Sunday, June 29, 2014

Modern Projects for Today's Quilters

Summer Sizzle!
Buzz Saw using my 12-1/2" Dresden Plate ruler
The latest issue of Modern Patchwork (Summer 2014) arrived yesterday with the return of my 3 little projects that are featured on its pages. The little projects were hot and sweaty because the dang UPS man NEVER knocks on the door when he drops a box on my front porch. When I found it, they were crying for a sip of water and some air conditioning. I opened the box, pulled them out and laid them on the spare bed to calm down. I found my two author issues inside and WOW! what a truly fabulous magazine!
Hot off the press filled with awesome projects!
Buzz Saw (a Flirty 30 pattern) is one of my fun quilts using the Raj Collection from Windham Fabrics. Those are 12-1/2" wedges of fabric with my special method of adding the sharp blade tip. We had to use templates in the magazine, but my upcoming workshop (see the Georgia Quilting LIVE! schedule for September) includes the multi-sized template for my students. This is a 24" block, finishing to a 30" table topper.

And what can you do with a charm pack and a 60 degree ruler?

Facets of Color - 1,000 Pyramids
Facets of Color is another fun quilt that I made for the Kona Blog Hop a few months ago. This was created using a stack of 42 - 5" Charm Squares and a yard of Kona Snow. I squeezed the life out of the fabrics and then enjoyed using a walking foot on my trusty, faithful Bernina 1230 to quilt this following the triangle lines.

More hexies . . .
English Paper Pieced hexagons - gotta love 'em!

. . . used to create this Skinny Table Runner:
Skinny Table Runner in a non-traditional arrangement of hexagons
Modern Patchwork, Summer 2014, is on newsstands now. It is filled with all sorts of projects - for the home (pillows, quilts, aprons, etc) and for travel (purses, travel totes and carrying cases). Something for just about everyone.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More Hexies Using the Hexagon Trim Tool (again)

Easy yarn bag with a Grandmother's Flower Garden block
Did I start with cut hexagons?
Love these colors!
Not for a GFG block! I use rectangles: they're quicker to cut and give me extra fabric on the back of the template. I'm showing this hexagon because it is the center of another project. I used my friend Jean Ann Wright's Hexagon Trim Tool (Checker) to make some awesome blocks:

Hexagon Log Cabin block - 8" high
How did you make those blocks, Debby? They look really difficult! Well, I used Jean Ann Wright's Hexagon Trim Tool (by Creative Grids) which makes the strips turn out perfect. Looks complicated, but all these lines mean something on the ruler:

Hexagon Trim Tool by Jean Ann Wright
I started by squaring up the sides of six blocks. Then I didn't like what I would get. It was too boring and predictable.
Each block gets four 30 degree triangles
Here's one I made using some Honeystone Hill blenders, where I squared up the sides. And I am not happy with the small triangles on the sides. Good thing I only made one with the cream triangles. But I'm in the process of making about a dozen. Don't know how I'll arrange them; I think I'll let them tell me!

Same block using the same ruler, but a smaller center
Like I said: I sewed four triangles onto 6 blocks - then I changed my mind. Rip, rip, rip. Not my favorite thing to do, but I know I had something better in mind.

Six blocks joined into a round
All straight seam sewing - honest! Each block is joined to 3 triangles (two white and one either white or blue floral). This is my new table topper (and a new pattern). Just needs to be quilted. It's about 18" high by 25" wide (I think). Hope to bind it in a stripe.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Christmas in (Almost) July

Winter Tidings Collection by Blank Quilting
 Yes, it's true: fabric companies release their holiday fabrics in the hot summer! But it is fun to play with such happy colors and to "see" a cardinal in the summer (which I tend to confuse with robins anyway).

This Happy Hexie Table Runner is one of my new patterns with Cut Loose Press. They are quilt shop exclusive and very affordable ($3.99)! Yes, can you believe it? I have sewn this table runner 6 times and I hope this is the last one! Now I just need to quilt it (hopefully, next week). It is going on a trip to be displayed at an Open House for quilt shop owners.

Happy Hexie Table Runner - 29" x 54"
Those hexagons are so easy to cut out using a 60 degree ruler. You really don't need a funky template. Those rulers can cut just about any size hexagon (and half-hexagons, 60 degree triangles, 60 degree diamonds, and even those 30 degree diamonds if you want to square up the sides). Truly, my favorite ruler - a work horse!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Free Pattern Friday Featuring American Coverlet Fabrics

Constitution Oak Pattern: 64" x 64"
Constitution Oak is a very old, traditional pattern. The appliques are large and easy. I designed this quilt several years ago for Windham Fabrics as a pattern to go along with their Farmer Fancy Collection in association with the National Museum of the American Coverlet. I visited this Museum a few years ago and was amazed at all the gorgeous antique coverlets they have hidden inside a rather dilapidated re-purposed elementary school.

While you may not have any coverlets in your stash or find any to buy, it's easy enough to make this quilt using your favorite prints.

You can download the pattern with full size templates for the applique here: Constitution Oak

While you're at it, take a look at the Regal Eagle quilt I also made with a coverlet collection:
Regal Eagle appears in my 2014 wall calendar
Regal Eagle was picked up by a magazine a few years ago and then they went bankrupt and I was never paid (they published but couldn't honor their contracts). So, I made sure it was in my wall calendar. My nephew Blair saw it and told me how much he loved it. I promised him the quilt when he moves into his new apartment. This eagle had an identity crisis and needs to be in a loving home, don't you think?!!

Hope you get inspired to make Constitution Oak!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Dinosaurs Are Coming!

