QM Scrap Addicts Use Bonnie Hunter Quilt Blocks

Today I’m excited to announce a new project that fans of Bonnie Hunter and makers of scrap quilts will surely love. You may be familiar with the in-print column Bonnie writes for Quiltmaker’s regular issues called Addicted to Scraps.

ATSfunlogoidea QM Scrap Addicts Use Bonnie Hunter Quilt BlocksFor each Addicted column, Bonnie makes a scrappy quilt block and we create a pattern for it. The block images are posted online with setting ideas.

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We’ve decided it’s time to take it one step further and show you the amazing scrappy quilts that can be made from Bonnie’s Addicted to Scraps quilt blocks!

ATSfunlogoidea2 QM Scrap Addicts Use Bonnie Hunter Quilt Blocks We’ve gathered a team of enthusiastic reader-sewers who are going to take the blocks and make scrap quilts from them. These folks, called QM Scrap Addicts. will come up with their own color schemes, settings, borders, and so on, or they may decide to use our online setting ideas. They have a lot of creative license and we’re very excited to see what they come up with.

This is Twirl Around, Bonnie’s Addicted to Scraps block for the March/April issue of Quiltmaker. As you can see, the quit block features simple half square triangles and square units.

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I love the colors Bonnie used because they look like spring (which can’t be far away, can it?) But wait until you see what our Scrap Addicts did with it.

Doris Rice from Brownwood, Texas wanted to make a patriotic quilt from Twirl Around. But she was away from home, helping her parents move. She says, “I put out an SOS on Facebook to my hometown quilting friends and they came through like quilting friends do. I had a bunch of stash fabrics in red/white/blue in a matter of hours.”

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Doris Rice made quilt blocks using the Twirl Around pattern.

Doris made quilt blocks using the Twirl Around pattern. And incidentally, she says they saved her sanity during a stressful time.

doristwirl2 QM Scrap Addicts Use Bonnie Hunter Quilt BlocksThe blocks turned into a scrappy patriotic quilt top.

doristwirl3 QM Scrap Addicts Use Bonnie Hunter Quilt BlocksThe quilt top turned into a quilt with Doris’s amazing machine quilting once she returned home to Texas. Isn’t it absolutely smashing?!? Please help me give Doris a virtual round of applause by leaving a comment below. Lovely job!

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Get the Twirl Around block pattern in QM’s March/April issue.

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Jump-start your own patriotic quilt with 10″ squares in red, white and blue from Keepsake Quilting.

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Scrap Quilt Ideas: Kathy’s Pointed Prisms

Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of readers who make scrap quilts from Quiltmaker patterns. They share their scrappy quilt ideas here on Quilty Pleasures in order to inspire you. Read more about Scrap Squad and see slideshows of past scrap quilt projects on our Scrap Squad page.

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Today’s featured quilt is from the March/April issue of Quiltmaker, on newsstands now. Print or digital copies are also available on QuiltandSewShop.com.

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Quiltmaker March/April ’15

Pointed Prisms is a chevron quilt designed by Kari Ramsay and pieced by Hatty Brown. The fabrics are Bali Batiks from Hoffman California Fabrics.

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Pointed Prisms, designed by Kari Ramsay, shown in Bali Batiks by Hoffman California Fabrics

If you like our original version, convenient quilt kits are available.

Today’s featured quilter is Kathy Wagner from Cambridge, Ontario. We’re so happy to have a Canadian on the Scrap Squad to represent the thousands of readers we have there.

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Kathy Wagner

You’ll hear from Kathy in her own words below.

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It is so exciting to be sharing my first quilt as part of the Scrap Squad for 2015. This project was a real challenge for me, but I am delighted with the outcome.

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Leftovers set the stage for this colourful quilt.

I started with two fabrics left over from a quilt I made last year (still a UFO!) to use as the two main fabrics for the large triangles. My background was white and I chose scraps for the small triangles based on the colors in the two main fabrics.

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Using the 60º marks on my ruler

Since I don’t enjoy using templates for cutting fabric, I cut all my pieces using my rotary cutter and the 60° markings on my rulers.

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Cutting 60º triangles from strips

I cut my fabric in strips as listed in the cutting instructions, and then cut the triangles from those strips.

