Modern Roosting Robin Row quilt

>> Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I'm doing two! Yes, always an overachiever - or at least an enthusiastic planner! - I am making two mystery round robins with my quilt guild this year.

solid fabrics with kaffee inspiration print

My second one will be a modern quilt for me - or at least for my household. I used a Kaffe Fassett print as my inspiration and pulled solid fabrics that match at my local quilt store.

I also wanted to explore some modern blocks or at least blocks that are not traditional that I've wanted to try.

And also, I want to make it a row quilt! 

modern round robin plus and x block

My starting row is finished. I made the Japanese x and plus block using a tutorial by Christine Barnes that makes a 12 inch block.
 You can check out her tutorial here - Spumoni 

plus and x block

The first mystery clue was given at my last guild meeting - triangles. Lucky for me I made bonus hsts when making my x and plus blocks by sewing extra seam allowances on my corner pieces.

bonus hst layout

I decided to use the bonus units and see what I could do with them.

mountain blocks made with bonus hst units

I like what they look like as mountains, and using the print hsts as moons, perhaps? But doing this will make the blocks less than 12 inches and I know there are only 5 rounds. So I'm considering this arrangement instead.

triangle block with hst units

That's a LOT of hsts! I found this method for making 8 hsts at once and am going to give it a try.

 Magic 8 method for making half square triangles

I will have to start working on this again to have it done in time for the next clue by the end of the month.

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Roosting Round Robin #1 - civil and small

>> Monday, October 23, 2017

This is my first year participating in my guild's mystery quilt. This year it's a Roosting Round Robin - a quilt usually made in medallion-style (going a 'round' the center) but I'm changing it up a bit and making it two different ways to boot!

betsy chutchian fabrics

It started with this lovely pack of pre-cut 2 1/2" strips of Betsy Chutchian fabrics at my local quilt shop. I had to have them! I had already purchased a metere of the blue paisley and the brown paisley because I love paisley fabric, especially made in this traditional style. But I kind of felt like I really need to use this fabric sooner than later so challenged myself to use it to make the Roosting Round Robin. 

fabric choices and block choice in quilt book

Then, to make it really fun and challenging, I decided to also make blocks that are on my bucket lists. An extra challenge to be sure! This pine tree block has been on my want-to-make list for a long time. This is Quilts!Quilts!Quilts! 

Yes, this book! My husband brought it home for me many years ago when I "had to have" a drunkard's path block pattern - this was the only place the quilt store we lived near had a pattern for one. (yes, this was before looking for patterns online!)

freezer paper template

The book comes with pages of templates to trace and use to make the blocks. I tried to find the same block, the same size, online so I could just make it a quicker way, but I didn't find one. Instead I used freezer paper to trace the template. Then I ironed the freezer paper to the wrong side of my fabric and cut around it using my rotary cutter - the templates include the seam allowance. 

reusing freezer paper template

To make the background pieces on each side of the tree trunk required reversing the template for one side. I removed the freezer paper template that I used and ironed to the front to make it reverse - and it worked! 

design wall block units

I followed the diagrams and put my block units together in the same sections. I did make hsts instead of cutting all of those triangles on the bias and then sewing them together. And I took photos with my digital camera to make sure I kept my pieces in the right place as I moved them from wall to sewing table - something I couldn't have done 15 years ago!

completed pine tree block

I'm really happy with my block - happy I did it and happy with how it turned out. I'm looking forward to the next round with these fabrics!

Are you participating in a quilt challenge this fall?

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Time to call it a top - My 150 Canadian Women quilt top

>> Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall has certainly arrived where I live! It's time for me to enjoy my sweaters and start working on more fall inspired quilts. To that end I took the time this weekend to finish enough 150 Canadian women blocks to get a decent size lap quilt.

block 76 for 150 Canadian women block by Kat Tucker

This is block 76 designed by Kat Tucker of Next Step Quilt Designs. There are still more blocks coming - actually almost all 150 blocks have been released! You can go to her site to order a CD of all the block patterns which will be delivered after all of the blocks have been released.

Here is my quilt top in an autumn setting:

150 Canadian women quilt top 76 blocks

I used one 12" block that was designed by my local quilt shop owner for Northcott's shop hop this past summer to celebrate the 150. 

