Sunday, January 15, 2012

You know what they say about Nova Scotia…

“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!”


And how true that is! 

On Thursday evening we had a n’or easter come through that started as a blizzard with blowing snow and high winds.  By Friday morning, there was a 20° temperature swing and it was a balmy 40°.  The winds died down, the snow had turned to rain and by mid afternoon, all the snow had disappeared…again!

Well, it’s a bit longer than five minutes but it’s cold again and guess what?  It’s snowing!  But wait…it’s supposed to warm up again tomorrow!

snowman web divider 2

So what does one do when it’s yukky outside? 

We could curl up in our favorite chair by the fire like Frankie…


or on the sofa like Mac.


Or we could spend time in our sewing studios and play!  And that’s just what I did!


I have never made a log cabin block before and when Taryn from Repro Quilt Lover posted a short tutorial on how to make a mini Court House Steps quilt, I decided that there’s no better time than the present to give it a try.  After making a few changes, here’s what I came up with, in my favorite colors of red, tans and blues.


It measures 22” × 22” and I haven’t decided if it needs another small border or to leave it as is.   What do you think?


A few days ago, Lori from Humble Quilts posted the second step in her Pink Lemonade quilt-along.


I’m all caught up and am anxiously awaiting step number three!

Lori just finished her Dear Jane quilt and if you’d like your heart to beat just a little bit faster, click HERE and you’ll see why. 

Isn’t it gorgeous?  Congratulations, Lori!


I’m sure you’re aware of the buzz all over blogland about Jeanneke’s  ‘building houses from scraps’ challenge.  I have always wanted to make a house-themed quilt and when I saw this, I leaped before I thought and agreed to take part in the challenge.

When I found out that the blocks finished at 3 1/2”, I almost choked!

Some of the pieces would be so tiny that they’d get lost between my fingers!  I was shattered and resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Then I began to read that some of you were paper piecing your blocks.  I had heard of the term paper piecing but hadn’t the foggiest idea of how to go about it. 

So what did I do? 

I googled ‘You Tube’ tutorials and I watched several until it finally began to sink in.

A secret that I’ll let you in on is that I’m VERY directionally challenged…just ask Mr. Painted Quilt.  Many times has he told me that I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag and you know what?  He’s right!

Well it comes to pass that everything to do with paper piecing is all “bass ackwards”!  *wink*  Oh, woe is me!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I knew if I begged asked that some kind blogger would come to my rescue and I was not disappointed!  Merilyn from Quiltminstrel, and all the way from Australia, came to my rescue!

Not only did she send me the greatest hand written tutorial with charts and templates but she also included a completed sample block and a little template ruler to use when folding the paper back to trim the seam allowance.


It’s taken me a few days to muster the courage to attempt one, but this morning I decided to bite the bullet and give-it-a-go!


I’m not going to say that it was easy and I did have to rip out some seams (because of the directional thing) but I now know that I can do it and I’m pumped to make a whole lot more…definitely not 365 of them…but mini quilt size for sure!

Thank you so much, Merilyn for taking the fear out of paper piecing.  Not only did you take the time to explain how, but the fact that you included a pieced sample spoke a million words to me.

Blogging friends are definitely the best!



gracie said...

Although I would never consider myself a quilter, I have done ssome paper piecing...I like it...once "you" get the hang of it!

Cattinka said...

Hi Kaaren,
your first house is so nice, why not make 366, one each day, that isn´t much. And once you get used to creating one a day it will be boring without. I got 18 made so far and it is so much fun to make them in the pp technique.

Michelle said...

I would add an additional border to the court house is adorable...I don't think I could do that house one...oy.

Gayle said...

Yay! It looks like you're well on your way to doing the paper pieced house blocks - I KNEW you could do it!

LesQuilts said...

Hi Kaaren!
I'd add a border, maybe a darker blue.
Or maybe a series of 3 borders, like the colours in the blocks.
or maybe 3 but each one a darker colour than the colours in the blocks
Whew! My imagination almost ran away on me!
Take care, Leslie

Monica said...

Once you really get the hang of paper piecing you'll be amazed at how fast it goes. I wish I had time to make the little houses. I downloaded the pattern but that's as far as I've gotten in two weeks.

Anonymous said...

"Directionally challenged" - I LOVE it! I have been searching my entire life for a descriptor on what I am and that is IT! Made me smile - Thanks!

Chris S

Gra said...

Your log cabin quilt is beautiful!! I love the colors.
Just today I pinned someone´s scrap houses picture onto pinterest. They look so cute I had to download the pattern. I might try it but not these days. It is just so hot down here!!!! Take care!!!

Siobhán said...

