Things I’ve Learned from Carol: 9 Patches

How to Correctly Sew a 9 Patch

Sew together three sets of two squares, right sides together, using a leader piece to sew on and off. (you should end up with three sewn pieces)

Important tip:  Don’t clip the threads between patches, and don’t press them yet.

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Sew on the last block for each row.  Again, don’t clip threads, and don’t press.

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match edges
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sew on third square of each row

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Match the first two rows, right sides together.  Adjust the fabric pieces so that they match on the first seam line in the middle. They should “kiss” each other.  As you sew the rows together, flip the seam allowance up away from you for the first square. This allows the corners to “snuggle” in together nicely.  Use your stiletto and hold the fabric on that middle seam allowance. Gently pull the fabric so that the two pieces “settle” into their proper, matching spots.

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Notice how the seams “kiss” each other.
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Top seam allowance is flipped up, away from you, and bottom seam allowance is flipped down, towards you.

Once you’ve sewn to the middle seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again.  The second square of the row is opposite:  Flip the top seam allowance down and towards you, the bottom up and away from you.  Because this “feels” funny for the fabric pieces, they will likely slip a little.  Hold the seams firmly, or better yet, put a pin ahead of the matched seams.  Once you’ve sewn to the second seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again, this time matching and then holding the bottoms of the fabric.

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Top seam allowance is flipped down and towards you, bottom seam allowance is flipped up and away from you.
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Placing a pin in front of, or ahead of, the seam allows the fabric to remain in place better.

Repeat this process with the third row of the block.

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You can see by this picture that I still need to work on getting those second seam allowances to snuggle better.   You don’t need to unpick the entire row, however!  Just a few stitches ahead of and behind those mis-matched seam allowances.  Re-position them, remembering to let them “kiss and snuggle.” Re-pin, and re-sew.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Pressing a 9-Patch

Similar to pressing a 4-patch, shown here, correctly pressing a 9-patch will give you flatter results.

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Start by clipping a thread from the seam allowance on the raw edge side.  Then, carefully open the center seam allowance so that it lays flat, and mimics a 4-patch.
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Press the seams one at a time, going around as if a clock.  The seams should lay down based on how you’ve opened up the center little 4-patches.

I finished my 9-patch off by adding a cute Around the World sort of border.  I love how it looks!

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Let’s Bee Social!

Spring Is Coming!!

It has been a long, cold winter with more snow on the ground than has been seen for almost a decade.  With the water shortage we have faced for the past few years I am grateful for all the snow we received, but I am so ready for warmer temperatures and no snow adorning the ground!  So to celebrate the coming of Spring, I finished a quilt colored spring green and baby pink!

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This color combination is one of my favorite.  It speaks to me of calmness and gentleness.  Years ago when we were just out of college and starting life in the “real world” we bought our first home.  It was an older home that had been remodeled but I wanted to put my touch on it and I had big plans!  The first project was redoing our daughter’s bedroom.  I scraped off wallpaper and Stash Poppa built drawers into the attic eaves.  Guess what color I painted the walls?  Yup, spring green with an accent wall of baby pink!!  I loved it!!

Years later when perusing a quilt catalog I saw this fabric and knew it belonged in my stash- spring green and baby pink flannels.  And then when  I attended a class at one of my favorite Bernina stores introducing X-blocks rulers I knew that fabric needed to be made into an X-block quilt.  So I bought the rulers and the book, Once Upon A Time in X-Blocks Land It’s a Fabric Fairy Tale! by Patricia Pepe.  You can find the book at xblocks.com.

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I got home and the rulers, book and fabric got put away for a few years until I hired my daughter to sew for me.  We decided on the quilt pattern, Sleeping Beauty, found in the X-blocks book and she loved sewing with the X-blocks so much that she and her daughter (my granddaughter) designed their own pattern.  We now market her pattern as Hot Lips.

