July TAST and CQJP – in September

Yes, that’s right…  my July block is finished, and I’m only 2 months behind now.   🙂   If you not interested in all the details, you’ll find the photo of the block at the bottom of this post.

If you are a follower of my travel blog, Traveling Dancers, you know that we traveled in the east all summer.  (I’m also behind about a month with posts to it as well).  I didn’t spend as much time on my crafts as usual.

Picture2 Before we left for our summer journey, we had Christmas in July with our family in Indiana.  Had a great time.  My CQJP is meant to be a journal of my year, so Christmas in July had to be a part of the block.  I found the pattern, Tatted Christmas Tree on the Be-Stitched website.  I added red, white and blue beads.  This is the tree on my blocking board.

Now the big job was to design my quilt block.  We traveled the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia, during July and the first of August.  The beautiful mountain scenery had to be my focus.

I started with a photo of the mountains.  This is screenshot of the photo inserted into MSPublisher.

photo in Publisher

Next, using the freeform line tool, I sketched over the mountain ranges.  I drew a square box, and moved it over the sketch until I found the section I wanted to portray in the block.

line drawing over photo

Deleting the photo, I was left with this line drawing for a pattern.

pattern for block

Needing a full size 12.5” pattern, I cropped the drawing into quarters and printed each separately.

drawing a    drawing b

drawing c    drawing d

I taped the four prints together, then traced each segment (reversed) of the pattern onto freezer paper.  I ironed each onto my chosen fabrics allowing 1/4” appliqué seam at the top of each and making sure the bottoms would overlap.

Starting with the top piece, I added each part of the block, appliqueing just the top of each, and then removing the freezer paper.  Leaving the paper gave me an edge to turn under the fabric against, helping to shape the curves.  After the appliquéing was finished, this was my block.


While traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the stops we enjoyed most was at Mabry Mill.  The site contains a reconstructed pioneer village around the original mill.  The view is so iconic, some states have actually stolen the image for their own advertising.

While there, we purchased a bag of freshly ground grits, one of Ron’s favorite foods.

P1250793I noticed the bag was  made of cotton, as  the flour sacks of the early twentieth century.  I thought it would be fun to include it in my block.  After ripping the seams, I colortested it and found that it didn’t fade.  I then cut a rectangle from the front of the bag.


This became the focal point of my block.   Running behind the patch is the “highway” I have used in my months of travel this summer.

Then, using Picasa, I took 4 photos from the month, and gave them an old Polaroid look.  Using Publisher, I added a script font to each to resemble someone having labeled them by hand.  I then reversed the images and printed the photos on Tailor Print ‘n’ Press Transfer paper.  I wanted this as opposed to the printable fabric, as you can get a glossy look to the transfers, making them look more like real photos.


The photos were scattered randomly along the edges of the Mabry Mill patch and appliquéd.  A white on white fabric has been the common factor to all my CQJP blocks.  I cut a circle from it and used it as a background for the tatted Christmas tree.

Finally, I was ready for July’s TAST stitches.  The first, Bonnet Stitch, I used to outline the Mabry Mill section.  I really liked working this stitch.


I also really like the Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch.  I used it along the edges of the “Polaroids” and the Oyster Stitch (which I don’t like) on each corner.


Finally, the Palestrina stitch was used to create a red, white and blue border around the circle containing the tatted Christmas Tree.  To make it tri-colored, I threaded 3 needles with the threads, then took the stitches alternately.


The four stitches are also portrayed in my sampler sections for this month:

P1290472 pussywillow Oyster Stitch … Pussy Willow catkins are one of the first harbingers of spring.  Bringing a few branches inside always makes the lingering winter days pass quicker.

NM Up and Down Button Hole … although a stitch given in July, by the time I stitched this section, it was September and we were hiking at El Morro, NM.  The stitch seemed perfect to me to stitch  the New Mexico flag symbol.  It is a sun symbol used by the Zia, an ancient Native American people.

wreathI had problems visualizing the Bonnet Stitch in some way related to nature, until I came up with the idea of an evergreen wreath.  And what better way to portray it than with the red, white and blue of our July Christmas?

cosmos2 The Basque Stitch forms the colorful Cosmos, one of the easiest summer blooming annuals to grow in the Northwest.

And finally, July is finished, only a little over 2 months late.  Here is the finished block, “Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway”.


13 thoughts on “July TAST and CQJP – in September

  1. What a great block! I like the different things you showcased on it, and the stitching you added to your little squares, especially the New Mexico one. Sounds like a great summer!

  2. I’m absolutely speechless! This is an AMAZING tutorial, using the technology of today to create a wonderful quilt block. A lot of computer and quilting skills here (great photo of the mountains), not to mention the excellent tatted tree, one of my favorite patterns that I have yet to tat! I’m so impressed with the quilt block AND this post!

  3. Loved reading the entire blog. Thanks for sharing the MSP information. Neat tool. Your use of the stitches is really good for the borders and samples.

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