As usual, I was #podcastdeliquent, but was resolved to make some progress so I listened to some podcasts interspersed with the book, Jane Steele. I had to intersperse the podcasts, because the beginning of Jane Steele was so dark* that I was feeling depressed.
One of the podcasts to which I listened was Lazy Daisy Quilts (and Reads). She is the one who turned me on to Jane Steele. She has been working on Lady of the Lake quilt blocks. That is an old pattern. Since I didn’t see any photos on her show notes, I went and looked the block up in Jinny Beyer’s The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns**.
I was confused, because what I saw in the book didn’t jive with what I remembered of this block. I thought my memory was faulty. Still, what I saw was a cool block. Daisy was right when she said the block didn’t have a lot of other names, but it does have a few.
First, I saw a Flying Geese type block. I see that there are HSTs****, but they look like half mad Flying Geese. Beyer says about 165-8: “Lady of the Lake, Finley, 1929. See 201-2, 201-3 [these are the same, or very similar, blocks from different sources]. ‘Lady of the Lake, named after the poem by Sir Walter Scott,published in 1810… The Lady of the Lake quilt appeared in a surprisingly short time after the publication of the poem, the one shown here having been made in Vermont before 1820… it is one of the few that seems never to have been known by other names.’ Finley, 1929.***
Beyer says about 165-9: “Lady of the Lake, Aunt Martha series: The Quilt Fair Comes to You, ca.1933. Also known as: Pennsylvania Pineapple, Aunt Martha series: The Quilt Fair Comes to You, ca.1933.
Multiple listings were given in Beyer’s book, so I went on to the next one. These look like an evolution from the Cake Stand block, though I don’t know which came first, so I can’t say which evolved from which, if they did.
The above are more like Daisy’s block and more like what I was thinking Lady of the Lake looked like. Beyer writes about 191-8 “Double Sawtooth, Nancy Page, Birmingham News, Jul 16, 1940.” No AKA.
Beyer writes about 191-9 “Lady of the Lake, Ladies Art Company, 1987. Also known as: Hills of Vermont, Nancy Page, Birmingham News, Aug 9, 1938.”
There is a final reference in Beyer’s book, n.322-5 and it is also named Lady of the Lake. Beyer writes “Lady of the Lake, Nancy Cabot, Chicago Tribune, Jun 17, 1933. Also known as: Galahad’s Shield, Nancy Cabot, Chicago Tribune, Oct 23, 1937.” I find it interesting that the alternative name also references the Arthur legend.
My little spiral into research led me away from the original questions, which was what Daisy’s blocks looked like. She was kind enough to send me the photo above so I could see.
*I did end up liking Jane Steele and would recommend you read it. Read Jane Eyre first. Though it is not necessary, Jane Steele refers often to the content of Jane Eyre. I enjoyed Jane Eyre and thought it was one of the better, and less confusing, of the classics.
As mentioned briefly, the BAM Charity Sew Day was Saturday. I was busy with CQFA in the morning, but went on my way home. I made myself available as a general dogsbody since I didn’t bring any tools or supplies and was set on the task of basting quilts. My job was easy since there was a high table and the quilts were small. People kept coming up and helping me so it was pleasant as well.
We made about 32 quilt tops.
We totally finished about 6 of them – binding included.
A few people stopped by and brought additional donation pieces, like me. I brought some blocks.
As usual, I have been using these as leaders and enders. I have another 3 on the design wall, but am working on the 4 patches for the Carpenter’s Wheel so there will be a break in donation blocks.
I think these are cheerful and fun. When I get to making more blocks, I have some pink squares that will end up as blocks. I also have some boy colors, which I will need to make up.
People also brought tops and backs they had done at home. I think there were about four of these. I brought the Bits and Bobs top.
I also brought Yellow Donation Top #2, which I should be calling lemonade. Twilter Diane (DDRQuilter) said it looked like that I was disappointed not to have thought of it myself. I really like the little bit of pink I added to the blocks. I think it makes it not as ….yellow. Not sweet exactly, but tones down the yellow and also doesn’t make it scream pink.
I made more blocks. It took me forever to get these posted.
I was feeling like I wasn’t going to make any progress without seeing the #100blocks100days hashtag photos on Instagram. Seeing those photos was a real inspiration even though I wasn’t (and didn’t plan on) keeping up. I was only up to around 50 by the time they finished during the week of Thanksgiving.
I want to finish these blocks, make a quilt and move on. So, at Craft Night, I cut 11 more blocks. That was about all I had time to do, but it felt good. I now have up to 70 either sewn or cut.
