great granny twist blog hop with lori holt

Hi everybody! It's my day on the Great Granny Twist blog tour, and I can't wait to show you my project!

We're here celebrating the first birthday of Lori Holt's book Great Granny Squared (has it only been a year?!) It's a fun book with a super easy-to-make block, several quilts and a pillow.

To keep things festive this December, Lori and Fat Quarter Shop asked us to put our own fresh twist on the block patterns shown in the book. So... what could I make that would be honor Lori's great block but also be very me? Well, how about Christmas stockings!

Would you like to make your own Great Granny Squared stockings? Yay! So let's talk about how to make them. I thought that a mini-tutorial would be helpful. You'll need a copy of the Great Granny Squared book. First, pick out some cute fabric! I used two current Moda collections that I'm obsessed with - Fig Tree's Farmhouse and Bunny Hill's Mistletoe Lane. Then make two of the 6" blocks shown on page 26 in the book. Now you'll need to turn them into a larger chunk of "fabric" from which you'll cut the stocking shape.

Sew a 1" x 6 1/2" background strip between the two blocks and press toward the strip.

Add a 2" x 13" strip to the right side and a 6" x 13" strip to the left side. Press towards the solid fabric.

Sew a 4" x 13 1/2" strip to the bottom and a 3" x 13 1/2" strip to the top.

Now you have your chunk of fabric! For the rest of the stocking construction, I used a pattern from Kristyne Czepuryk (of Pretty By Hand fame). The pattern is in the Winter 2015 issue of Quilts and More magazine (you can find a copy here and here or at your local shop). I cut out the stocking template. Yes, I know that I destroyed my magazine, but I was just too lazy to make a photocopy! I layered the stocking template behind the fabric so that I could center the blocks.

You can see that I'm a bit maniacal about pinning! Then cut out your stocking front.

Now layer your stocking top onto rectangles of batting and backing and "quilt as desired." I needed to get it done fast, so I did a simple grid, then trimmed the batting and backing flush with the stocking shape.

Now just follow the rest of Kristyne's instructions and you'll soon have a stocking! Her pattern actually shows several different types of stockings - one with a lace cuff, one with applique, and one with the top ruffle that I made. I'd suggest using a walking foot to sew your stocking together (if you have one) because you'll be sewing through a LOT of layers of fabric and batting.

And here's where I got a little crazy. I decided that our cats, Chloe and Mia, also needed their own stockings. They're tiny, but the perfect size for a felt mouse or two.

(Oops, I forgot to put the felt mice into the stockings! That's Santa's job, anyway.)

For the mini stockings, I used a pattern by Fig Tree Threads called "Mini Stockings." It's from a few years ago, but it's still available on the Fig Tree website here.

Now just bring on the cookies and we are all ready for Santa!

Fat Quarter Shop has created their own fun version of Lori's block. It's called Great Granny Circled, and Kimberly has a tutorial video for the block here. Several bloggers have already showed their own twist on the block earlier this week, and the full lineup is here. Today's bloggers showing their GGST (that's Great Granny Squared Twist!) blocks are:

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope that you enjoy putting your own twist on the Great Granny Squared blocks. If you make the stockings, please provide a link back to my blog - and besides, I'd love to see them!









a great granny squared finish!

It's done! The mini Great Granny Squared quilt is finished!

Wow, didn't I just start this a few weeks ago? I made Lori Holt's quilt pattern at half size, and my finished quilt top measures 20x26. It is the perfect size for a standard bed pillow sham!   

I managed to follow all of my own "rules" - I used a colored background instead of white (It's Kona Bluebell), I integrated some white prints that I don't usually use, and I avoided darks. It seemed to take forever to choose a border print. And now I definitely want to make more quilts with pale pastel-y backgrounds! 

Reducing the size by 50% was definitely a challenge. Why can't I just follow the directions?!  Many pieces were cut at 3/4" and 1" and weren't always a pleasure to sew. I'm sure that they would have been really easy if I had done them at full size. There might have been a lot of swearing and seam ripping. And yet every time I finished a block I felt like I had accomplished something (and deserved to eat a New Mexican chocolate truffle).  I like to reinvent!

The Great Granny Squared pattern book can be found here, and each week's customized pattern pdfs can all be found here. My block fabric is an assortment of Pam Kitty Morning, Lori Holt, Atsuko Matsuyama, Bonnie & Camille and Riley Blake.

Did you see that Lori announced another sew along on her blog last week? I already have the pattern!

I'm linking up today with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

yarn and crochet hook

I've caught up with the Great Granny Squared sew along! I finished the yarn and crochet hook block.

And here it is combined with the yarn basket block.

Making this half size (4 1/2" x 5 1/2") made me crazy. That crochet hook is 1/4" wide! I don't think that I've ever used my seam ripper this much. The back of the block looks like the Bride of Frankenstein, with several rows of stitching, a few thread knots, a few lumpy seams and some extra holes. But only me and my quilter will ever see that. Maybe I should have just used hot glue or staples. That probably would have been less painful. But the extra effort was truly worth it. I'm really happy with the finished block even if it did push me right into eating a  pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food. 

