Thursday, May 30, 2013

Magical Mitering Tutorial and Giveaway!

The Savannah Collection by Benartex
We have a winner of the fat quarter bundle: Mimi. Thanks to everyone who visited and made so many nice comments. Come back again and I'll keep you posted on the June Benartex Blog Hop contest!

One of my most requested techniques is that which I refer to as "Magical Mitering." The Savannah Collection is perfect for this. Don't you just love these florals, butterflies and garden scenes?

I have sewn with Benartex fabrics for over 10 years. My connection began when I was an editor with a quilt magazine. It continues today because I'm fast, sew for the camera, and always include tips and tricks to make things easy and quick.

How can you see the tutorial? Go to the Benartex Blog today . . .
Visit the Benartex Blog for the Magical Mitering tutorial
Here's a little teaser:
Aren't these just so lovely?!!
Benartex is having a giveaway of fabulous fabrics. How can you win a fat quarter bundle of the Savannah fabrics? Visit the Benartex Blog. See the tutorial (you're going to love the easy lesson), leave them a comment and then come back here to tell me you've been there.

I will enter your name in my giveaway (courtesy of Benartex). I know you would love these fabrics. Contest ends on June 1 at midnight.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Say it with Flowers - Blog Hop

Contest is over. The winner of the EZ Double Wedding Ring template set is Cherry.

Welcome, to all! It is May and the flowers are blooming everywhere in my little corner of the world. Here in the Washington, DC suburbs there are buds and blooms and bees and birds and Spring has sprung and the sun is shining most days. How happy am I?

I even have flowers in my sewing studio!
A rare pic of the queen of my sewing space. Enter at your own risk! I began with a collection by Windham Fabrics that you may remember here: Cream and Sugar.

I began with an idea, some squares, a covered button and circle of felt
Windham had asked me to make some flowers with this collection and I got to work, realizing I could also use them for this Blog Hop. Serendipitous, huh? (Windham never did use them for Market).

I cut two sizes of fabric circles
I followed a tutorial on Pinterest that makes these flowers, but I seem to have lost the link. And I altered it somewhat anyway. All this to say, I did not invent this technique. The circles are folded in half, wrong sides together and you stitch along the curves, then gather. This creates the individual petals. I just loved how it turned out.
Here is Flower #1 just resting is on the back of another Flower Block
Now, I got to thinking: I could make some flowers using the cutaways from my EZ Double Wedding Ring template. I know you've seen this before, but just in case:

See that little teardrop? The center of the DWR template
I saved the little teardrop shapes from making a DWR quilt out of 1930s fabrics. They are 5-3/4" from tip to tip. I put them together into a flower and then set it on point. I use this as a teaching sample for my Beginner's Free Motion Quilting Class.

1930s fabrics for my second flower
6 teardrop cutaways from a previous EZ DWR quilt
 This gave me an idea! How about making a larger flower with 12 petals?
Flower #3 using the Cream & Sugar fabrics. A little rick rack around the center.
 A little striped binding finishes up Flower #3.
18" block with striped binding. Petals are zigzag stitched
 This one gets blue and green binding. Flower #4
14" block with a felt circle and covered button
 Flower #5 using my Hexagon Rings technique. Added some crazy bling, sort of out of control, huh?

Flower #5: Hexagon Ring with a little bling.
Which flower do you like the best? No wrong answers! I have a GIVEAWAY of:
My EZ Double Wedding Ring pattern and template set!

EZ Double Wedding Ring pattern and template set
Leave a comment to be entered in my giveaway. Make sure I have your email. Contest is over May 31, midnight my time (East coast, USA). Winner: Cherry

Many thanks to Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt and Carol of Just Let Me Quilt for being our planners and cheerleaders. These hops are successful because of all the behind the scenes HARD WORK!

Now go visit my fellow Flower Fans on today's hop:
Debby Kratovil Quilts (you are here)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another Mini Blog Hop - Regency Fabrics

Contest is over. Kathy is the winner of the Blank Quilting bundle of 3 fat quarters. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. We have another one June 10!
The Regency Collection by Blank Quilting
Today I am joined again by two blog buddies. We've never met but I discovered their blogs this past year and I follow them because of their obvious joy in playing with lovely fabric and making happy projects. This is our SECOND challenge, aided by fabrics from Blank Quilting.  For this Regency Collection we each got 1/4 to 1/3 yard of each print. I actually made a horrible mistake with the small amount of border print I got, so I'm hoping my partners did something with it.

Who are my partners in this challenge?

I invite you to visit their blog sites today, see what they have come up with, and then go to Blank's Facebook page and see what new things they may have. Come back and tell me you've been to Blank's site and I will enter your name in a giveaway of fabrics. None of us have enough to offer these exact fabrics, so I've pulled together some other luscious Blank Quilting fabrics (see bottom of this post for fabrics).

