Monday, August 3, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week One


So, I mentioned last week about my hare-brained idea to make this epic sampler quilt before the baby is born, and I've gotten right to work on it. Combined with my Twirl block from last week (download the free tutorial right here!), I'm up to a total of four blocks thus far. Here they are in all their glory!

Four down, 35 to go! #39blocksbeforebaby photo IMG_4465rt_zpsusbtomp4.jpg

Each of these blocks will be 6" finished in the quilt. There are three different block sizes that I'll be making throughout these next many weeks - 6" finished, 12" finished, and 18" finished. There's seventeen 6" blocks, twenty 12" blocks, and two 18"blocks to make.

This week's three new additions are The Claw, the Friendship Octagon, and the Economy block.

The Claw

The Claw Block by Don't Call Me Betsy #39blocksbeforebaby photo IMG_4462rt_zpsu4wyjiad.jpg

The Claw is a fairly traditional block known often as a Capital T block. I paper-pieced mine, although it's absolutely doable without that. When I get down to 6" blocks with this much patchwork going on, I often opt for paper-piecing to insure as much precision as possible. I love the shades of teal going on in this block, and it really solidified my choice of the fab Botanics Leaves print for my primary background print. There will be two other background prints that I'll use in some of the blocks, but the bulk of the blocks will use this print for the background.

The Friendship Octagon

Friendship Octagon Block by Don't Call Me Betsy #39blocksbeforebaby photo IMG_4463rt_zps5jcs0aqx.jpg

The Friendship Octagon block brings in a new shade of teal as well as a new background print. This is such a simple block to put together, just a handful of half-square triangles and a center square, and it's done. It was so simple that I decided to throw in one more block for the week because I had extra time :)

The Economy Block

Economy Block by Don't Call Me Betsy #39blocksbeforebaby photo IMG_4464rt_zpslq3xejb3.jpg

The Economy block is one I've made many times over, for lots of bees, and I've even made a pillow top for my home using the block. I used a deep, dark shade of fuchsia for the outside accent frame, and I just love the addition of this beautiful, rich fuchsia to the blocks so far! I have to say, this photo doesn't exactly do it justice, in spite of my photo editing attempts - today marks the 22nd day in a row of rain where I live, and the lack of sunshine has made photo-taking really difficult! This block is also easily achievable through traditional piecing, but I much prefer paper piecing when dealing with all those bias edges, so I paper pieced this bad boy.

Four down, thirty-five to go! I'm still mulling over the idea of turning this project into a super fun club, so if you're interested, make sure to tell me about it! Have a great Monday everyone :)
Monday, July 27, 2015

Introducing the Twirl tutorial!

Happy Monday to you! First off, thank you all so much for your kind words and congratulations about our baby news last week! It's such an exciting time, and your lovely comments really made me smile. Speaking of smiling, I'm really enjoying trying to get back into a regular schedule of blogging as of late. I missed blogging! Don't get me wrong, I love Instagram and sharing a quick snap here and there, but I miss words. I love words :) So here I am, and hold me to this, but I'm going to try to blog every Monday for the rest of the summer. Surely that will be long enough to build a new habit, right? Here's hoping!

The Twirl Block photo IMG_4431_zpsfwbt7qdu.jpg

So, in the spirit of sharing words with you all, I've written a simple new tutorial to go with a block you mostly recently saw in my Cotton + Steel mini quilt, the Twirl block, used in the border of that mini. The Twirl block is a fun paper pieced block and the tutorial is complete with templates and cutting instructions for a 6" and 12" finished version of the block, so take your pick! You can do a lot of things with this very simple block, here's a few ideas:

Alternative Twirl Blocks photo Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 4.59.59 PM_zpsrjg1qhxy.png

You can download this block tutorial from Craftsy, for free, right here. For those of you who don't use Craftsy, you can download the tutorial PDF directly here.

The best part about putting together this tutorial is that I've managed to bundle it into this new crazy idea that I've had. A 39-block epic sampler quilt with boatloads of patchwork and paper piecing, in different block sizes and loads of color...that I plan to finish before the baby is born. I know, I'm crazy, but I need a big, long-term project to channel my energy into in my "free" time, something that makes me happy, that I can work on bit by bit, and I think this is it. I've designed the quilt using some blocks that I've made in the past, and lots that I've designed and just not had the right project for, and others still that I've just always wanted to make. And my goal is going to be to finish at least two blocks a week from now until the first week of January when the baby comes.

