Monday, June 24, 2019

More Diamonds Which I Won't Call Rhombuses

Such an uppity word: rhombus. Sure, I used it when I taught high school math. It's a real word for a real object. But, hey - I'm talking diamonds and they sure sparkle more than a rhombus!

Anyway, I cut SO many 4-1/2" 60 degree diamonds from as many blue fabrics as I could and I guess I got carried away!

Lots and lots of 4-1/2" diamonds (60 degree)
I had a plan. Actually, two plans. I finally finished the second quilt top this weekend and here she is:

Floating Diamonds: 58" x 59"
Here was my approach. I auditioned some fabric to see how I would like separating the horizontal rows.

First I auditioned a horizontal sashing strip
 Then I look at the rows joined without any sashing.
No sashing
Guess you know which version won!

Here is the first quilt which I made last year. I call it My Diamonds Have the Blues. It's about 60" x 60" and I quilted it myself. That was too big for me, but I persevered.

My Diamonds Have the Blues
This uses the SAME blue 4-1/2" diamonds and 4-1/2" blue print background triangles. Honest. It's just that I arranged them differently (no kidding!) Here is the center of that top quilt.

Center of Floating Diamonds quilt
My Etsy pattern has both versions (I just updated it). There are NO y-seams. All rotary cut, though a multi-sized 60 degree ruler will help with those triangles. The diamonds are cut with your ordinary 6 x 12 acrylic ruler (using the 60 degree diagonal line).

Check it out. And this is NOT called: My Rhombuses Have the Blues!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Cookie Cutter Sampler BOM

Just a taste of what I've been working on the past week. I discovered I had a dozen or so of my sample blocks from my Cookie Cutter workshop and realized I could add a few more to make a sampler quilt for a Block of the Month.

What do you think?

Cookie Cutter Sampler: 10" blocks. 53" x 54" quilt
I bet you'd like it even more if it was FREE, right?! And it will be for each month the block is featured. Then, as in my Tea Party BOM, the block goes to my Etsy shop for sale. There will be NINE blocks (with an extra bonus Dreidel for Hanukkah in December).

Some of these blocks hail back to when I first contrived of the concept - 2003 (that's 16 years). I have held onto that vertical strip of heart cutaways since then and never knew what to do with it. Fits perfectly on the right side of the quilt for a more "organic" look.

This will (hopefully) begin July 1. I will start with the Hearts (since that was the first block I thought up).

Cookie Cutter Heat: 10" x 10"
This is meant to be a scrappy quilt, and I will give BASIC fabric supplies, but you will notice that most of those 16 blocks use a black print for half of them. The "alien" Flower in the bottom row was another extra block that I threw in there because I ran out of steam. I just wanted to sew them all together and get that border on for photographing in my back yard.

There will be around 9 blocks:

  • Heart
  • Butterfly
  • Pear
  • Tree
  • Toast
  • Fleur de Lis
  • Flowers #1 and #2
  • Leaf
  • Dreidel (with Tree in December)

Do you remember my other Hearts on Fire quilts?

Original Hearts on Fire: 46" x 63"
A smaller version of the above quilt:
Small Hearts on Fire with same size blocks
These are raw edge appliqué, though needle turn is certainly an option for those who prefer. Notice those little dancing hearts in both quilts. They are the "cutaways" from the inside curve of the hearts. I throw nothing out!

I will also be sharing some other projects and quilts made with the shapes. Lots of ideas and inspiration. I hope to get a Facebook page up for folks to share theirs, too!

More on this in July. If I'm a little late, it's because I'm babysitting my little grandsons that weekend, but if I'm smart, I'll write the post ahead of time and get it scheduled to automatically run!

Just a little note: these are NOT to be printed and shared. These are NOT approved for a BOM for your guild or other quilting buddies. They are FREE to those who come to my site and download them for themselves. If someone misses a month, they can go get the Etsy pattern for a nominal fee. I hope you understand (and if you don't, then you don't!)

See you in July for the Cookie Cutter Sampler Block of the Month!

Monday, June 17, 2019

August Classes at the North Texas Quilt Festival

I can't believe I'm traveling to the Dallas area in August! Can you say HOT? But my hotel is inside the same venue as the expo center so I can stay cool while I teach 5 awesome classes that are both fun and full of tips and techniques. Click the links to read more about this.

