Monday, November 17, 2014

Supersize Quilt Blocks

Diadem Quilt from Supersize 'Em Quilts
My second book is out of print for the hard copy version, but my publisher (Martingale) now has it available as an eBook and it's got a special price through November 23. You don't have to go out of the house, get dressed or get in the car to buy it. The beauty of digital!

Go see the blog post and see the various ways you can use these supersized blocks. The Diadem Quilt uses a 14" block (see first picture).

Rotary cut Lone Star blocks - 19" x 19" EACH!
Now, those are really supersized blocks! I love teaching classes on this Lone Star, too. No set in seams, by the way.

The 16" Album Block by Jean Ann Wright
Go take a peek at every single one of the 22 projects in the book. And check out the fabulous price.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Technique Tuesday with Knitty Sheep

See what those crafty sheep were up to!
Take a visit to the Benartex Fabrics blog - Sew in Love with Fabric - to see how to make these blocks very quick and very easy. And see what those clever Knitty Sheep were up to besides knitting!

Fun fabrics . . .

Monday, November 10, 2014

Baa Baa Sheep Tutorial Tomorrow


Tomorrow is Technique Tuesday over at the Sew in Love with Fabric blog by Benartex. Just thought I'd give you a teaser picture. These two sheep have been up to some mischief with my yarn and crochet hooks, so come on by tomorrow, Tuesday November 11 for a peek at some new fabric and a tutorial on how to make this easy quilt.

Goes live at 9:30 am Eastern (USA).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fabric Postcards

I mailed this to my husband several years ago; still sits in his office
My favorite quilt shop in Atlanta (Intown Quilters) sent their newsletter announcing upcoming classes and one of them is a fabric postcard swap. How fun! I taught a workshop several years ago on making these little gems and I want to share some of my creations here.

I used a tiny yo-yo in the postcard at the top of the page.

Bits and pieces of trim and rick rack add some pizzazz to a card. Notice that I use a decorative/blanket stitch along the edges. That's how I join it to a cardstock backing.
Don't you just love this dancing groundhog?
Tiny bits of trim and fuzzy yarn; wool felt packages
And a few others . . .
My daughter bought me a pair of green sneakers and I sent this to thank her!
 I wore those Saucony Jazz Edge sneakers every day for years. Still have them and love putting them on with some jeans. Very fun.

Then how about using a specialty edge rotary blade to trim the postcard? I straight stitched around the sides first. Used freezer paper to cut the "picture frame"; added fusible webbing to back of red fabric. And yes, there is batting in there. So, this is quilt related!

An excellent way to capture a novelty print
And more, using paper piecing. . .

Little 3" paper pieced boat; sewing machine letters
Here is a jpg of the boat block. Not sure how it translates on your end, but I hope to get some uploaded in pdf:

One of my paper pieced trees

I still have this; postage on back is $.39, so you know it was several years ago!
Now I'm going down to the basement to find the 2 dozen postcards I received in a swap several years ago. Some of them are so awesome and true works of art. I'll take pics and put them up soon.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my postcards!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three Little Quilts of Brights on Black

12 Twinkling Stars - a new pattern at my Craftsy store
Someone in my extended family just had twins a few weeks ago. Boys! And I'm digging through my quilt stash to see if I can come up with something non-girly for them. This was hard! Do you know how much fabric each year is feminine?

The first quilt I found goes back at least 10 years (maybe longer). I designed this set of 12 paper pieced stars and offered them from my web site. The quilt traveled with me for years when I presented trunk shows. If you look close enough you can see TWO of the stars that I printed too small, pieced and then realized I had to add little 1/4" black coping strips to get them up to the 6" size. Yikes!

It is a new pattern on my Craftsy site - 12 Twinkling Stars for $5.00. Just the pattern for the blocks (and the picture of the quilt). I added two support documents at the end of the 28 page pdf so that it would be easy to set these on point (select your favorite 9 blocks) with information on the borders, too.
Winding Ways Quilt
Winding Ways quilt
This Winding Ways quilt has been around for at least 15 years. I created it for publication in Quilt Magazine using my quick technique of using a single applique patch to mimic the multiple patches that are traditionally pieced. One patch appliqued to a background square using raw edge. How simple is that? I may offer it as a free pattern here sometime soon. Would you like that?

The third quilt I'm considering to gift to the twins (2 out of 3) is the Spiroglyphics Quilt:
Spiroglyphics was a class sample a few years ago. My original quilt was stolen in 2005 (along with 29 other quilts). This is simple raw edge applique for the circles (I used a CD ROM as the template) and easy paper piecing for the square in a square block.

I washed these little quilts the other day. I never pre-wash my fabrics (don't judge me; I just don't!) They are ready for me to select two of the three.

What do you think? Which two do you think are good for little boys?

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Royal Star is Back with a Free Pattern and Tutorial

 Fossil Fern Collection by Benartex: just like a box of candy spilled on my counter top - yum, yum!
 I've been playing with these fabrics for almost 15 years. Yes, they still produce these fabrics - never before has a fabric line stayed popular for so long.
22,000 visitors can't be wrong!

I just checked my stats on this post from two years ago. Can you believe it? 22,000! I've added a tutorial for making the block at the bottom of this page so you can see how to piece the block. Enjoy!

An Antique Quilt Updated: The Royal Star Quilt

The Royal Star quilt from my book, Bold, Black and Beautiful Quilts, 2004
This block pattern first appeared in the Ladies Art Company catalog, #462 in 1922. My quilt was made in early 2002 with Fossil Ferns from Benartex Fabrics. My editor had requested that I be sent a collection of all their bright colors and for some reason I thought of this traditional block. I did not want to use templates and figured that if I just rotary cut the centers, I could make a paper piecing pattern for each of the four corners. It didn't really matter that the block wasn't a standard 10" or 12" (it's 8-1/2" finished) because all of the blocks are set with each other and size is not crucial to this setting.

