Tag Archives: F2F Swap Blocks

Thread Color on Welcome “Blanket”

Six blocks are quilted using an Angela Walters approach (so it is taking longer than an all-over design would.) I’d considered all-over paisley, then thought this was a great time to try custom quilting a slightly different design on each block.

As I usually do, I started in the center.

40 center q

Most quilting designs here are Angela Walters inspired. The center is from her first Shape by Shape book. (I don’t remember how she named the nesting squares.) Yep, I know the center isn’t square–I stitched the square then did the design.  I’d decided that the nesting square would be in each block as a unifying feature. The pear print prompted paisley after outlining them. This block was done with thread that matched the brown background.

The edge blocks are quilted with light beige thread, Aurofil 50 weight. Another of Angela’s ideas is that a single color of 50-weight thread will sink in and not show contrast much.  It speeds things up by eliminating thread changes. So I tried it.

My first thought, while quilting, was that it doesn’t hide well enough.

40 red close q

The center here begins to show how bold the thread looks up close (though in real life it is much more of a contrast). I began to think Angela had misled me, or maybe I had more contrast than she had intended. Then I saw it from a distance.

40 quilted stars

And the thread was much less visible. I think when the quilt is washed the thread will be even less visible.

For unity, I decided not to use too many different motifs. So I limited myself to spiral, pebble, and paisley at first. Those didn’t quite fit the background of the star to the right, so I did a  modified feather with pebbles at the one edge.  And I added ribbon candy to some of the wider log cabin like strips that don’t show here.

I tried to do as few stops and starts as possible so combined outlining he points with moving into the background, something I couldn’t have done had I been changing colors of thread.

Here’s a look at the two blocks with similar brown fabric.

40 two browns close q

The lighter thread does a pretty good job of disappearing.

Three blocks and binding yet to do and a welcome letter to write. Luckily the due date has been extended to November 7.

First post about this quilt with information about the Welcome Blanket project here.

You can view the project’s progress at the Twitter site and (if you live near Chicago) find days to go and knit or sew at the Smart Museum installation of welcome blankets. https://twitter.com/WelcomeBlanket



Filed under design, quilting

40 X 40 Welcome Blanket Project

The people who brought us the Pussyhat Project have now brought us the Welcome Blanket Project . They ask, What if we welcome instead of exclude? What if instead of a concrete wall 2000 miles long we offer a yarn line 2000 miles long, a line of welcome blankets?

Blankets can be knitted, crocheted, woven or–drum roll–quilted.

I decided to get out my F2F (FootSquare Freestyle) blocks since 9 of the 12 1/2-inch blocks with a small border would make the required 40 x 40 size. This being the first quilt I’ll have made from the total (well, minus one really as I have one of my own 3 yet to make) I have a full range to choose from.

Arranging sampler blocks, various patterned blocks, requires a balancing act. Will I balance blocks by color? by saturation? by shapes? by value?

I started out with my eye on color. I create balance mostly diagonally in a square construction, but I pay some attention to horizontal and vertical.


Although it doesn’t show in the photo, the middle-column blocks each have green in them, the brights make a cross, and the browns finish the corners.

Not quite working. The upper right is too light. So I started to work with value, keeping the color arrangement.


Better. Now one diagonal is brown and the other brown with a touch of bright. Nice. But the white background of the lower-right block draws attention as out of place. And the upper right square piece didn’t complement the lower left checkerboard. So I switched the top and bottom of the right column.


Somewhat improved, but there was still that white background problem, now in the upper right.

And then it dawns on me. The color arrangement isn’t cut in stone. It too is a variable. And there are lots of star blocks.


This time, paying more attention to shape created the final arrangement. I’ll sew the top tomorrow, then quilt it as soon as I can.

The final due date for quilted/knitted/crocheted/woven blankets is September 5, 2017.  However, the Installation at the Smart Museum of Art of the University of Chicago will open in July with an empty room and change as they receive blankets. So the sooner the better.  When the Installation closes, the quilts will be distributed to various refugee resettlement groups.

Are you interested in making one?

Essential information (more detail on the  website– https://www.welcomeblanket.org/ )

The blanket itself: 40 inches by 40 inches. (If they find more sizes can be used, this will be updated on the FAQ on the website.) Preferably washable fibers

Include a note of welcome and introduction. There are suggestions on the FAQ. Without the suggestions, I’d not have thought of including my own immigration background.

