Thursday, July 28, 2016

Christmas in July Sneak Peek #2

Yes, back to back Christmas in July blog posts. This one will be with Windham Fabrics and I will be featuring the Storybook Christmas Collection. Let me give you a sneak peek at the fabrics. If you don't like 1930s prints, you can leave now!

Storybook Christmas Collection by Windham Fabrics
But if you don't come back on Tuesday (August 2), you won't see my tutorial on how to cut hexagons - any size hexagon - using a 60 degree ruler. That means, you don't have to have a template for each size. Just a trusty POWER TOOL!

My project uses hexagons and I'll show you how simple it is to cut those incredible shapes. This is not original to me, but I love to share these sorts of things when I discover them. (And I can't even remember where I first saw it, but let's just say that the BIG ruler companies like Creative Grids, don't even have this information - yet).

Windham knows that I enjoy working with their 1930s collections. This Storybook Vacation Butterflies pattern has been a BIG hit selling at the Keepsake catalog web site. Such a simple quilt but I think it's the sweetness of those prints that captures the hearts of that small - but strong - group of quilters who enjoy working with those fabrics.

Storybook Butterflies
Come back on Tuesday to see what I have planned. There is a FABRIC GIVEAWAY of a fat quarter bundle of the Storybook Christmas fabrics to my winner. Go check out what is happening RIGHT NOW at the Windham Fabrics Christmas in July Blog Hop.

Christmas in July with Windham Fabrics
See you back here on Tuesday. And remember, my Christmas in July contest (with Benartex) is still open until midnight Friday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Christmas in July with My Little Chickadees and Fabric Giveaway!

I love fabrics with animals and personality, but not so juvenile that they wouldn't appeal to an adult (for a gift). When asked to participate in this Sew in Love with Fabric Christmas in July hop, I knew that I would enjoy working with My Little Chickadees. I asked for 6 pieces (it was SO HARD) to choose

My Little Chickadees Fabrics
Look at these fabrics. You would have a hard time choosing, too!

My Little Chickadees
Here is a little bit of the print with the widely spaced chickadees:

And here's a block I finished just yesterday. It is Block #30 in The New Hexagon book. But I had to change the name. The book spells it: Debbie. Gasp! That's not how I spell my name, right?

This is Debby (with a "y" and not "ie)
And here is how I fussy cut that little chickadee in the center:

Fussy cutting with a freezer paper window

Go take a visit to Sew in Love with Fabrics to see what I did with these fabrics. They are fun and sweet and I know you will be inspired. Or at least, they will bring a smile to your face!

The GIVEAWAY for this posting will be a fat quarter bundle of My Little Chickadee fabrics.

Remember, there is a FABRIC GIVEAWAY not only today but every day this week. Here is the schedule in case you missed it. 

Here's the Benartex Christmas in July Blog Hop schedule - 25-29 July 2016:
Monday: Chris from made by ChrissieD, featuring Jolly Penguin and Friends
Tuesday: Debby from Debby Kratovil Quilts, featuring My Little Chickadee
Wednesday: Alison from Little Bunny Quilts, featuring Sparkle
Thursday: Cynthia from Quilting is more fun than Housework, featuring Holiday Cheer
Friday: Benartex blog featuring Joyful

Just leave a comment here on my blog about what you liked best in the tutorial using My Little Chickadees. The contest is over Friday night at midnight. Contest winners are limited to USA residents only at this time.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Christmas in July Sneak Peek

Whoa! It's 100 degrees outside and I'm thinking Christmas? Of course; it's July! This week is the Christmas in July Blog Hop for Sew in Love with Fabrics (Benartex). My day will be Tuesday, July 26. Here's a sneak peek at what I've been working on.

First, I've been smitten by The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek. How do I know I'm smitten? I carry it with me wherever I go in the house. Upstairs to my sewing room: cut out fabric, match with papers, put parts in little baggies. Take it downstairs so I can read through it (for the hundredth time) when I eat lunch. And on and on.

The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek
And her new calendar:
The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar

Here's a block I made last week (Mary Ellen, Block #28), which I upsized and then bound as a little quiltlet. I took this photo outside on my deck where my living Christmas tree "summers." Yes, Mary Ellen is in the branches of that tree!

Mary Ellen, Block #28
This Benartex fabric collection was from last year: Seasons Greetings. I discovered that one of the prints (the center of this block) has snowflakes all over. And we know how many points a snowflake has, right? SIX - a hexagon. Pretty awesome, huh? You can see my blog post about that fabric here: Seasons Greetings Tutorial.

My blog post will be Tuesday and I will be showing several things I made with My Little Chickadee by Jackie Robinson. Yes, I will have several more English Paper Pieced blocks, but also a project made with these lovely and sweet fabrics.

Here's the schedule for each day this week. I will have this on my blog each day. Hope you can visit each of the bloggers. There is a FABRIC GIVEAWAY for each day. Need I say anything more?

Monday: Chris from made by ChrissieD, featuring Jolly Penguin and Friends
Tuesday: Debby from Debby Kratovil Quilts, featuring My Little Chickadee
Wednesday: Alison from Little Bunny Quilts, featuring Sparkle
Thursday: Cynthia from Quilting is more fun than Housework, featuring Holiday Cheer

Friday: Benartex blog featuring Joyful

Hope you can stop by to get some inspiration for your Christmas/Holiday stitching!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Setting My Spinning Pinwheels on Point

Do you remember those Kaffe Fassett blocks I showed you a few weeks ago? I cut 8 identical squares from the Lotus Leaf fabric and then cut them into triangles. Each stack of 8 triangles worked their magic and became such unique blocks. A real WOW technique that I've been using for about 15 years.

Let's recap some of the blocks and then I'm going to show you how to set them on point. And let you see how I cut the "wrong" fabric and had to start all over.

One block of 8
 And yes, this was cut from the SAME fabric:

Second block of 8
 And one more. You can see the entire tutorial here: Spinning Pinwheels.

3rd block of 8
I want to set these blocks on point. That means I need TWO different sizes of triangles. One size for the four corners and one size for the sides. I will share my CHART for cutting these for ANY SIZE block later. For now, I began with more of that Lotus Leaf fabric.

My blocks are 11-1/2" unfinished. That means they will finish to 11". For that size block, I need to cut TWO squares 8-3/4" and then cut each into two triangles (for a total of 4 corner triangles).

Cut two 8-3/4" squares in half for a total of 4 triangles
 Why? Because as you can see above, the bias is on the inside which will be stitched to the block. The outside edges are on the straight of grain and there will be NO BIAS on the outside. The formula is (and don't roll your eyes): Finished block size DIVIDED by 1.414 PLUS .875" (for corner triangles).

Chart link is below - don't panic!

For setting an 11" finished block on point, I need 17" squares, which will be cut into four equal sized triangles. I need 6, so I cut two 17" squares. This way the LONG outside edge will run along the outside of the quilt and again, no bias. The formula is: Finished block size MULTIPLIED by 1.414 PLUS 1.25" (for side triangles).

17" square cut into four equal sized side setting triangles
 Now for my "mistake." Nothing to do with the size. It all has to do with TOO MUCH GREEN! I didn't like it. I sewed a corner triangle and two side setting triangles to the top left block. The other setting triangles are just hanging out. I didn't like it!

I'll let you in on a little secret: if you don't like the way one block looks, what makes you think you'll like 8 of them? I took the triangles off and put away all that fabric. Yes, I did! It's only fabric!

The "Too Much Green" quilt
Then, what did I do? I rummaged around in my KF stash and found another lush print and cut that up.
What do you think?
Better contrast (I think)
Better contrast. It's my quilt and I have to make myself happy, right?

And what does the finished quilt center look like? Allow me!
Magic Spinning Pinwheels quilt center: 31" x 47"
Now for my amazing, magic chart: Setting Blocks on the Diagonal.

 You are free to share this but PLEASE leave my name on it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam

I realize that some of you will roll your eyes into the back of your head (permission granted). 1930s fabrics and patterns? So "old school." But there is still a strong (though small) group of quilters who love these things. This is my latest pattern with Keepsake Quilting catalog. What do you think?

Sunbonnet Sue Sampler
The background Log Cabin blocks are 8". Four together form the background for the 9" appliqué patterns. No border. Finishes to 48" x 48".

Here are a few blocks before the raw edge appliqué (and quilting):

Have a Heart Sue

And let's not forget Overall Sam!

Overall Sam
Keepsake Quilting offers both the pattern and the pattern PLUS fabrics as shown in the quilt (ie, a kit). I know which one of my daughters will claim this (once I get it back).

This is a fun scrap quilt. And we know that Log Cabins and Sunbonnet blocks will never go out of style, right?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Modern by the Yard by Benartex

Stained Glass and Ruffles by Paula Nadelstern
I love color and was asked by Benartex to create an updated version of a traditional block. I immediately thought of Seven Sisters because I have been teaching that as a workshop for the past 2 years. My sample is VERY traditional looking, don't you think?

Traditional Seven Sisters Quilt
I thought "stars" and decided to tweak this 6 pointed star using my newest design, Double Star. I first made it in blues:
Double Star in Blues
With the bright Stained Glass and Ruffles fabrics and a neutral gray, I came up with this take on Double Star. It appears in the current issue of Modern by the Yard.

Modern Double Star
You can read about this quilt (and get basic directions for cutting and stitching it) and see several other awesome and modern quilts and projects by visiting the Sew in Love with Fabric blog. The link for the online eMagazine is at the top right sidebar.

I have a small pile of these 3-1/2" diamonds left over and decided to make a block from The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek. This is block #27, Victoria. Because these are rotary cut, the size of the diamond from flat side to opposite flat side is 3" finished. The block is now 12" x 13-1/2" (once it's finished). There is only one y-seam, so I didn't sweat too much!

