Thursday, July 30, 2015

And a Little Crochet . . .

Sometimes I find some luscious yarn at a good price and grab several skeins. Last week I came upon some 100% cotton yarn by Isaac Mizrahi. It is SO SOFT! I generally make potholders. And more potholders. And even more potholders. This is because I can crochet without thinking after the 33 chains. Honest. It's a piece of cake.

(I'm still waiting to hear back from my Windham and Benartex fat quarter bundle winners from last week. I'll let you know when they get back to me.)

Can I show you my previous piles of potholders made with Lily's Sugar and Cream?

Yes, I love color and texture - in yarn as well as fabric
I make these all year long and have little hostess gifts always on hand to grab and wrap in tissue.

Here are my two potholders from this week using the new yarn:

I love variegated yarn!
I chained the necessary 33 for both of these potholders. But I used an H hook for the cream/gray potholder and a J hook for the blue/gray/green one.

Let's see if there's any difference . .
Yes, there is! About 1/2" in both length and width
That just goes to show you that you should always follow the suggested hook size on the yarn paper.

I bought 5 skeins of the cream/gray and 3 skeins of the blue/gray/green. It was on sale for $1.99 a skein (175 yards); retail was $5.99, so I felt like I got an awesome bargain. (This was at Michael's)

I don't knit. Don't know how and don't want to learn. And I'm very boring in that I really don't crochet much of anything else except charity hats for kids (in the winter) and cowls for my daughter and granddaughter. I'm really into easy, I guess.

Are you into the yarn arts and what sort of things do you like to make? Do you knit or crochet and where do you get your yarn?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Green Farms and More Cow Fabrics

Remember my post from last week about making that cow quilt so I could go to Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil-A and get a free meal? Oh, you don't remember the quilt? Allow me (but first put down your cup of coffee):

Simple Cobblestone block
And now 16 blocks together!

Holy Cow! quilt
I wanted an ice cream cone. They were only giving away entrees. Sigh. And I really looked silly with this as my Super Hero cape (try not to think about it).

Well, here is the entire collection:
Green Farms Collection by Benartex
Don't you just love the little chickies and piggies and sheep? Perfect for any little child.

And this is what I made for my little granddaughter, Eva (who is 1-1/2)

Pinafore or painting smock
 I used this pattern before. It comes from the wonderful book called "One Yard Wonders"

And it all began with the Cow Appreciation Day reminding me that I had some cow fabric from Benartex. Then I saw all of the companion prints! Do you think I might have too much fabric? Ha! That doesn't make sense, does it?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Basket Block from my 2016 Wall Calendar

This block appears in the July pages of my upcoming 2016 wall calendar of blocks. It's another LOVE block and I call it "Love Basket."

Love Basket
 Here are the cutting and template directions:

Love Basket templates and cutting directions
This block (and the original quilt from the 2006 Block a Day Calendar) was inspired by this antique quilt:
Antique Love Basket quilt
Isn't this a magnificent quilt?! I have no idea who owns it. This appeared about 20 years ago in Country Quilts Magazine (where I was an editor).

I made this quilt in a smaller version and it appeared in Quilt Magazine several years ago and then again in my 2014 Wall Calendar of quilts.

Antique Baskets Quilt: 9" blocks, 38" x 38"
And here is another variation I made using a Windham Fabrics Collection called "Garden Walk." Somehow the quilt got lost and ended up not coming home to stay with me. Oh, well.

Garden Walk Quilt using the Antique Baskets block
I know that my calendar is being shipped to shops all over the country. I hope you can find it for yourself or a special friend.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Crawfish Runner for Gumbo and Critter Boil

OK. I'm not from Louisianna, but my friend Jeannine's husband's family is and she knew that the fabric  I showed her was NOT Maryland crabs but CRAWFISH! Evidently, there is a difference. I had a few pieces from the Craw Daddy Collection from Benartex and I gave them to her gladly. "Go make something!"

And she did, using my Half Hexagon Braid pattern for the runner:

Crawfish boil ensemble by Jeannine D.
 Made a super sized set of mitts that will fit her husband Bill's hands

Can you believe these awesome mitts?
 And the table runner using just one row of half hexagons:
Half Hexagon Braid table runner
My pattern dates back 20 years when I first did it for Quilt Magazine. There are several others on the market today, but mine came first!

Jeannine always amazes me. To me, every piece of fabric yells "QUILT." To her, she sees all sorts of other useful things. She inspires me to climb out of my little world and make, well, useful things!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Christmas in July on Windham Wednesdays

Another day, another beautiful collection of holiday prints. Today I share the Christmas Tidings Collection by Windham Fabrics. I decided to use the same 3 blocks I featured in my 4th of July post. Remember those wonderful 18" blocks made with the USA Collection? I think it's fun to see how a fabric personality can change the feeling of a block. Today, we'll see if this works.