30 more to go.
I am thinking about the Farmer’s Wife block book. 😉
I have been really churning out the donation blocks in the last week or so. I guess I feel I need to spread some kindness into the world.
I received more of the Northcott Colorworks 5×5 squares so I was back in business making donation blocks. I had almost started sewing 1.5 in x 1.5 inch squares together for the Thirty Something quilt.
Simultaneously, I washed several yards of white fabric so I could cut 2.5 inch squares for the donation blocks using the Accuquilt. The charm packs came first. I also have some ideas for the white and use it for linings to dresses, so I’d like to keep the yardage intact, if possible.
I have a whole group of red and white donation squares that I am putting together into a top, so these blue and white ones are just stacking up.
I am trying to make them cheerful, though I do have a container full of squares earmarked for donation quilts. I cut one 2.5 inch square, at least, from each fabric I buy or wash or use when I do my normal cutting.
For the moment, these are blocks, however, I am testing out a new quilting method and so they may turn into quilts without sending me into paroxysms of pain. Stay tuned.
I wasn’t very happy with a couple of the blocks from the last group of blocks, but I am continuing to persevere and am much happier with the latest batch.
It is working for me to use these blocks as leaders and enders while I piece The Peacock. They require a lot more thought than simple piecing of two squares together leaders and enders, so it is harder to think of them as rote sewing. Still, I am getting these blocks done. I made it to Block n.53 by last Sunday and that block was half done by the time the weekend ended. This means I am more than halfway finished with the set of blocks. All of the 100 blocks in 100 days piecers are nearing the end, which will mean my inspiration goes away. Still, I am taking advantage of it while I can.
I am making the blocks the way Tula suggestions, which is a problem for me regarding triangles. My machine is eating corners of the triangles. Fortunately, after n.55, I have some blocks with, what Tula calls, stripes. After a quick glance through the rest of the book, it appears that most of the rest of the blocks consist of squares and rectangles. Hallelujah!
The triangles do look nice on some of the blocks; it is just the making of them that is driving me crazy. I never thought of buying a single needle plate (think of all the needles I will break!), but Tula’s method of making the triangles might drive me to it.
As soon as I finish the Peacock top, I will put these blocks up on the design wall and take a look at how they look together.
I am out of cut white squares for charity blocks, so I used pieces for the City Sampler blocks as leaders and enders while I was sewing the Peacock together this past weekend.
I was able to finish a total of 6 blocks, which still makes me under 50 done, but progress is progress. I am still on the triangle blocks and my machine really likes eating the corners when I use the method Tula Pink suggests. I was grumpy making these blocks and ordered more Northcott charm packs to use for the donation blocks.
I added a few new fabrics from the group I recently washed to spice things up. They are all in the blue-green range, so they will go. I know I said before that I had too many, but clearly now I don’t care.
I don’t have a lot of fabrics in my group that are good for fussy cutting, so I did the best I could. I am pleased with the way the ice cream block came out.
Of the above blocks, I really only like the one in the upper right hand corner. I like of the fabrics in all of the blocks, but don’t much like the block designs and not just because my machine ate the corners. I particularly dislike the one in the upper left hand corner. It looks like baby blocks and I don’t think it came out well. The piecing is really wobbly due to the above referenced machine hunger and because of the many small pieces. I may redo as suggested by some on Instagram, but it will probably just blend in by the time I get all of the other blocks made.
I do like the two I made yesterday and think that simple is better for the small size of these blocks. I am really looking at the one on the left and thinking about making it super big – bed sized, in fact for one of the nephews. I have to figure out how big that would actually be. I can see the block as a quilt in, from the top down, Kona Ash, scarlett and black. I would probably do a test block first to check the color choices, then see if American Made Brands or Art Gallery has a similar solid color to Kona Ash.
Today we will start the actual sewing part of the class by making a Nine Patch. The 9 Patch is one of the easiest and most basic blocks a quiltmaker can make. It can be made from any sized patches and can be a component of more complex blocks. It is a good block to start with because it is fairly easy, gives practice on matching points and choosing fabrics all without making a new quiltmaker crazy. It also is a 3×3 grid, which means 3 patches across by 3 patches down. This grid is used in other more complicated blocks, so learning it’s structure will help you down the road. Knowing how to identify such a grid will enable you to dissect blocks in the future. It gives you a starting point for many skills.
