Tuesday, July 31, 2018

August Water Pitcher Block for 2018 Tea Party BOM

Welcome to August! Here we have our 8th block in the 2018 Tea Party BOM and it's the Water Pitcher. I decided to make another one to go with the few blocks I've made using the Mimosa Collection by Windham.

First, our block using the Kaffe Fassett fabrics. This was made in 2005 and I don't think I have anymore of this awesome floral left. Isn't it lovely? This block is FREE for the month of August. Hurry!

August Water Pitcher
Let's see my updated version with the Mimosa fabrics. First, the freezer paper template, cut out and ironed to the RIGHT side of my fabric. The wrong side has fusible webbing. If you want the handle to be on the right, then you need to trace this in mirror image.

August Water Pitcher
Then I cut it out and stitched it onto a 10-1/2" background square of Kona Cotton Snow (my favorite background color). As you can see, I got a little nervous looking at the thread as I was stitching, seeing that I might not have enough to finish. Just a few threads left!

August Water Pitcher
It is important to audition your threads and stitches on scrap fabric before you start stitching on your block. Ask me why I say this? I had to rip out my stitches TWICE because my bottom thread was coming up to the top because of tension. Oh, well. It's done.

Audition your stitches with scraps
Now, for an extra bonus. I drafted some letters to say TEA and made them 4" high. Cut them out.

TEA letters cut out
My original plan was to stitch them to 5" squares (cut 5-1/2"). But I didn't like it and so went with Plan B. Here are the letters on the BG squares.

TEA letters

Then I realized I had some of those squares left over from the Creamer and Sugar block and voila! What do you think? The block is 10-1/2" unfinished and you can find this pattern (not free) on my Craftsy site. The extra bonus is that I've included the ENTIRE alphabet in 3" high letters, along with these letters for TEA and directions on how to make this simple bonus block.

TEA Block letters and entire alphabet at Craftsy
Join us on my Facebook group where you are welcome to come and share your blocks as you make them. This Water Pitcher block is FREE for the month of August ONLY. You can find January - August on my Craftsy site if you are just joining us.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

More Dresdens

I just got home from teaching at Quilt Odyssey (Hershey, PA) and my most popular class was the Modern Vortex. 25 students had such a great time and I loved seeing all the different fabric combinations.

In case you don't know what my Modern Vortex looks like, here it is. I created this in 2012 as the result of a blog hop challenge.
Modern Vortex

Mine has been imitated by some other "famous" quilters, but my inspiration came from the vintage Vortex quilt that I'm sure you've seen:
Original Vortex quilt, c1910
How about some other versions? I've taught this workshop over 2 dozen times and my students have given me some great ideas.

How about multi-colors? Jane H. of Centreville, MD took my workshop a few years ago and decided to take the plunge and use more than 2 colors. She worked out the cutting and color placement. What do you think?

Multi-colored Vortex
 I decided to follow suit and now my pattern includes this version. Here are my sample wedges:

Two sets of the four needed wedge sets
And I made one myself:
Modern Vortex #2
That complicated looking block on point "set into" those corner triangles and borders is a clever piecing trick I devised 20 years ago and resurrected for this project. They are just pieced setting triangles (honest)!

And another colorway in blue and white. I use this to teach how to make the pieced corners. I believe my students should see REAL steps to making the class project. I also have one in purple and silver . . . Someday I'll be finishing these samples when I retire the class. But this class is still a sell out!

Blue and White Vortex. 20" block
Now for some student quilts! How about green and white?

Cindy's Vortex
Barb T. was in my class last Saturday and she finished her quilt already (just needs to stitch down the binding). Isn't this amazing? I sat next to her when I needed to stitch and she had the most luminous green shot cottons.

Barb. T's Vortex from my class at Quilt Odyssey July 2018
And Diane M. made more than one block. Don't you just love it? Can you see how she let the tips of the wedges "flop" around. That's because she didn't stitch around them, but along that last seam all around. Several of my students last week did the same thing. I love the 3-D approach.

Diane M and her multi-block Vortex quilt
Let me show you a few more of my variations. Did you know you can use those border prints you have been hoarding in your stash and make some awesome blocks? You just cut a strip, use the template or your EZ Dresden ruler (or my ruler). There is an illustrated sheet in my pattern that explains how to work with border prints. Here are a few of mine.

Vortex wedges cut from a border print
 Since you have to cut for two blocks to get one, the next crazy quilt is the result of those leftover wedges. (This is because you flip-flop the ruler up and down and so it lands on a different section of the striped fabric.) All explained in the pattern.



And here are two of my blocks cut from another border print. Both blocks from the same strip:

Vortex block using a border print
 And the second block (you have to cut 40 wedges to get 20 to work together)
Vortex block #2 showing the variation of print placement
And one where I ran out of fabric real fast. I never plan ahead; I sew until I run out of fabric.

Vortex "ghosts"
And just a little runner I made using a charm pack (5" squares). You can get two dresden wedges from each 5" square. I'll have more on that when I finish quilting it.


