Monday, June 29, 2015

FREE pattern from my 2016 Wall Calendar of Blocks

I promised a FREE pattern for one of the blocks in my 2016 Wall Calendar of Blocks. I showed the fabrics I would use:

Wonderful selection of red prints and blenders from Benartex
I fashioned some letters and scattered them around, mixing them up, planning on making an "I Love You" quilt. Never got that far.

I Love You letters
Then my newest wall calendar of blocks came out. I looked through and found a perfect block to use some of these letters. This block comes from my 2007 desktop calendar of blocks. The wall calendar does not include patterns for the 365 blocks, but my publisher and I agree that I should share some "Blocks of the Moment" with my blogger buddies. Here is the first one:

Love Bug Quilt (can you see the tiny ladybugs in the inner border strip?)
Each letter is appliqued to a rectangle of white fabric cut to 5-1/2" x 7-1/2". Then the four are stitched together as shown. The outer 3-strip borders are composed of three 1-1/2" strips AND corner squares cut to 5" (so they finish to 4-1/2"). The small wall quilt measures 19" x 23".

Here is the link to the full size letters. Why not get a jump on Valentine's Day 2016? Actually, I loved seeing it hanging in my kitchen when I was photographing it, so I've left it there. Kitchens are places of love, aren't they?

LOVE letters pattern for LOVE Bug quilt center

Friday, June 26, 2015

More Coffee Cups, This Time from Colleen

Do you remember those little paper pieced coffee cups I made in February? I used a variety of prints from the Mimosa Collection from Windham Fabrics, along with some Kona Snow solid to create 10 blocks! And then my niece Ashley saw them on my Facebook page and asked about me making some for her. She even offered to pay me. Yikes! What would my sister Kathy (Ashley's mom) say about that? Of course, I made four of them as a gift!

Ashley's mug rugs with my FREE Coffee Cups pattern
Here is one made by Colleen, who follows my blog. Don't you just love this as a potholder? The center fabric is from the Downtown Collection by Windham. I recognized it right away. Take a visit to Colleen's blog to see more of these: PieceMakerQuilts

Colleen from Piecemaker Quilts made the block into a potholder
Colleen made 5 potholders . . .
And another potholder by Colleen from Piecemaker Quilts
And she shares an expresso pot she also made:

OK, Collen? Where did you get this delightful expresso pot?
And last, here are the 10 blocks I currently have which are still waiting to become a quilt. I'm getting closer . . .

Visit my tutorial on making this block for the FREE pattern (link at bottom of that page)
10 Paper Pieced 7" Coffee Cups

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Windham Wednesdays and My South Carolina Star

I was working on my USA series of paper pieced states on Sunday and came to South Carolina. I stopped and thought, "Wow! I need to sew this in honor of those who lost their lives." I wanted fabrics that read solid with a rich, deep color. Beautiful colors, but not dancing brights like I typically choose. Here is my South Carolina Star.

South Carolina Star (12") with simple borders
I finally had a project for the Artisan Cottons by Windham Fabrics. The shot cottons are a beautiful array of colors, don't you think? Can you see the red warp thread in the purple fabric below? These are special cottons with two different colors of thread used in the weaving process. I love shot cottons.

Color rich Artisan Cottons
Here is the block by itself, made with these fabrics and a standard white background. I hope this block helps us remember that life is about putting things together and not ripping them apart.

South Carolina Star using Windham's Artisan Collection
This is a PAPER PIECED pattern for a 12" block. You can have the FREE pattern: South Carolina Star. If you look closely at those points and odd shaped patches, if you want to convert this to templates - be my guest! Paper piecing gives me accuracy every time.

And now I take my quilter's hat off for a minute to reflect on the colors and how they relate to the 9 Christian martyrs who were slain in Charleston last week. They were regular people using their free time to worship God in a church, usually thought of as a safe place.

BLUE is for their faith in God, both weak (light blue) and strong (dark blue). They were human!
GREEN is for eternal life, which is what they have now.
RED is the color assigned to martyrs, slain in innocence through no fault of their own.
CREAM is for the tears we all have shed at such a loss.
GOLD is for the crowns they now wear in heaven.

