Ozark Maple Leaf – #63

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Leaves of a feather fall together.  Or something like that.  When I did the Maple Leaf block, I knew I had to do this one as well.  They just … well…  They belong together.  What quilting has joined together…

Ok, I’ll stop now.

This block looked pretty complex to me, especially when I had it all laid out.  Fortunately, that was a misconception and it took me less than 30 minutes to assemble.

Like the Maple Leaf block, it utilizes light and dark fabrics.  Templates 11, 13, 25, and 65 are the templates used.  I don’t know about you, but my template for that little #13 triangle is getting pretty grubby looking.  Probably because it gets used more than any other template in the quilt!  For this block, cut two of each template from each color, except for #13.  Cut four from each color.  (See?  It gets used the most)

2013-10-26 01.04.35Once I had it all laid out, I seriously had to take a few minutes to plan my attack, because it just looked like a jumbled mess to me.  I started by attaching the contrasting wings to the #65 pieces.  I chain stitched all four, then “pulled a Jenny” and just flipped it around so I could attach the other wing to the other side.  What a time saver!  I’ll have to do that more often.  Then it was over to the ironing board to press the seams open.

 

 

2013-10-26 11.59.31Here’s an example of the #65 template with the wings attached.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013-10-26 12.03.58Next up, attach a #25 rectangle (these are the smaller ones) to right side of your newly formed square, making sure the center diagonal runs from top left to bottom right.  I chain stitched and pressed open the seams.  Next, which should be the easy part, sew the long rectangle to the bottom of the unit.  The two rectangles and the diagonal piece should all be the same color.

 

 

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Your finished pieces should look like this

 

 

 

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Not like this.  If they do look like this, simply remove the #11 rectangle and move it to the opposite side.  Quick and easy, if annoying, fix.

 

2013-10-26 12.17.52Once the leaves are properly assembled, you should have 4 corner pieces.  I placed the light corner pieces on top of the dark ones and chain stitched, then pressed open the seams.

Here’s the best part about this block: for as complex as it looks, there’s only ONE seam that needs to be matched up, and that’s the one running down the center.  Lay the top half face down on the bottom half, making sure the points of the leaves are all pointing to the middle, and pin the seam to hold it in place while you sew it together.

2013-10-26 12.20.20It’s not until the block is completely finished that you see the full effect of the leaves.  And I suspect sewing multiples of these blocks together would make a great tessellation, which is where the pattern is repeated in the negative space.

Hmm… I’m starting to get an inspiration, using multiple colors of fabric and ending up with a rainbow of falling leaves.  This requires further thought.

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Maple Leaf – #56

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It is late October here in Utah and the weather is being surprisingly mild.  The sky is that clear, endless blue that just goes on and on without interruption.  The trees are brilliant with colors ranging from green to red to orange to gold and all points in between.  My favorite tree, the flowering plum, has all of those colors and even adds purple to the mix.  It’s like all the colors of fall all rolled into one.

Because of that, I decided last night to make the leaves blocks:  Maple Leaf and Ozark Maple.  They’re both out of sequence, but I just couldn’t help myself!

Maple Leaf uses two colors, light and dark, and templates 1, 3, 7, and 52.  It went together in minutes.  No, seriously, I was done in under 20.  Amazing!

Taking advantage of my latest epiphany, I laid the two fabrics right sides together to do all my cutting.  Wish I’d thought to take a picture of that, but I didn’t.  Sorry.

 

2013-10-26 00.37.57I didn’t lay out all the pieces before I started.  Instead, I started by sewing the HSTs together to form the points of the maple leaf.  You should end up with 4 of them.

Next I sewed the small triangles to either side of template #52.  with all the components of each row assembled, I started sewing the rows together.

At each point along the way, I pressed the seams open.  Not sure why, but it seems to be helping me matching things up better and have the blocks lie flat when I’m done.

2013-10-26 00.43.39I laid the middle pieces face down on top of the left pieces and chain stitched.  Once the seams were pressed, I laid the right pieces face down on the left unit and chain stitched and pressed.

