Friday, March 30, 2012

Bonus STAR for sow-a-long

Everyone seems to love stars, so I've made a bonus block for our sow-a-long, since you probably are just waiting for something else to sow!!

Here are instructions for a very scrappy star:

Lights:       cut (6) 2" squares
                cut (4) 2-1/2 squares (for hsts...can use other methods)
Darks:       cut (2) 2" squares
                cut (4) 2-1/2 squares (for hsts...)

Wednesday is the next installment of our sow-a-long...
Be ready!! Are you having fun? :-)
I sure am!!

Love to you all,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Book - which I needed like you-know-what and bonus block!

Don't ya just love getting new books? I'm such a sucker for a new book. As if I needed any.
But I read about one coming out on Amazon called Civil War Legacies, by Carol Hopkins.  I pre-ordered it and couldn't wait to get right into it once it arrived this week (another advantage of NOT being in Barcelona!).

I love this book.  It has great quilts, photos and instructions.  The blocks are, for the most part, small-ish...4-1/2", which is cute but not within my current plans.

So I resized the block Papa's Birds to 6" and am giving you instructions for that block to add to your sow-a-long pile!  It's kind of a bonus block...

Medium:      cut (2) 2-1/2" squares (my pink)

Medium:     cut (1) 3" squares for hsts, need (2), fin at 2" (pink)
background cut (1) 3" squares for hsts,  fin at 2"

Background cut (2) 3" squares for hsts, need (4), fin at 2"
Dark           cut (2) 3" squares for hsts,  fin at 2" (brown)

Background cut (1) 2-1/2" square

It's almost like a basket. I think it's kind of cute and hope you like it.

Hope you are having a great week.

Bonus block is programmed to post tomorrow morning!! (hint: think STARS)

Love to you all,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And the problem was....

No one died; no one got sick; the passports were all up to date and in our possession;  the flight was not oversold;  Mark was able to get away from work...

We got to the airpot, went to check in and drop off our bags with plenty of time, only to learn that the flights to Germany were cancelled because of a strike in Frankfurt.  We were on our way to Barcelona, via Frankfurt!! There were no seats on any other flights to Europe for two days. So, there went that trip! :-(

FRANKFURT—A widespread strike by services workers in Germany that has already closed kindergartens, halted buses and left trash uncollected expanded to the county's largest airports on Tuesday, disrupting air travel across the country and stranding tens of thousands of passengers.

Another basket quilt

I never realized how popular basket blocks are! So many of you are anxious for me to continue to include baskets in our sow-a-long. I will do that.

In the meantime, I'm going to share a picture of a quilt I made a few years ago which I am donating to a museum's auction in April.  It's very cheery and bright. Actually I had given it to my daughter but when she moved and found herself with less room, she gave it back. So I decided to give it to charity!  Of course, once I looked at it for a while, I almost reconsidered. I love the colors!

Be on the lookout for bonus blocks in a couple of days for our sow-a-long.  And, of course, the next 3 block installment will be on April 4th. Are you all keeping up??

Love to you all,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Well, the best laid plans don't always work out...

So much for me crossing an ocean. I didn't even get to go on a bridge.
We did not go on our trip.
Rather than try to guess where we were going, how about taking a guess on why we did not get on the plane and why I'm home tonight? Let me give a hint: it's not life-threatening!

Love to you all,
Randy, actually happy to be sleeping in my own bed

Going on a little trip - want to enter my contest??

Good morning fellow sowers,
Don't be mad at me but Mark and I are leaving on our spring trip today and I will be gone until April 4th. Don't despair, though!! I've prepared my blocks for while I'm gone and arranged for the posts to be automatically posted.  There will be a bonus block this week; then the 3 blocks for the first Wednesday of April. So you should be kept busy!! And I will have my laptop so I can answer any questions.  

I will be posting clues, however, about my whereabouts!  And there will be a contest to guess where we're going.  Want to play along???  If I've already told you, please don't spill the beans!!! :-)

First clue:
We are crossing water to get to our destination.

Have a great Monday.

Love to you all,

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I have had a number of questions regarding the cutting instructions for the sickle block.  I think the problem is that it is a little bit difficult to see that within the large 4-patch there is a smaller 4-patch.

So, yes, dahlink, the cutting instructions are correct.
You are making a very small 4-patch; then you are making a larger one.

Please take another look at the picture and see if that makes sense.

Oh, and we spent last night at my daughter's and got to spend time with Ryan. Here he is contemplating his dinner...note he has another Elmo placement for his house, too!

