Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Oh, calm down. Not THAT kind of rattlesnake. Why would I do that to you?

I rarely use anyone else's pattern (I don't get paid to do that), but I took a class 20 years ago with the Karen Stone paper pieced Rattlesnake pattern as the feature. I made a quilt out of flannels and it somehow fell into the hands of my daughter who used it for the dog to snuggle in. Want to see that?

Original Rattlesnake quilt
I used this pattern, published in 1996:

Karen Stone's Rattlesnake pattern
I have made a variety of units since that first quilt, some made with batiks. These will be stitched into background units to become 10" blocks:

Batik paper pieced units
This is what the unit looks like from the paper side after trimming:

Single foundation
Here are some of the batik blocks on my design wall.
10" Rattlesnake blocks being auditioned on my design wall
As you may know, I've been sewing a lot with Kaffe Fassett prints in the past year. I thought it would be fun to stitch some in this pattern. I begin with 3" strips, which I then cut into shorter strips for each section. It makes it easier to work this way. These are the last 4 blocks I will be making for this color family. It's a lot of work, OK?

Pre-cut strips for 4 Rattlesnake blocks (yes, I know I need one more for 16)
My light background fabrics are mostly Artisan Shimmer by Northcott.

Here are 11 units I pieced over the weekend:
11 Paper Pieced Rattlesnake units
I'll keep you posted on my progress. I was going to add a picture of a real rattlesnake here, but the good voices in my head won out over the bad voices. Lucky you!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 13

Here is another set of calendar blocks created by Patricia Bryant of Australia. This is Week 13 already!

March 26: Honor Badge
March 26: Honor Badge, 12"
March 27: Square Deal
March 27: Square Deal, 12"
March 28: Sweet Gum Leaf
March 28: Sweet Gum Leaf, 9"
March 29: Twenty Triangles
March 29: Twenty Triangles, 8"
March 30: Whirling Five Patch
March 30: Whirling Five Patch, 9"
March 31: Windblown Square
March 31: Windblown Square, 12"
April 1: Fool's Puzzle (Happy April Fool's Day to you!)
April 1: Fool's Puzzle, 12"
Hope you enjoyed seeing these vintage patterns updated with today's fabrics. See you next week!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Modern by the Yard: New Issue and FREE patterns

Here we are again with new ideas for today's quilters. Benartex has created another issue of Modern by the Yard. Take a look at this cover!

Modern by the Yard, Spring 2017
Yummy colors. Five projects. Free. Can't get any better than that! Well, maybe for me - I have an article inside. It's my simplified version of the Winding Ways pattern using the Kismet Collection by Paula Nadelstern. Let's see, huh?

Modern Winding Ways from yours truly.
Let me show you those yummy fabrics up close:

Kismet Collection by Paula Nadelstern
And some of the patches I made for the Winding Ways project:

Winding Ways patches and background square
Go take a look at the FREE eMagazine: Modern by the Yard, for this and four more projects featuring Benartex fabrics.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What's Under My Needle?

Confession is good for the soul, but bad for the reputation! I confess I have a LOT of UFOs (unfinished objects/quilts). A lot! I pulled out some blocks I stitched last year based on my 14 year old pattern Shark's Teeth.

Here's one block:
10" Shark's Teeth Block
 I am using shot cottons and Kaffe Fassett fabrics. My paper piecing pattern has 4 sizes: 3", 4", 5", 6" and 10".

I started off using all sorts of prints, but realized after making the first unit that this was too crazy! As you can see, the entire block is stitched in two vertical sections. I followed my own advice: "Always cut and sew a sample block before you cut out an entire quilt." This way you can see if you like your fabric choices (and I didn't, so I will keep this as a sample to show my students what NOT to do.)

Always make a sample block to see if you like your fabrics!
I've made this block at various times over the years in a variety of fabrics. Here is one I made four years ago using the Lola Collection by Blank Quilting. You can see the two sections in this first sample:

2 sections of Shark's Teeth (each measures 5" x 10" finished)
A complete Shark's Teeth Block
And here's a picture of the units I have so far, up on my flannel design wall. Notice that I've used up all the orange shot cotton and the green. I'm currently using a dusty blue for the four corners. I think I'll be done by then. This is a LOT of paper piecing!

12 Shark's Teeth blocks
My pattern is on Craftsy: Shark's Teeth. The 12 page pattern includes ideas for using the units in borders and each size has both the pattern and the reverse (the triangles point in the opposite direction). All full size for printing.

Almost done with these blocks! Then I have to decide on a border. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 12

Thank you for joining me for Week 12 of the Quilter's Block a Day Calendar by Patricia Bryant of Australia. I am just as awed as you are at how Patricia created not only the blocks, but also staged and photographed them for us!

March 19:  Millstone

March 19" Millstone, 12"
The first day of Spring!

March 20: Moving Star (don't they all move, or is it us on Planet Earth that move around? Not sure!)

March 20: Moving Star, 12"
 March 21: Patches and Leaves

March 21: Patches and Leaves, 12"
 Can I show you my own Patches and Leaves? Why not? It's my blog, right?

