Sister Susannah

The blocks in the Sister’s Ten Sampler this month are called Susannah.   Now, I cannot imagine having ten sisters, only only had two.  However, having sisters does make me think of the song “Sisters” by Irving Berlin, and that always makes me laugh.   It was made famous by Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas among others.    Here’s a funny tidbit.  Rosemary Clooney, the older sister, is actually 7 years younger than Vera-Ellen who played the younger!

The Susannah block is a windmill style block that uses a diamond in a square, and squares instead of triangles for the blades.

Like last months blocks, Grandmother’s Frame, I used a tool called “Ultimate 3-in-1 COLOR TOOL” by Joen Wolfrom.  It includes two filters or “value finders”, 24 color cards with swatches, and 5 color plans for each color.

Ives color wheel and Ultimate 3-in-1 color tool, by Joen Wolfrom, as seen at

To select colors for the Susannah blocks I used the following method:

  1.  What colors did I not use in the last two blocks?
    – I selected a yellow for block 1, and tangerine for block 2
  2.  For each color I used the color wheel
    – Complimentary colors directly opposite yellow are blue-violet, so I selected a split complementary on the violet side in the Mormor line- Complimentary colors directly opposite of orange are turquoise blue / cyan, so I selected a fabric in that range.
  3. Checked my values with filters.
    I wanted the centers to have a lighter value than my windmill vanes.
    – My background is white, and is the lightest value.
    Note: I selected colors that had more white space in the background for my complimenting colors, and more solid colors for my focus colors.  This worked very well to tie the new blocks to the previous ones created as turquoise and purple were also used in the last two blocks.IMG_8220     IMG_8223By selecting new focus colors for each set of blocks, and trying to use a focus color from a previous block, I think that it will help blend the blocks during final assembly.

SO…  What exactly is Hue or Value for any given fabric or color?
Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color.

Contrast of value in your fabric selection helps separate object in space, while graduation of value might suggest a contour of the same surface.

Hue also has value.  But hue is the term used for the pure spectrum of colors, which appears in the color wheel.  Theoretically, all colors can be mixed from the three basic hues or primary colors. This post by Nick Pettit, “Value Texture & Color”  has some good descriptions.
Did you know there are different definitions of the three primaries?

“Painters Primaries” are the traditional red, blue, yellow colors we learned as children.
However, have you ever paid attention to your ink cartridges on a color printer?

“Printer’s Primaries” are magenta, cyan, and yellow.
But then there is what we see on a computer screen.

“Light Primaries” are red, blue, green.  The best description I have read for the change is the fact that light is mixed in with the colors.

These differences are challenging when doing digital photography.  When I was into photography as a hobby, I calibrated my monitor to the printer profiles so that I could get image prints that were a close match to what I saw on my screen.



This is the first time I have used any “scientific method” for selecting colors?
How am I doing?  

If anyone is interested, I could go into some details on color perception and how some commercial industry defines their specific colors, tints, shades, and tones.    When I worked in the sunglass industry, different manufacturers would create a color that was “unique” for their product.  We used a Spectrophotometer to identify the spectrum, or energy response, of the color under specific illumination and conditions.  If you ever wondered how calculus would be handy in the fashion industry, then you have discovered one.  The method is not just used for lense colors, but for lots of materials, including fabric!  If you like math, look up the CIE Color space on Wikipedia… 

300px-CIE1931xy_blank.svgCIE 1932 Color Space Chromaticity Diagram


Note:  I am not an affiliate for any products or tools I have talked about here.


Curve It Up – Block 11 – Temperance?

Who knew that some history of traditional quilt blocks could be found at the National Park Services website?  Check out this Quilt Discovery Booklet posted there.

The Drunkard’s Path from the Curve it Up pattern is the most traditional design in the book (my opinion).  “A Drunkards Path” consists of 16 blocks.

