Monday, September 25, 2017

Modern by the Yard with Benartex - New Patterns

First, the winner of last week's Back to School with Windham Fabrics is Susan S. of Mississippi. Congratulations, Susan! Your fat quarter bundle of It's a Hoot will ship shortly. Thanks to everyone who left a comment.

New issue alert! Modern by the Yard (by Benartex Fabrics) is out and available - FREE - with all new quilts, one of which is mine. This is an eMagazine and you can click on the links to get to it.

Modern by the Yard, Issue #6
 Here is a set of 1/3 yard cuts I was sent to work with. They are truly color drenched!
Color Flow fabrics by Carol Bryer Fallert
I was updating a pattern I developed using a 12 year old technique which I call Magic Stax©. While many others have done something similar, mine is unique in that the number of patches in a block determines how many squares are in a stack. The stack gets cut ALL at the same time (make sure your rotary cutter has a new blade.)

Also, my cutting is NOT RANDOM. All of my blocks in this series (15 different ones) are based on traditional blocks and a line drawing of them.
10-1/2" squares of Color Flow
I chose to update my Washington Puzzle quilt with these fabrics. Here is my Washington Puzzle quilt from 2007 (probably the fifth quilt in my series):

Washington Puzzle
Here is my simple line drawing of Washington Puzzle on a piece of freezer paper:

4 lines drawn on freezer paper
Go take a look at the new eMagazine to see my steps and get the FREE pattern for this!

FREE pattern for my Color Flow Puzzle
Here is my Color Flow Puzzle up close:
Color Flow Puzzle quilt
Then I took a few leftover scraps and paper pieced these Rattle Snake blocks (Karen Stone pattern). Aren't they awesome?

Rattle Snake units
 Go take a look at the new eMag. More patterns and lots of inspiration!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 39

Welcome back to our weekly show with Patricia's blocks from my Quilter's Block a Day Calendar. Make sure you read to the end to hear from Patricia herself and her update on what she plans to do with her 366 blocks.

September 24: Scottie

September 24: Scottie, 10"

September 25: Scrapbag
September 25: Scrapbag, 15"
 September 26: Starstruck Geese

September 26: Starstruck Geese, 10"

September 27: Tessellating Star

September 27: Tessellating Star, 12"
 September 28: Trip Around the World

 September 28: Trip Around the World, 14"
 September 29: Union Squares

September 29: Union Squares, 12"

September 30: Winged Arrows

September 30: Winged Arrows
Now, for a word from Patricia:
Hi Debby,
Thought I would just touch base with you. 
Haven't forgotten about putting my (your) blocks together into quilts! Trying to get a photo of them all together before I start however is proving harder than one would think.  
I did need some down time from the 'Block a Day'. It was definitely a bigger undertaking than I first thought and have enjoyed just doing some random sewing since. Whatever pops into my head. Love that! Of late, those blocks have been calling my name, so soon! 
Haven't been idle though, have attached a photo of some projects achieved this year. Still trying to use up my stash!  
Have a great day.
Happy sewing and kind regards,
Patricia Bryant's 2017 quilt projects
See you all next week!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Windham Wednesdays and FREE Patterns

My family is devoted to coffee. When my children are here with spouses, we have to make more than one (or two) pots of coffee every morning. So, I was delighted to get to design with the new International Coffee Collection by Windham Fabrics.

International Coffee by Windham Fabrics
I designed not one, not two, but THREE projects with these fabrics. I must like coffee, huh?

Here they are. First, the mug rugs:

Mug Rugs using International Coffee fabrics

Mug Rugs using International Coffee measure about 7" finished (the motifs finish at 5-1/2"). I include a paper template for cutting the setting triangles. If you have a Tri-Recs ruler set, these will work perfectly.

Here is my own set of mug rugs using real fabric!

Four mug rugs using International Coffee fabrics
I was sent a panel that has four motifs on each end. These are used in those mug rugs. Great gifts and VERY quick and easy.

Here's the panel:
International Coffee cup motifs
Then, I decided to make a table runner using four more coffee cup motifs and an appliquéd coffee pot I had in my files. What do you think?

International Coffee Table Runner: 36" x 22"
Coffee Time Table Runner is also FREE. Check it out, with full size templates for that vintage coffee pot, which is 10" finished.

And, then I pulled out my tried-and-true coffee cup pattern (paper pieced). Remember, I shared the steps for this earlier this year: Coffee Cups and Windham Wednesdays?

