Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Windham Wednesdays with the Hand Maker Collection

Natalie Barnes has created an awesome, modern collection for Windham Fabrics called Hand Maker. With 23 skus in this group, I hardly knew where to begin. But, they whispered loudly and I grabbed a handful of the colors, setting aside the black and white prints for the time being.

The Hand Maker Collection by Natalie Barnes for Windham Fabrics

I grabbed a tried and true pattern of mine and resized it. It's my Easy Winding Ways applique block and you will see how easy this is to make. I wanted to get the most out of a fat quarter, so I cut 8-1/2" background squares that will work with my applique. (You can find this same Winding Ways pattern in a larger, 10" finished block size in my Craftsy Store.)

I began with my template cut from freezer paper. I ironed it to the right side of an 8" square of my chosen fabric, with the fusible interfacing underneath (the applique can be cut from a smaller piece of fabric than the background square). Then I cut it out.
Freezer paper template, fabric and fusible interfacing
I auditioned it on the background fabric I selected. Yep! That's the background I want for this beautiful teal.

Applique paired with a background square.
Then I cut out a total of 6 Winding Ways applique units

6 fabrics: 3 dark and 3 light
I paired and cut out background squares to coordinate with my patches. I then pulled threads for the raw edge applique.

Getting ready for machine raw edge applique
And how did you line up the patch, Debby? I finger pressed vertical and horizontal creases, as you can see. Notice that there is a 1/4" around the 4 sides.

Centering the patch
And can we see one closeup after the applique? I used a small, narrow zigzag stitch around the raw edges.

Zig Zag machine stitch
And from the back? Oh, now you understand why I used fusible interfacing and not fusible webbing. This way you can trim away the background fabric. This is VERY important when you have a dark background fabric and a light patch. If it is fused, the dark will affect the light colored applique patch. Ask me how I know!

Trim background fabric from behind the applique
I want to make more of these blocks, so I haven't sewn them together yet. But I think they look lovely spread out on my work table, don't you? Notice how I will arrange them, light to dark

Blocks auditioning before sewing, lights and darks
 And the finished blocks:
6 EZ Winding Ways blocks
Go visit my Craftsy shop to see my black and white Winding Ways quilt and pattern. It is constructed exactly like this. It is a wonderful way to get the movement in this traditional, vintage block without all the curved piecing!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Updated Double Wedding Ring featured in Modern by the Yard and FREE pattern

The new magazine is out today: Modern by the Yard (Benartex).

You can also preview it at the Sew in Love with Fabric blog site

You will find inspiration and updated traditional blocks for today's quilter. My feature is about an updated Double Wedding Ring (DWR).

DWR melon shapes ready to create something modern

No, I didn't sew these all together. What a lump and sewing challenge that would have been in that center!

Here's what I did create. A real modern twist on a traditional Double Wedding Ring (DWR).

Find this FREE pattern in the new eMagazine: Modern by the Yard
You may find that the link for the pdf containing the melon shape doesn't work. Just send me an email and I'll get that off to you: kratovil@his.com. Benartex is working to fix the glitch.

I hope you enjoy the other 4 patterns included, as well as the features on other quilters and a lot of eye candy for new fabric collections.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Modern by the Yard, Fall Edition, released tomorrow!

The newest edition of Modern by the Yard (by Benartex) is released on Monday, November 28. I was asked to update a traditional pattern and I chose the Double Wedding Ring. It's something I've been doing for almost 15 years and I think you'll like the quilt and the process.

Here's a little teaser:
Sew in Love with Fabric will reveal the pattern tomorrow!
You will also see one of my "oldie goldie" quilts from long ago, also made with Benartex fabrics. Published in Quick Quilts Magazine, early 2000s.

Tomorrow I'll reveal the quilt and a link to get the FREE pattern. Until then, enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Jack's Chain Tutorial

I've made two of these blocks and learned something new with each one. The most important thing for me was that I discovered I did NOT want to sew this by hand OR sew this with y-seams as it is traditionally made.

