38.7 What happens when you disappear a shoo fly block

November 29, 2015

I have been sewing shoo fly blocks as leaders and enders for several months during other projects.

Growing shoo fly block collection

I started with two 5 inch blocks, right sides together. I did the trick where you sew around the edges of the pieces, then cut diagonally both directions.

A result is 4 half square triangles that are sewn with the bias edges on the outside.

I trimmed these 4 pieces down to a size of 3″ unfinished.

Then I collected groups of 4 squares for the background fabric – white in this case – also cut to 3″ unfinished, and a random assortment of colored middles – also cut to 3″ unfinished.

I had these piles of blocks done for most of the summer, just grabbing and sewing together these shoo fly blocks over and over. As you can see a shoo fly is a 9 patch block with the 4 half square triangles on the outside corners. The outside corners color matching the background squares in the middle of each 9 patch block.

At the retreat I recently attended, I put them up on the “design wall” with a possible plan that I had tried not to talk myself out of over the last few weeks.

I saw a design first on Pintrest, a disappearing shoo fly block from Tuxedo Designs blog.

So that’s what I did, I cut the shoo fly into squares, sewed them all back together to make the disappearing shoo fly quilt.

shoo fly quilt block to disappear to sew to purple lightning dsf quilt

Here’s a picture of the quilt as it was on the wall before it was sewn.

shoo fly test block and unsewn scrappy block

As you can see, I tested it out first using just 4 blocks (leftover blocks), so I have a mini quilt from this too!

And here, as a “tabletopper”.

shoo fly top as a table topper scrap quilt

I honestly don’t know why this design isn’t more popular. It’s pretty easy to do and I love the resulting rows that come from it.

Really once you get the quarter blocks made, they only rotate two ways, up and to the left, and down and to the right, alternating each row/column.

How fun is this top?!


38.6 Hot Air Balloon Festival – Quilts in the Sky

November 22, 2015

Hello! I am working back through some wonderful experiences I would love to share with you extending back this fall.

The first was a month ago, the Great Midwest Balloon Festival. Normally held in August, but this years’ later time gave us opportunity to view the pretty leaves of fall in addition to the pretty balloons.

I am pretty much a sucker for quiet events, balloons, fall, outdoors, the park.

I see balloons as “quilts in the air”. So pretty color combinations, I see bargello style ‘quilts’, applique, chevron, patchwork, jelly roll stripes all sorts of quilts and styles up in the sky.

Orange, yellow, and brown hot air balloon

There is usually a big festival with rides, vendors, food, competition.  Every year since I have planned attending, I have gone on my own for the morning competition, rather than viewing the pretty balloon glow that draws so many others.

This year, the balloon festival was near last year, on the west side of the city, near the speedway, but actually closer to our annual permanent location of the Renaissance Festival grounds.


The first day of the festival was misty and windy so it was cancelled for the early morning part of the day, not reopening until the night glows on Saturday.

Sunday morning, rather than head to the crowds, I took refuge in the local next door county park. It was so beautiful. The balloons had to travel past the park to head to the festival grounds.


I originally hesitated heading to the park due to the presence of “many people” on the southern park entrance that were racing a 5K blocking that entrance. Luckily, I got brave enough to try a more northern entrance, so I wasn’t doomed to see the pretty “sky quilts”.

I tore through the park, under the trees, walking to an “upper ridge” area in the middle of some kind of cross country track in the middle of the park grass.


From my vantage point, I could hear the hot air balloons pass over me. The black balloon with the rabbit, carrot, and parrot was “right above me” poking out of the trees, a little behind where I chose to stand for most of the morning.

I remember feeling in awe of that hot air balloon.


I saw balloons coming from the east of the morning, using the trees as interesting frames for some of my shots.


I have some close pictures, some far pictures. I snapped many versions of the same picture, just seconds apart, just to ensure I got a good picture. I kept wishing I had a DSLR.




Some balloons I have multiple full-on shots of, a few of the more interesting ones were out of frame a little to the south. I found I liked staying in one general area.

Another “park photographer” had set up not too far from me, and both of us were looking around behind, in front, to the side, trying to get the best of the morning.





