Hugs and Kisses: The Block That Keeps On Giving

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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.

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 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 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 quilted trees.