I found a digital file from 20 years ago when I was an editor with Quilt Magazine. This is one of the images:

This is made using a center hexagon, six equilateral (60 degree) triangles and simple 9 Patch blocks. I began with 2-1/2" strips for the 9 Patch blocks and worked my way out from there.

6" finished 9 Patch blocks using 2-1/2" strips
We all look for blocks and quilts that use up our Jelly Roll bundles, right? Well, this will do it!

My first block was sewn by the seat of my pants (and my sewing machine, btw). I created the center hexagon template (6" hexagon along the straight sides), found that the triangles can be cut from a 5-3/4" strip and started cutting. (Remember, I design with Adobe Illustrator and can create just about any block once I know a few of the dimensions.)

Marking the intersection of the 1/4" seams at the tip of the triangle
This Jack's Chain Block requires marking the 1/4" intersections. Did I say MUST?. This way you can make sure that the seams are totally accurate. If you don't want to take this step, stop right now and abandon this project (did I really say that?)


Mark the 1/4" seams on the Nine Patch
Use a pin to align the 9 Patch with the triangle as shown below:
Using a pin to align the triangle with the 9 Patch block
Sew the 6 triangles and 6 Nine Patch blocks together into a "ring." What you see below is the "ring" and the center hexagon fabric being auditioned underneath. It is NOT sewn yet.

Ring of 9 Patch blocks and triangles, awaiting the center hexagon
Now, back to that 6" center hexagon. This is 6" measured along the straight side (the way those who English Paper Piece measure these things). You can use an acrylic ruler to draft this, as most have a 60 degree line for orientation. My 8 page pdf pattern on Craftsy - for the Jack's Chain Table Topper - has the template for hexagon (as well as process photos, illustrated step by step diagrams and the template for the 60 degree triangles). Since I have bills to pay (as you do), it's not free, but is reasonable ($5.00)!

If you want a FREE PATTERN using 1-1/2" strips, I found a wonderful page by Marcia Hohn for making a Jack's Chain, with templates and very helpful steps, well illustrated, too. She shows steps for joining the 9 Patches with the triangles and then joining them (using y-seams) to the center hexagon. Marcia was a regular contributor to Quilt Magazine when I worked there. This is the link for Marcia's Jack's Chain.

My craftsy pattern is here: Jack's Chain Table Topper, 22-1/2" x 22-1/2"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Windham Wednesdays on the Farm

Today I want to share two sweet projects made for my little granddaughter using the Farm Collection by Windham Fabrics. She is not yet 3 years old and still enjoys the simple things (ie, she's not a teenager, ok?)

Remember this main print I shared the other day?

Main print in the Farm Collection
 Here is the set of fat quarters Windham sent to me. Aren't they SO CUTE? That is one SAUCY rooster, don't you think?

Set of fat quarters from the Farm Collection
I struggled. Why? To a quilter, ALL fabric says "quilt!" But I knew that her mom (my daughter) wanted another pillowcase for Eva. She has several quilts already. I selected two fabrics to go with the main print. All I had was fat quarters so I needed to piece the main part of the pillowcase. One for the front and one for the back.

Happy little farm animals, smiling at me as they know they're going to get off my fabric shelf and go live with a little child!

See how happy these animals are to be on their way to a pillowcase!
 Happy rooster, cow and horse - they like the green thread I chose to topstitch the pillowcase hem.
Selecting the right color of green
Folding the green hem to hide the seam. Pinned and ready to topstitch with green thread.
Back side of the pillowcase

Hello? We can see you from the other side!
Zigzagged seems inside

This was made for a special size pillow: 13" x 18" x 4" deep
Finished pillowcase
Next, for a zipper pouch, I needed to shorten the zipper so it would fit the pouch size. A neat trick, don't you think? At first the pig and sassy rooster were worried I might get their "hair" tangled in it. But, see, they're still smiling?
Little Pig and Sassy Rooster are still smiling
I made a zipper pouch for Eva to put her little treasures in. Don't you love it?
Zippered pouch with batting and lining
And let's see the inside!

