Tuesday, March 31, 2020

House Arrest Quilts and Facebook Page

Yes, it's true. Most of us are under what I call House Arrest. And because we are quilters and are sitting on quite a stash, we are making quilts, right?

I've been home for 2-1/2 weeks with 5 teaching contracts cancelled. Am I twiddling my thumbs? No! I've been sewing and quilting and finishing quite a few quilts.

I created a Facebook Page called House Arrest Quilts. It's open to the public (until someone misbehaves). It's for YOU to also share any quilts you're working on.

Here is my Minton Elephant that I haven't seen in about a year. I tore my sewing room apart last week looking for her. And then I heard a little whisper from my desk: "In here, Miss Debby. Look in this folder." And there she was in the plastic sleeve I placed her in to keep her safe.

Minton Elephant in the protective binder sleeve
I cut this out a few years ago and auditioned it on a lovely cream background:

Minton Elephant from 2016
Since the elephant left the room, I was worried. But she's back and I am surrounding her with beautiful fabrics. Here is a teaser:

Minton Elephant center
I have several more that I'll roll out later this week. Take a visit to the Facebook page and let us see what you're up to. There are rules:

  • No posts about face masks
  • No political posts
  • No advertising for anything other than quilting

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Fun with Sunburst Motifs

Sometimes you come across a fabric that asks you to make more than one quilt. You look at it and see so many possibilities - and Sunburst (designed by Kaffe Fassett for Rowan) was just one of those. Here is my latest: Off Center Log Cabin.

Sunburst Off Center Log Cabin: 42" x 42"
I shared about the first quilt made using these little squares.

Sunburst squares combined with some blenders
I updated a traditional Trip Around the World using those little squares. As with all panel type fabrics, the cuts are not usually in whole numbers. As they were printed, they measured 3-7/8" x 4". I had to recut ALL of my squares to 3-7/8". Quite a tedious task, but I love the result.

Sunburst Fabrics before cutting
And here's my first quilt. I have since had it beautifully quilted. Just need a sunny day for a photograph.
Sunburst Trip Around the World: 57" x 57"
Now, let's see my approach to the Off Center Log Cabin. I cut a bunch of strips from a variety of shot cotton fat quarters.  I added 6 rows of strips (the logs) to each motif. They are sewn to only two sides of the center.

Adding 1-1/4" strips of shot cottons to two sides of a Sunburst square.
Then I decided to set these in an offbeat arrangement. I was able to piece 16 blocks before I pooped out. Because the centers begin as 3-7/8", the blocks themselves will finish to slightly smaller than 8" (7-7/8"). It really doesn't matter because the entire quilt is made from uniform size blocks!

Strips cut from shot cottons, pulling colors from the Sunburst motifs
I added some awesome bright circles and dots fabric to the top and bottom and used the Sunburst fabrics to the sides (with more shot cottons to increase the size). I love this little quilt! I quilted it during our "House Arrest" this past week. Here she is on my kitchen floor before quilting.

16 Block Off Center Log Cabin
Finally (but probably not my last quilt), I took an old sample from the mid 2000s where I centered a LakeHouse flower motif with a black background and surrounded it with 12 raw edge batik melon shapes (taken from my EZ Double Wedding Ring pattern and template set). I like to share this center with guilds when I share tips and tricks.
Sunshine and Flowers teaching sample
My LakeHouse flower motif was only 10" square. I needed to add more black fabric around all sides so I could use those batik melons. I chose a black and white batik, though you can't really see it from the front. But, now that I told you, I bet you can!

Center square with added borders to allow me room to place those batik melons
I did some careful measuring and with a 1/2" finished inner border (which took it out to 19" finished). I was able to add those Sunburst motifs without chopping any up.

The reason I will not quilt this any time soon is that I enjoy showing other quilters how they can make the most of what may seem like an impossible situation. This comes with me sometimes when I speak to quilt guilds. When you can see something from the back - something that is somewhat unorthodox - it takes the need for perfection down quite a few notches, doesn't it?

I still have about 2 yards of this Sunburst fabric left. It mixes so well with a lot of prints and blenders. Don't be surprised if I come back with a few more examples!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Windham Wednesdays and FREE Pattern

Well, why not another FREE pattern? You need inspiration to sew from your huge stash and many of you have the time. Even making one block will give you an idea if you want to make more. Like I always say: "If you don't like one block, do you really think you'll like making 16 or 20 or more?"

