Downton Abbey Trimming Marathon


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Downton Abbey… Don’t you just love the characters!! Maggie Smith is a riot. She really has some deadly zingers.

I am new to this show. Oh, of course, I had heard of it. Just had never watched. How fitting is it that Season 1, Episode 1 begins with the Titanic sinking. And you know my obsession with the Titanic!! Got my attention right off the bat.

Anyhoo… back to the Trimming Marathon. The reason for my post.

I needed something to entertain me for several hours so I could trim the balance of my leftover half-square triangles. The little teeny ones. Didn’t wish to go wonky for them. So I needed to set aside several hours to go about the trimming. I have lots of DVD’s but wanted something new and fresh. Best Buy had Downton Abbey on sale. I bought all three seasons.

So, I assembled everything I needed….

Homemade template. Made from an old VHS cassette case.
Half-square triangles. Scissors.
Downton Abbey DVD’s.

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And got started.

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I hand trimmed over 600 HST’s and made it through each and every episode. All 3 seasons.

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I LOVE this show. Can’t wait until January 2014 to see what happens to Mary. New baby. Dead husband. All the characters are just too delish for words. Just the right tone, look and delivery. My one wish. That they hadn’t killed off the baby sister, Sybil. Well, two wishes. I wish Mary wasn’t so mean to Edith. Poor Edith.

Well, got to go. Need to decide what to do with these 6 1/2″ blocks. I am thinking surround them with HUGE sashing. Maybe. Maybe not. We shall see.

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Should have more to show you in a few days. Do come back.

But for now.. I am going back to Downton Abbey. Going to rewatch them all over again. 😀


Do you watch Downton Abbey? Who is your favorite character? Which is your favorite episode? Do tell….


Linking to.

http://www.conniekresin.com/2013/06/linky-tuesday_18.html

How To Make A Wonky Half-Square Triangle Block


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Ever wish you could just sew and not have to worry about matching seams at every turn?

Well then… this Wonky Half-Square Triangle (HST) block is for you. A block made with different HST sizes. We all have them. Dog ears trimmed from the corners. Those Snowball block corners. Also corners trimmed from mitered strips for bindings. Many projects create left-over triangles or triangle-like scrap pieces.

Most of mine came from my Hugs and Kisses quilt.

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I had no idea what to do with all of them. But after tiring of looking at the overflowing bag, I started thinking of what to do without a whole lot of preparation. Minimal fuss.

That’s when I came up with the idea of using them AS IS. “Making them work”, as Tim Gunn from Project Runway would say. I would sew all the different HST’s together with no thought to size. With one exception. I would match up the center seam going down the block.

Want to make a few? OK. Here’s my 3 Step Preparation Process.

1. Go gather up any HST’s you have been collecting.

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2. Go through your scraps and pull out any pieces shaped like a triangle.

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3. And lastly, while sorting through your scraps, pull out any pieces large enough to cut a triangle.

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HOW TO MAKE ONE WONKY HALF-SQUARE TRIANGLE BLOCK

OK. Now. Cut your scraps into triangles. I cut mine between 2″ and 2 1/2″. Cut a matching white (or white-on-white) fabric. Right sides together. Sew triangles with 1/4″ seam. Chain piece to save time and thread. Sew one triangle after the other. Do not cut thread until all triangles are sewn.

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Cut thread chain. Press triangles open. Cut tips off the corners.

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Now you are ready to build your wonky block. You need 24 HST’s per block. Twenty to form the outside square and four for the center of the block.

Starting with the LEFT side. Select five (5) HST’s and line them up. Mix up the colors and patterns. No repeats in a block. (Refer to photos for placement.)

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TOP. Add five more HST’s.

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RIGHT SIDE. Add five more HST’s.

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BOTTOM. Add five more HST’s.

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CENTER. Add four HST’s.

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When all 24 HST’s are placed, your block should look like this.

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Next. Add White Filler Triangles along the sides.

