Saturday, August 30, 2014

Playing with Thread and Fabric

Ring of Hexies
 I've been very busy getting ready for the Quilting Live! Show in Atlanta September 11-14. I will be teaching 4 classes, one of which is free motion quilting. I played around with a sample that I started last year. I drew this Grandmother's Flower Garden using an orange Crayola marker (washable, of course). It sat for a year on the fabric! I quilted using the lines to tell me where to start and stop.

Then I prayed a little prayer, submerged it in the bathroom sink in cold water and LOOK! No orange marker!

Here is another view. This second picture is turned so that there are two hexagons at the top (notice the "v"). A very different look, huh?

Same image, just turned
I have been very inspired by Geta Grama in Romania who does gorgeous work with hexies and free motion quilting. She said that her sewing machine has a 10-1/4" opening. Mine is small, just like most domestics, with about a 7" opening.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my little sample. Come back on Tuesday for my special announcement about my Star Spangled Banner week long Celebration. I have 7 days worth of fabric giveaways, books, free patterns, lots of quilts to inspire you and a special guest who loves both quilts and American history!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pillowcases, Pillowcases and Free Patterns

Travel size pillow case for my grandson Miles using the 10,000 BC Collection from Benartex
American Patchwork and Quilting (APQ) continues to work toward their goal of providing 1,000,000 (yes, that's ONE MILLION) pillowcases for charity. I've partnered with them with the generous assistance of Benartex Fabrics to make some of these.

Yes, you can join in on the fun!
First, I selected one of their  43 FREE pillowcase patterns from their web site. I selected the one that is similar to the one I've used for the past 10+ years. You can see my blog post tutorial here (Pillowcase Tutorial) for when I made some smaller pillowcases for my grandsons. If you scroll down on that page you will see how I rolled up the main fabric to fit into the hem for a NO EXPOSED SEAM finish. Really awesome. Here is the link at the APQ site for the free pattern I used for today's tutorial: Roll it Up (scroll down for the pattern and a video).

Now, those of you who know me and my fervor for making pillowcases for my two little grandsons, know that my daughter Hilary has sternly advised me NO MORE PILLOWCASES. Well, what can I say? If I make enough she never has to do laundry (her most detested chore)!

So, I've made several for this blog hop. I guess I got carried away!

First, for the boys, I selected the Tropical Rainforest III Collection by Kanvas for Benartex:

Frogs, Lizards, Iguanas and - yikes! - Snakes!
Tropical Rainforest is a gorgeous collection that is perfect for anyone who's not afraid of slithery creatures. Believe me, as the mother of 3 daughters, I NEVER would have thought of using these for my little girls (who are very grown now). But I can see that my grandsons would LOVE THESE.

My husband made me remove a frog from our hotel room when we were in Cuba!
Frogs I can handle; snakes, you got to be kidding!

Now for the girls. I made 5 pillowcases for them . . .

Sneakers, bikes, hearts and lovey-dovey words for the girls
I used the Cool Girl Collection by Benartex Fabrics and sewed every last piece I was given. I especially love those sneakers, don't you?

Pink is my absolute favorite color. I dream of finding pink sneakers one day . . .
Many thanks to Benartex for generously supplying me with all this fabric. You can read more about how you can be involved and sew some pillowcases. Mine will be donated to The Alternative House through my local quilt shop (The Quilt Patch) which collects them and distributes quilts, fleece throws and other items like this. Make them local; give them local is my mantra!

Here is more info on the 24-Hour Sewathon:

*Official social hashtag: #APQSewathon

We're hosting a 24-hour event in our Des Moines offices, but shops and groups across the country are hosting their own sewathons. Find shops in your area here:

And here are more bloggers with their pillowcase offerings. Go visit and see what they made!
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Blog Participants List:
·    Alison Glass (
·    American Patchwork & Quilting (
·    Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs (
·    The Benartex Design Team: Sew in Love with Fabric (
·    Debby Kratovil ( - that's me!
·    Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts (
·    Heidi Pridemore (
·    How To Sew (
·    Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom (
·    Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts (
·    Karrie Winters of Freckled Whimsy (
·    Kelle Boyd of Ann Kelle (
·    Linda Carlson (
·    Modern Quilt Studio (
·    Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft (
·    Northcott: Patti’s Patchwork (
·    Shannon Fabrics: My Cuddle Corner (
·    Tammy Silvers (
·    Timeless Treasures: Sew Timeless (
·    Valori Wells (
·    Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool (
·    Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring (

Monday, August 18, 2014

Look What's Coming Up!

Making pillowcases is so much fun
Friday, August 22 is the GIANT blog hop for American Patchwork and Quilting to help reach their goal of 1,000,000 (that's one million) pillowcases for charity. I have partnered with Benartex and I have some fabulous fabrics to work with. I'll be making one for a boy and one for a girl. And I may even have a fabric giveaway . . .

Make sure you come back for an EASY tutorial on how to make these without any raw edges inside. I include a link to the APQ site for the pattern along with a few dozen others! See you on Friday, right?

The Star Spangled Banner USA stamp
The week preceding the 200th anniversary (September 14) of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner by Frances Scot Key, I will have lots of fun things to share. Windham Fabrics has donated some fabric bundles and I have other Americana, patriotic fabrics that you will love!

Giveaways are specifically for Americans (the giveaways will only be shipped stateside, sorry), but I will have several FREE pattern downloads available to everyone and a lot of historic information. The War of 1812 was not pretty, but the Battle of Ft. McHenry was a deciding factor in us winning the war (as in: leave us alone; we'll rule ourselves, thank you very much!)

