Thursday, July 30, 2015

And a Little Crochet . . .

Sometimes I find some luscious yarn at a good price and grab several skeins. Last week I came upon some 100% cotton yarn by Isaac Mizrahi. It is SO SOFT! I generally make potholders. And more potholders. And even more potholders. This is because I can crochet without thinking after the 33 chains. Honest. It's a piece of cake.

(I'm still waiting to hear back from my Windham and Benartex fat quarter bundle winners from last week. I'll let you know when they get back to me.)

Can I show you my previous piles of potholders made with Lily's Sugar and Cream?

Yes, I love color and texture - in yarn as well as fabric
I make these all year long and have little hostess gifts always on hand to grab and wrap in tissue.

Here are my two potholders from this week using the new yarn:

I love variegated yarn!
I chained the necessary 33 for both of these potholders. But I used an H hook for the cream/gray potholder and a J hook for the blue/gray/green one.

Let's see if there's any difference . .
Yes, there is! About 1/2" in both length and width
That just goes to show you that you should always follow the suggested hook size on the yarn paper.

I bought 5 skeins of the cream/gray and 3 skeins of the blue/gray/green. It was on sale for $1.99 a skein (175 yards); retail was $5.99, so I felt like I got an awesome bargain. (This was at Michael's)

I don't knit. Don't know how and don't want to learn. And I'm very boring in that I really don't crochet much of anything else except charity hats for kids (in the winter) and cowls for my daughter and granddaughter. I'm really into easy, I guess.

Are you into the yarn arts and what sort of things do you like to make? Do you knit or crochet and where do you get your yarn?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Green Farms and More Cow Fabrics

Remember my post from last week about making that cow quilt so I could go to Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil-A and get a free meal? Oh, you don't remember the quilt? Allow me (but first put down your cup of coffee):

Simple Cobblestone block
And now 16 blocks together!

Holy Cow! quilt
I wanted an ice cream cone. They were only giving away entrees. Sigh. And I really looked silly with this as my Super Hero cape (try not to think about it).

Well, here is the entire collection:
Green Farms Collection by Benartex
Don't you just love the little chickies and piggies and sheep? Perfect for any little child.

And this is what I made for my little granddaughter, Eva (who is 1-1/2)

Pinafore or painting smock
 I used this pattern before. It comes from the wonderful book called "One Yard Wonders"

And it all began with the Cow Appreciation Day reminding me that I had some cow fabric from Benartex. Then I saw all of the companion prints! Do you think I might have too much fabric? Ha! That doesn't make sense, does it?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Basket Block from my 2016 Wall Calendar

This block appears in the July pages of my upcoming 2016 wall calendar of blocks. It's another LOVE block and I call it "Love Basket."

Love Basket
 Here are the cutting and template directions:

Love Basket templates and cutting directions
This block (and the original quilt from the 2006 Block a Day Calendar) was inspired by this antique quilt:
Antique Love Basket quilt
Isn't this a magnificent quilt?! I have no idea who owns it. This appeared about 20 years ago in Country Quilts Magazine (where I was an editor).

I made this quilt in a smaller version and it appeared in Quilt Magazine several years ago and then again in my 2014 Wall Calendar of quilts.

Antique Baskets Quilt: 9" blocks, 38" x 38"
And here is another variation I made using a Windham Fabrics Collection called "Garden Walk." Somehow the quilt got lost and ended up not coming home to stay with me. Oh, well.

Garden Walk Quilt using the Antique Baskets block
I know that my calendar is being shipped to shops all over the country. I hope you can find it for yourself or a special friend.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Crawfish Runner for Gumbo and Critter Boil

OK. I'm not from Louisianna, but my friend Jeannine's husband's family is and she knew that the fabric  I showed her was NOT Maryland crabs but CRAWFISH! Evidently, there is a difference. I had a few pieces from the Craw Daddy Collection from Benartex and I gave them to her gladly. "Go make something!"

And she did, using my Half Hexagon Braid pattern for the runner:

Crawfish boil ensemble by Jeannine D.
 Made a super sized set of mitts that will fit her husband Bill's hands

Can you believe these awesome mitts?
 And the table runner using just one row of half hexagons:
Half Hexagon Braid table runner
My pattern dates back 20 years when I first did it for Quilt Magazine. There are several others on the market today, but mine came first!

Jeannine always amazes me. To me, every piece of fabric yells "QUILT." To her, she sees all sorts of other useful things. She inspires me to climb out of my little world and make, well, useful things!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Christmas in July with Homespun Holiday

Yikes! As I write this post it's 95 degrees outside with a heat index of 110 and I'm talking Christmas? Oh, how I wish I had some of that cold weather for an hour or two.

Homespun Holiday is a fabric collection by Benartex and is old fashioned in its personality. Very traditional with deep reds and greens and gold. There's a jolly Santa and evergreen trees flecked with snow (sigh, more of the cold stuff I don't have today).

Homespun Holiday fabrics by Benartex
I created a tree skirt out of these fabrics and you can read all about it and see my step by step tutorial at the Sew in Love with Fabrics blog. And, of course, I offer the free pattern so you can make one too. Very fat quarter friendly! And easy. And quick!

There will be one lucky WINNER for a giveaway of a fat quarter bundle of these fabrics (minus the blenders I added, at the top). There are more (see below)
Homespun Holiday fabrics
To qualify for the GIVEAWAY, leave a comment letting me know what you envision making with a collection like this. It doesn't have to be quilt related! Go visit the Benartex Facebook page (if you do Facebook) and check out all the Christmas fabrics and let me know. Make sure I have your email. Unfortunately, at least 30% of commenters are no-reply bloggers. If you ever wonder why you have never gotten an email reply from me, this is probably why! I try to answer most of my blog commenters.


This is the Benartex Christmas in July blog hop (Sew in Love with Fabrics) so why don't you hop on over there to see what's hoppening - uh, happening!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Big, Beautiful Barn Quilts

I was teaching quilting a few weeks ago for the Uptown Quilt Guild in Warsaw, VA and one of my students was a geometry teacher. Cindy P. told me that she has her students design and make a barn quilt. She sent these pictures to me the other day. They are awesome, aren't they?

I want to make each one (in a slightly smaller size, huh?)

Thank you, Cindy, for showing how quilting is all about math. And color. And beauty.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Windham Wednesdays and More Shot Cotton Blocks

I absolutely love the Hosannah/Palm block. Historic and traditional, but can you believe those points? Never would have made these using templates, would you?

Traditional Palm Leaf block with templates
You've seen these blocks before. And you've seen this  Artisan Cottons Collection by Windham Fabrics before.

Artisan Cottons by Windham Fabrics
 I had just enough of the background grey/white mini print to make 8 Palm Blocks (10"). What do you think?

Four 10" blocks (paper pieced)
And here is the second set of 4 blocks . . .

Four 10" blocks
Here is what the block looks like on the back with paper still on.

10" paper pieced Palm Block trimmed with paper still on
CAUTION! Don't get ink jet ink anywhere near the blocks with paper still on. Can you see the bleeding on the first set of blocks, right above the "D" in my name? Yikes! I had wiped off my kitchen counter and thought I had dried it - NOT!

And here is a block with the paper removed. Because I trim as I go, allowing for 1/4" seam, the back of the block is neat and tidy and looks as though I used templates!

10" Palm Block with paper removed
I am able to print these on my wide format printer. But when that wasn't working for the past 2 years, I had to draft it. It's really easy and I hope to offer this technique as a Craftsy pattern in coming weeks. Then you can draft ANY size Palm block for foundation piecing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Holy Cow!

Yes, that's the name of my Cow Appreciation Day (with Chick fil-A) quilt. I finished sewing the 16 blocks this weekend. They are 9" x 9" and went together very fast. Added borders and I now have something that makes you want to look away (ha ha). I'm going to wear this as a cape and see if they'll give me a free ice cream cone! Or I'll "chicken" out. Will keep you posted!

Holy Cow! Quilt - 50" x 50"
 The collection is called Green Farms and is by Benartex Fabrics. I used 3/4 yard of each of the two fabrics in the center and 3/4 yard for the border. The inner striped fabric is from a past Benartex collection. This obviously will be a child's quilt. I'll donate it to a local group that will quilt it as a charity quilt for sick or needy kids.

Don't look at this too long! Personally, I think Chick fil-A should buy bolts and bolts of these cow prints and use them as starter kits for next year's contest.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cow Appreciation Day

I saw an ad for Chick-Fil-a the other day that asks people to come to any of their restaurants dressed up like a cow and they would get a free meal. (July 14, next Tuesday) Fun, huh? It reminded me of some Benartex fabrics called Green Farms that I have that are perfect for this.

Two skus from the Green Farms Collection by Benartex
While this is not a new collection, it is from this year. And my mind started planning. Do you think Chick-Fil-a would give me a meal if I came in with a quilt? Hmmmm?

Here are two blocks of the 16 I've already sewn. These are simple cobblestone blocks and will finish to 9". I'll keep you posted.

Block #1 - 4" center square; 2-1/2" outer strips (cut 3")

Block #2
Here is a digital image for my border. This is going to be a very simple quilt which will end up making some little child happy. Will it make Chick-Fil-a happy?

This will be the border for my quilt

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Galaxy of Stars July Block and Tutorial

Can you believe it's July already? It's that time for another Block of the Month in the Galaxy of Stars quilt. Did you enjoy making that LARGE Woven Ribbon Star last month? I told you it was easy!

This month's block is called Stars and Stripes. While the colors aren't necessarily patriotic, the pattern is a traditional block that I converted to paper piecing. Here is the block in my quilt:

Stars and Stripes Block
I had cut out all the parts to make another block several years ago. I decided to sew those together:

Stars and Stripes using turquoise and purple
Here is the block from the back. All trimming is done as you go so that when you are finished, everything is neat and tidy:

Stars and Stripes from the reverse side
Then I pulled out my Windham Fabrics Artisan Cottons (shot cottons) . . .

Artisan cottons - can you see those contrasting threads?
Shot cottons are woven with one color in the warp and a second color in the weft (I hope I got that right). It gives the fabrics shimmer and depth of color like none other. So, let's see the block I made with these 3 colors.
Stars and Stripes using the Artisan Cottons from Windham Fabrics

And now let's look at the process:

Cut out the pieces as indicated on the FREE pattern (link below)
Patch #1 trimmed with Patch #2 added on UNWRITTEN side of pattern
Stitch well beyond both seam allowances (stitching on the pattern line from other side)
Trim other side of Patch #1, preparing for Patch #3
Patches 2 and 3 added and pressed. They MUST be trimmed before adding Patches 4 and 5
Audition Patches 4 and 5 because they can only go in these spots
Cutting sizes are indicated on the one page pdf pattern. I even tell you how to cut rectangles so that you get these two patches which are mirror images of each other.

Note how the stitching always crosses at the intersections. Ready to be trimmed on outside lines
One quarter of the Stars and Stripes block, pressed and trimmed
Here is the entire block again:
Stars and Stripes FREE Block of the Month for Galaxy of Stars
I plan on making several more of these blocks using more of the shot cottons. Did you see the fat quarter bundle?
Artisan Cottons from Windham Fabrics
I hope you've enjoyed this little lesson for the Stars and Stripes FREE Block. See you next month for block #8!