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Archive for July, 2010

Psalm 144:8-9

If you’ve followed some of my tutorials, the method for constructing these Monkey See blocks will be familiar.  They are super easy and fast to make.  You will need a novelty fabric that you can fussy cut for the center of the blocks.  This tutorial makes nine blocks, enough for a baby, wall, or lap quilt.

Monkey See Blocks
First, fussy cut eight 4 ½” center blocks.

Fussy Cut Centers

Cut eight rectangles 4 ½” x 5” from contrasting fabrics.  I used four fabrics so I cut two rectangles from each one.

Beginning with the 4 ½” squares, sew a contrasting fabric (right sides together) to each one by sewing down two sides.  The rectangles will be a little larger than the squares as you are sewing.

Sew Two Sides

Shift the tubes you’ve created and quickly match up the seams.  Finger press a fold line in the contrasting rectangle.  Cut along the fold line and finger press open.

Cut Fold Line

Cut eight 5” x 8 ½” rectangles from the same contrasting fabrics.  Place each rectangle on top of the previously sewn units, matching the contrasting fabrics.  Sew down the two sides perpendicular to the previous seams.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Seams

Shift the tubes and match the seams.  Finger press a fold line in the contrasting rectangle and cut as shown.  Press.

Cut Fold Line

Your blocks should measure 8 ½” square.

Measure Blocks

Cut eight strips 1 ½” x 42” (the approximate cross grain measurement) from the same four contrasting fabrics.  Sew strips around each of the four blocks, using one of the contrasting fabrics that doesn‘t match the particular block you’re sewing it to.

Sew Strips Around Four Sides

Press open.

Press Strips Open

Your finished blocks should measure 10 ½” square.  Square up if necessary.

Now cut one 8 ½” square from your novelty fabric.  Cut one more strip 1 ½” x 42”.  (I used a fifth fabric that I will be using for the borders.)  Sew the strip around the block and press.  This will be your center block as you arrange your blocks in rows of three.

Sew Strips Around Center Block

Sew your blocks together and then sew your rows together.

Sew Blocks Together

Here is my quilt top so far.  I plan on adding a 5” border.  Aren’t those little monkeys cute as can be?
Monkey See Sewn Blocks

Have a great weekend,

Nancy

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Psalm 144:3-4

I really enjoyed piecing this quilt.  The little Crossroads blocks are fun to make and offer the opportunity to use a large number of fabrics, giving the quilt a scrappy look.

Crossroad's Pieced Blocks

Don’t you love looking at all the various fabrics in a scrap quilt?  This one has a sampling from shopping trips that cover at least a decade or two.

Crossroads Scrap Quilt

I added a 1 ½” dark blue frame around the center and then a 5-inch red border.  Using Valdani Vibrant Reds cotton quilting thread (50 wt.), I grid quilted the center block section.  Next, I quilted small scallops on the edges of the blue frame along with a wavy stitch in the center.  On the red border, I quilted a larger scallop pattern around the inner edges and then finished the border with overlapping “peaks.”

Crossroads Quilting and Borders

For the binding, I cut multiple strips from some of the dark blue fabrics I had used in the blocks.  A multi-fabric binding usually works well with scrap quilts.

Crossroads Quilt Binding

I made my first cuts into the monkey fabric early this morning.  Yes, a little painful but fun all the same.

Hope your week is filled with quilting.

Nancy

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Psalm 119:33, 35

I think this is my favorite way to use the Crossroads quilt block.  In this tutorial, the Crossroads block becomes the center unit, building two pillars (squares) on the foundation of the courthouse (rectangle).

Courthouse Steps Quilt Blocks

I don’t use the traditional method of constructing this block.  My easy sew and cut method saves time by reducing the number of “strips” that need to be cut.  Actually, instead of strips you will be cutting rectangles, sewing them on two sides and then cutting them in half.  This method is fast, accurate, and more enjoyable since the rectangle units are larger and easier to work with.

You will need three light fabrics and three dark fabrics for the contrasting steps.  When doing the math for a quilt, simply multiply the cuts (and the center units) by the number of blocks needed.  To make this easy, I have highlighted the the cutting instructions in bold type.

First, construct a center unit using my Crossroads Quilt Block tutorial.  Use a dark fabric for the rectangle.  Your center unit should measure 4” x 4”.

Cut a rectangle 3” x 4” from one of your light fabrics.

Cut First Light Rectangle

Position the light 3” x 4” rectangle on top of the Crossroads block, right sides together.  (The cut rectangle will not cover the entire Crossroads block.)  Sew the two sides that are perpendicular to the Crossroads’ rectangle as shown.

Sew First Side

Sew Second Side

Shift the tube and quickly match up the seams by butting them up against each other.  Finger press a fold into the light rectangle.

Shift Tube, Match Seams, Fold

With a pair of scissors, cut along the fold line.  Finger press open.  Your unit should measure 4” x 6”.  (From this point forward assume that each new cut rectangle is positioned on the previously sewn unit, right sides together.)

