Baby quilt time!

We’ve been having very indecisive weather this spring.  It can be a beautiful, warm, sunny day one day, and then next day it will be below freezing and we will be dealing with a snowstorm.  The kids have been getting very antsy to play outside a lot more often, so whenever it gets to about 3 or 4 degrees C, they are out there like a dirty shirt, riding their bikes and kicking soccer balls around.  They ride right through the snowdrifts that were leftover from the day before.

baby chain 1

I have been using some of their time occupied outside to sew a little.  A friend of mine just had her second baby, so I made her a quilt.  I don’t make little baby quilts very much, but I’m always surprised at how fast they come together.  I made this entire quilt, from pulling fabrics to finishing the last hand-stitch on the binding, in a day and a half.  That’s like the speed of light for me!  I used the Kentucky Chain pattern that I have as a tutorial on this blog.  I also have a very scrappy version of this quilt in progress; those blocks are about half way done.

baby chain 2

I took all of these pictures around my house on the same day. Welcome to spring in Alberta, with bright green grass in the front yard, but 2 foot snowdrifts in the back yard!

baby chain 3

baby chain 4

baby chain 6

The grass is actually greener than it looks it this shot. This was in the shade.

baby chain 5

And of course, the beautiful ‘quilt in the ash tree’ picture. I love this tree. It was a big factor in my love for my house when we first bought it a few years ago. It really needs a pruning though. You can see the bright green grass better in this shot as well. And a little snow, of course.

Simply Solids Bee Tutorial – Alberta Triangles

Next month it is my turn to be queen bee in the Simply Solids bee that I’m a member of.  It took me awhile to choose the block that I wanted everyone to make.  I saw this block somewhere, but for the life of me I cannot remember where that was.  I searched in my books and online for the name of it, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.  If someone knows what this block is called, can you let me know?  For now it will known as Alberta Triangles, since that’s where I’m from and what it’s made of.  Original, right?

SS Bee May 3

This is what we’ll be making.  Let’s get started!

SS Bee Tut 1

To start with, you will cut:
A: 4 – 2″x5″ rectangles – background
B: 4 – 2″x3.5″ rectangles – background
C: 12 – 2 3/8″ squares – flying geese wings/background
D: 1 – 4 1/4″ square – flying geese base #1
E: 1 – 4 1/4″ square – flying geese base #2
F: 1 – 4 1/4″ square – flying geese base #3
H: 2 – 4″ square – HST
J: 2 – 4″ square – HST
I: 1 – 3 1/2″ square – centre

There is no G. I do not know my alphabet.

Ss Bee Tut 2
SS Bee Tut 3

Draw a line through the 12 C squares and both H and J squares. I typically use a hera marker for this (see the left side of the photo) but you could use any marking tool you prefer. I marked some with a pencil so that you could see the line better.

SS Bee Tut 4

For the H and J squares, layer one red square with one black square, and sew 1/4″ away from the marked line, on both sides. Cut apart on the marked line, and press, either open or to one side, whatever your preference is. Square up to 3 1/2″ There is a detailed tutorial of this method here, if you need more details.

To make the flying geese, take the background squares (C) and layer one square on the opposing corners of each of the three 4 1/4″ squares (D, E, F, flying geese bases).

SS Bee Tut 5

Sew 1/4″ away from the marked line on both sides (# 1). Cut apart on the marked line (# 2), then press, either open or to the side, depending on your preference (# 3).

SS Bee Tut 6

Take another background square (C) and place it on the open corner with the marked diagonal pointing toward the intersection between the previously sewn on squares (# 1). Sew 1/4″ away from the marked line, on both sides. Cut apart on the lines, then press (# 2). You will end up 12 flying geese total: each original base square will give you 4 finished geese. Trim the geese to 2″ x 3.5″, if necessary.

SS Bee Tut 7

Lay out your block. Sew the sections together. I forgot to take pictures of it in progress. Sorry! I’m sure you can figure it out though. 🙂

SS Bee May 3

Here is your finished block! It should measure 12.5″ unfinished.

I made a second block in a completely different colour scheme to show you how versatile this pattern can be.

SS Bee May 1

The block will look totally different depending on what colours you decide to use and where you want to put them. In the second block the middle, chartreuse geese blend in with the background a lot more, and the outer red triangle form a kind of chain around the perimeter of the block.

quilt-blocks

I made a sketch in EQ to show this to a greater extent. All of these blocks are the same, but the different colour and value placements makes them look very different.  In some, the nine-patch stands out, in others, it’s the flying geese.  I love blocks that do this!

If you have any questions about the tutorial, please ask and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.  If you make one of these blocks, I’d love to see it!  And since this will be an in progress quilt, I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network.

Growing up

As I suspected would happen, I did not sew a lot while the kids had their spring break from school.  For the first half of the week the weather was fabulous, so we went to the park every day and played in the sunshine.  When it got cooler again we had to stay inside a bit more, but since it didn’t rain (or snow) they got more outside time than I expected.  We went to visit family in Calgary too.  So we had a good holiday, but I think I only sewed for about an hour for one day of it.

We went to Ikea while in Calgary and I picked up some play food for the kids while we were there.  They love to play with their toy kitchen, but they had no food.  So when we played restaurant, I would be served pancakes made of lego and cakes made of wooden blocks.  They never complained about it, but I felt bad that they had no play food.  I didn’t want to get them plastic food so when I saw the felt stuff at Ikea, I picked it up right away.

It came with a lot of different stuff, but they wanted to add some pasta to it so they could make macaroni and cheese.  I couldn’t think of a way to make cloth macaroni easily, so I compromised and suggested bow-tie pasta instead.  Thing 1 helped me make it.  I cut rectangles of of a light coloured felt, and then folded it accordion style and sewed a small seam in the middle.  She basically did it herself because it was so easy to do.

Thing 1 pasta

I don’t have a pair of pinking shears or a pinking blade for my rotary cutter, so she snipped the edges into a zig-zag shape by hand.

Thing 1 pasta 2

play food 1

After the pasta was done, I decided to make them a bag to store the food in so that it wouldn’t get lost.  I used the Lined Drawstring Bag pattern by Jeni of In Color Order.  I made the larger bag so that everything would fit.  The kids asked me to use food fabrics, so I used The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle for the main portion of the bag.  I lined it and made the drawstring with oranges and used cherries for the top panel.

play food 2

Then Thing 1 decided that she wanted to bake a cake all by herself. I let her do everything except put it in the oven since I didn’t want her to burn herself. She chose Old Lady Cake, a recipe of my mom’s that I grew up eating (and loving) but left the raisins out because she does not like raisins. She measured carefully and took her time, but her loaf turned out beautifully. It tasted great too.

Thing 1 baking

I remember when I was a girl that I dreamed that someday I would have a daughter and I would teach her to sew and cook, but now that it’s happening it’s almost like I’m not ready for it. I can’t believe that my oldest is 8 years old already and can do so many things on her own. It makes me want to hold on tight to her and make time slow down, because I know that she will be fully grown before I am ready to let her go. Nostalgia can sneak up on you when you least expect it.