Happy Valentine's Day!

Do you miss those vintage Valentine's cards with their corny messages? I sure do. When my kids were younger and I was finding Valentine packages for them to take to school, I remember thinking how they don't make 'em like they used to. And before my day, they were really elaborate:

All lacy and fancy. But they didn't have Google back then, and you know how I loves me the Google.

We're doing our Valentine celebrating tomorrow, trying to avoid the madding crowd of diners. I'm going out with my sweety Mike, as you might guess. Today I'm baking him some Chocolate, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti. I found the recipe on the Ghiradelli website a while back. I'll get at that as soon as I'm finished here.

Looks yummy, huh? We love biscotti as much as we love The Google.

Yesterday was kind of a slow day. Some days I can't get past my procrastination. I'm wanting to finish up the quilt top for the Dream Machines, but I'm dreading making 20 little spool blocks. 

Sewing is my passion, but I'm not passionate about everything I sew, if you know what I mean. These were dragging me down. When I finally got started on it yesterday, I realized it wasn't that bad. I searched for a way to make some that were small enough for a cornerstone, and I finally found the ones I was looking for in a video tutorial on the Jolly Jabber blog. Here's how you do it:

You can make these any size you want, and the video on Jolly Jabber made the point that they work well with precuts of any size. These happen to be mini-charm size with each piece being cut to 2 1/2 inches square. You'll need two for the spool, two for the background, and one for your thread color.

I'm using the same background I used for the quilt blocks:

So, you start by stacking one of the background pieces and one of the spool pieces and cutting them in half.

Those serve as your background and the top and bottom of your spool

Then stack the remaining two pieces right sides together to make four little half square triangles for the ends of the spool. And here's a quick and dirty way to do it. Mark one of your squares by drawing lines corner to corner in both directions.

Stitch on those lines.

Then, cut them in half, as before...

Rotate them 90 degrees and then cut them again, and...

Voila! You have four little half square triangles.

Trim your seam allowances and press them open. With these being so small, I'm trimming my seam allowances to 1/8 inch.

Lay them out to check for placement. They want to curl up because they're so small.

When you're satisfied everything is going in the right direction, sew them together, thus:

This is actually the fifth one I've made. I'm making them in all different colors, this being a Rainbow Challenge. I'm still mulling over what fabrics I'm going to use for the borders and the sashings. This pattern is from Barbara Weiland Talbert and is available free right here. (Someone always asks, so there you go.) 

I usually let the pattern pictures guide my fabric choices, and so originally, I had in mind to use that feathered fabric in the lower right hand corner below.

Now I'm not so sure, and so I have several fabrics pulled out. I have limited quantities of the pink and purple ones in the center. I haven't really measured and done the arithmetic yet, but I might have enough for sashings...certainly enough for binding. Nevertheless, I'm kind of sold on that ruler fabric for the binding. Wouldn't that be fun? I might need to fussy cut it to avoid losing the design. 

Since I'm making the cornerstones in all colors, I have the blocks stuck up on my design wall, which sadly, is losing its stick. It seems the company that manufactured this Block Butler is out of business now too. I haven't been able to find them online. They had some tips for restoring the stick, as I recall. I've always just spritzed it with water, but that doesn't seem to be working. I had to snap this image really fast before they fell off the wall yet again. Anyway...you can see the five spools I have there.

My hopeful goal is  to get those all made this weekend, and start sewing it together. So there you have it. My Valentine's weekend is all mapped out.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

quiltzyx said...

The spools are going to look just great as your cornerstones! Glad you found a way to make them easier on yourself too.
For a cheap & easy design wall, buy an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth with the fuzzy (flannel?) back. I have friends that have used these for years! I've also seen, on the interwebs, ones made from insulation boards from the hardware store & covered with Warm & Natural. Here's one tute: http://sandrakayedesigns.blogspot.ca/2012/02/planning-board-tutorial.html
Happy Valentine's Day to you & Mike - I'll bet the biscotti are DEElicious!

Sue G Johnson said...

Sounds like a great weekend. Thank you for sharing how you made the spools. I'm going to try doing them that way. Your sewing machines are so cute. They will look fabulous as cornerstones.

Carla said...

Love your quilt and thanks for sharing the link for the pattern. Your spools are the perfect cornerstones.

Junebug613 said...

Mmmm.... The biscotti looks yummy. We went out for BBQ for Valentines, 'cause we're all fancy like that.... LOL It was about average on the amount of diners. And for extra fun we went to Wal-Mart. Wouldn't you know that the first day in weeks, that I could actually work on my quilting and my iron fritzed out on me! I researched a little on line, but I can't afford a really good one, so I'm trying a Black & Decker basic (kind of retro) one. It was $25. I've heard about the vinyl table cloth design wall trick that quiltzyx mentioned, but I've never tried it. I bought one with the intention of trying it, but ended up using it to replace the one under the litter boxes..... Ahhhh life with cats.... LOL I like the spools. Nice trick to make them a little less work! I hope you have a lovely dinner tomorrow!

LethargicLass said...

I just would use a picnic tablecloth with the flannel backing for a design wall

KMSC said...

Your Dream Machine quilt is going to be wonderful with the addition of the spool blocks as cornerstones! I, too, bought a Block Butler and was very disappointed with the stickiness of it. I ended up buying two yards of white flannel and tacking it to my wall. It's works great and was inexpensive.

Kate said...

I like the idea of using the yellow tape fabric as a very narrow border then using the light purple on the left for the border. It's going to be a very fun quilt no matter which way you go.

Brown Family said...

Nice tutorial on making spool blocks.