Murder Mystery 2018 – January

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I had a lot of fun making this first block.  Surprisingly, the biggest challenge for me was following the cutting instructions.  I think everything I made in 2017 was freestyle, making it up as I went along.  The result today is that I cut the BG2 too big (don’t do this, it messes up the flying geese!), cut 2 of the BG2 (7.25″)  and extra of the 3 7/8 squares, not enough of the 3.5″ corner squares, and cut the 4.5 x 1.5 BG2 strips too narrow.  But, hey!  Once I got that all sorted, it went together like clockwork.


First of all, I LOVE the fabrics I picked out.  I have a huge stack of batik fabrics leftover from other projects (or just acquired because they were too pretty to leave at the store).  I decided to do a kind of scrappy batik, with a light gray BG2 and black BG1.  The other thing I decided?  After 6 years of cranking out — and giving away — 3+ quilts a year, this quilt will be for me!

20180123_181637.jpg I hate flying geese.  No, really, I do.  They almost NEVER work for me, and I’m forever trimming them to the point that I, well, lose the points.  But I took my time with these, took the time to watch a couple of youtube videos on “no-waste flying geese”.  I drew a diagonal line on each of the FF2 squares, then pinned two of them to the 7.25 BG2.  I used a 1/4″ foot to sew on either side of the diagonal line.  I cut along the diagonal line, then pressed the “wings” back.  When it comes to pressing, I decided to spray with Best Press every time I pressed a seam.  This gave the fabric a little more stability.  With all the bias cuts, this also helped with unwanted stretching, keeping things in line.

20180123_183726.jpgMeanwhile, back to the flying geese.  I took another FF2, placed it on the BG2 corner of the heart shape, pinned it in place, and sewed 1/4″ on either side of the line, cut, pressed, et voila!  I had flying geese!  The only other thing I did was trim off all the dog ears.20180123_191824.jpg

The next bit went quickly.  I sewed the short strips to the top and bottom of the FF3, pressed toward FF3, then sewed the long strips to the opposite sides.  The little blocks didn’t need squaring up and they cooperated and came out at 4.5″ each.  I flipped them over and drew diagonal lines on the back of each one.


I pinned the FF3 block right sides together with AC7, sewed 1/4″ on either side of the diagonal line, cut it apart, and pressed to the dark side.

Now for the squaring up.  The blocks measured about 4.25.  To square them up, I used a 4.5″ square ruler, placed the 3.75 mark along the left and bottom sides, trimmed away the overage on the right and top sides.  Then I rotated the block halfway around, lined up the 3.5″ marks along the bottom and left sides, and trimmed 20180123_193912-e1516775424138.jpgaway the overage on the right and top sides.  They looked so cute!  and confirmed for me the light gray was the way to go.





20180123_194856.jpgArranging them in a 4-patch with AC7 in the center.  I lined up the edge, held it in place with a pin, then stitched both pairs.  When I pressed them, I laid them on the ironing board so they were oriented exactly the same, then pressed the top half back.  When I was done, and put the two halves together, the seams nested together nicely.

Once that was done, the rest of the block went together20180123_200124.jpg lickety split!  I sewed the 3.5″ FF2 blocks to the left and right of the top and bottom flying geese, pressing the seams to the outside.  Then I sewed the left and right flying geese to the center block, pressing the seams to the inside.  When I sewed the top to the bottom, the seams nested together, minimizing bulk.   The pen in the picture to the right is pointing to where the seams are pressed opposite directions.


To keep the points on the center of the block, I made sure to sew the seam where the vertical and diagonal lines on the point of the center block cross.  This is kind of hard to explain, so look at the center edge of your center block.  See where the stitch lines cross?  Just sew across that intersection — or a little above it — and you won’t lose your points.

By taking my time, using pins, pressing carefully with Best Press, and doing my best to have a scant 1/4″ seam, I managed to produce a block that needed very little squaring up.  And I love the way it looks!



