Thursday, July 27, 2017

Christmas in July with Nordic Holiday and Fabric Giveaway

Amanda Murphy has done it again! Her latest collection, Nordic Holiday (by Benartex Fabrics) is refreshing, modern and appeals to just about any quilter. Snowflakes, reindeer, bears and a non-traditional holiday color palette combine to inspire all sorts of patterns.

The fabrics I was sent (no bears or stars, tho)
Amanda includes a lovely reindeer in her collection.

Nordic Holiday reindeer
I have a similar one I designed in 2004.

Reindeer from my Merry Merry quilt
I initially was going to bring out my Merry, Merry patterns from 2006. I shared this appliquéd reindeer here last year as a free pattern. What? You missed that? Click here for that quilt pattern (with a Christmas tree, angel and other blocks).

It didn't take long for me to decide on a pattern.
And what did the fabrics say to me? (You know I wait for them to talk to you before cutting!)

I was heading for a Lone Star block - very, very BIG! Here's one quarter:

One quarter of a VERY BIG Lone Star block
And the quilt, flying in the summer breeze:

Lone Star Block: 29" x 29". Then borders . . .

Take a hop on over to the Sew in Love with Fabric (Benartex) blog and see the steps for a beautiful Holiday Lone Star quilt. I show the steps for making the quilt WITHOUT Y-SEAMS (as you can see).

Two weeks of Christmas in July with fabric giveaways
Come back here and leave a comment for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Nordic Holiday fabrics. Contest is over at midnight Saturday July 29th. USA residents only (as per Benartex).

I also made some very quick, small projects using my new workshop pattern, Double Hexie Stars. Let me show you!

Double Hexie Star (16" x 18") using the Snowflake fabric for the center

I fussy cut this awesome reindeer for my next star
 And, after you see what's at the Sew in Love with Fabric blog post today, you will understand why I couldn't toss the remaining bits of the red reindeer print. Cut 5 hexagons, set with triangles and this will be a quick table topper for a housewarming gift come December!
Five hexagons featuring those reindeer
Now, get on over to the Sew in Love blog to see my tutorial. Come back here and leave a comment for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of these fabrics!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Panels Become Kids' Quilts

FIRST: Congratulations to Leslie W. of Alpharetta, GA who is the winner of the fat quarter bundle of Christmas fabrics from Windham! Thanks to everyone who left a comment.

Like I always say: to a quilter, anything in fabric can become a quilt! My friend Jeannine Davies likes to make baby quilts for all sorts of relatives and friends' babies. She has found using book panels is a quick way to get that done.

A little history here: about 3 years ago I came across a HUGE group of book panels for sale at my local quilt shop. When I say huge, I mean I had to buy about 15 at once (as they were bundled). But I think I only paid about $15 for the lot. And there were several other bundles there. I came home and called Jeannine and she went back the next day and bought some. We swapped a few and I have since given away many of those. But she and I kept a few and here are some of her most recent creations.

We had about a dozen of the Funky Monkey panels. Easy to cut up, add sashing and backing. She bought a Sock Monkey to go with each of the two she made.

Funky Monkey Quilt #1
 Twin quilts for two babies:

Two quilts

Aren't these sweet?
Then she also took a Pokey Little Puppy panel and added some pieced squares:
Pokey Little Puppy
And she made two of these! She used a pattern from a quilt magazine.

Two quilts with her kitty checking out the dogs on the quilt!
She used part of the panel to piece the back. Very clever, right?

Very clever label from the book panel!
So, if you need a child's quilt in a hurry, consider what Jeannine did. I know there are lots of ideas online. Simple is good enough for a child. After all, they want to see those fun blocks; they're not interested in your piecing skills!

Jeannine is putting the quilt sandwiches together on those Pokey Puppy quilts and will come down the street to my house and quilt them on my Handi Quilter Sweet 16. And, of course, she uses my quick binding by machine technique to get these done lickety-split!

Thank you, Jeannine, for sharing your quilts with us today.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 30

Seven more days. Seven more blocks. Patricia does not disappoint!

July 23: Ribbons. (Oh, how I have fond memories of the ribbon counter at the fabric store when I was more craft minded than quilt minded!)

July 23: Ribbons, 10"
 July 24: Ribbon Weave
July 24: Ribbon Weave
July 25: Rolling Pinwheels

July 25: Rolling Pinwheels, 12"

July 26: Lattice Square
July 26: Lattice Square, 12"

July 27: Shooting Squares

July 27: Shooting Squares, 6"

July 28: SpooL and Bobbin (Can you just imagine having ALL those colors available in your sewing room?)

