Monday, December 10, 2018

Cardinals and Hexagons for a Festive Season

This was a post that was featured on the Benartex blog last year featuring Jackie Robinson's collection called Festive Season. I'm sitting with my morning coffee in my living room, looking at my finished quilt hanging over a very old chest of drawers. We moved into a new house (actually, 40+ years old) last week and I haven't hung any quilts yet. So, I've draped a few and this one "told" me to blog about it today!

Here is what I wrote:

I received a bundle of many of the prints, and what I was most excited about were the vertical panels of cardinals! I had plans to make a strippy quilt and use these birds. But, even after cutting dozens of half hexagons and piecing several vertical strips, I walked away and started something else!

Vertical border print from Festive Season
 These are the half hexagons I cut, but then moved on to another idea!

Half hexagons cut from most of the prints
 Here are the fabrics that I began with.

Fabrics from Festive Season
I decided to make an upsized block using Katja Marek's New Hexagon calendar, the November 25 block. I can rotary cut any patch based on the 60 degree grid and this is what I did.

The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar
Here is the block as it appears in the calendar:
November 25 block from Katja Marek's perpetual calendar
Notice that there are 3 shapes in the block: a triangle, a diamond and a jewel. These have 60 degree angles. Easy to cut. Let me show you how!

Have you ever noticed the diagonal lines on your rulers? These are MAGIC! I use the 60 degree lines all the time. I cut 3" strips of this gorgeous gold print, sliced off the selvedge edge with a 60 degree angle by placing the ruler's 60 degree line at the bottom of the strip. Then I measured 3" over from the cut edge and cut perfect 3" diamonds.
3" strips cut into 3" equilateral diamonds
 These are the 4 diamonds which will become my jewels.

Four diamonds about to become jewels
I can make a perfect jewel by knowing what size the diamond will finish to (2-1/2"). Half of that is 1-1/4". I take my Creative Grids 60 degree ruler and line it up as shown and cut off a 1-1/4" triangle (discard). A perfect jewel! I cut four of these

Cutting a perfect jewel patch
Now for the black diamonds (the same size as the gold ones above):

Black diamonds cut from 3" strips
And the small red triangles FINISH to 1-1/4", so I cut those from a 1-3/4" strip:

Red triangles cut from a 1-3/4" strip using a 60 degree ruler
Let's see them lined up together! They will be sewn along those two diagonal lines.

  • Left side: sew the red triangle, gold jewel and black diamond into a row. Press seams
  • Center: Sew the two jewels to the black diamond.
  • Right side: sew the black diamond, gold jewel and bottom red triangle together.

Festive Season block patches ready to be sewn
To make my table topper, I made 6 of these blocks. They will finish to 7-1/2". I wanted a center hexagon and decided to fussy cut one of the cardinals from another print in the collection.

Fussy cutting the cardinal using a freezer paper template window.
I interfaced the hexagon shape and he's now ready to add to the center. In order to make the six pieced blocks fit together (without y-seams), I now needed to cut setting triangles to go on both sides of the top of each block. Here is what I mean:

Sew two beige 60 degree triangles to top two sides of 3 blocks. Cut from 4-1/4" strips
 Because the hexagon block finishes to 7-1/2", my triangles will finish to half that: 3-3/4". So, they are cut from 4-1/4" strips.
Sew two red 60 degree triangles to top two sides of 3 blocks. Cut from 4-1/4" strips
And let's see the six blocks sewn into a "circle" with the fussy cut cardinal in the center.

No y-seams, honest! Sew 3 blocks (two with beige triangles and one with red) into a large half-hexagon for the top. Sew 3 blocks (two with red triangles and one with beige) into a large half-hexagon for the bottom. Now sew both together (there will be a very big hole in the middle!)
Six pieced blocks sewn into a ring and then the interfaced cardinal is machine appliqued onto the center
I added an inner and outer border to this and machine quilted it on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16 and here she is. Measures 31" x 36".
Festive Season table topper: 31" x 36"
In between working on this, I made several other hexagon blocks. Allow me!

Double Twisted Hexagon
 I call this Christmas Hexagon Star.

Christmas Hexagon Star from Katja's Hexagon calendar
And one last block using hexagons! This is in her calendar on the date of November 27

Center hexagon, four half-hexagons, two diamonds and two triangles!
Whew! I think I'm tired. But I had such a fabulous time playing with Festive Season. I hope you were inspired and will look at your rulers in a new light. They can do some pretty magical things.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Holiday Blog Hop with Michael Miller and Giveaway

This week features 6 talented designers using some exciting holiday designs. I guess I count myself in there, too, since I'm the first one out of the box!


You can catch every single designer each day by visiting the Michael Miller Facebook page. There is a FQ bundle of Michael Miller fabrics each day. Check out the  Facebook page for the details.

Here's the schedule for the week:

Now, let me share what I've been working on using the Festival of Lights collection, which features gorgeous Hanukkah fabrics. I chose these because I always enjoy making small gifts for my Jewish friends and neighbors and any teachers that have come into my 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren's lives.

I revisited my paper pieced Dreidel block (probably 20 years old). I have used this many times. I even had it published in Quilting Arts Holiday Magazine (2015). I shared the pics a few weeks ago. Do you remember? Check it out HERE.

Allow me to share the fabrics:

Festival of Lights with some Fairy Frost
I printed my pattern (finishes to 6"). YES, THIS WILL BE FREE AT THE END OF THIS POST!

Four copies of my Dreidel Block, printed on newsprint
Then I cut out the fabrics. I chose to make four combinations for variety. The pattern has the cutting sizes for the patches. I always cut my patches oversized for foundation piecing.

Parts cut, ready for paper piecing
This is NOT a paper piecing tutorial. You either know how to do it or you don't. So many wonderful web sites and YouTube videos are out there to help you newbies!

Now, I begin with the handle part:

Patches 1-3 ready to add the bottom
Once I add that bottom square, I will trim the bottom for the two gold triangles. Stitch and then trim, allowing for the needed 1/4".

Trimming away the triangles
Now, adding the gold background triangles:

Adding bottom triangles
 And finishing the sides:
Last two strips!

Finally trimmed, leaving the 1/4" seams around all sides - of course:
First Block: Pieced and trimmed
I wanted to add some of the main fabric (Peace, Love and Light: 7990) and had to "fussy cut" the motifs. I used freezer paper to isolate the motifs I wanted and then cut one out.

Fussy Cutting with freezer paper
Square of fabric cut out to be used as the main part of the Dreidel. Oh, no! I think I have the fabric upside down. Too late!

Patch to be used for the dreidel.
Now, let's see the rows put together (yes, I know I got those two dreidels in the center blocks upside down!):

Three horizontal rows
Very quickly, here are the cutting directions. This quilt is fat quarter friendly! The borders are extra. I do not have time to calculate for you; I'm in the MIDDLE OF A HOUSE MOVE and the boxes are everywhere.
  • Piece four Dreidel blocks (cutting for patches is included in the FREE pattern)
  • Cut five 6-1/2" squares (4 of one fabric, 1 of another)
  • Red Fairy Frost strips: Cut four 2-1/2" x 6-1/2". Sew to the Dreidel blocks as shown.
  • Star of Peace (CM7991-Blue) fabric: Four 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" strips (sides of white print); Four 2-1/2" x 8-1/2" strips for top/bottom sides.
The Dreidel Blocks with red Fairy Frost strips: 6-1/2" x 8-1/2"
The center blue print (CM7991-Blue): 6-1/2" x 6-1/2"
The four corner blocks: 8-1/2" x 8-1/2"

Inner borders: cut four 1-1/2" strips of white Fairy Frost
Outer borders: cut four 4-1/2" strips of main print (Peace, Love and Light: 7990)

Festival of Lights Hanukkah Quilt
Now for the paper pieced pattern: 6" Dreidel. This WILL BE TAKEN DOWN at the end of December. It is also not to be shared. Please have your friends come get it HERE.

Thank you for stopping by. Remember to visit the Michael Miller Facebook page. Leave a comment here for your chance to receive a FQ bundle!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Chanukah Blessings

My granddaughter Eva attended a Jewish preschool in Federal Hill (Baltimore) last year. Their family is not Jewish, but it was within walking distance of their apartment and Audrey loved the emphasis on education - both religious and secular - and so Eva spent 2 years there. Yes, we're Christians, but we embrace the Jewish observances as reflected in what we call the Old Testament. Those Holy Days have meaning for us, too! (Yes, I know Chanukah is not a "holy" day, but I think you get my drift.)

Audrey asked me to make a signature quilt as a thank you. Of course - my kids always think their mom can produce almost any sort of quilt on quick notice, right?! (I've done this more times than I can believe.) First, a little diversion.

Here's one of my holiday cards that I made using a pack of window cards I bought at the Dollar Store. Yes, one dollar for a pack of 10! Maybe they were meant for Christmas, but Hanukkah happens in December, so snowflakes are normal.

Last scraps of an OLD Hanukkah fabric
Back to the quilt: What's fabulous about this is the providential fabric find I had in a Federal Hill (Baltimore) resale shop a few months before. I came upon a bundle of Chanukah fabrics from Keepsake Catalog from about 10 years ago! I was hyperventilating because there is a dearth of Chanukah fabrics in the quilting world and these were simply gorgeous. There was a yard of a border print, 1/2 yard of 2 companion prints and several fat quarters. I knew they would find a happy home someday.

Border print and companion print
Let me show you what I did with them. First, the signature block with a few fat quarter remnants:

Signature block with a few other the fat quarters
The 5"  block is made with:
  • One 2-1/2" x 5-1/2" white rectangle (for the signature_
  • One 2" x 5-1/2" gold/yellow rectangle
  • One 2" x 5-1/2" dark blue rectangle
I ironed freezer paper to the wrong side of the white to stabilize it for the signatures. I brought several Pigma pens for the writing and some scraps for people to practice on.

I set the blocks on point, but I can't remember what size to cut those yellow, cream and blue patches.

Now the whole quilt! Don't you just love that bold and sassy border print with dreidels, menorahs, and lots of gold!

Hanukkah Quilt for preschool
I set the blocks on point to add movement. See how the blocks tilt back and forth? I didn't have enough signature blocks so I included two of the menorahs (top left and bottom, second from right).  I don't even have the final measurements for this. And, for some reason, I didn't take a picture of the finished quilt (but I'm asking my daughter to get it for me).

Thanks for stopping by today. And a very happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah) to all those who celebrate it.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December's Crock for the 2018 Tea Party Block of the Month

This is short and sweet. We moved from one house to another on Wednesday and we are up to our eyeballs in boxes, cleaning, sorting and placing furniture. But I wanted to make sure the December block is up and running.

It is the Crock. You can find it at my Craftsy store, FREE for the month of December only.

As you can see, I couldn't decide on which one to use. That will have to be made sometime in January since we have the holidays and my moving stuff. But, at least I had them cut out!

The Crock: 5-12" x 6"
And my other Crock:

The Crock

Monday, November 26, 2018

Black Friday Quilts on Cyber Monday

Whoa! Do I have my days mixed up? Or was I just slow about posting? Neither. I am in the process of a local move and I'm up to my eyeballs in boxes and packing and all the stuff you have to do to move in America. And I'm totally exhausted. Scotty - beam me up!!

Now, what do I have for you today, Cyber Monday? A few quilts that incorporate black - some with a little and some with a lot.

First out of the box is one you've seen here before. But it remains one of my favorite quilts and was the start of my Cookie Cutter Bonanza workshops.

Hearts on Fire: 46" x 63"
Hearts on Fire is 46" x 63". The hearts are raw edge appliqué and I used batiks throughout. The background black sets off each of the half-hearts in the border. The 10" x 11" blocks are created in halves (rectangles) and when you trim away the fabric from behind each heart, you get the bonus half-hearts that I used in the border (both big and little). Pretty clever, huh? Absolutely no waste. Easy. Quick. Fun.

Stained Glass Pickup Sticks uses batiks and a little black in those diagonal fabric inserts. 52" x 62"

Stained Glass Pickup Sticks

Begin with a stack of 10" squares. Make two gentle diagonal cuts. Shuffle the squares for four unique sets of patches. Insert some black strips and you now have an amazing - and easy - quilt with a lot of drama. I used batiks, but many of my students used regular quilting cottons.

Click on the link and you will see three other quilts I made using this technique. This was a workshop for a few years and I loved seeing all the fabric choices made by my students!

Classic Amish Shadows : 52" x 63"

Classic Amish Shadows Quilt
 My inspiration came from a vintage Amish quilt. I used solids throughout. This is pieced in diagonal rows. Very eye-popping! Of course, when one of my daughters saw it, she immediately asked for it. Now it lives in her home. I think this is a perfect quilt for that man in your life who isn't very comfortable with all the girlie prints that are prevalent in fabrics today. Sometimes it's just hard to find a pattern that is universal in its appeal. Most of the Amish quilts seem to meet that bill.

EZ Winding Ways is one you've seen here before. 55" x 55" with 10" blocks. 

EZ Winding Ways

There is NO curved piecing, only two units per block: a 10-1/2" background square and a single Winding Ways appliqué patch! I simplified this vintage block years ago and have made several quilts like this (you can see them at my Craftsy site). I added the four colored blocks in a diagonal row to break up the monotony of plain black and white. A colored inner border and then black and white for the border. Sure to impress - and very quick. 

Check out these earlier posts where I show you how the block is constructed!
Well, back to packing and cleaning and moving and all that stuff. I can't wait until I am on the other side (about 18 miles away) so I can get back to sewing. My sewing room is the FIRST I set up (after the kitchen) and after 12 of these moves in 41 years, I've got this down to a science. I'll be sewing within a week - I promise. And sharing some new things with you.

Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it's Cyber Monday but there is no way I'm shopping. I don't need any more "stuff."

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm in the process of a house move. Local, but still stressful! Emptying my linen closet I came upon a set of counted cross stitch pictures that my sister Janet made a few decades ago! The masking tape on the edges (to keep them from unraveling) were so brittle that I could peel it off easily.

I want to share the one that is relevant for today! Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving counted cross stitch picture by my sister Janet
I can envision this as the center of a small quilt. Or maybe I'll take ALL of them and incorporate them into a sampler. What do you think?

I used to do counted cross stitch and still have several beloved samples. I framed some and made others into pillows. Whatever I have are in some box and I'll see them in another week when I start unpacking.

What's for dinner tonight? Probably some sort of leftovers. My husband Phil and I are so exhausted. We are not hosting a dinner nor going to anyones'. We're fine with that. We'll make up the family time at Christmas. We try to be thankful every day; just not having any turkey!

Stay tuned for an awesome Hanukkah post coming up December 3. This is part of a blog hop sponsored by Michael Miller.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Few More Log Cabins!

My sister Janet lives in California and has been bitten by the quilting bug. She calls me several times a week (usually FaceTime) with all sorts of questions and conundrums. I convinced her to buy a new Bernina sewing machine so she could get her 1/4" seams right and have the experience of sewing with a decent machine!

She loves quilting and spends as much on fabric and patterns monthly as I do in one year! And she loves it. Never seems to get enough.

Here is a log cabin quilt center she just finished. The recipient requested a "white" quilt. Using some soft gray makes this very lovely.

The blocks are 10". There's a LOT of piecing going on here. She was exhausted after that and is convinced she won't make another log cabin in awhile. Me? I keep making them.

Janet's Log Cabin quilt center
I found a postcard I made about 10 years ago and decided it was time to send it off. This time to my little grandkids who live in Maryland. This definitely is an off-center log cabin. I used a small panel as the center.

Off center log cabin postcard using a little panel
As I'm in the midst of a local move (which still entails packing a zillion boxes), I came upon some blue and silver 6" curvy log cabin blocks that I think I began as a Hanukkah project (don't ask me; I don't keep notes). But I packed my Curvy Log Cabin ruler the other day, so I'll have to wait until I get settled and find the box with it.

Blue and Silver log cabin blocks (6")
These blocks are made with the ruler. The strips are cut oversized and then trimmed after each round to a perfect size. No need to worry about a true 1/4" seam. Can I show you one of the other quilts I made using the Curvy Log Cabin ruler? This is a ruler designed by my friend and former Quilt Magazine editor, Jean Ann Wright. I know I shared this last month, but here it is again!

Sunshine Butterflies: 48" x 48"
Sunshine Butterflies was patterned for Creative Grids ruler a few years ago. They no longer offer it; you can only buy it from me.

Here is a single block. That head is a prairie point. I actually designed this pattern about 20 years ago and had a similar quilt published in Quilt Magazine. Nothing new under the sun, right?

Three 6" Curvy Log Cabin blocks and a single 6-1/2" square
The antennae are stitched on using a sewing machine satin stitch.

Here is one done by a quilt shop in Green Bay, Wisconsin:

Quilting Divas Quilt Shop Sunshine Butterflies
The pattern is available in my Craftsy shop, but you MUST have a Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool (at least 6" size) to be able to stitch this. Check out the Sunshine Butterflies pattern!

And yes, I will probably be sharing more Log Cabin blocks and quilts in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!