Thursday, April 01, 2021

Poisson d'avril: Happy April Fool's!

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First published March 31st, 2007

Blogland is a strange place, indeed. In Blogland, you break rules, talk to strangers, show pictures of your children, the rooms in your house, the things you love to do and create and talk about your aches and pains, your illnesses and whether you get along with others or not. It is a virtual reality like no other. And strangley enough, it is a place where you can be told off one moment and lovingly accepted the very next.

When I tell my friends that I have a blog, their very first question is 'what is that?' You either know or you don't. It is a place of seriousness, of absurdities, of honesty and of illusion. And I enjoy it all, tremendously :)

Today, I am reposting a close up of the babel fish quilt. Strangely enough, not one person commented that the quilt was upside down..well, it was either the fish or that person's legs. I chose the fish. The quilt had butterflies mixed in with fish...and it lacked a colorful binding that it truly needed. It was made in a matter of hours during a quiltathon out of a tableful of mixed up fabrics, as quickly as four of us could possibly make it. We finished it in three or four hours..which is pretty good. It went to survivors of Katrina, back in 2005, and I am sure, someone is lovingly sleeping under it now, which makes me feel very happy!

I chose to re-post a close-up, because today is "poisson d'avril"...the day known in France as 'April Fish'. There, a paper fish might be placed on your back to ridicule you. In Scotland, some of us will be 'hunting the gowk.' A gowk being a cuckoo bird. I have heard that in the Netherlands it is celebrated for entirely different reasons, I would love to hear about all of your various customs, it is so much fun to learn from each other!

Here, in is called "April Fools", and we are all fools in many different ways. It's an awful lot of fun to laugh at one's self, and even more fun to laugh with others. Today, I place a paper fish on all of our backs, call out 'skewiff', 'cuckoooo', and 'quilt on.' We are, if I must say, a wonderful group of fools and I salute you all!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Full Moon, Snow and a Freezing Ice Storm 2021

The February Full Moon of the 27th reminded me to keep the faith, hang on to hope, and to know that change in any form, can always lead us to places of increased strength.

Full Moons are always a time of illumination, of seeing a new light at the end of another dark tunnel. This full moon came after many challenging events all over my city, county, and state.

Oregon had a huge, very impressive monster of an ice storm. When it was over we'd almost all lost power that lasted from a few days to many, many weeks. Even now there are homes in more isolated places and higher elevations that are more than a month out.

And yes, so many many of you did as well! All over the U.S. in all seasons we are now having these horrific "climate events'. My heart goes out to all of you. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

But for us here, it was not the huge powers outages, it was the complete loss of many of our favorite trees and the damage to many, many of the  hundreds of trees we planted 40 years ago. Many of these grew from tiny seedlings to very large and to us, very beautiful and large ones.

Our long driveway's access to our once country road was totally filled with trees down and broken limbs as far as our eyes could see. Our long lane and drives and our from and back yards as well as parts of our fields including the one with our chicken coop. 

Electrical transmitters explored all over the Willamette Valley for miles and miles and miles. Everything was dark but the skies were filled with the relentless crackling and snapping and plunging falls of large trees.

Such a display of nature's agony. The loss of lives and often the livability of houses. After our vicious losses figuring our wildfires and the incredible challenges of Covid-19 it truly seemed like too much. But like most Americans we held on and rose up again.

We used our small tractor and old power saws and my husband began clearing not only our way but the way of our neighbors.  Many far younger than our seven plus decades they didn't have the gift of immediately coping. We did. 


Our son and son in law were eventually able to come and help and boy did they! They climbed up tall trees all around my husband's work shop cutting off broken limbs, all around the total perimeter of our house and front and back yards removing giant criss-crossesd limbs known as "widow makers" that are trapped by still upright limbs but could fall and tragically hurt or kill someone underneath in the future.

Power sawing non-stop and climbing both at once passing tools, towels for kneeling on slippery narrow limbs and sawing limb after limb to then fall below. 

