Thursday, February 26, 2015

Windham Wednesdays on Thursday

It doesn't matter what day it is if I'm having another GIVEAWAY, now does it? Remember, I promised to give away a free Gee's Bend pattern once a week for the month of February. (Go to the end of this post to learn how to enter this last giveaway of these patterns. But please look at my pictures first.) Last week's winner was Beth A. from Washington (state). She chose the Medallion Variation:

Medallion Variation Quilt: 52" x 76"
I'm back with some more of that awesome Mimosa Collection. This time I cut out a bazillion melons using my Double Wedding Ring tool (OK, not a bazillion, but it seems like it when you are cutting them one by one).

All the red fabrics from the Mimosa Collection
What am I going to do with them? Well, I have an idea that has to do with an Orange Peel block.
Two template set in my EZ Double Wedding Ring pattern
 I have used that center melon for a LOT of quick quilt projects. You can see below how I use fusible webbing on the wrong side of the fabric and trace around the simple shape.

Melon shape in my EZ Double Wedding Ring pattern & template set
Yes, I'm still talking about Double Wedding Ring patterns. I have made several in the past 3 years:

Double Wedding Ring Blossoms (four 12" blocks)
A single block quilted
Table Runner using both patches
And do you remember Flower Power from the 60's Blog Hop last year?

Flower Power with a printed motif from an old Lakehouse fabric
Yes, I do sell this pattern set. No, you can't find it on my web site. It has both acrylic templates, patterns for both green and black projects, the pink and green runner and ideas for arranging these awesome shapes into other variations. $15, plus $2 postage USA addresses; international, contact me first.

I take orders via PayPal.

Now, if you want to be entered into the Gee's Bend pattern giveaway, just leave a comment below. Contest is over tonight at midnight and I will contact the winner some time tomorrow. If I don't hear back by Friday, I will choose another person. If you're a no-reply comment, I have no way to contact you (sigh).

The giveaway is NOT the template set. There is some misunderstanding about this, which tells me people aren't reading my WORDS. I will have a giveaway of the DWR template set sometime in the future, but TODAY'S giveaway is a GEE'S BEND PATTERN. Got it?

Thanks for joining my quilts today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

More Double Wedding Rings and a Tutorial

When I got married in 1977 to my dearly beloved, it was a double wedding ring ceremony. Simple rings, simple ceremony. It was in Africa and a garden affair (actually someone's lovely back yard). Most quilters imagine a Double Wedding Ring quilt to be daunting and I agree - unless you find some shortcuts. And I'm the queen of shortcuts!

Two years ago I was sent a collection from Blank Fabrics called Mariko.

From the Mariko Collection by Blank Fabrics
I combined them with some blenders also from Blank called Rock Candy:
Rock Candy Blenders
I used the pattern I shared on Monday and foundation pieced 8 wedges:

Foundation pieced DWR wedges
(A mistake to photograph these on my green cutting mat!)

Then I began to sew these to the melon shapes, squares and concave background pieces. SLOW is the operative word, I assure you!

Sew one paper pieced unit (with paper removed) to the center melon
Sew background piece to another pp wedge; now add corner squares
Add a background unit to the first section with the melon attached. And what do you get?

In looking at this picture again (photographed 2 years ago), I realized that I didn't like this arrangement! Can you see the difference between the picture right below and the finished quilt? Yes - I decided to leave one of the curved paper pieced arcs without the floral background piece. Repeat 3 more times and NOW we have the finished table topper (last picture). This is what happens when you abandon a project for 2 years!

One quarter of my DWR table topper
Now it was time to machine quilt my 4 units. I have had fun using my new Handi Quilter Sweet 16 (sit down model) and this was a perfect size for that. Again, when a fabric is a busy print, my belief is that you don't have to be fancy with your quilting. I used my loops in the center and then "echoed" the wedges in the DWR arcs using up and down swirls. I selected one thread that would work with all the colors.
Double Wedding Ring table topper quilted on a Handi Quilter
I have used bias binding only a handful of times in my 30 years of quilting. For this, I HAD TO use bias binding. Whew! I was sweating bullets, for sure.

If you want constant inspiration of what a variety of Handi Quilter machines can do, visit their Facebook page to see daily pictures of some awesome work. And they're not "loopers" either (like me).

