Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Windham Wednesdays - Tasty!

This contest is OVER; Sallie W from Texas is my winner. Congratulations, Sallie!

Yum, yum. I love cream and sugar - in my tea. Only cream in my coffee. But the new collection by Windham Fabrics: Cream and Sugar is so delightful that I could eat it up (no calories, btw). This collection by designed by Ampersand Design Studios - Morgan and Carrie, two very talented young women (not to be confused with one graying old woman here).

Cream and Sugar by Windham Fabrics
I cut some squares for a simple piecing project
I cut some squares to go with my Arrowheads template set (similar to the Tri-Recs tool).

Squares, half-rectangle triangles and some covered buttons and felt "bling"
What do they make?

These are my Tilt Blocks. First appeared in my first book (2004)
I even did a pattern for Windham from years past and the pattern is STILL available. Here is the quilt called "Tumbling Dice" using the Play Collection. Click that link for the free pattern.

Tumbling Dice pattern (check out the Windham Pattern Archive)
OK. What else did I make? Using another pattern from my new book (and yes they are NOW available!!), this is my version of Red Mango Tango, only this isn't red!

Mango Tango in Cream and Sugar.
What if you turned one section 90 degrees? And then did it 4 times?
 And what does the block look like from the back side? (OK, I mean wrong side!)

I think people want to see what paper piecing looks like on the wrong side
 Four of these blocks create the illusion of a 5th block in the center. Tricky, huh?
Red Mango Tango (in book). Four of the "twisted" blocks
I did the same thing in my book: Supersize 'Em Quilts with Snow Crystals.
Snow Crystals (a traditional block); 4 blocks appear as 5
Books are in!
Next week I will begin a contest to win a copy of this book. But for now, I am offering free shipping (USA only, sorry) for this through March. And, you can add my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts for $20 - free shipping! Click here for info: Ordering Paper Piecing Perfect Points.

Back to Cream and Sugar. Would you like to WIN a fat quarter bundle of Windham's Collection shown at the top of this post? Well, you can. Windham wants you to "like" Cream and Sugar on their Facebook page. Easy thing to do. Then come back and tell me how you would use this collection of fabrics. Anything goes!

1. Leave a comment (make sure I can see your email)
2. Tell me how you envision using this collection
3. If you have a Facebook account (I know some of you don't - you can still enter my contest) go like them and let me know you were there.
4. Contest over Saturday, March 2 at midnight.

You will be seeing this collection again. Windham and I have some fun things in the works. Like I said, fun fabric is yummy and should be pulled out when you're hungry for being creative!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paper Piecing Monday

Do NOT roll your eyes! It's not becoming. It's true: you either LOVE or HATE paper piecing. Yes, my new book is finally in and it's all about paper piecing. Large blocks. Pretty blocks. Blocks with very, very sharpy-sharp points. How else do you think you can get them SHARP except by paper piecing? (More about my book in a few days; I certainly will have a giveaway!) Check out the interview on Martingale's blog - they share a lot of info about my book: Paper Piecing Perfect Points.

Today I have an extensive tutorial using one of the blocks in my book (Paper Piecing Perfect Points) called Spinning Waterwheels. I am remaking the blocks in a new collection by Blank Quilting called Tanglewood. If you stick with me, you can have a chance to win a bundle of 11 fat quarters! Contest is over.

Aren't these just lovely?!
The Tanglewood Collection by Blank Quilting - 11 fat quarters can be yours!
First, we cut out the pattern very close to (but not exactly on) the outer seam line. You cannot leave the pattern in the 8-1/2" x 11" size. It will cause you to place your patches incorrectly and then you may have to unsew!

Cut pattern out.
Fold along EVERY printed line.
This is better than trying to hold the pattern and the fabric up to a light source. The printed side is the sewing side; the unprinted side is the side the fabric gets placed on. How else will you get an idea of the position for the fabric? Of all the tips I give in my classes, this one is in the top 3!

