I’m almost caught up now! Woo-hoo! May’s Selvage Spool block is so cool, and the construction process was really fun!All those selvages and the blank solid squares waiting to be filled up were a little overwhelming, so I started by pulling out the selvage pieces that I knew wanted to use and cutting them down to a manageable size (4″). Before putting away the rest of the huge pile, I made a separate small pile of “maybes”. Once that was done, I was able to concentrate on arranging my selvages.A little note here: the video for this block says to use a 3 1/2″ square, but the pdf says 3 1/4″. Your selvage square does need to be 3 1/2″ in order to get the correct finished size. Riley Blake is working on correcting the pdf. In the meantime, if you’re behind like me and still working on this block, be sure not to cut that square too small! You’ll also need to enlarge the spool end template. I did this by printing at 106%. My completed selvage spools came out with about 1/8″ to trim off and square up on each side.I think this block is my favorite so far! A whole quilt made up of these would be perfect for display in a sewing studio or as a gift for someone who loves sewing.Here’s my whole set so far. June’s block is another needle-turned applique. Should I just take a deep breath and actually try it this time? I suppose the worst that could happen is that I don’t like it, and then I at least tried it, right?
It’s catch-up time! I’ve fallen behind on my Mystery Quilt Blocks because I’ve been busy behind the scenes working on new patterns which should be ready very soon! I managed to get April’s Sunshine Block done over the weekend, though.There are more half-square triangles in this one. Half-square triangles with smaller triangles mixed in to make up the center section. The four outside sections of the block are made up of flying geese. I used the same method that Bee in My Bonnet shares in her Easy Flying Geese Tutorial to sew those. I just increased the rectangle size to 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ and the squares to 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.Here are all four blocks together:I’ll have to make time this week to dig through my selvage pile for May’s block which I’m hoping to get done next weekend. Once that’s done, I’ll be all caught up . . . as long as I can get June’s block done this month, too!
I’m so excited to show you Charlie’s finished quilt! I actually finished it the night before we left Florida two weeks ago on our family trip, and I had no time to take pictures before washing it, drying it and loading it in the car! These pictures were taken here outside the great little cottage where we’re staying right now. You’ll just have to ignore the fact that Charlie has loved this quilt well already, and it could stand another wash and a good ironing! (This is really how it will look from now on anyway!)The front is constructed with the 12” crazy (or wonky) log cabin blocks that I finished last year, along with the 12” blocks that I made with the crazy I-spy mini-blocks that I’ve completed over the last few weeks during the Sew Can She Crazy Quilt Sewalong. (
Don’t forget that you have until 10 p. m. to submit your Crazy Quilt project entries for a chance to win some great prizes!)I mentioned before that this quilt is made similarly to the house-quilts that my other children have. It’s constructed with a pieced top and a minky backing without batting and quilted in the ditch. I’ve machine bound some, but since I was short on time with this one, I just turned and topstitched it. The piece of minky that I had planned to use wasn’t quite big enough, so I added a smaller piece, and I love the look that it gave the finished back! It works perfectly with the craziness of the front.The pieced name turned out just the way I imagined it. Charlie thinks it’s, “So cool!” and so do I!I’m also in the habit of using my embroidery machine to add a quick signature and date to these quilts. (An amusing little side note: this is the first time I’ve used my embroidery machine since we moved from Texas, and I seriously think that every single piece that I needed, from the hoop to the card to the software, was in a different unknown place. I was digging through drawers and boxes and . . . I almost gave up, but I’m so glad I didn’t!)
Rather than adding traditional stitching embellishments to Charlie’s Crazy I-Spy Quilt, I chose to piece his name into it! Piecing together letters like this looks complicated, but it’s actually really simple. You just need to decide on a width and height for your letters, then use basic elementary school math to determine width and length of each strip. If you want letters like mine with straight edges and right angles, just draw each letter out on graph paper before getting started. This will allow you to determine your measurements really easily, but don’t forget to add a 1/4″ seam allowance on each edge!We’re on the road right now, but I finished up Charlie’s quilt before we left, and I’m planning to get pictures soon so I can share it with you before the end of the week. I did snap pictures of the remaining Crazy I-Spy Blocks before I sewed everything together:How’s your Crazy Quilt sewing going? Projects are due by 10 p. m. eastern this Saturday, May 18th. You can find all the details for entering over on the Sew Can She Blog. Even if you’re not entering, though, you might want to check out the Flickr pool for some great inspiration!