This is my take on it. I'm not looking for any religious discussions, though you're free to respond as you wish to what I've said.  My blog is 99% of the time only quilts. All quilts. All the time. But this horrific event has so profoundly moved me, and the response of that Christian community in Charleston is beyond anything I could ever imagine.  I just wanted to honor those who live worthy lives, and in death, those left behind offer an agonizing dignity that we should all hope to aspire to.

I hope you'll try your hand at the South Carolina Star. May it brighten your day!

Monday, June 22, 2015

2016 Wall Calendar of Quilt Blocks Has Arrived!

I'm so excited. The newest of my calendars has arrived and I received my author shipment a few days ago. I've been creating these calendars since 2006, but I am still thrilled to get one right off the presses.
2016 Wall Calendar of Quilt Blocks
This calendar is different in that there are no patterns (GASP!) Just a picture of a quilt block every single day for all of 2016. I plan on sharing what I've termed "Blocks of the Moment" as often as I can. That means that I will be sharing the PATTERNS for some of these blocks as we head into the Summer and Fall. I want you to go looking for it! Ask your local quilt shop to carry it (I just arranged with Checker Distributors to carry it).

What patterns do I have in mind? How about one of the Laurel Wreath birds?
Laurel Wreath blocks are 12" x 12"
Or perhaps a Hawaiian applique block, 14" square (with full size template)?

14" Hawaiian Applique Block

And one of my favorites - LOVE Letters. I've already made a small wall hanging with those letters I made back in February. Do you remember these?

LOVE Letters
I used these glorious Benartex red fabrics and made the banner using my pattern from the 2007 calendar. Do you see those cute little bugs at the top? I use them in the block sashing and so I call the block LOVE Bugs. Can't wait to show it to you (and give you the FREE pattern).

Selection of red fabrics from Benartex

Here is the block pattern I used:

Stay tuned. The LOVE banner will be first and will be soon! That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

I received a request from someone (Judy) yesterday wanting to know about my Fish Placemats from 1996. Do the math: that's almost 20 years ago. Yikes! They appeared in Quick Quilts Magazine and I've used these blocks in various calendars over the years.

Fish Placemats
I have been online since 1993, with a web presence since 1997. I created a HUGE "lessons" page and I think Judy must have happened on that treasure trove. Would you like the link? A little later - be patient! Here are the 3 fish patterns I have in this very old lesson: Algernon the Angelfish, Thomas the Tuna, and Marvin the Mullet. Aren't they cute?

Three little fish
I have not updated the files. It is an old html page, but all the info for making the placemats and paper piecing the fish is there. It's sort of a blast from the past, but everything is in color and there are two links for constructing the fish and placemats.

I no longer own these. I sewed them for the magazine and one of the editors claimed them. Here's the link patterns: Fish Placemats

You can order my By the Sea Collection of paper pieced fish and boats (15 patterns in two sizes), which comes with over 100 MORE paper pieced blocks in the 117 Paper Piecing Patterns CD. The correct price is $12 for the 117 patterns (on the order form). But, the above 3 fish patterns are FREE to everyone. International shipping is extra, so check with me first before ordering. And you can order the CD via PayPal, also.

I am tempted to make these again. They were so much fun to make and I hope you'll enjoy making them, too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Windham Wednesdays Sneak Peek and 2 free patterns

I have a soft spot for patriotic fabrics and keep them all together in my stash. Here is a new one from Windham Fabrics titled simply "USA." With denim backgrounds and plenty of stars and stripes, this is a grouping that works well for those fabulous Quilts of Valor many are making.

USA Collection by Windham Fabrics
Yes, I know that the 4th of July is in 2 weeks, but these fabrics can be used all year long. Stay tuned for my reveal in 2 weeks with not one, not two, but FOUR large 18" blocks made with this collection. "Oh, that's easy," you say. Not if I split up the collection with my friend Jeannine so she could make something with them herself. We each took 4 fat quarters (one by one), and then split the last four fat quarters. So, my fabrics were limited. (I did add some plain white fabric.)

I think it will be fun to see what the two of us come up with. Jeannine does not sew for a living and makes things other than quilts with her fabric. Me? I always think "blocks" and "quilts."