All of your WIPs are beautiful, Kaaren! That house block is just so adorable--and eensy teensy! ;)

Enjoy the snow!

Terry@ a quilting blog said...

Love your Court House Steps quilt. I would add a red border to it. Your little house block is adorable...look forward to seeing more. TFS

Sheila said...

I love your court house steps quilt ,I quite like it as it is so not sure about the border but I am sure whatever you decide it will be lovely. Good luck with the houses , I have only made two so far and since I really am not a pp fan I think mine will also be a mini quilt ;-)

Colleen said...

Kaaren, your little paper pieced house is great. Good luck with the house quilt. I have too much on my plate to add another thing so I will not be doing it.
I like your courthouse steps and if it was mine I wouldn't add another border, but it is your quilt and you always do wonderful work!

Larkrise garden girl said...

Kaaren, I loved your quilts. Pp is hard and I loved how your house turned out.

Angie said...

I have never gotten the hang of pp either. The little house you made is darling. :) I've had computer woes so haven't been online much, but just went to check out your FFF, and it is adorable! Thank you so much for so freely sharing your talents with us. You are such a delight. I hope that you are feeling good. Hugs.

Wendy said...

“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!” - that's exactly what we say about provincial politics here in British Columbia! lol. Pretty little house. Welcome to paper piecing!!!

Karen said...

Here is a link to a "faux paper piecing" tutorial. It is the way I have been doing paper piecing (what little I do) for the last couple years. You don't have to tear off the paper in this method.

Anonymous said...

I do like to paper piece but find the first block a challenge..then I get into the you!

It is so nice to see you keeping your mind and self occupied....and coming up with some real winners of quilts!!! Love em all!!! I did see on Taryn's blog that cute little number and to see yours...makes me want to whip out the strips on get busy on one. Alas...too many other things in the fire at the moment.
I'm thinking about you everyday and know that the 23rd is coming ever so quickly.....if ever a time we want to see time fly will be the next 6 weeks!!! Love ya friend!

Shelley said...

Paper piecing gets easier as you do it..practice, practice, practice! You did well for your firstie :) And yep, in the maritimes, the weather forecast is whatever it's doing when you look out the window lol!

Lesley said...

Kaaren, I love your court house steps...I would probably add a very narrow border and then the binding, but it is sure gorgeous as it is! And your Pink Lemonade is really coming together well. So wonderful that you jumped into paper piecing with your friend's is tricky, and like Quilt Hollow says, after you do a few they do start to make more sense. Can't wait to see your mini-house mini-quilt!
Enjoy the snow!

Bertie said...

The courthouse is beautiful Kaaren!
Have you seen the pdf on Jeanneke's site for the paperpiecing on A4 & imperial? It will be there until tomorrow!
Wil have to learn paperpiecing too, seeing your house it's very very nice:))
Have a good week!

Annette said...

Congratulations! You are now a paper-piecer. And your little house is very sweet.

Joy said...

Thanks for the link to Lori's quilt, wow, it's sensational :o). Love your courthouse steps too, I much prefer that block to log cabin - it's all a matter of taste isn't it ;o).
Congrats on your first paper-pieced block too, it looks super. I'm like you though, not sure I'd tackle 365 of them though - eek.
Stay warm!!!
Joy :o)

marina said...

funny, that's the same thing they say about Melbourne weather!
Your mini's are just gorgeous and your house is too. Well done!

Janet said...

I guess the best way to work out the weather there is to look out the window, lol
I love your little quilts and the house is adorable. How fabulous for Merilyn to help you out, what a legend!

Needled Mom said...

I love paper piecing and I think your little house looks great. 3.5" is awfully small for all of those pieces.

JudyCinNC said...

I just bet you are going to love the exactness from the paper piecing. You have a lot going on right now. Love the little houses, but I did come to my senses quickly before I lept. Judy C

Merilyn said...

Great work on your mini house block Kaaren!! You are now an official Foundation Paper Piecer LOL!!!!! These little house blocks can become very addictive!
Love your courthouse steps mini as well, maybe a little border would be nice to frame it, love the colors you chose for it! Isn't Lori's QAL fun? Love your blocks too, this is going to be a fabulous little quilt!
Those two little fur babys sure are spoiled, so cosy inside with all that white stuff outside!
Continued prayers and good thoughts your way Kaaren for your upcoming appointment, take care!!

Heartsdesire said...

Love your sweet blue quilt. After the nine-patch block, courthouse steps is second on my list. I don't normally recommend borders (I always have trouble cutting them straight), but on this quilt, I think it would be quite charming. I've never tried paper piecing, but I understand that there is nothing to be afraid of. And you did a great job on your first house. Carol Doak has a book titled "Show Me How to Paper Piece" that I bought a few years ago with the intention of making a few paper-pieced blocks. As mentioned above, I never did make any, but after seeing how enthusiastic you are, I may have to try it. Looking forward to seeing a few more house blocks from you.

