Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lil' Orphan Scrappy Tutorial Part One

Hello Everyone,
This is Part One of my Lil" Orphan Scrappy quilt tutorial.  There are a lot of pictures, so I'm breaking it down over a couple of posts. 
Begin with an interesting center.  Key off of the colors in the center to help you select the fabrics. It is helpful to have at least three colors in your center square.
Schematic of the block. 
Cutting Instructions:

" (1) A 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” – Use an interesting fabric that has several different colors
" (4) B 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” – Light fabric, checks, stripes and diagonals are good
" (1) C 3-1/4” x 3-1/4” – Medium/Dark fabric
" (1) D 3-1/4” x 3-1/4” – Light fabric  (This can be the same fabric as B)
" (2) E 3-1/4” x 3-1/4” – Dark fabric

Place the two "E's" face up on a cutting surface.

Place a "C" and a "D" on top of the "E's" Right sides together.

I use a small Omnigrid™ ruler that has a centerline ¼” from both sides of the ruler.  Place the ruler diagonally on the wrong side of the fabric and draw a line on each side of the ruler using a marking pencil.  I use a very fine, Frixion pen for marking.

If you don't have a 1/4" ruler, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.  Stitch 1/4' from each side of the line.

Stitch on the line.  Or stitch directly on the inside of the line, closest to the center line, if you tend to run small. Begin with your needle down, and have the fabric touching the needle.

Cut apart between the stitching lines.

You will have (4) half-square triangles.

I run a line of Best Press spray starch along the stitching line.  You can also use a brush to apply the starch.  This helps to keep the components nice and flat.

Press toward the "E's".


©      Place the half-square triangles on top of each other, right sides together. Draw a diagonal line perpendicular to the seam allowance from corner to corner  Make sure to ‘butt’ the two seams together and pin to secure   

Peel the top back to make sure the seams and the placement are accurate.

Mark and stitch on the lines.

Cut them apart.

I gently pull the seam back and remove about 3 stitches.

I turn the unit over and do the same thing on the other side.

Apply spray starch along the thread line. I guess I was feeling a little woozie here with my wavy line!

 Press it like this.  The back is nice and neat and is very flat.

Trim to 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" and cut off the dog ears. (Don't let Mazey hear me say that!)

I you are working with directional fabrics, make sure it is all going in the same direction.

Pin, stitch press toward the squares.

Now stitch the rows together.

Have your needle pass through the intersection of the previous seams.

Square to 6-1/2" x 6-1/2"

Here are some other color combinations.  There are endless possibilities.

Make a few blocks and see how it goes.  I'll be posting a continuation of this tutorial later this week.  If you would like to purchase the pattern which contains more, detailed instructions, it is available HERE in my Etsy shop.

Thank you all for the get well wishes.  I'm feeling better this morning, but I'm not ready to run a marathon.....or the 50 yard dash.....or a 10 yard dash.  Now if one of the bears we have around here was after me, that's a different story!



Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lil' Orphan Scrappy Tutorial

 Hello Everyone,

I've been down for the count for the last 4 or 5 days with a horrible, upper respiratory event.  Mr. Joe and I weren't practicing good social distancing, and I caught what he had.  Now it's his turn to take care of me. 

Last week, before I was totally knocked off my feet, I posted this picture of  Lil' Orphan Scrappy on Scrap Quilt Enthusiasts on FaceBook, and it took off! This is a great quilt to make with all of the little scraps you are finding as you clean out your sewing rooms.  The largest piece of fabric you need is 5-1/4".  We ALL have a carload full of scraps that size...and smaller.

Over the next few days, I'll be putting a tutorial together for this quilt.  It really is fun, and it isn't hard to make.

I'll be sharing tips to get your stripes to line up.  Actually this block was a fluke, but you don't know that.

So check back in throughout the coming week for multiple tutorials.  I don't want to overextend myself until I'm completely out of the woods. Right now at least I can see through the trees.

I do have a recommendation for those of you that have Netflix.  Mr. Joe and I watched the 6-part, true story called The English Game.  The show is a worthwhile investment of your time. 

My daughter had me laughing the other day on the phone.  Those of you who've been following me know my granddaughters are very involved in FFA.  Together, the girls are raising four pigs, two goats, and five turkeys.  The pigs and goats are at the school farm.  Normally, the turkeys are kept at the school in the FFA area.  Well, the school is locked up tight.  The turkeys are living in my daughter's garage.  No matter how clean the girls keep the enclosure, there is still an odor....and they are noisy.  My daughter is planning on a very early Thanksgiving this year if the school doesn't open soon.  At least they will have food!

Gobble, gobble,


Thursday, March 26, 2020

The "Spoken For" Flimsy

Hello Everyone,
I officially have a flimsy!  "Spoken For" is a completed quilt top.

I put it on the snowbank in our driveway and took a picture between snow showers.  Yes, there is a double flange!  Flanges are like potato chips, you can't make just one.

I think this quilt is a beautiful showcase for the Far Horizons fabrics by Henry Glass Company.  I really enjoyed putting the combinations together.

I'll have to wait until it warms up outside so I can put this flimsy on my longarm.  The machine lives in my garage, and it was a balmy 32 degrees inside the garage yesterday.

My resistance to Mr. Joe's ailment finally caught up with me.  There was absolutely no social distancing in our house, and now I have what he has.  Stuffing nose, sore throat, cough, but no fever.  When I took a 4-hour nap on Tuesday, Mr. Joe knew I was sick.  Napping in the middle of the day is not something I do, since I have so much to do.

I was the vision of loveliness, and was over the top sexy last night when I went to bed.  I used my mom's old home remedy of applying hot Vicks on my chest, then pinned a piece of wool to my pajamas to help keep the Vicks warm.  Then I curled up in bed while clutching the heating pad on my chest. My new fragrance was "eau de Vicks", and acts as instant birth control. 

We are taking it easy, except for the snow shoveling yesterday.  We like to keep the driveway cleared just in case we need to get out in an emergency.  The snow plows have been coming by regularly, so the streets are nice and clear.

Remember......the longer we stay put, the sooner we will be out of our confinement. 


Monday, March 23, 2020

Spoken For Progress

Hello Everyone,
Blocks appliqued onto the background.....Check.  Sashing and post finished.....Check.  Rows stitched together.....Check. Now I have to figure out what to do for the borders.


Far Horizons is the fabric line that I used to make my Spoken For pattern.  The fabrics are the first line designed by David Schulz for Henry Glass Fabrics.

I loved working with this rich palette.

Yesterday I cooked a 17# turkey.  It was a full blown Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings for just the two of us.  Mr. Joe has a bad cold and couldn't taste a thing.  Maybe he will enjoy the turkey soup this week. 
Here's a funny note during these trying times.  So many people have been checking in on us via phone or email.  We have been doing the same.  The TV is on most of the time so we can listen to updates which only infuriate me.  When the news of the virus or the stock market gets too bad, we change it to music. When it gets way too bad, Mazey and I go for a walk.  She's been logging a lot of steps lately.
My friend Kaaren is alone in her cabin.  Here's what she posted on Face Book yesterday.
My TV is in an "ON" state. Flipping from channel to channel.....but then I tune it out.... I just realized I've been listening to a program on a "better bladder" and how to have a better bladder life, offering some kind of supplements........ Perhaps some music is in order. 
So play the music, and dance to the music.  I'll only dance when Mr. Joe takes a nap, otherwise he will think I'm stark raving mad with cabin fever.

Madam Ambassador

Friday, March 20, 2020

Moda Block Heads 3

Hello Everyone,
Well, I looked at, and tried to make something more intricate with Moda's Block #10....and just couldn't make it work for me.  So I made an alternative block called Lena's Choice.

It is comprised of the following components.  The measurements listed, are the finished size of the components.  When stitched together, they will make an 8" square.

8 - 1" x 2" Flying Geese
4 - 1" x 1" Half-square triangles
4 - 2" x 2" Quarter-square triangles.
5 - 2" x 2" Squares

It's not hard, you just have to be very precise and take your time.  I use my the formulas in my Patchwork Math Book all the time.  It really helps me plan out my blocks, and resize other blocks to the required size that I need.