HotLipstop                                    Red:turquoise

You can find the pattern, kits for the quilts we’ve made, and also X-blocks rulers in our shop at stashladies.com

So in the spirit of finishing UFO’s in 2016, this quilt top was high on my list.  I knew I wanted the same simple, yet elegant design we used for the red/turquoise Hot Lips quilt.  One can never go wrong with a feather design as they always looks so lovely.

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Another UFO bites the dust!  My only question now is who should I give it to?

Let’s Bee Social!

An Unfinished Project is Finished!!

This is the year of finishing unfinished projects.  So I pulled out a few of those babies and decided to start with a chevron quilt using fabric from my stash that I started a few years ago when chevron anything became so popular.

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I started by cutting squares of two different fabrics, cutting them diagonally and then sewing the two fabrics together to form a square.  Then my thinking cap came on and I realized that this was the perfect project for practicing the “sew and slash of squares” method. (My name for the technique!)  The quilting world calls these the “Half-Square Triangles.”

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Cut squares from two different fabrics.  Size doesn’t matter, only that all the squares are the same size.  On one of the squares on the WRONG side, draw a line on the diagonal.  There are rulers out there designed for this purpose but I just use whatever ruler is long enough for the diagonal.  DiagonalLine

Layer a square from each fabric (2 squares) on top of each other RS together.  Using the center line as your guide, sew a ¼” seam line on each side.

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Cut on the center line and Voila, you have two half-square triangle blocks.
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So much easier than cutting squares on the diagonal and THEN sewing another triangle to it to make it square again!!

Don’t forget to press the seams at each step.  I prefer to press my seams open as opposed to one side, as I get a flatter seam and more precise matching of points.  BUT, because you are pressing on the diagonal be very careful to not slide the iron along the seam but lift and press as you go.  Sliding the iron will distort the fabric and then the square will no longer be square!! I often use a small applique iron to press the seams open.
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 After pressing the seams and blocks, “square” them up by trimming the blocks to the size required.    This is a step that I am always tempted to  omit because of the time involved but if I really want my quilt to be square and precise and the points to match up THEN this step is necessary.  Take your pick of the rulers available to make this job easier.SquaringUp

 

Now comes the really fun part!  Lay out your completed half-square triangle (HST) blocks in the design of your choice.  Sew blocks together, then rows together, until you have a quilt top the size you want.

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 I decided to practice on a 9” square which when sewn into a half-square triangle block equals an 8 ½” square.  Using fabric from my stash, I only had enough for a 7 blocks across and 7 blocks down for a throw quilt size of 56” square.  In sewing all the blocks together in a chevron design it was necessary to follow a chart to make sure that the blocks were sewn in the correct direction.  Another example of using my mind:)

 With the top finished, it was time to do something with the pile of left over scraps of fabric.   The miser in me wants to use every bit of fabric that I can so I decided to piece the backing using the scraps.  With no design or plan in mind, I laid out all the left over fabric on my cutting table and mulled over different configurations.  After changing my mind many times I finally settled on the design configuration that used almost every last piece of fabric and with the addition of some other stash fabric the back was finished.

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On to the rails!!  With the back pinned on it was time to add the batting.  I use Quilters Dream Wool Batting and absolutely love it.  It is lightweight with a ¼” loft.  Machine quilting on it is a dream and it washes beautifully.  And the batting comes in a quilt throw size of 60” x 60” which was the perfect size for this quilt.

 After pinning on the top it’s on to the quilting.  My rails are from Bernina and I quilt with a Bernina 820, using Quilt Motion Touch.  I learned a few years back that I am too much an A personality and free motion quilting was NOT a relaxing adventure!   After a learning curve, machine and software issues resolved, I am quite comfortable using the software and am now experimenting more with the many choices of motives available.  I am finding that I enjoy this process almost as much as the actual sewing of the quilt tops.  Another example of keeping my mind active:)

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Until the next “unfinished” project is finished. . . .