The Modern Vortex continues to be one of my most popular classes! Thursday, August 22 from 8:30 - 11:30 am.

Choose two colors . . .

Modern Vortex: 28" x 28"
Choose multi colors:
Modern Vortex in multiple colors with borders: 40" x 40"
Can't get to Dallas in August? You can find my Modern Vortex pattern in my Etsy shop - and see even more ideas for using the simple ruler in the pattern.

Machine Quilting: Basics and Beyond - Thursday, August 22 from 1 - 4 pm

Start your quilting experience on the right foot --- with Debby’s liberating, beyond-straight-lines, feed-dogs-down process. You’ll enjoy her simple methods for taking your stitches beyond beginners’ meanders and loops. In the dozen years she’s been teaching beginning machine quilting, Debby’s students have been most comfortable following shapes, and so she gives you lots of practice time during class to use stencil shapes and one of her favorites, freezer paper shapes. Discussion includes quilting blocks (no matter the size) and borders, and a treasure trove of samples to illustrate how dynamic her KISS (Keep It Small and Simple) quilting style can be for you, too.



Diamonds and Hexagons for English Paper Piecing - Friday, August 23 from 8:30 - 11:30 am.

No sewing machines. A relaxing 3 hours with needle and thread and little kits I provide!

English Paper Piecing is a great take-along hand piecing project, perfect for making traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden (GFG) blocks – and more! Discover simple diamonds, which, when combined with the hexagons, offer exciting possibilities for altogether new blocks adding a creative dimension to your design options. Debby’s collection of samples is a treasure trove of inspiration, where you’ll see all sorts of ways to use your hexagons and diamonds in a variety of settings and projects. Your kit contains fabric, card stock hexagon and diamond shapes in 2 sizes, needle and thread.

60 Degree Stars using 2" diamonds
Combining hexagons, triangles and diamonds!
Learn to fussy cut a motif and center it in this awesome star!
These simple jewels shapes can be turned into hearts! Students get a packet of these.

Jeweled Hearts
The Gretchen Quilt: Friday, August 23 from 1-4 pm.

It’s hard to believe this traditional block, Gretchen, can be sewn without a single template. Everything is cut from two sizes of simple squares; the magic arrives with a quick rotary cutting trick. Debby chose a bright collection of florals and deep hued blenders for this quilt, but you can choose any of your own colors with good contrast to show off the lines of the block. As always, Debby’s classes provide all the hints and helpful tips that make them so much better than a simple pattern or kit. And they’re fun, too! Bring your own fabric; see supply list for details.

The Gretchen Quilt. 9" blocks in multi colors
More scrappy ideas:
Bold prints with assorted solids
Or try a simple two-color quilt
Four 9" blocks in blue and white
And a classic red and white:

Four 9" blocks in red and white
You can also find my Gretchen Quilt pattern in my Etsy shop.

And my fifth class is The Twisted Hexagons. Saturday August 24, from 8:30 - 11:30 am.

Create these large blocks using a multi-sized 60 degree triangle ruler and pre-cut strips. Learn to fussy cut a motif for the center or let the rotary cutter make the decision for you. The block is the perfect size for a table runner, child’s quilt or larger. And the bonus: there are NO y-seams! Bring your own fabric, see supply list for details.

Try your hand at fussy cutting a center motif in this 12" Twisted Hexagon quilt!

Twisted Hexagon quilt. 12" height block; 57" x 64" quilt
Or a smaller quilt with 6 blocks makes a perfect child's quilt.

Smaller block (10" height).
Yes, you can also find my Twisted Hexagon pattern in my Etsy shop! Check it out.

While I know this audience lives all over our globe, some of you live in Texas and might be able to join me and get in out of the heat! Hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Birdhouses for My Noisy Neighbors

I get up EARLY (can you say 5 am?). Always have. And my favorite thing in the Spring and Summer is to listen to my noisy aviary friends in the trees outside my windows. They are REALLY loud, so even if I didn't naturally wake up, they would serve to be my alarm clock.

Here is a recent quilt finish using four of my upsized birdhouse patterns. I blogged about this a few weeks ago: Home Grown fabrics by Benartex.