Victoria in the garden with my blooms
I am in a diamonds mood and have several other creations to share in the coming weeks. But for now, go get inspired with Modern by the Yard!

Monday, July 11, 2016

2017 Block a Day Calendar is Here!!!

2017 Quilting Block a Day Calendar
Yes, I still create these. Every. Single. Page! I hole up in my computer room day after day after week after month for about 5 months to meet the deadline. Not every waking moment, but let's just say a few hundred hours . . . Draw, assemble, layouts, fabric calculations (the old fashioned way with paper and pencil. I don't trust an Electric Quilt computer program).

Would you like to see a few of the projects? I'm rather proud of my samplers this year (my 11th calendar for this publisher). I have the Civil War Sampler with 12" blocks:

The Civil War Sampler
And how about a Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam quilt?

Adventures of Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam
And this is the first of three quilts (scattered throughout the calendar in order to break up the 50 blocks) in Hey, Hey, USA!

Hey, Hey, USA! Part 1 of 3
I have blocks for all 50 states, plus Washington, DC. These are paper pieced.

I'm thinking of using the Civil War Sampler (26 blocks) as a Quilt Along on Facebook. Everyone would have to have their own copy of the calendar and as you make your blocks you can post them on the page. Is there any interest there?

The calendars are available on Amazon ($11.49 Prime - retail is $16.99) and in a variety of quilt shops. Amazon has an August 2 availability date. Barnes and Noble also has the same price and availability date.

I even think Keepsake Quilting might carry it in their Fall catalog. I have a limited number for sale, but I really can't beat Amazon's Prime price. Mine is $12, plus $6 postage (Priority Mail because it's so heavy) and only in the United States. Send me an email if you're interested.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts on the Civil War Quilt Along and I'll start to set it up and sew up the blocks.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Long May She Wave and Free Pattern

I made a quilt many years ago for Windham Fabrics and used one of their American Coverlets collections. Here it is:

American Beauty quilt
This was designed by Leslie Sonkin and then sent to me to pattern and sew. All I need is a sketch and I can pattern just about anything (Windham loves me for that). Isn't this a beauty?

Windham decided to reissue the pattern and I created a digital quilt using the same pattern. Would you like to see that? This uses their new Stars and Stripes Collection.

Stars and Stripes Quilt
The pattern is free. The piecing is not hard. Those wavy stripes are NOT pieced, but raw edge appliqued to the red background fabric.

Hope your weekend is filled with enjoyable things, including quilting!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

More Spinning Pinwheels

Do you have a pattern that you come back to more than once? It intrigues you and each time you make it you find a completely different outcome? That's how I feel about this Spinning Pinwheels.

Here's the first of 8 new blocks:

Kaffe Fassett Fabrics
And the fabrics I used:
8 identical squares cut 9-1/2"

Let's see my previous posts. Click on this Chinoiserie link to see some amazing blocks - all so very, very different from each other!

Spinning Pinwheels from 2013: Chinoiserie Fabrics
My first one from 15 years ago:

Purple Kaleidoscope using 6 squares
And my second one using $1 a yard fabric from Walmart (yes, 15 years ago Walmart had a fabric department). One piece of wicked kitties with pumpkins, frogs, bats and all sorts of other things created this awesome quilt! I cut 8 MATCHING squares (9-1/2") and then used my method as described below.

First, let me show you the 9-1/2" square I cut (8 times):

I cut this exact square 8 times
My 8 block quilt:
Halloween Pinwheel
And my 3rd one:

Using the Days to Remember Collection by Mary Koval: Tutorial Here

Now let's see what I did with those Kaffe Fasset prints from above. Remember, I am working with 8 IDENTICAL squares of fabric that I cut from a large scale print. I used my 9-1/2" square acrylic ruler. This is NOT Bethany Reynold's method of Stack 'n Whack. This is NOT the One Block Wonders (because this predates that by 10 years). And you can see details of how to cut and stitch using the links above.

Back to those fabrics:
Everything is exact in each of the 8 squares
And the holes I put in the fabric?
The fabric I chose and the square holes I left!

Here are my blocks in process:
Stacks of 8 squares cut as shown (8 equal sized triangles)
 Now I pick up 8 identical triangles for ONE block:

One stack of 8 triangles
 I have to decide if they will spin left or right:

Spinning Right
 Or spinning left?
Spinning Left
Now for my blocks, all 8 of them. Remember, these ALL came from that stack above, using a group of 8 triangles from the slice:

Block 1
 Block 2:
Block 2

Block 3

Block 4

Block 5

Block 6

Block 7

Block 8

I chose a light blue print for my background. You can find all of the dimensions and cutting information at the tutorial I shared back in 2013. Both HERE and HERE.

Can you imagine how awesome some other blocks will be using a large scale floral? You can't over think these things. As you can see, you really can't go wrong. And there's no way you can determine the amount of fabric you will need. But using a 9-1/2" square worked well. My blocks will finish to 11" and I will set them on point using the rest of that floral fabric for the side setting squares!