October Bite Size Block

Pumpkin Time!

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What’s not to love about Pumpkins? Okay, maybe the guts. But pumpkin is used in all kinds of cooking in the fall, from Pumpkin Spice Lattes to Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Chips (the bomb from Trader Joe’s). Pumpkin is even a favorite term of endearment and who didn’t learn this favorite poem in their childhood?

Peter Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her!
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well!

This month’s block is one of my favorites from the I Love Us Year Round pattern. I confess, I designed the block but my sister, Lora put it together. The leaves are just the icing on the pumpkin spice cake. The three leaves are layered appliqué creating dimensions and beauty. She carefully (and slowly) did a blanket stitch around each machine appliquéed layer in a matching thread. When she quilted it, she quilted in the vines giving the leaves even more dimension. Delicious!

If you’d like to make this pretty block, just down load the pattern here. ILoveUsYearRound.31-33pages. When you add blanket stitches to your machine appliqué projects, remember before starting to test your blanket stitch settings and change your machine’s foot to an open toe. You want plenty of space to view what you’re doing! See, easy as pumpkin pie.

I’m teaching this block tomorrow, Oct. 4, at In Between Stitches from 1pm – 5pm. If you’re local, join us for some fun. You can contact In Between Stitches or register for class online.

PumpkinSpiceRumLatteI’ll sign off with my favorite pumpkin recipe. Brew some nice hot coffee. Fill 3/4 in a mug, add a little William Sonoma’s Pumpkin Coffee syrup, a little half and half, a splash of rum (or two splashes), top with whip cream and sprinkle with pumpkin spice… hmmm… perfect. However, too much of a good thing and you’ll end up doing some seam ripping. 😉

Absewlutely,

Lisa

September Bite Size Block

What am I forgetting?

September2015BiteSizeBlockI’ve got three lists. Got the camp gear, food, directions, tickets, batteries, check. I gave instructions to the boys and Grammy, check. Left money for their groceries and adventures, check. I sent in my invoice for work, watered the plants, filled the pool, check.

What am I forgetting?

Balanced the checkbook, paid the bills due while we’re gone, check. Filled the car with gas, checked the brakes, tires and other automotive stuff, check.

What am I forgetting?

Cleaned the house, tidied the yard, fed and watered the dogs. Check, check and check. Okay, we leave at the first crack of dawn…for 10 days. What am I forgetting?

We’re home now but despite the three lists, I forgot a few things. Does that happen to you too? I forgot to fill out the school athletic paperwork for my son’s high school cross country team, plus there was a physical required (thanks Grammy for taking care of that!).

And I forgot to write my blog. I try to upload the new block on the first of every month. I even had it all ready a week prior to leaving on our vacation. All I had to do was write a quick paragraph and hit upload. Well, I remembered on September 1 but I was in the middle of a Nevada desert wilderness that had spotty cell and text coverage. No internet. None. Just blowing dust and a bunch of crazy campers.

It is very nice to be home where I can finally complete the things I forgot. This month’s Bite Size block is a breeze compared to last month’s teeny tiny Half Square Triangles! Download the instructions to make this pretty block ILoveUsYearRound.InsidePgs28-29. You can also join me this coming Sunday, September 13 from 1-5pm to make this block. I will be teaching the many different techniques in making Half Square Triangles so don’t pre-cut your fabrics if you’re coming to class. If you have Lynn Wilder’s Patchwork Math Using Quilting Design Components book, bring it with you. If you don’t, it isn’t required for class, but I will be showing you what a gold mine her book is. It is definitely one you’ll want as a resource in your personal Quilting Library.

Can you believe I also forgot that it was my dear husband’s 50th birthday the day after we returned from our trip? He turns 50 on the 8th! I don’t know why I didn’t realize there wasn’t more time between our return and Mike’s birthday!  Perhaps I needed a fourth list. Fortunately, his birthday wish was a family trip to Old Sacramento and the train museum. Quick calls to the boys and it is all arranged.

