Thursday, October 11, 2018

Flock of Birds Pattern

I love the sound of birds. It is different in the Fall from how things sound in the Spring. I thought of my calendar block for today, Flock of Birds. Here is the block as made by Patricia Bryant of Australia. Click the link and you can see all 7 of the blocks she made from that week in the calendar!

Flock of Birds by Patricia Bryant
Now, can we see it up close? Yes, it's small, but that's how I had to make it for my Block a Day Calendar.

Flock of Birds
When I created the hard copy calendar, I also created a CD version of all the blocks in TWO sizes and 12 quilts. The CD is no longer in print (neither is the calendar). I offer the blocks in monthly pdfs at my Craftsy store (links at the end of this post).

Here is the page from the October blocks (31 blocks in 2 sizes and 2 quilts). This is how each block is presented in the the version I created for the CD. You can make Flock of Birds in two sizes (12" and 18").

Go check out each month's listings at my Craftsy shop. You will find the pdfs contain over 40 pages of blocks (like you see above) and patterns for one or two quilts using those blocks.

Thanks for stopping by! And hope you enjoyed seeing my Flock of Birds block!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Windham Wednesdays with Gypsy and Bedrock

Wow! That's sound like some sort of coded message: the Gypsy is hiding in the Bedrock? Not so.

I had sewn and written my Gypsy post when THESE came in the mail yesterday! Now I can finish my little blocks (which you will see below).

What an awesome print that will be my border
I received two beautiful pieces of the Gypsy Collection a few months ago (I think they were the "first cuts" that the factory sends to the vendor, which is Windham) and found an awesome use for one of them when I stitched up some OLD blocks into a new quilt center. This is a new sample for a revived workshop, Dogwood Blossom:
Gypsy main print is perfect for my border
I was left with a 12" x 18" piece of the dark print and 1/2 yard or so of the other:

50569-3 from the Gypsy Collection
The colors in the real fabric are SO MUCH more vivid than this image from the web site. Let me show you. I pulled 6 fat quarters of Bedrock that will go perfectly with my Gypsy remainders. Bedrock is a blender collection of 70 colors that Windham released in January. I think it's going to be around for a long time!

Gypsy with 6 prints from Bedrock
Now, I know what you're thinking: how in the world can she do something with less than 1/6 yard of that dark print and 1/2 yard of the light print and a few fat quarters? Well, if you're asking that, you don't really know me. I love a challenge like this!

Maybe you remember what I did with 4 of these fabrics back in July? Eat Your Carrots is a small quilt I made with a simple foundation piecing pattern I designed. Check it out.

Eat Your Carrots
Now back to Gypsy!

I cut a bunch of 4-1/2" squares of that light print. I cut a variety of strips from Bedrock:

Four 4-1/2" squares, two 1-1/2" x 6-1/2" strips and one 1-1/2" x 9-1/2" strip
I stitched them into this sashed 4-Patch:
Adding strips
 Ready for the outer thin strips, to make this an 11" (finished) block. Yes, I know where I'm going!

Block measures 9-1/2" x 9-1/2" unfinished

Adding outer orange Bedrock 1-1/2" (cut strips)
  • two cut 1-1/2" x 9-1/2"
  • two cut 1-1/2" x 11-1/2"
First of several blocks
Now what? I cut and pieced some blocks using the dark print in the center (cut those 6-1/2"). Added strips cut 3":
  • two 3" x 6-1/2"
  • two 3" x 11-1/2"
And here they all are, waiting for me to stitch them together into a very scrappy (and yet controlled) quilt center. Actually, this is 11 of the 12 blocks. I'm still deciding on one that reads too light in the center. But, I've run out of the floral fabric, so it just may get in there!

11 of my 12 Gypsy and Bedrock blocks
So, you see I can make a few more blocks into a 44" x 44" center (4 blocks by 4 blocks) and use that beautiful turquoise print I showed at the top for my border.

This really is a SCRAP BUSTER block pattern. The colors unify everything. I'll keep you posted on how I finish things up. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Two Small Quilts from One Charm Pack

Five years ago I received a charm pack of Briar Rose fabrics from Windham. I'm not crazy about 5" squares, but I thought I'd see what I could come up with.

5" squares of Briar Rose
This was 2013 and I was busy teaching several English Paper Piecing workshops. These squares worked very well with 2" hexagons. Don't you just love that little froggy sitting by the river, reading his book?
Some squares became 2" hexagons
 I put those into a table runner:
My Zig and Zag of Hexies table runner
Here is the quilting up close. Love my walking foot! My Zig and Zag of Hexies was first a much larger table runner. You can see it here!

