Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winter Migration!

As the Canadian Geese leave for the winter all around me, I am pleased to say my block for Leanne are migrating back to Canada too!

These were such fun fabrics to work with, and I'm thrilled with how the blocks turned out, I hope they have a safe journey home and you love them too Leanne!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blocks for Lynette

Lynette's October blocks!  For a slightly longer post see my blog

I love the way those swimming fish turned out!  When I was working on these blocks I kept asking myself why I didn't buy any of the Lantern Bloom fabric when it came out?  What was I thinking?!

I hope you like these, Lynette.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jen's stacked blocks

Finally got these ready to post out to you Jen, and before Halloween! 

Hope you like these Heather Bailey fabrics, a little Amy Butler thrown in along with a sprinkling of Wildwood by Eric McMorris.  About the brightest I had!

I'm working on the next batch too!

Monday, August 30, 2010


This is my block for September. I found it in a book I have and it is similar to the Spider web block.This will be paper pieced. Four 6.5 inch blocks to make one 12.5 inch block. I would like each of you to make two of these so I will be sending 8 already printed. I hope that I can explain all of this so that you can understand it. I have photos too.

After trimming the paper down to within 1/8th of an inch all the way around I folded the paper on the angles so it was easier to tell where the wedge is. You will sew the strips to this part first then put the side pieces on.Because this paper is not easy to see thorough I sewed my strips on the back and pretended that I was not paper piecing. I have drawn a mark on the back so that I would be able to get the strip straight. Then so that I would have that randomness, not sure that is a word, placement of the strips I drew a line under it and varied the measurement of this line on each block so that I could vary the rest of the strips. If that makes sense. In other words, I didn't want to start them all in the same spot. You need to start at that line, marked with an * on the paper and place your fabric below that one then you can start filling in the top and the bottom part of the wedge.

I started to put 7 pieces of fabric for each block in the packets then I did a couple more blocks and thought I should add a few more pieces of fabric. I did most of mine with 8 pieces of fabric. One had 7 and a couple of them had more but the 8 is a good amount to put in there so you can vary the widths of the strips. Please if anyone needs a little more fabric do not hesitate to email me and I will get some right out to you. I know that may be a pain but I just wasn't sure about all of this since this is my first Bee.

After you have the wedge filled with strips, not sure why I didn't take a photo of that. Place the side pieces on one at a time and sew the normal way you would paper piece, flip and sew. You can see that I pinned mine on the back far enough away from the seam line(because it was underneath) so it wouldn't wreck my machine when I stitched it. Please use a small stitch length. I used 1.5 on my machine. If you can't shorten your stitch length then use a bigger needle. The paper should tear off very easily using the smaller stitch length, better than the perforations on some of the bills we get in the mail. You do not need to tear the paper off. I will do that later. If it does tear off as a couple pieces of mine did don't worry about it.

Putting the blocks together after trimming them. I am thinking that seams open would be a good idea but I am not sure as I have not sewn 4 of them together yet. If your corners are a bit bigger like mine here then the seams pressed to one side should be fine. I know I should have but it just didn't happen yet. I was more concerned with getting this all written up and on here.
 Well Blogger  wasn't too helpful today with the placing of the photos  so I hope you can all get the idea anyway.
 If you have any questions please email me. Here is what the block will look like. I will be mailing the packets out on Wednesday. Thanks Ladies! You do not need to follow the lines for the middle section. Those are there just to let you know that the strips go there. That I had done for myself when I made the block up. The packets went out today 9/1/10.
Cobweb Block

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August blocks for Leanne

Here are Leanne's blocks for August.  I really enjoyed making these blocks and the fabric is gorgeous!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blocks for Jen

I finished Jen's blocks yesterday and I'll be mailing them today.  Sorry I'm so late, Jen!

I wrote more about these blocks and "randomness" on my blog.

Now, let's see if I can get Leanne's August blocks done in August!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Leanne's Blocks

Had fun doing these two blocks. The Trapezoid Block has not white on the ends of it because it came out a strange size. It measures 12 and 3/4 by 12. I know that Leanne wanted a 12.5 by 12.5 block but I didn't want to cut the top and bottom off. I thought maybe if that was what she wanted to do then she should do it or wait till she gets the rest of her blocks and then figure it out.  Anyway Leanne, I will mail them out the first of the week.

Monday, July 19, 2010

August Blocks


I decided to switch things up a little bit for August.  Rather than have everyone make 1 type of block, I have picked a bunch of blocks and have given each of you 2 different blocks.  Confused, yet?

Each of you will get white fabric and enough Garden Glam fabric to make 2 blocks.  I didn't even look when I put the blocks in the envelopes so I can't tell you who got what.

