Monday, December 10, 2018

Sunny Lanes - A Tutorial

I still follow quite a few bloggers, and enjoy seeing the quilt-y projects they're work on. When I saw this little "Palmateer Point" quilt that AmityQuilter made during a 2017 quilt-along, I couldn't help but notice the 16-patch blocks.

They look like the hundreds of 16-patch leaders-and-enders blocks I've been making...

since 2011, using 1-1/2" X 1-1-1/2" pieces.

Could I adapt my Leaders and Enders 16-patch blocks to this design? I headed to my favorite book of blocks in the public domain.

I found it! Sunny Lanes!

In no time at all, I was playing on EQ8, and piecing.
Sunny Lanes block; 8" X 8" finished

Piecing Leaders and Enders

Sew together 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" squares to make 16-patch blocks, 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" unfinished.

I shorten my machine's stitch length when I'm piecing such tiny patches.

This picture shows the piecing sequence to make a 16-patch block.
Unfinished block measures 4-1/2" X 4-1/2"
Sew together four 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" patches to make 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" (unfinished) 4-patch blocks.
Unfinished block measures 2-1/2" X 2-1/2"
Refer to the end of this tutorial to see quantities needed to make a 62" X 74" quilt.

Piece Half-Square Triangle Squares the "Magic Eight" Way
Make eight-at-a-time 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" (unfinished) half-square triangle squares.

Cut 6" X 6" squares of two different half-square triangle square fabrics. I used Painter's Palette solid white and Moda Grunge in the color Chiffon. It's "sunny!"

With a pencil draw an X from corner to corner on the wrong side of one fabric.

Place fabrics right sides together. Sew 1/4" away from the drawn line, on both sides of each line.

For the next step, cutting apart the block, I like to use my Martelli turntable rotary cutting mat.

Use a ruler to rotary cut on the drawn line, between the two lines of stitching. Do this twice to cut an X through the block.

Without moving the pieces, cut a line vertically through the center of the block, 3" from the edge. Rotate the turntable 45-degrees to make another cut through the center of the block.

The result is 8 half-square triangle squares measuring approximately 3" X 3" square.

Press to open seam. I like to use my Strip Stick to make sure the seam is well pressed.

Trim each unfinished half-square triangle square to measure 2-1/2" x 2-1/2". 

Piece Half-Square Triangle Pairs
Join two 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" unfinished half-square triangle squares as shown to make right-slanting pairs. 

Join two 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" unfinished half-square triangle squares as shown to make left-slanting pairs. Turn vertically to become right-slanting, as needed for Row 2 (see below).
I didn't want to make 8" X 8" Sunny Lanes blocks because 4-patch blocks end up side-by-side (forming another 16-patch block), and broken diagonal angles, as seen in this EQ8 layout.
This layout measures 16" X 16" finished.
Rather, I prefer a layout alternating 4-patch and 16-patch blocks. Hopefully, you can see the difference between the two. (This layout is similar to AmityQuilter's, without borders.)
This layout measures 14" X 14" finished.
So, while designing in EQ8, I realized that piecing needs to be row-by-row (horizontally). 

Piece Row 1
 - a 4-patch block
 - a right-slanting half-square triangle pair
 - a 4-patch block
 - a right-slanting half-square triangle pair... and so on for the quilt width you desire.

End with a 4-patch block. 

Piece Row 2
 - a right-slanting half-square triangle pair
 - a 16-patch block
 - a right-slanting half-square triangle pair.
 - a 16-patch block... and so on for the quilt height (length) you desire.

End with a right-slanting half-square triangle pair. 
Continue piecing in the same manner, alternating row 1 and row 2. End the quilt top with row 1.
Sew together these units, being sure half-square triangle pairs are slanting the same direction.

Join rows to complete the quilt top.

To make a 62" X 74" Sunny Lanes Quilt
Piece 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" Leaders and Enders blocks into:

144 - 4-patch blocks
132 - 16-patch blocks

Make Magic Eight 2-1/2"X 2-1/2" (unfinished) half-square triangle squares with:

2 yards - solid white
2 yards - Chiffon Grunge 

72 - 6" X 6" squares of solid white
72 - 6" X 6" squares of Chiffon Grunge

Use Magic Eight method shown in the tutorial to make 574 - 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" (unfinished) half-square triangle squares. 

Make Half-Square Triangle Pairs

Join 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" (unfinished) half-square triangle squares to make:
144 horizontal half-square triangle pairs
143 vertical half-square triangle pairs

Total - 275 half-square triangle pairs measuring 2-1/2" X 4-1/2" (unfinished)

Below is the 68" X 74" (finished) layout in EQ8 with a link to print this diagram for yourself, in case you'd like to color or count blocks for the size you want to make.

Here's my progress so far. Eleven rows done; 14 more to go!

Whew! Guess you know what I'll be working on for a while! Linda

Friday, December 7, 2018

WIPs Again

Hey there, friends! I'm sending a really big thank you to those of you who have taken time to listen to Episode 402 of the American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast that aired last Monday. I appreciate your many lovely compliments. My heart was warmed!

This is on Pat Sloan's blog....

As I thought, I was the third person interviewed on that episode. If you'd like to listen, access it here.

Locally, Villagers are in the throes of "party time." This is when every club and activity group has it's holiday social. All my groups are doing just that.

This past week found me at parties for: 1) Line Dancing for Exercise; 2) a neighborhood Christmas party where I joined 30 people performing with the Ukulele Performance Group; 3) a holiday social/play time with the Ukulele Players Club; and 4) another party with the Friday Line Dancing for Exercise group.

Three more parties are next week! Those are: 1) the French Oak Ladies luncheon (at a restaurant); 2) the Central Florida MQG holiday party; and 3) Big Cypress Quilters holiday social! And all those are just on Monday and Tuesday! I'm choosing not to join the Zumba holiday party on Wednesday. (Seems a bit counterproductive to work-up a Zumba sweat and then eat treats, doesn't it?) All this partying now means I've been baking - brownies and blueberry pie bites. Yes, me. The one who doesn't.

Parties around here are usually over by the second week of December, which seems sort of unnatural. But, group leaders do this because many people go north for the holidays, or have family here for the holidays. We don't do either, so the next few weeks will be very quiet.

I've been in my sewing room in between everything. Still lovin' my new Bernina 770QE!

I've now pieced dozens of these 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" (unfinished) triangle-in-a-square blocks (made with a Bloc Loc template set) to see if I can make something of all this on my design wall. The circles are quarter-circles, and are cut using a Classic Curves Ruler.

It's a little chaotic, I think. Though I do love all the solid colors! Happily, I've reduced the quantity of solid scraps in my scrap bin. 

I'm also trying this layout. I like the "arrow" appearance, but still think the whole design needs an eye-resting place.

While that's been percolating on the design wall, I've pulled out my 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" (unfinished) leaders and enders to make more 16-patch blocks. I've got 98 of these 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" (unfinished) blocks and will show you soon what I've been doing with them. 

I'm putting together a tutorial. 😊 Linda

Saturday, December 1, 2018

On the Radio, with Pat Sloan

On The Radio...  No, I don't mean the Donna Summers song, but I bet I've planted that ear worm!

Actually, I'm on the radio - the American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast.

Pat Sloan phoned and interviewed me in early November, and Monday, December 3 is the date that episode is aired.

Tune in HERE at 4 pm (Eastern time) Monday, if you'd like to hear it "live."

Otherwise, after 6 pm anytime you can hear it on Pat Sloan's blog/podcast show site: Episode 402

Pat and I mostly talked about my recent creativity focused on wedge quilts.
Roulette, 52" X 69"
Spin Art, 66" X 66"
(Just between you and me... I entered both these quilts into QuiltCon 2019 in Nashville. Should know by late December whether either has been accepted.)

Pat and I also talked quite a bit about the many First Time Quiltmaking classes I've taught (more than 30!), the more than 1000 quilts given to missions around the world, and the book I wrote by the same name (published in 2009 by Landauer Publishing).

Every American Patchwork and Quilting podcast includes interviews with several quilters. I was tickled to learn that one of the other interviewees on this particular episode is Heather Black (Quiltachusetts). Heather is a young, modern quilter with mad design skills. She talks about "Urban Trek," a wildly successful quilt design that has appeared in a dozen or so shows, and one that - oddly enough - I made myself in 2017!
My version of "Urban Trek," 59" X 71"
I think you'd be safe saying that I'm a Heather Black fan, so it's an honor to be on the same program as she.

