Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Four-Patch 101

I know experienced quilters out there already know this, but since I'm still working hard on completing some projects before embarking on the Dear Jane journey, I thought I'd offer a refresher course.

If you need to make a bunch of identical Four-Patches, there is a better way than sewing four little squares together. Now, if you need random Four-Patches like in the quilt-a-long quilt's borders, you'll probably need to cut a bunch of little squares.

In the example we're making 4"x4" finished Four-Patches, i.e. four 2" squares per block. We're making 2 color Four Patches.
Cut a strip of fabric 2.5" wide by the length required to make the quantity of Four-Patches you'll need. Then cut another 2.5" strip exactly the same length out of the second fabric.
To calculate the length of the strips: No. of Four-Patches x 2 x 2.5"
If you need 2 for example, you'll need to cut the strips 4 x 2.5", i.e. 10" long.

Sew the two strips together length-wise and press the seam to one side.

Cut this strip into sections 2.5" wide. There will be 4 sections for our 2 Four-Patches.

Turn two of these sections 180 degrees and sew one to each of the other 2 sections.


Voila, you have two lovely Four-Patches!

You can make 4 color Four-Patches by cutting four 2.5" strips and sewing them together in pairs. You will have to give some thought to the final result you desire in order to determine which fabrics to sew together.

You can also make a checkerboard border by joining as many Four-Patches as you need to get to the desired length.

And, of course, you can change the size of the squares to anything you like. Just add 1/2" to the total size of the squares you want in your block and use that measurement instead of the 2.5" measurements I used.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yes, I'm still here

It's been crazy around here and I really haven't been able to get anything to the point I feel I can share, but...

Progress on the quilt-a-long quilt. It's a stash quilt so I have to improvise as I run out of fabric. I'll probably add a beige border and a colorful binding.

(The photo sucks, I know)

A little grocery store humor we found in Astoria last weekend. Yes, it's real.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baby Jane and other things

I'm working on completing my quilt-a-long quilt top, but want to keep it under wraps until it's done so...

If you're into decorating and design, check out this blog. Tons and tons of inspiration every single day!

I've created a separate blog for the Dear Jane/Baby Jane project. Thanks for the overwhelming response both from people who think I'm nuts and people wanting to be nuts with me.
I've put a button in the sidebar. Please grab it if you'd like. I also created a Flickr group.
We'll begin on March 3rd with color selection. Are you ready? If so, leave a comment on the Dear Baby Jane blog and I'll send you an invite to the Flickr group.
As a final note - an example of what can be done with Dear Jane blocks. You do not have to make the actual quilt, or even all the blocks. Look how lovely this is.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wanna join me?

I've decided on my next big project and I'd like to invite you to join me. Many of you may have heard of this but for these who haven't, a little history.

Some years ago Brenda Papadakis saw a photo of this quilt in a book and fell in love with it. She painstakingly drafted every one of the 225 blocks and published them in a book.

The original quilt was made by Jane Stickle of Vermont in Civil War times. She finished it in 1863. Each block is different! Read more about the history of all this here.

Brenda's book does not include instructions for making the blocks, just scaled diagrams, so you can decide for yourself how you want to make them. The blocks are 5" small - 4.5" finished. I will provide suggestions for making the blocks as we go.

There are many, many versions of this quilt out there in cyberspace. Some are almost exact replicas of the original and some are more modern, have different color schemes, or different arrangements of the blocks.

You can find many examples if your search "Dear Jane Quilt" on Flickr. These are some of my favorites. Yatzi made a collage here that will lead you to some great photos.

So, what do you say? Is anyone up for a challenge? You can make as many blocks as you want and assemble them in any way that you want.

You will have to buy the book, because we should respect the work Brenda put into drafting all these blocks. It is kind of hard to find, but I found a couple on eBay as well as Amazon.

So....if you're interested in joining me, leave a comment. If you think I'm totally nuts, leave a comment too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend

Tell me you wouldn't want to live here...