See? It's not that overwhelming. Of course, I did not make a bed sized quilt. I just satisfied my desire to both work with those fabrics and to see how a DWR unit would look.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Double Wedding Ring Revisited

I keep coming back to some paper pieced Double Wedding Ring (DWR) arcs that I've been working on for about 6 years. I guess I'm not in a hurry. I've made quite a few DWR quilts over the years. My initial thoughts were - let's simplify! One of my first was this quilt (which is now a Craftsy pattern):

Shotgun Wedding Ring
I know this is a big picture, but I wanted you to see the quilting on it. Amazing, isn't it? Michele Wyman of Acworth, GA quilted this for Susan Fisher, who made it. It appeared in my first book: Bold, Black and Beautiful Quilts. I called it SHOTGUN WEDDING RING because it was quick to make.

Those melon shapes have a fused backing and are raw edge appliqued. The blocks are 15" square. (This quilt has 12 blocks) The multi-page, well illustrated pattern ($5.00) also includes a full page line drawing so you can color in your fabric choices.

Here is another DWR quilt I made eons ago. It is a rag quilt with the edges of the melons fraying in the washing machine:

Rag quilt from years ago
 And now back to the paper pieced arcs:

Pre-cut patches for each piecing
OK, Debby.  Where did you get the pattern? I confess: sometimes I like to work with someone else's pattern (like once every 5 years) and don't want to bother drafting my own. This is a FREE pattern from McCall's Quilting. I altered it for my own use, but the size and # of patches is the same.

You will need to download TWO files. One is for the instructions (with the picture of the quilt) and the other is for the templates and foundation. Vintage Double Wedding Ring Quilt is the page where you'll see a lovely picture of the quilt and shows both links.

Here are a few of my units. I'll share more later this week.

Whew! Two arcs and two squares make one unit
 And then what do you do?

Make some of these, too
Stay tuned. I made some of these in some Asian prints. I also used some of the parts to make some interesting blocks (Patty's Summer Parasol). I'll take some more photos and share them.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, George Washington

 Happy 283rd Birthday George Washington

Born February 22, 1732

George Washington was the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, and an innovative farmer. His example of character and leadership continues to inform and inspire future generations.

George Washington, our first USA president
Last year at this time I featured a tribute to George by showing off some fabric with his face on it. Do you remember?

Fabric panels by Windham Fabrics
 Yes, I actually have some of this! It is the Old Glory Election Commemorative Edition, c. 1850

Wow, George. What a large head you have. And flags for a headdress?
I had some giveaways of these panels. I allowed myself to keep one of each. Not sure what I'll do with them, but hey - I don't have plans for much of my stash.

I love modern quilts and fabrics. I also love traditional fabrics and quilts and the reproductions. Windham Fabrics does an awesome job with these, don't they?

Happy Birthday, George. Aren't you glad you're out of the wretched snow we have here in the DC area? Mt. Vernon got a lot of it and you had no snow plows back then! Stay warm, my friend.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Red and White and Graphic!

We are still in February and that means red. Red for Valentine's Day. Red for National Heart Month. Well, red is also the color of FABRIC, right?

I have a newish pattern with Cut Loose Press that uses a specialty ruler by Creative Grids. I have named it Red Hot Logs. Do you want to see it? Of course, you say! This is a quilting blog, for goodness sake.

Red Hot Logs - 42" x 50"
I was using the 8" Log Cabin Trim Tool by Jean Ann Wright. Jean Ann was my senior editor at Quilt Magazine for 14 years (she was editor for 25 years). She published just about everything I created. I learned EARLY to sew for the camera. Contrast. Contrast. Contrast!

Red Hot Logs is a variation of the Log Cabin called the Greek Key. Kind of makes you dizzy if you look at it long enough. The quilt pictured is made with 20 blocks. A friend suggested she'd like to see it in blue. I like that! I'm going to work on it in blues. (I'll keep you posted.)

I have a dozen I'd like to sell. Actually, 11, because I want to give one away. These are quilt shop ONLY patterns (or you can get them from the designer, ME). These are produced by Cut Loose Press (a division of Creative Grids Rulers) and you really need the 8" Log Cabin Trim Tool to make it (or you can figure out the dimensions by looking at the steps).