If you'd like some Americana and patriotic quilt inspiration, please visit all the Star Spangled Banner posts I shared last September (this link is for the winners of the fabrics and gives links to all 7 of the days with free patterns).

American Beauty Quilt by Leslie Sonkin and Debby Kratovil
 Or maybe this one . . .

Patriot's Day quilt by Debby Kratovil
Stay tuned for my reveal of the four 18" blocks made with the new USA Collection.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fat Quarter Friendly Windham Wednesdays

Last week I gave a sneak peek of a new collection by Windham Fabrics, Stella by Lotta Jansdotter. Oh, how I LOVE all of Lotta's fabrics. From Bella to Glimma to Mormor and many more more!

Stella by Lotta Jansdotter
Bella was the first collection of Lotta's that I designed with. Allow me to give you a quick peek at what I did with those fabrics:
Bella's House, an improv quilt
You can see how I constructed some of those window units here: Bella's House

I also had two projects using this Bella Collection published in a past issue of Modern Patchwork.

Faced hot pads (no binding)
 And a table runner to go with:
Same blocks as the hotpads
Now, for the Stella Collection and our FREE PATTERN that is fat quarter friendly:

Remember the Half Log Cabin blocks I was inspired by? These were made with some older 1930s reproduction prints from Windham and a solid white:

6" Half Log Cabin Blocks
My Stella project is fat quarter friendly. Do you ever splurge and buy a beautiful, bundled group of fat quarters and have no idea what to do with them? I hope this project using Stella fat quarters will give you something fun to consider.

I began with a 10" block in mind. I decided to use two different sizes of the logs. Having an equal number of lights and darks in the collection made it simple to figure out what to use where. Here is the Cutting Chart you can download and print (do NOT distribute, please)

I cut ALL MY STRIPS along the 22" length. For example, the narrow strips I cut 1-1/2" x 22" (and not the 18" width). This gave me more usable fabric.

For EACH SET OF TWO BLOCKS I cut two 2" x 22" strips and three 1-1/2" x 22" strips. I also cut one 3" square from each of the two colors.
Narrow and Wide logs with center 3" square (light square is hiding somewhere)

These are the two blocks:
Block #1 has the light center square

Block #2 has the colored center square
Each set of two fat quarters (a light and a dark) will make four 10" Half Log Cabin blocks. This uses 14" of fabric (out of a possible 18"). Four blocks is a whopping 20" x 20"!

After I sewed one complete block, I did some serious chain sewing! Here are the steps for Block #1, Round 1:
Add the "dark" wide logs to two sides of the light square. Press toward logs that are added
Here is a mistake! You never sew the same color to the center log. Time to rip!
A big NO NO! Colors alternate
Add logs, narrow/wide two by two:
Round two (narrow light logs) - Oh No! Have the logs in wrong position!
 Moved those light logs! Remember, these are Half Log Cabins and all logs are added to two sides only. The center square will always stay on the outside - it never gets covered on all four sides.

Second round of wide logs
And the next round (sorry it's fuzzy quality). . .

Second round of narrow logs

Third round of wide logs
And the final round:
Third and final round of narrow logs
I made a total of 16 blocks, squeezing the life out of the fat quarters (I actually had a good amount left). One key point about joining the blocks: you really need to pin the junctures where the seams meet. The seams of the neighboring blocks do not nest. Can you see my pins? This is really important.
Pin at each seam; pins are parallel to the seams
Here are two assemblies of the blocks that I considered:
Assembly #1
Assembly #2
I asked a fellow quilt teacher (who's artistic eye I trust) which she liked. She prefers the second one. And that's what I did!
Sixteen 10" blocks
I love this arrangement where it appears that there's a center block when it's just twisted and turned in relation to the outer blocks!

And what about those gray prints that were part of the collection? I did use them, but not in this quilt. Here are the 2 x 2 blocks I cut and stitched:
The grays are lovely, too!
Hope you enjoyed seeing what you can do with a fat quarter bundle. I actually used a total of 8 fat quarters for the quilt center shown above (40" x 40" without borders). I have some plans for a border, but didn't get to it in time. Will update you when it's all finished!