Sunday, April 22, 2018

Recent Quilt Finishes

I have been on a roll to try and make a dent in my stacks of unfinished quilts. I don't think I'll ever get them all done (I have at least 3 dozen or so). But here are 3 of my recent finishes (last week) that I enjoyed completing. All were quilted on my Handi Quilter Sweet 16.

I made this quilt several years ago. I love making these tilt blocks using my own template set (Arrowheads) which are the same angle as Darlene Zimmerman's Tri-Recs. I've been making my tilt blocks for about 20 years.
Cream and Sugar Tilted Squares: 47" x 51"
Notice that I didn't use a single piece in the border. That's because I only had scraps from the remainders! I cut rectangles and squares and even extended the sashings into the border. I call this really making do!

Next is a quilt that began in Paris, France in April 2001. My husband and I were on our way to Spain to visit our daughter who was studying abroad. I visited a quilt shop and bought the center toile panel. Not sure if it was made in France, but it certainly has that personality, doesn't it?

I put this together about 15 years ago for a borders workshop, to show how you can create compensating strips between a center and some pieced units so you are working with "normal" numbers. I think some child will enjoy this (40" square).

Memories of France 2001: 40" x 40"
And the final quilt is one pieced several years ago using my own Spikey Star pattern, paper pieced. This block is a whopping 30" x 30". That means those four spikey units are 10". How I miss my large format printer. Gotta get another one soon.

Blue Spikey Star: 40" x 40"
I just quilted a small quilt this afternoon which awaits the binding. I have another one layered and sitting under the needle of my HQ Sweet 16. And I'm piecing a backing for yet a 3rd quilt which will also be quilted this week. I did a tutorial on it a few years ago using the Forest Parade collection by Windham. The next time you'll see it, it will be quilted.

Dancing Squares using Forest Parade by Windham Fabrics
Hope you enjoyed the show. Now I'm off to cook dinner!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Four $5.00 Quilt Patterns for One Week Only

My sister told me yesterday that she paid $10 for a pattern and $4 postage. It is a very simple Rail Fence made with 2-1/2" strips. Frankly, I'm horrified she paid so much for something so easy. But, I sell patterns, too. And I try to keep them affordable.

For one week only (April 16 - 23) I have reduced the price for four of my patterns (actually, 2 of them are new). $5.00 for one week only! You can find them at Craftsy, but let's have a look here.

Colorburst Squares was published in a magazine several years ago and then became a popular workshop. I also included it in my 2012 Wall Calendar of quilts.

It uses 3 different Log Cabin type blocks (actually, they are Cobblestone Blocks). Very scrap friendly!

Colorburst Squares. 10" blocks; 66" x 76" quilt
And how it appeared in my calendar (and on the pages of that magazine)
A full shot of Colorburst Squares

Hearts on Fire is a quilt you've seen here before. I even made a smaller one for Benartex.

Hearts on Fire: 10" blocks, 43" x 63"
A smaller Hearts on Fire quilt from a few years ago. Since gifted to a little girl who LOVES hearts!

Hearts on Fire

Winding Ways is one of my favorite patterns. I first made it the easy way: a single curved appliqué patch stitched to a background square. Then I got bold and bought a template set and have since made many blocks the old fashioned way (and taught the workshop). Here is the easy way for $5.00!

Winding Ways. 10" blocks, 55" x 55" quilt
And finally, Snow Crystals. This is a vintage block traditionally made with templates. Take a look at this page from the Kansas City Star.

December 13, 1930. Kansas City Star
I converted it to paper piecing about 15 years ago. It appeared in my second book (Supersize 'Em Quilts, 2009), was a workshop for several years, and was on the cover of my 2012 Wall Calendar of Quilts. The ENTIRE center is the Snow Crystals block. It is a variation of four Lone Star blocks arranged in such a way that they make you think there's a 5th block in the center!

Snow Crystals
Take a visit to my Craftsy site to see these quilts. After next Monday (April 23), I will raise the price of each quilt to $8.00. But, remember, with Craftsy, there's no postage! You print and have the pattern right away so you can start sewing!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Windham Wednesdays with Yesterday's Collections

Twilight is a lovely "mud cloth" type of fabric released by Windham Fabrics last year. Two of my daughters fell in love with it and claimed most of it for pillows (made by mom, of course). I blogged about them last Fall.

Audrey (my oldest) claimed the darker fabrics. I made her a pillow. 

Twilight Fabrics
Then she wanted placemats for her dining room table - and she wanted them by Easter! She decided on a finished size of 13" x 18". Whew! I only had 1/2 yard cuts and knew I could get 3 cuts from each. I would need 16 cuts (front and back times 8). That's all I had of the dark fabrics plus that cream! Here they are.

My husband and I took them to her house for Easter dinner. Here is my place.

One of 8 placemats
 And another of the placemats. She was so excited to use some tan linen napkins and the carved wooden African animal napkin holders that I brought home from Africa 40 years ago.

