Tuesday, February 23, 2016

QALs (Quilt Alongs) You'll Want to Know About

You know about my 2016 QALs (Quilt Alongs), but let me tell you about a few others that are in partnership with my publisher (Martingale).

Seems like quilt-alongs (QALs) are everywhere right now—boy, are they are hot!

Online QALs are a great way to meet online friends who share your passion for patchwork. Plus, you get the inspiration to start a project and the motivation to complete it. Your online friends will be cheering your progress all the way to the finish line!

Here’s a quick look at the latest QALs being hosted by Martingale authors, along with a special QAL hosted by our friends at American Patchwork and Quilting that features Martingale’s fearless leader, Jennifer Keltner. A big PLUS in our book!

This one you are familiar with. While it does REQUIRE the purchase of my perpetual quilt calendar (ie, it's not tied to any one calendar year), it gives you 12 quilt patterns (not just blocks)! You can find the link to this here: 2016 Calendar Girls QAL

This one you know about!
(All links will take you to the Martingale blog site where these QALs are featured and from there you can get to the specific QALs.)

And how about the Millefiore QAL with all these possibilities for using hexies and fussy cutting your fabric? Awesome, I say.
This one REALLY appeals to me. I LOVE HEXAGONS!

Who doesn't love Moda Fabrics? And this Row by Row QAL is made even more creative with the "All Stars" who contributed. Check it out!

Moda All Stars with a Row by Row quilt

Quilts and More is one of my favorite quilting magazines. For less than the price of a single, stand alone quilt pattern, you get at least a dozen beautiful quilt projects - including purses, table accessories, etc. Check out their QAL!

And, finally, a Sampler QAL from Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Looks like fun!

Check out this Sampler from Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson
I think you have to agree with me: So many wonderful quilts, ideas and fabric and NEVER enough time. But you have to give it a try, at least. Pick one. And share with a quilty friend!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Charity Quilt Finishes

First, I must announce the winner to the Oh, Fudge 10" square bundle of fabrics from Benartex. Nancy R. of Virginia is the lucky winner. Congratulations, Nancy!

I make a LOT of samples. Some to test my own patterns before I teach. Some, just to play with fabric (what fun, huh?)

I gave these four to Kathy Gray of Virginia who donated her longarm services to finish them off. Let me show them to you, ok?

Since my original Butterfly quilt was stolen in 2005, I remade it using some fun bright prints. This is 38" x 56"and has gone to a specific hospital wing here in Fairfax, VA called the Butterfly Unit. I understand it is not a happy place as it's full of sick children who are gravely ill. They ask for quilt donations with a butterfly theme. Now my quilt is really happy, to be able to cheer up an ill child!
Bright Butterflies at Night

This quilt was just a test-drive using hexagons. No set in seams, of course. And I used my tried and true Magical Mitering Technique to finish the borders. 38" x 44". Kathy donated this to another local children's charity.
Celebrating Hexagon Bugs
This blue and yellow four block quilt is made using my pattern for the Good Luck Block. It is sewn using two strips joined with a 1/4" seam. Then the strips are cut apart into squares and then triangles; pieces are swapped and sewn back together. NO templates. All rotary cut and stitched. I taught this as a class at least 15 times and I've retired the class. Now some little child can enjoy the happy, smiling suns in the border and the rain boots in the center! It measures 46" x 46"
Four Block Good Luck Quilt
And, the fourth quilt, was made using my Twisted Hexagons pattern. Again, this was a class sample. I fussy cut the center hexagons to capture that beautiful peacock. It was a Benartex Fabrics collection called Fern Fancy. It is 34" x 50". Notice how I had to use two different border prints in this one, too! Whatever works! Just get it into the hands of a child, I say.

Fern Fancy with Twisted Hexagon Blocks
Kathy even put the binding on these four! I had it prepared and she did the finishing. Thank you, Kathy!

I have several more lined up, especially a few with a butterfly theme. Hope you enjoyed seeing these.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love is Still in the Air!

I pulled out my Stacked Hearts pattern and created a freezer paper stencil so that I could free motion quilt in a whole cloth manner. First, I traced the applique onto the paper side of freezer paper.

Stacked Hearts applique pattern

 Then I cut it out and ironed it to the center of a shaded pink rectangle of fabric. Layered with Warm and Natural batting and a backing. Selected pink thread to blend with the pink.

