Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Windham Wednesdays with Grand Illusion

If it's Wednesday, I'm probably focusing on more beautiful fabric from Windham. Today I am sharing the amazing collection called Grand Illusion. It has gilded prints in some of my favorite colors and a gorgeous main print with kaleidoscope motifs. Just because it is an octagon doesn't mean I won't use it for my hexagon patterns. Want to see?

First, one of the motifs. Yes, you can see that I'm planning to center it in the middle of some block. I cut a freezer paper window template and ironed it to the fabric for cutting out.

Fussy cutting a beautiful motif in the Grand Illusion collection
I'm going to make another of my Rose Star blocks. It will be super-sized once I add borders. So, I cut a lot of kite shaped pieces of fabric.

Some of the fabrics in the Grand Illusion collection
Can I show you where I'm going? I'm not there yet, but I do have my digital file to guide me along the way. That fussy cut hexagon motif will go in the center.

My digital version of a Rose Star using Grand Illusion
OK. Let me digress, may I? I was so enamored by that border print (in above pic) that I cut out some for English Paper Piecing. I can show those to you.

Fussy cutting hexagons for English Paper Piecing
And I made some sample blocks for 3 upcoming classes this summer. I used both the red and the blue color ways. These are 2" hexagons and 2" diamonds.

Two blocks using those fussy cut hexagons
Back to my Rose Star in progress. I used my acrylic template to cut some fabrics. Here's one using the red (which won't be in my quilt but I'm planning a Rose Star variation which I hope to finish soon.) Notice that there is MINIMAL fabric waste. And my method for cutting uses 2 less cuts than the traditional rulers on the market. You just flip-flop the ruler. What you see below are FOUR kites cut from a 4-1/4" x 7-1/2" rectangle (doubled). Those are TINY scraps left over, aren't they?

Cutting kite shapes
Here is the center hexagon which will be surrounded by double kites. As I shared in previous weeks, that center hexagon will be interfaced and appliquéd to the center.

Auditioning the fabric kites around the center hexagon
Here are the remaining 3-Kite units which will surround what you see above.

Two stacks of 3-Kite units
You'll have to wait for next week to see it all put together. I hope you're intrigued!

In the process, I pulled out the box for my Rose Star samples and found a few I had made using some previous Windham collections. This is from the Flora Collection (2016)

The beginning of another Rose Star variation
And a double pieced center with split kites. I placed it in the center. These are from another Windham collection.

Center fabrics are from the It's a Hoot Collection
Here is how I stitched and then cut those Split Kites. All 6 of the pieced kites must have the fabrics in the same position. You can't use the two units at the bottom in the same hexagon block. As me how I know . . .

Split Kites
When I'm creating a new pattern and samples for teaching, I make LOT of units and block parts in various stages and steps. I think students want to see a lot of variations and love seeing how I got from Step 1 to the last step. My Rose Star box is bulging. Yes, this is how I store my projects. I went from 49 of these Chobani yogurt boxes to about 30 now. It took several years for me to eat this yogurt, btw!

This is how I store my various projects and workshops!
I'll have more to share next week. All the parts are cut and many are stitched. The Rose Star is not a difficult block - it honestly goes together quickly. You can find it in my Etsy store - both the digital file and the printed pattern with acrylic template. Check it out!

Come back next week for what I hope will be the reveal of my Grand Illusion Rose Star.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day is for Remembering and FREE pattern

This is a repost from 2012. Always worth repeating. You will find the link to the free pattern below. You may already have it if you've been with me these years. I hope you enjoy it. Take some time today to REMEMBER those who gave everything so we could have the freedom to enjoy the simple things we seem to take for granted.

We remember - and honor - those who gave their all for our freedom
For we Americans, this weekend is for remembering our fallen heroes. A lot of shopping goes on, but hopefully the parades and events honoring all our veterans and those who lost their lives will take center stage.

I made this quilt in 2005, using some Americana fabric resembling the stripes of our flag. I took a simple heart shape and divided it both vertically and horizontally and cut out appliqués. Just another project for me, published in one of our QUILT magazines that year.

But then the nephew of our dear friends died in Afghanistan. He was so young and now he was gone. I knew this quilt needed to go to his parents and my husband and I drove to their house in Atlanta where we were able to meet the parents, share some tears, and then I gave them the quilt. I can never forget, and that's why we REMEMBER.

