Pine Tree #67 and Temperance Tree #95

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Pine Tree and Temperance Tree are so similar it seems pointless to make two separate tutorials.  In fact, the main difference is the size of the trunk.  Pine Tree is fat, Temperance Tree is thin.

I was intrigued by the name “Temperance Tree”, so I did some checking to see what I could find.

treeoftemperanceThis lithograph was published by Nathaniel Currier (later of Currier & Ives) in 1849.  The trunk is Health.  The limbs are Happiness, Prosperity, Strength of Heart, Strength of Mind.  Beneath the image were the following five scriptures:

Ye shall know them by their fruits – Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Matt.: VII. 16_ Ho, every one that thirsteth; come ye to the waters, Isaiah, I.V. 1. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. Ephesians V. 18… And if he be thirsty give him water to drink. Prov. XXV 21 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1. 3..

In the mid-1800s, women began to stand up and and together to defend themselves from the tyranny of men.  They recognized that strong drink caused normally placid men to become violent and abusive.  And normally abusive men could – and sometimes did – kill.  Those behind the temperance movement felt avoiding alcoholic beverage could cause a kinder, gentler environment for women and children, and might even induce some men to attend worship services on a more regular basis.  The temperance movement gained enough momentum in the US to lead to the Prohibition Act of 1920.  This ran through 1933, when it was repealed.  It’s a great idea, really, but not very practical.

2014-01-26 15.01.39I started with the trunk, and sewed 1 background triangle to either side of the trunk and press the seams.  Then sew the #14 triangle to the trunk portion.  This creates a large square that goes in the lower right portion of the block.



2014-01-26 14.55.20Next I made a four-patch by using the two #19 squares and two light/dark HSTs, aligning them so the squares are opposite each other, and the light portion of the HSTs point in to the center.  Following that, I sewed the remaining HSTs into two groups of 4 by 2.  One group must have the light triangles pointing up, the other group pointing down.  Essentially, they point toward the center of the tree.  Sew the four-patch to the top group of HSTs.  Sew the left group of HSTs to the trunk segment.  Finally, sew the top HSTs to the trunk section.  Press all the seams well, give it a good steam et viola!  C’est finis.


2014-01-26 15.08.55Pine Tree on the left, Temperance Tree on the right.  Personally, I like Temperance Tree better.  Which do you prefer?







Homeward Bound: #48

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My mom made a point to take us on a trip each summer.  We went to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Southern California, Oregon, and British Columbia, just to name a few.  Each one of them had something unique about it that set it apart, but all of them had the same thing: that point when we would come around a corner and recognize the mountains in the distance as the ones by our house, and knew that home was just a couple hours away, at most.  It was always a bittersweet moment for me.  Relief to be out of the backseat of our Volkswagen Rabbit, and sadness that the adventure was over.

This block was pretty easy to make, and it’s one of those where I was so focused on making it, I forgot to take pictures.  Fortunately, it’s a pretty easy block to make, so here goes.

The first step is to make four 4-patch blocks using 1 dark and three light #19 squares.  Alternately, sew together 1 dark and  light square, then sew a 2 1/2 x 1 1/2″ rectangle to the pair.  Either way, you get the same effect.

Now it’s time to assemble the rows.  Row 1 is 4 patch, #1 Medium, and 4 patch.  Make sure the dark quarter of the 4 patch points to the top outside (one right and one left.

Row two is three #1 squares: Medium, Light, Medium

Row three is the repeat of row 1, except with the dark quarters pointing to the bottom outside.

Press the seams of rows 1 and 3 to the left, and the seams of row 2 to the right.  When you sew the rows together, you’ll be able to nest the seams, which will make sure your seams are straight


2014-02-23 12.52.07

Mother’s Dream: #58

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Every mother dreams.  Dreams of how her home will be.  Dreams of her children, how many, what they’ll be like.  Dreams are filled with sunlight, hope, and promise.  I have Almost Children.  Six of them.  Five boys and 1 girl, belonging to three different sets of parents.  I am not their biological mother, but they live in my mother’s heart, and while their hopes and dreams for the future may change with every passing year, my dreams for them remain unchanged:  That they may find happiness.  That they may be content in their career paths.  That they may find love to sustain them.  That they may have children who fill them with joy.

2013-10-30 17.23.16Because this block lends itself so well, I took the time to fussy cut the #60 center square, then used a complimentary instead of identical fabric for four of the #59 rectangles.

Sew together 1 light and 1 medium #59 rectangle to make a square.  Make four of these, and press the seams.  To the light half of the square attach a #7 dark triangle, making 4 little house shapes.



2013-10-30 17.39.20Sew two house units to opposite sides of the center #60 square. press everything nice and flat.

Sew a #12 dark triangle to opposite sides of of the two remaining house units, creating large triangle units.

Use pins to hold everything in place while you match up the seams.  Sew the large triangle units to either side of the center strip.  Press it flat.



2013-10-30 17.45.57The progression of colors, per the pattern, is dark outside, light center, and medium around the center square.  Because of the fabrics I selected, I put medium in the center with the light rectangles around it.  Personally, I think the block is very striking the way it turned out.

Morning: #57

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For as long as I can remember, my mother has been a morning person.  Up at the crack of dawn, going for fast-paced three mile walks, feeding ducks, working in the garden, and generally getting a head start on her day.  I am not, by nature, a morning person.  I like the glory of watching a sunrise, but I often wonder why it can’t happen at a reasonable hour.  Say… 10:30!  On the other hand, as a photographer, I recognize that one of the best times to take photos is in the morning, starting about 20 minutes before sunrise and going for about an hour after, sometimes two.  The light is crisp and sharp and the colors are so strong and true.  It’s a magical, breathtaking time of day.

With the right colors, and the right skill set, this block can be breathtaking, too.

2013-10-29 23.16.14Using a #25 rectangle and a #20 triangle, make four house shapes out of the medium color.  Press your seams and then lay them back in place around the center #1 square.

Attach a right and let #13 dark triangle to either side of two of the house shapes, kind of like wings.

Sew the other two house shapes to opposite sides of the #1 square.  This, by the way, is a great chance for a fussy cut.  After a good press, attach the winged houses to the remaining sides of the center square, taking care to match the seams.  The center of the block is now finished.  Next up: star points.

2013-10-29 22.46.02Sew a #13 triangle to the right of each #19 square.  Then sew a #20 triangle the other side of the #13 triangle.  This is the top portion of your star point.

For the bottom portion, sew the short side of a #20 triangle to the long side of the #13 triangle.  Then sew the remaining #13 triangle to the other, short sides together.

Taking care to match the seams, sew the top portion to the bottom portion to complete the star point.  Make four of these.


2013-10-29 23.43.28Finally, taking care to match the seams and triangle points of the blue in the star points and the blue in the center portion of the block, sew the star points to the block.

I like this block so much, I think I’ll do it again, in a different arrangement of colors.  Something to celebrate the brightness of morning.


Linoleum #55

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My parents are remodeling the kitchen in their post WWII cottage.  Due to extenuating circumstances, they can’t just rip the whole thing out and tackle it at once, which is what it needs.  Instead, they have to do it in pieces.  Right now, they’re working on the floor.  Mom, at some point, had installed some very pretty peel-n-stick tiles.  They were holding up pretty well, actually, except in one area where they were turning yellow.  And since the long-term plan is to have a 1950s retro vibe, the flooring had to go.  That, and the whole floor was so out of level it wasn’t even funny.  When they pulled up the subfloor, they discovered two things:  (1) it was on top of a second subfloor, and (2) the original 1950s linoleum.  It was actually pretty cool, and dad wished it were salvageable, but it wasn’t.  It was gray with pinks and greens and blues and the occasional sparkly bit.  Once the floor is all level, dad’s going to install a sage/apple green lino.  I don’t really like it, but it’s not my house!  In the end, I’m sure it will look great.

Just for fun, I did some quick research on linoleum.  It is actually a pretty “green” product, made with naturally occurring, renewable resources.  Like linseed oil, pine resin, and ground cork dust.  While not as striking as something like marble or granite, you don’t have to dig big holes in the ground to get it.  Personally, I think I’d rather have bamboo flooring (also green, also renewable), because I like the way it feels on my feet.  But I digress.

My nephew Adam helped me pick the fabrics for this block, and helped me with the layout.  Honestly, it looked fabulous all laid out, and I couldn’t wait to get started.  The fabrics were all so bright and cheerful!  Here’s what happened next.

2013-10-29 20.52.38I started by sewing two #13 triangles to either side of the #65 diamonds.  This resulted in a square corner piece.  I chain stitched all on one side, then flipped them around and did the other side at the same time.  Made sipping them apart a little exciting, but it turned out fine in the end.





2013-10-29 20.55.05The center piece along each side is made of two contrasting #25 rectangles sewn together along the long side.  Once those were stitched, I had three piles of block bits to play with:

(1) The Center #1 square

(2)  The Corner Units

(3)  The #25 Rectangle squares


At this point, assembly was a breeze.  Making sure the bottom point of the corner unit pointed toward the inside, I sewed 2 corner units to one #25 Rectangle Square unit (running horizontally).  This was for the top and bottom rows.  For the center, I sewed two #25 Rectangle Squares (running vertically) to the center square.  From there, it was easy as pie to match the seams and sew the three rows together.

The problem was, I didn’t like the way it looked.  So I took the same fabrics and did some rearranging.  When I was done, I took both blocks to show my husband and my nephew.  The difference between the two was so striking, they both thought I was showing them two different patterns!  And we all agreed the 2nd block was much better.  Here there are, side by side.  Which one do you like best?

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The one on the left is the one I did first.

The one on the right is the one I like best.

Hovering Birds #51, and Hovering Hawks #52

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One of my favorite things to do is watch a flock of birds fly in formation.  I’m fascinated by how they can do that.  How do they communicate with each other?  How do they know when to turn and which direction to go.  Sometimes there are a few stragglers that don’t get the memo and head off in a different direction for a moment, then struggle to catch up.  I recently saw a time lapse video showing the flight patterns of starlings.  On one hand, it was really cool.  On the other hand, it gave me flashbacks to watching “The Birds” when I was a child.  Gave me nightmares for weeks and left a lasting impression.  For instance, as much as I love watching birds in flight, things like pet budgies and parrots give me the heebee-geebees.  Yeah, I know.  I’m weird.

2013-10-28 22.39.23This block uses two contrasting colors and templates 4, 7, and 8.  It’s a fairly simple layout, but it’s sometimes those simple ones that throw me off!  Take a minute to lay it out and make sure everything is where it’s supposed to be, and that you like the fabrics you’re using.

The easy way to assemble this bloc is to sew all the HSTs together.  Then, starting in the top right corner, sew the #4 square to the HST and attach the #7 light to the left end.  Repeat the process for row 2 (HST, Square, HST, Triangle)  Sew these two rows together and then sew the #8 triangle to the angled end.  Repeat this for the bottom half of the block, then sew the two halves together.  Wish I’d thought of that before I sewed it together.  You, Dear Quiltie, are free, of course, to implement whichever method you like best.  But for now, sit back, relax, and watch how I took something really simple and made it really complicated.

2013-10-28 22.42.28

Starting in the top left and working on angle, I sewed four #7 triangles together, alternating light and dark, forming a zigzag.  I repeated this in the lower right corner.  Then I sewed the #8 triangle to the zigzag.

Starting in the top right corner and working down through the center, I sewed a #7 to the #4 square.  On the next row, I sewed together the right HST, then attached the #8 square to the #7 triangle, and sewed this unit to the HST.  On the 3rd row, starting on the left side,  I sewed the HST,  sewed the #4 square to the #7 triangle and attached this to the HST.  On the fourth row, I sewed the #4 square to the #7 triangle.  Then, taking care to match the seams, I sewed rows 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the center section together, forming a nice diagonal Jacob’s Ladder sort of piece down the center of the block.

2013-10-28 23.04.45From there, it was very simple to attach the corner zigzag units to the sides.

Hopefully you found an easier, less confusing method to assemble your Hovering Birds.  Regardless of the flight path you take, it should produce a stunning block with nicely matched points.





The Hovering Hawks block is virtually identical to Hovering Birds, except the #8 triangle is replaced with a #7 triangle and a #58 wedge.  Sew the #58 Wedge to the #7 corner triangles to form the corner triangle units.  Here are the pictures that show the progression.

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