Using white or white-on-white (WOW), cut strips of 2 1/2″ by WOF. Now cut the strips into 2 1/2″ squares. You will need a lot of these squares depending on how many blocks you make.

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Cut 2 1/2″ squares diagonally down the center.

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Place one white triangle in the empty slots along the block edges according to the photo. Eight per block.

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SEW HST’s TOGETHER

I like to pin each row so when I am sewing I don’t have to guess which direction the HST should face.

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Sew HST’s together by row. Press strips. Doesn’t matter which direction to press the seams since they probably won’t line up to abut anyway.

Trim strips using the “shortest” HST as your guide.

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Trim top and bottom of the strip.

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SEW ROWS TOGETHER.

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When sewing rows together, only be concerned with getting the center HST’s lined up. The rest won’t matter. They will be wonky if you used different sized HST and won’t line up with the adjoining rows. (They may look funny now but in the end, they will be ok.)


Now time to trim the sides of the sewn blocks.

Starting with the right side.

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This is the area you will trim first. See my pencils? That is your guide for ruler placement. Place your see-through ruler with the one inch marking on the edge of the “top” HST and one inch marking on the edge of the “last” HST in THAT SAME ROW. Don’t worry about any wonkiness. The one inch of white will balance it out and create a uniformity of white sashing throughout your quilt top. Go around the block and trim the four longest sides.

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You can also trim the shorter sides of the blocks. They shouldn’t be that much off. Just a tad.

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This is how your Wonky HST Block should look with all sides trimmed.

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One last thing to do to complete your wonky blocks. Add the corner triangles so blocks can be sewn together to form your quilt top.


ADDING FOUR TRIANGLE CORNERS

Select whichever fabric you wish for the four corners. I LOVE Polka Dots!! So that is what I used. Lots of colors.

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(Note: Depending on what size your block ended up, you may wish to experiment with ONE block first. Before you cut all the corners. Cut two. Pin them to your block. Finger press to make sure the corner triangle extends to the edge of your block. So you are NOT cutting into the block when trimming. I started with 4 1/2″ which proved too short. 4 3/4″ or 5″ would have been a better choice. BUT you experiment with one block to make sure your triangles are lined up with the block edges when sewn and pressed.)

Your corners will be added on the longer sides of the block. See my pencils.

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Sew and press corner triangles. Trim side edges as needed.

And DONE!! Repeat to make as many blocks as desired for your quilt top.


Arrange Wonky Blocks to your liking.

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As you can see, most of the wonkiness disappears and is not so noticeable when block is turned diagonally. Diamond shaped.

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This is my quilt top. It measures 56 1/2″ by 57″. I just need to quilt it.

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Hope you will make a few of these Wonky HST Blocks. And hope my tutorial was helpful. Thanks for following along. 😀


Linking to…

http://www.conniekresin.com/2013/06/linky-tuesday_18.html

My September Roundup


Not many projects were finished in September. But if there had been a contest for pieces made, I probably would have won.

I made….

  • 22 charity pillowcases
  • 126 Hugs and Kisses blocks
  • 12 String blocks
  • 40 String Circles
  • 3 Birthday mug rugs
  • 1 Quilt top quilted

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This was my last finish for the month. A Birthday Mug Rug. When you last saw it, it looked like this.

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I decided to go smaller and ditched the other half-square triangles (HST’s). Just went with the yellow dotted ones for the front. For the back, I used royal blue HST’s and fussy cut a square of balloons. I love how this turned out and probably would have made more but boredom forced me to move on.

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Whew!! Made it!! Met my monthly goal of 20 charity pillowcases. I actually made 22.

Here’s Batch 7.

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My favorites in this batch are the basketball pillowcase and the yellow one. The yellow one is pieced and fabric strips sewn onto muslin. It took FOREVER so I only made one.

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I like seeing them all piled high in a great big stack. Makes me feel like I really worked hard. 😀

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Now I am up to 128 total pillowcases. I am 28 ahead of schedule. (I started in May.)


These are up on my design wall. No clue YET what I will do with them.

