Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let's Make a Quilt: Block One

I have always loved quilts. I can remember watching my Mamaw quilt, many years ago, at a quilting frame set up in her living room. She pieced some of her quilts on an old treadle Singer sewing machine, and some of them she appliqued while watching television.  

Whenever she visited some of her friends and relatives in our community who quilted, she'd take me along with her. I marveled that these ladies would cut up pieces of cloth and sew them back together again into what I thought were warm, cozy and beautiful works of art! I made myself a promise that someday I'd make a quilt. Years later, as a young mother, and with the help of my Mamaw, I pieced my first quilt, a Nine-Patch. I still have my first quilt; the batting is coming out of it in some places and it's faded and worn, but it has seen over thirty years of use!

Times have changed a lot since I made that first quilt! Rotary cutters (round razor blades!), gridded plastic rulers and cutting mats have made the cutting part of the quilt so easy and very accurate.

I'm starting a new quilt and I thought it would be interesting to document its making from beginning to end. It's a Block of the Month quilt. The premise is that you cut and sew one block a month and at the end of the year you sew your blocks into a quilt top. Well, I can't wait that long! The blocks are fairly simple to make, so I'm going to try to do one a week.
I spent over an hour in Hobby Lobby Friday afternoon choosing my material. For this Block of the Month quilt I needed 1 1/8 yards of black on white print, 1 yard of white on black print and 1/4 yard each of bright colors.

The first block is a Pinwheel and I'm going to use blue as the accent color. Oh, before I forget to tell you, the blocks are twelve inches square.

Step One: I cut two 7" squares from the white on black fabric. Next, I cut them diagonally. I now have have four triangles, we'll call them Unit A. I don't know who invented the rotary cutter and gridded plastic rulers, but I'd like to hug their neck!

2.  My next step was to cut one 7 1/4" square from the black on white fabric and one 7 1/4" square from the blue fabric. Then I stacked them and cut them diagonally twice, corner to corner, then corner to corner again. I ended up with four pairs of triangles.  
See how the grids make it so easy and accurate?

3.  Next, with right sides together, I sewed one black on white triangle and one blue triangle together on the short side.
And it looked like this when I finished. We'll call it Unit B.
4.  I sewed Unit A to Unit B, and began again with Step 3...  
until I made four Unit ABs!  

I sewed those four units together and Waaaa-Laaaaa! I completed my first block! 
This block was easy-peasy! I cut out my fabric before church this morning, and sewed it this evening after eating dinner, making a dozen Pumpkin Roll muffins for Hub, visiting with my son and taking a few pictures of the fall leaves.

If you're a quilter and you're looking for a simple Block of the Month program, or you'd like to learn to quilt, this would be perfect for you.  Give me a holler if you're interested and I'll tell you where to find the block patterns and I'll give you all the advice I can. My quilts are not perfect, (I'm actually surprised that the pinwheel in this block met almost in the center!) sometimes the blocks are a little wonky (that's quilting lingo for crooked), but it doesn't matter. When you finish, you can give it to someone you love, or wrap up in it yourself and watch an episode of The Waltons. 

The focus fabric in my next block will be red. And the block is even easier! It consists of 16 3" blocks. No fancy pinwheels, no triangles.

Thanks for reading my blog! Have a great week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Visit to Old MacDonald's Farm

A few days ago I mentioned to Hub that I'd never been on a hayride. I think we were watching The Waltons at the time. They go on hayrides all the time and it looks like so much fun.

Hub is thoughtful. He always has been. He found a hayride. Not only did he find a hayride, but a hayride to a pumpkin patch and a barn full of farm animals and I even got to pet baby goats! I love baby goats!

We had so much fun at MacDonald's Farm. It's not too far from home, just a 15 minute ride to Sale Creek. It's a beautiful farm and you can read about it here:

Here are a few pictures of Old MacDonald's Farm. Thanks for a very memorable afternoon Hub.

Fall Break Camping Trip, Part 3: Let's Take a Drive

Fall Creek Falls Camping Trip Part Two: October Gave a Party

Oh, how I love my mountains! Fall Creek Falls State Park is located on the Cumberland Plateau, a southeastern portion of the ancient Appalachians. The fall color hasn't reached its peak on the plateau yet; can you imagine what it will look like in a a few days?

I was reminded of a poem I read many years ago while taking these pictures. It's rather...corny... but it does give you the feel of the colorful leaves, the crisp breeze and change in the air. I especially love it when the wind blows and the leaves swirl about, drifting to the ground, like streamers at a party. 

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-

The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples,

And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand;

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind, the band.
"October's Party"--written by George Cooper
pictures taken by me.

God is so good to give us such beauty. I thank Him for it.

Fall Break Camping 2011 Part 1: Two Grandparents, Three Children and Two Pugs in an Itty-Bitty Camper

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons. Here's one:

Our grandchildren. Meet Curly Girly and Messy Boy. And Curly Girly's BFF.
Hub and I enjoy their company very much and every year during their Fall Break we take them camping. Fall Creek Falls State Park is our favorite place to go.

Messy Boy can hardly wait to ride his bicycle around the campground when he wakes up. He doesn't even bother to change out of his pajamas!

Meanwhile, in the Itty-Bitty Camper, Curly Girly, BFF and Two Pugs are finding it difficult to awaken.

They are finally persuaded by a cup of hot chocolate. Now you know why we call her Curly Girly.

Curly Girly and BFF have taken over the pancake breakfast. Curly Girly pours while BFF waits with the spatula.

Pancakes and sausages are the perfect camping breakfast.
Especially if you've been riding a bicycle all morning!
May your day be filled with peace, love and joy,
A Very Happy Appalachian Granny