I am grateful we have power again. Grateful that my husband worked full long days sawing up lane and road limbs and tractor pushing big piles over to the sides so we could get to the road itself in a day. And  blessed to have family help when they did and put in a long hard day getting most damaged limbs sawed down and picked up before heading home to belated dinners.

Grateful that our homes are all fine, power restored to most of us in a week and most of all in the time it took me to take, save, label and upload these photos and finslly writing this blog post (4 and a half hours just to do that on my phone losing 3/4 of it to a blogger photo wipe put glitch!) Without satellite wifi its a chore working on my phone but 5 or 6 or 7 years later, I'm still doing it!

After all the month wasn't all challenging!  I managed to sew a few more of the ever ongoing face masks, a tooth fairy pillow for my first granddaughter's first teeth loss, a bowed stretchy headband and ponytail wrap.

And best of all in the middle of chaos I got through the other challenges to tackle the big one Covid-19 and was vaccinated!

Oh the changes in just one year!

And then again boy 2020 was something else again!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Monday, February 22, 2021

St.Patricks Quilt, Somerset Star Potholder, and More: Free Tutorials, Vintage Patterns or Links

Kermit Says "The Luck 'O the Irish to You!" and offers to share my free St. Paddy's Day quilt or quilt block patterns with you!

Shown above, is my own favorite simple string quilt, pieced in a diagonal pattern with 'Kiss Me I'm Irish' and other fun shamrock fabrics.Kermit's Irish green eyes are smiling on the string quilt done in greens and holiday shamrock fabrics, hope yours are too! 

And above, my own green Somerset Star Potholders Tutorial complete with a free patter tutorial:

And now, some wonderful and "Free St.Patrick's Day, Shamrock or Irish Themed Free Quilt, Quilting, or Small Project Links, Patterns and Tutorials"


free St. Patrick's quilt pattern - Moonlight Quilts pdf

So cute, 4 little pieced hearts make a four leaf clover, one big clover per block, easy download makes this one a keeper!

Shamrock Quilt Block Pattern

Shamrock Wall Quilt


Here are a few vintage quilt patterns with an Irish theme to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Q if for Quilt by Martha:

shamrock quilt mock up shamrock quilt above:

5″ paper pieced Shamrock Pattern

(paper pieced shamrocks make up quilt)

Shown above: Shamrock Quilt Block from

Aunt Mary's Double Irish Chain Quilt Block Make an eight inch paper pieced block.

Broken Irish Chain a 10" pieced quilt block pattern from Quilter's Cache.


Celtic Sunrise - a 12" paper pieced quilt block pattern from Quilter's Cache

Single Irish Chain Baby Quilt

Double Irish Chain - a 12" pieced quilt block pattern from SewQuilty.

Double Irish Chain Quilt classic block for a pillow, or lots for a quilt.

Four Leaf Clover - 10" applique quilt block pattern from CompuQuilt.

Happy St. Patrick’s Surprise » the free quilt pattern's pdf file...lovely pieced hearts create a shamrock! Green for the Catholics, Orange for the Protestants, and White for the hope for peace between them.

Irish Chain - an 18" pieced quilt block pattern from Quilter's Cache.


Irish Chain Quilt - a 54" x 66" pieced quilt pattern from EZQuilting

Irish Eyes - a 12" pieced quilt block pattern from AZPatch.

Irish Grandma Sue Boy Block from

Latticed Irish Chain Block a 28" block from Quilter's Cache

Scrappy Pieced Shamrock Block...turn several shamrocks into a darling quilt!

Scrappy Irish Chain Quilt - a 68-3/4" x 84-1/2" pieced quilt pattern from McCall's Quilting.

Single Irish Chain Quilt for Baby - alt/ 4 1/2" fussy cut w. Irish Chain from


St. Patrick's Day Quilt from Kim's Big Adventure

Traditional Irish Chain Quilt lovely traditional Irish chain Quilt pattern.

