Friday, July 3, 2015

Hey, Hey! USA and FREE patterns

A few weeks ago I shared a new collection of fabrics by Windham called "U.S.A." These are appropriate for all year long sewing, especially those of you who make the Quilts of Valor. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and we all think red, white and blue.

There are 3 free patterns at the end of this post. I created large 18" blocks which will be perfect for those quilts you and your guild make for service men and women.

U.S.A. Collection by Windham Fabrics
I created Stars and Stripes (the July BOM in my Galaxy of Stars quilt) just yesterday!

12" Stars and Stripes block
 I invited my friend Jeannine to share these fabrics with me. We each took 4 fat quarters and then I split the remaining 4 fat quarters in halves. We went to our sewing rooms and came up with some fun things. Actually, Jeannine had the better ideas. To a professional quilter, EVERYTHING is a quilt. Jeannine is more broad minded and came up with some clever things. Let me show you.

Her first projects were banners, which created scraps and leftovers (banners shown further down. She also made a basket liner. She felt she needed to use up the scraps (silly girl; who uses up scraps? We just buy more fabric!)

Basket liner and star trivet by Jeannine
 Can you believe this awesome coin purse and key ring?

Scraps of the scraps from Jeannine's banner projects
She had more scraps and made a mug rug for her daughter's friend who loves all things patriotic. Jeannine paper pieced that "K."

Mug rug for a friend of Jeannine's daughter in college
Jeannine made not one, but two wall banners. Basic stars with elongated lower sections. Jeannine served in the US Army for 20 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Wall banners by Jeannine.
She tells me she still has scraps. What? Do you think you have to use up all your scraps? I would need 7 lives or take my sewing machine up to heaven with me!

Now, let's see what the (ho hum) professional quilter made. Surprise! A quilt!

I enlarged 3 of my blocks from my Block a Day Calendar (Martingale; in quilt shops everywhere).

(Links for the FREE patterns are given below)

Old Glory Star is at the top of my 3 block banner. Can you see the "fireworks" quilting?

Old Glory Star: 18" x 18"
The middle block is Yankee Charm:

Yankee Charm: 18" x 18"
And, finally at the bottom, Star Spangled Banner. I longarm quilted these with swirls and stars that look like fireworks. I used my Handi Quilter Sweet 16 Sit Down machine.

Star Spangled Banner: 18" x 18"
Now for all 3 blocks together, making an 18" x 54" wall banner that is now in my kitchen for the weekend (and probably throughout July). I sewed them together, block to block, and just added binding (a blue and white stripe from Windham's Basics Collection).

Hey, Hey! USA wall banner
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Take some time to try out these patterns. You will love making such big blocks!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Galaxy of Stars July Block and Tutorial

Can you believe it's July already? It's that time for another Block of the Month in the Galaxy of Stars quilt. Did you enjoy making that LARGE Woven Ribbon Star last month? I told you it was easy!

This month's block is called Stars and Stripes. While the colors aren't necessarily patriotic, the pattern is a traditional block that I converted to paper piecing. Here is the block in my quilt:

Stars and Stripes Block
I had cut out all the parts to make another block several years ago. I decided to sew those together:

Stars and Stripes using turquoise and purple
Here is the block from the back. All trimming is done as you go so that when you are finished, everything is neat and tidy:

Stars and Stripes from the reverse side
Then I pulled out my Windham Fabrics Artisan Cottons (shot cottons) . . .

Artisan cottons - can you see those contrasting threads?
Shot cottons are woven with one color in the warp and a second color in the weft (I hope I got that right). It gives the fabrics shimmer and depth of color like none other. So, let's see the block I made with these 3 colors.
Stars and Stripes using the Artisan Cottons from Windham Fabrics

And now let's look at the process:

Cut out the pieces as indicated on the FREE pattern (link below)
Patch #1 trimmed with Patch #2 added on UNWRITTEN side of pattern
Stitch well beyond both seam allowances (stitching on the pattern line from other side)
Trim other side of Patch #1, preparing for Patch #3
Patches 2 and 3 added and pressed. They MUST be trimmed before adding Patches 4 and 5
Audition Patches 4 and 5 because they can only go in these spots
Cutting sizes are indicated on the one page pdf pattern. I even tell you how to cut rectangles so that you get these two patches which are mirror images of each other.

