Monday, October 29, 2012

Spinning Pinwheels

One stack of 8 triangles (spinning kitties)
One stack of 8 triangles (climbing frogs)

Remember the piece of fabric I showed last week? These two blocks are digital images of two of the 8 stacks of triangles. Do I have your attention now? I'm going to show you what happens with another fabric that I cut up into 8 squares and then again into 8 triangles. This will work with any large scale print!

This technique is not unique with me. I saw it demonstrated 10 years ago by Kay H. in Atlanta when we were part of a local quilt guild. But this sure beats the Stack 'n Whack method in simplicity.

Here is a scan of the original fabric.
Start with a 9-1/2" square. Cut 7 more with EXACT print placement.
1. Cut 7 more squares of fabric that look exactly like the original. Yes, you will have large "holes" in your fabric. You are looking for repeats of the pattern, but you only have to cut a total of 8 squares 9-1/2" x 9-1/2".

2. Stack the 8 squares and cut in half along both horizontal and vertical and then again along both diagonals. Leave the 8 stacks of 8 triangles each as they are. You will be working with only ONE stack of 8 triangles at a time.

3. Cut 4 squares 9-1/2" of background fabric (in this case, light yellow) and also cut along vertical, horizontal and both diagonals. You don't have to worry about mixing these up; they are all the same!

One stack of 8 triangles (in pic above it is the stack above the number "7")
Join 4 of the 8 print triangles with 4 of the background triangles.
4 sets of triangles pinned and ready to be sewn (always on the same side)
All 8 triangles (from one stack) arranged. What are those holes? Well, we're not done!
Note that is is helpful to "audition" your layout to make sure that you are sewing the background fabric to the correct side of each triangle. In this case, the yellow triangle was consistently sewn to the side of the print triangle where the green/cream curve occurs. This way all of the flower points are in the center. Don't mix these up or you won't get the kaleidoscope effect.

4. Cut 5 strips 2-1/8" x wof. Re-cut into rectangles 2-1/8" x 6-1/2". Note the artwork below. You can get your pinwheels to spin either left or right (or both ways if you weren't paying attention, as I wasn't!!).


Using another stack of triangles, this is how those two units will look together:
Two units ready to be joined (you will make 4 of these)
Don't you just love the way that center twirls?

Here are 3 blocks up close:
Patches from pic above sewn with the yellow print. Love that spinning flower!

Just look at that center wreath formed by the flower sections.

I didn't plan that perfect vine circle at the edge of the triangles!

And what do all those blocks look like together? Each stack of 8 squares will yield 8 blocks.

8 blocks. Note that some spin left, others spin right. (These are not sewn together yet.)
OK. I'm done. Hope you enjoy this. Please let me see your blocks if you take this adventurous challenge. There is no way I can tell you how much large-scale print fabric you will need. It all depends on the repeat. Go take a look at some of that "ugly" novelty print you have in your stash. Once it's cut up, it will no longer be ugly. This is a DESIGN posting and not an exact pattern with lists of yardage. I think it's safe to say that you can probably get your 8 squares out of 2 yards of print.

I bought 2 yards of an awesome ethnic/African print the other day and can't wait to try this again.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Preview of Upcoming Blog Posts

So much sewing, so little progress! As an adult with ADHD, I am very comfortable to have more than one project going at a time (OK, I typically have no less than 20 projects in some sort of completion). So, while my head is planning, my little hands can't keep up. But here are the projects I am working on NOW and do plan on posting about in the next several weeks. If you are not a regular follower, what are you waiting for? Be the first to know when I've posted a new quilt.
City Traffic Quilt by Pam Rocco, with permission from Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
I have one grandson, any day now a second one. I have made 5 blocks of this wonderful, improvisational piecing quilt (using foundation piecing plus just strips). I asked and received permission from QNM to post my blocks and a link to their free pattern. Coming asap!