All of these quilts were made using an 18 degree Dresden tool. When I teach the workshop, all my students use either my ruler or their own (I don't make my students buy my ruler; I tell them to dig through their sewing room drawers, looking for that ruler they bought years ago that they never knew what to do with!)

What fun with these rulers. Remember, an 18 degree ruler means that you get 20 wedges to make a full circle: 18 x 20 = 360!

I'm playing with 150+ yellow wedges I cut out a few years ago and have planned on a serious Sunflower quilt. Holy cow. That's a lot of wedges, but I'm on home stretch and will keep you posted.

You can find my Modern Vortex pattern on Craftsy. I include how to work with border prints, how to cut and stitch any size with the triangle base, how to make the two color quilt and the multi-colored one, and also how to set that block on point with those pieced corners. A real power-packed pattern!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Free Lesson Friday from My Lesson Vault

I've had a presence on the internet for 25 years - yes, I have! I was one of the first professional quilters to offer patterns and tutorials, much of it connected with my 1,000+ articles published in Quilt Magazine. Try to wrap your head around that one - I certainly can't!

I am slowly migrating my free patterns and tutorials over to a more manageable site, so if you find broken links with free patterns, this is why.

But I thought I'd share a blast from the past with my Easy Piecing Dresdens. This is old-school, so try not to laugh at the graphics. But this is the way we had to do things in the Wild West of code-ville back in the mid 1990s. The blocks are 12" in the online version.

Dresden Plates have many renditions. This pattern is for one using a 30 degree template. That translates to 12 wedges for each circle. Think of the math: 30 x 12 = 360 (the degrees in a circle)

Here's one recent 10" block that I auditioned two different ways. These are the same wedges, but I only used 8 instead of 12.

Dresden Butterfly using a 30 degree template
 And then I considered a tilt factor:

Dresden Butterfly coming in for a landing!

I have a few quilts that use the 30 degree wedge. Here they are:

Butterflies at Night was in my first book, Bold, Black and Beautiful. It was stolen in 2005. Never got it back.
Butterflies at Night
I remade it twice. This one I donated to my guild that gives special butterfly quilts to seriously ill children at a local hospital.

Butterflies at Night
And I remade it for Windham Fabrics using one of their 1930s reproduction lines called Storybook Vacation. This appeared in the Keepsake catalog for several months and was a very popular pattern!

Storybook Vacation Butterflies
Well, I just remembered two more (can you believe that?) The VERY first one was made using solids to replicate a vintage Amish quilt I saw in a book. This is the one featured in the vintage online lesson.

Amish Dresden quilt
And I used some vintage (REAL) feedsacks for this next one.
Dresden Butterflies using real feedsacks
You can find the Craftsy pattern here: Dresden Butterflies. Or you can take advantage of my "vintage" online tutorial using the link at the top of this post! Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Windham Wednesdays with Bedrock

I love coming into contact with a solid set of "blenders" that have a lot of possibilities. Such it is with Bedrock from Windham Fabrics. These were released in January and I assume they will be with us for a long time. We are always looking for solids that aren't solids, if you know what I mean!

I have been working on my 2020 Quilting Calendar (yes, I am!) and designed a simple carrot block. Carrots? Really? Yes! Let me show you!

Windham sent me all 70 of the Bedrock skus, each being a fat quarter. You can't do a lot with fat quarters, or can you? Remember my quilt from last week made using fat quarters of Birdsong? That big quilt was made using ONLY fat quarters. Even the border.

I selected 3 fabrics of Bedrock for my simple block. Of course there's a real orangey - orange! I decided to make a version of my Eat Your Carrots pattern.

Fabrics selected for my Carrot blocks
 I printed my carrot pattern (for foundation piecing) five times. It will finish to 6".

Five Carrot Blocks
I pulled a Summer sky blue print and used that for my setting triangles. I selected a second cream for the border strips. And here is my quilt. What do you think?

Eat Your Carrots, 25-1/2"x 25-1/2"
You can find this 6 page Eat Your Carrots pattern in my Craftsy store. It has clear directions and illustrations and even patch cutting templates for that carrot shape so you don't waste a lot of fabric trying to make things fit. I think Bugs Bunny would be very happy to have this hanging in his house, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Windham Wednesdays with Bird Song

I fell in love with this collection by Clare Therese Gray for Windham Fabrics called Birdsong. Clare is an illustrator who lives in England on a farm with her husband and two young children. Her work reflects the countryside around her, I think!

 I was sent a set of fat quarters of Birdsong a few months ago and I kept taking them out and stroking them. Such lovely, sweet images. Let me show you.
Birdsong by Clare Therese Gray for Windham Fabrics
These prints include butterflies, flowers (of course!) and bird eggs. This color combination is one of my favorites and I put my thinking cap on to see what I could come up with. I was only going to make a few blocks. Ha!

I pulled out one of my upsized birdhouse paper pieced block which I call Home Tweet Home. This design dates back to 2002 when I created 12 paper pieced birdhouses in a much smaller size. This was very quick to paper piece because I had already worked out the cutting size of the different patches!

