February 24, 2016

Springtime --- where are you?

Winter photo © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Winter, go away ...
Well, I can certainly say, that while looking out my window today, springtime can't come soon enough. Oh, I know -- my view is spectacular, but I've had enough of winter.

So, here is a bright and cheery start to a new quilting project -- the Springtime quilt block.

Springtime quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Springtime quilt block
This nine patch block will give you some excellent practice sewing your quarter inch seam allowance as there are quite a few pieces. Now, having said that, there is nothing difficult in making this block. Squares, rectangles, half square triangles and flying geese units -- all basic quilt patches -- are all that are used.

I stuck with the obvious colours, derived from the block name, but you can change up those colours for a an original and totally different look.

And speaking of springtime ...

  • "The beautiful spring came; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also."
    ~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

  • "It's easy to understand why the most beautiful poems about England in the spring were written by poets living in Italy at the time."
    ~ Philip Dunne

  • "The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month."
    ~ Henry Van Dyke

  • "No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn."
    ~ Hal Borland

  • "Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!' "
    ~ Robin Williams

"Springtime' quilt block image and "Winter" image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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February 17, 2016

Blackford's Beauty

Blackford's Beauty quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Blackford's Beauty quilt block
I was trying to find out the what or who was the inspiration for the quilt block Blackford's Beauty and so far, I have not found it. So, I'm throwing this out there for anyone to give me the details. Any helpers?

Blackford's Beauty is one of those interesting blocks (at least to me) as it creates secondary patterns when you place it in your quilt in different ways. I just love secondary patterns. You get a surprise when you start playing around with placement of your blocks. This sample quilt illustration shows you what I mean.

This nine patch quilt block has lots of parts, but none of them are difficult. Squares, rectangles and a few flying geese units are all the parts.

And speaking of beauty ...

Blackford's Beauty quilt image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Blackford's Beauty quilt

  • "People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within."
    ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

  • "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
    ~ Helen Keller

  • "Beauty is simply reality seen with the eyes of love."
    ~ Rabindranath Tagore

    and then there is the conceit of some people ...

  • "I am a thing of beauty."
    ~ Frank Sinatra

February 09, 2016

Jawhawks or Jayhawks?

Jayhawk image courtesy printablecolouringpages.co.uk
Kansas University Jayhawk
I found this quilt block called Jawhawks -- a simple one to construct -- but the name was one I had never heard before. In fact, I can't seem to even find a definition of the word "Jawhawk". All searches point to "Jayhawk". So, if anyone has any information to further this conundrum, please let me know.

My personal opinion is that Jawhawk became Jayhawk because it was easier to say. Maybe those quilters in Kansas can enlighten me. YourDictionary says that the origin of the word jayhawk is "the name of a fictional bird, half bluejay and half sparrowhawk, mascot of the University of Kansas." And here is his picture. He's kinda cute!

Jawhawks quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Jawhawks quilt block
Now back to the quilt block. This simple nine patch is a good starting place for a beginner quilter. The corners are made using half square triangles, the second most commonly used patch in quilt making, and there are also a few flying geese units to add a little pizzazz. Now, since this is not a common block (at least under this name), you are in the driver's seat to create a unique quilt to impress your friends!

Download the free quilt block pattern.

It's for the birds

  • "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright."
    ~ Stephen King

  • "Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses."
    ~ Dale Carnegie

  • "A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song."
    ~ Chinese Proverb

    but let's not forget about Kansas

  • "When I write, I aim in my mind not toward New York but toward a vague spot a little to the east of Kansas."
    ~ John Updike

'Jawhawks' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
'Jayhawk' image courtesy printablecolouringpages.co.uk

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February 05, 2016

Who doesn't love a day at the beach?

Brighton Beach quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
Brighton Beach quilt block
Brighton Beach will get you thinking of summer days and fun in the sand -- at least I will be thinking about this. (Winter can just take a hike, if that was possible.)

This quilt block is a five patch, and an easy one at that, so is a great choice for beginner quilters. The added surprise -- (if you choose to set the blocks side by side in your quilt) -- is that a secondary pattern emerges -- pinwheels. And coincidentally, pinwheels are just the thing to entrance the kids while enjoying a day at the beach. A win-win situation.

So now it is time to dream of beaches and sunshine

Image courtesy James Barker at freedigitalphotos.net
Brighton Beach and pier

  • "If there is a heaven for me, I'm sure it has a beach attached to it."
    ~ Jimmy Buffett

  • "I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought."
    ~ Helen Keller

  • "The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea."
    ~ Isak Dinesen

'Brighton Beach' quilt block image © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com
'Brighton Beach and pier image courtesy James Barker freedigitalphotos.net

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