Now… what else am I forgetting?

Absewlutey,

Lisa

 

August Bite Size Block

A Hot Summer Daze.

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I love the relaxed pace of summer… what am I talking about? Relaxed? When has my summer been relaxed? This summer has blown by like a convertible on a hot road going 100mph! It is already August 1 and my niece and nephew are back in school with my boys hot on their heels, going back in just a couple weeks. Remember when we started school AFTER Labor Day? Sometimes I think we just cut our summer too short.

Today I saw an End of Summer Sale 30-50% off!No!,” I silently screamed in my head, “Not the end of summer!” They were already putting harvest and Halloween items out on their shelves. I held back the tears, bought my few summer clearance items and hurried out. Summer is not over. It isn’t. It won’t. So, to celebrate Not-the-end-of-summer, let’s make this beautiful Sun Burst Star. Just click ILoveUsYearRound.InsidePgs25-27 to download the instructions.

This block is full of little 1″ finished half square triangles. But don’t break out into a summer sweat! I like using Star Singles when a pattern calls for eight or more Half Square Triangles. You can make eight at a time, quick as a wink. However, if you don’t have Star Singles, no sweat, because the block pattern includes the traditional non-paper method of making the half square triangles. A12135bI will be teaching the Not-the-end-of-summer Sun Burst Star at In Between Stitches on Sunday, August 9, from 1-5pm. You can sign up for the class here. I will be sharing Star Singles so you can try a new method as well as demonstrating other quick Half Square Triangle methods, tips and tricks.

Hanging onto summer!

Absewlutely,

Lisa

 

July Bite Size block

July2015BiteSizeBlockI love my country. I hope you enjoy today, celebrating all the benefits and blessings of being an American.

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”  ~Erma Bombeck

I hope you’re a doing your patriotic duty by participating in a bbq, parade and the firework show! Later this week, please enjoy this free block and have fun sewing it up. ILoveUsYearRound.InsidePgs23-24 I will be teaching this block next Sunday, July 12 from 1-5pm at In Between Stitches. You can sign up for this class here. Also, since we are now half way through the I Love Us All Year Long blocks, this class will also be a “catch-up” class. If you missed any of the previous classes, you can come to this one and learn any of the blocks from January to July. I will be bringing the instructions and examples for all of the previously taught 2015 Bite Size blocks.

Have a wonderful Independence Day!

Absewlutely,

Lisa

 

June Bite Size Block

June2015BiteSizeBlockYesterday was a scorcher!! It reached 110 degrees here in Livermore, CA. It was a perfect day for a dip in the pool. This month’s block of beach towel and flip flops fits in perfectly with our weather. I designed this block last fall in Maui with beach adventures in mind. Kick off your shoes and down load this pattern. Of course…we can sew indoors and enjoy the air conditioning. It’s too hot out there!

I used machine appliqué for the flip flops. The background and pinwheels are pieced. If you’d like the instructions and pattern, just click to download. ILoveUsYearRound.InsidePgs20-22

I will be teaching this block this coming Sunday afternoon at In Between Stitches. You can register online. Join us and learn machine appliqué and my tricks to blanket stitching. I will also cover my Precise Piecing Pointers for Pointless Peoples so you can be sure your pinwheel blocks will spin freely.

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Cooking Dinner…

Remember to stay cool out there!

Absewlutely,

Lisa

May Bite Size Block

784254829_203149c89b_zApril showers bring May flowers

Did you know this little ryhme can be dated clear back to the 1500s? There is meaning behind the words, as well. “April showers bring May flowers” is a reminder that even unpleasant things, in this case April rains, can bring about very pleasing things, like an abundance of flowers in May. “April showers bring May flowers” is a lesson in patience, and one that remains valid to this day.  When you apply this to quilting, exercising patience in cutting, piecing and pressing, you’re rewarded with a pleasing block!

