The blocks in the photo above are not my Ohio Star blocks for Eventide. I was rummaging around in the dresser in my sewing room and rooted out these leftover "reject" blocks from a blended quilt I made about three years ago. I made tons of blocks for that quilt, and ended up using just the most neutral of them. These more colorful blocks never made it into a quilt. This is the quilt they did not make it into:
But look: they are all the exact same block--Ohio Star. And the same size as the ones in Eventide! See the two blocks, side by side.
Our Eventide quilts require 42 Ohio Star blocks, and in each Ohio Star block, there are four "Hour Glass" units. I have a couple of tips to share with you that might help make your hour glass units turn out nice and sharp.
Each hour glass unit is comprised of three fabrics: two dark squares, one light square, and one "something else" square. Four squares total. The "something else" fabric can be just about anything you choose, it just needs to stand out from the other two fabrics and your center square.
Take your two dark fabrics and lay them right side up. Place your light fabric right side down on top of one of the dark squares. Place the "something else" fabric right side down on the other one.
Draw a line diagonally through the center of each of the two fabric combos.
Stitch on either side of your drawn line. You've done this a million times when making half square triangles.
Cut those squares in half along the drawn line.
Press open, towards the dark fabric. You now have four half square triangles, two with a dark/light combo and two with a dark/"something else" combo.
Combine a dark/light half square triangle with a dark/"something else" half square triangle. Place right sides together. You will have two of these sets.
Draw a line diagonally through the center of each top unit, and place a pin at the place where the seams abut. Wiggle the fabrics together a bit, and you will feel with your fingers just how the seams meet up against each other. Check your pin placement on the back side just to be sure you got it right.
Trust me, this is important. If this seam doesn't line up right, your hour glass unit is going to be "off" and look funny and bother you throughout the rest of time.
Again, sew on either side of your drawn line, then cut apart on the drawn line.
Ta Da! Like magic, you have four perfect little hour glass units. See how the points all come together perfectly sharp at the center? That is what that little pinning step achieves for you. Do not skip it.
Trim off your little dog ears. (I really dislike that term, are those bits ever called anything else?)
Lay out the other components of the Ohio Star block, and get ready to sew them together. You will need the four hour glass units you just made, four light corner squares and a center square. Now we are basically just sewing a simple Nine Patch together. I sew my block together in three horizontal rows, top, middle and bottom.
When I connect my three block rows together, I like to use U shaped pins to keep my seams lined up. Pinning is good. Sew your rows together and your block is done.
Now, just do this 41 more times, and you will be good to go. lol Seriously, it's fun.
I didn't give up! You Dear Readers were so encouraging about having me continue to try to make this block, and gave me all kinds of good advice! I went out and bought a book on making the Winding Ways block, and got some great tips and tricks that had me making nice blocks in no time. The book, Winding Ways Quilts, is written by Nancy Elliott MacDonald and is available on Amazon.com. The author claims her method is practically pinless, and she isn't lying. You hardly pin at all.
When I had my less than successful previous experience trying to make this block, I was using templates designed by Marti Michell. The templates are good, and I continued to use them after I learned a few lessons from Nancy's book. My biggest issue wasn't sewing the curved seams, but attaching one half of the block to the other. At the center point, I found there was too thick a layer of fabrics coming together to get a nice center point.
The narrow template that runs through the center of the block is above. You are supposed to cut a total of four units for each block. With the instructions given with the templates, one is instructed to sew two of the pieces together and make one long piece that connects the two halves of your block. With a bulky seam at the center.
The brilliant idea from the book is that for one of the center pieces, you place the template on the FOLD and cut. You then end up with one long unit with no center seam. Love it. I marked the seam allowance (which you don't want on this piece) with some pink plastic tape, placed the edge of the tape on the fold and cut away. For the other two center units, you do not place the template on the fold, but cut normally, and end up with two units. So, instead of four center units, you have three: two short ones and one long one.
You sew the two shorter center units to connect the shield shaped sections. You end up with two halves just like the one shown above. (My stitches look a little wobbly there. I guess I was nervous!)
Next, you attach the one long center section (that you cut on the fold) to one half of the block. One nice thin piece of fabric, with no nasty seams to get in the way. Pin at the center and sew.
Now you are ready to sew the two halves of the block together, and things will lay nice and flat and smooth. Getting that seam out of my way made such a difference. You do have to be careful about sewing with a scant 1/4" seam allowance though. You can see how little fabric there is at the center of the block, so you want to go slow and easy when you are stitching.
Woo hoo! Flat and smooth on the back.
And flat and smooth on the right side. I am so happy I stuck with this. I am going to have a Winding Ways quilt after all!
And just so you know that no new fabrics were placed at risk in this experiment: I used leftover scraps I had saved from a couple of previous blue and white quilts I had made. A free quilt Friends! Shop at home.