Here are the fabrics. Traditional, rich in color and texture. And can you believe all that gold?!!

Christmas Tidings by Windham Fabrics
There's a giveaway of these fabrics. Wait for the end of the post!

Now for the first block. Here are the swatches I cut out. I was using the Yankee Charm block:

Swatches cut out for the 18" Yankee Charm block
Very easy and quick to stitch:
Yankee Charm: 18" x 18"
Here is the next block, swatches first. I added a cream from another Windham Collection:
Swatches cut for the Star Spangled Banner block
And how do those parts go together?

Do you love how I fussy cut that red and white for the star center?
 3 parts became the 18" Star Spangled Banner

18" Star Spangled Banner
And my last block is the Old Glory Star. Very quick and fun!

Fussy cut center of the golden star
 And all together?
18" Old Glory Star
Since I only had 4 days notice, I couldn't quilt it, but you know it's going to go together so quickly on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16. The 3 blocks together make an 18" x 54" wall banner.

All 3 patterns are FREE and in pdf format here: Hey, Hey USA post

Let's compare the two banners side by side. Fun, huh?

Christmas Tidings Banner
Hey, Hey, USA Banner

Now for the giveaway: a fat quarter bundle of the Christmas Tidings fabrics! Leave a comment telling me what you would make with this grouping. Make sure I have your email. Contest is over Sunday night July 26 at midnight. Make sure you visit Windham's Facebook page each day this week to see other bloggers in the Christmas in July hop.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Christmas in July with Homespun Holiday

Yikes! As I write this post it's 95 degrees outside with a heat index of 110 and I'm talking Christmas? Oh, how I wish I had some of that cold weather for an hour or two.

Homespun Holiday is a fabric collection by Benartex and is old fashioned in its personality. Very traditional with deep reds and greens and gold. There's a jolly Santa and evergreen trees flecked with snow (sigh, more of the cold stuff I don't have today).

Homespun Holiday fabrics by Benartex
I created a tree skirt out of these fabrics and you can read all about it and see my step by step tutorial at the Sew in Love with Fabrics blog. And, of course, I offer the free pattern so you can make one too. Very fat quarter friendly! And easy. And quick!

There will be one lucky WINNER for a giveaway of a fat quarter bundle of these fabrics (minus the blenders I added, at the top). There are more (see below)
Homespun Holiday fabrics
To qualify for the GIVEAWAY, leave a comment letting me know what you envision making with a collection like this. It doesn't have to be quilt related! Go visit the Benartex Facebook page (if you do Facebook) and check out all the Christmas fabrics and let me know. Make sure I have your email. Unfortunately, at least 30% of commenters are no-reply bloggers. If you ever wonder why you have never gotten an email reply from me, this is probably why! I try to answer most of my blog commenters.


This is the Benartex Christmas in July blog hop (Sew in Love with Fabrics) so why don't you hop on over there to see what's hoppening - uh, happening!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Big, Beautiful Barn Quilts

I was teaching quilting a few weeks ago for the Uptown Quilt Guild in Warsaw, VA and one of my students was a geometry teacher. Cindy P. told me that she has her students design and make a barn quilt. She sent these pictures to me the other day. They are awesome, aren't they?

I want to make each one (in a slightly smaller size, huh?)

Thank you, Cindy, for showing how quilting is all about math. And color. And beauty.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Windham Wednesdays and More Shot Cotton Blocks

I absolutely love the Hosannah/Palm block. Historic and traditional, but can you believe those points? Never would have made these using templates, would you?

Traditional Palm Leaf block with templates
You've seen these blocks before. And you've seen this  Artisan Cottons Collection by Windham Fabrics before.

Artisan Cottons by Windham Fabrics
 I had just enough of the background grey/white mini print to make 8 Palm Blocks (10"). What do you think?

Four 10" blocks (paper pieced)
And here is the second set of 4 blocks . . .

Four 10" blocks
Here is what the block looks like on the back with paper still on.

10" paper pieced Palm Block trimmed with paper still on
CAUTION! Don't get ink jet ink anywhere near the blocks with paper still on. Can you see the bleeding on the first set of blocks, right above the "D" in my name? Yikes! I had wiped off my kitchen counter and thought I had dried it - NOT!

And here is a block with the paper removed. Because I trim as I go, allowing for 1/4" seam, the back of the block is neat and tidy and looks as though I used templates!