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The ruler’s markings were very helpful.

The smaller scraps were cut and placed on the design wall. As I cut more fabrics, I made decisions about which colours could stay and which ones were voted off the quilt. Many of my original choices did not get to stay, and that’s the way it is when you make scrappy quilts.

The section 1 and section 2 blocks were sewn first, and I made a lot of them so I could play with colour and have fun with the final layout. I sewed the B, Br and A pieces for the ends of the rows.

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A bit of triangle piecing

I work on quilt layouts the way many people cook. I add a bit of this and a pinch of that, see if I like it and make revisions as I go along.

I liked the yellows, but not the pale scraps, so I cut more of the lemony fabrics. I decided that I liked the yellow (sunny skies) fabrics at the top, and the green (grass and gardens) fabrics at the bottom, so I made a few more of those blocks to make up a whole row. The orange and pink fabrics were my favorites, so I used a lot of those throughout the quilt.

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I make decisions about colors and fabrics as I go along.

Here are some of my layout tips:

- Take photos of the design wall as you work on the layout. I really liked the dark green fabric until I saw it on the computer screen. It stood out like a sore thumb, so it was removed from the quilt. Sometimes photographs show things in a different way than your eyes see them.

- Leave it on the design wall for a couple of days before you sew the rows together. Every time you walk by, ask yourself what would make you like the quilt more. Make any changes that your creative ideas suggest.

- When you like an arrangement, take another photo just in case the blocks fall down and you have to put them back on the design wall. (Ask me how I learned to do that!)

Once the layout was organized to my liking, I sewed the rows together. I really tried hard to sew slowly and carefully so as to not lose the triangle points in the seams. If the triangle tip was totally gone, I re-sewed the seam, but that didn’t happen too often, since I really detest unsewing!

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Unsewing as needed!

Here is the quilt top, which I finished while enjoying a sewing day with my quilting friends.

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I sewed the quilt top together during a sewing day with friends.

I machine quilt the majority of my quilts on my domestic sewing machine. I have as much fun picking out the threads as I do when selecting fabrics. Why pick one colour when you could use 10? I emptied four of these spools when quilting the brown floral patches on my quilt.

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A variety of colors were used up on this quilting.

 When I start, I like to quilt a few lines with my walking foot to stabilize the quilt.

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Stabilizing the quilt layers with some straight lines and the walking foot

Then I have a wonderful time playing with the free motion foot and making up the quilting design as I go along. On the brown fabric I outline stitched most of the flowers. On the yellow fabric I free motion quilted flowers and loops. And on the white fabric I made arcs using different colours of thread.

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I quilted Pointed Prisms on a domestic sewing machine.

I made my quilt two rows shorter than the original pattern since this quilt will be for my niece who has a double size Ikea loft bed.

Here is the quilt on my bed at quilt retreat. The sun is shining on it which created some shadows, but I hope you can see the quilting designs.

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Pointed Prisms on the bed at quilt retreat

I felt like spring was right around the corner the whole time I worked on this quilt, even though it was snowing and  -25 degrees every day (colder at night!). I finished it while at quilt retreat, and I convinced my friends to go outside for a photo shoot.

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Kathy’s finished Pointed Prisms quilt

They’re such good friends—to go outside to help me out with a photo shoot on a day like that. Believe me when I tell you that the wind was blowing hard and we were freezing. This is the best we could do!

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Brrrrrzy cold photo shoot!

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Get the March/April issue of Quiltmaker

Get the Pointed Prisms digital pattern (no shipping!)

Get a kit for the original Pointed Prisms quilt

QM150405 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Kathys Pointed Prisms

 

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National Craft Month

March shall no longer be known as the month of spring, Daylight Savings Time or any other nomenclature associated with the third month of the year. From here on out, you may proclaim loudly, “March is National Craft Month!” It is your month to celebrate your crafting passion, and if you’re reading this blog post, it is more than likely quilting.

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Quiltmaker wants to celebrate YOU, the crafters, during this month-long celebration. We so deeply admire the hours you put into your craft, the passion you feel for quilting and the fun you have along the way with us. Without quilters, we would cease to exist! You keep us inspired on a daily basis. For all of this, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

How are we going to celebrate our fantastic quilters? By showing you off to the world!

Here’s how it works:

  • Send an email to quiltmakermag@gmail.com with the subject line, Craft Month.
  • Include in the email a picture of your favorite quilt you’ve made. It does not have to be from a Quiltmaker pattern, but we would like to see some!
  • Along with this picture, include the story of the quilt. What pattern did you use? Did it come from a publication? How did you make the quilt? Was the quilt a gift to someone? What quilt techniques did you use?
  • We also want to hear about you, the quilter! Tell us how you became a quilter, what quilting means to you and any other information you would like.

Each Thursday in March, we will be selecting one quilt/quilter to feature on our blog and on Facebook. This means nearly 100,000 people will be seeing your hard work. What a great reward!

If you send us a picture of a quilt from Quiltmaker, you also have a chance to see it in the Sew to Speak section of a future Quiltmaker issue!

Just for fun, I made a quilt bio about myself and my favorite quilt.

My favorite quilt creation is the baby quilt I made for my nephew. I used a pattern from Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, Ralli Pop. This quilt features 8 large square blocks in the center, surrounded by two pieced borders. The first border is large triangles in an alternating solid and print pattern. The next border is scrappy 5″ squares pieced together. Fun fact: Marianne Porter approved my quilt! In person!  I struggled the most with piecing the triangles together. My estimation of a quarter inch seam ended in quite a disaster as the first side border was about 6 inches longer than the pieced center. Bring out the seam ripper! Ultimately, this was such a fun experience, especially knowing my nephew would have years of snuggling with it.

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The proud parents with my quilt

My quilt bio is short and sweet. I’m still learning every day about new quilt techniques and what is the best quilt process for me. I have a huge laundry list of quilts I want to make. I love geometric quilt patterns and fabric. My favorite fabric line is Cotton + Steel (currently-it changes regularly). I’ve been slow to discover my passion of quilting, but now that I’m hooked, there is no stopping me!

 

 

I am so excited to read all about our quilters and see your hard work! Don’t forget, the email is quiltmakermag@gmail.com.

All my best,

Rachel

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Meet the new Online Editor for Quiltmaker!

This is the first blog post of many that will come from me, the new Online Editor of Quiltmaker, Rachel Peterson!

Rachel Peterson 200x300 Meet the new Online Editor for Quiltmaker!

Not to worry, your favorite faces are still at Quiltmaker including Diane, Carolyn and Paula. They will be making many appearances on the blog to show off their quilt skills, quilt-spiration and quilt designs.

Before becoming the Online Editor at Quilmaker, I was administrator at Quilters Club of America, an online forum for quilters to chat, create and problem solve. While there, I discovered a love for quilting and a great appreciation for each and every quilter, no matter a beginner or a pro!

What is my quilt style? My eye tends to be drawn to bright colors. Splashes of teal, coral, vibrant violets and pinks fill my personal style and my quilt style. I enjoy taking traditional quilt patterns and using modern, geometric fabric to transform the quilt into a focal point. The chevron quilts in the latest issue of Quiltmaker are right up my alley!

 Meet the new Online Editor for Quiltmaker!

Haute Ziggity Quilt from Quiltmaker March/April 2015

 

I am a firm believer in quilting for yourself. Do what you like, pick the quilt fabrics you like and use the quilt techniques that work best for you!

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My nephew and his baby quilt

My proudest quilt accomplishment is finishing a baby quilt for my newly born nephew. Seeing him nap on the quilt I made and imagining him tying it around himself for a superhero cape when he is older puts a smile on my face.

My least favorite part of quilting? The quilt binding! I chose to hand bind my baby quilt, but quickly discovered a method that works better for me: machine quilt binding. Which brings me to my favorite part of quilting. There is always something new to learn with quilting. New quilt techniques, new designs to master, new quilt motifs to try. I’m a life-long quilt learner.

What am I excited to be a part of at Quiltmaker? Everything! But if I had to choose one, the upcoming BOM, Quilty Baskets, comes to mind.

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Quilty Baskets BOM in red/brown

This online-only block of the month program is a surefire way to keep quilt inspiration flowing and master quilt techniques. I’m especially excited to join each of the participants on this 12-month quilt adventure as we master mini quilt blocks and string piecing, a quilt skill I’ve been itching to learn.

