Monday, April 29, 2013

Are You Ready for Some Fireworks? - Shake Your Pom Poms!

Contest is over and I have notified my two winners (Sue and Diann). Thanks to everyone for all your kind comments about my crazy project!

I was a pompom girl and cheerleader for Evergreen Elementary School in San Jose, California a bazillion years ago. Now, stop rolling your eyes and pay attention.

Thanks to Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt and our super cheerleader Thearica of Pig Tales and Quilts for all their hard work. Here is the schedule for today, so make sure you go get some inspiration after I shock you today with my fireworks display.


WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

Put your coffee, tea, soda, water - DOWN RIGHT NOW! And pull out your sunglasses. What I'm about to show you is an example of a project going wrong, taking on  a life of its own, and there was no turning back. Is your coffee cup down? Where are your shades? I mean it, do you hear me?

First, the innocent idea:
Cutting strips from Fossil Ferns and using the 1/4" Clover Bias Maker. Innocent enough.
A bag of 90 neon colored mini pom poms. Innocent enough.
Two Fossil Fern fat quarters and a bundle of neon pom poms.
The beginnings of my Fireworks
Now, I was hoping to make something that resembled Fireworks. I really thought I had it all figured out. But,  like I said, it took on a life of its own. I even made four handmade pom poms using a cereal box piece of cardboard and blue yarn. So, far, not too scary:

Simple zigzag stitch seen from the wrong side. Did I say "wrong"?
Put your coffee cup down. Grab the shades. I apologize ahead of time, but this scared me when I saw how it morphed into alien fireworks from outer space. But, so be it. Welcome to my crazy side!

At least the quilting on my ALIEN FIREWORKS FROM OUTER SPACE turned out good
 ALIEN FIREWORKS FROM OUTER SPACE
What can I really say? There are no words. Or is this a mutant spider from a nuclear disaster?

That's it!! A mutant spider from a nuclear disaster! Now I feel better (or is that feeling really a dizzy spell?)

OK. Enough. I'm moving on. I have a giveaway if you made it this far without choking on your drink or having your stomach turn queasy. Just be kind in your comments. You don't have to like this, but I sure hope you smiled seeing how even those of us who make our living from our designs can come up with some psycho things!

What is my giveaway? TWO SETS (for two winners) of Benartex's Feathers & Fancy Collection in the Plum colorway.
TWO sets of 6 fat quarters. I want TWO winners
 There are 6 fat quarters in each bundle. Make sure I have your email so I know how to contact you. Contest is over Friday, May 3 at midnight.

Go hop on over to the other creative folks on the blog list today (see list at top of page).

Thanks so much for visiting. I hope you'll check out some of my other pages here at my blog, my free patterns on Craftsy, and other tutorials.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Twisted Hexagons and Fossil Ferns

I've been playing with my box of fat quarter Fossil Ferns from Benartex. I pulled 3 colors. . .

3 crayon box colors for my grandson's placemats
. . . and added a novelty print from the Baby Safari line (Benartex, 2009) . . .

3 fat quarters and a novelty print
. . . to make something for my awesome grandson. Yes, I know I swear not to do anything on my blog except quilts, but I am making an exception for Miles (2-1/2 years old) because of this amazing picture my daughter sent me last week.

Miles ready for swim lessons, wearing his mom's goggles and swim cap
Hilary, his mom, tells me that the lifeguard cannot keep a straight face when Miles shows up like this every Saturday morning for his swimming lessons. I can't keep a straight face!

What did I make for Miles and his little brother Matteo (who doesn't need placemats yet because he's only 6 months old)?

 2 Twisted Hexagon blocks with pinked edges

2 Twisted Hexagon blocks with binding
This is my new, favorite, go-to block. Easy to sew. Can be made with any size hexagon and 1/2 hexagons which are half the height of the hexagon (duh!) You sew them in a round, leaving the first seam open until the end. This is called a partial seam (not a set in seam, which is much harder).