This is usually the first block I teach when I teach beginning quiltmakers in a Sampler Class context. You will need:
rotary cutting ruler large enough to cut 4.5″ squares
rotary cutting mat
fabric (2-3 different)
Optional: Mary Ellen’s Best Press (or similar)
sharp trimmers or scissors
thread for piecing
I haven’t done a cutting tutorial. I have listed some below and you can find others if you search.
I haven’t reviewed all of the above tutorials in detail, but the brands are reputable and you should get some good information. The best way to learn is to take a class on how to rotary cut and be shown in person. Many quilt shops will give you a private lesson, if you arrange it.
I have marked the rows and patch with letters and numbers so I can more easily refer to them for you. You may want to enlarge the picture and make a small drawing to keep near your machine.
First, select your fabric. If you selected a large group of fabrics in the lesson on selecting fabric, you will just need a few from that group. As you can see I have chosen 3 fabrics. You should feel free to use more, if you want. The one in the middle is the only one I have placed in one square. I want this to be my focus fabric.
Step 1: Cut fabric. You need 9 squares 4.5″x 4.5″ each. I like to use a different fabric in the center of the nine patch block. It adds interest, especially to a 12″ finished size.
While this particular block is the first block I teach in the sampler series, I suppose I could make it easier by teaching a Four Patch. I think you can handle a 9 Patch. This particular Nine patch will be part of the sampler quilt I am making. I always make a quilt along with my students.
Step 2 (above): After you cut the squares, move them around to make sure you have the placement of the fabrics in the position that is the most pleasing to your eye.
Step 3: Prepare to start sewing.
I usually start in the upper left hand corner (row 1 patch A and row 2 patch D), everything else being equal.
In general, if I don’t start in the upper left hand corner for other blocks, I start by sewing smaller units/patches into larger patches. This is a good practice for blocks with sections that will later need to be sewn to other sections. Keep this tucked in your mind, but you don’t need to worry about it now.
Always use a quarter inch seam allowance.
If you have a needle down option, I always use it
Step 4: Place fabrics right sides together and place into machine with the foot on the fabric, but with the fabric in front of the needle. I have a quarter inch foot on my machine and I sew 2 patches together to make a unit that will fit into the upper left hand corner of the block.
The edges of the patches are lined up so that the bottom fabric is not showing when I sew. Fabrics are right sides together.
Nota bene: You can certainly take the sewn patches out of the machine, but this is a good time to talk about chain piecing. I have other bits and pieces handy so that I can keep sewing, so I will put them (see red rose fabrics above) through the machine after the patches for the block on which I am working. In the above photo, you can see scrap pieces for a journal cover. I find it is much easier to work on sewing scraps together rather than another block. For my journal covers, I sew pieces together any which way. I don’t have to worry about putting the right patch in the right place or not cutting off triangle corners. This method gives my brain space to concentrate on the block at hand. I like to use chain piecing as it saves thread and keeps the machine from eating the corners of blocks as the machine starts sewing a new patch.
Once you have done some blocks and know how you work, you can certainly put the next group of pieces for your current block through the machine after the first set. Also, if you feel confident, then go ahead and put the next set through the machine.
Step 5: After you have put your second group of patches, or your scraps, through the machine, cut off the sewn patches apart from your second group of sewn pieces. I usually just put one set of chain piecing through my machine after the patches for my current block, especially if I have a lot of fiddly placement. I would rather unsew one set of patchwork if I make a mistake than many.
Step 6: Trim threads.
I dislike a bunch of long threads hanging off the back of my finished blocks. The best way I have found to deal with that is to trim as I go along. Trimming threads is a personal preference. I find it makes my blocks look a bit better and there is less of a chance of anything getting caught in my machine as I sew further along in the project. I put threads and trimmings in a bag and use them for cat bed filling.
Step 7: Bring your 2 sewn squares over to your ironing board and press the threads on the seam allowance from the back with the patchwork closed. This sets the seams. You have not yet opened your piecing to look at it from the front.
I have no idea if this step really sets the seams. Fons & Porter do this and since there doesn’t seem to be any harm in it, I started to do it as well. If you skip this step, your patchwork will not fall apart.
Step 8: Open your patchwork so that the seam allowance is pointing towards the patch that will be in the very upper left hand corner.
Step 9: Point the seam allowance, referenced above, away from you.
You could also point it to the side (either right or left depending on which is comfortable based on the hand with which you press). Above is the way I do it, which probably depends on the size of my ironing board and habit.
Step 10: Swoop your iron carefully from the patch without the seam allowance to the patch which is laying on top of the seam allowance. In my case I am swooping carefully from the red towards the aqua dot.
