Saturday, March 30, 2013

Busy Sewing

My new Pickledish Class - fabrics by Windham
Yep. Bright colors. Ready for Spring. I've been playing with this block off and on for a few years. I initially was creating a Double Wedding Ring pattern for paper piecing, but then upsized the pattern, simplified the curvy parts and voila!

Pickledish single block. 11-1/4" finished
A traditional block in today's colors. I have proposed this for the Fall lineup of the Sewing & Quilt Expo. Paper piecing those wedges is very similar to my Coffee Filter Fans (also paper pieced - and yes, on coffee filters!) What do you think?

Yes, I've still been adding onto the Double Wedding Ring blocks in 1930s prints I shared several weeks ago. I'm this far (not a good pic):
Paper pieced wedges and some serious curved sewing
Better picture of my DWR two blocks, still in progress
 See the DWR unit below. Four units make a block, but only 7 units make 2 blocks when they are sewn together. Not an easy-peasy block to make, but still doable! I am working on streamlining and simplifying the block. First off, it is paper pieced! But we still have to sew the curves, sigh.

DWR unit

I am working on this same Double Wedding Ring pattern using some beautiful Asian inspired fabrics by Blank Quilting, along with some of those new colors of Rock Candy. Here are the fabrics. What do you think?
Rock Candy in new Spring colors
 The new Mariko Collection - can you see it in a Double Wedding Ring?
Mariko Collection by Blank Quilting

I have another class that is based on a quilt from my new book, Paper Piecing Perfect Points. The original quilt is Shimmering Waterwheels.

Shimmering Waterwheels
More paper piecing. Students certainly can't finish a whole lot in a 3 hour class, but they will learn the techniques and assemble 2 or more blocks. Here is a version done in red, black and white. I shared the making of these blocks, step by step in Paper Piecing Monday a few weeks ago:

Single Block - not sure of the sashings. What do you think?
 I'm still playing with the sashings. Should they be a black and white stripe? A solid black? What do you think?

I'm done for now. I have more proposals I've reveal in a few days. I've been busy traveling (Lakeland, Atlanta, Cleveland) and now I leave for Chicago and Worcester, MA in a few days. Several local guilds have invited my quilts and me to visit and we look forward to that.

Yes, I'm still thinking about that Arrowheads quilt re-name. Not sure what I want to do. I got a lot of awesome suggestions. Thanks to everyone. Have a wonderful weekend! Happy Easter to those who celebrate the holiday!

Ooops! Almost forgot! I have another FREE PATTERN. The Tea Party Ensemble 

The Tea Party Ensemble - FREE at my Craftsy Pattern Site


Friday, March 22, 2013

Hosannah - The Palm Quilt

The Palm Block, aka Hosannah
I love blocks with sharp points. And the historic, traditional Palm block is a perfect example of this. I have taught this as a class and also featured this in a variety of quilts that have been published in magazines and now in my new book: Paper Piecing Perfect Points. Since Easter is coming in a week, I thought I would show a few of my quilts made with this block.

10" Palm Blocks set on point
The quilt pictured above was made with a collection of fabrics called Regency Dandy by Windham Fabrics. Tradtional reproduction fabrics used in a very non-traditional way. I love the bold prints and the use of the striped fabrics. These are 10" blocks and, set on point, are 14". One of my favorite quilts with renegade personality.

OK. The connection with the Palm Block and Easter? It has to do with the triumphant entry of Jesus on the last week of his life and the use of palm leaves that were used by the crowds who waved them as he came through the streets of Jersalem on the back of a donkey. They were calling out "hosannah" (which means 'praise' in Hebrew, I believe). Fickle crowd - because they turned on him in no time, asking for his death. Someone, somewhere, turned the image of a palm branch into a quilt block and made it in fabric.

My pattern is paper pieced and can be any size because it is based on a 4 x 4 grid. It also is pieced as though it were an off-center log cabin, so no center seam.

Here is the single block, unadorned:
No center seam - sewn as one continuous unit
Here are a few other Palm/Hosannah blocks and quilts:
Yes, you can arrange 7 blocks into a quilt center
Batiks. 10" blocks. Good sized quilt. Sold this quilt top to a very happy quilter when I moved from Atlanta to Virginia. Donated the money to a woman's agency to help the homeless.

One block can become an awesome pillow!
Gotta be one of my favorite quilts - 4 blocks in lush floral prints
And here are my last two quilts, as featured in my book:

Here's that 7 block arrangement again!
Palm block with alternate drunkard's path block, by Kathryn Wager Wright
You can see more of this block in previous posts. Here is one using Windham Fabrics

Stay tuned for more of this block. When I like a block I can't resist making more and more. In a variety of sizes and a variety of fabrics. Just can't get enough, I guess.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Name This Quilt!

Still considering a new name! Contest is still open if you have any thoughts. Been on the road so haven't had a chance to slow down enough to get some votes from my fellow teachers. Love everything I've heard so far!

I need help. My fellow teachers at the Sewing Expo feel that the name of this quilt project is just not doing it justice. I have called it Arrowheads and they think it is "ho hum." Do you have any ideas?
Pink & Cream Batik Arrowheads Quilt
This is an awesome class and students begin with just two 8" strips (one of each color). The pattern comes with two multi-sized acrylic triangle templates which create magic with a rotary cutter. Voila! Sew, slice, sew again, slice again and then you have the block. No waste whatsover. Not even little snippets!

Here it is in a multi-color and black/white background print:

Arrowheads Quilt in multi-colored blenders
I have several other renditions (when you teach a class often, you have a LOT of samples). One of my friends suggested Egyptian Pyramids. That's in the running.

Send me your comments. I need help (did I already say that?) If I select your pattern name for this quilt I will send you the pattern and template set (retail: $20) as a prize.

I'm currently in the Tampa Airport writing this post and when I get home I will upload better pictures of these quilts. Until then, put your thinking caps on!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When Old Meets Young

1930s Butterflies with authentic feedsack binding
My oldest daughter Audrey turned 33 years old last week. Yikes! Where did the time go? My 3 daughters always think one of the others is my favorite. As a mother, I have no favorites, but I do say to Audrey: I've loved you the longest!

She is enamored with all things vintage. She began digging through my box of feedsacks years ago and has already claimed all of my vintage quilts and recreations of vintage quilts. Whenever we find something like the butterflies square above, she says: Mom - will you make a pillow for me? Well, I know her husband Dani can't even find the bed at night because of all the pillows on the bed, so I turned this block into a table topper. I added NO batting, just a muslin backing and cut extra wide binding from AUTHENTIC feedsacks. This was birthday present #1.

Yo Yos from c.1980, intended for place mats
I came upon a whole set of these 4 x 5 row yo-yo placemats at a New England quilt show I was teaching at. I think I spent $30 for 20 of them and Audrey and I have had fun taking a few apart so she could decorate various items with the yo-yos: purses, sweaters, etc. I realized I could stitch all of the remaining ones together to make a table runner. But no hand work here: I used invisible mono-filament thread and a small zigzag stitch and finished this in under an hour. You may have missed an earlier post last summer when we took a 1930s yoyo quilt and mounted it on a foam core board covered in muslin. It turned out so awesome! Go see the post here: Antique Yo Yo Quilt.

Antique Yo Yo Quilt mounted on muslin covered foam core
And the last gift has a wonderful story. My friend Jeannine, sometimes quilter and faithful walking partner in the mornings had a gift she bought for one of her daughters, but her daughter didn't like it. She racked her brain to think of someone who would appreciate it and then remembered meeting Audrey at my house a month ago when she came over to do more sewing with vintage items. Jeannine gave me this AWESOME, creative purse made with a book cover from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre! She figured Audrey would love it (and she absolutely did).

Book jacket re-purposed into a purse
This turned out to be one of Audrey's favorite authors. She is a high school English teacher and loves introducing her students to classic literature.
See? It says "Jane Eyre"
 And look at how well the inside was constructed:

Purse inside - well made
So, sometimes I like to re-purpose vintage things. Do you think Audrey takes after me? She does like to call me up on a Saturday morning and say - Mom, can I come over to sew? Well, OF COURSE! I cancel any plans I may have had (ie, housework) and we have fun in my cluttered,  messy studio. She has all these ideas she finds on Etsy, Pinterest, and any other place that people visit to get fabulous ideas.

So, this was a happy meeting of young (Audrey) with old (me and the vintage items!). She loved her birthday presents. And, oh yes! I also made a chocolate cake from scratch and chocolate butter cream icing - from scratch (her wishes). And spaghetti and meatballs (her request). I guess you could say she's my favorite oldest daughter !!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Tutorial

The contest is over and we have a winner: Tricia of Michigan. Yes, this was open to international visitors, but Mr. Random Number Generator selected Tricia in chilly, frosty Michigan!

Welcome to the Blog Hop for The Quilting Gallery. People from all over the world are taking their eyes off of the weather and enjoying the beauty of quilts. This is the Beat the Winter Blues Blog Hop. But, having lived south of the equator myself for 3 years, I know that it's SUMMER down under in March. But since it's winter here in the USA, we beg your pardon for confusing the seasons.

I am so happy to be part of this and if you get to the bottom of this tutorial, I have a free pattern for this quilt AND a giveaway!

This a tutorial photographed several years ago when I was Special Projects Editor for Quilt Magazine. The finished quilt languished in my closet, waiting for someone's home to live and love in.

Marga and Ismael Rodelgo (my son in law's sister and brother in law in Spain) were here for Christmas. I had a BURSTING house with my 3 daughters, 2 sils, two grandsons, and Marga and Isma. Audrey, my oldest daughter (married to Marga's brother, Daniel, my son in law - now don't roll your eyes because you can't keep track!!!) asked me if I had a quilt (is she nuts? a quilt?) that I might want to give to the newly weds. Huh? Do I have a quilt? I had to control myself here. I pulled out several, invited them upstairs and asked them to select one. They chose my Gretchen Quilt and here she is:
Gretchen quilt in her new home
Now, would you like to see how easy this otherwise difficult block is to make? Only squares and a rotary cutter. What could be easier?

Pick your fabrics; include blenders for a solids-type relief
And next?
Cut squares 6-7/8" x 6-7/8"
My goal was to create a LOT of color, so I cut 6-7/8” strips from 20 of the fabrics. You will need a total of (13) 6-7/8” SQUARES  of print and (13) 6-7/8” SQUARES of solid reading fabrics. These squares can be cut from long (42”) strips or fat quarters (18” x 22”).

And then cut some 3-7/8" squares
Mark the center and sew 1/4" along both sides, matching solids and prints as shown
Pair a floral print and a solid 6-7/8” square. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the solid fabric. Place them wrong sides together in preparation for sewing. Dark thread is used for illustration purposes; use neutral colored thread appropriate for your fabrics. Sew 1/4” along BOTH sides of the drawn line. Cut these apart along the drawn line and press open the half-square triangles and press.

Add small triangles to half-triangle units as show
Select 3-7/8” squares of the same prints as you have in the sewn larger squares (which are now half-square triangles). Cut these squares into two triangles each. Orient your large half-square triangle units on point as shown (one has the floral print at the top and the other has the solid at the top). Arrange the small triangles so that the florals are next to the solid and the solids are next to the floral. It is important to “audition” the placement of these small triangles in order to keep from sewing them to the wrong sides!

Sew small triangles to sides of contrasting large triangles
Flip the triangles over and sew to the sides of the large half-square triangle using a 1/4” seam. Note the reverse placement of the colors in each of the pairs. Press the small triangles open so they lay flat.

Additional photo added for clarity: see here

Trim excess large triangles even with raw edge of the small triangles
 Now you can join two units together along the longest edge. The magic of a clever rotary cutter!
I have revised the FREE Gretchen Quilt on my Craftsy Pattern page to reflect this new pic and explanation.
Sew units together
Keep the colored pairs together and sew the block halves together with 1/4” seams. Fold the seam allowances of one half back as shown so that the seams nestle snugly for a smooth juncture. You can repress these with an iron when you press the long center seam open.What do you get? A block that is traditionally sewn with TEMPLATES - Yikes!!

Gretchen Blocks - all made with squares and triangles!
Would you like the pattern for this simple - yet difficult looking quilt? Well, just ask!

Here she is: The Gretchen Quilt (it's called Gretchen because that's the traditional block name). Just click that link and it will take you to my Craftsy Store. And, yes, it's FREE.

And my giveaway? A bundle of blenders (4 fat quarters) from Blank Quilting. Blenders are those awesome fabrics that give your prints a place to shine. These are called Rock Candy. Yum, yum. They are in Easter basket colors sure to carry your thoughts to Spring and sunshine, flowers, and blooms.

Yummy Rock Candy colors for Spring from Blank Quilting
How do you win?
1. Leave a comment telling me what your weather is like today and what country or state you live in.
2. Visit the Blank Quilting Facebook page and "like" their fabrics - any of them. If you don't have a Facebook account, you can still be part of my contest: it's my party and I include everyone!
3. This contest IS OPEN to international visitors! If my Random Generator selects your name and you have an email, you will win - even if you live on the North Pole!
4. The contest is over midnight March 14 in the USA, midnight EST (Eastern Standard Time)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Who knew, Nancy Drew?

Hop is OVER. Winner is chosen: Shauna. Thanks to ALL for your lovely, wonderful comments!

Blog Hopping today with other Nancy Drew fans, organized by Madame Samm and Carol of "Just Let Me Quilt" (hey, that's what I like to say, too). A BIG thank you, ladies, for all the work behind the scenes. We love you!

