Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, Dracula…ME!

Nope,  this is not a story about mass murderers or witches, or any other terrifying things.  Today,  my friends, I’m talking about the REALLY REALLY scary stuff.   I’m talking about picking up my rotary cutter and slicing into my new Kaffe Fassett fabric.   HA! I heard your gasp of horror!  Get ready to cringe and/or hide your eyes  (wait, please don’t do that, I want you to read the rest of the story first)…because this has the potential to be worse, way way worse,  than any grisly crime scene you can imagine.

Let me explain my dilemma.  Ever since the first time I ever saw Kaffe Fassett fabrics I’ve always hoped that someday I would have the necessary skills and patience to make a fabulously bright, beautiful, stunning quilt containing only fabrics by the awesome Kaffe Fassett. Now, many years later, I’ve come to realize that my skills are not going to get to the level needed to do justice to this designer, therefore I’ve decided to bite the bullet and just make it anyway!

I am not prone to dithering and second guessing myself too much; so immediately after I made my decision, I hopped on-line and ordered a bundle of forty-two 10″ squares of  Kaffe Fassett “Classics” and a FQ bundle of Kaffe Fassett “Spots” from Fabric.com.  They arrived about a week ago and are sitting in my sewing room right now.  As you can imagine, they are just gawjus in shades of fuchsia, lilac,  purple, tangeriney orange, covered with chartusey green chrysanthemums and other floral bits and bobs, or multicoloured swirls and dots and just so so perfect in every way.  AND HERE I AM GETTING READY TO CUT THEM INTO ITTY BITTY BITS. O my freaking goodness.  What is wrong with me?

Needless to say I need help and guidance from my many quilting buddies.  Most Kaffe Fassett quilts I’ve seen are made with quite large blocks because nobody wants to cut up the awesome designs into really tiny pieces.  Pinterest and I spent several hours together over the last few evenings and here are some of the block choices I am auditioning for my quilt.  

The first pattern below is called Shimmering Triangles and it is pretty much the same as the traditional corn and beans block. There are a couple ways to put this block together into a quilt and it’s a real contender I think. There are lots of examples of quilts on line like this one. Don’t you just love the way it makes your eyes get all wonky.

 

Here is another very similar block (without four patch centres)  showing the way it is put together.  Looks easy enough, but an awful lot of HSTs. I count 32 in each block. Yikes.  However they are in groups of 8, so I could put them together quick using the Magic 8 method.


But perhaps I should go in a completely different direction.  Am I courageous enough to cut curves to make this Clamshell beauty (this could be done with a drunkards path block template too) 


Scary as heck but OMG I love it. And I have a curve it up ruler that would make it easy(er).  Also I own the quick curve ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful and that would work to make the blocks too. Definitely would show off  the fabrics well I think. 

But then there is this absolutely awesome piece of patchwork calling out for consideration. This pattern is called Curlicue Crush and is basically a square with simple curved blocks surrounding it.  This is less pieces than the shimmering triangles, still has curves and large enough pieces to showcase the beautiful fabrics.

Maybe I should play it safe and fast and go with a large snowball block like this one.

This picture came from a blog about a Kaffe Fassett workshop, so I expect lots of folks have already made this version.  It’s beautiful, simple and perfect for showing off the fabrics.

So what should I do?  Does anyone out there have other ideas?  Perhaps I should just put everything away before I start something and get too freaked out to finish.  Seriously. I am terrified that I will start whacking away at this fabric and have a meltdown of some sort that will leave me and the fabric in a state of ruin.   What do you think?  

I’ve got cabin fever

…and its not because its minus 4 gazillion degrees outside, or because of the wind whistling up my long johns at 90 km per hour, or even the freezing rain/ice pellets ricocheting out of the sky and into my face as I stand outside with our new puppy, crossing my mitten clad fingers that he will do his business before I freeze into an extremely unimpressed icicle. Nosirree Bob its not.

I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever because of the new quilting project I’m working on.  Its another quilt along, this time with Angie over at  Gnome Angel and Snips Snippits. This is not a quilt along for the faint-o-heart.  Holy OMG.  Here is a picture of the pattern book (please ignore the puppy chewed corners – Théo  wants to eat everything he sees).  Its 38 freaky pages long!

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Here is a picture of the actual finished quilt that may someday be mine!

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If you look closely you will see that there are 16 pineapple log cabin blocks spread over the quilt,  9 in one block on the right side about half way down, 4 on the bottom edge left of centre,  and another 3 closer to the top left.  Folks these are 5″ finished blocks. Yes, you read that correctly. The pieces are incredibly, amazingly, shockingly tiny.  There is a template on the back page of the pattern that I could scan and print (if I had a scanner, which naturally I don’t), so I decided to find a similar/same block on line, which I could save and simply print.

Lucky me, I found one.  Its a variation on the pineapple log cabin so I am happy as a pig in a puddle.  I wanted to share the blocks that I’ve finished so far with you.  Here are the 9 that will go together into one block that finishes at 15″.

I think they are adorable.  I admired them for about a day and a half before I broke down and started searching the internet again for blocks that I could modify for the 4 block piece.  Here is what I came up with so far.

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Its a wonky pineapple block.  Also 5″ finished and last but not least…so far

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A couple little birdhouses.  My plan is to make one more birdhouse for the section that has 3 log cabins in a row and 3 more wonky log cabins in other colorways.

