I have been busy sewing a Quilt of Valor. Recently I was at my quilt guild and I found a box of donated fabrics. Like treasure waiting for me, there were four orphan blocks that are represented in the pattern by the nine patches above. Since some of the piecing was already done I thought I would take it further and design a quilt using these blocks. I also found solid red and blue fabrics in the box. These were used in the large half square triangles. I did have to purchase white fabric and I had the navy blue in my stash which I used for the cornerstones.
Using the measurements of the orphan blocks, I was able to design the rest of the quilt easily around them in EQ8. I am starting to really like this program because it takes the math out of the cutting equation. That makes quilting more fun for me.
You never know what you are going to get into when you work with blocks that you haven't pieced. These were stretched out a bit in the centers from being handled over time. I knew that once they were in the quilt and on the longarm, there would be some fullness that needed to be worked with. I did press them with steam and that helped a bit.
Here is a photo of the rows as I got everything sewn together. If you download this Free Pattern just be aware that even though the blocks are large, they can still be confusing with the angles. So pay attention when you sew the rows together. Looking at the picture versus the rows above and you can see I have some upside down. Glad I caught them so I didn't have to rip.
I did quilt this on my longarm using a continuous block pattern available in Pro Stitcher. I used a silver thread and it came out really nice.
The binding was sewn on by machine as this quilt will be donated and I wanted it to be very secure.
Here it is hanging outside my house. I had to rotate the picture so it didn't drag the ground. I love how simple this pattern came out. It took me a couple of days to piece and then an afternoon to quilt. So I think it would be really good for a beginner. The pattern will have all of the cutting and fabric requirements. I didn't include a lot of sewing instructions because you can easily follow the picture which is what I did. I just sewed the big pieces first and then worked down to the smaller units.
Are you ready to sew and donate a Quilt Of Valor? You can find a group local to you for donation by searching the Quilt Of Valor Foundation Website. I filmed a video showing the quilt being put together and the longarm quilting. Maybe it will inspire you to make one! I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
I think I have been spending more time on the road recently than in my studio. It has been a beautiful spring in my area and I am so glad I took this recent day trip to Oneonta Alabama. You know it is always a sweet surprise to find something local to your area and realize you don't have to go very far to find beauty. I drive past the Oneonta exit when going to Birmingham and have never gotten off the interstate. I can say it will be a destination in my future because there is a lot to see if you love mountains, rocky outcrops, creeks, parks and small town home cooking restaurants.
Oneonta is located about 36 miles north of Birmingham Alabama in Blount County. It is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama because there are three located within a short drive of each other. I used Map quest to see how to plan our trip and found that visiting Horton Mill Bridge, then Easley Bridge, on to Swann Bridge and then ending up in Palisades Park made for a nice drive. In fact you could do all of these destinations in an afternoon. You will want to plan for time to get out and look at each bridge and stay for a while in the park also. Maybe bring a picnic lunch and water too.
Horton Mill Covered Bridge was our first stop. It is right off Highway 75 and there is a small parking area. You can get out of your car and walk around easily.
The bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic but walking it will give you such a sense of nostalgia. This is the highest covered bridge above any US waterway and you will feel it when walking from one end to the other.
The Easley Covered bridge was our next stop and it is the smallest and oldest of the three bridges in Blount County. The location is about three miles west of Oneonta off Hwy 231. The small country road will lead you right up to the bridge which is still open to one lane vehicle traffic. There are a couple of gravel areas that can be used to park cars. We saw motorcycle riders enjoying the beautiful day so know that you can traverse the roads on two wheels.
Moving on to the Swann Covered bridge which is 1 mile off Hwy 79 near Cleveland Alabama. This is the longest covered bridge in Alabama and one of the longest in the United States. It is 27 feet above the Locust Fork Tributary.
The bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic but there is a parking area to use. Be careful if you have a low clearance car as some of the parking was washed out. You can turn around with a regular vehicle but if you are towing something like a trailer or driving something difficult to turn on a two lane road, you may have a hard time getting pointed out. The road signs will tell you that there is no outlet. This location looks like a well visited place because you can get right down to the water. The creek was really rushing on our visit so watch pets and small children.
It was a lot of fun to be able to park our car and get out at each location. The Locust Fork tributary is a popular white water kayaking destination as well. If you love nature and fast running creeks, all three of these Covered bridges will delight you. Once you have seen them, make your way back toward Oneonta and visit Palisades Park.
Palisades Park is located on top of a mountain which you can tell from the overlook and bluff pictures. The day we visited, there was no entry fee, but they do accept donations in a drop box at the main office. This a day use park so no tent or RV camping is allowed. If you like to hike or rock climb, you will love this location.
There are several lodges throughout the park that can be rented for events. We were curious about the electrical outlets through the park. After researching we realized that they do a fantastic Christmas lights display every year.
Gazebos, picnic tables and porch swings are scattered throughout for you to sit a spell and listen to nature.
If you like historical buildings you will love the cabins, barns and school house. You can walk right up to these buildings and admire the construction techniques. I love seeing how these structures have weathered time.
I am always surprised where sewing pops up. I am a true believer that it is literally everywhere if you look for it. The Blount County Quilters Guild is located in Palisades Park and what a cute little building they have.
They meet weekly at the cottage and they are very welcoming. I visited Palisades Park on a Monday but I was curious to get inside their space and see how it was set up. So I went back on Tuesday when they were meeting and got to see everything and talk to the members.
The members were glad to have a visitor and I had a great time. They are a Non Profit organization and have several service oriented programs.
They donate quilts to babies and children through the Blount County Sheriff's office. The group also makes pet beds to give to their local Animal shelter.
When you visit, you can purchase handmade items from the guild including hand quilted quilts!.
This beautiful hand quilted quilt will be raffled off in the fall of 2023. You can purchase raffle tickets when you visit also. Most of their yearly budget that helps them promote their service projects are funded though ticket sales.
The group is already hand quilting the 2024 charity quilt. Isn't it stunning?
In October they have a quilt show that anybody can enter. They also have Quilt Of Valor ceremonies in November. Several quilts are currently in the process of being made for this year's program.
Have I piqued your interest in Blount County? I think you would love to visit the area. You can watch my Travel VLOG below of my day trip. If you would like to support a fantastic organization, check out the Blount County Quilters Guild. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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