July 28: Spool and Bobbin, 12"

July 29: Stepping Stones

July 29: Stepping Stones, 12"
Patricia does not disappoint! I love seeing all these settings. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed seeing seven more of her blocks made from my calendar of block patterns.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Christmas in July and Fabric Giveaway!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful . . . SO HOT! But, we like to begin thinking about Christmas in July, so here goes! I selected Oh, Christmas Tree by Whistler Studios for Windham Fabrics as the collection to work with. I couldn't resist the drummer boys, the snowflakes and the unexpected golds.

Oh, Christmas Tree by Windham Fabrics
But what really grabbed me was the LARGE (36" x 45") panel.

Oh, Christmas Tree panel
I'll share more on how I plan to use that in a minute. First, I pulled a few fabrics to make one of my LARGE blocks which I call: Big Block Stars. I featured this in my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts. How large? 30" x 30", that's how large.

The plain squares in this quilt are cut 6-1/2". The fabric for the triangles is cut 6-7/8".
Four sweet prints: Geese, penguins, gingerbread men - Oh, My!
I cut these 6-7/8" for squares that will finish to 6". Drew a diagonal line on the wrong side of one, lined them up and stitched 1/4" on both sides of line.

Right sides together; stitched
Cut them apart along line
Cut apart
Press seam toward the darker print and I have two half-square triangle units. 6-1/2" unfinished.

Half square triangle unit. I made 8 of these (4 gold, 4 blue squares)
Now for the square in square units. According to my pattern (which I wrote 10+ years ago), these are 4-3/4" center squares and 3-1/2" red squares with a diagonal line drawn on the wrong side. Stitch 1/4" away from line, trim and press toward the red.
Stitching the corners
Repeat for the remaining two corners.

Repeat the steps above.
I made two with red corners and two with blue (which I eventually changed the centers of).

Make 2 of each. 6-1/2" x 6-1/2" unfinished

Add 3-1/2" x 6-1/2" strips:

Make two of each
Wanted to see some of this on my design wall. Sometimes that's the only way I can figure out if I like a unit or section.

Design wall patches
As you can see, the green print with the blue triangles just didn't have enough contrast. Back to the sewing machine!
Decided to remake some units

And here's a simple graphic to show my fabric placement:

And the real quilt (just a top so far):

Big Block Stars: 30" x 30"
My plans for that large panel is to have it for the back. I will add some random strips taken from my fat quarters to build the Stars Block up to size. Isn't this an awesome panel. A perfect quilt just as it is! An awesome front and an equally awesome back!

Oh Christmas Tree panel
This blog hop by Windham has other spots to visit with even more chances to win fabric!
And now for the giveaway:
  • Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a Fat Quarter bundle of a Christmas collection (either this one or another current one). Fabric will be sent by Windham from their New Jersey warehouse.
  • The giveaway will be open from now until 8PM PST on Sunday, July 23, 2017. The winner for this bundle will be picked at random and we will announce the name HERE on Monday, July 24, 2017 (or as soon as I can as I'm traveling this week).
  • This giveaway is open to everyone, USA and International.
  • If you’re a “no reply” or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment!

Happy hopping!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 29

Back again with seven more beautiful blocks by Patricia Bryant of Australia. She truly has done an amazing job with both the sewing and the styling! This week she shares with us some truly stunning displays.

July 16: Godey Block. This is a very traditional, vintage pattern well over 100 years old.

July 16: Godey Block, 12"
 July 17: Heart Flower (one I designed, not based on any traditional block; just hearts)

July 17: Heart Flower, 12"
 July 18: Double Star
July 18: Double Star, 10"

July 19: Milky Way (yum, yum!)

July 19: Milky Way, 8"

July 20: Mill Wheel Variation

July 20: Mill Wheel Variation, 12"
 July 21: Nosegay
July 21: Nosegay, 6"
 July 22: Radiant Star (don't you just love that fountain behind the block?)
July 22: Radiant Star, 18"
Hope you enjoyed the show!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Free Pattern Friday with Scattered Stars

Another quilt made for a fabric company, this time for Red Rooster. I call this Scattered Stars and it has appeared in my 2017 Block a Day calendar, too.

I used the Stella Collection which is bright and happy with large flowers.

