edges, but basically this is ready for a backing and some nice quilting. What do you think? And maybe beads?

I’m much happier with this now than I was at the beginning. I wanted a totally different shape to my flower, but didn’t know how to get there. I thought this was very childish, but I’m liking it quite a bit now. I will finish it smiling and pleased. Seems like I make myself happy little pictures every time I dive into those strings bags. I probably better head back there for my next project, too!