First, I went shopping before the hopping. Quilt Taffy to the rescue! These are 5" squares. I really had no CLUE what to do, honest. I always wait until the fabric speaks to me. And I wasn't disappointed.
Do you think Nancy looks worried that I might not come up with a plan?
Where the heck am I going?
I have been featuring blocks from my new book, Paper Piecing Perfect Points, and realized that one of the blocks has these Flying Geese spinning in a circle. I use an over-sized cutting template to cut the "geese" patches (so as to save on fabric, but also retain the angle for precision in my piecing). Well, sha-zam - I can get two patches from one 5" square. Do you think the fabric gods were looking after me?
Triangles for the geese; rectangles for the sky. Ready to go!
Quick Question: Where am I? You can see I'm trimming my patches in my messy studio.
Paper pieced 8 units for a perfect circle. But what to put in the center? If you look at my book photo, you can see I put a toile in the center. Then I looked through my book to see if maybe, maybe I have another block that might fit the 16" hole. I did!

Geese rings with a giant 16" hole!
In the center of the ring I have fabrics from Windham: .Com Collection of dots; brights from Spin; and a black with mini-dots from their Brights Basics Collections.

 What does that block look like? Sunflower Blossoms:
Sunflower Blossoms from Paper Piecing Perfect Points
Here is that block (I had to trim the four-block unit to a circle, but you get it, I'm sure:

Four blocks make the center and Nancy still looks worried.
Nancy Drew rendition of Toile Garden and Sunflower Blossoms: 24" x 24"
Toile Garden (Nancy Drew block in disguise)
 And just two more renditions of this Geese in a Circle block:

Dinosaurs caught in the middle!
Split Geese Ring (Who knew, Nancy Drew?)

 OK. If you're with me this far, I have a GIVEAWAY (don't I always on these hops?)
A set of 8 fat quarters from the Spin Collection by Windham. These are AWESOME colors!
8 fat quarters from the Spin Collection by Windham Fabrics
1. Leave me a comment telling me which of the Geese in a Circle quilts/blocks you like.
2. Deadline for comments is Sunday, March 10 at midnight.
3. Only those with visible emails are eligible (because I can't find you! Even Nancy Drew can't.)

Now, get hopping over to the other bloggers who are featuring their Nancy Drew projects:
 
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 

Monday, March 4, 2013

On the Road - Again!

OSQE - quilting and even more!
I am blessed to be able to teach with the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo in over a dozen cities each year. I change the class offerings each season, but one class that I always sell out in every city and have already taught over 45 times!! is the Machine Quilting: Basics and Beyond. I'm headed to Atlanta this week where I made my home for 8 years and still have wonderful memories and even a daughter who still lives there. My husband and dog are home eating leftovers and bringing in the mail and the newspaper.

Where else am I teaching this Spring? After Atlanta I head to Lakeland, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, IL; and then Worcester, MA. A little rest and then Baltimore, MD; Raleigh, NC; and Pittsburgh, PA.

Let's see some pictures, huh?

The Good Luck Quilt, from my book Supersize 'Em Quilts. This is a new, Bring Your Own Fabrics class and this fills up in every city. We love to de-stash our stashes and all a student needs to bring are coordinating 4" strips to make this block which traditionally is made with templates. But I have devised a way to only use a rotary cutter, ruler and sew straight seams. Students get a special price on my book (Retail: $28.95, class price: $15) which has 22 projects!

The Good Luck Quilt
Another class is the Modern Quilt Blocks. It's my version of what's happening all around the country (and world) with lots of white space and color that has a lot of room to glow. We cut fat quarters, then strips and swap with classmates to get all sorts of colors: blenders, batiks, solids. Then we go to town creating easy blocks with simple lines.

Modern Quilt Blocks
Now, one of my absolute favorite mysterious quilts that no one - absolutely, no one - can believe we get these blocks from two simple triangles. The magic is in the rotary cutter action! This is another of the Bring Your Own Fabrics and students need only 8" strips to begin sewing these. My kits include a set of two simple triangle templates and then we get the Arrowhead Quilts . . .
12" blocks made from 8" strips
Same background fabric, multiple colors for the centers
Another of my Magic Stax© classes is the Colorburst Squares. We work with kits made by Sew Batik and the luscious fabrics are pre-cut into 10-1/2" squares. We measure, cut, shuffle and sew the stacks back together into these easy blocks. 3 different blocks create a lot of movement over the face of the quilt.
Colorburst Squares, kitted by Sew Batik
Here's the calendar and list of cities for 2013. Am I coming to a city near you?

Hope to see you at the Expo in 2013!