Modern Sunbonnet Sue's Musings

Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue:

February 2012 - Posts

Sue's Sunday Morning Musings

Today, I am well rested. I was asleep just after 9 PM and slept until 6:30 AM. I have been tired for several weeks with too many projects on my plate. Yesterday was the culmination with the baby shower. My body finally could relax and sleep soundly.

I spent several hours Friday night and Saturday morning finalizing the food for the baby shower. The theme was "jungle animals" and I made centerpieces with present cookies, chocolate suckers and rolo palm trees, for party favors. The idea is out of the 2010 Wilton book. Lots of work, but lots of fun. The kids loved it, especially when they got to have a sucker.

The baby shower was lots of fun. My granddaughter was a "little helper" with the gifts. Of course, she always wants to be the one opening them. We asked givers to forego the usual Hallmark card and purchase & sign a baby book in it's place. My grandson has a library of books and will grow up loving to read, just like his Mom & Dad. Check out my soon-to-be grandchildren...


My girls will be thrilled to know I posted this picture. My youngest daughter, on the right, is due in 10 days, while her older sister, who had the shower, is on the left and due the beginning of May. First a granddaughter, then our first grandson. Exciting!!

So, Sunday morning is here and I feel refreshed and ready to take on a sewing project. I have several projects that are in the final stages of finishing. But, this morning, I felt like something new. I tend to have far too many projects going at once. While I am working on one, I have my mind on the next project. It makes it difficult to finish anything. Sometimes the process just takes longer than I want.

This morning, I traced a pattern for a four inch Marinar's compass block. This will be part of my National Quilting Association challenge quilt. I sorted through my batik fabrics, selecting seven colors to use in the pattern. The challenge fabric is a blue batik, provided by the sponsor SewBatik. I have an idea of what I want to make, but still have to plan out the rest of the design. I'm envisioning a hand holding onto the "compass" block with the horizon in the background. The challenge for me will be making the Marinar's Compass block. Since it is so challenging, I decided to only make one block as a central part of my design. If the first one doesn't come out, I can make another, until it looks good. Anyone with suggestions on making this block, pass them along. I originally thought I would be paper piecing it, which I do not like to do. But, the pattern I am using from the book 501 Quilt Blocks, from Better Homes and Gardens, is pieced.

Wish me luck & Happy Stitching!

Posted Sun, Feb 26 2012 8:26 AM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

Patchwork Scottie Dog

The last couple of weeks has been super busy. I have been working at our family bakery making lots of decorated items for Valentine's Day, followed by a birthday cake for my granddaughter's third birthday. Yesterday, I helped prepare Paczskis for Fat Tuesday, and continued making chocolates, for party favors at my eldest daughter's baby shower planned for this coming Saturday. I will be finishing the cake later this week.

Besides keeping busy with the family business, I still have my own 40-hour a week job. And, my husband and I are expecting two grandchildren. The first will arrive sometime in the next couple of weeks, while the other is due in May. I have been able to keep up with guild projects, like my Applique Club and the Mystery Quilt I just started. But, I also have personal projects that I want to finish for both my expectant daughters.

Sunday, I was able to complete one of those projects. My eldest daughter has a black Scottie Dog, named Brody. She found a cute patchwork Scottie dog pattern she's asked me to make. Denyse Schmidt Quilts has a free Scottie Dog Pattern available. It turned out adorable and my future grandson will likely fall in love with it. At least, Grandma hopes so.

I have a collection of charm squares cut out in varying sizes. I just had to select enough squares to make the pattern. I chose boyish fabrics in 2-1/2 inch squares, rather than cutting them down to the 2-1/4 inch size in the pattern. I had enough duplicate fabrics to make the front and back nearly identical.

I needed to adjust the length of the side strip. Here is the pattern with the side strip attached, which I made from leftover binding strips.


