Friday, November 27, 2020

Sewing for the Hanukkah Holiday

December 10th is the first day of Hannukah (begins at sunset). You still have time to make some small gifts for your Jewish friends and relatives. I have made several quilt-y items over the years that feature Hanukkah fabric. First, the greeting cards:

Snowflake window greeting card with Hanukkah fabrics

Here is an English Paper Pieced block from Katja Marek's calendar. I'm going to make it into a coaster. This Hanukkah fabric is at least 15 years old!


Now for some recent items. You've seen these before. This is my Star of David Hanukkah Star.

Star of David table topper. NO y-seams! 24" x 28"

And my dreidel blocks made from the same collection:

Single Dreidel Block: 10" finished

And 3 blocks together. They may become a table runner or 3 little gift bags.

Raw edge appliqué

Here are my paper pieced dreidels, featured in Modern Patchwork Magazine, Holiday edition a few years ago:

Paper Pieced Dreidel gift bags

That's enough for today. I still have more ideas, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sewing for the Holiday Table and Tree

I enjoy English Paper Piecing and I remembered some ornaments I made almost 20 years ago for a demo I did in a local quilt shop. I had some extra Sunburst motifs leftover from a few quilts and discovered they work with 1-3/4" hexagons. I used one for the front, one for the back (that means two papers, for those of you who know how to EPP). Put them together back to back, inserted some ribbon, and stitched around the edges by machine. Magic! Ornaments!

Sunburst ornaments, Side 1

Sunburst ornaments, Side2

I made these cards in May for my lovely mother in law (Jane), who was locked down in her retirement home in New York. She loves to write to her friends and ran out of stationery. She asked me to help. Of course! Again, I used those Sunburst motifs and some companion fabrics; cut out hearts and fused them right to the card stock. Paired them with envelopes and made her SO HAPPY! These can be holiday cards, too. Dig out your Christmas (and Hanukkah) fabrics.

Happy heart cards

I had some window cards from years ago that begged to feature some pretty fabric. These are generic - can be Christmas or Hanukkah - right? Snowflakes are universal. Stitched fabric to batting, inserted in window and then taped it shut. SO EASY!

Holiday window cards

And how about your table? These "Let it Snow" motifs (from a Windham Fabrics 2015 collection) were left over from my EPP classes. These are 2" hexagons. I zigzag stitched them to a 5-1/2" square, layered with batting and backing, stitched around and then bound them. Sent one to each of my 4 grandkids and have 5 leftover that I'm giving to a neighbor's 5 little kids (all under the age of 6 - yikes!)

Coasters made using 2" hexagons

And one last item: a placemat made for my grandkids. Here's one with Frosty the Snowman (from my own daughters' youth).

Placemat #1

These are 2" hexies and make for a very large placemat!

Placemat #2

Hope I've given you some ideas. I'll be back with some Hanukkah ideas!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Princess Feathers for Autumn Quilts

Here in America we are getting ready to celebrate our Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Most of us are not traveling and will just have to stay at home with our quilts. This is one I put together over several years and even took apart and re-arranged the blocks! I quilted this a few months ago and I pulled it out to grace my dining room.

Dancing Leaves: 35" x 42"

 I shared these Princess Feather leaves in 2015. Maybe you remember?

6 Princess Feather leaves with fusible webbing on back

I cut a few more and began to plan.


I was thinking of a runner, but then decided to use all the blocks. Here are a few shots of how I envisioned the blocks.

Light block with strips on sides

Dark block - didn't like that!

I didn't fuse the leaves to the background rectangles (VERY good idea) as I was considering the assembly. I put them on my design wall and then I realized that if I didn't like one block, I would like several.

Playing with assembly and background fabrics

So, now you can see that my Dancing Leaves quilt with all plain backgrounds was what I enjoyed the most. This way I can see the leaves in good contrast.

