It feels like forever since I have checked in with you. I read through all the thoughtful comments from my last post and could not select just one winner, so I randomly picked two. Be sure to read to the end to see who will be receiving my new pattern/ruler pack. If you missed seeing the post, simply click here. I challenged myself with a charm pack, large scale floral fabrics and a 20-degree wedge ruler. It was great fun. I’m still in play mode and don’t see an end in site any time soon.
So much has happened here since the last time I checked in. I have completed my new pattern, the Blooming Wedges Table runner and had some personalized 20-degree wedge rulers made. The two combine perfectly into a neat little pack. I have just shipped my first order to a major distributor so they should be available to shops very soon! In the meantime, if you are interested, I am offering a 50% off special on my website until May 31st. The special price is $12 plus $2.50 shipping. If you don’t use PayPal, just simply leave a request in the Comments and I will be happy to contact you via email.
I have also taught Wedge Play workshops at several local guilds and have been so pleased to see the abundance of creativity and willingness to play with fabric and rulers. To say I’m beyond excited, is an understatement.
Although the pattern has specific instructions for making the table runner, there are endless design possibilities using the ruler.
Below are just a few of the projects currently on my design wall.
I’m heading out on a four-day quilting retreat next week with the goal of finishing these quilts. Wish me luck!
This is my favorite so far . . . made from silk tie samples.
I’ll be sure to post updates with my next post. Finally, the lucky winners of the pattern/ruler pack are Jane from MA and Judy White. I will be sending you an email shortly to get your mailing addresses. Please be sure to share your projects.
As always, many thanks for checking in. Until next time, happy creating everyone!
It’s curious to me that sometimes I have to schedule a play date in my sewing room in order for things to get done. I guess this is just a sign of busy times. Fortunately it’s not always like this!
I’m just now getting back to playing with the charm packs and floral fabrics that I started in my last post. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap and details of my process.
I started with a charm pack (5″ squares) of solid Kona Cotton fabrics by Robert Kaufman. I separated the solid fabrics and then paired them with some floral fabrics from my collection.
I set aside one of the six solid fabrics from each group. Then used my new 20-degree wedge ruler to cut the remaining solid squares into fabric wedges. I got 2 fabric wedges from each square. There was a bit remaining that I decided not to use in this project.
After cutting, there were 10 fabric wedges from each group. I arranged nine and then sewed them together to make half of a circle.
The next step is to make a straight cut along the edge of the three inner fabric wedges. I placed the completed half circle on my cutting mat and used a ruler to determine the distance from the straight, left-hand edge of the circle to the outer edges of the three inner fabric wedges.
Cut the excess.
Turn the fabric on the mat and make two additional cuts, as shown.
It will now look like this.
Next, I straightened the top edge even with the lowest point of the curve.
I cut the squares that were set aside earlier, as shown in the photo.
These are sewn to the bottom corners, and then trimmed to size.
Next, I cut a floral piece of fabric for the top of the block and joined the two halves together.
I did the same for the remaining combos. Here are the finished blocks. My next step will be deciding what to do with them. . . I see another play day in my future.
I must share with you that after my previous post on this challenge, I received a comment from my friend Anita Grossman Solomon, that she too had been playing with the charm pack of Kona solids that she received in her goodie bag at the same Craftsy event. Not only was she playing with the solids, but also combining them with large floral prints . . . what are the chances?
I asked Anita if I could share her blocks with all of you. Here you can see another simple use of the solids squares combined with beautiful floral fabrics.
Like myself, Anita too has a new class on Craftsy, “Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks: Wrenches, Stars and Twists”. She shares lots of innovative tips for cutting and block construction. If anyone can simplify the process, it would be Anita . . . that’s the name of her game. Please visit her website to learn more about her books, patterns and workshops. To preview her online class with Craftsy, simply click here.
My new 20-degree wedge rulers just arrived. I’d like to send one along with my new table runner pattern to one of our readers. Please just leave me a comment by Friday April 22nd, letting me know what you would like to play with wedge rulers. I will announce the winner with my next post.
When I got up this morning, my plan was to write a post about all the happenings in my life over the past 6 weeks. It’s been extremely busy with lots of traveling and teaching. As I started to write, I could feel the need to put on the brakes and shift gears. What can I do NOW to support my creativity? With only about 1 hour of free time today, I decided to give myself a challenge. I quickly looked around my sewing room. There sitting on my cutting table was a charm pack which had been tucked into the goodie bag I received at the recent Craftsy Summit, a training camp for instructors.
