Road to Oklahoma quilt block

road to oklahoma quilt block

Road to Oklahoma is my latest quilt block from issue 16 ‘Art of Quilting’. A grand total of 18 pieces involved in this little one. I think that’s quite enough pieces for one block, don’t you?!

Seems like ages ago that I did one of these and it goes without saying that I am still eons away from the finished article. But these little fellas are always a good filler of time. Today a mini thunderstorm hit to remind us that one should not get complacent with days of glorious sunshine as it is so not the norm! Mini showers did not dampen spirits though, and gave rise to a couple of hours of quilt making instead!

This block is very similar in design and fabric choice to the first block I made, the Double Four-patch, but just involved a little variation. You can see how it breaks down into four smaller blocks here:

road to oklahoma quilt block

It did take a little longer than the others. Wasn’t timing I’m afraid. I try not to clock watch when I’m sewing nowadays. I do enough of that in my day job!

Of course there is always someone who will try and get in on the action. I mostly don’t post photos of Socksy as she is always hidden underneath the dressmaking fabric or the pattern paper but here she is trying to pretend she doesn’t know what the problem is!

socksy sitting on the oklahoma block

Block Facts:

Name: Road to Oklahoma
History: This block first appeared in print in 1897, but it predates that record by several decades. It is also known as Arkansas Crossroads and New Four Patch; the latter name reflects its similarity to the classic Four Patch block. It produces a pattern of stars and squares when repeated and recalls the early days of quilting in America and the pioneer trail towards the west.
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces: 18

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block
Block 14: Susannah
Block 15: Road to Oklhahoma

Susannah quilt block

quilt block susannah

Say hello to Susannah, my latest quilt block from issue 15 ‘Art of Quilting’. She looked to be a little complicated from the instructions but as with most things it made sense when the pieces were cut and under the foot!

This was another opportunity to practice those set-in seams. To begin with, the green gingham rectangles and the red floral tapered rectangles were joined in pairs to make the four double patches that occupy the corners. The first double patch was sewn to one side of the orange central square. Then the next double patch is sewn to the first, and again to the central square.

Before sewing I marked the 6mm seam line on the wrong side of the central square to ensure that the set in seams started and finished from the point of seamlines crossing and not the edge of the fabric like the other seams.

All went swimmingly until the last and final seam, which simply didn’t match up. Took me a while to figure but it was easily resolved by unpicking a couple of stitches and restitching to fit. I’d over stepped the corner seam and it had thrown out the position of the last piece!

This seemed like such an easy one from the start, and it is, really, but a lot of care is needed to make it work accurately.

Block Facts:

Name: Susannah
History: This is a variation of a block known as ‘Oh Susannah’, the popular song which was first published in America in 1848.
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces: 9

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block
Block 14: Susannah

Basket of Flowers quilt block

basket of flowers quilt block

Introducing the Basket of Flowers block, from issue 14 ‘Art of Quilting’. And what a little trickster this was! Just when you get the hang of ‘chaining’ and running seams from top to bottom, this little bunch of pieces involved set-in seams, meaning the seams meet at the same point rather than the lines of stitching crossing over.

Though my quarter inch foot is still my best friend when it comes to quilting, in this instance it is also advisable to draw on the seam lines so you can accurately pin point where the seams will meet.

The red flower diamond shape and the orange daisy diamond shape are seamed together, starting and ending at the seam points. This is repeated for the second set.

The small white triangles are then positioned between the diamond pairs, and each side sewn from edge to seam point.

These two sets are then joined along the long edges of the diamonds from seam point to edge.

The white square then is inserted between the two sets, being careful to meet at the seam points.

Then it starts to get a little easier as the big green paisley triangle is sewn along the long edge. No seam points to meet just edge to edge seam.

The little green paisley triangles are then seamed to the white rectangles and seamed to each side.

One last big white triangle to sew across the bottom… a good old press … et voilà!

This one did take a little more time than the others but it was still a pleasure to make and its a lovely one to add to the set.

Block Facts:

Name: ‘Basket of Flowers’ or ‘Lily Basket’ or ‘Flower Basket’
History: This design was ideally suited to the dress and feedsack prints of 1930s America, where it was a particular favourite
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces:13

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block

The Windmill Sails block

Windmill sails quilt block

Quilt block number 12, the Windmill Sails block, from issue 13 ‘Art of Quilting’. I appear to have mislaid issue 12 but there’s no real urgency… I’ve still got 69 others to do!

I totally recognised the order of piecing this time, purposefully not looking at the instructions to test how much I have learned so far. I think in fairness, even though there are a fair few pieces, it was a pretty easy one to work out:

The 2 smaller triangles were sewn to the diagonals of the larger red triangles to make 4 rectangles. The blue gingham then sewn to the side of the red fabric point to make a small block. Then the four blocks sewn together. I thought I was going to have to seek reference on which way to press the seams but even that seemed pretty natural, until I got to the last centre seam where I had to check to find out that it must be pressed open to get it to lay flat.

windmill sails block reverse

I had a bit of a mare with the blue gingham though. The grain of the fabric wasn’t in tune with the checks and I had to decide whether to go for straight grain or straight pattern. I opted for the first even though it is hugely annoying that the pattern isn’t totally straight and I think I did the right thing because when I pressed it at the end it made for a perfect square. Might have been a different story if I’d have gone against the grain. Oh my! I really didn’t think these little things would have me thinking so much!