Later in the morning, before the last of the balloons, I ventured near one of the park shelters. This got me a picture of a couple of balloons nearby the structure too.



I tried to zoom and tried not to zoom sometimes to get the bigger picture of the hot air balloons.



Sometimes I get a sense of the hot air balloon movement by looking at three consecutive pictures taken right after another.


I took way more pictures than I ever posted. It was so beautiful and magical!

If you want to see my whole flickr set, which is over 70 pictures, follow the link below:

GM Balloon Fest on flickr

Stay tuned and I will talk about actual quilts soon. I have several things to share!


38.5 Royal Red King’s Puzzle – Bloggers Quilt Festival Entry

October 25, 2015

I had to highlight this wonderful quilt of mine at least one more time in honor of the Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side

I have been thinking and wondering if this quilt should be entered in more than just this show, in addition to the Kansas City Quilt Festival last June, and the local guild show.

royal red kings puzzle at KCQRF

The quilt as I recall measures 80″ on each side and is very square. I haven’t thought of it as a two color quilt or a monochromatic quilt, but it really is.

The center is a color-modified version of the Pattern King’s Puzzle, in which I changed the background colors to accommodate my amount of the middle fabric. I have always been partial to red and black color combination.

The borders are completely my own design, using the 10 minute block technique, and the 5 minute block technique, paying particular attention to the fabric choices on the blocks.

Then, in between fabrics, I introduced unfilled piping to create the thin black line running from 10 minute block to 10 minute block.

This “glamour shot” was done at another quilting friend who did some quilting for me for two other quilts. This picture (below) was taken back in May before the quilt was bound before the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival.

Royal Red styled on porch swing

My quilt didn’t win anything at the Quilt festival, and I heard one or two nice comments, in particular when I was picking up my quilt at the end and someone could see the quilt & the maker together.

Judges comments were that they liked the dimensional elements to the quilt in particular – aka – the raised part of the 10 minute block, 5 minute block, and piping.

I also had a few out of town/state friends come and look at my quilt in person during the show, which still means the world to me!

Enjoy the festival!


38.4 Sewing String Hashtags

October 14, 2015

The last month I have been trying to finish these blocks before the October 15 swapping deadline.

The #Twilter! group on Facebook (email scientificquilter@gmail.com if you want an invite) was doing a swap of a free block.

We chose to swap “wonky hashtag” blocks available on Craftsy from their 2012 free block of the month for January.

Carole is taking charge of handling the swapping in & out and the blocks will come back in November.

Due to a recent reorganization of my sewing room, I have still been focused on sewing scraps together. I can thoroughly say that the 2nd half of 2015 was a scrappy quilting month for me.

I had a baggie of strings that I had been sorely neglecting. Just prior to the block swap announcement, I started arranging and sewing strings together to create “fabric”.


Lots of varying bright (mostly) colors that are the unmeasured strips between 1.5 & 0.75 inches strips that are usually the leftover after cutting other scraps.

cutting string strips for hashtags

These seemed to make the perfect happy fun pieces that would go into the hashtag blocks.

So the wonky hashtag blocks has no rules for what angles are sewn into the blocks, we take a 12.5 inch block, slice it up any angle the first direction.

Then sew strips into it. Here is the first 2 strips of strings sewn into my blocks.

hashtag first seams

At this point I was wanting to preview the design to see if it would work.

previewing second hashtag seam

And then this gets pressed, and then cut at 2 more random angles, going the other direction.

preparing to make the 3rd and fourth cut hashtag blocks

I honestly found the 3rd and 4th cut of this block easier in the fact that I didn’t have to make a decision on how to angle the strips. I had to try to chose (sometimes didn’t work) the widest pieces of fabric to cut through so the seams wouldn’t become a huge problem on the 2nd direction.

I have to admit, I lost a few fabrics on one side or the other of the seam, just due to the symmetry of the whole thing and trying to find the best option didn’t always mean there was a “good” option, if you get what I mean.

The nice thing about this is that I overestimated the length of string strip I needed, so I was able to create more string blocks with the leftover pieces from the original cuts.