This is a pattern that is condensed onto one 8.5" x 11" piece of card stock, front and back, in color. Illustrations and great directions. They retail for $3.95 - good price, huh?

Leave a comment here and you could be entered to win a copy of the pattern (international folks are YES included). (Contest for giveaway is over Saturday February 21 at midnight).

If you want to order one, send an email to me ( and you can pay through PayPal ($3.95 plus $1 postage).

There are still 9 days left in RED February. That means ONE MORE WINDHAM WEDNESDAY FOR A GEE'S BEND PATTERN GIVEAWAY. Whew! So many capital letters - I need to take a break.

OK. I'm back. Remember those red Benartex fabrics?

Red, Red, Red fabrics from Benartex
And the letters I cut out?
I understand they will spell I LOVE YOU
Maybe I'll show them appliqued to some blocks.

Thanks for visiting today. Stay warm. Where I live we are in the DEEP freeze!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Free Motion Quilting

Winner of last week's Gee's Bend pattern giveaway was Gill W. of the U. K. She chose the Housetop 4 Block quilt. Congratulations, Gill.

Leave a comment at the end of today's post for another pattern giveaway. Check out my Craftsy site to see all 8 of the patterns. If you win, you can have whichever one you want. Contest is over tonight at midnight (February 18, 2015).

This week's winner is Beth A. of Washington (state). Congratulations, Beth!!

Housetop 4 Block quilt
This post has two parts: first my own improvisational quilting on a small version of a Gee's Bend quilt of my own making. The second is some samples for my upcoming classes.

My oldest daughter has an awesome friend named Meg. They have been buddies since graduate school. I gave Meg her own Medallion Variation quilt last year. She saw the quilt top at my house and was awestruck. I listened to the voices in my head and got it quilted and gave it to her. I was a little tricky in my gifting: I hung it in my kitchen with a BIG sign on it to "Take me home, Meg." I invited her to dinner with Audrey and husband.  It took Meg 15 minutes to get the message!

Meg and me in my kitchen with her Medallion Variation quilt
 I had a little sample from a previous class and I thought: Hmmmm. I think Meg might like another one of these Gee's Bend quilts. Maybe if I quilt it quickly and bind it even quicker, I can give it to her on her birthday (January). I did it and she was equally as excited as she was when I gave her the Medallion Variation.

Meg took pictures and sent them to me. Would you like to see them? Of course, you say.

Little quilt on Meg's table

 Without the oranges . . .

Don't you love those rich colors?

Did I tell you that Meg is an awesome person? A perfect friend for my oldest daughter Audrey.

Here she is again. Very simple free motion quilting
I bought a new book by Angela Walters, Shape by Shape. I teach BEGINNING free motion quilting for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo and I'm getting ready for the Lakeland, Florida show March 5-7. I will be in the HandiQuilter Sweet 16 classroom and I decided to make a few new samples. I will recommend this book HIGHLY to my students. I don't copy and share her work; just suggest it and show my own poor versions of her ideas.

What's the matter, Debby? Aren't your old samples good enough? Of course, they are. But I have always been the sample QUEEN! I have 7 years of samples and I'm always thinking of something new. Can I show you what I did yesterday?

A few of Angela's ideas and one of my own
This fabric is light blue, but you would never know it!

Pebbles. I HATE pebbles. I have to tell the truth. Hello?
I hate pebbles, but my students always want to know how to make them. They are so labor intensive.

See the circle at the top left? That is my OWN, GO TO pattern. No name. Just comes off my hands when I get under a needle with the feed dogs down. I actually can get smooth curves and a semblance of order.
Now I can improvise. A little psycho in that bottom circle
I traced circles using (wait for it) - a CD ROM disc. Perfect circle to work with. The diameter is 4.75". Good enough for a lot of things.

OK. I'm tired. I shoveled snow for over an hour today and I think you've got to be weary looking at all these images.

Leave a message or comment to enter my giveaway for the Gee's Bend pattern.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Red Letter Day

Yes, I know this is Friday the 13th. Shhh! I'm not going to talk about THAT, but instead focus on red letters. Remember that group of luscious red fabrics from Benartex?

Red fabrics from Benartex

Well, I cut out some letters, but they got all mixed up! Can you help me untangle them? I think there's a message there but I somehow forgot what it was! Yikes!!