Patches and Leaves Table Runner
March 22: Kaleidoscope

March 23: Kaleidoscope, 15"
 March 23: Baby Bunting
March 23: Baby Bunting, 12
 And a Baby Bunting quilt from years past:

Baby Bunting Quilt from "Paper Piecing Perfect Points" book
March 24: Hill and Valley. Hey! The ants are back! And they brought their neighbors. Better check my kitchen!

March 24: Hill and Valley, 12"
 March 25: Indiana Puzzle

March 25: Indiana Puzzle, 9"
Another week. Another set of 7 beautiful blocks by Patricia. See you next week!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sewing with Some Bold and Bright Prints

I like sewing with bold prints. I let the fabric do the talking. Let me show you a few of my recent (and not so recent) creations.

This first quilt is an updated version of my Dogwood Blossom pattern. I used some solid/blenders from Benartex and the wild and crazy prints of Kaffe Fassett. Such an eye opener!

Dogwood Blossom
My elephant pattern from several years ago. Updated with an older Kaffe Fassett print (which was waiting patiently in my stash). Just needs to be stitched down. This was part of a Windham Fabrics pattern I wrote called Safari Adventures. The pattern is FREE on the Windham site.

Elephant applique from Safari Adventures pattern
Get your sunglasses! This pattern was taken from another one I wrote for Windham. I used Kaffe Fassett fabrics and some bold orange and purple batiks. Basically a simplified version of Double Wedding Ring. Those purple melon shapes are raw edge appliqued to the orange and then to the floral underneath!
Mambo table runner
 I love making Winding Ways (Wheel of Mystery) blocks. These are bold prints and solid shot cottons. A good combo! I used the template set of John Flynn. These are so wonderful and make 10" blocks.
Pieced Winding Ways blocks
Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass: One of my workshops that I'm retiring. That's because in order to get the 20" coffee filters, I had to buy 200 at a time! The center compass is paper pieced on the coffee filter (I'm not making this up!) Then we add a halo of paper pieced flying geese. I've made this 4 times. Too bad all the fabrics are different or I'd have a LARGE quilt. This as shown measures 32" x 32"

Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass
Delectable Mountains without the funky templates. Stitch two large half-square triangles together and then cut into horizontal strips. There are variations on this all over the internet. I devised my own method without any waste. How about that awesome print in the center? It's 12" x 12".
Delectable Mountains
Jack's Chain. This vintage pattern is typically hand pieced. I resized everything so I could use 2-1/2" squares for the 9 Patch units. The center hexagon is interfaced, turned and then appliqued over the hole.
Jack's Chain
Then I made it again:
Jack's Chain, pattern on Craftsy
 I stitched a 6 pointed star, interfaced it and then placed it over the first one. I like it!
Jack's Chain with a 6 Pointed Star as an option
Well, as you can see, I like bold prints. In order to really appreciate them, some solid reading fabrics are needed. They can't ALL be superstars!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Little Bit Crazy

. . . as in Crazy Quilt! (Though my family might want to put that label on me at times!)

I came across these bookmarks buried in my batting closet. Batting closet, you say? Yes, I have a very narrow closet in the hall bathroom that I keep all sorts of extra batting samples in. I was cutting batting for an upcoming machine quilting workshop and these were hiding in there. Maybe because it was so soft and cozy, huh?

Crazy pieced bookmarks using scraps of batiks
These were part of a class I taught (I think). They were pieced on paper and then backed with a single piece of fabric, all stitched together with a button hole stitch on the edges.

Book Mark backs
And a postcard I made over 10 years ago. Again, batiks with a feather stitch and some glitzy gold ricrac! Aren't scraps fun when they're used this way?

Crazy patch postcard
How about an amazing vintage quilt! A giant star with crazy pieced squares surrounding it. What a strong statement of color!
Antique Amish Quilt
Just a bit of color to brighten up your Winter day. We had snow today and I needed to offset all that white! Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar Week 11

Another week, another set of beautiful blocks by Patricia. Get ready to put your Irish Green on, because this week celebrates St. Patrick's Day with Irish themed blocks.

March 12: Four Tulips

March 12: Four Tulips, 9"
March 13: Good Luck (isn't the number 13 unlucky?)
March 13: Good Luck
I actually made a quilt (more than one, in fact) using the Good Luck pattern, but I used a quick cutting technique that eliminates these odd shaped templates. Check it out on my Craftsy pattern page.

Good Luck Quilt with 13-1/4" blocks. 79" x 79" quilt size
And a smaller version made with juvenile prints which I gave away to a charity that donates these to children in hospitals. Pattern for BOTH of these quilts is in my Craftsy shop: Good Luck Quilt
Four Block Good Luck Quilt
March 14: Rocky Road to Dublin Variation

March 14: Rocky Road to Dublin Variation, 12"
March 15: Shamrocks

March 15: Shamrocks, 6"
March 16: Lucky Clover

March 16: Lucky Clover, 12"
March 17: Double Irish Cross
March 17: Double Irish Cross, 10"
March 18: Double Irish Patches

March 18: Double Irish Patches, 10"
I can hear the bag pipes playing and see the dancing men in kilts. Can't you? Hope you enjoyed this special show of green!