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.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Free Pattern Friday!

I'm taking a break from the Shortcuts CD quilts and wanted to offer a pattern that was here in 2015. This is a repost about a quilt made in 2006! This presupposes you have a jelly roll (HA! Who am I kidding?)

So, even though today is Friday the 13th, this will give you a bit of good luck and hopefully put a smile on your face.

Digging through my archives of hundreds (yes, hundreds) of patterns  I came across this quilt made in 2006 using one of the very first Jelly Roll bundles. Moda Fabrics made these jelly rolls so tasty! This was featured in one of the magazines I was editor of and my challenge was to come up with a quilt that could be created using a single jelly roll and a companion background fabric.

Here's the Spring Fling jelly roll:
Moda jelly roll bundle of 40 strips
Here's a picture of the 2-1/2" strips getting cut for the project:

Here's a picture of the Logs and Mortar quilt:
Logs and Mortar Quilt 10" blocks. 62" x 72" quilt

The 6 page pattern pdf has all the steps pictured as we did them for the magazine. It was one of our tutorials. It includes the yardages, the cutting instructions, etc. This is NOT to be copied and distributed (yes, I don't really know if you do this, but I'm asking that you honor my request.) You may share this link with your friends and if everyone has their own copy, have a sewing party!

Any group of forty 2-1/2" strips will get you this quilt, so don't think you need to copy my colors. This quilt has since been gifted or I would take a better photo! But, like I said: there are lots of photos in the pattern.

FREE pattern: Spring Fling Logs and Mortar Quilt


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Shortcuts from a Short Woman: Day 2

Are you ready for a few more quilts using some of my shortcuts? I think you'll like them. They're oldies, but still goodies!

Remember, these are part of the 16 quilt patterns, 10 lessons, and 12 paper pieced flowers on ONE CD. Etsy carries it, too. You can actually see all of the quilts on my web site (if you can't wait for the next 3 days). Shortcuts descriptions and quilt pics

Shortcuts from a Short Woman
Some more appliqué is the feature of today. You've seen my Winding Ways quilts here before. This is one of the very first I made and I still have it! My editor went shopping in a quilt store and brought me stacks of bright fabrics and told me: Just sew! Oh, what fun I had.

Winding Ways (Wheel of Mystery)
This is also known as "Wheel of Mystery." These are 7" blocks and this is a perfect child's size quilt of 30" x 37". I converted the vintage block with 12 templates to a contemporary approach using a SINGLE background square and a SINGLE appliqué patch. Can you see it now?

Two easy pieces to a traditional Wheel of Mystery block
Of course, I had to draft this in Adobe Illustrator in order to get that exact! Here is a stack of units waiting to be joined. I cut these from a Benartex collection by Paula Nadelstern called Kismet. These blocks will finish to 8".

Winding Ways (Wheel of Mystery) block parts
If you want to see a blog post FULL of all sorts of Winding Ways quilts and a tutorial on how to draft any size in this block, check out this post from 2016: Winding Ways. You can't believe all the quilts and samples on that page!! OK, one more:

EZ Winding Ways (check out the tutorial from 2016)
Sunshine Butterflies is another Drunkard's Path quilt I should have shared on Day 1, but here it is today. Yes, this is a a variation that is a disguise. What do you think?

Sunshine Butterflies: 28" x 37"
This was made in early 2003. There are 3 Drunkard's Path units and a single square for each butterfly. The butterfly head is a prairie point and the antennae are satin stitched.

Here is another recent Sunshine Butterflies I made for Creative Grids and Jean Ann Wright's Curvy Log Cabin ruler. The log cabins mimic the curves of a Drunkard's Path. Don't you just love it?

Sunshine Butterflies using the Curvy Log Cabin ruler
Here is a Dresden Plate quilt made using authentic feedsacks on a red background. I used a 30 degree dresden plate template and appliquéd them on the red squares. The yellow base circles are also appliquéd. 
Feedsack Dresdens on red background: 47" x 47"
But for this pattern on the CD, I simplified the yellow base circles and made them simple triangles. What does that look like?

Easy Piecing Dresden Plate blocks
These blocks use a 30 degree wedge, which means that it only takes 12 to make the full circle. The wedges are cut from fabric strips and then you stitch the wider end with 1/4" seam. This creates the point. Join 3 wedges to form a quarter block. Now you stitch that to a pre-cut background square using a hand or machine stitch (I use monofilament thread and a small zigzag stitch).

I also include the pattern for this Amish Quilt using the same template. I made this in the late 1990s and it was used as a prop for a movie! The CD pattern is for 9 blocks.

Amish Dresden Plate quilt
That's enough for Day 2. Hope you enjoyed the show. Check out the Shortcuts from a Short Woman CD on Etsy. You can also order it from my website (you would send in a check or use PayPal). Here's the link: Shortcuts from a Short Woman. There are links to see ALL of the quilts if you can't wait for Days 3-5!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Shortcuts from a Short Woman: Day 1

Do you like that title? I've used it for my trunk shows for the past 15 years and even have a CD of 16 quilts with that title. I was termed the "Queen of Shortcuts" when I was an editor for Quilt Magazine. I would take a traditional quilt or block and streamline it for today's quilter. I did NOT use some of those funky, weird, atrocious techniques that I see all over YouTube and other quilting sites. Just because you can think it up doesn't mean it's workable! (more on that another time)

I decided to feature all 16 of these quilts and their shortcuts in a series of blog posts. Here's the CD cover on the pattern set (first published in 2003) I sell (you can find it on Etsy, too). Don't you just love that quilter ironing and stitching?

Shortcuts from a Short Woman
Let's see a few of the quilts, right?

Arrowhead Star is 17" x 17" and just a single block. A vintage block I saw in a magazine about 25 years ago made me think of the scraps of Ultra Suede I had in my closet. Do you STILL have some ultra suede suits in your closet? CUT THEM UP! Those suits will never come back in style, btw.

Arrowhead Star: 12" block
The background fabric is a small piece of velveteen I didn't know what to do with. I aligned the 45 degree diamonds on the velveteen and then used a decorative machine stitch to secure the patches. No piecing whatsoever - except for those lovely borders.

Here's a bit of the artwork in the pattern:

The next quilt is also appliqué, but not what you may think. Watermelon Baskets is a variation of Drunkard's Path (a block that's been around for well over 100 years). I didn't want to stitch those curves (even though I sewed dozens of garment sleeves in my years!) so I appliquéd them. I began doing that in 1993 with many quilt blocks. This was published in Quilt Magazine in 2002.

Watermelon Baskets: 31" x 31"
Block Size is 6". Here's a tasty block to make you hungry for watermelon (or watermelon candy!).

Single, yummy Watermelon block
And my approach using a circle appliquéd to a square (which I've seen in vintage quilts over 100 years old!).

My steps for making the watermelon baskets
My CD has 10 "how-to" lessons included, and one is called: Two Easy Pieces. It's a lesson on how to make these Drunkard's Path blocks and includes information on how to make a Love Ring quilt. You don't know what that is? Allow me:

This was made using appliquéd circles on squares and then cut into fourths. Easy, huh?

OK. You want to see some REAL Love Ring quilts? This first one is made mostly with authentic feedsacks. I still own it and it's one of my treasures.

Feedsack Love Ring Quilt
This Love Ring quilt echoes the curves from the center out.

And one last quilt today from my Shortcuts CD showing some more appliqué. It's called Hexagons and Hearts (wonder why!)

Hexagons and Hearts: 37" x 38"
All straight seam sewing with those black hexagons (with the appliquéd hearts) and the bright triangles. This quilt was published in Quilt Magazine in 2001. I had purchased a set of pre-cut hearts from Keepsake Quilting catalog and used my sewing machine to stitch them to those black hexagons.

I think you might not believe me about no y-seams. Let me prove it to you.

Stitching those hexagons and triangles into straight rows!

That's all for today. Be sure and check out the Shortcuts from a Short Woman CD that I sell on Etsy. You will be getting a hard copy pattern on CD (a pdf that you navigate on your computer). 

There are 16 quilts (which I will continue to feature here) AND ten lessons full of quilter's tips AND 12 (twelve) 6" paper pieced patterns Flowers! I put so much stuff on this CD and it is still the same price as when I introduced it in 2003: $13.

Or you can order it directly from me by following this link: Shortcuts from a Short Woman CD. This link will show you all the quilts (if you can't wait for me to reveal them in the days ahead).

Friday, September 6, 2019

Free Pattern Friday: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

This is a repeat post from 2013 that I thought you might enjoy seeing again. It has been 6+ years and I've been thinking of this elephant again! (And you thought I was talking about a lion!)
No, those are not wrinkles in the fabric - just the elephant hide!
The Lion Sleeps Tonight - But What About the Elephant?

I lived in Africa for 3 years and I have wonderful memories. I met and married my Texan husband there and we visited a few game parks where we saw elephants, lions, cheetah, zebras, and many other dangerous animals. I designed this elephant appliqué several years ago for a Windham fabric collection and still had the freezer paper template. I dug it out, asked for a small piece of the elephant hide fabric and stitched this yesterday. (You can have this appliqué; more later).

 Can you believe all these wild animals?
The colors are so vivid in this fabric!
I plan on making an elephant pillow or small quilt with other animal motifs for my grandsons. But I wanted to do that one appliqué. I have to say that my memory of this elephant (and the monkey and giraffe) was triggered by a magazine article. There is an elephant appliqué pillow and some wonderful wild animal motifs.

Take a look at the other skin prints (I didn't say skin FLINTS) that Windham has. I think they're awesome.
Now, here is the link to the pattern for a different quilt using different fabrics. But there are 3 appliqué shapes: an elephant, a monkey, and a giraffe. Safari Adventures

Safari Adventures Quilt
Hope you enjoyed your African Safari visit today!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Back to School!

Well, not ME, of course! I spent my share in the classroom - both as a student (thru a Master's Degree) and as a high school teacher. I much prefer teaching adults how to quilt.

Here are some pics of a recent quilt finish from an older Benartex fabric collection: Head of the Class. First the quilt, which I call Big Block Hexagons (a new workshop).

Big Block Hexagons
No y-seams. All straight seam sewing. Makes great use of a Layer Cake (10" squares), though you can use smaller squares to start with. Here are a few of these school-themed fabrics.

Head of the Class fabrics (2014)
Any fabrics will do for this project. I like themes, because it makes choosing fabrics easier.

Lots of hexagons!
For the quilt above, I used strips. In my class, I will make it Layer Cake friendly (but we will have to trim those 10" squares down a bit.)

I've explained this before, but basically I cut a strip (7-1/2"), folded it in half. The finished height will be 7", so I find the 3-1/2" horizontal line (half of 7 - remember that from school?!) and cut both sides. Notice that the fold is AT THE BOTTOM.

Cutting whole hexagon from a strip
Open it up and there's your whole hexagon. Now that's what I call awesome math!

Whole hexagon
I wanted to fussy cut a motif in the center of my hexagon, so I used the same technique to cut a freezer paper template, ironed it on and then cut out around the outside.

Fussy cutting a motif
I did this for the buses, too.
Peel off and re-use the freezer paper
I began to place the hexagons on my design wall. I also then cut a bunch of 3-1/2" 60 degree triangles. For the sides, I cut larger 30 degree triangles.
Auditioning the hexagon placement
Now I have to write the pattern! I sew first, take a few skimpy notes and THEN I write the pattern. I do NOT use Electric Quilt. I calculate yardage the old fashioned way (in my head and sometimes with a calculator). I do all my artwork using Adobe Illustrator. If I'm unsure of how many cuts I can get from a strip of fabric, I use construction paper and whack away!

I also made a few sample blocks. For the life of me, I can't find these since my move in November. But as you can see, the hexagons and triangles form two half-hexagons. I sew them together and then interface the center hexagon and zigzag stitch it in place.

Two halves to the hexagon
Add the corner 30 degree triangles and I've squared it up. But, remember, a hexagon block is never square. A hexagon is always wider than it is high (some more math for you!)

Hexagon ring
I hope I can find these blocks. I like to bring a variety of samples to my classes other than the project. I think my students like to see what else they can do with the patches they cut, don't you?

You watch: I'll give up, make new samples, and IMMEDIATELY find the originals! Does that ever happen to you?

Happy school year to you. Three of my four grandchildren are in school. It's a wonderful time for kids in elementary classes (except for a few bullies on the bus from time to time).

And you teachers out there: I LOVE YOU! I have always appreciated my 3 daughters' teachers through the years and tried my very best to show it with notes and baked goods and little gifts. You truly are awesome and change the world!