I’m so excited to be on the Quiltmaker team, and I can’t wait to share quilt stories, humor, techniques and even more quilt blog posts with each and every one of you.

Of course, I have to share some non-quilt fast facts about myself: I thrive on being active and outdoors. Yoga, running and coffee keep me going. I love Pinterest and Instagram more than should be allowed. I could binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy on repeat if it were allowed!

Nice to “virtually” meet you all!

Rachel

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Scrap Quilt Ideas: Emily’s Fragments

Welcome to a brand new year of Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad. We have a whole new team of scrap quilt lovers and a new approach. We’re very excited about all the inspiration that’s in store for QM readers who make scrap quilts.

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The biggest change for 2015 is that instead of six people making the same quilt from an issue, three people will make one quilt and three people will make another. This will give you even more ideas for sewing from your stash to make exciting scrappy quilts from the pages of Quiltmaker. Doesn’t that sound good?

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Quiltmaker March/April ’15

Today’s featured quilt is Fragments from the March/April ’15 issue. It was designed by Janice Averill. This is an easy quilt pattern suitable for confident beginners and beyond.

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Fragments, designed and sewn by Janice Averill. Quilted by Janice Roy. Fabric: Forest Frolic by Timeless Treasues. Batting: The Warm Company.

The fabrics are Forest Frolic from Timeless Treasures, and the batting is from The Warm Company.

Today’s post is by Scrap Squad member Emily Klaczak from Pittsburgh. You’ll hear from Emily in her own words below.

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Emily Klaczak

 

I began by printing a photo of Fragments in black and white so that I could determine the pattern of darks and lights. I really liked the overlapping diagonal lines of this quilt design and in order to maintain that, I decided to use two different  medium colors for the squares, a brighter or contrasting color for the small squares in the corner of each large square, and a dark color for the zig-zagging shape. But what colors?

I had knitted myself a pair of socks last year using a self striping yarn. I loved this colorway — turquoise blue, limey green and gray — and I’m going to look through my stash for blues, greens and grays, and perhaps a pink or orange for the small corner squares.

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One of my favorite pairs of socks.

How much fabric would I need though…this quilt is labeled “pre-cut friendly,” so it works great with precut strips of 2-1/2″ by 40″. Most of my stash is fat quarter pieces or larger, and charm squares. I would like to make this quilt using larger pieces than those used in the original design.

I don’t have quilt design software on our computer but I do have graph paper and colored pencils. So after drawing out blocks A and B, I filled the design components with the colors that I planned to use. I then divided the blocks into 4″ squares and saw that I now had many 4-1/2″ squares, and blocks which were made from 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangles and 2-1/2″ squares. The block  should go together more quickly than it would if I were sewing together strips of different lengths.

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Pencil and paper — low tech, but it works for me!

How much fabric would I need, since I was altering the original piecing plan, and making the quilt a throw size instead of a bed size? I counted out how many squares and rectangles in each color (blue, green, grey) that I would need  to complete the quilt top. Then I used an app called QuiltingCalc on my iPad to tell me how much yardage I needed to cut (for example) 36 4-1/2″ blue squares. (Answer: 1/2 yard.) Now I had an idea of how much fabric I would need for each color.

Then I went through my stash looking for blues, green and grays. Except that I didn’t like any of my grays! Too dark and dreary. So then I thought of taupe, but eventually settled on cool browns that went with the greens and blues from the stash.

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When I started ironing and cutting fabric, I eliminated the blue snowflakes and the green plaid. On second look, they didn’t go with the rest of the fabrics.

I went to the charm square bin for the pinks and peachy pinks.

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Some of these fabrics didn’t make the final cut, either.

While cutting up the fabrics, I noted that many squares of the same fabric were joined vertically across the blocks.  Would it  be faster to cut out 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ blocks wherever this occurred?  I got out my graph paper and colored pencils again and came up with a new layout:

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More graph paper and pencil

 

Now I had 4-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ blocks. Not only would I be able to cut and sew even fewer pieces but it would be easier to keep track of exactly where I was, with the help of a paper clip.

The first quilt block went together fairly quickly:

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It doesn’t look anything like my socks. But I like where it is going.

