Hello again! It's mid-January here in Mississippi and we've had colder weather than usual. As I sit here with my mug of hot cocoa typing this blog post, I am able to see yesterday's snowfall on the ground through my dining room window as well as a layer of snow and ice on our pond. Even though it is still very cold, the sun is shining brightly, and the snow is melting and dripping off of our roof making long pointy icicles! I've enjoyed our brief taste of snowy weather; it's been fun sitting in front of the fireplace in the evenings with my quilting hoop in hand and listening to a good audio book (Persuasion by Jane Austen is my newest interest).
I will confess though that I will be glad when we get back to our "normal" mild winter weather.
Speaking of mild weather, this is usually the time of year that I start planning the spring garden. I can't help it... my genetics are to blame. I love dirt; it's in my blood. I eagerly anticipate spring because I can't wait to start crawling around on my hands and knees in the garden pulling weeds and planting seedlings.
Our little homestead comes alive in the spring and a variety of blossoms just seem to emerge overnight. I like to call it a "visual feast" of color and beauty. God's handiwork is evident everywhere I look.
As spring ends and summer approaches, one of the many things I look forward to is the blueberries! We are incredibly blessed with a large blueberry patch on our property, which was planted by the previous owners several years ago. Two or three mornings a week from late June to late July I head out early to pick blueberries. It is a quiet, peaceful time that I cherish. I'm actually a little sad each summer when the blueberry harvest is finished.
For some reason, gardening and quilting just seem to go together. As a quilter, I find inspiration for my designs in so many places, but no place offers more inspiration to me than what I find in nature. Since I love blueberries, you can imagine how happy I was to find this free blueberry quilt block pattern over on Wendy Russell's website, Patchwork Square!
Blueberry Pie is a nine-patch block featuring Flying Geese units and half-square triangles, which are fairly common in many quilt blocks. This is considered an intermediate level block. Even though it is not difficult, it does require accurate piecing. Click HERE for the link to Wendy's free PDF pattern for this block! While you are there, check out her blog...there are dozens of free, beautiful quilt block patterns on her site.
Wendy's pattern shows the block in three sizes: 6", 9", and 12". I chose the 12" block for my project.
I used "Roses on the Vine" fabric by Maywood Studio for my Blueberry Pie block.
To begin constructing the block, you will sew eight half-square triangles and eight flying geese units. Click HERE for a wonderful tutorial from www.connectingthreads.com titled "Intro to Half Square Triangles". And you may want to click HERE for a great little video I found for quick and easy Flying Geese units.
You can chain-piece the half-square triangles and the Flying Geese units for faster assembly.
Next, you will combine the Flying Geese units and the four-patch units as shown above.
Lay the block out according to the example above and sew the top, middle, and bottom rows together.
I hope you have as much fun making this quilt block as I did! Stay tuned for a future post on the surprise project I'm designing with the Blueberry Pie block!
This block is the first in the 2018 Block of the Month Mystery Star Quilt I am doing over on my Facebook page. I thought it would be great to do a tutorial for each month's block so that my blog readers could benefit as well. Please click HERE to visit my Facebook page. It's not too late to request a spot in my Block of the Month group...we would love to have you join the fun!
The Evening Star block is actually a Sawtooth Star variation, and is an easy choice for beginners. It is such a wonderfully classic block, and would be lovely as the theme of a quilt. Since this block goes together quickly, it would be a great choice for a weekend baby quilt! There are so many ways to color your Evening Star... I think you'll have fun working with this pattern. Let's get started!
The above image shows the pieces you will need for one 12" block. All seams are sewn with a 1/4" seam allowance. To make multiple blocks for an entire quilt, simply multiply the pieces by the number of blocks you plan to make in all. For example, if I wanted to make a small quilt with a 3 x 3 block setting (9 blocks in all), I would need the number of pieces per block times nine.
Each block has three main units: a middle unit, four Flying Geese units, and four corner units. Please see the detailed instructions below for sewing the Flying Geese units.
Step 1 -To begin: mark the back of each 3 1/2" square (unit D) with a diagonal line as shown above. I used a Frixion pen to mark my units because the ink will disappear when pressed with a hot steam iron.
Step 2 - Place the first square unit onto the rectangle unit with the right sides together. Notice the placement of the diagonal line in the image above.