Next week we'll receive directions on how to put it all together. But I couldn't resist playing with the blocks. Here's the whole grouping. Definitely worth the all the crazy! And check out the blocks from everybody else at the Flickr group here

great granny squared quilt along - mama blocks

It's the third week of the Great Granny Square quilt along! And this week I made twenty mama blocks.

The Fat Quarter Shop is hosting the Great Granny Squared sew along using Lori Holt's book, and the blocks will be set to make Mama's Crochet Quilt. I'm having fun working on my blocks... except that oops, I missed last week's block. Maybe I was too busy making strawberries! This week's little granny squares were super easy to make. I once again downsized the original pattern, so my blocks measure 3 1/2" instead of 6 1/2". I usually like to make these from my precut 1 1/2" strips, but I ran out of them last week. So yes, I individually cut all these squares. The fabric prep and cutting took more time than the actual sewing!

I sure am learning about color value with this quilt! Working with a pale Kona Bluebell background is a nice challenge. I like the freshness that the blue brings to the project. Several fabrics with similar values had to be edited out because they didn't have enough contrast. 

And now my cute little blocks will get packed up, awaiting next week's assembly instructions!

great granny squared quilt along!

I've joined another quilt along! This one uses Lori Holt's new "Great Granny Squared" book. I had to do this, right?! This will be a short quilt along, only 5 weeks. And on week one I made a...

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Lori's finished quilt measures 40" x 52" but of course I am going to put a twist on it. I am doing it half-sized! My finished top will be 20" x 26". There's a lot of cutting prep for this block! I'm lucky that I had these nifty Alphabitties to keep me organized. (Remember Alpha Bits cereal? Yum!)

Working with all those 3/4" pieces made me a little crazy. This block measures 6" x 8". And I'll admit that there's one flaw that I picked out twice... and then decided that I'd stop stressing.

I have a few little guidelines for this quilt. I'm not calling them rules so that I won't feel guilty if I break them!

First, I was determined to use a colored background. That's something that I don't usually do. But I think that I'm relying on white and white-on-white and wanted to try something new. This pale blue is from Kona.

Next, I am going to avoid darks. That's right. No navy and no black!

And finally, break out the whites! I'm going to incorporate some white prints. I love them, but I feel that they disappear when used on a white background. Or at least that's what I tell myself. 

I'm using mostly Pam Kitty Picnic (again!) and a few pieces of Scrumptious. 

There's time for you to join the group, too! Other Great Granny Squared baskets are being added to the Flickr group here, and you can read more details about the sew along at Lori's blog and at the Jolly Jabber.

great granny squared is here!

My new quilt book has arrived! Here's Lori Holt's Great Granny Squared!

In the book's introduction, Lori explains how this block is inspired by crocheted granny squares, and how it's the perfect way for thrifty quilters to use up every little scrap. The Great Granny Squared pays tribute to the creative women in our lives. 

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Of course, if it's a Lori Holt pattern, then it must be fun, right? There was a Great Granny sew along a few years ago. I made a quilt for a colleague's baby boy, but I forgot to take a picture of the finished quilt (I know, I feel a little guilty). There are photos of the individual blocks on my Flickr page here. Looking at those blocks now, I'm stunned to see that I used fabrics way out of my comfort zone - orange?! aqua chevrons?! monkey prints?! And when that quilt was finished, I really wanted to remake it for myself.

Well, Lori has compiled the pattern into her second book. It's a bright, colorful book, full of scrappy quilts and inspirational vintage-y photos. The original Great Granny Square is 12" finished. There are a few extra projects, including a runner with 6" blocks. I decided that I need to make a whole quilt out of those little 6" blocks.

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I'm working with a deliberately controlled scrappy color palette, focusing mainly on deeper blues, bright pinks, kelly greens and a few whites for sparkle.

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And so, an idea was born...

My grandmother Frieda had a great love for life. Always cheerful and always wanting to make everybody feel welcome. She loved to crochet, usually with bright acrylic yarn. And her color sense was a bit... well, it was odd. Imagine a chevron crocheted throw in chocolate, burnt orange and mustard, and maybe a bit of leftover pastel pink thrown in, just because she liked it. Or how about orange, kelly green, white and pale blue? But then she made a simple, granny square throw that we all loved. It was deep blue, pink, green and white. I loved that thing! I spent my high school years snuggled under it, watching videos on MTV.

Even before my new book arrived, I started to think about what I would make. And it just seemed natural to use my grandma's throw as an inspiration. And just like hers, mine will be scrappy. I'll need a lot of blocks...  and I wonder if I can stick to such a limited color palette. As I planned this quilt I smiled, realizing that my grandma is probably looking down on me, happy that I'm doing this. But I do know one thing...

There won't be any burnt orange or mustard!

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