Hopefully March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb as
the old saying goes.
February in my house was a month of sick and more sick. Living in Florida, it is all but impossible to convince the boys that yes indeed it does get cold, so you should put on a coat and hat so you don’t get sick. But their response is, “It doesn’t get cold in Florida.” For us that may be true, since we are originally from Portland, Oregon, lived for three years in Russia, and came back for another two years in the Pacific Northwest before coming to Florida. So my kids do know cold; in comparison to the North, it really isn’t cold here (just chilly). But they should still listen to mom and wear a hat and coat at 55 degrees on the way to the bus stop.
About Me, a set on Flickr. Flickr won't let me put a slideshow in anymore.
And when I say boys, I have my own gaggle. Hubby and I will have our 15th wedding anniversary this year, and we have three boys. Zack, 13, Garret, 11, and Lucius, 6 and I am Andi. I am incredibly outnumbered and sewing keeps me sane.
I have always been interested in sewing. My mom would sit me on her knee and sew when I was little. I thought it was impossible, but my youngest sat on my knee at the age of three. I hoped by that age he would know better than to stick his hand in a machine; he did and still does watch me piece blocks. My mom was always sewing, she got her first sewing room in our first house when I was five. She made my barbies wonderful clothes, and my version of an American doll and I had a matching wardrobe. I got a cabbage patch doll in 1984, when I woke up the next morning she was in matching jammies. All through high school my mom kept me in amazing dresses. I always wanted to be like my mom, grandma, and aunt when it came to sewing. We would always go to the Sewing Expo and have a girl’s weekend. I have been doing that since I was in junior high. I am going to the one in Lakeland next month if anybody wants to join me.
When it came time to really start sewing, my mom and I didn’t mesh. She would end up doing a lot herself or get frustrated that I was going so slowly. I get it now. I hate having my boys in the kitchen with me; it just mucks up my rhythm. But I am aware of it and try hard to keep them interested and do a lot of counting to ten. I ended up being self taught and if I needed help I would check in with my mom. But clothes are so much harder than nice flat quilts.
We always made baby quilts when I was growing up. They were simple squares, stitched in the ditch and bound with store bought bias. When I was about 20, my mom pulled our group of sewers into quilting. We actually started block swapping on about.com. They used magazine blocks -- you were supposed to make 12 or 20 or however many, keep one, and send the rest. They shipped you back the swap blocks. It meant you didn’t have to have a lot of fabric. I finished all but one of the swap blocks into quilts. I must have 100 or so of the first McCall’s 30’s cat and bonus Picket block. It was the first cat block and we were so excited, until the next block came out and was so much cuter. Nonetheless, it was fun and a way to get into quilting, which is what I am doing again right now. I have taken a two year break from sewing and am getting back into the swing of things.
It is a hard thing to say I owned a quilt shop, my dream came true for two years. But I admit to getting burnt out being there 6 days a week and doing most the samples and all the horrible paperwork. And lots of stress outside the shop too, which is part of the reason we are in Florida now. These are my first blocks since the shop closed. I did end up selling most the fabric. I need to go through and see what I still have.
You can’t handle a picture of my stash. I am going to say I am a fourth generation fabric hoarder. My great grandmother gave my mother her 30s quilt tops to finish once upon a time. My grandmother has recently been passing her stash down, and I grew up with at least a dozen (or so many more hidden that I can’t tell you) boxes of fabric in closets and under sewing tables. Eventually my yet-to-be-husband and I finished my mom’s attic for more fabric boxes. I learned stashing at the foot of a master and have fabric boxes in my closet, the guest closet, under the computer tables, under my cutting table, and fill up a storage space under the stairs. They are not all quilt fabrics… I have wool and flannel and all things silky, knits, etc – you name it, I’ve got it. Clothes sewers have it worse than pure quilters; we buy all types of different fabrics.
There’s no particular fabric designer with a collection I just must have all of. Urban Grey is sometimes fun, and Tula Pink is hilarious, but I am more into quality of fabric than design. I won’t buy Moda Marbles anymore since they really dropped the quality back in 2010. I tend to buy Northcott because it has a great weight. Stonehenge makes me drool. I also really like most of the tonals from South Seas Import. There is always a perfect tonal and Thousands of Bolts carries them all.
