Announcing the arrival of Théo the Wonder Puppy and  other Things! 

Thank goodness babies are cute because otherwise I’d be tearing my eyebrows out already. Nope we do not have a new “actual” baby. We have a new puppy.  He is a brindle phantom inter-variety (AKA Moyen or Medium) poodle.  This variety is quite rare in Canada and not recognized by CKC or AKC. It’s kinda a cross between a miniature and a standard poodle.  We hope he will grow up to be about 30 lbs and be a little brother to our big 76 lb Standard Poodle. So far Tigg wants very little to do with the new addition.

Here is Théo.  As  can see, he is fully loaded in the looks department but I don’t want anyone to think he’s just a pretty face. Here he is reading the newspaper with my hubby, which is, I’m sure you’ll agree quite astonishing for a fella as young as he is (talking about Théo, not hubby).


Now on a different topic, I am expecting again….Nope, not expecting a baby….I’m expecting to accomplish lots in my  sewing room this year.  This is what’s already on the agenda.

  • Patchwork City Quilt Along.  This started back in September with members all across Canada and already its coming along nicely. I am in awe of the talents of my fellow quilters in this one. It’s simply shocking how very very talented my friends are.  Stay tuned for further pics from this project.  Here are my  blocks so far. I seem to be stuck on green and orange.
  • Bee Inspired.  This is an online Bee comprised of bloggers I met last year in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. My month is June. I’ve already sent one block off to the states. Only 11 more to go. 

It’s a simple paper pieced Block called Split Hatchet. I love it and am eager to see Sharon’s finished quilt.

  • PEIMQG Round Robin challenge.  My centre  block is boxed up and ready to start its travels beginning at the January meeting on Thursday.  Here is a sneak peak of the box and it’s contents. This one has me very excited.
  • Long Time Gone Quilt-Along.  Holy Heck Hermione.  I did this.  It’s A crazy crazy quilt along that aims to complete this quilt in 4 months. The pattern arrived in the mail earlier this week (and Théo has already chewed the pattern book covers)  so I cannot back out now. Yikes this one may be a bridge too far!

  • Japanese Crosses. I’m not sure where this one is going, but I’ve already got about 24 blocks done on this one.  Here is a quick pic of blocks I’ve made since mid-December. 
  • Marie’s Granddaughter’s Graduation Quilt.  There is very little info on this one yet.  It’s going to be a traditional photo remembrance quilt, which is something way outside my wheelhouse, but it’s always good to try new things.   This one has to be done by June, so stay tuned for pics as we progress.

So that’s it for my projects (I think).  I didn’t include the blocks I’ll make monthly for my PEIMQG Bee block exchange or any special blocks I’ll be making for Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild; and I also didn’t include the “150 Women Quilt” that Selina and I are considering making to celebrate our Nation’s birthday. It’s got 150 six inch blocks and it’s a monthly QAL. We are still thinking about this, not sure how or if we’ll get it done. It’d be really cool and I’d do it in a heartbeat, if I was convinced there was a possibility I could make another 75 blocks.


Here is a picture. Here is a link to the site.  150 Women.  Check it out. It’s an important quilt and one any Canadian quilter should have a look at!

What’s on your plate?

Sticks and Stones may break my bones..

I have a weird and unusual given name.  Its Velda.  When I was younger I detested it.  People couldn’t say it right (and OMG people, its pronounced exactly the way its spelled), or they spelled it wrong.  They called me Velma, or Zelda, or Hilda or even Helga. Once or twice I even got called Thelma.   Holy Heck Hermione, I may have had a bit of a complex.  I have have believed having an UGLY sounding name made me an UGLY person.  Sigh… Having an unusual name, combined with being a middle child, was very very hard for my developing psyche, but in retrospect may have been even harder for my parents than it was for me.  For a month or so waaay back in 1973 I may have actually thought I was a foundling, left in the crib by gypsies!!  LOL. That however is a story for another day, best shared with a bottle of the best red wine you can find….

Some of you may have noticed I posted a picture of a quilt block last night.  It is currently my favourite block ever.  That photo was supposed to appear right here with the caption “a Rose by any Other Name” .  Its just so pretty.image

But in my eagerness to make one final post in 2016, I clicked the “Publish” Button instead of the “Preview” button and off it went.  Twas late at night, so I was unable to figure out how to get it back into “Draft” form, so to all of you out there who were wondering how many tumblers full of wine I had in my belly when I made that post, please accept my apologies and continue reading below.

