Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mom, Can I Have These Quilts?

Gee's Bend Housetop 4 Block Quilt
She came. She saw. She took away two quilts. Why not? It's a quilt museum here!

My daughters like the modern looking quilts. I designed 8 renditions of Gee's Bend quilts for Windham Fabrics (yes! with permission of the Gee's Bend ladies). They've served their purpose and I got paid for my work.

She promised me she would actually hang these. I'm going to check up on her when I visit in January. Oh, yes I am!

From my No Sneaky Peeky class
This one, she says, will go in my two grandsons' bedroom. The first one will hang in her office.

Now I'm going to look for replacements. Remember I said that my house mimics a quilt museum. Can't have a bare wall, now can we?

Stay tuned for the first block in the Galaxy of Stars Block of the Month for 2015. It comes out January 1. And Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Cookie Cutter Trees quilt and candle mat
Merry Christmas to all. I wish you a wonderful year of sewing, quilting, crafting and all things creative.
More trees!
Thank you for making my blog a happy place for my quilts. They send their love and hugs to you!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Galaxy of Stars Supply List

Galaxy of Stars Block of the Month

Galaxy of Stars as it appeared in Quilt Magazine 2006
Well, I have seen (and heard) all the enthusiasm for this 2015 Block of the Month. The elves have gotten busy and informed me that the Supply List should be given out before January. They even included a coloring/planning chart for you to consider your colors.

January Block, Evening Star, is NOW UP!

Remember: this is not a club; you don't have to sign up. You can always remain anonymous. I will not be teaching paper piecing, so if you don't want to make a particular block with paper piecing, just make another one of your favorite rotary cut ones! I may even share some extra blocks I've made for the workshop I taught that are not included in this quilt but use the same colors and are the same size.

Here is the 3 page pdf of supplies (simple supplies; I've included both pictures of the quilts and the planning chart). Choose your own colors. Go wild with scraps. It's your quilt!

Invite your friends and guild members to join in. Please ask them to come to my blog to get each monthly installment. (They may have to sign up to "follow", but I don't hassle my followers, do I?) Don't print and distribute the patterns or I'll get Willy and Nilly to come after you (my copyright protectors).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Galaxy of Stars Block of the Month 2015

Galaxy of Stars Quilt - 80" x 80"
I'm considering a Block of the Month for this blog based on this quilt. I have used it for classes and even an Atlanta quilt shop BOM. There are twelve 12" star blocks, four 6" star blocks (in the corners) and a GIANT 24" star block in the center. The Twisted Star in the center is very easy to cut and piece, I promise.

What say you, blog followers? Are you interested? I would start the first week in January with one of the 12" stars. Some of them require paper piecing. I assume you either know how to paper piece or can find resources online. I won't be able to walk newbies through that process.

Here's how it appeared in Quilt Magazine:

Galaxy of Stars as it appeared in Quilt Magazine 2006
All files are in Acrobat pdf. I will give yardage requirements in January. Each month I will offer tips for pre-cutting that month's patches. I also have a line drawing planning sheet for the 14 blocks.

The last month will be a whirl with the finishing and assembly information.

I've done all the work. Just need to tweak this for an online version.

Let me know if you're interested. Ask your friends to join in, too. I only want to be sure that this is not printed and then handed out willy-nilly (don't know Willy? He's my copyright protector and will hunt you down and . . . you get the picture).

Leave me a comment if you think you'd like to join the fun. This is not a club; you don't have to sign up. You can always remain anonymous. I'm just trying to get a head count of those who might want to take the plunge.

Of course, if you're impatient, you can buy the CD for $10, plus postage. But it's free if you are OK with one block a month!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Supersize 'Em Quilts
Martingale is offering my book as an eBook for $6.00! Yes, you can buy it and download it with every single page as it appears in the 110 page print version. It is in pdf format. You can see all of the quilts here:

There are 6 quilts for paper piecing, so you can print the foundations right from your computer. There is so much in this book. Sale ends at midnight December 21, 2014.

And the quilt on the cover? Would you like to see the inspiration for this?

From the Metropolitan Home Magazine - January 1982!!
I tore this page out of the Metropolitan Home Magazine years ago. I carried it with me from house to house. I was so inspired by those spikey points that I just called it The Spikey Thing (though it is called "Flower Pots and Stars", circa 1920.