According to the Quilt Discovery Booklet, the Drunkard’s Path was popular during the temperance movement.  The Temperance Union colors were white for purity and blue for water, the “purist” beverage available.  I also made my block in Blue and White.  However, if you know the source and how water is processed in many municipalities, I would not call it pure…   If you live in the wrong place, you might even be drinking Lead.   Maybe we would all be safer drinking Gin and Tonic!

My favorite thing about this block is the fact that there are NO POINTS TO MATCH.   If you can match rows with nesting seams, then this block is for you.  It is a very forgiving curvy block. Temperance is not required.     Cheers!
If you are interested in the math of a drunkards path, read on. 


A traditional drunkards path uses a smaller radius of curvature, AND the center of the circle or arc is placed at the corner of the block.

The block created with the Quick Curve Ruler uses a flatter arc, or a larger radius of curvature and the radius is placed further away from the corner of the block.  You could create this same effect by creating your own template, but make sure that you have the arc hitting on equal sides of the square.

Here are some example diagrams.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.45.59 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.46.57 PM.png

When you cut traditional Drunkard’s Path blocks, the curve shown above is NOT your cutting line.  The reason for this is that it doesn’t account for your seam allowance.  Since you are stitching a concave piece to a convex piece, if you do not add additional seam allowance, your outside edges would not match.

The beauty of the Curve It Up pattern is that it suggests you start with a larger square than you need, stitch your curve, then trim the block to size. The method is used for all of the blocks in the pattern. I think this could be used for the traditional curved piecing as well, but you would need to increase your original squares of fabric to accommodate trimming to size and would have to be careful to keep curves centered.

If you are a math nerd…
I drew a curve using my Quick Curve Ruler and measured the length of a chord, and the height measured at the midpoint of the arc’s base.  Using those numbers I came up with a rough calculation of my Quick Curve Arc Radius.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.00.10 PM.png

Quick Curve Ruler

Chord Length (W) = 6.5″
Height (H) = .75″

R = (.75/2) + (6.5*6.5)/(8*.75)
R = 7.416″

“To calculate the radius” above is from Math Open Reference Website:



A little sprinkle

There aren’t very many little girls in the family, so it is exciting for my aunt to have a granddaughter on the way.  This is my way to send good wishes for a healthy baby girl.

My mom wanted to give a quilt for the shower, so we got to work.  I found this fabric during a random stop to a local quilt shop, Harper’s Fabric and Quilt Co..  The backing came from a quilt shop near my mom, call Prairie Point Quilt & Fabric Shop.  It is from the Moda, Basic Grey fabric line, Mon Ami.  This is a little funny, since I found out that in french, “Ami” is the masculine version of friend!   Oh well.

I loved the grey raindrop fabric, and picked up a charm pack to create the tumblers in the center.  My mother and I pieced the top together using our own layout.  I like how the tumbler border gave the little quilt a feminine touch.

The quilting is a pattern called “Rain Drops” by Brandon Smythe of Intelligent Quilting.  I used blue variegated thread to give the pattern more depth.

It is a simple quilt, but I think will work well as “A Little Sprinkle” of good wishes for my cousin and his wife.



Chains of Luck

Some projects have a way of blossoming. I started this quilt as a small scrappy lap quilt from some of my grandmothers stash. However, my dad visited while I was working on it and commented that it should be Queen size… Then he brought me a book of celtic knots for “inspiration” and made me a quilt ladder, complete with celtic knots and dragons for my birthday! SO, I made a queen size quilt, complete with quaternary knots, known for their luck! The quilt has double batting, cotton on the bottom, wool on top, to help the knots “pop”.
I’m such a lucky kid to have a great dad! Happy Birthday Dad!



Passing Pinwheels

This September I attended the MSQC fall forum retreat.  There were over 40 ladies and gentlemen in attendance.  We enjoyed socializing and sewing in the beautiful retreat center space and partied at the companies 7th Birthday Bash events.  An extra bonus was the JCPenney’s day festival that coincided with all of the events.

I enjoyed meeting many new people.  Some did demos and most everyone had created special custom favors to share with their new friends.

