Monday, July 29, 2019

Lone Star Quilts

I just returned from 3 days of teaching at the Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA. It was their 20th anniversary and my 3rd year of teaching with them. I thoroughly enjoyed my time (I love teaching) and especially enjoyed my students. I learn so much from them - it's not a one way street!

Here is one of my two teaching samples. I made this in early 2009 from a Blank Fabrics collection called Holiday Splendor. The center Lone Star is a whopping 35" square! The quilt is 50" x 50"

Holiday Splendor Lone Star
I set in those floral print squares and triangles (and I teach that as one of two methods). I didn't want to break up the print with a seam. But 95% of the time, when I make quilts like this, I split those outside background pieces.

Then I took another collection of blues and made a second Lone Star. This is all rotary cut strips sewn into sets of 3 and then cut into 45 degree 3-patch wedges. NO templates! As you can see (if you look closely) that I split up those blue background pieces for ease of construction. No y-seams here.

Blue and green Lone Star
But, then I got the crazy idea of using bias strips in all the background sections. . . AFTER I put the borders on! Quite a bit of ripping and tearing (and some grunts and groans). I had to open up the seams to insert the 16 bias strips and then stitch things back up, but it worked. (Not a great picture for the colors; the photo above is the true color.)

Lone Star with bias detail
I got this idea from a vintage quilt I saw. Nothing new under the sun, is there?

Then one of my students shared a photo with me of her quilt in process. This class is called ONE Day Lone Star. That's because most students can get their Lone Star center put together in one 6 hour workshop. Here is what Lisa G. shared with me yesterday.

Lisa G.'s Lone Star with bias strips (in process)
And then this morning she sent me this pic. She wanted to add an extra appliqué touch in those corner squares. Off the chart gorgeous, don't you think?

Corner detail of Lisa G.'s Lone Star
In a class of 18 students, there are always those who "stray" from the pattern and create innovative elements. This was one of them. And then there was Susan H., who has a background in costume design. She is afraid of NO fabric, NO sewing technique. She just knows where she is going and enjoys the ride.

She wanted to put a miniature Lone Star in those corner 11" squares. Not a problem. She figured it out. Used 1" cut strips and this is her creative solution to otherwise plain background squares.

Please note: This Lone Star is a miniature! She is making four of these, one for each corner!

Susan H.'s miniature Lone Star
I brought several other Lone Star quilts to share with my students. Some had the diamonds composed of only a single piece of fabric. Several used two pieces. I've shared these in past blog posts.

Lone Star made with 8 single fabric diamonds
Two large table mats using 8 single fabric diamonds
The next two quilts were the basis of my workshop, Big Block Lone Star. The centers are a whopping 29" square!
Big Block Lone Star (29" center)
And this one was in my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts. Center block is 29" x 29".

EZ to be Green

This also was in my Supersize 'Em Quilts book (Martingale, 2009).
Farmhouse West Stars. 19" blocks

And another single fabric diamond star.

Single star
And one last one. This appeared in the Keepsake Catalog (I designed and sewed it using Windham Fabrics.) Storybook Lone Star.

Storybook America Lone Star
The Lone Star remains one of the most beloved of all quilt patterns. Being able to avoid those set in seams for the corners and side triangles makes it doable. And using strip piecing instead of templates makes it VERY quick! Hope you enjoyed the show.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Free Pattern Friday: Tessellating Stars

I have made a Tessellating Stars quilt multiple times in the past 25 years. What's tessellating mean? Interlocking is the best word to describe it. If you know the work of M.C. Escher (a Dutch graphic artist), you know tessellations.

But I think pictures (especially for quilters) are the best way to describe this! First, a block.

Tessellating Star from my Quilter's Block a Day calendar
Now a quilt. This was in my first book, Bold, Black and Beautiful Quilts (AQS, 2004).

Tessellating Stars. 12" block; 59" x 59" quilt
And a small quilt with only 6 blocks. I split two blocks and put half on top and half on bottom.
6 Tessellating Stars blocks
Multi-colored stars with the same leaf print background.

Six blocks
And my Red and Gold Tessellating Stars (of four blocks):

Four bold, red blocks!
Now, here's a quilt I designed for Blank Fabrics several years ago. It uses some of those jelly roll strips (2-1/2"). I'm sure you must have some! This features only black and white (I'm sure you have some of those, too!)

