Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Shopping - FREE Scrap Buster Pattern

I never go shopping on Black Friday. That is NEVER. EVER. I'm not going! I'm enjoying the day off without the stress. Now, I could ask you to go buy one of my patterns on Craftsy, but instead I'm GIVING AWAY one of my SCRAP BUSTER patterns.

In fact, the leftovers from this quilt are used for a second quilt. So, don't discard them. Save them for the 2nd pattern I'll share in a week or so.

What is the pattern? Rocky Road to Kansas was published in 1999 for Quilt Magazine. It truly is a Scrap Buster! Strips and strings and little scraps. What do you think?

Rocky Road to Kansas: 80" x 80"
The blocks are 12". Set on point they are 17". There are 12 blocks in this quilt. You can make it any size. Stop when you run out of scraps (like in 500 years?)

Paper templates are included, but if you have a kaleidoscope ruler, then you will be able to cut these even easier. Everything is string pieced onto 6-1/2" square pieces of newsprint.

What is the quilt made with the leftovers? Block size: 13-1/2" finished. Quilt size: 55-1/2" x 72".

Scrappy Stars - see you next week or so
Aren't these fun? Just think: you can now make a serious dent in your scrap pile!

So, head on over to my Craftsy shop for your FREE Rocky Road to Kansas Quilt.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Windham Wednesdays and BIG Lone Star Blocks

Many of you are busy (like me) cooking, baking, working and trying to keep everything together - preparing for tomorrow's holiday (Thanksgiving here in the USA). But there's always time for FABRIC, right? I received a Windham Fabrics collection called Carmen and immediately thought of my "go-to" Lone Star blocks. This pattern appears in my second book Supersize 'Em Quilts.

Can I show you these yummy fabrics? While I'm not naturally drawn to browns, it's the deep browns and reds and awesome prints that remind me of chocolate. Can you say Godiva? I have a little catalog here and the front cover is all the same colors as the Carmen Collection! See what you think.

Main prints in the Carmen Collection
 Aren't these all so yummy?
All the supporting fabrics in the Carmen Collection
And now for the Lone Stars. No real pattern, but I think you can figure this out from my cutting sizes. The stars finish at about 19". I hope to put these blocks into a quilt asap. Four blocks make for a 38" quilt center. Add sashings and it's even bigger. And then borders . . .

Begin with a 4-1/2" x wof strip. Align the 45 degree ruler line with the bottom of strip. Slice off end.
Cut 4-1/2" strips; slice off one end at 45 degree angle. I used the 45 degreee line on the ruler
 Now cut 4-1/2" wedges. I only need four of these for my first block.
Cut 4-1/2" segments across the width of my strip
Now cut two strips 2-1/2" x wof. Seam together. Slice on left side as we did above. Cut wedges 2-1/2" wide. You need 8 wedges. We will sew two of these into a four-patch diamond.

Strip pieced units sliced again at a 45 degree angle
 Very important to put the colors as you see here if you want the red to be in the outside points.
Join together. Notice the the red diamonds are on both pointed ends
Now it's time for the background fabrics. There are two sizes of triangles: small and large. The small triangles are cut from a 4-7/8" square. The large triangles are cut from a 6-3/4" square. You will need a total of four 4-7/8" squares (for 8 triangles) and four 6-3/4" squares (for 8 triangles).

Notice how the triangles are added. Sew the small triangles on FIRST.
After the light background triangles are sewn onto each diamond, the four-patch unit comes around and is joined to the dark diamond so that you are making a quarter block (rather than a giant triangle). Make four of these. Because I cut the background triangles oversized, you may need to shave a little off - using the diamonds as your guide. Also, an accurate 1/4" seam is a MUST!

Make four of these units
And here's my first block:

Lone Star Block #1
And Block #2 uses two different colors for the large diamonds, 4 diamonds of each color:

Lone Star Block #2
And Block #3 is made of eight sets of the 4-patch diamonds. Make sure all your points have the same color (mine is the black print). This gives the illusion of a star within a star. Neat, huh?

Lone Star Block #3
And Block #4:
Lone Star Block #4
For Blocks 2 & 4, a single 4-1/2" strip of each color is enough fabric. For the block #3, you will need two 2-1/2" strips of each color to get the cuts you need. And for Block #1, a single 4-1/2 strip is enough for the large diamonds and a single strip of each of the two colors for the 2-1/2" patches is enough.

You can get enough 6-3/4" squares from one strip; you can get two sets of 4-7/8" squares (for two blocks) from one strip. Go scrappy!

Here are two previous posts that demonstrate cutting Lone Stars from strips:

I hope you've enjoyed seeing how easy it is to rotary cut a Lone Star. And such big blocks, too!