Squash Blossom #86

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This is the first block I ever made from this book.  I was making a southwest quilt for my best friend’s 20th wedding anniversary, and when I saw this block, I knew it would be perfect for the cornerstones.  And it was!COLORES cornerstones

Here are the cornerstones I made, using the leftover fabric from the main blocks of the quilt.




COLORES CornerstoneHere is one of the cornerstones set into the quilt.




COLORES FRONT (2) (800x533)And here’s the finished quilt.  In retrospect, I wish I’d made a few more of them and scattered them around the border.  But this was only my 3rd quilt and adding the four cornerstones was adventuresome enough!






2014-02-08 21.45.44This is kind of an intricate block.  The trickiest part is making sure all the points are centered.

Starting from the outside row, sew the #90 and #90R pieces to either side of the #20 triangle.  Repeat this for row #6.  For row 2, sew the #89 and #89R pieces to either side of the #49 piece.  Repeat this for row 5.

For rows 3 and 4, sew the #91 and #91R to either side of the #20 center triangles.  Then sew the #13 triangles to the ends of the #91 and #91R pieces.

For this block, I found it easier to press all the seams open, as it cut down on the bulk.




2014-02-08 22.06.03Place rows 3 and 4 right sides together.  I found it easiest to match up the seams and hold them in place with pins.  This is the tricky part, because all those points have to mesh.

After that, just work your way out, matching the center of each row to the center of the next, and match the seams carefully.





2014-02-08 22.26.46I think what I like best about this block is that it is so completely different from any other block in the quilt.  Play around with the colors, see how striking you can make yours.


Square Dance #85

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Out here in The West (I live in Utah), square dancing can be a big deal.  The men get to wear jeans,  boots, and button down shirts, generally in a solid color that matches their partner’s getup.  The women, on the other hand, wear bright blouses with coordinating skirts that are almost horizontal because of all the ruffled petticoats underneath!  Added to this are stockings and sensible heels.  I’ve always thought square dancers looked like they were having a good time, but it’s never something I wanted to do.  All those ruffles and the stockings don’t look comfortable at all.  And I learned LONG ago that I do much better in flats than in heels.  This was proved by the countless twisted ankles that are bound to happen anytime I slip into something less comfortable than my TEVA sandals!

2014-02-08 15.00.20 Like square dancing, this block can be a lot of fun.  The fabrics used can give a lot of movement to the block.  Here’s how I made mine.

The center of the block is so big it’s a great place for a fussy cut.  In this case, I used a charm square I had.  Working my way around the block, I sewed the #89 and #89R to either side of the #20 triangles.  After pressing the seams flat, I sewed two #19 squares to either side of the top and bottom rows.




2014-02-08 15.13.48Next, I sewed the left and right rows to the sides of the center block.  Do it carefully so that the points of the triangles hit the block neatly.  I pressed the seams open

Using pins to help me match the seams, I then sewed the top and bottom rows to the center.


And that’s it!  I don’t have a picture of the center block for some reason.  But, grab your fabrics, bow to your machine, and sew your block, do-si-do.

Spider Web #83

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Have you ever been walking in the woods and seen a large spiderweb?  I love finding them, especially early in the morning with dew glistening on them.  They’re so delicate and intricate.  They fascinate me.

2014-02-08 13.42.16This block is made of wedge pieces that, honestly, remind me of candy corn, especially if you use an orange and a light color.  Which I did.

Sew together one #54 and one #87 to form a candy corn shape.

Next, sew a #88 to the top edge of a #86, then sew a #7 triangle to the top of the #88.  Press well.  I put my shapes into two piles





2014-02-08 13.57.05Using pins to match up the seams, lay the pieces right sides together and sew together in pairs.

Next, sew the pairs together in pairs, making two halves of the block.






2014-02-08 14.05.12Lastly, sew the two halves together to make the full block.  You need to be really careful to match up the seams to make sure your center points meet neatly.  Mine don’t, but I decided they were close enough to suit me.  Looking at the picture, though, I’m not so sure.

