Tuesday, November 16, 2021

alphabet blocks, quilt completed


Alphabet Blocks
93 by 70 inches

Quilted by Sue Divarco.

Made loosely using the Moda Spell it with Fabric directions found here:

My setting direction are here:

I didn't have to cut any squares for the corner blocks, the sashings, or for the border. All were in my 30s reproduction bins of 2 1/2, 2, and 1 1/2 inch squares.
It was one of two alphabet quilts I started this year on New Years Day. It is the fourth alphabet quilt I have made. I am pretty sure more are in my future.

Setting is my design. Use at your pleasure.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

62 to 63, a calendar quilt in the time of Covid, quilt completed

62 to 63, a calendar quilt in the time of Covid
88 by 76 inches

Quilted by Sue Divarco.

I started this quilt on my 62nd birthday and finished the piecing for my 63rd. There is a pieced block for each day of that year (366, including both birthdays) and a plain spacer block between each Saturday and Sunday.
The squares were chosen to commemorate a person or event or a feeling of each day. Or, just because I liked the fabric! Many scraps of my mother in here, a few from my grandmothers, and some from my small-group round robin 2 1/2 inch square exchange during the year we were not able to meet.
I did not work on it every day, but made sure I was caught up each weekend.

You can read about my construction here:
and about the final setting here:

My design. Use at your pleasure.

Monday, November 01, 2021

maple leaf, made about 2000

Maple leaf
Made about 2000

It has no label and I cannot find any date written on the back.
I blogged about this in 2006, but it was made several years before that.
Read more about it here:
It is one of my all time favorite quilts and I am glad to share it here again to celebrate November.
The back is a fabulous Alexander Henry fairy fabric.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

37 times around the sun, quilt completed

37 times around the sun
82 by 59.5 inches
Made in celebration of Andy and my 37th anniversary.
Beautifully quilted by Sue Divarco.

If you search "alphabet" on the blog you will see process posts.
I used the Moda Spell it with Fabric letters--greatly adapted. Setting is mine.
Made with scraps of batiks.
Use the setting and my adapted letters at your pleasure.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Fading charms from Wedding Dress Blue, quilt completed

Fading Charms
88 inches square

This lovely pattern is from Deanna's Wedding Dress Blue quilt blog. Her tutorial is here:

You can read about how I made it, with my variations here:

I like how the fading is not just from Deanna's pattern of spacing the squares. It also is from my using grey/taupe leaning patches scattered in the patchwork that melt a bit into the solid.
It is a difficult quilt to photograph from a distance. Below in close-ups you can see more of the contrast.

Many of the 2 1/2 inch cut squares are from my quilting small group. We shared squares in a Covid round robin by mail during the year we could not meet because of the quarantine. We have been meeting outdoors for the past few months and plan to go back to zoom when the weather no longer permits that.
Beautifully quilted by Sue Divarco. I used a wool batt.

Note a Dr Fauci square near the top

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

thirteen, block construction and quilt assembly, top completed

91 by 78 inches

Thirteen is made from my 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch rectangles bin and my 1 1/2 inch squares bin and is so named because the block finishes 13 inches.

I used the darker and medium scraps making sure to add some brights and lights.

The design is heavily influenced by the fabulous Tonya Riccui's fabulous Lego quilt.
Tutorial showing antique quilt inspiration: http://lazygalquilting.blogspot.com/2011/08/lego-tutorial.html
Finished quilt named Ellis Island: https://lazygalquilting.blogspot.com/2011/11/ellis-island.html
Tonya using varying lengths of fabric and has a 10 inch block. 

Why 13 inches?
The block needs to be an odd number in size to allow for the staggered piecing. 9 and 11 inches didn't seem to show the movement I wanted in setting blocks together. I discovered 13 inches was as far as I could sew non-nesting rows without needing pins.
So 13 it is.

