Patchwork Arrangements

I decided to join the fun over at Sew,Mama,Sew for their Quilting Month. They are doing a sew-along series for the month of April. The first week, you make half-square triangles from charm squares, and then put them in different arrangements. It’s a cool way to teach people about the various blocks you can try with half-square triangles.

I used the charm squares left over in my stash from these mini coin quilts I made last summer. I especially love these fabrics because they remind me of sea glass. I plan to use these fabrics for the entire series, and will likely use these mini quilts for summer placemats. But I can’t seem to decide which layout to do for this first round.

Here is the triangle layout:

Here is the zig-zag layout:

Here is the hourglass layout:

Finally, here’s a diamond layout:

I’m taking a little poll – which one do you like best?

Doll Quilt Sew-Along

One of my favorite toys as a kid was dolls.  Dolls, dolls, dolls!  I was crazy about dolls.  I used to love sewing clothes for them, crocheting granny squares for area rugs in their houses, and sewing bedding too.  I am still crazy about dolls, but it’s more of a nostalgic feeling than an urge to play with them today.

I was drawn to the February doll quilt sew-along at Sew,Mama,Sew to make a doll quilt with Alissa.  I bought these fabrics awhile ago with the idea in mind of making a mini quilt or a doll quilt.  Perfect!

Doll Quilt

(before quilting)

quilted doll quilt(after quilting)

I quilted a frame on the inside of each square and in the border, and then I tried that sketchy stitchy applique method around the flower.   

stitchy flower

I am so excited to report that I finally forced myself to sit still long enough to read the instructions on how to install the free-motion foot onto my sewing machine.  I even read the manual and did a little research on the Internet for tips on stippling.  Does this count as using fabrics in my stash?

Machine quilting practice

I noticed that the tension thread was off because the back isn’t as pretty, so I did more research today on how to tweak that too.  I’m off to practice more!

Friendship Quilts and Sew-Alongs

So far, 2009 feels like the revival of quilt block exchanges and quilt-alongs, which I love participating in. Sew-alongs or piece-alongs are a great way to broaden your horizons by giving you a chance to try something new and make new sewing friends along the way!

Several years ago, I participated in two block exchanges at my local quilting shop. The shop called them friendship quilts, which seemed fitting because you swap quilt blocks with your sewing friends and piece them together into your own version. These were the first exchanges I ever participated in.

In the first quilt block exchange, participants were given instructions to make 48 flag blocks and bring them to the pot-luck exchange party for our Celebrate America 2000 party.

Celebrate America 2000 Quilt Directions

Here is a close-up of another block:

Second block of Flag Quilt

Here is a picture of that friendship quilt I have today, which I cherish for a couple reasons. First, it is one of the first quilts I ever made and second, I made it with my old sewing friends.

Flag Quilt

Here is the backing:

Flag Quilt Backing

(machine quilted by Julie)

The second exchange was a churn-dash block exchange, where participants brought 72 blocks in four variations to exchange. This time, we each signed our blocks, which is a great way to remember who else participated (especially when you get to my age and start to forget some names of old friends). Here is a picture of the pile of quilt blocks that have been tucked in my sewing stash for too many years.

Pile of Churn Dash blocks

Here are close-ups of a few examples:

Churn Dash Instructions and Examples

To be honest, I forgot about them for awhile, until I saw all the block exchange parties going on among sewing bloggers. When I finally remembered these blocks, I was stuck on how to piece them together.  I thought it would be fun to reach out to my sewing friends for feedback on some options:

1-Should I set them straight with sashing framing each block?

2-Should I set them straight with sashing in between each row?

3-Should I set them on-point with an accent block in between?

4-My other dilemma is that some blocks are light tan and some are dark tan; what color sashing should I use?

I’m one of those people who can get paralyzed with indecision when there are too many choices! What do you think?  Thanks, my friends!