Begin with blue, starting in the middle. Add the green and continue around.
I hope you liked what I made with these 3 Fossil Fern fat quarters. I will mail these off to Miles and Matteo tomorrow. Do you think they'll like them?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Follow the Ferns

Following the Fossil Ferns . . .
Box of fat quarters of Benartex Fossil Ferns
I was sent this box of Fossil Ferns by Benartex over 5 years ago. I was working on my second book and I was sewing for several fabric companies. Benartex gave this to me to inspire me with projects for that book. They liked that the cover of my first book (Bold, Black & Beautiful Quilts) featured my Royal Star quilt made with Fossil Ferns. It was a beautiful cover, don't you think?

Bold, Black & Beautiful Quilts
Well, it's only beautiful because of the cover quilt . . .

The Royal Star Quilt
I decided to pull out the Fossil Ferns because of what I saw on the Benartex Blog - Sew in Love with Fabric. They had featured a quilt made by Wendy Sheppard and showed the box of Naturescapes she was working from. A Box Full of Color yelled at me from the computer screen: "GO GET THAT BOX OF FOSSIL FERNS!" I did. And I have already begun several projects using those luscious fat quarters. Hence, my Follow the Ferns series.

Just a little history: Pat Campbell designed these over 15 years ago and they are still selling at quilt shops and online. Can you believe it? This is unheard of in the quilt fabric world!!  But it's true. You can see all the colors at the Benartex site. And if you check back from time to time, I'm going to share some of the projects I have made and am making with them.

Here are two quilts from my archives that I made using these Ferns:

Fairy Baskets
A girlie, fairy print with Fossil Ferns for blenders
Shimmering Waterwheels
All Fossil Ferns with a non-descript blender background
I will be featuring Fossil Ferns in my "Shake Your Pom Poms" project in the Blog Hop (check out Sew We Quilt and Pig Tales & Quilts for the full schedule). And I'm working on my Twisted Hexagon pattern using the Ferns and some cute Benartex zoo novelty fabric.

Take a visit to the Benartex Facebook page and take a look around at their fabrics. And take a visit to the Benartex Blog. They feature new collections, have contests, fabric giveaways, and share projects that designers make with their fabrics. It's all about the fabric, isn't it fellow quilters?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Showers Hop and Giveaway!

We have a winner! Bonnie Pfrimmer's name was chosen by Mr. Random Number Generator. Thanks to everyone who visited!
 
Welcome to my day on the April Showers Blog Hop, hosted by Erin at Sew Home Mummy and the ever industrious Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt. Thank you, ladies!!

Just one pic of a previous ensemble I sewed and gave away. I absolutely love the timeless combination of blue and yellow and I made this using one orphan block (the flower in the star center) and then sewed some simple cup mats and tea cozy using my own teapot appliqué.

The link for this FREE pattern to use any way you like is here: Tea Pot Applique.
(This is just for the applique patch on the tea cozy; not the whole ensemble)
Tea Time ensemble
I remembered I had used my Pfaff embroidery machine to make a teapot with tea cup many years ago, but never did anything with it. So . . .

1. I found it in a box, pressed it, measured it and made a curved frame out of brown fabric.

2. Using fusible webbing and then zig zag stitching, I quickly stitched it over the teapot/cup.

3. Added simple yellow borders, layered it and quilted it and then and realized I DID NOT want to add binding!  So . . .

4. I pulled out my specialty rotary blade and pinked the outer edges. Do you like it?

April Showers Bring April Daffodils!
Mug rug with fresh cut daffodils from my garden
Just so you can get the perspective, I also photographed it with a china tea cup:
Mug rug with a matching tea cup and saucer
I do have a giveaway (of course!) It seems that fabric has the greatest appeal and I have a good bit of that. I am offering a half-yard fabric of a rainy day print plus companion fat quarters:

3 fat quarters (Blank Quilting) PLUS 1/2 yard of a rainy day print (Westminster Fabrics)
What do you need to do to enter my contest?

1. Tell me your favorite color combination, the colors you LOVE to sew with, that make you feel happy.

2. Make sure I can see your email. If you're unsure, leave it in the comments section. If I can't find you, I can't send you fabric if you win! Contest is over Monday, April 22, midnight EST (USA time).