Zipper pouch on the inside
Where did I get the pattern for this? Certainly not from my head! I did a Google search and came up with a post from Melly Sews. She shares the neat trick for shortening the zipper, too.

I like the challenge of working with fat quarters. It forces me to be creative. Who says the pillowcase has to made from only one fabric? And I think my granddaughter will enjoy flipping the pillow over to see what's on the other side.

Now I'm off to the Dollar Store to find a few farm themed pre-school items to put inside that bag. She gets this on Thanksgiving!










Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dreamscape Fabrics, Free Pattern & Giveaway!

Contest is over and my winner has been notified. Thanks to EVERY ONE of you for visiting, saying kind words about my block and giving feedback on blenders, paper piecing and anything else quilt-worthy! I appreciate all of you.

Today is my day to share a block pattern at the Sew in Love with Fabrics blog (Benartex). We designers were each sent the same fat quarter bundle of 6 fabrics from the Dreamscape Collection. They are what I would classify as blenders. See what you think.

Dreamscape Fabrics by Benartex
I used all but the dark gray in a pattern I designed about 10 years ago which I call Striped Star. You can read all about it at the Sew in Love with Fabric site today and be entered to win a fat quarter bundle of these very same fabrics.

Here's a sneak peek at my process:
Fabrics cut for the Striped Star block

The contest is over the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 25 at midnight. Just leave a message here (after you view the tutorial) about how you like to use blenders, your thoughts on paper piecing (my block is paper pieced) or anything else about the post you liked.

Make sure I have your email, too! The giveaway is limited to US residents only.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What's Coming Up Thanksgiving Week

Seems like I hit the "publish" button too soon this morning on my teaser post about the Tuesday Sew in Love with Fabrics tutorial. (Those who get emails about this blog post know what I'm talking about.) You saw these fabrics and wondered, huh? It's coming on Tuesday, I promise, with a giveaway.

Tuesday blog post with a giveaway of the Dreamscape Fabrics
Also, I'm finishing up my Jack's Chain block and hope to have a FREE pattern for the large block by Friday. Just in time for Black Friday, when I NEVER, EVER go shopping. But online shopping is ok, right? This block is so large that it's going to be a perfect table topper. And I've simplified it so that if you're very careful with your 1/4" seams, you don't need to resort to y-seams. Good news!
Jack's Chain Block
I also have a few new collections by Windham that I sort of have an idea about.  One is a sweet novelty print called Farm. Scratching my head for something sweet to make for my little granddaughter who is learning language at a fast pace (she's almost 3).

Farm by Windham Fabrics
And, finally, I hope to share a little of the process of making my Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass. I use a 20" size filter (like they use in Starbuck's for the 100 cup makers) to draft a simple compass and then surround it with a halo of flying geese. I just taught the class on Friday to a local quilt guild and I will be teaching it again in January at the Road to California Quilt Show. Here's a teaser for that:

20" diameter coffee filters
Here's one of my teaching samples. I'm working on two (yes, TWO) this weekend and I think you'll like to see the different looks using very different fabrics.

32" Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass quilt

You're probably thinking that I've forgotten it's Thanksgiving week and that I have to cook for days and a lot of people. Not this year. I'm going to my daughter's house with pies and rolls. She's in charge of the other food. Good news again! This gives me more time to sew this week.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What's Under My Needle?

I love getting inspiration from the vintage/traditional blocks from decades ago. Jack's Chain is one of those. I took an older file from my computer (from when I worked for Quilt Magazine) and tweaked it for use with 2-1/2" strips. I needed to resize the center hexagon and surrounding triangles. So glad I have Adobe Illustrator as my software!

So, what does Jack's Chain look like? Here is one block (digital).

Jack's Chain Block
And the vintage, newspaper pattern? It was first called Rosalia Flower Garden in 1939.

Jack's Chain/Rosalia Flower Garden
The traditional blocks made for this quilt are never this large. But because I wanted to use 2-1/2" strips, it obviously grew! I used some vintage Kaffe Fassett fabrics (ie, over 10 years old) along with some newer prints for my prototype block.

