9/10/2014

My Twisted Traditional Block and Giveaway

Today I am a guest for the 52 Weeks of Twisted Traditional Blocks Quilt Along hosted by Kim at Persimon Dreams. I follow Kim's blog and in April I e-mailed telling her I would like to make a "new" block from a traditional quilt block. I am happy Kim let me take a guest spot. Visit Persimon Dreams and read Kim's interview with me as well as viewing the other twisted blocks that have been posted since January. HERE is the Flickr link to all the blocks.

I hope all of you enjoy the CURIOUS CATS block. I had fun designing it. I was on the lookout for mouse fabric while on our trip to the Upper Peninsulaand found this one at The Quilted Moose Quilt Shop.



My inspiration came when I found a photo of a block on the internet. I sketched it, but did not write down the website or blog it came from. It made me think of cats watching something interesting. Maybe fish or mice or bugs! 

The traditional name of the block is Missouri Star according the The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer. The book has more than 4050 pieced blocks and it took me a bit of time to find one that matched. Below is the block as I first drew it in EQ7:



I changed it a bit as you can see in the block below. 


Once I drew Curious Cats in EQ7, it was easy to cut the pieces for this block. EQ7 showed me the the rotary cutting requirements for the pieces and I just had to follow the directions: 


For my Twisted Traditional Block, I used only 2 colors for the cats. But as you can see, more colors can be used. 

If you would like to make this block here are the sizes of the pieces:

From Background Fabric cut:
  •            4  A squares 3-1/2” x 3-1/2”
  •            1  B square 7-1/4” x 7-1/4” and cut diagonally twice yielding 4 B Triangles

From each Cat Color cut:
  •            3  C squares 3-7/8” x 3-7/8” and cut each diagonally once yielding 6 C Triangles of each color

From  5” Center Fabric cut:
  •           1  D square 4-3/4” x 4-3/4”


I placed all of the pieces on the table as they were going to be sewn so I did not sew calico cats of different colors! (I have no photo of this step.)

To sew the block, begin with the center. Sew 2 C triangles (longer sides) of grey to opposite sides of the center square. 



Sew the 2 C triangles (longer sides) of black to the other sides of the center square.



Trim off any dog ears from the triangles to reduce the amount of fabric when stitching all the units together. 

Sew one of each color of C Triangle (longer side) to the larger B Background triangle (shorter side). 
Two B background triangles will have C triangles of color 1 on the left side and the other 2 B background triangles will have C triangles of color 1 on the right side.


My 1/4" foot really helped keep the units the correct size when sewing!


Sew the units into rows. 


See how two of the Flying Geese units have gray on the right side and the other two have the gray on the left side? 



Then sew the rows together. 


And the block is done.


To get the faces on the cats, I used thin copy paper and traced the outline of the cat's head. I folded the shape in half, drew an eye and half a nose and mouth on one side of the fold. I cut those areas out with tiny scissors and had a template. 




For illustration, the photo above shows the template on the block after I had stitched the face. I placed this over each of the cat heads and used a chalk pencil to outline where I would stitch. I have not embroidered in a long time and think magnifying glasses would have helped to do a really great job. But, I got the facial features on each cat (and each one is different). I realized after I had done 2 cats that fusible interfacing would have helped keep the fabric in its proper shape. But overall, I know they are cats (as did my husband, thank goodness). Fabric paint pens could have been used and it would have been much easier. 

This pattern is available for free for 2 weeks at PATTERNSPOT.COM  after that the pattern will be available for $1.

If you make the block, please send me a photo and I will post it on my blog. It would be great to see how everyone interprets this block.

Now, for the GIVEAWAY. . . . . . 

I have a pack of 5" novelty prints that would interest curious cats. Leave a comment telling me what color your cats would be. If for some reason you are not able to comment on the blog, send an email to patchworkbreeze(at)gmail.com type CATS in the subject line. On September 24, 2014, I will pick a winner using the random generator. If you are or become a follower of my blog, let me know and you will earn a second entry to win. 












9/01/2014

August Was a Busy Month

August was a busy month for me and my family. 

My husband and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary in the first week. It is amazing to think that we have been married so long and yet the time seems to have gone by quite quickly and enjoyably. 

He and I took a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the 3rd week of the month. It was a laid-back trip. We spent one night on Drummond Island, where he and his dad built a little cabin in 1985. The next morning we headed for Escanaba, Michigan to visit with his cousin and his wife. We took a leisurely drive via the Row by Row Experience! It is so wonderful that he was willing to detour a bit to help me obtain the patterns.

We went to Gloria's Quilts in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (a.k.a. Soo, Michigan) so I could pick up the free pattern there. Gloria was so nice. And  her husband, Paul, is also.  She has a spacious, well lit shop and I had to purchase the kit for the Row by Row because of the Northern Lights fabric. Take a look at her website, she has photos. She said I could take a photo of the Row by Row to post on my blog. 


We went down the road to The Quilted Moose Quilt Shop. They were not participating in the Row by Row, but being so close I had to stop. I am glad I did. I found just the fabric I wanted for the block I am making for my guest spot on the 52 Weeks Twisted Traditional Blocks on September 10! You will have to come visit to see what the fabric was and how I used it in the block. 

Quilting friends from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada (across the the St. Mary's River via the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, often known just at the International Bridge between these twin cities) told about the wonderful coffee they get in Michigan from Superior Coffee Roasting Company. I don't drink much coffee, but I knew our younger daughter would enjoy some. I chose Sailor Sunrise for her and brought it to her recently. She said it was very good. 

Our next stop was about 30 miles away in Paradise, Michigan, the Wild Blueberry Capitol of Michigan and the gateway to Tahquamenon Falls. We had our lunch packed so we stopped at the mouth of the Tahquamenon River to eat and enjoy a view of Lake Superior. We were off to Village Fabrics & Crafts. 



The shop has many woodsy and nature fabric selections as well as flannels and fun children's prints. There is pine paneling inside and so many quilts on display. They have a nice room for sewing and lots of embellishments for the artistic quilter. I could not pass up the Row by Row kit of a bear and moose in the blueberries. I also bought fabric for a blueberry muffin table runner and some Angelina sheets.


It was here that my husband found a fabric panel a few years ago when we stopped that he asked me to make into a cover for his pool table.Hhe really likes and appreciates it.  This is how it turned out. (Hard to get a full photo of a large cover like this.)



 Well, we were not finished yet. There was another quilt shop in Curtis, Michigan. The Lavender Cottage is a gem in the rough. And I mean rough because it is out in what I would say is the middle of God's country. After leaving the tar road, it is 5 miles down a gravel road. I am glad there are humorous signs along to way because the first time I went there I was sure I must have missed it. I wish I had taken photos of the signs. They say things like "4 Miles Ahead," "Only 1/2 mile to go," "You are almost there."





The shop may be small, but it is filled with fabrics. Beautiful batiks, loads of woodsy-themed prints, food prints galore, and many novelty prints. The staff is friendly. Many quilters from the local campgrounds come here. In fact, one of  my friends from the Lower Peninsula camps here and goes quite often for her sewing needs. I bought quite a few cuts of woodsy fabrics for the potholders I am making. Of course I got the Row by Row pattern: 


We headed off to Escanaba at this point. I was happy and content to crochet a dishcloth as my husband drove. 

I will show you what I found in Escanaba in the next post. Thank you for stopping. If you are ever in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, stop at these quilt stores for a dose of inspiration and maybe a yard or two of fabric. 

Comments are welcome. If you cannot comment via Blogger, email me at 
patchworkbreeze (at) gmail (dot) com and I will respond. 