I used short pins to keep the seams matched up as I sewed the top to the center row, and then the bottom row to the center row.

 

 

 

2013-10-26 00.48.53The finished block looks great, if I do say so myself.  I think I might use this as a basis for an autumnal table runner, and make the leaves all different colors.  Kind of like that flowering plum.

Honey’s Choice – #50

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9338 (533x800)Here’s another picture of my cute parents in their bee suits.  I think they had a little bee in the little box, but I can’t remember for certain.  This was taken just before we had a surprise birthday party for my dad.  The theme was “Tacky”.  How tacky, you ask?  well, let me put it this way:  We had a buffet lunch, and the lunch meat was arranged as a “skirt” for a Barbie doll.  Hollow out a red cabbage, stuff her legs down into the hole, drape the meat artistically on the cabbage, securing it with toothpicks.  Yeah, it was hideous!

And has absolutely nothing to do with this block, but it’s a funny story and a fun memory.  Mom, always privy to the jokes dad and I would play on each other, kept him busy in the back yard with the bees while Jim and I got everything set up in the front yard.  She was an excellent double agent.

 

Honey’s Choice, like Honeycomb, uses two colors, light and dark, and utilizes templates 34, 35, and 38.  When I was first looking it over, I thought it was going to be somewhat complex.  Then I realized it’s just four pinwheels separated by a cross.  Easy-peasy.

2013-10-24 22.46.58I started to lay out the block and had planned to lay out all the pinwheel pieces when inspiration struck: Why?  They’re just a bunch of HSTs.  Why not just leave them in their respective piles and chain stitch them from there.  Why not, indeed!  So that’s what I did.  And as I was doing that, further inspiration struck for future blocks:  When I have a block with a lot of two color HSTs, just put the two contrasting fabrics right sides together and cut out the pieces that way.  They’re perfectly matched and already to go.  A definite time saver, and something I’m sure others have thought of before me.  I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

2013-10-24 23.14.46Going with the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid), I laid out my HSTs and sewed them in pairs, then, making sure my pins were all pointed in the right direction (this took me awhile, and you can see the 2nd from the left isn’t quite there yet), I sewed together my pinwheels.  Each pinwheel then got placed in one of the four corners of the block.

 

Starting with the top row, 2013-10-24 23.26.52I sewed the pinwheels to either side of the center rectangle.  I repeated this for the bottom row.  For the middle row, I sewed a rectangle to either side of the center square.

For this block, I pressed the seams of the top and bottom rows toward the center, and for the middle row toward the outside.  This allowed me to nest the seams when I sewed the three rows together.

The end result is that all my seams are near perfect.  In fact, I was stunned when I looked at the finished product!  There are more pinwheels coming up, so we’ll see how I do.2013-10-24 23.39.11

Honeycomb – #49

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My parents keep a hive in their backyard.  Well, “backyard” is being generous.  It’s 3×40 foot strip separating their driveway from the neighbor’s driveway.  But when we moved in, long before Mom married my stepdad, she made the most of it.  She planted a dozen dwarf fruit trees.  In between them she would plant pumpkins, zucchini, crook-neck squash, and peas.  When dad arrived on the scene, he cleared some space for a beehive.  At one point, they had two hives, the other one being in the front garden.  One day dad noticed what appeared to be Honey Bee Rush Hour, with bees flying back and forth at breakneck speed.  It seems each hive had discovered the other and recognized it as a source of easy pickings.  They were able to “break into” each others hives because they’d all started off in the same hive, so they all knew the right passwords to get in.  Dad had to move the new hive to a new location about 5 miles away.  And thus ended the great Honey Heist of 1997.

This block went together so easily.  It has two colors, light and dark, and three templates, 56, 57 and 57R.  It’s not really necessary to use both 57 and 57R. If you fold the fabric in half when cutting out the pieces, you automatically end up with 1 of each.