This gave me enough string blocks to eventually make 16 blocks.

string hastag blocks to send

I did have one “mess up” block that I sewed the wrong fabric side of the white on white AND I sewed the bias edge to the outside.

I am keeping this block so I will have 17 total from this project.

I realize besides my mess up block I won’t have any string strip blocks because everyone else is just making regular fabric strips to go in the center of the hashtags.

But I thought of a creative way to do sashing that incorporates more strings. I need to make wonky sashing that mimics the tilted hashtags of the quilt, also creating mini cornerstone blocks of sashing as well.

A preview of it below, not to correct scale or colorful proportions:

string sashing idea with hashtag blocks

And yes, this concludes yet another version of the “Darla goes overboard” portion of my quilting life. I am really happy with these blocks, and am amazed at the positive responses already to the blocks that I posted online already.

I have, however, hit another mini-burnout for quilting due to this project. Don’t worry, I’ll be back at it shortly. I am going to try to take some pictures of the other quilts I have in progress on the floor. I also am starting to take inventory on what I am going to bring to the retreat next month.

I am thinking of collecting strings from the other quilters in the retreat group and working on strings to go in the sashing of the hashtag quilt. Till we talk again, hopefully soon!


38.3 Scrap Sewing more of the same

September 13, 2015

Hey all! I have been trying a few things, but today during my day off I have gotten more done of the same quilts I have been working on.

First I am working on adding more corners to the Winslow Corners quilt. I have 5 more blocks of pieces done of the corner pieces, but not trimmed up & sewn together yet.


Trying to decide on this quilt size. Most likely this will be another throw quilt. Looking forward to trying something cool in the light grey section for the actual quilting of these blocks!

I also have to go back to EQ and print/create the border blocks which finish up the corner pattern.

I am finding it a nice way to use my scraps.

I may look at other patterns that have 16 patch blocks in them. I have been thinking about sashing them in colors or black and setting a different alternating block with them.

I have also been doing more of the same scrap quilting with Shoo Fly blocks.


I have one more block hanging out on the sewing machine, and i have pieces for many more blocks, maybe another 15 – 20 blocks already done.

It makes it easier to get started sewing when I know the decision has been made and the prepwork has been done on these blocks.

I do want to do a disappearing Shoo Fly block quilt. I am now not certain THIS is the quilt to do that to, considering each of these 9 patch blocks are only 3″. To cut them down and resew them I would lose several inches and it might not be big enough to appreciate the design. Or the time it will take to cut apart and resew these blocks.

I haven’t decided yes or no on that yet. Still making the pre-made shoo fly blocks.


I did sort all my pieces of scraps by color for 1.5″ blocks in anticipation of a potential swap in the future. I also have sorta swapped with someone some of these 1.5″ blocks.

And I may have signed up for a hashtag swap for the secret Facebook group “Twilters!” Due in October. I have a lot of random strings that may make nice hashtag pieces.


I am leaning towards taking apart my quilting on the Samurai Sudoku quilt that is so off kilter on the quilting. I currently only have 3 hours of quilting into the top and its about a 1/4 way quilted.

I have to set up an appointment to go back to the long arm quilting place in October and I have been hemming & hawing trying to decide to take out stitches or not. The thing is pretty wonky, which causes me to be uncertain I would like it if I continued quilting as I have been.

Knowing me, I would worry & about it if I didn’t fix it. I have told myself it is practice. But I want it to be better practice than this.

But it is so much work to do and then I have to go redo all the quilting on it already.

upclose picture of samurai sudoku quilt on longarm

So mostly more of the same quilting as the last month. I someday will go back to other UFO’s I think.

Debating on weather or not to do Scrapitude this year. I don’t really like the timing of it (early in the year or maybe it’s late near the holiday season). I haven’t decided. Seems like a few things going on now. And then I have been doing these “new projects” such as Winslow Corners quilt.


As I was cleaning my sewing room, I found Winding Ways small scrappy quilt blocks that I swapped with the swap group I was in. We used the Accuquilt cutter to cut random batiks, and I don’t mind sewing the blocks together yet.