Red Letter Scramble!
I'm not sure if tomorrow being Valentine's Day has anything to do with it. But I will be working on these next week. Red is the color of February (remember this is National Heart Month), so there's no hurry.

I'll keep you posted. But if you have any clue as to what message these letters might spell, let me know!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Technique Tuesday: Hearts on Fire Tutorial

I remade my Hearts on Fire quilt using some batiks from Benartex. While the pattern is no longer available for free, you can see how it's stitched together. You can find this as a single pattern here:

Hears on Fire pattern by Debby Kratovil at my Craftsy site

Or you can buy the 92 page pdf download with this and 12 other quilt patterns for $10:
Best of Calendar Quilts 2012
A selection of Benartex Batiks

Hearts on Fire Quilt, as it appears in my 2012 Wall Calendar of Quilts
I woke up one morning in 2004 with an image of a split heart, each half on a rectangle background. I couldn't wait to get down to my sewing studio. I drew a half-heart and then its mirror image. Then I rummaged through my small stash of batiks. The rest is history! It was published in Quilt Magazine twice and also was the February quilt in my 2012 Wall Calendar of Quilts.

This was the first of about 10 patterns which I call Cookie Cutter Bonanza. It was a popular workshop for several years. All the blocks finish to 10" square. And the students had the choice of selecting any of the 10 shapes to work with during our class time (some people don't like hearts - can you imagine that?)

Here is my approach to this pattern. But I first needed some glorious batiks to demonstrate the steps. This is where those batiks at the top of this post supplied what I needed!

My steps for making this block.

First, you need the template!
Use freezer paper to trace outline of the half-heart
The block is in two parts, with a left and a right half-heart. Use freezer paper to trace the half-heart from the template page. You can make a left and right template, or use the same template and cut half of your patches from the wrong side of your fabric. I like to use freezer paper because I can iron it to the right side of my fabric and I don't need pins. I cut it out and then reuse it to cut out more patches.

Both left and right templates (mirror images of each other
Don't throw these cutaways away! They are perfect for cutting little hearts.
Now, we use the large templates and iron them onto rectangles of batiks cut 5-1/2" x 9". DO NOT USE FUSIBLE WEBBING ON THE BACK OF THESE. You do NOT want to fuse these patches to the background fabrics. A light colored heart fused to a dark background rectangle will change color. A batik fabric has a high thread count and has minimal fraying. I have used fusible interfacing on the back of quilter's cottons, but never fusible Heat 'n Bond or Wonder Under.

Iron to right side of fabric:

Iron the templates to the right side of the 5-1/2" x 9" rectangles

Cut them out:
Cut out patches
Match them to background rectangles cut to 5-1/2" x 10-1/2":

Center and pin
IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you pin the first heart to the background rectangle (the one on the left), you will use this to align the mirror image unit (on the right). Then you use that one to help pin the next left one, and so on.

I am planning for 5 blocks, so I need 5 half-hearts for the left and 5 half-hearts for the right. I cut everything out, placed the patches together to make sure I liked the arrangement before I pinned all of them.

Now it's time to stitch! With my original quilt, I chose a turquoise rayon thread to use for ALL of the hearts. For this quilt I got a bit more particular, as you can see. I pulled out my threads to match the hearts.

Auditioning my threads
Time to stitch. I used a machine zig zag stitch.

Stitch and then trim away from behind the heart
I used these trimmed hearts in my outer border (see in quilt above). Nothing went to waste here!
Trim behind hearts BEFORE stitching rectangle parts together
And how does it look from the wrong side?

Two halves sewn with 1/4" seam; press seam open
And let's see what I did with those little cutaway hearts!
Five Hearts Blocks; two half blocks with the small hearts added
I cut two 5-1/2" x 10-1/2" rectangles of the lavender and blue batik. Then I stitched the little half hearts together and made four of them. Placed; stitched; added all together for this little mini: 20" x 30", needing borders.

Wow, that's fun, huh? And the pattern is now YOURS as a special Valentine's gift from Benartex and me. All you have to do is download it. Pattern is for the larger quilt as shown at the top of this post. For the smaller quilt, add 5-1/2" borders for a 30" x 40" child's quilt!

Hears on Fire pattern by Debby Kratovil at her Craftsy site