One of my contributions was a portable design wall for everyone that contained the triangles needed to create traditional pinwheel blocks.  The design wall was inspired by the UFO to GO at the Riley Blake Designs site.  The half square triangles for this block were cut from vintage stash using a Sizzix Bigz die.  Sashing was added as a design element to separate the triangles spinning in opposite directions.


I named the quilt based on a poem that I found online.  It felt fitting for the event and final destination of the quilt.

This quilt will be gifted to a homeless shelter and I am sure it will be cherished. Thanks for everyone’s participation!   It turned out soft and beautiful.

Passing Pinwheels
By: Kenneth Alan O’Shaughnessy 
Colors burning in the bright summer sun
Kaleidoscoping in the breeze
Friends beside me to share in all the fun
There are no other joys like these

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace

Sometimes we have to create our own wind
When the breezes cease to blow
We blow and blow with all the breath God gives
To try to make the pinwheel go

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace

And when the soft breezes blow in the clouds
And the sun hides behind the rain
We pass the pinwheels safe on the porch
Until the fair winds blow again

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace

All we need is the breath of God
A little paper and a stick
A bunch of friends who’ll stay with us
Through the thin and thick

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace


Curve it Up – Block 7 – Log Cabin

UnknownIf you can believe what is on the internet (ever) then you might know that the log cabin quilt dates back further than the pioneer days in the United States.  Supposedly, similar designs were found on an ancient Egyptian mummy and in an English quilt predating 1830!  While that is all fine and good, the design makes me think of the pioneer spirit and workmanship and bravery of those who rebuilt their lives in new territories.

I would like nothing more than to built myself a log cabin home as a retreat (complete with a real floor and AC). I’m afraid I would be left sleeping on top of my sewing tables!

logcabinThis curvy log cabin block starts out the same as a traditional log cabin.  Lore says a red center symbolizes the hearth of the home, and yellow a welcoming light in the window, My pink centers represent something else entirely.  For a long time, I hated the color pink.  Don’t ask me why, I just couldn’t mentally handle it.  One day after college, before I became a mother, I decided it was time to “girl up”  and come to terms with what is now one of my favorite colors, though I lean toward the darker pinks.  My centers are not “just pink”, they are built of peony medallion and navy haystack fabric with a hint of traditional navy.  They represent my “inner girl”  that used to hate pink…

I really liked making this block, and may need to build an entire quilt like it.  The only “trick” to the completion was the tapered 1/4″ curve to finish the curved center.  IMG_7298Start your seam  1 3/4″ down on your curve and taper your seam to the normal 1/4″ seam allowance.  Taper back down on the other side.  It took me a couple of tries to get it right, but mistakes were easily corrected.


Update (11/2016):  I recently received a bunch of inquiries regarding the pattern for this block.  It is part of the Sew Kind of Wonderful, Curve it Up, pattern.  It is not free.  I think a link to my site was listed under free patterns somewhere incorrectly.  I hope this clears up some confusion.


Curve it Up – Block 4 – Four Patch

After a month of stormy weather, broken arm blues, and family “vacation”, I sat down to complete the fourth block in the Curve it Up series.

The four patch block was one of the earliest “block” styles used by quilters.  It enabled them to use small “scraps” of fabric in their designs.  I could see this lending itself to the use of old clothing, especially dresses or shirts that were not being up cycled to other clothing use.  Can you imagine what early generations would think of our tag of “up cycling”.  They would think it is funny how much we simply dispose of!

The curved four patch is certainly not a simple stitching design due to potential stretching of the curves.   Attention to detail for matching your corners is important, as is pressing and squaring the final blocks.

No fear, the pattern designer did leave enough “extra” on the background sashing to allow you to square up the wonky final shape.  (Whew!)

Color Selection:
I selected colors from my previous block, turquoise/blue and purple, to help tie the designs together.  Funny, I must have picked colors for my mood, but even those are beautiful, life can’t always be rainbow!