Mail them to Smart Museum of Art, WELCOME BLANKET, 5550 S Greenwood Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60637, USA




Filed under design, quilting

Sunny Lanes–more tips than tutorial (and weather update)

Last year I participated in Foot Squared Freestyle (F2F). The time came for me to receive my blocks, and I did (link here if you want to see them all; scroll down to March for mine). I had planned to make my three after I saw if any color/shade was needed to balance things. I’d also made Sunny Lanes for everyone and planned to make one for me. That is what stalled the process. I needed yellow-orange and didn’t have any. I finally bought some and prewashed it, but by then I was on to other projects. So I am finally back, and here is my finished Sunny Lanes.

sunny lanes orange finished

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

Since I made one for everyone, I thought it would be fun to see what variety color differences can make for one block pattern. (There are only 11 because I started a month late.) A reminder of the rules: Members could make any pattern 12 1/2-inch block using the colors chosen by the recipient.

After seeing all those, you want to try one, right? I foresee a quilt in my future using scraps for the squares and a unifying pair of colors for the HSTs.

A 12-inch block requires 8 HSTs (Cut four 4-inch squares of two colors–I allow oversizing and trim to 3 1/2 inches.) and 32 2-inch squares (they will finish at 1 1/2 inches).

When I have plenty of fabric, I cut 8 squares of each potential color and make my HSTs and play around. I add the extra squares to my collection for scrap quilts for later use. So I tried three color groupings for the current block.

I started out thinking I wanted the medium brown in the corners, then saw the bright red beside the stripe and thought I’d like it. Last I tried the gold, just in case. In the abstract it was my least favorite, but I ended up liking it best. I thought the medium brown too distracting and the red too bright. I wait till the 4-patch pieces are sewn to fiddle with the direction the corner ones will go–sometimes a diagonal line, sometimes more rounded. Much easier to rotate one piece than four each time.

After making 3 or4, I finally had a system.

Three challenges for assembly: keeping the HSTs going the correct way, keeping the colors where you want them, and pressing the seams so they will nest when assembling the next seam (of course people who press open don’t have to worry about the latter).

I lay the pieces out on my 15 1/2 square ruler.

I start chain piecing with the small squares, L to R, top to bottom. I do not cut them apart until after they are pressed, and I leave the thread bunny (or leader/ender) attached to mark the top. I press seams in alternating directions. That way each pair will nest.

SL string

It would have been smart to show the wrong side, but you can see some of the fold directions. And the thread bunny.

I snip the pairs in twos as I lay them in their place on the square ruler. Then, again moving L to R and top to bottom, I stitch each four patch segment.

This time pressing is a major issue only for the center 16 squares because they will meet up. The corner ones do not matter. I lay all pieces back in place on the ruler and carry it to the ironing board. I press the seams in the two in the center-left column down and the ones in the right up.

Now you have the choice of assembling the center and the pairs of HSTs then assembling the whole as if it were a 9-patch block or assembling row by row. I have found the latter easier as it requires fewer breaks.

I sew pairs down one side, then down the other, then sew the middle seam, making four strips. I lay them out and press in alternate directions. Nothing left to do except the final joining seams.

I hope to see some of your variations on Sunny Lanes.

10/3/17 Linking with Quilting Jetgirl’s and Late Night Quilter’s Tips and Tutorials

And after I come back from vacation, I’ll lay out blocks, make my last two and start setting them together.

BTW I will be without WiFi on most of vacation, so won’t be responding to comments till I get back.

Also while catching up on blocks, I finally made June and July for the weather quilt.

June block

June 14 1/2 x 14 1/2

Yep, that orange is for highs in the 90s and that is what we had at the beginning of June, 97 to be exact.



July was cooler and pretty boring colorwise. Too bad I hadn’t planned on different colors for each 5-degree increment.

And here are all the blocks so far.


There will be cream sashing between eventually. Most weather quilts are done in rows (some samples here) instead  of blocks and look better, but I’ll finish what I started.

See you in three weeks.


Filed under quilting, Tips and Tutorials

F2F Blocks Begin Arriving

After sending three blocks a month for 9 months, it is reward time.  My month to receive blocks for the Footsquare Freestyle (F2F) exchange has arrived as have 9 of the blocks.

Aren’t they a nice mix of light and dark, bright and dull?  And fabrics–modern prints, reproduction prints, batiks, and blenders. And places: Avis from UKLynn from France, and Sue from US.I’ve linked to their blogs for you. Avis’ link is to a specific post where she shows her finished F2F quilt; the other two will lead to their home pages.

You have already seen my first set of three, but I added them at the bottom to see all twelve together.  Maybe someday I’ll see how many names the received blocks have, but for now I am just enjoying looking at them! I foresee lots of rearranging in my future.