Hope you'll listen-in if you have some time to burn.  Linda

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

There's a Hole in the Bucket

Do you know the song, "There's a Hole in the Bucket"? It's one I learned as a child, and now that I've thought of it, I can't get the tune out of my head.

Basically, the lyrics tell the story of Henry and Liza conversing about a hole in the bucket, and how to go about fixing it.

Henry sings:
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Liza sings:
So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.
Henry responds with a question:
With what should I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza,With what should I fix it, dear Liza, with what?
Liza responds with a suggestion:
With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, with straw.
And the song goes on - how to cut the straw (with an axe), the axe is dull (it needs sharpening), how to sharpen the axe (with stone), the stone is dry (so wet it), what should it be wet with (water)... and concludes with how to get the water to the stone when there's that problematic hole in the bucket.

The song came to mind when I was in my sewing room on Monday. You see, along with my new Bernina 770QE sewing machine, I received several items that were included by the dealer, Sharky's Vac 'n Sew. Those were a Queen Supreme Slider (for free motion quilting), a rolling trolley, and a Sew Steady table. The Sew Steady table just arrived Monday, so I picked it up and returned home to set it around the machine arm.

Of course, the tray that comes with the Bernina is fine, but the Sew Steady table has a nice-sized, 18" X 24" bed upon which to work. The Sew Steady simply extends the flat surface I already have, with hollow core doors behind and beside the machine.

If only it was that simple.

When I first positioned the Sew Steady table around the sewing machine arm, the table was slightly taller than the hollow core door/tables behind and beside it. Unfortunately, the Sew Steady legs can't be lowered.

The hollow core door-tables needed to be lowered. However lowering them meant that when using door-table, rotary cutting would literally be a pain in my back.

The only solution was to raise everything.

The height of the adjustable tops of four Ikea Finnvard trestles that support the two hollow core door-tables needed to be raised.

The table that the Bernina rests upon also has adjustable height legs, so that table needed to be raised.

The door-tables, Sew Steady, and machine bed still weren't level with one another.

Let's removed the rug from under the legs of the sewing machine table.

Better. Until I sat down to the newly raised table-sewing machine set-up. The sewing chair was too low.

The sewing chair height cannot be adjusted, so I swapped that chair with the office chair, and adjusted the office chair's pneumatic height to it's highest position.

Good. High enough for the sewing machine. But my foot didn't reach the sewing machine's foot control pedal.


I have now returned my sewing chair to its place in front of the machine, and found a pillow on which to sit!

I should be low enough to reach the foot control, yet not put strain on my arms and shoulders when free motion quilting. It's time to try it to determine if it's comfortable.

If not I'll undo everything.

Doesn't that "hole in the bucket" song seem somewhat apropos? Linda

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you know me, you know I don't cook. Dan happily accepts responsibility for all the grocery-shopping, meal-planning, and cooking. (Don't hate me!)

However, when it comes to a few recipes, I'm flattered that my family likes them enough to ask me to make them. I can expect each year to be asked to make "Sensational Double Layer Pumpkin Pie." Our family calls it the "cheesecake pumpkin pie."

It's certainly not my recipe, but in fact was clipped from a Jello pudding magazine advertisement many years ago.

Still, the recipe is a family favorite, and I have no doubt that my daughter and daughter-in-law are making it for their families this Thanksgiving.

For one thing, it's easy. For another, it's "no bake."

I know it's late to make pie for Thanksgiving, but I offer it here anyway. Who says pumpkin pie has to be limited to eating at holidays?

Below is the recipe, or click here to download and print it from my Google Drive.

Sensational Double Layer Pumpkin Pie (AKA "Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie")

4 ozs. cream cheese, softened
1 T milk or Half-and-Half
1 T sugar
1½ cups Cool Whip
1 - 6 oz. graham cracker pie crust 
1 cup milk or Half-and-Half
2 boxes of Jello Vanilla flavor Instant Pudding & Pie filling (4-serving size)
1 - 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground cloves

In a large bowl, use a wire whisk to mix cream cheese, milk and sugar mix until smooth. 
Gently stir in Cool Whip. Spread on bottom of pie crust.

