Saturday, March 31, 2018

April Creamer and Sugar Bowl

Many of us like to drink our tea (and coffee) with some cream and sugar. You have to have pretty containers for those and that's what our April blocks are all about!

The 4th block in our 2018 Tea Party BOM is both the creamer and sugar bowl. Don't you love it in these organic orange dots from Kaffe Fassett? I made these 13+ years ago when I taught a class in Atlanta.

Original Creamer and Sugar Bowl from 2005
Now, let's see what I've done with some different fabrics and a few steps on how I make these using freezer paper (for templates) and raw edge sewing machine appliqué. I chose the Mimosa Collection by Windham Fabrics to make a vintage tea pot pattern. I will be offering this pattern eventually. I decided to make a Creamer and Sugar Bowl to coordinate.


Vintage pattern for a chubby tea pot (or coffee pot)
I use freezer paper (Reynolds, in grocery store aisles in the USA where plastic food wrap is sold.)
Paper on one side; wax on the other.

Tracing the Creamer onto freezer paper
Tracing both the Creamer and the Sugar Bowl.

Tracing the Sugar Bowl onto freezer paper
Iron the freezer paper to RIGHT side of fabric. No need for pins or to reverse the pattern for cutting out.

Iron the freezer paper to RIGHT side of fabric that has fusible webbing on the wrong side
Cut out shapes; remove the freezer paper (which can be reused multiple times)

Creamer and Sugar Bowl cut out and ready to be placed on fabric
 Auditioning thread
Found the perfect green thread!
Practice on scraps to get the right stitch length and width
Practice stitches before committing to my block!
Simple zigzag stitch on outside of Sugar Bowl. But what about that rim? How in the world will I get that put on? I don't want to mark it with a pen or pencil (even if I could figure out how to do it).

Raw edge zigzag stitch on outside
Then I had a flash! I will cut out the rim, straight stitch along the freezer paper and then satin stitch on top of that! How smart is that?


Iron that template back on; straight stitch along the opening.
 Take off the freezer paper:

Take away template
 Here's what it looks like on the back

Sugar Bowl and Creamer from wrong side.
 But I think my block is too "naked." Too much white. What will I do?

Completed raw edge appliqué
I might add a set of 2" (finished) squares to the top. Not sure. Just an idea.


Auditioning some piecing for the top of the 10" block
I hope this made sense. I am a sewing machine girl for ALL things appliqué. No handwork for me. Of course, you can make these any way you desire!

If you missed the first 3 blocks in the 2018 Tea Party BOM, they are still available. Remember, the current month's block is FREE only for the duration of the month. It goes into paid mode after that.

April Creamer and Sugar Bowl
March Tea Pot
February Tea Cup
January Cake Stand (and Cake)

Consider joining the Tea Party Facebook page! We have several hundred members and it's a way to share your blocks or progress or just to see what others are doing with their Tea Party blocks.

Make a request to join and I usually see it and approve before the end of the day (many times well before). We'd love to have you share your blocks with us!

Next month is the URN. See you in May!

Friday, March 30, 2018

April Calendar Blocks and FREE Pattern

It's April and I have another set of blocks from my Quilter's Block a Day Calendar. There are 30 blocks in TWO sizes, along with complete directions for one quilt! The free quilt pattern is Dancing Double Cross (12" block from April 6; 63" x 63" quilt).

Dancing Double Cross FREE pattern with April Blocks
I made a full size quilt from the Nonsense Block (yes, that's the traditional name for this). Here is my No Nonsense Jane quilt using the Jane Collection of fabrics from Blank Quilting.

Block Size: 15". Quilt Size: 60" x 60"


No Nonsense Jane Quilt
In my calendar it is the April 18 Block. Would you like the free pattern for this quilt? Why not? You can get it at my Craftsy store FREE. I made it for Blank and I own all the rights to it. This is a fabulous way to feature a wonderful large scale print.

For those who would like to see ALL of the April blocks, click the links below and they will take you to the weekly reveals of the blocks made by Patricia Bryant of Australia.

Week 14 - April 2 - 8
Week 15 - April 9 - 15
Week 16 - April 16 - 22
Week 17 - April 23 - 29

You can see ALL of the blocks in the calendar, in alphabetical order here: Block a Day Calendar. Be careful; you could spend some serious time there looking at all of those 366 blocks!

I've also included a list of all the blocks in the calendar (366) and the sizes. It's at the end of the March Blocks pdf. You can also link to it here: Quilter's Block a Day Calendar Blocks

This set of April Blocks is a full 42 pages. How about some more of those No-Nonsense Jane Blocks?


15" Jane Block in Amber

15" Jane Block in Begonia

15" Jane Block in Cayenne
You can get your copy of the APRIL blocks at my Craftsy store. If you missed the January, February and March sets, they are there, too!

January Calendar Blocks (31 blocks and 2 quilt patterns)

February Calendar Blocks (29 blocks and 2 quilt patterns)

March Calendar Blocks (31 blocks and 2 quilt patterns, along with list of ALL 366 blocks by size)

April Calendar Blocks (30 blocks and 1 quilt pattern)

So many blocks, so little time . . .

