Monday, April 28, 2014

Second Part of Delectable Mountains

STEP SIX: Stack the separated blocks on top of each other at your pressing table.  I like to take two together and spritz the seam with a mist before pressing the seam flat.  Then open the block and press the seam toward the dark fabric.  I like to do this on the right side, sliding the side of the iron over the seam from light to dark.

STEP SEVEN:  Take the pressed blocks back to your cutting board and square them up to an exact 8" square.  An 8" Bias Square Ruler is a great help for this step.  I like to put my Quilter's Cut 'n Press on top of my 24" x 36" cutting board.  Using this I can trim the right hand side and the top side of the block, turn the Cut 'n Press 180º and trim the other two sides.

STEP EIGHT:  Take the two matching blocks and lay them directly on top of each other, right sides facing, and LIGHT ON TOP OF DARK.  I like to always put the dark half of the top square on the bottom right.  Starting from the left edge, cut the two blocks into 2" strips.  There will be four sets of 2" strips for each block.

STEP NINE: Pick up each set of strips and separate them, laying the bottom strip right side up in a top row and the top strip right side up in a bottom row.  You will have four strips on top and four strips on bottom.  Now take strip #2 and put it face down on strip #1; take strip #4 and put it face down on strip #3.  Do the same to the bottom row.  In this photo strip #4 is lifted away from strip #3 on the top row to illustrate that they are right sides together.  Pick up strips 1/2 and place them on top of 3/4, then place that pile on top of 1/2 of the bottom row, and place all on top of 3/4 of the bottom row.  You now have two blocks cut into strips and set into sewing order.

Here are eleven sets of strips lined up ready to be sewed into blocks.  Next time I will show the sewing and pressing order for these sets.

NOTE: The rest of this tutorial was finally published on August 18.  Sorry about that delay!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Delectable Mountains Tutorial

 There are several illustrated steps on how to make a Delectable Mountains quilt.  Here are the first five.

FIRST STEP:  Cut an equal amount of
8 3/4" light squares and 8 3/4" dark squares.  For a 42" x 60" quilt you will need 32 light and 32 darks.  The quilt I made this week is totally scrappy.  I hauled out all my boxes of scraps, not yardage, and spread them on the sewing room floor to facilitate finding enough acceptable fabrics for this quilt.

STEP TWO: With a fine point permanent marker, a Frixion pen, or a pencil, draw a line diagonally on the wrong side of each light square.

STEP THREE: Choose which lights and darks will be paired.  Layer them in a stack and take them to the sewing machine.  Carefully line the light on top of the dark, right sides together.  Stitch a scant quarter inch to the left of the drawn diagonal line.

STEP FOUR: Continue stitching a quarter inch to the left of the diagonals, chaining the squares together.

When you reach the end of your stack (I did ten at a time), lift the presser foot and turn the squares, and stitch back in the same manner on the other side of the diagonal line.

Cut the chained squares apart.

STEP FIVE: On your cutting table, cut the squares apart along the diagonal line.  Each pair of light/dark squares has now become two blocks.

It would be possible to chain stitch all of the squares in one session, but I prefer to do about ten at a time, and then do the rest of the steps.  That keeps me up and moving around more often.

Tomorrow I will post the next five illustrated steps.  (Maybe this is enough to keep you busy until then?)

NOTE: The rest of the tutorial was finally posted on August 18.  Sorry about that delay!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Show and Tell Time

 Tuesday evening our quilt club had its final meeting for this season.  We have a
quilt show and invite lots of friends and "future quilters."  We bring the quilted things we made the past year and each member brings some snack goodies to share.  I desperately wanted to finish the huge quilt I've been working on and sewed until 4:30 p.m. to try to finish it.  Here you see that monster having the final borders sewed on.  That's as far as I got!  The borders still need to be quilted, and the binding needs to be applied.  But I was satisfied that it looked much the way it will when those few tasks as completed.

Getting that far gave me "permission" to dive into a new project.  I've been wanting to start making some "Delectable Mountains" blocks, debating whether to stick with a certain colour scheme, or to make it completely scrappy.  Scrappy won the day and that's why all these bins of fabric are spread out on the sewing room floor.

Wednesday morning I chose fabrics and cut out 32 light 8 1/2" blocks and 32 dark 8 1/2" blocks.  Another day I'll picture and explain the steps in making a Delectable Mountains quilt, but for now, here's the result of two days of cutting and sewing:

This will become a lap quilt, measuring 48" by 60".  I won't add borders, as that is already very large for a lap quilt.  The finished quilt will serve as a sample when I teach how to make this block in our next season, both here and in Arizona.