Over the past couple of weeks I have made about a gazillion of these blocks, well perhaps 14 might be a more accurate estimate.  This block is commonly known as  Crosses and Losses or Sometimes +s and Xs,  but I did a little research and this block appears way back in 1938 in the Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns as “Japanese Cross”.  Who knows why its maker gave it this name but I love it all the same and have decided I will call the quilt I’m making with this pattern, “Velda’s Cross”  My whole point is this.  Names mean nothing when it comes to the quilt blocks I love, or people either for that matter.img_3246img_3039img_3119img_3156

Here are some more of the Japanese Crosses I’ve made recently. Seriously gawjus every one of them.  Be warned folks, you will see a lot of these blocks this year.

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As you can see this quilt is going to be totally unashamed of its block name.  Its going to be out there, wild, colourful, crazy, beautiful and the way I may (or may not) have been back in the day.

Happy New Year everyone.  Lets make this year the best one yet!!!

Soon it will be Christmas Day…..or Grandma got run over by a reindeer….your choice

At our house, we have been listening to Christmas music for about 3 weeks straight now.  We actually tuned our radio to CFCY in Charlottetown, PEI where the DJs are playing country christmas songs with some of the really old, all time favourites thrown in once in a while. I have to say I really get a kick out of the country hurtin’Christmas songs, while my hubby is a fan of the silly songs.

Speaking of hubbies, I have one who is a Christmas decorating, Ninja.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but my sweetie REALLY REALLY loves it…For example when we moved to PEI, we brought about 30 tubs of decorations with us including more than 40 plastic poinsettias and close to that many Christmas  nutcrackers. And that’s just the bare beginning of the stuff that gets set out at our house in December. We have two fully decorated and lit trees already and about two weeks ago when we were putting them up, he suggested we should consider getting another tree so we could put one in the bedroom…not a word of a lie folks. I  did manage to put a stop to that particular excess but I think I’m lucky and wouldn’t want to change a thing about him.

I am a bit of a grinch in some respects.  I do not like the hustle, bustle, hassle, shopping, parking lot craziness and freaking out that usually culminates around mid-night on December 22…which coincides perfectly with the realization that our budget, and often our contingency budget has run out, but I love the other more homely stuff, like baking cookies with the grandkids, surprising hubby with a batch of homemade peanut brittle (not that its much of a surprise, its actually more like a tradition at our house) or searching out the Christmas quilts that don’t come out any other time of year.

I thought I would share some of the little Christmas Quilts ( and a couple of the nutcrackers) I’ve made over the years to decorate the door to my hubby’s office (because of course he had a whole selection of office decorations too).  Now that he’s retired these little darlings don’t get out much anymore.

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I love this little door quilt (and there are a couple of the nutcrackers!.
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Tangled Christmas Lights – part of the Joy of the Season.

This year we are very excited for two reasons.  First – our son Kevin is coming to PEI to visit us.  He arrives early early in the morning on Boxing Day, so we are saving our Christmas Festivities until Boxing Day.  We will of course have Christmas Dinner with my mom and sister on the big day, but the main party is reserved for Boxing Day afternoon.  We are having friends and family over for Open House (including all the wonderful treats I’ve been baking and buying this month).  We are both looking forward to spending time with close family members.

— AND —

We have gifted ourselves with a brand new puppy.  So there will be a baby in the house again starting December 27, 2016.  I promise I will post pictures of the new addition (its a boy) as soon as he arrives and settles in.  The last few days we have been trying to choose a name to suit our new bundle of joy.  Here is where we are at in that regard.

I love Dino, Fitz, Theo, Matteo and Mozes.  All of these are perfect for a black standard poodle puppy.  Hubby is a big fan of Dantes, Gunner, Tio, Marco and Sparky.  Come back early in the new year to find out what we ended up deciding to call him. There is an off-chance he will be Noel, or Gabriel to celebrate the season.

So that’s it for me in 2016 (I think).  Merry Christmas Everyone.  Enjoy your time with your family and friends.  Eat lots of turkey and stuffing, drink responsibly, be kind to everyone and pay it forward to someone needy if you can.

 

“Crosses and Xs”, A Picto-Toot’…

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This modern looking beauty is a VERY traditional block.  It is sometimes called Japanese Cross or Crosses and Losses.  Quilters like me have been crushing on it  since the 1930s.  This block was originally credited to Nancy Cabot in 1938 according to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Block Patterns.  So there you go…Everything old is new again; what goes around comes around…You get the idea.

I saw this block featured on my  Pinterest feed and I absolutely love it. It looks ahhhmazing in a pastel-y palate and just as great if you are a wild woman like me when you are picking colours for quilts.

(There are more pics and links to finished projects at the end of the Toot).

So without any more chit-chat, here is the Picto Toot that will make a 10.5″ unfinished block.

    This block requires SEVEN FABRICS in any combination. Go. Wild.  I dare you. I did!

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    Seriously folks, 7 fabrics–Absolutely No Exceptions.

    Now lets get out those rotary cutters and start having fun. Here is how I cut the fabrics for this Toot’.

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    Yikes.  Relax you can do this.  Lets start with the 8 x 2.5″ squares.

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    Use a ruler and a pencil to draw a diagonal line on the back of each of these 8 squares.  You could also fold the squares on the diagonal and press the line – or – use a Hera tool – or – if you are super confident, just wing it (I don’t have that kinda courage).

    Pick up the 4 x 4″ squares and the marked 2.5″ squares and head over to the sewing machine.

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    Place a small square on each of the larger squares (just like in the pic) and sew ’em together right down that line.  Then do it all over again on the opposite corner.  You’ll use two smaller squares on each larger square.  But you knew that already didn’t you?

    After they’re sewn on, flip the smaller squares back on the sewn line, and press,press,press…before you start cutting off the ends.  I find pressing at this stage helps to square everything up, if your stitching line tends to be a bit wonky. Sigh.

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    Now you can cut the undersides away like the above picture.  Flip the small corner triangle back into place. Then just sit for a minute and enjoy how pretty they look (and give yourself a pat on the back for your bold colour choices).

    Okay, moving on to the next section.  Confession time… I  didn’t take very many pictures of this stage… my iPad was perilously close to running out of battery life. Here is the only pic I took.

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    Its pretty self explanatory.  Pick two of the remaining teal 2.5″  blocks  and two lavender (pink?) blocks  to sew together and and sew the last two lavender (pink?) blocks to each side of the teal 6.5″ rectangle.

    Whew…you’re almost there.  Set out your block like this….

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    Sew them together in rows, matching seams if you are that kind of girl, which I’m not… but that’s a story for another day.  Then head back to the pressing station one final time.   I prefer to press the rows towards the cross because it helps to make those pretty crosses pop…but that’s your call. You could also press the seams open to reduce bulk if that’s the kinda thing that makes you crazy. 

    Prepare to be amazed and impressed with yourself.  This is what the finished block will look like.

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    Yay You.  You made a beautifully modern/traditional block.

    And now for your viewing pleasure, here are a few more pics of how this could go together into a quilt and/or what some other colour choices would look like.

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    My personal favourite Color combo–so far!

    The grouping of blocks below came from Flikr.  I love them too because this shows you that more low-key  colorways can also be very effective in this block.

    +&x blocks progress

    You can also go to my Pinterest Feed and find about another gazillion colour choices.  Here is the link for Granny Can Quilt – Modern Granny.  Just scroll through the Board and you will find some great colorways for this block (and lots of other fab-u-lous stuff IMHO!)

    or just click here; or here; or here; Gawjus…Gawjus…Gawjus.

    Update:

    Click  here for a link to a Pinterest tutorial for a 5.5″unfinished block. 

    If by chance you want to make a 15.5 inch unfinished block, here is the cutting information you need. Then just follow along with my tutorial to make a gigantic version. 

    • cut 2 squares 3.5″ and 1 rectangle 3.5″ x 9.5 from the cross fabric
    • Cut 4 squares 3.5″
    • Cut 8 squares 3.5″ for corner triangles
    • Cut 4 squares 6.5″ for Xs

    One last thing I should say…look at all the blocks on my Pinterest Page and you’ll see that you can use the 7 fabrics wherever you want in the block.  As an example, you could make all four arms in the Xs from the same fabric, or from 2, 3 or 4 different ones.  IMHO you should probably make the crosses from the same fabric, so they don’t get lost in the mix, but you could probably get away with using different ones that were very equal in tone and value. Click here to see what I mean.

    Leave me a comment if you like this tutorial; and post some pics if you make the block.  I’d love to link them up here.

    Have an amazingly creative day.

    I wish I’d said that….

    There are at least twelve gazillion bloggers out there in the cyber-universe and a whole whack of them are amazingly gifted writers. Multiple multitudes of them have ginormous audiences who hang on their every word, but only occasionally do I read a blog that speaks to ME!

    November is my month  to do “Blog, Book and Bundle” for our PEIMQG meeting and I don’t want to lead anyone astray.  FYI, this is a segment of the meeting where each month one of us takes a turn talking about a blog that inspires us; a book that changes the way we think about piecing or planning a quilt; and fabric that makes our eyes sparkle and our imaginations soar.

