Nearly lost in translation

Despite the quiet around this blog, I have been sewing. And sewing. And sewing. But I feel like I’ve been working on the same three quilts for a very long time. Which I have.

This is the last of three big buggers. Finally finished the top today. This is a wedding gift. I collected a very large pile of fabric first, including 13 yards of the Alexander Henry mustache fabric (most for the backing). I thought I would wing it, patternwise. When it came time to start, I thought better of the winging it approach and went hunting for a pattern. I settled on Emily Cier’s Discontinuity.

And then I decided to make it differently. Emily’s design uses her clever pixel piecing. I decided to translate it to be able to sew with bigger chunks.


First, print the schematic and don’t panic. Next, sew up a couple of sections. Third, ask what the heck am I doing? Fourth, head down, eyes on your own paper, cut, sew, cut, sew, do a little math, get out the seam ripper, work out some partial seams thanks to your “clever” translation, cut, sew, press. Until some time days later, the queen sized top is done, there are threads hatching from every seam that will need to be trimmed. It could really use a good re-pressing.


And now to do the quilting. Straight line. Straight-ish line. Wobbly line. I have a cone of thread ready for the task.

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Blogger’s Block of the Month :: Block 8, April

Welcome to the Mrs. Schmenkmanquilts’ stop on the Blogger’s Block of the Month tour! Thanks to Jackie for including me — much appreciated to have a goal and to be able to play along!

My block is called Triangle Squares. Hmm, creative. Well, that’s what Grandma Dexter called it, and it is block no. 2041 in Barbara Brackman‘s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (ooh, ouch, when did that go out of print?).  Whatever you call it, I like it. It’s easy to make and you’ve got a lot of areas for the variations of your choice. For example, use more than one background fabric. Mine is gold. Use one on the inside of the block and one on the outside. Or make your corners match your center. Use two more contrasting fabrics in the half square triangle blocks — those could definitely add some pop.

Let’s get started!


The finished block size for Triangle Squares is 8″.

For the block background, I used the gold Guinea flower print.
Cut 6 – 2 7/8″ squares.

Cut the squares in half once diagnally.

For the corners, cut four 2 1/2″ squares of purple spot:

For the half-square triangle blocks, cut two 2 7/8″ squares from each of two fabrics.

Cut these squares in half once diagnally:

For the center, cut one 3 1/4″ square.


Be sure you are sewing scant 1/4″ seams. You can either press seams open or to one side. I have used a combination — pressing the half-square triangle units to one side and pressing the final seams open to better distribute bulk.

To piece the block center, surround the 3 1/4″ center square with four half-square triangles of the gold guinea flower:

First sew in one side triangle:

Follow that with the opposite side’s triangle:

Press these triangles out and trim the triangle corners even with the center square if you desire.

Now add the other two side triangles:

Press and trim any little triangle ears. The piece should measure 4 1/2″. It’s important that there be 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the corners of the blue and green center square — you don’t want to lose your corners into the next seam.

Now piece the half-square triangle blocks. First match up triangles with background triangles and sew four of each.

Trim the corners and make sure your half-square triangle blocks measure 2 1/2″.

Now it’s time to assemble your Triangle Squares blocks.

Arrange the block units like so:

Begin assembly by piecing together the half-square triangle blocks on each side.

On the top and bottom, piece the outer corner (purple spot) together with its neighboring half-square triangle block.

Next sew the units in the top, middle and bottom rows together:

Finally, sew the top and bottom rows to the center row. Press well and you are done!

I hope you enjoy the block!

You can see what other quilters are up to in the Bloggers BOM Flickr group.

Here are links to other blocks in this series, completed and ones to come. Don’t miss ‘em.
September – Sherri McConnell – A Quilting Life
October – Vicki Welsh – Field Trips in Fiber
November - Stephanie Dunphy – Loft Creations
December – Pat Sloan – The Voice Of Quilting
January – John Adams – Quilt Dad
February - Amy Smart – Diary of a Quilter
March – Allison Harris – Cluck, Cluck, Sew
April - Amy Lobsiger – Mrs. Schmenkmen Quilts YOU ARE HERE
May - Cathy Underhill – Cabbage Quilts
June – Pam Vieira-McGinnis – Pam Kitty Morning
July – Victoria Findlay Wolfe – Bumble Beans Inc.
August – Amy Ellis – Amy’s Creative Side
September – Sarah Fielke – The Last Piece
October – Jackie Kunkel – Canton Village Quilt Works 

Happy stitching!

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Adventures in vintage

There’s been a slow slog of basement clean-up happening. Most of it has been boring. Today it got a little more exciting when a couple of boxes of vintage fabric were looked into.


I also believe I’ve done away with the much less vintage and much less interesting fabric stash from the early to mid 1990s. Most of it had to go.

The vintage fabrics though got me motivated to dig out (and I do mean dig out) an old friend.

She was on a bookshelf behind the cutting table and, uh, some stuff. This exercise was made more difficult because her box doesn’t have a handle. I nearly didn’t get up.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get her back to her shelf. Not to mention she has a (much) younger sister sitting further over on the same shelf. I’ll just let her be for now. Until my back feels better.

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Long time no see. Thought I would check in before you all thought I’d disappeared altogether. Nope. Still hanging around. Still hanging in.

Sorry it’s been so long. I’ve begun posts in my head many times but found my thoughts kind of trailing off as I haven’t felt much of anything creative and insightful. I’m sure you understand.

There have been good days and bad days. Good weeks and bad. There is much activity. I credit a busy 11 year old with that.

There are still so many things to be grateful for. I feel like I say that to myself pretty regularly. At least I hope I do because we have much to be grateful for under the circumstances of this life change.

But I find myself holding my breath a lot. Waiting for the first big thing to go wrong. Waiting for the car to break down. Waiting for all of the odd sounds in the house to turn into a plumbing disaster. And so on. Knock wood.

We’re just weathering our first sick kid bout. I’m telling you, that kid is a trooper though.

Along the way, I’ve done more sewing recently.

Oh, did I mention this:

We are still getting to know each other. There are some threads and needles (mainstays in the past) that the 820 doesn’t seem to like. Like any relationship, it’s a work in progress and I’m sure we’ll be best buds. Hopefully soon.

But we did work on some zebras together (using a block pattern from Camille Roskelley):

And quilted the Habitat quilt (using one of Scott Hansen’s patterns) that has been basted and waiting probably since July:

So that’s where we are. I feel very out of the loop but am hoping to feel more like jumping back in the creative loop.

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Quilting From Little Things blog tour

Welcome to this Quilting From Little Things blog tour stop! Where to start in talking about lovely Sarah and her latest book? Firstly, thanks, Sarah, for having me as a tour stop!

Isn’t the cover beautiful? The insides are just as delectable — and just look at Madam on the front (I hear she has become a bit of a diva what with her fame, as she should). I will admit to being enamored with every project in Quilting From Little Things. I will admit I have hopes and dreams to make every quilt in the book. I will admit that I started my number 1 Bucket List quilt from the book, Hanging Lanterns, with hopes of having it done by the time of this blog tour.

You may recall The 800:

Here is Sarah’s Hanging Lanterns:

Isn’t it beautiful? Yes, it is.

Here it is in repose:

::sigh:: Who doesn’t love a Dresden? But long strings of Dresden “lanterns?” Just knock me over now.

Well, I won’t exactly admit defeat just delay. Here is my progress:

We are to the applique. It is meditative. I have enjoyed every step of this quilt. I will continue to enjoy until this wonderful design of a wonderful quilt is done.

I will admit that I have been less than inspired to creativity lately, but Sarah’s work always inspires me instantly. As other blog tour stops have described, Sarah’s concept for this book is a small project to give you a taste of a method or technique and a larger project once your appetite has been whetted. I appreciate that every project is interesting and lovely AND the larger project is not just a larger version of the smaller project — the larger project expands on the idea and develops it further. Genius, if you ask me.

I will admit that I may be biased because I adore her, but Quilting From Little Things is my favorite quilting book in my collection — inventive, gorgeous, motivational, inspiring — you know, like Sarah herself.

Next plans are to make Night Garden:

I may begin that while I’m working on the applique for Hanging Lanterns — a little machine work, a little handwork.

There is so much to admire about the book and its author. Please don’t hesitate to treat yourself to a copy if you haven’t already (no, really, what are you waiting for?? it is an excellent value!)

And, look:

Get an extra $5 off Quilting from Little Things! Visit and use promo code QUILTLITTLE to get your exclusive savings. Details: Promotion expires 7/31/12. Sale and bonus offers are for “in stock” items only, while supplies last. Martha Pullen Company reserves the right to correct pricing errors.

GASP! Such a deal!

Thanks for stopping and reading and checking out my Bucket List Hanging Lanterns project! Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour and see what other cleverer people have to say about Sarah’s new book.

28 Nov: Fat Quarterly
28 Nov: Amy Ellis
29 Nov: Thomas Knauer
30 Nov: Camp Follower Bags
30 Nov: Ryan Walsh
01 Dec: Happy Zombie
01 Dec: Moda Lissa
02 Dec: Mrs Schmenkman Quilts
02 Dec: True Up
03 Dec: Pink Chalk Fabrics
03 Dec: Pam Kitty Morning
04 Dec: Sew,Mama,Sew!
04 Dec: Pat Sloan

I’m up for a bit more applique now. As with so many things I do these days, small steps and forward motion. Sarah’s book and the Hanging Lanterns project are, of course, more to me now than just quilting deliciousness — they are respite and focus and a record of progress. And I should really say thanks to Sarah for that!

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Wordless Wednesday :: yellow

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Quilt Uber-Fest :: Block 5

Welcome to the fifth installment of Quilt Uber-Fest, which is the brainchild of the uber-talented and uber-busy Scott Hansen of Blue Nickel Studios. I was thoroughly bedazzled when Scott asked me to participate. I am thoroughly grateful that he has been uber-patient with me and thoroughly grateful to have had a nice tidy deadline to meet. Baby steps. Many thanks, Scott!

Before we get to my block, you can check out Scott’s post about the Quilt Uber-Fest right here and see the line-up of block designers.

Essentially, during Uber-Fest, you can get a free block pattern each day from 16 different designers. Scott asked us to use two design elements to make the blocks cohesive: log cabin construction and half-square triangle blocks. The possibilities were endless. We also used fabrics from Nel Whatmore’s Sleeping Beauty collection from Free Spirit along with a Kaffe Fassett stripe.

I always like a good house block, so my block is called Homes.

Nothing too complex, easy pieces — exactly what I’m up for right now. I hope you enjoy it. You can download a PDF of my Homes block right here.

Be sure to check out the Quilt Uber-Fest Flickr page — already lots of fantastic blocks showing up over there.

Finally, don’t miss October 6 on the Quilt Uber-Fest tour as Ryan Walsh will have a fantastic block to share with you.

Thank you again, Scott! Have fun, everyone!

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