Calendar Makeover 3 Ways- JANUARY

Calendar Makeover 3 Ways -JANUARY

Jan-Ohio Star

January is always a great time for fresh starts & new beginnings!
(Although I am not opposed to needing a fresh start in February or March as well! 😉
It has been a great year of revisioning and modernizing traditional patterns.  And it has been so inspirational to see the creativity blossom as we have put our own style on each of the patterns.  We also have realized more than ever that fashions and fads cycle through about every 30 years so it is really true that “old becomes new again.”

And as we complete our Calendar makeover this month, we invite you to take inspiration from us and take this year and work thru this project, in which ever form you choose.  There is no time like the present!  Without further adieu we present our final makeover:

StashMomma
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I love snowmen!!  One of my favorite winter songs has always been “Frosty the Snowman” and a few years ago decided that since January has always been such a “blah” month for me that I would use snowmen as my decorating theme.  It has been so fun to shop for the perfect snowman to add to my collection.SnowmenA few years back, one of the quilting magazines had a snowman quilt made from flannel that I fell in love with so I purchased the kit.  I made the quilt for a daughter-in-law but the fun thing is that I had enough leftover fabric to make a second quilt for me plus this cute wall-hanging.
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From the original wall-hanging I took the design elements of two columns, the block pattern for three of the blocks and the remaining 3 blocks I used the fabric squares of snowmen.  I machine quilted in the ditch around each square and then did a criss-cross for the triangles.  Super simple yet effective!
I love how it turned out and with it hanging on my wall, I smile each time I see it.
And maybe that is because the snowmen evoke a feeling of warmth and happiness despite the snow falling around them and that reminds me that I need to smile regardless of what is going on around me!!

Happy New Year!!

 

 

Quilted Harmonies

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My Makeover this month stems from my Thanksgiving visit to StashMomma’s house… she is the Queen of having anything and everything you ever thought you needed, or even Everything You Never Knew You Needed!

Speaking of “Old becoming New Again,” as we were playing in her stash (and by “playing,” I mean I was pawing through it and drooling over it all), I found a cute collection from Riley Blake I fell in love with that just screamed “make snowflakes out of me!”

Now, in the interest of Full Disclosure, you should all know that I have heaped much abuse upon my mother over these many years over her choice of wedding colors.  Yes, you heard me.  Wedding colors.  Even as a child, I thought they were the ugliest choice known to man.  I mean, in my six year old mind, whoever heard of spring green and turquoise making a good color match?  (And this is coming from a girl who got angry because that same mother wouldn’t let her wear her knee high pink cable knit socks with her awesome red corduroy pants.  At the same time.  On the same day. Humpfh.)  
Well.  In front of you all and the Universe, I would like to apologize to StashMomma for completely undervaluing her awesome sense of fashion and style.  She was obviously on the forefront of fashion in 1973, and remains so today. (In that same vein, maybe I should apologize to StashPoppa for hating his much beloved 1973 Pontiac LeMans-orange with a cream roof…  hmmm….nope. nah.  Sorry, PopPop!  Not happening!)

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But I digress…  Now that I am a much older and *cough, cough* wiser woman, I can admit that I was wrong as a child, and see the beauty in this colorway.  So, I borrowed StashMomma’s Accuquilt, and cut ALL of the shapes I needed for this quilt- the squares, the half-triangles, and the snowflakes.  I twisted the small quarter-triangle square blocks on their heads to give the overall impression of a crystalline shape.  In the negative spaces, I planned to appliqué blue snowflakes in the middles.  However, while auditioning the snowflakes, I was a little disappointed that the blue didn’t pop more off of the green background.  I left this lying on my family room floor for several days as I considered how to make it better.
My problem was solved when I remembered some chunky TulaPink Renaissance Ribbon I still had that matched the blues and greens.  It has a bit of pink running through it as an accent color, and that’s when I hit on it:  Use the ribbon as the border, and bring the pink into the quilt by appliquéing the edges of the snowflakes with shiny pink embroidery thread.  (luckily, I collect just as much thread as I do fabric, so I was covered in that area!)

