CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Alternating Blocks

Thank you so much for being here!  After all, you have persisted and we are already to month four.  If you are just joining this quiltalong adventure, Welcome! You can check HERE for directions and more information.

Remember that this quiltalong is offered in three sizes. SMALL–a throw that uses 5 stars and four alternating blocks. Finished size about 48″ square; MEDIUM–This is the size I am making this time. It uses 13 stars and 12 alternating blocks. Finished size about 72″ square; LARGE: This is the size of the original Calico Rose. It uses 25 star and 24 alternating blocks. Finished size 96″ square.

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This month we are building the alternating blocks.  These are not complicated but they do give the quilt the lacey look and also the illusion that the star blocks are larger and more complex than they really are.  More and more I like the part alternating blocks can play in a quilt.

CUTTING:

1. For each block you need 32 colored 2″ squares.  So, if you are making a small you will need 128.  If a medium, 384.  And, for a large, 768.  Hopefully, you have many of these cut already, but, if not, that is your first job this month.

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2. From background fabric you will need the following, again, for each block:  8 2″ squares, 4 3-1/2″ x 5″ rectangles.  Just do the math.  For a small 32 2″ squares and 16 rectangles.  For a medium, 96 squares  and 48 rectangles.  For a large, 192 squares and 96 rectangles.  Go ahead and cut those now.

CONSTRUCTION:

1. This alternating block consists of 4 nine patches, 1 four patch and 4 rectangles.  It assembles like a large, uneven, nine patch.

2. First, using 4 colored squares, create your center four patch.

3. Then, create four nine patches.  Notice that each of these uses 7 colored squares and two background squares.  The background squares are located in diagonal corners.

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4. Lay out the large block using the four patch, nine patches and background rectangles as shown below.

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5. Assemble into an alternating block.  Stand back and admire your progress.

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6. Repeat as necessary depending on the size of quilt you have chosen. Ta-dah, you have completed 4, 12, or 24 blocks.  Good job!

As you finish your blocks you might want to explore layouts for the top.  You’d think that something scrappy would be completely random and it wouldn’t matter, but you know how quilters can be…maybe…just a little…obsessive!  Have fun admiring your blocks and seeking out the perfect arrangement.  Plus, it will help the time pass more quickly while you wait for the next installment.

Come back again July 10 for the borders…

CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Star Blocks

Congratulations, you have made it to month three.  If you are just joining this quiltalong adventure, Welcome! You can check HERE for directions and more information.

By now, most of the rest of you should have chosen a size to make. SMALL–a throw that uses 5 stars and four alternating blocks. Finished size about 48″ square; MEDIUM–This is the size I am making this time. It uses 13 stars and 12 alternating blocks. Finished size about 72″ square; LARGE: This is the size of the original Calico Rose. It uses 25 star and 24 alternating blocks. Finished size 96″ square.

Let’s get started on this month’s adventure:  The Star Blocks.

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Last month we made the 16-patch centers.  We’ll add star points to those and assemble the blocks.  Ready?!

CUTTING:

1. You will need to cut background fabric into squares.  Some are for the corners of the blocks and some are for the half square triangles.  You will cut four of each size per block.

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If you are making a small quilt, cut 20 4″ background squares and 20 3-1/2″ background squares.  You will also need 20 4″ colored squares.

If you are making a medium quilt, cut 52 4″ background squares and 52 3-1/2″ background squares.  You will also need 52 4″ colored squares.

If you are making a large  quilt, cut 100 4″ background squares and 100 3-1/2″ background squares.  You will also need 100 4″ colored squares.

SPECIAL NOTE:  If you are using 2-1/2″ squares in your centers, you will need the same number of squares, but the sizes will be 5″ and 4-1/2″.

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Note that I have tried to spread the colors about equally through my chosen color scheme.  You don’t have to be obsessive-compulsive (who me?) but I believe it gives a balance to your quilt if you are.

CONSTRUCTION:

1. Match a 4″ background square to a 4″ colored square and create half square triangles.  I like to mark the diagonal, sew 1/4″ away from both sides and cut up the middle.  You can get details on that method HERE.

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2. Repeat for all 4″ squares.

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3. I hate to say this, but you really do need to square up.  No one really likes doing it, but it does make a difference.  Get details HERE.

4. Lay out your star blocks.  They consist of the pieced 16-patch centers you made last month, 8 half square triangle blocks and four 3-1/2″ background squares.

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5. Assemble.

