Friday, April 26, 2019

Rose Star My Way

I have come to love this vintage block called Rose Star. Not sure why since it involves a LOT of y-seams using a kite shape. I typically avoid y-seams as much as possible (though I certainly can stitch them). First, let me show you my first Rose Star quilt.

Rose Star Table Topper: 30" x 34"
I did a lot of research on this block and also did NOT want to cut all those kite shapes using a freezer paper template. I went ahead and had my own Kite Template made (since I was planning on making this a workshop).

My Kite Template
I standardized this to a finished 5" height. I didn't want to use one of those multi-sized rulers because of several things:

  • They're TOO expensive
  • They don't have the size I wanted. Creative Grids has 4 sizes, but not my 5" height. And it costs $27.49!
  • The one by Sarah Nephew/C & T Publishing/Marcie Baker is $26.00 and doesn't show how to cut kites! Yes, I said that right. It's shaped like a kite but there are no directions for cutting them. I even asked Marcie Baker about that - no answer!
  • I wanted my students to be able to make a variety of quilts without gouging them. Then, if they need another size, they can spring for those rulers.
Now, let's see my stacks of fabric kites.

Lovely little fabric kites!
My pattern has my students only make one mark and that's at the top. I included 3 holes on the template so the fabric can be marked at each of the points. This also works for those who enjoy hand piecing. I also included 1/4" seam markings away from the center line so there can be other possibilities. (I'll share some of those blocks later.)

Notice that I "twirled" the center where the 3 seams come together. I did not stitch all the way to that edge - this is why I marked one patch with that dot. And notice that the seams all go in one direction. This is a bonus in that when the 3-Patch units are joined to others, the seams will nestle!

Wrong side of a 3-Kite unit
And let's see this from the right side. Big wow for me! When my students take my class, I give them 3 kite patches that they can practice on. I also include 3 fabric patches in my pattern. (The 5 page pattern with acrylic template and 3 kite patches for practice is only $13 for my students in my workshops. It will be that price in my Etsy shop, plus shipping.)
Front of a 3-Kite unit
Here is the second Rose Star topper I made. It is not quilted. I like to have one class sample for students to be able to see how I pressed seams, etc.

Rose Star Table Topper using the Aria Collection by Windham Fabrics
Once you get the rhythm of joining those y-seams, you end up with 24 triangles made up of 3-Kite units! (That's 72 kites) It's all straight seam sewing from now on! I do NOT sew my units together as other patterns require. I repeat: NO MORE Y-SEAMS!

Why am I telling you all this? First, I realize I never shared my Rose Star quilts and also, I have two blog posts coming up in May that feature new fabric collections (Benartex and Windham) which I stitched into Rose Star quilts.

Right now I have another quilt on my design wall that is NOT a Rose Star but is made from these 5" kites. I sewed until I ran out of fabric, so I'm on the last row. It will be a great lap sized quilt. I will be patterning that soon and include that in my Rose Star pattern/template set.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these. Take a visit to Pinterest and do a search for Rose Star quilts. You will enjoy the show! And stay tuned for my two upcoming posts for more Rose Star quilts!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Windham Wednesdays with Bedrock Gingham

I made a little more progress on my Gingham Quilt using Bedrock by Windham Fabrics. Remember? I was going to imitate gingham by sewing a lot of squares together!

This is the concept (and a piece of Black/Gray/White gingham):

Actual gingham fabric
Now, my fabrics from the Bedrock Collection by Windham. The red is going to be my inner border!

Bedrock Fabrics for my Gingham Quilt
I did a little math and some calculations and began to cut my strips. These are 2-1/2" x wof.

2-1/2" strips of my 3 Bedrock fabrics
Then I began assembly of my 3 blocks. I stripped two black and one gray strip as shown. Then I cut the strip-set into 2-1/2" wedges. Black-Gray-Black.

First strip set for Block #1. I need TWO of these.
 And the strip set of gray-white-gray. I will need ONE of these.

Second strip set for Block #1. I need ONE of these for each block

Now, put them together:
Three wedges ready for Block #1

Block #1 is sewn. I need to make 9 of these.

Block #1 sewn
Block #2 is stitched the same way with the same colors but arranged in a different way. I need 12 of these Block #2s.

Block #2
And Block #3 is also stitched using the same 3 colors, but again - arranged differently. I only need 4 of these.

Block #3. I need 4 of these.
Let's see the blocks, ok?

25 Gingham blocks ready for assembly
You'll have to come back next week to see my assembly. My eyes are crossed, believe me! But there really is a method to this madness! I think there's probably another (and easier) way to go about recreating the weave of gingham, but this is the way that came to my little brain! And if you look too closely at the top image of gingham, my blocks don't actually work for that. Too bad! Mine will turn out to be gingham, I promise.

The blocks will finish to 6" and the center of the quilt will be 5 x 5 blocks (30" x 30"). I may go bigger, but for now, this is what I have.