Pour 1 cup milk into bowl. Add pudding mixes.
Beat with wire whisk until well-blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Mixture will be thick.
Stir in pumpkin and spices. Mix with whisk. 
Spread over cream cheese layer.

Covered, and ready to refrigerate.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Garnish with additional Cool Whip, and nuts if desired. Makes 8 servings.

I am grateful for many things this Thanksgiving - πŸ™ my Lord who never fails me; my family; my home; and my new Bernina sewing machine πŸ˜„.

I'm also grateful for dozens of friends I have all over the US and the world, here and on Instagram. Social media sometimes gets a bad rap, but I am one who gives thanks for counting many of you as friends. Thank you for reading my blog, and for commenting. Have a blessed day! Linda

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New! Bernina 770QE

Al, the owner of a local store called Sharky's Vac and Sew has been been a friend since we moved to The Villages in 2012. He sold me a Gidget II table and insert for my Bernina Aurora 440QE sewing machine. And a sewing chair. Next, we bought a Hoover floor scrubbing machine to wet wash, then vacuum dirty water from the tile floors. Then we bought a Simplicity vacuum cleaner with free annual servicing.

When Al decided recently to start selling Bernina sewing machines (he already sells Brother and Babylock), I was all over it. The first day Berninas were available - which happened to be a day when I needed to take our vacuum cleaner in for it's annual free tune-up - I got a demo of the Bernina 770QE. The 770 is the same model machine I used in a workshop at 2017 QuiltCon. 

I so liked what I saw on the Bernina 770 that I began talking with my hubs about buying that machine. Al sweetened the deal by adding in a wheeled luggage/trolly, a Sew Steady table (surrounds the machine bed to make it larger), and a Queen Supreme Slider (for helping slide the quilt during FMQ).

A Janome 1600QCP has been the machine I've used for FMQ since I bought it new in June 2016. I've added accessories to it: three different FMQ feet, including a ruler work foot; and my add-on strip of LED lights. It's a great machine, with a 9-inch harp (distance between needle and machine body). Al was willing to take it on trade for the Bernina, so that sealed the deal.

Having grandsons with us last week, I wasn't in a hurry to get the machine, but by Monday I was good and ready to pick it up!

I spent about an hour with Polly as she unboxed it. Together we reviewed all the parts - accessories, feet, manual, cord, etc. - and I checked items off a list. I think I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time!

Besides the 10-inch harp, the machine features dual feed that can be used with several different dual feed feet, and the BSR - Bernina Stitch Regulator. The BSR is a feature of my Bernina Aurora 440QE too, and though I tried it once to quilt an entire quilt, I never cared for it. However, after learning that the regulated stitch length can be adjusted - I find I prefer the stitch a little longer than the default - I've vowed to try the BSR again.

When the boys left Sunday afternoon, I returned the "guest room" to it's "sewing room" condition, and prepared space for the Bernina... ready and waiting. This is such a nice surface and arrangement for FMQ.

However, not having a quilt prepared for quilting, I wasn't able to start with FMQ!

So, I spent Monday evening piecing a quilt back, and pin-basting a quilt sandwich for my Comfort Quilt.

As this machine will become my all-in-one machine now (The 440QE will be used when I need to take along a machine), I am happy to play with everything it can do. To put together the quilt back, I used the quarter-inch foot, 97D ("D" means this foot should be used with the dual feed feature). The dual feed is engaged behind the foot (see the white piece). Piecing was a dream!

I screwed in the guide bar too,  so between it and the quarter-inch foot, my accuracy greatly improved!

When I discovered that my batting wasn't large enough for the 74" X 97" Comfort Quilt top, I sewed to join two pieces of batting. I've heard this called "Frankenbatting." (Get it? Put together in pieces like Frankenstein?) I used foot 1D (yep, the dual feed again) and stitch 4, a wide, long, wavy stitch, to join the two battings butted up to one another. I couldn't believe how good it looked! No pulling or tugged spots at all! Very impressive.

I edited this photo to add contrast, so you can see the stitch pattern... and that the butted-together edges of the two battings can't even be seen!

I spent a couple hours pin-basting, finishing at 10:45 pm.

I can't wait to have a good play with the next step! Quilting!



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