Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kansas City Star Block of the Month #1 - Jacobs Ladder

Hey there! Happy Sunday! On Tuesday we had the first meeting of the Ft Leavenworth Quilt Club. We discussed doing a quilt for auction, or opportunity quilt or even making a charity quilt. Like many committees we came to no conclusion and decided to put the decision off until another time. Lets just quilt! So our first block is Jacobs ladder. It is crazy easy and ultra traditional. Jacobs ladder is know by many many names (Stepping stones, Trail of the Covered Wagon, Wagon Tracks, Underground Railroad, Double Hour Glass, The Railroad, Golden Star and Pacific Railroad just to name a few) and dates back to before the revolutionary war. Now that is an old block.

Here it is in our quilt. Just hanging out near the center. It looks a bit different set on point.

The next several images I found on Pinterest (the best website ever- I will also be making monkey bread later...too many delicious images) in no way am I claiming that these are my quilts or my pictures. I just wanted to show you different quilts made with a Jacobs Ladder quilt block.

The one above is great because instead of using 4 patches and half square triangles the quilt maker used 4 patches and star points. She also created a curved illusion by making the white squares into snowballs. I love this and I may try something similar in a quilt for myself.

This one is full of scrappy goodness! Instead of a 4 patch the quilter used a scrappy 9 patch. I think that is just wonderful!

Here is a Jacobs ladder with sashing between the blocks. Neat effect right?

And here is a very simple one.

This is more of the scrappy 9 patch one by Blue Elephant stitches. 

This is a nice modern one by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts. It is a more simple version of the block but it sure works well doesn't it?

And Finally check out the way this quilt maker used a simple Jacob ladder block to create a powerful final border to this taupe quilt. I love it!

So here is a basic graphic of how to construct the block if you like nice graphics.

Cutting instruction for a 12 inch block

cut 4 - 5inch squares (2 dark & 2 from the background)
cut 2-  28 x 2.5 inch strips (one from the medium one from the background)

Place the 5 inch squares together face to face, draw a line diagonally down the center of the square and stitch a quarter inch on each side of the line.

Cut the block in half right along the line and press the seams open.

Sew the 2 strips together with a quarter inch seam, press the seam to the darker half and sub cut the 28 inch piece into 10 2.5 inch pieces.

Butt the seams together and sew them also together with a quarter inch seam.

I learned this nifty little trick with the center of the 4 patch from Tanya. Cool huh? You gently tug the center of the seam and finger press and viola! This flat magic happens. It took me a while to get it.

Now sew your pieces together.

Only 4 of us were able to meet on Tuesday. I am positive it is mostly my fault because I was unable to decipher the majority of the email addresses on the sign up sheet. Please join us next time! Send me an email and I will be able to add it to the roster. My computer will be able to read it better than me. Turns out I am a bit of an idiot when it comes to interpreting handwriting.

And we are on Facebook! You can follow there too.

Next month we will be doing 2 blocks. The Cross and Crown and Maple leaves. They are very similar and will be easy to work at the same time.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quilting quilting quilting!

It feels like it has been ages since I last posted here. Wow...SO much has been happening. I have quilted a bunch of quilts, but they have been flying out of here so fast I didn't take pictures. Bummer right? Well, this one I took pictures of. It is just 2 yards of Shot Cotton, but I quilted the heck out of it. My friend is making pillow shams with it. It is to go with the massive Kaffe Fassett quilt I did for her.

Needless to say I had a blast with it and was really able to work through some thinking while I was quilting.

I used a verigated cotton thread on this piece and it goes great with the different warp and weft of the shot cotton.

I used a bunch of thread on this puppy. If I ever do it again, I will use a different bobbin thread...something thinner than the big fat cotton. I do like the back though. I gave her bunches of options for cutting this piece up. Good thing she lives in town, I can't wait to see her pillow shams in real life.

My daughter turned 12. She had the cutest group of kids over to celebrate with her. The hens were a big hit. Who knew a bunch of 12 years olds would love chickens so much? One little girl told her dad to leave and come back for her later. And she picked out 2 chickens to take with her. She was dead serious, but dad said "No". So funny...the looks of horror upon the faces of the parents as they came to collect their kids and their arms were full of clucking feathers. Funny how a silly bird will fastenate almost anyone. Just sit and watch a chicken. It is like watching a tiny T-Rex.

We also had our first meeting of the Fort Leavenworth Quilt Club. We worked on our Block of the Month Quilt. I will advertise better next month. I also need to get the instructions up on this blog. I am working now at Quilters Quarters in Leavenworth. Just 2 days a week, but those 2 days really are cutting into my sewing time. Ha! It is great research to work at a LQS. Jerry Stubbe runs the shop and she is a fine business woman to learn from. I need that.