The different blocks are:
  1. The Zig Zag 
  2. Flying Geese
  3. String Block
  4. Hexagons
  5. Eight Pointed Star
  6. Stacked Block
  7. Trapezoids
  8. Stashbuster Block #2

Gosh, I hope I didn't forget any ...

I have included all the instructions for your blocks with your fabric so you know which ones to do but there are online tutorials for all of them - thanks to the Sometimes Crafter and Little Miss Shabby.

The only one I changed up a bit was the hexagons because I was worried about running out of fabric.  Instead of 2" hexagons, I sent 1" hexagons templates and enough fabric to make up a 12.5" block.  I did up all of my hexagons this weekend and thought that maybe the 1" is asking too much.  If you get the hexes and want to do the smaller ones, go for it.  But, if you don't want to go to the trouble of the 1" hexes, if you want, you can download 2" templates and make those.  I am not sure if there is enough fabric for the 2" but make what you can and send them back and I can always make more and put them together.

Please keep your scraps if you want.  I am using all the fabric from one line (Garden Glam) so please don't add your own.

Each block should end up being 12.5".  I am going to sash the whole thing in white so that I can tell who did what.

Hopefully, I have made things clear but if not, just let me know.

Thanks so much!

L xo

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pac Man Lives!

I had a productive weekend and managed to get Jessica's Pac Man block pieced too.  This was such fun, once I got my head round a plan and worked out the piecing sequence, it flew together almost as if Pac man was leading the way!

So Jessica, I'm on my way to the post office with your blocks too!  Hopefully I will keep up the momentum and get Jenna's block started this afternoon. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finally - Tea Leaf blocks for Margaret!

Once I got into a rhythm with these they went together well.  Margaret I am so sorry it has taken me this long.  They will be in the mail to you first thing Monday morning as soon as the Post Office opens. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Jessica's block

This block was so much fun to design and put together.  I added a few of my own scraps to the ones Jessica sent.  I really look forward to seeing the finished quilt - it is such a great idea.  More info on my blog.  I'll be mailing this out tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jenna's Blocks

Stacked Block for Jenna
These were so much fun Jenna. I didn't use too much of your fabric so I will send it back in case you need to use it for something else. I dug around and found more than I thought I had. I was just afraid you wouldn't like what I had.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June Block Tutorial

OK, here's my nice stack of Kona cotton in Bone, all folded and ready to be placed in mail this afternoon!

What I'm looking for is two 12.5-inch blocks in the "stacked {whatever}" pattern as seen on The Sometimes Crafter. There is a downloadable PDF that can be found at the post with complete instructions.

You will need various scraps from your stash that measure 1.5 inches by {whatever} length you choose.
I am providing the Kona cotton in Bone - everyone is getting 10 inches by the 44 inches, which should be more than enough for two blocks. Please keep the rest, I don't need it back.

To clarify a couple of things:
1. I am looking for all the colored scraps to be BRIGHT in nature, preferably designer cottons. The examples on The Sometimes Crafter's page is very similar to the look I am going for. Therefore, please stay away from dark colors like blacks and dark greys. The more BRIGHT color, the better.
2. I know the PDF calls for specific lengths of each colored strip in the block. I am not picky about this... please make the colored stripes as short or as long as you please... just keep in mind, they should look somewhat like the pictures of the blocks pictured (like stacked books).
3. There is no deadline for my blocks. Seeing as how I'm getting this out so late, when you get them done and mail them back, great! I am currently swamped with school, but I will have 3 weeks off in August, so if I manage to get all my blocks back by then, I'll plan on putting this bad girl together then! If not, heck, if I see them all by Halloween, Thanksgiving or even Christmas, I'll be happy.

I am really looking forward to seeing what each of you makes. I love nothing more than great scrappy-ness (having tons of scraps myself), so I will wait with anticipation of each of your blocks.

Thank you for being so understanding and for all the caring e-mails inquiring if I'd fallen off the face of the earth - I do so appreciate them! (Nursing school is tough as a single mom of two little kids!).

Jen (aka Jennadesigns)

P.S. Mamamianks, I've included a bunch of my own scraps for you to use as you mentioned that you hoped you had scraps I liked. Looking through your flickr pool, I didn't see a lot of bright, designer cottons, so I included a bunch. Please feel free to substitute from your own stash if you do have some, and please keep any you don't use of mine. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Partial quilt top

It is starting to come together!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blocks for Margaret

Margaret, I am SO sorry these blocks are so late!

