Let’s welcome the pineapple

For the last 8 months, I have been part of the 2021 Monthly Color Challenge from Patterns By Jen.

Here are the blocks that we have made so far…..

They are so much fun and will be exciting to put together at the end of the challenge!!

This month the inspiration comes from the glorious pineapple…..

One thing that I have enjoyed in this challenge is being able to really look at the inspirational fruit or vegetable. In this case, I studied the radial symmetry of the crown…..

….and the amazing structure and colors of the outside rind….

And then you cut it open…..

…and the whole room is filled with the sweet smell of goodness!! I know that you can smell it right now!!!

Just look at all of these luscious colors…..

When I started picking fabrics, I really wanted to include green but all of the other blocks are more monochromatic in nature so I decided to stick with the pale yellows….

The block was easy to piece, although some of the strips finished at 1/2-inch wide, so accurate piecing was mandatory!!! I ironed the two 1-inch strips together before I sewed them and that made a huge difference in the piecing as they stayed lined up while under the needle.

I got so excited about making this block that I forgot to take progress photos……OOPS!!!

The finished block is simple….

….yet echos the pineapple nicely!!!

When I think of pineapple, I think of two things….

  • The Big Pineapple in Queensland Australia…..

We visited there in 1982 when my parents joined us for a trip up and down the eastern Australian coast!!

Secondly, I remember one of my favorite desserts and one that is attributed to my Mom!!

PINEAPPLE SHEET CAKE

2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, 1 large can of crushed pineapple (including juice), 2 cups flour, and 2 teaspoons soda

Mix all together and pour into greased and floured sheet pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

For icing…..

8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup butter (softened), 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1 cup pecans.

Combine all of the icing ingredients and ice cake while it is hot.

The cake is yummy and gooey and wonderful!!

We sure want to thank the sponsors for this quarter…..

If you want to see how other quilters interpreted this fun design, be sure to check out this month’s featured bloggers…

Jen Shafer

Kathy Bruckman

Lisa Ruble

Raylee Bielenberg

Andi Stanfield

Crystal Drummond

Ashli Montgomery

AND…one more reminder about MOVE IT!! This is a FREE 10-week course to encourage you to try new free-motion quilting designs.

Ninety-seven people have gone thru the course and many have said that it has helped them to feel more comfortable with FMQ. If you are interested and would like to join, just click HERE TO SIGN UP!

Enough reading….go eat some pineapple!!!

Color challenge….I’m caught up!!

Last weekend I posted the July block in the 2021 Color Challenge from Patterns By Jen, so today I am going to get COMPLETELY caught up….at least for a few days.

The August block is based on the lovely…..

MUSHROOM!!!

It was easy to pick the two fabrics…..

…and the cutting out was the least complicated that we have had so far…..

First I had to make Flying Geese blocks using the no-waste method. I first tried this technique in the June block and posted full instructions HERE.

I found them to be fast and accurate and within a few minutes, I had the 4 Geese blocks ready to go…..

Seven more seams and the block was finished…..

Now came the fun part of trying to find a fanciful way to photograph it….

It is good to be caught up and I am already looking forward to next month!!!

Now let’s talk about cooking and eating mushrooms. In all honesty, I am not a huge mushroom fan. I enjoy them sauteed in butter, but can take them or leave them. However, we have spent a lot of time in Kunming China and Kunming is considered to be one of the mushroom capitals of the world!!

On our 2016 trip, one of Michael’s colleagues took us out to a restaurant that specialized in mushrooms and these were a few that we ate…..

The meal started out with a Mushroom hotpot…..

…which was actually very tasty!!! By the end of the evening, I had decided that mushrooms were pretty good after all!!!

I have taken a couple of photos of mushrooms in various markets and would love to turn this one into a thread painting someday…..

So….that’s it for mushrooms. Next up, the welcoming Pineapple!!!

Put the lime in the coconut…not really

I am continuing on with the 2021 Color Challenge from Patterns By Jen, and as usual, I am running just a bit behind!!

The block for July was based on a tasty lime…..

As with many of these blocks, it was designed to be made with only two colors of fabric. The choices were easy…..

The first task was to cut out ALL of the patches for the block…..