We made Jacobs Ladder quilt blocks this first go. Next month will be 2 quilt blocks. Maybe tonight after work I will get the tutorial up? They are super easy.

And my mate and I are getting ready to have a big life change....He is retiring from the Army next month. It is making me crazy. I can't sleep at night sometimes. All I have ever known is the Army. I was raised Army, joined the Army Nurse Corps and then married a Soldier. I love this Camp Follower life. I have faith it will work out, but the stress needs to be quilted away!

OK, I need to go get ready for work. Have a great day! I miss you all...come see me at the quilt shop. I work Wednesdays and Thursdays!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Some new books

If you are a quilter like me you love a quilt book. If you ever come over you are welcome to my wonderful book collection. Well, here are 4 books that I bought recently.

This is the book that we will be using for our Kansas City Star Quilt of the month. It is not a newly published book, but new to me. It is a good book, and you can buy it for a song on Amazon...but be warned!!!!!! It is full of errors. make sure to test out block before you make an entire quilt. The good does out weigh the bad I assure you!

I love how the book features a  "modern" way to make each block.

It features the original block and some history. Thank goodness for the rotary cutter, right? Templates can be tedious to make.

The next book that is not new to publication either but new to me. American Beauties Rose and Tulip quilts is a wonderful book by Gwen Marston. I do love an applique book. This one can be found for super cheap on Amazon and it is well worth it! I don't think anyone can have too many Gwen Marston books.

This book was written when Gwen Marston (my very favorite quilter in the world) and Joe Cunningham were married.

This is a great book to actually read. All Gwen's books are great reads. She has so much wisdom to share and the books are so well written. I love how she and Joe try to set us free from templates and teach us how to make our own. I guess I have always done this since I learned to applique from Gwen, and it really didn't dawn on me that there was another way. But I love it that they have broken it down into "the way they work" steps.

Next up is a new book by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession. Making Quilts. At my first flip through I was kinda turned off by the color pallets of all the quilts, but then I actually READ the introduction and first couple chapters and I love it. Her quilts are color inspired by the Australian Bush! In winter mind you...the colors are different in the summer. I loved her use of the glorious Australian light for her photography. I remember going out early to catch the sun light when it was just so....and returning to the same spot in the evening as the sun was setting to capture the moments when the trees shimmered from the sun setting on them. Nothing in the world like Australian light.

Kathy has some really great patterns. I like that many of the quilts are more challenging than the average quilt book being published these days. I love a challenge (I also love a quick and easy quilt).

I am mad for appliqué lately, so her appliqué quilts really speak to me.

This is definitely a great book to add to your library.

My last book to review is this great one by Lucie Summers. Quilt Improv. I adore this book for quite a few reasons. I love Lucie's voice. Reading her writing is just like talking with her in her Turkey Shed textile studio over a cup of tea. She breezes through explanations and has really simple step by step guide pictures. I love Improve quilting and I was afraid she would take something simple and freeing and make it complicated, but she did not! She made improve quilting appear just as simple as it actually is. She took something simple and made it simple. I love it!

I love her break down and inspiration pages and the book is filled with some fun projects.

I could have sworn there was a perfect page in the book that had all the techniques in one layout...but I can't find it now, so this is a good second favorite page of the book. This is the book that I have been carrying around in my bag and reading at doctor and dentist appointments. If only I could spend the same amount of time sitting in front of my sewing machine!

Anyway, check out some of the books see what you think...are there any books you love lately? I would love to hear about them!

*** By the way this is a totally unsolicited series of book reviews I get nothing at all for doing them and no one sends me free books, I just wanted to share them with you in case you are in the mood for something different.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cross quilt for Julie

Hey there! My middle son is off at a sleepover and the volume of our home is so quiet. Ethan is the most quiet of the lot of children I have so his presence is really missed. Part of me does not like sleepovers at all. I like having my children around me. But I guess it helps them mature.  So since we are in the mind set of low volume, lets look at a fairly low volume quilt.

I just finished quilting this great quilt for Julie. I always love to quilt Julie's quilts. She wanted me to do whatever I wanted to this quilt, but she wanted swirls. I have never met a swirl I didn't like, so swirl I did! I love how the undulation of the background quilting makes the crosses pop out to the fore.

I tired to only use swirls for this quilt, but I did feel it necessary to toss in a couple pebbles just for the heck of it.

Happy quilting folks!