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Windham Wednesdays with Butterfly Dance

Butterfly Dance by Windham Fabrics arrives in quilt shops in April. Not only are there butterflies, but some pretty sweet dragonflies are featured in both a light and dark print.

Butterfly Dance by Sally Kelly for Windham Fabrics

But, fabrics are really just blobs of material without a plan in mind, right? Windham sent me the 23 sku set of fat quarters and the challenge was on. Remember, a fat quarter is 18" x 22" and you are limited to making something small. NOT!

I revisited one of my oldie-goldie patterns which I affectionately call Metropolitan Home Star. I first saw this in a 1982 Metropolitan Home magazine and tore out the page. I have carried it with me through several house moves and I eventually laminated it so it wouldn't be shredded. Here is the vintage quilt that inspired me.

Vintage quilt from the 1920s
I've made this quilt multiple times. In fact, it was featured on the cover of my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts (Martingale, 2009). I drafted those points to fit a 7" finished paper pieced unit. So, the block is a whopping 21" (in my quilts). If you scroll to the end of this post, I share the quilts I've made so far. But, this blog post is about what I did with 19 of the 23 fat quarters in the Butterfly Dance Collection.

I selected two fabrics with good contrast, intending that pink butterfly print to be the center of my pattern (which it didn't, but it's ok to change your mind as you're going along).
Printed foundation with pre-cut patches ready to sew
 I've shared before my process for paper piecing this block. Here are the first 3 patches sewn and trimmed.

First 3 patches sewn and trimmed
 I needed four of the 7" units to make one block.
Four units for one block, stitched and trimmed
I decided to make all the points (4 sets) before I selected the fabrics to finish up the blocks. This is typical of my method, especially when I'm sewing with a coordinated set of colors.

Here are the other 3 sets:

Magenta points with a soft turquoise background

Hot pink striped points with a deep blue print background

Hot pink dotted points with a navy and white print background
Now let's see the front and back of one block:

Here is the front of the block using the points above:
A single 21" paper pieced block. Love those dragonflies!
Here is the back of the block. Everything is neat and tidy because I always trim my patches BEFORE I add the next patch when paper piecing. If you didn't know any better, you would think that I used templates (gasp! this would be torture!)
The reverse side of the block above
Then I took an alternate assembly that I used once before back in 2006 for an Atlanta quilt shop. Here is the original quilt made with batiks:

Staggered Stars
Now for the one I made with Butterfly Dance. Remember, I only had fat quarters. The blocks are 21" square (21-1/2" unfinished). I squeaked out my 7" setting sashings from a variety of those fat quarters. In fact, I used 19 of the 23 fat quarters! Big wow, huh?

She needs a border, but I'm really pleased with the way I was able to get all those 7-1/2" squares and strips from the fat quarters. There are no set in seams. Everything was sewn in vertical rows, which means I had to split up two of the stars.

56" x 56" Butterfly Dance Stars
As promised, here are 2 other quilts I've made with this pattern.

First Metropolitan Home Star quilt I made in 2007
And an updated one in blue that I made last year:

Single star block with those extra sashes
Follow the links above for the pattern on Craftsy: Metropolitan Home Star. Those spikes are not hard to paper piece and it's a great pattern to feature some awesome prints. And it's big, too!

Hope you enjoyed the show. Butterflies will be joining us soon now that it's Spring. I hope you check out Butterfly Dance at your local quilt shop.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

This and That: Of Course, Quilt Related!

I have two weeks between long distance teaching trips and I get to sew, sew, sew. But I always sew with teaching or publishing in mind. That's the way I'm wired!

Here are a few things that I've been playing with. First, a tea pot that will be offered as part of my Tea Party Block of the Month. It's an add-on, so I am thinking of adding a set of letters to spell "Tea Party" to go with it. These fabrics are from Windham a few years back: Mimosa.

Vintage pattern of a tea pot, made with the Mimosa Collection
This is the same fabric used in my Coffee Cups paper pieced patterns. Remember those?

Paper Pieced Coffee Cups (7")
I have already cut out the Cream and Sugar Bowl appliqués for the April Tea Party blocks using the small green print to go with this pot. So cute! Here is a teaser using my block from 2005:

Cream and Sugar appliqué blocks for April
Have you visited my Tea Party page on Facebook? We have almost 250 members and it's only about these blocks and appliqué. No "trolls" are allowed (and I've had some very weird requests!). I'm the Admin and I can banish anyone who misbehaves. It's all about quilting!

Windham Fabrics asked me to design something to go with an upcoming collection. It's called Sunflower Market. I have been playing with a variety of hexagon blocks and came up with this. I used a Benartex collection from last year (Chicks on the Run) to sew up a prototype. What do you think?