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6. Repeat as needed depending on your quilt size. If you are making a small quilt, five times.  If a medium, 13.  If a large, 25 is the magic number.

Yay you!  Stand back and admire your finished blocks.  Don’t they look nice!

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How is this going for you? Let me know.  Send pictures.  Add suggestions.  I love to hear from you, even when I am not good about getting back.  Only a little more school left (even though I love my job, it does interfere with my sewing life. 🙂 ) and then I will be more able to answer all e-mails.

We’ll be back on June 10 for the next set of directions:  Setting Blocks.

CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Star Block Centers

After all that cutting it is time to reward yourself with some sewing.  This month we are making the star block centers–those 16 patches.

Again, depending on the size of quilt you are making, you will need to choose your preferred number of blocks and get stitching!

If you are just joining us, check HERE for directions and information on this quiltalong.

The rest of you should have chosen a size to make. SMALL–a throw that uses 5 stars and four alternating blocks. Finished size about 48″ square; MEDIUM–This is the size I am making this time. It uses 13 stars and 12 alternating blocks. Finished size about 72″ square; LARGE: This is the size of the original Calico Rose. It uses 25 star and 24 alternating blocks. Finished size 96″ square.

FABRIC NEEDS:

1. This time all you need are 2″ squares.  All that cutting from last month is being put to use.

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CONSTRUCTION:

1. We are making the centers of the star blocks.  They are 16 patches.  Simple construction.  Just choose 16 squares.  Depending on your color scheme, you might just grab and stitch, or you might want to lay them out first.

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Being slightly obsessive (who? me?) I lay out.

2. Sew them together.  I like to join squares into rows and then (after making sure my seam allowances go in opposite directions) sew the rows together.

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3.  Press everything out nice and flat and congratuate yourself on a finished square.

4. Repeat as necessary.  If you are making a small quilt, build five of these.  If a medium, you will need 13.  If a large, 25 is the magic number.

Well done!  Let me know how your quilt is coming along.  The next set of directions (cutting AND sewing this time) will be out about May 10.

Thanks for joining in.

CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Fabric and First Cuts

Today is the beginning of the Calico Rose Quiltalong, and it is all about deciding on  fabric and CUTTING.

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First you should choose a size to make:  SMALL–a throw that uses 5 stars and four alternating blocks.  Finished size about 48″ square; MEDIUM–This is the size I am making this time.  It uses 13 stars and 12 alternating blocks.  Finished size about 72″  square; LARGE:  This is the size of the original Calico Rose.  It uses 25 star and 24 alternating blocks.  Finished size 96″ square.

Quick Note:  If you are planning on using 2-1/2″ squares as your base,  a SMALL will finish at 64″ and a MEDIUM at 96″.  A large would be 128″ square, but I don’t recommend that–most quilting frames won’t hold one that size. The number of cuts you need for each size will be identical to the 2″ quilt, but you will need more background fabric.  Please plan accordingly. Using the quantity suggested for the next size up should work.  I hope.  But you might want to get an extra yard just to make yourself feel better.

Another quick note:  Some people have wondered why there isn’t a 4×4 or 6×6 (or any other number) block layout option.  You are free to make one, of course, but the final look will be different.  The symmetry comes from having odd numbers.

FABRIC NEEDS:

1. A lot of scraps.  Some should be at least 4″ square  for the points of the stars.   (Read 5″ square if you are using 2-1/2″ squares for your base.  Yes, I can hear you thinking…”I can use my charm packs.”) You can have a set color scheme (blues), controlled scrappy like the original (blue, yellow, green), or anything goes.  I am an “anything goes” person this time.  It is hard to judge how much scrap you need, but, unless you are a very new quilter, it will not be anything close to all the scrap you have. Just get a big pile–several double handfuls at least, especially for a large quilt.  Sort through.  Make piles.  Remember former projects and friends and favorites.  Rejoice in the abundance.   This is supposed to be FUN!

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2. Background fabric.  I am (no surprise here) using white.  You can use any color, but keep contrast in mind.  I recommend a single color for the background.  One less variable. You will need 1-1/2 yards  for SMALL, 3 yards for MEDIUM, 5-1/2 yards for LARGE.  I have calculated generously to allow for the inevitable error.  Hopefully this will work for you.

CUTTING, for FIRST STEP ONLY:

1. Cut small colored squares.  You need a lot of 2″ squares.  For SMALL:  cut 300 or so, MEDIUM:  approximately 800, LARGE: about 1500.  Some of these are the centers of the star blocks and some are for the border.  Just cut along–you don’t need to do it all at once.  You have time.  You will have some left over, but that is seed to grow a future quilt.