I actually made a quilt for Blank. Not sure where it is now, but it's not in my house!

12 Tessellating Stars on my design wall
You can see that you need to audition color placement. I wasn't sure of having such a plain white as the background.
Auditioning blocks
And the final quilts. Quilt is 50" x 62" and the Table Runner is 32" x 44".

Both a quilt and a table topper
Here's the link to the Black and White Twinklers. The picture of the quilt shown above was left off the cover and I no longer can get it from Blank Fabrics (they were sold to another company). But this 6 page pdf has all the directions and illustrations to give you a beautiful quilt! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Windham Wednesdays with Uncorked

Yes, I've blogged about Windham's Uncorked fabrics before. They are so lovely and keep calling to me in my sewing room. They sit at the front of one of my shelves and are always watching me. They keep whispering, "Hey! I will go with ANY fabrics in this room. ANY of them. Let us prove it!"

Uncorked by Windham Fabrics
I even made a quilt (since gifted) trying to use every. Single. Sku. Honest, I did. First, I cut a lot of squares. LOOK AT ALL THOSE GORGEOUS FABRICS!

Here's a remake of a quilt that was stolen in 2005. I called it 98 Dancing Squares. I gave this to a very happy young woman, a dear friend of one of my daughters.

98 Dancing Squares
Now, let me show you what I've been working on recently. Or, I should say - I started this a year ago, then moved to another house, and just this week rediscovered it. (I have to be honest, don't I?)

Uncorked and my Dresden ruler
I chose just two colors (a gray and a medium sky blue) and had an idea. Most times my ideas morph and this was no exception. But I had to start somewhere!

Uncorked Dresden plate wedges
I only had fat quarters - but I did have two fat quarters of each of the two colors! I made some simple Dresden blocks. I finished the lower corners using a triangle and not a circle.

Four quarter blocks make a 20" Dresden Plate
But, then I began to think of a new assembly for blocks that I've been exploring. What do you think?

Switching things around
I DIDN'T SAY I WAS FINISHED! This is just a start. But I've run out of time (because I leave to teach tomorrow at Quilt Odyssey), but here is a digital image of a little shakeup of the patches.

A slightly different approach to a Dresden Plate
Everything's cut out and I'm loving it! Go check out the Uncorked page at the Windham site and see how these beautiful blenders offer a different way to augment just about any fabrics!

As for borders, I may do the same treatment as I did on 98 Dancing Squares. Remember, I only have fat quarters. I never let that stop me!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Christmas in July with Michael Miller

Have you ever sewn with Minky? I don't think I have (it scares me). It stretches and moves like a knit (because it IS a knit). But it feels so luscious and soft and you just want to cuddle with it. So, I guess it's not scary after all. (And if you stick around to the end, you'll find a quick pattern that works well with these sweet fabrics!)

I was sent some holiday fabrics called Home for the Holidays. (That's not the Minky.) Such sweet, novelty prints that make me want to stitch a Christmas quilt for each of my 4 grandkids.

Home for the Holidays by Michael Miller
But I need to get back to the Minky. The collection is called You Are Magic and I also received a small piece in Minky in both the pink and blue. What's fun is that I still have 2 little grandkids who would love something to snuggle with out of Minky. And the one with the blue has the name of my 3 year old grandson's favorite stuffed animal on it: Twinkle!

Javi's blue Minky blanket with tiny pillow for his Twinkle!
I lined the two pieces of Minky with a piece of the Home for the Holidays fabric and made Javier and Eva a little, cuddly blanket. And a tiny pillow for each of their stuffed animals.

Here's the back of Javi's blanket.

Home for the Holidays
And here's the Minky blanket for Eva (who's 5 and still loves all the quilts I've given her).

Eva's Minky blanket with tiny pillow for stuffed animal
And the back of her blanket:

Home for the Holidays
I especially love that the Christmas collection includes 3 stripes! I love stripes and can have so much fun with them.

Back to the Minky. I don't think it scares me any more. My sewing wasn't perfect but little kids don't care, right? These were just two rectangles sewn together and turned right side out. Stitched around the outside about 1/2" away from the edge.

I intended to be done with this post, but those sweet Christmas fabrics wouldn't let me! So I cut out a lot of 6-1/2" squares as block centers. Those stripes were just begging to be "logs" around the centers. So I cut pairs of 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" and 2-1/2" x 10-1/2" in the matching colors.

Then I aligned them to see what I had!

Red stripes with the Christmas trees
 Green stripes around a 6-1/2" square

And pink stripes . . .

I mixed and matched a LOT of squares with those stripes. I have a dozen blocks so far and plan several more. These are SO quick. They will finish to 10". It's a great way to let the fabric do the work.

3 of my dozen blocks. Aren't they cute!
I'm a quilter and a long time sewer (almost 6 decades) and NO fabric should scare me. I mean, I actually made my wedding dress out of that fussy, foo-foo fabric with beading and lace, so I just have to remember who's the boss! I have more of that Minky, and this time it's in Hanukkah fabric, so you know I'll be back with that SOON!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Moon Landing

I guess I'm slow, but I realized AFTER the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 (moon landing) that I had made several (yes, several) space travel quilts. I call them Blast Off (yes, each of them).

Here are some pics:
Paper pieced rocket blocks
The first one above was made in 2004. I gifted it to a young man the same year. The blocks are 8" and updated versions of the vintage block Jobs Tears; and the quilt is 33" x 33".

The next one I made used 12" blocks and some fabrics from Benartex. The quilt is 66" x 90". It appeared in a quilting magazine and also in my 2014 Wall Calendar of Quilts.

Can you see the man walking on the moon?!

Blast Off using 12" blocks
And a recent finish (which means I finally quilted it) is this small quilt using my Diadem paper pieced pattern. The center is cut 9" and the four spiked corners are paper pieced for a 12" finished block. A great way to let the fabric do the work.

I didn't realize that I hadn't placed the orange and blue blocks in opposing corners. Oh, well. It's done and some little kid won't mind, right?

Blast Off using my Diadem block

You can find the pattern for this simple quilt using the Diadem block in my Etsy store: Blast Off. I hope to get the other quilt using the Job's Tears blocks up and running soon.

Hope you enjoyed my tribute to the courageous astronauts who landed on the moon some 50 years ago!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hanukkah in July and FREE pattern

Everyone does Christmas in July (and I have some coming), but for my Jewish friends I wanted to share my Dreidel block which is part of my FREE Cookie Cutter Sampler BOM. You can read about the series by clicking on the top photo on the right sidebar.

Benartex sent me 11 pieces from their Pearl Essentials collection to make something for this post. Aren't they beautiful?

Pearl Essentials by Benartex
 I began to make a Star of David using my Double Hexie Star pattern. Yes, I still need to stitch the center seam and it's been on the design wall for 2 weeks like this! (I have two quilt shows I'm teaching at in two weeks time with 6 workshops and a trunk show, so that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it!)

Here is my almost-done Star of David:

Star of David in process
I'm not sure if I should add large setting triangles to "square" it up on the sides or if I should leave it as a hexagon. Still thinking about that one.

In the meantime, I grabbed my Dreidel pattern (from 15 years ago) and pieced 3 blocks. These finish to 10". Each background rectangle is cut 5-1/2" x 10-1/2". The appliqué patches are cut 3" x 10" and I put fusible interfacing on the wrong side so that it stabilizes the raw edges.

Appliqué patches to be cut from freezer paper
Fusible interfacing on wrong side of patches.
Fusible interfacing on wrong side
Then I auditioned them on the background rectangles. Pinned in place. Once I get the correct stitch, I will work on EACH half and then join them in the center seam.
Dreidel halves aligned on background rectangles
I also test drive my thread and zig zag stitch. I used a light blue thread and practiced on the scraps remaining from the cutaways.

Now I'm ready to stitch! Each half is stitched and THEN they are joined in the center.

Dreidel Block: 10-1/2" x 10-1/2" (finishes to 10")
And the center seam is pressed open:
Center seam is pressed open
You have to think about each successive block because of the position of the lights and darks.
Here are 3 together:

3 blocks together
Now, would you like your own copy of my Cookie Cutter Dreidel block? Of course you would! Please remember that it's ok to share the link. It's not ok to print and distribute. The free link will disappear in the middle of August.