Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Quilters for Black History Month

I partnered with Windham Fabrics in 2008 to create patterns to go with their fabrics for the Gee's Bend quilts. They had been in negotiations for over a year with the Gee's Bend Collective of quilters to offer patterns for the most famous of the quilts made from their quilters. This is the bag the kits would eventually be packaged in. My design, btw.

Quilt Kits for the Gee's Bend Quilts
Together, they selected 7 quilts. Then Windham and I selected a color palette of about 2 dozen colors that would be used for the quilts. These would become a group of batik/tie dyed type of fabrics that would mimic the scrap fabrics used in the original quilts. It took us several months to do this. To say that I didn't know what I was doing is an UNDERSTATEMENT!
Final selection of Pantone Color Chips

We were feverishly sending emails back and forth 10 years ago (2008) discussing the quilts, the ones that might be most welcomed by the quilting community, the ones that could REALISTICALLY be patterned. Remember, these were IMPROVISATIONAL quilts. Scrap quilts. Quilts made with various scraps and leftovers. How in the world do you PATTERN an improvisational quilt? That's an oxymoron, right?

Here is the Housetop Quilt. Can you believe the size of this single log cabin block? The original by Rita Mae Pettway was 84" x 70"! We scaled it down to 51" x 62". And do you see that renegade red patch at the top? Clever!

Housetop Quilt by Rita Mae Pettway: 84" x 70"

Here is one of the pattern pages from the Housetop Denim quilt that shows the original quilt and a photo of Rita Mae, with a little bio info:


And my version of the quilt (which I still sell on Craftsy). Housetop Denim: 52" x 64"

Housetop Denim: 51" x 62"

Check it out. More quilts to follow (since I patterned a total of 8 quilts). The Gee's Bend quilters were ecstatic to see my renditions of their quilts. Windham sent each of them the quilt kit for their particular quilts and they sewed them up and loved it!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Baltimore Album My Way

I love appliqué. Oh, not to do it by hand, of course. I gave that up 20 years ago. Anything I do is by machine. But what I want to show you is the cheater's approach to Baltimore Album.

I came across a set of these panels about 10+ years ago. Not sure if they are by Mimi Dietrich, Mary Koval or who. I decided to cut out the panels and surround with Dogtooth units. What are dogtooth units? They are 60 degree triangles that look like, well, dog teeth. Very, very sharp dog teeth!

I have 4 blocks to show you. Abandoned these about 8 years ago. Now I'm going to go look for that box!

This first one is surrounded with deep red dogtooth triangles and squares.

Beautiful basket of blooms (a printed panel)
 My next block is surrounded by blue patches.

Blue basket of blooms
Now for some fruit . . .

Basket of fruit surrounded with green patches
And let's not forget a bird, a diary and a wreath of flowers and leaves.

Bird with diary and a wreath of flowers
Let's see them all together. They haven't been joined because I'm not sure if I want to put a thin strip between all those triangles. What do you think?

Four blocks
I actually designed and made ONE Baltimore Album quilt. Must be at least 12 years ago! I call it Leslie's Album because the Marketing Director for Windham Fabrics at the time was named Leslie and  was designing with one of their reproduction collections. Want to see it? It was published in Quilter's World Magazine.

Leslie's Album: 31" x 37"
You can find it at my Craftsy store for only $4.00! Full size templates and clear instructions in a 5 page pdf. Just a little taste of some Baltimore Album, right? Not a whole quilt but just enough for a sweet taste!

Friday, February 16, 2018

President's Day Quilts

When I was a child in school (1960s and 70s), we celebrated President's Day - two of them. First, for our first president, George Washington. And then for our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Now, we just combine them into one generic day and it's February 19th this year.

Let me show you some of my patriotic quilts, beginning with the most recent. This was made using Windham Fabrics and their Storybook Americana collection. These are reproduction fabrics based on REAL prints from the 1930s or so.

Take a look at this one! George is being scolded for chopping down that famous cherry tree!

George Washington chopping down that cherry tree!
And the quilt I designed for Keepsake Quilting catalog using these fabrics. The Lone Star has NO y-seams and is a 19" block. So easy to cut and sew with any acrylic ruler with those extra 45 degree lines on it (they all do, btw). (You can buy the pattern from me for $3 less than the catalog price.)

Storybook Americana Lone Star: 31" x 31"
And one I made with some of the leftovers. Steps to the Whitehouse. Yes, that George-cherry tree print is right in the middle (in blue). And the reason the borders are two different prints has to do with not having enough of either one. Pretty clever, huh?

Steps to the White House
Do you remember the American Eagle quilt I made several years ago using a reproduction coverlets line? I gave this quilt to my nephew. I called it Patriot's Day. The center block is 24" x 24" and the entire quilt is 45" x 45". My nephew saw the picture in one of my wall calendars of quilts and was so struck with it. I knew it needed to be in his home and not sitting on a shelf in my closet. A no-brainer, right?