Kathy said...

Hi Kaaren,
I would either put a LARGE border around the Courthouse Steps quilt (similar to something Cheri Payne would do)in a dark print that is not in the quilt but coordinates with it or just bind it at the size it is.
I go through stages where I pp and I don't. If I ahve a pattern that is easier PP, I do it, rather than regular piecing.
Have you been doing any rug hooking lately?
Thinking of you often.

Sandy said...

Love your little goodies. I, too, have not done a log cabin quilt but love the look. I will take a look over at Taryn's blog. I love the accuracy of paper piecing. I have done a few things with it, but always have to re-instruct myself each and every time. Our brains don't want to function backwards, I am sure! Those houses are darling!

B J Elder said...

Paper Piecing? I do love it. That said, when I am doing it this is what I hold to.... if it starts off correctly keep going. If it does NOT, step away, do something else and come back later. I learned this the hard way, with too many times having to unsew. When done right - the results are amazing and you can create such fun blocks! OH, most important, have a large supply of chocolate on hand. LOL

Pat said...

Log cabin quilts are among my favorite & I have done quite a few.
Your courthouse step mini is adorable. Borders are such a personal choice but traditionally most log cabin quilts don't have borders - at least the vintage ones...just a thought. But if you end up with a border - maybe a vintage floral? A little darker to frame everything?

Paper piecing is great for accuracy. I am working on the little houses also & need to catch up for this week. Doesn't take long when ...your first house looks perfect - you might find doing them like potato chips...

Karen said...

I am not a fan of PP, but when working with small pieces or wanting sharp tips, PP is the only way to go.
Next time you are at a quilt shop or shopping on line pick up a "add a 1/4in" ruler. That little tool makes the work that much easier.
I downloaded a pattern to make the houses pillow. Now I need to find a pillow form. Good reason to visit a quilt shop.
Happy sewing...Karencg

Verna G said...

I like your court house steps the way they are. I wouldn't put on another border. Sometimes I think too many borders are distracting.

Terry said...

How kind of Merilyn to help you out like that! Your little house looks wonderful! :0)

Allie said...

Can't believe you've never made a log cabin before, it turned out so sweet! Great job! Love the house block too, I've not done paper piecing but I've watched it done and it looks impossible to me. I guess I just don't "want" to, lol! Very sweet of Merilyn to help you like that.

We haven't had much snow in Detroit, although the west side of the state got hit - we're bouncing up and down in temps too, what is with this winter, lol! Stay warm!

Elzaan said...

You are brave, and conquered a lot of new methods! Well done and good luck with the houses and your other projects. Looking forward to the progress.

Taryn said...

I got a chuckle out of your paper piecing saga. I use tracing paper because I cannot work in reverse. Your Courthouse Steps turned out great. I like the red cornerstones in it. I think it is asking for a border. You were so productive this weekend. I opted for Mac's approach and crowned myself Queen of the Couch.

Amy said...

That is what we say about the weather in Kansas. LOL

Very cute mini court house steps.

Sue-Anne said...

Totally understand where you are coming from with the paper piecing - I really struggle with working it all out too. Your little house is very cute and looking forward to seeing many more.

I almost forgot, your Courthouse Steps is gorgeous - I love it!

Susannah said...

I love paper piecing! It is really easy to do when you get the knack! And fun! You are so good at accomplishing what you set out to won't be long and we will see the finished quilt. I look forward to that day.

Take care, Kaaren, and know that you are in my prayers daily.


KatieQ said...

I'm glad Merilyn was able to help you. I tried to make one of the houses and it was such a mess that I gave up. Maybe I'll try to paper piece one.

Janet O. said...

Your little "Courthouse Steps" is beautiful. I tend to use borders on most quilts, but this really can stand on its own.
You are ready to move on with Pink Lemonade, now that Lori has posted the last steps. Your blocks look so precise and uniform. This has been a fun little QAL.
Congrats on the paper piecing accomplishment. Such cute little houses (and what a great blog friend). PP is not my favorite thing, so I'm not doing the houses, but when I paper piece, like on a Mariner's Compass, I use the perforated paper piecing technique. To me it is more user friendly.