Since it would have been confusing to cut all of my pieces at one time, I didn’t complete more than one or two 4-1/2″ x 24″ partial block at a time, and I sewed them together as I went. This ensured that I didn’t sew the wrong fabrics together and break up the diagonal pattern of the blocks.

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Keeping the diagonal brown line intact

And here is my finished quilt top!

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My finished quilt top

It’s got a slightly different rhythm than I had envisioned; the blues and greens seem to be climbing up the quilt rather than going from side to side. But I very much like what is happening.

In retrospect, if I had chosen blue and green prints with light backgrounds, they would have probably worked well with grey, and I would have had a quilt to match my favorite socks. But now I have a quilt that reminds me of an early spring garden: brown mulch, green leaves, blue and pink flowers starting to bud. It’s a pleasant thought for a snowy February morning.

The original design of this quilt was named Fragments.  Since I made mine using larger pieces, should I name my version “Chunks”?

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Quiltmaker March/April ’15

Get the March/April issue in print or digital.

Get just the digital pattern for Fragments.

 

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New Year’s Mystery: Part 8 and Final

We made it! This is the final installment in Quiltmaker’s New Year’s Mystery quilt. Today you get the final step and a picture of the finished quilt. Woohoo!

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Without delay, here’s…

Auld Lang Stitches Part 8

Printer-friendly version of Part 8

Cutting

Blue Tone-on-Tone
10 strips 2-1/4″ x 40″ for binding

Sewing

Sew 2 section 3’s and 2 section 4’s together as shown to make a block. Make 48 blocks.

Block New Years Mystery: Part 8 and FinalRefer to the assembly diagram below. Noting block orientations, sew 6 blocks together to make a row. Make 8 rows. Turning every other row upside down, sew the rows together.

Assembly 809x1024 New Years Mystery: Part 8 and Final

Press the quilt top. Refer to the quilting placement diagram below as well as the Sky Diamond quilting motif.

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Mark the Sky Diamond quilting in the blocks as shown. Layer and baste together the backing, batting and quilt top. Quilt the marked lines. Bind the quilt.

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Sky Diamond Quilting (not actual size). Printer-friendly pdf of Part 8 below includes the full-size quilting motif.

Printer-friendly version of Part 8 includes the full-size quilting motif.

Our quilt was sewn by Margaret Kennedy, who was a member of the 2014 QM Scrap Squad. Didn’t she do a beautiful job?

 New Years Mystery: Part 8 and Final

The finished New Year’s Mystery quilt, Auld Lang Stitches. Designed by Paula Stoddard. Made by Margaret Kennedy. Fabric: Northcott.

I have so enjoyed this mystery journey with all of you. Now please tell us in the comments below, are you working on it? How far have you gotten? Do you like the finished quilt? Keep on sewing and you’ll get there!

NewYearsMystery 300 New Years Mystery: Part 8 and Final

 

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New Year’s Mystery Part 7

Things are starting to come together now in Quiltmaker’s New Year’s Mystery quilt, Auld Lang Stitches.

NewYearsMystery 300 New Years Mystery Part 7

This project made me wonder what “Auld Lang Syne” actually means. Turns out that a great Scottish songwriter named Robert Burns wrote the poem in 1788. He collected some of the words for Auld Lang Syne from old songs that had been passed down, and he added some of his own. It quickly became a well-loved Scottish tradition to sing the song any time there was a farewell, when people wanted to recognize old times, long friendships and precious memories. Its original tune was different than the one we sing now.

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Copyright free image from savingmorethanme.com

Auld Lang Syne may be translated as “old long since”, or more generally, long long ago, days gone by or old times. In the first line of the chorus, For Auld Lang Syne can be loosely translated as “for the sake of old times.”

Seems a fitting title for a quilt, doesn’t it? Quilting has been going on since long, long ago, and I think it’s safe to say that it holds precious memories for people. When someone learns you’re a quilter, how often do they say, “My grandma made quilts.” It happens to me frequently and I bet it’s the same for you. My quilting friendships are among the most precious of my life, and probably for you, too.

So with all of that, here we go: Part 7 of Auld Lang Stitches.

