Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Handmade Christmas Quest

By far, this was the biggest undertaking in my handmade Christmas quest.  Perhaps a little background is in order...

My brother-in-law is a U.S. Naval Officer.  He is the son of a retired U.S. Air Force major.  Through these adventures, he has sailed the seven seas, been around the world, and lived in ten (count them - 10) U.S. states.  As I was making my handmade Christmas list, I knew I wanted to honor his service in some way.  But how?  (In my best Boris Karloff voice imitation.)

I ran across two WONDERFUL website resources.  Dawn's Quilting Clip Art has an entire page dedicated to U.S. state quilt blocks.  Yay!  Equally awesome is BellaOnline, which also has an entire page of state blocks.  As you go through each site, you will find that some states have more than one block.  I made a list of the many locales my BIL has lived, and started in making a coaster set.  (Easy to pack for the plane ride home.)

Here we have Arkansas and North Dakota.  Fairly simple.  No stress...right?

Then, there's Ohio and Oklahoma.  Again, not too hard.  As you might see, my Ohio star ended up a bit small.  What to do?  Border, anyone?

California and Indiana.  This is about the time I started to feel cocky.  Even though each little block was different, I was doing pretty darn good!  Cali got a little large, so it is trimmed to be the same size.  Indiana made me do a little dance.  You see, up to this point, I was merely going from clip art.  No measurements, no directions.  Just little ol' me.  Indiana took an entire afternoon, but I had plenty of time!  Christmas was still two weeks away!  Right???

North Carolina just about made me start drinking.  I knew it would be challenging.  The website gave paper piecing instructions.  I SHOULD have read them.  I had never paper pieced before, thought I could figure it out.  Well, the first block I threw away.  This is the second version.  Not bad for a first (or second) try.  Yes, the seams are slightly off.  Did I mention there are 64 (that's SIXTY-FOUR) teeny tiny little pieces in this 5-inch block???  Hence the drinking.  Kidding!  ;)

Virginia and Rhode Island were the next paper pieced blocks.  Not perfect, but got my groove going.

And then, (dramatic pause)

There was Utah.  (dramatic music)

Let me just say that I don't do curved seams.  I like angles.  They make sense to me.  This one laid in my sewing room for days and days.  Not circles...NOOOOOO!!!!

But, I did it.  An afternoon of tracing circles, parts of circles, trimming circles, and running in circles screaming in agony.  A little applique work, and TA-DA!  

TEN United States quilt block coasters.  All handmade.  By me.  And, perhaps the best part of all...all out of fabrics from my scrap box.  Yippee!  Santa has room to bring me more fabric!

1 comment:

C said...

They were even more beautiful in person!!