Step 11: Place sewn patches on in their spot on the design surface.
You will notice that this newly sewn set of patches are quite a bit smaller (1/2″ to be exact) than your other cut pieces. No panicking is necessary. The patches are smaller because you have used 1/2″ of fabric for the seam allowance. You are on track, if your block looks like the two pictures above.
Step 12: Take the center patches (from row 1 patch B and row 2 patch E) and sew them together. Again, you will place your right sides together before you sew.
Step 13: Follow steps 3-11 for these patches and the right hand patches (row 1 patch C and row 2 patch F).
Step 14: Above we pressed towards row 1. After sewing row 1&2, patches B&E, you will press the seam allowance towards row 2. Patch E will be on top of your seam allowance.
Step 15: Place your pressed patch on the Design Wall. You have used up another 1/2″ of fabric.
After you have sewed all the patches for rows 1&2 together, you will need to sew the patches for row 3.
Step 16: Sew row 3 patch G to patch D. Yes, patch D is already sewn to patch A. Don’t press yet.
Step 17: Follow the directions in Step 16 for patch H and patch I. Wait to press.
Step 18: Press patch G towards patch G.
Step 19: Press H towards patch E
Step 20: Press patch I towards patch I
Step 21: Lay the column with patches B, E and H on top of the column with A, D, and G. Make sure that your seams look like the photo above – nested into each other, not resting on top of each other.
The reason to pay attention to pressing is that you can ‘nest’ the seams when you go to start sewing the rows. Nesting seams is when the seam allowances are pressed in opposite directions so that they rest against each other. It helps with accuracy in piecing.
Step 22: With the column with patches B, E and H on the bottom, sew the column with A, D, and G to the column with patches B, E and H on the right side.
I did use some pins at the seam allowances.
Step 23: Set seam between the left and middle columns.
Step 24: Press seam allowance between the left and middle columns in whatever direction suits you.
Step 25: Lay left column (with patches C, F and I) on top of the middle column.
It looks like the top row, but really is the right column. I just have it turned so the right column is on top.
Step 26: Pin at seam allowances, if desired. I usually use pins.
Step 27: Sew left column (with patches C, F and I) to the middle column.
Step 28: Set seam between right and middle column.
Step 29: Press seam between right and middle column.
Step 30: Congratulate yourself! You have successfully completed your Nine Patch!!!
Yes, this is block #7 of the ‘test’ blocks. Apparently, I have a lot of testing in me and can’t stop.
I think that I am making a quilt. I can’t imagine piecing all of these pieces and then giving the blocks away or something. I guess I am making a quilt.
The patches for this particular block were on the wall for a long time. Some of it was that I was away from my machine for various travel and some of it was that I was sewing other things when I did have time. I fiddled with the layout quite a bit until I decided to go with what I had and began sewing.
There are colors, and similar colors that are near each other in this version. I decided to be ok with that. There are no hues that look so much alike as to muck up the design. In the grand scheme, I think it will be great.
I washed a bunch of low volume prints and am ready to lay out the next block.
I was finally able to finish this pink (the center is pink so I think of it as the Pink Carpenter’s Wheel) Carpenter’s Wheel block. While I was working on the Sew Together Bags, I didn’t have a quarter inch foot on the machine, so I did barely any quilt work piecing. Very sad as that means very little gets done.
But the Sew Together Bags are done for the moment and I got quite a lot done over the weekend.
This one has more HSTs. I put some in the center, outside the Sawtooth Star, to try and get the look of a ring going. Not sure if I succeeded, thought I do like the look and the opportunity for additional color more HSTs provides.
I am still interested in the low volume background and am adding more of my own fabrics to the mini-charm packs I bought in Corvallis.
I cut and laid out another Carpenter’s Wheel block. I didn’t do it because I wanted an even number. I did it because I had another idea for a variation.
The Carpenter’s Wheel blocks were off visiting Kathleen in Reno when I started laying out the 5th version. Yes, I had another idea for a variation and decided to try it out. I was challenged by the center square. I got it in my head to use orange (forgetting that I had already made one with an orange center), thus had some fun trying out different oranges.
I really thought that the tone-on-tone orange would be the perfect center for the 5th block. Somehow it didn’t work for me. I think the bold patterning of the other fabrics made the tone-on-tone look flat.
I didn’t want a fabric that screamed because it is such a large piece compared to the other patches, so I tried this great orange batik. I thought it was probably the best of the lot, but there was something about it that didn’t quite work.
