Just takes 2 quilt – building aeroplanes!

Today I cut and pieced 3 blocks of my Just takes 2 quilt! I shall assemble them tomorrow.  They are all paper foundation pieced and came up fast…

These cute aeroplane blocks shall also have some applique add-ons.

Aero plane quilt block
Blocks 44 and 45 – Just takes 2 quilt

Here is the third – the bear’s paw block !

Block 43, just takes 2 quilt
Bear’s paw block – just takes 2 quilt

I shall do the back basting for an appliqué block later, if  I feel like it!

What is terrifying me is the thought that I may be running out of the background fabric. I had bought 5 and a half metres from a store in Jodhpur exactly a year ago and neither I nor the cousin with whom I bought it  remember which! So anyone who comes across this fabric, please buy me 3 metres 🙂 That shall take care of the borders too!

Just takes 2 – progress for today…

Completed this block today, adding the triangles…

Just takes 2 Quilt Block 29
Just takes 2 Quilt Block 29

And this – it was foundation pieced! I did the y-seams by hand.  Probably need to rip the bottom right corner, and re-sew it!  The pieces were already cut and yet it took more than four hours to construct! I am tired 😦 And I hate paper foundation piecing – keep getting confused  how the next piece will be sewed on! Next time, shall English paper piece. Equally accurate and less taxing on my ageing brain.

Just takes 2 Block 40
Just takes 2 Block 40

Decided to clean the blocks of stray threads and iron them when I am ready to join them!

Just takes 2 quilt – progress

The progress on my just takes 2 mystery quilt has been painfully slow 😦 The mystery quilt by Gay Bomers of http://www.sentimentalstitches.net and Brenda of Dear Jane ran through 2012, and the last set of the 100 blocks that make up this quilt, and suggestions for the border were revealed this month ! I am still stuck in April, May sometime! 😦 😦 😦 But finally, I am planning to go full steam on it from tomorrow, so am making a record of blocks finished

Here are three hand -sewed blocks I finished since I last blogged about this quilt, months ago!

The first applique( Hawaiian look) block uses the back basting technique. I traced the pattern to the wrong side of the background and basted the applique piece over it, turning it in as I went along. It also has reverse appliqued diamonds in the centre.

Just takes 2 quilt block
Hand appliqued quilt block – back basting method used

The second block, Grandma’s Favourite Compass is paper pieced by the EPP method . The circle was hand sewed to the background.

Just takes 2 quilt block
Grandma’s Favourite Compass quilt block -English paper piecing and hand sewing

For the third block, I appliqued after tacking the leaves on to paper,like you would for EPP). I then slit the background fabric to remove the paper.

just takes 2 hand appliqued quilt block
Hand appliqued Quilt block

Here are the first 28 blocks put together, to make up Section A of the quilt 🙂


Section A of justtakes2 quilt - first quarter of the quilt finished!
Section A of justtakes2 quilt – first quarter of the quilt finished!

Pictures of many of these blocks are here and also here as well as here.

And here are some more completed blocks. The bottom left Cathedral windows block needs some more work, I just discovered!

Blocks from Section B of justtakes2 quilt
Blocks from Section B of justtakes2 quilt

So this is where we stand today! I do have a few 4-patch strips that I have not photographed, but which count as blocks, anyways!

I have finished tracing out two more applique blocks – which will probably take me ages to finish! I shall sew them in the evenings, sitting in front of the TV. During the day, shall do the machined blocks!

Target – at least 2 blocks per day; 15 by Sunday!  Also I am determined to finish all blocks of Section B during 2012…

At the end of each day,  I shall post pics of the day’s progress! Do look in to have dekko and drop a line of encouragement!

The determination to win is the better part of winning.  Daisaku Ikeda


What I did not submit for the March Quilting Challenge – finished!

Last month I got my new  Brother, who I am still to get used to loving. Having used a gentle, elderly (she is all of 76 years old!) hand-cranked Singer all these years,  it is not easy getting accustomed to the brash new  baby – who runs when I ask it to walk .   Anyways, I decided I would devote  November and December to UFOs (unfinished objects) so that I could start the new year with a fresh slate. And get to know the new family member better!

One of the few UFOs I managed to complete was this from March. (Blogged about here)

Table top - kaleidoscopic block
Table top  using kaleidoscopic quilt block

This is my first quilting on the Brother; I did not have the walking foot, so I have used the regular foot.

There are many things I do not like about this – firstly the red binding! I also hate the machine sewing in blue on the binding – it sticks out like a sore thumb 😦

But what really makes me cringe is the back!

Back of quilted top for wound table - UGLY!
Back of quilted top for round table – UGLY!
Kaleidoscope quilt block table top
Kaleidoscope quilt block table top – unquilted!

I did like it much better unquilted.

 I would love to give it away, but am going to keep it – as a reminder of how bad I was, when I (hopefully!) become better.

