Archive for August, 2018

String blocks and 9-patches

August 31, 2018

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written here. Apparently my quilting slump extended into writing about my quilting or vice versa. I realized that I haven’t been taking photos of what I’ve been doing. I decided I need to start documenting what I’m doing even if it isn’t so much.

I’ve been actively avoiding working on my must do projects but feel like I need to be doing something. After returning from a couple of weeks visiting family in Illinois, I didn’t feel like working on what I’m supposed to. While putting some scrap strips and squares away, I found these 9-patches that I must have picked up from the freebie table at work or they were in my deceased friend’s things. Did she decide she didn’t want to make the quilt or were these left over? We’ll likely never know.


I’ve got 4 shelves of blue fabric and a nice selection of black on white so I sketched out a plan and calculated how many of each block I needed and how many fabrics to cut. The 7 blue strips listed were pulled from the pre-cut strip bin. Think I’ll call this one Black and Blue.


In my working life I was a computer programmer. You’d think I’d use a computer to plan quilts but mostly I do it like I did above – just scratching it out on a piece of paper. I immediately pulled the fabric and spent the next 2-3 days cutting the squares. My rationale is that I’ll be taking this to retreat next month to sew.

I’ve got way too many strings and other scraps. Yesterday I decided to make string blocks during the evening news. Here in the Baltimore-Washington corridor the evening news on my preferred channel runs from 4 pm to 7:30 pm.


My new favorite tool for string block making is this:


If you’re of a certain age, you’ll probably know what this is. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a coupon clipper. Made to cut coupons out of magazines and newspapers. I probably received this back in the 1970s. How does this help with string piecing? I like to slit the paper between the seams before pressing so I can eliminate any fullness between the seems before trimming the block. I don’t pull off the paper until after the block is trimmed. It’s much easier to slit the paper with this tool than with scissors – eliminates the possibility of accidentally cutting the fabric. A seam ripper can work but I found the shorter blade more difficult to use.

On Tuesday Patty, Linda and I went to Lancaster county to pick up some Row by Row patterns and kits. It was hot as hell and very humid. On these trips we always lunch at the Shady Maple┬áin East Earl, PA. I’m not going to say the food is outstanding, it’s never going to be the best thing you ever ate. But, the place is so huge they have two full buffet lines. No one should leave hungry. Other times I’ve been there the two lines had the same food but this time some was the same but some was different. My stomach wasn’t big enough for me to try everything I wanted to. I love their ham balls but Linda didn’t like them at all.

I’m not going to bore you with pictures of what I bought because I didn’t take any before I emptied all the bags and distributed the contents.

This is the first time we went to Zinck’s Outlet (used to be Good’s) about a mile from Shady Maple in Goodeville although the address is East Earl. Go figure. Apparently, the mother store is in Berlin, OH. I stopped at a different quilt shop in Berlin last week for a Row by Row kit on my way home from Illinois.

No Row by Row at Zinck’s but we wanted to check it out. I had a coupon that, of course, I left at home, hanging right by the door. Sigh. This store reminds me of the old Sauder’s Fabric store that went away several years ago but is much, much larger. This store also has fabric other than quilting cottons.

The next three stores were ones I wanted the Row by Row kits from. About two miles away on the same road is Family Farm Fabrics in East Earl, PA.

From there it was 30 minutes or so to the Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, PA. Patty and I like the gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from the jam and jelly shop. I don’t know where they’re made. Someone always gets them out of the freezer for me because I always buy about 4 packages to put in the freezer at home. I also picked up some bourbon infused honey and a very small bottle of maple praline syrup. I usually get some freshly made kettle corn at the popcorn stand to take home and a snack of ice cream at Lapp’s Dairy but was too full from lunch to even think about eating anything else. And, did I say, it was hot as hell? Like being in a steam bath.

Exiting the Kitchen Kettle area, Zook’s Fabric Store is to the left and Old Country Store is down the block to the right. Surprize, I didn’t get anything at Zook’s. I wanted the Row by Row from Old Country Store and picked up something for a Christmas gift for a friend. Also got some items for retreat gifts.

A couple of miles down the road toward home found us at Log Cabin Quilt Shop in Bird in Hand. I got their Row by Row, a panel with Amish vignettes and a package of coordinating fabrics for the panel, and some cat prints.