Monday, November 23, 2015

2016 Calendar Girls Projects

The CALENDAR GIRLS© Quilt Shop Program was a 12 month series of quilts based on blocks in the Quilter's Block-a-Day Calendar. It was exclusive to quilt shops in 2008 and NOW is available to individual quilters as my 2016 Block of the Month Program. Each month features a fully patterned quilt with all instructions and color diagrams, PLUS an accompanying one page newsletter full of tips particular to that project.

You have to have the calendar to make sense of the pattern! All cutting info and templates for the blocks are in the calendar. The pattern gives all the yardage info, sashings, borders, etc - just like any pattern.
Example of block pattern in the calendar

Beginning in January, I will share the project and newsletter on my blog. I hope to have sample blocks so you can see them in REAL fabric. I have several project pics of quilts made by participating quilt shops, too. And several of my own. Here is my small Prairie Flower quilt using Fossil Ferns.

Four block Prairie Flower quilt from the January pattern
If you can't find a calendar to buy (online, quilt shop, etc) I have a limited number of Calendar CDs available for sale ($12.99 plus postage). They have all the blocks in the desktop calendar in TWO sizes along with another 12 quilts! I can only mail these within the USA and Canada. I have two remaining desktop calendars also for sale ($19.99 plus priority postage because it's so heavy).


January -- Prairie Flower
51" x 51"

February --Warm Welcome Home
34" x 38"

March -- Patches & Leaves
56" x 68"

April -- Dancing Double Cross
63" x 63"

May -- Trillium Wreath
26" x 26"

June -- Idaho Beauty
35" x 57"

July -- Americana Sampler
56" x 56"

August -- Free Trade Stars
36" x 36"

September-- Union Squares
44" x 44"

October-- Blazing Autumn Leaves
55" x 59"

November -- Glory Leaves Placemats
12" x 18"

December-- Star & Wreath Table Runner
22" x 48"

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Galaxy of Stars - Housekeeping and Updates

I want to catch you all up on what we have so far. Also, I've received requests and questions from several bloggers and I have NO WAY to answer you because your email comes in as a "no-reply" comment. For example:

Pamela had a wonderful comment about how she has all of her fabrics and plans on finishing the quilt in 2016. She's made several blocks already. But I had no way to get in touch with her and tell her "Kudos, Pamela!"

Then there's Sandy:

Do you see what I mean? If you don't get a question answered from me within a day or two, it's probably due to the fact that I can't get in touch with you. Remember my email: Yes, I made that public! You can always write to me there with Galaxy of Stars (or whatever blog topic) in the subject line.

Now for the blocks so far:
  • I've given patterns for eleven 12" blocks (one more coming in December), 
  • one 24" block, 
  • the pattern for the 6" blocks,
  • and the pattern for the Square in a Square border blocks.
  • You should also have the supply list of materials and a layout diagram.
The Galaxy of Stars page (navigates from a button at the top of my blog):

Should be current. I was notified that the link I gave in the November block for the extra Sawtooth Star Variation was broken. Again, I couldn't get back to the commenter because it was a noreply-comment.

I added the Sawtooth Star Variation block as a separate post November 15. There is a picture of the block from the quilt and the link to the pattern:

Sawtooth Star Variation makes 11 blocks so far!
Next week, before Thanksgiving, I will give more info on my upcoming 2016 Block of the Month projects. I actually have a page that shows all 12 of the projects that are based on my Quilter's Block a Day calendar.

Would you like to see them? Would that help you decide if you want to participate? I also have several quilts from when quilt shops offered it, but those won't be revealed until the appropriate month.

And remember, I am also offering patterns for my Adinkra Quilt:

African Adinkra Quilt in blues and browns
And the first Adinkra Quilt I made (and since gifted):
African Adinkra Quilt using authentic African fabrics

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

13 Quilts eBook Now Available

I finally did it - I put all 13 quilt patterns from my 2012 Wall Calendar of Quilts into an ebook. Can you believe it's 92 pages? It is a pdf, of course. And you can see all the quilts here:

Best of Calendar Quilts 2012 (a link on my blog)

Here's the cover with Snow Crystals (also included in the ebook):
Wall Calendar filled with 13 quilts!
Here are just a few.

There's this EASY Winding Ways quilt. That curved unit is a single piece, appliqued to a background square. How simple is that, huh?

Winding Ways Quilt
One of my several Yikes, Those Stripes! quilts. Strip pieced and then rotary cut into triangles for an easy Hourglass block. Very stash-buster friendly!

Big Top Circus Stripes
And the quilt for December is my Holiday Splendor Lone Star quilt. Again, rotary cutting is the way to go for the diamond 9-patch star units.

Holiday Splendor Lone Star
This is available at my Craftsy pattern site. All 13 patterns for one low price of $10. Go check it out. And first, you can see all the quilts and their sizes here on my blog (see link at top of page).

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Galaxy of Stars - Block #11

Yes, it's true. Block #11 of the 12" size has yet to be revealed. Thanks to the eagle eyes of both Amy O. and Suzanne J., they were worried they had somehow missed a block. This is because they are actually keeping up with the blocks, sewing them each month and Suzanne is actually going to finish the quilt top and give it to her brother and sister in law for Christmas! (She did assure me she will take it back and then quilt it as she has time. I thought she was also going to quilt it!)

So, here is the 11th of the 12 blocks that finish to 12". I gave you the center block (24") and the pattern for the small 6" star blocks that are fillers. I lost track. Even though I used to be a high school math teacher, I guess I am getting rusty when it comes to counting!

This is called Sawtooth Star Variation, all rotary cut and stitched (whew!) The last block will be paper pieced, so I had to give you an easy time of it on this block.

12" Sawtooth Star Variation
And what about next year's Block of the Month? I have two ideas and I will probably run both of them. One is all applique based on my Adinkra Quilt. I have made the quilt twice and still own one of them. I also have blocks and patches all cut out for a 3rd one, so I have all the parts to share in steps.

There are 12 applique blocks and 13 Square in a Square blocks. This is easy raw edge applique. The fun part of this quilt is that there is a meaning ascribed to each of these symbols (ie, Friendship, Home, etc). This blue quilt was patterned for Blank Fabrics using their Ethnic Echoes Collection (several years ago). I sold the pattern on CD and in 2016 it will be FREE!

African Adinkra Quilt: 10" blocks, 69" x 69" quilt
Here is a picture of the first Adrinkra Quilt I made (now in a museum collection):

Original Adinkra Quilt, gifted to the African American Museum in Virginia

The other one is based on my Quilter's Block a Day calendar by Martingale. This means that in order to participate you will have to own either the desktop version or the CD version. This is more than a block a month - it is a QUILT project a month! This was a quilt-shop-only program in 2008 and I realized that this could get a lot of traction with all of you!

Block a Day Calendar with 366 blocks
The calendar is available on Amazon, at your local quilt shop and in limited quantities from me. More on that in December. But check out your LQS to see if they have them in stock. This is not tied to any one year; it is perpetual.

What sorts of projects will these be? There will be one a month for 12 months.

Glory Leaves Placemats (based on a November block)
Prairie Flower Quilt (based on a January block)
And for each month I give a tip sheet (like a newsletter) which is specific to that month's project: making half-square triangles, bias strips, etc. All the yardages and steps for making the projects are included, just like a stand alone pattern. Each pattern is 3 pages (pdf) and then the tip sheet.

Each month I also include a line drawing so you can make your project using your own colors.

The catch is that I don't give cutting directions for the blocks because that is in the calendar. You have to have the calendar to get anywhere!

So, think about it. And to see ALL THE BLOCKS that are in the calendar, go to this link:

You can see all 366 of the blocks and get an idea of the breadth of the calendar. Hope you'll join me in one of the two BOMs for 2016!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thread and Patterns are Key to Sewing

I have a few dozen spools of rayon and polyester thread in various colors. Most of these date back to when I was a quilt magazine editor. I have separated them by color and placed them in zip lock bags. But they are still MESSY!

I found an easy way to keep those threads under control. I had some Glad Press 'n Seal and cut in into 1" x 6" strips and wrapped the spools. I say that they had a bad hair day and I gave them a hairnet!

Sticky plastic wrap which NEVER has been in my kitchen
 Some of my blue threads, which were having a bad hair day!

Blue threads wrapped with self-sticking Press 'n Seal
I'm almost done with the other colors; just have the purples to do.

And patterns? Well, I get paid to write patterns for quilts so I never use other people's patterns. But when it comes to jammies for my grandsons, I have to use those tissue patterns, don't you?

But what's happened to the price of patterns over the years? I have sewn for almost 50 years and I can remember buying Simplicity, McCall's and Butterick patterns for maybe $1.25. Can you see the price on this pattern? Of course, I got it on sale, but that's rather steep. Even that little dinosaur is checking it out!

Today's pattern prices would drive me to shop for kids' jammies!
But here is a picture of the flannel pjs. Aren't they cute? He loves them.

Flannel dinosaur pjs, fabric by Benartex
I ordered another pattern in larger sizes and it should arrive soon. I only paid $4.00. Now that's my price!
Probably 20 years old, but it's uncut and I can't wait to make pjs for oldest grandson
And I was busy making more of those place mats with applique fork, knife and spoon for my little granddaughter. I NEVER could have done this without a pattern. I can only draw stick figures!

What do you think? This way Eva can know where to put her utensils and then on the back she can learn her letters so she knows how to spell knife, fork and spoon, right?

Fun placemats

Lavender background fabric with a fun printed plate
 This is the back of the placemat. Look at all those letters!

Perfect backing fabric
I have several other boy prints to make more pj bottoms for Miles: dinosaurs, camo print, cowboy boots and hats - you know the drill. And what about his little brother? Oh, he has all the pairs that used to fit Miles!

Hope you have a good weekend. I'm going to reveal details about my 2016 Block of the Month this next week so you can be prepared!