Crabapples – Part 1

So –  remember these blocks?

Crabapple blocks

I was just going to work on them as I did other projects but they turned out to be addictive.  Or maybe they were just the distraction I needed in my life at this moment.  This is one of those non-thinking projects.  Sew one little dark square to one little light square; repeat.  Your mind can wander.  When you wake up at 4am you can sew zombie-like.  Oddly enough, one of the things on my mind keeping me up at night was trees.  One of the houses we are looking at has these weird, overgrown trees smack in front.  Will it be easy to take them down?  Have they damaged the foundation?  Why are they there?  All the things my mind can think!

The next thing I knew, I had over 20 of those block done!  I thought I would have to buy some green to make the setting triangles but I kept finding more green in my stash.  I knew exactly what gold fabric I would use for the cornerstone squares (some fabric I bought online and turned out to be too dark for the project I was working on at the time).  I got excited because I thought I could finish this quilt and not have to buy any fabric!  The problem came when I started cutting out the red sashing strips.  I wanted to use up some red Christmas fabric but then discovered I didn’t have enough.  So then I pulled out some other old red fabric but halfway into cutting it, I discovered I didn’t have enough of it either.  My other option was some very bright red that I also bought online but it was just too bright.  I decided to use both of the old reds.  It’s a true scrap quilt after all.

Crabapple quilt center

The reds don’t look too bad together.

Crabapple quilt center

I cursed a little at first but thought about the quilters in the old days and how they had to use what they had.  Things like this always make me think of the Japanese term Wabi-sabi.  I can’t say I know the whole meaning but essentially it’s finding beauty in imperfection.  Also, there’s beauty in getting rid of some fabric you’ve had for a long time!

Lucky for me, the middle border is a scrap checkerboard that will give me more sewing/thinking time.

checkerboard blocks

Spring Butterflies

I wanted to do a small Spring project and decided maybe some butterfly blocks would be fun.  I looked around the internet and found this one in a couple places.  It’s called Butterfly by Alice Brooks.  I actually got the templates and followed the tutorial on the sewnbyleila.blogspot.  Butterfly 1

It’s challenging with all the curved pieces but it turned out pretty.  It’s supposed to have the antennae embroidered on but I don’t have any thick black thread at the moment.  I actually wanted to use these butterfly blocks for a potholder but this one is 12 inches so it’s a little big for that.

I looked for other patterns and found several on but they cost money.  I decided to make my own using EQ7 and made this one as a paper pieced project.

Butterfly 2

It’s made with little bits of batiks.  Things are a little off but that’s what happens when you have to make your own paper pieced patterns.  It’s 8 inches which would be a good size for a potholder.  I think antennae would look cute embroidered onto this as well.

Barn Quilts

I’ve been on the road again this week looking at real estate.  I’m not sure about finding my dream house but I did find several barn quilts!  The first one I saw was on Hwy 24 eastbound -I think.  I cut through the country to get from Kansas City to Moberly.  We took highway 210 to 10 to highway 24.  I drove 115 miles with no one in front of me or behind me so I was cruising along enjoying the drive and all of a sudden, there was a quilt block painted on a barn over to my left.  It’s somewhere along one of those roads but I just can’t tell you exactly where.  You know how you think – did I just see that?

We came back on I-70 and saw 2 more barn quilts!  Those really come at you fast.  We were heading westbound and saw the first one off to the left at exit 111.  I don’t think you could see it if you were heading eastbound.  The next one was on our right side near exit 106.

I checked the internet for some kind of directory and found this wonderful map and website.

It looks like you could take a whole tour through central Missouri to see all the barn quilts.  I tried hard to find a map or directory for other parts of Missouri but couldn’t find any information about the area I had driven through.  I’m sure there are more barn quilts out there but maybe they’re just not as well documented.  Keep your eyes open for these lovely and unusual roadside decorations.

Cotton Candy Girl Quilt & Extra Blocks

I’ve been hard at work trying to design and make this baby quilt.  I saw a picture of a quilt with this pattern but never could find an actual pattern.  I worked it out on the EQ7 but that thing frustrates me because it gives me the long version of how to make the blocks.  I like shortcuts!  I thought maybe I could make a pink block and a white block and cut them in half & sew them back together but that didn’t work.  Oh, all the trials and errors.  I’m not the smartest cookie in the jar when it comes to math & geometrical stuff but I did finally get things worked out and I like how it turned out.

Cotton Candy Dreams quilt

I made half square triangles for the center and 2 outside corners of each block and added strips of pink and white.  This creates pinwheels where the blocks meet.  I kept it simple with pink & white borders.

Cotton Candy Dreams

Now for the exciting part!  I recently heard that Bonnie Hunter is coming out with a new book this Spring called “More Adventures with Leaders and Enders”.  Good for Bonnie but I was like, “What!  I haven’t even made any quilts from her first leaders & enders book!”  If you’re not a fan of Bonnie Hunter, you might be wondering what this is.  Leaders and enders are those little pieces you feed through before or after you sew your quilt pieces to keep the thread from getting bunched or pulling out of the needle.  Bonnie’s method is to keep a box of scrap pieces cut and by your machine and sew these together as you’re working on other projects and before you know it – you have another quilt!

For the last few years, I’ve been a chain-piecing maniac.  I realized how much less thread is wasted and how much less mess is created when you always have something under the pressure foot.  Not to mention how much time you save by not putting your pressure foot up & down and having to re-thread the machine when the darn thread pulls out.  Sometimes, though, you just run out of things to feed through the machine so an extra project that’s ready to go would be awesome.

I’ve had my eye on the Crabapples quilt from Bonnie’s “Adventures with Leaders and Enders” book for a few years.  According to the instructions, I only need 854 – 1  1/2 inch light squares and 829 -1  1/2 inch dark squares.  (If only I had started cutting out squares when I got the book back in 2011, I might be halfway done by now!)  I tried not to let this deter me and I got to work cutting into my stash.  I spent a couple hours last week cutting little squares.  I went house hunting in Moberly, MO and had a quick stop at Appletree Quilting in Columbia.  Now I have more fabric to cut into little squares.

Anyhoo, long story short, I cut some squares and pieced them while I was working on the baby quilt at the same time.  Super easy and I have 5 blocks done already.  Why have I not been doing this all along?

Crabapple blocks