Sunday, November 19, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 47

New week, new set of 7 beautiful blocks.

November 19: Savannah Squares

November 19: Savannah Squares, 15"
 November 20: Blackford's Beauty

November 20: Blackford's Beauty, 16"
 November 21: Glorious Leaves

November 21: Glorious Leaves
 November 22: Massachusetts

November 22: Massachusetts
November 23: Indian Trails
(Happy Thanksgiving to all my American visitors)
November 23: Indian Trails, 8"
 November 24: Scottish Cross

November 24: Scottish Cross, 12"
 November 25: Teardrop Melons
November 25: Teardrop Melons, 9"
I realize you probably can't see that block. Here it is in digital format:

Teardrop Melons from the Quilter's Block a Day Calendar
Have a wonderful week. Don't eat too much on Thursday and don't spend too much on Black Friday! See you next week!

Friday, November 17, 2017

"Yikes, Those Stripes" is a Favorite Pattern of Mine

It's not really the way I typically work, but I've discovered a few patterns (of mine) that I tend to revisit. Again. And again!

This quilt is so Jelly Roll friendly. You know - those Jelly Rolls you've been hoarding, hoping a quick pattern comes along that uses every square inch of them. This is one idea I think you'll like.

It all started with this first quilt published in Quilt Magazine early 2000. I bought a bundle of plaids from a quilting catalog and decided to test drive a concept for making this block. I cut 2-1/2" strips and paired them with a solid cream.
Simple Hourglass Quilt
Then I made it a second time in 2005. It was a wildly popular workshop for a few years. I called it Yikes, Those Stripes! This one uses 30 blocks. It also was published in Quilt Magazine. This time I used the stripes cut into strips and paired these with Kaffe Fassett shot cottons (the solids).

Yikes, Those Stripes!
 And the glorious quilting done by Leslee Evans of Atlanta.

Beautiful quilting by Leslee Evans of Atlanta, GA
 And more quilting:
More beautiful quilting
I had a few extra blocks and made a table runner (it has since been quilted and used often):
Three blocks for a colorful table runner
Then I played around with some color arrangement and an extra strip:

Yikes with an extra strip
These are Hourglass Blocks made with strips which are cut with a 90 degree triangle ruler. I used one by Judy Martin.

Then I was asked by Lakehouse Fabrics to make the same pattern for Quilt Market. Here is a version I made using a bundle of two dozen fat quarters. This reminded me of a circus, so I called it "Big Top Stripes." This is also one of 13 patterns bundled on my "Best of 2012 Calendar of Quilts" at my Craftsy site (13 quilts for $10 - can't beat that!)

Big Top Stripes with 25 blocks
And my most recent finish (notice I didn't say I STARTED this recently). This was made with some leftovers from my Kaffe Fassett stash. Notice I didn't have enough of that fans fabric to make more than 8 blocks. I made 4 more using a stripe. Works well, I think!

12 Blocks using complementary fabrics
So, you see, when there is such a quick and fun way to get some awesome blocks pieced, the pattern keeps calling my name. While you may not have the sort of ruler I used, a simple cutting template is included in the Yikes, Those Stripes! pattern. It's a fantastic way to use all those 2-1/2" jelly roll strips you've been hoarding. Combine them with a neutral (like the quilt above) or go wild and crazy as in my Big Top Stripes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour and Giveaways Galore

All aboard! What a fantastic week this is! Quiltmaker has done it again with showcasing 100 unique blocks from today's designers. I can hardly believe the beauty and creativity shown in this issue - number 16, if you want to know!

The latest issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine
Today's stop is at my house in Fairfax, Virginia. Come on into my studio to see some of my work and the fabric that inspires me!

I think this is the fourth time I've had a block featured (maybe 5; I don't know). It's always a thrill! What? You want to see the block? Of course! But first, the fabric I chose from Benartex.

All the blocks in the magazine are 12" finished. I had been playing with two of Paula Nadelstern's recent collections - Kismet and Chroma Zones (Benartex). These kaleidoscope designs are so fabulous and I knew I wanted to use one as the center of something. (That was my first step!)