Pinwheel quilt using pre-cut squares of EXACT pattern
Boy, did I get a lot of requests for this pattern last week on the Wicked Blog Hop. I pulled out my instructions and am now dusting them off. I even went to a local quilt shop and bought some fabulous large-scale print fabric to recreate a step by step tutorial. I have another set of blocks and another quilt (using a hexagon shape) that I will post. Keep watching!
More pinwheel blocks made with a luscious, large-scale print. I have step by step pics!

 I just found that I photographed these brown blocks last year. Wow! And I took pics of the steps. My brain was getting in gear for a blog, I can see that. I will work on this posting this week (unless Hurricane Sandy messes up my dots; we're in the path of the storm).

Bugalicious!
I will be starting an entire section of this blog dedicated to Turning 60 (no, you can't ask a lady her age!). This little block is one of 15 in a quilt I designed and am finishing right now (well, not exactly this minute, but this week). It is cut with my multi-sized 60 degree ruler and is easy, quick and fun, fun, fun! The Turning 60 page will feature dozens of quilts that I've made in the past years, have been published and are all based on the 60 degree angle. Wait until you see my table runner I'm making with some new Anna Griffin fabric. To die for!

Circling 60 - Half Hexagons

I love half-hexagon shapes. I have a few quilts I will be revealing using this shape. The block above is cut with my 60 degree ruler (any 60 degree ruler will work). There are NO set-in seams; all straight sewing (see the Bugalicious image above to see the side triangles).

Easy strip-pieced Kaleidoscope blocks. This will be my Thanksgiving table runner.
Using my multi-sized Kaleidoscope Ruler (up to 12" size blocks) makes this a great way to use up all those strips and strings (well, maybe not all, but most of them).

OK, I'm done with the preview. Hope you stay tuned. If you're a follower, you'll get notice. Again, remember, I'm in the path of Hurricane Sandy and not sure if the giant trees in my back yard will stay put. Planning on a power outage, but it may not last too long (my power lines are buried underground).

Stay safe wherever you are! And, sew something every day!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wicked Cute

Wicked is usually a word I associate with bad things, people, the devil and other scary and BAD things (I think I said that twice, didn't I?). But my friend Jeannine suggested I add the word "cute" so I could manage this HOP. I'm going to start with a picture of one of my favorite Halloween quilts from previous years and then introduce you to my blog for this posting. I do want to thank Madame Samm and Wendy for coordinating this, with all their hard work and encouragement!
Just a cheap piece of fabric that I bought for $1 a yard at Walmart!
1. I cut 8 squares 9-1/2" x 9-1/2" so that all of them were exactly like this one. Cats as seen, the frog climbing the pumpkin, everything.
2. I put them all in one pile and then sliced the 8 squares along the horizontal, vertical and both diagonals. Now I have 8 piles of triangles.
3. Then I did the same thing with a stack of 4 blue 9-1/2" squares.
4. I added some blue 2-1/2" strips and made pinwheels. Using only one stack of print triangles at a time, I created pinwheel blocks.
5. As you can see, the print captured in each triangle spins around from the center, each block unique. No pattern today (maybe next Halloween), but here is the quilt.
Halloween Pinwheel Quilt (2002) - one of my favorite quilts. The fabric does all the work.
Now for my Wicked (Cute) block. A little background. When my husband and I were newly married (1977), living in Africa, we used to play guitars together after dinner. We would sit on the edge of the bed and croon our tunes. Out of the corner of my eye I caught some movement on the bed and then fear gripped me. A BAT WAS CRAWLING TOWARD US. Yikes! He took care of it and then when we went to the kitchen, we found another one floating in our pan of dishwater. Seems they came down this open vent and were looking for a warm place to settle down. Bats are NOT my favorite creature, but they do have a vital place in our ecosystem. So, my block is a wreath of harmless fabric bats. What do you think?
I made a freezer paper template and cut black bats from fused fabric.