The pack contains forty-two 5″ squares of solid fabrics. My plan is to use all 42 pieces in a new design . . . the clock is ticking ; ). Funny thing is, I found this to be fun. I know I work best under pressure!
As much as I enjoy working with solids, I think my first love is prints. I have a nice collection of Kaffe Fasset, Phillip Jacobs and Brandon Mabley prints, so I pull out of my stash.
I begin sorting through the charm squares and pairing them with the print fabrics. I narrowed it down to 7 prints combined with 6 of the solid squares. Here are six of the combinations I came up with. I will show you the seventh combination in a bit.
The next step is deciding what to do with the combos. I have enjoyed playing with wedge rulers recently and want to continue experimenting with new designs. So, I took 5 of the 6 squares from each combo and cut them into wedges. You will note that I am only going to use 9 of the 10 wedges that I was able to cut from the 5 squares ( only used 1 of the pink wedges as only 9 are necessary to make a half-circle.
Here’s what it looked like after I sewed the 9 wedges together, trimmed the edges and then used the 6th fabric from the combo to form the side triangles. I looks like a basket bottom to me.
These solids were combined with this Kaffe Fassett fabric as my 7th combination.
I’m happy to see that this plan seems to work and I will be able to use all 42 of the solid squares. My time is up for the today but I will definitely be working more on this design and give you an update in my next post. Please let me know if you find this interesting as I will be happy to add more instructions and tutorials for cutting and sewing.
Speaking of updates, my third class with Craftsy, “Quilting with Confidence: Your Questions Answered” has recently gone live. I am excited about this class as it covers everything from selecting patterns to the final binding. It is perfect for beginning quilters and those wanting to take a leap into the creative world of quilt making. This link will take you to all of my classes. While on the Craftsy site, feel free to look around. There are many wonderful course offerings. Also, if you are interested in learning more about designing with wedge rulers, you might consider Debbie Caffrey’s new class “Smart Techniques for Working with Wedges“. There is always so much to learn!
Until my next post, I wish you all a Happy Spring!
“I am not sure I have any tips either, except to stop worrying about the “rules” and what other people think, and do what comes naturally to you. If you strive for order, make a quilt that fits your style. If you like freedom and chaos, then make that type of quilt. Also, don’t expect perfection the first time you do something.”
Congratulations, Shasta! We will be contacting you to get your address for your book delivery! And thank you to everyone that entered. Be sure to take time to read through the comments for some very useful tips.
I wonder if you are smiling as I am at the title of this post? Of course I’m a collector and I’m guessing that if you are a quilter, sewer, knitter, crafter or maker in any art form, you too have a large collection of supplies to support your passion. In this case, I’m not referring to the obvious collection of fabric, threads, yarns, etc. but other objects that you choose to collect, just because you love them and most importantly, they make you happy. I’m curious to know what constitutes a collection, 3 or more items, how did the collection begin and what inspires us to collect?
When I was a child, I remember my parents giving me a folder for collecting pennies. I was initially intrigued and made several trips to the bank to exchange paper money for rolls of pennies, hoping to be lucky enough to find an older, sought-after coin. Unfortunately, I had neither the patience nor the luck, and soon lost interest.
During my college days, I was drawn to ladybugs. I loved finding them in unsuspecting places. They always made me happy. I purchased a small painted one and kept it in my pocket. For some reason, it brought me comfort. Apparently, the word got out and I started receiving all sorts of ladybug inspired gifts. Here’s a peek at some of the ladybug items you would find hiding around my house.
It was the ladybug that inspired “Ladybugs on Parade”, the first design in the From Me to You pattern line, which I designed with Diana McClun.
I recently acquired a portion of my mother’s hummel collection. It got me thinking about how my mother got started collecting these figurines and why they were so precious to her. I remember her telling me that she received her first one as a wedding gift, in 1952.
I have no idea how long it was before she either purchased or received another one. I only know that through the years, she received many more as birthday and Christmas gifts. My siblings and I would hunt for the perfect one to add to her growing collection. It was always a sure bet that she would love the chosen figure and proudly display it in a curio cabinet devoted specifically to this collection.
As sweet as these are, they are not something I would be inspired to purchase. However, my newly acquired collection will always be dear to my heart, knowing how much they meant to my mother.
In addition to my favorite ladybug collection, I have small collections of wooden houses, teacups and ceramic teapots and mailboxes.
Pati has a small collection of antique Oriental pan irons. “Pan irons were used for smoothing silks by putting hot coals or sand in them, then moved in a circular motion. Each iron was decorated differently to tell it’s own story. I only have a few of them, because I have never found an interesting way to display them.” Pati explains.
Pati also has a collection of hearts that hang on a wall. She says she doesn’t exactly have a theme. But each one has a special meaning or memory attached to it.
Jennifer Rounds, one of our former SHWS writers, says “I love blue and white pottery, and lately, I am a fan of bowls and plates. Blue and white is so clean and pure.”
I chatted with my students yesterday about their own collections. It was interesting to hear their stories and learn what inspired them to hunt for their treasured items. Some of the obvious to me were thimbles, buttons, teapots, typewriters, bells and hearts. The most fascinating, and one I was not familiar with, was a crystal spooner. I quickly did a google search to find the following. “A popular collectible today, the spooner or spoon holder, provided as much symbolic value as function for Victorian society. The prominently displayed spoons were a clear sign of ready hospitality, as well as a status symbol for the increased affluence among the expanding middle class who could now afford silver spoons, or at least a good facsimile.” (patternglass.com) Hmmm, I just might have to keep my eyes out for these. However, would it mean I would also need to start a collection of vintage spoons? Could be fun!
We love hearing your stories, so please feel free to share the most interesting and/or unusual thing you have ever collected, and tell us what inspired you to begin the collection?
Greetings to all our regular readers and welcome to those of you new to our blog. Today I am excited to be participating in a Craftsy Blog Hop/Tour with several other Craftsy instructors. I’m pleased to be among this exciting line-up of instructors who will each be sharing a bit of information on their classes. On this tour you will find a variety of inspirational classes. Craftsy offers an abundance of other creative class choices as well, so be sure to check them out. Two of my personal favorites are baking (hmmm, what a surprise) and bread making. There is something for everyone – jewelry making, woodworking, painting, photography and so much more.
You will have an opportunity to visit each of the blogs, learn about the classes, and sign up, if interested. You will automatically be entered to win a FREE Craftsy class of your choice. You can find all the details below.
Here’s a bit about me and my Craftsy class, Improve Your Quilts: 37 Troubleshooting Techniques. As you may know, I’ve been quilting, writing and teaching since the early 80’s. I am happiest in the classroom and especially enjoy helping students problem solve some of the challenges that often occur. In my class I address many of the most common disappointments (I truly don’t like the word mistake) that can arise during the quilt making process. There are seven lessons that cover everything from fabric selection to binding.
Want to know how to avoid cutting those disappointing bent strips? It’s all in the preparation of your fabric. Take time to press the fabric, properly align the selvages and be sure the folded edge is without ripples before you make your first cut. This is no time to rush. Accurate cutting helps to prevent disappointments . . . and wasted fabric. Remember, success comes in the details.
Fabric selection … ah, yes. This seems to be one of the most challenging steps for many of us. There are so many wonderful bolts of fabric to choose from. How do I know where to start? I share several tips, including the use of Joen Wolfrom’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool. This tool includes 24 color cards plus and in-depth instructional guide to help make color planning easy. It’s both fun and user friendly. By the way, Joen also offers a color class on Craftsy.
Here’s the schedule and links to the participating blogs. Happy Hopping Everyone!
My first class with Craftsy was the FREE 2013 Block of the Month. It is always available. You can join the classroom by simply clicking on the image on the sidebar of this page.
Here’s how to enter the Craftsy giveaway.
Click here to purchase any of the classes from the instructors on the blog hop and you will be automatically entered to win any other class of your choosing for FREE at the conclusion of the blog hop. Winners will be chosen on December 14, 2015.
In addition to the Craftsy Giveaway, I would also like to send a signed copy of my most recent book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!, third edition, to one lucky reader. Simply post a comment by end of day, December 14th, letting me know your favorite creative outlet (sewing, quilting, knitting, etc.) and I will put your name in the hat. I’ll announce my winner with my next post.
Finally, I want to thank so many of you for your heartfelt comments from my recent Paying it Forward post. I had a hard time selecting just one, so I decided to randomly pick the following 3 readers to each receive a yard of fabric from my stash: Brita, Jean and Carol Stickelmaier. I will be contacting you shortly. Pass it on everyone, you are all the best!
Oh yes, and just one more photo before I sign off, just because I’m such a lover of ladybugs, and couldn’t resist sharing.
Doesn’t it always feel good when something nice and unexpected comes your way? Or better yet, when you are on the giving end of such a gesture. I recently returned from Tennessee and while standing in line for lunch at a local restaurant, the young man in front of me asked the cashier to pass his change (about $3 or so) on to the next person in line. That would be me! It just gave me a moment to pause and smile. How lovely, I thought. I decided to keep the chain going by passing my change on to the next person. Who knows just how long it went on, it really doesn’t matter. I only know that in the moment, it felt good.