This is from an older Windham Fabrics collection called Bright Basics.

Happy Squares: 46" x 52"  6" squares
This is a redo of another quilt I owned. And you know the story: it was one of the 30 quilts stolen in 2005. Not to worry! It's hanging on the Giant Quilt Rack in the sky. Here's the original which appeared in my first book: Bold, Black and Beautiful.

98 Dancing Squares. Smaller blocks (5")
Let me show you a few others made with the very same pattern. Check out the blog post for a few pics.

Dancing Squares using Uncorked Collection by Windham Fabrics
And one more. This one is so sweet and one of the sweetest juvenile collections I've ever seen. The Forest Parade Collection by Windham. Let the fabric do the work. Very, very simple blocks! Click the link under the quilt and see the process shots. And a mini doll quilt made with the leftovers.

Forest Parade Dancing Squares
I might have another one or two, but at this time, I think you get the picture! I wish all of you the best. I wish you health and safety. And keep sewing!

And, in case you missed it, here is the link for the FREE pattern: Happy Squares.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Free Pattern Monday

Who says it always has to be on Friday? I was looking for one quilt and came upon the pictures of another. It's my kaleidoscope quilt done with Kaffe Fassett fabrics back in 2006 and published in Quilt magazine.

Purple Kaleidoscope child's quilt and pillow
Here is a flat shot:
Same quilt
And then I realized I also patterned this for Windham Fabrics using their reproduction feedsack collection (2007). This is a poor picture, but you can see this better online.

Feedsack Kaleidoscope. 10" blocks. 50" x 50" quilt
So very scrappy! But fun to make. Full size paper templates are included, but I bet you have one of those multi-sized kaleidoscope rulers in your sewing room!

A kaleidoscope ruler is 45 degrees at the tip. It is NOT a Tri-Recs ruler. It is NOT a 60 degree spiderweb ruler.

What else do you have to do today than sew, right? I've just pulled out my only kaleidoscope ruler and want to make a few blocks. And I have a few extras from this Windham project. I'll show them to you on another day. Have a great one!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Orphan Block Rescue (again)

I was the January speaker at a local quilt guild. As is true with most guilds, there was a free and giveaway table in the back of the room. Books, fabric, patterns, thread. Piles of lovely things. But what caught my eye was this lonely hand quilted block square with a few stains in the corners. We are talking OLD! It called out to me: "Please, Miss Debby, will you please take me home? No one wants me. I'm old and stained and abandoned." It just broke my heart!

Abandoned hand quilted block about to get a beauty makeover
She convinced me and I immediately had a plan. This would be a perfect sample for my Free Motion Quilting classes I teach for the Sewing Expo. I wanted my students to see hand quilting up close (so they know why they are learning machine quilting) and this would be awesome after her transformation. I trimmed this to a perfect 14" square as shown above.

I had to deal with those nasty stains (which I don't have pictures of). I realized I could add printed triangles to the corners and those stains would be no more! I cut four 4-1/2" squares from the Fantasy Collection by Windham Fabrics. I drew lines along the diagonals and then stitched on those lines. But I pulled the batting BACK so I wouldn't catch it in the stitching. I just sewed on the pink front fabric.

Stitching along the diagonal line
Time to trim. Again, ONLY the floral and pink.

Trim away the floral and pink fabrics
Now I bring the batting and backing back up.

Batting and backing ready to be covered
And to press the fabric. Don't you just love that triangle!
One of the four corners
Now let's see this all together. I used the same fabric for the binding. Isn't she so sweet?

My sweet little Orphan Block in her new clothes
And how does this little Orphan Block feel today? She thanked me over and over again and came with me on my trip to Atlanta last week. She was the first sample out of the box and all my students were oohing and aahing.

This is such a little treasure to me. I hope you might be inspired to rescue a piece of hand quilting from long ago that you may have in your drawers. I don't know the maker of this, but if she is still in that guild, she's going to be pleasantly surprised to see the rescue.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

How's Your Crown Fitting These Days?

I was looking through some pics of my quilts and realized I have several using my Diadem pattern. (Diadem = Crown, right?). In light of being sequestered in our homes, mine keeps getting knocked sideways off my head!

Diadem is a redo of a vintage block made using templates but, you know me: I simplified it for today's quilter.  It's a wonderful block to feature a special floral pattern or to fussy cut a beautiful motif. This is my most recent version of the Diadem made using some Kaffe Fassett fabrics. These are 14" blocks with the points paper pieced.

