30 Aug 2015

Wasn't this an old John Wayne movie?

Today's block is called Rio Grande Crossing. (Where do they come up with these names anyway?) But I digress. It is a simple nine patch block, but with lots of half square triangle patches, your only concern in making the block is to be precise in sewing the quarter inch seam allowance. A little too big seam here, or a too small seam there, doesn't seem like a big deal. However, all of these little errors compound as you make more and more seams, and before you know it, your seams do not match within any "fudging" distance. So, if you are sewing with a machine,  the small investment in a special quarter inch seam foot is the best investment you could make.

Rio Grande Crossing quilts © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Rio Grande Crossing quilts

I chose to show you quilt samples this time, rather than the quilt block, because quite frankly, I thought the block was rather boring. These images might show you that, with some simple rotations and some additional colour, you can make a really special quilt.

(And yes, John Wayne and the Rio Grande made a movie together.)

John Wayne image courtesy public domain
The Wisdom (and the humour) of "the Duke"

  • "Life is hard. It's harder if you're stupid."
  • "Get off your horse and drink your milk."
  • "I've loved reading all my life."

  • and for all of those people who love Mondays ...

  • "Don't say it's a fine morning or I'll shoot ya."

'Rio Grande Crossing' quilt images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
John Wayne image courtesy public domain

27 Aug 2015

Anyone for "T" ?

Ts in a Ring quilt block © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Ts in a Ring quilt block
There are many versions of "T" blocks and today we are looking at Ts in a Ring. This quilt block is made entirely of half square triangles, in two different sizes. So, nothing difficult there, but due to the large number of patches, you must pay close attention to achieving an accurate quarter inch seam allowance in order for it to go together smoothly.

I chose to make this block as a "scrappy" version for the dark fabrics, but maintained the same colour. Your block might be made of simply two fabrics or a multitude of fabrics to make a true scrappy version. Just be sure to include definite dark and light values of the fabrics to achieve the correct look.

Download the free quilt block pattern.

And speaking of "tea" ...

Abraham Lincoln had a sense of humour ... or did he?

  • "If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee."
    ~ Abraham Lincoln

'Ts in a Ring' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

24 Aug 2015

Las Vegas: Did You Know ... ?

Road to Vegas quilt block © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Road to Vegas quilt block
Today's featured quilt block is called Road to Vegas and it's a simple block using only squares and half square triangles. On the surface it looks kind of plain, but with interesting colour placement and rotation of the blocks, you can come up with all sorts of creative variations when making your quilt. Some of these ideas are illustrated on the free quilt block pattern.

More "Road" blocks to check out:
~ Road to California
~ Road to Mississippi

Some Fun facts about Las Vegas

  • When Paul Anka first played Vegas he was too young to be allowed in the casino.
  • Bugsy Siegel named his casino the Flamingo, which was his nickname for his showgirl girlfriend who had very long legs.
  • In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital had to suspend workers who were betting on when patients would die. One nurse was even accused of murdering a patient so she would win.
  • Howard Hughes stayed at the Desert Inn for so long that he was asked to leave. So, rather than leave, he bought the hotel for a reported $13 million.
  • The Las Vegas strip is the brightest place on Earth when looked at from outer space.
  • The largest sum won on any Las Vegas slot machine was at the Excalibur. After putting in $100, a 25 year-old software engineer won $39 million, beating the 1 in 16.7 million odds at the time.
  • Las Vegas casinos never use dice with rounded corners.
  • Las Vegas has the highest number of unlisted phone numbers in the United States.
  • Although gambling is the number one industry in Nevada, weddings come in second. The average number of daily weddings in Las Vegas is 315.

'Road to Vegas' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

19 Aug 2015

ZigZag Quilt Block

Zigzag quilt blocks © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
ZigZag quilt blocks
It has been so hot lately where I live, that while looking at the ZigZag quilt block, the style of the block gave somewhat of an Aztec feel to me, so I decided to play around with those colours. Before long I was making all sorts of combinations of these colours. I'm sure you will have your own colour rendition of this quilt block, but here is a picture of a quilt I made, using only two different colours per block, but spreading the colour combinations around.

Now, on the surface, this block might look a little daunting. However, the patches are simple and it is made as a 20" block (and I also gave you instructions if you want a little smaller version as a 15" block). On the plus side,  bigger blocks = less blocks to make for your quilt.

And speaking of the heat ...

Probably the most famous quote about heat is from a former American president.
  • "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
    ~ Harry S. Truman

    and then there are these bits of wisdom and/or humour

  • "Nothing generates more heat in the government than the question of who is chosen to participate in important meetings."
    ~ Richard Holbrooke

  • "Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself."
    ~ William Shakespeare

  • "If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?"
    ~ Steven Wright

Image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

12 Aug 2015

Mr. Shakespeare knows a thing or two about geese

Starlight Geese quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Starlight Geese quilt block
The Starlight Geese quilt block uses my favourite patch - the flying geese unit. These "geese" are flying in the night sky around the star in the centre. The star makes a pinwheel shape, a favourite of many quilters. This quilt block is an easy one, once you get the hang of making flying geese patches -- which is quite a simple task.

Even though I have stayed with the "idea" of the geese flying in starlit sky with my colour choices, you can come up with many variations, just by switching up the colours.

Thoughts about geese

William Shakespeare
  • "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."
    ~ William Shakespeare

  • "The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to get the most feathers with the least hissing."
    ~ Jean Baptist Colbert

  • "If you feel the urge, don't be afraid to go on a wild goose chase. What do you think wild geese are for anyway?"
    ~ Will Rogers

'Starlight Geese' quilt image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Shakespeare image courtesy of public domain 

7 Aug 2015

A Bear by any other name ...

Bear's Paw quilt image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Bear's Paw - a Variation
I have been working on some seven patch quilt blocks lately (I guess I just like the number seven perhaps?) and this week created two new patterns. What is common among quilt blocks is that many go by different names, but are basically the same block. This brings me to today's featured blocks

Tea Rose quilt image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Tea Rose quilt block
See if you can spot the subtle differences between the two blocks. (Okay, I said they were the same, but they are slightly different.)

And this list would not be complete without a link to the original Bear's Paw block -- an easier version. (You're welcome.)

Some Thoughts on Bears and Roses

  • "It would be fitting, I think, if among the last man-made tracks on earth would be found the huge footprints of the great brown bear."
    ~ Earl Fleming

  • "One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today."
    ~ Dale Carnegie

  • "Treaties, you see, are like girls and roses; they last while they last."
    ~ Charles de Gaulle

Quilt block images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com