Sunflower Double Star

I've also been revisiting one of my all-time favorite paper piecing pattern, Metropolitan Home Star. Here is a sneak peek of what I hope to reveal this coming Wednesday (Windham Wednesdays)

Metropolitan Home Star - just the start!
7" paper pieced units for one Metropolitan Home Star block
If you click the links, you will see several quilts made with this pattern (on Craftsy). I can't wait for the reveal. I squeezed the life out of about 10 fat quarters and I'm hoping what's inside my head will work in fabric! Come back on Wednesday to see.

I rediscovered a pattern I designed 10 years ago. I shared one of the small quilts last week. Here are the units to my Divided Diamonds 18" block. I'm almost finished with this quilt and will share it next week sometime. I squeaked the life out of my fabrics in order to get a complete block. Lots of calculating that went on!

Divided Diamonds units (missing two)

One more thing. I shared a postcard I made using a tea pot and tea cup made with my embroidery machine many years ago. My Facebook members thought it was cool, especially the way I pinked the edges with my rotary cutter. It has one of those speciality blades. What do you think?

Tea Pot and Cup in a postcard
Hope to see you back here on Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lone Star Quilts

I've made several. More than several - close to a dozen! Only one (ok, two) used the dreadful y-seam to join the outside triangles and squares with the 8-pointed Star diamonds. Let me show you what I've done over the years.

I didn't realize I had so many until I began teaching (again) my Big Block Lone Star workshop. Let's see that one first. The block is a whopping 29" square; with borders, 41" x 41". This is ALL rotary cut and sewn with NO y-seams. The trick is in those light setting squares and triangles.

29" Lone Star using Nordic Holiday fabrics by Amanda Murphy for Benartex
Let's see one of my even bigger blocks. This pattern is available in my Craftsy store and shows two different colorways. It also includes the pages of step by step notes from my workshop (all illustrated) should you wish to avoid y-seams.

Star of Splendor. 35" center Lone Star Block
Also included with this 8 page pdf is a large Lone Star I made using some fabrics from Blank Quilting. This is 57" x 57".

Inspiration Lone Star. Quilt Size: 57" x 57"
And one more LARGE Lone Star. The outside light blue setting triangles and squares are split so we have NO y-seams. Info for that is included in the additional workshop notes (pdf).
Lone Star with smaller borders. Notice
Sometimes we like to use pre-cut friendly fabrics. Jelly Rolls play very well with the next two quilts. The block size is 19" x 19". The only difference is that the Peyton's Star has 9-Patch corners in the border.

Peyton's Star from a 2015 blog post using the Peyton Collection from Windham Fabrics
And a recent quilt using some Americana fabrics, reproductions from the 1930s. Notice the different arrangement of the colors in the 4-Patch diamonds. Peyton has all 8 star points come together with the same color (tan). The quilt below alternates the red and blue for a different look!

Storybook Americana Lone Star
Here is one more star from my book Supersize 'Em Quilts. EZ Being Green is a 29" Block (like the first quilt pictured at the top of this page) and measures 41" x 41" for the quilt. If you look closely enough on this green quilt, you will notice that the green print for the outside setting squares and triangles is pieced for ease of construction.

EZ Being Green from Supersize 'Em Quilts (2009, Martingale)
Hope you enjoyed the show. I'm still digging out more pics of my Lone Star quilts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Quilted. Bound. Finished!

It's a good feeling to finish a quilt - all the way to the binding. I quilted these 3 quilts in January and prepared the binding. They were staring at me from the studio closet and I finally finished them (two yesterday).

The first one was from a tutorial I had here on my blog: Benartex's Matthew's Monsters in the Machine. You can see my steps. Here is the front:

Matthew's Monsters in the Machine
 And I used the story panel for the back.

Story panel works well for the back
Here is a quilt I designed and made in 2008 - yes, I did! I finally put those blue borders on, quilted and finished it. The block is 18", and though it's a small quilt, it will serve as a workshop sample. I'm motivated to make a 4 block quilt. This is paper pieced in four sections and then is set into the curved background.

Divided Diamonds
I love to piece my quilt backs. It helps me use up various leftovers.

Divided Diamonds back
And the third quilt is a variation of a quilt I had published in my 3rd book (Paper Piecing Perfect Points, Martingale, 2013). I have made this at least 4 times. I am teaching it again at the Quilt Odyssey this summer (July 19-21). I will have more on that later, as well as share the other quilts.

Here is My Geese Have the Blues, based on my book pattern. I split the center circle. This is a pattern on Craftsy. But I have made several more of these.

My Geese Have the Blues
I used up some novelty prints from several years ago. I put the binding on this yesterday. Can you say "finished"?  This Circle of Geese quilt is also paper pieced.

Circle of Geese
Here is the somber quilt from my book. I used some toile fabrics from Windham. I think I like the happy colors better.
Toile Garden
And using the same assembly (with the center circle split with sashing), I have another happy quilt.

Circle of Geese
I'll share the other 2 (maybe 3?) later, but I just wanted to share some of my recent finishes. Hope you enjoyed the show!