I made it as large as I could fit onto a standard piece of 8.5" x 11" paper. This is included in my Big Birdhouse Bonanza paper pieced pattern set of 10 Birdhouses (and a paper pieced cardinal) on Craftsy. (There are 10 upsized birdhouse patterns for paper piecing in heights of 10" and 12"; go take a look!)

Home Tweet Home: 7" x 10"
Here are a few more shots of my birdhouses.

Second birdhouse before trimming and adding the door opening
I selected some of Windham's Uncorked to use for the birdhouse doors.

Birdhouse #1 with a deep rust colored circle from Uncorked
 And my lighter birdhouse with the same color from Uncorked.

Birdhouse #2
Now, to prove to you I did use a paper pieced foundation:

Paper removed
Before trimming excess fabrics

I was working with ONLY fat quarters, and so wanted to get more than one or two blocks from each one. I designed a quick Cobblestone block with a rectangular center. I carefully cut 5-1/2" x 7" rectangles from the two main prints with the larger birds. And then moved on to the butterflies and the smaller bird print. And I made a lot of blocks! And kept sewing until I ran out of fabric (but I had the presence of mind to cut my border rectangles (4-1/2" wide) before I cut too many blocks).

The strips on the outside are cut: two 2-1/4" x 5-1/2" (top and bottom) and two 3" x 10-1/2" (sides).

Alternate Cobblestone Block: 10" finished
So, let's see this 55" x 58" quilt. I had to cut some "spacing strips" to add to the two rows that don't have a birdhouse (4-1/4" x 10-1/2"). Yes, I sew on the fly! I just try to stay a step or two ahead so I don't run out of fabric.

I gathered together my scraps and made 3 more blocks (after I finished the quilt below). Don't you just love these saucy birds?
Birdsong Scraps
My 3 new blocks:

Efficiency Birdhouse
Efficiency Birdhouse: 6" x 10"

Room for One Birdhouse (I put the bottom section on wrong, but don't tell anyone!)

Room for One Birdhouse: 6" x 10"
And my third scrappy birdhouse is the 60s A-Frame: 7-1/2" x 10"

60s A-Frame: 7-1/2" x 10"
Here's my finished quilt awaiting binding. Remember, I only had fat quarters! Yes, you can make a good sized quilt using only fat quarters (I had 16). Windham is sending me more of that wonderful turquoise bird's egg print for binding! I just LOVE this quilt. And I used only one of my 10 Birdhouse patterns. You can see some of the others at Craftsy.

Pecking Order: 55" x 58"
Birdsong is scheduled to arrive in quilt shops in August. Check out your LQS so you can look at them up close! Or click that Birdsong link.

Hope you've enjoyed the show today. This may become a class/workshop. I love that it combines paper piecing with simple Cobblestone blocks that AREN'T square in the center.

Friday, July 6, 2018

February Projects in the 2019 Quilter's Calendar

Let's see some more of the upcoming quilts in the 2019 Quilter's Block a Day Calendar. It's more than blocks - there are whole quilts (42 of them).

(For those who want to see 6 months of my 2018 calendar - I'm still uploading - you can visit my Pinterest Board to see 33 projects!)

Here are the ones that appear in February of the 2019 calendar:

The Vintage Redwork Sampler has 9" blocks and finishes to 32" x 32". Borders are your option to finish this larger. Perfect for those who enjoy redwork embroidery. These blocks appeared in the Kansas City Star in the 1930s and I redrafted them (tediously in Adobe Illustrator) 15 years ago. Timeless!

Vintage Redwork Sampler

This hearts Sampler uses 7" blocks (paper pieced except for the Scrolled Hearts in the Center) and finishes to 35" x 35".
Hearts Sampler
Castles in the Air has both 4" and 12" blocks for a 40" x 40" quilt.

Castles in the Air
And the fourth quilt for February is Tulip Time. Blocks are a whopping 16" for a 64" x 64" quilt.

Tulip Time Quilt
I hope you enjoyed seeing the upcoming projects in my 2019 calendar. So many blocks, so little time . . .

Thursday, July 5, 2018

2019 Block a Day Calendar is Here!

It's hard to believe that I've been published these Quilter's Block a Day calendars for 13 years! It's true and the 2019 edition is now available. Here is the cover:

2019 Quilting Block and Pattern a Day Calendar
Let me show you the various projects inside. There are 42 different quilts in various sizes and "personalities." Appliqué, rotary cutting, paper piecing - it's all there.

Here are the January projects:

Celebrate Snowflakes is 40" x 40" and is appliqué. I can almost see this also as a Hannukah quilt, couldn't you?

Celebrate Snowflakes
 MacDonald's Farm is both appliqué and piecing. Size: 40" x 40". Perfect for a child's quilt.

MacDonald's Farm
Stars and Roses is very traditional with both appliqué and piecing. Quilt Size: 72" x 72"

Stars and Roses
This is not available until July 17, but many places give you the option of pre-ordering.

I'll have more blog posts this month sharing the rest of the projects. Hope you also check out your local book stores and these links:

You can find this at Amazon and Books a Million. It will also be available at Barnes and Noble.

And Target carries this for a few dollars cheaper (retail: $16.99; Target is $11.59!)