I stuffed the Scottie with leftover pieces of batting that I snipped into stuffing size pieces. Then, I added wool felt eyes, that are attached with perle cotton thread. The pattern was simple enough to make, that I may have to make another one.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Tue, Feb 21 2012 3:04 PM by Pamela | 3 comment(s)

Mystery Quilt - Cutting the Fabric

This pattern will use Thangles to make half square triagles (HST). If you would prefer to make HST using a traditional method, follow the instructions at the bottom of the post for cutting a portion of the fabric strips. The fabric requirements are the same, but the fabric is cut out differently.

Fabric #1 – Dark

From 3/8 yard (1/4 yard) cut five (two), 2 ½ inch strips the WOF

If using 2 (2) FQs – cut nine (four), 2 ½ inch strips the WOF

Place strips into a baggie labeled Clue #1

 Fabric #2 – Light

Cut nine (four), 2 ½ inch strips the WOF

 Cut three (two), 4 ½ inch strips the WOF

                       Sub-cut 4 ½ inch strips into 18 (8), 4 ½ inch squares – 8 or 9 squares per strip

Place strips & squares into a baggie labeled Clue #2


Fabric #3 – Warm color

Cut twelve (six), 2 ½ inch strips the WOF

Place strips into a baggie labeled Clue #3


Fabric #4 – Cool color #1

Cut six (three), 2 ½ inch strips the WOF

After cutting several strips, it's sometimes necessary to re-square your fabric; shown here.

When I measure sub-cuts of a strip, I multiply the width up to 4 times, then place the ruler at the largest cut, first. Then, the ruler is moved back the width of the sub-cut and cut from the end. This provides more even cutting across the strip.

Cut two (one), 3 ½ inch strip the WOF

                        Sub-cut 3 ½ inch strips into 18 (8) 3 ½ inch squares – 10 or 12 squares per strip

3 ½ inch squares are cut from strip.

Place strips into a baggie labeled Clue #4


Fabric #5 – Cool color #2

Cut six (three), 2 ½ inch strips the WOF

Cut two (one), 3 ½ inch strip the WOF

                        Sub-cut 3 ½ inch strips into 18 (8) 3 ½ inch squares – 10 or 12 squares per strip

Place strips into a baggie labeled Clue #5


Fabric #6 – Coordinating color

This fabric will not be cut at this time. Set asidw with border & binding fabrics.

Cutting strips to make HST without Thangles:

Follow these alternate directions for cutting fabrics to make half square triangles in a traditional fashion. The HST for the Mystery Quilt are made with Fabrics #3, 4 & 5.


Fabric #3 – Warm color

Cut eleven (5), 2-7/8 inch strips the WOF

          Sub-cut 2-7/8 inch strips into 144 (64) 2-7/8 inch squares

Place strips into a baggie labeled Clue #3

Fabric #4 & #5 - Cool colors

Cut five (3), 2-7/8 inch strips the WOF

          Sub-cut 2-7/8 inch strips into 72 (32) 2-7/8 inch squares

You will still need to cut the 3 ½ inch strip the WOF and sub-cut the 3 ½ inch squares, as described above.

Place strips into separate baggies labeled Clue #4 & #5.

Here are all of my Clue baggies.

Dust the lint out of your machines and get your bobbins wound. We'll be stitching those strips together soon.



Posted Fri, Feb 17 2012 8:29 PM by Pamela | with no comments

Mystery Quilt - Fabric Cutting Tips

Before we get to cutting the fabric, I want to share how I prepare my fabric for the cutting process and the process I use when cutting. You may have ways of preparing your fabric, as well, but I am sharing mine for others that may not have considered these points.

1) First, I always wash and press my fabric before beginning a project. You may choose to use the fabric, as purchased. Be sure to square up your fabric, regardless of whether or not you pre-wash.

2) Ensure the fabric is folded straight and square up your fabric edge before cutting. Some fabrics can be folded with a crease down the center that is not straight. This will cause wonky strips that do not sew togeher well.

3) Extra fabric has been considered to allow for shrinkage, should you pre-wash, and for uneven fabric cuts.

4) Calculations are based upon a 40 inch usable strip. You may be able to cut fewer strips of fabric if your width of fabric (WOF) less the selvedge is 42 inches.