Well, here it is day #5 of self-isolation.  In California, we are only allowed to leave our homes to go to the grocery store, medical appointments, post office, bank, and walk the dog. We can only meet in groups no larger than six, but have to maintain social distancing.  All non-essential businesses are closed.  The economic impact is more than I can grasp.  My community is already living on the edge financially, so I can't imagine how hourly workers will survive.

I cancelled my April Sew'n Wild Oaks retreat and moved it to June. I hope by then we are on the other side of the virus.  Only time will tell.

Mr. Joe, Mazey, and I are doing fine so far.  Two of my children work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and so far so good for them.  My daughter is considered essential, and still goes in to work on a limited basis.  My son is on-call.  My other son works for the City, and he is working only one day a week.  Luckily, they will keep receiving their pay checks.  My daughter-in-law will not be receiving a check and when her vacation time runs out after 3-weeks, that's it.

Hang in there everyone.  After this is in our rear view mirror, we will all appreciate a hug, a touch, and social interactions, more than ever.

The running joke, and we all need a good laugh, is that we are 6-weeks away from learning everyone's true hair color!  For me, what you see is what you get.....gray.



Thursday, March 19, 2020

Support Your Local Quilt Shop

Hello Everyone,
This is a public service announcement that I really want you to take to heart.  

We all need to work together to keep the doors of our local quilt shops open once this crisis is over.  Think of your local quilt shop as a family member that needs your help.   

I spend hours in shops teaching, and I see first hand all the good, quilt shops do for their community. I love the friendships I've made that will last a lifetime.  I see the laughter, and a camaraderie unlike any other shop.

I know times are tough right now, and I know this is a very scary time for us collectively.  What I'm asking you to do is go online, and purchase a gift certificate from your local shop. While you are on their websites, do a bit of online shopping too.  Whatever you can afford would be wonderful to help them get through this crisis. They are all feeling a massive, economic impact on their business.

The shops I'm going to support are:

In Between Stitches in Livermore, CA  https://www.inbetweenstitches.com/index.htm

Ladybugs in Manteca, CA  https://www.ladybugsquiltsmanteca.com/shop-online.htm

Cloth and Quilts in Hilmar, CA  http://www.clothandquilts.com/

This is where I shop on a regular basis.  I personally know the owners, and look at them as extended family members.

Please join me in supporting your local quilt shop, so they can reopen their doors after this crisis if over.

Stay safe and healthy,


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Quilting and Baking

Hello Everyone,

Self isolation - day 3.....the quilting and baking continues.  If you've been following my blog, you know that I'm participating in Moda's Blockhead 3 program.  Here is my version of Block #9.

Last week I made Block #9 as an 8" block, and I wasn't overly happy with it.  You know me, I LOVE intricate blocks and the block below was nice, but not interesting.  So I made four - 4" blocks, changed the center, and I'm much happier now that I re-made the block.  I posted it on Moda's FB page and got a little push back from quilters who thought I changed it too much.  Well, the way I look at it, this is going to be my quilt, and I can change it, and make it anyway that I'd like.  I like to post on Moda's FB page to show quilters alternative ideas by thinking outside the box.  The new block posted today on the Moda site is also very easy.....it is just begging me to change it to my style.

I also did the same with Block #2.  I made four - 4" blocks and stitched them together.

Now on the bread front.  Here is a comparison of loaf #1 and the loaf Mr. Joe made yesterday.  We no longer are in hockey puck status.  This gorgeous, and tasty loaf of sourdough bread took two days to make.  He mixed up part of the ingredients Monday night and put it in the refrigerator.  He proceeded with the rest of the process throughout the day.

This was our dessert last night around 8pm.  The loaf was ready for dinner, but you have to let it sit for two hours before you can cut into it.  What a process!  It sure kept him busy all day.  AND the smoke alarm when off again when he heated the cast iron pan up to 500 degrees.  Our smoke detectors are hard-wired.  It's not like we can remove the battery, we have to listen to the annoying, loud shrieking until the smoke dissipates.  It was 32 degrees yesterday, so it's not like we can open the doors to air out the cabin. 

Making sourdough bread is more like a scientific experiment.  While all of the grandkids are out of school, we should have them put on their chemistry hats, measure everything in grams, and have the water and air temperatures just right, and attempt to make a loaf.  I will never look at sourdough bread in the same way.

Gee, I wonder what Mr. Joe is going to make today?