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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

My First Quilt (honest)

Yes, it's true. This is the first quilt I made and I still have it. Very faded!

I can still remember ordering the kit from a magazine back in 1984 or 1985. It was either Family Circle or Woman's Day (I bought those religiously right off the newsstand) and it seemed almost scandalous for the price to be somewhere between $40 and $50. We were a one paycheck family and I had two little girls at home. We scrimped and saved all the time. I think I must have saved up some birthday money.

First quilt!
Anyway, the kit arrived with a very simple pattern. Look at this! A Nine Patch alternating with an appliquéd heart. I stitched it by machine. I raw edge appliquéd those hearts with a satin stitch.

And I HAND QUILTED it! I hadn't heard of machine quilting at that time and I actually didn't mind.

But back to the scandalous part. When I pulled the little pile of fabrics from the bag, my calculations began and I realized I had about $6-7 worth of fabric. I was horrified, to say the least. I vowed I would NEVER, EVER buy a kit again - EVER (did I already say that?). And you can bet I never have in over 30 years.

I love this little quilt. It has draped over a little two seater couch in my house and has moved with me from home to home. It has covered my little girls and then their little babies when they needed to cuddle on the couch.

I thought you might enjoy seeing this. Do you remember those magazine ads? Seems so long ago, doesn't it? Thus began my quilting journey and I've not stopped since!

Monday, June 24, 2019

More Diamonds Which I Won't Call Rhombuses

Such an uppity word: rhombus. Sure, I used it when I taught high school math. It's a real word for a real object. But, hey - I'm talking diamonds and they sure sparkle more than a rhombus!

Anyway, I cut SO many 4-1/2" 60 degree diamonds from as many blue fabrics as I could and I guess I got carried away!

Lots and lots of 4-1/2" diamonds (60 degree)
I had a plan. Actually, two plans. I finally finished the second quilt top this weekend and here she is:

Floating Diamonds: 58" x 59"
Here was my approach. I auditioned some fabric to see how I would like separating the horizontal rows.

First I auditioned a horizontal sashing strip
 Then I look at the rows joined without any sashing.
No sashing
Guess you know which version won!

Here is the first quilt which I made last year. I call it My Diamonds Have the Blues. It's about 60" x 60" and I quilted it myself. That was too big for me, but I persevered.

My Diamonds Have the Blues
This uses the SAME blue 4-1/2" diamonds and 4-1/2" blue print background triangles. Honest. It's just that I arranged them differently (no kidding!) Here is the center of that top quilt.

Center of Floating Diamonds quilt
My Etsy pattern has both versions (I just updated it). There are NO y-seams. All rotary cut, though a multi-sized 60 degree ruler will help with those triangles. The diamonds are cut with your ordinary 6 x 12 acrylic ruler (using the 60 degree diagonal line).

Check it out. And this is NOT called: My Rhombuses Have the Blues!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Cookie Cutter Sampler BOM

Just a taste of what I've been working on the past week. I discovered I had a dozen or so of my sample blocks from my Cookie Cutter workshop and realized I could add a few more to make a sampler quilt for a Block of the Month.

What do you think?

Cookie Cutter Sampler: 10" blocks. 53" x 54" quilt
I bet you'd like it even more if it was FREE, right?! And it will be for each month the block is featured. Then, as in my Tea Party BOM, the block goes to my Etsy shop for sale. There will be NINE blocks (with an extra bonus Dreidel for Hanukkah in December).

Some of these blocks hail back to when I first contrived of the concept - 2003 (that's 16 years). I have held onto that vertical strip of heart cutaways since then and never knew what to do with it. Fits perfectly on the right side of the quilt for a more "organic" look.

This will (hopefully) begin July 1. I will start with the Hearts (since that was the first block I thought up).

Cookie Cutter Heat: 10" x 10"
This is meant to be a scrappy quilt, and I will give BASIC fabric supplies, but you will notice that most of those 16 blocks use a black print for half of them. The "alien" Flower in the bottom row was another extra block that I threw in there because I ran out of steam. I just wanted to sew them all together and get that border on for photographing in my back yard.

There will be around 9 blocks:

  • Heart
  • Butterfly
  • Pear
  • Tree
  • Toast
  • Fleur de Lis
  • Flowers #1 and #2
  • Leaf
  • Dreidel (with Tree in December)

Do you remember my other Hearts on Fire quilts?

Original Hearts on Fire: 46" x 63"
A smaller version of the above quilt:
Small Hearts on Fire with same size blocks
These are raw edge appliqué, though needle turn is certainly an option for those who prefer. Notice those little dancing hearts in both quilts. They are the "cutaways" from the inside curve of the hearts. I throw nothing out!

I will also be sharing some other projects and quilts made with the shapes. Lots of ideas and inspiration. I hope to get a Facebook page up for folks to share theirs, too!

More on this in July. If I'm a little late, it's because I'm babysitting my little grandsons that weekend, but if I'm smart, I'll write the post ahead of time and get it scheduled to automatically run!

Just a little note: these are NOT to be printed and shared. These are NOT approved for a BOM for your guild or other quilting buddies. They are FREE to those who come to my site and download them for themselves. If someone misses a month, they can go get the Etsy pattern for a nominal fee. I hope you understand (and if you don't, then you don't!)

See you in July for the Cookie Cutter Sampler Block of the Month!

Monday, June 17, 2019

August Classes at the North Texas Quilt Festival

I can't believe I'm traveling to the Dallas area in August! Can you say HOT? But my hotel is inside the same venue as the expo center so I can stay cool while I teach 5 awesome classes that are both fun and full of tips and techniques. Click the links to read more about this.

The Modern Vortex continues to be one of my most popular classes! Thursday, August 22 from 8:30 - 11:30 am.

Choose two colors . . .

Modern Vortex: 28" x 28"
Choose multi colors:
Modern Vortex in multiple colors with borders: 40" x 40"
Can't get to Dallas in August? You can find my Modern Vortex pattern in my Etsy shop - and see even more ideas for using the simple ruler in the pattern.

Machine Quilting: Basics and Beyond - Thursday, August 22 from 1 - 4 pm

Start your quilting experience on the right foot --- with Debby’s liberating, beyond-straight-lines, feed-dogs-down process. You’ll enjoy her simple methods for taking your stitches beyond beginners’ meanders and loops. In the dozen years she’s been teaching beginning machine quilting, Debby’s students have been most comfortable following shapes, and so she gives you lots of practice time during class to use stencil shapes and one of her favorites, freezer paper shapes. Discussion includes quilting blocks (no matter the size) and borders, and a treasure trove of samples to illustrate how dynamic her KISS (Keep It Small and Simple) quilting style can be for you, too.



Diamonds and Hexagons for English Paper Piecing - Friday, August 23 from 8:30 - 11:30 am.

No sewing machines. A relaxing 3 hours with needle and thread and little kits I provide!

English Paper Piecing is a great take-along hand piecing project, perfect for making traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden (GFG) blocks – and more! Discover simple diamonds, which, when combined with the hexagons, offer exciting possibilities for altogether new blocks adding a creative dimension to your design options. Debby’s collection of samples is a treasure trove of inspiration, where you’ll see all sorts of ways to use your hexagons and diamonds in a variety of settings and projects. Your kit contains fabric, card stock hexagon and diamond shapes in 2 sizes, needle and thread.

60 Degree Stars using 2" diamonds
Combining hexagons, triangles and diamonds!
Learn to fussy cut a motif and center it in this awesome star!
These simple jewels shapes can be turned into hearts! Students get a packet of these.

Jeweled Hearts
The Gretchen Quilt: Friday, August 23 from 1-4 pm.

It’s hard to believe this traditional block, Gretchen, can be sewn without a single template. Everything is cut from two sizes of simple squares; the magic arrives with a quick rotary cutting trick. Debby chose a bright collection of florals and deep hued blenders for this quilt, but you can choose any of your own colors with good contrast to show off the lines of the block. As always, Debby’s classes provide all the hints and helpful tips that make them so much better than a simple pattern or kit. And they’re fun, too! Bring your own fabric; see supply list for details.

The Gretchen Quilt. 9" blocks in multi colors
More scrappy ideas:
Bold prints with assorted solids
Or try a simple two-color quilt
Four 9" blocks in blue and white
And a classic red and white:

Four 9" blocks in red and white
You can also find my Gretchen Quilt pattern in my Etsy shop.

And my fifth class is The Twisted Hexagons. Saturday August 24, from 8:30 - 11:30 am.

Create these large blocks using a multi-sized 60 degree triangle ruler and pre-cut strips. Learn to fussy cut a motif for the center or let the rotary cutter make the decision for you. The block is the perfect size for a table runner, child’s quilt or larger. And the bonus: there are NO y-seams! Bring your own fabric, see supply list for details.

Try your hand at fussy cutting a center motif in this 12" Twisted Hexagon quilt!

Twisted Hexagon quilt. 12" height block; 57" x 64" quilt
Or a smaller quilt with 6 blocks makes a perfect child's quilt.

Smaller block (10" height).
Yes, you can also find my Twisted Hexagon pattern in my Etsy shop! Check it out.

While I know this audience lives all over our globe, some of you live in Texas and might be able to join me and get in out of the heat! Hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Birdhouses for My Noisy Neighbors

I get up EARLY (can you say 5 am?). Always have. And my favorite thing in the Spring and Summer is to listen to my noisy aviary friends in the trees outside my windows. They are REALLY loud, so even if I didn't naturally wake up, they would serve to be my alarm clock.

Here is a recent quilt finish using four of my upsized birdhouse patterns. I blogged about this a few weeks ago: Home Grown fabrics by Benartex.


I am teaching my workshop Bird Song at the Quilt Odyssey Quilt Show this summer (July). Here are a few more of these birdhouses in different fabrics:

60s A-Frame: 7-1/2" x 10"
All of my birdhouses finish to a uniform 10" high, with varying widths. This makes for a more "organic" neighborhood!
Efficiency Birdhouse: 5" x 10"
Some birds like to live alone!
Home Tweet Home: 6-1/2" x 10"
And one more:
Room for One: 6" x 10"
And here is my Bird Song quilt using only one of the four birdhouses. Students will get the patterns for ALL FOUR of these and choose how many they would like in their own quilt. There is a bit of improvisation going on here and everyone begins with a bundle of fat quarters (their own from home). Then we work on the Cobblestone Blocks and work through each of the four Birdhouse blocks.

You can also find my 22 page pdf with 10 large birdhouses (some finish to 10" high and others to 12") here: Big Birdhouse Bonanza on Etsy.

My class sample is 54" x 58". The Cobblestone Blocks are 10" x 10" 
Bird Song Quilt and Workshop
Even the borders are cut from the fat quarters! This makes use of every single piece.

And yes, I have several leftover birdhouses that will be my class teaching samples.