Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lori's Block 7

Mary's block 11

Block 11
What looks like a black bud and blossom on my screen is really a deep red with a blue print.  Reverse applique has never been my favorite and something I need to practice.  'Nuf said.  On to block 12 which to me feels like it was designed by the same person who made the pineapple block.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quick Question

I was just wondering what everyone was using to embroider the stems. Embroidery floss? Pearl cotton? What size? What is the most colorfast?

Mary's blocks 8, 9, and 10

Block 8

Block 9

Block 10

I've been stitching away but I haven't been home much over the holidays so didn't have time to press them after washing until today.  I used several greens for the leaves in block 8 but think I'll stick to one or two leaf prints for the rest of my blocks.   I thought block 9 was kind of folky until I added the bird.  I'm wondering if the original stitcher used the bird to fill in a blank spot.  I really enjoyed the ease of block 10 after the last few.  Also, in block 10, I just used one stem per cherry.  Having two didn't make any sense to me.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to all the BTCT  enthusiasts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Thanks Sharon for the invite! I am so excited!

I have been collecting the patterns for a while now. I have 4 blocks prep not in any order . . .

Debating on one color/fabric leaves for a long time...

Copied the little yellow wrap at the bottom of the pot from Jan...
I am using chain stitch on my embroidery stem...

a little bit of stitching here and there...

Merry Christmas everyone!

My Six is in the Mix

This will be my last post before Christmas so for all the celebrators, Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I've got most of the pieces prepped, I see I'm missing a bud and a few leaves but I have enough to keep me busy over the weekend.
Merry Chrismtas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Finished BTCT

No, this isn't mine, but take a look at what someone in Florida has done with this pattern. Look here for the finished project and here for her block by block.


It's a start

Clear the decks, I'm jumping on board and thanks for having me. My favourite quilts are red and green but I wanted a different look to the others I've made. I originally thought of doing it in solids of light green and red etc but when I saw what Kelly had done with her blocks, I thought that was just what I was looking for. This will be light and cherry I hope but I do need to get more fabric of course.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Where are you from?

Liz emailed and asked where our viewers are from. She wondered what our stats were? Hmmm, did I get a kick out of this. I had no idea you could see where people are viewing your blog from and how many pages they are looking at. Here is the overall stats of our little blog. There were even views from Luxenbourg and Belguim. So hello to everyone around the world who is viewing our posts. Thanks for stopping by and checking us out!

United States



New Zealand

United Kingdom




Czech Republic


Thursday, December 16, 2010

marching to the beat of a different drummer

Always one to be a bit of a rebel, I've decided to go my own way with this quilt.

Because I have aspirations in 2011 to make (or at least start) a "Mary Manakee" style album quilt in red and green, alternative colours were selected for my version of BTCT.  Hence the blue/brown/red colourway with a variety of oyster backgrounds.
Looking through the patterns already published and those to come, I'm not in love with all of the blocks, and so have chosen to deviate from the path and do things a little differently from the original.

Instead of a 25 block quilt mine will have a centre medallion 4x the size of the blocks (ie 34x34"). 12 blocks will surround the medallion, followed by a border.'s a little peek at my centre...obviously there's quite a bit to do, but this eagle has caught my eye!! (from Woodward and Greenstein's Crib Quilts.)
PS. He looks to be swamped, but I've cut the background extra large because I'm still deciding on options.

Welcome Janet

So good to see you comment.  For those in the group, if you aren't familiar with Janet's blog, make a pot of coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy.  Her work is stunning and I will let it speak for itself.  Check it out here
I was supposed to be getting my house ready for company tomorrow after work, instead I started prepping block 6.  Do you think I have a problem?

Opinions Wanted

This is my next block that is just laid out, nothing is set in stone here. I am unsure about the vase. Do you think it is too light? Maybe it should be a darker fabric? I really like this red dot fabric and really want to use it but I am questioning the value of it.
I may or may not change it but thought I would ask. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My #5

I really enjoyed this block.  A little bit of a challenge with the overlays on the flower pot and the ends of the stems,(I'm sure there is a name for this part of the flower?) which I did using the back basting method, and the relaxation of all the leaves and bias stems.  That made for some easy stitching in the last few week.  Now onto #6.  If I can prep it and have it in a take and go place by Christmas eve, I'll be thrilled as I'm going to be away for a couple of days.  It will be my quiet time, while others read or watch tv.
Are you all getting ready for Christmas? I am.