Here is one black bat with garlands of pumpkins and tiny bats.
3 bats scattered on my 12-1/2" background square.
I finger pressed diagonal lines on the background square and then aligned the bats as shown. This bat has appeared in several of my Block a Day Calendars and I re-sized it so it would work with this size square.
Four bats in a circle. Note the beautiful secondary design in the center.
You can find the Bat Appliqué pattern on my Free Patterns Page. It works as shown on this size square. But certainly get creative if you wish.

 Since it's just a small one square project, I was able to quickly free-motion quilt it. Here it is from the back.
You can see my quilting better from the wrong side.
I took my finished block outside for better photography. I grabbed a few glittery spiders for "mood."
Bat Wreath block with striped binding and a few scary spiders

Bat Wreath block minus the spiders (in case they scared you)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Watch!

I have a winner in my Quilts in the Pumpkin Patch. I'm waiting for Sherry B. to send her snail mail address. I have 3 more giveaways on Thursday for my Wicked Blog Post, so please check back for an awesome block (with free pattern), another halloween quilt, and 3 freebies.

What's Halloween without costumes? When my 3 girls were young, I refused to spend longer than one hour on any costume. I had to devote my precious sewing time to quilting. Now my middle daughter makes costumes for my favorite grandson (he will be 2 in November) and here is the conversion of a hooded sweatshirt (that came with the mohawk fringe) into a rooster. Isn't this the cutest thing!
Hooded sweatshirt transformed into an awesome rooster!
Now, how about a Halloween quilt? Here is a simple one from my book Supersize 'Em Quilts.

Trick or Treat Mice - 30" center block
See you on Thursday for the Wicked (cute) blog hop!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Quilts in the Pumpkin Patch - and Giveaway



Harvest Pumpkins
WE HAVE A WINNER!  Sherry B. was selected as my winner and I am waiting for her to send her snail mail address.


Why wait for Halloween? There are pumpkins everywhere! This quilt was first published in 2004 (I think) and appears in my 2012 wall calendar of quilts (Avalanche Publishing). Can you believe that the striped outer border is a batik? In fact, the whole quilt was made with batiks. "Well? Can I have the pattern?" Not the quilt (publishing restrictions), but I will share the block pattern with you. Pull out those pumpkin oranges and some green for the stems and quickly rotary cut the patches and have a few ready for Pumpkin Day.
Rotary cutting directions for 8" Pumpkin Block
GIVEAWAY
As I no longer have any wall calendars except my personal copy, I am offering a copy of my 2012 desktop calendar which has hundreds of individual blocks and about 70 quilt projects in it. It's like getting several quilt books all rolled in one.
2012 Quilting Calendar with hundreds of patterns
This quilt appears in next week's listing in the 2012 calendar.
What do you need to do to be considered for this giveaway? Post a comment and tell me your favorite thing about autumn. Be a follower (either by email or sign up in the Follower link over on the right side). And if you already own this calendar, I'll put together a collection of batik fat quarters. My contest deadline: midnight Sunday, October 21. Winner drawn by Mr. Random Number Generator.

IMPORTANT: You can't be a "no reply blogger." I will have no way to contact you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thinking Big: Supersized Stars

I try to feature Windham Fabrics on Wednesdays and today I'd like to go back to the future. My book, Supersize 'Em Quilts, features a fantastic ROTARY cut LeMoyne Star quilt with variations on the star block. This uses a beautiful collection of fabrics from years gone by, but I'm sure you can find a variety of fabrics in your stash that would work with such an easy to piece quilt. The "easy-ness" has to do with NO templates and ONLY rotary cut diamonds. What? Rotary cut diamonds? Impossible. Not so.
Texas Stars - 20" block!!
Can you see the 3 different blocks?
1. A simple LeMoyne Star with 8 diamonds
2. A LeMoyne Star with a single diamond and a 4 Patch diamond
3. A LeMoyne Star with 4 Patch diamonds in all 8 of the units
Three different LeMoyne Stars
Don't you just love it? Why do you think you have those 45 degree angle lines on your acrylic rulers? To help you rotary cut these strips. Check out my web site to see the special price on this book. And you can see a slide show of ALL the quilts - all 22 of them, by clicking on that link. Next time, another quilt, another group of fabrics. All these fabrics, all these quilts, so little time. Pick your favorites and GO SEW!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Birdhouses: Two Door Cottage