Here's your chance to get this pattern (minus the pots) along with 21 others for ONLY $6.00.

Check it out, even if just to look at the quilts: Supersize 'Em Quilts

Sale ends at midnight Sunday, December 21.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Quilts, Day Three (and free pattern)

Antique Rose Block: 10"
Today I feature a lovely, traditional applique block called Antique Rose, 10" x 10". It is very similar to one of the two blocks featured in my very favorite Christmas quilt shown below. I remember beginning this quilt thinking I would hand applique. Ha! After a few stitches, I tossed the whole thing in the trash, pulled out my fusibles and happily stitched it by machine. Loved every minute.

Antique Rose and Wreath Quilt
This is an antique block given to me by my then editor, Jean Ann Wright, at Quilt Magazine. It is a whopping 36" square (before borders). What do you think? I added the triple border with Nine Patch to finish it out. And, of course, I machine quilted it!

Antique Rose Quilt
What? You don't have time to sew before Christmas? Well, just save this for those crazy January days when you're housebound with snow. What? You don't get snow where you live? OK. Just save the pattern for when you have the time!

Antique Rose pattern
You can get the pdf file (for more accuracy) here: Antique Rose Pattern

Let's see if I can find more quilts in my Christmas Quilt Vault!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Quilts - Day Two

Baltimore Album "Cheater Cloth" quilt
Oh, I dream of having a real Baltimore Album quilt. I've even blogged about it last year at this time with my cheater panels (see post here)

This little quilt was made at least 10 years ago and I bought a small panel of pre-printed blocks, set them on point with that deep, rich red fabric, and added a triple strip border. Love this little quilt and it actually hangs in my kitchen year round. It was featured in one of Quilt Magazine's special issues and I know that made her happy!

One of my Baltimore Album blocks
Maybe I'll go looking for that UFO box and play around with them. I just love those rich colors, don't you?

 I have a few more quilts in my Christmas Quilt vault. Hope to show you some more.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Quilts - Day 1 (and free pattern)

Holiday Splendor Lone Star Quilt
I'm pulling out my trusty, faithful, colorful Christmas quilts and I remembered this one I made about 5 years ago and turned into a class: One Day Lone Star! The center Lone Star block is about 37" square. These fabrics are so sophisticated, aren't they? They are from Blank Quilting.

I created a second quilt as a pattern for Blank using their Inspiration 4 Collection. It's the same center. Would you  like the pattern?

Star of Promise Quilt
It really is possible to finish the piecing of the Lone Star center in a 6 hour class when all your strips are pre-cut. Many of my students do!

Click here for your free Star of Promise Quilt

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Student Quilt - Cupid's Arrows

Cupid's Arrows by Dawn P. from Atlanta
I love seeing what my students finish, and Dawn took this class at the Quilting Live! Show in Atlanta in September. This is a Palm Block, also called Hosannah. I called the class "Cupid's Arrows" because it was part of a blog hop around Valentine's Day. This is paper pieced and is done in an off-center log cabin approach, so that there are no units to join - when you're done piecing, the block is finished.
My Cupid's Arrows class sample
If you look closely, she used a wonderful paw print in the block and also in the border. Don't you just love you she made the best use of the curvy fabric in the setting triangles? What to GO, Dawn!

The block is 7" finished. It is from my latest book, Paper Piecing Perfect Points. Students learned not only how to paper piece, but also how to set blocks on point. You can see the quilt I made for the book by following the link above. I have many several quilts using this pattern. And would you look at those pointy points? Wow!!

Thanks, Dawn, for sharing this wonderful quilt with us.

If you've made a quilt or table runner, etc using one of my patterns (whether in a class or on your own), please do let me know. I really want to feature them here on my blog.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Pattern: Tessellating Leaves

One more Christmas quilt from long ago
I remembered this post from last December and thought I'd reshare it with you. These Tessellating Leaves work with ANY fabrics, any holiday and colors. The pdf pattern is still available. If you didn't see this last year, I am happy to offer it to you. It was published many years ago in a Quilt Magazine issue and I'm so glad I have that photo!

