Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ezekiel's Wheel Pattern - Moonstruck Fabrics

As promised a few weeks ago, I am offering a free pattern which I call Ezekiel's Wheel, using fabrics by Windham Fabrics.
Ezekiel's Wheel Quilt
First, let me show you the two quilts that inspired me to make this third one.
This is my first Ezekiel's Wheel quilt
I drafted and sewed this quilt, hoping to have it featured in my upcoming book #3, Perfect Paper Pieced Points by Martingale Publishers (February 2013). They didn't want it (I offered 22 quilts, and told them I will only let them have 12-14. I remember the pain of publishing a 22 quilt book with Supersize 'Em Quilts!)

I used the same pattern but resized it to a 6" unit for a 12" block. It appears in the Quiltmaker's 100 Best Blocks and they asked if I wanted to make a quilt using the block; I did, they changed their mind. Poor little quilt. She whimpers in the hallway, wanting to be noticed. I told her I would "publish" her here. What do you think?
Flowerburst Garden Quilt, using leftovers from Arianna's Garden
 Now, to Ezekiel's Wheel with Moonstruck Fabrics!
Windham Fabrics web site
You can get the 7 page pdf which includes full-size templates at the bottom of this post. While I was making the quilt (and testing every single cut and patch and template), I took pictures of each step and I include this tutorial to help you see the ease of construction. Don't be afraid of curves. These blocks finish to 9" and the secret is in how you pin the STRAIGHT edges when you sew the convex curve to the concave curve pieces.

Transfer template pattern to freezer paper. Use to cut out 16 background pieces.

Notice how the template is flip-flopped for conservation of fabric
Transfer template pattern for 1/4 circle and cut 8 each of the two fabrics.

Here is the 1/4 circle cut from the green fabric

Flip-flop the template, again, to save fabric (cutting dimensions given in pdf pattern)
I forgot to take pics of cutting the partial donut shapes, but it is clearly illustrated in the pattern. I draw all my own art in Adobe Illustrator and you will find good pics there!
Sew 2 partial donut shapes together, ALWAYS with the green in the same position (left)

Same position of the green partial donut shape, but with the 8 green 1/4 circles

Pin as shown, matching the centers and the sides.
 This is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the pinning process. Notice that each straight side of the joined patches uses two pins. When the sides remain unmovable, after the curved seam is sewn, the sides of the unit are straight, straight, straight!

See how STRAIGHT the sides are after that first curved seam is sewn?
 Now attach the large background piece, again matching the centers and keeping the straight, raw edges immovable and straight (did I already say straight?)

Sewing the background piece, keep those sides STRAIGHT using two pins on each side.
Block #1 using the blue/brown/grey 1/4 circle (Make 8)
Block #2 using the green/brown/blue 1/4 circle (Make 8)
And here's the quilt in blue. The pattern also shows the brown colorway.
Ezekiel's Wheel Quilt - 62" x 62"
Free pattern: Ezekiel's Wheel using the Moonstruck Fabrics by Whistler Studios for Windham Fabrics.

Let me know how you like this. Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Under the Big Top!

More fun today with children's fabrics, designed by Kimberly Bourne for . . .
Benartex Fabrics
Under the Big Top valance and counting mats
You can see all the fabrics in this brand new collection here: Under the Big Top

This fun ensemble has several colorways and a variety of fun prints - dots, triangles, printed words and of course, animals. I cut apart the Counting Panel and added a variety of small motifs from another panel and tried to add them as they relate to the number on the panel. I was only able to finish 5 of them and will not bind them but zigzag around the outside edges. I free motion quilted these on my Pfaff 2144 with Fairfield Fusi-Boo (fusible batting which is a delight to work with).

