Saturday, October 31, 2015

Boo!

Halloween already? I can't believe it. And - very scary - the clocks fall back one hour to Standard Time. Why do we have to go back and forth like a yo-yo with our clocks, huh?

I thought I'd repost a fun and FREE project from years ago. This is my Bat table topper that first appeared in October of 2012:

Bat Wreath
You can see my picture tutorial and get the free pattern for the bat. (The giveaway has long ago been given away.)

I'm busy unpacking and repacking for guild visits and look forward to no more trips after this last one with the North Carolina guild. I will have fun doing my One Day Lone Star workshop and sharing my quilts in my Shortcuts from a Short Woman trunk show. Then I'm home to create new workshops and test drive some ideas that have been percolating in my head.

Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween and don't eat too much chocolate (yeah, right!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stars From My Bloggers

I came across this quilt made many years ago and gifted to a young couple for their wedding. This uses one of the blocks I've already given you. But look how you can create a different look by adding the Four and Nine Patch Block. Isn't that fun?

Phil and Kat's Stars
I have had several bloggers send me pics of their stars so far. Can I show them to you?

First, here are Amy's blocks. I love that center star. It's one of my favorite blocks!

Amy's Blocks
Amy sent another pic of her blocks arranged in a different assembly:

Amy's Blocks all together
Now for Marie T's blocks. She is using purple in her center star.

Marie T's blocks
Now, how about Maureen's blocks with the white background? I love it!

Maureen's Blocks
It's ok to be behind. This is NOT a contest or a race. Just sew at your own pace. Maybe you can catch up in the next month or two - or never! I just want you to have fun.

My November block will be up on Sunday, November 1. For now, happy stitching!

If you'd like to send me a pic of what you have so far, I'd love to see your blocks. I'll put them up for all to see if you allow me! If I've overlooked you because you did send me a photo, just write and tell me and I'll post them with my November block!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Quilting Makes the Quilt

I am what is called a "Topper." That means that I love piecing and sewing quilt tops. I get the greatest pleasure from taking a pile of fabrics to cut up pieces of fabric to blocks to quilt tops. Then I move on to the next group of fabrics. I have a closet full of quilt tops! Many/most are from the classes I teach. Or just experiments. I love to experiment with fabric. Many ideas stop at just a pile of blocks.

But when it's time to give a gift of a quilt, I realize that a quilt top just won't do it! So, I have to get them quilted or - gasp! - quilt them myself! The Handi Quilter Sweet 16 has REALLY helped me in the past few months finish quite a few of my tops. I've given several away and have several waiting for the next time a call goes out for local charity requests.

Here's what I worked on yesterday afternoon:

Cookie Cutter Hearts, tutorial and free pattern
The Cookie Cutter Hearts was a tutorial and free pattern in partnership with Benartex Fabrics a few months ago. This hearts pattern has gotten a lot of mileage in the past 13+ years!

A few other quilt finishes in the past few weeks:

Storybook Butterflies, quilted in August
Storm at Sea, waiting to be picked up as a pattern
I quilted several small quilts that will go for babies locally. These were class samples that I was able to increase to a decent size with some borders:

Ring of Hearts
Ring of Hearts was the center of a table runner. The side borders were added to make it square and usable for a small child.

Throw Your Hearts to the Wind
Same center size, only now the hearts are scattered randomly. Raw edge applique. Side borders added all around. I don't think a baby will mind the craziness of the borders, do you? And one more quilt using those applique hearts:

Bright, Happy Hearts on Black
Same center square (20" x 20"), but now the hearts are in four groups and appliqued to a black background. I'm so glad these are not table runners. How many table runners do I need anyway? I turned them into small baby quilts that will be enjoyed! And to be able to finish them with a craft sized batting from Warm and Natural and quickly quilt them on my Handi Quilter was very doable.

I am so enjoying turning all these unfinished quilt tops into usable quilts. I am glad they will get to live in loving homes with little babies and small children. Oh, you didn't know? I DON'T make bed sized quilts! Lap size is the largest I quilt. If it's a bed sized quilt I send it out to a professional longarmer!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Some Improv Quilts

I have been sorting my class samples and realized this little mini didn't yet have any binding. I use it when I teach beginning machine quilting. I challenged myself to use every single color in the Gee's Bend Collection by Windham Fabrics and then I quilted it using a different stitch in each patch. It's about 12" square.

Improv Mini Quilt using the Gee's Bend fabrics
 Then there's the one that was the basis for my No Sneaky Peeky class. No two student quilts looked alike (that was the point!) It was fun for everyone. Again, an improv quilt. I think this has gone to live with my daughter Hilary. Though she's not too crazy about the swirly quilting. She's young. She likes the modern straight lines.

No Sneaky Peeky Improv quilt
Then there's the Modern Adventure Class I taught. This quilt actually appeared in Modern Patchwork Magazine a few years ago. It looks difficult but is doable as we worked with blocks and not the entire thing at once.

Improve Adventure Quilt

I'm working on a few more. I revisit various class supplies and samples from time to time. I see new things and new ways to put patches together. Do you ever revisit something that's unfinished?

