January Projects: Primarily Painting

I have been enjoying everyone’s year end posts, with photos and lists of all the wonderful projects they’ve completed. If you follow along here you know that I was not in “fiber mode” last year and completed nothing. But, as always, I’m excited that it’s January and here are some of the things I want to accomplish!

The studio unpacking and organizing has been at a standstill since the beginning of December! Earlier in the Fall I “allowed” myself to sit down at the sewing machine and do something and the half square triangle project was in the box by the machine. I tacked up the squares on the design-wall-to-be as I sewed them. It’s going to be a fun quilt, but it is supposed to be a leader-ender project, so I put it away again.

Half Square Triangle Bit

And here is the painting part of the post and the theme of the month! We are working on reorganizing Peter’s office closet and our master bedroom closet, so lots of patching and priming and painting is happening. I really want to get a design wall hung and I have learned from many moves that once the design board goes up, it doesn’t come off until we move! The walls are not a bad color, but it’s a dark latte or paper bag color and not neutral (or girly) enough for me. This room has not been painted since the house was built in 1999 (!) and I am looking forward to covering up all marks of the previous two owners.

Design Wall-To-Be

I very stupidly decided to paint the primer coat at the beginning of December. Then more important and fun things needed doing, so here this is what it looks like… Isn’t it interesting to see just how dark the latte color (over the doorways) is?

Primed wall

I got to a paint store yesterday and bought some samples. These really are different. ;-D The top one is a warmer pink and the bottom a cooler one.

Paint samples

The deadline for entering quilts in my guild’s March show is in a month, so I need to get the design wall done so that I can get working on some machine quilting. And I want to get back to being me again too!

Bits of Free Time for Fiber Therapy

I really shouldn’t complain, but my job for most of this year has been doing house projects and I’m pretty tired of it. I haven’t sewn or quilted on the machines for weeks and at night I have been too tired to do more than stare at the T.V. Before we went away, I thought I had a few days to myself, so I pulled out the half square triangles and started sewing blocks. The feeling of fabric running through my fingers and the hum of the machine made me so happy. As you can see, I got two blocks done and then the realtor called to schedule a showing and so I cleaned up. My sewing machines are being serviced now, so I won’t be able to work on this for a while.

Half square triangle quilt

In another bit of spare time, I pulled out a crochet UFO to complete. I took some crochet lessons a few years ago and made a cute hat. I do not have a photo of that hat, because I left it in a restaurant in Dubuque Iowa! This was the second crochet project that I did. It just seemed like a really fun thing to do and so 3D. This is how it begins…..looks like nothing, right?

Potato chip beginning

It’s called a potato chip or ruffle scarf and I have seen a lot of them in yarn stores and boutiques recently. To make it look ruffly, you crochet  2 stitches in one loop and one in the next and so on. It was amusing to watch that noodle-y foundation row of plain crochet plan become spiral and ruffly in shape as I worked. I plan to wear it with my wool Winter coat and thought it would be fun to add in a sparkly yarn for the last row. I also made it much longer than the pattern suggested as I wanted to be able to wrap it many times around my neck, like a boa!

Potato chip crochet scarf

While we were in our cabin in Hendersonville, I sewed on the Halloween Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt squares. As I pulled them out of their bag, I realized that I had quite a stack. When I spread them out – – – lookee here – – – it’s starting to look like a quilt.

Lots of hexes

I sew a middle and then the “petals” row first. When that part is done, I audition the “leaves” or outer row. You can see above and below, how I try out several possibilities.


This morning I pulled out a purple tone on tone dot that I have. It’s what I have been envisioning for the background or connector fabric. I think it will be good and I so love purple that it will be fun to sew. This is going to be a very busy little quilt!

Background choice

Now I have to collect and pack projects that I can work on in a rental apartment. We will drive to Greenville in two cars….just how many boxes and suitcases and bikes and cats will fit? More importantly, how many sewing machines and fabric will ?

A Weekly Dose of Triangles: border ideas

It occurred to me, as I was editing these photographs of border layouts that these would make great striped designs as well. I’m not sure that I’ve seen a striped half triangle quilt. Sounds like a great idea for a “modern” quilt, with plenty of room for wonderful quilting. These strips could divide a quilt top into areas, like lattice does, or just be stripes. With most of the borders, I made sure to create a corner as well. Sometimes it’s hard to decide how to end one border and begin the next one.

These three designs are just one square wide. There are lots of ways to flip these single squares to make an attractive border design. In this group, the third design appeals to me the most. I love the wonky feel of the triangles flipping back and forth.

Borders 1

This pair is pretty great! The top one is a flying geese design. It’s edge made a box or square on point, which lead me to the next design. Piecing these borders would take some time, but they have a lot of appeal.

Borders 2

Of course in this set, I love the zig zag design and the way it forms such a tidy corner. The bottom border would be quite an intricate one to do and couldn’t be sewn to just any  sort of quilt top. I am not sure what I would do in the corner, obviously! That would take a bit of fiddling.

Borders 3

This is the last of my half square triangle posts. I hope you enjoyed them! I make a blog book at the end of each year and so I must admit that I did these for my reference. As I piece and piece half square triangles as leader-ender pieces, I will have lots of ideas to refer back to when I need inspiration.