Trip To Ireland Quilt - a pieced quilt pattern from Simply Quilts.

String Quilting Tutorial to get you started on your own string quilt quilt like mine, above!

My own small mug wrap photo tute:


Yellow Clover Vintage Quilt Block: Instructions
Vintage Pattern longer available  

(Images removed or site inactive)

**Yellow Clover a block design first published by Nancy Cabot for the Chicago Tribune.

According to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, Yellow Clover is one of hundreds of Cabot patterns sold by mail order during the 1930s.

YELLOW CLOVER debuted in the Nancy Cabot quilt column in the Chicago Tribune on March 19, 1936. Cabot's notes state the following: 

"Yellow, green and white form one of the most popular of present day quilt color combinations. YELLOW CLOVER is one of the newer pieced blocks which allow the quilt maker to use these colors in a most appropriate pattern. 

It is a pattern which is not difficult to piece, and only 36 blocks are required for an entire coverlet. They are set together six blocks across and 6 blocks deep and surrounded by a five inch border of white material and bound with leaf green bias binding a half inch in width." 

The pattern is included in most compendiums, see p.207-5 in Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS, for example, or p.212 in Maggie Malone's 5,500 QUILT BLOCK DESIGNS, or #2459 if you're using Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS. 

For an index of Nancy Cabot designs at this site, see CABOT BLOCKS

If you can followed these directions without photos please write me  and let me know and please do include a photo!  

Good luck to all πŸ€ ☘ πŸ€ ☘ 

Yellow Clover: 
BLOCK SIZE: 10 1/2" square 

  • Dark print at least 5" x 10"
  • Medium print at least 10" square
  • Light print at least 16" square or one fat quarter

Dimensions include a 1/4" seam allowance

  • Cut 2: 5" squares, dark print
  • Cut 3: 5" squares, medium print
  • Cut 5: 5" squares, light print
  • Cut 4: 3 3/8" squares, light print, then cut them in quarters diagonally to yield 16 side triangles
  • Cut 7: 2" squares, light, then cut 2 of them in half diagonally to yield 4 corner triangles


  • Draw diagonal lines from corner to corner on the wrong side of each 5" light print square. Draw horizontal and vertical lines through the centers.
  • Place a marked square on a 5" dark print square, right sides together. Sew 1/4" away from the diagonal lines on both sides. Make 2 using the dark squares and 3 using the medium ones.

  • Cut the squares on the drawn lines to yield 16 dark pieced squares and 24 medium pieced squares. Press the seam allowances open. Trim each pieced square to 2".
  • Sew a 2" light print square to a dark pieced              square to make a rectangle unit. Make 4. Press the seam allowances open.

  • Lay out the square units, rectangle units, and the remaining 2" light print square. Sew them into rows and join the rows to complete the block center. Press the seam allowances in the direction indicated by the arrows. Set it aside.

  • Lay out 3 medium pieced squares and 2 side triangles. Join them to make a pieced strip, as shown. Make 4. Press the seam allowances open.

  • Lay out one medium pieced square and 2 side triangles. Join them to make a pieced strip. Make 4. Press the seam allowances open.

  • Sew a corner triangles to a pieced strip to make a corner unit, as shown. Make 4. Press the seam allowances toward the corner triangles.

  • Sew a corner unit to a pieced strip to make a large triangle. Make 4. Press the seam allowances toward the corner.

  • Sew 2 large triangles to opposite sides of the block center. Press the seam allowances toward the corners. Sew the remaining large triangles to the remaining sides and press to complete the block.


DOUBLE IRISH CHAIN INDEX | BOOKS or search engine by freefind advanced Quilt Notes: AUNT MARY'S DOUBLE IRISH CHAIN dates back in print to a 1906 booklet of blocks.

Other vintage patterns!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. 

Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes. 

Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands