half square triangles and play time

There are many different ways of making half square triangles.  I have tried a few of them.  Recently, I tried the accordion method. With this method every half square triangle can be a different color.  My favorite method , up to this point, has been making half square triangles with the Tucker Trimmer ruler.  These half square triangles are made two at a time.  What if you want to make a lot of half square triangles that are the same color.

I have seen a method to make eight squares at a time and thought that I would try it.   I have several pre cut 5″ squares and wondered what size the squares would be when finished.

IMG_2594Draw a diagonal line both ways on the one 5″ square.  Layer two squares right sides together and sew 1/4″ on each side of both lines.


Cut the square in the middle horizontally and vertically.  Also on the drawn diagonal lines. IMG_2595




IMG_2596Using the Tucker Trimmer, find the largest triangle, place the line on the stitch line and trim the edges.  With a 5″ square, I could trim a 2 1/2″ square, making a finished 2″ square.  Press open to the dark side.

After I made the half square triangles with 5″ squares, I made them with 6″ squares, 8″ squares and 10″ squares.  Now when I need a specific size half square triangle, I know what size to cut the original square.

You could make two pinwheels or the points of an Ohio Star block with the eight half square triangles.



What if I made half square triangles from eight pairs of fabric.  Each piece would produce two pinwheels.  I could use twelve for the inside of a mini quilt and the remaining four for the corners.  Then, I would have a piece to practice machine quilting with rulers.

One if the rulers was a clam shell.  I started from the bottom and made a row from right to left.  Then I went back from left to right.  It was so easy to quilt with this ruler, but the rows weren’t lining up. I couldn’t see where to line up the rows.  There must be another way to quilt clam shells and have them come out right.

IMG_2585I put everything aside and decided to play with the rulers and figure out how to use  them.  The solution for the crooked clam shells was simple.  Originally, I started quilting on the bottom and went above the first row to quilt the second row.  I couldn’t see where to line  up the clam shells.  I turned the practice piece around and quilted the clam shells on the bottom up side down.  Then, when I quilted the second row, I could see the top of the first row and adjust the ruler to the right spot.

I’m not sure if I will take out the bad stitching on the mini quilt and requilt it the right way or just leave it and start quilting the right way from where I left off.  It would look much better if the whole quilt was quilted properly.

I played around with the other rulers and had a lot of fun.  There are stipples, clouds, circles, ribbons, curves and feathers.  When I want to use them in a project, I probably will make a quilt sandwich and practice a while before I quilt the new quilt. It would prevent unquilting,   I could make a lot of 10″ quilt sandwiches for each practice.  When there were enough, they could be put together in the lap quilt method.  It would be a free quilt.

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It will take a lot of practice to perfect the ruler technique, but it will be fun to try.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Birds and Birdhouses

Earlier this summer, the Maine Guild was challenged to make a block that was either a bird or a birdhouse. The names of the quilters who make the blocks were put into a drawing and I won the blocks.  This was so exciting.

They are so beautiful.  It will be so much fun to put them into a wall hanging.  I could size it so that it would fit over the sofa in my living room.  That way, I would think about  my guild friends in Maine all winter long while I’m in New Hampshire.

I expect that I will move them around on the design wall for a while until I find just the right placement. I don’t have a design wall yet but I have had the plans for one in my head for a long while.  This will be my inspiration to finally make one.

IMG_2571 IMG_2576 IMG_2575   IMG_2574 IMG_2573 IMG_2572   IMG_2570   IMG_2569   IMG_2568   I have patterns for other bird houses and might add some more to the mix if I need more.

I’ve been machine quilting the Page 30 challenge.  The center is almost finished.  I have two more patterns to quilt.  The border is being quilted in two passes.  The first is done and I’m part way around with the second.  Unfortunately, I have run out of the thread that I’m using.  I’ll get some more next week.  There is enough of the border quilted so that I could sew around the edge to stabilize it and add the binding.  It should be finished in time for the reveal.

I did quilt a little on the Amish Thistle quilt.  I do hope to finish it some day.  It was started over thirty years ago and is being heavily  hand quilted with black thread.  The quilt has a center applique and is pieced in a medallion style.  Some of the rows are pieced blocks and some are solid black fabric. The feather quilting template for one of the rows was lost for a while.  I looked everywhere for it.  I did try Press and Seal as a pattern for one side of a row, but it does not work with hand quilting.    When I was unpacking boxes after moving, I found the template.  It wasn’t where I would expect it to be.  I had no idea how it got there.  I should concentrate on quilting the Amish Thistle and get it done.

Have a great d ay and happy quilting.


What If ???

I enjoy making quilts that start with a what if.


A friend gave me two big boxes of quilting magazines.  While looking through them, I saw a beautiful log cabin quilt and wanted to make it.  The quilt is called Flower Garden Cabins.  It was designed by Doris Heitman for her daughter Leslie Schmidt.  The pattern was in a 1997 issue of Homes and Gardens Quilts.  It finished at 49 1/2″ square.

One of the pages had little log cabin blocks showing the colors for the blocks and how many to make of each coloration.  What if   I copied the blocks and paper pieced the little blocks for a mini quilt?IMG_2548

In one of my stash drawers there are several bunches of coordinated fabric samples that I won at a quilt shop open house.  What if I use  one of these batches of fabric to make the quilt?  I found one bunch that was muted reds.  There were no green bunches of sample fabrics, so I pulled from the green scrap drawer.

IMG_2551It does take longer to make a mini quilt that one would think.  There are as many seams, but they are shorter,  The quilt finished at 22″ square.  There are thirty six 2″ log cabins with two borders.  I sewed a sleeve on the back in case I want to hang it on the wall,  It’s also a perfect table topper.

While I was sewing this mini quilt, another what if  quilt popped into my head.  This one will wait a while until I finish another quilt that is in process.

Miss Molly and I have been sitting on the porch swing, enjoying the good weather.  It is the greatest place to read and do hand quilting.   I tried to applique more flowers for the flower wall hanging, but the breeze kept blowing the fabric across the porch.   I’ll have to do that on rainy days inside the house. The August gardens are still colorful in spots.  The Cosmos is blooming.  Also the Allium and Maximillian Sunflowers.  The Hollyhocks are shorter than usual this year, but still beautiful. Maybe, they need a little food.

Have a great day and happy quilting.




Two Weeks

This has been an interesting two weeks.  First, I went to New Hampshire for a week.  I had a list of everything that I had to do,  When I returned to Maine, only half of the list had been finished.

I had an e-mail telling me of a quilt show and did I want to go.  Of course, everything else took a back seat.  We had a wonderful day.  The show was one of the best that I had been to for a while. IMG_2538 It was held in a church and the quilts were over the backs of the pews. Some quilts were hung.  Every quilt was beautiful.


There was a room full of quilts and other things for sale on another floor.  It was like another whole quilt show.  I found some 18″ doll dresses and bought two for Annie Louise.  They are short dresses so I will have to use them as a top and make an under skirt.  All my doll dress fabric, etc. are in New Hampshire, so I haven’t made new dresses for Annie Louise this summer.

IMG_2539This little dress has eyelet around the neck, so I think that I will make an eyelet skirt to go under the dress.

IMG_2540This dress will make a top for a long sleeve plain dress.

It was so much fun being with my quilting friends. The weeds in the flower gardens will go away when it snows.  Green is a natural color.  Maybe I can clean out the gardens when I go down the next time.

58714784973__EDBAACC7-5FAD-4A28-894A-62BF8BF89D76The produce at the farmers’ market is wonderful.  I enjoy the variety of colors in the beans and the carrots,  Somehow, they taste much better.

After I came back to Maine, my computer cooling fan broke.  The cost of repair was a good down payment on a new computer.  I worked for three days to find another computer on line.  Finally, after finding a very nice customer service person on the phone, I ordered what I wanted.  Two days later, the computer showed up on my porch.  I downloaded everything that was necessary, but I couldn’t connect to my e-mail.   I finally rebooted the computer and shut it down for the night.  This morning, it works perfectly.   The portable cd reader/writer should come this week and everything will be in order. When I go back to New Hampshire the next time, I’ll take the computer to the Geek Squad and make sure that I did everything properly.

Today is a good day for quilting.  The Page 30 challenge is on my sewing machine.  I started free motion quilting yesterday.  The reveal is next month.  Hopefully, I will finish it by then.  I’m also finishing some applique on a little log cabin piece that I made to try out the new free motion rulers that I bought at the Maine Quilt Show.  It would be quicker to try the rulers on 10″ squares and then put them together in the quilt as you go method, but I saw this quilt in a magazine and had to make a mini version of it.   It’s taking much longer than I thought.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


Split Nine Patch

I have been looking through two big boxes of quilting magazines.  There are so many tips and interesting items to read.  I will be the rest of the summer reading and enjoying all the articles  There are a few interesting quilt patterns that I have set aside to make at a later date.

IMG_2534Fons and Porter Love of Quilting magazine has articles that are written by Gerald Roy.  He is a quilt collector and appraiser.  He is also a quilter, quilt judge, painter and antique dealer.  His articles are called “This Old Quilt”.  He shows pictures and talks about antique quilts that are in his collection.

In the May/June 2008 issue, he talks about split nine patch quilts.  They are fascinating.  It was a “what if” moment.  I have a bin of 2 1/2″ squares  What if I made half square triangles from light and dark fabric and duplicated these quilts.IMG_2535




I wanted a variety of colors, so decided to make accordion sewn half square triangles. This is a method that I learned from Beth Helfter.  Every half square triangle can be a different color.  She gave a talk at our quilt banquet and I bought her book that is called Oompah.  IMG_2531Her company is called EvaPaige Quilt designs.  You can find several you tube videos on the Internet that show this method.  It’s an easy method. Just take one step at a time.  I needed a lot of half square triangles so I chain stitched ten units and then sewed several together when they became long.

