Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Arkansas Traveler Made Easy!

Last Friday, I revised the Arkansas Traveler pattern from Lee at Freshly Pieced and today I tested the revision with superb results.  This pattern change in addition to my shortcut for cutting the diamonds, makes this block super easy. 

And just look at these beauties....

The background fabric is Kona Snow and it really brings out the color in the prints.  I also love how the center diamonds in the top block make a tiny pinwheel in the yellow and white fabric.  This was totally by accident but a great effect.

My plan is to use the leftover fabrics from the Quilts for Boston blocks to make an Arkansas Traveler Quilt.    

I still have two more QfB blocks to make to finish my twelve blocks and here is what I've done since I showed you Block #5 - Arkansas Traveler (from the original pattern) last week. 

Here's my progress over the past weekend....

Block #6 - Banded Star pattern from Jennifer Ofenstein at

Block #7 - ET Phone Home pattern by Lily's Quilts

AAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!  This was the absolute worst experience in paper piecing for me.  The eight sections came together fairly easily; then when I was trying to sew the sections together, I couldn't get anything to line up.   I must have ripped out the four center seams at least 10 times before accepting defeat and then needed extra ironing muscle to flatten out the center section.  This block will look fine once it is machine quilted, nevertheless,  I decided to take a break from paper piecing for a while.

Block #8 - Disappearing 4 Patch

Block #9 - Disappearing Nine Patch

This block was deliberately trimmed for the wonky effect. 

Block #10 - Disappearing Nine Patch

So there you have my QfB progress over the weekend.   

I'm back paper piecing again today with the Arkansas Traveler blocks, so my frustration didn't last more than a couple of days.   I probably will try the ET block again sometime in the future, hopefully with better results.  

That's it for now.  Hope you'll come back to see more of my quiltiness.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Arkansas Traveler Block

Finished the Arkansas Traveler block today and it is number five in my blocks for Quilts for Boston. 

My shortcut for cutting and creating diamonds worked perfectly every time, so I plan to share this process with Lee Heinrich at Freshly Pieced

Speaking of Lee, towards the end of yesterday's post, I wrote about this block and incorrectly attributed the design to Faith Jones at Fresh Lemons Quilts.    I edited yesterday's post with the correct information.

Lee and Faith are collaborators with Katie Blakesley at Swim, Bike, Quilt and they created and hosted the Summer Sampler Series quilt-a-long during July and  August 2011.  Earlier this year, they published the Summer Sampler Series Anthology and I was thrilled to purchase it.   As you probably figured out, the Arkansas Traveler is one of the blocks in this anthology. 

The block came out okay; I'm still not thrilled with the center joining.  There are twelve separate seams converging in the center and the bulk was simply very difficult to sew;  I guess I have to dig out the walking foot.   I also didn't plan properly which diamonds I wanted to point towards the center; hence the off kilter background pieces and the duplication of colors.   I've got the process organized for the actual quilt. 

After the block was finished, I thought about the pattern as written and played around with it to potentially eliminate four of the center seams.   So now, I  have to make another block to test the re-written pattern.....then I'll contact Lee and run the changes and shortcut by her.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be teaching another crochet class as the fill-in instructor at the Fleming Island Michaels, so I probably won't post my progress on the pattern re-write or my blocks for Boston until the weekend.

See you then.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More Boston Quilting

While I've been quiet on the blogging front, I have been very busy on the quilting and yarn fronts.

I actually finished the Lone Starburst block the day after my last post and can confirm the designer is Anna Politzer from Six White Horses Studio.

I really liked the blue and decided to go with it in the center.    I did clean up the white threads on the horizontal center seam; only needed one minor adjustment to have everything line up nicely.  

So then I started to organize the fabrics and the patterns for the remaining eight blocks.  My goal is to send 12 blocks to the Boston Modern Quilt Guild for the Quilts for Boston.  Twelve blocks with coordinated fabrics will make a very nice 36" by 48" comfort quilt.  

So I took a minor sewing break and played around reading all the other blogs I follow and  noticed the due date for the to Boston with Love flags was moved up to May 21st.   Oh oh....I hadn't even started working on these yet.    So it was necessary to switch gears.