My tool wish list is very long and includes sewing machines, but the tools I consider must-own are: June Taylor’s Perfect half square and quarter square ruler – video below, and a 12 inch turning cutting mat (don’t leave in your car; it warps in the sun and heat!), and a friction pen - cheap at Staples.
The video doesn’t do the ruler justice; when you have those wonky blocks and trim them so they are perfect it is so satisfying. I cut instead of the standard 7/8 I go to the next ¼, so for a 2 inch finished instead of cutting a 2 7/8 triangle I cut a 3 ¼ square. I always get perfect cuts with this ruler. You must have the turning mat to go with it; I used it to cut the Dresden pieces. As for friction pens, they were made to be able to erase with friction, but friction makes heat. The pen marks disappear with heat, so iron the fabric and the marks go away. They only come back below freezing, and if your fabric gets frozen, you can just iron the marks away again.
I am also an avid reader, crochet gal (aka yarn hoarder), computer nerd, Boy Scout Mom/Tiger leader, Band Mom, movie aficionado, embroiderer, cross stitcher, and I like to make cards, but no scrapbooking. My favorite fictional character is Queen Besty from the Besty the Vampire series by Mary Janice Davidson. Betsy is very different from me, and extraordinarily blunt. The books are very funny. She always has me laughing. Lastly, I wish I had known that 30s were not going to keep my interest as quilting caught on and more modern designs took over. I have so many 30s in fat quarters, which are never enough fabric, and I don’t know what to do with them.
Now the fun stuff. The inspiration:
I chose a very simple block, although I see so many I want to do in the other hives and last year. Still, I fell in love with this quilt and thought it would be a great swapper. Plus, since most of us buy one or two colors, I was hoping you would have a gradient of colors in your stash.
My color palate is a light grey background -- not a muddy grey and not too dark. Tonals, solids, I don’t care… just light grey that doesn’t go too brown. The darkest in the picture is actually Kona Ash.
Next, for the colors: 50s palate: three of one color in a light, a medium, and a bright. If you need a reference to 50s, it is always that weird color palate of that one Christmas print that they do every year.
Some of my colorways:
I need the third color for these. A light for the blue, and either light or dark for the green.
Actual 50’s paint chips:
South Seas did it this year:
The collection: https://www.thousandsofbolts.com/index.cfm?currentpage=1&fuseaction=product.searchByName&name=WINTER%20WARMTH&mfg_account_id=7
And they skipped the yellow, and salmon.
F Strip 4 – 2 ½ x 6 ½
Block A 4 – 3 ½ x 3 ½
Block C 2 - 3 ½ x 6 ½
Block A 2 – 3 ½ x 3 ½
Block C 2 - 3 ½ x 6 ½
Block A 2 – 3 ½ x 3 ½
J Block 1 – 2 ½ x 2 ½
Here is a link to a pdf cutting chart. It would not copy nicely. And EQ7 seems to think my lines are not straight so it didn't identify all the blocks are the same size. Which is why I go from A to C to J....
I am using a coral colorway.
Assembly - Always read the entire instructions first.
These are written if you need a little help. Of course chain piece at will!
Starting with your dark fabric.
Sew one block A of Background to block A of Dark fabric. Press seams. Repeat.
Using one unit of block A’s sew to a C block of Dark Fabric. Press seams. Repeat. Making a V Block.
Repeat the above for light fabrics and background.
When I set the blocks up for sewing I try to make sure the strip is on the bottom and the seams I am sewing toward are pressed down so I don't have to fight them.
Take one background F strip and sew to one side of J block, medium color center block. Press to F.
Take another F strip and sew to the opposite side of J. Press to F.
I like to lay my blocks out at this point before assembling to make sure they go the right way. Unsewing a finished block is rough.
Using one unit of the light V block, sew to a F strip as seen in the block picture above. Press to F.
Using the unit you just sewed, take a dark fabric unit V block and sew to the F strip according to the picture above. Press to F.
Repeat for the remaining V blocks.
You now have three strips, two identical and the middle with center square J. If you followed my pressing instructions you should be able to nest the seams and match the strips. This is the only time you absolutely should pin and match the center block to the background strip. I know I don't pin as much as I should, but I use lots of starch and hold tight while sewing smaller sections. Large units I pin.
Sew one of the identical units to the center square strip. Press.
12 - 14 inch blocks, on point should make a nice queen size. And I will add random grey for the background, when I get all the blocks I will see if I end up piecing 7 inch squares or 14.