Friday, November 30, 2012

Santa Claus is Coming . . .

Last day of November. Don't even want to think about Christmas! (And yes, I have some Hanukkah quilts; they're coming!)

I do have a lot of quilts that I can share in the next few weeks and maybe even a few patterns. The first one I thought of is my paper pieced sampler. In looking through my computer files I see that this was published in 2003, so probably made a year before. It also appeared in my 2007 Block a Day Calendar.

Winter's Favorite Things, appeared in Quilt Magazine 2003
I'm going to dig around to see what I can find. If you still have the 2007 calendar, this appears in December (natch!).
Winter's Favorite Things from the 2007 Block a Day Calendar
These sorts of projects appear in my 2013 Block a Day calendar.
2013 Block a Day Calendar (hundreds of blocks, about 70 quilt projects)
 You can still order the 2013 Block a Day calendar.

I have so many quilts to share. I'm going to find a pdf of one of those foundation patterns and add it here in the next few days. I'm curious: which one of those patterns above would you like to see (if you had to pick one)? I may end up providing all the patterns, but I am curious as to which one grabs your interest!

1. Earmuffs
2. Ice Skate
3. Penguin
4. Fireplace
5. Pine tree
6. Cardinal

If you care to comment, please do! More quilts are coming!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Joys of Hex - Little Bugs

My Random Number Generator selected Alberta P. as the winner of my Spiderweb Ruler and set of 2 patterns (from Wednesday's post). Thanks to all 59 of those who commented and gave me their opinions of how to set those 16 Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks. I am close to putting them together, and it won't even be like the two options presented. I've been sleuthing!

Sometimes it's just fun to play with novelty prints. This new collection, Bugalicious by Blank Quilting was perfect for my current theme: The Joys of Hex/Turning 60.
One buggy hexagon and four spotted triangles
These were cut with a 60 degree ruler (not to be confused with a Kaleidoscope or Tri-Recs tool)
15 blocks stacked in rows of 5; dotted vertical sashing. Fun!
I combined all 3 of the colorways (green, yellow and blue). These butterflies, ladybugs and caterpillars will put a smile on any child, young or old.

These blocks were cut using my 60 degree Spiderweb ruler.

So, tell me about the hexagons. Any 60 degree ruler will do. Cut a strip the size of the finished height of your hexagon PLUS 1/2" (for seams). Fold in half along length (now the strip is 1/2 the cut size). Align the horizontal line on the ruler (along the fabric fold) that corresponds to the finished height PLUS 1/4". Cut along both sides. Open up and you will have the perfect hexagon (see the first picture above). Afraid to cut your fabric? Test drive this on any computer or construction paper.

And what does the quilt top look like?
Mitered borders (I was short of enough fabric of either print)
Yes, I'm on a roll with my love of hexagons. The Joys of Hex! Stay tuned because the more I sew, the more I discover. I have some more blocks to share later this week.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More Joys of Hex - Twisted Hexagons

You've probably noticed that many of my most recent posts are about hexagons and the 60 degree angle. It's my "Turning 60" series, subtitled "The Joys of Hex." This is Friday and I like to post about Benartex fabrics on Fridays. A new collection that I had no idea what to do with finally spoke loud enough to me to let me know what it wanted! This is the Feathers and Fancy Collection that is full of peacocks and beautiful, sophisticated curvy patterns. I discovered a block someone has called the Twisted Hexagon and I used my own half-hexagon template to cut out the patches.

First the block:
Twisted Hexagon block using Feathers & Fancy by Benartex
I discovered that the center hexagon shape can be fussy cut to include the entire peacock! How cool is that? The center hexagon is twice the finished height of the half-hexagon (of course!)

Full hexagon, fussy cut center using a freezer paper template cut from the half-hex tool
Cutting the half-hexagon patches with my acrylic template
The half hexagon patches are cut from a 3" x wof strip. Each strip yields 8 patches. Each block requires 3 orange and 3 green patches, plus the fussy-cut center.