I used this design for my 2010 calendar and I am featuring it here today, FREE, for all to enjoy. You can make it in patriotic colors or any colors! And to my international friends, you can celebrate your own heroes with your country's colors. A simple design with a lot of heart.

Click here to download the 7 page pdf of this quilt.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Free Patterns Friday

Yes, you read that right! Not just one FREE pattern, but two. The first is in honor of Memorial Day. While you certainly won't be able to stitch it in a day or two so you can hang it at your Memorial Day picnic, you can work on it and maybe have it ready for the Fourth of July!

This is my first game board quilt which I called Parcheesi. It appeared in Quilt Magazine in the Spring of 2004 (which means I made it mid 2003). This is based on a wooden vintage game board I saw. Obviously, the game board was NOT 40" x 40".

Parcheesi Game Board Quilt: 40" x 40"
Here is the FREE pattern I created for Red Rooster Fabrics in 2017. While you may not be able to get the same fabrics, there is always a wonderful selection of patriotic colors to choose from (and I bet you even have some in your stash!)

Sweet Land of Liberty: 41" x 41"
The second FREE pattern is one that no longer is available anywhere online (though it should be)! I designed this for Red Rooster, also. It stays with the Dresden Plate theme I've had this week. I loved making this quilt. I loved working with the small bits of fabric that they sent to me and challenged me to work with what I got. I got the last laugh!

Dresden Garden is a real scrap buster. Notice the different background prints for the dresden blades: two pink, one green, one blue. That's because that's all they sent! And the 3 colors of inner border. Same story. And the binding. Now I'm repeating myself . . .

Dresden Garden: 27" x 27"
And I had to piece the back. I ALWAYS piece my quilt backs.

Dresden Garden quilt back
Two very different quilts and techniques. This should keep you busy (and out of trouble). I hope you have a lovely weekend and however you celebrate Memorial Day, please do remember that for all of our flaws and warts, we still are the Sweetest Land of Liberty.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Just a Few More Dresdens

I have just made available my Modern Vortex Quilt (and variations) at my Etsy store. This is the HARD COPY pattern with the multi-size acrylic cutting template. Check it out: Modern Vortex.

I want to share some pics of my older Dresden Plate quilts. These were used when I taught this workshop back in 2012 - 2013.

This first one is from my first book, Bold, Black & Beautiful Quilts (AQS 2004). I struggled about what to use for a border. My (smart) daughter Hilary said, "Forget it, mom. No border. It's done!" Wow. That's why I sent her to an ivy league college to study design, right?

Chrysanthemums at Night: 40" x 40"

 One whole block and two halves.
Split Dresdens Table Runner
 Same quilt using 1930s prints. The center measures 20" x 40".
1930s prints
And what about 16 quarter blocks arranged in my "When Four Blocks Make Five" setting?

This creates the illusion of a 5th block in the center
Remember, these are ALL created using the 18 degree dresden wedge. The background squares are 10". The quilt above has a 40" x 40" center.

And what happens when you start cutting and run out of fabric before getting enough for full blocks? Not to worry! Just pretend you planned this. Partial blocks. Plain squares. Alternating plain white wedges. Have NO idea how to quilt this, but it will come to me someday, I am sure!

Left over wedges
Did you notice that all of these quilts use a triangle for the base of the blocks? It's just a simple square stitched along one diagonal and then trimmed. The info for doing this is also included in another tip sheet. (The other tip sheet is how to work with border prints).

Check out the HARD COPY Modern Vortex pattern at Etsy. $15 plus $2 postage (First Class USPS)

Or you can get the DIGITAL COPY Modern Vortex pattern. $10 plus $2 postage.

Monday, May 20, 2019

One More Vortex Dresden Quilt

I seem to go back to making dresden plate quilts over and over again! I created my red and white Modern Vortex quilt in 2012 as the result of a blog challenge to work with dots. Well, those dots became the setting triangles with my red and white strip pieced dresden block center stage!

A single block set on point with pieced setting triangles. No funky templates or difficult stitching. My pattern as I taught it for my workshop students teaches a simple way to make those pieced triangles. It looks like I appliquéd that dresden block into those triangles, doesn't it? An old trick that goes back 20 years from my quilting magazine days.

Modern Vortex Quilt: 28" x 28"
 Here is the quilt by itself. No extra borders. I've now added the HARD COPY VORTEX pattern in my Etsy shop. 12 well illustrated pages with the multi-sized acrylic template.

Modern Vortex. Block Size: 20" x 20". Set on point: 28" x 28"
Here is the block in blue and white:
20" block in blue and white

Then I made a few variations, one being inspired by Jane Hauprich's multi-colored one.

Multi-colored Vortex by Jane. No borders. Gorgeous quilting!
I played around with some border prints. Made a few quilt blocks and one quilt. I used a longer ruler with a 10" height and cut some VERY old border print from my stash. When you use a border print, you have to cut wedges for TWO blocks to get enough wedges (20) for one block. That's because you are flip-flopping the ruler up and down. My pattern has a tip sheet for working with border prints.

Dresdens cut from border prints. Info included in pattern for making this.
Here is what I did with the leftover wedges from the pink quilt. I plan on quilting this with "ghost" dresdens in the white squares. Not brave enough to start this yet.

My little pink dresden snake!
I made a Dresden Quilt for Red Rooster. Sometimes they send me VERY small pieces of sample fabric and expect me to do something with them. Ha! I sure fooled them with this. Who says the backgrounds all have to be the same color?

Fleur du Jardin for Red Rooster
I squeezed the life out of the fabrics and made everything work. And I pieced the back, too!

Pieced back of my Fleur du Jardin quilt
I put an extra outer border on my own multi-colored Modern Vortex and quilted it last week. It is about 38" x 38". The large scale prints give it such movement!

Multi-colored Modern Vortex with large flowers in the border
Here is a close-up of the center. First, the units:

Multi-colored units
Center of my multi-colored Vortex
I now have this pattern in my Etsy shop: The Modern Vortex. It is an 18 page pattern with several quilt variations: two color, multi-colored, how to make dresdens using a border print, etc. Check it out. This is a digital version. The paper template is included, but if you have any 18 degree dresden ruler, you can use that.

I now have the HARD COPY VORTEX pattern WITH multi-sized dresden ruler included in my Etsy shop. What does the ruler look like? See #4 below. This has an 8" height and is for an 18˚ wedge (so that 20 wedges make a complete circle). Cost: $15 plus only $2 postage (I checked with USPS for First Class. USA orders only.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Windham Wednesdays and My Gingham Quilt Update

It's been a few weeks since I shared my gingham blocks. I decided to go bigger and added an extra vertical and horizontal row of blocks so that this could be a nice lap sized quilt. I'm using the blender collection of Bedrock by Windham Fabrics.

Remember the blocks? You can see my cutting and piecing on my April 24 post.

Sets of 3 different 9 Patch blocks using white
I had initially made these using the cream:

Sets of 3 different 9 Patch blocks using cream
When I began to put these together, I realized that I could combine the two sets to make a larger quilt. No kidding! You honestly can't tell the difference, can you? I shot this picture outside on my deck. We've had days and days of rain, so this was the only semi-dry spot. Will get another one soon.

Here's the quilt and you tell me where the cream and where the white blocks are! Of course, it doesn't help that you can see through the top.

Gingham quilt top: 6 x 6 blocks. 50" x 50"
I also realized that my approach to making gingham from squares of fabric was TORTURED! I don't know why my eye saw 9 Patch blocks, but I did. But on a closer look, all you need to do is alternate the Black-Gray-and White (B-G-W) in two different horizontal rows and it would be MUCH easier.

Here is my approach in a digital file (for a 5 x 5 block center):

And just looking at the blocks:

My approach to making gingham
So, the EASY way to approach this (rather than my blocks) is to make two horizontal rows:

  • Black-Gray-Black-Gray, etc.
  • Gray-White-Gray-White, etc.
Make them as long as you wish. I used 2-1/2" squares. Just strip piece 2-1/2" strips. Get it?!

This goes to show you that even though I've been doing this (pattern designing and writing) for 27 years, I can have blind spots and take the long way to a very easy project.

I hope to quilt this soon (I've had a very busy travel schedule in April and May). I pieced a backing for this. Now to cut batting and get it under my HQ Sweet 16. I'm going to use gray thread.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Rose Star Fabrics Winner!

Kathy L. of Nixa, Missouri is the winner of the gorgeous Harvest Gold fabrics by Benartex. Congratulations, Kathy!

 Can we see those fabrics again?

Harvest Gold fabrics
I have enjoyed sewing with these and I would love to quilt my Harvest Gold Rose Star quilt sometime soon. I was able to set up my Handi Quilter Sweet 16 after 5 long months in the box. She was so happy to get out and help me finish a few quilt tops last week.

Quilting my Double Hexie Star
Also, I put my Rose Star pattern with template up on my Etsy site. It is $13.00 plus $2 postage for USA orders only. I checked the postage for the UK and it was $14.50! Prohibitive. So, I also have a digital version.

Here are two photos of the Rose Star:

Rose Star topper (30" x 34")
 And my first Rose Star:

Rose Star in Kaffe Fassett fabrics
And let's see some of those awesome kites. My template has four marking holes (one in each corner), but with my quick method, you only need to mark the one in the 120 degree angle where the y-seam will go.

But, you can also buy the DIGITAL version of the Rose Star pattern which includes a paper template of the kite cutting ruler. That is only $9.00! And no shipping!

Check them out. Once I run out of my laser cut templates I will probably not reorder them (unless a workshop is booked).

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Rose Star with Harvest Gold

I am quite taken with a vintage block called Rose Star. And because that's what I've been thinking of lately, I decided to make it one more time using the Harvest Gold Collection by Benartex. I selected several fabrics and the gorgeous, large scale border print. 

Harvest Gold fabrics
I wasn't sure if I'd have enough contrast, so I also pulled four skus of Benartex's Fossil Fern. I put them together with my fabric kite shapes. (I didn't use them, but they were there just in case.)

Fabric kites along with some Fossil Ferns

My goal was to fussy cut that main print and feature it in the center of my Rose Star.
Medallion Gold
Rose Star is composed of dozens of kite shaped patches. And yes - there are several y-seams (24, to be exact.) No way to get around it! I used my own template from my pattern and began cutting patches from 4-1/4" strips. A real great use of fabric with minimal waste! Simply flip-flop the template as shown.

Cutting kites from fabric strips
I have small holes in the four corners so you can mark where the patches come together, but the way I stitch I only need one. That's how I teach my class and it works! This is where the 3 patches come together for that y-seam.

Marking the top hole to show me where to stop stitching
One mark does it all!
Small pencil dot at the 120 degree angle
Three patches stitched together. We don't go into that seam allowance, which allows us to "spin" the center.
Back of one 3-Patch unit
Let's see some of those 3-Patch units.

Sets of 3-Patch units
And more sets
A dozen of another set of 3-Patch units
And mixing them up some more. I had to make several 2-Patch units (the ones in green below) because I will be appliquéing a large hexagon over top.)

One of 6 pieced units for the center.
A traditional Rose Star has 72 kites. I removed 6 from the center which I will replace with a single fabric hexagon.

Sewing the units, allowing the center to remain open for the hexagon
I used a freezer paper hexagon cut to the size (plus seams) I need. I will cut out the center so I can center the part of the design I want to use.

Freezer paper template for fussy cutting the center
This is the center I ended up with, but that was not Plan A. I had to add a 1/4" black trim around the edge so that it wouldn't become all mushy in the center.

Black trimmed center hexagon
What? You don't believe me? Here is the first rendition. Pretty hard to see that center, right? I cut out the Harvest Medallion hexagon, interfaced and turned it. But when I placed it over the center it got all mushy. Mushy. That's a quilting word sometimes.

Rose Star, Plan A
And this is the Rose Star, Plan B. I captured 7-1/2" of that border print (4 repeats per width), but I didn't allow enough to miter the corners. What to do?!! I cut more of that main print and used them in the four corners. There is no inner border. What you see is the solid black in the border print.

Harvest Gold Rose Star quilt: 44" x 48"

If you're interested in my 8 page Rose Star pattern with acrylic template, (as shown above), fabric planning page, PLUS 3 fabric kites to practice with I have it available for $13.00 plus $2 postage (USA only!) This is NOT a digital file, but a paper pattern with acrylic template.

You can now find my Rose Star pattern in my Etsy shop. I am checking on postage prices for those outside the USA. The directions are for the Rose Star topper that was featured last week.