Filed under quilting, Uncategorized

Ovarian Cancer Quilt

I had posted my blocks and a link to the virtual quilt (here), but how much more lovely the cloth version!

the finished quilt

Finished and Delivered

The quilt was completed exactly one month from the time we decided to move the due date for blocks from May to January. Thanks to Sue. one of the F2F co-leaders, and her son it has been assembled, quilted and bound. Happily, it was finished in time for our friend in hospice to see the real thing.

ETA the link to the In Memoriam page for Pat, Miss May. February 12, 2016.

She had selected the ovarian cancer colors and intended to make a quilt to be auctioned. Eventually this quilt will be sent to The Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project.  Auctions are on odd years, so it will be 2017 for this one. Check the site; the project is educational as well as fund raising.



Filed under quilting

F2F More January Blocks

After hearing that “Miss May” was in hospice care, we switched her to January and got her blocks made post haste. In addition, Kate, one of the co-leaders assembled a virtual quilt and Sue, the other, will assemble the tangible quilt and bind it after her son has quilted it.

Of course one of my blocks was Sunny Lanes since I have decided to make it each month in each colorway.

Sunny Lanes

Sunny Lanes 12 1/2 x 12 1/2

This block is the closest to the original coloring presented in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia that I have made. Her schematic shows stripes where I have medium solids. But this is the four fabric arrangement. Although I had a variety of teal prints, they just didn’t play well together. Scrappy is nice, but so is the original plan. And the stars are not so dominant as the photo makes them–White on cream fabric really attracts the light.

My other two blocks are Ohio Star and Jacob’s Ladder.

Ohio Star

Ohio Star went together smoothly; however, Jacob’s Ladder had a mishap.

I know how it happened. I’d pressed the bottom row seams the wrong way for easy piecing. Instead of repressing, I turned it so the pressing was right. Geometry never being my strong suit, I didn’t realize it was not reversible. It amazes me that I walked by it and looked at it umpteen times between finishing it and finishing the others and never saw the mistake.  Luckily it was on the top, so that when I went to package them the next morning, it glared at me, and I had time to fix it.

I just may play with making a quilt from a block with the top pair like the left hand bottom pair–it could work.







Filed under quilting

F2F January

January’s blocks have made it across the pond, so now I can post; though it is the second post on quilts from Sherri Lynn Wood’s book, it is the first attempt.

The January request is for greens.  That and a preference for modern. Perfect timing since I am ready to play from the “scores” in Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.

My limits. Color green (as requested); 12 1/2-inch blocks (Footsquare–the second F is for Free style, any block we choose). My plan was to start with Score 2, strings, then use the string set in Score 7, Layered Curves. (Combining Scores is part of Score 10, Showing up, so you could say I am starting at the end. The book is well enough cross referenced that this is possible.)

Green block 1

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

Wood invites reflection after each piece.

What surprised? I was surprised by how little the blocks shrunk I’d started with 9-inch “squares”  and ended with 8 1/2-inch squares so had to trim off 2 inches. (She does say to expect to lose 1/2 inch with each cut; however, I’d missed that on the first read.)

What was satisfying? I liked the couple places where I could make use of “bleeding,” blending two shapes into one. I liked the flow of the outer lines that created an irregular square in a square; I liked the piece in the lower left leading into it, but what was dissatisfying was the big light (it really is a light green, not white) piece in the lower left. It drew too much attention to itself. But to trim it more would have eliminated other colors I liked and needed.

What to do about it?  Maybe not use #7 when I have a set size and a need to trim (or start smaller and add rather than trim). The main problem was the predetermined size. Still I don’t think it is totally  impossible to combine defined with improv.

Where go from here?  On to the next block.

Block 2

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

This one was made from two light squares and two strip-set squares. I’d started out thinking some Drunkard’s Path arrangement so cut the curve and stitched. (#2 and #7 again). On a whim instead of following through, I cut the half square triangles (HSTs) and assembled.

I was quite surprised that I couldn’t arrange the squares in BOTH a pinwheel and an interrupted circle. (Geometry was never my strongpoint.) Once I realized that, I played till I got this setting and was quite satisfied.The design has a coherent rhythm; it was actually helped by having to be trimmed though I lost some color repetition.