Something is calling our name...

but she needs a lot of help and we're trying to decide if we're up for it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Back to our regular programming

Jennifer's block for the Virtual Quilting Bee. I hope it'll play nicely with the others.

As for those socks...
Now you see them

Now you don't

We're having a little adventure this weekend.
Have a great one!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm getting ready to go out and celebrate...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

18 years

Due to some minor major administrative problems - as in we lost an important document and I spent 5 hours searching for it this morning - there is still not much knitting-quilting-sewing going on around here.

I will therefore use this opportunity to take you back 18 years (and 3 days)...

Happy (belated) Anniversary Honey!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday, Monday

Had a wonderful breakfast with some great girls this morning. Happy Birthday K!!!

I'm attempting socks again. I think I hate this yarn though. Should I stop now?

Finally a little sneak peek at my Virtual Quilting Bee block for Jennifer.

Friday, February 8, 2008

My way

I'm quilting (and will be for a long, long time) the Stash Dash Quilt in 15 minute increments to save my poor neck and shoulders. It's 67"x79" and I'm getting a lot of exercise pushing that sandwich through Bernie's little throat.

I thought I'd share my method for making Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagons today.
When I first contemplated making this quilt, the thing I dreaded most was having to cut hundreds of little hexagon templates out of cardboard or paper and then getting them to stay in place while I basted around the edge. Then one day I had an "Aha" moment as Oprah would say.

I print the template on freezer paper which I cut to letter size and then feed into the printer like a normal sheet of paper. Remember to print on the non-waxed side. I used this template.
To save even more on the cutting out time, I staple a blank sheet of freezer paper to the back of the printed one, allowing me to cut out two hexagons at a time. I tried adding more sheets (I'm lazy I tell you), but they slide, so two seems to be the maximum that can be done with accuracy (which is VERY important when making a hex quilt).

The next step is to iron the little hexagon templates to the wrong side of the fabric. Remember that you're going to need a 1/4" to 3/8" seam allowance when you cut them out so leave space between the hexes. Don't be scared to really iron them on so they don't come off too easily.

Let the fabric cool down flat before continuing to the next step or the hexagons will just pop off.
Cut out the hexagons leaving a 1/4" to 3/8" seam allowance around the edge.

Now, because the freezer paper template is stuck to the fabric, it is much, much easier to accurately fold the seam over and baste around the edge to keep the shape. Baste only through the fabric, not the freezer paper and make sure to get the corners down securely. I normally double-baste at the corners. I "press" the fold with my nail when I fold it over to make sure it's a sharp edge Make sure you secure the corners well.

Voila, we're ready to whipstitch!

(For some amazing inspiration check out this Flickr group)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I'm so excited! Zoe over at Margin is creating one of her wonderful artworks inspired by Sydney. Needless to say I'll be first in line.

Christine has a great tutorial for a double glasses case for those of us having to switch glasses all the time. She also has giveaways regularly, so be sure to check out her blog.

A couple of weeks ago Jennifer sent me her half of Socksgiving. I now have a pair of socks I care too much about to wear. Thank you my dear friend for teaching me this skill that had been eluding (and frustrating) me for a long, long time.

Aren't they just splendid?

Lately I've been spending a little bit of time with Granny's Flower Garden. I'm shocked to see that my last post about this was in July!!! I have 13 blocks all done and attached. Only 35 more to go.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


The Stash Dash Quilt is basted and ready for quilting. Since yesterday was "kitchen floor washing" day, I decided to try out Amanda's basting method. It worked out great.
Laid out and taped the backing to the floor

Layered the rest and pinned (my sore butt muscles are a testament to that)

And we're ready for quilting!

Sydney approves (for a change)

Quilt-a-long block 12 is done. This was the last block. Now to convert these into a quilt...

Monday, February 4, 2008

She hates it

Get it off me...

Please! I beg you!

Well, it was good practice for a sweater for me...

Friday, February 1, 2008

I got nuttin'

My brain is still fuzzy and foggy so I bring you the only thing I managed to put together this week. Trust me, it looks good in its proper spot in the family room. I just can't take photos in there - too dark.
Have a great weekend everyone!