10,000 BC Collection from Benartex Fabrics
Today is Technique Tuesday at the Benartex blog (SewInLoveWithFabric). I took some of these bright fabrics and turned them into a few things for my grandsons.

You can't have enough pajama bottoms!
Or pillow cases (I'm auditioning fabric)
Check it out today. I show step by step directions (with pictures, of course) on how to make a pillowcase with almost NO raw edges. Neat tricks are easy and quick.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pot of Blooms - a Happy Quilt

Pot of Blooms
Today, where I live (the DC area) it is rainy, gloomy, and muggy. I needed something to brighten up my surroundings. I turned to some happy quilts.

When I taught classes in the Intown Quilters shop in Atlanta, there were so many wonderful fabrics by Lake House that begged to become happy quilts. This one almost made itself - the blooms just wanted to dance on that Spring-green background. I cut them out and fused them over those awesome striped stems and those pots? Guess what? They're half hexagons - oh, yes they are!

This is on the cover of my 2014 wall calendar. I think it's the quilt for May (I lose track). But do you remember what else I did with these large flower motifs?

I used the center leaf shaped template that's part of my EZ Double Wedding Ring pattern set. I cut out all those teardrop shapes and surrounded a bold bloom with a black/white batik. Fused, appliqued, done. That's my kind of block!

From a blog hop last year - Twist with the 60s
And then I created one more project . . . uh, two?

My Twisted Hexagon blocks - oh, so easy!

Twisted Hexagon Table Runner

Two of those flowers chopped and reassembled
I hope these brightened up your day. It's still raining, but I feel a little better having visited my happy quilts!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Casablanca Sunrise Class

New fabrics with my paper pieced rendition of the traditional Rising Sun block
Thursday and Friday I am off to visit the Eternal Quilters (aren't we all?) guild in Glen Burnie/Severn Maryland. We have all day Friday to play with fabric and learn about paper piecing (do NOT roll your eyes, do you hear me?)

They have selected the Casablanca Sunrise quilt from my book, Paper Piecing Perfect Points. (Yes, I showed this a few weeks ago). I enjoyed using two different yellows for the "blades" in the fan and then setting it on point. The students will learn how to set blocks on point and the easy formula to do so (yes, it involves math - I told you NOT to ROLL your eyes!)

Casablanca Sunrise quilt using the Casablanca Collection by Blank Fabrics
 Well, what happens when you make more than one block? Let me show you. (Sorry that the picture isn't as bright as a sunrise, but I think you get the idea). This quilt uses FOUR blocks, but because of the way I have turned 1/4 of each block, it creates the illusion of FIVE blocks. Neat trick, huh? And will you look at those stripes!

Four blocks become five - I sewed until I ran out of fabric!
Here is a digital version in blues:

Milady's Fans
The block/unit is 7" square. The four units together (as shown in the two small quilts) make a 14" block. Set on point - you do the math! (OK, here's the formula: 14 x 1.414 = ?)

Anyway, I am very excited to visit this guild. The dog is NOT happy because she sees that red suitcase sitting in my living room and is nervous. But "dad" is staying home, so she doesn't have to get in the car and go to "Spa Webb", the folks who pamper her when we both are away.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Historic Quilts for Today

Garden Bouquet Quilt of 5 blocks
I began redrafting historic quilt blocks from the 1930s over 15 years ago when I was an editor for a quilt magazine. I came into contact with Dorothy Mae Groves of Kansas City who sent me photocopied pages of several series quilts that had been published in the Kansas City Star and other midwest newspapers. These were photocopies of the original newsprint pages and were primitive at best (though the drawings were clear). I took out my trusty pen tool in Adobe Illustrator and began computer drawing every one of those images!

Zinnia with Urn and Saucy Bird and Meek Bird
This series, the Garden Bouquet, was designed by Florence LaGanke and was part of a fictional Nancy Page Quilt Club and each new block was accompanied by quite a bit of chatty interaction by the club members! This series appeared in the Detroit News, 1931.

There are 20 flower blocks, each with an urn and two birds as seen above. The quilt at the top of this page is my own using 5 of those blocks. I agonized over a border and then decided on none - using only red binding to finish it up. It is one of my favorite quilts.

Lemon Lily Block
I used to bundle these on CD with full size templates for each flower, bird, urn (simplified using a single applique patch) and directions for the full quilt  and my own 5 block quilt. But then I got smart and now offer it at my Craftsy site for a full downloadable 55 page pdf. Same price for 12 years: $10.

Phlox Block, full size applique pattern
Hope you enjoyed my blast from the past. I think I might share some images from the other sets I have: Memory Bouquet, Laurel Wreath, The Toy Quilt, Roly Poly Quilt. What do you think?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hexagon Floor Tiles in 100+ Year Old Hotel

Beautiful designs on the floor of the Plaza Hotel
The location of the floor doesn't matter. What I found amazing was to see the HUGE floor in the hotel lobby covered in this intricate pattern. You know how much I love hexagons. This design is even older than the hotel (100+ years).

Yes, I was here. Old Spain left a lot of beauty.
This was the beginning of my trip, before I sweat bullets walking the streets. I wonder how many tiles are in that floor? And to think they probably cut out each hexagon by hand. Where were their hexagon rulers, huh?

Oh, yes. There was even a wall sign created using these hexagons. The "old" man in the picture is my first husband, who was as tired, hot and sweaty as I was.
Hexagons on the wall, too!
That's it. I only blog about quilt-related matters.  Hope you enjoyed another version of hexagons. They are timeless!