I combined the Tanglewood fabrics with some 2-1/2" strips from the Red Hot Collection by Blank.
Pre-cut fabrics (rectangles); sizes are given in pattern. Now you can go for "mindless" sewing.
By folding back along the lines, you can expose the excess fabric of Patches #1 & 2. Using a ruler (I like the Add-a-Quarter), trim leaving 1/4" seam allowance.
Trimming the first two patches; leave 1/4" seam for Patch #3 easy alignment
The first two fabric patches are the hardest to get. Just remember: you are sewing as your normally do with the wrong sides of fabric toward you. It's that you have a piece of paper between you and the fabrics you are trying to sew. My book has details on how to line up the first two patches. The fabrics are cut over-sized so that you have plenty of wiggle room. Once you sew on the line between Patch #1 and Patch #2, you press them as shown and then trim using the Add-a-Quarter ruler. When you leave a 1/4" seam allowance (as shown here), it is SO easy to then add the next patch without guessing.
First 2 patches sewn.
Add Patch #3, using the cut edge as shown above for your alignment. You don't need to hold it up to a light source. You can be confident that placing the red patch (as shown) will be large enough to cover the space.
Adding Patch #3 along the cut edge of Patches 1-2

Press Patch #3 after sewing; trim to 1/4" seam
Continue sewing, trimming, pressing until you reach the end. What do you get?

The wrong side of the block. Circles & arrows show how the seams have to criss-cross.
And then the trimming gets you what?
A finished & trimmed block; can you see those awesome 1/4" seams above the points?
OK. Show me what it looks like without the paper. Wow! No messy ##*@## like in traditional paper piecing, with wads and globs of fabric. This has been trimmed along the way so that when the paper is removed, it looks as though I used templates. Our secret is that I didn't!

After the paper is removed - Wow! that looks very neat, huh?
Time to add the background piece. Oh, no! Don't get the cold sweats. These are biggish blocks and the curves are gentle. I'm going to share my special secret on how to make these really fit.

These WILL fit together; but they won't if you leave the paper on. TAKE OFF THE PAPER BEFORE DOING THIS!
I have always. Always. Always removed the paper from my foundations before joining them to their neighbors. And in the case of joining a convex to a concave unit (a little math/trash talk here), you must, must, must remove papers. Or else they won't have any give. We are working with  bias edges and easing things in. Do you think you could have put in a sleeve in a dress if it had some sort of non-stretching hindrance to it? Of course not!

My secret: double pin as shown here.
You do not want those straight edges of the background piece to "wander" when being sewn. I keep the pins in until I'm finished with the seam. How does it all look?
Unit A and Unit B, ready to get the bottom triangles sewn on.
To see all the pictures in my book and to hear several more tips (and get the back story about how I learned to love paper piecing), go read the Martingale blog's interview about me. You have until midnight Monday Feb. 25 to win a copy of the book.

As always, I am so pleased that you came for a visit today. I don't take you for granted. And if you haven't had an email from me in a long time, that means you are a no-reply blogging commenter and you need to make sure I have your email in order to be entered in the contest.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Free Pattern Friday

Isn't that a fun title: Free patterns! Well, I was thinking about this because I want to share a few short stories about people and quilts and how they work together so wonderfully.

My friend Janet died of ovarian cancer about 15 years ago and left a loving husband and 3 children under 7 years old. Blank Quilting asked me to design a quilt featuring their Inspiration 3 Collection a few years ago and I made this quilt with Janet in mind. The Inspiration Collections (there are 4) share some of their proceeds with ovarian cancer research.

Memories of Janet: 48" x 48"
The pattern is FREE on my Craftsy page (link above; or link on sidebar).

Why did I think of this? I am on the Martingale blog email list and they shared about the passing of one of their beloved staff, Robin Strobel. Robin was a book author (among other things) and for this weekend, Martingale is making available BOTH of Robin's books as eBooks FREE. They are lovely books filled with creativity and beautiful quilts. Martingale believes that this is what Robin would have wanted and I share that news with you.

Vivid Imaginings by Robin Strobel
Truly Tipsy Nine Patch by Robin Strobel
I was so inspired by this quilt that I pulled out my rulers and am making some of these blocks. I had a quilt in my first book (2004) using this block and have used it several times since. Stay tuned for a next week reveal of this using some kitchey fabrics by Windham. I'm not saying anymore . . .