Jack's Chain Block: 23-1/2" x 23-1/2"
The light gray is a Windham fabric called Mary's Blenders. The green/purple triangle fabric is an Emily Taylor/Riley Blake fabric. Maybe I should stay with the light gray for the center hexagon? Not sure yet. That's why I create prototype blocks before I even think about writing a pattern!

I have been cutting and stitching more 9 Patches that will go with another bold KF print. What do you think? There are two blocks in each print.
More 9 Patch blocks (6" finished)
And the fabric I hope to use in the center hexagon:

9 Patch Blocks with a luscious KF print
No pattern yet. I have to work out the kinks! I sewed the full block all by machine. I stitched a circle with the 6 Nine Patch blocks and 6 triangles. Then I interfaced the center hexagon and appliqued it over the large hole. It works, but I think I'm going to try using a dreaded y-seam on my next block.

I'll keep you posted. While most folks wouldn't be enamored with such a LARGE block, you have to think of it this way: You get to your finished quilt a lot faster with big blocks!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Adinkra BOM: November Wawa Aba Block

Wawa Aba: Seed of the Wawa Tree
Here is our 11th block in the Adinkra BOM for November. It is the Wawa Aba block which means: Symbol of Strength.

You can find the one page pdf here: Wawa Aba.

Let's see it in the blue and brown quilt:

Adinkra Quilt made from Ethnic Echoes by Blank Quilting
And just the block:
Wawa Aba Block for November
Only one more block in this series. I hope to get it to you very close to the first of December (and not the middle). Thanks for keeping up. I do look forward to seeing your blocks and quilts!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Revisiting The Laurel Wreath 85 Years Later

I have always had an affinity for the vintage 1930s patterns. Many appeared in newspapers as series that quilters eagerly anticipated weekly and then cut out and stitched using whatever fabrics they had available. The famous Kansas City Star patterns are usually what comes to mind when today's quilter hears about these vintage blocks. But the Chicago Tribune and other large newspapers also ran a variety of these series. One that recently came to mind is the Laurel Wreath. Do you know that one?

Vintage Laurel Wreath quilt
This was designed by Florence LaGanke writing as Nancy Page. Each block was accompanied by a detailed description of how to select and arrange the fabrics. The appliqué blocks were given full size for tracing onto template material.

I redrafted the blocks in early 2004 and then plunged in thinking I would make the entire quilt. Holy Cow! After 5 blocks (all the birds), I gave up. I made one bird into a small wall quilt and have since gifted it. (Can't find a picture of that one, sorry to say.) And I turned the other 4 birds into a lovely quilt using garden maze sashing.

Four Block Laurel Wreath Quilt: 45" x 45"
I used to sell this on CD for many years. Since then I've turned it into a 66 page pdf and sell it on my Craftsy site. Still only $10. The Laurel Wreath is such a lovely reminder of days gone by (REALLY gone by!) and the sweet blocks created by designers during the 1930s.

I think my little granddaughter would enjoy looking at this one. Her mother (my oldest daughter, Audrey) is also enamored with 1930s fabrics and designs. She has laid claim to many of my vintage remakes and will probably get all of the rest when I pass on to the "giant sewing room in the sky."

Maybe I'll share a few of my other remakes of these series in future posts. While not large, there is a strong contingent of quilters who love these vintage patterns. Are you one of those?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Calendar Girls BOM - November Glory Leaves

Happy All Saints Day. Hope you didn't eat too much candy on Halloween!

Our project for November in the Calendar Girls 2016 BOM is a set of placemats using the Glory Leaves block from November 21 in the Quilter's Block a Day Calendar.

Glory Leaves Block: 12"
And what do the placemats look like?

Glory Leaves Placemats: 12" x 18"

And yes, there is a NEWSLETTER with tips on attaching binding.

Here is the link to the 2 page pattern: Glory Leaves Placemats

Remember, in order for the pattern to make sense, you must own a copy of my calendar. If you don't have a copy, you can order it from Amazon or get a copy from your local quilt shop.
Until next month (which is our last block/project in this series), have a wonderful Fall, Thanksgiving and make sure you get lots of quilting in there!