Two Door Cottage Birdhouse - 7" x 12"
Here is the second in my Birdhouse Quilt-Along series. This is the Two Door Cottage and is upsized from the smaller block which appears in my "Best of Quilter by Design" paper piecing CD (which has 117 foundation patterns in 7 different themes).

These fabrics were also used in Ezekiel's Wheel (Moonstruck Collection by Windham Fabrics). See the step by step tutorial for making the curved block and get the free pattern for the quilt here: Ezekiel's Wheel.

The Two Door Cottage Birdhouse finishes to 7" x 12". It is pieced in two sections, which are full size in the two page pdf pattern.

Home Tweet Home block and quilt - November 14
What patterns have I already revealed? Go to the Birdhouse Quilt-Along page to see last month's block. And come back next month to see the block AND quilt made with the Honeybell Collection by Blank Quilting. I will share with you the Home Tweet Home block.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Turning 60 - Diamonds from Windham

Update: My contest for 3 giveaways in the "Leafs Me Happy" blog hop closed at midnight last night, October 10. I am out of town teaching until Saturday, but will select and notify the 3 winners by Sunday. Many thanks to all who shared such nice comments!

I blogged about the Addison Collection a few weeks ago by showing a step by step tutorial for Garden Maze units.
Some of the Addison Collection by Windham Fabrics

Aren't these beautiful?
I asked a quilting friend and fellow teacher, Nancy Bills, to help me with an idea. She is an awesome designer using the AccuQuilt cutters. She thinks like I do (yes, a little crazy at times, but always with a new quilt in mind) and realized that she could get extra patches from the cutter if she loaded larger pieces of fabric. She took home my box of these fabrics and used the 60 degree template/die and cut a huge stack of beautiful diamonds.

Accurate, beautiful 60 degree diamonds cut with the Go Cutter
But what do I mean by getting extra patches? She cut larger than needed rectangles of fabric and the outside excess gives me half-diamonds to use in setting these diamonds in a variety of blocks.

Two diamonds cut per rectangle with extra fabrics for half-diamonds

Now, what am I going to do with them? Am I really up to setting in those y-seams? It's time for me to grow up and do the hard stuff. Yes, I am up to the challenge.

A basic Baby Blocks block
Notice how the seams are pressed and the center "twirled" to stay flat on the front
This will be a continuing theme for the next few weeks. I am off to teach in Kansas City today through Saturday, and when I get home I will pick up where I leave off. But, first, let me show you my Texas Star almost finished. I have discovered another way to piece it, so I have to take the center seam out. But for now, here she is:
Texas Star Block forms a larger hexagon shape
Now, let me show you what Nancy did with her collection of the Addison fabrics. She bought another piece of the beige floral and then cut birdhouses, birds, hearts and created baskets from other wedges, all using the Go Cutter. She will be putting the border on later this week, so I'll update with a better picture by week's end.
Nancy's Baskets & Birds

Basket created by sewing together wedges
What kinds of quilts does Nancy Bills make and teach from? Well, look at this!

This two fabric Pineapple has almost 200 antique buttons sewn on the border.
Nancy has an awesome gallery of quilts. Visit the page that shows all her Pineapple Quilts.

Well, I'm done for the day. I'm packing and getting ready to teach 5 classes in Kansas City. I hope you enjoyed seeing some more of this Addison Collection. I'm not done with it, so stay tuned!