10 Paper Pieced Coffee Cups
 And a single coffee cup using the Mimosa Collection by Windham. Click that link to see the steps to making these.

7" paper pieced coffee cup
I designed this sweet little kitchen quilt. Five paper pieced blocks and four simplified Cobblestone blocks. The blocks are 7" finished and the quilt finishes at 35" x 35". What are you waiting for?

Have a Cuppa wall quilt: 35" x 35"
You can download the Have a Cuppa wall quilt and make a trio of treasures for yourself or someone who loves coffee as much as you (or me).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 38

Here we are: Week 38 with seven more blocks from Patricia!

September 17: Maize Basket
September 17: Maize Basket, 8"
September 18: Lend and Borrow

September 18: Lend and Borrow
September 19: Susannah

September 19: Susannah, 8"
September 20: Oregon Trail

September 20: Oregon Trail, 12"
September 21: Pieced Box
September 21: Pieced Box, 8"
September 22: Pieced Star

September 22: Pieced Star, 12"
September 23: Royal Star
September 23: Royal Star, 12"
Beautiful blocks in beautiful settings. Thanks, one more time, Patricia!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Free Pattern Friday: Pecking Order

This really is a fowl week! Third post about birds. First the owls, then the chickens, now these feathered friends. Hope you aren't thinking about that Alfred Hitchcock film about the BIRDS!

I love this quilt. I had originally designed it using some fabrics by Windham (Collage). I pitched it to Modern Patchwork Magazine. Nope; didn't want it. McCall's. Nope. I hoped SOMEONE would think this was cute. Do you?

I call it Pecking Order. Can you see the lowly birds on the ground and the big Kahoona bird on the birdhouse. King of the roost, huh?

Original Pecking Order Quilt
Then Red Rooster (a division of P & B Textiles) asked me to design a quilt using their Bird Watchers line. Holy Cow! This was perfect for remaking my Pecking Order quilt. Now what do you think?

Pecking Order using the Bird Watchers Collection
They didn't want the letters (what gives?) and so I took them out, added another bird and some folk art flowers. It's the same size as my original quilt: 35" x 39". The blue one at the top hangs in my foyer, next to this quilt, which also was "pink slipped" by numerous magazines. What's with these people?

Bella's House, made with the Bella Collection by Windham
You can have the free Pecking Order quilt using the Bird Watchers Collection. I offer it at my own website download site: Pecking Order. Full size templates for all the appliqué and easy construction of all the parts. You can also find the P and B link at the Bird Watchers page.

You'll get to see the awesome fabrics there, too!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cotton and Indigo from Japan

I received a review copy of Cotton and Indigo from Japan from Schiffer Publishing a few weeks ago. This contains not only dozens of beautiful fabric designs and quilts, but it takes us on a journey through the hundreds of years where indigo meets cotton in a unique way that only the Japanese can do.

Teresa Wong has a special love and appreciation for this and has done extensive research, not from afar (where she lives in Texas), but she regularly visits Japan and documents what she has found.
Cotton and Indigo from Japan
Here's what the official press release says: 

In Cotton & Indigo from Japan, more than 300 colorful photos and behind-the-scenes details reveal the fascinating story of Japan's cotton and indigo, and their enormous contribution to fiber arts worldwide. Learn how Japan and its top fabric designers, quilters, scientists, and artists combine tradition and high tech to weave the thread, fabrics, and stunning designs that are so coveted in today's fiber art world. Take a tour of Japan’s elite textile printing mills to understand why Japan is considered the world's finest producer of quilting cotton. Learn where all this cotton comes from, and its close connection to another prized plant, indigo. Dozens of beautiful fabric designs and quilts by Shizuko Kuroha, Keiko Goke, Yoshiko Jinzenji, Yoko Saito, and others are featured, as well as cotton and indigo folk textiles through the ages. This journey gives a deeper understanding of the connection between contemporary textile art and Japan's cotton, indigo, and traditions.

Let's SEE just a little bit of what she's discovered.

Teresa shares many, many images of antique textiles. The image here is antique katazomi cotton. She talks about it on pages 78 and 84. Basically, this decoration is made by using a combination of stencils and paste resist. Blue and white is such a traditional color combination. But how do they get that blue?
Antique katazomi cotton
First, we need to consider the fabric itself. Cotton! We quilters LOVE cotton. We know how it feels in our hands, how it behaves when we stitch it, and how it behaves when we wash it. Cotton is king and the king of cotton is found in Texas.

