Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Three-patch Rectangles

Sophie's 3-patch #4This simple 6 inch by 9 inch (finished size) block was influenced by the proportions of the golden rectangle.

It showcases the fabrics used and/or the quilting design.  It's quick and easy construction makes it a good choice for a last minute gift or a quilt-in-a-day project.

For the June 2011 Block Lotto, we are making blocks in an analogous colorway of green-blue-violet, including one green, one blue and one violet fabric in each block.


For each block,

Cut 1 rectangle - 4.5 x 6.5 inches
Cut 2 rectangles - 3.5 x 5.5 inches


  1. Sew the two smaller rectangles together, along their long sides, Press toward the darker fabric.
  2. Add the large rectangle to the top.  Press the seam toward the large rectangle. The block should measure 6 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches.
First SeamLast Seam

Here is a sampling of blocks made by some quilters in the Block Lotto community.

For a clean, minimalist look, surround each of the blocks with wide borders in a solid neutral–simulated by white space here–and arrange them all with the same orientation:

Sophie's 3-patch #16     Cathi's 3-patch #4    Kristin's 3-patch #9     Julie's 3-patch #8    Julie's 3-patch #7

Ginny's 3-patch #5      Cathi's 3-patch #3    Julie's 3-patch #5   Ginny's 3-patch #1    Ginny's 3-patch #7

Ginny's 3-patch #2     Julie's 3-patch #6    Cathi's 3-patch #2    Julie's 3-patch #4    Ginny's 3-patch #6

Ginny's 3-patch #8    Cathi's 3-patch #1    Julie's 3-patch #3    Ginny's 3-patch #3    Kristin's 3-patch #7

Kristin's 3-patch #8    Julie's 3-patch #2    Ginny's 3-patch #4    Julie's 3-patch #1    Ginny's 3-patch #9

For more virtual blocks and layout ideas, check out the June Guidlines for the Block Lotto

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pink Progress

Pink Baskets in Progress My basket blocks have been trimmed and sewn together with a narrow border and I've sewn a couple other rectangles from large pink scraps.

With two days left in May,  I hope to finish this small (but very scrappy) project in time so I can start thinking about the color of June . . . and get a much earlier start on playing with those scraps ;-)

Check out Judy's Patchwork Times blog o see more work-in-progress on the design wall.

Working by Hand

When I fall out of the habit of handwork, I forget how calming and meditative it can be ... until I have a reason to sit and stitch.

I labelled the recently finished tote as a "knitting bag," in part, to inspire me to pull something out of my yarn stash and knit something.

New Knit

This is a rugged version of Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail shawl. The yarn, Reynold's Mandalay, is an Aran weight silk (which, for non-knitters, is a pretty chunky yarn). I am thinking the finished silk shawl will be the perfect summer wrap for movie theaters and other over-air conditioned venues. You can see photos of finished Swallowtails and get an idea of how this might look when it's finished and blocked on this Knit-a-long blog

Pink Yo YosI was enjoying the knitting so much that I wanted to find something to hand stitch and decided to add some Yo yos-as-flowers to my pink basket blocks. The Clover Yo-Yo makers make it easy to sit and turn a handful of scraps into delicious little circles. I used the African porcupine quill to arrange the folds in the small yo-yos–a tip I learned years ago in a ribbon flowers workshop with Candace Kling.  It's a great tool to use for manipulating fabrics when fingers are too fat.

All the positive bio-feedback from hand-work had me thinking about what's next . . . until I remembered the pre-printed "wholecloth" pillow-sized project I bought from Sew Batik at the Dallas quilt show a couple months ago.  It's been years since I picked up any hand-quilting.  I'm long overdue and looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An Eleventh Hour Start

I had a couple pink projects in mind but haven't been able to find the time and inclination until today.  The stress of the job hunt is beginning to wear.

Big BasketsToday–with only four days of May left–I finally made a start. These basket blocks are approximately 6 by 11 inches. I started with some more of the leftover bits of string fabric (that I just can't seem to toss) and some pink scraps. I have a plan and . . . a deadline.

Last weekend, as I was making the light string blocks for Strings & Chocolates quilt, I noticed that quite a few of them had pink fabrics and then in a light bulb moment, I saw that I could use them as the basket in a liberated basket block.

I've become such a silent participant in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge that I had to post this meager beginning, if only to let my rainbow friends know that I'm still in the game;-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Almost Finished

Small ToteI will likely add a button closure, but other than that (and a wash to take out chalk I used to mark the spines for the quilting), it is done ;-)

Inspired by some other totes I've seen made from this pattern, I made (yet more) string fabric to use for one side of the straps.  I also added some metal rectangles to attached the straps to the bag.

Now . . .  to decide upon a summer knitting project to put inside ;-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not exactly a silk purse from a sow's ear

After I finished adding the mitered border to the string quilt in the previous post, here's what was left.

Leftover string "fabric"

I had 4 of the original string squares from the block lotto that weren't used in the quilt and the 8 triangles trimmed away when I mitered the corners of the string pieced borders. The angles of the strings weren't consistent–I feared that any design that put them side-by-side would be too confused.

Quilted StripsI added black to the triangles and squared all the blocks to the same size, about 5 1/2-inches square. My plan is to make a smallish tote to hold a knitting project. My directions for a tote like this are here: Summer Tote from Orphan Blocks.