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I have the ruler that Beth recommends, but it is in N. H.  The Tucker Trimmer is here, so I used it.  The half square triangles trimmed out to 2″  There was just a little waste. I did have to cut the plain squares down to 2″.

IMG_2536While the quilt looks as if the color was random, the center light design of the quilt consists of carefully chosen fabrics.  When they are put together, there is an orderly arrangement.   I decided to make the center first.  Now, I can make the other nine patches and not think about color choices.  When they are all made, I can put them together.  The quilt is 10 by 10 blocks, so I have 96 more to make.  I can make a few at a time when I feel like some easy sewing.  I have enough split blocks and it is just a matter of trimming all the pieces down and sewing them together.

The original quilt was 80″ x 80″.  It was made in Pennsylvania in the 1920’s.  This one will be a bit smaller.  The center is 60″ x 60″, with borders of 2″ and either 3″ or 4″.It’s still a good-sized quilt.

The “what if” quilts are a lot of fun to make.    

Have a great day and happy quilting.


Maine Quilts

This has been a day of not accomplishing much.  I did hoop and embroider two sections of the 30 day challenge quilt.  Then on the third one, the hooped popped.  I put it aside as I have to take out all those stitches and do it over. That’s a chore for tomorrow.  I have cut out two flowers for my wall hanging.  I  tried to sew while sitting on the porch.  The wind came up and the fabric didn’t want to cooperate.  The weather was so nice that I sat and read some magazines.  No sewing on the porch today.

We had a horrendous storm yesterday afternoon. It poured.  We had lightening.  Then came the wind and the hail.  The hail was going sideways against the windows.  It’s a wonder that the windows didn’t break.  The noise of the wind and hail was so very loud on the roof and the side of the house.  Miss Molly found a place to hide.  She didn’t come out until three A.M. this morning.  We were very fortunate.  I heard that some people lost shingles and trees were down.  It did cool down for a little while.

I’m so thankful for perennials.  They come up and blossom, even if I neglect them. My flowers are beautiful.   IMG_2479IMG_2478

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I had a big surprise at the Maine Show.  As I said in another post, I didn’t receive a ribbon at the show.  When the show was over, I was waiting to pick up my quilts.  A few ladies were sitting at the table waiting with me.  One of them started talking about the viewers’ choice quilt.  She started describing it and saying how awesome it was.  Then she said it had the word Butterfly and another word in the title.  I asked her if it was Basket and Butterflies as that was the name of one of my quilts.  She wasn’t sure so I walked across the room to ask the woman who was in charge of the forms.  She opened her phone and showed me a picture of my quilt, Basket and Butterflies.  It had a ribbon on it.  Wow!!!! Viewers’ Choice is an awesome award.  When a ribbon is received from the judges, it is just the opinion of two people.  With the Viewers’ Choice, it is the opinion of many fellow quilters.  I am deeply honored to receive this award.  I had decided before the show to retire this quilt from competition.  It is retiring on a good note.

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Have a great day and happy quilting.




The quilt show in Augusta was wonderful.  There were so many beautiful quilts.  It would be hard to choose my favorite.  It was nice to see my quilts hanging there even if they didn’t receive a ribbon.  I’ll receive the judges comments soon.  It’s always interesting to read their opinion. IMG_2495




My gardens are beautiful.  They must like to be neglected.  The hollyhocks aren’t as tall as they have been in the past, but they are beautiful just the same.

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The raspberries are still producing.  I picked a big bowlful yesterday.  One of my daughters came today and we picked some more.  She went home with a very big bowl of berries.  There are still two rows to pick tomorrow.  We would have finished today, but it was too hot in the sun.  I’ll go out early tomorrow.

While coming home from the show, a friend and I were talking about quilting with the hand look stitch on the sewing machine.  I was thinking about that today and decided to quilt with that stitch on one of my UFO’s.  This little piece was part of a demonstration that I did on Deb Tucker’s Hunter Star ruler.  I had made four different sizes for the demonstration.

IMG_2509As the four sections were different sized, I added different size borders to make them the same size.  It is a little wonky piece.  It didn’t take long to quilt it.  It does look like hand quilting from a distance. IMG_2510

I used YLI invisible thread in the needle and regular sewing thread in the bobbin.  My sewing machine automatically adjusts the settings when that stitch is chosen.  I hadn’t used the hand stitch look stitch for a very long time.  Invisible thread is so much better now that it was when I quilted that way the last time.  It will be a quick way to finish some of my UFO’s in the future.  It might be pretty if I quilt with variegated thread.  Lots of ideas from a conversation.

Have a great day and happy quilting.