Straight line quilting
I had some extra charms and was able to get two Dresden Plate wedges from each. Then I finished up the base with a triangle instead of a 1/4 circle. So easy! I quilted it this weekend and I love the happy colors, don't you?
Briar Rose with other Windham Fabrics for finishing
This is an 18 degree Dresden tool. I used the 5" height on the ruler and was able to get two wedges from each square.

I am teaching my Modern Vortex class in another week in North Carolina and I'm taking several of my Dresden Plate quilts to show them all the variations you can get from this simple tool. I know they will be inspired. I could present an entire trunk show using my 2 dozen or so Dresden Plate quilts!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

October Flower Vase for 2018 Tea Party BOM - FREE

How can it be October already? Don't talk to me about Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas yet!

This is Block #10 and I call it the Flower Vase. You can call it anything you want. As you can see, mine lacks some flowers but, I have plans.

I found a good sized scrap of one of my favorite fabrics and I think it's lovely how that one leaf is centered!

Flower Vase: Block #10
As you already know, I like to use freezer paper to make my templates. I placed a piece over the full sized paper template and traced.
Tracing the template
Then I ironed the freezer paper to fabric that had fusible webbing on the wrong side and cut it out.

Flower Vase cut out and ready to attach to my background square
You can find the pattern here: October Flower Vase.

You can see the other 9 blocks here: 2018 Tea Party Block of the Month with links to the blocks on Craftsy. Remember, each block is FREE only for the month in which it is released.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I Believe in Pink!

Windham Fabrics has a lovely collection called I Believe in Pink that is for breast cancer patients and survivors. Here's what they say at their web site:

Celebrate the breast cancer warriors in your life with this new collection from Rosemarie Lavin Designs. This inspiring group is perfect for a thoughtful headscarf, warm lap quilt or pretty tablet case. We are proud to support all survivors and warriors with this line. A portion of all sales from this collection will be given to the Maurer Foundation. For more information on the Maurer Foundation, please visit:

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I asked for some of the I Believe in Pink fabrics.

They sent me some 2 yard cuts (the first samples they get back from the factory)  and I got to work making one of my "go-to" pillow case patterns. I've shared this many times before and it's always great to show it again!

(I am donating the rest of the fabrics to a local Virginia organization that makes comfort items for breast cancer patients, but I wanted to at least make one thing to showcase the lovely prints)

This quick and easy pattern has been around for a LONG time. I first encountered it in the early 2000s and I've made many pillow cases using this.

Here are the fabrics. You can see them much better at Windham's web site.

I Believe in Pink fabrics

Fabric requirements: 3/4 yard main fabric; 1/3 yard border fabric; 1/8 yard accent fabric.

Cut fabric as follows: main fabric -- 27" x 41" (Floral); border/hem fabric -- 10" x 41" (dark pink dot); accent fabric -- 3" x 41" (my green dot).

Lay the hem fabric right-side-up on a table (pink and white dot: 10" x 41").

Now lay the main fabric (floral) on top of the border fabric, right-side-up with raw edges even at the top.

Press the accent fabric in half the long way and lay it on top of the main fabric and border piece. Once again, make sure all raw edges are even at the top. This accent fabric (green dot) will be a flange.

Layering the 3 fabrics
Pick up the bottom edge of the main fabric and roll it up nearly to the top edge. You should now be able to see the bottom edge of the border/hem fabric (pink dot).

Scrunching the main print so it fits into the "tube"
Take the bottom edge of the hem fabric and fold it up over the rolled-up main fabric, putting right sides together and matching to the other raw edges. Pin all the fabrics together along the top edge.

All rolled up and stitched through all layers with 1/4" seam
Stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge, making a tube. NOW THE MAGIC! Reach into the tube and grab the opposite end and turn the tube out. You should have a nicely finished edge where the border and main fabrics meet, with all the raw edges inside. YAY!

Pulling the scrunched up main print out of the tube
I press everything flat. There are no raw edges showing on the inside of that hem!

Pillowcase with hem; no raw edges on the inside!
To finish the pillowcase, put the WRONG sides together and sew a 1/4" seam down the side and across the bottom edges. (This is a French Seam). Trim any loose threads.

French seam, first part

Final seam' stitch bottom and zig zag
Turn the pillow case right side out again. ALL DONE!

Pillowcase done!
Full size pillowcase
I hope you were inspired by this easy and quick pillow case! I've made dozens and I think it's a great way to showcase any sort of fabrics, don't you? Don't forget to wear pink in October (it's my favorite color anyway!)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Michael Miller Monday: How Charming!

Yes, I'm back and I have a VERY lavender quilt to show you. Don't confuse this with purple! But, I have to say that I have never made a lavender quilt in my 30+ years of quilting - not a one. This will go down in the history books, right? Ha ha.

