Monthly Archives: March 2014

The dreaded phonecall

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TKE2Those of you who have kids in college will remember the dreaded phone call. You know the one: “Mom, I want to join a fraternity.”

In our house, the call came a few months ago.

I admit that I didn’t know a whole lot about fraternities, especially since I grew up in Canada and they weren’t that popular. I had, however, watched many movies such as “Animal House” and knew that “fraternity” was synonymous with “excessive drinking.”

I was also very aware of the hazing process. My son took that in stride. “Don’t worry, mom,” he told me. “We had a kid die during the hazing process a few years ago, so my school is very strict about hazing.” That did NOT make me feel better, especially after I did some research and found out how that poor child suffered.

It’s now six months later and, although I can’t say that I love the Greek system, I admit that they provide a lot of great leadership opportunities and do some mighty fine charity work. My son is extremely happy with his new “brothers” and busy volunteering at community events. (I’m sure there’s some partying that’s going on too.)  The organization does seem to be well-run and I’ve gotten over my fears.

All this is a lead-up to my latest quilt project — a fraternity banner. I designed it, but it’s based on the fraternity flag for “Tau Kappa Epsilon.” I actually think that it looks very cool and my son is excited to hang it on the wall in his dorm.

It’s beginning to look a lot like more winter

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On Saturday, as I was quilting this Christmas quilt, it was 50 degrees outside and the first day in months that it felt winter was behind us. I had planned to write a cute post about my unseasonal quilting and how much I felt like working on a quilt that was Spring-themed.

Thankfully, when I got up this morning, it had started snowing again. So I guess my post is now timely, at least here in the Northeast.

This quilt was made using a Moda charm pack for the center. The outside of the squares is made from a layer cake, which I cut into 2.5″ strips. I’m pretty sure that I saw the design somewhere, but I have no idea who made the original quilt and I apologize for copying them without giving them credit.

I was struggling to know what color thread to use on this. I settled on a sage green and it blended beautifully into the front and back of the quilt. I used simple, loopy freestyle quilting to add some texture. Clearly my dogs thought that I did a good job!

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Lancelot (facing camera) and Guinevere enjoying Christmas quilt

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I loved this backing! The colors matched beautifully and it was also very contemporary.

My Hex-ceptional Quilt!

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I have a large stash of black and white fabrics and was trying to figure out a way to use them. Since hex quilts are so popular, I thought I’d give it a try. It’s actually pretty easy, as long as you’re not afraid of “Y” seams.

I began with Darlene Zimmerman’s Hexagon template.

Since this was just a test quilt, I traced each hexagon using a fine-tipped Sharpie so I could see the lines. I then used a ruler and, again using a Sharpie, marked the 1/4″ line around all six sides. (Warning: Not recommended for a show quilt!) The next step was to sew rows together. If you picture the hex’s as a stop sign, I sewed the bottom of Stop Sign #1 to the top of Stop Sign #2. On even rows, I pressed the seams towards the top; on odd rows, I pressed the seams toward the bottom.

Now the fun begins as you sew the rows together. I pinned the right sides of the stop sign in Row 1 to the left side of the stop sign in Row 2. I just sewed along the guidelines. When I got to the intersection of blocks, I kept the needle in the “down” position and moved the seam allowance out of the way.  I actually got into the rhythm and it fairly easy to do. These are 5.5″ blocks, so I imagine it’s a little more challenging as the blocks get smaller. Overall, it was an interesting project and certainly one that builds piecing skills.

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