I was only going to make a couple of flags using the paper piecing patterns from the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.  Then I got carried away when I thought about the "B Strong" slogan that is appearing everywhere in Boston. 

So I ended up cutting out felt letters and appliqueing them to the flags.    I have my contribution displayed on my design center (aka my bed) and put them in the mail yesterday.   Amy Friend should be getting them tomorrow.   

Here's a close-up of the applique; although it looks like a zigzag stitch in the's actually a blanket stitch.   I also love the background fabric.

I alternated the backing and binding so from the reverse the flags would have a little character.

The other three flags were paper pieced or strip pieced.

Amy Friend at During Quiet Time, has made arrangements for all these flags coming in to Boston from around the world to be display at the Shapiro Family Courtyard at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Here's the photo I copied from Amy's blog announcing....

You can also click on the link above to Amy's blog to read more about the program.

So now I'm back to quilt blocks for Quilts for Boston and decided to make the Arkansas Traveler block from Lee Heinrich at Freshly Pieced.  I think I figured out a shortcut to cutting all those small 60 degree diamonds, and I'm working on documenting this process while I make the block, so the block progress is going a bit slower than normal.  Who knows,  after I run this by Lee, I might have my very first tutorial to post.  To ensure I can successfully replicate the shortcut, I have to make a lot more sections than are needed for just the one block, so I can see an Arkansas Traveler quilt in someone's future.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quilts for Boston

Here are photos of my fabric pulls for the Quilts for Boston.   There is a completely different color pallette for the small banners needed for to Boston with Love, and I read on another blog that the date for hanging the quilted banners in Boston is now Memorial Day weekend, so those will have to be worked on in between the quilt blocks.   I better get moving and select some red and orange fabric. 

Here's the first batch of fabric which I actually purchased for the 12.5  inch quilt blocks.

Here is what I pulled from my stash to join those above.

And here are the blues, teals, and yellows left over from the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-along

My plan is to make 12 Blocks for "Quilts for Boston" and the first block I made is the foundation paper pieced Circle of Geese, a pattern from  Beth Cheri at Pieced By Numbers.  I used a few blue and grey tones from the Swirl Charm packs by Whistler Studios at Windham Fabrics, since I didn't pull enough blues from my stash until after this was done.   The background white is "Snow" from Kona, which I think is a whiter white.

The second block is a crazy foundation paper pieced pattern called Log Cabin Heart from Jennifer Ofenstein at   Jennifer is the admin for the Addicted to Paper Piecing flickr group, so I uploaded the photo below today, so she could see what I did with her pattern.

I wasn't sure what border I was going to use when I started piecing it from scraps....and wished I had the foresight to use the flowered print in the border and the plain yellow as the background so the heart popped more. I guess I'll just have to make another and see.

The third block is a pieced heart I saw on the Boston Modern Quilt Guild flickr site by Alidiza.  The pattern is called Heart & Soul by I'm a Ginger Monkey for the Aurifil April Block of the Month.  I also follow Katy Jones as she monkeys around the United Kingdom.

For some reason I don't have great luck when piecing these small blocks. I was purposely methodical and slow when cutting, and even trimmed the blocks to a perfect 2.5 inches before piecing them and I still spent almost two hours ripping out seams to line them up properly. 
The fourth block is still a work in progress.   This bordered star pattern was not created by me and unfortunately, there was nothing in the pdf file or on this pattern printout to identify this specific designer.   I remember finding it by accident after having difficulty printing the Lone Starburst Quilt Block from Anna Politzer at Six White Horses Studio.   It is the exact same pattern, so I'll have to give credit to Anna.

I was planning on having half the star center be the yellow print; then I thought about alternating the yellow and blue star diamonds, but I'm not sure yet.   I really love this blue fabric (pattern and hues), but it may be too dark and overpowering.  I'm also thinking about sewing a slash with the yellow fabric on a couple of the blue center points.   You'll just have to tune back in tomorrow to see what I actually did.
Hope you come back and see all of my blocks for Quilts for Boston.