I sewed my blocks into 4 block units as I went so when I sat down to put it together this weekend I was only sewing together 5 rows of 4 blocks. I "webbed" my quilt top together in the style of Bonnie Hunter after trying it on another quilt earlier this summer. Check out her post about it and then google the term to see more photos of what it looks like as you go.

Webbing the Top

 It is a definite timesaver - it took me just under an hour to sew my blocks into rows and then maybe another half hour to sew the rows together. A great method IF you have time to do it all at once and the space to lay out your blocks to get started.

150 Canadian women quilt top outside

I'm still debating if this top will get a border. I would like to use the rest of the blocks to make a second red and white quilt, but we'll see. Lots of quilts to make on my bucket list ;)

I plan to have this one quilted to share at my guild's quilt show next year, which means it won't sit around like this for long!

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Quilt Block Mystery Case 1: Bear Tracks

>> Monday, September 25, 2017

This is the first in a new series of posts that I will share here on my blog, Sew Joy Creations. It is my hope that another quilter or someone with knowledge about quilt blocks and their names will be able to assist me in solving these mysteries. When/if a case is solved I will go back and edit posts with a link to the solution (pattern for making the block!) I hope you enjoy the hunt as much as I do! Keep your eyes open, here's the case.

visit help solve quilt block mysteries

Bear Tracks

Start of the Mystery: Quilt sighting at Kagawong Quilt Show, July 15, 2017

This quilt is big and beautiful. I immediately wondered how the block was constructed and read on the description card that it had been taught in a class.

bear tracks quilt handquilt rare quilt block

I didn't notice the beautiful handquilting in person. Click on the photo to enlarge and enjoy it yourself :) To be fair, I was with my children at the time! Thank goodness for digital photography. The quilting definitely enhances the quilt, but gives no clues to the block construction.

quilt show label bear tracks quilt

Lead #1: Pinterest Photos

The photos below came up during a direct search in Pinterest for bear track. So did several photos showing blocks commonly known as Bear Paw. 

Iowa Barntiques antique quilt

This quilt from Iowa Barntiques is pretty close, isn't it? It has me thinking that maybe the blocks in the quilt I saw are set on point or with another block between them.

You can see more of my Quilt Block Mystery pins on the board I made on Pinterest for these cases here.

Lead #2: An Internet Search

Not extremely successful, but not frustrating either.

bear track quilt pattersn Patchwork Square

You can click on the photo and be taken to the link to download this pdf of a bear tracks block in two layouts. This leads me more and more to think the block is made up of T blocks arranged around a center unit.

AND THEN I found this post with the phrase,
 There is no Bear’s Track block. The earliest record of this design was pattern #351 through the Ladies Art Company and that pattern made it in print after 1897. There was an earlier pattern – pattern #162, but the tracks are arranged in a clockwise position, like a pinwheel.

Quote from post entitled, A Quilt with No Name from the blog, Beyond Little House(yes, Laura Ingalls' little house!)

The photos mentioned in this post are no longer displayed, however they do send me on a happy search to find Ladies Art Company pattern #162 and the Irish Puzzle block at

Irish Pickle block full quilt mockup

Click on the photo to go to the website and a page of mockup quilts. This one is close, but the "T" has one too many points. 

To be continued. . . .

sewjoycreations series on quilt block mysteries


Do you have a LEAD to help solve this block mystery?
Please leave it in a comment.
Do you have your own BLOCK MYSTERY?
Feel free to share in the comments and maybe we can help you too!


With Joy,

Sarah V.

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Holly Jolly Quilt Blocks

>> Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Welcome September! School is back in session and wow, what a difference a month makes. Everyone in our house goes back to school with two teachers, a 5th grader and a 12th grader. All different, but the same - kind of like what quilt blocks can look like when we participate in block of the months!

This is the one block project that I have kept up with this year. Maybe it's the incentive to finish a block to receive the next pattern free, or maybe it's because I actually schedule a due date in my "real" calendar and not just my quilting calendar.

I have the next block almost all cut out and will do more tonight as I know my calendar is busy and I want to be done on time!

I am doing other quilting and I will share again soon. This was short and sweet to let you know I'm still quilting, and to touch base with those who are looking to the quilting blogs for some comfort and distraction amidst all the storms and upheaval. 

With Joy,

Sarah V.

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