I made good headway on the 221 blocks today; I have less than 50 to go. If I get close and have to cut a set of strips to get enough, I’ll probably cut whole 3 1/2″ squares to finish up.
Here’s a picture of stacks of 10 that I’ve finished. I didn’t really arrange the blocks before I took the picture so this doesn’t show all the neutrals I’ve used in here, but I think you can get an idea of the neutrals I am using in mine. They all have some sort of pattern in them; most are what I would call “cream”. Not white, not tan or brown. There is one in here that’s a little darker – the one with the dots – but it’s not so far out there that it’s distracting to me.
Bonnie likes to spin her seams in the middle. If you haven’t done this before, I bet you can find Eleanor Burns doing this on about every show or YouTube video; she’s a big fan of it. It does help make the blocks flatter in the middle.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you get to the spinning part. The first thing is to know if the pattern calls for you to spin clockwise, or counterclockwise. In this case, she said to spin clockwise. In order to make that happen, every single block needs to be pieced together a specific way.
To do that, sew two blocks together as you would start a four patch block as normal. My blocks were pressed to one side at this point. When you get ready to sew 2 two-patch blocks together to make a 4-patch block, make sure that every single time, the top block has the seam going up.
The piece on the bottom needs to have the seam facing down. If you get that mixed up, it won’t spin clockwise; it will only spin counterclockwise. Now that you have the 4-patch sewn, you’re almost done.
In this first picture, you’ll see I took the block and the seam I just sewed needs to be horizontal. If you press up on the left side (where my thumb is in the upper picture) and down on the right side – close to the middle on both sides – the center seam will pop open. I’ve stitched this at about a 1.5 or so and they pop for me without a seam ripper so it’s pretty easy to do. From there, “smush” it in the middle to get it to spin and then press. You’ll know you did it right if you have 4 seams also going in a clockwise spin like the second picture shows here.
We decorated the inside of the house for Christmas today. We traditionally get a tree on the Sunday after Thanksgiving but with a child headed back to college tomorrow, it made more sense to do it today. There’s a tree farm not far from us that we’ve gone to for the past several years. They have hay rides, etc. and a gift shop. My mom used to send Advent calendars for the kids each year which they always looked forward to. Mom is in hospice care now and not in a position to send it. Our daughter asked if we could buy this. Selfishly, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to “take over” a tradition, especially since she’s still with us. But the truth is the kids wanted it as a way to remember something their grandmother used to do. So as hard as it was, we started a new tradition this year.