I first made a Princess Feather quilt for Windham Fabrics in 2006. It was with the Regency Dandy collection, reproduction fabrics from about 1810. The quilting is DIVINE and was executed by Leslee Evans of Atlanta.
Regency Dandy Princess Feather

I also made it again for my second book (Supersize 'Em Quilts, 2009) using Kaffe Fassett fabrics. This still hangs in my home. The colors are very Autumn and harvest-y.

Princess Feather: 56" x 56" (30" block)

I still have a bag full of these feathers (small and large) that keep begging me to make another quilt or two. Yes, I have THAT many! Here is a table runner that is also out for Thanksgiving.

Dancing Feathers Table Runner


And just to show you the stack of Princess Feather Plumes I have . . . These date back to 2007 when I was working with the Red Rooster Rhapsody Collection. Aren't these beautiful?!

Stack of Princess Feather plumes with fusible webbing and ready to go

And I even made a two Machine Quilting Samples for a workshop I teach with the smaller plumes:

Single sample with the smaller plumes

And 4 blocks together:
Larger sample using 4 blocks

OK. I'm done. Hope you enjoyed seeing my Princess Feather quilts with a nod toward Autumn.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Circle Week: Day 5

I was pulling all my Christmas quilts out of the closet to begin decorating for the holiday and came upon this small treasure I made about 30 years ago. I think I bought this set of panels from a fabric chain store (no longer in business) and used my interfacing technique to turn the edges. Appliquéd them to a single background fabric (gold) and machine quilted it. But, as I looked closer, I saw that I had started to hand quilt it - and obviously gave up!

30 year old holiday baskets

Drunkard's Path is a vintage, traditional pattern that remains popular even today. It's been updated and modernized and looks fresh and clean in new fabrics. It is composed of quarter circles joined to curved patches. It always daunted me, so I decided to appliqué circles to squares and then cut them into 4 smaller units. The top of this basket was made from a single cream square with a blue print circle appliquéd to the center. Then cut into 4 smaller squares. The basket uses two of them for the top.

Basket Block: 4-1/2" unfinished

The bottom of the basket comes from a blue square with a cream circle appliquéd. Again, I only used 2 of those smaller squares. I stitched them using a buttonhole machine stitch.

Back of Basket block

Here are a few other traditional Drunkard's Path blocks and variations. All of the circles came from a grocery bag filled with pre-cut circles for yo-yos and they were vintage 1930s fabrics!

Variation of Chain Links block. 8-1/2" unfinished


Vintage chicken prints - I call this Chicken a la Ring!

And lavender with yellow. So pretty! Again, 8-1/2" unfinished.

Harvest Moon or Around the World

More lavender and yellow. This is the Baby Bunting block.
Baby Bunting

Snowy Windows (pattern name)

Can also be called Dirty Windows!

Each of these circle prints are authentic 1930s prints.
Puzzle Boxes

And one of my absolute treasured possessions: All the tiny 1/4 circles are from that bag of pre-cut yo-yos. I used a precious feed sack remnant for the border and binding. This is the traditional Love Ring taken out quick a few rounds!

Love Ring using authentic feed sacks and 1930s prints

And a closeup of these 1930 prints. Aren't they sweet?


That's it for Circle Week. I know I have more circle quilts in my Quilt Vault but if I can't think of the name, there's no way I can find them. Have a great weekend and I hope some quilting is in there for you.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Circle Week: Day Four

Welcome to Day Four with circles. The first quilt here is made entirely of CASHMERE! I used some salesman's samples of wool cashmere and made this 54" x 82" quilt for my husband. I cut quarter circles from one sample and squares from another and then raw edge appliquéd them on using a buttonhole stitch.


Wool Cashmere Quilt: 54" x 82"

NO fusibles were used. NO interfacing. Just wool to wool.

Yesterday, I forgot to show you how I trim from behind my appliquéd circles. I leave the interfacing in until they are stitched - it stabilizes the edges so they don't get wobbly.

Trimming away behind appliquéd circle

And we all are familiar with yo yos, right? These delightful little circles are fun to make and use as embellishments. These yo yos are made with authentic 1930s fabrics


I helped my daughter design this project using a large yo yo quilt that we selectively took apart and then mounted on a canvas. It hangs above her bed. We used a bazillion pins to anchor this!

Reconstructed yo-yo spread

And I took several of these yo yo groupings and connected them into this little quilt. Lovely circles, right?

Small quilt made of yo yos

And one more: This is a class sample for my Folded Hexagon Flowers workshop. It uses 3-D prairie points, yo yos and folded 3-D Hexagons.

Yo yos and other 3-D embellishments

And an updated sample you've seen here before.


That's it for circles today. I'm going to dig around in my files to see what else I can share tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Circle Week with Windham Fabrics: Day 3

Day Three; more circles. This time I used a CD. You remember those, don't you? I have used them in workshops for my students to be able to make all sorts of perfect circles like these using the Solstice Collection by Sally Kelly.

Circles from the Solstice Collection by Sally Kelly for Windham Fabrics

 Let's see more of this fabric:
Solstice Fabrics

And another photo. These are just a few of the 28 prints! Go check them out. You will love them!



I pulled the two light prints to be the backgrounds of my circles blocks. I was able to cut 6 squares from each. I made my circles as I shared earlier (ie, interfaced and turned), centered and then pinned to the square, ready for stitching.

Circle centered, pinned and ready for stitching

I made 11 of these. Not sure yet where I'm going. I have one more square . . .
I had cut the squares 7" because sometimes in appliqué there is a little shrinkage. You can see the little bits of fabric shavings. Now they're a perfect 6-1/2" square!

11 Solstice Circle blocks

And as I showed you on Tuesday, I made some Square in a Square blocks as I did in the Spiroglyphics quilts. Here are the first 5.

Five Square in a Square blocks

"OK?" you ask. "Where are you going?" Well, I really don't know! But I'm going to do something like those Spiroglyphics quilts. I'll keep you posted. I just thought you'd like to see a few more circles!

I hope to share a few more posts about circles. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Circle Week: Day Two

I created a quilt 16 years ago and it was published in Quilt Magazine. I have no clue why I named it what I did, but I called it Spiroglyphics!

Spiroglyphics Quilt from 2014

I was enamored with making those interfaced circles and wanted to use black as my background fabric. I had a wonderful supply of batiks at that time and started cutting and stitching. I also was teaching paper piecing classes and the Square in a Square was our beginner's block. Using an Add-a-Quarter ruler is a MUST!

6" Square in a Square paper pieced block

I made a smaller version for a series of classes I taught for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. I made up kits of fabric so the students can start stitching right away. Here is the sample:

Smaller Spiroglyphics

I've been going through my dozens of workshop boxes (and yes, I have 40, so that means 3+ dozen!) and trying to use up my teaching samples so I can totally retire the class. I took several of my teaching samples and put them into this other version of Spiroglyphics. I really like this assembly, don't you?

I had way more Square in a Square blocks than Circle blocks and decided to add those 4 horizontal sashing strips to even things out. No borders. My guild friend here in Virginia quilted it for me because it's being donated to a local charity. I bound it and she's done!

Spiroglyphics 2020 quilt: 30" x 30"

And one more quilt that was made with my leftover blocks. (Yes, I make a lot of teaching samples!) This is 36" x 42". Same little Square in a Square blocks. It's quilted (not in this pic) and I just need to put the binding on. Some little child will love these dancing bugs in that green border, right?

Dancing Bugs Charity quilt: 36" x 42"

Tomorrow I will be sharing one more quilt made using these units. Since it's Wednesday, I will be using a new collection from Windham Fabrics. Come back and I'll show you!

In the meantime, check out my 9 page pdf Spiroglyphics pattern in my Etsy shop.