Here is the alternate color placement. Notice that the green and orange patches are in a different order?
Twisted Hexagon Block 2, different color placement
Now, I only had enough of the orange to make 6 blocks. The fabulous gray leaf fabric is the perfect, modern color for the block backgrounds. I used my 60 degree Spiderweb ruler to cut the setting triangles. Both of these tools work so perfectly together. ANY 60 degree ruler can do both of these cuts. I just happened to realize that what I created for two different classes actually can be combined like this. Now I'm on a roll!!!

Here are 4 blocks sewn together (actually 6, but I only photographed 4). Still contemplating the borders.
4 of the 6 Twisted Hexagon blocks. Borders? Hmmm.
Notice how I had to arrange the placement of the two half-hexagon colors.

The 6 blocks will make a good sized table runner or wall banner. Since I only received 1/2 yard cuts of the collection, it limited what I could make (but I did receive all 3 of the colorways).

Yes, this will be an ADD ON to my Batik Braids (Half-Hexagon Braid) quilt pattern. Same template, very, very different block. You can even cut the center full hexagon using the half-hex template. More on that next week. I am playing with TWO (yes, TWO) more fabric combinations for this block. I think I'm addicted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grandmother's Flower Garden & Giveaway

It's Wednesday and I made more of those New Colonies blocks. Remember the collection from last week?
New Colonies Collection by Windham Fabrics
And remember the block I showed sewn all by machine?

Well, how did I cut those hexagons using my Spiderweb/60 degree ruler? This is part of a future pattern series, so I won't be spelling everything out. Just showing the basics.


Fold strip in half along length. Align any 60 degree ruler along horizontal line that corresponds with cut strip minus 1/4". Cut along both sides of the ruler. (BTW, my name is on that ruler for when I teach this class and there are 20 rulers that all look alike!)

Well, how many did I make? (You can see my process in last week's post: New Colonies.)

16 Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks - all by machine!
Now, here is where I need your help. I can't decide how to arrange them. I will be stitching them to a white on white background fabric. I have pinned them up on my design wall in two arrangements. The lighting in my studio is not good for photography, so ignore that part. Just let me know which arrangement you think is more pleasant to you. If you want to say why, that's even better!

Assembly #1 - Like scattered flowers

Assembly #2 - Typical GFG arrangement
What's the giveaway and how do you qualify?

1. I am giving away my Spiderweb ruler (as shown above) which comes with patterns for two spiderweb quilts. It is a multi-use ruler that will cut units up to 6-1/2" (for blocks up to 12" finished). (I sell it for $13.)
2. Just leave a comment telling me what YOU think. Just your opinion. Even if I don't choose your arrangement later when I sew these together, I just want to hear from you (I need help!)
3. If you are a no-reply blogger, I have absolutely NO WAY to contact you and you forfeit your chance to win a prize. If you're fine with that, I still would like to have your comments!

Contest ends Friday, November 23 at midnight (EST in the USA).

Here are the pictures of the patterns included:

Spiderweb pattern #1 that comes with the ruler
Spiderweb pattern #2 using 2-1/2" strips (perfect for those Jelly Rolls)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vroom! Vroom! The Wheels on the Bus . . .

City Traffic Quilt by Pam Rocco, as seen in the latest issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
It is very rare that I would make someone else's pattern. I don't get paid to make anything other than my own patterns. So, you know I was quite taken by Pam's quilt. The fun part is that the blocks are a combination improvisation and paper piecing. And it's a FREE PATTERN at the QNM web site. I asked permission from both QNM and Pam to share this and the blocks I am making for my oldest, favorite grandson (his little brother was born October 30, so he's my favorite youngest grandson.)

City Traffic Quilt is a free download at the QNM site and is very easy to follow and is several pages of color. I am making my blocks with a white background and got the cool idea to put people and critters in the windows. And my oldest daughter Audrey suggested I print pics of family members and put them in the windows! How cool is that?