I think this would look good in red and white. Or blue and white.

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Crochet 2015

Better than a magazine, the Crochet 2015 desktop calendar
My own calendar publisher, Andrews McMeel, is the TOP DOG in calendars! I didn't realize it until a few months ago when I did some sleuthing and discovered that they publish all sorts of calendars besides craft (quilting, crochet, knitting, etc). To a quilter, everything is a piece of fabric, I guess.

From their web site:
Andrews McMeel Publishing is the nation's top calendar publisher, annually producing calendars based on many top-selling properties such as Dilbert, Thomas Kinkade, and Mary Engelbreit, among other characters and titles, and selling more than 15 million calendars each year.

Anyway, I just received a copy of the Crochet 2015 Calendar and I've pulled out numerous pages of my new favorites. (Yes. Now the calendar is a mess with sticky notes, disorganized pages; who says I have to keep them in order?)

If you are a yarn junkie like me and are always looking for crochet inspiration, this calendar is for you. You can purchase it online in a variety of places, including the official Andrews McMeel calendar site.

Let's see some of the projects I pulled out to work on right away. (I received permission from AMM to use these images.)

First, I want to go beyond square potholders. I've made a few dozen square ones and it's time to work on some circles!

Scrap Potholders by Susan Lynn, Crafts and Things
And I've been working on some wristers, but I've gotten the sizes wrong. Maybe I should be following a pattern . . . ?

Shell Cuff Fingerless Mitts by Claudia Barbo (

I have a new granddaughter and her mother loves all things girlie. I've made her 6 cowls (again, a rectangle!); it's time to branch out.

A-Line Jumper, courtesy of Bernat yarns
And I'm back to hats and scarves, but with a little more personality.

Two-Tone Hat & Scarf by Jessica Elisabeth
Can I show you the FIRST hats I've ever made? I found a super easy pattern on the Lion Brand site and used Paton's wool. Easy! Made these over the weekend and mailed them to my two little grandsons. I'm anxious to see if they fit.

Wool blend hats for my little grandsons
Oh, so you're not into crochet? How about knitting? Or hey - I have a great idea! How about quilting?
2015 Quilting Block and Pattern a Day Calendar
This is the 9th calendar I've done for Accord Publishing (a division of Andrews McMeel. I've put the 2016 calendar "to bed" in August and now am working on the 2017 calendar. My brain is empty! I hope you can find it at your local big box store, quilt shop, or even online. Visit the online store of Andrews McMeel to see more about this calendar and order it!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Love and Dove Ornaments (and free patterns)

Quick sewing 8 dove ornaments with Audrey
"Hi, mom. Can you help me? I need 8 dove ornaments for a Christmas exchange next week."

Oh, sure. I'll put my magician hat on and wave my magic wand and voila! - 8 quick ornaments.

Lucky for me I had a Santa sack of various crafts sitting in my hall closet (honest) that I had pulled out last week looking for something. In there is my trusty Dove Ornament pattern. And I even had a sample ornament to remind me of what they look like.

I did the fusing. Audrey did the cutting out. I quick stitched the gold thread on the outside. I was shocked to see I still had some gold cording. We found that 10" lengths worked best.

Here is a single ornament front and back:

Holiday Dove: 4" x 5"
 Use pretty fabric on the back, too.

Holiday Dove, reverse
You can get the FREE PATTERN at my Craftsy store. It's a one page pdf that also includes a simple heart shape. All you need are scraps of pretty fabric, bits of fusible webbing and batting. Everything is sandwiched, fused and then stitched. I use freezer paper as my template material.

Holiday Love and Dove Pattern

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Paper Pieced Birdhouses (and free pattern)

Set of 12 Birdhouses to paper piece
I created this set of 12 birdhouses over 10 years ago and it still is very popular with quilters. Just when I think I should mothball them, another person asks for them. So, I bundled them for sale at my Craftsy site (only $5.50 for all 12 patterns in pdf format).

Home Tweet Home Block with fussy cut "door"
I up-sized the Home Tweet Home block two years ago to make a quilt for Blank Fabrics for Spring Market. I love this little quilt with the lush blooms in the border.

In 2013 I had a Birdhouse Quilt Along, but I couldn't keep up and some folks got frustrated with me. So, I took it down!

