Sunday, May 12, 2019

International Sister Block

I first came across the African queen block in 2017.
The newest one

I hunted for the pattern/tutorial but found nothing. I drafted the pattern.

First scribble

I made a block. It was midnight. I was dying to share it with someone who could share my enthusiasm.

My first sister block

I called Bernie on the west coast, knowing that she was likely to be awake. True to my expectations, Bernie was a mountain of encouragement.
Bernie:  I'd be happy to sell it in my Etsy store.
Me: You are very kind.

Internal Voice: It is not your pattern. You should not be profiting from it.
Me: I drafted it. I refined it. I perfected it.
Internal Voice: Not from scratch. The idea was someone else's.
Me: Profit or not, I want to make more of thee blocks.
Internal Voice: Go ahead.

By the time RSC2019 came along, the design had been modified, several outrageously loud fabrics and been acquired and I was ready to churn out these lovely ladies on a regular basis.
And I did.

The Ladies in Red
I experimented with various skin tones - freckles and age spots too.
The ladies were received with universal appeal. I beamed with pleasure.

Sunshine Ladies

Even the closed palms were met with approval. I danced with joy.

Aqua Maidens
Here is a sample of what you said.

There were several requests for a pattern/tutorial and the internal dialogue began all over again.
One thing was abundantly clear to me - IF I shared the pattern it would be free.

But I still struggled with the question - Do I share it with the world?
An email from Mary and another from Nikki goaded me.

The final decision came after a phone call with Mari.
These ladies are very popular.  There is no way you can keep them all to yourself, said Mari. 
If you don't share this tutorial, someone else surely will. 

The credit for naming goes to Cathy, who very wisely said "your lady blocks have morphed from African women to International Sisters"

So here it is. Without further dialogue, internal or otherwise, I present the tutorial for the International Sister Quilt Block.

International Sister Block
Showing Finished Sizes

Fabric Requirements

One square 7" side (skirt)
Two rectangles 1.5" by 4" (sleeves)
One rectangle 2" by 2.5" and One rectangle 2" by 4" (headdress)

Face and Hands
One square 2.5" side (face)
Two squares 1.5" side (palms)

Two rectangles 1.5" by 3.5"
Two rectangles 3" by 7"

All seams are 1/4". Press all seams open.

1. Fold the two squares (palms) in half, (wrong sides together)  along the diagonal and press to create a crease. Place RST on the top corners (one aligning with the top left corner and one with the top right corner) of the small background rectangles. Sew on the crease. Cut 1/4" from the crease, discard the corners and press seams open.  See pictures below.

Aligned with left and right top corners





This was the trickiest step. It is all downhill from here :-)

2. Add the sleeves to the palms. Press seams open. See pictures below.
Add sleeves


3. Sew the headdress to the face. Press seams open. See picture below.

Face and Headdress

4. Arrange all the pieces on the board.
Closed Palms
 If you switch the sleeves (left to right & right to left) you will get the open palms look)

Open Palms
You must decide whether you want palms open/closed before you add the large background rectangles to the sleeves. In this case, I am proceeding with an open palms block.

Almost done

5. Sew the left sleeve to the skirt and the right sleeve to the head.
One more seam to go

6. One last seam and we are done.
Yes, please

Press seams open for a neat flat finish. Square the block to 10.5".
Time for a happy dance.

Of course, if you'd rather rest then please let the world know with the closed palms look.
Another time
Thanks to all my quilty sisters - Bernie, Mari, Nikki, Mary and Cathy.  You made this tutorial possible.  Once again, I will be eagerly watching this space for your quilty hugs (translated into comments) :-D

Should you have questions, please ask in the comments. I will respond here so that all can see.

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties, including Angela's Scrap Happy Saturday.  See full list on the sidebar.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Four Cities, Four Stars

Me: I will miss you.
Paul: Nah. You will be too busy having fun.
Me: I had so much travel last year. I wanted to take it easy this year.
Paul: But here you go again and to Europe this time.
Me: Last year I went to Canada, Mexico and India.
Paul: And which countries will you visit this year?
Me: Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
Paul: What if they run out of room in your passport for stamps?
Me: You are being silly.
Paul: Have fun.

And I had so much fun.  You know when you have an extraordinary experience, the memory lingers long after the actual event is over?  I have been back for a week now and I am still smiling.
And the stories...oh the stories of the handsome ticket agent, the cute waiter, the night we broke the key in the lock, the day when Nina and I had a fight and went in different directions...and eventually made up.

But let's start from the beginning. Our first stop was Amsterdam.

Just the right color

But slightly big
 I am not wealthy.  But I do live a rich life :-)
Windmill Cruise, Lisse. Near Amsterdam

Windmill. Can you spot the clogs?

The following pictures are from the Keukenhof tulip gardens near Amsterdam.  The challenge was to pick a few pictures from the 200+ that I took.

Just wow!!!

Indoor display

So happy to be here

Look at the thick whorls

This is how sunshine is captured!!!

Still tulips - but unlike any other

Second stop - Hamburg.  Mell came to the airport.
with Mell near Alster river

We went to see the famous church lovingly called Michel by the locals.  A very long wait for the very tiny elevator led us to the top for gorgeous views of the city.

View from Michel
 See the space needle in the back?  We saw that again next day.

View of the Harbor
You know, we quilters can find fabric anywhere.  A woman in the church was carrying this bag with cute cat fabric. Forgive me, lord for my eyes strayed away from the altar.

Cute cats 

After a long day of flying in plane, sightseeing on foot, traveling in car, boat and train, I suggested to eat dinner at home. Mell prepared the vegetables and I made the chicken.