I returned home to find this sweet treasure waiting for me in the mailbox. My dear friend, Anita Grossman Soloman, knows how much I adore ladybugs so, as you can read, has passed her leftover piece on to me. The fabric is Indochine: Lotus Leaf Ladybugs Indigo by Alexander Henry Fabrics. I have it in red but had not yet seen it in indigo. Thank you, Anita!
I plan to use the fabric to make some little treasure that will remind me of Anita and how much I both love her work and am so grateful for her friendship. But, before I do, I’m going to cut the piece in half and share it with Pati. I don’t want her to feel obligated to use it or even challenge her to make something specific, but I will be anxious to see what she might come up with if she does decide to use it.
We could go on and on sharing our pieces and cutting them in half until there is nothing left but a pile of threads. Instead I would like to send one of you a 1/2 yard piece of fabric from my stash and encourage you to share with someone special. If you are interested in playing along, please simply leave a comment by November 25th telling me if you have a particular style of fabric or color that speaks to you. I will put your name in the hat and announce the winner in my next post. I’ll be anxious to hear what you have to say and then have fun hunting through my stash to find just the perfect one to share.
Until next time, enjoy this wonderful season of giving thanks!
Pati and I are finally able to share with you the first of the four blocks we made for the 100 Blocks in 50 Days challenge sponsored by Janome and Michael Miller Fabrics. It is called Jigsaw Landscape and is made using fabrics from Michael Miller’s new Cotton Couture line of solid fabrics.
Here is the collection of fabrics we had to choose from for our challenge blocks.
For this block, I decided to try my hand at cutting and piecing free-form curves. You can watch our video tutorial here and Pati’s advanced curve piecing post here. You will find complete downloadable instructions for making this block, along with all other 99 blocks, on Janome’s blog. In addition to getting free instructions, you will find a few exciting offerings so please take time to visit the website and take advantage of this opportunity. If you are just joining the viewing fun, you might want to check out our previous post to see what these two companies have in store for a few lucky winners.
Have fun with this challenge and we hope to see you back here for my second block on December 16th and Pati’s on December 17th and 22nd.
If you are new to our blog, we thank you for visiting and hope you take time to look through some of our previous posts, enjoy some free patterns, recipes and video tutorials.
In my last post, I shared some tips for drafting and cutting pieces for a Tumbling Diamonds quilt block. As some of you suggested in the comments, it may have been easier to paper-piece this pattern. This may certainly be the case, for those of you who enjoy paper piecing. You will however, need to start with the drafted pattern and then cut into sections required for paper piecing. For those of you, like myself, who like traditional piecing, I am including some tips for construction of this block. the more I work and play with it, the more I just love it. I can see it in many fabric and design options.
Here’s the block, now let’s get started.
If you missed my previous post and would like to follow along, click here to get all of the cutting instructions.
Step One: Sew the A-1 and A-2 strips together lengthwise. To avoid waste when cutting, offset the strips 2″, as shown.
Step 2: Use the 45-degree angle marking on your ruler to cut diamond units. The cut width of the units is the same measurement used to cut the individual strips. The photo shows a 2″ wide cut.
Step 3: Place the diamond units exactly as shown, and then use pins to secure at the center and near the ends. Be consistent with the placement of the fabrics in all four pieced diamond units. In my sample, the navy fabric is always at the ends. Sew two units together. It is important to note that the stitching line begins and ends where the two units touch. Press the seam first on the wrong and then right side to complete the pieced diamond.
Step 4: Sew the pieced diamonds to the fabric B triangles. Note the exact placement of the pieces when stitching, as there should be extensions on both ends.
Step 5: Sew the new units to the fabric C center square. It is important to begin and end the stitching line 1/4″ from the edge of the C square, as shown and indicated by the pencil line on the fabric. Take a few backstitches at the beginning and end to secure the stitches. Repeat with all four sides.
Step 6: The final block construction joins the side pieces at the corners….yeah, y-seams!! The most important thing to remember in this construction is to never stitch beyond the 1/4″ lines, as shown.
Step 7: Give your completed block a final press, first on the wrong and then right side.
Let’s look at some design options for this block.
Without having to make multiple blocks, you can preview what four will look like together. Often times, the secondary designs formed where blocks are joined can be just as interesting or perhaps even more so that the original block. I used two mirror squares that are taped together to form a hinge. I am just loving this block and plan to play with more colors and fabric options.