Here she is. And I will share a few details of how I got here.

Charming, right?
Please remember I was sent a set of fat quarters. Let me remind you.

Charming fat quarters
I chose the four lavender skus and one of the light prints, plus a few Fairy Frost fat quarters.

The fabrics I chose to work with
I cut two 9-1/2" squares from that interesting fabric with the spider webs. I usually don't like spiders and their webs - I walked right into one last week on my morning 3 mile walk and just about had a heart attack! But this web looks sweet and harmless (yeah, right).

I was not interested in centering the motif. I like the "organic" look.

Two squares with the spider web.
After trying to listen intently to the fabrics and what they wanted to become, I set to work surrounding the squares with 1-1/2" strips of the light green.

Strips of green surround the squares
I fussy cut from another fabric, centering a bouquet of flowers. I had to use a piece of freezer paper in order to get in all straight. This is my center square and I cut it at 11-1/2" (I won't be using strips around it).

Fussy cutting my center square
I had to get creative in cutting the corner and side setting triangles. Fat quarters are not a lot of fabric!

I needed TWO 9" squares for the corner triangles. Cut those in half as you can see. This is so the outside edges are on the straight grain, NOT on the bias.

Cutting the 9" squares in half for the corner triangles
Then I forgot to take pics of the side triangles, but just so you know: to set 11" squares on point and have side setting triangles fit, I needed to cut one 17" square into four triangles. This is so that the outside edge is along the straight grain! I used one of the other prints with the beautiful roses.

Corner and side triangles
 Everything is stitched along the diagonal. Let me show you (lighting in my sewing room isn't the greatest near the design wall). Notice how the center diagonal row is made up of two corner triangles and 3 blocks. The right corner block has one side triangle (cut from a 17" square) on each side with a corner triangle as shown. The bottom left corner block has the same. Notice the two diagonal seams that are about to be stitched!

Four squares with green strips; center square plain
These side and corner triangles are cut a little large; time to trim, leaving 1/4" seam. The quilt center is about 32" x 32". Now to get ready to put the red Fairy Frost inner border on.

Trimming to leave 1/4" seam
One of the prints is composed of rows of roses. There were four of them. I cut them apart and used them in the borders. Of course, they are only 18" wide, so I had to get creative with the leftovers from cutting these blocks.

How Charming, indeed!
Some little girl will love this quilt. It measures about 40" x 40". Have you ever made a lavender quilt?

I can't wait to sew with the black and red prints. And those luscious blues. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Oh, Scrap! More Strips and Strings and Two More Quilts

I dug into my Quilt Vault and pulled out two more scrap buster quilts. These were made almost 20 years ago from the bags of strips and leftover pieces of fabric I couldn't bear to throw out.

The first one is Rocky Road to Kansas, a vintage pattern. I cut dozens of 6-1/2" squares of newsprint and began piecing randomly on them for a foundation. I trimmed them and spent about 2 years mindlessly stitching with no plan in mind. I saw a vintage Rocky Road to Kansas quilt and realized my string pieced squares could now find a home!

This quilt has 17" blocks for an 80" x 80" bed sized quilt. Very scrappy! This appeared in Quilt Magazine, October 2000.

Rocky Road to Kansas
The method for cutting those string pieced kaleidoscope units was easy - any Kaleidoscope ruler will do (I include full size templates in my pattern). But I had some lovely leftovers from those leftovers (how can that be?) I could see that they were usable and put my thinking cap on and then my eyes landed on my Tri Recs ruler (a different angle than the Kaleidoscope ruler). I realized I could make them star points! And so I made String Pieced Stars. It also appeared in the same magazine issue. I guess my editor was happy to offer a two-for-one feature. I was happy with that check!

String Pieced Stars has 13-1/2" blocks and is a 55-1/2" x 72" quilt. This quilt now lives in a prominent place with my sister in law! I had forgotten who I had given it to long ago, and then we were on Face Time last week and this quilt was in the background! She says it is her very favorite quilt. It is in a happy home.

String Pieced Stars
I have bundled both of these quilts into one pattern on my Craftsy site. It is 13 pages of well illustrated, step by step directions with color pictures and artwork.

These are not quick quilts, but cut out some newsprint squares and begin piecing from your scrap bag and soon enough you will have what you need to start making your own Rocky Road to Kansas - and then the String Pieced Stars. Nothing goes to waste.

But, remember! You're not going to make much of a dent in your scrap pile. We know that a lot of hanky panky goes on at night and new scraps are born each morning. I'm just saying!

Just a sneak peek of what I've been string piecing this last week. These are destined to become Lone Star units. What do you think? I'll have more on these in the coming weeks. I have 12 more to finish and have a plan in mind.

String pieced Diamonds