Friday, March 24, 2017

Modern by the Yard: New Issue and FREE patterns

Here we are again with new ideas for today's quilters. Benartex has created another issue of Modern by the Yard. Take a look at this cover!

Modern by the Yard, Spring 2017
Yummy colors. Five projects. Free. Can't get any better than that! Well, maybe for me - I have an article inside. It's my simplified version of the Winding Ways pattern using the Kismet Collection by Paula Nadelstern. Let's see, huh?

Modern Winding Ways from yours truly.
Let me show you those yummy fabrics up close:

Kismet Collection by Paula Nadelstern
And some of the patches I made for the Winding Ways project:

Winding Ways patches and background square
Go take a look at the FREE eMagazine: Modern by the Yard, for this and four more projects featuring Benartex fabrics.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What's Under My Needle?

Confession is good for the soul, but bad for the reputation! I confess I have a LOT of UFOs (unfinished objects/quilts). A lot! I pulled out some blocks I stitched last year based on my 14 year old pattern Shark's Teeth.

Here's one block:
10" Shark's Teeth Block
 I am using shot cottons and Kaffe Fassett fabrics. My paper piecing pattern has 4 sizes: 3", 4", 5", 6" and 10".

I started off using all sorts of prints, but realized after making the first unit that this was too crazy! As you can see, the entire block is stitched in two vertical sections. I followed my own advice: "Always cut and sew a sample block before you cut out an entire quilt." This way you can see if you like your fabric choices (and I didn't, so I will keep this as a sample to show my students what NOT to do.)

Always make a sample block to see if you like your fabrics!
I've made this block at various times over the years in a variety of fabrics. Here is one I made four years ago using the Lola Collection by Blank Quilting. You can see the two sections in this first sample:

2 sections of Shark's Teeth (each measures 5" x 10" finished)
A complete Shark's Teeth Block
And here's a picture of the units I have so far, up on my flannel design wall. Notice that I've used up all the orange shot cotton and the green. I'm currently using a dusty blue for the four corners. I think I'll be done by then. This is a LOT of paper piecing!

12 Shark's Teeth blocks
My pattern is on Craftsy: Shark's Teeth. The 12 page pattern includes ideas for using the units in borders and each size has both the pattern and the reverse (the triangles point in the opposite direction). All full size for printing.

Almost done with these blocks! Then I have to decide on a border. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 12

Thank you for joining me for Week 12 of the Quilter's Block a Day Calendar by Patricia Bryant of Australia. I am just as awed as you are at how Patricia created not only the blocks, but also staged and photographed them for us!

March 19:  Millstone


March 19" Millstone, 12"
The first day of Spring!

March 20: Moving Star (don't they all move, or is it us on Planet Earth that move around? Not sure!)

March 20: Moving Star, 12"
 March 21: Patches and Leaves

March 21: Patches and Leaves, 12"
 Can I show you my own Patches and Leaves? Why not? It's my blog, right?

Patches and Leaves Table Runner
March 22: Kaleidoscope

March 23: Kaleidoscope, 15"
 March 23: Baby Bunting
March 23: Baby Bunting, 12
 And a Baby Bunting quilt from years past:

Baby Bunting Quilt from "Paper Piecing Perfect Points" book
March 24: Hill and Valley. Hey! The ants are back! And they brought their neighbors. Better check my kitchen!

March 24: Hill and Valley, 12"
 March 25: Indiana Puzzle

March 25: Indiana Puzzle, 9"
Another week. Another set of 7 beautiful blocks by Patricia. See you next week!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sewing with Some Bold and Bright Prints

I like sewing with bold prints. I let the fabric do the talking. Let me show you a few of my recent (and not so recent) creations.

This first quilt is an updated version of my Dogwood Blossom pattern. I used some solid/blenders from Benartex and the wild and crazy prints of Kaffe Fassett. Such an eye opener!

Dogwood Blossom
My elephant pattern from several years ago. Updated with an older Kaffe Fassett print (which was waiting patiently in my stash). Just needs to be stitched down. This was part of a Windham Fabrics pattern I wrote called Safari Adventures. The pattern is FREE on the Windham site.