Have you used every single decorative stitch on your machine? I can honestly say that after this last step, in the SewCanShe Crazy Quilt Block Sewalong, I have!
I am thrilled that I decided to work with the variegated embroidery thread. It adds a wonderful, shiny touch to the project!
Before getting started I dug into my stash and pulled out my beloved Killington Flannel. Cuddled it for a minute, cut two layers, and then cut a woven print for the backing. Several pins later my quilt sandwich was ready for stitching! As you can tell I wasn’t doing any major measuring. I just laid the quilted top on the flannel, then the woven, and simply cut around them, leaving a bit of room in case anything shifted while I was sewing.
I thought about using little beads in the center of the flowers. But with a little girl that likes to fiddle and pick at things instead of finishing a meal, I knew it would become a problem and distraction for her. Instead, I tried out every single decorative stitch on the fancier of my two machines (spoiled much?), and used almost every single one on this snack mat!
There were a couple I avoided because they were a bit too messy on the reverse, or were prone to tangles. I definitely recommend testing every stitch you plan on using on your project first. Some may need you to adjust the length or width in order for the design to stitch out perfectly on your current project. Also, if you’re stitching with a different thread than usual (in this case embroidery thread), you need to know how your machine is going to fare with it. In my machine I was struggling with the thread catching and fraying, until I realized what the issue was and could fix it.
Do you remember how I nicked the fabric near the bottom with my rotary cutter, leaving a small hole? Problem solved!
A little Heat’n Bond, some fabric scraps with cute flowers, a tiny applique stitch, and a little lacey trim are all you need to add a special touch for a flower loving girlie-girl!
Unfortunately, because I had to stitch so much slower than usual to stop the thread from fraying, I wasn’t able to complete both blocks for this post. I’ll be completing the other one and posting it on my personal blog this weekend: Rooibos Mom. Once it’s up, I’ll come back and share a direct link to it right here!
Anyone who has been around me long enough, has heard me utter these words: “If it doesn’t come with an actual pattern piece, then I won’t sew it.”
Enter the Crazy Quilt Block Sewalong!
And you’re absolutely right, this is exactly the type of sewing I said I would never do!
But can I admit something? It’s actually incredibly fun! Even if you make a silly mistake like I did while trimming.
Do you see that nick in the fabric to the left of my oh-so-sharp rotary cutter? Oops. Thankfully with crazy quilting I can easily choose any number of ways to cover it up before my project is finished!
I was crossing my fingers a little by this stage. Just hoping and praying it really would look pretty after it was all trimmed off, and that I wouldn’t lose too much of my favorite fabrics on the edges, in the process.
As you can tell, it was a rather big block that I’d pieced together. And seeing as I am not making a quilt (I already have 2 in the works!), I decided to trim it to the very biggest size I could. As the sides are trimmed and moved out of the way, it’s amazing to see this cute block suddenly emerge from the chaos!
Ta-da! I love it!
In fact, I loved it so much that I stayed up late making another one! This one is actually much bigger than the first. It’s probably going to be a lovely big placemat. The first is probably going to be turned into a super cute snack mat for our little girl, who makes messes of about the same proportion as a wild animal at the zoo during snack and meal times!
Well, I’m off to put my photos up onto the SewCanShe Crazy Quilt Block Sewalong Facebook. Have you put yours up yet? I can’t wait to see what new ones have been added today!
Things are moving along quite nicely with the crazy I-spy mini-blocks for Charlie’s quilt. (I love that he gets so excited when he finds me in my studio working on it! I really have to get it finished for him before we leave on our trip!)I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to sew 10 or 12 of these mini-blocks. Either way, these are the first five finished blocks. (This week’s Crazy Quilt Sewalong Challenge is to show off at least one finished block.)For each block, I started with a fussy-cut focus piece and worked around it with the other scraps that I have on hand. I’m such a planner. These blocks definitely push me out of my comfort zone because they’re such an exercise in going with the flow. I am having fun choosing fabrics that are very “Charlie”. He was born in Texas thus the block below, and the Michael Miller Dino Dudes above makes me laugh a bit. I worked so much with Dino Dudes between the interlock, the woven and the various colors of jerseys . . . oh, and the PUL! This child wore Dino Dudes at least one day a week for the first couple years of his life!My blocks are incredibly simple compared to some of the amazing blocks showing up on the Crazy Quilt Sewalong Facebook Event Page! If you’re looking for inspiration, you have to go check it out!