A second placemat
 Here is the table setting. Yes, that's one of the Gee's Bend quilts on the wall. My daughters took every single one of the quilts I made for myself. None in my home!
Audrey's lovely table set for Easter
Here are all 8 placemats, with the second shot showing both fronts and back (all reversible)

8 Placemats using Twilight
And front and back:
Showing fronts and backs
Now, the second project from "yesterday's collections" is the Far, Far Away quilt I made for Audrey's daughter, Eva. She is 4 years old and loves princesses. Audrey discovered this pattern from a few years ago and said, "Mom. Please make this for Eva." Sigh.

This is not my pattern, but Windham hired me in 2014 to pattern it for the designer (who made this improv style). I had quite a bit of the fabrics remaining, so I jumped in. The background yellow fabrics are from the Gee's Bend collection. The pattern is STILL AVAILABLE and FREE. Even if you don't have these fabrics, it wouldn't be hard to improvise.

Here are the fabrics.
Far, Far Away Fabrics
This was beautifully quilted by my dear friend Connie Gallant. I'll show you some up close quilting in a minute. First, the finished quilt:
Princess and the Pea: 60" x 85"
And some quilting up close:
Crowns, magic wands, stars!
And here's a picture of me with Eva. Obviously, she's thrilled (but I don't share facial images of my grandchildren)

Eva and me with the Princess quilt
 Can you see that lovely lamb embroidery on the wall? I bought that crib sheet for $1 and then quilted it. It's so sweet!
Eva and her quilt
You can have the Princess and the Pea quilt. It's still available at the Windham web site. Even if you can't get the fabrics, you can find something similar fit for a princess!



Saturday, March 31, 2018

April Creamer and Sugar Bowl

Many of us like to drink our tea (and coffee) with some cream and sugar. You have to have pretty containers for those and that's what our April blocks are all about!

The 4th block in our 2018 Tea Party BOM is both the creamer and sugar bowl. Don't you love it in these organic orange dots from Kaffe Fassett? I made these 13+ years ago when I taught a class in Atlanta.

Original Creamer and Sugar Bowl from 2005
Now, let's see what I've done with some different fabrics and a few steps on how I make these using freezer paper (for templates) and raw edge sewing machine appliqué. I chose the Mimosa Collection by Windham Fabrics to make a vintage tea pot pattern. I will be offering this pattern eventually. I decided to make a Creamer and Sugar Bowl to coordinate.


Vintage pattern for a chubby tea pot (or coffee pot)
I use freezer paper (Reynolds, in grocery store aisles in the USA where plastic food wrap is sold.)
Paper on one side; wax on the other.

Tracing the Creamer onto freezer paper
Tracing both the Creamer and the Sugar Bowl.

Tracing the Sugar Bowl onto freezer paper
Iron the freezer paper to RIGHT side of fabric. No need for pins or to reverse the pattern for cutting out.

Iron the freezer paper to RIGHT side of fabric that has fusible webbing on the wrong side
Cut out shapes; remove the freezer paper (which can be reused multiple times)

Creamer and Sugar Bowl cut out and ready to be placed on fabric
 Auditioning thread
Found the perfect green thread!
Practice on scraps to get the right stitch length and width
Practice stitches before committing to my block!
Simple zigzag stitch on outside of Sugar Bowl. But what about that rim? How in the world will I get that put on? I don't want to mark it with a pen or pencil (even if I could figure out how to do it).

Raw edge zigzag stitch on outside
Then I had a flash! I will cut out the rim, straight stitch along the freezer paper and then satin stitch on top of that! How smart is that?


Iron that template back on; straight stitch along the opening.
 Take off the freezer paper:

Take away template
 Here's what it looks like on the back

Sugar Bowl and Creamer from wrong side.
 But I think my block is too "naked." Too much white. What will I do?

Completed raw edge appliqué
I might add a set of 2" (finished) squares to the top. Not sure. Just an idea.


Auditioning some piecing for the top of the 10" block
I hope this made sense. I am a sewing machine girl for ALL things appliqué. No handwork for me. Of course, you can make these any way you desire!

If you missed the first 3 blocks in the 2018 Tea Party BOM, they are still available. Remember, the current month's block is FREE only for the duration of the month. It goes into paid mode after that.

April Creamer and Sugar Bowl
March Tea Pot
February Tea Cup
January Cake Stand (and Cake)

Consider joining the Tea Party Facebook page! We have several hundred members and it's a way to share your blocks or progress or just to see what others are doing with their Tea Party blocks.

Make a request to join and I usually see it and approve before the end of the day (many times well before). We'd love to have you share your blocks with us!

Next month is the URN. See you in May!

Friday, March 30, 2018

April Calendar Blocks and FREE Pattern

It's April and I have another set of blocks from my Quilter's Block a Day Calendar. There are 30 blocks in TWO sizes, along with complete directions for one quilt! The free quilt pattern is Dancing Double Cross (12" block from April 6; 63" x 63" quilt).

Dancing Double Cross FREE pattern with April Blocks
I made a full size quilt from the Nonsense Block (yes, that's the traditional name for this). Here is my No Nonsense Jane quilt using the Jane Collection of fabrics from Blank Quilting.