So, this time, what did I make? I keep coming back to my Hexagon Rings and this time I made a single Grandmother's Flower Garden (GFG) block - all by machine.
GFG Hexagon Ring: each hexagon finishes to 4-1/2"
 I faced the 6 hexagons with mediumweight interfacing
Faced Hexagon Ring using interfacing
Applique the focus hexagon (which is also interfaced) onto the center
Don't you just love interfacing? It's AWESOME!
Now it's ready to be appliqued to a 15-1/2" background square of white on white fabric:

Center and machine applique with invisible monofilament thread
And then cut away the white background fabric from behind the GFG
Clip away fabric to reduce bulk. This would make an interesting applique, huh?
Everything clipped away and you can see the seaming and applique stitches
I made some tissue holders from the other fabrics
6 tissue holders, lined to create illusion of binding

Remember, I have TWO MORE BLOG POSTINGS THIS WEEK:

Tuesday, May 28th is my day for the Flowers!
Friday, May 31 I am a guest blogger at the Benartex blog:
Visit the Benartex blog on Friday for my guest post

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fractured Jewels - FREE pattern

My first Fractured Jewels quilt
The Fractured Jewels quilt above was one of the quilts I made for my Improv Adventure class. It is a loosey-goosey Log Cabin with little snippets of color between the logs. These fabrics are from the Gee's Bend solids collection by Windham (now retired) and I enjoyed so much working with them. They were a hand-dyed batik with a sueded look and feel.

When Windham asked me to design a quilt using their new Colonies Collection by Nancy Gere, I immediately thought of this design. I upsized it . . . and what did I come up with?

I began here:
Center of my Fractured Jewels quilt
 Now for the whole quilt:

It is a combination of structured cutting and sewing and some improvisation (fitting the larger logs in with the fractured jewels insets). It was fun to work with a solid palette. Not something we do very often, but when you do, you can use any and all colors because the patterns don't get in the way. All you see is contrast and a saturated group of color.

Where can you get the FREE pattern? Right here: Fractured Jewels by Debby Kratovil
That link will take you to the Windham Fabrics web site where you can view swatches of the fabrics and then select a link to take you to the 6 page pattern in pdf format.

The pattern has several pages of clear, step by step illustrations. I hope you enjoy it and make your own modern quilt statement, challenging yourself to work only with solids.

And, as always, I am so happy you've visited my blog today. Share this with your friends. And don't forget, there are THREE blog posts this week with THREE prize giveaways.

Monday: The Regency Collection (Blank Quilting) mini blog hop
Tuesday: The "Say it with Flowers" BIG blog hop
Friday: I'm a guest blogger at the Benartex blog site

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fossil Ferns Still Shine!

Paper Pieced Carpenter's Wheel
I keep discovering older quilts that I made with Benartex Fossil Ferns. I can be forgiven for forgetting, I guess. I've made almost 1,000 quilts and published most of them. Thank God for digital images and file folders on my computer with a searchable data base!

The Carpenter's Wheel quilt is typically sewn with y-seams and true diamonds. These are true diamonds but I have no set-in seams. This pattern appears on my "Shortcuts From a Short Woman" CD of 16 patterns. Still a popular seller.

Patches and Leaves Table Runner
Patches and Leaves - from my Block a Day Calendar
I combined a Benartex print with several colors of Fossil Ferns to make this table runner. The block appears in the Quilter's Block a Day Calendar (Martingale). I use this as a teaching sample. You can see all of the blocks in the calendar by selecting the link. The desktop calendar is in its 4th printing (it's not tied to a calendar year; it's perpetual). I sell the companion CD which has 366 blocks in TWO SIZES and 12 quilt projects. Works on all computer platforms (nothing to install). A bargain at $12.95. I'm just saying.

This is brief because I am busy getting ready for THREE POSTS next week (yes, 3 with giveaways!)

1. On Monday (May 27), we have another mini-blog hop featuring fabrics from the new Regency Collection by Blank Quilting.


2. On Tuesday (May 28), my day for sharing "Say it with Flowers" will be awesome!


3. On Friday (May 31), I will be posting as a guest designer on the Benartex blog!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Looking for Benny at Quilt Market

Clarification: You look for Benny at the Benartex blog site, NOT at Quilt Market.

Benartex Fabrics is having a contest to help keep them sane during Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon. They took along a little buddy named Benny and each day Benny visits a different spot and if we can find him in the pictures (on their blog) we can enter a contest to WIN FABRIC! Yes, FABRIC! All details at the Benartex Blog

OK, what does Benny look like?
HI! I'm Benny and I'm going to Quilt Market.
You can start your journey to possible FABRIC winnings by going here first: Find Benny

What can you make with Benartex Fabrics? Well, let me show you some that I've featured here on my blog:
Royal Star quilt - FREE pattern
My famous Royal Star quilt made with Fossil Ferns.
Twisted Hexagon placemats made with Fossil Ferns
How about some wickedly sharp points in my Mariner's Compass with those ferns:

Seeing Red quilt from my new book

Love those Ferns: Carpenter's Wheel quilt

More Ferns; Royal Star table mat

OK. A table runner. Now owned by my friend Terri S.
 I forgot to say that Seeing Red uses Fossil Ferns for the background:


Katie's Garden quilt (also in my new book): Katie Collection by Benartex

Feathers and Fancy Collection - love those peacocks!
 Another Twisted Hexagon with the peacock in the center

