Friday, July 12, 2019

Free Pattern Friday

I have designed SO many quilts for various fabric companies and one that seems so Summer-y is my Storm at Sea quilt done for Windham last year. It's called Sail Away.

Fresh Catch fabrics for Sail Away quilt
Here are a few of my own Storm at Sea quilts from years past. I think I still own one. This was a popular workshop for while.

The blocks are 5", 5" x 10" and 10" x 10". The little boats are paper pieced.

Storm at Sea quilt
And one of my samples for the classes:

Storm at Sea needing a border
And one more with some beautiful blue borders:

One more Storm at Sea
So, check out the FREE pattern, Sail Away, at the Windham site. You can make it in any colors and sure will fit in with all your summer happenings.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue and FREE Patterns

Today is July 4 and in America we celebrate our freedom as a country. I hear SO MANY negative things these days about all the perceived wrongs going on, can we just not concentrate on our warts and remember the good things about our neighbors, communities and country? I'm not trying to pretend we don't have issues (like who doesn't?!!), but we have so much to celebrate.

So, how about some quilt inspiration? Yes, how about it!

Here's some fabric from Windham, 2014. I wish I still had a few of these, but I gave them all away. This was an amazing collection.

George Washington, our first president
Here is my Patriot's Day quilt, scheduled to appear in a quilting magazine but then they declared bankruptcy and it was never published. I never got paid . . .

But, I did publish it in my 2012 Wall Calendar of quilts and then gave it away to my favorite nephew (only nephew) and he loves it!

Blair with Patriot's Day quilt
The quilt was made using the Coverlets Collection from Windham Fabrics. Click the link below the picture for the FREE pattern download.
Regal Eagle
This quilt was published in Quilt Magazine and then I gave it to a friend who lost her nephew in Afghanistan. She took it to his mother and I understand it hangs over his bed. A tribute to a fallen soldier.
Americana Hearts. 14" Block; 58" x 58" Quilt
Texas Stars appeared in my second book Supersize 'Em Quilts. These are BIG blocks, all rotary cut. Notice that there are 3 different arrangements of the 45 degree diamonds. This quilt is owned by Windham Fabrics and hangs in their New Jersey office.
Texas Stars, 19-1/2" Blocks
This quilt was also made using those coverlets. It was designed by Leslie Sonkin and I patterned and made it. I think I'll pull out my drawer full of those amazing coverlets today. You can download the FREE pattern for this one, too. Click the link below the photo.
American Beauty
I made three 18" blocks from my quilting calendar. Here is Old Glory Star.
And upsized (18") block from my Quilter's Block a Day Calendar
And  the Yankee Charm block:
Yankee Charm block
And Star Spangled Banner.
18" Star Spangled Banner block
I have quite a few more, but I see that it's 7:30 am (EST), so I have to hit "publish" before all of you get up!

You can find all three of these 18" blocks patterned in my Hey, Hey USA banner on Etsy. Check it out!

Have a wonderful 4th of July/Independence Day celebrating however you and your family enjoy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Log Cabin Building Blocks

I published this article in Quilt Magazine in 1997! Thought I'd revisit some of these ideas and show you some variations on the Log Cabin.

I also show some newer quilts.

Building Blocks for Log Cabins
by Debby Kratovil

Without a doubt, the Log Cabin is the favorite of quilters the world over. It lends itself to easy and quick piecing, makes good use of leftover strips of fabric from other projects, and is just plain fun to make! This block is pieced in rounds of strips with a central square (or triangle or rectangle as you will soon see). You keep on piecing until you have the size of block you want.

I have included here a few variations on the Log Cabin. We hope this will send you to your sewing room wanting to try out these with your own color choices. There are endless possibilities with this block, four of which follow.

Block 1 is a standard Log Cabin, but we have used a half-square triangle as the center unit. When the blocks are put together as seen in the diagram, an illusion of a circle in the center is formed. The addition of the triangles in this way gives a gentle curve. Try arranging your blocks in still other patterns.
Standard Log Cabin with center half-square triangles
Block 2 is a pattern I came across in a book dealing with tiles and mosaics of ancient Rome. This is pieced in a similar manner as the Courthouse Steps log cabin. Begin with two squares. Add rectangles to opposite sides in rounds (see diagram). The coiling effect is achieved by the striking contrast of the light and dark fabrics. There are many possibilities to the arrangement of these blocks. Make several and play! These would be fantastic as an outer border in a quilt.

(I have since published several quilts using the Greek Key Log Cabin)

Here is my Greek Key Log Cabin quilt using 8" blocks. You can find the pattern with TWO versions of this quilt in my Etsy shop. First, one sewn using five Kaffe Fassett fabrics for the blocks.

Greek Key Log Cabin quilt: 42" x 50"
And another done in red and white (same size):

Red Hot Logs: 42" x 50"
Block 3 is an elongated square, otherwise known as a rectangle. You begin with rectangular strips that are at least 3-4 times the length of the width of the strip. It is pieced in rounds as in a standard log cabin. These also would be a striking border treatment. They can be placed together into a quilt if the dimension of one side is proportional to the other side (for example 3” x 6” block, 6” x 12” block, etc).

Block 4 is a Thick and Thin treatment. Beginning with a central square cut the size of the width of the thick strips, the piecing of the rounds of logs continues in the standard way. After the central square, two thin strips (half the width of the thick strips) are added. Then two of the thick. Continue adding strips, two thin, two thick, keeping the colors consistent throughout. Putting these blocks together in various settings creates lovely curving patterns that cannot be achieved with a standard log cabin.
Thick and thin logs
I now call this Block 4 treatment the Curvy Log Cabin. I have made several quilts using this technique. This blue and gold table runner is about 25 years old and I still own it!

12 Curvy Log Cabin Blocks make this table runner
And my recent Butterflies quilt. I patterned this 22 years ago (yes, I did!) and made it again using Jean Ann Wright's Curvy Log Cabin ruler (by Creative Grids).

Sunshine Butterflies: 47" x 47"; 6" block
Notice that each Butterfly is made using 3 curvy log cabin blocks and a plain block (that has the antennae and head (which is a prairie point!)

Here's another one done by The Quilting Divas Sewing Boutique (shop) in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Colorful Sunshine Butterflies by Quilting Divas shop
These are just a few of the fun ways to play with your Log Cabin blocks. The possibilities are almost endless and the results may surprise you. So, what are you waiting for? Go get out those strips and get to work!

I'll be posting more Log Cabin designs in the weeks ahead. There are so many wonderful ways with strips and logs and it's one way to use up some of your scrap stash!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Cookie Cutter BOM: The Heart Block

I hope you are ready for a series of easy raw edge appliqué blocks that I began designing over 15 years ago. The first one is the Heart. Let's see a recent Heart block:

Cookie Cutter Heart Block: 10" x 10"
I made this for a collection of Benartex batiks and created a blog post about how to make a miniature Hearts on Fire quilt in 2015. I have since given that quilt away, but I still had about 3 sample blocks from my workshop, which I included in my new Sampler quilt.

This Sampler is very scrappy. If you want to make a 16 block quilt as I have here, then you need the following:

  • 32 various prints for the backgrounds, cut 5-1/2" x 10-1/2". Notice that I used several black batiks for the blocks, combined with brights. You will need two rectangles cut 5-1/2" x 10-1/2" for EACH of the 16 blocks. Each of the appliqué shapes is a various size and you can wait for the release of each month's pattern for those dimensions.
  • Matching thread for the raw edge appliqué
  • I strongly suggest NOT using fusible webbing. When you put a light color (as in the yellow/gold above) on top of a dark print (blue), the color of the top patch will change and darken when it is fused. Also, for several of the shapes I clip away the background fabric from behind the appliqué shape.
  • You may wish to use fusible interfacing to give your fabric some stability. Or you may want to skip the raw edge appliqué for needle turn. It's your choice.
  • 1//3 yard for inner border
  • 1-1/2 yards for outer borders if you do not wish to piece. My quilt uses 3 borders cut to 6" with the addition of the staggered hearts strip (on the right). If you wish to make that, you will need two 3-1/2"" x 42" strips (which will be explained later).
Here is my Sampler:
Cookie Cutter Sampler: 53" x 54"
Here are a few of my other Hearts quilts, beginning with the original Hearts on Fire:

Original Hearts on Fire quilt: 43" x 63"
Let's see the recent Benartex quilt from 2015:

Small child's quilt made with 5 Heart blocks and the cutaways
You can download the Heart pattern here. It is FREE for ONE MONTH ONLY. Then it gets moved over to my Etsy shop. I ask that you DO NOT copy the pdf for others, especially for a guild BOM. If your guild wishes to participate then EACH member must get the pattern from me. You can send out the LINK, but not the pdf.

I use freezer paper to trace the pattern from the master. I cut a left side and a right side pattern. Notice that I also can cut those mini hearts from the inside curve of the hearts and that's where I get those extra, happy dancing hearts!

Trace and cut out freezer paper templates from master pattern
Iron freezer paper to your appliqué fabric and cut out. Remove freezer paper (this can be reused multiple times). The seam allowance is included.

Cutting appliqué shapes using freezer paper templates
Some hearts cut out. Notice that when you cut out the large heart, you are left with small hearts. You can use that small heart freezer paper template to cut out even more from your scraps! I used all my small heart cutaways to create that vertical row you see on the right side of the Sampler Quilt above. More on that later.

Large hearts and the small cutaways
Different fabrics, but you get the idea. Pin the appliqué shapes to the background rectangles, aligning them with each other. Stitch. (I used a simple zigzag stitch with colored rayon/polyester thread).

Pin and stitch
I pulled various colored threads from my stash and auditioned them with my batiks.

Auditioning various threads for my raw edge appliqué
I like to trim away the background from behind my hearts. It's such a large piece and can be used in the border! But you must trim BEFORE joining the center seam.

Trim from behind appliqué BEFORE you join the center seam!
This was a popular workshop for several years. I had so many samples . . .

Dancing Hearts Sample
And one more simple heart sample . . .

Single Heart Sample
Here is the link for the first block: Cookie Cutter Heart. It is free for the month of July ONLY. After that, it will be in my Etsy shop.

If you have specific questions or comments, it's best to send an email ( For some reason, only about 25% of those commenting here leave me with a return email. You are listed as anonymous. I'm happy to help or hear from you about this Heart block. And it's ok to comment here, too!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Kelly's Amazing Signature Quilt

This is a signature quilt I created in July of 2015 for a friend of my daughter's. I realized I had never shared this on my blog, so here it is. I know you will be amazed at the creative artistry of these young people (ie, in their 20s).

Many thanks to my very favorite youngest daughter, Valery Kratovil, for thinking this up. Somehow she connected my quilting skills with her and her friends' desire to do something special for their mutual friend Kelly. Please know that I NEVER, EVER make quilts on consignment (ie, sew for other people and their ideas). But I knew this would not only be special but also fun. I never imagined how CREATIVE these young people were. (They are millennials.) Wow and WOW! What a pleasure and privilege this was to participate.
Here is the finished quilt. You will get to see each block up close!

Kelly's Quilt
Here is a little of my planning process: The blocks will finish around 11" square. The quilt center will be 44" x 66". I will add some border fabric to take it up to 56" x 78".
I gave Valery 24 white 5" squares that had freezer paper ironed to the back for stabilizing. I also gave her several Pigma pens in a variety of colors. I figured her friends would enjoy signing their names in their favorite color. Little did I realize they would use them as paint and create little works of art!

This is how all the blocks will be arranged:

Signature blocks
Valery mailed the blocks back to me and after I picked myself up off the floor, I got to work bordering each one with some Northcott Artisan Shimmer (I had a fat quarter bundle of every single color!) I added the "tilt" triangles (easy to cut from your Tri-Recs ruler) using my own Arrowheads ruler. I took the color cues from those used in each block.

Now let's take a look at each one! Most have not been identified (to me), but you don't know these folks anyway, now do you? Just enjoy the show!

Block #1 is from Valery Kratovil. She's my favorite youngest daughter. She and her friends twirl fire using batons and they call this FLOW. Pretty amazing.
Block #1: Valery Kratovil
Block #2 is from PD. This reminds me of an American Native American symbol.
Block #2
 Block #3 is from ? Can you believe this owl on a branch with a full moon behind him/her?
Block #3
Block #4 is from? But this is an inside joke, I've been told.
Block #4
Block #5 is from Caroline. Such a sweet flower with a sweeter sentiment.
Block #5
 Block #6 is from Erica. She and Kelly have a special bond.
Block #6
 Block # 7 is from Brian. Pillars!
Block #7
Block #8 is from? Reminds me of a cradle or maybe it's a cauldron of fire (or soup).
Block #8
 Block # 9 is from Tony. Special creatures in an embrace.
Block #9
 Block #10 is from ? These friends participate in what's called Flow, so that's what's happening in this scene below.
Block #10
Block #11 is from ? This has to be one of my favorite blocks. So unique and special!
Block #11
 Block #12 is from? Good thing I gave them about 6 Pigma pens. This person colored to his/her heart's content!
Block #12
Block #13 is from? Can you see those picture frame borders? Big wow!
Block #13
Block #14 is from? Sitting in the forest with some friendly (I hope) foxes circling. Hope he isn't scared!
Block #14
Block #15 is from? Lots of love expressed over and over, right?
Block #15
Block #16 is from? Can you believe this echoing with the cursive. So clever!
Block #16
Block #17 is from? A whole village surrounds this person. What's with the horns?
Block #17

Block #18 is from? Again, lovely thoughts and such cute creatures.
Block #18
Block #19 is from? Here's that haircut again. I think Kelly has hair like that (I've never met her).
Block #19
Block #20 is from? Very futuristic, indeed!
Block #20
Block #21 is from? Looks sort of like an octopus. Hope it's friendly.
Block #21
Block #22 is from? Hearts on fire. Love this one, too.
Block #22
Block #23 is from? Now that's an amazing tree and the root system is something else!
Block #23
Block #24 is from? Hair dryer and scissors. Someone has plans!
Block #24
That's an amazing quilt. My dear friend Connie Gallant did the quilting. Valery and her friends got together and presented this to Kelly. And they all got to enjoy seeing their little works of art in that quilt.

Do you have a favorite from these 24 blocks? Hard to choose, I know.