Block Size: 15". Quilt Size: 60" x 60"


No Nonsense Jane Quilt
In my calendar it is the April 18 Block. Would you like the free pattern for this quilt? Why not? You can get it at my Craftsy store FREE. I made it for Blank and I own all the rights to it. This is a fabulous way to feature a wonderful large scale print.

For those who would like to see ALL of the April blocks, click the links below and they will take you to the weekly reveals of the blocks made by Patricia Bryant of Australia.

Week 14 - April 2 - 8
Week 15 - April 9 - 15
Week 16 - April 16 - 22
Week 17 - April 23 - 29

You can see ALL of the blocks in the calendar, in alphabetical order here: Block a Day Calendar. Be careful; you could spend some serious time there looking at all of those 366 blocks!

I've also included a list of all the blocks in the calendar (366) and the sizes. It's at the end of the March Blocks pdf. You can also link to it here: Quilter's Block a Day Calendar Blocks

This set of April Blocks is a full 42 pages. How about some more of those No-Nonsense Jane Blocks?


15" Jane Block in Amber

15" Jane Block in Begonia

15" Jane Block in Cayenne
You can get your copy of the APRIL blocks at my Craftsy store. If you missed the January, February and March sets, they are there, too!

January Calendar Blocks (31 blocks and 2 quilt patterns)

February Calendar Blocks (29 blocks and 2 quilt patterns)

March Calendar Blocks (31 blocks and 2 quilt patterns, along with list of ALL 366 blocks by size)

April Calendar Blocks (30 blocks and 1 quilt pattern)

So many blocks, so little time . . .

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Windham Wednesdays with Butterfly Dance

Butterfly Dance by Windham Fabrics arrives in quilt shops in April. Not only are there butterflies, but some pretty sweet dragonflies are featured in both a light and dark print.

Butterfly Dance by Sally Kelly for Windham Fabrics

But, fabrics are really just blobs of material without a plan in mind, right? Windham sent me the 23 sku set of fat quarters and the challenge was on. Remember, a fat quarter is 18" x 22" and you are limited to making something small. NOT!

I revisited one of my oldie-goldie patterns which I affectionately call Metropolitan Home Star. I first saw this in a 1982 Metropolitan Home magazine and tore out the page. I have carried it with me through several house moves and I eventually laminated it so it wouldn't be shredded. Here is the vintage quilt that inspired me.

Vintage quilt from the 1920s
I've made this quilt multiple times. In fact, it was featured on the cover of my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts (Martingale, 2009). I drafted those points to fit a 7" finished paper pieced unit. So, the block is a whopping 21" (in my quilts). If you scroll to the end of this post, I share the quilts I've made so far. But, this blog post is about what I did with 19 of the 23 fat quarters in the Butterfly Dance Collection.

I selected two fabrics with good contrast, intending that pink butterfly print to be the center of my pattern (which it didn't, but it's ok to change your mind as you're going along).
Printed foundation with pre-cut patches ready to sew
 I've shared before my process for paper piecing this block. Here are the first 3 patches sewn and trimmed.

First 3 patches sewn and trimmed
 I needed four of the 7" units to make one block.
Four units for one block, stitched and trimmed
I decided to make all the points (4 sets) before I selected the fabrics to finish up the blocks. This is typical of my method, especially when I'm sewing with a coordinated set of colors.

Here are the other 3 sets:

Magenta points with a soft turquoise background

Hot pink striped points with a deep blue print background

Hot pink dotted points with a navy and white print background
Now let's see the front and back of one block:

Here is the front of the block using the points above:
A single 21" paper pieced block. Love those dragonflies!
Here is the back of the block. Everything is neat and tidy because I always trim my patches BEFORE I add the next patch when paper piecing. If you didn't know any better, you would think that I used templates (gasp! this would be torture!)
The reverse side of the block above
Then I took an alternate assembly that I used once before back in 2006 for an Atlanta quilt shop. Here is the original quilt made with batiks:

Staggered Stars
Now for the one I made with Butterfly Dance. Remember, I only had fat quarters. The blocks are 21" square (21-1/2" unfinished). I squeaked out my 7" setting sashings from a variety of those fat quarters. In fact, I used 19 of the 23 fat quarters! Big wow, huh?

She needs a border, but I'm really pleased with the way I was able to get all those 7-1/2" squares and strips from the fat quarters. There are no set in seams. Everything was sewn in vertical rows, which means I had to split up two of the stars.

56" x 56" Butterfly Dance Stars
As promised, here are 2 other quilts I've made with this pattern.

First Metropolitan Home Star quilt I made in 2007
And an updated one in blue that I made last year:

Single star block with those extra sashes
Follow the links above for the pattern on Craftsy: Metropolitan Home Star. Those spikes are not hard to paper piece and it's a great pattern to feature some awesome prints. And it's big, too!

Hope you enjoyed the show. Butterflies will be joining us soon now that it's Spring. I hope you check out Butterfly Dance at your local quilt shop.