A taste of honey for the Queen Bees…

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

… and some Christmas cheer!

What do you do as a quilter when you owe your Queen Bees something for their block parties? Try to sweeten up things a bit, right?

Queen Bee for Desi Quilters Bee Desi for September, Vidya had to wait till now for her block! For not killing me, she gets this little Scottie (whom she has named Patchy) to guard the felt  farm animals she is making for her grand-daughter.

Patchwork dog
Scottie for Vidya

I had the pattern from my first patchwork book “All About Patchwork” (published Marshall Cavendish Ltd., London 1973).

It is made with 1.5″ squares from a jelly roll, partly machined, partly hand sewed;  the ears and tail are paper pieced! It uses 92 squares – 30 for either side and 32 for the centre strip. I would highly recommend EPP if you decide to make this yourself. Sew the toy shapes first (remember to reverse the front and back!) and then  join the 32 square strip.

My only regret – wish I had used brighter fabric for it – it should probably look delightful in bright solids.

October Queen Brinda deserved something for not asking me even once for her block. Since she celebrates Christmas in a big way, I made her this little festive quilt which could be used as a mat.  Or she could use it as a wall quilt, if she added a sleeve.

Christmas Quilt for Brinda
Miniature Christmas Quilt

I was inspired by a mini-quilt I saw on flickr.com, but am sorry am unable to trace it now:-) Shall add the acknowledgement as soon as I find it again. The 4-patch blocks are 1.5″ square made by my easy/ quick 4-patch method, which I shall tell you about in another blog! The buntings are fused using Heat and Bond (red). A few buntings are 3-dimensional, made by adding fabric to the back and attaching them only on the top.   Brinda is a great hand quilter, so I wanted to add a bit by hand to it.  So I embroidered tiny motifs in gold thread. This was the first time I did  whole quilt by my new Brother, so it is not as neat as I would wish, but…

So, we come to November.

Scrappy, quilted cozy for small scissors - front
Quilted cozy for scissors

I made a block in prints instead of solids for Queen Nirmala.

Quilted, scrappy cozy for scissors - back
Back of scissors cozy

And made this little scissors cozy to make her feel a little better

(Psst…do you recognise the prints from Vidya’s Scottie? I used the one inch strip leftover from the jelly roll after cutting 1.5″ squares to make this 😉 )




For December, I was not late 🙂

But…the mess that I made of poor Elvira’s block is really nobody’s business. Besides cutting it wrong and sewing wrong pieces together, I had a lot of thread tension problems, which no amount of fiddling with the tension knob could sort. Adding to my woes, I could not find my 1/4″ seam! I would have made her another block, but I had no other black cotton thread and a friend told me it was not available in the market either. Perhaps Elvira, who sews so beautifully, will be able to tell me how to adjust my machine!

The only good thing was that I had a lot of  hsts – a by-product of Elvira’s flying geese, besides a few rectangles left over. I decided to put them together to make a mini quilt for Elvira. I do think it looks quite Amish, I wish I had the confidence to do some more quilting on it!

Amish style miniature quilt
Amish style miniature quilt. A little egg-cozy made by MIL poses with it !
Amish style mini quilt
Back of Elvira’s mini quilt – with my mother’s play tea-set from 1937!






























So those were the gifts I really enjoyed making! Before I sign off, here is wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Quilt
Be Merry!

The gift that wasn’t and a tutorial

Scissors quilted cozy
Scrappy, quilted cozy for sewing scissors or shears

Here is a  quick delightful last-minute gift you can whip up  for a friend all in an afternoon, using your small scraps.

I made it from this book  in the Hobby Craft Series that I have had forever! I have loved turning the pages and dreaming of making all those pretty things in it.

Craft book in Japanese

Have also made a few things like that little elephant I  made into a bag for baby stuff when my son was an infant – the bottles went into the legs and  tissues into the trunk! The cat I made into a  pillow!

But one thing that I always wanted to make was this scissors cozy – with the instructions in Japanese.

Instructions for scissors cozy (in Japanese!)
Instructions for scissors cozy (in JapaThe

This would make an ideal gift for the queen bees in my virtual quilting bee! And English paper piecing or the paper foundation piecing method would be perfect for this, I decided.

For those of you looking for a quick and easy gift for someone who loves sewing, I am sharing how I went about making this delightful little cozy!

You will need

– 25 scraps of assorted fabric about 1.5″ X 2.5″

– 12″ X 8″ fabric or assorted scraps for back.

-12″ X 8″matching  fabric for inner lining

–  30″ matching bias binding 1′ wide

– Two pieces of  thick  batting 12′ X 8″ and 10″ X 6.5″ for back and front respectively.