Here is the digital quilt with both 8" and 12" blocks:
Scattered Stars: 50" x 54"
You can find the pattern link (pdf) here: Scattered Stars

There are NO y-seams. The construction is done with one of the blocks split so that you only sew with straight seams. I can "see" that you don't believe me. OK. I'll show you the assembly page, alright?

Assembly of the blocks for Scattered Stars
Yes, there are templates in this, but I know you can do it! Have a great weekend and see you on Sunday with more of the blocks from my Quilter's Block a Day calendar.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Taking Flight with Painted Wings (and FREE pattern)

Here we have another Windham Wednesday featuring the delightful Painted Wings Collection by Whistler Studios. I am partial to bright colors with a lot of good contrast. I also like that there is a sprinkling of gray in this group.

Painted Wings by Windham Fabrics
I immediately thought of my "go to" butterfly appliqué pattern. It is a vintage block that goes back to the 1930s. I have featured it in various projects on this blog in the past few years.

I first made a freezer paper template. This way I can iron it onto the fabric and cut it out without pinning. I first applied fusible webbing to the wrong side of this blue print. I used fusible appliqué to make this very quick quilt.

Freezer paper template ironed to right side of fabric 
Cut out. Peel off freezer paper. Reuse freezer paper for more butterflies!

Cut out butterfly body. Freezer paper will be reused for 3 more appliques.
I selected four prints for the butterfly body, four prints for the centers, and four prints for the 10-12" background squares. I paired them up, cut them out, fused them together to get ready for quick sewing machine appliqué (using my zigzag stitching). You can add antennae if you wish. I got lazy and didn't do it. Here are the four blocks:

Butterfly Block #1
 Butterfly Block #2
Butterfly Block #2 (I love this green!)
 Butterfly Block #3
Butterfly Block #3
 Butterfly Block #4
Butterfly Block #4
I decided I wanted to put a 2" mitered border around each block. I cut two 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips each of two contrasting fabrics. Now watch my Magical Mitering Technique!

Center the strips as shown and sew with 1/4" seam. Do NOT stop at the 1/4" seam as in traditional mitering. You need to see your stitching, so come out another 1/2" or so (you can see my threads). Now, press the strips TOWARD the block. This is important as you need to see the bottom edge of those strips

Butterfly block with first borders
 Center the two contrasting strips and sew from where the stitching shows on the first set of borders. You can see my threads here. It's ok to back stitch. Press these last two borders TOWARD the border strips.
Stitch next set of borders on, beginning and ending at the seams of the previous two borders
 Repeat for each corner. Turn block over and work from the front on your ironing board. Fold the last two borders as shown at a 90  CORRECTION: 45 degree angle. Pin.
Fold and pin in place
I used monofilament thread in my upper thread and a small, short zigzag to stitch the miters down FROM THE FRONT. You have control. I just as easily could have used a navy thread. Believe me, you honestly can't see this (but who cares anyway? This is EASY.)

Stitch miter down using a machine zigzag stitch
 Trim away excess from the back.
Excess trimmed
Now, isn't that SO MUCH EASIER than what I call "wrestling an alligator" in the traditional method of mitering corners? And it is quick, you have so much more control, and you are not sewing a y-seam.
First Butterfly Block with mitered borders. 14-1/2" x 14-1/2" unfinished
What does the quilt look like? I'm glad you asked! Because I was working with 1/4 yard cuts, I had to get creative with the borders. I selected the two butterfly prints in navy and got two borders from each print. Pretty neat, huh?

Isn't this just the funnest quilt? So happy. So flowery. So butterfly-y!

Four Block Butterfly Quilt: 40" x 40". 14" blocks
Here is the link for the Butterfly Applique templates: Butterfly for Painted Wings

Visit the Windham Painted Wings page to see a list of quilt shops that carry this collection!

Here is the general fabric information for this quilt:
  • Four 10-1/2" squares for block backgrounds (can be all the same fabrics or different)
  • Four 7-1/2" x 9-1/2" rectangles for the butterfly body AND four pieces of fusible webbing for the back of the rectangles
  • Four 1-1/2" x 5" rectangles for butterfly centers (contrasting fabrics)
  • Eight 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips (navy) for mitered borders
  • Four 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips (green) for mitered borders
  • Four 2-1/2" x 14-1/2" strips (purple) for mitered borders
  • Four 1-1/2" x wof strips for inner border (turquoise)
  • Two 5-1/2" x wof strips for side borders
  • Two 5-1/2" x wof strips for top and bottom borders
  • Thread for machine stitching the miters
  • 1/3 yard fabric for binding