In between working on house projects, Peter has been building our ark. Honestly – I don’t think short of several hurricanes we’ve lived through that I have endured so much rain. I neglected to take a picture when the rain was pounding on the roof and all the back yards were filling up. It looked like a model of the great lakes! Happily our house is on a little rise, but Peter had a back-up sump pump system put in a few years ago, and we’re so glad for it now. The sound of it emptying every half hour or so is very comforting! There are some daffodils in the front garden waiting for the slightest bit of sun to come out. The ones in the backyard are submerged. It’s been seriously nasty.

A Weekly Dose of Triangles: stars and pinwheels

Here’s another  post on creating quilt squares with half square triangles! This group includes star and pin wheel variations, which are some of my favorites.

This one is a bit of a cheat, as I put squares in each corner. It’s probably called a mosaic, but I’m calling it square in the middle star.

Square in the middle star

If you flip just the interior squares, you get the negative version!


This star has nice double points and you can see half square triangles in the corners.

Double pointed star

This one is appropriately called Diamond Star. You can see it’s a smaller version of a whole cloth design I did. Imagine filling in the light parts of the yellow pieces and you’d get an 8 pointed star.

Diamond star

And here’s a star with a pin wheel middle. I’m sure you get the idea now, that rotating the half square triangles or playing with the fabric colors and values will produce an endless number of star variations.

Pinwheel star

This pin wheel is in the middle of a square on point. This might be a fun center for the quilt I plan to make.

Pinwheel in a star

I can’t remember where I found this pretty square, but it seems related to Yankee Puzzle or Flying Geese. There’s so much movement.

Puzzle square

Here’s a great square called Windmills. I’ve seen some quilts where the pattern is even larger, making quite a dramatic quilt. This square is such a good example of how dynamic half square triangles can be.


I’m almost done, but there’s one more post coming next week, on using half square triangles in border designs.

A Weekly Dose of Triangles: making squares

And the design ideas continue! In the last two posts I showed you a myriad of ideas using simply the half square triangle for all over quilt designs. Many, many, many quilt squares are made up of half square triangles. When I took a beginning class with Karen Buckley, and when I teach one, the first lesson is all about triangles. So here’s what I came up with!

This pattern is a sort of simple bow tie design. It also looks like an hour-glass.

Simple bow tie

I’m calling this four square, for lack of a better name. Using half square triangles makes it so much more interesting than four solid squares would be.

Four square

This square has the look of the overall quilt pattern I plan to make. The corner squares could be twisted any which way to make an interesting secondary design when pieced together.

Open Diamond

And this one flips just the center blocks for an almost inside out look of the previous block. A lot of squares like this are simply called Mosaic. In The Quilters’ Album of Blocks and Borders , my favorite reference book, it is named Mosaic No. 16!

Mosaic No. 16

Dutchman’s Puzzle is a favorite pattern of mine and I think I have it in every sampler quilt I’ve made. It has great movement.

Dutchman's Puzzle

Double Z is quite an interesting design. As you can see, it depends a great deal on light and dark values for it to show up well.

Double Z

You can see that as well as twisting and turning the half square triangles around, there’s also color happening. Lights, darks, color families are all playing together – it’s so much fun!

A Weekly Dose of Triangles: more design possibilities

Today you will see the rest of the overall design possibilities for the half square triangles that I did. Really, I could go on and on but you get the idea!

This pin wheels pattern is a quilter’s favorite. For this design I think I would need more darks to make the pattern pop, or I could put a plain square in between each pin wheel. The movement is really great!


Here is another favorite quilt pattern design – flying geese. Though this design works, it might be nice to add a plain strip between each “formation” to give your eye a rest.

Flying geese

The geese don’t always have to fly in a straight line, do they? As I was taking the triangles off the wall at the end of the weekend, I “noticed” this design. I had taken many of the triangles down, so it’s not the same size as the other photographs.This one works well with my colors; perhaps it’s the relief of the light values between the darker ones.


This design radiating out from a square is really impressive. I guess it might be a Trip Around the World in all half square triangles. It could be fun to piece or applique a medallion for the middle.

Triangle trip around the world

I found many beautiful versions of this when I Googled half square triangle designs. The many colors make such lovely shadowy designs, and soften the edges of the squares. I’m calling it a square within a square.

Squares within squares

These last three designs use another shape to make the design, but I wanted to audition them. This first one is called Ocean Waves, I think, and is a pattern that’s long been on my want-to-make list. I tried out several middle fabrics and Peter and I like this dark one best. Though I wouldn’t use a fabric quite this dark, it makes the candy colored fabrics really sing.

Storm at sea

I saw a quilt top with this huge flying geese design at a little quilt show that I recently attended. Making a triangle out of triangles is quite striking, though sewing the big non pieced triangles might be a bit tricky.

Huge flying geese

This is a pattern that I have long admired. I am a great lover of stars and I’d like to do this one. Since I am without a design board, this one will have to stay on the want-to-make list.

Sparkle star

Which design will I be sewing? I had a comment from Jo, from a family of quilters, and she asked which one I was planning to make, so she was paying attention. ;-D Peter checked out all the designs as I arranged them on the wall and then we looked over the photographs. He likes the square within a square one and I do too. Although I will have to arrange and plan this quilt, I can manage without a design wall. Meanwhile I have a great pile of triangles to continue to sew – you can see that what I have done is not enough for a quilt!

Look at last week’s designs as well as this week’s and tell me – which one you would choose to sew?

Next week – quilt squares made from just triangles.