Sunday, December 29, 2013

Classes in the New Year, Part 1

Upcoming Class . . . Circles of Geese
My Geese Have the Blues
I began making circles of Flying Geese several years ago using my own paper pieced patterns. And then made them into quilts which also became options for my book "Paper Piecing Perfect Points." My publisher only chose one, the above quilt not on that list. But I love this quilt because of the various fabric textures (especially the wild circles/bullseye fabrics in the center).

Zoo Animals with Geese Ring (just a quilt top center)
The publisher didn't want this one, either. Sigh.

But here is the one they chose for the book. I made this several years ago and fussy cut a lovely toile for the center and then again for the four corners in the border.

Toile Garden Medallion
Ooops! One more with a full circle in the center:

Yakkity Yak Dinosaurs
And here is a variation of this ring of geese which I made to add to a large Mariner's Compass. I upsized the whole thing and, yes: this was paper pieced on a very LARGE coffee filter!

And here is what I made for the Nancy Drew Blog Hop a few months ago. Same Geese Ring, new center. Don't you just love it?

Who Knew, Nancy Drew?

The ring is pieced in 8 units:

Pre-cut rectangles ready for the spikey parts surrounding the pics of Nancy Drew
OK. Where am I teaching this class? The Quilt Patch, Fairfax, Virginia, February 22 (Saturday) from 10 am to 4 pm. Contact the shop for information on how you can join me! 703-273-6937

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tessellating Leaves - Free Pattern

One more Christmas quilt from long ago
I found this picture from about 10 years ago. I gifted it to someone and I sure hope they are enjoying it for the holidays (can't remember who I gave it to). I realized that I have the pattern in pdf format and you can piece the 4" blocks either in the traditional way by rotary cutting patches or try your hand at paper piecing.

The pattern is written for using fat quarters. Don't you just love the way the shapes interlock. That's what "tessellating" means. Enjoy!

Free Tessellating Leaves pattern

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas Quilts

Diadem Quilt from my Supersize 'Em Quilts book
As I was looking at the quilts on my wall this morning, in the quiet of the early hours, I realized that I was gazing at a few of my Christmas quilts. The one pictured above is called Diadem because, well, that's the name of the traditional block! The center fabric is a large 10" finished patch so you can feature a beautiful large scale print. And the corners are paper pieced for a 14" finished block.

One Day Lone Star (a workshop I teach)
All rotary cut patches. This was sewn in the hopes of having it "picked up" by a magazine a few years back. No one picked it up, so I took it on the road. I love teaching this class because many students actually can finish most of the center star in a day. Don't you just love that awesome floral print I used for the background? This was a collection from Blank Quilting called Holiday Splendor.

I had some leftover fabrics and used them to create my Magic Triangles quilt.
Magic Triangles
I absolutely love this fabric collection. I have another project I'm working on using the leftovers of the leftovers!

I wish you and your family and friends a wonderful holiday, Merry Christmas and Happy, Prosperous New Year filled with good health and laughter. And, oh yes! A lot of good quilting time.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Baltimore Album . . . My Way

Classic red and cream basket of blooms
Anyone who knows me knows that I do NOT hand applique, so when I found a pile of Baltimore Album blocks for sale I immediately grabbed them. Did I say they were NOT hand appliqued? Oh, sorry about that. These are printed panels that only replicate beautiful, traditional blocks and boy did I have fun with them!

Beautiful blue urn with a classic pineapple and pomegranates
I pulled colors from the panels: green, blue, mustard, deep crimson and cream. I searched my stash and found perfect fabrics to make Dogtooth triangles. These were tricky as the panel size could not be divided evenly into thirds. I fudged it - so don't look closely at the triangle points as they touch the panel - I lopped off points. But hey - I'm not into perfect, are you?

A lovely wreath, book and bird. Have you ever seen a bird with a book in real life?
Stop looking at the lopped off points! Look at the beautiful urn of flowers!
And how will they look together?
Four blocks.
This is as far as I've gotten. I have about a dozen panels. I've pieced the triangles and will continue to play with these. I've been working on them for about 2 years. I'm never in a hurry. Do you think people making Baltimore Album blocks finish theirs in 2 years? I think not!

I will use a thin 1" strip between the blocks to "float" the cream and to avoid having all those points come together.

I hope you enjoyed my cheater's Baltimore Album quilt progress. I think I will pull the box out today and play a little more.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quilt Calendars - The Perfect Holiday Gift!

Block a Day Calendar
Martingale is my book and calendar publisher and they feature 5 wonderful quilting calendars that will be sure to please any discriminating quilter. One of them is my own perpetual Quilter's Block a Day Calendar (both desktop and on CD).

You can see all five calendars here: Stitch This! Blog by Martingale
There are 3 wall calendars of quilts and two desktop calendars of blocks (mine and Judy Hopkins). You can see mine here. You can also see ALL THE BLOCKS as contained in the calendar by visiting my web site. Yes, you can see all 366 of the blocks and their size (you just don't have access to the cutting instructions). This way you can decide for yourself if it's a value (which I think it is, btw).