Each block has a 78 rectangles and 13 squares

Sew the rectangles into 26 pairs, add a third rectangle, sew these into 13 sets of six, and add a square to the end to make a row unit

Press towards the square.

Turn one row unit opposite of the other. I feed the pair into the machine with the small square first of the top row unit.
Sew row units into pairs, then into fours. 

I press these row units down.
Sew three of these 4-units together
Again press down
Add a one row unit

It now measures  13 inches finished (13 1/2 inches unfinished). 
Make sure the top and bottom left corners have a square instead of a rectangle.
Press all seams down.

Rotate the blocks and sew together, in pairs, keeping the orientation as pictured. Sew into pairs with the rectangles in vertical orientation on top. The seams are pressed in a way that aids with nesting. I found using an awl or seam ripper to be very helpful in feeding the small pieces and sweeping the underside seam allowances in the correct direction.

In laying out I find it helpful to have the back sides of the blocks showing so the pressing is evident. One miss-turned block can cause issues (speaking from experience).

NOTE: looking at your completed block it will likely not look square. This is due to the accordion effect of the narrow rows. If your sewing was consistent, they will fit.
IF NOT, use the "Plan B" setting I'll describe below.
From the back showing block orientations

I set these 6 by 7 blocks to finish 78 by 91 inches.

PLAN B setting:
Keep block with horizontal or vertical orientation, flipping blocks so they will nest to next block. The accordion affect will still happen, but will not distort the quilt top.
The rows will visually keep straight across the quilt. 
This is a pleasing setting and I may experiment with this in neutrals.

plan B horizontal
plan B vertical
SO, for 42 blocks:
3,276 rectangles
sewn into 1092 three patches
sewn into 546 six patches
546 squares
add a square to each row
Press each row towards the square patch
546 rows
Set aside one row for each block, so 42 rows
Sew remaining 504 rows into 252 pairs, these into 126 fours, these into 42 blocks, add the set aside rows, and end up with 42 final blocks!
(the math may be off on this...)
Press each block with the seams towards the bottom
Decide if you are going with Plan A or Plan B and lay out the blocks accordingly.
Sew into pairs
Lay out 7 by 6 blocks
Everything nests!

My adaptation of Tonya's design--use my changes at your pleasure.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

sample blocks from the rectangles bins

Sample blocks from the 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch cut rectangles bins.
Yes, bins. Multiple bins.
One of three 1 1 /2 by 2 1/2 inch Everything bins

I love this unit-block size and in my cutting up scraps many land in this bin. I have three categories: Solids, 30s repros, and Everything else, which sorts itself into lights and others as I pull from it.

Here are four ideas from my sketchbook that made it to fabric. I want to do a solid quilt in the coming year, so I made the samples with solids.

The large solids sample block I made a couple years ago and now is being made in scraps from the Everything else bins. There were three bins starting out and it is now down to two. I used well over 3000 rectangles! And a number of squares. I'll post directions for that when it gets to the top finished stage. I call it Thirteen because it has 13 rows.
I have plans involving sashing for the two different stacked blocks.
The little tatami 4 1/2 block (so named for the number of units--it measures 3 inches) with the little red squares I think will be fun to work with. Tatami arrangement sites are a great place to go for ideas.

I make a few sample blocks and work with pressing when ready to commit to a design.

thirteen, block from a quilt in progress

thirteen, sample block in solids

stacked 4 inch squares

stacked 6 inch square

tatami 4 1/2 (measures 3 inches) Four blocks shown

Here are two quilts I have made in the past from the 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch rectangle bins.
Chinese coins, 2014

Unit blocks, 2013

Monday, July 19, 2021

30's repro alphabet, top completed (setting directions)

30's repro alphabet
93 by 70 inches

I made two alphabet quilts using the Moda Spell it with Fabric pattern.
Here is a link to the free booklet:

I made lots of changes in construction. Their directions are for using 2 1/2 inch strips. Because I used scraps and yardage I was able to simplify many of the letters. For example, their Z uses 13 pieces. I made it with 5.
I think I started with 4 yards of the green and very little was left at the end.
I don't remember the manufacturer or the color name. It is a fabulous green!