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I guess you would call them String Circles. I was just in a “get rid of some of these scraps” mood and made one, then another and another.

And before I knew it, I had been making them for two days. I do think whatever I make, I will separate the darker ones from the rainbow colors and make two different projects. No rush on whatever I will make. They can stay up on my design wall until I need the space for something else.

Cause…

Right now, this has my attention.


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Yep, working on basting it.

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Do you see the purple quilt top I was telling you about? The one I made last year. It will now be the backing for my umbrella quilt. So glad to finally use it for something. It had been folded for so long, I had to press out the wrinkles.

Well, that does it for me. Got to go plan my projects for October. I know I want to make up a couple Halloween things. Maybe a table runner. Also I want to use up more of my HST’s. 16 down. 1000 to go. Plus I want to finish up at least two UFO’s. Lots to do. Lots for you to see. BBL

OHHH… I forgot… do come back in a day or two. I feel a giveaway coming on. 😀

Take care. What Fall projects are you working on?

Hugs and Kisses: The Block That Keeps On Giving


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Finally….

I have settled on the final look for my Hugs and Kisses quilt. The X’s and O’s design. It took awhile and I ended up making 238 blocks. My quilt uses just 168. 14 blocks across and 12 blocks down. That left 70 that I discarded due to various reasons. Print too conflicting, too loud, too pale, too dark, not a perfect blend. Those were mainly the reasons. I think I have a good mix now. I double, triple checked the “tips” to make sure there were no duplicates inside the diamonds.

So… now that I am happy with the arrangement, it is time to take them down one by one and begin sewing the columns and rows together.

There was one thing I hated about making this block. The trimming. No matter how carefully I sewed on the diagonal across the 3″ and 2 1/2″ squares, I still had hangover on the sides that needed trimming.

But there were a couple things I LOVED!! This block is forgiving as well as giving.

The Forgiving. What do all of these cut squares have in common?

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They are flawed. Tips missing or chewed up. One edge shredded. One has a dark blotch. These for a regular quilt would probably be discarded, tossed in the scrap bin. But for this block, since only half of the square is visible, they can still be used.

The Giving. The design of this block automatically creates dog-ears. Lots of them. Four per block. But with sewing an extra seam 1/2″ from the corner-to-corner diagonal seam, a Half-Square Triangle is made when trimmed. Yes, I know. That takes more time to complete each block. Time I have. And more scraps accumulating in the scrap bin I don’t need. So, I took the time to sew the additional seams.

And guess what? This is what I have to show for it.

Almost 1,000 Half-Square Triangles (HST’s). Can you believe this?

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The process is pretty simple. (I posted the link to the instructions on the bottom.)
You can see how I made mine from these photos.

One 5″, two 3″ white and two 2 1/2″ squares. Per block. (Instead of drawing a pencil line down the center to mark where to sew, I pressed a crease on the diagonal fold.)

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First sew corner-to-corner on the pressed diagonal line to add the two white squares. Mark 1/2″ from the sewn line. Now sew on the marked line. Cut in between the two sewn seams. And you get your first Half-Square Triangle. HST will be about 2 1/8″. Press white triangle up. (Don’t do any trimming just yet.) Repeat process to add the 2 1/2″ squares.

This photo is showing all the seams you will sew. You will cut in between the seams.

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The first cut produces a 2 1/8″ HST and the second cut produces a 1 5/8″ HST.

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I have wanted to make a quilt and pillows out of HST’s. Now I can. I will NEVER again cut away the dog-ear ends and toss them in my scrap bin.

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How about you? What do you do with your dog-ear ends?


Go here for the instructions to make your own Hugs and Kisses quilt.

http://www.littlemissshabby.com/2011/11/hugs-kisses-quilt-block-tutorial/

For-Ever-Green: Didn’t Want To Rush Christmas


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I have been wanting to make one of these quilted trees. Ever since I first saw them at About.com. Each with something I liked. But I wanted my points on the sides to look different. So I took what I liked and made my own. (I borrowed these photos from About.com. Links are at the bottom of this post.)