Quilter's Block-a-Day Calendar  Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar by Debby Kratovil
Well-known author Debby Kratovil has been an avid block-pattern designer and collector for many years. Her perpetual calendar includes 366 pieced and appliquéd block patterns that spotlight traditional, pictorial, seasonal, and holiday themes. The pages are listed only by day of the month, not by day of the week, which means it can be used year after year!
 The Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar Companion CD allows quilters to easily print each block from the calendar in two different sizes. The CD also contains 12 complete step-by-step quilt patterns.Want to see the astounding range of designs in the Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar for yourself? Debby has compiled illustrations of all the blocks from her calendar on her website. Visit Quilter by Design to see them all before you decide who on your list will get this gift that keeps on giving! Quilter's Block-a-Day Calendar Companion CD
Gift list checked! Order the Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar and the Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar Companion CD now.

You can order these from Martingale, find them at your local quilt shop, or even order the companion CD from me. I don't sell the desktop calendar.

Monday, December 2, 2013

She Came; She Sewed . . .

Timber & Leaf Collection by Sarah Watts (Blend Fabrics, 2012)
My oldest daughter Audrey enjoys sewing with me. (Never quilts, btw. One can only hope.) She comes over from time to time with an idea and digs through my stash and we work out the details using my 40+ years of sewing experience. You may remember this time last year when I created a few things from this awesome fabric collection:
An apron for Audrey from the fox fabric, which she loves!
More fox fabric with the tree rings print
My "go to" pattern for a flanged pillow. Added a simple bow.
Simple tote, pattern from my favorite magazine Stitch
Audrey wanted to make a flanged pillow for the nursery for our upcoming 3rd grandchild (her first baby, a girl). She pulled out the Timber and Leaf Collection and here is what we came up with:

We chose a soft gold for the flange so the bears would pop!
We made two of these pillowcases for her own bed and squeezed out the last of this gray print
Decorated a bag with giant yo-yos and clip earrings
Her sister in law, Marga, was visiting from Mexico (she lives there with her husband; they're both Spaniards) and she sat and decorated a pre-made shopping bag. I have this huge bag of giant yo-yos from a yard sale that she chose from. Leftover clip earrings from my mother in laws jewelry box.

We had a marathon day but quite fun. It's always a good day when I can sew. And Audrey loved everything we made, of course!

Friday, November 29, 2013

(Not) Going Black on Black Friday

Quick! Why is it called "Black Friday" (here in the USA)?

1. Jonathan Black was the first merchant to open a store in the newly colonized America, right after the first Thanksgiving

2. The hibernation period for Black Widow Spiders begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving (no matter what the date in November)

3. Men in Black (movie) opened in theaters on the Friday after Thanksgiving and it caused a lot of people to go shopping after the matinee showings because they felt so good to NOT have these guys running around in their community

4. It's the first time all year that small businesses get out of the RED (their ledgers finally show a profit, also known as operating in the BLACK)

You can find the answer after I show you a few quilts from my first book, Bold, Black and Beautiful Quilts (AQS 2004):

The Royal Star - traditional pattern (early 1900s) using today's Fossil Ferns (by Benartex). You can read about this quilt and get the free pattern by clicking the link.
The Royal Star - still one of my favorite quilts
A new Dresden Plate design, discovered by accident. But I sure do love these Nighttime Butterflies!

Butterflies at Night
 98 Dancing Squares using all solids, except for the two border prints.

98 Dancing Squares is hanging on the Giant Quilt Rack in the Sky (ie, stolen)
Ooooh. Another Dresden Plate quilt!
Notice that my Dresden Plate quilt above has no border. It told me it was finished and that was that! And also notice that the base of the wedge units are NOT CIRCLES, but triangles. Easy enough.

You can see all 16 of the quilts at my web site: Bold, Black and Beautiful. I'm hoping to have this as an e-book for sale at my Craftsy pattern site, but for now you can see them and read a little bit about them. I enjoyed working with brights and black to create them. About half were stolen in 2005 when I was traveling and teaching. That's behind me now. I like to say they are hanging on the giant quilt rack in the sky! It makes the angels smile, I hope.

Oh, I almost forgot. The meaning of Black Friday?

4. It's the first time all year that small businesses get out of the RED (their ledgers finally show a profit, also known as operating in the BLACK)

Leave a comment about your thoughts on Black Friday. I am NOT ( I repeat NOT) shopping today. At all. Never. Want. To.

I will give away a copy of my book on CD (all 16 quilts with instructions as they appeared in the book) to a random winner. Contest is over Sunday, December 1 at midnight.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boogie in the Hen House (But No Black Ties)

Fowl Play Collection by Benartex Fabrics
Contest is over and Joyce is my winner of the fat quarter bundle with 6 of the chicken panels. Congratulations, Joyce!

I get to rock out again in the hen house with the Fowl Play fabrics I used a few weeks ago in a tutorial for Benartex. These are just so much fun, as you can see in the stack above: little chicks, chicken wire, chicken scratching and BIG hens with names from REAL chickens from a REAL chicken farm. There's even a border print with chickens on a wire which I used at the top and bottom of this table runner.