Note how the stitching always crosses at the intersections. Ready to be trimmed on outside lines
One quarter of the Stars and Stripes block, pressed and trimmed
Here is the entire block again:
Stars and Stripes FREE Block of the Month for Galaxy of Stars
I plan on making several more of these blocks using more of the shot cottons. Did you see the fat quarter bundle?
Artisan Cottons from Windham Fabrics
I hope you've enjoyed this little lesson for the Stars and Stripes FREE Block. See you next month for block #8!

Monday, June 29, 2015

FREE pattern from my 2016 Wall Calendar of Blocks

I promised a FREE pattern for one of the blocks in my 2016 Wall Calendar of Blocks. I showed the fabrics I would use:

Wonderful selection of red prints and blenders from Benartex
I fashioned some letters and scattered them around, mixing them up, planning on making an "I Love You" quilt. Never got that far.

I Love You letters
Then my newest wall calendar of blocks came out. I looked through and found a perfect block to use some of these letters. This block comes from my 2007 desktop calendar of blocks. The wall calendar does not include patterns for the 365 blocks, but my publisher and I agree that I should share some "Blocks of the Moment" with my blogger buddies. Here is the first one:

Love Bug Quilt (can you see the tiny ladybugs in the inner border strip?)
Each letter is appliqued to a rectangle of white fabric cut to 5-1/2" x 7-1/2". Then the four are stitched together as shown. The outer 3-strip borders are composed of three 1-1/2" strips AND corner squares cut to 5" (so they finish to 4-1/2"). The small wall quilt measures 19" x 23".

Here is the link to the full size letters. Why not get a jump on Valentine's Day 2016? Actually, I loved seeing it hanging in my kitchen when I was photographing it, so I've left it there. Kitchens are places of love, aren't they?

LOVE letters pattern for LOVE Bug quilt center

Friday, June 26, 2015

More Coffee Cups, This Time from Colleen

Do you remember those little paper pieced coffee cups I made in February? I used a variety of prints from the Mimosa Collection from Windham Fabrics, along with some Kona Snow solid to create 10 blocks! And then my niece Ashley saw them on my Facebook page and asked about me making some for her. She even offered to pay me. Yikes! What would my sister Kathy (Ashley's mom) say about that? Of course, I made four of them as a gift!

Ashley's mug rugs with my FREE Coffee Cups pattern
Here is one made by Colleen, who follows my blog. Don't you just love this as a potholder? The center fabric is from the Downtown Collection by Windham. I recognized it right away. Take a visit to Colleen's blog to see more of these: PieceMakerQuilts

Colleen from Piecemaker Quilts made the block into a potholder
Colleen made 5 potholders . . .
And another potholder by Colleen from Piecemaker Quilts
And she shares an expresso pot she also made:

OK, Collen? Where did you get this delightful expresso pot?
And last, here are the 10 blocks I currently have which are still waiting to become a quilt. I'm getting closer . . .

Visit my tutorial on making this block for the FREE pattern (link at bottom of that page)
10 Paper Pieced 7" Coffee Cups

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Windham Wednesdays and My South Carolina Star

I was working on my USA series of paper pieced states on Sunday and came to South Carolina. I stopped and thought, "Wow! I need to sew this in honor of those who lost their lives." I wanted fabrics that read solid with a rich, deep color. Beautiful colors, but not dancing brights like I typically choose. Here is my South Carolina Star.

South Carolina Star (12") with simple borders
I finally had a project for the Artisan Cottons by Windham Fabrics. The shot cottons are a beautiful array of colors, don't you think? Can you see the red warp thread in the purple fabric below? These are special cottons with two different colors of thread used in the weaving process. I love shot cottons.

Color rich Artisan Cottons
Here is the block by itself, made with these fabrics and a standard white background. I hope this block helps us remember that life is about putting things together and not ripping them apart.