Fabric Sizes:
The squares in the pattern are 4 1/2″ and the strips are 2 1/2″ wide.  This could be easily adjusted to be “charm pack” and “Jelly Roll” friendly. A whole quilt of this block would have sashing that looks like flower petals or leaves!
IMG_6974 (1) IMG_6976
Step One:  Cut your fabrics.  You will need 8 focus squares, and 8 background fabric squares.  You will also need 16 of the 2 1/2″ wide sashing background fabric.

IMG_6978  There are lot of ways to lay these out.  Pick oneyou like and stitch them together like four regular four patch blocks.

Step 2:  Sew the four patches and trim each edge of the blocks using the curve it up ruler.

IMG_6979IMG_6980 This is a great time to use a spinning rotary mat, the lazy “susan” of quilting.   Several manufacturers sell these, Olfa, Fiskars, Martelli to name a few.  I love them while working with small pieces and when cutting multiple directions. I used it for the initial curve trimming shown here and for squaring my blocks after stitching the sashing.

Step 3: Sew the sashing…

IMG_6983 Your block will not look like this (After trimming it will).

It will probably look like this!  IMG_6984  Breath!  You are fine.

It is important to sew the opposing edges (left/right , top/bottom) to help keep the curve edges stabilized. After each curve is sewn, press the seams open to help reduce the bulk at the points.

Step 4:  Trim each curved four patch with a squaring template. Use your seams to help center and align the block with the ruler.

Step 5:  Make a larger four patch with your new blocks!
Note:  I again used the Terial Arts – Terial Magic to give my blocks better shape hold and to help prevent fraying as I store them for the rest of the year!

Give this one a try!


Curve It Up – Block 1 Churn Dash

I completed the cutting and sewing of the first block of the Curve It Up quilt pattern today.  This was also the very first time that I have tried the “Quick Curve Ruler”.

My color selection didn’t vary much from the pattern (this time), call me chicken!

IMG_6340Step 1:  Choose your fabrics
I plan to incorporate a mixture of solids and prints in my blocks.  I will probably carry over one of the fabrics to each subsequent block to attempt to tie everything together.

Step 2:  Precut your fabrics – What I learned… I precut my fabrics to the sizes suggested.  The sizes are supposed to be a little larger than the final sizes needed for the curved pieces.  However, no extra is given for the more traditional non-curve pieces.




Step 3:  Sew your block per the pattern…
So far, the beauty of the “Quick Curve Ruler”  is that it gives you a slot to follow for cutting the curve AND after you have pieced your curve (and it isn’t perfectly centered) you can use the ruler to correct it by cutting it down!

This ruler doesn’t make it any easier to match the starting point of your curve.  You also still need to be careful during stitching not to tug or stretch the curve.  I found the blue concave piece the most susceptible to the stretching.

Here is what helped me:
1.  To center the blue concave curve piece and the background convex piece, overlay them, and then mark where they intersect.  (I used a pink friXion pen… it will disappear with ironing, and will be within the seam allowance.)IMG_6413

2.  Use a stylus to help feed the two layers under your foot while sewing the curve.  I found that my fingers tended to tug at the fabric more than a fine edge.  I’m trying out “That Purple Thang”, and it seems to do the trick. 🙂

Step 4:  Press and admire…
The finished blocks of this quilt are 16 1/2  x 16 1/2.


Curve It Up – BOM – (Coming Soon!)

This quilt pattern, “Curve it Up” by Sew Kind of Wonderful was gifted to me along with the “Quick Curve Ruler” .  Over the next year, I plan to post information about the quilt construction and use of the curve it up ruler.  Come learn with me!

Here are my plans:

Blog 1 – Curve it Up:  Pick your fabrics!  – Overview of Moda Palette Builder
Blog 2 – Block 1
Blog 3 – Block 2

Let me know if there is anything else you want to see! I’m new to blogging and don’t know what others would like to see yet.