I'm happy with the way it's turning out.  Nice and bright and cheerful.  I'm almost half way through making blocks.  When they are all completed, I will shift them around to find a balance in colours.

In the meantime I've revived D.S. #2's sock project.  I had finished one and was working on the second when I had to stop knitting because of the pain of a "trigger finger."  That has now healed, thanks to an injection and some physiotherapy.

The finished sock is on the left, quite a bit shorter than the second sock.  The yarn came in a single 100 gram hank, so it was a little hard to know when to stop knitting the first sock and begin the second.  Two 50 gram balls actually are easier to manage.  I tried to create that division by weighing the yarn at the beginning, but that didn't work out.

This morning I "unknit" the ribbing on the first sock and will now use up the remaining yarn to "equalize" the length of the two socks.

This is a particularly nice yarn, a Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, 50% Peruvian Wool, 20% Super Fine Alpaca and 30% nylon.  I'm using 2.5 mm needles, so this sock has more stitches than usual, a finer gauge than I usually use for socks.  But it's just lovely yarn, and I think these socks will be a real comfort to wear.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hoping for Spring

I returned from warm, sunny Arizona this past Wednesday, landing at Calgary airport in a snowstorm!  Not unusual weather for April in Alberta.  Statistically, we get most of our snow in March and April.  Fortunately the roads were not snow covered and slippery on the way home, but the landscape was dull and the sky was lowering.  In fact, that weather persisted until this morning.  Now we have sunshine and hopes for some warmer temperatures than yesterday's high of +1ºC.

So Jim is busy preparing for sunny days by replanting the cement urns on the eastern side of the house. This is part of the new cement "apron" we had poured around the east and northeast walls of the house last summer.  He's adding some Amber Jubilee Ninebark to the planters that already held honeysuckle vines.

The third planter is resplendent with a double flowering plum surrounded by red carnations.

Every time I turn around he's planting more spring colour: This is an Alpine Currant surrounded by pansies.

Confession: All these blooming plants and shrubs were in the greenhouse.  This is their brave excursion to the unprotected outside world.  Hope they flourish!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I'm way overdue on writing a post here.  Just enjoying the warmth, the morning walks, the afternoon swims, the occasional jaunt out to do a little shopping with dear Sis, etc. to want to sit down and write a bit for the blog.

Life is good in Arizona.  There are lots of activities to choose from in our gated community, lots of friendly people and the weather just continually cooperates.

On Friday some fellows with a truck are going to help me move a few pieces of furniture from the one bedroom condo to the two bedroom condo.  Our plan is to stay in that larger home next winter and rent out this smaller unit.  It was a good place to stay this past winter, but I find the kitchen too small to cook the way we usually do--everything from scratch.  It will also be very good to have a separate room for the two laptops and the sewing machine, let alone all the projects I like to work on.

Sunday afternoon I went to an "Art is Alive in Surprise" festival in the community park behind the regional library.  What fun to be mingling with many happy people, strolling through the exhibits, viewing the excellent art displays (painting, pottery, jewelry, carving, etc.) and seeing the families having a picnic in the park.

Last week Tuesday I had a "brush" with the health care system here.  I realized I was getting a UTI, so my dear Sis dropped me off at an "urgent care" clinic.  The waiting room was full when we got there at 9 a.m., and I realized it would be a long wait.  Too bad I hadn't thought to take along my library book or my knitting!  At 12:30 I finally saw a doctor and soon was fixed up with a prescription for an antibiotic.

She (the Dr.) asked what pharmacy to email the Rx to, and I chose the Walgreens on Bell, not realizing how far away that was.  Good thing I'm used to walking: it was a 20 minute walk west to the Walgreens.  West is the opposite direction from home.  There was a wait for the prescription to be filled, and fortunately, I found an interesting book right there, a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which I picked up and started reading. (I bought the book on the way out.) After about 40 minutes I asked, and, yes, the prescription was waiting ready in the drawer.  I had thought they would call me when it was ready, as they do in our local pharmacy at home.

By that time it was almost 2 p.m. and I had had nothing to eat or drink since 7 in the morning.  I found a Subway store and had a sandwich and "large" diet coke.  What a monster that was: 40 ounces!  I drank about half and threw the rest away in the ladies' room sink.

Then I headed home.  The temperature was about 92ºF at that time, and I had to walk for 40 minutes along a very busy road.  I was wearing long black slacks, a black short sleeved shirt and a long sleeved fuchsia blouse.  By the time I got home I was completely soaking wet with sweat and popped into the shower to a refreshing clean up.

Oh, and the 10 minute visit with the Dr. and the urine test amounted to $125.  Not cheap entertainment!