I wonder if a really spider web is out of perfect symmetry…

Spider Legs #81

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My ex-husband had a spider fetish.  He had a pet tarantula for a couple of years.  It was fascinating to watch, in a bizarre, nightmarish sort of way.  It was huge, ate crickets, and generally freaked me out.  I know that, unless provoked, the tarantula will not bite people.  Didn’t make me want to hold it, though!

This block reminded me of my that damned spider.  I kind of like the way it looks, but it’s a scary block just the same.  Lots of little pieces, lots of chances for distortion.  When pressing the seams, finger press them open, then lay the iron straight down on it and give it a hit of steam, then lift off the iron and move on.  I had to make this block twice because the first one turned out too skeewampus.  Damned spiders, anyway.

2014-02-07 21.58.36The diagonal pieces of the block make up the legs, in pairs.  For the Right leg, sew a #85 triangle to a #77 dark.  Sew a #77 light onto that, then a #78.

For the Left leg, it’s exactly the same except you’re using #77R instead of #77.

Carefully matching up the seams, sew the right and left sides together and press the center.

Repeat for the remaining three pairs of legs.




2014-02-07 22.27.34Now to put it all together.  Sew a #15 triangle to opposite sides of the right and left pairs of legs.  Sew the top and bottom pairs of legs to opposite sides of the #4 center square.

Sew a triangle/leg/triangle unit to either side of the center leg unit, press well.






2014-02-07 22.39.28Be careful squaring it up as it’s easy (for me, anyway) to get off center.

Despite my fear of spiders large or small, I do like the way this one turned out.  Not in a rush to make it again, though.

Snowball #81

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I spent my early childhood in Georgia.  Snow isn’t a usual thing.  When I was 12, we moved to Utah.  Our first winter in Utah, there was a LOT of snow!  In fact, our first snow storm, my brothers and I bundled up in coats, hats, scarves snowboots and mittens.  We discovered that snow sticks to knit mittens.  And then melts and soaks through and makes fingers cold.  None of that, however, stopped us from having an epic snowball fight.  In the middle of it, my youngest brother who was 6 at the time, went inside.  My either brother and I couldn’t figure out why.  A couple minutes later, he came back out, all white body and spindly arms and legs, flailing madly as he flung himself into a large snow drift.  He was stark naked.  When asked why, he said he wanted to know what it felt like.  It’s one of my favorite memories.

2014-02-07 20.50.46 This block is quick and easy and is made of HSTs in the corners and squares.

Sew the light and dark #3 triangles together to make HST units.  Gently press the seams to avoid distorting them.

For the first row, sew HST, dark #1 square, and HST together, with the dark half of the HST next to the square.  Repeat for the bottom row.  For the center row, sew a dark #1 square to either side of the light #1 square.

Finally, sew the three rows together, taking care to match the seams.  A final pressing and it’s all done.




2014-02-07 21.05.00This snowball is almost as fast to make as the real thing.  But this one won’t melt through your mittens and freeze your fingers!

Single Wedding Star #80

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I wasn’t sure I would like this block.  It looked a little wonky to me.  And in the back of my mind I secretly wanted it to be a double wedding ring.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to make that quilt.  Maybe someday I will.  But once I got started on this one, it started to grow on me.  And I discovered, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!

2014-02-07 20.12.42I started with the corner square in a square units.  I sewed the long side of a #13 triangle to one side of the #21 square, and repeated the process on the opposite side.  I pressed the seams open, then repeated the process with the remaining two sides.  Another quick press, and the corner units are done.





2014-02-07 20.21.15The next step is even easier than the first.  Sew a dark #25 to a light #25, along the long side, and press the seams either open or to the dark side.

Starting at the top row, sew a corner unit to either side of the rectangle unit.  For the center row, it’s rectangle, center square, rectangle unit.  The bottom row should be the same as the top row.  Press the seams, then sew the rows together, taking care to match the points of all the light pieces as they form a circle.


2014-02-07 20.37.17This could make a very interesting quilt, especially if you don’t sash between the blocks.  I have the feeling some secondary curves would occur.  I may have to check into that.

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