Kismet Fabrics by Paula Nadelstern
 And let's see another colorway in the panels!
Kismet Fabrics by Paula Nadelstern

I have enjoyed English Paper Piecing (EPP) with these fabrics. I fussy cut the small motifs on the selvedge edge of the panels . . .

Fabricadabra panel

and incorporated them into Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks for the workshops I teach.

Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks made with EPP
Now, I went beyond the hexagon to other shapes. How about a pentagon?

How about this combo? This is my block which appears in this Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks issue.
Pentagon Wreath using Paula Nadelstern's fabrics
The background square is one of the several blenders in Kismet (Alchemy Yellow). I also used Flashdance Fuchsia and Alchemy Blue for those pentagon shapes.

My first attempt at joining the pentagons
I decided I didn't like a single color, so I took those pentagons apart and pulled out my fuchsia.

Getting my fuchsia pentagons ready to EPP

Wow! That looks like a lot of applique. How long did it take? Yes, it was hand work, but I selected a new shape (to me) for English Paper Piecing (EPP). I teach EPP workshops and I wanted to go beyond the 60 degree shape. I chose the 72 degree shape of the pentagon. These are the 1-3/4" size.

My favorite papers are from Paper Pieces. I've been using their laser cut papers for over 15 years.

Pentagon papers (not THAT Pentagon!) from Paper Pieces
I had no idea where I was going with the pentagons. But once I stitched 10 of them, I realized they would make a very nice wreath/ring. Why not have something beautiful in the center!

Once I hand stitched the pentagons together, everything else was done by machine. A simple zigzag stitch with monofilament thread in the top. Quick and easy!

I've made other beautiful things with Paula's kaleidoscope motifs. My most recent was this banner for my favorite youngest daughter.

My Double Star pattern featuring some of Paula's motifs
And do you remember last December with my Winter Solstice blocks? Check out this link for an innovative way to piece this block with NO y-seams either.

Winter Solstice Block
I made another one for myself. (The yellow one above goes to one lucky winner as a prize). Let me show you the second one I made.

Pentagon Wreath in a second colorway
All sorts of prizes are available at the Quiltmaker site. I donated a dozen of my own patterns for the pool of giveaways which Quiltmaker will give away DAILY! And there will be so many other things, including copies of this magazine. One of my blog visitors will win a copy, so make sure you leave a comment AND your email!

Check out the prizes DAILY

Hope you're still with me. I will pick one lucky winner to receive a copy of this issue. Contest is over Friday, November 17 at midnight. Check out all the beautiful blocks from all the designers. You will have a fabulous week of inspiration, I know!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 46

We're getting to home stretch! 8 (oops!) - SIX weeks to go. Let's see some of the beautiful blocks that Patricia made from this week's patterns from the Block a Day calendar.

November 12: Georgia (I loved my 8 years living in Georgia; lovely, friendly people!)

November 12: Georgia, 10"
 November 13: Scott's Plaid

November 13: Scott's Plaid, 6"
 November 14: Red Cross Variation

November 14: Red Cross Variation, 12"
 November 15: Tall Pine Tree

November 15: Tall Pine Tree, 12"
Here's a really old quilt from 2 decades ago. Not sure where it is now, but I hope it's happy in its new home. Don't you just love how they tessellate (interlock)?

Tall Pine Trees
November 16: Navajo Block

November 16: Navajo Block, 12"
 November 17: Home Treasure
November 17: Home Treasure, 16"
 November 18: Old Gray Goose

November 18: Old Gray Goose, 8"
See you next Sunday!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Latest Crochet Projects with Fair Isle Yarn

I love all the needle arts and have dabbled in most of them in the past several decades. One that I took up when in college was crochet. Then, fast forward 35 years and I came back to it!

Here are some of my latest projects made with Fair Isle yarn, a new kid on the block! I received a complimentary box of their yarns in January and got busy stitching, uh, I mean hooking! Got to switch gears from sewing to crochet, right?

(There is a big sale on select yarns from November 1 - 21 with 20% off; free shipping over $80.)

Sampling of 4 Fair Isle yarns
Madeline is 100% acrylic and SO soft. It was easy to work with and I absolutely love this Dahlia color. There is 176 yards and is on sale for the month of November for $3.99 a skein at their website. I started a hat from one end of the skein and a cowl from the other (pretty clever, huh?)