Love to you all,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A whole lotta baskets

Anybody love basket blocks?  I mentioned to Janet O (roguequilter) that I had made an entire quilt with different basket blocks, which she promptly wanted to see.

I was lucky enough to have taken a week-long class with Alex Anderson at Asilomar back in 2005 and this was what I made.  None of the baskets are alike and they are all different sizes.  I love it. It hangs in my entryway in Sunriver. In fact, when all the quilters converge, we set up an ironing station right in front of it! vbg

I think I'll be posting more basket blocks for our sow-a-long. Hope that's okay. 
Oh and stars, too. I LOVE stars!!

Love to you all,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Third Wednesday, more blocks to sow~!!!

Hi everyone,
It's the third Wednesday of March and I'm happy to give you 3 more blocks to work on.  None of these are very difficult and remember: they finish at 6"

Cut Glass Dish
Medium:     cut (3) 2-1/2" squares
background:     (1) 2 x 24" strip
dark:               (1) 2 x 24" strip
You will need 24 hsts which finish at 1". Feel free to use the easy angle or other favorite method.

Basket (with all parts!)
Background:  cut (3) 2-1/2" squares
Medium:       cut (3) 2-1/2" squares
You will need 6 hsts, 2" unf, 1-1/2" fin.

Background: cut (2) 2 x 4" rectangles
                  cut (1) 3-7/8" square, cut once on the diagonal (one extra triangle)
                  cut (1) 2-3/8" square, cut once on the diagonal
Dark:          cut (1) 3-7/8" square, cut once on the diagonal (one extra triangle)
                  cut (1) 2-3/8" square, cut once on the diagonal

Medium:     cut (1) 1-1/4" x 12" strip
Light:         cut (1) 1-1/4" x 12" strip
You are making (4) 4-patches, 2" unf, 1-1/2" fin.

Medium/dark:  (4) 2" squares

Dark:          cut (1) 4" square
background: cut (1) 4" square
You are making (2) hsts, 3-1/2" unf, 3" fin.. Feel free to use your own method.

Hope you have fun with these.  I had fun making them and picking out the fabrics, as always. That's my favorite part!

I did get to see Ryan today because my daughter wasn't feeling well so I picked him up to spend the night with Nana and Papa.  Here he is thinking very seriously about his dinner.  Note the Elmo placemat and sippy cup!

Have a great week.
Love to you all,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Not your mother's compass

I'm working on the Just Takes 2 red/white quilt and, once again, the block they've chosen could take forever-- a hand pieced compass! I'm not much of a hand piecer-- I rarely hand sew my bindings down. So I opted for a Dresden plate block instead--- got a chance to try the ruler I'm sending to Missy.
I will hand sew the center though!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bouquets to Arts - feast for the senses!

San Francisco is home to, among other wonderful things, the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.  Once a year they hold a very unusual 4 day exhibit.  They "assign" a piece of art from the museum to a floral designer to replicate/interpret that piece through flowers.  I always find it absolutely amazing to see what these people, who are artists in their own way, create.  I snapped a few pictures I thought you'd enjoy. The colors are spectacular.  The variety of materials they utilized is staggering.

I have tried to include the painting behind the floral display so you can get an idea of what they were "copying":

My favorite was the display of the silver tea set...and what was created:

Here is the original inspiration, the silver tea set.

The interpretation is below: they are cakes and cupcakes out of flowers etc. I think this was my favorite!

Don't they look good enough to eat? And they are entirely made of flowers, leaves etc!

This was in a chair section of the museum.  I thought the pinks were luscious!

The colors of these are amazing.  In the back is a glass "sculpture", which I think looks like a shell with orange inside.  The artist used some kind of elaborate leaves (perhaps spray painted blue) along with some gorgeous orange and yellow flowers.  I don't know if you are able to see the details of the flowers but the variety of flowers is amazing.
I hope you enjoyed these.  I have many more which I may post later this weekend.

I have not forgotten.  The winner of dresden plate ruler is:
Please email me with your snail mail address. Thanks to everyone who "entered".  There's more where that came from, believe me!!! Keep watching.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. It's been raining for 5 days in Northern California and my backyard is a lake! I have those oversized rubber boots which are perfect for this weather. Taking the dogs out is a challenge!

Love to you all,
Randy, Chief Sower

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Great day for sowing!

Good morning, ladies,
I feel terrible about the basket handle having been left off the instructions.  If you look at the book, you will see that the diagram has no handle. I obviously didn't look carefully enough. I think a rick-rack addition would be awesome.