Block Facts:

Name: ‘Windmill sails’ or ‘Louisiana’
History: Each of the fifty states that make up the USA has its own embematic quilt block. This represents the southern state of Louisiana
Level: Some experience needed to make the centre seams converge neatly.
No. of pieces:16

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block

The Sawtooth Star block

sawtooth star quilt block

Quilt block number 10, the Sawtooth Star block and more importantly, one whole column’s worth of the final quilt! Not that these first 10 do actually sit in the same column but it is still an eight of the way there, all the same! It helps a lot that my lovely neighbour has subscribed me to the ‘Art of Quilting’. There is of course an obligation but it is the nicest kind of pressure!

It’s becoming easier to recognise the order in which these block pieces should be assembled. I just find it a bit tricky knowing the best way to press the seams. It’s not always towards the darker fabric, as I thought. So I am still very much paying attention to the instructions for that advice. Hopefully that will become second nature eventually.

To make this one, two smaller triangles were attached either side to the diagonals of the larger triangle to form a rectangle. Four sets of these were made. Two of these rectangles were sewn east and west side of the large central square. The smaller squares were attached each end of the other two rectangles, which were then sewn north and south of the block.

As with most of the blocks that contain small triangles, there is a necessity to watch those points and keep those seams to exactly 6mm. I was very concsious of how much room there was for error in this one but took it extra slow. Well, for the duration of Little Miss Ooobop’s flute lesson, actually!

Block Facts:

Name: Sawtooth Star block
History: This block gets it’s name from the triangles that are reminiscent of a saw’s cutting edge. It has appeared on very early quilts in the US, dating back to 1860.
Level: Slightly more advanced as accuracy is vital to create the points of the star
No. of pieces:17

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star

The Sailboat Block

sailboat quilt block

sailboat quilt block

This is my third block care of the ‘Art of Quilting’! It is the Sailboat block and it was anything but plain sailing. I think it’s true to say that I made this one all the more difficult by doing it half asleep, late this evening, at a certain time of the month… really not advisable!

Let me tell you… unpicking tiny fraying squares, especially when you’ve used a small machine stitch and secured each end, particularly when your eyes are not properly open, and you are a little stroppy to say the least, is an absolute nightmare.

sailboat quilt block reverse

sailboat quilt block reverse

But I did not growl too much and though I considered abandonment, I rode the waves and I’m now really pleased with it. I think it’s kind of cute! It’s very apparent how keeping a consistent 6mm seam is of crucial importance. You can see from the top edge that I didn’t manage it exactly but I think I can ‘wing’ that edge when it comes to putting it all together.

I’m still behind by one issue and I’m sure the next one is due soon but one is definitely enough for this evening. Give me a vintage dress to make any day!

Block Facts:

Name: Sailboat
History: Some variations of this design date back to the late 1800s. This version has a ‘Deco’ feel and is more likely to belong to the 1930s.
Level: Beginner (apparently!)
No. of pieces: 14

Quilts and ghosts….

The Art of Quilting

The Art of Quilting

My lovely neighbour saw this publication advertised and bought two subscriptions… one for herself and one for me! I panicked at the prospect of being able to fit in a bit of quilting along with everything else, but in fact its proved to be such a lovely thing to do with Little Miss Ooobop! and it has resulted in some proper old-fashioned quality time together. She was so keen to get started and quickly decided on the cushion cover to make for her room.

double four patch

double four patch

So these are our first ‘double 4 patch’ blocks. See, I didn’t even know that there were such names for different patterns, that’s how much I know about quilting! She is determined to eliminate all pink from her bedroom right now and had already hunted through the fabric stash box to find blues and purples. I am secretly happy about this because I was loving the lime green Brighton Pavillion fabric that came with the first issue! And so I am embarking on the quilt… ha ha…. the idea that I will ever finish a quilt is so funny but worth a try hey? Incidentally can you see how LMO’s block is correct and mine is quite clearly wrong? No? Oh good, well let’s move on then!

I gave LMO the option of sewing on the machine or by hand and she already had in mind that we would sit together and sew by hand. I hid my grimace as best I could but I have to say it has proved to be such a lovely thing to do together. Her stitching is so neat for a 7 year old and I love that we are both learning on the job, so to speak!

double four patch

double four patch, reverse

I made hundreds of little hexagons when I was around her age, some of which turned into ‘flowers’ but none of which evolved into a quilt. I think it’s quite funny that the ‘ghost of the quilting past’ has reared his pretty head again! Clearly he won’t rest until I have made one!