I have the four sections for the bag assembled and quilted.  Lately I look at small projects like these as an opportunity to practice–as you can see, I am still working on quilting unmarked feathers, constrained to fit a designated space.

The thread was pretty randomly chosen from my thread stash ... I don't think I've ever used something with so much contrast  . . .  but doing so really forced me to see where I wiggled, jiggled or quilted myself into a corner :-)

Quilt Detail 

Check out other quilters WIP s on Wednesday (WOW) on Ester's Blog.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Story Thus Far

Every quilt has a story--here's the story of this quilt-in-progress thus far.

Strings & Chocolates on the Design Floor

A few years ago I won a set of 6 inch square string blocks in the Block Lotto.  Half were made from light colors fabrics, half were made from dark strings. I always planned to use them as fabric, cut them up and do something, but my idea of what that something was kept changing. Plus, whenever I had an idea, it always seemed to need more string squares . . .

One blockLast winter during Nancie's Bring Your Own Stash (BYOS) class, while I was working on a very traditional looking quilt and making my blocks from vintage feed sacks,  inspiration hit and I decided I would make a variation of her road trip quilt using the string squares.  I loved the totally different look you could get from the same basic unit.

I decided I wanted to use the dark and light values of the string blocks in my design and so I decided to make light and dark pieced blocks and alternate them. 

AfterOnce again, I knew I was going to need more light string squares and so, in February, I made some.

In February, in the block lotto, we were also making string blocks and turning them into heart blocks with dark backgrounds.  I really liked the look of those blocks and decided to use a bundle of dark, neutral hand dyed fabrics that I had purchased by the pound at an incredible yard sale at the MSU Museum. Although there are deep blues and reds and violets in those fabrics, they make me think of chocolates . . . and I have come to think of this quilt-in-the-making as Strings & Chocolates.

This afternoon, I pieced the string borders.  Since the string fabric in the blocks was pieced on a foundation fabric, I cut a dozen 7 x 19 inch rectangles--sized to to keep the "blocks" manageable--from muslin and chose strings that were medium-to-dark to tie to those almost disappearing blocks made from the dark strings.

I had planned to put string pieced fan shaped blocks in the corners of the border, but after I spread the top on the floor and laid the border rectangles around it, I knew that the corners should be mitered to echo the mitered look of the center of the blocks.  More foundations were cut and I returned to the bottomless bag of fabric strips and put together some smaller rectangular string blocks to extend the border on each side long enough for the mitered corners.

Strings & ChocolatesI ran out of steam before I could finish, but all the string pieces for the border are done and–even just folded into place--I can already tell that I like the revised, mitered border design very much.

Check out the projects on more design walls/floors/tables on Judy Laquidera's Design Wall Monday blog post.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Ten Thousand

The exhibit Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak To Hope has premiered. You can read more about it on the AAQI blog.

Ami asked, "Let’s get 10,000 views—one for each person whose name is featured in the exhibit." I think it's a wonderful idea. It still blows my mind and breaks my heart that there are ten thousand people represented here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Virtual Quilting

9 Pineapple Blossom blocksThere's no real reason for the lack of quilting in my life lately.  It just hasn't been happening.

If the Block Lotto sometimes seems to demand too much of my time, it also keeps me connected to quilting by sewing blocks, sometimes writing directions and almost always creating the monthly virtual quilt.

This month we're making Bonnie Hunter's Pineapple Blossom blocks in a subdued scrappy colorway: gray and gold (or yellow) are included in each block. Details here.

A benefit of all that photo cropping and editing and HTML code copy-pasting to create the virtual quilt is that I get to see how well my color guidelines translate into blocks that will ultimately play nicely together in the quilts made by winners ... and I can randomly insert photos of my blocks into the mix to see how well I did in making blocks that contribute to pulling the whole thing together.

Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #2Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #7Toni's Pineapple Blossom #3Kim's Pineapple Blossom #7Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #9
Kim's Pineapple Blossom #8Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #8Liz's Pineapple Blossom #1Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #3Toni's Pineapple Blossom #4
Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #7Kim's Pineapple Blossom #1Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #4Julie P's Pineapple Blossom #1Kim's Pineapple Blossom #9
LPB's Pineapple Blossom #1Kim's Pineapple Blossom #2Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #6Julie P's Pineapple Blossom #2Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #5
Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #3Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #1Kim's Pineapple Blossom #3LPB's Pineapple Blossom #4Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #5
Kim's Pineapple Blossom #4LPB's Pineapple Blossom #3Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #2Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #4Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #4
Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #5Toni's Pineapple Blossom #1Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #3Kim's Pineapple Blossom #5LPB's Pineapple Blossom #2
Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #2Kim's Pineapple Blossom #6Laurina's Pineapple Blossom #1Toni's Pineapple Blossom #2Ginny's Pineapple Blossom #6
Cheri's Pineapple Blossom #2Cheri's Pineapple Blossom #1Sophie's Pineapple Blossom #1Laurina's Pineapple Blossom #2Kate's Pineapple Blossom #1

You can click any of the "blocks" in the virtual quilt for a closer look or find all the individual block photos on Flickr here: Pineapple Blossom

Someone in the block lotto community said that her husband complimented her blocks on the wall.  I think somehow the grays make these blocks feel gender neutral and, perhaps, a bit more contemporary than an all-out scrappy quilt.
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