Printer-friendly pdf for Part 7

Cutting

White Tone-on-Tone
96 rectangles (D) 2″ x 5″
96 squares (E) 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
96 rectangles (F) 2″ x 6-1/2″

Blue Tone-on-Tone
96 squares (E) 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″

Red Tone-on-Tone
96 rectangles (D) 2″ x 5″
96 rectangles (F) 2″ x 6-1/2″

Sewing

Sew a section 1 and a white D together as shown below. Add a white F to the side as shown to make a section 3.

Section3 New Years Mystery Part 7
Using the “Stitch-and-Flip” technique, add a blue E to the corner of section 3 as shown below to complete section 3. Complete 96 section 3’s.

Section3 SF New Years Mystery Part 7
Sew a section 2 and a red D together as shown below. Add a red F to the side as shown to make a section 4.

Section4 New Years Mystery Part 7
Add a white E to the corner of section 4 as shown to complete section 4. Complete 96 section 4’s.

Section4 SF New Years Mystery Part 7

That’s it for Step 7. Pretty exciting stuff! I love it when a mystery quilt begins to take shape. Just one more week and the mystery will be solved. Here’s our actual Step 7 progress, sewn by Margaret Kennedy.

IMG 3585 New Years Mystery Part 7

Step 7 complete

I hope you’re enjoying the process of making this quilt. It’s not a race so relax and take your time. Sew for the pure fun of it—I wrote a blog post this week about quilting for joy!

We’re so glad to have you with us. See you back here next week for the grand finale!

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Not sure what to make next? How about our new Block of the Month called Quilty Baskets? Available in three gorgeous colorways; starts shipping early March.

QuiltyBaskets 600 New Years Mystery Part 7

Quilty Baskets Block of the Month comes in green, red/brown and blue colorways. Designed by Julie Sanders.

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Quilting for Joy

I read a book last week called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I have since cleared some junk piles, straightened a few drawers, and purged one messy countertop. I even tidied up my sewing room.

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Quilting for Joy

Kondo has some interesting theories, including the idea that you should get rid of items that do not bring you joy. I can’t say I’ll donate every last thing in that category, but her words made me pensive. I’ve been thinking a lot about joy.

joyblock Quilting for Joy

Joy

More to the point, I’ve been thinking about joy and quilting. And then I had an experience that drove the point home in quite an uncomfortable way.

tango Quilting for Joy

My “Tango” quilt, made with Fons & Porter’s Scrappy Duo technique

This is a quilt I made recently and named Tango. I used a Fons & Porter (we’re under the same corporate umbrella) technique called Scrappy Duo. My only plan was to use white plus lots of really bright fabrics I loved. Every stitch brought me JOY!

Then I made plans to share this technique with a quilt group I’m in, and I knew they wouldn’t necessarily like my joyful version. So I decided to sew something more subdued and traditional.

brownblocks Quilting for Joy

These quilt blocks did not excite me.

The difference was night and day. I usually enjoy reproduction fabrics, but I could not get excited about these blocks. I had to force myself to make each one. I didn’t want to go into my sewing room. I dreaded the next seam.

brownblocks2 Quilting for Joy

I thought maybe some bubble gum pink would help.

I thought maybe adding a zinger of bubble gum pink would help, but it didn’t. I thought about putting the whole thing in the giveaway pile.

One night I said, “This hardly ever happens but I am tired of sewing.” And the man of the house said, “Wow. That never happens.”

brownblocks3 Quilting for Joy

I stopped here but I’m not sure if I’ll ever quilt it.

Eventually it turned into this quilt top. It’s okay, and I hope the guild people like it, but I really do not. I don’t know if I will ever quilt it. It hasn’t brought me any joy.

bittyblocks121 Quilting for Joy

QM Bitty Blocks: Free quilt block patterns monthly during 2015

Fast forward a few weeks to our new QM Bitty Blocks project. Paula and I have been so excited about these, we race to our sewing rooms in the evenings to work on them. (She’s at her house in Colorado and I’m at my house in Nebraska, but I know exactly what she is up to after dinner.)

bittybaskets1 Quilting for Joy

Bitty Baskets are the Bitty Blocks for February. These were made by QM’s Creative Editor Paula Stoddard.

