Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Christmas in July and a Giveaway

Just a teaser with some awesome fabrics
I had my first lesson on the Handi Quilter last week at the Quilter's Studio in Fairfax, VA. I quickly pieced this Lone Star quilt using the Season's Greetings Collection from Benartex. (This will be a new pattern soon).

Would you love to see this holiday collection and have a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the fabrics? Well, you must get on over to the Sew in Love with Fabric blog (Benartex) and see the fun projects I made with them (besides this Lone Star).

Season's Greetings Collection by Benartex
Visit the Sew in Love with Fabric blog and leave a comment about my use of the wonderful little panels included in this fabric group. Then come on back here and let me know, too. I will let Benartex select the winners.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quilting Calendars and a Giveaway

Block a Day Calendar
Today at the Martingale blog quilting calendars are featured. My block a day calendar is still going strong after 7 years! It's perpetual and not tied to any one year (not to be confused with the annual block a day calendars I publish with another publisher).

You can read about it here: Quilter's Block a Day Calendar

And you can see ALL of the blocks on my web site. Yes, all of them in full color. The CD has all 366 blocks in 2 sizes AND 12 quilt patterns made using some of the blocks in the calendar. AND I created 12 more patterns to go along with it.

I sell the CD for  $12.95, plus $2 postage (USA only). If you are international, contact me to discuss postage to your country. You see how to order it here: Calendar Order Information

Go see the blocks here: Debby's Calendar Blocks

And you can also see the 12 quilt patterns here: Quilt Calendar Patterns

And what's my giveaway? A copy of the Quilter's Block-a-Day Calendar in CD version.

Just tell me if you look for quilting calendars each year and where you buy them.

Contest is over Monday at midnight (EST) July 21.

I must be able to see an email in your comment. If unsure and you'd like a chance to win, enter it in your comment. No-reply bloggers are not entered in the contest (because I can't find you!)

Contest is open to everyone, including international visitors!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Winding Ways and a Free Pattern

My first - and easiest - Winding Ways quilt
Easy? Are you nuts? This quilt is NOT easy, you may say. But look closely. Those are TWO patches only for each block: a background square and a single applique patch that mimics the crazy, multiple patches of a traditional Winding Ways block.

Well, what does a traditional block look like?

Single Winding Ways block pieced with 12 curved patches - Yikes!
Well, it LOOKS like it was appliqued. I don't believe you!

Well? Do you believe me now?
And can we see the seams in the back?

Look close! Those are all seams and you really have to press them EXACTLY as shown.
And did you make only one block? Of course not! This was a class a few years ago. But I spared my students the crazy nightmare of cutting out their patches. I supplied laser cut kits for all the patches, done for me from John Flynn's company. His daughter Kate handles this part of the business and my students were ecstatic (as was I) when we sat down to piece. Here are the TWO quilts I made as class samples. The blocks are 10".

Three block table runner
Don't you love the way I used the fabric in the inner border? I had to! Or I would have had to introduce a fourth fabric.

Here is the four block quilt:
Four blocks (sorry for the fuzzy picture)
 And, oh yes. I made two other quilts . . .
Pre-cut kit of Benartex flannels. This was before the border.
This was made using the single template method
Now, for the free pattern. It is for the single template method and for the quilt that appears at the top of this page.

FREE Winding Ways pattern - it goes by another name. Can you guess it? Wheel of Mystery!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (aka Regal Eagle)
This appears as the July quilt in my 2014 wall calendar of quilts. Appropriate for our Independence Day celebrations today on the 4th of July. Liberty and freedom from government oppression. We still want it, have it (most of the time) and sometimes still fight for it when the rules get a little suffocating.

I designed this for Windham Fabrics in 2008 and a certain magazine picked it up to publish it. Then the magazine went bankrupt and I never got paid (that's how it works when you're the little guy, even though without quilts there would have been no magazine in the first place).

My nephew saw it in the calendar and loved it. It's his.

I just discovered that Windham has put a FREE DOWNLOAD OF REGAL EAGLE on their web site. This was a pattern that was included in partnership with the National Coverlet Museum and their reproduction coverlet fabrics. It is the same as Patriot's Day. It is a 9 page pdf and yours to enjoy, even if you don't have any coverlets!