If you decide to do English paper piecing – Each of those small triangles has dimensions 0.75″ base and 1.5″ height. The top angle is 30 degrees; you can easily make a template on stiff card paper, using your quilting ruler or a protractor if you have one.

Use the template to draw 25 triangles on paper and cut them out very accurately. Ensure your fabric is starched real stiff! Place the paper triangles on wrong side of fabric and cut roughly 1/4 ” outside it.   Tack the fabric to the paper. This comes up really fast 🙂

Follow the picture here  to join 5 rows of 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 triangles. To join, you place two triangles right side together and take tiny whip stitches along the edges to be joined. There are several excellent EPP tutes available on the net and on youtube!

If you decide to use the foundation paper method (like I did), the ready height of the front is 7.5″ and the base width is 3.75″. Follow the picture to make your foundation paper pattern. Trace out rows on separate strips of paper about 3″ wide and add 1/4′ seam allowance on either side of the row.  Begin with the centre triangle as piece 1, adding on triangles on either side as you go along. When the rows are ready, trim them  and join them up . I used hand sewing to join the rows for a more perfect finish.  Here is what the front of my cozy looked like.

Scissors cozy front
Front of scrappy scissors cozy

For the back, I decided to go for a scrappy look and joined up 1.5″ X 2.5″ rectangles in 7 vertical rows roughly in a triangle shape about 7″ wide at the base and 12″ in height. This is what my unfinished back looked like. Of course, you could use a single fabric to make the back.

Untrimmed scissors cozy scrappy back
Scrappy scissors cozy back

Then came the lining. I was at my stingiest best and stitched the lining into a tube along its longer side. I marked a point about 9″ on the seam and cut and cut it like this! The shorter piece with the seam would be used for the front inner lining and would not show up 🙂

Preparing the lining
The lining piece stitched into a tube and cut to get the front and back linings.
Front and back lining for scissors cozy
Front and back lining – now iron the centre seam flat!

Add the batting and quilt each piece individually ( without trimming the back). I just quilted in the ditch.

Bind the front base only. ( I now drew a template 10.5 ” tall and 5.5 ” wide and trimmed the back.) Place the front and back together.

and do finer trimming if any required. Put the binding and you are ready! I also added a little loop on the back to facilitate hanging the scissors near my workplace.

Do ask me if anything is not clear, this tute assumes that you know the basics of EPP / foundation piecing! This is how my finished scissors cozy looked from the front…

Quilted scrappy scissors cozy
Front of scissors cozy
Scrappy sewing scissors quilted cozy back
Quilted scissors cozy back

And here is the back!  At the end of it all, I so fell in love with the cozy, that I decided not to send it to the Queen Bee  :-p

Instead a made another one, this time for a pair of small scissors , pictured here!

Scrappy, quilted cozy for small scissors - front
Quilted cozy for scissors
Quilted, scrappy cozy for scissors - back
Back of scissors cozy

I decided to quickly mail the gift and block to Queen Bee Nirmala, before I changed my mind, again! Hope this will make up for sending her a block made of printed fabric instead of solids like she wanted, and that too three weeks late 😉

Of Blocks and Bees…and Some Honey!

My facebook quilting group Desi Quilters started a virtual bee in July this year! For the first two months, I requested some fellow quilters to make my blocks while I was visiting my son in the USA.

For September, the ever-gracious Vidya  was the queen bee and she decided to wait for me! She had a long wait, as I did not have white poplin and she wanted a lot of negative space in her block!  And a lot of squares…Her block has finally been sent on Monday , as have the blocks for the next 3 months!

This is Vidya’s block . I played around with the squares till I found an arrangement I liked for her modern block. It was the first time I ironed the seams flat and I found it difficult to match the seams – with so many squares to take care of!

Bee block for Vidya
Modern block with squares

The queen bee for October was the gorgeous, artistic Brinda. Brinda’s block(s) gave me much heart ache and I am not very happy with what I came up with finally 😦 I have only small floral print fabric in my stash and she wanted polaroid picture blocks! Anyways, this is what I made for her…


November Queen Bee was the gentle Nirmala. She wanted sail boats for her block party. That was a quick make! I only read later that she wanted only solids for it 😦 But since she was okay with it when I showed it to her, I mailed it to her anyways!

Bee Block - Sail Boat
Sail boat for Nirmala’s Bee

The last block was for the Star of our group,Elvira! Elvira has a wonderful eye for colour and sews oh, so neatly! And this was the block that gave me the maximum trouble. First I cut it wrong, then I sewed it wrong.  I ran out of black thread, and the thread that I found was really linty. Nevertheless, I managed to  finish it and post it – for the first time, in time! This is Elvira’s Double Star Block. The colours are slightly darker than what they appear here. I just hope she does not look at it from the back 😉

A double star for Elvira's Bee
Flying geese double star for Elvira’s Bee

So that was about the bees and the blocks! What about the honey? I shall post about that later today…