This quilt was featured in 2 separate magazines, once on the cover
Did you know that Fossil Ferns are STILL being produced by Benartex? They were designed by Pat Campbell - are you ready for this? - 15 years ago!! This is unheard of in the textile industry but honest to goodness, these fabrics are TIMELESS. I have a batch of fat quarters that I dig into from time to time and they never fail to meet my need for a textured solid.

OK. So why would I tempt you with this quilt if the book is out of print? Well, you could buy my CD of all 16 quilts (go to my web site for that), or you could go just a little further in this post and get the quilt pattern for FREE!

Royal Star Quilt Free Pattern
Please let me know how you like this antique quilt updated. I will pass on the comments to this little quilt that goes on the road with me from time to time, but otherwise lives on a shelf in my closet. She would be so happy to hear from you!


1. Prepare your foundations. You will need four of the star corners. Pre-cut the fabric shapes for each of construction (all sizes for these are in the FREE PATTERN)
Cut out parts according to pattern
 2. Use the blue square in Position #1 on the pattern. Place it on the UNWRITTEN side of the pattern with the wrong side of fabric touching this unwritten side.
Notice that the fabric extends away from all lines around Patch #1. Pin in place
3. Without turning pattern over, fold back along line between Patch 1 and Patch 2. Trim away excess blue fabric, leaving 1/4" seam allowance.

(Dark) postcard used; fold along line. Add a Quarter gives perfect 1/4" seam allowance
 Both sides trimmed
Both sides of Patch #1 trimmed, leaving 1/4" seam allowance from side lines.
4. Pin rectangle (orange) for Patch #2 to cut edge of Patch #1, right sides together. Pin

Fabric for Patch #2 pinned, aligned along newly cut edge of Patch #1.
5. Now it's time to turn pattern over and sew on the line between Patch #1 and Patch #2. Sew all the way from the outside edge of the pattern, THROUGH both outside seam allowances. Finger press orange patch away from seam (see below)

6. Repeat for Patch #3. Pin and sew on the side with the lines. Turn pattern over and this is what you see . . .
Patch #3 added. Notice I have sewn from edge of fabric to other edge of fabric.
7. Press patches as shown . . .

Patches pressed, awaiting trimming
8. Time to trim again before you add the last two (blue) patches. ALL trimming is done on the printed side. Fold the pattern back on the line, use an Add-a-Quarter ruler for the 1/4" seam allowance.

Patches 2 and 3 trimmed
 9. Add Patches 4 and 5, one at a time; press  . . .
Star point unit - what a mess, huh?
10. Now it's time to trim excess fabric using the seam allowance markings on the pattern. Turn this over and . . .

If you look closely, you can see how I sewed off the paper with every seam. This ensures that I sewed in the seam allowances, just as you do with traditional piecing. Those seams criss-cross in the seam allowances.
Can you see the excess fabric that extends away from the outside of the paper?
11. The outside edges of my paper are where I'm going to trim. It is 1/4" away from the outside triangle line of the unit.
Wow! It sure looks good when it gets cleaned up.
Can we see the front? Glad you asked . . .
Make 4 of these for each block
 Now it's time to add the Nine Patch (made with 2-1/2" squares) with the Star Points.

Royal Star block parts
Now for the full block sewn:
Isn't she pretty?
I was just using scraps, so I didn't have enough to make a bigger mug rug. I did have one I made a while ago that I'll show you. But first, let's see another color combination . . .

Royal Star block with black background
And how does it look with some of the sashings like I used in my full quilt? When the sashing fabric is the same color as the block background, the star seems to float on the black

Triple sashing and 9 patch blocks
And here's my mug rug from a previous life . . .
Block size: 8-1/2". With 1" sashings and squares: 14-1/2" x 14-1/2"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

And a Little Yarn for Texture . . .

Thrift shop find - just discovered it's wool!
There is a local thrift shop that has a "yarn wall" with a variety of plastic bags filled with a vast assortment of yarn. I discovered this marvelous hank two summers ago. I should have known that it would be high-end yarn by the way it was presented. No paper wrapper with generic labels by the main stream yarn vendors (ie,  Lion Brand; Red Heart). I uncoiled it and wrapped it into a giant ball.

The weather is turning cold here and it's time to pull out the crochet hooks and various yarn. I rediscovered this and decided to find out whether it's wool or just acrylic or polyester. Tested it by fire (match) and it turns to ash. If it had melted into a clump and smelled awful, then it would have been synthetic. That bundle above is 100% wool!

Yarn samples
I found a huge assortment of these yarn samples with some serious "bling" last year (yarn wall, of course). Pulled these out and am determined to use them for something. I see that I approach yarn in the same way as I do my fabric:

Buy it because it's pretty.
Stack it up.
Pull it out and stroke it.
Dream about possible projects.
Put it back on the shelf.

I taught in Ft. Worth this past week. Three and a half hour flight back and forth. What to do? Grabbed two skeins of Lion Brand Homespun (again, purchased on that yarn wall) and a size K hook.

Crocheted a scarf on the trip out there . . .
Scarf made with Lion Brand Homespun, Fiesta colorway
Crocheted a second scarf on the trip home . . .

Scarf made with Lion Brand Homespun, Tudor colorway
Needed this scarf when my plane landed at 11 pm, waiting for the taxi to pick me up. Pulled it out of my tote bag and wrapped it around my neck. Cozy!

I never did learn to knit. But I can crochet!