Wendyb said...

oooh Kaaren, blogging friends definitely are a special breed!
I love your determined nature.....inspires me no end my friend! Love how your house worked out...a mini quilt of them would look fab! Your other 'bits' look great...courthouse steps look fantastic..and in my colours too so I am a touch biased!
Enjoy the sons off to Banff skiing for a 7 day holiday this week....a bit of a change from the temperatures we've had here in tropical north Queensland!
take care dear heart
XX Wendy <3 :O)

Jenny's Place Online said...

Log cabin was my very first block :) It's amazing what you can do with it, too. I have also attempted the paper pieced cottage. If you don't continue with the cottages, at least you have 'given it a go' :) Happy crafting, Jenny

Vickie said...

Your weather sounds like ours. We have only had a total of 3 inches of snow so far this winter. We really want the snow! It's supposed to start raining today, ugh... I love the Court House Steps quilt! It is so sweet! I think another border would have a more finished look but it looks great just the way it is! Your pink lemonade quilt is wonderful! I love house quilts! Your idea of a mini quilt sounds doable! I have never paper pieced either but will look into the tutorials! Thanks for sharing!

Lori said...

Holy smokes! You have been so busy!! I love the courthouse steps quilt and am hoping to make it this year.

I hope you got part 3 of Pink Lemonade yesterday. Your blocks look great!!

3" houses scared me outta that house project! Good luck!!

Thansk for sending people to see my Dear Jane. I'm still at the "pinch me" stage!

Laurel said...

Hello are a lucky lady to have the time/opportunity to sew so much....I am still working full time and find it difficult to squeeze time in at the sewing machine....I enjoy seeing your have a wonderful sense of color but I guess that is an understatement as you ARE an artist after all.... With time limited I have to be careful chosing from all the wonderful offerings in "blogland" but could not resist the red and white sampler quilt "JustTakes2" which has already proved to be a challenge! Sending best wishes to you for the journey you begin on the 23rd....

GerryART said...

Our weather has been bouncing back and forth also. But not extreme as your's must be.
The most snow was a two inch 'storm' and it was gone in three days.
Today we didn't even need a sweater.
We're waiting for the shoe to drop. Winter ! ! !

I know you'll end up loving paper-piecing, Kaaren. It's way fun.

You're moving right along with your bity quilts. Go ! ! !
Love and hugs,

Candace said...

Sounds as though there is never a dull moment in NS, Kaaren! Frankie's photo looks almost surreal - and so peaceful - and well Mac - he is just too darned cute! Love all the "playing" you've done in the studio! Those blues in your courthouse steps are to die for! Congrats on sticking with the paper piecing - I had a lot of trouble with this, but it finally sunk in when I did my NYB! Now ask me to do that again? Hah - I know what directionally challenged means personally - LOL!

Donna said...

I love your Courthouse Steps quilt, and your paper pieced house looks great.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kaaren,
How were your holidays? I must say after just reading your blog about paper piecing that i am amazed u have never done it before. from what i have seen of your work, i would have thought that would have been easy for u. but then we all have our different specialties i guess. i have don't lots of it, and designed some of my own, so if u would like a peak, just stop at the shop. Have a great day. Tina Steepleview Quilts, Paradise, NS.

Stina Blomgren said...

So wonderful to come here and see what you have been up to... lots and lots of inspiration.. and thanks again for your wonderful Freebie!! Love it!!!
Hope all is well with you and want to wish you a wonderful and happy 2012!! HUGS from Sweden!!

Anonymous said...

Have fun with building houses. I would leave the quilt just like it is, so no border.

Jean Brodie said...

I have not been commenting lately but am faithfully reading your blog and know that you and MrP are in our thoughts and prayers.Your home is so beautiful and i so enjoyed the Christmas decor. Not being a quilter I am constantly fascinated at all the talent that flows - such beautiful work. I am sure that you now have snow- we sent it EAST!!!
Hugs Jean B

Quiltingmama said...

I like your Court House Steps quilt a lot. You used one of my favorite color schemes. If I were making your quilt, I probably would add another border, but, of course, the only specifications your quilt should meet are yours.

Heather Chandler said...

I love the red, white, and blue log cabin quilt! Too cute. I don't think you need to add the extra border. Red binding would look nice and provide a good frame around it.

I am glad you decided to try paper-piecing, that is how I am doing my house blocks. Once you get the rhythm going, it is a lot of fun!

Esse-Riekje said...

Love Nova Scotia. I've been there 40 years ago and lay in the harbour during a week in november on a cargo ship .I realy enjoyed the weather and the early christmas decoration , because at that time we didn't have that in the Netherlands.We hired a car and did some sightseeing, very special...

Jantine said...

That was so nice of Marilyn, so you did go for the 3,5 at last ;-). Well done!!! The house looks great. Let me assure you I haven't gotten further then 3 this month myself.
Please know I think of you while you are being treated!