Iron freezer paper template to center
What was my approach? First, I would stitch around the Stacked Hearts template. Then, I peel off the paper and free motion quilt INSIDE the hearts. Then, I quilted outside the shapes. Simple. Easy. It sure is better than following a stencil. Just a simple outline. The rest is just doodling.

 Now the fun begins. Let's see the first quilt I made, under the HQ Sweet 16 needle:

Stacked Hearts quilt being quilted. Yes, those are my humble machine quilting helpers
And can we see the quilt, huh?

Stacked Hearts mini quilt

And now let's see how that whole cloth thing worked out!

Stacked Hearts free motion whole cloth
This is a little sample for when I teach Beginning Free Motion Quilting. For the Sewing Expo, I teach in the Handi Quilter classroom. I love working with freezer paper for simple shapes. Hope you enjoyed seeing more hearts!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Fudge with NO Calories - and a Giveaway!

FINALLY have a winner of the 10" bundle of Fudge fabrics. Nancy R. of Virginia is the lucky winner.

I have NEW POLICY. There is a 24 hour limit from the time I select a winner and I've notified her (or him). Then I pick another person. If you don't check your email but once or twice a week (and I did have someone take an entire week to get ahold of me, after I chose a second name!) - then I apologize ahead of time. My blog, my rules, my prizes. If that doesn't sit well with you, then, OH FUDGE I say!

Yes, it's true. I feature Fudge today that contains no calories. You can consume as much as you wish and not fear gaining a single pound.

10" Square bundle of the Oh Fudge Collection by Benartex
Today is Technique Tuesday over at the Sew in Love with Fabric blog (Benartex) and I have a quick tutorial using these luscious, no-calorie fabrics. Quite yummy!

I selected 6 of the squares to go with some letters I made last February using a reds collection from Benartex. You can see the reds HERE.

Six 10" squares from the Oh Fudge Collection
Remember these letters? Here is the link to the LETTERS. I found it a few years ago for a tutorial for making rag letters for kids.

Now what did she do with these letters? Hmmm?
Here's what I did with the LOVE letters.

LOVE is in the air

Go see what I did with the rest of them at  the Sew in Love with Fabric blog today.

Then come back here and let me know you visited and saw the tutorial. You will then be entered in a GIVEAWAY for a BUNDLE of 10" squares of Oh Fudge, just like the one at the top of this page.

Tell me what your favorite sweet is (candy, cake, pie, ice cream) and you'll be entered to win that bundle of yummy 10" squares. Contest is over Tuesday, February 16.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

New Workshops for the Sewing Expo

Just wanted to show you some new quilts that are new workshops. I begin teaching these in March for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. First comes Atlanta and then Lakeland, Florida. A week off and then to Cleveland, OH.

Ezekiel's Crown is a paper piecing project that adds curved piecing. It is not for novices but for those wanting to learn several techniques to expand their skills. Not hard, just takes a little time to put it all together. Don't you love the center? It's what I call "When Four Blocks Make Five."

Ezekiel's Crown Quilt
Second is Patty's Summer Parasol, a redo of an old, traditional block. This is a variation on a Double Wedding Ring (can you believe it?) It appeared in newspapers in 1953. Can you believe these templates?

12" Blocks. Paper Pieced Arcs
And the paper pieced arcs:

Pixie Sticks is returning from last fall, since I did not teach it yet in Atlanta, Lakeland or Cleveland:

Pixie Sticks is created using a Charm Pack for the blocks!
Tight Knit Circles also returns (only teaching this in Lakeland)

Tight Knit Circles: 17" x 17"
 English Paper Piecing with Hexies is also returning (Atlanta and Cleveland)

I turned an orphan block into a placemat, adding squares and strips of bright colors:

Scattered hexies in a placemat
Yes, you can even fussy cut the center motif!

Giant 2" hexies fussy cut
 The Zig and Zag of Hexies quilt:
Strings of zig zag hexies
Center of a block full of Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks:

Grandmother's Flower Garden block center

Lots of class samples!

And the class I teach in every city, every year for the past 8 years: Basic Free Motion Quilting!

Pebbles inside a circle

Working with stencils
 I even practice on snow out on my deck table!

An inch of snow can be a great surface to practice your skills!
 This was from my No Sneaky-Peeky class a few years ago:

A class sample quilted with various stitches
 Free motion quilting as seen from the wrong side:

This is the wrong side of the following hexagon mat
 My quilting is hidden by the busy prints:

Super large hexies surrounded by free motion quilting
 And this small sample from my TightKnit Circles class:

Hope you'll join me for some fun if you live in or near these cities. Check out the dates at the main page for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo.