Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Christmas in July and Fabric Giveaway!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful . . . SO HOT! But, we like to begin thinking about Christmas in July, so here goes! I selected Oh, Christmas Tree by Whistler Studios for Windham Fabrics as the collection to work with. I couldn't resist the drummer boys, the snowflakes and the unexpected golds.

Oh, Christmas Tree by Windham Fabrics
But what really grabbed me was the LARGE (36" x 45") panel.

Oh, Christmas Tree panel
I'll share more on how I plan to use that in a minute. First, I pulled a few fabrics to make one of my LARGE blocks which I call: Big Block Stars. I featured this in my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts. How large? 30" x 30", that's how large.

The plain squares in this quilt are cut 6-1/2". The fabric for the triangles is cut 6-7/8".
Four sweet prints: Geese, penguins, gingerbread men - Oh, My!
I cut these 6-7/8" for squares that will finish to 6". Drew a diagonal line on the wrong side of one, lined them up and stitched 1/4" on both sides of line.

Right sides together; stitched
Cut them apart along line
Cut apart
Press seam toward the darker print and I have two half-square triangle units. 6-1/2" unfinished.

Half square triangle unit. I made 8 of these (4 gold, 4 blue squares)
Now for the square in square units. According to my pattern (which I wrote 10+ years ago), these are 4-3/4" center squares and 3-1/2" red squares with a diagonal line drawn on the wrong side. Stitch 1/4" away from line, trim and press toward the red.
Stitching the corners
Repeat for the remaining two corners.

Repeat the steps above.
I made two with red corners and two with blue (which I eventually changed the centers of).

Make 2 of each. 6-1/2" x 6-1/2" unfinished

Add 3-1/2" x 6-1/2" strips:

Make two of each
Wanted to see some of this on my design wall. Sometimes that's the only way I can figure out if I like a unit or section.

Design wall patches
As you can see, the green print with the blue triangles just didn't have enough contrast. Back to the sewing machine!
Decided to remake some units

And here's a simple graphic to show my fabric placement:

And the real quilt (just a top so far):

Big Block Stars: 30" x 30"
My plans for that large panel is to have it for the back. I will add some random strips taken from my fat quarters to build the Stars Block up to size. Isn't this an awesome panel. A perfect quilt just as it is! An awesome front and an equally awesome back!

Oh Christmas Tree panel
This blog hop by Windham has other spots to visit with even more chances to win fabric!
And now for the giveaway:
  • Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a Fat Quarter bundle of a Christmas collection (either this one or another current one). Fabric will be sent by Windham from their New Jersey warehouse.
  • The giveaway will be open from now until 8PM PST on Sunday, July 23, 2017. The winner for this bundle will be picked at random and we will announce the name HERE on Monday, July 24, 2017 (or as soon as I can as I'm traveling this week).
  • This giveaway is open to everyone, USA and International.
  • If you’re a “no reply” or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment!

Happy hopping!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 29

Back again with seven more beautiful blocks by Patricia Bryant of Australia. She truly has done an amazing job with both the sewing and the styling! This week she shares with us some truly stunning displays.

July 16: Godey Block. This is a very traditional, vintage pattern well over 100 years old.

July 16: Godey Block, 12"
 July 17: Heart Flower (one I designed, not based on any traditional block; just hearts)

July 17: Heart Flower, 12"
 July 18: Double Star
July 18: Double Star, 10"

July 19: Milky Way (yum, yum!)

July 19: Milky Way, 8"

July 20: Mill Wheel Variation

July 20: Mill Wheel Variation, 12"
 July 21: Nosegay
July 21: Nosegay, 6"
 July 22: Radiant Star (don't you just love that fountain behind the block?)
July 22: Radiant Star, 18"
Hope you enjoyed the show!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Free Pattern Friday with Scattered Stars

Another quilt made for a fabric company, this time for Red Rooster. I call this Scattered Stars and it has appeared in my 2017 Block a Day calendar, too.

I used the Stella Collection which is bright and happy with large flowers.

Here is the digital quilt with both 8" and 12" blocks:
Scattered Stars: 50" x 54"
You can find the pattern link (pdf) here: Scattered Stars

There are NO y-seams. The construction is done with one of the blocks split so that you only sew with straight seams. I can "see" that you don't believe me. OK. I'll show you the assembly page, alright?

Assembly of the blocks for Scattered Stars
Yes, there are templates in this, but I know you can do it! Have a great weekend and see you on Sunday with more of the blocks from my Quilter's Block a Day calendar.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Taking Flight with Painted Wings (and FREE pattern)

Here we have another Windham Wednesday featuring the delightful Painted Wings Collection by Whistler Studios. I am partial to bright colors with a lot of good contrast. I also like that there is a sprinkling of gray in this group.

Painted Wings by Windham Fabrics
I immediately thought of my "go to" butterfly appliqué pattern. It is a vintage block that goes back to the 1930s. I have featured it in various projects on this blog in the past few years.

I first made a freezer paper template. This way I can iron it onto the fabric and cut it out without pinning. I first applied fusible webbing to the wrong side of this blue print. I used fusible appliqué to make this very quick quilt.

Freezer paper template ironed to right side of fabric 
Cut out. Peel off freezer paper. Reuse freezer paper for more butterflies!

Cut out butterfly body. Freezer paper will be reused for 3 more appliques.
I selected four prints for the butterfly body, four prints for the centers, and four prints for the 10-12" background squares. I paired them up, cut them out, fused them together to get ready for quick sewing machine appliqué (using my zigzag stitching). You can add antennae if you wish. I got lazy and didn't do it. Here are the four blocks:

Butterfly Block #1
 Butterfly Block #2
Butterfly Block #2 (I love this green!)
 Butterfly Block #3
Butterfly Block #3
 Butterfly Block #4
Butterfly Block #4
I decided I wanted to put a 2" mitered border around each block. I cut two 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips each of two contrasting fabrics. Now watch my Magical Mitering Technique!

Center the strips as shown and sew with 1/4" seam. Do NOT stop at the 1/4" seam as in traditional mitering. You need to see your stitching, so come out another 1/2" or so (you can see my threads). Now, press the strips TOWARD the block. This is important as you need to see the bottom edge of those strips

Butterfly block with first borders
 Center the two contrasting strips and sew from where the stitching shows on the first set of borders. You can see my threads here. It's ok to back stitch. Press these last two borders TOWARD the border strips.
Stitch next set of borders on, beginning and ending at the seams of the previous two borders
 Repeat for each corner. Turn block over and work from the front on your ironing board. Fold the last two borders as shown at a 90  CORRECTION: 45 degree angle. Pin.
Fold and pin in place
I used monofilament thread in my upper thread and a small, short zigzag to stitch the miters down FROM THE FRONT. You have control. I just as easily could have used a navy thread. Believe me, you honestly can't see this (but who cares anyway? This is EASY.)

Stitch miter down using a machine zigzag stitch
 Trim away excess from the back.
Excess trimmed
Now, isn't that SO MUCH EASIER than what I call "wrestling an alligator" in the traditional method of mitering corners? And it is quick, you have so much more control, and you are not sewing a y-seam.
First Butterfly Block with mitered borders. 14-1/2" x 14-1/2" unfinished
What does the quilt look like? I'm glad you asked! Because I was working with 1/4 yard cuts, I had to get creative with the borders. I selected the two butterfly prints in navy and got two borders from each print. Pretty neat, huh?

Isn't this just the funnest quilt? So happy. So flowery. So butterfly-y!

Four Block Butterfly Quilt: 40" x 40". 14" blocks
Here is the link for the Butterfly Applique templates: Butterfly for Painted Wings

Visit the Windham Painted Wings page to see a list of quilt shops that carry this collection!

Here is the general fabric information for this quilt:
  • Four 10-1/2" squares for block backgrounds (can be all the same fabrics or different)
  • Four 7-1/2" x 9-1/2" rectangles for the butterfly body AND four pieces of fusible webbing for the back of the rectangles
  • Four 1-1/2" x 5" rectangles for butterfly centers (contrasting fabrics)
  • Eight 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips (navy) for mitered borders
  • Four 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips (green) for mitered borders
  • Four 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips (purple) for mitered borders
  • Four 1-1/2" x wof strips for inner border (turquoise)
  • Two 5-1/2" x wof strips for side borders
  • Two 5-1/2" x wof strips for top and bottom borders
  • Thread for machine stitching the miters
  • 1/3 yard fabric for binding

Monday, July 10, 2017

Garden Inspired Coloring Books

I am not an artist. I raised one and she can draw just about anything. Me? Squares, triangles and stick figures!

On occasion I release some of my quilting designs as Coloring Pages on Pinterest. Simple. Basic. Quilterly.

Schiffer Books sent me two review copies of these beautiful coloring books by Kristy Rice. Then I got nervous because they were beyond my squares, triangles and stick figures. Here is the cover of the Spring collection, Spring Cutting Garden:
Spring Cutting Garden by Kristy Rice
A 60 page book with 25 watercolor pages for coloring. There are tips and hints on how to use both watercolors and colored pencils. Lots of color illustrations. Here is a bit of the book description online:

  • The first in a series of seasonal watercoloring books based on artist Kristy’s Rice’s cutting gardens, this book celebrates spring’s profuse blossoms such as peonies, magnolias, pansies, and Eastern blue star. Her easy-to-learn, joy-driven approach includes simple tutorials on how to use watercolor and where to find affordable materials. A stationery-industry tastemaker, Kristy believes that making art, regardless of skill level, has the power to reconnect us to each other and ourselves. Touching brush to paper with water and color releases an inexplicable calm that so many of us long for, and making art, even in short bursts, brings us back to ourselves by slowing time.With 25 detailed, yet whimsical illustrations, artists are invited to continue the journey begun in her first watercoloring book series, Painterly Days.
And since I can't color (even inside the lines), I asked my friend Jeannine and her artist daughter Denise to color a few pages for me. Here is one done with watercolors (by Denise). Notice that it's easier to get shading with water colors. (I am returning the book to her so she can finish this!)

Flowers done using water colors
And Jeannine used colored pencils, which is harder to get depth and shading. Jeannine is a quilter like me with a preference for squares and triangles. Still beautiful, don't you think? 

Flowers done using colored pencils
And another shot of the cover out in the - wait for it - GARDEN!

Beautiful flowers to inspire this book by Kristy Rice
Here's the cover of the second book in the series, Summer Cutting Garden:

Summer Cutting Garden by Kristy Rice
Take a visit to Kristy's web site to see a lot of her work, be inspired by her gorgeous flowers and artistry and generally pretend you can do the same thing (by buying one of her books!)

The books are beautifully done with tri-fold covers to help keep your place and lots of sample pictures. If only I was the coloring kind . . . But Denise is and the Spring Cutting Garden book is hers.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 28 and FREE Pattern

More lovely blocks this week. Patricia Bryant has outdone herself one more time. I'm not sure how she is propping up the blocks (this was asked last week), but they look so nice, don't they?

Did you know that I have a Pinterest Board with all these blocks (up through this week). I add each week's blocks (or try to) as they make their appearance here. Take a look: Patricia's Blocks. I think we're up to 196 blocks this week!

July 9: Chain of Squares. OK. What's with the chickens?
July 9: Chain of Squares, 12"
This Chain of Squares was made into a real quilt for Quilt Magazine many years ago. Here is the beautiful rendition made by a friend of mine:

Chain of Squares Quilt by Terese B. of Atlanta
Click the links above for the FREE pattern (65" x 77").

July 10: Crossroads
July 10: Crossroads, 12"
July 11: Diamond Panes
July 11: Diamond Panes, 9"
July 12: Illinois Rose. Now where did this Australian get a map of Illinois?
July 12: Illinois Rose, 12"
July 13: Double T (does the T stand for Teddy Bear?)
July 13: Double T, 9"
July 14: Exhibition Home
July 14: Exhibition Home, 10"
July 15: Flying Shuttles
July 15: Flying Shuttles
Lovely blocks in lovely fabrics. Thank you, once again, Patricia! See you all next Sunday.