I am teaching my workshop Bird Song at the Quilt Odyssey Quilt Show this summer (July). Here are a few more of these birdhouses in different fabrics:

60s A-Frame: 7-1/2" x 10"
All of my birdhouses finish to a uniform 10" high, with varying widths. This makes for a more "organic" neighborhood!
Efficiency Birdhouse: 5" x 10"
Some birds like to live alone!
Home Tweet Home: 6-1/2" x 10"
And one more:
Room for One: 6" x 10"
And here is my Bird Song quilt using only one of the four birdhouses. Students will get the patterns for ALL FOUR of these and choose how many they would like in their own quilt. There is a bit of improvisation going on here and everyone begins with a bundle of fat quarters (their own from home). Then we work on the Cobblestone Blocks and work through each of the four Birdhouse blocks.

You can also find my 22 page pdf with 10 large birdhouses (some finish to 10" high and others to 12") here: Big Birdhouse Bonanza on Etsy.

My class sample is 54" x 58". The Cobblestone Blocks are 10" x 10" 
Bird Song Quilt and Workshop
Even the borders are cut from the fat quarters! This makes use of every single piece.

And yes, I have several leftover birdhouses that will be my class teaching samples.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Flashback Windham Wednesday: Free Pattern and Tutorial

This post was shared in 2013 on the Windham blog and I thought it would be fun to share this pattern and tutorial here for my followers. While these particular fabrics are no longer available, this is very scrap friendly - and fat quarter friendly. Enjoy!

We recently sent off a bundle of fat quarters of our recent collection "Downtown" by LB Krueger to sewing teacher and quilter, Debby Kratovil and she came up with an inspired project to warm your holiday table.  Read on to find out more!


Q: Debby, what do you like about these fabrics?
A: They have a wide range of prints in a variety of scale, with the addition of "tonals" (fabrics that read solid, but are a single color print). The challenge was in putting them all together into a project that wouldn't scream BUSY, but modern and traditional at the same time.

Q: How did you come up with your design?
A. I am in the midst of working with 60 degree shapes these days and making a lot of hexagon projects. In fact, I've lined these up for a possible future quilt book called: Turning 60 - The Joys of Sex (this will be G-Rated, I promise). I saw hexagons. I also made a project with the Rebecca Collection this past Spring and wanted to make it again with this collection. Here is a picture of what I did with those fabrics:


Q: But Debby, that looks like a lot of inset seams (y-seams). This has got to be an intermediate project, right?
A: Not so! This is ALL straight seam sewing (no kidding). It's just that the rows are sewn along the diagonal, as you will see in the following pictures. We start with two simple shapes which can be cut from one 60 degree ruler.

Q: You can't cut a hexagon from a 60 degree ruler, can you?
A: Well, let me show you!


Debby's Hexagon Cutting Method

1. I chose 16 of the 21 fat quarters and cut a 6-1/2" x 18" strip. I folded each strip in half lengthwise and lined up the 3" horizontal line of my 60 degree ruler with the RAW EDGES. This is  because the hexagon will finish to 6" and 3" is half of 6. The widest part of the triangle ruler is at the FOLD.

Align the 3" horizontal line with the RAW EDGES

Full hexagon unfolded. Cut a total of 16 hexagons in various prints.
I was able to get two complete hexagons from the 6-1/2" x 18" strip. See, I told you we could cut hexagons - and easily, at that - from a 60 degree ruler! How easy was that?!

Now we cut the small, cream setting triangles. I used a fabric from the Collage Collection. These triangles are HALF the finished height of the hexagons (6") plus 1/2" for seams, so we align the 3-1/2" horizontal line on the multi-size ruler and cut out the triangles. Note that we can flip-flop the ruler after each cut (you can't do that with the hexagon cutting above).

Cut a total of 30 triangles. Yes, you can cut two triangles at a time.
First, it's important to lay out the 16 hexagons as you wish. I kept the orange hexies on the inside row because I am using orange for the inner border. There are five hexagons in the two outside rows and six hexagons in the center. All the open space on my design wall is where the cream triangles will go.

Here is how we join the cream triangles to the hexagons. Note the placement of the triangles at the very top and bottom of the rows; not all hexies get two triangles and not all get two triangles in the same place. That's why it's crucial to put all your hexagons on a design surface (or a floor or bed).
Join the cream triangles with the hexies


Add triangles and sew units together.