Here are the panels up close:
The starting panel (6" center, 10" block)

Number 1 with a single motif (for counting) in the corner

Number 2 with 3-2-1 motif so child can identify the 2s

Number 3: 3 bears, 3 stars motif, umbrella with 3 panels

Number 4 with a clown holding 4 balloons
What about that valance? Well, it came off the counting panel (I think!) and once I got beyond making a quilt with it, I thought of curtains (maybe because my daughter was here last week and we were making valances for her new apartment?)
Panel is 9" x 42" to start
 I wanted to line the panel but all the coordinating prints showed through the white part. I used fusible interfacing on the panel back which solved my problem. It also gave it a very nice body. Then I used 1/2 yard of the ice cream print, stitched around 3 sides and turned it right side out. Pressed well. Stitched the bottom along the stripe to keep backing in the back!
Here is lining as it is sewn.
 I folded the remainder of the backing fabric around to the front, covered the raw edge of the top of the panel, stitched. And then stitched 1-1/2" from that stitching line for my rod pocket.
Isn't this the cutest panel for any child's room?
Thanks for visiting today.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hooray! for Hootie Owls

My favorite grandson, Miles, with his grammy
No, I haven't lost track of time. Christmas is still 4 months away! I am introducing some fantastic juvenile prints today with Miles my grandson in mind. Miles is close to 2 years old now, with his little brother due to be born at the end of October. Then he can't be my favorite grandson, just the one I've loved longer! (Yes, that is the famous Memory Bouquet quilt in the background).

What do I have today? Well, it's Monday and I like to feature my fabric partner, Blank Fabrics, on these days. (A little housekeeping here: they don't PAY me for featuring their fabrics. I get some cuts of upcoming fabric lines and I sew whatever I want with them. They like it; I like it.) I have designed and sewn for them for over 6 years (as a result of being an editor with Quilt Magazine for 14 years). This collection is called Hooray! and has little owls all over. No quilts today - just 3 fun - and quick - projects to please anyone.
Pillowcase, summer blankie, and Hootie Hexagon play book - the Hooray! Collection
I took a pillowcase out of my linen closet, cut off the 4" band/hem and then used two contrasting fabrics to made a custom pillowcase. The blue is cut 3" wide x the width of pillowcase (about 40"). Fold wrong sides together and machine baste in place along newly cut pillowcase edge. Then I cut 10" x 40" of the owl and birdie fabric and stitched it on. There are oodles of places on the internet to get a pillowcase pattern, so I am not writing one here. But, it's just a matter of sewing one long side to the blue edge, folding and then bringing the end around to the front and stitching in place.

The little blankie began as a cheesecloth dishtowel that measured 30" x 40". It was really, really crooked and I squared it up. I cut three strips 3" x wof of the black owl fabric, sewed into a long row attached it like binding on a quilt. ONLY, I never sew from the front to the back. I sew from the back to the front and because the strips are wide, it makes it look like there is a border, but it's just wide binding. I stitched it down with a serpentine stitch in lime green, from the front. Easy, quick, colorful.

Now for the kid's hexagon play book. THE FREE PATTERN FOLLOWS BELOW, including templates! Don't go away yet!!

Trace pattern (provided below) onto freezer paper and cut out for your template.
Two fabrics with batting between, cut out using template
 Cut two contrasting fabrics 6-1/2" x 10-1/2" and a piece of thin batting. I used Fairfield Fusi-boo (wonderful fusible batting - I love it!). I fused the three pieces together and then used the template to cut them out.
Used scraps to audition my stitches
After I tried a few stitches and got the length and width right, I did a blanket stitch around all raw edges using a lime green thread. I auditioned my stitches using the scraps. This way I will know how the fabric and thread will behave. No surprises here!
Plain paper for the inside
Using the same template as for the fabrics, I cut out a stack of 10 sheets of 6" x 9" paper. You can use 8-1/2" x 11" if you prefer.
I stitched down the center.
Now it's time to put it inside the book!
Stitched right through all layers.

Yes, the paper doesn't come all the way to the bottom. So what?
Little Hootie Hexagon play book!
Would you like the pattern? I thought so! You are welcome to share it with your friends, but you must leave my name on it. We don't want any angry owls, now do we?