Then there's my Color Bars quilt. I made a 4 block quilt and a 9 block quilt. Here's a single block which I also use in my machine quilting classes:

Single block from my Color Bars quilt
And the 9 block quilt:

Color Bars Quilt
I have four leftover blocks. They were sewn together last week and I added a border. It's ready to be longarmed on my HQ Sweet 16. It is similar to this:

Four Blocks of my Color Bars Quilt
My daughters love this type of quilts and they always ask for what they see hanging on the wall. Happy to oblige! I wonder who will ask for the first little mini I shared above. If I put it on my private Facebook page, one of them will speak up. I hope there won't be a fight!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Halloween Quilts for the Grandkids

You've seen each of these before. But why not again, I say?

The first one is from my now out of print 2nd book: Supersize 'Em Quilts. It is a GIANT 30" star block using fat quarters of a fun novelty print with mice and pumpkins throughout. This goes to my youngest grandson who turns 3 years old on October 30 (yes, he's a Halloween baby).

Trick or Treat Mice from Supersize 'Em Quilts: 42" x 42"
Because I was working with fat quarters, I had a border challenge. So, I just used various sized pieces cut from the fabrics. More fun for the grandson this has been gifted to.

The next quilt goes to my granddaughter. She is only 1-3/4 years old, so she doesn't need anything big yet. This little Harvest Pumpkin quilt is  FREE pattern at my Craftsy site. Click the icon on the right and you will find it there.

Harvest Pumpkins: 8" block, 25" x 34" quilt
Now, the last quilt is one that I started last year with the Spooktacular Collection from Benartex Fabrics. You can see the tutorial here. I added another set of borders so it would be big enough for my oldest grandson who turns 5 in November.

This was quilted on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16 and I used Warm and Natural batting. Then I gave it a cold water wash and tumble dry. I don't prewash my fabrics, so I wanted to make sure that any renegade dye would be captured in one of those Shout Color Catcher sheets. Since Miles will be reading soon, I think he will enjoy reading all those potion bottles in the borders!

Wow! Can you really bottle Hell fire?
Spooktacular Quilt, about 38" square
Don't you just love those spiders? Oh, wait a minute! I made these two boys some spider pj pants last year. Let's see those!
Friendly spider pants for grandsons
Bloomers made for newborns last October

Hope you enjoyed my Halloween display. And we're having awesome, glorious Fall weather here in the Northeast. I'm enjoying every single minute of this sunshine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Butterflies Pattern in Keepsake Quilting Catalog

Keepsake Catalog asked Windham Fabrics for a quilt that uses Dresden Plates but isn't a Dresden Plate quilt. Huh? Windham called me and asked if I had any design ideas. I said, "Sure! I've done my Dresden Butterflies a few times before and I'd love to do it again." And, of course, it's with their new Storybook Vacation Collection!

Here's the lovely little quilt, straight from the pages of the catalog (on page 30):

Storybook Butterflies: 34" x 34"
I used my "go to" batting, Warm and Natural and quilted it on my HQ Sweet 16 machine.

Now, what did the first quilts look like? The first one was made with authentic feedsacks for the wings. Lovely prints, huh?

Feedsack Butterflies
The next one was made using brights set against black. It was stolen in 2005. It appeared in my first book, Bold, Black and Beautiful:

Butterflies at Night: 35" x 47"
And I remade this quilt, which is now being quilted by Kathy Gray so it can be donated to some lucky child. My grandkids have plenty and will always have plenty, right?

Butterflies at Night 2
So, take a peek at the new Keepsake Catalog Holiday Update 2015. There's plenty to inspire you, even if you're not thinking butterflies!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Block for the Galaxy of Stars

So hard to believe it's Fall. Love the cooler weather but I am missing the extended sunshine. How to stay happy? Sew and quilt, of course.

October's block is the Evening Star Variation. We had another Evening Star in January. This one is much simpler.
Evening Star Variation
I also promised that I would send some information regarding the finishing of the quilt.

Here is a Stars Assembly page to help you plan all the sashing, corner stones, etc. Next month (November) I will give you the patterns for the four 6" Square in a Square units that are in the four border corners.

For those who have not been successful with the paper pieced blocks or haven't enjoyed making them, please know you can repeat a few of the rotary cut blocks. I also hope to offer a few more rotary cut blocks as substitutes next month.

For now, here is the same Evening Star block above, but now with a Four Patch center. No pdf for this; just use the directions for the Evening Star Variation above and for the center cut (4) 3-1/2" squares of any color to go with your points. You could also make the center a Nine Patch: cut (9) 2-1/2" squares for the center. See? No paper piecing!

Four Patch Evening Star
Remember, if you have questions and leave a comment and you don't hear back from me, it's because I don't have your email!

My email is: kratovil@his.com

Thanks for joining in this herculean project! Just think of the wonderful quilt you will have when you're done!

And, I have a few ideas for next year (2016) for a Block of the Month. I'd love to hear what your interests would be. What sorts of BOM projects interest you?