Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Two New Patterns from Cut Loose Press

There's a new Creative Grids ruler out (actually, two of them) created by my talented friend Jean Ann Wright. Rulers are available at her web site: Jean Ann Quilts. They make a Square in a Square block without precise piecing. The trimming is all done with the ruler. You can see a demo at CG's Facebook page)

I made two quilts to go with the rulers. Here they are. They debuted today and are available ONLY in your local quilt shop (even I don't sell them). This uses the 8" ruler for 8" blocks.

Rulers can be seen and ordered here: Jean Ann Quilts. You can see all her other Creative Grids rulers there, too.

Sunflower Trails - 42" x 42"
I first made four blocks using a green, but I didn't have enough contrast. What do you think?

Four Snail's Trail blocks
And then my second quilt makes a 6" block. I called this Lots o' Dots:

Lots 'o Dots
These are taking a trip to Houston for the International Quilt Market in a few weeks. They are so excited! They are looking forward to being Block Stars! Probably won't want to go back up in the closet when they get home. I should probably let Jean Ann hold onto them and let her take them on the road for awhile.

This ruler works magic for those who don't or can't get a precise 1/4" seam. You just cut your patches a little large, sew and then TRIM! The ruler does the rest!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Diamonds and Triangles

They've taken over my life! I had several projects in mind that I went crazy cutting and stitching and cutting some more. I was getting ready for my Seven Sisters Table Topper class. And I had all sorts of other plans for them, too. Now, what was I thinking?

Happy candy colored triangles
Happy candy colored diamonds
Where am I going with these? Can't tell yet! OK, maybe a little hint. Visit my Quilt Shop Patterns tab link above  and see Connie's Diamond Runner. Only this isn't going to be a runner. You can't keep warm with a table runner on your lap, now can you?

Triangles to the left of me; Triangles to the right. Stuck in the middle with you, Diamond!
(Who remembers that song?)

Other diamonds and triangles . . .

More happy diamonds with stark white triangles
Happier diamonds with two triangles each!
Using some Asian inspired fabrics from Benartex:

Pinks and greens and gold - oh, my!
And how they look: one diamond and two triangles:

Three of each color will make a 6-Pointed Star
6-pointed Star. You need 7 of these for Seven Sisters
But I'm not making these blocks into a Seven Sisters table topper. Another idea highjacked that plan and I'm going somewhere else with it. More on that later.

One Star Block using the units above:

Deep colors with white are so very modern!
 Solids are fun, too!
Kona Solids
Now you can see how I was able to make these otherwise difficult blocks with NO SET IN SEAMS. It's all in the use of the smaller triangles.

Browns and pinks in traditional prints. 37" x 42"
Seven Sisters using batiks. Still 37" x 42"!
I'm working on this Seven Sisters pattern to be available on my Craftsy page. There will be a coloring chart and planning diagram for your colors and fabrics. And it can easily accommodate a border!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Great Pumpkin is Coming

Oh, maybe not. But he might! To be sure you're ready, how about a pumpkin quilt or two?

Kitty in the Pumpkin Patch
This is one of my favorite pumpkin quilts. The blocks are paper pieced and all the fabrics are batiks.
And spiders? I don't like them, but these pjs for my grandsons are certainly part of the season!

Scary spiders ready for pumpkin day
Now for the FREE Harvest Pumpkin Quilt pattern. Yes, I said FREE (well, I typed it, but you know what I mean). I wanted to share it now, in September, because you need to be ready when the Great Pumpkin comes by and wants to see how sincere you are.

Harvest Pumpkins - 25" x 34"; 8" block
This appeared in Quilt Magazine several years ago and was also featured in my 2012 Wall Calendar of Quilts. I've been "paid" for it twice, so that's why it's free. You can get it at my Craftsy Store where it's a FREE download. I find it works better to offload my patterns there than to clog up my bandwidth at my server.

So, get crackin' and get sewing. The blocks are easy to stitch and while you may not be able to find the same awesome orange and black stripe, I'm sure you'll have a great time digging through your stash or even go shopping!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

And a Little Crochet

I've been busy. I'm always busy. What I mean is that I've been busy without my sewing machine and computer! I've shared before about my favorite cotton potholders. Crochet. Easy. Cotton. And I will share the link to the free pattern.

What have I been up to? Well, this Happy Hooker made almost 2 dozen of these addictive things in the past few months. It's time to start working on scarves and cowls for my daughters, I think!

21 cotton double-folded potholders
I took two as a hostess gift on Saturday night, so now I'm down to 19! Always like to have them on hand for little gifts.

Here are a few I made with this amazing Isaac Mizrahi cotton yarn that feels glorious.