Elephant applique from Safari Adventures pattern
Get your sunglasses! This pattern was taken from another one I wrote for Windham. I used Kaffe Fassett fabrics and some bold orange and purple batiks. Basically a simplified version of Double Wedding Ring. Those purple melon shapes are raw edge appliqued to the orange and then to the floral underneath!
Mambo table runner
 I love making Winding Ways (Wheel of Mystery) blocks. These are bold prints and solid shot cottons. A good combo! I used the template set of John Flynn. These are so wonderful and make 10" blocks.
Pieced Winding Ways blocks
Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass: One of my workshops that I'm retiring. That's because in order to get the 20" coffee filters, I had to buy 200 at a time! The center compass is paper pieced on the coffee filter (I'm not making this up!) Then we add a halo of paper pieced flying geese. I've made this 4 times. Too bad all the fabrics are different or I'd have a LARGE quilt. This as shown measures 32" x 32"

Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass
Delectable Mountains without the funky templates. Stitch two large half-square triangles together and then cut into horizontal strips. There are variations on this all over the internet. I devised my own method without any waste. How about that awesome print in the center? It's 12" x 12".
Delectable Mountains
Jack's Chain. This vintage pattern is typically hand pieced. I resized everything so I could use 2-1/2" squares for the 9 Patch units. The center hexagon is interfaced, turned and then appliqued over the hole.
Jack's Chain
Then I made it again:
Jack's Chain, pattern on Craftsy
 I stitched a 6 pointed star, interfaced it and then placed it over the first one. I like it!
Jack's Chain with a 6 Pointed Star as an option
Well, as you can see, I like bold prints. In order to really appreciate them, some solid reading fabrics are needed. They can't ALL be superstars!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Little Bit Crazy

. . . as in Crazy Quilt! (Though my family might want to put that label on me at times!)

I came across these bookmarks buried in my batting closet. Batting closet, you say? Yes, I have a very narrow closet in the hall bathroom that I keep all sorts of extra batting samples in. I was cutting batting for an upcoming machine quilting workshop and these were hiding in there. Maybe because it was so soft and cozy, huh?

Crazy pieced bookmarks using scraps of batiks
These were part of a class I taught (I think). They were pieced on paper and then backed with a single piece of fabric, all stitched together with a button hole stitch on the edges.


Book Mark backs
And a postcard I made over 10 years ago. Again, batiks with a feather stitch and some glitzy gold ricrac! Aren't scraps fun when they're used this way?

Crazy patch postcard
How about an amazing vintage quilt! A giant star with crazy pieced squares surrounding it. What a strong statement of color!
Antique Amish Quilt
Just a bit of color to brighten up your Winter day. We had snow today and I needed to offset all that white! Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar Week 11

Another week, another set of beautiful blocks by Patricia. Get ready to put your Irish Green on, because this week celebrates St. Patrick's Day with Irish themed blocks.

March 12: Four Tulips

March 12: Four Tulips, 9"
March 13: Good Luck (isn't the number 13 unlucky?)
March 13: Good Luck
I actually made a quilt (more than one, in fact) using the Good Luck pattern, but I used a quick cutting technique that eliminates these odd shaped templates. Check it out on my Craftsy pattern page.

Good Luck Quilt with 13-1/4" blocks. 79" x 79" quilt size
And a smaller version made with juvenile prints which I gave away to a charity that donates these to children in hospitals. Pattern for BOTH of these quilts is in my Craftsy shop: Good Luck Quilt
Four Block Good Luck Quilt
March 14: Rocky Road to Dublin Variation

March 14: Rocky Road to Dublin Variation, 12"
March 15: Shamrocks

March 15: Shamrocks, 6"
March 16: Lucky Clover

March 16: Lucky Clover, 12"
March 17: Double Irish Cross
March 17: Double Irish Cross, 10"
March 18: Double Irish Patches

March 18: Double Irish Patches, 10"
I can hear the bag pipes playing and see the dancing men in kilts. Can't you? Hope you enjoyed this special show of green!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

OK. A Little Crochet

I love yarn; almost as much as I love fabric. I love the texture, the colors, the multitudes of things I can create. And I discovered that I can collect yarn as quickly as I collect fabric. Who says I have to have a plan to buy it? It just looks so pretty sitting on my shelves. And my coffee table. And the stool in my kitchen. And . . .

Sometimes I'm given samples and that's the case with this set of four skeins of Fair Isle. I'm not sure how they found me (I'm a quilter, OK?), but I am a serious crocheter and you can't crochet without yarn!