The Diadem Quilt: 48" x 48" using the larger 14" block as appeared in my book
And a close up of a single 14" block:
Single Diadem Block: 14" x 14"
Here is the first one I made, which appeared in my second book (Supersize 'Em Quilts, 2009). I used a lovely Christmas fabric for the block centers.

Christmas Diadem Quilt
Another of the quilts I made I called "Blast Off!" with some novelty fabrics in the centers. What do you think? Those are planets of the solar system in the centers.

Blast Off! Quilt: 40" x 40"
Here's a single block using a different collection:

14" Diadem Block
And a few more. The next picture shows me auditioning some fabrics.

Test driving some fabrics
Another Christmas collection:

Using the Christmas Spectacular fabrics
Centering a lush floral print in the center with simple borders.

And a single block for a workshop I taught in 2011. I reduced the block size so that our borders wouldn't need to be pieced. This is a 12" block.

Single block: 12" x 12"
And the quilt it appears in:

Diadem Quilt: 40" x 40"
Well, even I didn't believe how many versions of this quilt I made. Can you believe it? The Diadem pattern in my Etsy store is for a 12" block for a 40" x 40" quilt. The corners are easy to paper piece. I even have a cutting template that takes the guessing out of how to cut those light background patches without a lot of fabric waste!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Technique Tuesday with Social Butterfly and Giveaway!

Welcome to the second day of the Benartex Precuts Hop! (The full schedule is at the bottom of this post).
Benartex Precuts Hop!
We all have them: Jelly Rolls, Charm Squares, Layer Cakes. But after the impulse buy, we sometimes are in a quandary about what to do with them. I selected a stack of 10" squares (a Layer Cake) from the Social Butterfly collection. I wanted to revisit my Bubbles pattern. Here's a peek at the fabrics.

10" squares of Social Butterfly (42)
I first made this Bubbles Quilt in 1996 using a small half-hexagon template and some 2" strips. These fabrics are SO old, but they worked! I named it Half Hexagon Jewel.

Half Hexagon Jewel
Let me show you what I did with the Social Butterfly 10" squares. Many of the prints are directional. We don't want any dive bombing butterflies now, do we? I cut a 1" strip off one side of my 10" squares. That's because I am aiming for two 4-1/2" x 10" rectangles from each square.

42 strips 1" x 10"
Then I cut two 4-1/2" x 10" strips from the remainder.

The cuts I made for each of the squares
My two stacks of rectangles
Then, using my 60 degree triangle ruler, I cut each rectangle into half hexagons. (This is not a tutorial, but a teaser for the pattern.) It is key to blunt the side tips of these. My pattern shows how to do this with your ruler. This makes joining them perfect without any guessing with those tiny triangle tips.

Matching pairs of half hexagons
And what did I get? Take a look at my "vintage" quilt above. When you put matching fabrics next to each other, you will give the appearance of WHOLE hexagons! And no y-seams - honest! I used some fabric from Pearl Essence for my borders.

This is 48" wide x 51" center before borders. My pattern suggests cutting 6" wide borders (the ones you see below are only 4" - that's all I had!). The pattern is a well illustrated, 13 page printed instructional for two sizes. The half-hexagon paper template is included for the blue quilt. You can also cut these using a multi-sized, 60 degree triangle ruler.

I also have this pattern as a DIGITAL download (no acrylic template needed). Paper templates for both sizes are included. If you have a 60 degree triangle ruler, that will work, too!

Social Butterfly Bubbles Quilt: 55" x 58"
You can find my pattern for this blue one using a layer cake from the Social Butterfly Collection and my recent Bubbles and Hexagons quilt made using a jelly roll (2-1/2" strips). My hard copy pattern INCLUDES a half-hexagon acrylic template for cutting those strips. 12 page digital pattern, too.

Bubbles and Hexagons quilt made using 2-1/2" jelly roll strips
Here is the full list of participants. Something new every day for 12 straight days. So much inspiration!

Monday 3/16:
-- Pat Sloan – https://www.patsloan.com/
Tuesday 3/17: Debby Kratovil - https://debbykratovilquilts.blogspot.com/
Wednesday 3/18: Modern Quilt Studio - https://www.modernquiltstudio.com/
Thursday 3/19: Charisma Horton - http://charismascorner.com/
Friday 3/20: Amanda Murphy - https://blog.amandamurphydesign.com/
Saturday 3/21: Andy Knowlton – http://www.abrightcorner.com/
Sunday 3/22: 
-- Shelley Cavanna - https://www.corasquilts.com/
-- Sandra Walker - https://www.mmmquilts.com/
Monday 3/23: Wendy Sheppard - https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/
Tuesday 3/24: Cherry Guidry - https://www.cherryblossomsquilting.com/
Wednesday 3/25: Nancy Halvorsen - http://www.arttoheart.com/
Thursday 3/26: Heidi Pridemore - https://www.thewhimsicalworkshop.com/
Friday 3/27: 
-- Christa Watson - https://christaquilts.com/

Visit the Benartex Facebook page and check out the fabulous giveaways (a sewing machine, and, of course - FABRIC!) They are the ones doing the giveaway.

Monday, March 16, 2020

How To Set Blocks on the Diagonal and FREE Pattern

In light of the craziness happening today, many of us are sitting at home. You might want to call this: Do your best under House Arrest! I'm not making light of things, but as someone said the other day, we quilters have been training for this for years. Just give me some beautiful fabric, a sewing machine and thread and I'm off and running.

This is a repeat post from 2013. While the fabrics aren't around anymore (but I bet some of you have these!!), the technique is timeless. It's a quilt technique that has baffled many of us: How to set blocks on point (or on the diagonal).

Floribunda Collection
What are the magic numbers to cut those pesky side and corner triangles so they not only fit, but there are no bias edges along the outside edges? This is one of the most popular lessons I have ever offered. I begin with the Floribunda Collection. Pretty, huh?

I selected a block from my 2013 desktop quilting calendar. I call it the Antique Basket Block. It is 10" finished. My FREE one page pattern includes cutting dimensions and full size appliqué templates for that basket handle and the folk art green leaf at the bottom.
My Antique Basket block inspiration from my 2013 Block a Day calendar
Click that link above for the one page pdf of the block.
Auditioning fabric for the side and corner triangles
I selected two of the fabrics and auditioned each one against the block. I like the second one better.
I like this better - stronger contrast
 Time to take the plunge and CUT!
Cutting the SIDE triangles from an 18-1/4" squares - YIKES!
There are two sizes of triangles to consider. The first one is the side setting triangle (in picture above). We cut a square that is the finished size of the block (10"), MULTIPLIED by 1.414 and then we add 1-1/4" to that number for seams. I have a handy chart at the end of this blog post, so hold on and stop rolling your eyes. This is math talk, not trash talk! Our number is a whopping 18-1/4" square. Each square gives me 4 side triangles (that's all I need for my 4 block quilt).

Cutting the four CORNER triangles from two 8" squares
The formula for cutting the triangles for the four corners of the quilt: finished size (10"), DIVIDED by 1.414, then add 7/8" for seams. Now I'll show you how they look.

Two side triangles sewn on opposite sides of block; Corner triangle at the ready
The blocks are joined into DIAGONAL rows. The side triangles (there are 4) are added to the top left block, and then the single corner triangle. Press seams toward the floral triangles.

When you lay out your pieces as shown in the diagram below, it's easier to sew the sewing sequence.

Can you see those last two remaining seams left for me to do?
Three diagonal rows; 2 remaining seams to do
I will sew those last two seams and then press them open to reduce bulk. When you consider setting your blocks on point, it opens up some wonderful setting options.

I will answer a quick question you might have about the seam allowances I quoted above. When a square is cut into FOUR TRIANGLES, you always consider the block size it will work with. And, you always add 1-1/4" to the size of the cut square so that it will fit the block or unit it is to go with. When a square is cut into TWO TRIANGLES, you consider the block size and only add 7/8" for seam allowances so it will fit with the block or unit it is paired with.

Here is my handy, dandy chart with formulas for standard sized blocks.
And I've done the math for most of them; just find the block size!

You can download this chart and print it out; then hang it up in your sewing room!
Setting Blocks on the Diagonal by Debby Kratovil

This is NOT to be printed and distributed, please! While it's free to you, it cost me something to create it. Send your friends here to get it.

Several years have passed since I put this together. I had a friend in my quilt guild quilt it and it was donated to a worthy local charity, Young Lives, last summer. It has gone to some little child here in Virginia.

Antique Baskets Quilt
I still have some of this sweet fabric left and I used it for another project. I will be sharing it with you soon. For now, DO YOUR BEST UNDER HOUSE ARREST!