Hat and cowl for my granddaughter
 Here is the darling little child modeling the hat.
Little granddaughter in her Madeline hat
And from the Barclay yarn (color: Surf), I made - wait for it - another hat! Barclay is 42% superwash merino wool, 35% acrylic and 23% viscose (from bamboo).

Girl's hat from my Barclay yarn

I'm still waiting for inspiration from Nantucket. This color is called Day Spa. Absolutely soft with a lovely hand.

Nantucket yarn and hook
I recently received a brand new yarn called Willow that is one of those "cake" yarns. Again, this is a superwash wool (75%) with 25% viscose from bamboo. I found a shawl pattern in my Interweave Crochet magazine from 2012. I started with the words but had to eventually move over to the chart because there was something NOT quite right. I'm amazed with myself being able to read a chart - but, hey - it worked. I used two skeins of Willow in the color Pixie. I love these colors!!

Parakeet is at the top and right under it is Pixie. Love all things variegated!
I began stitching with Parakeet, not really sure where I was going. I was testing my hook size. The feel of this yarn is amazing. It's like a roving, too.

Willow in Parakeet color
Look at this parrot from the Atlanta Zoo. The colors in this Willow yarn are very close!
Parrot in the Atlanta Zoo
I needed that chart really bad! All those abbreviated words got my brain scrambled.
The start of the Tahitian Shawl by Sigrid Arnott
And I finished this in about 2 weeks (I don't crochet every day). These colors are my absolute favorite!
My Tahitian Shawl using 2 skeins of Willow yarn

I even posted this on Ravelry. While this pattern is one for purchase (or you may have the magazine), it is a lovely use of any type of yarn.

Remember, the sale on many of their yarns from November 1 - 21 with 20% off; free shipping over $80. Take a visit to the Fair Isle web site and check out their Facebook page, too.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

More Scrap Busting Tissue Holders!

Got scraps? Matching scraps? Well, this is the perfect way to use up those scraps to make lovely gifts for teachers, friends, stocking stuffers, and just about any occasion to say "I care."

Yes, I shared these before, with a TUTORIAL. Remember?

7 little tissue holders made with Windham "It's a Hoot" Collection
Then I made some with my Kaffe Fassett scraps. And I have a LOT of them. Here they are:

4 little tissue holders using my Kaffe scraps
Now for some quick steps (which were shared in more detail at that previous post using the What a Hoot collection):

Two rectangles. The outside (wavy print) is cut 6" x 7". The inside lining (dots) is cut larger at 6" x 8-1/4".

Start with two rectangles
 Sew the two short sides together as shown. Yes, the rectangles are not the same size. There's a reason for this!

Sew the two rectangles together
 Press with right sides out. The larger lining rectangle folds over and forms a lovely "binding."
Press with right sides out. Notice the lining wraps around to the front for a nice finish.
Time to fold and overlap the two "binding" edges. I finger press the center of the unit for exact placement of those edges. We are sewing from the inside of the tissue holder (the black and purple dot is the inside fabric). Pin in place

Fold and bring edges into the center

Stitch the raw edges with 1/4" seam. Then clip the corners (to reduce bulk). I like to zigzag the raw edges for a clean finish.
Stitch closed; clip corners; zigzag raw edges

Fold right sides out and voila! A lovely tissue holder ready for sniffles weather.

Finished tissue holder
Then I got inspired to make about 19 for my grandson's Holiday shop at his school. The students come with a little bit of money and buy things for their family members. They don't have much money, so the PTA asks parents to donate all sorts of things. I got carried away, I think!

19 tissue holders for first graders to buy for their family members
For more pics of my steps, go back to that post from September. And then gather up your scraps and sew, sew, sew. These are very quick and I make them by chain sewing. Don't forget to grab a pack or two of those tissue packs at the grocery store next time you're there. And keep these on hand for that time you need a little way to "share the love."

When I showed the It's a Hoot tissue holders to my contacts at Windham, they said adults like them, too. (This was a post about Back to School.) So I put 4 in an envelope and sent them up to New Jersey!

Remember to keep one for yourself, too!