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Check back for an update when I get the snowflakes all “pink-i-fied!” And follow my progress on Instagram! @quiltedharmonies or @stashladies
LovinglyLexi
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I have thoroughly enjoyed “expanding” my creative juices with this calendar makeover project.  To look at a quilt piece that is largely very traditional and spin it into a new and modern direction with paper was such a fun experience.

One of my favorite things about January is the fresh clean slate that it brings.  My house looks a little bare after I take down all of the Christmas decorations. But in that bareness I can see where the dusting and vacuuming may have been neglected during the festive month.  So even though it is cold and icy outside, my house is fresh and clean.

I used this approach to my January makeover.  Using this beautiful “icy blue” paper with a little bit of glimmer and shimmer, I tried to emulate the feelings of a fresh cold January.  Mimicking the original pattern, I switched out the 6 blocks with 6 snowflakes.
 

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I added a dark frame around both the focal point photo block and underneath the snowflakes to really make them pop.  Then I added strips of foil paper to really accent the middle of the page.
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Using one of my staples, Thickers, to make the title really gives it an elegant pop.  The letters are soft yet big enough to stand out and be noticed.    

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One to the tricks I used to make my snowflakes stand out was to only glue down the very center of the flake.  This give the arms movement and it really gives the look of 3 dimension without adding a ton of bulk to the page.  

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We hope that you have enjoyed our year long Calendar makeover and it has inspired you to pick up a small year long project this year!

Stay tuned for our Next “3 Ways” StashLadies project!

 

Calendar Makeover 3 Ways-FEBRUARY

Years ago, StashMomma got a calendar that had directions for a small wall hanging each month.

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Being the Over Achieving StashMomma that she is, she made each one… THREE times.  Yes, you read that right.  She made 36 wall hangings- one for each of us for EACH MONTH.  I remember asking her what craziness inspired that insane idea, and she commented that she wanted us all to have at least one thing in our homes that was the same so we could at least be together in spirit, if not in truth. (Ahhh… how sweet!)

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After all this time, however, we commented to each other that they were beginning to look, well… dated.  (It’s been probably 20 years or so since these babies were “born,” as evidenced by the Puff Paint the February wall hanging sports.  (Seriously, Mom – Puff Paint? )

And, just like that, our next idea was born.  Why not update the wall hanging with our own take on the pattern?  That is the crux of our designs, after all!  
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StashMomma:
 Grabbing some fabric from my stash, this is my updated version of the Month of February. The hearts were created using Machine Appliqué. No puffy paint was harmed in the making! 😉
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Hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love!! 
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Quilted Harmonies:
A friend of mine convinced me to sign up for a class at Road to California this year…It didn’t surprise me that she wanted to take a Wool class from Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings since she has dragged me to her booth each and every time we are at a show together.  I jumped at the chance to take a class on hand embroidery, and I was so glad I did… BEST.CLASS.EVER!!  

But, I digress.  

I kept thinking about this assignment, and based on what I just learned from Lisa’s AWESOME class, I decided I wanted to try my hand at embroidering my own craziness.  So, I used scraps and pieces from the project I did in class, and this is what I came up with:  

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(Please note that this is NOT completed!  I have decided that part of the addiction of hand work is deciding when Enough is Enough.  And I haven’t quite got Enough yet.  Or, maybe Ever!)

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Made with beautiful wool fabric scraps from my stash!

