Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone who celebrates Christmas a merry one. I'm sharing a picture of my Angel Quilt which has never been posted online. It is about 20 years old and is the result of a block swap on AOL (remember those?). As you can see, we didn't specify block size (which I actually prefer) and I was able to build around my blocks using some simple half-square triangles.

Angel Quilt
I had just gotten this back from the longarm quilter and it was draped over my cutting table in my sewing/laundry room. My middle daughter was about 12 at the time and she came running upstairs yelling that the washing machine was overflowing and she was able to grab the quilt away from the water all over the floor, but unfortunately it was too late for one part of it.

Can you see the angel with the blue dress on (NOT the devil with the blue dress; that's a song)? Well, the red from the red angel below her bled all over her blue dress and onto the white background! Renegade dyes! (And no. I do NOT prewash my fabrics; don't judge me.)

I found a little applique angel and placed her right on top of the most egregious of the red stain.

This quilt hangs in my living room above my couch. I love the Nativity story with all the angel activity. One appears to Mary. One appears to Elizabeth (John the Baptist's mother.) One appears to Joseph (more than once). A whole slew of them appear to the shepherds out in the fields.

They always begin with: "Do not be afraid!" I think that is a timely message to Americans these days, don't you?

Hope you have a blessed day with family and friends. And be on the lookout for those angels who sometimes appear when we least expect it. Their message is still: "Do not be afraid!"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Hanukkah!

Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah converge on the same day. We can all celebrate the Festival of Lights as we climb past the shortest day of the year (Winter Solstice). To all my Jewish friends and blog followers, I wish you many blessed days in the year to come.

This is a gift bag I made to appear in the 2015 Quilting Arts magazine. It uses my own paper pieced dreidel block:
Hanukkah gift bag
This is how my two bags were photographed in the magazine:

Gift bags for Hanukkah
I had also made a few gift tags and a book mark about 10 years ago:

Gift tag and book mark
I gave these items to my oldest daughter as gifts for my 3 year old granddaughter's preschool teachers. Eva goes to a Jewish preschool and I'm so glad these can make special gifts. I had 2 copies of the magazine and they were included, too!

This is what the 6" paper pieced dreidel looks like before it's put into the bag:

6" paper pieced Dreidel
I will make this a pattern soon - both the paper pieced dreidel and the bag. For now, I'm wishing all of you a blessed Hanukkah. (Tomorrow is Christmas and I hope to post a picture or two then.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Here Comes the Sun - Again!

This is a repost from last year at Winter Solstice because it came again this year. Really, it did! And I added a few other things from this Fabricadabra Collection.

I pay attention to the amount of sunlight we get each day. Or the lack thereof. Yes, I don't live in Alaska or Scandinavia. Still, November and December are too dark for me. I look forward to the shortest day of the year because that means that the days will be getting longer after that!

How better to celebrate the Winter Solstice than to make a quilt block. Forget the pagan stuff swirling around this - I like the sun for the sunshine!

I began with one idea and it morphed into another, mainly because of my available fabrics. I was looking for a bright orange and found it in the Benartex Fabricadabra Collection by Paula Nadelstern. And then I saw that I had the companion panels and my creative juices began to flow.

Fabracadabra panel, one motif of three in a 42" cut
Have you seen Paula's new book, Fabricadabra? It's a delightful expansion of her way with complex designs as they morph from quilt to quilt.

Fabricadabra by Paula Nadelstern
If you click the book title, you can actually see what's inside! Be ready for a visual treat!

Back to my story about my Winter Solstice Block: I wanted a hexagon shaped sun (what's new about that, huh?) So, in order to capture the entire motif and not ruin the one next to it, I had to cut my freezer paper hexagon at 11" for a finished height of 10-1/2". Why freezer paper? So I could center and cut the panel.

Freezer paper template - centering the design

Cut out the motif . . .
Motif cut for center of my Winter Solstice Sun. Motif will finish to 10-1/2" height

Now for the sun's rays. I wanted orange, ok? Who says they have to be yellow (fire is really orange anyway). I strip pieced two strips along both lengths and then cut them using my Creative Grids 60 degree ruler.
Cutting my strip-pieced units. Triangles will finish to 2-5/8". Strips cut to 3-1/8"
This is not a pattern because the numbers are really whacky. Just sit back and enjoy the colors!
Adding an extra orange triangle to the 2-triangle unit
Now cut the needed 60 degree diamonds . . .
Diamonds cut from 3-1/8" strips using the 60 degree lines on my 6 x 12 ruler
Notice that there is only straight seam sewing; no y-seams
Last 3 sides added
Now for my sun!