I know a number of you who would like to join in the Eventide Sew Along that Thelma has started up are feeling a bit overwhelmed about your fabric selection. I don't blame you! I have given that subject a great deal of thought myself, and thought I would share some of my ideas with you. This is a super long post today!
This is the original Eventide quilt pictured on the pattern cover. Notice the predominantly light blue hourglass blocks that form a large star pattern, the red side inner borders, and the Ohio Star blocks.
The block is comprised of a dark fabric, which forms the star points, a center square, a light fabric that is the four corner squares and a segment of the quarter square triangles, and the tricky element "something else" that is a segment of the quarter square triangles and frames the center square. Here is a shot of a few more blocks in the original quilt:
If you study the entire original quilt, you can see that the designer (Carrie Nelson) chose not to use any darks as her star centers, and that her "something else" fabrics tend to be floral prints or a pastel tone on tone (blue or pink). Many of the center blocks completely blend in with the "something else" fabric that surrounds it. It is a really nice effect. Her quilt has a strong "light" feel to it. That was her choice and is lovely.
I wanted to give you some suggestions for pulling fabrics together for this quilt. Here are the dark/medium fabrics I selected for my version:
The majority of the fabrics are from a collection by Lecien called Antique Rose. I also added in some scraps that I had left over from a group called Dominique I by Sentimental Studios (from several years ago). They were similar in style, color and scale to the Lecien fabrics. I wanted a lot of variety and had around 15 dark/mediums.
The lights I pulled from my stash, and are predominantly creams. I had scads of them. Lots of variety. I made the decision to keep the center square of each Ohio Star block dark. Here you see my fabrics stacked up for the Ohio Stars. Are you wondering about the "something else?"
To be honest with you, I cut out a heck of a lot of fabrics to be potential "something elses". I had prints, I had pastels and I had tone on tones. Didn't really feel the love. Remember there are no rules here, and you all have the freedom to go in any direction you like as far as your fabric choices.
I decided I wanted to be a bit more structured in my choice of fabrics for this element of each hourglass unit. So, I picked out five tan background floral prints that each have red as the primary color in the floral. My thought was since the inner borders of the quilt are red and cream, emphasizing this red color in each of my Ohio Star blocks might be nice. The tan background also makes a good contrast with the cream which will show up in each hourglass unit and surrounds the center square.
Here are some finished blocks for my quilt:
This one below has that cool "blendy" effect that is so nice.
So how about some additional suggestions? You may even have some of these fabric collections in your stash. Remember, no rules, and you should definitely not fear to add in additional colors that go with your prints.
Park Avenue (3 Sisters for Moda). You have your light blues, which you would use for the large hourglass blocks. You have red, which you would use for the star points, center squares and the inner border units. You have olive, and brown which you would use for the star points and block centers. I would shop for additional fabrics that would add at least one or two more medium/dark colors to the mix. Maybe a deep rose and a rich dark tan. You could use the light tan floral prints for your "something else" fabrics. Use a big variety of creams from your stash for the lights (corner squares and hourglass units).
Antique Fair (Blackbird Designs for Moda). You have your blues for the large hour glass blocks. You have your red for the inner border and star points and centers. You have brown, a lovely sage green, and I would add in some deep pink as well for the medium/darks for the star points and centers. For "something else" I would be all over those cool checked fabrics. That geometrical element surrounding each star center would be outstanding. The light background florals you could use with the blues for the large hourglass blocks. Add in tons of creams from your stash for the lights.
Charlevoix (Minick and Simpson for Moda). Now this could be super fun. You have your light blues for the large hourglass units. Use some of the light background floral prints for those large hourglass units too. You have your red for the inner border, star points and star centers. The yellow, pink, darker blue are wonderful for your medium/darks for the Ohio Star blocks. I would go with whites for my lights in the corner squares and hourglass segments. See this close up of the yellow print?
See that touch of green? I would definitely pick up some additional greens to use with the other medium/darks. And for the "something else"? Well, I would go on a hunt for some polka dot fabrics on white backgrounds. Moda has a line of polka dots that would be perfect.
Now take a look at how these French General fabrics could work as well.
Light blues for the large hourglass blocks. Reds for the inner border, star centers and Ohio Star hourglass units. The dark blues and pinks are nice for the medium/darks, but I wanted more fabrics and colors, so I pulled some dark browns and rich tans from my stash. Here are two ideas for "something else":
You could use the florals for the large hourglass blocks and for "something else". Or, separate the ones with the tan background and just use those for the large hourglass blocks, and use the white backgrounds for "something else" surrounding the center squares. White tone on tones would be nice for the corner squares.
Or what do you think of this for the "something else" to surround the block centers? Plaids! That would add some interest. I'd add in a tan plaid too if I could find one.