You can download the pattern at my Craftsy site: Patriot's Day for $6.00. Perfect for that vet in your life!

Patriot's Day
Now, this next quilt isn't so much an Americana quilt as it just uses those same awesome colors of red, white and blue. Storm at Sea is a traditional quilt and my pattern includes an easy way to get those little boats stitched: paper piecing. The angles can be achieved with simple templates (included) or use your Tri-Recs tools (you know you have a set!)

This makes a lovely summertime quilt!

Storm at Sea
I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my red, white and blue quilts. And I wish you a lovely President's Day (whether you have it off from work/school or not).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Anniversary Sampler Quilt

Love is in the air! Happy Valentine's Day. Here is my recently finished Cupid's Arrows. More about my paper pieced Palm blocks another time!

Cupid's Arrows
But, what interests me today on Valentine's Day is the new book by quilting legend Donna Lynn Thomas: The Anniversary Sampler. It is a true love story of how she met and fell in love with her husband of 40 years. It is a delightful compilation of 40 blocks, all with meaning for their marriage.

The Anniversary Sampler
What I enjoyed, besides the sweet stories of following this man all over the world (he was a military man) and her adventures teaching quilting in Europe, are the beautiful blocks that EACH tell a story! There is:
Clay's Choice
Clay's Choice is so beautifully quilted! Just like the next one, Paddle Star.

Paddle Star
 Posey Basket is one I've made myself many times. It's sweet and the pink and reds are just like a Valentine!
Posey Basket
 Yankee Puzzle is made up of triangles, but the swirly quilting makes it look like it's dancing!
Yankee Puzzle
Donna's work is exquisite! There are wonderfully illustrated steps for both hand and machine piecing, how to make and use templates and even 7 different "keepsake" settings.

There are short, sweet stories throughout to go along with just about every block - about her husband, her children, her international quilting friends, her journeys.

Patterns throughout in one of the loveliest compilations of a block book WITH ways to put them into real quilts.

Go check out The Anniversary Sampler by Donna Lynn Thomas. Just a little taste of the book's description:

Celebrate any important event in life, from an anniversary or a birthday to a retirement or a memorial, with these 40 beautiful blocks and 7 customizable settings. Created to commemorate the author’s 40th anniversary of falling in love with her husband (and making her first quilt for him!), you can read the story behind each block, then make it personal by stitching in your own memories and using blank blocks for personal dedications. Piece and appliqué the stunning sampler quilt, or pick and choose your blocks and setting to suit your own needs and taste.

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Diamonds Have the Blues

I have a LOT of diamonds. Oh, not the shiny, rock, EXPENSIVE kind. I just have chips on my wedding band! I cut about 200 diamonds from some blue and green Kaffe Fassett fabric prints last year. Did I have a plan in mind? Not really! (Can you believe that?)

A bundle of 6" strips that inspired me
Here are some of the diamonds:
Just some of the nearly 200 diamonds I cut
I also used my basic 6" x 12" acrylic ruler. Really? Yes, really! Have you ever wondered about those 30, 45, 60 and 90 degree diagonal lines on those? They have a great role to play in quilting. You really don't need all those extra, superfluous templates that are out there. RHOMBUS? Whoa! What's with that bad word from math class? You can cut diamonds with your regular ruler. And that's how I cut these. (And saved myself about $15 for another useless template, I'm just saying . . .)

Now, where was I going? First approach was to combine these diamonds with some 60 degree triangles. I wasn't sure if I wanted the horizontal sashing or not. I checked in with a Facebook group for some advice.
Diamonds, triangles and horizontal sashing strips
 And then with the strips removed:

Units together without the horizontal strips

Here's what I got. I have since added a border, but not quilted yet. I call it my Harlequin Diamonds quilt. These are 4" finished diamonds, btw. And, NO y-seams! More on this once I finish it.

Harlequin Diamonds quilt
I revisited my Baby Blocks pattern. I first published this in 1996 - yes, I did!

My smaller Baby Blocks quilt (uses smaller diamonds and no borders) is a very successful workshop and pattern. Love these colors, too!

Baby Blocks: 36" x 36"
Love these diamonds, fabrics by Windham.

Various prints from Windham Fabrics
And, there are no y-seams in this, either. Here it is before I quilted it. Don't you just love that awesome border print? It's called Black Lotus Stripe by Kaffe Fassett.

My Diamonds Have the Blues Baby Blocks: 60" x 60"
"My Diamonds Have the Blues" is one of my newest patterns. It finishes to 60" x 60". It is pieced in vertical rows of diamonds and triangles. And, just to repeat myself: there are NO y-seams.