3. Go visit the rest of the bloggers today to get inspired!

Wednesday, April 17
Jen @ Quilter in the Closet
Marjorie @ Marjorie's Busy Corner
Elita @ A Pieceful Perspective
Green @ So Sew Green
Mara @ Greco Mara
Wendy @ Why Knot Kwilt?
Gmama Jane @ GrandMama's Stories
Debby @ Debby Kratovil Quilts (that's me)
Britt-Inger @ Hill Valley Quilter
Connie @ Freemotion by the River
Beth @ Words and Stitches
Kathy @ iHeartSquishy

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In a Pickle

Bright colors always inspire me!
I showed this pic last week. Just a small amount of fabric (5 fat quarters) of the Up in the Air Collection by Windham Fabrics. Just enough to do something I've been itching to do for awhile.

So, what am I going to make? True Pickledish units. They are traditional and have a close affinity to the Double Wedding Ring. In fact, some historic block books call them the Indian Wedding Ring. Nancy Cabot, writing her famous quilt column for the Chicago Tribune wrote that this block dates back to the mid-1800s! I don't know; I just like them!

The beginnings of the Pickledish pattern
Not sure how far I will get because I only had a fat quarter of each (blue and yellow). But this is when I can get creative! Stay tuned. These will show up later this month.


I call this Ezekiel's Wheel
 Ezekiel's Wheel is a variation of this pieced arc. Not too many points. Only one block because I ran out of fabric - my typical mode of sewing! I love this little quilt and altered it somewhat to make a much larger quilt for Windham last summer:

Ezekiel's Wheel using Windham's Moonstruck Collection
This is a FREE PATTERN. Just click on the link under the picture.

I left off the spikes - yikes! But it makes for a simpler quilt. But I left the spikes ON for my Sassy Mariner's Compass:
Sassy Mariner's Compass
The center compass is a pattern in my new book. I got cockey and designed the pieced halo units (like the pickle dish units) and thought I had the math right. NOT! I was off by one inch! What to do? Create another halo (the red). It fits and it works. My book editors didn't want this for the book. They didn't like the center red/white dots. I rather like them, don't you?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beautiful Things

From Geta's Quilting Studio - She has a love affair with hexagons
Geta Grama from Brasov, Romania - has absolutely the most beautiful blocks, quilts and quilting. I was struck by her WIP (Work in Progress) today and asked for permission to re-post her block. It just takes my breath away; how about you?

You simply must check out her blog and see her amazing quilting. She specializes in trapunto and her book is a powerhouse of this technique.
Shadow Trapunto Quilts by Geta Grama
Sometimes it's just good to sing the praises of someone else. Especially since she does such gorgeous work. Take a visit to her blog to see what I mean.
Geta's Quilting Studio
This week she has another tutorial on quilting. See what I mean (did I already say that)?

Shadow trapunto tutorial from Geta Grama
Geta has done a LOT with hexagons; and purses (she designs them) and trapunto. Hexagons I can do. Trapunto - I'd rather admire the beauty of what others do! And purses? I own two of her patterns and hope to make one soon. Her instructions are excellent. I'm just dragging my feet because it's not a quilt!

Find something beautiful to brighten up your day. This was mine today!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This and That Sunday

Ride Collection by Windham
My husband bought a bike for me so we could ride together on Sunday (and sometimes Saturday) afternoons. I am an exerciser and walk 2-3 miles several times a week; it's a whole lot different when riding a bike! Gotta get up to speed on that. Here is a new collection from Windham and I hope to make a small "something" in the next week. Don't you just love those threads, too?

More of my favorite colors! Hot air balloons. Again, by Windham.
Windham sent me this fat quarter collection. I can see another quilt from my new book using these brights, along with some of their Spin and .Com collections. Will keep you posted.

I'm still piecing more of these Pickledish units. I am very excited about teaching this class next season (beginning in the Fall with the Georgia Quilt Show). Very easy paper piecing. Gentle curves for adding the background pieces. More like a Double Wedding Ring than the traditional Pickledish (which I just redesigned, printed foundations and hope to sew in April sometime).

These fabrics are also from Windham; their Spin Collection.

Pickledish wedge, paper pieced, before final trim
Bright, happy colors in my Pickledish wedges.
Remember, they go with this quilt block:
Four units make one block
 I blogged about this last week: Busy Sewing.
Pickledish unit
I am still traveling a lot, teaching, and hope to get some serious sewing done so I can show you new things! Spring is here and the sun is shining and that makes for a very happy day.