Have a great day and weekend, whether you celebrate this American holiday or not. Just had to

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Paper Piecing Tutorial with Blank Quilting Fabrics

Let's start with all the parts - The Angelica Collection by Blank Quilting
For several years I have taught my easy method for making a paper pieced Palm Block (also called a Hosannah Block). Traditionally, it was pieced using templates. Then when it was converted to a paper foundation, it was divided into two sections down one diagonal. I drafted it into an off-center log cabin.

I don't like to guess with paper piecing. I figure out what size fabric patch to cut for sections, label them and line them up, just like in the photo above. Here is my step by step process for making a single block.

Let's begin with my pattern (as found in my book: Paper Piecing Perfect Points).

 And the quilt . . .
Hosannah Quilt from Paper Piecing Perfect Points

We will be sewing on the side with the lines. The fabric is placed on the other, non-written side. To make it easier to place the patches, I like to use a postcard and quickly fold each line . . .

All lines on the pattern have been creased for ease of fabric placement on the other side
OK. So what does the other side look like?

This is the side the fabric patches are placed on
Now it's time to place fabric Patch #1. Notice it's a square as shown in the first picture above.

(Yes, this paper isn't folded. I'm not that great a photographer)
All patches are cut OVERSIZED. Pin in place. Now we're ready to place fabric Patch #2. Just make sure that the fabric edge extending beyond Line 1-2 is only about 1/4". Align it, right sides together with Patch #1, keeping edges even. Pin. Turn work over. Sew as shown (you are sewing on the WRITTEN side of the pattern).

Patch #1 and Patch #2 sewn together
Press the patches as shown below . . .

Finger press Patch 2
Now it's time to trim the edge of Patches 1 and 2 to get ready to add Patch #3.

WHY ARE WE TRIMMING? Can't we just add a blob of fabric and guess it's placement by holding everything up to the light? I HATE THAT METHOD!! And it doesn't work. I like precision, not primitive guessing. See what happens next . . .
Use an Add a Quarter ruler to trim away excess fabric
The Add a Quarter ruler is a MUST. It has a lip that is 1/4" wide and with a sturdy postcard underneath, keeps things from slipping. Place postcard on the line (Line between patch 2 and 4) which represents the next sewing line for adding a white patch. Fold paper back exposing the wrong side of the patch you just added. You need to trim the excess fabric from that patch so that there's a crisp 1/4". Notice what I trimmed to the right of the ruler. Discard.

We just trimmed Patch 2 on the left side. We have to trim it at the bottom also.
Now we have to trim Patch 1 and 2 so that Patch 3 (the blue) will have a nice, clean edge with just a 1/4" seam allowance. This way there's no guessing as to where to place the patch.

Clean edge with 1/4" seam allowance (which is 1/4" away from the line on the written side of pattern)
Now we're ready to add Patch #3.
Large, oversized rectangle for Patch #3. Stitched from the written side of pattern
Now let's trim Patch #3.
Patch #3 trimmed. Ready to add the white patches of #4 and #5
Notice the criss-crossing of the seams in the seam allowances
I always start off the paper on the outside of my pattern. Do NOT stop at the edge of the seam allowance. We always sew in our seam allowances in traditional sewing. Also, notice that I go beyond the lines, into the other patch spaces. This ensures that my seams don't open up. This does not affect the next patch.

Now I've added Patch #4 and Patch #5. And trimmed them, ready for their neighboring patches to be added.

Addition of two more patches
All patches added. Can you see those awesome points?
This is Sewing by Number, one at a time.
1. Add patch
2. Sew
3. Finger press open
4. Trim, leaving 1/4" seam allowance ready for placement of neighboring patch
5. Place patch
6. Repeat
Turn pattern over and trim away excess, leaving 1/4" seam all around
I leave the paper on until I'm ready to join it into my quilting project. I do not sew seams with the paper on. There is too much bulk and I don't like to pick away the paper in the seams.