    So I have been surfing, poking around, reading and then re-reading the blogs I follow on Bloglovin to find one to share with my fellow Guild members.  Because we are in eastern Canada, my first notion was to find a Maritime Canadian blogger to write about.  Yikes…there is a very small pond of bloggers in the Maritimes…we’d fit into a puddle probably.  Did I find anyone? Nope I did not.  But…while searching I did have a mini-epiphany.  Here goes…

    “The blogosphere has no borders, no boundaries and no barriers.  We are free to love, hate or say “meh” about or to any blog, or its writer,  anywhere in the world.”

    so having given myself permission to search wherever I wanted,  I gleefully set off to find a blog that was a bit out in left field, a smidge hardcore and above all else, WILDLY ENTERTAINING.

    I am, if nothing else, persistent, which paid off big time when I found myself tee-heeing, snorting and sniggling away at  The Bitchy Stitcher.  This is a blog that’s laugh-out-loud funny, cynical, and edgy; and inside every snarky post Megan Doherty makes, there is a nugget of something very insightful, which is always a bonus for me…be warned though, this blog is NOT always ladylike…you will find the “f” word, along with other very creative and descriptive words.  You’ve been warned.

    Here are a couple quick links to some of her posts, in no particular order.

    This bit was taken from her recent post, A pep talk in case you need it.. And it sums up everything anybody who ever questioned his/her quilty ability must remember.

    “…I have one last point. If you make ANYTHING, you are a magician. A quilt, a table runner, a placemat, a block, even just two pieces of fabric sewn together and dropped on the floor—hell, even one piece of fabric cut out of a larger one—none of these things existed in that form until you brought them into being. You are Minerva freaking McGonagall, transmogrifying fabric and thread until it becomes something new, something that, no matter what it looks like or how skillfully it was constructed, is greater than what its parts were before you brought them together. That’s magic. That’s art.”

    Aww shit, I wish I’d said that…

    and here for my fellow guild members are a pic or two of the book and bundle that I shared with you last night.

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    A big bundle of ahhhhsome!
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    love love love those zombie couples!

    In my humble opinion….

    Our PEIMQG is attempting to build a library for members use and part of the responsibility that goes along with that, is to offer insight into the books available for loan.  Naturally this is a huge job and we are a very new Guild, so the other night our blog author, *Cathy* asked for volunteers to write a book review on one of the books in our library.  Since I have no personal self control at all, I took the plunge and agreed to give a report/review on one book on the list.

    So here goes.

    It was long long ago, and far far away in my Grade 12 literature class, when I last wrote a book review so it goes without saying that I completely forgot how to do it and a reminder was in order.   It turns out I am not the first to wonder about writing interesting and informative book reviews.  There are approximately 1.2 gazillion sites that will tell you how to go about it.  But for the most part, all agree with step one.

    Introduce the Book… so with no further ado, please meet

    ModBlock – Missouri Star Quilt Co.  – The Color Issue.  

    Click here to go to the Missouri Star Quilt Co. (MSQC) website to get all details such as: place, publisher, publication date, edition, pages, special features, price etc.

    I have to say right here at the get-go, this is not an old-fashioned beginning to end book written by one author, explaining the one technique that made him/her famous and then giving examples of his/her work; this is the first edition in a series of books by MSQC to feature some really well known and respected quilters/bloggers, talking about what they do best.

    Are you a “new-ish” quilter? or perhaps you are new to the whole idea of “modern” quilting. Then, you, my friend, are the person who this book is written for.  Let me quote what ModBlock has to say,

    “There is a new found freedom that you feel when making a modern quilt.  You can follow the pattern or break free and choose you own design path.  There are no rules, just great ideas to help you get started….”

    So, there are no quilt police, no rigid rules to follow, no right or wrong, no matchy-match match monkey business.  Anything goes.  Sounds like a great place to start doesn’t it? (or alternatively, absolutely terrifying and the stuff of your worst nightmares…. but that’s a subject for another day and another book review)

    The contributors in this edition are Molli Sparkles, Shea Henderson, Amy Ellis, Natalie Earnheart, Lisa Hirsch, Alexia Abegg, Vanessa Vargas Wilson and of course, Jennny Doan, founder of MSQC.  Each of them tackles a part of the quilt making process and explains what they think about and how they approach building a cohesive, modern block/quilt.