Mary's block 7

Block 7

This block didn't go very quickly - maybe it's the time of year.  I changed a few very minor things on it from the pattern (well, of course I did!).  I think an applique pattern is a nice suggestion and not an absolute rule as is a recipe in baking.  I put the stems in the vase rather than behind it.  Having them behind it just bothered me.  I used pearl cotton for the embroidery even though Gay said the original is not really as shiny and more like crochet thread.  I think it's merely a case of what's available to us and what we like.  I like it much better than the floss I used in the first block and I'm going to redo the embroidery in that one.

I started block 8 and it's even slower than this one.  Yesterday I got one blossom and two leaves stitched on.  I think someone said no one knows if the original was a group project but it certainly seems like one to me.  Block 8 is very different from the others I've done.   

Liz asked me about not cutting out the back under petals.  I try to stitch each petal to just the fabric below it, not all the way through to the foundation.  That way, it doesn't get too thick to stitch.  My degree is in Textiles and Clothing and I think it makes the quilt stronger to not cut - if it's something I'd do (or not) in a garment, I'll do it (or not) in a quilt.  This is kind of like back basting.  Some do it, others don't and not cutting away the foundation is just my preference.   I don't echo quilt and that would be another consideration if you cut away.  Taking out the foundation layer doesn't seem to make that much difference in how thick it looks.  I just didn't want the look of that may layers in one flower.  That's pretty much what made my decision to leave one out.  Sorry - I can sometimes be very long-winded.

My #5 is Alive

But you will have to wait to see pics of it. I'm very busy at work and it really cuts into my home time, and I had a last minute quilt to do for a customer, and company and baking....well. I"m sure you all are in the same boat at this time of year. block is finished. Now to start on #6

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Block # 4, on a roll

After taking ages with Blocks #1 & #2,  I found Blocks  #3& #4 went much faster.

I'm not sure which block I'll be doing next.

Block 15 under way

I have kind of started.  I do back basting applique, and have drawn the design onto my background.  My fabric is Moda 200 thread count muslin, which is just divine!  Love the feel of it.  I have chosen the basket fabric - well I think i have.....

Now, that centre flower, I think I will have to do that seperate.  If I am going to do all the layers, I will need to cut away behind each layer.  Normally I don't worry about one or two layers, but I think that one is about 5 layers.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Block #15

So....what does everyone think of Block #15?  I am thinking it doesn't look too easy especially with Christmas around the corner.  Have fun!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mary's block 6

Block 6

I changed mine a bit.  I didn't like the thickness of the layers in the scalloped flowers and I don't cut away the back so I left a layer off of each one.  I like the bird so I put it in.  I enjoyed working on this block but it seemed to take me longer than I expected.  Maybe the holidays have something to do with that!  

I have my circles and the embroidery done for block 7 but haven't started the applique yet. 

Block 6

I eliminated the bird in this block. I may add it later if I feel like it needs it. When I was stitching it seemed like I had enough contrast between my light colored buds and the background. It doesn't look like it in the photo....Oh well, onto block 7 and a LOT of berries!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

pineapple history

Hi bloggy friends,
I'm enjoying this discussion regarding pineapples, and look forward to sewing the pineapple block, but in the meantime thought I'd share a little history.

Many antique quilts sport pineapples - often appliqued or in the quilting design itself.  Traditionally pineapples mean hospitality.

The pineapple as an almost universal symbol of warmth and hospitality has its origins in Spain (“pina” after the pinecone), where villagers placed the fruit at the entrance to a village to welcome visitors.

This symbolism spread to Europe & North America. It is said that in New England ship’s captains would impale a pineapple on their porch railing to announce their return from a voyage and signal that they were accepting visitors.

In colonial America, hostesses would set a fresh pineapple in the center of their dining table when visitors joined their families.

Visiting was the primary means of entertainment and cultural exchange, so the concept of hospitality was a central element in colonial life.

The pineapple, then, symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests, and then often it also served as the dessert for the meal. If the visitors spent the night, they would be given a bedroom with a bed in which pineapples had been carved on either the bedposts or the headboard -- even if that was the master bedroom.

Creative food display became a competition among the hostesses, because it declared her personality and her family's social status. Hostesses tried to outdo one another in creating memorable dining events. 
Colonial grocers sometimes rented pineapples to hostesses desperate to create a dining experience above their financial means. Later, once that hostess had returned the pineapple, the fruit would be sold to more affluent clients who could afford to actually buy and eat it. Regardless of ones financial ability to actually buy and eat the pineapple, however, visitors to the homes that displayed the pineapple felt particularly honored that the hostess had spared no expense to secure one in their behalf.
How fortunate we are that pineapples are now so afforadable!

Pot of Flowers

My second block is done. I think I am going to leave off the little green part that goes underneath the flowers. I can always put it on later if I want. The flowers are a polka dot fabric that I centered the white dot in the middle.

