Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cutting the Sashing and Building the Rows

Take a few minutes to measure all of your blocks.  If you have used a 1/4-inch seam, they should finish out at 10.5 inches square.  If you find the measurements are larger, you can always trim your blocks down a little.  If they are smaller, you can press the blocks again, taking care to avoid any creases you may have accidentally pressed into the blocks the first time around.  Remember you will have a little give, so don't stress if they're off 1/16th of an inch.  *You know who I'm talking to...*

This measurement is important because you will cut the sashing this length.  Once again, you will cut three-inch strips of your fabric. You need 24 pieces of sashing, each 3 inches by 10.5 inches.

Depending on the width of your fabric once the selvage is removed, you will need 6 or 7 strips.  I allowed for 8 strips on the pattern, just in case.  My fabric measured exactly 42 inches wide without the selvage, so I was able to get four 10.5 inch pieces out of each strip.

Following the pattern, lay out the blocks.  The four all-light blocks go in the middle with the half-and-half ones around the edges.  Nice.

You will sew one sashing piece to the right-hand side of each of the first three blocks in each row.  The last block will not need a piece of sashing.

Pin the blocks to the sashing, stretching as needed to meet the edges perfectly.  Remember your sashing is all the same length, so making the blocks match the sashing will help to square up the blocks.

**Press the seam allowances toward the sashing.  Lay out the rows again.  Now you will sew the block+sashing to the next block+sashing until you have the row complete.

Now you're ready to lay out the sashing rows which go between.  You may want to play with the selection of fabrics you use for the setting squares.  I chose to complete the stars with green setting squares and continue the diagonal blocks with my accent squares.  Try different combinations and choose what you like best.  The row will be:

Sashing + Setting Square + Sashing + Setting Square + Sashing + Setting Square + Sashing

** Press these seam allowances toward the sashing.  By pressing the rows in this manner, you will be able to nest the seams when you sew them together.

Somebody say, "Ta-Da!"

Constructing a Block

 With all of the half-square triangles completed, you are ready to construct the block.  Using the pattern as a guide, lay out the pieces for one block.  I really enjoy using the design boards I made from Lori Holt's easy tutorial.  You can lay out the pieces and easily move them to another location.

Sew each row together.  Press seams in one direction, alternating rows.  Nest seams when joining rows.

I like to sew the top two rows together and the bottom two rows together.  Then sew the center seam last.  To reduce bulk in the center, you may wish to press this last seam open. 

Make twelve blocks just like this one.  In my case, half-pink and half-yellow.  According to the pattern, half-light and half-dark.

Next make four more blocks using only your light fabric.  Mine are all yellow, with no pink. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Speed Piecing Half Square Triangles

Great job, everbody, on making your first block tonight.  Now that you have a pattern for yourself, you are ready to rinse and repeat...and repeat and repeat.  We will make a total of 12 blocks like the one we did tonight.  Think of these as half-and-half blocks, half light and half-dark.

To make the half-square triangles, we will only be working with the 4-inch squares.  You have 4-inch squares from three of the fabrics.
  • Accent/Medium (red on the pattern)--32 4-in squares
  • Background/Light (cream on the pattern)--20 4-in squares
  • Dark (gray on the pattern) 12 4-in squares

    Since 20 + 12 = 32, it makes sense that each of your half-square triangle pairs will contain a piece of the Accent/Medium fabric. Remember you already made one of each pair tonight, so you should have 30/19/11 left.
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the backs of each of the 32 Accent/Medium 4-inch squares.  Pair each of these with either a Background/Light 4-in square or a Dark 4-in square, right sides together.  I like to pin these on either side of the line.

You will have two piles, one with 12 pairs (Accent and Dark) and one with 20 pairs (Accent and Light).  Here's the fun part.  Sew a 1/4-inch seam on either side of the diagonal line.

Chain these together.  Don't stop and cut your thread.  Just keep feeding them through, one after the other until you've sewn them all on one side of the line.  Leaving the squares chained together, just turn them around and sew a quarter-inch seam along the other side.