Owl Be There Collection - tutorial

Under the Big Top
OK. Now let's go find Benny and win some fabric. Benny who? Let's see his picture again. And where do we go to enter this contest? Sew in Love with Fabric Blog

Where's Benny?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quilters' Favorites - a Linky Party

Welcome to the Quilters' Favorites Linky Party hosted by Geta's Quilting Studio. What's this about? Sharing of tips and tricks, techniques, favorite tools, and all things quilting for the larger quilting world. I love this! Geta gave us a long list of questions we could answer as they relate to our quilting style. I promise to stay short and sweet.
Quilter's Favorites - Visit Geta's for dozens of quilters sharing!
Geta's Quilting Studio: Quilters' Favorites
Favorite Quilting Notions:
Add-A-Quarter Ruler
Did you know this ruler was initially designed to add 1/4" around templates and NOT for paper piecing? It has a raised ridge on the underside which butts up against the folded-back paper on a foundation pattern: no slip, trimming patch with accurate seam so adding the next one is not a guessing game. I do a LOT of paper piecing and have several of these. Here are a few blocks I created with this MUST HAVE ruler:
See the pics in the tutorial here: Paper Piecing Monday
Spinning Waterwheels block from my new book (Paper Piecing Perfect Points)
Pickledish Block
Another Pickledish, but basically a Double Wedding Ring
Read about the progress of this Double Wedding Ring quilt
Paper Pieced Double Wedding Ring
Another can't-do-without-notion is lightweight interfacing (NOT fusible webbing):
Light to medium weight interfacing
Why? I use it to turn under the edges of curved units so that I can then machine applique them to another unit or a larger background. I've been doing this for 20 (gasp!) years ever since I took on a block of the month challenge that involved applique blocks. I DO NOT hand applique and so the thought of needle turn turned my innards to jelly. Here are a few examples of how I have used it in the past few months:
Sew a ring of 1/2 hexies then applique a faced hexagon to the center: Read about here
Sewing around the hexagon center patch; then appliqueing to center of half-hex ring

 This is from the Hugs and Kisses Hop using my Beginner's Mariner's Compass pattern
Can you see the interfaced circle?

Circle appliqued to center; edges neatly turned using interfacing
Colors I Love: 
Brights with good contrast. Why? Not sure, but I've always gravitated towards them. You probably have a favorite palette. Don't sew with other people's colors. You won't have fun. Here is a quote I love to share:
 THE IMPORTANCE OF FABRIC

A book by Sandy Cummings, “Think Outside The Block” gives a great perspective about fabric, and solves the age-old mystery of why we have so many UFOs in our closets.

Always work with fabrics you love. If you do, even when you are experimenting, your commitment lever will be higher. You have a better chance of creating something that you will continue working on and finish. You will also work harder to solve problems that arise. Quilting requires a big investment of time; why compromise on the fabrics you use?

Color is an exciting element of design. It can be subtle and calming or loud and powerful. For an artist it helps express emotion; for the viewer it evokes an emotional response.

Best sewing tip (for machine piecing): 
Get an accurate 1/4" seam. Make sure it is straight. Don't accept anything less. Either purchase a 1/4" foot for your machine or if your machine has the option of moving the needle over (both of mine do) - move that needle! I teach thousands of students each year and this is the greatest hindrance to getting the results they want.

4. Do I have free tutorials on my blog? Yes, but they appear in regular posts and I don't have them in one place. But I will work on that. What are some of my most popular ones?

My EASY version of stack 'n whack
You can see a step by step tutorial here: Spinning Pinwheels
8 identical squares of fabric make 8 kaleidoscope fabrics: lap size quilt
Magical Mitering - no y-seams
Quilt Software?
Loved QuiltPro when I had it. I am a Mac user and don't have any use for EQ. I work in the industry standard for publishing, Adobe Illustrator, and so I design all the art for my books, calendars, patterns and magazine publication using that. I can draw anything and it's print ready.

Tips for Organizing?
I featured my sewing space a few months ago and it was hilarious for me to share those pics. I try to keep it picked up, but I'm an adult with ADHD, so nothing more needs to be said. Take a peek at these:
My trusty Bernina 1230 - 21 years old
 Labeled boxes with class samples, UFOs
Yes, I eat a lot of yogurt. But they keep my UFOs organized

I label every box. Some live in the basement, some in my sewing room closet
 My cutting mat sits on a 28 year old kitchen bar. Perfect height and size
Yes, that's my stash. Mainly organized by color and/or fabric collection
I have sewn for various fabric companies since 2005 and now tend to keep my fabrics together based on those collections. I also have themes (the top left shelf has most of my novelty prints). The far right top two shelves are Westminster (Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett). I have a shelf for 1930s prints, a whole shelf dedicated to reproduction coverlets. It's the way my brain thinks. Do I misplace things. OF COURSE!

Well, I'm going to stop here. I welcome you to come back and visit. Almost every post features some tip or trick or piecing technique. As Special Projects Editor of a magazine for 14 years and a traveling teacher with thousands of students each year, I am constantly learning and sharing in the world of quilting. And my blog reflects that. Thanks for stopping by!