I picked out a more salmon-y orange, thinking more pink might work better. The pattern was better, but the pattern wasn’t bold enough to compete with all that was going on in the block and didn’t work.
I did think more pink was good, though, so I looked through my ‘oranges tending towards pink’ fabric to see if I could find anything. This was better. I almost went with it, but though it was a little light. You can see the block evolving as I move some of the other pieces or change them out as well.
I finally decided on a pink stitch design. I think it competes well with the other fabrics, but doesn’t overwhelm them.
I am working on stitching it down. As you might recall, these blocks have a lot of pieces, so it takes time. I also laid out another block and will need to pick out another center. Stay tuned.
I made major progress on this piece during the weekend before Thanksgiving. I have had a lot to talk about, so posts are getting backed up. For someone who hasn’t had much of a chance to sew recently, I seem to have a lot of content!
I walked around my workroom trying to get comfortable with the blue and green backing. I really tried hard to like it. I tried to convince myself that another color scheme would provide a different look and make a good addition to the piece.
I had already cut one piece into two and I still couldn’t like what I saw. The blues just didn’t work with the red and black and I couldn’t do it. I admitted to myself that I wanted to save the large piece of red solid for another project and that cleared the way for progress. I found a piece of American Made Brands red solid on sale and bought it. That kind of freed me up to use the large piece of Kona red for the back, which is what I did.
I spent a whole Sunday piecing the back. I wanted to finish and it took me a long time. I did. I just need to make the binding and then I can take it to Colleen’s to be quilted. I like the way the whole piece came out, but I am glad to get it off my design wall.
The thing is huge and I need to take a photo of both sides outside, but that will have to wait for one of my quilt hangers to return from college.
The 4th Carpenter’s Wheel block sat on my wall for over week. I didn’t really have a lot of time in the past little while to sew, which is hard. I made an effort one evening to get the block done. I had pecked away it, so I didn’t have to sew all the pieces, but there were about 40 pieces to sew, so it was a bit of work.
I tried to add in some different fabrics from the others. I want this piece, whatever it turns out to be, very scrappy.
This block is 16.5″ and has, if I counted right, 77 pieces.
Making the 4th one means that I have reached my original goal. the problem is that I also thought of another variation. Sigh. We’ll see what happens.
I was kind of shocked to realize that the last time I devoted a post to this project was back in September. I did mention it last week and meant to write a full post. I was out of town for most of the week for work and it never happened.
On Saturday, I got back to the machine. I worked on this top, in between other projects. For the Improv top, I seem to be able to make progress on this project, but only while working simultaneously with other projects. For some reason this project does not inspire me to buckle down and work on it by itself.
I tried Improv again and it still doesn’t inspire me. I guess I like the technical precision of regular blocks. Does that make me boring? Perhaps.
Three blocks was the sum total of what I needed to finish to put this top together. The end was in sight! (Let’s not talk about back or binding at the moment). I finished one block completely on Saturday and made major progress on two more.
Sunday, I finished the blocks and then put all the blocks together into the top.
I started on the back, for which I am making different color choices just to give it a different feel. I am choosing some blues so that the back will have a different feel.
Yes. More donation blocks. They were part of my sewing work over the past two weekends. I am now out of cut background squares so I will need to cut more. I have some blue dottish on white fabric scraps leftover from the Star Sampler, which I might use. Since they are scraps, they won’t go far and will be a stopgap.
These are on the dull side. I cut up a bunch of foreground fabrics some time ago. I didn’t feel like I wanted to use those fabrics in a quilt and am working my way through them for donation blocks. Someone will like them, right?
I am not doing that again. I decided that if I have fabric I don’t want to use, I’ll just donate it rather than using it like this. It isn’t enjoyable and I want to infuse these donation blocks good energy so that is my plan.
I really tried to recapture the sewing mojo I talked about last week. I didn’t quite feel that adrenaline rush of excitement this past weekend, but I did get a lot done.
I finished the Carpenter’s Wheel block that was named #2.5, but is really #3. I called it 2.5 last week to denote its unfinished state.
I was really lackadaisical at the beginning of the day about working on it. I think I didn’t want to get confused by leaving pieces and parts in the machine by using this block as leaders and enders. I worked hard at placing the fabrics, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t get get confused about where each patch belonged. Towards the end of the day, I set a goal to finish that block and did.
The cherry on the sundae was that I also laid out the last variation I imagined.
I might make a four block quilt, but I don’t know. I don’t want to commit to a full quilt with these blocks, but I may get inspired. I am loving the low volume background. It really adds interest to the blocks without making the background too busy.