Monday, May 22, 2017

More Old Italians

Obviously I was a little hasty in putting together that mini tutorial that I gave you a couple of posts back on how to sew the Old Italian block as I had a question from a reader as to what size to cut the strips that create the crisscross, so here's a few more details.

My initial instructions suggested starting with one 8" block, but you really start with two, one light and one dark.

Cut 2" wide strips through both diagonal lines of the blocks, measuring 1" on either side of the line that runs from corner to corner. Here's a better picture of how to lay your ruler to get the first cut - the 1" line runs through the block from point to point. For the second cut just flip the ruler around and cut 1" away from the centre line of the block, or 2" from the first cut.

Repeat this cutting sequence across the second diagonal.

After you have cut the strips through the diagonal of the block in both directions they look like this, so with only four cuts per block you have all of the pieces that you need to make two blocks.

Now, just switch up the corner strips; the centre square and triangles stay where they are - and voila, two blocks ready to assemble. If you press all seams to the dark side they will nest together nicely to finish off the blocks.

This one still needs to be trimmed, but it doesn't take long before you have a nice little pile of blocks that will finish at 6.5" square....M

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Perfect Day to Quilt

The gardens will have to wait just a little bit longer before I get out there and tackle the last of the spring clean-up because today is a wet and dreary day, so I'm going to return to quilting my Candied Hexagons instead.

It's a long weekend for us (Victoria Day weekend) so many of the neighbours are away, making it very quiet on the street, and somehow confirming that some quiet time at the quilt is the thing to do.

It's been a while since I've worked on it so it will be good to get back to it. Who knows, there might even be a Sunday afternoon nap on the schedule 😉. If this is a long weekend for you I hope that you are finding the perfect way to put your feet up and enjoy the break too....M

Tuesday, May 09, 2017


Maybe it was because I needed a change from hexies or maybe it was just my QADD (quilter's attention deficit disorder) kicking in. Actually, my trolling on Pinterest is probably partly to blame too. Whatever it was, I ended up playing with a new block.

It's called the Old Italian Block (isn't that just a lovely name?) and looked like it might be a good start for a charity quilt or table runner. If nothing else, it got me dreaming of far off Italy and enjoying a glass of wine in a café on the Amalfi Coast hillside, but I digress.

If you'd like to try to make a few yourself, here's a very quick tutorial that will give you a 6" finished block. Start with an 8" block,

make 4 diagonal cuts (the centre strips are 2" wide, cut 1" on either side of the diagonal lines that cut through the block),

switch out the four corner strip pieces with a dark print (or a light print, if you started with a dark 8" square), sew everything together,

and voila, a 6.5" inch block. Alternate light and dark blocks when laying it out.

I've seen a quilt done in this pattern that really caught my eye but wanted to try it out before committing to making it. It would be lovely with all of the light pieces in this Jacobean print and a variety of tone-on-tone blues - very much like handmade tiles.

But I think that making it scrappy has lots of potential too. Either way, it was a nice escape..M

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Frames for the large hexies at the centre of my Anna Levens quilt are on the agenda today. I've got three in the works and two of the three are now together, with the pink one to go.

At least I thought there were three. That was until I moved the pile and realized that I have prepped the small hexies for a fourth block. Talk about quilt amnesia!

Fabrics have been paired so I'm looking forward to basting at least one of them into place so that I can appliqué it to its backing.

It's a rainy, cold and miserable day (when is Spring supposed to arrive?) so I went to the freezer and dug out an apple pie to bake. It's the perfect antidote for cold and rainy weather.

I also decided it was also a good day for some Shrimp Risotto with Fresh Herb Butter - total comfort food. It's been a while since we've had this and it was delicious with steamed asparagus. I like this recipe because you don't have to stir it for an eternity.

Maybe I'll see if we can find highlights of the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games from last night - both teams are now up 2-0 in their series. Yaaaaaa - that's my boys! (I'm such a fair weather fan - only really get into it during the playoffs.).....M