Sunday, February 7, 2016

Nifty Nines Quilt-Along - Are You Ready For Another?

Hi, all!

Welcome to the second week of the Nifty Nines Quilt-Along!  I hope you're enjoying this as much as I am - it's been fun to revisit the nine-patch block and see all the wonderful variations out there! If you missed last week's quilt, Lattice Play, you can see it by clicking here.  

And without further ado, here is this week's nine-patch quilt - one I've affectionately named Time for Chevrons!

The name comes from the hourglass blocks and the chevron-like border of this quilt.

I broke into my long-hoarded stash of Kate Spain Terrain fabric for the nine-patch blocks, and used some Kona white and a pretty green fabric I had on hand for the hourglass blocks.

This simple quilt packs a lot of impact, but works up fairly quickly. Here's the tutorial for Time for Chevrons!


Nifty Nines Quilt-Along
Time for Chevrons

Size - Approx. 60” x 60”
All seams are 1/4”

Fabric Requirements:

Light background fabric - 1 3/4 yards.  This can be all one fabric, or a mix of low volume fabrics
Cut:  Twenty 7.5” squares
Thirty-six 6.5” x 3.5” rectangles
Two 4” squares

Dark background fabric - 1 3/4 yards.  This will look best as one fabric.
Cut: Twenty 7.5” squares
Seventy-two 3.5” squares
Two 4” squares

Darker scraps or a mix of fabrics totaling approximately 1 5/8 yards.  
Cut: 369   2.5” squares

FYI - this pattern is fat-quarter friendly! If you don’t have a stash of scraps, a fat quarter will yield 48 2.5” squares - more than enough for the 41 nine-patch blocks in this quilt.  So nine fat quarters will provide you with enough fabric for your 2.5” squares, or you can mix it up and use more to make your blocks different!

Block Construction:

This quilt is comprised of four different blocks. 

Block A looks like this: 

Block A is a simple 9-patch, made of all scrappy fabrics cut in 2.5” squares.  Make 41.  Trim to 6.5” if needed.

Block B looks like this: 

If you’ve never made an hourglass block before, it couldn’t be simpler (at least for a two color block!)  Here’s how you make this block.  Take the 7.5” squares you cut, and draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the light blocks.  Lay a light block on a dark block, right sides together, matching the corners, and stitch 1/4” from each side of that line you drew.  Cut the block apart on the line you drew, and carefully press the seams to the dark side.  (FYI this is also the process for making a half-square triangle block, also known as Block D.)  Do this with all of your 7.5” squares, making 40 HSTs. 

Now, take twenty of those HSTs and draw a diagonal line from the light corner to the dark corner, crossing the stitched line. 
Lay one of the marked HSTs on top of an unmarked HST, with the seams matching and the colors in opposite position, as shown above.  (The top HST is folded back so you can see the alternated colors.)  Pin across the pencil-marked stitching line, making sure that your seams are butted together nicely and corners line up.  Stitch 1/4” from either side of the line you drew.  Cut on the line to separate your work into two hourglass blocks!  Tada!  Continue until you have 40 hourglass blocks.  Trim to 6.5” if needed.

Block C looks like this: 

Block C is a flying geese block, with a light “goose” and dark corners using the 6.5” x 3.5” light rectangles and the 3.5” dark squares.  To make this block, take your 3.5” dark squares, and draw a line from corner to corner.  Lay one square on the right corner of a light 6.5” x 3.5” rectangle, right sides together, matching right and top edges and with the line running from center to lower right corner.  Stitch on the line. 

Now at this point, you can choose to do another line of stitching 3/8” to 1/2” away from your first stitching, closer to the corner, and cut between the lines to create a “bonus” HST to use in another project, or you can simply cut off the outside of the corner 1/4” from your stitching line.  After cutting, press the corner out, with the seam toward the dark side.  

Take another dark corner and lay it on the left side, matching left and top edges and with the line running from center to lower left corner.  Stitch on the line.  Create a bonus HST or simply cut off the outside of the corner 1/4” from your stitching line, and press the corner out, with the seam toward the dark side.  Make 36.

Block D looks like this: 

Block D is a half-square triangle.  (See directions for HSTs at beginning of Block B directions.) Using the 4” light and dark squares, make 4.  Trim to 3.5” square.

Quilt Construction

Even though this quilt looks “on point”, it is set out in a horizontal fashion.  Here is a picture of the center of the quilt. 

Using your A and B blocks, lay out the center of the quilt checkerboard style in a nine-by-nine block grid.  Be sure to start with a nine-patch block (A block) in the upper left.  The hour-glass blocks (B blocks) will alternate their orientation in each row, with the dark triangles on the top and bottom in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th rows, and on the right and left in the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th rows.  This is what forms the “on-point” effect.

Now it’s time to use the C and D blocks to create the chevron effect around the outside edge of the quilt.  Place the flying geese blocks (C blocks) around the edges, alternating their orientation so that they complete the square surrounding the nine-patch block they border.  Place the half-square triangle blocks (D blocks) in the corners to complete the framing.

Here is a complete picture of the quilt layout for your reference… 

Quilt as desired!


 I hope you'll give this quilt a try!  It was easy to make, and a so much fun to see the pattern emerge.  As always, feel free to make as many of these as you want - especially if you're making for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, which starts just a few weeks from now!  You can post pictures of any quilts you make using the Nifty Nines tutorials in the Nifty Nines Quilt-Along page on Flickr - just click on the group name to be taken to the page!  I can't wait to see your own personal variations!

If you'd like a PDF version of the tutorial emailed to you, please leave your email address in a comment below.

And just because it's pretty, here's one last shot of my finished Time for Chevrons quilt!

Hope to see you next week!!!



PS - you can see what I made with my "bonus" HSTs by clicking here...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Bonus Pillows!!

Hi, all!

It's Friday, and that means it's time to get our whoop whoop on!  Are you ready?  I am - it's been an exciting week!


This week, while I was working on this quilt - just a sneak peek now, because it will be the feature of this coming Sunday's Nifty Nines Quilt Along...

... I ended up with 72 "bonus" HSTs to work with! I started playing around with them...

...and ended up with two "negative image" layouts that used up all of the HSTs.  Score!  Measuring about 14.5" assembled, they were perfect to make two pillow covers - and I had two 14" pillow forms in my stash (which I found when I cleaned up earlier this year!)

So I sewed them together, then used some scrap batting from the stash and did some straight line echo quilting around the design.  
I found a print in my stash to make envelope enclosures for the back, and found a darker green fat quarter in the stash and managed to get enough strips from it to bind both pillows.

Look how pretty they turned out!  And they look so nice in my husband's chair - he may end up getting to keep them!  Here's a shot that shows the backing fabric...

I love it when a plan comes together - two pillows made basically from scraps that would have been thrown away, finished with things from stash - all part of my Sew My Stash 2016 plan!  

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And I've got another huge whoop whoop that affects all of you!   I wrote potential sponsors for Hands2Help earlier this week, and got a response that I'm really excited about!  We have a new sponsor this year - InspiredLED, where I got the LED lights I use on my sewing machine and long arm machine.

And guess what?  InspiredLed is donating TEN sets of LED sewing machine light kits as prizes for this year's Hands2Help Challenge!! Whoop whoop whoop!!!!  I'm super-excited!!!


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you dance the happy dance?

Share - we want to dance right along with you - 
And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight - 

Hope to see you there!



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What's On The Bookshelf Wednesday - Some Serious Inspiration!

Hi, all!

It's Wednesday, and time to take a look at the bookshelf again!  This week, I want to share a book that a friend of mine found in the library - full of wonderful inspiration!

You may be familiar with the Quilts of Gees Bend - quilts made by women in southern Alabama out of what they had on hand, that are beautifully primitive and artistic.  The quilts in this book will remind you of those quilts, but with much greater variety.

Unconventional and Unexpected shares American quilts that have flown below the radar, made between 1950 and 2000.  There is so much creativity in these quilts!  I particularly love the colors in this beauty...

It is called "Circles" and was made sometime between 1950 and 1970.

Spiderweb quilts are so popular now - take a look at these two, made respectively between 1975-2000 and 1940-1970.  The one on the right was actually made very near me, in the Hard Bargain community of Franklin, TN, a predominately African American community dating back to the 1870's.

And oh, isn't this striped quilt, made between 1950-1975, wonderful?  The movement in this quilt makes me smile!

And this quilt uses prairie points in a way I've never seen before -the entire quilt was covered with rows of them!  It was made between 1960-1985.

This quilt looks like something that could have been made just recently, but it dates from 1940-1970.  It's called Rattlesnake/Snake Trail.

Another feature that I really liked about this book was that occasionally they would show the back of a quilt or flimsy.  The quilt shown above was one of those.  An unfinished top, dating from 1950-1975, it was foundation pieced on pages from the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog.  Fortunately, those paper pieces were never taken off, and this quilt is quite a treasure!

I don't think I would ever quilt this top - the papers on the back are such a wonderful conversation starter!  I can remember poring over the pages of the Sears catalog when I was little - you could literally buy anything there!

This isn't an inexpensive book, so it may be one you want to check out from your local library or put on your Christmas wish list (it's on mine!) but it's definitely worth reading!  There are wonderful essays about the quilts and quilting lore interspersed between the photographs, and a whole lot of inspiration in this coffee table book.

That's what's on my bookshelf this week - or at least, what I WISH was on my bookshelf instead of the library's!  Have you taken a look at yours lately?