Table runner using my Arrowheads "tilt" template
You can see what I did here: Rock out in the Hen House

I wanted to revisit these fabulous chicken and rooster panels and do something very different. This time I chose those with the blue chicken wire backgrounds.
Same chickens with a blue background
Then I did something radical (at least I think so). I ignored the square shape and cut them out using a hexagon shape!
OK. What kind of crazy thing is she going to do now?
If you've been following this blog for any length of time you know that I am enamored with hexagons and putting them together into a variety of ways. I decided to put these together into a hexie ring. No y-seams; only straight seam sewing!
Add two 60 degree triangles to each hexagon chicken
Sew three units into a larger half-hexagon (top and bottom as shown here)
But there's a BIG HOLE in the center!
Yes, there's a big hole in the center, right? Time to cover it up. Cut out a hexagon, interfaced it, turned it right side out by clipping into the interfacing.

Interfaced hexagon
All edges of the hexagon neatly turned under without any hand applique!
What does it look like finished? Well, first the center which I call: Chicken a la Ring
Chicken a la Ring Center
And now for the table topper, which I am gifting to my daughter Hilary's friend Anita who happens to have a fond affection for chickens. She actually was raising some in her back yard in Pittsburgh last year!
Chicken a la Ring Table Topper - on my dining room table
Chicken a la Ring Table Topper - outside in the fresh sunshine!
Yes, there's a giveaway (if you've come this far).
4 fat quarters and 6 chicken panels (all different chickens)
Tell me your "favorite" barnyard animal (if you have one). Or if you have chickens or cows or goats at your house. Contest is over midnight Sunday November 24 at midnight. I am traveling and teaching, but I promise to read every single comment, though it's really hard to reply due to time constraints (and only an iPad with those blasted, funky keyboards). I love having virtual visitors!

Many thanks to Vicki of More Stars in Comanche who coordinated this hop. I love her blog and especially her dog TITUS. Hey, Titus - how're you doing today? (He's a dachshund who is as cute as my own dog). And of course, Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt who keeps all of us in line (or at least tries to). Now, go visit the other bloggers for today and see what they've come up with for the Black Tie Boogie!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Modern Patchwork Magazine Highlights

Yes, I have not one, not two, but THREE projects in here
The latest issue of Modern Patchwork is on newsstands NOW.

How can a 60-something quilt designer, in love with traditional patterns, create something to appeal to modern quilters? Why, use some of the newest fabrics and think outside the box. I love the refreshing, clean (not busy) and simple designs that our younger quilters are bringing to the quilt world. Here are my 3 projects that you will find in this magazine, on newsstands now:

The Improv Adventure quilt was made using the Windham Fabrics Gees Bend Collection of solids.
The hexagon kitchen ensemble was made using the Windham Fabrics Bella Collection by Lotta Jansdotter.
Improv Adventure - a fun class that I've taught that helps students step outside the box
3 Hot Pads, strip pieced using a 60 degree ruler (lined with batting)
Four block table runner using same technique as the hot pads
I think the straight line quilting is a modern appeal. I love the clean lines of it.

Here's my funny story about these three projects:

I submitted these and a few other projects to the editorial staff. A few weeks later they contacted me and said they would like to include these 3 projects. Then I realized I no longer owned them! I had already gifted them to my two married daughters. I had to ask for them back. The Improv Adventure quilt was already hanging on my daughter Audrey's wall. Her husband Dani said this is his favorite quilt and was heartbroken I would have to ship it to be photographed. You have to understand that when a project is scheduled for print, it usually sits with the editors for 3-6 months! I was lucky - it was only 4 months.

So, visit the Interweave web site to see some of the other projects: Modern Patchwork

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Technique Tuesday with Benartex Fabrics and Giveaway

The Dori Collection by Benartex
Contest is over: Sharon of Phoenix, Arizona won the fat quarter bundle of Dori fabrics. Congratulations, Sharon!

New fabrics to play with. I revisited a pattern I designed last year for another Benartex Collection which appeared in the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Magazine Issue 5. Come with me to the Sew in Love with Fabric Blog (Benartex) to see what I made with these.

Here's a sneak peek:
Is that a curve? Do you really want me to sew a curved seam?
Yes, I show you how to not only sew a curved seam but how to fussy cut a beautiful flower:

Oooh! What a lovely flower. How do I get it in the center of that circle?
Here's my giveaway: 4 fat quarters in the blue fabrics:
4 Fat Quarters from the Dori Collection
Just leave a comment for me here. Tell me you've visited the Benartex blog to see my tutorial and your HONEST thoughts about piecing curved patches. If you are not a Blogger, you must leave your email or you come through as a no-reply blogger and you aren't eligible to win. Contest is over midnight Sunday, November 17.

So, go visit the Sew in Love with Fabric blog today to see how I cut and sewed this block and turned it into a larger quilt. Don't be afraid - these curves are easy and I show a few tricks to ensure accuracy.

I love the happiness of this fabric collection, don't you?