Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Trip Around the World

Sometimes you see a beautiful piece of fabric and have no idea what to do with it. There are lines and borders around motifs that you can't imagine chopping into little pieces! But, you don't want to just put it on the back of a quilt.

I was reminded of a traditional Trip Around the World quilt and the light bulbs went off in my little pea brain. Why not use the little motifs in this very specific Kaffe Fassett print in such an assembly. Why not, indeed?
Sunburst motifs cut out with some companion fabrics

I bought a yard or so of the Sunburst fabric last year. I like to purchase Kaffe prints from Glorious Color (online). They are VERY careful in cutting my fabrics and with this print, it was imperative that they not destroy an entire row.

More Sunburst fabrics in my sewing room waiting for inspiration
This Sunburst fabric (click the link for Glorious Color) has 11 motifs in each row (from selvedge to selvedge). Here is how it's shown online:
Sunburst motifs as they appear in the fabric
See what I mean about being totally ACCURATE!? There is NO space between the rows and squares. You have to cut with a very steady hand!

OK. So, I bet you want to see what I made, right? It is now at the longarm quilter, but this is the quilt top as I photographed it in my foyer.

Sunburst Trip Around the World: 57" x 57"

If you are a Kaffe Fassett fabric lover, you may even have a yard or so of this fabric. Check out my pattern in my Etsy shop: Sunburst Trip Around the World. This pattern will also work with any floral print that you can cut into smaller squares. The pattern has color directions, a coloring chart (for you to plan your fabric placement) and a full color assembly photo.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Quilts from My Magazine Days

I found a treasure on my guild's giveaway table the other night. A quilt magazine I used to be an editor with and one of my many quilts is on the cover. The premier issue of Appliqué Quilts (2000).

Premier issue of Appliqué Quilts (2000)
The small quilt on the cover is a leftover block from a larger quilt I made that is featured on the inside. This is not a very large image, but I think you can see that I made a bed sized quilt with all those appliqué pots of blooms! The Spring Blooms Sampler is 84" x 106" and the blocks are a whopping 16" x 16"! There are 6 different blocks.

Spring Blooms Sampler
I also had a lesson on how to make those Garden Maze connecting units (I will share that soon) and the outer border is all 6" Dogtooth triangles (lessons on that, too).

Then I found the Dutch  Hearts Sampler. I did NOT make these blocks. They were submitted to the magazine several years previous for a block contest. Not sure why we held onto them, but my editor asked me to take them and put them into a quilt. And this is what I did.

Dutch Hearts Sampler: 42" x 42". Blocks are 12"
A few other lessons on the inside were also authored by me. This was a walk down memory lane and I'm surprised I ditched my own copy many years ago.

For those of you who enjoy appliqué, would you like any of these patterns in a Block of the Month series here? I'm just thinking out loud. But that Dutch Hearts Sampler is a beauty, isn't it?

Hope you enjoyed seeing these little lovelies!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Shot Cottons on Windham Wednesday

Shot cottons? Do we need some gun laws enforced in our sewing rooms? Who would possibly shoot some of my defenseless cotton fabrics? Hurry! Hide under my sewing machine!

OK. Now I'm serious. Shot cottons are beautiful fabrics that, on first look, appear to be solids. But then as you look a little closer, you see that there are two different colors of threads that are woven together. These are NOT surface dyed.

Artisan Cottons from Windham Fabrics
As you can see with that amazing magenta fabric on the right, there are RED threads in there. Holy cow! I think that proves it.

But, I know what you're thinking: just let me SEE what you've done with these. I'm so glad you asked. One that recently came to mind (because I'm gifting it) is my Strips and Shots (there it is again: shots!) This is a simple Rail Fence block using a cream fabric in the two outside strips and the Artisan Cotton in the center.

Shots and Strips: 38" x 44"
Just a bunch of 2-1/2" strips with a lot of white/cream. Blocks arranged so they flip flop. Five blocks wide by six blocks high. The Rail Fence blocks finish to 6". The inner border is another 2-1/2" strip. The outer border is more 2-1/2" cuts: 2-1/2" squares of the Artisan Cottons and 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangles of cream. Simple. Easy. Done.

Here's a digital image for those of you wanting to try this in your own studio. Remember, no shooting allowed!


These are the skus you will see at the Windham website:

Lovely little squares of Artisan Cottons
Now let's see a few more projects. The first is my South Carolina Star stitched in 2015.

South Carolina Star
And let's see how well they play with other bold prints. This is one of my Winding Ways blocks (stitched the old fashioned way) with a lovely floral fabric.

10" Winding Ways block
 And a LOT of blocks using 10 different Artisan Cotton colors.

10 blocks
Artisan Cotton Winding Ways wedges (see all those colored threads?)
See how nicely these "solids" play with just about any print? Gotta love 'em!
Winding Ways parts

And let's see that green fabric up close (it's the same one, just different lights in my sewing room)

Yes, yellow threads run through that green fabric!
Now for some of my 10" Paper Pieced Palm blocks.Yes, these are from 2015 but they remain timeless. I loved stitching them with 3 colors and the cream background. This way I was able to use 12 skus from the Artisan Cotton.

Four 10" paper pieced Palm blocks
Here's one of them closeup from the wrong side. Paper's removed. You can see that because I trim BEFORE I add the next patch, it leaves a perfect 1/4" seam and if you didn't know any better you would think I sewed these using precut triangles. Not at all!

Single Palm block from the wrong side
This still remains one of my most popular workshops. Here are 8 of the blocks arranged on point.

8 Block Palm Quilt: 42" x 56"
As you can see, shot cottons are a lovely way to use solids in your work. They bring that extra "shine" to otherwise flat colors. So, the next time you think you need a "solid" to go with your prints, check out the Artisan Cottons for a bit more shimmer to make your quilt shine!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Quilts to Salute Veterans

I found more quilts (you aren't surprised, are you?) that have the Americana theme. And they're stars!

One of them I created using a collection called Storybook Americana by Windham Fabrics. They are reproduction prints from the 1930s. One print shows George Washington cutting down that mythical cherry tree. This is a BIG 19-1/2" (finished) block. All rotary cut; no y-seams!

Storybook Americana Star: 31-1/2" x 31-1/2"
Each of the 8 diamonds is a 4-Patch. This is pieced in strips and then sliced using those 45 degree lines on your acrylic rulers! (Now you know why they are there, right?)

Then I split the corner squares and large triangles into smaller triangles so that the y-seams are gone!

1/4 of the Lone Star
Yes, you can see old George cutting down that tree with his very shocked mom flinging her hands up in shock. See that hatchet?

One of the fabric skus showing old George chopping!
You can find this Lone Star pattern in my Etsy shop for only $6.00. This is fun to make in ANY colors (I even have this in Christmas fabrics).

Now for another quilt using Americana colors of red, white and blue. This is an oldie, designed and made for Windham Fabrics in 2007 and then it appeared in my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts (2009, Martingale Publishing). Note the 3 different renditions of those diamonds. Again, these have 19-1/2" blocks.
Big Block Lone Stars: 89" x 89"
And another quilt I made for Quilt Magazine about 15 years ago, since gifted to a Gold Star mother. She lost her young son in Afghanistan. She has it hanging over his bed.

Americana Hearts
And a flag quilt I made almost 30 years ago that I actually hand quilted (gasp!)
My American Flag quilt
And one last one that I know you've seen here before. Made with reproduction coverlets and since gifted to my nephew. I call it Patriot's Day.

Patriot's Day quilt
OK. I think that's enough and a great way to say to all you veteran's out there: Thank you for your service. We salute you!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Free Pattern Friday

Here in America we celebrate Veteran's Day on November 11. Every year. Same date. I'm sure you're not surprised that I have a few quilts that honor our military and veterans and I'd like to share one with you today. I may have shared this before - I can't remember!

Here is the first one I patterned and stitched, designed by Leslie Sonkin when she was working for Windham Fabrics in 2009. We used a reproduction coverlets collection for this.

American Beauty quilt using reproduction coverlets: 43" x 53"
Here's a closeup of that circle of stars. (Yes, not very big, is it?)


I redid the pattern for Windham in 2016 using their Stars and Stripes Collection. I also called it American Beauty.

American Beauty II
You can get both versions of this quilt at the Windham web site. Just follow the links provided here.

Perhaps you have a veteran in your life who would like something like this. And we all have a slew of patriotic fabrics in our stash. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Amish Inspired Quilts

I helped Windham Fabrics develop a solids palette to go with the Gee's Bend quilt patterns. I used a lot of those fabrics to create a few Amish inspired quilts. The Amish work in solids and I found some examples of traditional quilts I wanted to make using the Windham solids.

Amish Classic Shadows is my take on a vintage quilt. I made this in 2009.

Amish Classic Shadows: 52" x 63"
Here is a flat shot taken from my 2014 Calendar of Quilts.

Amish Classic Shadows
Here's a second quilt I made. Quite a bit more piecing that the Classic Shadows quilt!

Amish Triangles: 48" x 66"
And draped over a chair (as this appeared in a Fons and Porter magazine):
Amish Triangles
Here is a pic of the vintage quilt that inspired the Amish Triangles quilt. Just look at that hand quilting! Beautiful, huh? As you can see in comparing this with my version, I added rounds of solid sashings instead of staying only with triangles. A whole lot less piecing.

Vintage Amish Triangles quilt
Here's the palette of solid fabrics we came up with back in 2008 for those Gee's Bend quilts.

You can find my Classic Amish Shadows quilt in my Etsy store. Of course, any solid fabrics will do. This is a perfect quilt for a man or woman who doesn't like fussy flowers (that's 2 of my 3 daughters!) That's why my two quilts no longer live in my house - they were snatched by one of those daughters.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Michael Miller Mondays with Starfish

No, not the kind that swim in the sea! The kind that you can paper piece with fabric and imagine that the blocks ARE starfish. A few weeks ago I showed 6 blocks I had made using the Festival of Lights fabric by Michael Miller. This is as far as I could go as I only had a fat quarter of the white Fairy Frost. My plan was to make 16 and arrange them in my new favorite setting.

6 Starfish blocks
This is a foundation pattern I designed about 15 years ago and never took the time to stitch. Well, it's about time! I decided to make 8 with the blue and 8 with the red (also Fairy Frost). I pulled fabrics that I wanted to use with the Festival of Lights fabric.

Fairy Frost fat quarters
This is how I began to plan. Did you see the Hanukkah dreidel quilt from a few weeks ago?
More fabrics together
I started stitching, all with Fairy Frost:
My foundation pattern with the first 3 patches
I trimmed from the wrong/written side of the paper and these are the cutaways. Now I'm ready for the next patches which will be white.

Trimming the two gold patches
Here is how it looks from the front with the waste pieces of gold.
First real trims
I continued piecing, adding the blues for 8 blocks and reds for the other 8 blocks.

Back of pattern after I trimmed around all sides
Now it's time to take the paper off. I ALWAYS take the paper off before joining these to their neighboring blocks or units. You CANNOT join a concave and convex unit with the paper on. You MUST make friends with the bias edges. You need them to work together!

After the paper is removed
Now, let's see some of the blocks together.
Four blocks, one is turned 180 degrees!
Why is this? Well, let's now look at the center.
Four center blocks
Now you're really confused, right? I don't blame you. But I'm not trying to trick you. When you make four of the first set of blocks and then put them together, you will get this:

Festive Starfish Quilt
Isn't this a fun arrangement? Rather than a ho-hum set of blocks like the center (repeated 4 times), you end up with the illusion of five blocks!

I have the 8 page pattern in my Etsy shop. I share a special page on how to sew four borders around a 34" center without having to piece them. It's all about the log cabin. That's all I'm saying. The beauty of a digital pattern is that you can print as many foundations as you like and even make a king size quilt (go for it!).

Go check out my Festive Starfish pattern which has detailed pre-cutting of those patches so you can paper piece quickly and easily. Lots of illustrations and full size templates and foundations. And color throughout!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Cookie Cutter BOM: Toast, Block 6 (free)

November 1. Hope your Halloween wasn't spooky. We had a tornado watch here in Northern Virginia and that was scary. But bread? That's not scary. It's tasty! This is my block for November.

Yes, a piece of bread can be divided in half vertically to create one of these fun blocks. Here is one of my samples made for classes in early 2000. Yes, this series is pretty old, but still fun!

Two halves of bread: regular white bread and pumpernickel!
Cookie Cutter Toast (Bread): 10" x 10"
Just to remind you of what a piece of bread looks like. Yes, I made this!


This block is made the same way as the other five. I used raw edge appliqué and sewing machine stitching to make this fast and easy. Transfer the FREE pattern to freezer paper and cut out. You will make one left and one right side piece of bread. Iron to fabric as shown and cut out.

Using a freezer paper template
 Peel off freezer paper:
Right side of toast block
Cut one from another piece of fabric for the left side of the bread. Align both sides of the block with each other as shown. Ready to stitch!

Two halves of the Toast/Bread block
You can mix and match the fabrics as you wish.
Block stitched
I made a small quilt using this block and gave it to one of our church's staff when she left. Very Biblical, huh?
Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters
Here's the link to the one page pdf of the 10" Toast/Bread block. Please do not reproduce it for your friends and guild members.

And you can find the pattern for my Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters in my Etsy shop. It's an 8 page digital pdf with color illustrations, full size Bread template and all those 3" letters (full size).

If this is new to you, you can find the other 5 blocks by using the search box on the right sidebar. Or just click "Cookie Cutter BOM" in the Labels section. You will find the links there.