Last story: some of you may remember my posting 2 weeks ago about a Benefit Quilt Sale to help Raquel's family from Spain. She was in a horrible car crash in Connecticut, almost lost her legs and is still in bad shape. I have sold a few quilts to help defray the cost of hotels, airfare, etc for the several weeks her parents are here (they speak no English and are living on a small pension). The good news is that I have raised $725 (of course, my neighbor bought a $400 quilt last night which really bumped up my total). That money will go to my son in law who will transfer it to Euros and then into Raquel's parents' bank account. I am so pleased that my quilts are making good use of themselves instead of acting like prima donas in the closet, harumphing and whining and preening!

So, go get the free Memories of Janet pattern and then head on over to the Martingale site to download TWO free eBooks!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Windham Wednesday Giveaway

Winner of the fat quarter bundle is: Karen of San Diego, CA. Congratulations, Karen.

Black and white and . . . green! What a fabulous combination, don't you think?
Day for Night Collection by Windham Fabrics
Looks like I'm getting ready to do some paper piecing. Why? Because I've pre-cut some strips. I don't do any guessing; no "grab a wad of fabric, maybe even a fat quarter, and hope it covers the patch." (I'm not kidding - one teacher said to grab a fat quarter so you would be sure to have enough fabric to cover a patch/space).

You can see 7 of my paper piecing tips at the Martingale blog site. I was interviewed and I share some of my back story on how I came into paper piecing kicking and screaming. But as I went along, I threw out a lot of really bad teaching techniques used by teachers and created my own. Why? I want my students to be successful and I wanted to keep my hair intact!

Hosanna Block before trimming
My book has several pages of step  by step illustrations on how to paper piece.

1. Pre-cut strips make paper piecing E-Z.
2. Fold paper back, trim patch to 1/4" seam, add next patch.
3. Sew. Repeat. I used black thread so you could see my stitching.
4. Notice how sewing into the seam allowances criss-crosses the seams for very, very sharp points.
5. How does the block look from the front after I trim away?

I'm working with that Hosanna block from last week, the one I had in the Hugs and Kisses blog hop. I featured the block in my 3 block table runner and named it Cupid's Arrows (why not?)

Two of the seven 7" blocks I made with Day for Night
Can I show you another set of Hosanna blocks I made several years ago with another Windham fabric collection? I super-sized the block for a 10" finished size. Set it on point (where it really looks the best) and used setting triangles.

My 9 block Hosanna Quilt using Regency Dandy, 2007
What's the giveaway? Windham has put together a fat quarter bundle of the Day for Night Collection by Rosemarie Lavin and you can win it! Visit their Facebook page and tell them you like it (or if you don't, just be diplomatic and play nice-nice). Jennifer (their social media director) is letting me select the name for the prize. Just come back and tell me you visited their Facebook page. Make sure I have your email.

Deadline: Saturday Feb. 23 at midnight. Contest is over; Karen is the winner!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paper Piecing Perfect Points - the Back Story

Katie's Points of View
The "Stitch This!" blog for Martingale is featuring an interview with me today about my new book, Paper Piecing Perfect Points and they give some of my back story comments and tips for paper piecing which have helped me along the way. You can leave a comment for a chance to WIN a copy of my new book. You can also see all the quilts on the "Books" tab at the top of this page.

One special that Martingale is offering is if you buy the book you can download the eBook for free! This way you can print the foundations right from your computer! It's a limited time special and as an eBook (I have it), you don't have to struggle with photocopying or tracing the foundations. Now, that's a real bargain (it's normally $19.99).

Here are a few of the quilts featured:

One block from "Seeing Red"

Toile Garden (I've made several of these center blocks)

Four blocks from "Spinning Waterwheels"
I offer a little historic perspective from my 14+ years designing for Quilt Magazine, how I learned to love paper piecing ( used to hate it), and I share 7 tips, 3 of which are repeated here:

From the interview, which you can read at the Martingale blog:

I’ve taught hundreds of students in the classroom and thousands more via my patterns. I’ve learned many things along the way, and my students have given me great feedback. Here are some of my best paper-piecing tips!

