Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why ANONYMOUS commenters don't have a chance to win!

Heavy sighs. From me. There are so many wonderful comments from anonymous bloggers and there's no way for me to reply. The worst part is that if their name is randomly drawn for a giveaway, THEY CAN'T WIN.

What did they miss the opportunity to win yesterday? Sigh.

Laser cut patches for making the following quilt
Storm at Sea quilt made from the pre-cut patches above
The following folks come up "anonymous" in the comments. I think you are a registered follower, but I have no way to get your contact info ANYWHERE.

These are just from yesterday's Storm at Sea blog post:

Theresa M.
Mary Jane
Jane H.
M Trichka
Gunda B.
Rebecca T.
Susan L.
Robin B.
C. Curlee
Cynthia K.
Janet B.
Deanna S.
Suzanne M
WP in VA
Annie, and finally (I'm not kidding)

This is over 70%!! Here's my suggestion. Certainly post! But if you find yourself on the above list (and never, ever get a reply from me) then you can bet you're anonymous. I get it: the internet is like the Wild, Wild West - and worse. But can you also just send me a separate email ( with your copied and pasted comment and the name of the post in the subject line? Then I'll be sure to add your name to the possibilities.

Please BE ASSURED I don't harass people. I don't annoy you with requests to buy things. No one ever, ever, ever (did I say "ever"?) gets my email lists. My publishers salivate over that possibility but no one ever gets them.

If you have another solution, please let me know. Sorry that this post is full of words and short of pictures.

OK. Here's one. In February I am giving away four patterns (your choice) from the Gee's Bend collection. The one below is 1 of the 8.

You could win the pattern for this quilt in February
Or you could win the pattern for this quilt
OK. Sorry to go into the housekeeping mode. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post for the second block in the Galaxy of Stars 2015 Block of the Month.

As always, I so enjoy having you visit my blog. It makes my quilts so happy. They get sick of sitting in the closets waiting for me to go on the road. I pass on every comment you leave to them!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Storm at Sea Quilt - New Craftsy Pattern

. . . and free kit giveaway! Read on.

Several years ago I taught a Storm at Sea workshop for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. The Education Director fell in love with this quilt and wanted me to teach it in a 3 hour time slot. I told her it would NOT work because the cutting would take up most of the class time. She said: "Well, get the kits laser cut." Gasp! I couldn't do that! Really? Was I ever wrong!

As you can see, this is all straight seam sewing. But the use of two different angles creates the illusion of curves. I added the little boats in the four corners. Do you like them?

Storm at Sea Quilt: 43" x 43"
I gulped and contacted the Flynn Frame Company (you all know the famous John Flynn in Montana, right?) His daughter Kate runs his laser cutting business and we worked up kits to make for my students. They were VERY affordable! Confirmation for doing the right thing was the first (and subsequent) classes when I announced that the entire kit was PRE-CUT for them. They all broke out in applause - with some STANDING and hooting! Wow. Am I the only person who enjoys rotary cutting ANYTHING?

I have put the class notes (in color) and illustrations into a 7 page pdf and I offer it for sale at Craftsy for $6.00. Everything is rotary cut (even the 5" boats). The foundation paper piecing pattern is also included for those who would rather paper piece it.

Here is my first sample:

Storm at Sea quilt center: 35" x 35"
I've included templates for cutting those skinny triangles (and the large center diamonds). If you have the Tri Recs Tool then this will make cutting even easier. IMPORTANT NOTE: These triangles are NOT 60 degree, so you can't use a spiderweb ruler. These are a "funky" angle (something like 57.5˚), so the Tri Recs or the Creative Grids Perfect Rectangle rulers are the exact angle needed.

I make a lot of samples when I teach a class. I have all sorts of block parts hanging around, probably enough to make another quilt! I guess you could say I like making this quilt!

Now for the giveaway. I blogged about this quilt awhile back: Storm at Sea and I had kits I was selling. You can see them below.

Storm at Sea, pre-cut parts with extra fabric (cream) for missing triangles
There is no border fabric (you can buy your own, right?) I was short on the skinny cream triangles and I just cut a 5-1/2" x wof strip so you can cut the extra 8 triangles (plenty of fabric).

This kit needs a new home. This is only open to USA residents (unless you're willing to pay the $15 US postage for international shipping; I just checked). Leave a comment telling me which of the two quilts above you like best.

Contest is over after the Super Bowl Sunday night. US residents get free postage.

