Did you know the Olfa Rotary Cutter turns 35 this year? Which means I’m actually older than the rotary cutter. I think this gives me some sort of quilter street cred, right? Except that I never actually quilted without using one. I honestly can’t imagine creating a quilt without these handy little cutters and I’m guessing most of you feel the same way.
At Quilt Market last Spring I was lucky enough to attend a breakfast with the Olfa team – and we were able to see that original invention. The first one was yellow and everything!
In celebration, Olfa asked me to participate in a project and make a 6-1/2″ quilt block for a big birthday quilt. They sent this very fun box of goodies to use – a mini rotary cutter (I’m told these are great for cutting curves!), a 6-1/2″ frosted quilting ruler, and a spinning cutting mat. I was most excited to try out the cutting mat. I’ve been eyeing these for quite some time.
These mats are fun because you can place your fabric/block once – trim.
Then spin the mat – trim again. You don’t need to pick up your fabric and reposition.
I decided to make my block using 3.5″ flying geese blocks. (Get it – 35th anniversary…3.5″ blocks?) For the background I used some scrappy patchwork which reminds me of the 1970′s.
The flying geese are yellow because – well Olfa = Yellow!
Happy 35th Birthday Olfa!
July 14, 2014 39 Comments
It’s a funny thing, how quickly five years can fly by. Today is my blog’s 5th anniversary. I went back a couple days ago, to revisit that first post. (The image from the post lost in the shuffle during a blog transfer a few years ago.) I’m not sure how long I thought I’d be blogging back in 2009. But I’m happy to still be around and have all of you join me each week, reading and commenting and sharing tidbits and your projects with me. Thank you so much for spending a bit of your time here with me.
Much of the last two weeks has been devoted to designing and pattern writing. I can say there are some new, fun quilts and patterns coming down the pipeline. And while I can’t share those just yet, I thought I’d share some fabric and blocks and food.
I’m planning to use some Kona Cottons in an upcoming project. I totally copied everyone else who was cutting up their Kona Color Cards and placing them on book rings. So much easier to pull out colors and plan quilts!
I also ordered an absolutely beautiful collection of Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabric, cut into a roll, from DuckaDilly.
And – total accident but they were sitting next to each other on my table – doesn’t the Kona look awesome with the Liberty?
I love it when that happens!
Another project in the works is a pattern based on my Radiant Splendor block tutorial. Although this test block below looks the same, I did some unpicking after I took the photo as the pattern changes up the block a bit. I’m working on writing and testing and hopefully will get the new pattern finished sometime this Fall. For those that like bigger quilts, this one will be Queen sized (ok, well that’s big for me!)
I’ve also spent a bit of time in the kitchen lately. I’ve recently discovered America’s Test Kitchen and have fallen hard. (I know, I’m the last on the planet, right?) I have had success with pretty much everything I’ve made from both Cooking for Two and The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2014.
This Cinnamon Swirl Bread is in the latter, as well as online (and I saw them make it in an episode I recorded on PBS).
It was *delicious*.
I hope those of you in the United States and Canada have a great holiday week. Yesterday was Canada Day and Friday is Independence Day here (and my husband’s birthday!) I plan on doing some relaxing and enjoying time with family. And hopefully fit at least some sewing (or more pattern writing in) too.
July 2, 2014 47 Comments
When it comes to the weather outside, this time of year always feels like two steps forward, one step back. Last week we had a great day with temperatures in the 50′s, only to be followed by a day of wet, heavy snow.
When that latest layer of snow melted and I just felt defeated by Winter, I looked out by our woods and saw these.
The daffodil bulbs I planted last Fall, starting to pop up. I am telling you, this mess of mud and leaves and tiny bits of green has been so good for my soul.
I’ve been trying to make sure the kids get some outside time on those warmer days. Between that and a sewing deadline that I can’t share right now, I don’t have a finished project to show you this week. But I have accumulated some new fabrics recently and they inspired me to take a little break and build a project pile from my stash.
I pulled some coordinating prints from my stash, including some new fabrics from Lotta Jansdotter’s Mormor, Skinny Laminx’s Up, Up & Away, Eloise Renouf’s Bark & Branch, and Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park.
I made a block from my Off-Centered Squares quilt pattern. I’m thinking of using one color family per block…we shall see!