Here are my directions for this 30's repro set. I earlier put up directions for the modern set.
All the squares used for the setting sashings, cornerstones, and 16-patch border were from my bins--none needed to be cut for this set. And many remain for future endeavors. 

Make the letters. They will measure 8 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches, to finish 8 by 10.

Make four scrap blocks for the corners
Cut 80 squares 2 1/2 inches
Sew into rows of 4
Sew five rows into blocks that will be 4 by 5, 20 squares. They will measure 8 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches, to finish 8 by 10

I used about 640 scrap squares for the sashings and about 184 more for the corner stones. These numbers may be way off, I just used them from my bin of 30's repro scrap squares.

Hint with sashing: cut the solids along the length of grain--long part of sashing parallel to the selvage--the stability of length of grain is always helpful with sashing.

Theoretically, you could make the same look for the sashing by bordering each block with the solid then making sashings with just the 1 inch finished squares. However, these would be very fragile and unstable, so I instead sandwiched them between two solid sashings.

sashing (A is pictured)

Sashing A
The vertical sashes
Make 36 of this size
Cut two 1 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch solid for each sashing, so 72 total
Cut ten 1/12 inch squares of prints, so 360 total
Sew prints into a row. Press in one direction
Sew solid on each side of the squares. Press towards the solid

Sashing B
The horizontal sashes
Make 35 of this size
Cut two 1 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch solid for each sashing, so 70
Cut eight 1/12 inch squares of prints, so 280 total
Sew prints into a row. Press in one direction
Sew solid on each side of the squares. Press towards the solid

Cornerstones made with 184 scrap 1 1/2 inch cut squares, 120 green squares and a few 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch and 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch rectangles.

1 1/2 inch squares

1 1/2 inch squares
1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch rectangles
1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch rectangles

Cornerstone A
The interior cornerstones
Make 20

Cornerstone B
The edge cornerstones (except for the corners)
Make 18

Cornerstone C
The actual corners!
Make 4 
They can be all made the same or, like I did, with the long green kept in the horizontal position

Sew Sashing A onto the left side of all blocks and also to the right side of the blocks that will be on the right side of the quilt (that will be two of the scrap square blocks and the letters H, M, R, W.
Sew the rows. 
Press blocks towards the sashings.

Lay out rows and remaining sashings and corners.
The corners are constructed in a way that the outside will be of the solid fabric. 
Press cornerstones towards the sashings.

Sashing can be simplified with a 3 1/2 inch cut solid, or if you like the pieced one but don't want to bother with all the tiny squares, replace that center section with a print or another solid cut 1 1/2 by 8 1/2 and 1 1/2 by 10 1/2. The cornerstones can be simple squares cut 3 1/2 inches too instead of 9-patches.

At this point the top measures 81 by 58 inches finished (81 1/2 by 58 1/2 by measuring)

I made borders out of  about 816 2 inch cut squares sewn into 16-patches. (and 16 rectangles 2 by 2 1/2 inches cut for the centers of the top and bottom borders, see note below.) Again, my numbers may be off.

For the side borders:
Thirteen and a half 16-patches for each side

For the top and bottom borders:
Five and a half 16-patches, a center unit, Five and a half more 16 patches for each.

To make the math correct, make a half-16 patch with patches cut 2 by 2 1/2 inches, one each for top and bottom borders. These were placed in the center of the top and bottom borders. I think they melt into the other 16-patches well.

Press all borders towards the sashings
Finish with stay stitching the edge to keep intact until quilting.

Note the larger patches in the center position

Final quilt top comes to 93 by 70 inches.

Letters are adapted from Moda's Spell it with Fabric pattern.
Setting is my design.
Use my setting at your pleasure.