Friday, February 28, 2014

Kitting up Lozenges!

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I must have the ugliest 3.5” strip bin on the planet.

Maybe in the whole galaxy!

But I’m excited about our new 2014 Leader & Ender Challenge, Lozenges – because it is going to turn this mess of strips into something SPECTACULAR – I just know it.

I don’t use the 3.5” strips as much as I do the smaller 1.5”, 2” or 2.5” size…usually I end up with a 3.5” cut square as a center, a corner, an alternate unit – but rarely do I just piece with them, so I”ve got a stack to use up.

Today I decided to get this job out of the way, and I ironed and sorted and began to cut.

In yesterday’s blog post with the instructions for Lozenges, I said that a quilt set 30 rows across by 15 rows down would give a quilt that measures 90 X 90.  That’s bigger than I want to go.  So I’m going to do 27 across by 15 down,  which will give me a quilt that measures 81” X 90”.  A very useable full size.  This will take 405 Lozenges!  That’s still a lot!

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Look at this stuff!  Trimmings from backings --

This was the very popular “pillar” print, a post civil war era repro,   and I had used it as a backing..this is what was left from the margin.  CUT IT UP!!  I mean, really – what am I saving it for?

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1970s faux-patchwork and a 1990s cabbage rose?  CUT IT UP!

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Oooh…how many had or still have that light purple with pink in the center?


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Now this one definitely takes the cake --



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This little stack – holds 100 3.5” X 6.5” rectangles.

Doesn’t look like that many, does it?

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I pinned them in stacks of 10 and then laid them cross wise on top of each other until I had 10 stacks of 10 in each pile ---

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And I wasn’t just cutting Rectangles!

If I got to the end of the strip set and couldn’t get a 3.5” X 6.5” rectangle out of the piece…I’d cut it down right away into the next useable size.  In this case, I got a couple of very useable 2.5” squares.

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In this case I got a 2” square and two 1.5” squares out of the odd end.

My goal is to not leave a basket of odd pieces to have to trim down later.  I’ve already got the ruler and rotary cutter going – just keep cutting down until you can’t anymore….I’ve now got a stack of 1.5”, 2” 2.5” and 3.5” squares ready for other projects.

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Next up?  Cutting the black 2” strips into 2” squares!

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Last night after we arrived at the cabin I was too wiped out to do much else than finally attach the 6th star point to the mother ship of my hexie project.  I’ve also finished part of the fill in area – you can see it as 4 diamonds at the bottom.  There is no pattern for this quilt, I’m making it up as I go along.  It has no deadline, It’s just my busy-bag project for when I travel and don’t have access to a machine.  It’s been fun to see it grow over the past year.

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This morning’s blue sky looks inviting…but it was 24 degrees out when Sadie and I went walking!  I can tell you this fit bit is not going to register 10,000 steps again until it warms up a bit outside!

Potatoes are baking on the oven.  Steaks will go on the grill soon --almost time to make a salad.  This is the stuff that bliss is made of!

Love from Buck Mountain ---

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An Evening in Gruene!

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The locals call it “GREEN” just like the color --

Arriving in Texas in the mid 1840s, German farmers became the first settlers of what is now known as Gruene, Texas. Ernst Gruene, a German immigrant, and his bride Antoinette, had reached the newly established city of New Braunfels in 1845, but acreage was scarce. So Ernst and his two sons purchased land just down river and settled in!

What is left now is a charming little town full of shops, eateries and a perfect place to wander on a pleasantly warm evening in late February... while back home in North Carolina, folks were freezing and fighting winter storms. 

How did I luck out to have missed the worst winter that the Southeast had seen in years?  Something must be right somewhere because Irene and I had a great time in Gruene!

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Historical markers…I have to stop and read these!

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Homes along the street are turned into shops for browsing!

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One antique place, full of English antiques – yes--- from England, no less ((In GRUENE, Texas?!)) had a large collection of old old family bibles, and I was quite surprised when I opened up this one to find the family history still inside:

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It’s all my maiden name: WILKINSON!

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Were these long distant relatives many times removed?

Who knows.  It didn’t list a town ---and it’s not an uncommon name in England, but it still tickles me when I come across someone with the same surname as me.  This bible was selling for $295.  But the photos were free!

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As evening fell, we walked up the street past a popular biker destination.

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And the Gruene General Store!

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Old time counters full of candy, jams and fudge!

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Hahahaha!  We found the sign for next year’s mystery!

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BACON Mustache anyone? LOL

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Blue Bell ice cream is THE BEST EVER!

We were making a beeline for our dinner destination –the Gristmill on the river.  On our way we passed the Gruene Dance Hall – the first dance hall built in Texas!

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Gruene Hall, built in 1878, is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. By design, not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built. 

The 6,000 square foot dance hall with a high pitched tin roof still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden. Advertisement signs from the 1930s and 40s still hang in the old hall and around the stage.  Big name artists have played and continue to play here –it’s always a good time in Gruene!

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Yes, I stopped to read another marker sign!

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Dinner at the Gristmill!

Situated on a bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River, this spectacular restaurant nestled under the shade of towering oak trees has been the perfect getaway for a unique casual dining experience for thirty years.

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Situated on the banks of the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio, the Gruene cotton gin processed crops raised by area farmers until the wooden structure burned to the ground in 1922.  All that remains of the water-powered mill today is the three story brick boiler room – now the Gristmill River Restaurant.

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Exposed brick walls and rooms with no ceilings at all provide an interesting setting for a really great meal!  There is more open seating out doors on the many-leveled decks overlooking the beautiful Guadalupe river.

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It was the perfect evening for dining outside!

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This lady was watching me take photos..LOL

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This was our view from our table on the deck!

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By the time we left, it was getting too dark to take photos..and the lights on the famous Gruene water tower were on as darkness began to fall!

Things are open late in Gruene, so there was plenty of time to browse the antique mall ---I’ll get to that in another post, there are too many photos to put down here!

If you have a chance to find yourself in the hill country of Texas, DO make a stop in Gruene – it’s a very unique place and not to be missed!

It’s a chilly morning up at the cabin ---24 out when I took Sadie for her morning walk.  As soon as I get the computer work completed, this girl is spending the day at the sewing machine – I can’t WAIT!

Have a great Friday, everyone!

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quilts from 100 Blocks–GIVEAWAY!

We’ve just arrived at the cabin – the interior temp is about 50, and the gas fireplace is now lit and running. Brrrrrr!

As the room warms up, I’m writing this post ---because I had returned from the post office with mail just before heading out –and guess what was in it?!?

The latest issue of Quilts from 100 blocks :c)

Not just one copy, but TWO!

Volume 9 of 100 blocks is about to be released, submissions for volume 10 are being sent in by invitation –and things just keep getting better and better.

In between the volumes come these SPECIAL issues to show you what others ((And what YOU)) can do with the blocks!  MAKE QUILTS – don’t just let those issues sit there on your coffee table.

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This is the cover of the latest issue! 
It should be on a news stand near you soon ---

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I quickly thumbed through and found some favorites!

Who loves paper piecing?  I DO!

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Masculine colors…Awesome!

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Scrappy Everything/ I’m all in!

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Gorgeous colors, perfect for that fabric line you’ve been saving.

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This is the Spring ‘14 issue ---and should be available until May!

We are going to have a bit of fun here!  I’m offering TWO copies for Give-Away.  Leave me a comment below, and I’ll be drawing for our winners Monday Evening, revealing them in our Quilt-Cam post!

Remember to leave your name and your email address if it is not visible within your profile.  If I can’t reach you, I’ll have to choose someone else.

If you are trying to comment through Facebook or a blog reader service, it won’t work, especially from a mobile device.  If you still see the blue bar across the top of your screen, you are still IN Facebook, so open us up in a new browser window and try to comment there.

We’ll be using the random number generator, so only entries posted in the comments section on THIS POST will be eligible.  That means no guest book entries, no emails, no Facebook comments – it’s gotta be here ON the blog so we can use the number generator to draw fairly.

For other “unable to comment” problems, click the Blog Helps Tab at the top of the blog for more info.

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Sadie is happy to be at Quilt Villa!

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And how about THIS carpet??

We stopped for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant in Wilkesboro.  WOW…..can anyone say Bargello?!

Have a great night everyone!

Love from Buck Mountain ---

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2014 Leader & Ender Challenge! Lozenges!

Click HERE for Printer-Friendly Version!

This is coming a few months early.

In the past we've wrangled out a New Leader & Ender challenge in JULY – but since so many of us have finished our Split 9-Patch challenges due to those being a much bigger block than either the Spoolin’ Around or the Cheddar Bow-Ties Challenges--4 times as large! They finish at 6” so you can fit 4 spools or 4 Bow-Ties within one Split 9-Patch Block.

Which means --we are in need of a new challenge!

I posted a photo of this quilt on our Quiltville Friends Facebook Page last month to much clamoring for the pattern

"Could we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do this as our next Leader & Ender Challenge?!?!?!"

I’m all in!

Here is an image of the full antique quilt that inspired all the hubbub from our now more than 50,000+ Facebook readers:


Stained Glass, 1890. Made by Rs. Frances Clarke Westergren. Boston. From the book Massachusetts Quilts, Our Common Wealth.

Just Look at all that sparkle going on in this lovely scrap quilt!

Things that made me fall in love with it:
  • Small triangles with high contrast between dark and light.
  • NON SQUARE blocks!
  • Great for using pieces from our Scrap User’s System! 
I chose which size I wanted the Lozenges to be by the process of elimination.  If I cut my pieces from 2.5” strips –that means my corner triangles would have to come from 1.5” squares…TINY.  Not sure I want to go that small. 

The next size up on the corner sew and flip square in my system is 2”.  That means they would pair with a 3.5” X 6.5” rectangle ---making for a quilt that we could build rather quickly and make good use of some of those larger prints we've been saving.

Of course, if you want to go smaller, or longer – feel free!  This is YOUR Challenge.  You can do the math, I know you can.  Maybe you have a stack of charm packs to use up?  You could cut those in half and build lozenges from 2.5” X 5” rectangles and sew them with those 1.5" sew and flip corner squares – no need to cut them shorter as this quilt is built in horizontal rows.  Your lozenges would finish at 2” X 4.5”.  Whatever is the best use of the fabric you want to see sewn up is what I would go for!

As for me….3.5” X 6.5” rectangles it is!

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Pieces, Parts and Sew Much Fun!

I cut 3.5” X 6.5” bricks from my 3.5” strip drawer.  Boy, there is a lot of stuff I can use up in there --And then I hit the 2” squares bin.  There are plenty of neutrals, but unlike the antique quilt above I am wanting big time contrast on my dark triangles, so I’m using scrappy tone on tone blacks.  Not so many of those already cut….

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So I pulled the 2” strip bag from the 2” strip drawer and set to cutting squares.  Some of this stuff is SO OLD I’m happy to have a place to sew it up!

If I fall short, I’ve got these lovely blacks that were gifted for my birthday from a reader:

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Thanks for these!

But before we start to sew:

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I can hear you now…you mean I HAVE to MARK!?  Well, it’s up to you.  You can aim and shoot, you can eye-ball it, you can use an angler or a line straight out from your needle, but I do draw lines.

And I’ll tell you why in a minute – but let me show you what I’m using:

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On fabrics with a black back-side, I like a white General’s chalk pencil.

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On black fabrics where the white chalk line is not visible – I’ll use a colored fine tipped sharpie or pigma pen.

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On very light fabrics, I’ll use a push-button pencil with a very fine tip.

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See that line, corner to corner??

I want you to start thinking of something a bit differently.  Stop thinking of that line as the SEAM LINE.

It really isn't – it’s your fold line!  It’s the line where we "press over."  If you sew ON that line,  you will be pressing over from off the left side of the thread and your triangle will be that much too short.  It will RARELY if ever reach all the way to the outside edge of your base unit.

What I want is for the left side of my needle to kiss up to the right side of that line…so that when I press, the drawn line, my fold line, will fold right next to my thread.  Is that making better sense now?  Try it! I bet you will be much happier with your Sew & Flip units!

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Attempting to sew right NEXT to the line!

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Sending the next Lozenge through!

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Check out this pressing!

If you press two opposite corners IN, and the  two remaining opposite corners OUT Your Lozenges will always nest to each other no matter what!  Just be consistent, use one of your units as your pressing guide and press them all identically.

And yes, I'm one of those who will fold back my triangle, make sure the edges match the edges of my base rectangle, and then trim off the excess approximately 1/4" from the sewn line.  If you leave the whole square and the base rectangle intact, you have bulk, and you can't press to nest like this!

Check this out:

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Half of the Lozenges will have neutral corners, and half of them will have black corners!

When you join these side by side, and then join rows together, the hour glass units that form will dance because they lean in opposite directions.  Check it out in the antique quilt above!  And when you join the units into rows, and join the rows..ALL the seams should nest row to row to row if you trim and press this way!

I’m so excited about this project--can you tell?  If you piece a quilt with 30 blocks across and 15 rows down, for a total of 450 Lozenges you will have a quilt center that measures 90” X 90”.  I’m just using this size for perspective to give you reference.  Make it ANY SIZE you want.  

There is no time limit on these.  Just cut some pieces, set them by your machine, and when you need to use a leader or an ender, you are READY!

For more information on what Leaders & Enders are ---click the Tips & Techniques Tab at the top of the blog and scroll down to Leaders & Enders.  You'll wonder why you waited so long!

And for those who follow me on Facebook, I have started a new GROUP for us called Quiltville’s Open Studio!  A place to Sew, Share & Grow! If you are a member of Facebook, you should be able to just click JOIN and you will be added, if not on Facebook, we invite you to sign up, it’s free!

Feel free to share photos of whatever project you are working on at Open Studio! Ask questions, leave answers for others -- treat Quiltville’s Open Studio as an online guild full of fabric, friends and fun!  Please SHARE and INVITE all your quilting friends to join us! ♥

Of course, you don’t want to miss my regular postings on my Quiltville Friends page.

Isn’t this exciting?  A New Book Cover– A New Leader & Ender Challenge Project, Lozenges!  And a New Facebook group to show and share and grow with.  Could life get any better?

Yes.  Yes, it can!

After The Hubster approached me with puppy dog eyes asking if we could go up to Quilt Villa TODAY instead of tomorrow ---how could I say no?

So I’m packing – and we’ll be heading out this afternoon.

Quilt-Cam will now happen MONDAY Evening, and I know that will be okay with y’all ---and I thank you for that!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

Update:  My Completed Quilt!

I finished the binding 8/8/2015

I love all of the scraps it helped me use up!

And it was a FREE quilt built during the year!

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