A few years ago we started a precut challenge on HeartStrings. Each month Stephanie would pull a precut from the hat and we’d either piece a project using that precut or finish up an existing UFO. Over time, we started adding in different blocks and shapes and now I guess it’s more accurate to call it our monthly precut/block challenge. This month she pulled Happy Blocks, always a favorite with the group.
I have not yet found the bin with my novelty scraps so after looking over my previous Happy Block quilts and finding this one from years ago using just 3 fabrics, I decided that’s what I’d do this month.
Tonight I finished sewing my rows together and my top for this month’s challenge is done.
I added some quilt notes to the existing Happy Blocks for HeartStrings page – scroll down to the bottom of the page to see them. There are other versions on the website too – you can really use whatever measurements you want and I’ve done versions with Charm squares and a Twisted one too. Just search for Happy Blocks.
I know this one won’t appeal to some of you … but I love scrappy and I love using up all my leftover strips and strings. I hope that when this Rail Fence is quilted it will provide warmth and comfort to someone in need.
Our Precut challenge last month was Jelly Rolls. This Lantern quilt is the 2nd set of blocks I pieced while Mom was here and now it’s a finished top. I’m not adding borders because it’s a good size for donation as it is.
You can find the free pattern at this link but I’d suggest you think about how to assemble the top – I really dislike sewing long skinny rows so I’m not sure why I started assembling it like the pattern but I switched to sewing it in quarters for the second half and I’d wished I’d started out that way. It’s much easier. You can see the first 4 rows are assembled in long rows but then I sewed the top and bottom sections together in the second section.
This pattern also looks good with a dark background. Mom and I made this one together a couple years ago.
I’m going to cast on another hat now and will have an easy weekend – there’s one quilt left to bind and I’ll knit.
This Plus 1 top is the first of two sets of blocks I pieced during Mom’s visit that needed assembling. It also counts as my project for this month’s precut challenge since I used a Jelly Roll.
I’ve got an old set of instructions from 2016 when I made my first version of this quilt that never made it to the website so I’ll update those and add it. While I love the tessellating Plus quilts, I don’t have the patience to keep everything in order while assembling it. This one is easy because the blocks are all pieced and then the spacers are added as you assemble the rows.
Mom finished another top … I keep losing count of how many tops she’s finished since getting here but I counted them up again and this Owl top makes 5. It’s based on a Fabric Cafe pattern called Pretty Please.
I have this same owl fabric in purple so you’ll see another one of these 3 yard quilts using it eventually.
While Mom was finishing up this one, I finished cutting another one for her and started quilting the doll top. I decided to use some leftover Minky fabric on the back which was not the best decision. I had to shove and pull to get it to feed through. I’m going to end up doing minimal quilting on it which is OK, it’s a doll quilt and it will be fine. It makes me appreciate how easy it is to use Minky for backings on the longarm.
I’ve been doing a lot of cooking while Mom’s been here trying to fix her some of her favorites. Tonight we decided to make a turkey dinner. We fixed a turkey breast, broccoli casserole, dressing, and cranberry sauce and it was yummy! Tomorrow we’ll have leftovers.
Mom finished piecing her 3+ yard Brick Street top. Pattern is from Fabric Cafe.
For some reason these photos never quite show how cute these quilts turn out. Here’s a closer view of the fabrics.
While Mom was finishing that top, I pulled a bin with leftover bits from the last 16 patch top I pieced and made a little doll quilt. I just can’t stand to let those little bits go to waste. I added borders to 2 sides to bring it up to about 23.25 x 25.5 inches.
I made the mistake of not measuring my fabrics before starting this morning and ran out of the Dinosaur print. I made it work but I won’t show a full photo until it’s quilted because this is another one of the 3 yard quilts that just is not photographing well. It’s really cute in person and in the close up but the overall photo looks odd!
I pulled a backing and pieced some batting leftovers and the 3rd top is ready for quilting tonight. I also trimmed the ones from the last 2 nights so they’re ready for binding but they’ll wait until next week.
The closing on the Tampa townhouse was delayed again as I expected. They’re just waiting for the permit to be closed by the city now and they’ve rescheduled for Friday but that might be too optimistic. We’ll see.
So, the scale is off on this one for me and the quilt doesn’t flow from block to block but I wanted to try a different 3 yard quilt and it’s another one that just doesn’t photograph all that well. I don’t dislike it, I just don’t love it.
Although, when looking at it closer up … it doesn’t bother me as much.
This is one I saw online when doing a search for 3 yard quilts and I debated what size blocks to use. I think I might have been happier with 8 inch finished blocks and a border rather than the borderless 10 inches finished blocks I went with. I did play a bit with the idea before piecing the top but I don’t think I’ll do this one again.
You might wonder what the appeal is in the 3 yard quilts – although let me say I always use more than 3 yards and adapt the borders, number of blocks and binding to suit my needs/taste. There are several reasons I’m enjoying making them.
First, it’s always fun to do a project with a group and see what everyone else is coming up with and my HeartStrings group started making them this spring.
It’s nice to work on a quick easy project in between scrap quilts which take me longer and involve a lot of sorting and cutting of fabric (not that I mind since scrap quilts are my favorites) but these are a nice break too.
They’re great projects for working with larger prints or novelty fabrics for kids.
They make cute kids quilts and nice lap size donation quilts for adults.
And finally, they’re great stash busters. Because I can typically piece one of these in an afternoon, I feel like I’m making a lot more progress using up my large stash than when I’m making scrap quilts and see no progress at all so it’s a good balance for me.
And in case you’ve forgotten what my large stash looks like … it’s still a bit of a mess with the bins everywhere. One of these days I’m going to have to take some time and get a bit more organized.
I’m missing the Maine sew-in this week. We decided flying up there just wasn’t something we were comfortable doing right now with the surge in COVID cases but I’m sewing along from home. The theme this year is the 3 yard quilts we’ve been working on and I got started Monday afternoon piecing this Unicorn Stepping Stones top. Pattern is from Fabric Cafe. That pink is not nearly as overwhelmingly bright in person!
Here’s a close-up of the unicorn fabric.
Even though I wasn’t in Maine with the others I had LOTS of company – there was a steady stream of deer walking by and peering in my windows!
After Keith went to bed, I came back down and loaded and quilted my Turtles – another one of my 3 yard quilts. It just so happens to be the Stepping Stones pattern too. Pantograph is Beaded Curtain and I think this is the first time I’ve quilted this one. I’m going to try it smaller next time but I like the curvy quilting on this top.