 

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Lovingly
Lexi:
When we talked about how much fun it would be to remake the “monthly” wall hanging all I could think about was how to make it mine with a Scrapbooky Touch.  Every year I TRY to make a calendar for the Grandma’s (well see this post on my Holiday Hiccup this year). Since it was a bust for 2014 I thought about getting a jump start.This is what I came up with:
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Using this gorgeous line of paper from Authentique:Harmony.
I cut my hearts out with my Silhouette so they they were all the same dimensions.  Then I popped them off the page with foam dots to give the page some depth.    
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I added a touch of glitter (on the bird and the I Love You in the top left heart) and I also used my Pearl Pens to create little silver pearls around the “Find Yourself” circle and around the “I Love You”  Heart.
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I love how eclectic this page turned out.  The colors are traditional for Valentine’s Day but they are bright and sunny for a cool winter month.
Stay Tuned for our next Calendar Makeover done 3 ways!

A Patriotic Re-Vamp: The importance of auditioning fabric

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One of my favorite designers is Verna Mosquera of Vintage Spool.  She is amazing, and I love every one of her appliqué designs.  In fact, I have several of them, and am in various stages of completing them all.  (I have a chronic problem with starting a project, and then starting something else, and then something else… you get the picture.)

Of all of those patterns, however, my favorite is her Faded Glory.  I began it with the intent of learning a new turned-appliqué technique on my sewing machine. I love hand work, but I also am always looking for a faster way to get the same results, and Verna uses some teeny-tiny pieces!!

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Each block took quite a lot of time… not as much as it would have by hand, but still!  I was so excited, it looked beautiful.  And then I started my favorite block… the little red wagon.  I had saved a favorite piece of fabric to use as a background especially for this block, and thought it would be perfect.

Now, I am pretty much a self-taught quilter, and so I learn bit by bit any good habits that happen to stick in my poor brain.  One thing I had heard of, but didn’t really think was important, was to Audition Your Fabric.  Oh, how I wish I’d taken the time!  I sewed my beautiful little wagon onto the beautiful fabric I had saved,

and instantly HATED it.

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Why didn’t I really notice before I’d sewn it?  Well, I sort of had, but in my hurry to finish the block, I pushed that little dissenting voice to the back of my head, and plowed on anyway.

oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.

This was a project that ended up thrown in the corner for a long time.  Because I just couldn’t get past that block, and what I’d done to it.

In preparation for this blog post, and having used that piece before in quilt talks to highlight the “what NOT to do” of choosing fabric, the rest of the StashLadies gang suggested that I finally fix it.

So I did.

Sometime after this disaster, I had heard Verna give a tip she uses:

Sometimes, if the pattern of the fabric is too bold or vibrant, it works well to simply flip it over and use the back of the fabric.

So I did.  And I have in many instances since then.  And it WORKS!!

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I haven’t yet sewed the block back to the other pieces, but my little red wagon can finally be seen, and I have fallen back in love!

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A Fantabulous Week!

What a week I have had!  Despite the cold, rainy weather and temperatures near freezing, the garden has responded beautifully to the cooler weather.

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The strawberries continue to ripen and taste soooo sweet!  We have picked almost 3 gallons and still have about a week left!  Nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry!!
The lettuce and spinach are to die for as they taste so fresh and crisp.  This is our 2nd crop this year!
In the back to the left are the peas.  They are loaded and I am looking forward to podding them on the porch!

But what I am most excited about is that ALL of my electronic technology has worked!  So I spent the week going through my stash and practicing my skills!
My Quilt Motion quilted beautifully as I practiced using the virtual long arm.  Once again I am in love with the machine and technology of the program.  A big thanks to Chris from The Grace Company for coming to my rescue and solving my problems! On to more virtual long arm quilting!

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I got a new pattern called “In the Hoop Zippered Pouches” so I had to try them out!  They were so easy to sew and turned out so cute!  Now to make a dozen more!
In preparation for making baby bibs from scraps I took time to embroider some fun baby motifs.  I must be talking nicely to my embroidery machine because it embroidered everything perfectly!  Now I have no excuse for not making the bibs!
Yep,  it’s been a good week!

How has your week been and what fun things have you done?