Two variegated yarns make lovely Double Folded Potholders
 Aren't these colors wonderful?

Used a K hook
Sometimes I use a G or an H hook. They all work
I even save the little extra pieces of my cotton yarn. I have a guard keeping watch so as to keep the Yarn Thieves from snatching these little bits. He's a ram from Poland and he's quite happy to watch over cotton since it didn't cost him his fluffy wool!

Little leftover bits of cotton yarn
Several people have asked for the pattern. It is free on Ravelry (if you're a member; it's free to join). Do a search for "double folded crochet potholder." There are wonderful extra pictures.

Here's the direct link to the pattern outside Ravelry: Double Folded Cotton Potholders

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Update on My Patterns, Free and Otherwise

Do you remember that Logs and Mortar FREE quilt pattern I shared a few weeks ago? It is in 1rst Place on Craftsy. It has had 1,376 downloads!
FREE Jelly Roll Pattern
And do you remember this mini quilt from last year? It has had 10, 510 downloads! Yikes - how can that be? What I didn't realize is that there was an issue with printing (due to my security settings) and no one told me. I'm so sorry! I have since revised the pattern and tested it. It now PRINTS!

Wild Strawberries Stuffed Work Applique with Prairie Points
And I've uploaded another new pattern that is very modern, very fresh, and very sexy - um, I mean HEXIE! I call it Hexagon Wreath and Stars. I made it in blues and white. It was quilted by Kathy Gray and is one of my favorites.

All the shapes are cut from a 60 degree ruler: the whole hexagons, the half hexagons, the 60 and 30 degree triangles. And there are NO SET-IN  seams. I also include a fabric planning chart for the quilt center and a one page "how-to" for cutting 30 degree triangles that even Creative Grids doesn't know how to do!

Hexagon Wreath and Stars - 39" x 43"
The 7 page pdf has lots of illustrations, too! No templates; you have to already own a 60 degree ruler.

I also have it in Christmas novelty prints. Dancing mice. Christmas stockings. A great child's quilt, don't you think? Same cutting and piecing directions except I did add an inner border. Remember, THERE ARE NO SET IN SEAMS!

Hexagon Wreath and Stars - 40" x 44"
This is not a free pattern, but is bargain priced at $3.99. So, why not try your hand at being sexy - I mean hexie?!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Machine Quilting Using Freezer Paper and Stencils

I teach Beginning Machine Quilting for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo and am always looking for new ways to keep the classes interesting. I have a LOT of small and medium sized samples that I bring with me and my students love to look at these for inspiration.

My next show is Fredericksburg, Virginia. If you're looking for a little inspiration for machine quilting, consider joining me on Saturday October 3 in the Handi Quilter studio.

I love to use simple shapes cut out from freezer paper. When they are ironed to a fabric, there's no need to mark the fabric in the traditional way (ie, with a pen, chalk, etc). The outside of the shape provides the sewing guide. What do I mean?

First, tracing a stencil from one of my favorite quilting motif books, "501 Quilting Motifs."
This is a compilation of stencils from Quiltmaker. An awesome book! I bring it to every class and highly recommend it.

Tracing a pattern from 501 Quilting Motifs (Martingale)
This was too hard for me. Sure, I could now place it on my basted quilt and stitch through the paper. But, then you have to then pick out the paper. Not for me. Been there; done that!

Now, for the freezer paper. Used one of my own patterns which I call Stacked Hearts. First, here is the mini quilt I made using this applique pattern:

Stacked Hearts, available on my Craftsy pattern site (only $1.99)
Stacked Hearts first appeared in one of my annual block a day calendars. Then I made this little quilt and the pattern has 7 pages full of process photos to show how to set this rectangle on point. And there's a full size applique pattern, along with a chart that shows how to set ANY block (any size) on point. Such a deal.

Here is the cutting out of the Stacked Hearts template using freezer paper:

Trace the template onto freezer paper and cut out.
Now, how did I quilt this? On my Handi Quilter Sweet 16 ( sit down), of course!

Quilting using the HQ Sweet 16
OK. Did I do something else with that freezer paper applique template? Sure!

Stacked Hearts freezer paper applique template ironed to a large rectangle of fabric
And after I quilted it?

Stacked Hearts mini whole cloth quilt
I first sewed around the outside of the freezer paper shape. Then I removed the freezer paper. Now it was time to stitch inside the Stacked Hearts. I doodled and swirled and looped. Then it was time to fill in outside of the hearts. I like to think of those wavy swirls as Goddess Hair! I was done. Put on the binding and I was really done.

I have other samples using freezer paper to guide me for machine quilting. I'll be back with some more. But, for now, I wanted you to see one of my latest tricks. Even a simple stencil will work for this.