Once you've run the chain of squares through on the second side, you are ready to cut them apart from each other.
You will then cut each square along the diagonal line you drew.  Press open, and make stacks of your half-square triangles.

These squares are going to be larger than you need.  Remember our other pieces are 3-inch squares.  Trim each of these half-square triangles down to be 3-inch squares.  Unwonkify as necessary.  Use the 45 degree line on your cutting mat to help keep that center diagonal seam straight.

Now you're ready to make some blocks!

Our next meeting will be on November 19.  There is no pressure to have a certain amount done by that time.  This project is not a race.  Just do what you're comfortable doing, at the pace that makes you happy.

I'm so glad you were all able to be there tonight.  This project is going to be a lot of fun!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Road to Oklahoma Pattern

Okay, Gang.  Here is the pattern we will be using for our Road to Oklahoma project.  The highlighted portion pertains to the initial fabric requirements which I underestimated.  Please let me know if I still need to cut this piece for you.

Here's a little explanation for my chicken scratch.  

I called the light fabric the Background because I wanted you to think about this one like the background we used in the sampler.   You will need 60 3-inch squares.  The easiest way to cut these squares is to fold your fabric very neatly selvage to selvage.   The selvages are the finished edges of the fabric.  Press so the fabric will stay straight while you cut.  I like to fold the fabric in half again.  This time the folded edge will be on top of the selvage edges.

Lay the fabric on your rotary mat and trim one cut end to be straight.  Make sure that the cut you make trims all of the layers even.  Now move the ruler over and cut a strip that is 3 inches wide.

You have now cut a 3-inch WOF (width of fabric) strip.  Say, "Wahoo!"  Dance a little jig.  Celebrate with a French Vanilla Cappuccino.  You've earned it.

You will need 5 of these strips. Each strip will still be folded double. Sub-cut the strip into 3-inch squares.  You will cut two squares at a time.  Be sure you cut off the selvage edges first.  You don't want to use that part of the fabric.  Depending on the width of your fabric, you will get 13 or 14 squares from each strip.

The 4-inch squares will be cut the same way.  Cut a 4-inch strip and subcut into 4-inch squares.  You should get 10 4-inch squares from a strip.

In the column beside the number of squares, I have listed the number of strips needed.  The next column shows the total inches of fabric needed to cut the total strips and hence, the total squares.  From the inches I figured the yardage we needed to purchase, allowing a little extra.  Or trying to add a little extra.  *sigh*

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Road to Oklahoma Project Begins

Our first meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 15 from 6-8:30 p.m.  We will make one Road to Oklahoma block.  Please bring these pieces already cut and ready to go:

Background (Light) shown in cream on pattern/white on my sample square
3 3-inch squares
1 4-inch square

Color (Medium) shown in blue on pattern/pink on my sample
4 3-inch squares

Accent (Medium) shown in red on pattern/gray on my sample
2 3-inch squares
2 4-inch squares*

Dark (shown in dk gray on pattern)/black on my sample
3 3-inch squares
1 4-inch square

*To be really ready to go, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the backs of these two squares.*

You will need your sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, etc. 

Road to Oklahoma

After a delightful shopping trip last Saturday, the 31:22 Quilters are ready for their new project.  You are all ready, aren't you?  I am so excited to be working on a new quilt with all of you.  Fall seems to be the perfect time of year to begin, and this rainy Saturday has me raring to go.

 I spent some time this morning cutting my squares.  Aren't they yummy?  I love, love, love these colors!  (That's the edge of my Grandmother's Flower Garden, still in process.  All it needs is the binding.  Hooray!)

I have marked the backs of the 4-inch squares with a diagonal line.  Now I'm ready to speed-piece some half-square triangles.  Buckle up and hold on, 'cause here we go!

Here's the sample block I made from scrap fabrics. This pattern doesn't look like much when you just have one block.

 But check out what happens when you begin to put them together.  Here are four made from paper that I played with while drafting the pattern.  Shazam!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Only in the South

Sweet, precious wedding today
Sweet, beautiful young couple
Sweet, meaningful ceremony
Sweet iced tea at the reception

Now, that is a delightfully Southern touch.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Simple Party Planning

One of my favorite things to do is to throw a party. I love having friends and family in our home, and we enjoy the opportunity to share an afternoon or an evening together, to catch up on one another's lives, and to make some memories. It is important for me to keep things simple in order to focus on the fellowship rather than the process.