Four skeins of Fair Isle yarn
This is not the high end yarn you find in specialty yarn shops (though I truly love that, too). This is quality yarn that feels good in my hands, plays nice with my hooks, and is very affordable (which means I can buy more of it!)

Let me show you what I made with that green and gold variegated Barclay (195 yards). The color is called "Surf." (Surf? It's the middle of winter here!)

There are 10 different colors shown at the Fair Isle web site. It's a light DK weight (ie, size 3) and the fiber content is one of my favorite combinations: 42% superwash merino wool, 35% acrylic, and 23% bamboo. I would have been happy with ANY of those 10 colors. It did recommend I use an H hook (which I did).

Super soft Barclay yarn becomes a toddler hat
I finished it off with a small scallop. I have to say - this is SO SOFT! Certainly not a scratchy wool, by any means.

Toddler hat made with Barclay Surf
I have enough left over to make my granddaughter a cowl. I have a basic size (4-1/2" x 18") for her. She's only 3!

Now let's talk Madeline. I absolutely LOVE this color. Anything in the pink family makes me smile. I got this crazy idea to crochet a hat from one end of the skein and a cowl from the other. But, as you can see, things got a little out of hand. But things aren't really tangled as much as my granddaughter got ahold of one end and walked away with it in the park. I put my crochet away after that. It's just that she loves pink, too!

Toddler hat and cowl using Madeline yarn
Madeline skeins have 176 yards and it's suggested I use an E hook. I bumped it up a size (just my preference). What I really like is that there is a slight sheen to the 100% acrylic. And, another soft yarn! There are 50 - yes, 50 colors in Madeline and this is Dahlia.

The big skein of Liberty reminds me of a soft kitty cat (or a large elephant). Very soft (like a kitty cat is soft). Glacier is the color and I plan to make some hexagons (like Granny Squares, only they have 6 sides). 

And kitties? Did I say kitties? I (the quilter) have a kitty cat quilt (of course)!

Fat Cats in the City
Sorry. Back to yarn!

The hook size is K. Really? But that's what I'm using and it's working out ok.
Liberty. Glacier is the color and there is a LOT of yarn here!
I have been on a search for making a perfect crocheted hexagon for several years. I've been so disappointed with many. You can always see the seam where the rows join and it's typically crooked or on the diagonal. NOT THIS ONE! I found this on the Make and Do Craft blog site. I was so excited that I immediately took a picture of my first successful crocheted hexagon and sent it to my daughter (the crocheter) to show her. She knows how I feel about perfect hexagons!

First crochet hexagon that hides the seam! (Isaac Mizrahi superwash yarn)
And look who was giving his approval using my Liberty yarn!

The Elephant checking out my Liberty hexagon
I've had to make this THREE TIMES. Either I can't follow directions or I'm still not a good crocheter. Rip. Rip. Rip. Good thing this isn't that large. The key is: Always count. Count. Count your stitches!

This is my 3rd try. The elephant approves!

Crochet Hexagon using Libery yarn by Fair Isle. 7" from flat side to flat side.
Here is the link: Basic Crochet Hexagon

Wait! Let's make this quilting related, too. Do you remember my blog post about the Safari Animals? And the elephant I made using my pattern and Windham Skins fabric?

Safari Animals Elephant - FREE pattern for this and monkeys and giraffes HERE
Back to yarn!

And then there's the lovely Nantucket. This color is Day Spa. Another blend of superwash wool and acrylic. A variegated yarn always gets my attention. But there's something odd about the size of hook recommended. First, this is labeled a super bulky. What? It's thinner than Liberty. And they recommend a size L hook. WHAT? I think I'll stick with a J or K.

Nantucket in Day Spa color - not really a super bulky!
I'll keep you posted on how things turn out with Liberty and Nantucket. Since I basically can only make things that are squares, triangles (shawls), circles (pot holders and hats) and rectangles (scarves, cowls), I'm not aiming for making garments. Though, in retrospect, the VERY first thing I crocheted in college was a short sleeved sweater. That's because I didn't know any better!

You can read more about Fair Isle yarn at their web site: Fair Isle Yarn

I'm not a yarn snob and love all brands, so I will be sharing some other creations in future posts using other vendors. (And more Fair Isle, of course).  For now, I hope I've inspired you with some lovely color and new possibilities for your hooks or needles (you knitters love yarn, too).