Saturday, May 20, 2017

squares in square block templates + tutorial

Thursday and Friday were summer alike here in the city. It was a different kind of May month that I am experiencing. The apartment reached  90 degree (puff!) It was really warm up in our floor. I have been searching a possible small a/c for the workroom, but will wait for another few weeks to decide if I really need it. 

I have been getting the squares in square block aka economy block templates ready and printed out a few pages before making a quick tutorial for you. When you download the file, please make sure to uncheck the scale to fit and make sure it is printing in 100% scale. I've added a 1" test block for checking the correct printing scale. 

For squares in square block, I've used lots characters prints for the center square. Most of these prints were gifted to me during a kindly swap in the past and some of my own (not many). You might not know that I always have hard time to cut into a cute images and feel sorry that I chopped of the look. I keep small stash of character prints and used really little in my projects.

In the template sheet you'll find two squares in square pattern. One is finished at 4" squared and one is finished at 5" squared. You'll need to add 1/4" seam allowances before trimming the finished block. 

Fabric usage for 

4" block: ( seam allowance has included)
(1) 2.5"x2.5" for a center print (with sweet character) 
(2) 2.5"x2.5" for b, c   inner triangles
(2) 3.5"x3.5" for d, e   outer triangles

-Cut 2.5"x2.5" squares in half on the diagonal,make 4
-Cut 3.5"x3.5" squares in half on the diagonal,make 4 

5" block: 
(1) 3"x3"  for a center print (with sweet character) 
(2) 3"x3" for b, c    inner triangles 
(2) 4"x4" for d, e    outer triangles

-Cut 3"x3" squares in half on the diagonal, make 4
-Cut 4"x4" squares in half on the diagonal, make 4 

In this tutorial, I used the 5"x5" template...

Making Center Piece cut: 
There are many methods for getting a nice fussy cut. I preferred to use a small grid ruler and set on top of the image that I plan on using. It is easy for me to see through the image from the ruler and decide if the fussy cut looks good.

Use a water soluble ink pen to mark the square around the image. I used a pair of scissors to cut the image off.

Paper piecing: 
Step 1: Place the center piece in the WRONG side of the paper pattern. Take paper and fabric against a sunny lighted window to see the pattern line and making small adjustments to allow the image centered. Use a fine pin to pin the center piece in place.

Step 2: Align one 2.5"x2.5" inner triangle facing RIGHT side together on top of center print. You can use another pin to held the fabric in place or slowly turn it to the back side. 

STEP 3: Turn the paper to opposite, where the pattern lines were.  Before you sew, check on your stitch length, I recommended set it at 1.8 if your machine has the adjust stitch length setting on that or shorten the stitch length on your machine.

I always put the sewing needle down at the START POINT then sew a short straight line then back- stitch to avoid the later loosing thread issue. When it comes to the END POINT repeat the back-stitch to finish up.

 Now, you can see the triangle is sewn to the paper.

STEP 4: Repeat for the opposite side of inner triangle. I always stop here and give a gentle iron "press". That means sat the iron down for few second, don't move in an up and down motion. Just lightly press. That will give a nice edge to work on.

STEP 5: Now you'll work the left and right side of inner triangles . Align the 2.5"x2.5"  inner triangle facing RIGHT side together with center piece and corners of two top and bottom inner triangles. Repeat STEP 3 to finish up the inner triangles sewing.

Step 6: For paper piecing, remember to flipped the paper away and give a nice 1/4" seam trim when  finish any side of join. It will give a nice clean look.

 Another nice iron "press" .

Step 7: Align 4"x4" outer triangle facing RIGHT side on the joined unit (center piece + inner triangles). Repeat Step 3 to finish Outer triangle sewing.

 Check Point: 
 You'll have an uneven edges when you finished the assembling.

Turn to the pattern line side. You should find small stitches  sewn on the straight lines. Clip away any excess threads.  Trim the patchwork block away from 1/4" seams on the paper. However, I always wait till very end to trim the patchwork blocks, likely before ready for assembling into quilt top.

Nice clean edge Squares in square block aka economy block for any baby quilt, mini quilt, table runner, any cute projects you have in mind!

Now, you can find the free download squares in square foundation pattern as PDF file at {Craftsy} and Dropbox {here}. I worked on Dropbox since I knew many of you don't have a Craftsy account. For Dropbox file, simply click the link then it will direct you to the download page. On the top right side of the screen, you'll find DOWNLOAD. Click on download then it will load to you computer then save the file to your computer.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A mini quilt

The mini quilt is finished a few weeks ago. I really had hard time to decide if I should try to make a cushion, but the more I work on it the decision was really towards to another mini quilt.  This is such a cute little mini quilt!