These are the two blocks together. I noticed in the picture that the background polka dot has a direction to it! I will need to make sure they are all going the same way. I am really enjoying these blocks and the colors are very seasonal!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pineapple or Strawberry?

I enjoyed Block #3.  While I was working on it, I did occasionally question whether these were actually pineapples or strawberries - does anyone else sense strawberries at the base?.  Anyway, I went with the crowd.

Block No 3

  I know they are only meant to be figuaritive pictures but I couldn't help feeling that maybe we have a strawberry.  Of course, I couldn't work out what that smaller bit at the end was meant to be, because no strawberry I've ever eaten has a top to it.  I've never seen a pineapple close up in the ground, but I felt the stem had more strawberry qualities than pineapple.  And perhaps, strawberries are similar in size to cherries and would have fitted in with the cherry tree concept better.  Just musings while I stitch away.  If we had been sitting in a circle sewing, I would have shared these thoughts with you.

I have a few pineapple prints,  having only ever made one pineapple previously!  So it was a bonus to have the opportunity to select four different fabrics.  The only difficulty was frequently losing the fingerling freezer paper.  Tracing it out and cutting it a few times was a frustrating waste of time.  In future, I plan to keep every pattern piece in a clip-lock plastic bag until the block is finished.

Now onto the next block.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Provenance and Protocol but no picture

I'm not sure of the protocol of thanking each person who comments separately since not everyone has a link to email so I'd like to say a very big thank you to each person who took the time to post a comment.  They're all very nice and I appreciate you taking the time to post.

My other question is does anyone know know the provenance of this quilt?  I'm just curious if we know the era or the maker. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mary's Block 5

Block 5

To me, this looked more like a folk art block.  There's something about the shape of the pot and the funky buds that just looked more folk art so I chose to make my stems thicker for block 5. 

I ordered an extension table for my Bernina that I picked up this morning so now I'm going to mark, baste, and attempt to machine quilt the top I made last month so it may be a while before I get to block 6.  Or I may work on it in the evening.  I'll just have to see what mood I'm in.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

making a start

Last Sunday morning was spent preparing my background squares for BTCT. Self discipline lasted long enough to get about 15 cut, squared up and pressed into quarters, before the lure of applique took a hold. After reading some posts about needing to squeeze the pattern onto the background, I elected to cut my squares a little oversized, then they'll be trimmed down later.
This is Block 4 but my first, not interested in doing them in order! I really liked this block and enjoyed the gentle curves of the oak leaves and the fine bias hooks.  Not too time consuming either, one afternoon and two evenings, I can see it feasible to get 1-2 made each month.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bias Stems and Vines

Hi Everyone,
I thought I'd show a couple of pictures that explain my bias strips. My method is pretty simple, I spray starch my fabric quite well prior to cutting the bias strips. After cutting the strips, my go to method is the Clover Bias tape maker. Simple and it keeps my fingers from getting burnt! I slowly pull the tape maker with my left hand and keep the iron nose pressed very close to the tape maker. Slow and steady wins this one. Once the fabric is through the tape maker, I let the iron sit on the bias stem for another minute. Then I leave the bias stem on the ironing board to cool. I will make 3 or 4 pieces before I move the first one.
Then I take a paper towel tube and wrap the bias stems and secure them with applique pins. Now I have lots of stems to use when I need them. I'm using one fabric for all bias stems and wreaths in this project.

Mary's block 4

Block 4

Moving right along. . . .  This block didn't hold my interest all that much and I had trouble focusing on it.  I think it's the repetition of the large shapes.  I like the finished block but it wasn't as interesting to stitch.  Did anyone else have this problem?  

I'm curious about how you all are doing your vines, stems, etc.  I'm making bias strips.  Are you all doing the same or cutting the shapes instead?  Some of those curves are tight!

Block 5 is going to have to fit itself in around Christmas preparations today.  I have to get some things wrapped so I can have my dining room table back.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cherries, cherries, cherries...

My paper pieces finally came in the mail today so I am giving them a try with the cherries that I had gathered a little while back. 

I wasn't sure how I would like the paper templates.  I have never used them before, but they seem to be working well, so I am glad I took the jump.  Hopefully I will have all 130 gathered and pressed this evening.   

Happy quilting. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Another #2

Well, I'm relieved it's over.

This block looked so easy.  In fact, I thought it was rather plain.  After checking my books on older quilts, I found it is a common block and instantly recognizeable.  So I couldn't add any fancy doo-dads.

Just to make it more interesting I decided to piece the leaves, Susan McCord style.  I've always admired the quilt hanging in the Henry Ford Museum.  I can't remember it's name but you probably know the one I'm referring to.  That bit wasn't hard after I discovered it appliqued easier if the seams were pressed open.