Here’s what the block looks like if side triangles are added. An alternate block is created joining them together. I think it would be fun to use a variety of fabrics for the corner triangles.
I think I need to play more with this block. I hope you might feel the same. Up next, Pati will share her interpretation of this blocks, using the same fabrics. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Be sure to join us.
In my last post, I included a short video that Pati and I recently made. In the video I suggest to Pati that we share with you some of the steps we each use in designing our quilts. I looked through the very first quilting book I ever purchased, “The Quilters” by Patricia Cooper and Norma Bradley Buferd and was intrigued by an image of the quilt labeled as “Tumbling Diamonds”. The credit indicates the quilt is from Texas around 1910 and in the Cooper and Buferd Collection. I suggested to Pati that we use this pattern and challenge ourselves to make blocks using some current fabrics.
Here are the 5 new fabrics that I selected for our projects. Since I failed to include the names of the fabric manufacturers and designers on the video, I am adding them here, just in case you are interested in adding some of these beauties to your stash.
White multi-print – “London Calling” (Spice) by Robert Kaufman
Black floral – “London Calling” (orchid) by Robert Kaufman
Pink with bowls – “Zephyr” by Rashida Coleman Hale for Cotton and Steel
Green/Yellow geometric – “Birch Farm – Chicken Coop” by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit
Navy with letters – “Playful” by Melody Miller for Cotton and Steel
Often we find patterns or inspiration in a book, magazine or an online source. Making a traditional pieced block without a pattern or instructions can be a bit challenging. It’s nice to at least have a starting point so I consulted my two usual resource books. I was not successful in finding this exact block. I did however, find one in Jinny Beyer’s book that is very close. It is called “Roads to Berlin” and listed under the 4-patch category of blocks. I could easily draft a block similar to Tumbling Diamonds using the diagram shown. But my stubborn self likes a challenge so I decide to attempt drafting it as close to the original as possible Note that the diamonds are both long and not pieced, as shown in the quilt pattern.
In this post I will share with you how I drafted the Tumbling Diamonds block and then determined the cutting sizes of the fabric shapes. My next post will include tips on block construction as well as some fun setting options. I hope you might be tempted and inspired to play along and make one for yourself.
I did play with this pattern on graph paper, but found the sizes to be challenging, especially when working with the pieced diamonds. So, rather than working in the traditional way of marking a finished size block onto graph paper and then filling in the shapes, I decided to start by drafting the pieced diamonds and build from there to complete the block. This is definitely not my usual way, but it worked great for this block and I too learned something along the way.
My goal was to both use easy to cut measurements and strip-piece the two fabrics together that are used for the diamonds. I randomly decided to make make each small diamond 1″ finished, and started the drafting process, as shown. I know that many of you skilled with design programs can do this much quicker and easier than this, but I’m one of those old-school girl types! I enjoy working with graph paper and pencil. Either way, I hope you might give this a try.
Step One: Mark a corner of the block, then a 45-degree angle line from the corner into the center. Finally, mark two parallel lines, 1″ apart, as shown.
Step Two: Mark two additional diagonal lines, as shown. This completes one pieced diamond.
Step Three: Use the 45-degree marking on your ruler to add more lines, as shown. These lines determine the finished size of the quilt block. This one is 6-7/8″ x 6-7/8″.
Step Four: Refer to the photos to continue marking lines to complete the shapes in this block.
Step Five: This photo includes all the markings needed to define the shapes in the block. The shapes are labeled, A, B & C and cutting measurements included. Note that the A diamonds are labeled 1 & @ to indicate that two fabrics are used.
Here’s an easy reference chart for cutting fabric shapes to make one Tumbling Diamonds block. I am also including cutting measurements for a 10-3/8″ finished block, just in case you are interested in making a larger block but want to avoid the drafting process ; ). Get your fabrics out and start cutting. I know you will enjoy the process.
To make one 6-7/8″ x 6-7/8″ finished block
A-1 & A-2: One 1-1/2″ x 42″ strip, from each of two fabrics
B: One 5-1/4″ square. Cut the square twice, into quarters diagonally.
C: One 3-3/8″ square
To make one 10-3/8″ x 10-3/8″ finished block
A-1 & A-2: One 2″ x 42″ strip, from each of two fabrics
B: One 7-1/4″ square. Cut the square twice, into quarters diagonally.
C: One 4-7/8″ square.
Be sure to check back as my next post will include helpful hints for construction and setting options. Following that, Pati will share her block using the same inspiration pattern and fabrics. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with, and hope you will feel the same.