Finished block (with seam allowances). Lovely points, huh?
And what is my project made with this block and the other fabrics shown above?
Cupid's Arrows using three Hosannah blocks
You can see other pages on my blog about paper piecing (see the links on the right side bar). Here is another tutorial using the Tanglewood Collection by Blank Quilting from last year:

Waterwheels pattern from Paper Piecing Perfect Points - click the link for a detailed tutorial

And here is another quilt using my Hosannah block. This is a new workshop with the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo. I had very enthusiastic class in Raleigh last weekend and everyone's blocks were just beautiful. I will be teaching this in Pittsburgh, PA, August 14. Then it is a regular class throughout the Fall and into the Spring in each of the 14 cities.

I have several quilts and pillows, etc made with these blocks in sizes ranging from 6" to 10". Once the patches are cut, you can sew without too much thinking. I'll show you some of those another time. For now, I'm going back to my sewing machine to make a few more samples for my upcoming classes.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Modern Projects for Today's Quilters

Summer Sizzle!
Buzz Saw using my 12-1/2" Dresden Plate ruler
The latest issue of Modern Patchwork (Summer 2014) arrived yesterday with the return of my 3 little projects that are featured on its pages. The little projects were hot and sweaty because the dang UPS man NEVER knocks on the door when he drops a box on my front porch. When I found it, they were crying for a sip of water and some air conditioning. I opened the box, pulled them out and laid them on the spare bed to calm down. I found my two author issues inside and WOW! what a truly fabulous magazine!
Hot off the press filled with awesome projects!
Buzz Saw (a Flirty 30 pattern) is one of my fun quilts using the Raj Collection from Windham Fabrics. Those are 12-1/2" wedges of fabric with my special method of adding the sharp blade tip. We had to use templates in the magazine, but my upcoming workshop (see the Georgia Quilting LIVE! schedule for September) includes the multi-sized template for my students. This is a 24" block, finishing to a 30" table topper.

And what can you do with a charm pack and a 60 degree ruler?

Facets of Color - 1,000 Pyramids
Facets of Color is another fun quilt that I made for the Kona Blog Hop a few months ago. This was created using a stack of 42 - 5" Charm Squares and a yard of Kona Snow. I squeezed the life out of the fabrics and then enjoyed using a walking foot on my trusty, faithful Bernina 1230 to quilt this following the triangle lines.

More hexies . . .
English Paper Pieced hexagons - gotta love 'em!

. . . used to create this Skinny Table Runner:
Skinny Table Runner in a non-traditional arrangement of hexagons
Modern Patchwork, Summer 2014, is on newsstands now. It is filled with all sorts of projects - for the home (pillows, quilts, aprons, etc) and for travel (purses, travel totes and carrying cases). Something for just about everyone.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More Hexies Using the Hexagon Trim Tool (again)

Easy yarn bag with a Grandmother's Flower Garden block
Did I start with cut hexagons?
Love these colors!
Not for a GFG block! I use rectangles: they're quicker to cut and give me extra fabric on the back of the template. I'm showing this hexagon because it is the center of another project. I used my friend Jean Ann Wright's Hexagon Trim Tool (Checker) to make some awesome blocks:

Hexagon Log Cabin block - 8" high
How did you make those blocks, Debby? They look really difficult! Well, I used Jean Ann Wright's Hexagon Trim Tool (by Creative Grids) which makes the strips turn out perfect. Looks complicated, but all these lines mean something on the ruler:

Hexagon Trim Tool by Jean Ann Wright
I started by squaring up the sides of six blocks. Then I didn't like what I would get. It was too boring and predictable.
Each block gets four 30 degree triangles
Here's one I made using some Honeystone Hill blenders, where I squared up the sides. And I am not happy with the small triangles on the sides. Good thing I only made one with the cream triangles. But I'm in the process of making about a dozen. Don't know how I'll arrange them; I think I'll let them tell me!

Same block using the same ruler, but a smaller center
Like I said: I sewed four triangles onto 6 blocks - then I changed my mind. Rip, rip, rip. Not my favorite thing to do, but I know I had something better in mind.

Six blocks joined into a round
All straight seam sewing - honest! Each block is joined to 3 triangles (two white and one either white or blue floral). This is my new table topper (and a new pattern). Just needs to be quilted. It's about 18" high by 25" wide (I think). Hope to bind it in a stripe.