Fern Fancy by Kathryn Wright
1. Always paper piece a sample block before you cut out an entire quilt. You may find the patches don’t work, you don’t like the block, or that your colors aren’t pleasing to you. It’s not a waste to “test drive” a block before committing to an entire quilt.

2. Choose your foundation paper carefully. The type of paper you use DOES make a difference. I like thin paper (newsprint or tracing paper). Martingale makes awesome papers for foundation piecing and it’s all I use. I introduce my students to it in every class—I give them one or two printed patterns so they can see the difference. Computer paper is a bit too heavy; if you use it, you can tear out your stitches when you remove the paper.

3. Shorten your stitches, but not so small that you can’t unsew them. When I need to unsew, my method is to save the seam and sacrifice what I call the “Patch of Shame.” What? That’s the fabric patch that doesn’t quite cover the space it’s supposed to cover. You have to sacrifice it for the good of the project. To unsew it, trim the Patch of Shame away with a pair of sharp scissors, as close as you can to the seam. Then grab the remaining seam allowance and peel it away. Everything’s removed except for the seam stitches.

So, for a chance to win a copy of the book from Martingale, visit their blog this week and leave a comment. I will be giving away copies once I get my supply of books!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ode to My Stolen Quilts

No, not today or last week or last year. But in January 2005, on the front end of an 8 day teaching tour (California to Colorado) someone broke into my hostess's car and stole a suitcase with 30 (yes, thirty!) of my quilts. Why am I sharing this today? Because I found some old pics of them and wanted to revisit their beauty. I am not trying to make you feel sorry for me (or them). I am over it. I like to say that they are hanging on the Giant Quilt Rack in the sky.

This first one, 98 Dancing Squares was in my first book (which had only been out for 4 months!).

98 Dancing Squares
This next one I called Spinning Waterwheels and I really miss her. I did remake it somewhat for my current book. But this one was made with all Fossil Ferns from Benartex.

Spinning Waterwheels
OK. Another one, also from my first book (Bold, Black & Beautiful Quilts):
Dresden Butterflies
And one of the first quilts I made in my Cookie Cutter series. I still teach this class, but I was never able to remake the whole quilt as shown here. Sigh.
Cookie Cutter Leaves

A few samples from that workshop
Cookie Cutter Trees using batik scraps
Cookie Cutter Flowers
More Trees
This was going to be a table topper with the trees cutaways
Various block samples to show my students (which they didn't see)
My original Coffee Filter Fans quilt and quilt top:

Coffee Filter Fans, paper pieced on (wait a minute!) - coffee filters
 And the quilt top so my students could see the back/wrong side:

Coffee Filter Fans quilt top
Another quilt from my first book: Velvet Stars
I've never remade the next one, though it's on my 2013 bucket list:
Flying Swallows, all paper pieced
This one is sorely missed, though my Atlanta friend Joan G. remade it for me (bless you, Joan):

Carpenter's Wheel, all paper pieced
Where the Heck-o is That Gecko? (gecko fabrics)
One of the first Mariner's Compasses I made
A bad photo, but this is my Ultra-suede star on a velvet background
Tessellating Leaves
The following quilt I only brought on the trip because the hostess insisted she wanted to see it up close and personal. This one I truly miss and have never remade. And it's the only picture I have of it:

My library quilt with applique dishes, tea service, etc. Sigh!
I've left the last two (that I have photos of; some of them were never photographed).

Dogwood Blossom - one of the classes I had to teach in California!

The very first paper pieced Dogwood Blossom, based on an antique quilt
OK. Don't be depressed. Remember, they're hanging on the Giant Quilt Rack in the sky. But I hadn't thought of these in years, so you know I'm over it. They are sitting in someone's basement or in a landfill somewhere. The thieves thought they were getting gold, silver or gems - well, they did. But only to a quilter.

I love my quilts, but not like my family. I admire my quilts but I hug my husband and kids and grandkids, (and sons in law, too). Thanks for coming with me down memory lane!