You can always buy the Storm at Sea pattern for $6.00, no matter where you live!

To view this and my other patterns (both free and for sale), visit my Craftsy store.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Coming Up in February at My Blog

February is a wonderful month (if you just ignore the occasional snow storms where I live). It is Black History Month, American Heart Month, and of course, Valentine's Day!

I will begin the month by giving you the second star block in my Galaxy of Stars Block of the Month. That happens on the first day (Sunday).

This is where I hope to go on the other events of the month:
Medallion Variation Quilt, a Gee's Bend pattern
I will be giving away one of my 8 Gee's Bend patterns EACH WEEK to one lucky winner. If you want to see what they are, visit my Craftsy site or my Pinterest pages. Then if you win, you can select one of them and I'll send the pdf to you!

American Heart Month: works perfectly with Valentine's Day, doesn't it? I will have some free heart patterns, one of which is my Hearts on Fire Quilt from a very popular workshop (and pattern set). Benartex sent me some awesome batiks and I'll have a tutorial on how to make the blocks and give away the pattern for the quilt.

Hearts on Fire quilt; 10" block size
I have a few other heart quilt patterns that I will dig up and whip into shape to feature here, also.

I may have a few other surprises; you never know.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Salute to Local Heroes - and Fabric Giveaway

I am part of Day 5 in the Novelty Prints Blog Hop over at the Sew in Love with Fabric blog. Sometimes you see a great set of novelty prints and know exactly who you will make something for. I'm sharing how I used some wonderful police and firemen fabrics to make a few things for my little grandsons, who are 2 and 4 years old.

This is all I have left of the Firefighters Rock Collection.
But you can see all the awesome images from a mascot dalmation wearing a fire hat to a huge fire engine and even a red fire hydrant!

Let's hear it for our local fire fighters! Firefighters Rock Collection
Let's not forget our policemen. Can you believe there is handcuff fabric and fingerprint fabric? This was fun to work with.

My grandsons LOVE policemen. Boys in Blue Collection by Kanvas for Benartex
Head on over to Sew in Love with Fabric to see what I made. Lots of pictures! And to be entered in a drawing for a fat quarter bundle of some of these fabrics, come on back here and tell me the answer to this question: WHO is the sheriff in my story!

Make sure you are not an anonymous visitor. I have to have an email to contact you. Contest is over at midnight Thursday January 29.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Heat Waves Pattern

Do you remember the Mambo Collection from Windham Fabrics? The one you should wear sunglasses to view? And the FREE tote bag pattern I shared a few days ago using the collection? Well, here is the pattern for that psychedelic Heat Waves quilt . . .

Heat Waves: 56" x 62"
I don't have a picture of the finished quilt. This was in 2007 before I had a camera phone. Remember how we had little cameras that had FILM in them and we had to take them to the local camera shop to get them developed? I thought it was radical to get a CD with all the photos! Wow - to get them onto my computer that way was so 21rst century. I digress.

Here is a multi-page pattern with illustrations and assembly diagrams. Use your own fabrics and play around with the line drawing. The template is included. The center melon shape is appliqued under the larger melon shape, trimmed and then the large, two color shape is raw edge appliqued to the blue background squares and rectangles. Fun playing with color!

Heat Waves Pattern - enjoy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Windham Wednesdays and Blazing Star Tutorial

Windham Fabrics sent some "strike offs" (small pieces of fabric from a sample print run) and asked me to make a 17" mini quilt for Fall Quilt Market. I struggled to include some solid colors they had also sent, and once I cast those aside and used a creamy white, I was able to let the fabrics shine.

These were tiny pieces, about 1/8 yard at the largest piece! Ooohhh! I love those challenges. 

Broken Stripes Collection by Another Point of View
 These are the solids Windham sent from the New Colonies Collection

New Colonies solids
Here is the project I made for Market (it is a Spring class and hopefully will be published in a magazine, so no pattern here):

Tight Knit Circles - 17" x 17"
Can I tell you what the Marketing and Social Media Directors said when they saw it:

Laura: "OMGoodness – I am in amazement!!!! That is just short of spectacular." (I hope she meant NOTHING short of spectacular.)

Nell: "WOW!! I am amazed!  I thought for sure you couldn't do anything that would look good with all those fabrics together, and boy have you proved me wrong!"

I love these people (I've been sewing for Windham for 10 years), and I just had to laugh at their confidence in me. It sure made me feel really good! And my little quilt is still smiling.