8/05/2014

Mystery Stop and My Recent Projects



Day 6

The last day of the Quilters' Bus Trip (I know I am a bit late with this post) was filled with anticipation since every year there is a mystery stop on the trip. We left Cleveland, Ohio, and headed back to Michigan. Not long after crossing the state line we stopped in Dundee (right across the road from the Cabella's where my husband enjoys going) to visit:


This was one of 37 Russell Stover outlet stores in the United States and on the website it tells the features of the store  (and I hope the company does not mind my quoting them):
  • Candy Kitchen - Handmade confections including hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries, gourmet caramel apples, multiple varieties of nut clusters and more.
  • Baked Goods - Fresh baked cookies from exclusive Russell Stover scratch recipes.
  • Bulk Case - Custom Build a Box of your favorite chocolates by the piece/pound.
  • Fudge - Many flavors of silky handmade fudge made fresh in the store with real butter.
  • Ice Cream - 32 flavors of hand dipped Blue Bell Ice Cream served as cones, cups, sundaes, and milkshakes.
  • Coffee - Fresh gourmet roast coffee.
  • Jelly Belly - 48 flavors of Jelly Belly brand jelly beans.
  • Russell Stover {the store} exclusive flavor boxes that can be found in no other stores.
  • Complete assortment of Russell Stover and Whitman's products including sugar free and Weight Watchers by Whitman's.
  • Buses are always welcome!
I just giggle with their last statement: Buses are always welcome! And oh, my they made us feel welcome. They knew we were stopping and throughout the store they had half pieces of candies for us to sample.  Before lunch! Oh, my they all tasted good. I believe most of us bought something, if not quantities. Just a few ladies were able to resist. And lucky was our last stop. It would have sad to have o urpurchases melt during the main part of the tour. I put my chocolates in plastic bags in the freezer to keep on hand for visitors or special occasions. Do you ever freeze chocolates when they are specially priced for later? 

What I Have Been Working On

During the past few weeks I have been trying to get a little sewing done between some vacation time with family, working at the Gala Gourmet Store and routine housework. 

I have 9 Swoon Blocks to finish and get sent out by the August 20. Here are some of the blocks I have finished. They measure 16" square. Each participant chose the colors desired. It has been fun going through my fabrics to find the colors needed. I posted my own (for testing the pattern) HERE.


I have made more potholders for sale at Gala Gourmet. The first 9 I brought in sold. The customers like the loop for hanging and the theme prints I am using. 




Row by Row Experience

I am trying to go to some of the local Michigan quilt shops that are participating in the Row by Row Experience. I will take little detours as I travel and pick up the free patterns. Maybe I will find a kit or two to purchase because of the fabrics that I won't find in my stash. 

Are any of you visiting shops that have Row by Rows? If you haven't heard about this national (includes Ontario, Canada, too) event check it out HERE.











8/02/2014

Construction Notes on My Urban Contrast Quilt

I wanted to share a few techniques I used to make this little quilt. 


I printed the photos on EQ Printables Photo Fabric Sheets. I used Regular Cotton (200 thread count). I usually use Cotton Lawn with 240 threads and do like it better as I think it is a softer fabric. But this printed well on my older HP Deskjet F2210. I used the normal print setting. In the past I have not found a difference in the ink quality of the BEST setting and the NORMAL setting. 


I like the backing on the EQ sheets. It is a plastic-type film which peels off so easily. Then the fabric print goes into water to rinse out any extra ink. I have tried other sheets that have a paper backing and some of the papers are a bear to get off. 

I wanted to sash the quilt with a street look. I cut 1-1/4" strips of a black textured fabric and 1" strips of a solid yellow fabric. I sewed the yellow to one black strip and pressed toward the black.


I knew the yellow strip had to be narrow to give somewhat proper proportions. I decided on making it 1/8" wide. I had cut the strip wider than I needed so I could trim it down and get rid of any wiggly edge. I lined up my ruler so that I had the 1/8" of yellow and the 1/4" seam allowance. And my cut was straight because I lined up the seam line on the 3/8" mark on the ruler.


This trimming would make it straight when I sewed on the other black piece.


