Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Slippery Slope Rabbit Hole

The Alison Glass Trinket Sew Along was done. A very long paper-pieced journey, resulting in just under 100 blocks.

The Trinket blocks

After several layout options were considered (and discarded), opinions sought (and received) on Instagram (and Facebook), the final layout was determined and the flimsy was completed.

The finished flimsy

It was time to quilt it.  I found this absolutely perfect backing.

Floral on Black

I went to get the batting roll that stands in the corner of my bedroom, in its original shipping box. As I turned the worn out cardboard flaps, something fell.  It was the roll of vinyl I had purchased a few weeks (months?) ago.

Three brain clicks later, the Trinket flimsy was abandoned and I was sewing little 2.5" squares together. If that is not a Dreami, I don't know what is.

Blue Squares

It really started here when I saw Diann's zippered pouch. You can read my comment on her blogpost. At that time, I dodged that squirrel successfully but bought the heavy duty vinyl, which was then stored behind the batting roll.

This weekend when I was in a happy and relaxed mode, I was much more vulnerable to the charms of this vinyl zippered pouch of a squirrel. Off I went, sewing little 2.5" squares together.

Work in Progress

When I cut the requisite width of the vinyl, it was long enough to make more than two pouches.
So I decided to make a second one at the same time.  Do you see how these darned squirrels are multiplying?

Pink Squares

Sewing and Quilting were a breeze. Although cutting the vinyl was a wee bit of a challenge, the zippers went fairly easily.  It was the binding that turned out to be the speed bump, because I am not much of a hand quilter. How do you sew these bindings by hand - quilt after quilt?

Watching (or is it listening) TV. Since it was the long weekend, why not, I reasoned.
I chose Season 1, Episode 1 of the show "Call the Midwife".
Bad idea, Big mistake.

After an hour, I had cried three times and had taken only three stitches.  This show is much too riveting for hand sewing.  So I switched to Bollywood music (audio only) to complete the hand binding on the two pouches.

Completed Pouch One

Finished size  12" by 12"

Completed Pouch Two

Pretty in Pink

I admired my handiwork and took a few pictures, when I heard this whiny noise coming from the cutting table.

Hey what about me?
Are you going to just leave me here?
Is that because I am small?

It was the leftover vinyl rectangle 6" by 9".  Geez, I really could not just add it to my scrap basket. It is not like I could just sew it with my other scrap pieces to make the next scrap vortex quilt.

Can you believe it? This was the third squirrel. They had really led me down this vinyl rabbit hole.

Stitched RST, clipped corners

Using some of the same techniques as the original tutorial, I made a smaller pouch with vinyl window, but I wanted no pesky binding and absolutely no hand sewing.

Pouch #3

I sewed the zipper+vinyl unit right sides together with the quilted unit.
Clipped the corners and turned it right sides out.  I made sure that there was no vinyl in the seams because turning that would be kinda ghastly.

I think I love this little one the most. It is not too big, not too small. It has vinyl window for a peek but not too much. The best part - no binding and no hand sewing.

Let's meet the entire Pouch family. The Papa, the Mama and Goldilocks.

The Pouch family - Papa, Mama and Baby

And they lived happily ever after

On a completely different note, all the Orange International Sisters are now complete and will join the Red, Yellow, Green and Turquoise ones.  I wonder what color is June?

International Sisters in Orange

If you are wondering about the Trinket quilt, well, I will post about it once it is finished, in the hopes that I can resist the next squirrel.

Oh but wait. I saw this block on Pinterest - little wedges forming a circle.  Can I make that using freezer paper?

Freezer Paper Template

Just one (or two quadrants). Just an audition block.  Just to see if it is feasible. Not wasting fabric. Only using leftover scraps from the Orange ladies. 

Two Juicy Orange Wedges
Is this the end of my (block) trial or beginning of another troublesome tale? Only time will tell.
Hope you will stick around to find out.

I will be linking with all my favorite linky parties including Sandra's Dreami and Angela's Scrappy.
Was your weekend as chaotic? I'd love to hear from you, as always.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019


I have a finish.
New Finish
Glimpses of Blue

Rolled Up
But first the back story.
This was the second year that I was the Block of the Month (BOM) coordinator for my quilt guild.
The concept of the BOM is simple. I share a tutorial for a quilt block (from the internet, a classic block or something that I whip up).

Two strips 2.5" by WOF

Stitched along the length

Open Seams

Cut in half 

Sew again, press seams open

Cut in half again

Cut each half into half

Rearrange and sew

Folks make that block. Every block gets them one entry in the BOM raffle
One person wins all the blocks.

Two blocks finish at 8" by 10"

This was the BOM for February 2019.
I so enjoyed making these two blocks that I made a whole quilt.

Playing with Strips
On the Design wall


Zig Zag Quilting - Walking Foot (always)

Binding in process
And here it is - meet Oasis!!!
Oasis finished at about 64" by 70", which is the right size for a Mercyful Quilt.

Blues on Green
Sewing up 2.5" strips is fast and fun.  After all the strips were sewn and all the blocks were cut, they were arranged on the design wall and I began playing with the layout.

I arranged them in such a way that the lighter ones were at the top, medium hues in the middle going to the navy and dark blocks at the bottom.  This created a sort of ombre effect.

Ombre Effect
Now if I had decided on the ombre effect BEFORE I made the blocks, the result would have been much more striking. Ah well, may be next time.  For now, I will settle for this gentle suggestion of Ombre Effect.  What do you think?

Paul: What happened to the hot pink and yellow block?
Me: That was for the guild. The winner took it.
Paul: And what happens to this quilt?
Me: It is going to Bernie.
Paul: Who is Bernie?
Me: My quilting, blogging buddy on the west coast who is friends with Patty
Paul: Who is Patty?
Me: Patty works at the Mercy hospital and she needs quilts
Paul: For?
Me: To comfort the terminally ill patients
Paul: Oh
Me: The family will keep the quilt in memory of the person
Paul : That is sweet of you
Me: Well, thank you, Paul.
Paul: Do you need me to hold it?
Me: Nope. Rekha already modeled it for me
Paul: Who is Rekha?
Me: She is my co-worker/quilt model.
Paul: And what am I?
Me: You are a holder-upper :-p
Paul: That sounds menial
Me: Since Rekha is leaving, I can promote you to a quilt model
Paul: Ooh a quilt model. Do I get any benefits or perks?
Me: Maybe after your 6-quilt probation period.
Paul: BRAT!!! 

Rekha the model

Rekha has found another job and she will no longer be able to model for me. At least not on regular basis. I am sure we will get together every now and then at weekends.
So we took a few extra pictures. And had a farewell picnic with more pictures.

She will be missed

We wish her well

The card

Saying good bye to Rekha was not easy.

But it is so much harder to say good bye to a dear family member who is leaving for their final journey, as is the case with the recipients of Mercyful quilts.

Celebrating the time spent together and reliving the memories can be an oasis of comfort in the desert of loss. Hence the name - Oasis.

Pieced Backing 
The backing is a big irregular four-patch, using last of the giant tulips fabrics that came to me from Mary. So generous of her. I am happy just being one small part of the giving universe.

All the Blues - Singing Together

Here are a few more pictures. I need to drink in these blues a bit longer before I say good-bye to Oasis and send her westwards to Bernie.

I will be linking with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.
As usual, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Your comments are my oasis too :-)

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.