Monday, March 31, 2014

New York Beauty

New York Beauty quilt top
I follow a Facebook page of antique quilts that recently featured a few New York Beauty quilts. I love that many of them are NOT flawless. There are imperfections, just like the one above.

I had wanted to include this quilt in my recent book Paper Piecing Perfect Points and had asked a fellow teacher about quilting this for me. She insisted that I take it apart and "fix" the flaws in the side spikey borders, in particular, the one on the left. . . And I did (take it apart) 3 years ago!

And it still is in parts. All the paper pieced parts.  All sorts of parts and it has broken my heart. Sits in a dark box in the basement. Never did "fix it."

I'm going to the basement this morning. Find the box. Take it to my sewing room. Sew the parts back together JUST LIKE THE PHOTO. And I will make sweet promises to the quilt that she will get quilted JUST LIKE SHE APPEARS and will take her around and show her off JUST LIKE SHE IS.

Yes, my friend meant well. We quilters are perfectionists. I get it. But life is too short to try to be like God. Holy cow! I really don't want to compete with Him. We know what happened to that angel who tried that millenia ago!

I'll keep you posted on that quilt.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Quilt To Bridge the Generations

Going home to live with Meg
Meg is my daughter Audrey's best girlfriend. They went to graduate school together (Georgetown U) and have remained friends for maybe 10 years (what does a mother remember?)

Meg comes over with Audrey occasionally when Audrey wants to sew and raid my stash. Meg saw my unfinished Gee's Bend quilt last year and thought it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen (as far as quilts go). I knew then that it would find a home with her.

I had to query about 200 quilt shops to find the red for the borders. My dear friend Connie longarm quilted it a few weeks ago. Instead of wrapping it up,  I had it hanging on my kitchen wall last night when she walked in. It took her almost 10 minutes to notice not only it, but the big sign with her name on it! Yes, she was speechless.

That quilt is just as happy as Meg is. And you can bet that I had the greatest time getting it ready to go on its journey. I still have a smile on my face!

Yes, these Gee's Bend quilts appeal to every generation. And the younger crowd see them as modern art. I see them as a bridge to span all ages.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sunflower Blossoms: Dreaming of Warm Weather and Giveaway

Sunflower Blossoms
My publisher (Martingale/That Patchwork Place) suggested I post about my book, Paper Piecing Perfect Points. Besides needing a diversion from the 8" of snow we received on Monday, I also needed a happy quilt to feast my eyes on with a LOT color. Where is Spring? we are all asking!!

Sunflower Blossoms is really a remake of a quilt that was stolen in 2005 (along with 29 other quilts and samples). It was in a suitcase that was in a locked car in a "sketchy" parking garage in California. It was my first Dogwood Blossom quilt, based on a tradtional design and probably one of the first projects I made using foundation piecing.

Dogwood Blossom Quilt - hanging on the Giant Quilt Rack in the sky
Print ad in a quilt magazine - Sunflower Blossoms!
Yes, I know. Some of you are rolling your eyes. "Paper piecing? Are you nuts? I'd rather scrub toilets or go to the dentist!" All I can say is that you've never had a teacher to show you how easy it is and that you can get such awesome pointy-points no other way.

Do you remember this post from the Nancy Drew Blog Hop? I made a quilt using Dogwood Blossoms in the center and the flying geese from Toile Garden in the outside.

Nancy Drew Blog Hop post
You can see all of the quilts from the book at Amazon, Martingale or even here at my blog by clicking the tab above: Books

Now for the giveaway! Your own copy of Paper Piecing Perfect Points,

This is the GIVEAWAY
signed by the author (I think that's me!). Just go visit the Martingale Facebook page and check out all the beautiful projects and books they feature. Come back and tell me something that caught your eye (even if it's not paper piecing).

1. I have to have your email address, NOT a link to your Google Plus identity. No email, no chance to win. Not a link to your blog or web site. I am not a sleuth like Nancy Drew.
2. Contest is over Tuesday, March 25 at midnight.
3. Understand that I can't reply to everyone. I'm on the road for the next 4+ weeks and my dog and husband don't blog. But I LOVE READING all your comments!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Log Cabins the Hexagon Way!

Hexagon Log Cabin Block (yes, I got the date stamp wrong!)
My longtime quilting friend and former editor at Quilt Magazine (I worked for her for 14 years) has developed several new quilting rulers for Creative Grids. Jean Ann Wright has been quilting for a few decades and now has 3 trim tools that take the guesswork out of several awesome blocks. (I've been quilting for a few decades, too!)  One of them is called the Hexagon Trim Tool. It makes an 8" (high) log cabin block in the shape of a hexagon. And you know how much I love hexagons!

The beauty of this tool is that you don't have to cut the exact size strips. The ruler trims them for you after you've sewn an entire round of strips. I decided to make one this week to see if I could do it (what? are you kidding? this ruler is for everyone from beginner to advanced).

I decided to "square it up" so that I can join other blocks without using a y-seam. How did I do that?

You can use the Hexagon Trim Tool to cut the side 30 degree triangles
I typically stay with my tried-and-true 60 degree rulers to cut everything with a 60 degree angle: triangles, hexagons, half-hexagons, 30 degree triangles, and even 60 degree diamonds. I thought I would have to resort to cutting these "square 'em up" triangles with my large triangle ruler. Then I started to twist and turn the ruler and I got these:

Flip the ruler to make the second cut!
These are mirror images of each other.
Can we see the block again? Well, scroll back to the top of the page (just kidding):

These fabrics are from the Blank Quilting collection of blenders.
The fabrics are gorgeous and I hope to make several more of these blocks. I just needed one to take with me on the road to show my students. Stay tuned for more uses of this tool.