Fabric pull for the 39 Blocks Before Baby quilt photo IMG_4420rt_zpshjtu0rpt.jpg

Based on my calculations, that will definitely yield me at least all the blocks to finish the quilt top before the baby comes. It's entirely possible that the Epic Sampler quilt will become a new block of the month club, if I can manage to sort it all out properly and figure out how to break 39 blocks into a 12 month experience. What say you, blog-land, would you be interested in a new club, one that mixes paper piecing and regular old patchwork piecing?
Monday, July 20, 2015

A new finish for a new little person on the way

I'm pleased to finally have a summer finish to share that's fully quilted and bound and truly finished! The summer seems to be flying by, full of family time, work, trips to the pool, and very little sewing, but this project was a bit of a priority for me - because of the recipient.

 photo Announce5biggeraltAGAIN_zpsgo0jla3w.jpg

We recently found out that our munchkin will no longer be a "lonely child" (as he calls an "only child") - I'm expecting a new baby early in the new year! All three of us are mighty excited, and naturally, I channeled my excitement into making a quilt for the baby. We don't know if it's a boy or girl yet, so I went with a simple bright, rainbow color scheme that will work well for either, and I picked a block that has been on my quilty bucket list for a long time - the X Plus block.

These blocks are SO addictive, and so quick to make! I dug into my scrap bins for the rainbow colors and pulled two of my favorite basics, an old out of print Lakehouse seed catalog print, and a cute tiny black heart print on white by Dear Stella, to mix them up with.

Baby's X Plus Quilt - Close Up photo IMG_1764rt_zpspwnigcq0.jpg

I love the simplicity of the piecing in this quilt, so I kept it super simple with the quilting and binding - just a simple stipple in my trusty white #2024 Aurifil thread and then I bound it using that same sweet heart print that I used throughout the blocks.

Baby's X Plus Quilt - Backing photo IMG_1769rt_zpskdxgxdq4.jpg

I adore the backing I used for this quilt, a new Cloud 9 print by Eloise Renouf called Passing Cloud from her line, First Light. This line is sooooo pretty! Navies and citrons and grays mixed with a pop of pink and a wee bit of teal, in beautifully detailed prints. Just the right amount of mellow softness compared to the bright quilt top!

Baby's X Plus Quilt photo IMG_1758rt_zpsf3o2vrft.jpg

Quilt Stats
name: Baby's X Plus Quilt
size: 36" square
fabrics: a wide assortment from my scrap bins, plus the Hearts print from Dear Stella and an out of print Bakehouse seed catalog print
backing: Passing Cloud by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9
quilting: simple meandering stipple in white (#2024) Aurifil 50 wt thread

This quilt will likely make a great tummy time mat for the new baby when he or she arrives, but I suspect there will be another quilt I'll make for the baby once we find out if it will be a boy or girl. I don't think I'll be able to help myself :)

Stay tuned next week for a new block tutorial, for the Twirl block last seen in my Cotton + Steel mini swap quilt, and have a great Monday!
Monday, July 13, 2015

A little bee action for a good cause

I was super excited to see a good friend start up a little Love Wins quilt bee online recently, and naturally, I jumped at the chance to make a block for the quilt. Our bee is full, but if you feel inspired to start one, gather your troops! Pull together some friends, or reach out via social media, and get your own group started!

I toyed with a couple of much beloved blocks for my Love Wins block, but ultimately, I decided I wanted to start something new. A new star, natch :) And here is what I came up with - the Love Wins Star.

The Love Wins Star by Elizabeth Dackson photo IMG_1747rt_zpsxt25beuh.jpg

This star will be a new pattern of mine before the month is through, and I'm excited at the possibilities with this one. It is intricate, as are most paper-pieced stars, but the pieces come together quite quickly, and the results are pretty awesome.

The 6" Love Wins Star photo IMG_1750rt_zps1fn8esjo.jpg

Stay tuned for a second blog post later this week with an actual quilt finish - imagine that! Have a super Monday, quilty friends :)
Monday, June 29, 2015

Luxurious weekend sewing

Oh my, it felt good to sit down at my sewing machine this weekend! I haven't had much sewing time as of late, with work being so busy and crazy preparing for QuiltCon registration, but this weekend, I finally carved out some sewing time to just sew. For fun. Just because!! It felt so, so nice!

I've been coveting all the fun Trail Tote bags that I've seen popping up on social media as of late, so I decided to make myself one - and one for my mom! I ordered the supplies a week or two ago when I decided I might just want to make one, and I grabbed a few fabrics from my stash on Saturday and hopped right to it.

Two Trail Totes! photo IMG_4355rt_zpsgzfkclhl.jpg

It was nice to see that I can actually follow directions once in a while! Bag making is always a challenge for me but this one came together quite nicely. I skipped over the piping - too many flashbacks to making and installing loads of evil piping on my Weekender! - but did everything else just as directed. Well, except that I apparently ordered circular O rings instead of rectangular ones, but I decided to just for it and keep on trucking anyway. Naturally, the biggest challenge was installing the recessed zipper, and while it's not the most professional looking zipper installation in the world, I can live with it.

X Plus blocks photo IMG_4349_zpsgexwxxom.jpg

I also started a new quilt project, which is so addictive it's entirely possible that I might just finish it this week. I've made a few X Plus blocks for bees, but never one for myself, and wow, they are fun to make! And so fast! I dug into my scrap bins to make these blocks, and am having so much fun with it. Goodness, it feels good to sew again! Happy Monday to you all :)

X Plus Progress! photo IMG_4352rt_zpsljmeprku.jpg
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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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