175 out of 221

img_20161126_162202.jpgI 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.

20161126_070028.jpgThere 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.

20161126_065620.jpgThe 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.

20161126_155232.jpgWe 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.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Andee in AZ says:

    I took the time to learn the spinning..was cool once I figured it out. Your explanation and tips help too!

    1. Awesome! I’m glad to hear that!

  2. Wow that is a lot of blocks and sending you good thoughts as far as your Mom.

  3. Thank you for the tip on spinning seams. I tried it out with some remnants and I loved the results.
    Sorry to hear about your mother.
    What a beautiful tradition to pass on to your daughter.
    This will be my first Christmas without mom.
    Christmas was her time to decorate every part of her house, mostly with decorations she made herself.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss; it’s a tough time of year, especially the first time although that never really goes away. My mom always did such a great job of decorating too. I’m glad the spinning seams tip worked!

  4. Wow, what is your speedy secret? You are trucking right along!

    1. I’m able to cut the strips really quickly and cut several layers at a time with my Accuquilt; that definitely helps. Chain piecing and mass ironing helps too. And not having a booked schedule this weekend definitely help!

  5. Deb says:

    Nice headway on the blocks! The calendar is delightful,glad you are carrying on the tradition. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I was grateful that my kids were the ones that suggested it; adults can usually count on the younger ones to keep the joy in the season.

  6. kathyreeves says:

    I am really loving this quilt, it is very difficult to not start making little blocks….Maybe I can make a mini version…I visited the site, but I don’t think I saw anything about the finished block size yet, so I’ll keep working on catching up with Splendid Sampler and dream about the possibilities. Maybe it will work to do a few blocks as a wall hanging for fun.
    It is hard when your mom’s traditions are transferring. What if your kiddos sent her an advent calendar for this year? Would it brighten her day, or discourage her? Or maybe show her the one they bought because they love her tradition and want it to continue. Hospice at Christmas is tough, I’ll keep you guys in my prayers.

    1. Honestly, there are shortcuts I can see with the way she pieces so this one doesn’t have to be all tiny. For instance, you could skip the 4-patch and instead cut all 3 1/2″ blocks and get the same thing. I think that would be a great idea to send her an advent calendar. She’s in the final stages of Alzheimer’s so she may not know or remember it, but I think it would be nce to try. Thanks!

      1. kathyreeves says:

        Glad it helped…I’ll watch the next clue and then decide what to do.

  7. admcmasters says:

    You are a good mom to keep your daughter’s Christmas tradition alive for her. It is fun to see your blocks and see how totally different they are from mine even though we are both making the neutral blocks in Bonnie’s mystery. I’m going with more white and gray background than tan and cream. That just seems to be what was already in my box of already cut two-inch squares. I’m a firm believer in using up what I already have. Your corners match beautifully, good job!

    1. Thank you! I need to go check yours out (I’m reading through all the comments from the past few days). Ironically, I had plenty of grey but felt they didn’t go with the cream ones which is why I didn’t throw them in. Thanks!

  8. Good tips about the seams. And I’m sorry about your mom being in care. It’s very hard to let go of traditions, but there’s nothing wrong with making your own.

    1. Thank you. They did such a great job helping me decorate the house yesterday. We’ve made some of our own traditions too so it’s a nice mix.

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