Step 3 - Sew from corner to corner on the drawn diagonal line. Use an anchor piece to keep the machine from bunching up at the tip of your corner. It would be good to note here that if you sew slightly to outside of the diagonal line, then your corner will come up short. It's important to sew on the line and not to the outside. Chain stitching works wonderfully for this step if you are planning to sew multiple Flying Geese units.
Step 4 - First, press the stitching in order to set the seam, then trim the corner 1/4" away from the stitching line; finally, press the corner open.
Step 5 - As before, stitch the square unit onto the rectangle with right sides together on the diagonal line. The second block with slightly overlap the first.
Step 6: Set the seam with an iron, trim the second corner 1/4" inch away from the stitching line, and press open. Voila! Now you have a beautiful Flying Geese unit! Now make 4 total units.
Now to assemble and finish the block...
Assemble the top and middle rows by sewing a Flying Geese unit to the corner units of the top and bottom rows; sew a Flying Geese unit to the left and right sides of the middle unit. See diagram above.
Using your iron (I like to use steam), set your seams and press. It is important, for the next step, that you press the outer and middle rows in opposite directions. (See the above image).
Next, pin and sew the top and bottom rows to the middle. Be sure to nest your seams together with the dark seams going in opposite directions. This will give you a nice flat block without bumps. It will also make the whole project easier to machine quilt.
Your block should look like this from the back.
Lastly, trim your block to 12" using a square ruler. All finished! Wasn't that fun and easy? I hope you will try this block using your favorite fabric. I would love to hear from you, so please leave me a question or comment below. Remember, the time you invest in sewing today will find you that much more of an expert at sewing tomorrow!
Hello! I hope you are having great week. It's so hard to believe that we have begun a new year! Our Christmas holidays are flying by, but we are blessed to be spending some very nice time with family and friends. This was our first holiday season since my mom's passing in February, and while we dearly miss her, we are thankful to feel her loving presence in our family gatherings. Here is a link to The Unfinished Quilt, which is a tribute article I wrote in Mom's honor shortly after her death.
Everyone in our home seems to be happily enjoying our winter break; however, in just a few weeks, two of our older boys will be off to college again for their second semester of studies, and our youngest son will be completing his first year of high school. My, how time does fly!
All in all our family has had a productive and busy year. My husband happily watched football, baseball and basketball on T.V. in the evenings after a long day's work; the boys have been to Six Flags, the ocean, and to Bible camp. One son is working on his piano skills while another is continuing guitar lessons. And we have had wonderful news from oldest son that he and our daughter-in-law are expecting grandson #2 in June! I've been able to work on several quilting projects and do some planning for future projects as well. One of the projects I finished in time for Christmas was a t-shirt quilt for my sweet grandson's new "Big Boy" bed. I'll post pictures in my Quilt Album soon! Grand Blessings are so wonderful!
I've also spent some time this past year finding ways to help make sewing days more productive by planning out projects for each day and working from a schedule. In addition, I've found ways to keep tools organized and within reach on the work table...what a time saver!
Speaking of tools, I have been planning to find a thread stand for several months because I've switched to larger spools of cotton thread; I use a lot of thread in piecing quilts tops! Another reason I had considered a thread stand is because larger spools tend to flip off of the spool holder of my sewing machine...which is frustrating.
Well, I found one that I absolutely love! Recently, while browsing online, I discovered that thread stands were on sale at Jo-ann! I decided to buy one and have not been disappointed. This stand has a heavy metal base and metal thread holder. It will hold any size spool from regular to mega. And, having a thread stand works wonderfully whenever I'm using a double needle attachment on the machine. One spool sits on the machine, and the other sits in the thread stand. I checked Jo-ann's website today and the thread stands are still on sale! I've included the link below in case you want to check it out.
I also found a wonderful cotton thread that I will probably keep using. Missouri Star Quilt Company is one of my favorite online stores for fabric so I decided to try one of their brands of thread; I was very impressed with the quality of the thread. I love the large spool (which works perfectly with my new thread stand) I ordered the thread in 50w, which means it is handy for quilt piecing. At the time of this post, the price is $15 for a 3000 yard cone...which is a great price. Click the link HERE for more information. If you would like to read some useful facts about thread weight, then please click the image below to read one of my previous articles about choosing the right thread for piecing quilts.
I hope you have a very happy year of creating, crafting, and sewing! I would love to hear from you and about your creative adventures so please leave me a comment below.