Making Coconut Chicken in Mell's kitchen

I was done. Exhausted. Ready to pass out. But Mell had other ideas. We are going to the fair, she declared.

Poffertjes - a Dutch treat
I am glad I went because I loved these sweet treats at the fair. Similar to silver dollar pancakes, they are eaten with nutella, bananas or caramel.

At the fair
At night, I got to sleep with friendly ghosts :-D
Nina said that the ghosts are upside down.  And I said - Not from my perspective :-)

Tired but Happy
Nina had brought a saree for Mell.  Of course, Mell is free to cut it up and use it as fabric for whatever.  But just once, we wanted to see her dressed in a saree. Mell let us.

Doesn't she look lovely?
 Please  ignore my pink/orange sock in the background.  And focus on the beautiful garden below.

Planten un Blomen

Japanese Garden within the Planten un Blomen
I am still eating and sharing the candy that Mell gave us.
My co-worker loves the candy

The candy that comes with a legend

I also managed to get some of Mell's scraps. They are going to find their way in the next scrap vortex quilt.

Mell's scraps for me
And they came in this cute zippered bag. How appropriate!!!

Hamburg is beautiful and the weather could not have been better. Mell was a terrific hostess. She made sure that Nina and I were spoiled rotten. I wish I could have spent more time with her but Cologne beckoned to us.

If you go to Cologne and want to see the Cathedral, ask for directions to the Dom.
It has two spires, no dome, I complained to the local lady.
Oh and the Neumarkt is actually old and the Hauptmarkt is new, she added with eyes twinkling.

Inside the Cologne Cathedral (Dom to the locals)

Made sure to experience the city from the boat - a short cruise on the Rhein river.

Along the river Rhein
I am sure I could (ahem) afford an apartment overlooking the Rhein, just suspended over it.  But I am afraid of heights :-p  So I let it pass.

Brand new
There are over 250 churches in Cologne. I am sure that everyone is very devout :-)
We had just one day in Cologne so much left to be done.

And ancient

Really wanted to experience the trolley car but what was a gentle breeze for me was considered too windy for the trolley. The service was suspended :-(

I am sure I will revisit...

Vienna was the fourth and the last city on our trip.

Schonbrun Palace

A very windy day
There is picturesque architecture everywhere.
What to us in America will be a heritage site, tickets, no food allowed, do not touch etc, is just another retail/office area in Vienna. Drool away!!!

Vienna City Center

A desire to capture the bygone era

But people also want retail and restaurants
So there it is all mashed together - beautiful buildings with exquisite Gothic architecture serving as retail and office locations.

Beauty is everywhere

The next day we took a trip to Wachau valley, famous for its apricots.  The trip included a bus ride to the village of Durnstein on the banks of Danube.  Natural beauty on one side and ruins of a Medieval castle on the other. That is a rare combination.

Durnstein. Remnants of a medieval castle

 I did dip my feet into the water.  But for just 20 seconds. The water was very cold. YIKES.

Cobble stone path to the village

The second part of the trip consisted of a cruise on the Danube.  Extraordinary beauty along the way - ancient monasteries, old viaducts and cute little villages.

Schonbuhel Monastery

Don't know what this was - just picturesque

The cruise brought us to the town of Melk, home to one of the oldest monasteries - the Melk Abbey.  And although photography is not allowed inside, the pictures from the top of the Abbey are the best.


Gorgeous views!!!

Beautiful town
 Of course the actual Abbey has been destroyed, built and rebuilt a few times.
Melk Abbey

This is just a small sample of the pictures I took.  The hard part was picking just a few to share.

Question - What is the purpose of a first date?
Answer - To make the second date.

And Vienna made sure that I will return a second time.

As I showed pictures to Paul...
Me: Babe, we should go to Vienna. It is absolutely beautiful and there is so much to do.
Paul: Such as?
Me: Other than sights in the city, exquisite architecture, museums, palaces etc. we can take side trips to places like Budapest, Bratislava and the cruise on Danube.
Paul: Cruise on Danube?
Me: Yes, it was so romantic. I believe that my life will be incomplete if I don't do it with you.
Paul: What about my life?
Me: Let's not talk about that.
Paul: Such a brat.

I had been away from sewing/quilting for long enough. I dived into my UFO and finished a mini quilt. It has four interconnected stars.

Four Stars Mini

Love the greens

Rust and Orange

Purple with Stars

Yellow & Red - Like the tulips?

What a whirlwind of a trip that was?

Cute Cat Backing
Do you think this backing was inspired by the cute cat fabric I saw in Hamburg church? May be.
But then four cities mini trip were followed by a Four Stars mini quilt.  Guess coincidence is everywhere  :-)

In any case, finishing this mini felt awesome.  Do you have a Friday finish?
I will be checking out what others have been up to when I connect with all my favorite linky parties.
See full list on the sidebar.

A Friday Finish!!!

You'd think that the trip created a dent in my budget and so I would behave myself. I did too.
But then Connecting Threads announced wide backing is on sale...and I caved.

Wide Backing from Connecting Threads

Maisie's Daisies

I got all the four colors of Maisie's Daisies.
I mean how do you say no to 104" wide fabric priced at under $9/yard?

Angela has just announced the RSC 2019 color for May. It is ORANGE!!!
Did I scream? Just a bit :-)
Orange Fabrics :-)

Don't you look. Stop peeping. My ladies are getting dressed.
They will step out once they are ready. So what have you been up to?
I'd love to know.

Paul: This looks like a very long blogpost.
Me: Oh you don't know the half of it.
Paul: Will you tell?
Me: That is another blogpost :-)