lucky (winning) duck

Thanks for playing my silly guessing game! The winner of the mystery prize from my stash is commenter #12, Amber, who as it turns out hit the nail on the head. She guessed that it was garlic gone to seed, which it most definitely is. Amber, send me your mailing info at april@prairiegrasspatterns.com.

Amber wins a Verna honey bun (an oldie but goodie!) and a copy of my Grammy’s Scrap Basket pattern (which uses honey buns). If you’re sad you didn’t win, don’t worry. There are still a few honey buns left in my shop, and lots of patterns!

In other, giveaway-ish type news, I should be getting some fun fabric for a giveaway very, very soon, so stay tuned. Also, a public service announcement later this week. I’d do it now, but I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I went to sleep at some ridiculous time last night (2:30ish?) only to be woken up at 6am by a sick child. On the upside, though, I got 9 quilts bound in a little over 14 hours, so yay. They’re off to displaced and orphaned children in Japan tomorrow. As for me, it’s off to the treadmill with some ice water to try and wake up ( I know, it’s 4pm. Sad state of affairs.) Hopefully I’ll be back later with some housekeeping and Farmer’s Wife blocks.

Happy Tuesday!

xoxo



Can’t wait. (Plus a giveaway.)

They’re starting to turn red.

Blushy orange.

Plump and ripe.

Full of surprises.

I can’t wait.

Speaking of surprises, this plant (shown above) definitely surprised me. I had never seen or expected these blossoms. So, since you’re all so clever, how about you tell me what you think they are? Everyone who comments with a guess will be entered to win something fun from my stash–this is impromptu so I don’t know exactly what the prize is yet, but it will be of the fabricy variety. So tell me! Do you know what this plant is?

Good luck, and here’s to hoping you have beautiful ripening things in your gardens, too.



Tutorial: How to make a perfect four-patch quilt block.


Piecing a perfect four-patch block is just one of those things a quilter should have under their belt, if you know what I mean. Luckily, it’s a quick and easy process (nevermind that it took me about a billion pictures to show how easy it is…). Once you get the hang of it, you can crank these babies out in no time flat, and you’ll want to, they’re in a TON of patterns. I apologize in advance for these colors. They’re pretty much clashing with everything else here…

Start with 4 squares of fabric, all the same size.

Take the squares on the left and flip them over so they are face down on top of the fabrics on the right. The “right sides” of the squares should be facing each other. In quilting terms, this is called “right sides together”. I know, we’re a creative bunch. Pin, if necessary. My squares are only 2½” square, so it’s not needed in my case, but if you’re working with squares bigger than about 3″, I suggest pins.

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew both sets of two squares together using a straight stitch. To make things easier later, do NOT take a double stitch or backstitch on the first and last stitches.

They’ll look like this. Only with your fabrics, of course.

Put your sewn squares on your ironing board without opening them.

Press the seam allowance with a hot iron. I know this seems weird, but it’s called “setting” the seams. It makes the thread lay more flat so that when you open up the block and press it, it lays, well, more flat.

See? Looking flatter already.

Now, open up your pieces and lay them face down.

Decide which way you will press your seam allowance. Ideally, you will press in opposite directions, toward the darker fabric. So, see how the block on top is being pressed to the left, while the block on the bottom is being pressed to the right? This makes it really easy, later on, to make a perfectly aligned intersection. To make sure you don’t “lose” any fabric in the seam, gently pull both sides of the block away from the seam while using your fingers to press and hold the seam allowance the direction you will press it with the iron. Work slowly and carefully so you don’t skew or stretch your blocks.

Press with hot iron.

Now, place the right sides together again. You will notice that your seam allowances are facing different directions, directly opposite each other. You will also notice, that if you use your fingers to gently slide the blocks against each other, you can feel when the block “clicks” into place. This is usually called “butting” or “nesting” your seams, and is a great way to not only get precise intersections, but also to distribute bulk.

Pin. Usually, I will pin at the top, at each intersection, and at the bottom. If there is more than 3 inches or so between, I will pin there, too.

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew. Be sure to remove your pins before they go under your presser foot.

Lay flat on your ironing board, and set the seam.

Open up the block, face down on your ironing board. Push the seam allowance in opposite directions on the top and bottom.

Since you didn’t take any backstitches before, pushing the seam allowances will loosen those middle stitches, allowing them to come out and open up, like this. Isn’t it cute? Besides being cute, it is also much flatter than pressing your seam allowance all to one side. (There ARE situations where that is a better option, though, so follow your pattern’s instructions.)

Press it. (And when I say press it, I mean pick up your iron, and place it on the block. Straight down. Don’t move it around. That will just stretch and warp your block.)

Now, flip it over, and give it one more press. Voila! A perfect four-patch block!

I knew you could do it.

Any questions? Tips or tricks? Share!



Over the moon.

I got a sweet little gift this week.

“Look Mommy! I made you a quilt!”

Paper and pencil, only, but still just as precious as a fabric and stitch version.

And boy was she delighted when I told her we could make a real one.

(And boy was I delighted that she wanted to!)

She picked out the fabrics. (From Bonnie and Camille’s Bliss line for Moda)

I did the pinning with a little help from the boy.

I did the pedal, too. (She can’t reach it).

She guided the fabric, oh so carefully. I loved every minute.

And then, of course, it was naptime, which gave Mommy plenty of time to put the finishing touches on it. (Binding is Spirit by Lila Tueller for Moda).

It turned out so cute, I’m tempted to keep it, except for the look on her face when I gave it to her.

Over the moon.

Turns out, that’s how I feel about teaching her, too.



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