I had the sashings ready. I cut them a bit longer than the photos so I could trim each step of the way. 


I sewed the bottom two photos and sashing together.


A center sashing was sewn to the two top photos that would be attached to the lower section as you see in the completed quilt. Here is a close-up of the sashing. I am quite pleased with the straightness of the yellow strips.


The outer borders were added.
Before I began quilting, I chose to sew the label on the backing fabric. This is something I want to start doing with all my quilts. (I have heard of quilts that are stolen and labels are removed when they are attached with handstitching.)

To begin, I printed my label on a photo fabric sheet. With the label face down on the backing, I sewed the bottom edge to the backing. I used the water soluble basting tape to turn the side edges and the top edge under. I like this tape since it holds and I don't have to iron and fuss with the seam allowances in places like this. 


I put one extra piece of soluble tape on the top fold to hold the label to the backing so I could stitch it down without using pins. 



And the label is attached. After quilting the entire quilt, I saw that part of the quilting ran through the label. I should have planned the label a bit better to avoid this, but no doubt it is secure.  If anyone removes the label, there will be more work involved than they may want. 



On a large quilt, I don't think I would mind that the quilting goes through the label. Let me know what your thoughts are on labels and security. 


Remember, comment here or you can email me at patchworkbreeze(at)gmail.com

Stop by Monday to see the pincushion that arrived from my swap partner the other day. I will also post some photos of my latest project. 















8/01/2014

Four-In-Art Quilt Group: August Topic Reveal






The time has arrived for the August reveal for our group of quilters. The theme this year was Urban and the topic for this round was Contrast. I am eagerly waiting to see how the others in the group have interepretted the topic. 
I had been taking photos for a few months to see what contrast I could find in the urban environs where I traveled. 
I began thinking of contrast of shapes in buildings. A few things interested me, such as the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame with its many line forms. Ok, it might work well, but not for this round. 



Then I clicked a photo of the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, while driving past one day. I liked the wavy lines on the front of the building in contrast to the straight lines of the building and window frames.


I started working on this as my piece and didn't get far -- I just couldn't feel it. I realized I wanted to do something different than another building this time. 


So I went back to listing contrast ideas: colors, shapes, size, texture, building materials, and opposites like old/new, wealthy/poor, light/shadow. I looked through many of my photos from the past few years and I was drawn to texture. I chose many photos that contained sidewalks, walkways, streets and such. I thought I could print the photos after manipulating them a bit in PSE and add texture through the quilting. I decided that the photos would be small enough that I didn't have to add quilting to them. This made sense since my deadline was a little more than a day away! (Planning is the longest part of the process for me.) So which of these to work with?


 
 
 
 

I knew that in a 12" x 12" piece I could not use all of these photos. So I chose those that reflected contrasting textures and light and dark. These images would be found in an urban area along the streets, perhaps specifically on corners. That helped me along to the next phase of construction--how to join them all together, as my window of time lessened more.  

So, a city street it would be!

Right now I will reveal to you the finished piece, titled: Which Side of the Street? 


I wanted to indicate the street by showing the centerline. I sewed a narrow yellow line of fabric between two wider black textured strips of fabric. The intersection would be a plain black square. I decided that the fabric photo squares were less than 5" either way and would not need quilting. I used EQ Printeables (Regular Cotton sheets) for the prints. (The needle did leave a bit of a hole mark when sewing the street sashing to them, so quilting was, perhaps, not a wise choice.) I quilted a straight line along the outside of all the black sashings and borders.


Tomorrow I will post the construction details of the front and label for those who are interested. Leave me a comment if you would let me know what type of urban contrast pops into your mind. 
If you cannot comment on my blog, send it to: patchworkbreeze(at)gmail.com

Take a few moments to visit the other Four-in-Art Quilters in the group to see how they interpretted the topic of Urban Contrast. 

Carla @Lollyquiltz
Betty @Flickr Site
Leanne @She Can Quilt 
You are visiting Me @ Patchwork Breeze right now!