What do the rows look like? We have been sewing ONLY straight seams and then diagonal seams. Note that the three-row center is ready for joining.

Three finished rows with orange inner border (cut 1-1/2") on two sides.

Sew and trim the 1-1/2" inner borders at the top and bottom.

Sew and trim for the naturally pointed ends formed by that center hexagon on the end.

Going Downtown Table Runner: 29" x 54".
 The inner borders are cut 1.5" (you will need 1/4 yard) and the outer borders are cut 5" (you will need four strips from a 5/8 yard piece of fabric).

Now you can see why I have made this table runner more than once. And you have to know this is not the last time, either. It is my new "go to" pattern and I love, love, love it in these Downtown fabrics.

Monday, June 10, 2019

New Homes for Charity Quilts

I have a LOT of UFOs - quilt tops made for a variety of blog posts for fabric companies, samples for the classes I teach, and just sewing for fun. I can't possibly finish all of them (can you think 3 dozen or more? I'm not kidding!)

My local guild (Reston QU of Virginia) has a goal of providing at least 150 quilts for a local group for a summer project. It's called Young Lives of Herndon. Single moms and their little kids are invited to a camp for fun, relaxation and pampering. Their goal is to provide each child with their own quilt.

Here are 7 that I recently donated. I provided the tops and Jeanne C. quilts them. I take them back and put the binding on.

EZ Winding Ways was a class sample. 31" x 31"
 This next quilt was part of a Benartex blog post long ago.

Floribunda Baskets. 38" x 38"
My go-to pattern for letting the fabric do all the work using my Tilt pattern. These are also Benartex fabrics.
Lizards and Frogs - perfect for a little boy. 42" x 42"

Back to Benartex! My Photo Corners Birds was both a class sample and a blog post. Letting the fabric do all the work.

Avignon Photo Corners Birds. 29" x 29"
 I took a child's soft book and cut apart the 12 pages. Again, my Tilt pattern!
Pokey Puppy soft book panels deconstructed! 42" x 42"
 Paper pieced Nosegay blocks leftover from a workshop!
Nosegay Blocks - a small wheelchair lap quilt. 27" x 44"

Leftovers from a long ago workshop for Winding Ways.
Six block Winding Ways quilt. 30" x 40"
I gave Jeanne 5 more quilts. She has longarm quilted more than 1,000 of these sorts of quilts for my guild. Did I make a dent in my UFOs? Not on your life! But I'm working on it.

Hope you enjoyed the show.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Windham Wednesday with Grand Illusion, Part 2

Remember these fabrics from last Wednesday? They are part of Grand Illusion by Windham Fabrics. I shared my concept for another Rose Star quilt, but I hadn't finished putting everything together. Today I'm showing my last few steps to get to the quilt top.

Do you remember these from last week? Some fussy cutting of the small motifs in the border print. Today I'm fussy cutting LARGE motifs from the all over print to make up for an inaccurate calculation for my borders!

2" English Paper Piecing hexagons and diamonds
I put the center together and squared up the sides of the hexagon so that I could add borders. Then, when I measured the border fabric I had - ooops! Not enough to go all the way around without a corner square. Not to worry! On to Plan B. I fussy cut some more of those luscious motifs as shown below.

Fussy cut a motif for a border corner square
I will put these in each of the 4 border corners. But how did I cut the border print? Do you remember my original digital rendition of this Rose Star?

Rose Star digital rendition of the fabrics
I only had 5 repeats of this border print and I had already cut into part of one strip! I figured I would do a little creative cutting.

Two repeats of the border print
Yes, I have a plan! But I forgot to look at my digital print one last time and I put the borders on BACKWARDS! What was I thinking? Well, what do you think?

Grand Illusion Rose Star: 42" x 48"
And, no, I will not take the borders off and turn them around. This is DONE and you and I are the only ones who know my little secret! Shhhh! Don't tell anyone, please?

Go check out the whole Grand Illusion collection at the Windham web site. It ships to stores this month. I have more plans to use those extra motifs in my English Paper Piecing classes this summer.

You can find my Rose Star pattern (either digital or hard copy with acrylic template) at my Etsy store.