Tree Block #2

This block uses half-square triangles and rectangles. I decided to start out with 4 levels, which meant 8 HST. I first needed to look up how to calculate the dimensions – finished size + 7/8 inches. I wanted a 2 inches finished HST and wanted to give myself a little wiggle room so I cut the squares at 3 inches.

Once I made the HSTs, I pressed and trimmed them to 2.5.

Tree2piecing

Then I laid out the HSTs along with the rectangles to create the tree. I worked from the top down. I wanted the next level HSTs to hit the preceeding HSTs in the middle.

Next I worked from the bottom up, adding enough white on each side so all four levels were the same length. I am ok with a little extra here. However, to make sure the tree lined up evenly I marked the middle of the colored rectangles and pinned from the middle outwards.

Tree2Composite

Once everything was sewn, I pressed and squared up the block.

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New York Beauty Fix

I’ve been working on a New York Beauty quilt for awhile. I finally got the front together, minus the border and realized that the balance of the quilt was a bit off. This is when I start to debate with myself: Is it really worth seam ripping or will it be okay. Normally I opt for the second option. But I’ve been trying to challenge myself lately.

NYBfix_before

I wanted to switch the two blocks that were highlighted.

A pile of thread later….

pileOthread

And the finished front with borders.

NYBfix_afer

I’m actually not sure if the change helped balance the quilt, maybe not worth it. But definitely a lesson on my part. And this picture reinforces that I need to find a better way to photograph my quilts.

Tree block #1

This first tree block is something I admired on Crazy Mom Quilts blog and wanted to recreate it.

(As I am somewhat making this up as I go along, I will take notes as I sew. This allows me to recreate a block/quilt/bag again. This also includes notes of things that I don’t like, in order to adjust the pattern next time around.)

My strips will all be 1.5 inches high. Completed strips will be 12.5 in long. I started with cutting out the colored pieces first, as I was not entirely sure how long I wanted each. The smallest is 1.5×1.5. I doubled the length for the second one. And did the same for the next. But I wanted 5 colors, so I couldn’t keep on doubling. The next 2 lengths ended up at 10.5 and 12.5.

Tree1Colors

Now comes the hard part for me – quilters math. In theory it is just adding an additional .5 inch to each seam. However, this is not always so simple for me. Point in fact, the first strip (2nd longest as I like working from the bottom up) I thought I needed 1.75 inches of white on either side. Ended up too short, so I seam ripped and tried again. 2.25 on either side was a tad too long, so I trimmed it.

The next three colors went well. Lengths at 3.75, 5.25, 6.

I trimmed a little after finishing the block. I decided to wait to sew on the white strips to the top and bottom until I figure out how everything is going to fit together. I have a feeling it will be somewhat challenging.

Finished block

I think if I make this block again I’d like to make the color strips thicker so they stand out more.

Tree Skirt Design

Over the next 2 months I want to take you through my design process. A scary proposal, as I have learned how to design quilts through just doing it and making a lot of mistakes. My hope is that it will give others the confidence to try to design something of their own.

The reason I chose a tree skirt?

  • I don’t like our current one and thought of making my own too late last year
  • I’ve looked for tree skirt patterns but haven’t found one that I really like

My plan is to make a tree and star sampler – 5 trees and 10-15 stars. Tree blocks will be between 10-12 inches finished and mostly green with splashes of red. Star blocks will be 4-6 inches finished and a mix of red, gray, teal and green.

My fabric choices:

  • Background – Kona Snow
  • Colors – a charm pack of Kate Spain’s “In from the cold”, plus some from my stash
  • Backing – Laurie Wisbrun’s “Holiday Sweet Tweets”

Fabric