Hope these ideas helped you and didn't make things more confusing! Just remember to play with the fabrics and pick up colors from your large medium/dark prints and you can't go wrong. My key advice is to have fun with it. And if you haven't started putting together a stash of creams, white and tans, I recommend you get started!
This quilt is called "Sparkler" and is from Kim Brackett's new book Scrap Basket Sensations. I have it on my To Do list, along with just about every other pattern in her book!
As you know, this week is the Scrap Basket Sensations Blog Tour, with these blogs remaining to post:
Be sure to visit the blogs listed above and leave a comment for a chance to win this great publication from Martingale & Co.
To wrap up my participation in the Blog Tour, I thought it would be fun to ask Kim some questions about her quilting and writing experience. I hope you enjoy my "interview" with her. She makes getting a book published sound as easy as making the quilts in her book! Here goes:
Kim, I'm so excited for you! To have a second amazing book published by Martingale must be a thrill of a lifetime. I know you have been quilting since the late 80's, as many of us have. Tell me what led up to you to thinking you could make 18 quilts and have them published in your first book Scrap Basket Surprises?
Thank you so much, Nicole! The publication of Scrap-Basket Surprises was almost accidental! I had designed dozens of quilts to use up the containers of 2 1/2" strips I had accumulated. Martingale & Company had a link on its website that said, "Submit a book proposal." I clicked the link, and within a few hours, I received a proposal package. I submitted the required information, and a few weeks later, I received a call from the Acquisitions Editor at Martingale & Company who told me they were interested in publishing my book!
I fondly recall working on sewing projects with my mother and grandmother, which instilled a life long fascination with sewing and fabric in me. Who in your life influenced you to love sewing and quilting in particular?
My mom taught me to sew when I was eight or nine years old, and Santa brought me a "real" sewing machine when I was ten. We didn't have quilters in our family, but my mom had been given some old quilts that we used for blankets, and I loved the feel of them even though they weren't the most attractive quilts. Many years later, I saw a collection of antique quilts that I fell in love with, and decided to try making my own.
The instructions in your books are remarkably clear and well illustrated. What goes into that level of clarity and accuracy?
Martingale & Company provides its authors with guidelines to ensure the instructions and illustrations are accurate and easy to understand. After the manuscript is submitted, a Technical Editor is tasked with checking each tiny detail of the pattern instructions (such as piece counts, measurements, etc.), and making sure the text "flows" well.
How did your love affair with 2 1/2" strips develop? Did you start out making scrappy quilts, or did something influence you to go in that direction?
I've always loved scrap quilts, and enjoy using lots of different fabrics. I chose 2 1/2" strips when I decided to cut all of my scraps because there are so many design possibilities.
I know that for your second book, Scrap-Basket Sensations, you enlisted the help of some quilting friends to get the quilts made. Were you nervous about relinquishing total control of the finished quilts? Did you provide the fabrics to them to make the quilts, or were they given carte blanche to come up with their own fabric choices?
When I decided which quilts to include in the book, I shared the drawings with Karen, Mary, and Darlene. They chose the designs they wanted to make, then we discussed fabric choices. I wanted them to like the quilts they made because they own the quilts now. I provided fabrics for most of the quilts, but Darlene made Tool Shed from her scraps, and Karen made Flowers for Nana Girl mostly from her stash.
You mentioned to me that you have never made a bed sized quilt! How do you use the dozens of quilts you have made?
Until I made the quilts for the books, I only had three finished quilts in my house! I always ended up giving away the quilts I made to family and friends. The book quilts are put away out of reach of my three cats who love quilts as much as I do.
Congratulations to Mary on Lake Pulaski! Mary won the copy of Scrap Basket Sensations I was giving away! I know you will love this book Mary. We'll be following your blog to see what you make out of it!
If you didn't win my copy of Scrap Basket Sensations, you still have four more chances to enter on the remaining blogs who are participating in the give away. And if that fails, you can still get a copy on Amazon!
Today is Day 7 on the Scrap Basket Sensations Blog Tour, so be sure you check out Darlene's blog Quilting Daze for her post. Here is the remaining schedule for the Blog Tour:
Today it's Sinta's turn to show what she has been up to with Kim's new book Scrap Basket Sensations. Go check it out on her blog and leave a comment to get another chance to win a copy of this super book!
So, how was your Valentine's Day? This arrived at our house....
The Valentine fairy found her way to me as well.
Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day!
My friend Thelma at Cupcakes 'n' Daisies is organizing a Sew Along to make the gorgeous quilt pattern pictured above. Eventide, a new offering by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company. Thelma, Lisa and I saw the original quilt in person last September when we attended a Carrie Nelson class and trunk show in Illinois. This is a photo Thelma took of the quilt.