    Themes discussed are tone/color play, colour placement,  improv piecing, twists on old-fashioned/traditional blocks, use of negative space and new and exciting tools of the trade.  There is even a section for someone who wants to really break out of their box and make a tote bag! Holy Heck Hermione!

    Each chapter is presented by a contributor in his/her own words so you can get a really clear picture of how they interpret a particular aspect of quilt making and IMHO should make sense to even the newest newbie who ever picked up a rotary cutter. And bonus, there are tons of photos in every section.  Naturally each presenter provides great examples of projects and provides a pattern for you, should you be inclined to try out the technique.  All told, there are 10 great projects included in this book.

    In terms of which author provided content that was most meaningful to me AND which project I want to try, there was absolutely no contest,  my favourite contributor was Natalie Earnheart.  I absolutely fell in love with her “Dapper Dan” quilt.  The section discusses “negative space” and how to make it interesting (which is something that I always struggle with).  It also touches on composition and making opportunities for interesting movement in quilt design (another thing which I grapple with every times I pick up my rotary cutter).  O yeah,  there are also templates involved in this pattern….Yikes.  So am I going to make this quilt…You betcha, but I’m gonna need help from my friends at PEIMQG to make it happen.

    If you are a somewhat cautious or new “modern” quilt artisan, you will enjoy this book because it is simply written, with tons of great features such as supply lists for projects and tips to help guide you through construction 0f each project while making it as easy peasy as it naturally should be. The frosting on the cake are the great pictures (sorry folks, there no cake pics).

    If you are a well established modern quilter, you will identify with the ideas presented and enjoy the opportunity to get a better perspective of what some of your favourite quilt designers/bloggers are doing and how they go about doing it. In my opinion thats a win/win. 

    All told this is a very good book, with information that both new and more experienced modern quilters will appreciate.   It’s well worth a read! 

     

    My Rising Star…

    This amazingly easy star patterned quilt block was inspired by the Rising Star block.  Here is a link to the  Missouri Star Quilt Co. website, where you can watch a video on how to make the original block, or you could also go directly to YouTube and watch it there.

    I love this block.  I mean it…I really do love this block.  Its so simple and looks so fabulous in modern fabrics and colorways.  One of my PEIMQG friends (Helen)  chose this block when she was Queen Bee in July.  Here is a picture of the block segments I made for her. They are not sewn together as per her wishes.

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    Essentially the block is made up of four 8.5″ squares of background fabric.  Each 8.5″ square looks like this after the wedges are sewn on and before it is joined to the others.

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    This is a lovely big 16.5″ block when its sewn; with lots of negative space to show off your awesome quilting skills (if you are lucky enough to have quilting skills).

    The minute I saw the block, I knew I wanted to make the same one when my turn came around to be Queen Bee in October, but I thought I’d tweak it a bit.  So here is what I did.

    I cut:

    • four 5.5″ blocks of grey background fabric
    • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric
    • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of bright small print fabric
    • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric
    • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of bright small print fabric

    Step 1

    Right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric;  and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left side of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim the star overhang to the size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Step 2

    Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you added lays across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, with right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric (same as you did before); and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Congratulations, you are half done.

    Turn your fabric background square two quarter turns, so that the blades of the star are on the right side and across the bottom of the background square.

    Step 3

    Right sides together, place one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric on the background square approx. 1.25 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric; and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.   Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Step 4

    Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you just added is across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, right sides together, place one 1.5″x 4″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx. 1.25″ from the top left corner of the background fabric and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Woo Hoo, you have finished one quarter of the block.  Now follow the above instructions and do everything all over again 3 more times.

    Sew the four segments together with the larger star in the centre.  When you are finished the block should like like this.

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    The block should measure 10 1/2″ square.  PLEASE DO NOT TRIM THE BLOCK AFTER YOU SEW IT.

    For all you PEIMQG members who are sewing these blocks with me in October/November each of you received a baggy with

    • 4 – 5.5 inch background squares
    • 2 – 2 x 5″ rectangles of white on black fabric
    • 2 – 1.5 x 4″ rectangles of black on white fabric

    Please raid your stash and use:

    • two 2×5″ rectangles of bright coloured, small print or tone-on-tone fabric
    • two 1.5×4″ rectangles of contrasting bright coloured small print, or tone-on-tone fabric (use whatever you have in your stash, please stay away from fabrics with a lot of white in them if possible)

    I will trim the blocks when I get them after the November PEIMQG meeting. If you have any questions, please email me at grannycanquilt@gmail.com, or leave a comment below.

    Thanks for participating. I’m so excited to see how this quilt will look when its finished!