Here are the blocks I have so far.
Smart Car (my grandson's parents actually own an orange smart car)

Big Orange Truck

Green Sedan (notice that tail pipe!)
Blue truck

The Big Yellow Bus with school kids having a wild party inside!
 These are fun. I am making several more once I get the special treated fabric to print pictures. I will share my progress. But if you think these are as cute as I think they are, go visit the QNM site and get a copy of your own City Traffic by Pam Rocco. Thank you, Pam and QNM. These are awesome!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Windham Wednesdays - New Colonies

I must confess: I am not a big fan of the muddy colors of reproduction fabrics. But when I saw this new collection from Windham Fabrics, New Colonies, I was immediately taken by them. Why? Who asks "why" when you have new fabric? You pull out your rotary cutter and start playing.

New Colonies fabrics by Windham. A bundle of 1/6 yards (12" x 22")

Aren't they beautiful?!!
 I am in my current streak "Turning 60" and my favorite shape, the HEXAGON, was beckoning. I had a set of 3" English Paper Piecing papers from years ago and started cutting out rectangles. Oh, you don't cut rectangles when you EPP? It sure is easier than skimpy hexagons and a lot quicker to cut.

Block #1 (fits on a 12-1/2" square). Notice the messy folds.
You don't think I'm going to leave the backs of the hexagons looking like this, do you? It is faster to whip stitch around the corners (but not through the papers). Then I forgot about the hand stitching all together. I used my iron to press the folds, took out the cardstock paper and then (you won't believe this, but I am telling the truth): I butted the ends up together and used a teeny, tiny zigzag stitch with invisible poly thread in top, white in bobbin, and stitched the 6 hexagons together. Click the pic and see it up close!

Block #1 front. You can't see the top stitches in real life, either!
Now I was on a roll. But, then I thought I should at least cut out the hexagons. I did and then sewed the 6 outer hexagons into a ring (just like I did in my September post "Owls Are the Bomb."

Now, where do you think I'm going with my hexagons made with New Colonies? Here are a few other modified/simplified EPP blocks:

Compare Block #2 and its back below with Block #1

Sewed hexagons in a circle with 1/4" seams; used freezer paper to fold outside edges under

Block #3
 My plan is to sew these into long vertical rows with Windham's white on white fabric as the background. Then I will have 42" high rows of four blocks. Then I will sew strips of blocks together. And you can bet I will be using my favorite invisible poly thread (YLI). No hand work for me. My hands hurt!

Turning 60 really isn't all that painful. All you need is some beautiful fabric to take your mind off the wrinkles. At least you can keep the wrinkles out of your blocks!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Turning 60 - Scrappy Saturday

With dozens of quilts from the past 20 years, I have decided to dedicate an entire page on my blog to the 60 degree angle. Hence, the "Turning 60" title (and here you thought it had to do with my age; well, maybe it does.)

Don't you just love the 60 degree angle? It is so precise, so uniform, so 60s. Do you remember the 60s? Turbulent times but my quilts are not.

As I have gone through the dozens (hundreds, if you must know) of quilts that have been published over the years in magazines, books, calendars - I realized that it would be so much fun to share many of them as themes. And what did I discover? That I have an entire category of quilts based on this fabulous, beautiful, 60 degree angle.

It's Saturday (where I live, the Eastern USA) and there's nothing quite like SCRAPS to make me feel cozy. These little CD bags were made in 2004/5 with some leftover grandmother's flower garden blocks from a quilt in my first book. I thought it would be nice to capture just one in a little bag just the right size for a CD. I made two and finally found the original photo that appeared in Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. And I included a lesson on English Paper Piecing. I share that with you, too, at the end of this post.

Two little CD bags using my leftover Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks

I found the bags hanging on the back of my sewing room  door last night! Wow; I didn't have to tear the house apart to find them.

One bag; note the bird novelty print. (There are chickens in the green bag!)
OK. So, where's the pattern?

Click this link: CD mini bag to get the small, 4 page pdf pattern. It includes an illustrated lesson on English Paper Piecing. Enjoy! Check back often for more projects with the fabulous 60 degree angle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

100 Blocks & Giveaway

WINNERS have been selected:
Aunt Marti
Miss Moozie (Shawna G)
Yasmin B (of Chile!)
Still awaiting confirmation from 4th winner.
THANKS to all who commented. Stay tuned for another giveaway this month.
 
Even after all these years (18) of having my quilts published, it is still a treat to see them in print. I am especially happy to have one of my favorite magazines feature one of my blocks. This is the third time I've had this privilege and it still makes me smile!

Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour daily November 4-9, 2012 at The Quiltmaker Blog Quilty Pleasures for inspiration, ideas and giveaways galore! They have prizes (did I say that?)

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 6 is  the newest issue of this fabulous magazine. It hits the newsstands on November 13.  Honestly, I think a magazine is the most bang for the quilting buck around. All the blocks in this magazine finish to 12" so the possibilities are endless.

Many thanks to June Dudley, Carolyn Beam, Diane Harris and the rest of the Quiltmaker staff for making each issue somehow better than the last. Kudos to you all!


First, let me show you the fabrics I used. The Normandy Collection by Benartex was perfect for this.
The Normandy Collection by Benartex Fabrics
I selected four fabrics and used a foundation pattern I designed a few years ago that I wanted to finally show off. The size designated was 12" and so I re-sized my pattern. It is paper pieced in 8 sections, then two units are joined to a curved background (the black and tan swirls). The four drunkard's path type units are joined and then the center opening is covered with an appliquéd circle.

12" Divided Diamonds Block
Here is the original block with triangles in the center (instead of a circle):

First block test-drive. Decided a circle in center was best. But I did quilt it!

What would this look like in a 3 block table runner? Allow me to show you . . .

3 block runner. Who says the blocks have to be aligned?
And how about a 4 block quilt with some beautiful borders?

Four blocks in a very traditional setting
And for my favorite setting of all, when 4 blocks hiccup in unison and create a 5th block in the center:

When 4 blocks create the illusion of 5 (by turning 1/4 of each block)
Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour daily November 4-9, 2012 at The Quiltmaker Blog Quilty Pleasures blog for inspiration, ideas and giveaways galore (that's another way to say THEY HAVE PRIZES).  I donated copies of my book, calendars and patterns for Quiltmaker to use as prizes. But I'm also going to give away a few myself right here. What are they?

Winner #1: Two copies of the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 6 (one will come from Quiltmaker in Colorado).

Winner #2: a copy of my book Supersize 'Em Quilts. See a slide show of all quilts here.
Supersize 'Em Quilts - patterns for 22 quilts
Winner #3: a copy of my Block a Day Calendar CD. You can see ALL the blocks here.

366 blocks in 2 sizes each AND 12 quilts
How can you win?
1. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite types of quilt blocks to make (applique, rotary cut, paper piecing).
2. Make sure I have your email. No email, no prize (because I can't find you).
3. You don't have to be a follower, but I do give away a lot of FREE patterns, tutorials and prizes every week, so go ahead and sign up using the "Follow by Email" link over on the right or just sign up using the "Followers" link. Then you won't miss a thing.

I will announce the winners after the Blog Hop is finished, around November 11 midnight November 9. And I use the Random Number Generator, weed out duplicate postings and no-reply bloggers without emails (yes, I do). Thanks for stopping by and now go visit the Quiltmaker blog site (Quiltmaker Blog Quilty Pleasures) for more inspiration!

If you are a no-reply blogger and don't leave an email, you are not eligible to win a prize. So far I've had 67 no-reply blogger comments. I'm sad that there is no way for me to reach you should your number be selected. I DO NOT sell or loan or give away my emails to anyone!