For yet another donation/extra scrappy quilt.


Jack’s Chain

I have decided I would like to attempt a Jack’s chain quilt for the next big Regional quilt Festival here, in 2017. Might be more than I can chew in just under 2 years. But these 1.5 inch pieces could be useful for that.

First I need to figure out how to make EQ7 do what I want. I posted on an EQ7 FB group and got some good advice, but still am stuck, since the copy paste instructions I got somehow aren’t pasting correctly doing it the way that it was suggested to me. I don’t think the instructions are wrong, but I do know it’s not doing what I want it to do, so maybe a different route will be necessary. Or maybe I have to click somewhere else first. EQ7 is picky like that.

I have a vision or actually several ideas for the quilt. But need an EQ7 color guide for me to be successful at it!

We will see if I change my mind before the event. I have had a few months of batting the idea around already and so I know it will be one I will like to try to put into that show. Very time consuming quilt, depending on size.


38.2 Winslow Corners quilt idea

August 9, 2015

I have had the privilege of sewing many days after work this week. Mindless sewing mainly from leaders & enders I was putting into place from a while ago.

After my “turn-it-around” sewing room organization from a week ago, I have been motivated by the fact that I can actually watch my computer screen for entertainment instead of constantly being turned around to see what’s been on the screen.

I have been motivated by taking an old reality series that I have watched most seasons of, rewatching them years later. I forget easily, so this time it’s like watching ‘new-old’ television.

So I have some distraction that is not too distracting and that, in turn, is motivating me to keep working and working. Almost as if it was March-A-Long again.

Anyway, my leaders & enders are resulting in 16 patches of the cool color family.

16 patch blocks

So far, I have mindlessly sewn 30 of them.

I had made a “pattern” for this quilt a while ago and have had this idea for a scrap quilt for a while. I don’t need 30 of the 16 patches for the finished quilt. Here’s the quilt.

arkansas crossing x and o quilt

I have a light grey and want to use some of the extra neutrals from the quilt I made for Laura for the alternate blocks.

I don’t have the pattern centered or bordered or anything, but yes, I have printed out the paper pieced X blocks, aka album blocks.

I have heard several names for this quilt:

  • X’s and O’s
  • 16 patch and album blocks
  • Arkansas Crossroads

I do have a small history with quilting in Arkansas now. I travel there every fall (so far) for a quilting retreat. Northeast Arkansas, not incredibly far away from the KC area.

A tiny town called Winslow, there is a couple who run a B & B cabins (Sky-Vue) that host 16 quilters who come & sew for an extended weekend. If you have followed me any time in the fall, you have heard me talking about it.

Anyway, I want to make a quilt with a name something like Winslow Corners or possibly Sky-Vue crossing.

Using these no-thinking blocks out of my ever growing scrap pile.

That’s been a vague direction I have been quilting in this week.

I haven’t started on the paper piecing portion, but now have 30 of the 16 patch blocks. It’s so easy to make these 16 patch blocks.

Surely more of these blocks will go somewhere else if I run out of  paper piecing blocks (x blocks).


I have also made some random half square triangles in sets of 4 that I want to match with my pinwheel blocks someday.


I also have a small sewing mat for my sewing foot pedal.

I have a wandering foot, but I like to elevate the back of my foot and sew more evenly. I frequently have a phone book by and/or under my sewing machine foot pedal.

I just made this late this afternoon, so I haven’t yet tried it out. I have the non stick gripper on the front and back, and to give the pad some “oomph” to simulate raising the foot pedal some, I have a piece of folded over fabric that is folded over two small batting scraps inside.

It’s really batting, fabric, then a binding stitched around that whole block. Then I have a ‘stopper’ of rolled up batting sewn down in a pocket on the top.

I was inspired by this tutorial, but did not follow it directly. I read it a few weeks ago and then when I gotten the “gist of it” I created from vague memory today.

Anyway, it’s been a week of happy sewing, I hope this post finds you well. No matter if you meet in the crossroads of arkansas or elsewhere.

Still marinating about my “next biggest bestest quilt” for the quilt show in 2 years. Glad to not really think about it too hard yet.