At first, the plan was to make a Quilted Christmas Tree.

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But the more I looked at it. With the red border and the red pom-pom garland… I was SO NOT READY for Christmas.

I decided my tree would be just a tree.

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An Evergreen. To hang on the wall. Or adorn a table top. All year. Without the desire or urgency to pack it away out of sight until the next Christmas season. Year round enjoyment.

Here’s how I made it.

First, I gathered up my green and beige scraps. Sorted through them looking for any scrap 2 1/2″ square or larger. Also flipped through my charm packets and pulled out any I could use. Lastly, I eyeballed my green and beige stash looking for what else I could use.

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After the discards (beiges too dark and greens too busy), I pressed out the wrinkles and started trimming. 3″ for Half-Square Triangles. 2 1/2″ for those not HST’s.

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For the HST’s, I didn’t do the “usual”. Didn’t draw a line down the center of the lighter square. Instead, I folded the 3″ beige squares in half and pressed.

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Then sewed one fourth inch seams on both sides of the creases.

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So easy. So much faster. I saw this tip somewhere on the internet. Can’t remember which site. So glad I found it.

Then came the fun part. Playing with the squares.

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Frequently rearranging, trying for a mix of colors and patterns. Being careful not to have the same pattern adjacent or too close by. My camera was a huge help. Looking at the placement through the lenses caught several would-be goofs.

OK. Moving along. Except for the bottom two rows with the tree trunk, I was ready to begin sewing. After sewing the upper part, I worked on the bottom. The trunk took up four spaces. (I rummaged through my brown scraps and found a fabric that resembled a tree trunk. I was delighted to find it. Left over from my Very First Quilt.)

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Deciding on which borders to use or IF I even wanted a border was an all day task. I auditioned about ten different fabrics. I tried all different border arrangements. Light on top of dark. Dark on top of light. But kept going back to this combination.

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That last fabric, the chevron… I purchased it over a year ago. But it sat and sat waiting for the right project. I love it with this quilt. For the binding.

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The back would be somewhat scrappy. I pieced together three sections of dark green leaves with a small section of avocado polka dots. Had just enough avocado to fit in that space.

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Whew!! OK!! Now, time to baste and quilt.

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Maybe I will make another tree when it gets closer to Christmas time. Have lots of ideas. Yo-yo’s, buttons. Even tiny ornaments.

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And I would REALLY like to make another Evergreen but with purple and lavender instead of beiges. I think that would be pretty. With smaller squares perhaps. OH!! What about a pillow!! So many ideas. Only two hands. 😀

Have you been thinking of Christmas/Holiday crafts?


Go here for more details on the About.com quilted trees.

http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/ig/Wallhanging-Patterns/Christmas-Tree-Wallhanging.htm

http://quilting.about.com/od/picturesofquilts/ig/Christmas-Quilts/Charlene-s-Tree-Quilt.htm

http://quilting.about.com/od/picturesofquilts/ig/Christmas-Quilts/Christmas-Treat-Quilt.htm

Starting The New Year With Black and White and Stripes


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I have decided this will be my first quilted item for 2012. Something old combined with something new. The strips were sewn around June last year. My plan was to make pillow covers. But couldn’t decide on two large, four small or one large/two small.

So, rather than cut into it until I made up my mind, I just enjoyed folding it different ways and taking photos.

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So now it has been rescued from the Round-To-It Pile. And guess what? It won’t be pillow covers after all!! It is going to be a quilt. I “think” I want to make Half Square Triangles. Half stripes. Half black and white. And since I have been accumulating black and white fabric for a year, I should have more than enough to get started.

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And I think I will work in the new color for 2012. Tangerine. (Read all about it below.)

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So… that’s what I am working on. What are you working on? Have you made your first 2012 crafty item yet?


2012 Color of the Year

http://www.burdastyle.com/blog/new-year-new-color-pantones-2012-pick-tangerine-tango

http://www.pantone.com/pages/fcr.aspx?pg=20910&ca=4