It’s safe to say that these little blocks are bringing us joy! One night close to bedtime I had an idea about the Bitties and I went to email Paula, only to find that she was emailing me a photo of Bitties she’d just finished.

bittybaskets8 Quilting for Joy

More Bitty Baskets

She tagged her message #obsessed, and wondered, “We’re emailing about these blocks at 10 pm. What does that say about us?”

I think it says that

QM Bitty Blocks are bringing us joy.

And really, if your quilting doesn’t do that, what is the point?

Here are more things I’ve learned about quilting for joy.

I don’t hurry when I sew. Hurrying reduces my enjoyment of the process. I take my time.
• I rarely make a quilt “to order” (as in using fabrics and a design someone else selects). I do make quilts for people I love, but I have to love them, too.
• I sew a small portion of any large project before I commit. If I don’t enjoy it, I move on.
• I take good care of my sewing machine. Nobody delights in mechanical problems.
• When I make a mistake, I take it in stride. It’s not the Marine Corps, it’s quilting.

I hope you’ll quilt for joy, too.
Doesn’t that sound like fun?

joyblock 150x150 Quilting for Joy

Quilt for joy!

Posted in Quilty Lifestyle | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

We are so happy to announce another fabulous 4-part Mystery pattern by Debbie Caffrey. Debbie has been a long-time friend of Quiltmaker, and we’re so glad to have her back!

Debbie Caffrey headshot1 Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Debbie Caffrey

Part 1 of Walk in the Park Mystery appears in our March/April 2015 issue.

QMMP 150200 cover 200 Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Quiltmaker March/April ’15

Walk in the Park Mystery uses four fabrics. The most important thing is that there is good contrast between the fabrics. I know that picking fabrics for a mystery quilt can be tricky, and downright nerve-wracking, but we’ve limited the number of fabrics in this pattern to four, and that makes the fabric decisions a little easier.

We’ve also put together three fabulous kits that you will love, love, love!

Blue Lagoon features Ashton Road by Valorie Wells and Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman.

Blue Lagoon colorway2 Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Blue Lagoon colorway

 

Holiday Magic features Mistletoe Lane by Moda Fabrics.

Christmas colorway Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Holiday Magic colorway

 

Gemstones features Artisan Spirit Good Vibrations Mysteria and Toscana by Northcott.

gemstones colorway1 Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Gemstones colorway

Aren’t they all just yummy? All three of these kits are available on our shop site.

Part 1, in the March/April ’15 issue, gives instructions for sections 1–3. We’ll show you how the sections are put together here, but please refer to the issue for patch sizes and the number of sections to make.

Section 1 consists of joining 2 B triangles to an A square. It’s easiest to press the seam allowances toward the B’s. As always, be gentle when sewing and pressing triangles.

section1 Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Section 1

 

Section 2 consists of sewing 6 patches together. Notice that the section is first sewn into rows, and that the seam allowances are pressed toward the triangles. If you press your seams like this, they will nest nicely when you sew the rows together. Be very gentle when handling the triangles and check to make sure your patches are coming out to the right size. Adjust your seam allowance if necessary. The center C patch should be 2″ when sewn into a section 2. This section should measure 3-3/8″ across when it is sewn together.

section2a Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Section 2

Section 3 is exactly like section 2, but it uses different fabrics. Section 3 should also measure 3-3/8″ across when it is sewn together.

section3a Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Section 3

 

When they’re in the finished quilt, the photos below are what the sections will look like. These photos below do not show the seam allowances; your sections at this point will have seam allowances.

Mystery1Units Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Part 1, Sections 1-3, Blue Lagoon fabrics

Mystery2Units Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Part 1, Sections 1-3, Holiday Magic fabrics

Mystery3Units Walk in the Park Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Part 1, Sections 1-3, Gemstones fabrics

Again, please note that sections 2 and 3 should measure 3-3/8″ across, including seam allowances.

Here’s a video showing Part 1 of Walk in the Park Mystery.

http://youtu.be/7ASUGzEIkC8

We’d love to have you quilt along with us on this mystery journey! Follow along here on our blog, or follow along on our YouTube channel. Gather your quilty friends and have a mystery party!

The mystery begins with Quiltmaker March/April ’15. Find the kits on our shop site.