Would you like the pattern for this block? It is 7-1/2" x 10" and easy to foundation piece.

Just click here for Home Tweet Home and piece away! Maybe you can make a holiday birdhouse. Let me know how you like it or how you plan to use it. Now that I'm home for a few months I can do more designing and get my patterns page at Craftsy up to date. I do like to offer free patterns along with those for sale. If you haven't been to my Craftsy site lately, go take a peek.

Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Supersize Quilt Blocks

Diadem Quilt from Supersize 'Em Quilts
My second book is out of print for the hard copy version, but my publisher (Martingale) now has it available as an eBook and it's got a special price through November 23. You don't have to go out of the house, get dressed or get in the car to buy it. The beauty of digital!

Go see the blog post and see the various ways you can use these supersized blocks. The Diadem Quilt uses a 14" block (see first picture).

Rotary cut Lone Star blocks - 19" x 19" EACH!
Now, those are really supersized blocks! I love teaching classes on this Lone Star, too. No set in seams, by the way.

The 16" Album Block by Jean Ann Wright
Go take a peek at every single one of the 22 projects in the book. And check out the fabulous price.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Technique Tuesday with Knitty Sheep

See what those crafty sheep were up to!
Take a visit to the Benartex Fabrics blog - Sew in Love with Fabric - to see how to make these blocks very quick and very easy. And see what those clever Knitty Sheep were up to besides knitting!

Fun fabrics . . .

Monday, November 10, 2014

Baa Baa Sheep Tutorial Tomorrow


Tomorrow is Technique Tuesday over at the Sew in Love with Fabric blog by Benartex. Just thought I'd give you a teaser picture. These two sheep have been up to some mischief with my yarn and crochet hooks, so come on by tomorrow, Tuesday November 11 for a peek at some new fabric and a tutorial on how to make this easy quilt.

Goes live at 9:30 am Eastern (USA).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fabric Postcards

I mailed this to my husband several years ago; still sits in his office
My favorite quilt shop in Atlanta (Intown Quilters) sent their newsletter announcing upcoming classes and one of them is a fabric postcard swap. How fun! I taught a workshop several years ago on making these little gems and I want to share some of my creations here.

I used a tiny yo-yo in the postcard at the top of the page.

Bits and pieces of trim and rick rack add some pizzazz to a card. Notice that I use a decorative/blanket stitch along the edges. That's how I join it to a cardstock backing.
Don't you just love this dancing groundhog?
Tiny bits of trim and fuzzy yarn; wool felt packages
And a few others . . .
My daughter bought me a pair of green sneakers and I sent this to thank her!
 I wore those Saucony Jazz Edge sneakers every day for years. Still have them and love putting them on with some jeans. Very fun.

Then how about using a specialty edge rotary blade to trim the postcard? I straight stitched around the sides first. Used freezer paper to cut the "picture frame"; added fusible webbing to back of red fabric. And yes, there is batting in there. So, this is quilt related!

An excellent way to capture a novelty print
And more, using paper piecing. . .

Little 3" paper pieced boat; sewing machine letters
Here is a jpg of the boat block. Not sure how it translates on your end, but I hope to get some uploaded in pdf:

One of my paper pieced trees

I still have this; postage on back is $.39, so you know it was several years ago!
Now I'm going down to the basement to find the 2 dozen postcards I received in a swap several years ago. Some of them are so awesome and true works of art. I'll take pics and put them up soon.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my postcards!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Royal Star is Back with a Free Pattern and Tutorial

 Fossil Fern Collection by Benartex: just like a box of candy spilled on my counter top - yum, yum!
 I've been playing with these fabrics for almost 15 years. Yes, they still produce these fabrics - never before has a fabric line stayed popular for so long.
55,000 visitors can't be wrong!

I just checked my stats on this post from two years ago. Can you believe it? 25,000! I've added a tutorial for making the block at the bottom of this page so you can see how to piece the block. Enjoy!