South Carolina Star using Windham's Artisan Collection
This is a PAPER PIECED pattern for a 12" block. You can have the FREE pattern: South Carolina Star. If you look closely at those points and odd shaped patches, if you want to convert this to templates - be my guest! Paper piecing gives me accuracy every time.

And now I take my quilter's hat off for a minute to reflect on the colors and how they relate to the 9 Christian martyrs who were slain in Charleston last week. They were regular people using their free time to worship God in a church, usually thought of as a safe place.

BLUE is for their faith in God, both weak (light blue) and strong (dark blue). They were human!
GREEN is for eternal life, which is what they have now.
RED is the color assigned to martyrs, slain in innocence through no fault of their own.
CREAM is for the tears we all have shed at such a loss.
GOLD is for the crowns they now wear in heaven.

This is my take on it. I'm not looking for any religious discussions, though you're free to respond as you wish to what I've said.  My blog is 99% of the time only quilts. All quilts. All the time. But this horrific event has so profoundly moved me, and the response of that Christian community in Charleston is beyond anything I could ever imagine.  I just wanted to honor those who live worthy lives, and in death, those left behind offer an agonizing dignity that we should all hope to aspire to.

I hope you'll try your hand at the South Carolina Star. May it brighten your day!

Monday, June 22, 2015

2016 Wall Calendar of Quilt Blocks Has Arrived!

I'm so excited. The newest of my calendars has arrived and I received my author shipment a few days ago. I've been creating these calendars since 2006, but I am still thrilled to get one right off the presses.
2016 Wall Calendar of Quilt Blocks
This calendar is different in that there are no patterns (GASP!) Just a picture of a quilt block every single day for all of 2016. I plan on sharing what I've termed "Blocks of the Moment" as often as I can. That means that I will be sharing the PATTERNS for some of these blocks as we head into the Summer and Fall. I want you to go looking for it! Ask your local quilt shop to carry it (I just arranged with Checker Distributors to carry it).

What patterns do I have in mind? How about one of the Laurel Wreath birds?
Laurel Wreath blocks are 12" x 12"
Or perhaps a Hawaiian applique block, 14" square (with full size template)?

14" Hawaiian Applique Block

And one of my favorites - LOVE Letters. I've already made a small wall hanging with those letters I made back in February. Do you remember these?

LOVE Letters
I used these glorious Benartex red fabrics and made the banner using my pattern from the 2007 calendar. Do you see those cute little bugs at the top? I use them in the block sashing and so I call the block LOVE Bugs. Can't wait to show it to you (and give you the FREE pattern).

Selection of red fabrics from Benartex

Here is the block pattern I used:

Stay tuned. The LOVE banner will be first and will be soon! That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

I received a request from someone (Judy) yesterday wanting to know about my Fish Placemats from 1996. Do the math: that's almost 20 years ago. Yikes! They appeared in Quick Quilts Magazine and I've used these blocks in various calendars over the years.

Fish Placemats
I have been online since 1993, with a web presence since 1997. I created a HUGE "lessons" page and I think Judy must have happened on that treasure trove. Would you like the link? A little later - be patient! Here are the 3 fish patterns I have in this very old lesson: Algernon the Angelfish, Thomas the Tuna, and Marvin the Mullet. Aren't they cute?

Three little fish
I have not updated the files. It is an old html page, but all the info for making the placemats and paper piecing the fish is there. It's sort of a blast from the past, but everything is in color and there are two links for constructing the fish and placemats.

I no longer own these. I sewed them for the magazine and one of the editors claimed them. Here's the link patterns: Fish Placemats

You can order my By the Sea Collection of paper pieced fish and boats (15 patterns in two sizes), which comes with over 100 MORE paper pieced blocks in the 117 Paper Piecing Patterns CD. The correct price is $12 for the 117 patterns (on the order form). But, the above 3 fish patterns are FREE to everyone. International shipping is extra, so check with me first before ordering. And you can order the CD via PayPal, also.

I am tempted to make these again. They were so much fun to make and I hope you'll enjoy making them, too.