My Diamonds Have the Blues: 60" x 60", quilted on my HQ Sweet 16!
So, go check it out. I know you have a stash of your favorite colors you'd love to use in something like this! My Diamonds Have the Blues

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Here Come the Winter Games!

Winter Games is a collection I blogged about last summer. It was about a new collection by Amanda Murphy. I love her colors and her prints SO MUCH!

Just to remind you of the 8 fat quarters Benartex sent to me. They knew that the fabrics would speak to me and tell me what they wanted. It also meant that I would make something small because my fabrics were limited - no king sized quilt from these!

8 fat quarters of Winter Games

Benartex asked me to make mug rugs. I revisited one of my frequently used pattern called Coffee Cups. First, here's the original pattern as it appeared in the Kansas City Star in the 1930s:
Coffee Cups pattern using a lot of odd shaped templates
I made a 9 block quilt about 20 years ago and it was published in Quilt Magazine. I gifted it to a friend several years ago.

Nine Block Coffee Cup Quilt
I also made about a dozen using a Windham Fabrics Collection called Mimosa:

10 of the dozen or so blocks I made with this collection
One in that awesome lime green:


And one in that beautiful turquoise:

7" Coffee Mug Rug
And I made a set of 4 using a Kaffe Fassett collection called Corsage:

Four more coffee cups!
Now let's see a few of the steps (in case you missed it last time).

My pattern is for a 7" block. I created a freezer paper fussy cutting window to center my motifs in.

Freezer paper "window" to fussy cut my motifs
Here are two of motifs centered and ready to cut:

Fussy Cutting the skates and snow boards
 And an athlete, of course!

Fussy Cutting a snow boarder
I also cut an oversized square out of the hot cocoa mugs:

Cups of hot cocoa and coffee (and probably some tea, right?)
Here is the block finished:
7" foundation pieced coffee cup block
Now can we see some of the others? Here are the 3 blocks finished. I used my walking foot to stitch vertical lines (gray thread) and finished off with my quick and easy binding. I sew it on from the back and stitch it down by machine on the front.

Cocoa motif mug rug
 Gotta have skates!
Skates and snow boards mug rug
 And, an athlete!

Snow Boarder mug rug
And all three together. You can get this pattern at my Craftsy store. There are a lot of pictures and the foundations are easy to print, with lots of helpful tips.

My set of 3 paper pieced mug rugs using my Coffee Cups Pattern from Craftsy
I have pulled these out and they are going into my tv room. I hope someone doesn't spill coffee or hot cocoa on them!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

More Calendar Blocks! More Patterns!

My Quilter's Block a Day Calendar (2007, Martingale) enjoyed a long life in publication - 10 years! It was a best seller and I know you remember how I featured each week's set of blocks here on my block on Sundays. Patricia Bryant of Australia shared her photos of EACH block and they were so beautifully stylized in photos.

January Blocks in a 38 page pdf
All rights to my work reverted back to me from Martingale and I have compiled the blocks in 12 sets, one for each month. All have clear rotary cutting instructions with full size, printable templates for TWO sizes! That's because I created a companion CD to go with the desktop calendar and I loaded it up with those perks - and 12 quilt patterns (one for each month).

There are also quilt patterns to go with each month. Facets of Color is an 18" block with a 65" x 65" quilt. The original appeared in my second book Supersize 'Em Quilts. It is included in the January Blocks on the 45 page pdf. Here is my real quilt.

Facets of Color quilt: 65" x 65"
I also include Prairie Flower which I designed for my 2009 Calendar Girls quilt shop only program. It uses one of the January blocks. All instructions for this with a few pages of clear illustrations make this a fun quilt in any color scheme!


And here is a real quilt made by one of the quilt shops:

Prairie Flower Quilt
 And a small sample made by me using Fossil Ferns by Benartex.
Just 4 blocks - my small quilt
For February, you can see the 29 blocks here in other posts with a few shown at the Craftsy site. Again, two quilt patterns are included with all those blocks (in two sizes!)

Warm Welcome Home is a quilt I ran with my Calendar Girls program. This was an original quilt that we ran in Quilt Magazine over 20 years ago. It is a fun, folk art style quilt. It uses simple paper piecing and rotary cutting. The 6" blocks make a 34" x 38" quilt.

Warm Welcome Home: 34" x 38"
And Home Circle is one of my all time favorite patterns. I am remaking it right now using some Kaffe Fassett fabrics, but with a different assembly. Can I show you one of the blocks?

15" Home Circle block
And here is the first quilt I designed:
Home Circle: 76" x 76"
Each of these sets of blocks is only $5.00! That's 29-31 blocks each, in two sizes and two full size quilt projects included. Check it out on Craftsy:

1. January Blocks
2. February Blocks