We had a great time hosting a party for my grandmother last year on her birthday. When all the guests had gone home, Grannie told me that she'd never had a birthday party before. I was speechless. I decided then that we would definitely be doing that one again. It's coming up very soon, and we are gearing up for a repeat performance.

When we begin our planning, we usually start with a theme. We arrive at our choice through various methods, choosing something we particularly like (superheroes or the 1950's), finding decorations on super-sale (luau in the winter), or even coordinating with the season of year as we will be doing this time.

The invitations can take any form you like. Evites are particularly popular these days, and I can appreciate their efficiency in both time and cost. I have to admit, however, that I am partial to a more traditional approach. It's hard to beat a sweet little card that arrives in your mailbox. It's an extra measure of thought that evites just can't provide.

The decorations will usually be chosen to fit your theme. Pick something you like, and don't be afraid to step outside the box. I loved this autumn leaf design, but plates, cups, and napkins in the same pattern seemed a little much. The coordinating stripe napkins added a touch of fun, I thought. These items and a fall centerpiece for the table will pretty much comprise the decorations for this party.

To save on cost, you may choose to use what you already have. If you have a few leftover plates from several different parties, stack them up in a random order for serving. Use a solid color for the napkins and cups. When you get ready to play a game, divide your teams based on their type of plate. We also have some inexpensive plastic plates and cups we often use for get-togethers to avoid disposable items.

We like to play games at our parties, and I find it to be a wonderful way to get things going. I always try to have an activity planned for the start of the party since early arrivals can feel at loose ends while they are waiting for everyone to arrive. When our children were small, we often had an art project for everyone to work on until things were in full swing. For older guests consider a jigsaw puzzle or two, a scavenger hunt, word find, or crossword puzzle. You can make up one of these with information about the party's honoree for a personalized touch. When your guests don't know one another, a game is a great ice-breaker and serves to get people talking.

I have found that party food can be very simple yet completely sufficient. Several years ago, some friends and I discovered that we could have one dish and a fun party drink, and everyone was more than satisfied. Most of us tend to watch what we eat anyway, and it is considerate not to provide the temptation. We would often serve key lime pie or cheesecake and a light and fruity punch. Open a can of mixed nuts if you'd like to offer something salty and wa-la! That was easy.

If you'll be serving a meal at the party, make less trouble for yourself by selecting a dish that will easily feed a crowd. A big pot of chili can be made ahead of time and warmed up just before your guests arrive. Cook boneless chicken and salsa in your slow cooker and serve with rice and tortilla chips. Offer a baked potato bar with an array of toppings for your guests to create their own masterpieces.

Though completely unnecessary, I enjoy presenting our guests with favors as they leave our home. For our fall birthday party, we will be giving these seasonal tissue holders. I have a feeling this one will be a hit with my grandmother's friends. Most likely, these ladies will be turning theirs wrong-side-out to view the construction and making their own by the next day. That gives me great joy! Last year we gave each guest a small pot of pansies. Choose your favors to suit the likes of your guests. Keep things simple and costs down since you will likely be doing several of these.

So plan your party and have a fabulous time!

Offer hospitality to one another... 1 Peter 4:9

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making Do

Plato was right. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

'Tis The Season

In case you didn't realize IT had arrived...

Scripture Cake

A friend recently gave us this recipe, and we've been having fun planning a baking session. There are still a couple of items I need to check with a much more experienced cook, but we're looking forward to giving it a whirl. If you try it, let me know how it works out.

1 C Judges 5:25
3 1/2 C Exodus 29:2
2 C Nahum 3:12
1 C Genesis 24:17
1 t Exodus 16:31
2 C Jeremiah 6:20
2 C 1 Samuel 30:12
1 C Numbers 17:8
6 Isaiah 10:14
1 pinch Leviticus 2:13
3 t Amos 4:5

Season to taste with 1 Kings 10:2. Follow Solomon's prescription for a good boy in Proverbs 23:14 and bake. Each scripture verse contains one or more ingredients used in making a cake. Follow carefully.