An Antique Quilt Updated: The Royal Star Quilt

The Royal Star quilt from my book, Bold, Black and Beautiful Quilts, 2004
This block pattern first appeared in the Ladies Art Company catalog, #462 in 1922. My quilt was made in early 2002 with Fossil Ferns from Benartex Fabrics. My editor had requested that I be sent a collection of all their bright colors and for some reason I thought of this traditional block. I did not want to use templates and figured that if I just rotary cut the centers, I could make a paper piecing pattern for each of the four corners. It didn't really matter that the block wasn't a standard 10" or 12" (it's 8-1/2" finished) because all of the blocks are set with each other and size is not crucial to this setting.

This quilt was featured in 2 separate magazines, once on the cover
Did you know that Fossil Ferns are STILL being produced by Benartex? They were designed by Pat Campbell - are you ready for this? - 15 years ago!! This is unheard of in the textile industry but honest to goodness, these fabrics are TIMELESS. I have a batch of fat quarters that I dig into from time to time and they never fail to meet my need for a textured solid.

OK. So why would I tempt you with this quilt if the book is out of print? Well, you could buy my CD of all 16 quilts (go to my web site for that), or you could go just a little further in this post and get the quilt pattern for FREE!

Royal Star Quilt Free Pattern
Please let me know how you like this antique quilt updated. I will pass on the comments to this little quilt that goes on the road with me from time to time, but otherwise lives on a shelf in my closet. She would be so happy to hear from you!


1. Prepare your foundations. You will need four of the star corners. Pre-cut the fabric shapes for each of construction (all sizes for these are in the FREE PATTERN)
Cut out parts according to pattern
 2. Use the blue square in Position #1 on the pattern. Place it on the UNWRITTEN side of the pattern with the wrong side of fabric touching this unwritten side.
Notice that the fabric extends away from all lines around Patch #1. Pin in place
3. Without turning pattern over, fold back along line between Patch 1 and Patch 2. Trim away excess blue fabric, leaving 1/4" seam allowance.

(Dark) postcard used; fold along line. Add a Quarter gives perfect 1/4" seam allowance
 Both sides trimmed
Both sides of Patch #1 trimmed, leaving 1/4" seam allowance from side lines.
4. Pin rectangle (orange) for Patch #2 to cut edge of Patch #1, right sides together. Pin

Fabric for Patch #2 pinned, aligned along newly cut edge of Patch #1.
5. Now it's time to turn pattern over and sew on the line between Patch #1 and Patch #2. Sew all the way from the outside edge of the pattern, THROUGH both outside seam allowances. Finger press orange patch away from seam (see below)

6. Repeat for Patch #3. Pin and sew on the side with the lines. Turn pattern over and this is what you see . . .
Patch #3 added. Notice I have sewn from edge of fabric to other edge of fabric.
7. Press patches as shown . . .

Patches pressed, awaiting trimming
8. Time to trim again before you add the last two (blue) patches. ALL trimming is done on the printed side. Fold the pattern back on the line, use an Add-a-Quarter ruler for the 1/4" seam allowance.

Patches 2 and 3 trimmed
 9. Add Patches 4 and 5, one at a time; press  . . .
Star point unit - what a mess, huh?
10. Now it's time to trim excess fabric using the seam allowance markings on the pattern. Turn this over and . . .

If you look closely, you can see how I sewed off the paper with every seam. This ensures that I sewed in the seam allowances, just as you do with traditional piecing. Those seams criss-cross in the seam allowances.
Can you see the excess fabric that extends away from the outside of the paper?
11. The outside edges of my paper are where I'm going to trim. It is 1/4" away from the outside triangle line of the unit.
Wow! It sure looks good when it gets cleaned up.
Can we see the front? Glad you asked . . .
Make 4 of these for each block
 Now it's time to add the Nine Patch (made with 2-1/2" squares) with the Star Points.

Royal Star block parts
Now for the full block sewn:
Isn't she pretty?
I was just using scraps, so I didn't have enough to make a bigger mug rug. I did have one I made a while ago that I'll show you. But first, let's see another color combination . . .

Royal Star block with black background
And how does it look with some of the sashings like I used in my full quilt? When the sashing fabric is the same color as the block background, the star seems to float on the black

Triple sashing and 9 patch blocks
And here's my mug rug from a previous life . . .
Block size: 8-1/2". With 1" sashings and squares: 14-1/2" x 14-1/2"