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2. There will be more cutting of fabric as each step comes along.  But, for now just get those little squares ready for the centers of the star blocks.  Set the rest of your fabric–colored scraps and background fabric, too–aside.  Clearly label it “Calico Rose Quilt” so you don’t accidentally cut it up for a different project next week.  🙂

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3. Wait in eager anticipation for the next set of directions.  They will be out Friday, April 10.

Thanks for joining in. Let me know how this goes.

Sew Sweet Simplicity Setting Option

***This Giveaway is CLOSED***

The final installment of the Sew Sweet Simplicity Block of the Month comes out today.  As a fortunate pattern tester, I had a  month to think about this ahead of time and had a lot of fun designing a setting plan that used the 12 blocks I created so far (2 each of the six Jacquelynne designed).

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By creating alternate blocks and setting the whole thing on point, the finished top is 50″ x 67″, a large throw/couch quilt. If you added a border or two, it would be a twin size quilt.  Not too bad for 12 fancy blocks and a few extras!

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The alternating blocks use the central snowball block that anchors each of the other blocks.  A set of written directions follows. This was a fun finish.  I wish I could say it was completely finished, but the top is at the quilters right now.  I’ll share more as soon as it is back from visiting Tara to get some of her magic.

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As usual, there is a giveaway and more fun (Including a preview of an upcoming event that might or might not include another block of the month.  Shhh!  Don’t tell!) from Jacquelynne.  Enter the giveaway here and on the other participating blogs to have a chance at more nice prizes.

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Here you can leave a comment for a chance at an e-book, retail value $14.95. There are several  little projects in this book along with recipes and fun crafts and projects that kids (of all ages) can do. At the Art of Home,  Jacquelynne’s own blog, she is giving away a large prize, which includes thread, patterns, book, tote bag and more. Retail value $70.

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Tutorial:  Alternating 12″ Snowball Block

CUTTING: one 6-1/2″ square four 2″ squares two 3-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangles background fabric two 3-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ rectangles background fabric ASSEMBLY: 1. Attach the 2″ squares to the corners of the 6-1/2″ square using the diagonal stitch-and-flip method as shown in the block patterns designed for the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM. Press. 2. Attach the 3-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangles background fabric to the sides of the 6-1/2″ block. Press. 3. Attach the 3-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ rectangles background fabric to finish the alternating block.  Press.

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I used six of these in this on-point layout. The setting triangles are 3 blocks 18-1/4″ squares, cut diagonally twice.  You will have two left over.  The setting corners are two blocks 9-3/8″, cut diagonally once. The quilt went together easily.  If an on-point setting appeals to you, consider alternating blocks.  It gives a new look (and a larger quilt).

RECYCLE: Feed Sacks To Grocery Bags

As we have chickens, wild birds and a cat, we purchase animal feed in bulk.  The sack the feed comes in is a sort of woven plastic fabric.  Very sturdy.

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What could I use them for?  It seems a shame to just throw them away.

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So, I decided to try for a grocery bag.  Using a technique similar to the tutorial HERE, we now have this cheerful item.  We even have a buff orpington hen so I can say it is a picture of one of my animals.  🙂

I am stopping at one for now, because I want to try it out and see if any changes are needed.  Then I will probably make more.  I have the feed sacks,  and it didn’t take long.

Two more days before Christmas holiday ends.  While I love my job, it has been a pleasure to have time with family (and fabric).  Creating memories (and useful objects)  is what holidays are all about around here.

Happy New Year!

Final Three FINISHED! Happy New Year!

I had three projects lined up as an end of the year goal.  And, they are finished before 2015 is upon me.

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First, binding the Super Stars quilt.  This isn’t a great picture, but the binding is stitched down, and it is truly a quilt.  Barbara did a great job on the quilting, and I am so pleased to have it as a final quilt for 2014.

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Second, while doing the Final Countdown with Shelley, I found some pieces of wool felt that were just the right size for…Needle Books.  This is one of the first tutorials I developed and I couldn’t resist revisiting it.  The fabric is scraps from my small box of vintage/antique fabric and four little needle books now rest snug in my gift drawer.

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Finally, it was time to make slippers again.  Husband said something like “those are more holes than slippers” the other day, so I got out a piece of fleece (also dug out during cleaning this week) and stitched some new ones up, again from THIS TUTORIAL.

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So, I have met my goal and am heading into 2015 feeling motivated and successful.  A Happy New Year to you all!