Yikes,  I am afraid to even think about the other 4 log cabins, 9 courthouse steps or  21 churn dash blocks that I have to make after the pineapple log cabin variation blocks are done. And that my friends is only a small portion of the madness.

O and did I mention that this QAL kicks off officially in March and finishes in July which is only 4 months.  The schedule is crazy.  Check it out below or read the whole post at GnomeAngel

  1. Bow Tie – Make 2 –
  2. Square in a Square Stars – Make 1
  3. Crosses of the U.K. – Make 6
  4. Jacobs Ladder – Make 9
  5. Trip Around the World – Make 1
  6. Plus a Star – Make 1
  7. Churn Dash – Make 21
  8. Courthouse Steps – Make 9
  9. Log Cabin – Make 4
  10. Half Square Triangle 1 – Make 1
  11. Half Square Triangle 2 – Make 1
  12. Half Square Triangle 3 – Make 1
  13. Flying Geese – Make 64
  14. 60 Degree Triangle – Make 30
  15. Pineapple Log Cabin – Make 16
  16. Checkerboard

And just for a giggle I thought I’d share the scrap basket that I’m using to create this masterpiece – although my PEIMQG friends have kindly kicked in some strips of fabric for me to use.  Thanks again to Robin and Susan.

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Sigh…will I ever learn? I think not.

 

 

 

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!!!

“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.

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    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.

    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!

     

     

    I think We can…I think We can…I think We can.

    Long long ago and far far away in a quieter gentler time–February 2016 I think it was, I, along with my good friends, Joyce, Nancy, Selina and Judy (we call ourselves The Pansys) decided to go out on a limb for our Guild. We agreed to take charge of the Fund Raising Raffle Quilt for the Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild. Now when we did this – to the best of my knowledge – none of us, had ever undertaken a thing of this magnitude before. We knew we were under the gun to get this done.  We had to get a fabulous quilt out into the world…it had to be cut, pieced, sewn, quilted and bound…within two months we figured… so we could start selling raffle tickets.  But on top of that we also had to purchase a raffle ticket license, make and print the tickets, distribute and keep track of tickets and ticket sales, find venues to sell those tickets, find people to man the ticket booths and a whole host of other things. It was gonna be a lot of work. Here is a pic of the gorgeous quilt that my cohort, Joyce offered up for sale to use as our raffle quilt.  Thank you Joyce.  It is a beautiful thing.

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    More than a couple of times I wish we had thought a bit longer and harder about that commitment on that cold dark February evening, because that was not all we volunteered for that night. Not by a long shot, Nope, nosiree Bob, it was not. We–Joyce and I–(okay I confess,  I stood up and dragged Joyce up with me) said that we would take on the job of chairing the entire 13th biennial Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild Quilt Show.  OMG Holy Heck Hermione, etc.  Yikes.

    Well let me tell you, we have had quite a year.  Our quilt show did come together successfully, and was held on October 14, 15, and 16 in Charlottetown PEI.  Now that its over, we are all, amazingly, still the best of friends, and to all accounts, our show was a fine success.

    Over the past 8 months, we have all acquired a whole schwack of new skill sets and brushed up on ones we already had.  We now know how to: acquire and renew a lottery license; choose a venue to suit our event and negotiate pricing for it;  pin down and then bully (kindly) volunteers into doing way more than they signed up for;  search out and encourage vendors to attend our event even though its last minute; plan and publicize the entire event… both on line and in print media (oh and how to be charming TV stars – right Vanna/Selena) and much much more.  And, all the while we were juggling our own lives…together we coped with children leaving the nest; downsizing our homes; parenting our parents; losing a much loved pet family member; taking on new and greater job responsibilities; and so much more.  Yay us!

    I want to take this moment to say, from the bottom of my heart,  I’m proud of all of you who worked so hard to make Joyce and I look great.  IMHO, you did a spectacular job. It was such an honour to work with all of you.   Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    There is so much more that I should be saying right now, and so many people I should be seeking out and offering up my personal and profound thanks (and I will do that soon) but for now, I think I’ll end this post with….I knew we could, I knew we could, I knew we could.

    Here for your viewing pleasure are just a few pics of the gorgeous items displayed at the show.  We are so lucky to have so many astonishingly talented, humble folks here on the Island.

     

    Perfect 9 Patch

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    I am entering my Perfect 9 Patch quilt into the hand quilted category at the online Bloggers Quilt Festival 2016.  This is her in all her hand-quilted beauty.

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    I made the curves in this quilt using the Quick Curve Ruler.   It’s an amazing addition to your ruler collection…if like me, you cannot get enough new gadgets.  And I also based the design on a pattern from  Sew Kind of Wonderful  called Urban 9 Patch.  Click here to see all kinds of other variations of this pattern. Its such a cool “old school” block, but presented in a new modern way.  Yay….these are a few of my favourite things.

    This quilt was pieced totally using only fabric already in my cupboard…pinky swear ….I didn’t buy a single piece of new fabric specifically for this project.  That, my friends, was the biggest challenge I faced the whole time this beauty was coming together.
    Here are some close ups of the hand quilting details.  Please excuse my poor camera skills.


    Here on PEI, Canada, this lap quilt is a prize winner.  She won a first prize red ribbon at the Provincial Exhibition in August this year.

    I hope you like her as much as I do!