I have never paper-pieced before, and I'm not going to lie, I was a bit scared. But, it was not so bad after all. The only problem I had was getting the paper off the back. It probably would have been easier if my stitches had been smaller, but my machine only has three stitch length settings, so I had to just do the best I could. 

I am going to do my best to get started on the the maze block for Jessica.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another Maze

Perhaps not the most creative maze here, but I messed up initially. The maze paper that was sent with my fabric was a 13x13 grid so I sketched my maze here, and promptly started sewing sections of printed fabrics accordingly. When I ran out of squares, I checked the blog instructions to find it is only supposed to be a 7x11, so the resulting maze was developed from the block sections I had already sewn!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jessica's Maze

Jessica's Maze Block/May
I mailed this off to Jessica the other day. I hope she got it alright. It sure was a fun block to do.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Finally done!

Sorry these are so late Margaret, but I didn't want to screw them up. I've never paper pieced (with a machine) before ... so I waited until I could get together with my mom (Lynette) and she could help with the first one, as she made hers as soon as she got them - and, to give credit where credit is due, just seems to catch on to these things easier. After the first 6-inch block was done, cranking out the others wasn't so bad! I've learned a new technique, and while I might never make a quilt like this one, I am going to try my hand at other paper-pieced blocks (like spiderwebs).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May block instructions

Hello everyone!  Here's what I'd like for my block (yes, just one, but it's pretty big).

This idea is a conglomeration of a bunch of things I've seen recently on blogs, etc.: this quilt pattern from Carolina Patchworks,  these stashbuster blocks from Little Miss Shabby, and this block, which is actually what started the ball rolling in my mind, from my friend Emily from my modern quilt guild.  I told her my quilt idea at our last meeting and asked her if I could use her block as a starting point, and she actually came up with the ingenious idea that will simplify combining all 12 blocks in the end.

On to the "directions"--

Your fabric packages contain 4.5ish (some people only got 4 as I ran out of fabric!) strips of light blue solid, 2.5" x WOF, plus a piece 4.5" x ~20" that you may or may not need to use.  I also sent about 40 different 2.5" squares to each person (hence the delay in mailing...it took *forever* to cut them all!).

I also included a small (13x13) sheet of graph paper for designing your block.  When I went to make my sample block, though, I realized that this was much too big...nearly twice the size of two "regular" blocks, I hadn't sent enough of the blue, and plus it was just huge and kind of overwhelming.  I retooled things a bit and I think what I've come up with is much more manageable.

Here's the layout of the whole quilt (click on the photo to see all 12 blocks).

I'm asking each person to design and then make one of the red rectangles, as identified by your name.  These are 7 squares by 11 squares, or 14" x 22" (just a smidge bigger than 2 12"x12" blocks would be...308 square inches rather than 288.  The spaces between each will be the sashing that I'll add in once I've gotten all the blocks back.  The white squares will be more of the blue solid, and the red squares represent the spots where I'll use a 2.5" square of a print to connect the blocks.  A google search for "free graph paper" will pop a bunch of sites, though for something so small it might be easier to just draw your own grid for planning out your design.  I also included a copy of the quilt design without names at the very bottom of this post.

The look I'm going for is kind of a Pac-Man effect...as if he traveled onto the quilt on that red square the upper left above Tracy's block, and then meandered over the whole thing, exiting at the bottom right from Tami's.  To achieve this, there are a couple of guidelines:

  • please start and finish your design by including a print square directly adjacent to (not diagonal from) each of the red squares just outside of your block.  Please leave at least one of the border squares on either side of that "entry" square empty (which means it will be the solid blue in the finished block) so that you'll create the effect of a path rather than a completed shape.  For example, Tami would include a print square fourth from the right in the bottom row of her block, but would leave either the third or fifth from the right empty (solid blue).
  • please make sure to leave a space between each row (no two rows of print just next to each other)...your path will meander and twist, but always with solid blue between the lines of print.
  • feel free to use the border squares, as the sashing will create space between your block and the others around it.
  • I've included almost enough 2.5" print squares, but don't feel obligated to use just the ones I sent.  I would really like it if you included some of your own fabrics.  I'm going for more brown than gray, more cool than warm, and prefer modern fabrics to anything novelty, country, or batik.
  • if you would also include a loose square--yours or mine--onto which you've written your initials in pencil or water-soluble marker, that would be terrific; I'm going to embroider them and incorporate them into the back.  
  • I'll gladly accept whatever fabrics you don't use for the sashing and back, but if there's a square or two that you love and want, by all means, keep them.
Whew!  That sounds like so much info, but it's really easier to explain with a picture than words.  Here are two different possibilities for my block (#5); I swapped them out so you can see how each one fits on the graph paper--

I ended up going with the second one, and here's a progress shot (this is most of the bottom three rows).  I'll finish the block today, I hope, and will post a photo when it's done.