Cut Along Fold

Cut a 3” x 6” rectangle from one of your dark fabrics.  Sew the two sides that are perpendicular to the previously sewn light strips.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Light Strips

Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold into the dark rectangle.  Cut along the fold line as before.  Finger press open.  Your unit should measure 6” x 6”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 6” rectangle from a light fabric.  Sew the two sides perpendicular to the previously sewn dark strips.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Dark Strips

Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold line into the light rectangle.  Cut along the fold line and finger press open.  Your unit should measure 6” x 8”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 8” rectangle from a dark fabric. Sew the two sides perpendicular to the previously sewn light strips.  Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold line.  Cut along the fold and finger press open.  Your unit should measure 8” x 8”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 8” rectangle from a light fabric. Sew the two sides that are perpendicular to the previously sewn dark strips.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Dark Strips

Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold line.  Cut along the fold and finger press open.  Your unit should measure 8” x 10”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 10” rectangle from a dark fabric. Sew the two sides perpendicular to the previously sewn light strips.  Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold into the dark rectangle.  Cut along the fold and finger press open.  The block should measure 10” x10”.

Cut Final Fold Line

Press your block, square up if necessary, and take pleasure in a job well done.

Completed Courthouse Steps Block

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m at the quilt sandwich stage of my Crossroads scrap quilt, with hopes of getting it quilted today.  I use the word hope because it’s probably not going to happen.  I keep eying (did you know the spelling of this little word is controversial?) the Courthouse Steps block on my cutting table, longing to make another log cabin quilt.  And then there’s the monkey fabric begging for a cute quilt design and the fabrics I purchased last week that I already have a quilt design for. . .

Ahhhh. So many sweet decisions.

Nancy

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Romans 10:15

Asheville was warm and sunny this morning, the perfect day to deliver our first round of quilts to the Asheville Pregnancy Support Services office.  The gracious staff gave us a tour of their facility since some members of Piecemakers4Life has not been there before.  How happy we were to be greeted by wall quilts every time we turned a corner!

What a great work these wonderful women are doing as they lend loving support to those facing a difficult time in their lives, offering physical, emotional, and spiritual help.

Here we are, quilts in hand.

From left to right:  Barbara, Sandy, Judy, Teresa, Shirley, Nancy

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Psalm 119:89-90

The Crossroads quilt block is a super simple little block that can stand on its own in a scrap quilt, join other units to form a framed block or whirly-pinwheel design, or serve as the core of various log cabin blocks.  Crossroads can probably do even more than I’ve listed, but that’s as far as my thinking has taken me this week.

Crossroads Scrap Quilt

The block is comprised of a rectangle and two squares, certainly nothing unique.  However, my sew and cut method of constructing it is a little different and makes the process fast, accurate, and enjoyable.  This is the perfect quilt block for using up all those scraps you have saved.

Crossroads Whirl Quilt

First, cut two 4 ½” squares from different fabrics.

Cut Two Squares

Place the squares right sides together and sew two parallel sides, using a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Sew Two Parallel Sides

Cut the unit in half.

Cut Unit in Half

Finger press the two units open.  The units measure 4” x 4 ½”.

Finger Press Units Open

Cut two 4” x 4 ½” rectangles from contrasting fabrics.

Cut Contrasting Rectangles

Place the rectangles on top of the units, right sides together.  Sew down two sides, perpendicular to the seam.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to the Seam

Cut the units in half and finger press open.  You now have two Crossroads blocks that are mirror images of each other.  The blocks should measure 4” square.

Cut in Half Again

For a scrap quilt, I position my blocks with the rectangles in the center.  This isn’t necessary, but I like the effect.

Position of Blocks

For a whirly-pinwheel quilt, I make all my rectangles the same color and position them in the center as well.

Position of Blocks for Whirly Design

In part two of this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use the Crossroads block as the core of a Courthouse Steps block along with my super simple way of constructing this traditional log cabin block.  I love log cabins!  The third quilt I made as a new quilter was a queen size log cabin quilt that I still snuggle under while hibernating in the winter time.  For me, it’s the equivalent of comfort food.

Happy piecing,

Nancy

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Psalm 119:1-2

I spent last week enjoying the company of my two oldest grandchildren, ages 5 and 6.  My granddaughter loves dressing dolls, including paper dolls, which gave me an idea for a quilt.

While working on the Quarter Turn blocks the week before, I also had another block idea pop into my head and got a little side-tracked with it during the quilting process.  All that to say, I missed posting last week.  But I’m pleased to report that I finished the Quarter Turn quilt this morning.

Quarter Turn Quilt

After sewing all the Quarter Turn blocks together, I added a small framing border and then a larger pink border with corner squares.  I used Valdani variegated Baby Joy cotton thread (50 wt.) on the front of the quilt and a solid pink cotton thread on the back.

Valdani Baby Joy Cotton Thread

I alternated the turquoise and green prints for the binding.

Quilt Binding

Here’s a close-up of the quilting.

Wave Stitch Diagonal Grid Quilting

I love this quilt and know it will make some little girl very happy.

Hope your week is filled with quilting.

Nancy

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It’s been a hot week in the mountains, but high temperatures didn’t deter us.  Several of our members have already reached the quilting stage in the second round of quilts.  We cut fabric, marked quilt tops, and considered some quick block construction methods that will be posted in the near future.

Judy, Sandy, and Barbara Discuss Quilting Options

Barbara Marks Her Quilt Top

Janice and Abigail Cut Out Their Next Quilt

Teresa Cuts Out Her Quilt Strips

I spent a little time in Asheville this afternoon shopping for fabric.  Love was definitely in the air when I found these prints.  And the great thing is I already have a quilt design in mind for every one of them.

Quilt Fabrics

I saved the best part for last.  The daughter of one of our members purchased these darling fabrics and donated them to our group.  Aren’t they precious?  I’ve grown so attached to them that the first cuts are going to be a painful experience!

Quilt Fabric Donation

Have a great weekend.

Nancy

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