10" Palm Block with paper removed
I am able to print these on my wide format printer. But when that wasn't working for the past 2 years, I had to draft it. It's really easy and I hope to offer this technique as a Craftsy pattern in coming weeks. Then you can draft ANY size Palm block for foundation piecing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Holy Cow!

Yes, that's the name of my Cow Appreciation Day (with Chick fil-A) quilt. I finished sewing the 16 blocks this weekend. They are 9" x 9" and went together very fast. Added borders and I now have something that makes you want to look away (ha ha). I'm going to wear this as a cape and see if they'll give me a free ice cream cone! Or I'll "chicken" out. Will keep you posted!

Holy Cow! Quilt - 50" x 50"
 The collection is called Green Farms and is by Benartex Fabrics. I used 3/4 yard of each of the two fabrics in the center and 3/4 yard for the border. The inner striped fabric is from a past Benartex collection. This obviously will be a child's quilt. I'll donate it to a local group that will quilt it as a charity quilt for sick or needy kids.

Don't look at this too long! Personally, I think Chick fil-A should buy bolts and bolts of these cow prints and use them as starter kits for next year's contest.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cow Appreciation Day

I saw an ad for Chick-Fil-a the other day that asks people to come to any of their restaurants dressed up like a cow and they would get a free meal. (July 14, next Tuesday) Fun, huh? It reminded me of some Benartex fabrics called Green Farms that I have that are perfect for this.

Two skus from the Green Farms Collection by Benartex
While this is not a new collection, it is from this year. And my mind started planning. Do you think Chick-Fil-a would give me a meal if I came in with a quilt? Hmmmm?

Here are two blocks of the 16 I've already sewn. These are simple cobblestone blocks and will finish to 9". I'll keep you posted.

Block #1 - 4" center square; 2-1/2" outer strips (cut 3")

Block #2
Here is a digital image for my border. This is going to be a very simple quilt which will end up making some little child happy. Will it make Chick-Fil-a happy?

This will be the border for my quilt

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hey, Hey! USA and FREE patterns

A few weeks ago I shared a new collection of fabrics by Windham called "U.S.A." These are appropriate for all year long sewing, especially those of you who make the Quilts of Valor. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and we all think red, white and blue.

There are 3 free patterns at the end of this post. I created large 18" blocks which will be perfect for those quilts you and your guild make for service men and women.

U.S.A. Collection by Windham Fabrics
I created Stars and Stripes (the July BOM in my Galaxy of Stars quilt) just yesterday!

12" Stars and Stripes block
 I invited my friend Jeannine to share these fabrics with me. We each took 4 fat quarters and then I split the remaining 4 fat quarters in halves. We went to our sewing rooms and came up with some fun things. Actually, Jeannine had the better ideas. To a professional quilter, EVERYTHING is a quilt. Jeannine is more broad minded and came up with some clever things. Let me show you.

Her first projects were banners, which created scraps and leftovers (banners shown further down. She also made a basket liner. She felt she needed to use up the scraps (silly girl; who uses up scraps? We just buy more fabric!)

Basket liner and star trivet by Jeannine
 Can you believe this awesome coin purse and key ring?

Scraps of the scraps from Jeannine's banner projects
She had more scraps and made a mug rug for her daughter's friend who loves all things patriotic. Jeannine paper pieced that "K."

Mug rug for a friend of Jeannine's daughter in college
Jeannine made not one, but two wall banners. Basic stars with elongated lower sections. Jeannine served in the US Army for 20 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Wall banners by Jeannine.
She tells me she still has scraps. What? Do you think you have to use up all your scraps? I would need 7 lives or take my sewing machine up to heaven with me!

Now, let's see what the (ho hum) professional quilter made. Surprise! A quilt!

I enlarged 3 of my blocks from my Block a Day Calendar (Martingale; in quilt shops everywhere).

(Links for the FREE patterns are given below)

Old Glory Star is at the top of my 3 block banner. Can you see the "fireworks" quilting?

Old Glory Star: 18" x 18"
The middle block is Yankee Charm:

Yankee Charm: 18" x 18"
And, finally at the bottom, Star Spangled Banner. I longarm quilted these with swirls and stars that look like fireworks. I used my Handi Quilter Sweet 16 Sit Down machine.

Star Spangled Banner: 18" x 18"
Now for all 3 blocks together, making an 18" x 54" wall banner that is now in my kitchen for the weekend (and probably throughout July). I sewed them together, block to block, and just added binding (a blue and white stripe from Windham's Basics Collection).

Hey, Hey! USA wall banner
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Take some time to try out these patterns. You will love making such big blocks!