To make up for that (aside from adding a handle or doing Bonnie's paper pieced version), I have put together instructions for 2 more blocks.  They may or may not be fw blocks. I didn't look.  I just picked these out from other books. I'm starting with the easy one!!

Shoo Fly 
Background (4) 2-1/2 squares
                 (2) 3" squares
Dark:         (2) 3" squares
                (1) 2-1/2" square

Place a light and dark 3" square, right sides together, to make half square triangles. You need 4---2-1/2" unfinished. ( or use the easy angle)

Civil War Sewing Circle block

Background  cut (2) 3" squares
                       (1) 1-1/2' x 13" strip
Dark           cut (2) 3" squares
Medium      cut (1) 1-1/2" x 13" strip
Bright         cut (1) 2-1/2" square

Make 4 hsts using the 3" squares (2-1/2" unf);  Strip piece the light and medium into (4) 4 patches, which are 2-1/2" unf. Set as shown below:

Hope you have fun with these blocks, which are really bonus blocks.  I'm not counting them!

It's been pouring rain in Northern California since I returned from Sunriver (where it was snowing).  I'm heading over to San Jose today to make arrangements for my mom's release from the nursing home to an assisted living facility, temporarily. Sounds like she's getting out of jail, doesn't it? I'm hoping she gets her strength back quickly and won't have to stay there very long.

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday. I go get darling grandson tomorrow! YEAH!!

Love to you all,
ps: Remember there's a giveaway on Friday afternoon of the dresden plate ruler, which I never used!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

GIVEAWAY this week

I'm still trying to clean up my sewing room a bit, and I have a little something to give away, if you're interested.

It's the Darlene Zimmerman Dresden Plate ruler and instructions. If you like making Dresden Plates, this is the toy for you!

Please leave a comment with your email address if you're interested. I will draw a winner on Friday afternoon.

And, just in case you're sitting idle and are looking for something to sew, I'm going to post a couple of bonus FW/6" blocks tomorrow. So be looking!!

Love to you all,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just Takes FOREVER

Well, it's the last day of our mini-vacation up in Sunriver. Today we woke to snow!~ It's been kind of sporadic but still in the 30s.  Can't beat the California weather...

I have been productive.  I had wanted to work on the Just Takes 2 latest installment which consists of a 15" feathered star (I am NOT doing the redwork), two sets of flying geese and a relatively easy square in a square.  I had a 15" paper pieced pattern for the feathered star, which nevertheless took me forever! I like how it came out.  And you will notice that my flying geese are different... I use the Quilt in a Day ruler and I screwed up the choice of fabrics but then decided I liked it different. So, that's how it is.

Hope everyone is having a super weekend and sowing away!!! I'm still tempted to post another BONUS block before our next installment...these 6" blocks are addictive!

Love to you all,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bonnie's Bonus Basket Block for Sow-A-Long

Happy Saturday. Mark and I are enjoying our short weekend trip up to Sunriver, where the weather is warm-ish but there is still snow on the ground. Here was the sunset last night from our backyard: Lovely, don't ya think?

I mentioned that I would post a bonus block. Well, guess what? Bonnie took care of that! She used her EQ magic and redid the basket block, which really does look kinda weird without a handle, and made up a paper-pieced basket block with handle.  Check it out at Bonnie's blog.

We are going to work out some kind of linky thing...I may defer to her on that one.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Love to you all,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finding sewing machines in an airport??

TGIF?? For us retirees, a Friday is as good as a Monday. For me, though, this weekend is special. My dh Mark and I decided to go out of town for the weekend, up to our Sunriver retreat. We even flew and got up here in little more than an hour. Sure beats the 9 hour drive.

Anyway, at San Francisco Airport, I was so pleasantly surprised to find a Needlework/Sewing Machine exhibit on display at the United terminal. They had a fabulous array of really old machines and other sewing related items.  I was able to snag a picture of a display of several machines:

When my darling grandson Ryan was staying with us earlier this week, he loved getting up really early because he enjoys hanging out with his papa.  (Did I mention that his pack n play is set up in my CLOSET?  Very cozy)... He was up so early that he couldn't stay awake on our drive up to his baby sitter's.

What is everyone working on this weekend? Did you do your Sow-a-long blocks yet?? I'm going to try to tackle the Feathered Star for the Just Takes 2 quilt. I have a paper pieced version I'm going to use... I'm keeping my fingers crossed - I love that block but OMG...lots of work.