Free Hexagon Kid's Busy Book - this is a small sized pdf. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

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!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bella's House & Turning 60

Bella's House 32" x 46" - Eye Candy from Windham Fabrics
She needs a chimney and door knob, coming soon!
The Bella Collection by Lotta Jansdotter
 One of my generous fabric partners is Windham Fabrics. I have been sewing for them since 2006 and I've never met a fabric I didn't like! This new Bella Collection (in stores NOW, as in August 2012) is very exciting with clean open spaces, clear colors and nature motifs: tiny birds, flowers and trees. They were designed by Lotta Jansdotter. I showed this pile of 1/2 yard cuts to my daughter Audrey (32 years old) and I wasn't surprised at her enthusiastic response: "Mom! I want these. I want to make curtains for my kitchen and some other things for my new apartment." I told her my plan for building a house with them and that's how Bella's House came to be.
Don't you just love the trees and flowers?!!

I began by cutting windows and doors. But the two sets of windows I first had were TOO big and I had to start from scratch. I am not a planner who meticulously writes up numbers and sizes before I begin to sew. I just start cutting and write my patterns later. This is a true improvisational quilt, but most of the strips and units are normal cutting sizes. (I have no intention of patterning this one-of-a-kind quilt; she's just for viewing and eventually will be quilted and gifted to someone who likes a lot of color.) Visit Windham's Facebook page and tell them you like this collection.

Bird Window Block 1  - 11" finished
Bird Window Block 2 - 11" finished
So, here are the original Birdie Window blocks that I made way too large for Bella's House. What to do with them? Well, they are part of my new series, Turning 60. What's that? you ask. Well, I was born in 1952, so do the math. This is a year of playing with the 60 degree angle in quilts to celebrate "still being vertical and on the ride side of the grass!" I have discovered that is my absolute favorite shape and have done a lot of teaching this past year using that: Half-Hexagons, Spiderwebs, and others. Here are two of my Turning 60 blocks made with my Turning 60 acrylic, multi-size ruler. You can get the same results with any 60 degree ruler. Next week I will reveal an 8 block table runner made with four Turning 60 blocks and four Bird Window blocks.
Turning 60 Block (Traditional Spiderweb) - 11"

Turning 60 Block (Traditional Spiderweb) - 11"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Antique Yo Yo Quilt


Antique Yo Yo Quilt - 48" x 65"


My friend and former editor, Jean Ann Wright (Eitel, in the olden days) gave me this antique yo yo quilt about 15 years ago after it had been gifted to her from a reader. (Can you believe someone parted with this?) All these authentic 1930s prints are phenomenal! My oldest daughter Audrey fell in love with it and begged for it and so it sat in a cotton pillowcase for years. Every so often she would pull it out and say, "Mom. I really need to get this framed." My opinion was that it would cost SO MUCH, and so it went back into the pillowcase.

Last week she came over with the quilt and said, "We've got to do something. I want to hang it in my guest bedroom (in her new apartment)." I put on my thinking cap and we did the following:

1. Measured the length and width of the quilt (yes, I know, a yo yo quilt isn't really one)
2. Made a trip to Home Depot and bought a piece of foam core (the type used in insulating), and had the guy who helped us cut it so we could get it into the back of my husband's jeep.
3. I pieced together various cotton batts (Warm & Natural) to fit the foam core
4. Attached the batting around the foam core (pins on the sides; blue tape on the back)
5. I pieced together my Roclon muslin to fit over the batting
6. Attached the muslin
7. Had to buy short pins that wouldn't poke through to the back
8. Yesterday, we pinned through almost everyone of the yo-yos. Gasp!! (get over it)
9. I drove the jeep and followed her to her apartment in downtown DC near Union Station (that is PROOF to Audrey that her mother loves her; I totally freak out driving into the city)
10. Walked through the streets with this thing flapping in the slightest breeze
11. Got into her apartment and we placed it on the headboard in her bedroom.
12. We were awe-struck!