Here's a slightly different version which omits a troubling reference for us, Genesis 24:17. It also contains the actual ingredients if you want to double check before you bake, or if you are so inclined to cheat. Surely not.

Monday, September 14, 2009


My daughter gave me this cute book for my birthday, and I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying this light and fun reading. Within the delightful story, however, are some close-to-painful pricks at my soul.

Becky Miller is an average stay-at-home mom who dearly loves her husband and three children but battles constantly with balancing her duties at home, at church, with friends, with family, and with Almighty God. She earnestly desires to "live a life filled with Meaning and Purpose" while being a "Wonderful Wife and Marvelous Mother." (I love the caps. That is classic.)

She is fully aware of her shortcomings but so wants to be perfect. Anyone? Disappointments and struggles are no stranger to Becky and her little family, but God is faithful.

I can hardly wait to see how it all unfolds. I stayed up reading last night until my eyes just would not stay open. Gotta go sneak in a chapter between loads of laundry and checking schoolwork.

What was that about Meaning and Purpose?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bathroom Redo

We had noticed an issue in one of our bathrooms with the paint bubbling up and peeling above the top edge of the shower. I had one of those self-cleaning systems that hangs on the shower head in there, and I blamed the problem on it. I thought the shower spray was bouncing off and causing the sheetrock to become wet.

I got rid of the shower cleaner, scraped the wall, patched, and repainted. Over time, it started to happen again. All we could figure was that our older son's head was the problem, and since we'd rather keep it around we looked for an alternative.

Many of you know how smart my sister and brother-in-law are. Believe it or not, they were having the same problem in their master bath. (Apparently my brother-in-law's head is a problem, too.) They fixed their shower by affixing a couple of rows of tile above the enclosure, essentially increasing its height and protecting the walls.


When they were down for a visit this summer, these two went to the store with us and helped us buy everything we needed to fix our bathroom. They spent part of a day tiling these couple of rows for us, and it has really made all of the difference. What good guys!

The problem with the paint had kept me from getting this room repainted, so with the tiles in place we were raring to go. My daddy came over one day and painted the whole thing this beautiful blue called Azure Mist. It really brightened things up, and the semi-gloss finish is much more appropriate for a bathroom with its high moisture level.

These towel hooks are one of my very best purchases and tips for anyone who shares a bathroom. There's no question about which towel is whose, and I love the way they provide function and a bit of style at the same time.

We can call this one done. Somebody say, "Check."

Friday Night Excitement

Our neighbor's donkey, Molasses, escaped from the pasture last night and ended up in our yard. You never know what will be going on around here. The excitement level is nearly unmanageable. ;)

Our little beagle wore herself out trying to defend us from this strange enemy. Wooed with stale bread, Molasses returned to safe surroundings and all was right again.

Friday, September 4, 2009


It has been such a wild and crazy summer around here that I have not had the time to do any projects. My sewing machine has been sitting dejectedly in the closet awaiting the time when someone will open the door and take it out to play.

Early Saturday mornings have become my time for therapy. That's really what sewing often is for me. The hum of the machine provides a soothing backdrop for the racing of my mind, and more often than not my spirit becomes quiet, even restful. So on these peaceful early mornings, I've had a chance to work on small things.

There are tutorials all over the web for tissue holders like these, but my sister found a way to make them where the lining provides a bit of trim while finishing the edge of the opening. I love it! The ones I've done before required fusible web and bias tape or other trim to finish that edge. This approach is much more streamlined and well, smart.

Just cut the lining a bit longer that the outer fabric, and it will form a sort of self-facing. Wa-la! I like to use a lining that is about 5 1/2 x 9 and an outer piece that is 5 1/2 x 6.

What fun! It's also an excellent way to use up some scraps and practice combining fabrics.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Special Day

All friends are blessings. Many friends are special. Few friends are for life.

Happy Birthday, Dayna!

I love being your friend...I love you!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009