Fitting the design in a 17" background proved awkward.  Anyone who is doing this quilt may like to comment on how big they are cutting the background.  The pattern says 17" but for block  #3 I have cut my background 17.5"  Now I am moving right along on #3 and hope it, too, doesn't slow me down.

Mary's block 3

Block 3

I had the camera at a strange angle so the picture looks a bit off.  I really expected to struggle with those 'fingers' at the bottom of the pineapples but they didn't seem all that bad - a nice surprise!  Now on to block 4.  

I'm tearing my background squares so today I'm truing them up and blocking them.  It's amazing how far off grain bolts of fabric are wrapped.  My big shopping trip for Black Friday is to my LQS in a few minutes for more fabric for this quilt.  Wish me luck!

Block 14 all done

I did take another photo - much clearer.  Must be time for a camera service.  WW

I managed to get the block finished at my sewing group today.   Sorry about the clarity of the picture again.  I think someone has been messing with my camera focus!  I will try another camera later on.

My block is made just from scraps out of my basket, and is remarkably like one a few blocks back.  Now, back to my other applique projects for a couple of weeks..  Wendy

On Track with Block #4

I hit my deadline of Thanksgiving day. I actually finished this block at 11:45 pm.
Now I'm off to bed to sleep off my turkey dinner. I hope everyone has a very good Thanksgiving weekend. I'm thankful for many things, but the internet and blogging is simply amazing! I enjoy all the posts from all over the world.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mary's block 2

Block 2

Block 2 is complete and block 3 is prepped.  I can see a stray thread in the picture but it's just a stray.  Block 3 may take me a while.  

I zigzagged the edges of the first block and put it in the washer on gentle.  I had nothing to lose so just went for it and it came out good.  No more halos.  I think I gave it neither enough water nor enough time to discharge the fugitive dye in the red so it just bled onto the closest fabric when I dunked it but all's good now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Block 5

Block 5 completed and I've started block 6. I'm hoping to work on it as I'm visiting with family this week.
Have a wonderful week!

Block 1

Block 1

Thanks for inviting me to join!

Here's my completed block 1.  I can see red halos around the flowers and I'm surprised.  I rinsed it out to remove markings before I pressed it, so that my be the problem.  I've always just waited till the quilt was finished and tossed it in the machine without a problem.  I'll try re-washing it and hope that works.  Otherwise, I'll redo the block.  The rest of my reds are in the washer with Retayne as I type.

Block 2 is about half done.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time to think of Thanksgiving....

and I now have time to do that because #14 Cherry Tree block is done. 

I am going to have to rethink using this fabric in this quilt again though.

I think if I have used it three times in this quilt, then that is it.  I won't be using it again, unless  it starts to really drive me crazy. Then I will be replacing them.   We will see. Only time will tell. 

Something to think about....this block takes us (or those that are this far I should say) over the halfway point.  Still seems like a long time when you think there are still 11 blocks to go though. 

Sure hope December's block is an easy one.  I think I am tired of doing the little hairpin turn flowers.  I want to move onto something different

By the way, I finally ordered the Paper Pieces 1" circle templates.  I am anxiously awaiting them and giving them a try.  I do have 130 of those babies all ready to be gathered on. to plan my dinner. 

Have a great evening. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Much to Learn

Thank you for the invitation to join the group. I haven't started my blocks yet, but this week I coffee dyed some muslin for the background.

Reading everyone's posts before making the blocks is going to really help. This pattern is perfect and I'm looking forward to working on it. A winter project when the snow blowing here in on the plains. Lori in South Dakota

First Block

I have finished my first block and am happy with the results.

This was technically my first block that I started last year. I was not happy with the fabric. It was too thick and just did not lay right so I gave up and put it in the "to do someday" pile. I am much happier now that I have decided to use prints!
I am so glad I found this blog it is spurring me on to work on the blocks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Block 6 question

I have to know what you ladies think of this bird in block 6. I went back and looked at the block photos on this blog and someone (sorry, I can't remember who) did it in red and it looked good in their block, but it looks so out of place to me on the drawing. Have you noticed it? What's your thoughts about it?

I'm trying to get this next one prepped because it is the easiest hand project I have to pick up while company is here next week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Block #4

I got the finishing touches on block #4 this weekend. I've never used a solid so predominately in a quilt, but I'm liking it!! I prepped block 5 and started it while waiting for my car to get serviced yesterday. I'm moving right along with it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Block #3 is done

Block #4 is prepped and ready to stitch down. I'm loving this project, I hope everyone is enjoying these blocks as much as I am.