2013-10-24 22.10.16The dark pieces remind me of half hexies or tumblers.  They get laid out in two columns.  Starting at the top, lay the first tumbler with the wide edge at the top.  Working your way down, match the edges, narrow to narrow and wide to wide.  Make two identical columns.

Take the light pieces (I call them “wings”) and line them up with each tumbler so that the end result looks like a rectangle.  Once you’ve gotten everything lined up, it’s time to sew.

I chain stitched all 8 tumblers with one wing and pressed the seams open.  Then I repeated the process to attach the wing to the opposite side.

Next, I laid pieces from the right column face down on the pieces in the left column.  There were no real seams to match this way.  I chain stitched and pressed the seams open.  In retrospect, I think it would be better to pair them up from top to bottom.  I think the points of the honeycomb will match up better this way.  Try it and let me know.  Once the seams were pressed, I laid the top row on top of the second row and stitched them together, then did the same with the third and fourth rows.  Finally, I stitched the two halves together, taking great care to match the seams as I went.

I really like the contrast between the light and dark and how the honeycomb pattern appears.  I think if I were making up a honeycomb block of my own, I’d use the small half-hexi ruler from MSQC, which would make the honeycomb shape more uniform.  But I doubt I’ll ever get around to that!

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Kitchen Woodbox

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After the 90 minutes it took me to make the Jackknife block, the 30 minutes it took for this one was a welcome change.  It went together so quickly and easily.  Love it!

2013-10-06 15.30.47For this block, I worked from the inside out.  The center square is a #1 template.  I chose a sage green with small brown floral sprigs.  Ideally, this same fabric should also be used for the outer corners, but I didn’t have enough of it.  Instead, I used a solid in the same shade of sage.  The center square is wrapped with two #25 and two #51.  Sew a #25 to opposite sides of the #1 square and press the seams.  Then sew a #51 to the other two sides.

 

2013-10-06 15.38.52Next up, we’re going to sew a #49 to each of the four sides of the center unit.  When complete, you should have a three color octagon.  Press the seams to the outside.  We’re in the home stretch.

Sew each of the #3 triangles to the corners, creating a finished block.  Press the seams to the darker fabric.

 

2013-10-06 15.41.44The finished block is quit stunning, I think.  I chose to use fabrics that wouldn’t normally go together, but I like the contrast it creates.

Jackknife

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It has been a LONG time since I sat at my sewing machine.  So long, in fact, that I forgot how long it takes to make just two blocks.  Well, truth be told, a big part of that time is just figuring out which fabrics to use, and remembering how to make these beautiful little quilt blocks.

I started with the Jackknife.  In retrospect, I think I need to go back and do the honey blocks.  We’ll get to those next week.

Jackknife sees the return of our favorite template, #13.  I always groan a little when I see that one.  Fortunately, there aren’t too many of them in this block.

2013-10-06 15.00.33  I forgot to take a picture of it all laid out before I started sewing.  I was too excited to get going!  To get started, I chain pieced EVERYTHING!  I laid a #13 light over a #50 dark, then a #50 light over a #13 dark.  This combination creates the two halves of the corner pieces.  Once I did the corners, I worked my way around the other four outer pieces, laying the #20 dark over a #20 light.

With everything chain pieced, I cut them apart and pressed toward the darker fabric.  Then I went back around and sewed the two halves of each piece together, being careful to match the seams.

2013-10-06 15.05.28Now it’s time to sew the three rows together.  Be careful and make sure the corner pieces are arranged with the dark #13 toward the center.  When pressing these, I recommend pressing the seams of the top and bottom row inward and the seams of the center row outward.  Or vice versa.  The idea is to have the seams going opposite directions so they nest well together.  I did not do that, and it got a little touchy to match them up properly.  And it creates a lot of unnecessary bulk.  Of course, if you don’t do it, it’s not the end of the world.

2013-10-06 15.08.49For my first time back after months of not even going near my sewing machine, I think it’s not too bad.  It’s not perfect, but I’m ok with it.  Still need to square it up, but that’s easily done.

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