38.1 New Beginnings And Cycles

August 2, 2015

Hey! Last time I wrote I was a month ago about my diary of the KCRQF. A month and a half ago. The end of my day 2 was looking at the quilts of the Beatles, and my quick lecture class. Day 3 was my volunteering day where I gave out wristbands to fathers for Father’s Day, and then helping in the booth with 3 other people, which really meant talking to guild members, going to get food, a conversation with my Dad (for who knows how long) and then getting straight on shots of guild quilts.

Later, I may share my pictures & description of the Beatles quilts. Today, as I write, I want to start new, fresh.

Quilt Cycle Cathedral Teal with labels

I am really enjoying this stage of my quilting cycle. At the beginning.

I have noticed that yes, deadlines get quilts done, gets quilts finished, provides me with a much needed focus. I do so much better with a focus. Even if it is a temporary focus. If I want to get things complete, I have a deadline, made up or real, and stick to it. Yes, I like the focus of finishing!

But at the beginning of a quilt cycle, there are so many possibilities. So much potential.

  • What fabrics do I use?
  • What pattern do I use?
  • How will I offset the blocks from each other?
  • Do I want to design something new? Traditional?
  • Who is it for?
  • What size quilt do I want to make?

My questioning mind loves to go back to the beginning sometimes, but I am not alone.

Quilters have many UFO’s, we like to restart, to re-cycle to the beginning of the process.

I have been considering going back to the beginning again with several quilts, or starting new.

Why? Well for one, I completed my deadline. The huge quilt show we had a month and a half ago was a great deadline. Great AND stressful both!

For two, I am wondering, what quilt will be the next best quilt to create for the next huge quilt show?

For three, I reorganized my sewing room. And it’s like halfway done.

For four, I have LOTS of scraps that I would like to use up, cut down, make clean.

For right now, that’s the main motivation for new beginnings.

My wall of fabric (one large ‘bookcase’) I changed from my left to my right.

fabric wall


This frees up my cutting area so much. I have had a limited amount of cutting space that I could use. Actually, I am using the same space as before, but now don’t have a large area nearby to butt up against.

new cutting area

I also have a large enough desk I can watch streaming video and press or cut on the table if I desire!

computer desk and small ironing pad

Which will be something nice. I may even bring my sewing machine back into my sewing room, as currently it’s at the kitchen table. Will be hard to do computer & sewing both, but may be possible.

Possibilities are opening!

Speaking of possibilities and scraps and new/old things, I have gotten out a few fabric pieces the last month.

First was my “watermelon dresden”, inspired by Jenny Doan’s visit to our guild several years ago, when we were all doing the jelly roll race quilts, I did jelly roll dresden pieces.

watermelon dresden

And I even came up with a pattern for it, that I don’t believe I have shared with you all.

water melon dresden version 2

How pretty.

And then for a few things more scrappy, I had a couple very small paper pieced blocks we did with the guild that I thought would be perfect for small strings.

string quilt small

I worked on this last weekend at my friend’s house at our last sunday sewing day for a while – her schedule is changing.

The finished piece is pretty small. about a 12″ block or so. May need to make more of these.

And I have been wanting to do an Arkansas Crossing quilt with scrappy cool tones for quite a while now.

16 patches for scrap quilt arkansas crossroads

So I finally have some mindless sewing to work on. Which for me, right now, is fantastic!

And oh yeah, I have some pinwheels against white that I don’t know what to do with. So I am making more and going to eventually donate for a kids quilt for the memorial hospital in Lawrence.

extra squares for pinwheels

For these I have been putting 2 charms (5 inch squares) right sides together & sewing around the edges to cut in quarters and press open later.

I also have been using my new phone for pictures exclusively and haven’t gotten my normal camera out for the last month. So new beginnings there. I wish I was better able to focus that more quickly. The better thing is that this phone with camera has the same megapixels as my point & shoot camera did, AND this one doesn’t take 30 seconds to reset after one picture, it is able to move much more quickly between pictures!

Anyway, thanks for joining me on the beginning of a cycle again! What a great feeling to find lost projects and to work on new things!


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