I'm thinking of a bonus block for our Sow-a-Long, so keep watching!!

Love to you all,
Randy, chief Sower!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blocks 7, 8 and 9 of Sow-A-Long

Happy Wednesday fellow bloggers!! And sowers!!! :-)
Is everybody READY??? All caught up??? Let's get sowing!! Remember that all the blocks finish at 6"!!

We are going to be doing a basket, a churn dash and a broken dishes block for this installment.

CHURN DASH (block 7)
Cut background (1) 1-1/2" x 12"
     dark fabric  (1) 1-1/2" x 12"
Cut background (2) 3" square
     dark fabric  (2) 3" square
Cut background (1) 2-1/2" square

Sew the two 1-1/2" x 12" strips together; subcut to (4) 1-1/2 x 2-1/2" units.
Press the 3" squares right sides together; draw a diagonal line and sew on both sides of line. Square up to (4) 2-1/2" half square triangles. There are many other ways to do hsts; I also use the easy angle method, cutting strips at 2-1/2". Choose your favorite method.

Block 8: Broken Dishes:

Cut background strip (1)  2-1/2" x 20"
     dark strip           (1) 2-1/2" x 20"

You will need 16 half square triangles which are 2" unf (1-1/2" fin.).
I am giving you cutting instructions using the diagonal line drawn/sewing on both sides method. This allows for plenty of "fudge" room;

Block 9: Basket

Background: cut (1) 3-1/2" square
                       (2) 2" x 3-1/2" rectangles
                       (3) 2" squares
                       (1) 4-1/4" square, cut on the diagonal one time (save extra)
Dark fabric: cut  (2) 2" x 3-1/2" rectangles
                       (1) 2-1/2" square, cut on the diagonal one time

Examine the parts of the block on the right. You will see how to piece this block.

That's it!! Easy? You're going to have a fabulous quilt! Thanks for joining in!

Oh, and I had my special Nana time today; my daughter's babysitter was sick  so I got to babysit Ryan! We went to the park nearby (also went for a walk, swept the driveway and washed my car). But here he is! Had to share... forgive me...

Hope you are having fun. Next installment of Barrister's Sow-A-Long will be posted on March 21st. Stay tuned!!!

Love to you all,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Divorcing the farmer's wife (reluctantly)

Hello to my dear fellow bloggers,
As you know, for the past month, we have been doing a sow-a-long finding blocks from The Farmer's Wife book. Unfortunately, the author, Laurie Hird, emailed me telling me that she felt that my blog violated her copyright. She insisted that I stop referring to her book and stop posting cutting instructions. She thinks people will stop buying her book because of this sow-a-long. As you know,  I am a lawyer and did my own legal research.  I also consulted with a copyright lawyer.  We do not think our sow-a-long violates her copyright.  However,  this is supposed to be fun. I'm not looking to get involved in a lawsuit.   I have an elderly mother in a nursing home and just do not want to spend the energy to fight.  SO, based on her insistence, we are now going to do something a little different! 

First off, we are still sowing along!  This will be the Barrister's Sow-A-Long (a friend had suggested the Rancher's Husband or Farmer's Ex-Wife!).  I will continue to post cutting instructions and pictures of 6 blocks a month, on the first and third Wednesday of the month. We will still make 72 blocks by year's end, which you can set in any manner you choose. They will be fabulous. Your blocks are already amazing.  I am still going to do a linky-thing or find some way for everyone to share their progress.

Secondly, the blocks can be found in many other sources, not just in her book. They are public domain blocks and have been published for years.  I will give you the name of the blocks, still give cutting instructions, and post pictures,  but will not refer to any pages from her book. However, they will be blocks which can be found in a variety of places.  You can use any of your books to find them.

Third, my good friend, Bonnie Hunter, and I are going to collaborate on this project.  You will be able to find my sow-a-long on both our blogs!

I can't tell you how sorry I am about this.  I was so excited to have so many of you follow my blog for my sow-a-long. I am so flattered~!  I'm terribly disappointed.  And extremely sorry if you feel that I have misled you or somehow let you down. I sincerely hope that you will continue to stay with me and sow along with our group. This was not my fault.  But do not despair... 

SO, that being said, there will be 3 new blocks on Wednesday March 7th.  BE READY!!! No slacking off.  NO excuses.  I know you are all caught up and excited to work on this quilt. I am, too, and am still looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Wednesday March 7th is the day!! See you then!!!
Love to you all,