Two quick pics of some samples I've dragged on the road with me the past 7 years. My students get these applique patterns:

Peace Dove
And my very favorite, Fat Cat!

Fat Cat
Hope you enjoyed seeing how easy and simple the use of freezer paper can be to aid you with machine quilting. My motto: Start small; stay simple; repeat!

Friday, September 11, 2015

An American on 9-11

Not wanting to make a big deal of such sad memories from so long ago. Fourteen years, to be exact. I realized I have a quilt I designed for Windham Fabrics in 2008 using their Coverlets Collection (1830 - 1850). What a wonderful group of fabrics. The pattern was designed by Leslie Sonkin (who used to work for Windham). They asked me to sew and pattern it. It hangs in their corporate office.

Coverlet Flag Quilt (before quilting): 43" x 53"
They have a new line coming out called Stars and Stripes. Not in their fabric gallery online yet, but here is my digital rendition:

Updated Flag Quilt using a new collection
I salute all the heroes from that day. I mourn those who lost their lives. I celebrate all who jumped in to save others. This is a story that could be written in ANY country because we are all human. We all care. God bless the USA, is all I can say.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

She Waited Three Years for Binding!

Made the quilt. Made it again. Made it a 3rd time. Only the 3rd time I just let her sit in the closet after she was beautifully quilted by Connie Gallant, awaiting the binding. I even cut and stitched the binding together, so why did it take so long? Three years? Yikes!!

I'm talking about my Strips and Strings quilt using Amy Butler fabrics (no, I'm not smoking anything). Here's the original quilt by Mary Lee Bendolph of Gee's Bend, Alabama.

Mary Lee Bendolph and her Strips & Strings quilt (49" x 74")
Windham Fabrics received permission to partner with the Gee's Bend Collective to pattern and kit 8 of their quilts. They commissioned me to adapt the quilts for patterns. How can you pattern an improvisational quilt? Believe me, I thought I was going to pull my hair out, but it actually became easier after the first one.

Here is my rendition of this quilt:

Strips and Strings adaptation - 50" x 75"
And here's the quilt that went without binding for 3 (or more) years. I added side borders and used contemporary fabrics, including some Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler!

Strips and Strings goes modern! 64" x 75"
And another shot:
Just lounging on my deck on a sunny afternoon
 And one more:
A nice flat shot
I actually did a blog post about 3 of the quilts, showing them side by side with the original quilts. You can see them here: Gee's Bend quilts side by side

You can see ALL 8 QUILTS side by side at my Craftsy store. Each quilt is shown as the original and then my adaptation. Strips and Strings was by far my most challenging. I added the two floral side borders in order to make it larger (64" x 75")

Now the quilt is happy. She is singing and dancing and refuses to go back up into the closet. Can you blame her?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Galaxy of Stars from My Bloggers

I have received several photos of the progress of the Galaxy of Stars blocks from YOU bloggers. I wanted to share them with you.

Yes, it's OK to NOT have made even one of the blocks yet. I often work that way: save up all the patterns and then make them all at once. But, I do know many of you have been trying to stay up to date. Here are some of the pics!

Amy O. sent these just yesterday:
Amy O's blocks so far!
Marie T's blocks
If you sent me pics of your blocks and they're not here, please email me and remind me. I have a very full in-box and sometimes things get overlooked!

If you would like to see your blocks here (even if you've only done one), please do send pics. We would all be inspired!

Thanks, blogging friends. Keep up the sewing. There are close to 1,000 of you who are participating in this BOM. And, yes, I'm planning another BOM for 2016. Maybe even two.

What are you interested in? While it may not change my plans, I do like to hear about what YOU like!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Galaxy of Stars: Royal Star is the September Block

Wow! Already September. I love Fall and the cooler weather. Our 9th block in this series is called Royal Star. Perhaps you've seen this block appear another time or two here on my blog. Yes, it's the STAR of my quilt with the same title. The block is from the early 1900s and is considered very traditional.

The Royal Star quilt is available for free:

FREE pattern for Royal Star quilt (uses 8-1/2" blocks)
I converted the piecing of the points to paper piecing. You can find a picture tutorial HERE for how to piece those points. For this 12" size, you will also need to paper piece the center Nine Patch.

12" Royal Star Block for September
There are almost 1,000 people downloading these blocks each month. I only hear from a handful of you. I am convinced you are busy sewing and keeping up, right? I do like to see blocks you've created so send me your renditions of these, won't you?

The 2 page pdf this month was also used in 2006 for Quilt Magazine (where I was an editor for 14 years). I just didn't have the time to recaption it. This is a paper piecing project, so please do check out all my links on the right side bar for paper piecing help.

I hope to give you information on the sashing and cutting in October.