Next week I will have a clear diagram of how these blocks go together - and hopefully - a finished quilt top! Hope to see you then.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day Quilt, Fabric and Fun Pattern

Happy Earth Day. I love the earth! It's the only place I can live for the time being. I try to be respectful (because the Designer is watching!) 

And, as a quilter, you know I have a thing or two related to the earth. The first is a piece of map fabric showing all the continents. This is from Windham Fabrics. Pretty awesome, huh? 

Theory of Aviation fabric panel of the continents
And the second Earth Day pic is from 15 years ago and is called Trash Basket Batiks because I rescued and recycled fabric that had been thrown into the trash can and made this quilt. I mean: isn't Earth Day about creative recycling? We quilters do that all the time!

Trash Basket Batik Garden
You can find my 8 page pdf pattern for TRASH BASKET BATIKS at my Etsy store for only $1.00 until May 1. So, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Windham Wednesdays and Bedrock Gingham

Gingham? Does Windham make gingham fabrics? Do you even know what I'm talking about?

To be fair, let's first define it (for those who never wore it or sewed with it in previous decades):

"Gingham" comes from the Malayan word genggang, or "striped." The way we identify gingham, as being a contrasting-check shirt, was not the way in which the fabric was originally known. True gingham is distinguished primarily for being a "dyed in the yarn" fabric, meaning the yarn is dyed before it is woven.

I prefer to let a picture communicate what I'm trying to say. Take a look at the various colors in the image below. I bet you've seen fabrics like this (or maybe you even wore a shirt or dress in these prints!)

Gingham in lots of colors
And here's one that I used for inspiration:

Black, Gray and White gingham
This is the first of two posts. I'm waiting for Windham to send me more of their Bedrock fabrics so I can make a larger quilt. All I had to start with were 3 fat quarters and an idea. Let's see what I have so far:

Three distinct blocks that will be used for my gingham quilt
Since I almost never plan before I jump in and start sewing, I discover (more often than I care to admit) that I can't get where I'm trying to get to with what I have on hand. (You may have to read that sentence more than once to figure out what I mean!)

So, I wait for more Bedrock to arrive. I know you will be inspired to make your own gingham quilt. And in whatever 3 colors you prefer.

Monday, April 15, 2019

English Paper Piecing with Small Hexagons

 Last week I taught an enthusiastic group of quilters how to English Paper Piece. To be fair, many of them already knew what they were doing, but wanted to see if they could learn something new. And they did! I showed them a better way to baste the fabric OVER the card stock and not THROUGH it. This way I can remove the papers and not remove the stitching, which saves a LOT of time.

The first image (orange) is a finished block before I trim the fabric. What? I don't cut fabric hexagons? Of course NOT! I cut fabric rectangles that are at least 3/8" larger than the size of the hexagon. I punch a hole in the center of the paper hexagon (second photo) which does two things:

1. Gives me a place to put my pin to secure the fabric/paper together
2. Gives me a spot to stick a retracted pen through to "pop" out the paper.

Wrong side of my 3/4" Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks
Once I have trimmed the fabric (as in the gray block above), things are neat back there and I can remove my papers. The basting stitches remain in.

The turquoise GFG shows what it looks like after I've removed the papers. Because I didn't stitch through the papers I'm able to reuse the papers; they haven't been weakened by stitches.

Here's a close-up of a GFG block with papers removed. The method for basting is to fold over the fabric and take a stitch in the corner folds, one at a time. You are NOT stitching through the paper; only through the fabric.


My favorite new hexagon size is 3/4"! I love working with those small hexies and have made quite a few blocks.

Various sizes of papers
I've even taken it to another round! This is what it looks like before trimming the fabric.

Wrong side of a GFG block using 3/4" hexies
And then trimmed:

Grandmother's Flower Garden with two rounds

From the front:
3/4" GFG with two rounds

Another one with 2 rounds in process:

Work in progress
So? What have I done with them? Cut larger hexagon backgrounds and then appliquéd them on. And I will not have any y-seams!

Wrong side of an appliquéd GFG unit
Then I did this to six blocks and added some setting triangles . . .

Six hexagon blocks with green setting triangles pinned
Press the triangles, and then I'll stitch a large circle. Then 7th center hexagon will be interfaced and then appliquéd over that center hexagon hole. No kidding!

Auditioning my hexagon ring
Let's see the center hexagon again. I used a piece of interfacing (NON-fusible) and stitched 1/4" around the entire hexagon.
Hexagon stitched to interfacing
Clip into interfacing so I can turn it
 Hexagon turned right side out. This will fit over the center hole!

Center hexagon
Not a single y-seam! All straight seam sewing. Added 30 degree side triangles (gray floral) and borders. Isn't she sweet!

20-1/2" x 23"
I have done this multiple times with my GFG blocks and will share some more in the days ahead. My students from last week enjoyed seeing all my EPP samples and I loved giving them some inspiration.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Windham Wednesday with Uncorked

I keep coming back to my Metropolitan Star pattern. You've seen it here before several times. I am teaching it as a workshop at the end of April and I needed some samples.

This is the vintage quilt that inspired me:

Pulled from a Metropolitan Home Magazine in the 1980s
And the one that appeared in my 2nd book, on the cover! Blocks are 21"!

Metropolitan Home Star: 69" x 69"
I have an older fabric from the Kaffe Fassett Lille Collection and I pulled some blenders from the Uncorked Collection by Windham.

4 fat quarters from Uncorked by Windham Fabrics

Vintage fabric: it's time to cut it up!
Uncorked fabrics to go with this Lille fabric
And I made several blocks this afternoon. They are paper pieced.

Four star points for my 21" blocks
 Not sure if I'll mix them up in each block or stay with four of the same color.

4 star points. 7" square each
My students can make a variety of assemblies. Here is one I shared last year using the Butterfly Dance collection by Windham. Click the link to read the post and see some of the process shots.

Staggered Star blocks using Butterfly Dance
Or they can just make one star and set it with some 7" strips as I did with this one:

One BIG star with some gorgeous fabrics
Uncorked has 24 skus and a color for just about anything. Love this collection!

So much beauty in one place!

5" squares of Uncorked
Did you see my quilt from a few months ago? This is a remake of an older quilt that was stolen in 2005. This now lives in a loving home with a dear friend of one of my daughters. She loves it.

98 Dancing Squares quilt using Uncorked
I'll be working on my star points in the next 2 weeks and will show you how I arrange the points. I usually let the fabric tell me what they want!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Summer Workshops with Quilt Odyssey

Yes, I teach at TWO quilt venues in July. The beautiful part is that I can drive and stay in a hotel and not drag suitcases through an airport.

The Quilt Odyssey has their show in Hershey, PA (yes, THAT Hershey, where there is the smell of chocolate everywhere). The venue is beautiful and full of great chocolate distractions, but I try to keep my mind on quilting.

Here are the three workshops that I will be teaching, beginning with Spinning Waterwheels. I know you remember this quilt - I've blogged about it more than once. Let's see the original. I have since gifted this to one of my grandson's teachers. I know she loves it!

Original Spinning Waterwheels
This quilt appeared in my book, Paper Piecing Perfect Points (Martingale 2013). I sewed this many blocks because I sewed until I ran out of fabric! (That is my traditional method, btw). I decided to remake it in black, red and white and I sewed until I ran out of THOSE fabrics.

First the center - where I thought I was done. Silly girl! I still had more black and red print fabrics!

I call this my "When 4 Becomes 5 Blocks" setting. Same blocks as above. No sashing (I tried it and it didn't work). But, I had more fabrics so I decided to keep going.

When 4 Becomes 5 Block Setting
I added more blocks. Let me show you!

36 blocks in Spinning Waterwheels
Yes, that's a lot of paper piecing. No borders yet. Not quilted yet. Just something to teach from. I even had someone offer to buy it from me (when I was presenting a quilt trunk show last year). I told her she couldn't afford it!

Here is a small version of this pattern created by Sharon D. Love these greens!

Green Waterwheels by Sharon D.
You can join me in this class, Spinning Waterwheels, at the Quilt Odyssey on July 18 in Hershey, PA.  Students will receive patterns for the foundations and a multiple page, well illustrated pattern for the steps used in making the quilt.

Friday's class is the One Day Lone Star. Yes, you can piece this in one day. I teach two techniques for those setting squares and triangles. You can set them in with a y-seam or you can split them for straight seam sewing.

Here is the first one I made. I did not want to break up that floral print, so I set these in. But the 9-Patch diamonds are all rotary cut in strip-sets. The supply list has a planning chart so you can figure out how many strips you need and where the colors you choose are to appear.

Lone Star with set-in triangles and squares of an awesome print
Then I found another luscious fabric collection and made another quilt! You can see the split outside light blue squares and triangles. This makes everything SO easy!

Lone Star with split setting squares and triangles
Then I decided to add some bias strips because I saw a vintage quilt with that treatment. Believe me, this is harder when you've already sewn the quilt top! But, sometimes you have to rip-rip-rip in order to get what you want!

Bias strips to create some curves
And since I thought I gave away my samples when I moved last November, I started another sample! Of course, after making this star half, guess what? You're right! I found my teaching samples!

Half Lone Star using solids and Kona Snow
Click the links above to find the supply list with planning sheets.

My Saturday class is what I call Bird Song. It is a bit improvisational in that I combined some Cobblestone Blocks with a few of my 10" birdhouses and some spacer strips. The limitation to this is that I started with 16 fat quarters and when I ran out of the main fabric, I was done! I even got my borders out of my fat quarters.

Bird Song
The class pattern will include four different Birdhouses that a student can choose from. (I offer these in my Etsy shop in a 22 page pdf with 10 different birdhouses! She/he can select one or all and learn simple paper piecing. I only used one, but I did piece the other 3. Let me show you!

60s A-Frame: 7-1/2" x 10"
 Efficiency Birdhouse:
Efficiency Birdhouse: 5" x 10"
Room for One
Room for One Birdhouse: 6" x 10"
There are many other fantastic teachers and workshops available at the Quilt Odyssey 2019. If it's within driving distance, I hope to see you there!