A couple of things that I found worked well to keep the piecing easy and the block square--I tried to work with small units and join those rather than strips (too easy, for me anyway, to find myself "off" with my seams by the end of a row, and then just pinned each intersection so that everything lines up fairly well.  I also made sure to measure my 1/4" seam on my (old) machine, as I've had various kinds of trouble getting blocks to size out and this block will be most successful if things line up well.  Maybe some of the more seasoned quilters in our group will have some more tips for keeping everything aligned and straight.

Thank you for reading my novel...I really think it will take about as long to actually make the block as it did to read all of this!  Hopefully, some of you should start receiving your fabric today or tomorrow.  Again, since I was so late in mailing these out, take your time...I have plenty to keep me busy until everyone gets a chance to make them.

Thank you so much!  Please let me know if you have any questions.

blank layout:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Margaret's Tea Leaf

I am finally getting caught up. I just finished the Tea Leaf Block this morning and will get them in the mail today! Thank you Margaret for being so understanding and waiting for them while I was gone.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

April blocks for Margaret

These are the blocks I made for Margaret. (Sorry, the picture is too dark). I absolutely love her fabric choices! I was a little nervous since I have not made paper pieced blocks before, but everything went very smoothly. Her directions and pictures made it perfectly clear! Just in case, I took the blocks with me on my retreat where several of the others are experienced paper piecers.

Marlene's blocks for me arrived today! That means I have them all now. I am really excited about starting this quilt. Unfortunately, I have several other projects that must take priority, but nearer the end of May I should be able to set some time aside for this one.

Monday, April 26, 2010

March House Blocks Done!

Here are the March House Blocks for Debbie all done. It was a good block to do to get me back into sewing after 7 weeks away. I hope you like them Debbie. I will be mailing them out to you this week. Now I have to read the April Block tutorial and see when I can tackle that one. It seems a bit more work so I will take my time at it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I am back!

Hello everyone! Some of you know that I had to rush to NY to take care of my 84 year old Mom that had a heart attack on March 1ST. I wanted you to know for the March and April blocks that I am home now and taking it a bit easy. I am working on the March House blocks and hope to finish those up this week and start on the April blocks. I know the May blocks are due soon and I don't want to be late with those. I promise that I will take my time and do a good job on them and get them in the mail as soon as I can. Thank you all for the understanding.

After a quick look on the flicker site I understand that someone dropped out and we got a new member, Hello to her! I am missing the information on her. If anyone could let me know I would appreciate it. I will get back in the groove soon. My house is a disaster after being gone for 7 weeks and just hubby here, you all know what I am talking about right?! Yeah, I thought so.

I will be posting photos as I get the blocks done. Have a nice weekend!


Friday, April 2, 2010

March blocks in April

These sweet blocks have been done for a little while but I couldn't find a minute to take a picture of them.

They will be on their way tomorrow.

Hope you like them!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

April Tea-Leaf Block Tutorial

Hi Ladies! It is almost April and I am posting a tutorial for my block - the "Tea Leaf" block. Typically the tea-leaf block is appliqued, and the leaves are curved, but I have designed this as a pieced block to make it simpler for the masses. Here's what the completed quilt will look like (mock-up done using EQ6). This is a relatively simple block, which I hope that you will each make 2 of for me. I have supplied enough fabrics for 2 blocks. And the instructions here are picture-heavy and will guide you through how to paper piece the block.

Here is the completed 12-1/2" Tea-Leaf block. It is made up of four 6-1/2" units which are all the same except for the fabrics.
Your packages of fabrics and patterns are going in the mail very soon. I have am sending the following in each package:
~ eight 5.5" green background squares
~ sixteen 2" x 10" green background rectangles
~ two purple 3.5" x 10" rectangles
~ two magenta (pink) 3.5" x 10" rectangles
~ four different peach 3.5" x 10" rectangles
~ patterns (shown below) - The ones on the first picture are for reference mostly. You will use the "B" pattern piece to precut the "leaves" .

NOTE: You will need to photocopy or trace the leaf pattern directly above this text until you have 8 copies. Then, turn the patterns over, and trace the lines so that they are visible from both sides (including outer seam allowance). This is an important step not to overlook. This pattern is your paper-piecing or foundation pattern, and measures 6.5" square.
Below I show the fabrics sent with each package.
Step 1: Please divide your package of fabrics into pieces for each block. Diagonally cut all 8 of the green background squares in half. Take 8 different green triangles. Take ANY 2 peach rectangles, one of the purple rectangles and one of the magenta (pink) rectangles. You will also need to horizontally cut (into 2"x5") the green background rectangles (2 photos down), and take two of each of the green rectangles.
Step 2: Cut out "leaf" pattern "B" from the patterns sent to you, including the seam allowance. Trace this onto all peach, purple and magenta rectangles. Cut them out. These are your "leaves" for the blocks.

Step 3: Take your "leaf" and pin it onto the foundation pattern, centered.You may want to hold it up to the light to be certain that you have this piece centered, and have allotted adequate material to be in the seam allowances.
Step 4: Locate the C & D small background rectangles. These should be from the same green fabric, and are made by cutting the 2"x10" strips provided in half. One at a time, pin one right sides together, to the edge of the "leaf". Note that the placement of the green fabrics DOES NOT HAVE TO COMPLY WITH THE BLOCK DIAGRAM ABOVE SO LONG AS ALL 3 SAME GREEN PIECES ARE ALL NEXT TO EACH OTHER.
Step 5: Turn the paper foundation/pattern OVER, and stitch along the line connecting the leaf to each of the C-D pieces. I stitch 2-3 stitches through the block outer seam allowances beyond the edges of where the line ends (as shown ahead). When paper-piecing, it is common to use a smaller than normal stitch length. This facilitates easier removal of the paper. Here's a peek of the seam from the backside.
Step 6: Press your piece over. It is fine to press on the paper. It may want to curl somewhat, but it's not a fire hazard. The pieces go beyond the block boundaries, but don't worry about that now. We will trim the block when it is finished. Step 7: Repeat for the second C-D small rectangle. Pin in place. Turn pattern over. Sew along line. Press.
Step 8: Find the triangle of the same fabric of the C & D pieces you just sewed. You'll need to carefully center it into position as shown below. There is not a lot of excess in these triangle pieces, so be careful here. Turn it right sides together and pin.
I like to hold the pattern up to a light. It helps me to center this triangle properly.

Step 9: On the backside, stitch along the line, starting a couple stitches before the line and ending a couple stitches after it, as shown above.

Step 10: Carefully hand turn the triangle over to see that it covers all of the seam allowances. If it does not, then you will need to remove it and adjust it's position. If it does, then go on to the next step.
Step 11: Trim the seam down to 1/4" .
Step 12: Press the seam down, and get ready to do the other side. We'll trim the outer edge of the block when the block is completed.
Step 13: Locate a 2"x10" strip and triangle of the same fabric (below). You do NOT have to use the same green fabrics in the SAME locations that I did.

Step 14: Repeat the same procedure you did previously. Turn the rectangular strips right sides together and pin onto the edge of the "leaf".

Step 15: Turn the piece over and stitch along the lines which you drew on the backside of the pattern.

Step 16: Position the triangle right sides together, pin, turn over and stitch.

Step 17: Trim seam only after you have confirmed that it will press and cover all seam allowances. Press.
Step 18: Now one-fourth of the 12" block is done, and it just needs to be trimmed to 6-1/2". Turn the block over to what you traced on the backside, and trim to 6.5" square.

Here it is from the back...
And here it is from the front (two blocks actually!)...
Step 19: Repeat this procedure 3 more times. You will have 4 blocks, all with different green fabrics. There will be 2 peach "leaves", a magenta "leaf" and a purple "leaf". Believe it or not, these 4 blocks will take very little time once you get the hang of paper piecing. If you are comfortable with paper piecing after making on, then you can easily make several at a time.

Arrange leaves just as shown above - The purple is on the upper left position, the magenta is in the bottom left and it does not matter at all where you choose to place the peach leaves. As said previously, I don't care where the greens are placed either, so long as they are located together on the block.
Step 20: Before you remove the paper, stitch top two squares together. Sew along the line. Repeat for the bottom 2 squares.
Step 21: Now, with the block in 2 pieces, it is OK to remove the paper. The trick to this is to gently fold the paper at the seam. It should remove quite simply if your stitches are small enough. Once removed, press these seams open.

Here is the view from the backside.
Step 22: Now, pin these 2 pieces together and stitch the last seam. You'll need to set your machine to the 1/4" seam allowance now since we've been stitching on a line thus far. Press the seam open. Your block should look like the one below, at 12-1/2" square. I did not trim this block at all! The paper piecing method results in a perfectly sized block !

Step 23: The last thing I do is to stay stitch (in a normal stitch length) the areas shown which are on bias at about 1/8" from the edge. This keeps the block at this size until I sew them all together.

...and a closeup of the bias stay-stitching.

Have fun....Contact me if you have any questions!