Back to work on deadlines! And fingers crossed for a warmer week!
March 17, 2014 26 Comments
It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to sit down, relax and look through my favorite block reference books. A couple weeks ago, I pulled out Nancy Cabot’s Quilt Collection, complied by Rose Lea Alboum. You can see more about it on my blog here and ordering information here. This time as I was flipping through the pages, this block caught my eye, Cubes and Tiles (1933).
I decided to see if I could find a bit more information about it, so I search for it in my other favorite block reference, Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. (Which by the way, is now available to buy as a PDF download!) It turns out, this block has been, well, around the block a few times! It was listed under 5 different names, from 5 different publications. The oldest I saw was a Ladies Art Company quilt pattern catalog from the late 1800′s, under the name Stars and Cubes. Pretty cool! And since everyone else came up with their own name for this block, I decided to call mine Radiant Splendor.
I sat down to do a little photoshop work to see if I could figure out how to put this block together. Turns out it’s not that hard – as long as you love making flying geese! I’ve put together a tutorial for anyone interested in making one of their own.
Radiant Splendor ~ A Quilt Block Tutorial
20-1/2″ x 20-1/2″ unfinished quilt block
We are going to follow the below construction diagram to make this block. We will begin with the flying geese, then piece center star, followed by the border stars and finally sew those components together to make the final block.
|Background||Cut 4||6-1/2” x 6-1/2″||White|
|Background||Cut 12||2-1/2” x 2-1/2”||White|
|Background||Cut 20||2-1/2” x 4-1/2”||White|
|Center Star||Cut 1||4-1/2” x 4-1/2”||Purple|
|Center Star||Cut 8||2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″||Purple|
|Border Stars||Cut 4||2-1/2” x 4-1/2”||Yellow|
|Border Stars||Cut 32||2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″||Yellow|
This block contains 20 flying geese components. Let’s make those first.
Step 1: Using a marking tool (disappearing ink pen, pencil, hera marking tool, chalk, etc), mark your (8) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Purple Squares and your (32) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Yellow Squares from corner to corner on the wrong side of the fabric, along the diagonal.
Step 2: Gather your (20) 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” White Rectangles. Take (1) 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” White Rectangle and place (1) 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” Purple Square, right sides together as shown, lining up the fabric on the short end of the rectangle. Stitch along the marked diagonal line.
Step 3: Using a quilting ruler, trim the stitched 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangle 1/4″ past your stitch line, as shown.
Press your fabric open.
Step 4: Place your next 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” Purple Square, right sides together as shown, lining up the fabric on the other short end of the rectangle. Stitch along the marked diagonal line.
Step 5: Once again using a quilting ruler, trim the stitched 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangle 1/4″ past your stitch line, as shown.
Press your fabric open.
You now have a 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Flying Geese unit.
Step 6: Repeat the above instruction to piece a total of (4) Purple flying geese units and (16) Yellow flying geese units.
Now that you’ve made your 20 flying geese units, we will make the Purple Center Star.
Step 7: Take your (4) Purple Flying Geese Units, (1) 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Purple Square, and (4) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White Squares, and lay them out as shown.
Step 8: Stitch together the segments into three rows as shown.
Step 9: Stitch your rows together to form a finished 8-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ block, as shown.
Set aside. We will now assemble the Yellow Border Stars.
Step 10: Take (4) of your Yellow Flying Geese Units, (1) 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Yellow Rectangle, and (2) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White Squares, and lay them out as shown.
Step 11: Stitch the top row of (2) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White Squares and (1) flying geese unit together, as shown. Stitch the center 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangle to (1) flying geese unit, as shown.
Step 12: Stitch the remaining (2) flying geese units to the center pieced unit, as shown.
Step 13: Piece the assembled top row to assembled bottom section, as shown, resulting in a 6-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Yellow Border Star.
Step 14: Repeat the above steps to make 3 more Yellow Border Stars, for a total of 4 Yellow Border Stars.
Now we are going to assemble all your pieced components into a finished block.
Step 15: Lay out your (4) 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ White Squares, (4) Yellow Border Star components and (1) Purple Center Star as shown.
Step 16: Stitch each row of blocks together, as you would a 9 patch. Stitch your rows together.
March 5, 2014 65 Comments