Finally, what to do with the Sunny Lanes traditional block that I have been making for each month?

block 3

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

At first I considered cutting it all out irregularly, and I might have followed through on that if I didn’t have the size restriction. I decided to make the HSTs regular and play with what would be 4-patch blocks in the traditional version. I used the last of my strip set in the center and learned that if I want to alternate the direction of subcuts from a strip set, I really need an even number of strips to get a checkerboard effect;however, the center “stripe” doesn’t look too bad (successful “bleeding”?).

Ideally I’d have had some strip set left for the corner “4-patch” block substitute. Since I didn’t, I made do with left over bits. I did have to cut a strip of the bright green because I wanted it in each corner.

This was my first venture with Wood’s book. Other experiments have been blogged (Diluting Orange posts) about before you see this. Check there for my “What next?”

I’ll link up with AHIQ when the time is right (button in the sidebar).



Filed under design, Portland OR, quilting

December F2F Blocks

According to the USPS tracking, the package has arrived, so now you can see the monthly blocks for Foot Squared Freestyle (F2F).

The colors requested for December were gray, aqua, pink, and peach: think Degas. Well, when I think Degas, I think pastel and went with that–along with being happy to meet Christina’s desire for scrappy. However, when I saw a photo of the Degas painting that had inspired her color choice, there were more dark colors than I would have imagined. Oh well, others are sending some that are darker–perhaps it will all balance out.

Of course one is Sunny Lanes.

Sunny Lanes

Sunny Lanes 12 1/2 x 12 1/2

It wasn’t till I cropped this photo that I realized the lower left corner was not going the right way. Other than that, this is my favorite of the three December blocks and maybe also my favorite of the Sunny Lanes blocks. I had wanted each square to be a different fabric, but didn’t have as many aqua as I thought I did.

Next is Lady of the Lake.

lady of the lake light

And one of the easiest blocks to make scrappy is Log Cabin.

Dec log cabin

If I had this one to do over, I’d put the floral next to the big dot and the small dot next to the birds. It’s another example of looking better laid out than after sewn.

If I don’t make anything else scrappy before Sunday, I’ll link this with Oh Scrap! (button in sidebar).


Filed under quilting

F2F August Blocks: Red, White, and Blue

As you know from past posts, I’ve been doing scrap control.  And serendipitously it was time for Foot Square Freestyle (F2F) blocks. When I read that Susan’s colors were colors I had already sorted in my scraps, I got even busier at cutting squares. I knew I wanted to do Sunny Lanes and Variable Star again, so when I could I cut the size blocks needed (2 1/2- inch square and 3 1/2-inch square).

Sunny Lanes

Sunny Lanes (The block is really square, but the photo wasn’t)

The pattern is so scrap friendly that it was great fun. I started out thinking one block red squares and blue triangles and another the reverse, but I didn’t have that many usable scraps, so combined them into one. One modern fabric in the batch, Domino Dot from Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park. Most are from the 70s. The red with black flowers and yellow centers that really stand out like dots (lower left) may be older. Or it may be just one of those perennial prints that we used to see over and over. What a change now, the variety in the limited editions that are offered each season!

I had just a small strip of Bridgetown from Waterfront Park and cut my 6 1/2-inch squares so that each had at least one whole bridge in it.  Variable Star, with its large center, just asks for either a big print as this or some piecing as I did last month.

Variable Star

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

I had hoped for eight different reds but had to make do with six. These two blocks are repeats from last month. I don’t think everyone’s color selections will work on these blocks. For example next month’s request is for black and white and an accent color.  That one doesn’t spell “traditional block” in my mind.

In my scraps, I found the center of the next block already assembled. I had to figure a way to get it to 12 inches.

Unnamed block

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

I have no idea why the two sides are not made up of squares–probably I didn’t have enough fabric. Too bad I didn’t write notes or keep a  quilting journal. I’d like to know what I was thinking. I considered various means of framing to enlarge it and finally decided on this tipsy look. But I had forgotten how to do it. So I cut out a piece like the center and various triangles till they fit and made a square.  I think it could be done with any size to make any size block, though one wouldn’t want the center to be disproportionately small and dwarfed by the frame. (I think I’m going to work on it with orphan blocks for doll quilts–if it works you will see them here.)

I’m planning to do a tutorial for the tipsy framing sometime next week. But for now I am packing to go to a quilting retreat at Lake Tahoe. If I can get to a computer, I’ll link to Oh Scrap! (button in the sidebar).

My blocks for last month are here. I’ve added a tag for F2F that will make it easier find them all as the year progresses.

The F2F button in the sidebar leads to the most recent post; Click F2F in the sidebar and look for a gallery hot link. There is one in the August 10 post. Then scroll through the various months. There are already quite a few interesting blocks there.


Filed under quilting