Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thrifty Block Pattern

Pink + Black + WhiteThe Thrifty block was first published in 1939 by the Kansas City Star, according to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Blocks.

It's a simple little block that has a lot of design possibilities. I'm thinking about putting some I-spy squares in place of the pink squares. It would make a great alternate block in a sampler quilt (or for a lot of the lotto blocks we make) or a border block. It could be a great swap block or scrap buster by keeping the 4-patch and center squares a consistent color and changing up the 4 squares (pink in my example).

To make a single six inch (finished size) block, you'll need small amounts of fabrics in three colors, illustrated here in Pink, White and Black:

Pink: One 2.5 inch by 10 inch rectangle (or a 5 inch square)
White: One 1.5 inch by 12 inch rectangle (or a pair of 1.5 x 6 inch rectangles if you are working from scraps, as I did)
Black: One 2.5 inch square plus One 1.5 inch by 12 inch rectangle (or a pair of 1.5 x 6 inch rectangles)

Tip: add 1/4-1/2 inch in length to the measurements to the rectangles to give yourself a little wiggle room to square up edges if necessary

Fabric requirements

1. Sew the black and white long rectangles together along the long edges.

2. Press the seam allowance toward the black side. Slice into eight 1.5 inch sub-units.

Press and cut eight 1.5 inch sub-units

3. Use these to sew four 4-patches. After your 4-patch units are sewn and pressed, they should measure 2.5 inches square.

Sew four 4-patches

4. Cut your Pink rectangle (or 5 inch square) into four 2.5 inch squares and lay out the units of your block, 9 patch fashion.

Units laid out as 9-Patch

5. Assemble your block.

Pink + Black + White

. . . And then, because that was so quick, make a couple more

Pink + Black + Black & White Pink + Black & White + White

Then, you might be inspired to pull out some more black and white and pink scraps and think about making some more . . .

Fabric Scraps I used to make blocks

Like I did ;-)

Pink + Black + White Thrifty block #15 Thrifty block #14
Thrifty block #13 Thrifty block #12 Thrifty block #11
Thrifty block #10 Thrifty block #6 Thrifty block #8
Thrifty block #7 Thrifty block #5 Thrifty block #9

The thing to be careful of when you make this block is that you always end up with a nice "X" and that your blocks don't look like this when your done.

An OOPS block example

It's easier than you think to OOPS . . . and I offer this photo as proof positive of that fact ;-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break Quilting Day

I helped Diane celebrate the last day of Spring break on Friday by packing up my Featherweight, some quilting tools and a project and heading out to the country to her house to spend the day quilting.

A little less than an hour later, I was bringing my stuff inside and she was pulling her stuff out into the big room and we were spreading out.

Getting Unpacked and Ready to Go

(You can see that flying geese top-in-progress in its entirety on the Block Lotto blog, here, A Goose of Another Colour)

Diane pulled out some beautiful works in progress and some round robin tops to share.

Diane's Works in Progress

Here are two finished Round Robin tops

Diane's Round Robin Top Another Round Robin Top waiting to be Quilted

After Show & Tell, we settled down to work. We had decided to work on blocks from a swap that we had both participated in almost a year ago. I finished all the alternate blocks I needed. Diane needed some additional blocks, so she was adding to her pile . . . and thinking about color choices for her alternate blocks.

Later in the day, another quilting friend. Moira, came by and brought some eye candy for a Show & Tell break. Diane and Moira have been part of online groups and swaps for more than a dozen years but never met until our Spring Break Quilting Day.

Diane, Dixie and Moira

That's Dixie, Diane's Mom, in the center, admiring a very wonderful Crazy Quilt round robin piece that Moira brought to share.

Moira's Crazy Round Robin

And check out this very big, very bright, pineapple quilt.

Moira's Big Bright Pineapple Quilt

The quilting continued, but my camera did not :-(

Moira stitched on a new crazy quilt round robin piece and then she and I helped Diane complete enough blocks for a queen size quilt. I came home with all the blocks I need to put together the queen size top. Diane and I laid out her blocks and my alternate blocks and auditioned borders from her stash. No one left with a finished anything, but real progress was made and it was good ;-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dallas Quilt Celebration

Necessary first stop for me at the Quilt ShowMy trip to the Dallas Quilt show yesterday didn't get off to a great start . . . I burned the lunch I was making for myself and had to abandon the idea, then left the commuter mug with my latté to go on the kitchen counter. I encountered a jack-knifed tractor trailer just as I was getting on the highway, which slowed me down, then heard from the friend I was meeting who was slowed by the rain and traffic even more. So my first stop at the show was the espresso stand in the food concession area.

While I sipped, I chatted with some of the groups set up in the food area and picked up a list of Dallas yarn shops and info from the Knitters Guild.