I have a special giveaway from the famous author and speaker Jane Hampton Cook. Her latest book, "America's Star Spangled Story" is awesome and she is giving one away to a lucky visitor that week.

Stay tuned. Invite your friends. I hope to have something every day between September 7-14!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Redwork Butterfly and Wreath

Can you say "OLD"?!!!
I love digging through my old files to see what I was up to, say 10 or maybe 15 years ago. Yikes! I made this quilt (long ago gifted to someone) using my Pfaff embroidery machine with digitized patterns for the Butterfly and Wreath. I used the timeless red and white for a simple 9 block quilt. Borders and binding and - you guessed it - DONE!

Would you like the pattern for the little quilt (24" x 24") with 6" blocks? Of course you do! If you like redwork embroidery, this is for you. I don't have the Pfaff patterns, but I created my own for you to copy here.

Butterfly Redwork Pattern

Ignore the OLD links to my extinct website. This was many years ago. You know where I live today - right here or at my web site: Quilter By Design

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Designer Pillows from Buzzing and Bumbling

Pillows made by Linda Winters of Buzzing and Bumbling
Do you know Linda Winters? I do! Well, we've never actually met but I've admired her work and amazing creativity in the blogosphere for a few years. She lives in Texas (where my husband yearns to live) and has a special affinity for orange! Even the background of her blog pages is orange!

A few months ago I sent her some fabric from the Palm Springs Collection by Benartex and asked her to do something creative with it. I said I would do the same. She did; I didn't! But then I realized I could still show off her beautiful designer pillows here on my blog. Want to see them up close? Of course you do!

Happy Hexie Pillow with center button
Look at this fabulous hexagon pillow. She incorporated gray into the mix and cut and stitched the fabrics in such a wonderful pinwheel. I just love, love, love those dots!

Improvisational piecing using gray as her neutral
Isn't this a fabulous use of color? And can you see the quilting on the left side of the pillow? Go ahead and click on the pic to see it close up. And she used straight line quilting around it and on the right side. Do you think she couldn't make up her mind or is she really just as creative as I think she is? I can only dream of being this creative when I quilt a project. This is so modern looking!

Let's see the two pillows again, please?
Don't you just love those flowers - perfect!
 Take a visit to Linda's page to see what she's been up to lately. She is renovating her home and making it so Texan! This is a chair she just finished with this amazing upholstery. I don't dare show it to my Texan husband or he's going to ask for one for his birthday next month!

Linda's new cow print chair
In my part of the world, we think of this as Chik-fil-A. In Texas, it's a steer and mighty fancy, I have to say.

Now, did I actually make something using my Palm Springs Collection? Well, sort of . . .

Grandmother's Flower Garden block with Palm Springs fabrics
I made five of these blocks and am now auditioning my border fabrics. I'll share those sometime in the future. Linda was faster than me, I guess!

Thanks, Linda, for sharing those beautiful pictures. Don't forget to visit her blog, Buzzing and Bumbling.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Princess and the Pea - Free Pattern

Princess and the Pea Improv quilt
Windham Fabrics had a fantastic quilt hanging in their booth at Spring Quilt Market. It uses the new Far, Far Away collection by the very creative Heather Ross. It was sewn by Anne Sullivan and I was asked to pattern it. Can you say "pull my hair out!" Pattern + improvisational piecing are oxymorons (go look up the word).

Nell Timmer and I worked really hard to get this pattern workable for the end user. But it still is an improv quilt. Here are my own set of fat quarters (no, this is not a fabric giveaway. My daughter Audrey has claimed these for a quilt for baby Eva.)

Far, Far Away Collection by Heather Ross
The pattern is FREE and you can get it at the Windham Fabrics website:
Princess and the Pea pattern

Hope you enjoy it. All templates are full size for making the ladder, princess, bed posts, etc.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2015 Calendar is here!

2015 Block and Pattern a day
I can't believe I am still producing this calendar. I began in 2006. A few days ago I submitted the last files for the 2016 calendar (yes, I did!) We work 1-1/2 years ahead.

A little story about how I got into this project. . . Christmas of 2003 and my youngest daughter Valery (then 17) bought the 2004 calendar for me. I have to say it was HORRIBLE in that there were no cutting directions (you had to use the resize mode, ie "scale at 163%") to get templates. The designer (who was very creative and had beautiful patterns) used Electric Quilt and the lines were so pixelated that it destroyed the beauty of her designs.

I got on the phone and called the publisher (yes, I did) and told him I could do a better job. I submitted some artwork and he took me up on my offer. I did it for 2 years at a very lowball fee and then quit because of that. They wooed me back within a year (at a much better fee) and I have just published my 9th calendar (with #10 in the hopper). I design in Adobe Illustrator and all my files are PRINT READY. It is a lot of work and I complain every day to my husband (poor man) about the intense work. Then it's done and I'm very proud!

I hope you can find it in your local quilt shop or big box store. These things are the equivalent of 5 quilt books as there are well over 70 projects! I don't sell them as they weigh so much that the postage has to be Priority Mail. I use my small supply of comp calendars to thank my business associates in the quilting world for hiring me. And then there are a few special friends who get one every year for Christmas (you know who you are!)

Anyway, thought I'd put in a plug for this. Maybe I'll highlight a few projects through the summer.