Monday, September 30, 2019

Fossil Fern Week: Day 1

What can I say? These Fossil Ferns by Patricia Campbell have been a mainstay for blenders in my stash for almost 20 years. Here is the first box ever sent: 100 fat quarters (minus several I had already sewn with).
Fossil Ferns
The very first project I made for Benartex using Fossil Ferns was my Royal Star quilt. I was Special Projects Editor for Quilt Magazine at the time and fabric companies had begun sending us their fabrics and asking us to come up with something! I received a bundle in the late 1990s. I can still remember standing in my sewing/laundry room in Silver Spring, Maryland and thinking: What can I do with these GORGEOUS fabrics?

Traditional quilt patterns have always inspired me. I took the vintage Royal Star block, changed out the center 9-Patch to rotary cut 2-1/2" squares and converted the corners to paper piecing! I sewed until I ran out of the small bundle of Fossil Ferns.

Ready to stitch a Royal Star block
That center is a 9 Patch that measures 6" finished. But, it's on the diagonal. I drafted the corners to fit perfectly with that center. The block finishes to approximately 8-1/2".

Ready for the corners to be joined to the center

Joined! No hand piecing or templates here. And will you look at those awesome sharp points!
Finished block with seams
And one more block in pinks:
Single Royal Star block
And my "famous" Royal Star quilt. It has been on a magazine cover TWICE and was the cover of my first book: Bold, Black and Beautiful.

Royal Star quilt as it appeared in Quilt Magazine
16 Block Royal Star
Don't you just love how the Fossil Ferns make these stars shine? The sashings and corner stones create the illusion that the stars are floating. But it's an optical illusion! The sashing is 3 strips: Black-Color-Black. That's the trick!

Single Royal Star block with triple sashing
I hope you enjoyed seeing my Royal Star quilt. You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop.

Come back for Day 2 with another project made with these gorgeous Fossil Ferns.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Cookie Cutter BOM: The Tree

I'm a little early for October, but I have a VERY full week with a blog post every day (and another fabric giveaway!), so this block in my Cookie Cutter Block of the Month comes to you today.

My Cookie Cutter Tree can be done in just about any colors. I've made several quilts in both Autumn colors and Christmas colors. Since we are now officially in Fall, here is my Autumn Trees quilt top (again, one of the stolen):

Four Cookie Cutter Trees in Autumn colors

And one for the holidays:
10" Cookie Cutter Tree
This blue and yellow quilt was made about 15 years ago. I included the little cutaways and made two half blocks. I think this happened because I ran out of enough fabric to make 4 whole blocks!
Three blocks split up
Here are a few process shots on how to go from template to block:

Getting ready to trace the half-template using freezer paper

Cut out fabric for the large half-tree. You get the little inner cut for another tree.


You will need to cut a LEFT and RIGHT side for the whole block. I am cutting two lefts in the picture below.
Using the template to maximize the use of fabric.
Red left AND right trees. Yes, those cute little cutaways can be used in a creative way.
Auditioning the applique patches
Let's see the half blocks: Red background for the green left half-tree. Green background for the red right half-tree. Did you follow that? (That's why pictures are SO good.)


Let's see a few other versions of my Cookie Cutter Trees.

Four block wall quilt
Another quilt that was featured in Quilt Magazine in the early 2000s. Notice the candle mat using the little cutaways! I even used them on napkins - waste not, want not!

Quilt, candle mat and napkins
The quilt below puts the background colors together (ie, two blues, two yellows) instead of alternating them. Not sure why I did this.
Four Tree blocks and a pieced star.
And one last photo of some of the cutaways all in a circle, on their way to being a table topper. Unfortunately, this was also part of those 30 quilts and samples stolen in 2005. Aren't these cute!?


You can find the FREE pattern for the Cookie Cutter Tree at my web site (click the url). Remember, I ask that this NOT be copied and distributed. You are free to share this blog post, of course!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Geo Pop and Fabric Giveaway

CONTEST IS OVER and I'm in the process of getting contact information from my two winners. Many, many thanks to everyone who left a comment.

I gave a sneak peek last week of these colorful, modern feeling fabrics called Geo Pop by Christa Watson. Remember?

Geo Pop by Christa Watson for Benartex
I finally got some time to cut and stitch some blocks which are a variation of the Seven Sisters block. Want to see what Seven Sisters is? Here are a whole bunch of Seven Sisters done by some amazing students in my class last year. Seven stars; seven sisters.

Students from my Seven Sisters class last year
I made a variation of the Seven Sisters using an older Benartex line called Sakura. Here are some of the units. Each is made of a 60 degree diamond and two 60 degree triangles.

Seven Sisters units
Then I put strips on the ends which make them very large blocks (16" high by 19" wide). I thought: table runner. But then I realized I have too many table runners. You can't snuggle under a table runner.
3 Seven Sisters Variation blocks
I made 3 more and added borders. Now I have a quilt (51" x 61"). I have since had it quilted (beautifully, I might add), but my pic of it is not as pretty as this. The colors didn't show up as well.

Seven Sisters Variation
So, let's see what this looks like in Geo Pop!

60 degree diamonds cut from 10 Geo Pop prints
And a step or two:

Diamonds and triangles
And what makes it a variation is the addition of an extra 2-1/2" strip.
Diamonds, triangles and end strips
And all put together into a very colorful quilt! I only had 1/3 yard cuts, so I had to get creative with the borders. It works, I think.

Geo Pop quilt, one of 3 samples for an upcoming class
Bright. Happy. Done (just needs to be quilted). Now, would you like to win a bundle of these fabrics? The Benartex warehouse was overgenerous with the Geo Pop cuts (they sent me an extra set) and I have enough to give away TWO sets of SEVEN 1/3 yard cuts (let me do the math: that's 2-1/3 yards!). Seven cuts for a Seven Sisters variation quilt - pretty clever, huh?

Leave me a comment about this post. Make sure I have your email. Contest is over Sunday,  September 29 at midnight. I have to limit this to USA addresses only because the postage is prohibitive internationally. I will choose my winners on Monday. If I don't hear from you within 24 hours, I will choose another person.

Take a visit to Benartex's Facebook page to see some other amazing collections, too.

Check out my Seven Sisters pattern on Etsy. It uses the diamond and small triangle patches shown here and the project will be just like the group of quilts above with the happy quilters from my class!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Halloween Happenings and FREE pattern

Not sure why I have so many Halloween quilts, but I do! One of my favorites is a simple one made with my bat appliqué. Here she is finished. (OK. Maybe they're boys and girls; I'm not sure.) I ran this pattern back in 2012. It's time I ran it again, right?


Bat Wreath block with striped binding and a few scary spiders

Now for some steps and I'll give you the pattern, too!

First, a TRUE story:

When my husband and I were newly married (1977), living in Africa, we used to play guitars together after dinner. We would sit on the edge of the bed and croon our tunes. Out of the corner of my eye I caught some movement on the bed and then fear gripped me. A BAT WAS CRAWLING TOWARD US. Yikes! Phil took care of it and then when we went to the kitchen, we found another one floating in our pan of dishwater. Seems they came down this open vent and were looking for a warm place to settle down. Bats are NOT my favorite creature, but they do have a vital place in our ecosystem. 


I transferred my appliqué to freezer paper and cut out. Ironed it to black fabric that has fusible webbing on wrong side.

I made a freezer paper template and cut black bats from fused fabric.

Cut out bat . . .
Here is one black bat with garlands of pumpkins and tiny bats.

Auditioning 3 bats on background fabric . . .
3 bats scattered on my 12-1/2" background square.
I finger pressed diagonal lines on the background square and then aligned the bats as shown. This bat has appeared in several of my Block a Day Calendars and I re-sized it so it would work with this size square.
Four bats in a circle. Note the beautiful secondary design in the center.
Since it's just a small one square project, I was able to quickly free-motion quilt it. Here it is from the back.
You can see my quilting better from the wrong side.
I took my finished block outside for better photography. I grabbed a few glittery spiders for "mood."

Bat Wreath block with striped binding and a few scary spiders
And without the spiders, in case they scared you.

Bat Wreath block minus the spiders (in case they scared you)
Here is the free appliqué template for the Bat. Please DO NOT reprint for others. Give them this url and tell them to get their own.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Free Pattern Friday: Fat Cats in the City

I sewed this quilt for Benartex Fabrics in 2011 and it was published in a quilt magazine. I call it Fat Cats in the City. It is based on an appliqué cat pattern I designed for my 2006 Block a Day calendar. I gave each of the 4 cats a different tie. I think it's cute, don't you?

Fat Cats in the City
Personally, I'm not a cat person (I love dogs), but I think these cats transcend any animal preferences, don't you?

I used raw edge appliqué for these 10" blocks. The quilt size is 41" x 41". A perfect size for a child!

I took the outline of my Fat Cat and quilted inside it. I use this for my machine quilting classes.

Fat Cat with my machine quilting doodles
The pattern is a 4 page pdf in color as it appeared in the magazine. Enjoy! Fat Cats in the City.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Shortcuts from a Short Woman: Day 4

Another day; some more quilts.  This first one I call Spinning Blades. Yes, this was stolen, too! Yikes. So many are up there in the Giant Quilt Rack in the Sky, waving at me, I think.

This is paper pieced and then the curved pieced units are set into the curved/concave background pieces. All the blades spin in the same direction, with the turquoise and magenta colors alternating. The blocks are 5-1/2" and the entire quilt is only 27" square. I used several colors of Benartex Fossil Ferns.
Spinning Waterwheels
I did remake my Waterwheels quilt in black, red and white. I upsized the block (8") and made it quite a bit larger. It is a class I teach. I also created a mirror image block - can you see it?

Spinning Waterwheels with larger blocks
The next quilt is Fairy Love Ring. It is from my Coffee Filter Fans class from several years ago.

Fairy Love Ring
Here are some better photos of my Coffee Filter Fans quilt. This green quilt was published in a quilting magazine about 10 years ago. You can find my pattern on my Etsy site.

Coffee Filter Fans on Green
These are cascading fans in this quilt.

Coffee Filter Fans
What do I mean by the "coffee filter" part?

A coffee filter is just a convenient circle. I used 9-3/4" diameter coffee filters in the green quilt above. I press the filters flat, cut them into quarters (by folding first) and then fold and mark each of the quarters into four equal sections. Draw lines on those folds and start paper piecing! I've been doing this for 25 years!

Now for the Mariner's Compass. The following quilt wasn't even a year old when it also was stolen. I actually remade it using some Halloween fabrics! This bright purple and red compass is also on the Shortcuts CD.


I bet you want to see the Halloween one, right?

Two blocks with a Halloween themed set of fabrics
Easy to paper piece. Set into the curves. Add some borders and - boom! There it is.

Go see all the quilts here: Shortcuts from a Short Woman (this is on my web site)
Or go order it here on Etsy: Shortcuts CD

One more day to feature the last of the quilts. I'll be back!


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sneak Peek: Geo Pop by Benartex

I love, love, love bright colors. The new Geo Pop collection by Christa Watson for Benartex is just what I needed to inspire me. I have an idea, just not the time.

Here are two pics of all 25 skus! What do you think?

Geo Pop by Christa Watson
 And each of the four prints in their color spreads:

Geo Pop by Christa Watson
As I said, I have an idea (well, I actually have a LOT of ideas), but I'm traveling this week and had to get ready for that. Stay tuned for my tutorial.

And, I was given TWO sets of these fabrics (thank you, Benartex warehouse), so I've decided to have a FABRIC GIVEAWAY when I post about these in the next week. I may even choose two winners.

Stay tuned. More later. But, go check out the Geo Pop fabrics online to see bigger pics of each fabric.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Shortcuts from a Short Woman: Day 3

Another day, another set of quilts. Old? Yes! Still relevant? I hope so!

How about some Tessellating Leaves? These two quilts use the same block and setting, with one in Christmas fabrics and the other which could be used for St. Patrick's Day.

Tessellating Leaves: 22" x 22"
And my Christmas Tessellating Leaves quilt. These are small blocks (4") but create that illusion of interlocking leaves because of the placement of the blocks with each other.

Christmas Tessellating Leaves
Where the Heck-o is My Gecko? Yes, that's the name of the next quilt. Just a half yard of a fun novelty print took on a life of its own when I began to play with stars and black fabric. While you may not be able to find a fabric with lizard-like geckos on it, just about any bright and funky print with a children’s theme would make anyone smile.

The blocks are 6" and the quilt is 42" x 42". Easy to piece. Don't you love the arrows going every which-way?

Where the Heck-o is My Gecko?
Now I'll share one of the four quilts on the CD that feature foundation paper piecing. Let's start with Carpenter's Wheel. This traditional block can be tricky with 45 degree diamonds and a lot of inset seams (using the vintage technique). I drafted it for paper piecing and here's my first one.

Carpenter's Wheel: 20" x 20"
This was one of those 30 quilts stolen in 2005. A dear quilting friend, Joan G. from Georgia, made a replacement quilt for me. It traveled with me for a few years for my trunk shows and then I returned it to her. She added mitered borders. I quilted it for her. Lovely, huh?

Carpenter's Wheel by Joan G. of Georgia
Check out the CD on my Etsy shop: Shortcuts from a Short Woman. It was $13 when I first published it in 2003 and it still is $13, 16 years later!

You can see all of the quilts at my web site with the order form (if you prefer to send in a check). There's a link for all of these, plus more! Shortcuts CD pics and order form

See you on Day 4 with 3 more quilts using foundation piecing.