It is the first fussy cute mini quilt that I've worked on and it is additive! I was very lucky to have friends sent and shared their treasure prints with me to make this mini quilt I've also used some from my own stash.

I love how simple this mini quilt turns out and have used versatile prints to bring out the fussy center prints. The biggest investing in this mini quilt is choosing the fabrics to make the patchwork block. It is something that I am finding it as a serious decision to make it right and gives good contrast in betweens, colors, scale of prints,  and arrangements.  I love using small sashing to bring the patchwork blocks apart, so it is letting each block to be seen individually and able to focus on its own.  As for all the mini quilts, I like to hand quilting them. It added extra texture and loveliness to the small piece of patchwork.

For the binding, it is a old print from mama said sew for Moda. I love love use gingham print for binding. I particularly love using gray/white and black/white. The white is probably more off white, so it wouldn't be extremely white or  bright.

There are three blocks didn't make it into the mini quilt. I still have not decided what to make with them, maybe another mini quilt or this time could be a small cushion or a little coasters? um.. do you finding decision making sometimes is hard!

Each small patchwork block is finished 5"x5" and the center print is cut 2.5"x2.5". I'll be sharing the template soon, but still working on the links to get it ready for you. Stay turn!


p.s. Thank you for "thinking" of me! I am much well and improving! The treatment has started and I am learning different way of of consuming food and getting into new lifestyle. It is such a hard lesson to take. I have been slowly feeling the strength back this week particularly and hopefully after the treatment is done I will be the young me again! ( giggled)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May Day

May is officially arrived! I am in wowing the flowers showcases in my neighborhood. It is just so pretty and gorgeous. I have been enjoying making these court step blocks lately and attempted making one block a day. This quilt has a name, did you know? I named it Corn Field, yellow and green.

Few weeks ago, I  put 12 small blocks into a large patchwork piece, just to see how it looks like, together. It is so satisfy! It didn't take much time to take the paper pieces off from the back at all! I have really gotten better with the time management in making one.  

Of course I had to add few more greens and yellows for Corn Field Quilt, since a few prints that I am using is running short and really like to save a small piece for the future.  

The back look of the patchwork piecing is so "clean" and I like how doesn't have much thread hair coming off now. It seems like a little problem for my other patchwork pieces, big and small. I often taken time with a small scissor to trim the excess thread hair before quilting. So far this quilt is neat and clean {gotta love that}. 

Did you get your Mother's Day cards mail out? I have mailed out mine last week and it should take a good 10 days to get to my mama. I hope ma will love this card that I made her this year and S made one for grandma, too.  It has been fun getting personalized cards made lately and getting things off lists. 

and did you know that I put together the farmer's wife 1930's quilt top {added the borders as well}+(yay}? It is a giant piece and I called it my EPIC quilt! I mean giant quilt=big quilt (biggest quilt I've ever made) and too big for any mattress around here. It will for sure sending to a long arm service to have it professionally done.  It doesn't fit in the floor space around here either, so I can't really take a good photo to share with you {peak over here}. I plan to work on the quilt backing soon and you'd be surprise how it look like. I want to talk more about it when I have it quilted and ready to take photos and you'd know why I called it my epic quilt, stay turn! 

Other side note:

Other than all the good sewing journeys+time, I am doing better! It is no secrete that I have been unwell for sometimes. I didn't think I should say more here, but I like to let you know when I am absent sometimes, I am resting and some of the days are harder and some of the days are better. I have a lot thoughts since met the doctor last time and have gone through some testing and waiting for report now. Please don't feel sorry for me because I don't!  

I just think that here at quarter inch mark should be a positive, energetic, and lots crazy sewing journey to share. It is hard to say days are always perfect and fill with happiness because some of the days actually felt dark, difficult and emotional
{ because i am just not well). I tried my best to keep my spirit up and take every stitch I can when I can fully focus. 

Now, take away your worries from me because that made me worry you! 
I will be alright and that's a promise! 



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Time to harvest

Maybe you have one of this quilt finished or quilt blocks still around. Have you get it completed?  This is my Farmer's Wife 1920's quilt along from August, 2011 then I dropped off making quilt blocks after moved away from N.D. in 2013. You can view the blocks from the Flickr Page {here}.