Carrie used a fabric collection by 3 Sisters (for Moda) called Luna Notte. I had sort of thought I would recreate this exact quilt, but when it came down to cutting, I switched gears and chose a Lecien group called Antique Rose instead.
Gorgeous fabrics. With the addition of around 25 lights from my stash, I should be able to create the look of the original quilt, but put my own spin on things. I also added in a number of pieces of an old Sentimental Studios collection called Dominque. Amazing how well they went with these Japanese florals from Lecien. I find that not a lot of fabric shops carry Sentimental Studios, who design for Moda. Their fabrics are gorgeous, but I think ordering them on line may be what you have to do if you want them. Or talk to your Local Quilt Shop and suggest they consider carrying them. There is a recent Sentimental Studios collection called Dominique II that is similar to the florals in my photo above. Their Kasmir collections are super pretty too.
Consider joining in the Sew Along if you like the look of the quilt. The great thing about Sew Alongs, in my opinion, is that they help to break things down into focused, organized steps that result in a person actually finishing segments of the pattern instructions in an orderly and timely manner. In other words, there is a deadline and you need to stay on task to get the job done. If you think you would like to join in, contact Thelma and let her know. She will do a big show and tell at the end of March.
The first step was all the cutting. I tackled that on my last day off.
Don't kid yourself. The cutting is easy, but there is a lot of it. Many steps. Best to just get this out of the way and organize your pieces into Zip Lock bags. Then you will be all set to begin the first step of construction, which is to make 42 three and a half inch Hour Glass units for the Ohio Star blocks.
I am so fascinated to see what fabrics other quilters will use to make Eventide. If you look closely at the original quilt that Carrie made, notice that she chose not to use her darks as star centers. Also, the border contains only creams, tans and blues. I am thinking of switching things up and definitely use dark prints as the star centers, and maybe toss in some greens and pinks for the scrappy border.
This is a very complex looking quilt, and it will be amazing to see the final results in March!
PS: Today is Day 5 of the Scrap Baskets Sensations Blog Tour. I recommend that you go visit Millie at Millie's Quilting for her entry and a chance to win a copy of the book!
This blog tour to promote Kim Brackett's new book Scrap Basket Sensations has been such fun so far! To date, we have had Sherri at A Quilting Life , Mary at Quilt Hollow , and Stephanie at Loft Creations post. If you missed their posts, click on the links and check it out. Comment on their blogs and maybe win a copy of the book.
Today it is my turn to talk about the book, and to do a little giveaway! Comment on my post today, and get a chance to win a copy of this wonderful Martingale publication.
The book is full of fabulous patterns, but when I got my copy, there was one pattern that jumped out at me, saying "Make me! Make me!" I posted last week about playing with a gorgeous Bali Pop and promised to show you what my project was soon. Now it is time to unveil it!
Honestly, these fabrics are just so pretty. The Bali Pop collection was, for some reason (certainly not because it was all green) called "Grasshopper". Who comes up with these names anyway? Never the less, the fabrics are all dreamy under the sea colors of aqua, lavender, purple, teal, forest and lighter greens.
The pattern I selected from the book is one called Over and Under. This is a picture of the quilt that was made for the book:
I sat right down at the sewing machine, and I swear, I am not exaggerating, finished ALL the blocks in one afternoon. Since I now am the proud owner of a design wall, I wasted no time in getting the first quadrant laid out. I nearly clapped my hands and danced when this pattern emerged:
Isn't that awesome? Just two different blocks, both super easy to piece and look at the design that they create!
I finished all these blocks in one day. I'm telling you, it is a wonderful pattern. I did have to stop for the day, as my family began to gather at the door of my sewing room, pitifully inquiring as to whether there was going to be any dinner for them that night...
But the next chance I got, I was back to work and finished my quilt in another day. I had some help from the lovely Jean at Back Porch Quilts in Pacific Grove picking out my border fabrics. I was still hung up on the concept of a fabric collection called Grasshopper being green, but she suggested using an inner border of purple, which was just the right choice.
This pattern would be fantastic in just about any fabric collection. Can you imagine it in Bonnie and Camille's Bliss? If any of you make that version, be sure to show me a picture! Or French General's Rural Jardin? Or how about just doing one quadrant and making a table topper in theme fabric for whatever season or holiday it is?
Be sure to leave a comment on my post for today and I will announce the winner of my copy of Scrap Basket Sensations on Wednesday morning!
Here is the remaining schedule for the Blog Tour for Scrap Basket Sensations. Be sure to visit everyone to see the gorgeous quilts made from the book. Remember you have ten chances to win a copy of the book by visiting and commenting on all these blogs.
Millie at Millie's Quilting - February 14th
Sinta at Pink Pincushion - February 15th
Darlene at Quilting Daze - February 16th
Karen at Nana Girl Quilts - February 17th
Sue at Quilt Times - February 18th
Carol at Brown Quilts - February 19th