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
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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?

Friday, November 8, 2013

For MY Boys Blog Hop

What can I say? A mother of three daughters finally has a set of boys and now I can make non-girlie things! Miles is 3 years old today!

Favorite activity when they come visit grandpa? Cruising in the wheelbarrow, just this past weekend!
My two little grandsons (1 and 3 years old, this week)
 Another favorite activity? Playing in the big "bubba" truck!
One big boy and two little boys in the truck bed. "Can I drive now, grandpa?"
So, you know I had to make trucks and things with wheels for the little boys.

Pam Rocco's patterns from a past issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
I was going to make a quilt like Pam's and then realized that I didn't have the energy to put an entire quilt together. Plus, I wanted something for both boys to share. Why not over sized postcard versions of these cars, trucks and buses? Well, why not!!

You can see Pam's quilt - and get the free pattern at the QNM site - and my early blocks here: The Wheels on the Bus . . .

My daughter Audrey suggested I add family photos to the "windows", so I did for some of them.

Blue car with Tia Audrey and Miles ("tia" is "aunt" in Spanish)
One of my first blocks:

Simple blue car, quilted in simple echo lines
Here is Grandpa in the window of the green 1985 Dodge Ram pickup.
Turn your head around, grandpa! You need to watch the road!

Little green car. Don't you love that orange tailpipe?
Can Miles really sit in Grandpa's lap like that?
Big, green semi with Miles and Grandpa in the driver's seat (I think that's against the law, right?)
Miles' parents in the front of their orange eco-car
I paper pieced the cars and trucks, added batting, quilted in simple echo lines. Then, to save myself a lot of time, I used a specialty rotary cutter blade to "pink" the edges. Easy and quick. Love it.

Light blue fabric with cars (Benartex) for the back

Dark blue fabric with little cars

Big orange semi
Wow! Look at these crazy people in the front seat!

Tio Dani and Tia Audrey in front window; Aunt Pookie and Grandma in middle window; Great Grandparents in the back
The first bus I made.
You can have the free pattern for Pam's quilt by visiting Quilter's Newsletter:


City Traffic Quilt by Pam Rocco, as seen in the Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
Hope you enjoyed seeing the boys and their toys today.

Many thanks to Amy of Sew Incredibly Crazy and Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt
 for putting this all together!

And Samm? How's this for Superman? You have an action figure, I searched the entire universe and found him at the Masonic Temple in Alexandria, Virginia this summer and he consented to have his picture taken with me! That little boy grew up to be quite a BIG BOY!
Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive . . .
Now go see what today's bloggers have to share about "For the Boys":
 
 Debby Kratovil Quilts (you are here)








Happy Birthday Miles (today) and Matteo (last week)!

Monday, November 4, 2013

For the Girls (my girls)

My 3 "girls" and our dog Belle
 Had all my girls home this past weekend for my oldest daughter's baby shower (Audrey, on the right above, wearing a wool cowl I crocheted). Hilary came in from Pittsburgh, PA (on the left, daughter #2) and Valery (in the center, the youngest) came from Atlanta, GA. The dog just had to sneak her way into the photo and then refused to smile.

What did mom make for her favorite oldest daughter?

Paper Dolls Collection (Windham Fabrics 2007, I think)
Audrey saw a set of these dolls at an Etsy shop and immediately asked me about them. I recognized the fabric and went sleuthing to find it for less than the asking price of $25 a yard of another Etsy seller (gasp!) I emailed about 100 quilt shops around the USA (found a list at the Windham Fabrics site) and while most (of course) had none remaining, a few did and I also bought a yard of the doll clothes.
3 little stuffed dolls with vintage ribbon from my stash
Let's see the fabric, please!
Paper Dolls fabric (about 20 dolls per yard)
Can't have paper dolls without clothes! Dozens of ensemble items
Here is the book I made. Appliqued 2 dolls on the book cover. Aren't they sweet?

Two sweet little girls on the book cover

Cut out the dolls and fused to card stock; carefully cut out
Pockets to hold the little girls safe:
Don't you love the pockets? And this is the card stock backing

Here are some of the cut out clothes with thin batting fused to the back so they "stick" to the dolls

Two more dolls

I pooped out and will let Audrey cut out these items
Audrey absolutely loved this and I actually enjoyed sewing something other than a quilt. And in the room of about 30 baby shower guests, this was the only gift that was passed around. Audrey told me that a lot of the women said, with a sigh: I want some of those!

You might be able to find some of the fabric, too. Visit the Windham Fabrics fabric gallery to see the Paper Dolls collection. There is a link above the main fabric that you can click to see all the shops that have carried it. I have a list of 9 shops that still have some! Let me know if you want that list.