Think about it: Straight lines in a fabric BEG for curves. The fabrics spoke to me and that's what I did.

Now to my new project and a FREE PATTERN.

I went back to my tried and true traditional patterns: Blazing Star. I've made at least two other quilts with this block and it seemed perfect for this linear print.

I eeked out 32 blades from the scraps of the scraps. Windham had sent me 1/2 yard cuts of each of the 7 colors, but I only had to dip into it for 3 blades. Can we see the blades, huh?

Blazing Star blades, 4 of each color
Now, what did I do with all these blades?

1. Cut a 12-1/2" square of background fabric and then press horizontal, vertical and both diagonal lines for points of orientation for the blades.

12-1/2" background square with folds for alignment of patches
2. Cut out patches using the blade template. I like to use freezer paper because I can iron it to the RIGHT side of the fabric, which is reinforced with fusible interfacing. I actually used this template for all 32 blades! (Freezer paper can be reused, obviously.) I strongly suggest you do NOT use fusible webbing. It makes the applique stitching difficult.

Iron template to right side of fabric that has been reinforced with interfacing
No need to first cut out template; you can cut both out with the first patch!
The interfacing was fused to wrong side of fabric FIRST, before the cut.

See the interfacing? This keeps the patch edges from fraying
Position next patch, ready for cutting
Now for placing the patches!

Background square pressed; first blade placed
3. Alternate the colors (two colors per block), overlapping the previous blade with the next blade as shown. Use the lines for orientation.

Place blades one by one, using fold lines as your guide
4. Continue placing blades, tucking the last one (#8) under the first one. Pin all in place.

All blades placed; last blade is slipped under the first blade
5. Set your sewing machine to a short zigzag stitch and use matching thread. Work with one color first, stitching the four matching blades. Switch thread and stitch the remaining four matching blades. Add the center circle of black.

Finished block with center circle (yes, I changed the colors before I stitched)

What does it look like from the back?

Stitching from the wrong side of block
And can we see the other blocks?

Another Blazing Star Block
Purple and green - looks yummy, doesn't it?
The multi-color print was used in two blocks
And now for the pattern (with a second page showing a possible quilt assembly): Blazing Star

When you visit the Windham Fabrics Gallery and look at a fabric, there is a link to ALL the quilt shops that carry that fabric. Isn't that neat?

Thanks for stopping by. Check out Windham Fabrics Gallery and also their Facebook page. Let them know you like this collection.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Free Tote Bag Pattern

Seven years ago I was sent this awesome - and very BUSY - fabric collection by Windham Fabrics called Mambo. Quite the colorful and challenging set of prints. At that time I was developing my EZ Double Wedding Ring pattern (actually it had been 5 years by that time) and decided to do something really funky with it. Are you ready? Go get your sunglasses!! I called it "Heat Waves."

Heat Waves before borders were attached (56" x 62")
I had it quilted and not sure what Windham did with it. Probably bagged it up in a dark room or shipped off to a sunny beach somewhere. Sipping margaritas with other colorful fabric.

Let me tell you a little bit about this before we go to the FREE PATTERN (no, this is not it - whew!! I know you say). No, wait a minute. I'll be right back . . .

I'm back!  I just discovered I HAD written the pattern with art and template for the quilt above. It's still on my computer. I'll share that later this week (that's if you want a psychedelic quilt!) Windham never published it, but I'm sure you can find some calm fabrics to create this. It's all raw edge applique. More later.

Here's the free pattern project. I call it the 5-6-7 Tote Bag (because of the width of strips used). It's a free download at the Windham Fabrics web site (link above).

The 5-6-7 Tote Bag
The bag is 15" high (before handles) and 16" wide. A great size for ANY fabrics. I might even make it again (not with those fabrics).

I actually have a 3rd project I just pulled out that uses 10.5" squares. I had cut up every remaining piece of this collection into 10.5" squares and used an awesome template set created by my friend and fellow teacher, Nelly Vileikis. I will blog about that soon, too. I took pictures this afternoon (Sunday) and I'm sewing a few more blocks.

Hope you enjoyed seeing what is actually possible with wild and crazy fabrics. I love sewing with bold color and design. It makes me happy.

Come back on Wednesday (January 21) for my Windham Wednesday post using the Broken Stripes Collection (remember this?) I have a fun tutorial using these with a very traditional block. See you then!

Broken Stripes by Windham Fabrics