The state of Texas is the single largest cotton producing state in the US. Japan is typically among the top ten export destinations for American cotton.
Cotton growing near Lubbock, Texas
This certainly doesn't look like the white Kona cotton I have in my stash, does it? But we start with these cotton bolls and then the factories work their magic.
More cotton
Now it's time to dye the cotton fabric. In Japan indigo is a magical, mysterious, and mighty color. For centuries, indigo dyers closely guarded the secrets of their craft. But one could always distinguish the indigo dyers by their permanently-dyed, blue hands. Read more about this on page 123.
Toru Shimomura has those permanently dyed blue hands, just like the indigo heroes of his past.
A modern day quilter used antique cottons to make this beautiful quilt below. Tamiko Mawatari has been working with traditional folk textiles for many decades and scours many Japanese antique dealers and markets to find just what will work with a design she has in mind.
Quilt by Tamiko Mawatari, 2008 (page 68)
Now, this was a fascinating picture (below). Can you believe this is a fireman's coat? Not from today, but from many years ago. The fireman wore the coat with the highly decorated part inside while he fought the fire, and once it was extinguished, the coat would be reversed to display the colorful insignia. Amazing. You can read more about this use of indigo for firemen's garments on page 80.

Antique cotton fireman's coat (page 80)
When I think of Japan, I think of kimono. I once bought a lot (by weight) of about 30 kimono. I was going to take them apart and make quilts with them. But they were too beautiful. So, I sold them and just gave the last two away to my sister in law, Sarah, the other day. She loves them. They are so beautifully lined, as you can see in this example below.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it became popular to show just a small spot of red in clothing -- either through the lining of a kimono or red undergarments. That's what it says on page 90. (No kidding! I don't think I have any red underwear. And I don't think I would reveal it out in public even if I did. My husband would have a heart attack!)

"Safflower red" dyed cotton textiles were very popular during the Edo period (page 90)

One more photo that is a small snippet of a larger quilt. This is improvisational and the colors are so vibrant! Wish you could see the entire thing. (Go buy the book and you can, right?)

Detail of a quilt by Yasuko Saito. Movement #80, 2016 (page 35)
Here's another beautiful quilt by designer Yoko Ueda:

Quilt by Yoko Ueda
I have some older pieces of sashiko that I started stitching about 20 years ago. Some day I may finish! I just dug these out. What do you think?

Sashiko with stencils so I can follow the lines
I have a few small pieces of Japanese fabrics with blues. You can also see the woven ribbon. I know there's a name for it, but I can't remember the real term! I just know it's beautiful
this piece is finished, but I don't know what to do with it
What do you think of this fisherman's coat? Each patch features a traditional sashiko design. Wow! That's a lot of stitching for a man who worked with smelly fish. Wonder what his wife thought about him wearing something she spent a thousand hours making!

Fisherman's jacket, front
And the back is just as exquisite!

This is the backside of an exquisite fisherman's coat (pg 89)
You can find a great price on this book at Teresa Wong's site. Retail, $34.99. Teresa's price: $25.00, and she will sign your copy!

Check out Schiffer's Twitter account. (This stuff doesn't make sense to me, so if you can figure out what these symbols mean, more power to you: #schifferpublishing and/or @schifferbooks (FB/Insta/Pinterest); @schifferpublishing (Twitter))

Thank you, Schiffer and Teresa for such beautiful examples of textiles and fibers. We quilters love this stuff and I'm going to go read more from this book with my lunch today.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chicks On the Run

Chicks Looking for a Good Home

Today is Technique Tuesday over at the Benartex blog - Sew in Love with Fabric. I am sharing what I did with Chicks on the Run by Cheryl Haynes. Take a look at my pics and then head on over to see what I did.

Well, the title is intriguing, is it not? Why are these chicks on the run? Running from who, the Big Bad Rooster? Or the fox in the hen house? Or are they just liberated chickens? I wanted to know!

I saw the panel and knew I had to have it. There's so much you can do with a panel (other than treating it like one piece of fabric (yawn). A panel says to me: cut me up, cut me up!

Chicks on the Run panel
Can we see some of the fabrics, at least? Oh, OK . . .

Take a look at these fun prints!
 And, yes, I did cut them up. What else do you think you're supposed to do?!!

Various sized strips for use with those panels
Take a visit to the Sew in Love with Fabric blog today (Benartex) and find out what I did with this panel. Just a hint: I cut it up, yes, I did!