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This month’s block is a beautiful May flower block. If you ever want a really cool reference book, pick up a copy of Jinny Beyer’s The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns. It has more than 4050 pieced blocks! The book shows this square was called The Weather Vane by Ruby McKim, and was in the Kansas City Star in January of 1929. Looks like a pretty flower to me. I recently saw this block used for an entire quilt. (Or a block like it.) When I went to find the magazine so I could list it for you, I couldn’t find it. When I find it, I’ll leave a comment. Or if YOU see it, you leave the comment so I can quit searching my sewing room.

I’ll be teaching this May Flower block this coming Sunday afternoon, May 3, in my Bite Size class. If  you’re local, join us for an afternoon of fun. You can download my instructions for the block, ILoveUsYearRound.InsidePgs18-19. You can sign up for the class through In Between Stitches website’s class page.

Coincidentally, Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Daily Deal is the same fabric line that the I Love Us Year Round quilt is made of – Marcus Fabric’s Primo Batiks: Aurora & Twilight. And they have instructions for the Jelly Roll races. I’m hostessing In Between Stitches Jelly Roll Race II in August. Buy your jelly roll and sign up!

Absewlutely,

Lisa

April Bite Size Block

AprilBiteSizeBlockTime seems to fly by me all the time. I turned my head… and a week of April just flew by!

The weather has been beautiful here in Livermore. The sun has been shining bright, yet Easter weekend we got a little April Shower to water our May flowers.

This coming Sunday is our next Bite Size class and we will be putting together this cute “Birds on a Line” block. Download the pattern here ILoveUsYearRound.InsidePgs15-17. We will be making this block with light, double-sided fusible web and machine stitching the pieces in place. Add three pretty pinwheels and you’ll have a lovely spring block to add to your growing stack of “I Love Us All Year Round” blocks or to finish as a Bite Size, 12″ quilt and display in a small rack or on the wall!

I just love this “I Love Us All Year Long” quilt. I think it is my favorite quilt so far. I love the bright Marcus Fabric batiks [R07 Primo Batiks: Aurora & Twilight] and the whimsical designs of each block. I love how the calendar blocks gently encircle the house. The home is the center of my world. I think that is why I can get so stunned by how quickly the calendar can go by. I am quite content to sit in my pretty center block and watch the calendar blocks go by my window. And say, How did it get to be April already? I delight in all the vibrant colors but what makes the quilt so special to me is the incredible quilting that Lora did on it.

If you’ve not had a chance to study the quilting on this “I Love Us All Year Long” quilt, next time you stop by In Between Stitches in Livermore, take a moment to study the intricate quilting that was done.

In Between Stitches just presented the next quarter class schedule this past Tuesday. Lora and I both have classes offered over the next 4 months. Lora has two new class options on quilting. One is called “Quilt as Desired”. It is an open quilt class where students bring their quilt tops and are coached through the entire quilting process. Lora will demonstrate quilting products and their uses. She is offering that workshop four times this quarter, May 5, 10-1pm; June 7, 11-2pm; July 23, 10-1pm; August 23, 11-2pm. If you’re interested in quilting your own quilts, these are a must! At just $25 a session, it is a stitchin’ deal.

Lora’s second quilting class that she is offering is called “Quilting Makes the Quilt”. It is a one day workshop from 12:30-3:30 on Saturday, June 13. During this class Lora will discuss batting, thread, marking choices, backing and where to find quilting ideas. Then you get to do free-hand quilting, meandering fillers and free motion feathers with your machine.

I think her classes will fill up quick. Be sure to log onto InbetweenStitches.com and sign up for a class.

We’ll blog more on quilting. It is an very important part of a quilt! I hope to see you Sunday at the April Bite Size class!

Sew on and Sew on,

Lisa

March Bite Size Block

pDlnSx4W1v9p94kW5IG8cT7Xu-5_GFTRhmgd6Gz5JGY=w830-h839-noTop of the Morning to Ya! (pretend I said that with a thick Irish accent). I’ve finished the instruction for the March block. You can click here ILoveUsYearRound.InsidePgs13-14 to download the instructions. This is an Celtic Knot I created. I searched all over the internet for interesting knot patterns but they were either too boring or too complicated, so I made up one myself. I love how the lines weave under and over to create this beautiful block. The nice thing is, it isn’t very complicated to put together. It is 4 identical units put together around the center square. I’ll be teaching this block this coming Sunday. I’d put the class link here for you but unfortunately the class has already filled! I will take lots of pictures and post our blocks for that class.

I have so much to write but I’m out of time. I went to the Sew Expo in Puyallup WA and took several classes, talked with several venders and bloated my suitcase! I’ll write more sewn!

Absewlutely,

Lisa

February Bite Size Class

We did it! Everyone got their paper pieced heart completed. Three of the ladies got out the door before I remember to get my camera out. But didn’t these turn out lovely? I really had a good time. Well done ladies.20150208_170503

Jennie got a lot done. Loved the splash of orange!

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Nicole is Jennie’s daughter in-love and is making her blocks with the black batiks as backgrounds instead of white. It was stunning. LOVED how the black background was looking.

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I love love love Pat’s fabrics. And she was quite clever in creating a fix when she noticed she missed a strip of background. Looks lovely.

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My brain just isn’t recalling this sweet lady’s name. She did her block by hand! She handstitched her paper pieced heart and kept up with the ladies with the machines! We were all amazed. I really like her choice of backgrounds too. The gray set the pink off quite nicely.20150208_165755

Kim’s block turned out beautiful. She used more of the orange, fuscia and purple batiks. The photo image just doesn’t show off her colors as well as real life. It turned out great!

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Sharon is a new quilter and she thought this was the most stunning block she has created so far! Paper piecing is definitely a process that she enjoyed learning. The process gave her the precision she was wanting. We were both delighted with how beautiful her block turned out. Sharon was so pleased that when she pressed the last seam, she exclaimed, “I should frame this!”

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Not to be left out, I made the steps outs/examples for the class with some fun fabrics from my stash. When I was at the Cotton Patch in Lafayette, I found some chocolates fabric and thought with roses, it would make a sweet pillow. I’m going to finish up my pinwheels, add more chocolate fabric around to frame the block and make a quick pillow cover for the sofa – just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Next month we’ll be creating a Celtic Knot. I hope that you can join us!

Absewlutely,

Lisa

 

February Bite Size Block

20150131_141205Will you be my Valentine?

Some say it is just a fake holiday manufactured by the florist, chocolate and greeting card industries. Single people say it just makes them more aware of being single. That is all sad. This is what I found out regarding the history of St. Valentine’s Day.

The story goes that during the reign of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in several bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius found it tough to get soldiers and felt the reason was men did not join the army because they did not wish to leave their wives and families. As a result Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. A romantic at heart, priest of Rome Saint Valentine defied Claudius’s unjustified order. Along with Saint Marius, Saint Valentine secretly married couples. When his defiance was discovered, Valentine was brutally beaten and put to death on February 14, about 270 AD. After his death Valentine was named a Saint.

According to another version of legend Valentine was killed because he attempted to help Christians escape from the Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. By the Middle Ages, Valentine assumed the image of heroic and romantic figure amongst the masses in England and France. Later, when Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14. Around 498 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day to honor the martyr Valentinus and to end the pagan celebration.

Sounds to me like Valentine was  single too. So whether you’re paired or not, lets celebrate the gift of Love with this beautiful paper pieced heart block! Download the pattern ILoveUsYearRound.Pgs10-12. I didn’t include detailed instructions on paper piecing but I did list several links and tutorials if you’re not familiar with the paper piecing process.

This class will be held Sunday afternoon on February 8, at 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. I will supply the pattern and instructions and teach paper piecing at a beginner level. I hope you can join us for a fun afternoon. You can sign up online or visit In Between Stitches in Livermore.

Absewlutely,

Lisa