 

Posted in QM Issues | 3 Comments

QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

#qmbittyblocks

We’re having a lot of fun with Bitty Blocks around here, and last week I started making Bitty Baskets. Paula did a nice job on last week’s tutorial, and her enthusiasm is contagious.

bittybaskets4 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Bitty Baskets from Quiltmaker

A number of people have commented about the smallness of the half-square triangles (also called triangle-squares; the two terms mean exactly the same thing). I wanted to share some options with you, and perhaps you’ll find they make the triangles easier to handle.

BBtrionaroll QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Triangles on a Roll

For the first few baskets I made, I used triangle paper called Triangles on a Roll. In fact I use paper to make triangle-squares of any size, all the time. It’s the most accurate method for me. I also use and like Thangles, paper, shown below.

8787 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Thangles triangle papers come in many sizes.

But in case you don’t want to use paper, I have another little trick that I absolutely love. You can use this any time you need half-square triangles for quilts. First I’m going to explain how it’s done, and then I’ll explain the math for those who are interested.

hsttrick1 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Start with 2 squares.

Begin with 2 squares. For 1″ finished triangle-squares, cut them 3-3/4″ x 3-3/4″ (that’s 3.75″). Please note: These photos use larger squares but the process is exactly the same.

hsttrick2 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Mark one of the squares 1/4″ out from the diagonal center in both directions.

On its wrong side, mark one square 1/4″ out from the diagonal center in both directions. I do this with a Quarter-Inch Seam Marker, but you can use any quilting ruler that’s long enough to cover the diagonal.

hsttrick3 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

The square is marked in both directions, 1/4″ out from each side of the diagonal center.

Place the squares right sides together.

hsttrick4 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Sew on all of the marked lines.

Sew on all of the marked lines.

hsttrick5 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Cut on the vertical and horizontal centers of the squares by lining up the ruler as shown.

Cut on the vertical and horizontal centers of the squares (in other words, cut down the middle, both ways) by lining up the ruler as shown. On 3-3/4″ squares (for 1″ finished triangle-squares), halfway across is 1-7/8″.

hsttrick6 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Make a second set of cuts between the lines of stitching as shown.

Make a second set of cuts between the lines of stitching as shown.

hsttrick7 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

This method yields 8 half-square triangles.

You’ll get 8 half-square triangles using this method.

hsttrick8 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Eight pretty little triangle-squares

Open up each one and press gently so as not to stretch.

hsttrick9 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Trim off the little dog ears.

Trim off the tiny triangular “dog ears” and the triangle-squares are ready to use in your Bitty Blocks or any other project you choose.

How to Figure the Square Sizes: Understanding the Math

For those who are interested, it’s not difficult to determine what size to cut the squares for any half-square triangles you wish to make.

HSTs copy QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

You may already know the rule of 7/8″, i.e. in order to make two half-square triangles from two squares, you take the finished size and add 7/8″. If you’re making two HSTs to finish at 4″ as shown above, you cut two squares 4-7/8″, put them right sides together and sew 1/4″ out from both sides of the diagonal center. Cut between the lines of stitching and you have two HSTs that are now 4-1/2″, to finish at 4″ square. This method is shown above.

hsttrick6 300x251 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

You’re just grouping more squares together!

What you’re doing with the trick I showed in photos further above is putting 4 of these squares together, 2 across and 2 down. So you have the size of the finished unit, times 2. And you must add the 7/8″ twice , which is 1-3/4″ (1.75″).

So if you’re making 1″ finished triangle-squares for Bitty Blocks, the math goes like this:

1″ + 1″ + 1.75″ = 3.75″

If you’re making 2″ finished triangle-squares, the math would be this:

2″ + 2″ + 1.75 = 5.75″

If you’re making 4″ finished triangle-squares, the math would be this:

4″ + 4″ + 1.75″ + 9.75″

In other words, multiply the finished size by 2 and add 1.75″.

Here’s a little chart with often-used sizes.

Finished size of HST     Size to cut the squares
1″                                               3.75″
1.5″                                            4.75″
2″                                               5.75″
2.5″                                           6.75″
3″                                              7.75″
4″                                              9.75″

Give it a try and see how it goes. I love this method for small patches especially, and I think you will, too. Send your questions and photos to editor@quiltmaker.com, or ask questions in the comments. Happy Stitching!

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Posted in Quilting 101, Scrap Squad | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments