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Twas the Night Before Christmas – February February 1, 2013

Posted by Pam in KC in Uncategorized.
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tnbcIt’s time for the next block in our quilt-a-long – Twas the Night Before Christmas by Kaaren Johnston of The Painted Quilt.   Did you get your Gingerbread Men stitched out in January?

This month I’ve picked the  pinwheels.  We are making two 4″ (finished) pinwheels.

There are tons of ways to make Half Square Triangle (HST) squares, and you are welcome to make yours anyway you like.  This is how I made mine.

I started with 8 – 3″ squares.  Sure there is a bit of waste, but I’d rather trim to the correct size than fight to get a perfect 2 7/8″ square.  Two light and two dark for each pinwheel.  Since I’m not doing my sampler in all red, I found some Christmas prints in my stash – two with white backgrounds, a red and a green.

01-cut squares

Next, I drew a line, corner-to-corner on the back of the light squares.

02-draw lines

Stitched w/a scant 1/4″ on either side of the line. — That “scant 1/4” is because with the advent of rotary cutters, mats and rulers we can get more precise.




Cut the along the drawn line. Now there are 8 pieces.

06-cut on line

My favorite tool when making HST Squares with this method is the Quilt in a Day 6 1/2″ Triangle Square Up Ruler. (no affiliation)


I line the 2 1/2″ line on the ruler along the stitching line.

08-line up ruler

Then I trim along the edges of the ruler.

09-one trimed

Repeat it for the rest of the triangles.

10-all trimmed

I pressed my seams toward the dark fabric.

11-press open

Then trimmed the dog ears.

12-trim dog ears

Then I laid the HST squares to form two pinwheels.


I flipped the squares on the right over onto the square on the left. I’ll stitch along the seam where the pencil is pointing.

14-flip over

Stitch with a scant 1/4″ seam.

15-stitch 2 hst

Press the seam allowance to the dark fabric.

16-press to dark

Lay the two sections together to prepare for stitching. Here I’m checking to make sure I’ve got the two sections orientated correctly.


Stitch with a scant 1/4″ seam. I didn’t pin because I could feel that the seams were nested together.



I like to pinwheel my seams.  It makes the block lay flatter and when setting blocks together  it allows the seams to lock together.  The first step is to remove the stitching from the edge of the block to the seam.  Since my pieces where chain stitched, I was able to easily “pop” the seam.


Press the seams toward the dark fabric.


Flip the block over and admire your new pinwheels.


This is all that has to be done for February.  Naturally if you want to work faster you are welcome to.    If you are participating in this quilt-a-long, leave a comment and tell us where we can see your progress.


A New Year, A New Quilt January 1, 2013

Posted by Pam in KC in Uncategorized.
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As we start the new year, I’m starting a new quilt- Twas the Night Before Christmas by Kaaren Johnston of The Painted Quilt.  I do hope you’ll join me in this year long venture.

Although this is a small wall hanging (27 x 33) I’ve decided to stretch out the process.  If you are playing along, you are welcome to work at your own pace.  I’ll be doing one block a month with the final top assembly in November.

For January, I’ve picked the Gingerbread Men.  The finished block measures 5 1/2″ tall by 4 1/2″ wide.  It should work up quickly.

Here’s how I prepped my block for quilting:

Step 1 – find the center of the image.  I drew a line vertically through the center of the image and then horizontally, about 1/4″ higher than the center.  I did this because the image is about 3 1/4″ square, but the finished piece is not.


Per the instructions, I cut my fabric 2″ bigger than the finished size.  To determine where to trace the image, I folded the fabric into quarters and finger pressed it.


Now it’s time to trace the design onto the fabric.  Once way is to tape the design onto a window and then tape the fabric over the paper.


Back when I had a tube style computer monitor, I would open up a word processing document so I had a white screen then tape the design and fabric to the monitor. I now have a light box I purchased from Hobby Lobby, so I used it.


Trace your design onto the fabric using your preferred marking tool.  I have a ceramic pencil that I use.


An optional step is to back your fabric with a lightweight fabric to help prevent your threads on the back from showing through to the front.  I have a bolt of light weight muslin that I use for this purpose.  I cut a piece the same size as the fabric I traced the design on.


Then I basted them together.  Since this is a small piece (7 1/2 x 6 1/2″) I just did a simple running stitch around the edges.  For larger pieces I may use my machine and stitch through the center of the fabric.


The last step before you can proceed with stitching is to pick your floss colors.  I’ve decided to use two strands of DMC floss in various colors — primarily because that’s what I have handy.  Kaaren used Aurifil 12 weight Bright Redwork # 2260 thread.


The block is prepped and ready to stitch.


After I started stitching, I decided that instead of using the black thread for the gingerbread faces and buttons, I would use the brown that I used to outline the cookie.  It’s all back stitch except for the knots for eyes and buttons.

I do hope you decide to join me in this venture.

Twas the Night Before Christmas – A Quilt-a-Long December 30, 2012

Posted by Pam in KC in Uncategorized.
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tnbcKaaren Johnston over at The Painted Quilt has graciously allowed me to host a quilt-a-long using her Friday Freebie #32 – Twas the Night Before Christmas.

If you haven’t seen it, please check it out.  It’s so cute.

On the 1st of each month I’ll pick either an embroidered block or a pieced block for us to complete by the end of the month.  On the first of the following month I’ll set up a place for us to link pictures of our finished block(s).

To get started, download and print the pattern from Kaaren’s blog and consider your options for the embroidered blocks.  Will you do them in red like Kaaren has, or will you venture off in a different direction?

Please stop back on January 1st to find out what block I’ve picked for us to do in January.