Weeeee! Time to get started on the Sew Can She Crazy Quilt Sewalong! This little mountain shows just a small portion of my I-Spy scraps. We’ve been a little I-Spy Quilt crazy around here in the past, and it’s time to make another one! I have a tendency to grab fat quarters and 1/4 yards that have fun novelty prints on them whenever I run across them, and I hang onto any scraps with cute prints that would work in an I-Spy Quilt, too!
Each of my kids has what we call “couch quilts” that I’ve sewn for them. They are generally about 50″ x 60″ finished with a quilted top and minky on the back. I’ve turned and topstitched some and machine bound others. They are perfect quilts for little ones to sleep with and for big ones to curl up under on the couch. (They’re the only blankets that I allow to be dragged around the house.) They also fold up quite compactly for travel, so they go with us when we’re on the road.
I started planning Charlie’s quilt last year before we left Texas. Actually, I even sewed six blocks for it, but then the house sold and packing started, and I never made it back to it. I was so excited when Caroline told me she was planning a crazy quilt sewalong because it’s perfect motivation to get this quilt done! It just so happens, that my first six blocks are crazy (or wonky) log cabin blocks.
(That’s Charlie’s little finger pointing out the I Heart Robots fabric on top.) The pile of squares to the right are already cut to 6 1/2″ which is 1/4 the size of my finished blocks. My plan is to sew random crazy blocks that are 6 1/2″ to mix in with those squares in 4-patch blocks. To finish the piecing, I’ll stagger the crazy log cabin blocks and the crazy 4-patch blogs. But, we leave on a trip next Friday, so I’ll be sewing fast and sewing ahead of everyone else! I’ll share pieces as we travel, though, so you won’t get to see my finished project until the very end.
Do you have a pile of fabric scraps? Have you ever wondered what to do with them? Would you love to try out crazy quilting? Are you motivated by great sewing prizes? If you answered yes to any (or all!) of those questions, then come join us as we put those scraps to use in crazy new ways in Sew Can She’s Crazy Quilt Sewalong! The fun starts this Saturday, April 20th. Your goal is to create something amazing with a crazy quilt block or two or a dozen. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination . . . and your fabric stash! At the end of the sewalong, you’ll have a handmade and crazy project to enjoy, and you could be the proud winner of a prize from one of these generous sponsors:
I’m excited, too, to tell you that my new assistant, Leigh, is going to be joining in the Crazy Quilt Sewalong with me and sharing here on the Fishsticks Designs blog! I’ll be back this afternoon to share her introduction with you. I think you’re going to love her!
To read all the details and join the Facebook event page for the sewalong, click right here: The Crazy Quilt Sewalong Announcement. I can’t wait to see what you sew!
I’m moving right along with the blocks in the Riley Blake Mystery Quilt! I don’t have a whole lot to share about this month’s “Simplicity” block because it really was simple. It looks far more complicated than it is!
You start with four half-square triangles. (If you don’t want to sew these one at a time, take a look around for short-cut tutorials. Here are two from the Sew Mama Sew blog: 8-at-a-Time HSTs and 4-at-a-Time HSTs.)Add four squares made from two equal-sized rectangles. (I sewed these all at once in a strip. Since I wanted 4 – 4 1/2″ squares, I cut a strip from each fabric 2 1/2″ x 18″. I stitched the two strips together, pressed the seam allowances and cut the strip into 4 1/2″ squares. If you use this method, be sure that you’re using a short stitch length so that your seams don’t pull apart when you start piecing the blocks together.)Cut a center block.Follow the instructions for piecing your blocks together, and you’re done! Here are January, February and March all together! Once I finished the first two blocks, I decided that I needed some more color so I added in some blue, still sticking with the RB Tone-on-Tone dots. I think I like it. What do you think? It seems a little off now, but once I add the other blocks with the blue mixed in, I think it will all balance out.