Saturday, January 31, 2009

Birthday Block - February

February's block is for Cathy in California. She asked for a Quilters Cache Tulip pattern in batiks with a white on white background. What a nice pattern.





Friday, January 30, 2009

Zizzy-Dot Swap January/February

It has been quite cold, on and off, here in South Florida for the past few weeks. OK, all you gals in Minnesota can stop laughing now.
Right now it is 38 degrees and I am really cold. I thought a snowflake would be appropriate for January as it has been cold enough for snow.



On the other hand, Dotti was thinking ahead and made a Valentines card. She has tried a new technique. Instead of overcasting the edges, she brought the back side of the card around to the front. She hand sewed all those seed beads on by hand. Nice job Dotti.
These will be the last of the traded postcards. I guess we both got postcarded out at the same time. We will, however, be trading 6 inch quilt blocks starting at the end of February. So, stay tuned, this should be fun.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Princess Jellybean Block

Have you ever gone looking for one thing and found something else you totally forgot about? I found this cute angel pattern that I have had for a long time (1995). I thought it would make a nice block to add to the Princess Jellybean Quilt. The package has a few different patterns, I think I'll make another one. And in case you were wondering, I did not do the applique by hand, I used fusible web and a machine button hole stitch.






Sunday, January 18, 2009

September Block Lotto

Recently, Kate used her Cracker Blocks to make a baby quilt. She had some blocks left over and sent them to me. That was a good thing because I didn't really have enough to make anything other than a wall hanging. I finally took a closer look at the blocks and was very much disappointed. Mind you, I will admit that most of the blocks were exactly what they should have been, but there were a few that really makes me wonder. I took several photos to show all the things that you should not do when swapping/trading or sending off for someone else to use. I was going to write a whole tutorial on this subject but decided against it, I don't need the hate mail.

I took many of these blocks apart and re-sewed them and I think they now look great. There were some that were not usable. I took them apart also and will be using the parts in string blocks.


So let me list a few of the no=nos .........

First and most importantly, the block should measure whatever the requirements are. A 6.5" unfinished block should measure 6 and one half inches. Some blocks I received were as much as a half an inch too small. It is possible this was caused by the overly large seam allowances. In addition, if the instructions say use a white background, you should not be using dark blue.

I hate twisted seams. It's not hard to get a seam going in one direction, is it? It is hard to quilt in the ditch if the seam is twisted.

I cannot explain what the proper stitch length should be (we all have different machines). But some of the blocks I received had a stitch length equal to what my machine uses for a basting stitch (the good news there is that it was easy to remove). On the other side of the coin, some blocks had stitches so small, there was no way to remove them rendering the block unusable.

I also have to wonder about the kind of thread some gals are using. I have a bunch of different threads, some expensive some not so much. But this is the first time I have seen thread that melted when ironed. I guess that's why the maker didn't press the block.

My intention here is not to embarrass anyone (that's why I didn't post the pictures) but to give swappers something to think about before sending a block to a stranger.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Tisket A Tasket

Have you seen this Bunny Hill block of the month? It's spreading across blogland like wildfire. I've been saying I would like to do some more hand applique and this is the perfect pattern. There is not too many pieces and they are kind of simple (please don't enlarge the picture and look too closely at those leaves)(be kind, I'm still practicing). Another plus is that there will only be one pattern per month, so no one should be too overwhelmed. I think it's cute. I also think I'm going to have to break down and buy the buttons.




Sunday, January 11, 2009

Incoming


I have received three more birthday blocks in the last few days. The first one is from Rebecca in Arizona. I especially like this one because it closely matches last years fat eighth swap. I am still waiting to put that together because I didn't have enough blocks to make a queen size quilt. I am hoping some of these birthday blocks will go together with the other swap blocks.



This block is from Little Deb in Ohio.





And this one is from Brandy in Texas.




I have received all but two blocks so far.



Ooops, I forgot to include this block from Frances. She used a lovely pink Robyn Pandolph fabric. How do I know it's a Robyn Pandolph fabric? Because she sent a piece of additional fabric tied in a pink ribbon. Wasn't that nice of her?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Birthday Block - January

January is Colene's birthday month. She has asked for blocks with a garden theme and a sky blue background. Two of her suggestions were birds and birdhouses, so I didn't do much thinking there. As mentioned before, I really want to improve my hand applique skills and this was a good opportunity. I think I'm getting a bit better but that may be because there are no sharp points just gentle curves.

Did you notice the cute plaid used in the birdhouse? It is a piece from one of those thrifted shirts from Goodwill.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Piece O Cake

I really like Piece O'Cake designs. The colors used are bright and cheery. I won a large block that Becky made a few months back and I have to tell you I am envious of her hand applique abilities. Her stitches are so small and you can't see a one of them on her work.

Linda and Becky have a new block of the month publication coming out. They have posted the first block which is still unnamed and ask that you send them a photo of your finished work. Hopefully, your piece will go in their new book. Although I really want to practice hand applique, I did this piece using machine button hole stitch. This piece is small, only 8" x 8". I intend to eventually donate it to Ami Simms Alzheimer Priority Quilts. I sure did go out of my comfort zone with the colors.


BTW, it really is square, I don't know why it looks so crooked.


Finished

Remember these unfinished tops? I sent them to Mary and here is one of them quilted. These blocks came from a string block swap at the HGTV message board.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

About copyrights

A few years ago, my husband bought me a quilt kit from our nearby quilt shop. I never told him, but I really didn't like it very much. The pattern was nothing more than one big log cabin block and the fabric was just a little too coordinated for me. So I just stashed it for a while until I could come up with a better idea.

It was about a month ago when I got the bug to make one of Mary's patterns, Boxed Squares. It was a great excuse to cut up that quilt kit I never liked.

The blocks were easy enough to make.



And setting them together just as easy.




But then I purchased a copy of Quiltmaker's Favorites (I wanted the fish pattern that is on the cover) and what do I find..... the quilt that I just made. I used Mary's pattern and fabric from a kit I received a few years ago. So can I call this quilt my own or can Quiltmakers Favorites magazine say they own the copyright?











At least all my stripes are going in the same direction.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Zizzy-Dot Swap December

For the month of December I used the obvious theme of Christmas. I also got lazy and used a pattern from the book "Quilt Design for Postcards" by Carol Wilson Mansfield. It doesn't look like it but there is a lot of work involved.

Dotti used the theme of Happy New Year. She has blended a wonderful assortment of fibers and crystals. It is very bright and sparkly but the picture does not show it, a very dramatic card.




I love this swap.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

RAK

Cindy has done it again. She may be crafty but she is also very generous. Look at this terrific stash of stuff she sent me "Just Because".



Saturday, January 3, 2009

Birthday Blocks

It has been a really good mail week. Among other things, I received two about.com Birthday Blocks. The first one is from Michele in Washington.

The second one is from Jeanne in Wisconsin.



Two more lovely blocks to add to the pile.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Blocks

There was a virtual New Year's Party over at the Heartstrings site. People from all over the world were making happy blocks. I only got to make 20 but did get a lot of other things accomplished on my day off. I'll be posting pictures of the rest of today's work when I get it finished.


Here are my happy blocks..................