Last year, I have finally put all the quilt blocks together.  Added the corner stones and sashing then hand-basted the quilt with a good intention of hand-quilting the sampler quilt. After letting this quilt sat for another year after basting. I convinced myself to machine quilt it and finish another work in prograss quilt! It was not an easy decision for me to machine quilt it because I really want a classic/ traditional finish look. This quilt probably was the first quilt that needed so much piecing and cutting job. I remember it was frustration at the time. Sometimes, I cut too many blocks at once and ended up mixed them together and trying to find the right pieces? It was bad idea, but it was fun sewing along with other sewers. That was motivation and encouragement, big time!

Then it is hard to move forward older projects especially when being behind from time to time then time moves on and new projects starts. I have tried to limit start and making large quilts last two years because I knew that I have come to a different sewing phrase and have cutting down fabric purchases and cutting down big commitments; making two quilts a month or sewing 10 hours a day is not happening these days.

I have also tried hard to hand quilt most of quilts when I can because I love the texture of it and the little tiny hand stitches on every little patchwork projects, not just on quilts. It is how I like to present the works and makes who I am, as a sewer, quilter, patchworker, but I have came to realized that I can't hand quilt everything . Maybe only if I stay 10 hours straight and not being interrupt and a large space to set up quilting frame (I'd be happy place).  I have been struggling the idea of hand quilting quilts this year and have been thinking maybe I need to open up to other options.

It was yesterday morning that I took down a few rolled up w.i.p quilts then pick out Farmer's Wife 1920 to work on. I decided on using simple puzzle and loops quilting pattern for the overall look on the quilt.

The batting is used Hobbs Poly-down for hand-quiltin (the original plan) which is a big different from the cotton batting that I used to for machine quilting. I love the Poly-down for hand quilting and it gives lovely texture for the little hand stitches, but for machine quilting it turns out much loose and fluffy which might not for me as I enjoy machine quilt on the cotton batting, much firm.

For the binding, I used the bias tape that I made awhile ago for the binding which is perfect for the finish look. Do you think it is a little over taken 6 years to finish a quilt ? I knew I won't be the first or last person who take years to finish a quilt.  It feels really really really good and a great accomplishment that I have finally harvest this quilt after all the dilemmas that play around;  should I or shouldn't I?  I am ready to put it in the washer this weekend when the weather is warmer.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017


It was wet and gloomy last week expect Wednesday. The sun was out and the weather was nice! I took the train and went in town. It was an unexpected trip and was able to met up with my friends. It was such a treat to see them and catch up! Normally it takes an hour and 45 minutes to get in town, but the train was delayed on many stops. I was feeling in hurry and checked the watch more than I should ( every other second?) and knew that our visit time would be cut short due to the delay. I got off one stop early then walked two avenues over. I went pick up Jean then walk over to big M on 42nd St! I found second floor has lots seating and the wall graphics are super cool to see. We found a corner spot and spend next hour or two visit. Glad it was a sunny day!  The city was so pretty and people were in their spring outfits, too many to see, but not enough time!

Then there was a second trip back to town a few days later and it was a rainy day! I bough the 5th umbrella while my spring coat couldn't held up more raindrops. It is so silly to buy another umbrella, but I did! I realized raindrops add up quick as I walk! By the time, I was waiting at the bus stop to go home. I was soaking wet and deeply hoping the bus could come sooner, but it was delay! I was so bump! Finally the bus came and I sat by the window and rain was dripping from the bus roof. My hair... oh.. it was just kinda terrible to go on the rest of story.

Shoes were wet, socks were completed soaking wet, jeans below my knee is wet, hair was wet.

Over the weekend, I enjoyed time off, snack time,movies time, slept in a little while... I'd say it is not a typical spring for me!

The fresh week has started, the windows are open during the day, FRESH AIR, my friends. Best kinda of Spring, although more noises come into apartment, but hey I will take that fresh air for now!

I got busy again this week, freshly made waffles for breakfast, do you do that? Make a batch and freeze them, put them in toaster in the morning; add raspberry jam +honey+ few fresh fruits. Also some freshly baked extra large cookies! Super chewy and sweet, followed the package directions for it! I'd cut down the sugar by 1/2 C. next time, Yum!

I managed made 12 economy blocks  and still not sure a mini quilt or a cushion. Have also added two court steps blocks and it went much quicker as I have made my mind,  how to play with them. Working on the new illustrations for the upcoming pattern (yay), lots little details to added on. So on.. Spring is here! More sunny days is mostly welcome!!

As I am writing today,  I think the second trip back to town wasn't all that terrible! I got myself a small bundle of daffodils from the market, two butter cookies for snacks and had a delicious rice dish in town.  There is always something to be Thankful!

I plan to make a pouch today and you'll want to check over IG for that later if I can pull the pouch out! scrappy scrappy scrappy. Time to dig into the scrap bins