You can see other patterns for this and Jean Ann's other tools at her blog: Jean Ann Quilts

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

East Meets West and a Giveaway

East Meets West

Beautiful fabrics from the Sakura Collection by Benartex
Today I am blogging at the Benartex site and give a great tutorial for how to make these lovely circles without any hand work. I put them into a small quilt that I hope will inspire you.
Butterflies remind me of Spring. Are you coming, Spring?
You can find out about the giveaway at the Sew in Love with Fabric blog. They will create the parameters for the contest. I will be giving away a set of fat quarters of the Sakura Collection. Good Luck!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ruffles and Stuff

First attempt at a skirt for my 6 week old granddaughter!
Welcome to my day for the Ruffles Blog Hop. Many thanks to Amy of Sew Incredibly Crazy and Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt. They do their best to keep us all in line.

I spent several weeks sweating bullets over this hop. I didn't want to do another quilt, another pillow, or another apron. I got inspired by a tiny applique block I've had for years (I share it later) and then when my daughter Audrey asked me to make a dotted skirt for my new granddaughter Eva last week, well - I remembered the 10 yards of ruffled eyelet I bought at a thrift shop a few years ago. BINGO!

The first skirt went down to her ankles. Ooops! Back to the sewing machine.
Second skirt. More ruffle than fabric.

Well, you really can't tell how cute it is until you see it on my cute granddaughter, Eva. (That is pronounced A-va, not E-va; my son in law is from Spain)

Aren't I just the cutest little girl? And how about those shoe/sox?
Audrey brought her friend Leah and her baby, who's about 6 months old. I made her a skirt in orange, with ruffles of course!
Orange with the same ruffle.
And what did Audrey and Leah make while I was busy making ruffled skirts? Ruffled headbands!

This was my daddy's t-shirt yesterday. Today it's my ruffled headband!

OK. Now to what I made FIRST with the little, tiny block I have had here for at least 15 years.
Tiny Sunbonnet Sue block, 3-1/2" square!
OK. What did I do with her, hmmm? Well, first for the construction of the ruffle:

Cut two strips about 2-1/2" wide and joined them along the diagonal
Trim away the excess. The diagonal line makes for less bulk when it's folded
Note that I pressed this seam open
See how the diagonal seam makes for less bulk
Time to gather this double-fold strip. Love those 1930s prints!

Long basting stitch by machine

Yes, this is messy, but it will be covered by a backing and stuffed with polyfil
Isn't she the cutest? Please don't look at the corners. I really struggled with this tiny thing!

 And how does she look stuffed?

Tiny little Sunbonnet Sue pillow
I pulled out two of my oldie-goldie Sunbonnet Sue quilts and had my new little pillow pose with them. Wanna see?
Applique Sunbonnet Sue from at least 10 years ago
These are machine embroidered Sunbonnets. A LOT OF THREAD!
The quilt above uses authentic feedsack in the border. The blocks are embroidered with a bazillion stitches each (maybe 14,000). But I truly love this little quilt. It's at least 15 years old.

Now, I'm done. Hope you enjoyed my ruffling and stuffing. Please visit the other bloggers who share my day. I'm sure there will be a lot of inspiration!

March 6th 

Debby Kratovil Quilts (that's me)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

On the Road Again!

Twisted Hexagons Table Mat, option #1
I'm starting my teaching cycle for 2014 with the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo and it begins on Thursday, March 6: 4 days on, 3 days off for 6 weeks in a row! Yikes! Can someone check on my husband and dog? Actually, it's a good arrangement and I work with some of the most wonderful people on the planet. What are my classes?

Twisted Hexagons, see above pic. And this class has the option to select to make the table runner:

Three Block Table Runner
I share various other projects of inspiration. But, I have to move on to my next classes . . .

English Paper Piecing: Grandmother's Flower Garden Blocks
No sewing machines. No hurry. No kidding! Handwork and relaxation. Never thought I'd say those two words together, but this class is a wonderful addition to my busy sewing machine schedule of classes. What else do I show?
Double Hexie
How to applique this to a background square!
Now for the machine quilter:
Free Motion Quilting within a stencil outline
Free motion various shapes:
Pebbles? In a circle?
You can see more at the Sewing Expo web site listing of cities and classes.

And the 4th class that seems to be a Blockbuster in each city: The Modern Vortex . . .

The Modern Vortex Quilt. Block Size: 20" x 20" . Quilt Size: 28" x 28"
And is there another color, or do we really all have to make it in red?

You can make blue, or black or purple, or . . .
And where did you get the idea to make such an awesome quilt? How about a quilt made a century ago by a quilter who didn't have a computer or a compass; probably just a dinner plate and a piece of paper!

Only God knows who made this quilt. And I bet she sits on a special throne in heaven!
While I will be busy flying or driving from city to city, I do enjoy being with my students in the classroom. I love my fellow teachers and my roommates (Helene and Nelly). I eat too many hotel meals and some junk food. We share a glass of wine in the evening and tell funny stories about crazy classroom happenings. Then I head back home to make sure my husband and dog are fine, do a few loads of laundry, a quick trip to the grocery store and repeat - again and again!

Wait until you see the next season's listing of classes. I absolutely love that I can create new classes and teach brand new things. I can't ask for anything better! If you are taking a class from me, I am honored!