But let's face it, once you're there, no day at a Qult Show can be a bad day ;-)

After my replacement latté, I found the Dallas Quilt Guild booth and got the scoop on when to show up at the next guild meeting.

Dallas Quilt Guild Booth

I'll never forget being yelled at by the Lansing Guild president for showing up to early at my first meeting there . . . the Church where we met had rules, but how was a first timer supposed to know? I wouldn't want to make that mistake again ;-)

I took a lot of photos before I ran out of battery–my spare battery has gone missing since my trip to AZ, but they need some editing. The venue is nice enough, but the lighting, both the natural light and the fluorescents present some challenges, because so many of the quilts end up being backlit and washed out. Here are a couple uncropped photos . . . see what I mean?

This is Basket Weave by Betsy Gust of Plano Texas. It won an Honorable Mention.

Basket Weave

And this is a group quilt by the Cotton Group of Dallas called Undersea Fantasy. The colors are much more vibrant, as you can see in the detail photo.

Undersea Fantasy

Detail from Undersea Fantasy

The lighting just made my pretty good camera go nuts. It (and I) usually do much better. I'm not sure how much I can clean up quickly in editing, but I will probably try because I'd like to share some of the great quilts I saw yesterday.

In the meantime, I can't wait to share this one: the really wonderful, whimsical Best of Show winner, A Quark's Tale, by Kelly Monroe of Arlington, Texas.

A Quark's Tale

The details on this quilt were delightful

Detail from A Quark's Tale

Detail from A Quark's Tale

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cold Rainy Days and Signs of Spring

Tuilip in the rainIt's been raining and cold–stuck in the 40's–for the past few days.

I went out to run errands downtown in leather blazer with light cotton layers underneath and an umbrella and was greeted by a neighbor walking her dachshunds in a poofy down parka. I did wish I'd remembered some gloves or wrist-warmers and maybe even a scarf, but it really wasn't that cold. But most of the locals were dressed like my neighbor, in full winter gear.

In fact, to me it felt a lot like Spring and, even though it has mostly been much warmer since I arrived in Texas, and I saw signs of spring everywhere.

Bright green new buds on trees in Thanksgiving Square

Signs of Spring in Thanksgiving Square

Tulips and some other flowers in a planter outside an office building; detail of an Azalea bloom (I think).

Spring Blooms Azalea bloom (I think)

Neiman Marcus Store Window on Ervay StreetIt definitely looks like Spring at Neiman Marcus. This dress in one of their windows caught my eye as I walked by because of the interesting technique used on the front bodice–it's a little hard to see because of the necklace the mannequin is also wearing.

I think the technique would be fabulous on a simple white linen shirt, too . . . or maybe even on a quilt.

Interesting Fabric manipulation

Oh, and, on the corner, another kind of bloom . . .

Another Quilt Block in the side walk, near Neiman Marcus

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Howdy, Ma'am, You're All Clear

Today, for the first time since moving to Dallas, I was greeted by a very friendly, very sincere, smiling man, extending his hand, saying, "Howdy."

It was the doctor who gave me my results after the second round of mammography at the Women's Imaging Center. All clear. All good. Just "normal dense breast tissue." No need, even, for the planned sonogram.


Thanks, everyone, for the reassurances. Although I didn't mention it on the blog, a few things had me spooked when the scary call back letter came last week and I was more than a little worried.

Architectural Details

Sometimes I notice the architectural details . . . and figure out what interesting building they are attached to later.

These fat, happy cherubs sit above a pair of French doors opening out onto a balcony of a fabulous building a couple blocks from my apartment.

Architectural Detail from the Adolphus Hotel

At much higher levels, the building are guarded by these guys.

Architectural Detail from the Adolphus Hotel

I didn't know when I took the photos that this is the fabulous Adolphus Hotel.

The Adophus Hotel

When I checked out their web site–warning: there's tasteful piano music if you follow my link to their site–I immediately thought how much fun it would be to gather a few friends for a day of quilting at my loft with a break for their afternoon English tea . . . I suppose we'd have to be sure to remove any and all stray threads before we walked over for our very civilized tea break.

Last week, when I was walking around the west end, I noticed this deconstructed architectural detail on the back of a building I passed on my way back from lunch at the Cadillac Bar & Grill.

Deconstructed Architecture

I have no idea what building this is . . . maybe some Dallas-knowledgeable person will leave a comment and clue me in, but I applaud the architect/designer/artist who thought to make this design decision. It made me smile as I walked past and I'm sure countless others do, too.

Yesterday I picked up a fun book of Dallas Landmarks which has photos taken from vintage postcards. As I am beginning to learn and known some of the current Dallas landmarks, it's fun to look at these.

(My building is even in there ;-)

I realized when I encountered the log cabin in Founder's Square last week that I know nothing of early Dallas history. Who says I can't start my education with the Architectural details and artifacts left behind?
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