New York Beauties anyone?

For my February block in my virtual quilting bee, I was forced to learn how to make a New York Beauty block. Intimidating, no?

My first attempt using my own fabrics:

New York Beauty test block

The paper piecing template can be found here: http://www.lenzula.com/pattern/free/nyb.php.

I had never before attempted paper piecing and sewing curves. I decided to use tracing paper for my template. While I found it to be a tedious process to draft the pattern onto tracing paper, it wasn't difficult nor was the stitching. Sewing the curves proved to be much easier than I imagined. I pinned the center point and ends, then used a lot of pins to smooth out the sewing line. I used my small applique pins, sewing right over them.

This is what it looks like from the back:

back of NY Beauty

The points come out nice and sharp using the paper piecing method.

close up

I decided to try a different template for my final block and so made up another practise block with my own fabrics.
Practice block - New York Beauty

And the final using Jennifer's (bee) fabrics.

New York Beauty

I added the purple print batik and raspberry solid from my stash to give it a little more pizzazz.


Snowball quilt out of mothballs and the first signs of Spring

This weekend I was inspired to pick up an abandoned WIP quilt top. I finished the top and had purchased the backing fabric and batting a couple of months ago.

I quilted a fairly large scale swirly pattern over the surface of the quilt.


I'm using a variegated cotton thread by Gutermann's from Joann's. I had a terrible time adjusting my machine's tension with this thread. I used a polyester (*gasp!*) Coats & Clark with my large last quilt and it quilted like a dream.

I left the borders unquilted until I can settle on a design. I may just quilt more swirls or perhaps an orange peel design? I started to do some swirls and then ran out of thread... I guess a sign that perhaps I should let it sit for a few days before I make a final decision.

progress on quilting; snow ball quilt

Moving from snowballs to flowers, the first signs of Spring have emerged in the Bay Area.

Walnut Creek, CA
Fruit tree at parent's house in Walnut Creek on February 15