26 Jan 2016

Starry, starry night ....

Once again, I took some liberties with the construction of this latest block -- all in the plan to make it easier to construct. My theory is, why have more seams when you don't need to?

Star of Luxor quilt block
The Star of Luxor is another block you can construct in a larger size -- a 16" block -- which means, in the end you make fewer blocks and your quilt can go together a little faster.

My version is constructed as an uneven nine patch, featuring half square triangles and flying geese units. The centre star features a square in a square patch, so there is some variety in your patches for this block. And finally, since this block is about stars, I went the easy route in choosing colours to match a night sky.

What others have to say about stars

  • "Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet."
    ~ Jeremy Bentham

  • "For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."
    ~ Vincent van Gogh

  • "A man gazing on the stars is proverbially at the mercy of the puddles in the road."
    ~ Alexander Smith

  • "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."
    ~ Helen Keller

  • "If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years, how man would marvel and stare."
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

'Star of Luxor' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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17 Jan 2016

Are you up for a challenge?

Today I am thinking about those quilters who would like a bit more of a challenge. The Divided Cross quilt block could be the one you are looking for. Now, having said this, actually there is nothing at all difficult in the making of this block, except that there are lots of pieces to sew. But, why not cut your sewing down by making it a 16" block?  (Bigger block, less blocks for a quilt).

Divided Cross quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Divided Cross quilt block
By now, you are familiar with the most commonly used quilt patch (after the square) -- the half square triangle. The next step is using the quarter square triangle -- another frequent patch used in quilt blocks. From there, it is only taking care to use an accurate quarter inch seam allowance and your block will go together without a hitch.

Download the free quilt block pattern.

Now, as an aside, I'm looking outside my window, and I see the beginning of a snowfall, (which is quite common in my area), so I need some "feel good" quotes for the day. (No snow lover here, which begs the question "Why do I live where I do?") <Sigh>

Today's Inspirational Quotes

  • "If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."
    ~ Roald Dahl

  • "With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come."
    ~ William Shakespeare

  • "Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us."
    ~ Earl Nightingale

  • "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
    ~ Winston Churchill

  • "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight."
    ~ Phyllis Diller

'Divided Cross' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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10 Jan 2016


Tonganoxie quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Tonganoxie quilt block
How could I come up with a catchier name for a blog post than Tonganoxie? And ... as it happens there is a quilt block by this name.

Upon further research, I discovered that it is named for a city in Kansas (I think it is obvious now, that geography is not my forté or I would have known this already.)

This seven patch quilt block is an easy one to construct because it contains only squares and rectangles, hence easier sewing. To make the construction even simpler (in my opinion), I have laid out the construction process as an uneven nine patch because I prefer to work with "chunks" rather than sewing in rows. Additionally, this block can be made as a 14" block so that the process of making your quilt is speeded up. A win-win situation.

And speaking of Kansas, did you know ... ?

  • Kansas is known as the Sunflower state.

  • There are 27 Walnut Creeks in the state of Kansas.

  • The "prairie chicken" has its largest population in all of North American in Kansas. You might know a prairie chicken as a wild grouse.

  • The Pizza Hut restaurant chain opened its first store in Wichita.

  • Fire Station No. 4 in Lawrence, originally a stone barn constructed in 1858, was a station site on the Underground Railroad.

  • Wyatt Earp, "Wild Bill" Hickok and "Bat" Masterson were three of the legendary lawmen who ruled frontier towns like Abilene, Dodge City, Ellsworth, Hays, and Wichita.

  • The state name comes from the Kansas Indian word kansa or kanza which means "south wind".

  • A museum in Piqua, Kansas is dedicated to silent film comedian, Buster Keaton, who was a native son.

'Tonganoxie' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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4 Jan 2016

Clay's Choice II

'Clay's Choice II' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Clay's Choice II quilt block
For those new quilters it is sometimes helpful to sew larger blocks and therefore there are less blocks to make to create your quilt. This Clay's Choice II quilt block does have quite a few pieces, but I have taken liberties with the pattern to simplify it. Where there were many identical squares sewn together, I made rectangles instead. Where there were two half square triangle patches sewn together, I used flying geese units. (I can't resist those flying geese patches, and if you are a steady reader of this website, you will know those are my favourites.) By simply taking your time, the block goes together quickly.

Many of you will know of Clay's Choice as a different block. And ... you would be right. However, as is quite common in the quilting world, you might find more than one block with the same name. So, to avoid confusion, I have named this one Clay's Choice II.

If you are at all interested in the history of Clay's Choice, the original block was designed by Nancy Cabot for her daily column in the Chicago Tribune in 1933 under the heading "Henry Clay's Efforts to Maintain Union Inspired Interesting Quilt". However, that was in reference to the original Clay's Choice block. I cannot find any information on today's featured block with the same name, so would be pleased if anyone does know and would like to contact me.

Interesting Quotes from Henry Clay

  • Statistics are no substitute for judgment.

  • Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.

  • Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.

  • Of all human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none is greater than that of competition.

  • There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.

  • Sir, I would rather be right than be President.

'Clay's Choice II' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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