OK. Hate me if you must for desecrating an antique. But she wanted to ENJOY it and she will - every single day. The quilt was made to be enjoyed. Yes, it has parts that are shredding, but I honestly thought I heard a whispered, "Thank you!" from the quilt. It was tired of living in a dark pillowcase. How would you like to live your life in a pillowcase? Didn't think so. And I bet this will give a lot of quilters permission to do the same thing with their yo yo quilts!

Have to share one little funny story about this. I get an email from Audrey asking if I made it home alright (3 hours after I should have been home). I texted her back from my iPhone: "OMG. Jesus help me. I'm still on New York Avenue. Call dad!" She believed me and called the home phone (huh? I don't take the home phone in the car with me) Anyway, I got a good laugh from that one. But, hey, I could have been lost. All the way home I saw various places I HAD gotten lost on previous trips (like the parking lot of the Pentagon - don't ask!)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quilters - We Have a Winner!

The winner of my fat quarter giveaway (7 luscious fabrics from the Addison Collection by Windham Fabrics) has been notified, but I don't know her name yet. I will announce it asap, when she responds. The fabrics are singing and dancing out in the hallway, awaiting a new home so they can be used.

The French Connection free pattern

Now, on to the pattern for that gorgeous Savoy Quilt I featured last week Monday. I call it The French Connection and you can have the free pattern (as a downloadable pdf) right here. You will enjoy making this because the pieces are easy and there are only 4 blocks.

The French Connection is made using the Savoy Collection by Blank Quilting. They are available now in quilt shops all over the USA and maybe some European countries.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Chocolate - Windham Wednesdays


Addison Collection by Windham Fabrics
 I had a lot of chocolate this past week (no, not the kind you eat; the kind you get to enjoy without any calories). This new collection by Nancy Gere for Windham Fabrics was calling: "Cut me up; sew me up; make me into something beautiful!"

As I only had a little over 1/2 yard of each fabric (and there are a LOT of fabrics in this collection - just look at the pics below - both piles), I decided to focus on the large scale, main print at the top and then use my pattern for the Garden Maze connector unit.
 I first wrote an article for Quilt Magazine about this unit in 1999 and called it "Don't Be Dazed by the Garden Maze." Clever, huh? It is traditionally sewn with odd sized templates. But I have designed both foundation piecing patterns and quick cutting and piecing directions for making it.

Well, what am I waiting for? I pulled out a selection of fabrics and started cutting. Yes, I did some math first, but I always design in the cloth first, check the math later.
I created TWO versions and I am providing the directions for the unit with the thinner dark brown strips, Garden Maze #1.

Scroll to the bottom for a GIVEAWAY of these luscious fabrics.

Cut a 5-3/4" square; crease along one diagonal

Cut square in half along the other diagonal.
Cut a contrasting strip: 1-7/8" x 12"

Center and sew strip to both triangles. Align the pressed lines as shown.

Press seams toward the triangle fabric
Sew 2 strips 1-7/8" x 5-1/2" with 1 square 1-7/8"
Align as shown and sew with 1/4" seam

Press and sew other side

Trim corner ends using square ruler.

7-3/4" unfinished size. Make 4
Garden Maze sashing with center block
OK. I'm pooping out here. To finish this:
1. Make 4 sashing units. For EACH cut two 1-1/2" x 12-1/2" strips brown and one 5-3/4" x 12-1/2" strip pink print. Yes, those brown strips ARE DIFFERENT from the Garden Maze units; it's because of the diagonal in the Garden Maze units.
2. Make 1 center block. Cut one 9" square large square brown floral and two 6-7/8" squares large scale pink. Cut pink squares in half along ONE diagonal (for 4 triangles total) and sew to each of the 4 sides of the brown floral square. This measures 12-1/2" unfinished.
3. Sew units together. Finished size: 26-1/2".
Wider brown strips with a different look
7 fat quarters from the Addison Collection are my GIVEAWAY!
Thank you for stopping by! And go ahead - share this tutorial link with your friends. It makes my fabric and quilt blocks so happy.