5) Cutting directions are across the WOF first, followed by sub-cuts of the WOF strips. Cut fabric from the selvedge end, rather than the folded end. This will allow additional pieces to be cut by opening the fold.

6) Cutting for the interior of the quilt is given here. Put aside extra fabric to cut borders and binding.

So, get your fabric pre-washed and pressed, and get your brain sharpened and we'll get this mystery quilt started. Actual cutting will be in the next blog post.

Posted Fri, Feb 17 2012 8:12 PM by Pamela | with no comments

Pa dnau Snail house Heart Block

The next installment of the Applique Club heart quilt is complete. Just in the nick of time, as well, since next week is our guild meeting. Some club members will be happy to only have one block to complete. As the quilt has progressed, the blocks have become more challenging. This block uses reverse applique, which will be a new technique for many club members. I have done very little, myself. The stitch is the same as traditional applique, but the design is drawn onto the background fabric. Then, the background fabric is placed on top of the motif fabric and the two are basted together. The shape is cut out of the background fabric leaving a seam allowance, which is turned under and appliqued to the motif fabric.

The Pa dnau heart design is a traditional pattern of the Hmong people of Laos. They brought their stitchery traditions to American when they immigrated following the Vietnam War. Many have settled in southeast Michigan. You may remember the Clint Eastwood film, Gran Torino, in which the Hmong are represented. I purchased a coin purse many years ago at a quilt show that was made by a Hmong woman. I'm sure that many of you have seen them at major quilt shows. To complete the snail house channels, the fabric was cut down the center of the drawn lines and the seam was turned under along both sides, exposing the motif fabric underneath. Snips were made in the cutting areas before basting the background fabric, so that the fabric underneath was not accidently snipped.

Here is the completed quilt block. You can see why the pattern calls them snail houses. The word pa dnau is prounounced "paj tnaub" and translates as flowery cloth.

I enjoyed making this block and would like to do more of these patterns. The easy curve of the heart made the turn under seam easy to manipulate. The exes in the lower part of the heart were more difficult and I would leave them out the next time. I notice in many pa dnau designs that small dots of stitches are worked along the snail house trail. This addition would hold truer to the original Hmong designs I am seeing.

The next two blocks for the Applique Club also involve using the reverse applique technique. The blocks are a Mola heart block, which uses multiple colors, and an Hawaiian heart, which I began some time ago. Need to get stitching my alternate folk-art block for my class sample. It's being made with wool and, as some of you may recall from past folk-art blocks, is completed on black flannel for the background. More on that block to come.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Wed, Feb 15 2012 3:25 PM by Pamela | 3 comment(s)

Mystery Quilt Pattern - Fabric Selection

I am writing a mystery quilt pattern for a regional quilt group that I belong to here in Michigan. This is the first installment of the pattern, giving size and fabric requirements. Although MQN members are receiving the pattern by mail, I am posting the pattern here in my blog, so that they have a visual of the steps to assist them with making the mystery quilt. Anyone else is welcome to join in, as well.

Mystery Quilt

MQN – Region 3

Are you up for the challenge of a Mystery Quilt? Then, join me in my first ever mystery quilt pattern. Each month, a new clue will be provided for making the quilt, plus a clue about the pattern. Each clue will bring you closer to finding out what the quilt pattern will be.

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!

Basic Supply List:

Sewing Machine

Thread for piecing

Thangles size 2-inch finished – 1 package

Silk or Flower head pins, your choice

Ziploc bags & Pen

Mat & Rotary Cutter

Rulers (3 ½” and 6 ½” rulers will work to complete cutting and piecing)

12-1/2” square ruler (for squaring up finished blocks)

Iron for pressing seams

Tape measure (for determining border fabric lengths)

Quilt Dimensions:

Crib/Lap Size: 47”X63”

Twin Size:            63”X79”

Instructions will be given in the Twin Size with Crib/Lap Size in parentheses.


Fabric Selection:

Choose from your collection or make a trip to your local quilt shop for some new fabric.

When choosing fabrics, this pattern works better with several different colors. Consider choosing at least three colors on the color wheel. There should be high contrast between the light and dark fabrics. Two of the three medium shades should be similar and could be in the same color. These two similar medium shades will work better as Cool colors, while the third medium shade will work better as a Warm color. This will allow the pattern design to stand out.

Warm colors include red, orange, yellow, and combinations of all of them. Warm colors look as though they come closer or stand out in the quilt.

Cool colors include blue, green, and light purple. Cool colors recede into the overall quilt.


These are the fabrics I have chosen for the quilt.

Choose five to six coordinating fabrics.

Fabric #1 (dark shade) – 3/8 yard or 2 FQ (1/4 yard or 2 FQ)

Fabric #2 (light shade) – 1 yard  (½ yard or 2 FQs)

Fabric #3 (medium shade/contrast preferably in a warm color) – 1 yard ( ½ yard)

Fabric #4 (medium shade preferably in a cool color) – 1 yard ( 5/8 yard)

Fabric #5 (medium shade preferably in a cool color) – 1 yard ( 5/8 yard)

Fabric #6 (any shade/color that blends with the quilt) – ¾ yard ( ½ yard)

You may use any of the fabrics 1-5 for this part of the quilt, or find another coordinating fabric. This will make your quilt look different, depending upon which fabric you use.

Fabrics for finishing the quilt top:

1st Border – 5/8 yard ( 3/8 yard) – consider using Fabric #3 or another medium warm color.

2nd Border – 1-1/4 yard ( 1 yard) – consider using Fabric #4 or #5 or another cool color.

Binding – 5/8 yard ( ½ yard) – consider using Fabric #1 or another dark shade of fabric.

Cutting instructions will follow later this month. So, get your fabric pre-washed and pressed, and get your brain sharpened and we’ll get this mystery quilt started.


Posted Sat, Feb 11 2012 8:21 PM by Pamela | with no comments

Folk-art Broderie Perse Heart Block

The next block in my folk-art Applique Heart quilt is completed. I wasn't sure how I was going to finish this block. I started by applying the heart outline, which proved simple when appliqueing the outside, then cutting away the inside of the heart as I appliqued. My first Broderie Perse block, shown here in my Broderie Perse & Celtic Hearts blog post, was put together in a different manner and I won't even tell you how I did it, since I won't do it that way again. This time, however, the outcome was much improved.

Then I chose my motifs, but my fabric choice didn't have large designs. The heart is small, so having a motif that is too large wouldn't work anyway. This made stitching the piece to the background challenging, to say the least. I did not want to applique any of the other motifs from the fabric, so I began looking at other fabrics. Nothing I tried looked right. Then, I had the idea to add wool penny circles with a blanket stitch, which made me think of placing circles of flowers from the fabric onto the center of the penny circle. I used freezer paper to cut out the flowers and basted the seam around the freezer paper edge, like doing English paper piecing. Appliqueing the circles to the wool was a cinch. This is now my favorite block in the series. Although, I have decided I really do not like the broderie perse technique so well.


I have started the next block in the series for the Applique Club. It is a Pa ndau snailhouse design. This stitchery style is from the Hmong of Laos and is done in reverse applique. I have already put together both blocks, the traditional applique and the folk-art design. I am finding the stitching enjoyable, although challenging, at places in the design. Pictures will be forthcoming, as I complete the blocks. Stay tuned!

Happy Stitching!

Posted Sat, Feb 4 2012 9:01 AM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)

Bib Project

I completed the baby bibs for my Groovy Girls Club. They are so adorable that I just had to share. Here they are.

The safari animal look is for my oldest daughter's expected son and goes along with her decorating theme. I had picked this fabric up at the 2010 AQS show in Des Moines. I didn't have a clue what I would do with it, but a fat quarter is always useful. The other two bibs are for my younger daughter's expected daughter. The back side of all of the bibs is flannel. The girly ones have a flannel with puple words that say baby girl.

Had lots of fun making these and may have to make some more. Grandma needs to have some at her house, you know.


Posted Thu, Feb 2 2012 1:10 PM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)