Here Comes My Sun
I added larger 30 degree side triangles to "square" it up and then some borders. Will quilt it in January, I hope.
Welcome, Sun! I'll take an extra minute of sunshine every day from you!
And let me show you one more block I made using these fabulous motifs cut into a hexagon. I brought in the radiant blue from the Fabracadabra Collection. What do you think? I may take those final borders off. I don't like how they look and that's all the fabric I had.

This is my new block that I call Double Star. Very easy to make and I have two quilts to share in the New Year I made using this pattern. All straight seam sewing. Absolutely NO Y-SEAMS!
Double Star using Fabricadabra
Those who follow my blog know about some of the other things I've done using these panels. There are little kaleidoscopes along the selvedge edge of these fabrics. I made them the center of these little stars.


And I put these stars into a ring with another of those Fabricadabra panels in the center.

Circle of Stars using Fabricadabra fabrics

And then I had a few of the little ones remaining and used them as centers in my Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks:
Using the little panels as the centers of some GFG blocks
Yes, December 21 is the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere. And then the days get longer! Here comes the Sun!

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Grabbing a Kiss Under the Mistletoe and FABRIC GIVEAWAY

Giveaway is over. Patricia D. of New York is my lucky winner of a fat quarter bundle.
Many thanks to all of you for such great comments and ideas!

It's that time of year when we pull out the happy fabrics for holiday cheer. I blog today over at the Sew in Love with Fabric site about the Mistletoe Collection. I did something rather unconventional with some of these fabrics and I think you'll enjoy seeing the steps.

Mistletoe Collection
 Let's just say that sometimes you need a little help from the stationary department!

Yep. That's double sided tape. With fabric?!!
Take a visit. Come back here and tell me if you've ever done something unconventional with a piece of fabric that yelled "QUILT", but you ignored those voices and did something a little different.

The GIVEAWAY is a fat quarter bundle of current Benartex fabrics (may not be Mistletoe). Contest is over Friday, December 9 at midnight (EST). Make sure I have your email address so I can get ahold of you should you win!

That's all I'm saying. Click here for my tutorial at the Sew in Love with Fabrics blog.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Block for Adinkra Quilt

Here is our last block in the 2016 Adinkra Block of the Month quilt. I hope you've enjoyed the ride.

This is WO NSA DA MU A: "If your hands are in the dish"
This is a symbol of democracy and pluralism. "If your hands are in the dish, people do not eat everything and leave you nothing."

Wo Nsa Da Mu A
I will not be offering a block of the month for 2017. I will be offering occasional patterns and tutorials as it fits in with my busy schedule. A lot of work and I've enjoyed it. I've only heard from a small handful of you as to your interest and progress (out of at least 900 followers on this theme). But if you finish your quilt top and even the quilt itself, I'd love to see a picture and celebrate with you!

If you've not already done it, sign up to follow my blog so you don't miss any of my tutorials or free patterns. I don't keep track of you (honest - I just don't have the time for those details) and would NEVER, EVER pass on your name to a 3rd party!

See you in 2017!

Friday, December 2, 2016

2016 Calendar Girls December Block

Here is is: the last of the 2016 Calendar Girls blocks and projects. It is called the Star and Berry Wreath. It's a perfect size for either a wall banner or a table runner. The blocks are 12" finished.

Star and Berry Wreath: 22" x 48"
I've included the 3 page pdf on how to sew this: Star and Berry Wreath

as well as the one page pdf on tips for the bias technique used for the wreath: A Touch of Applique

I hope you've enjoyed this series of my Block/Project of the Month. I am not planning one for 2017. I will have the occasional "Quilt of the Moment" (to use a phrase of quilter Judy Martin's). I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year. May it be filled with fulfilling quilting, happy times with family and friends and good health!

I hope you'll consider my 2017 Quilter's Block and Pattern Calendar should you wish for more quilt inspiration. I know it is offered on Amazon. Check with your local quilt shop also.

2017 Block and Pattern a Day Calendar