…including those 3/4-inch, TINY, squares at the bottom!!

Fortunately, these squares were used to make corner pieces so the sewing was easy to do…..

The resulting patches were fun to make…..’

After dealing with the littlest of pieces, the rest of the block was fast and easy to make…..

Now came the fun of designing a “flat-lay” for the photography and this layout was the winner…..

It is going to be so much fun to see this quilt finished. With all of the good food involved, it might need to hang in the kitchen!!!

Each month we are supposed to share a recipe with the featured fruit or vegetable and all I can think of is a Caipirinha cocktail.

The caipirinha (kai-purr-REEN-yah) is the national drink of Brazil and is made by muddling limes and sugar and adding 2 ounces of Cachaca (a distilled spirit made from fermented sugar cane).

They are oh, so yummy….just like this sweet block.

“It’s The Great Pumpkin” Block

Yesterday, I started describing making the next block in the 2021 Monthly Color Challenge, and when I left you, I had made 8 flying geese using the “No-Waste” method.

Next, I needed to make a Square-in-a-square block.

I love these blocks but have always struggled to get them to be the exact needed size. But Jen fixed this problem by having us cut the center square to an exact size of 1-7/8ths inch.

The outside triangles were cut a bit larger than needed and then trimmed after being sewn on. This was SO smart because I didn’t have to worry about getting the corners of the triangles to fit just perfectly!!

When it came time to trim the block down, I once again used a washable pen and marked two lines on the ruler. These lined up with the points on the inside square…..

….making the cuts easy to determine!!

Now it was time to sew the patches together into the block and I ran into a problem as I prepared to sew the final row. The row was visibly smaller than the previous one!!!!

I decided to video the stretching process so maybe it will help when you are struggling with the same problem……

I really like the final block……

….and it will be a great addition to my color challenge quilt!!!

Lessons learned in the pumpkin patch

I am still trying to catch up on the 2021 Monthly Color Challenge from Patterns by Jen.

The block for June is the amazing Pumpkin.

With the other inspirations, I have used the actual fruit or vegetable, but it was IMPOSSIBLE to find a pumpkin in mid-June!! The Produce manager in my favorite store looked incredulous that I was even asking!!!

So, instead of comparing the fabrics to the colors on hand, I just went from memory and quickly picked out two orange fabrics…..one darker and one slightly lighter. In retrospect, I wish that there had been a bit more contrast but, hey……the block is finished!!!

As with most of these challenge blocks, the cutting sizes were very specific, including several that were cut to a 1/8th inch measurement. Needless to say, I was VERY careful with my cutting!!

…..there are two other triangles that didn’t make the photo!!!

First, I was to make 8 flying-geese blocks using the “no waste” method. I had read about this technique but had never used it so I had to follow the instructions carefully.

The first step was to draw a diagonal line on the back of the 8 smaller squares and then place them on opposite corners of the larger square and then sew 1/4-inch on either side of the line…….

The next step was to “pre-iron” the triangles before I cut them apart…..

This helps to set the seams and keeps the bias stitching straighter.

Then I cut the piece along the drawn line…..

I pressed the triangles out, leaving this weird looking shape…..

Next, add another square to the open corner and sew along each side of the drawn line……

Again with the “pre-iron”….

….followed by cutting on the drawn line.

The result was 8 flying geese blocks, although they were too big and needed to be cut down to size.

As I started trying to figure out how to best cut them to the correct size, I remembered my previously mentioned trick about putting markings on my ruler that will make the cutting easier.

In this case, the block was trimmed to 1.5 x 2.5. The first mark that I made was at 1.25-inch (1/2 of the 2.5 width). I then marked the 1/4 inch at the top and the lines of the flying geese as well…..

I am using a wash away pen so that I can easily clean the ruler!!

Before making the first cut, I positioned my drawn triangle on top of the pieced one….

….and made the cuts. You can see that the right hand triangle is a bit short but not by TOO much!!

For the second cut, I turned the block the other direction and just used the normal ruler lines to line it up…..

I really enjoyed making the flying geese by this technique and especially like that I am not wasting a bunch of triangles!!

I learned even more while making this block and want to show you all of it, so come back tomorrow for the big reveal of the “GREAT PUMPKIN” block!!!