Thread Journey: My Quilting Heart and Soul & Behind the Scenes!

You might empathize with this sentiment…. sometimes you just sink your entire heart and soul into a project, not necessarily quilting.  My Thread Journey is my most recent heart-and-soul (quilty) project!  It was made as a companion piece for my Subtle Strings Thread collectionYou may remember it hanging at Aurifil‘s booth at Fall Houston Market last year.  You have seen pictures of the quilt quite often on this blog post-Market…

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Thread Journey is my heart-and-soul project because I sought to encompass all that I have learned about quilting (particularly domestic machine quilting) since I took up quilting in 2005, from not ever touching a sewing machine to the present.  It is a quilt of my own original design, and I stayed up many a night just thinking about the design, and colors!  The quilt also has little details from my previous quilts to tie in the “journey” part.

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Thread Journey is being shown in Alex Veronelli’s (of Aurifil) lectures this year.  A great honor.  I actually have a “behind the scene” story to share about Thread Journey.  I would like the story to be more dramatic, but it isn’t really.

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September through November last year were probably the most stressful months I remember experiencing the entire year last year.  I had three trips to make within the span of 3 1/2 weeks that included Market, teaching at Annie’s Craft Festival, and filming three new online classes back to back.  And of course, with each trip, I had to carve out a large chunk of time to make sure things are in order at home (i.e., laying out Miss Baby’s clothes, getting her schedule written out etc) before I could leave in good conscience.  And then, there’s packing props and things which always make me feel uncertain because I was scared to death I would forget something!!!

And of course, a huge (not size, but of importance) prop that I was bringing with me to Fall Market last year was my Thread Journey quilt… because it was going to hang at Aurifil‘s booth!  I took it with me in my carry-on, for fear of losing it if packed in my checked baggage.

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I had fallen sick right up till Market… so, that hampered the progress of my work quite a bit.  I managed to finish quilting the quilt the night before I was to catch my flight to Houston.  I remembered having lunch with Miss Baby on the day I left because I knew I won’t be picking her up as I usually do.  Then off to the airport I went, sharing a van ride with a couple of very cool veterans, one of whom is now an accomplished artist!  As much as I enjoyed the navy officer-turned-artist story, I was thinking about… how unfinished my Thread Journey was:  the binding was not done, the yoyo’s weren’t made, the hand embroidery not yet completed…

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Now, you are SO un-impressed by the way I roll…. yeah, I can understand why!  Last year was an exceptionally busy year for me!   Long story short, I slept little night after I checked into the hotel, and managed to finish up the quilt exactly at 9:45am the following morning when I was supposed to bring by the finished quilt, my heart-and-soul quilt!  That sense of relief — it is unexplainable!!!!  Hearing quilters’ kind words on the quilt at Market meant the world to me.

I was able to have Thread Journey back with me for a few days last month.  For the first time after I completed the quilt, I relived the moments of making the quilting up to the finishing point…. I realized it truly has been a journey!!! I took quite a few more pictures before I sent it on its way again… the following is one of them:

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AND – the journey is continuing, so to speak.  I am re-making this quilt, and will be offering this design as a free pattern in the near future so that we can share a quilting journey/adventure together.  Check back on this blog, and stay tuned for details!

p.s.  If you are new to this blog, Thread Journey’s Fall Market adventure is documented here.

Free-Motion Quilted Heart Ornaments

Hello Friends, there should still be time… Today, I am sharing with you how you can practice your free-motion quilting skills on these small and quick Valentine’s Day heart ornaments.  It’s a win-win deal because you aren’t having to undertake a major project, and you will be finished with the project in a jiffy! :)

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You will need a piece of cardboard to cut into the heart shape you like, pieces of fabric, batting pieces, and stuffing.  I used wool and silk batting scraps.  My heart ornaments measure at the widest 4″ and longest 5″.    The only thing I want to add to the heart shape is that you might not want a “V” to be too deep for your heart shape.  A deep “V” makes turning the heart right side out much harder later.  I ended up having to throw away my first attempt.  Oh, if you want to hang your ornaments, you will need ribbon pieces of desired length.

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You would go through the steps below to complete your heart ornaments.  It’s pretty much what you would do to sew a simple square pillow ornament, except the shape of this ornament is a heart.  For the record, the pillow ornament is the only finishing technique I feel confident of doing.  I am a craft wimp!

#1.  Trace heart shape onto the front of a fabric piece.

#2.  Layer to make a mini quilt sandwich like you would normally prepare a quilt sandwich: backing fabric piece right side down, bating piece and fabric piece with traced heart right side up.

#3.   Quilt the heart with the motif of choice.  Be sure to outline quilt the heart outline you have traced earlier.   After you have quilted the heart, trim around the heart by adding approximately 1/4″ seam allowance. Below you see the quilted heart, trimmed with its edge zigzagged to reduce the bulk.

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#4.  Lay the quilted heart on another piece of fabric you will use to back the pillow ornament. Trace the heart, and cut out the backing heart.

#5.  Lay backing heart and quilted heart, right sides together, with the quilted heart on top.  Sew both pieces together along the heart outline you quilted earlier, leaving an opening.  I actually sewed in the hanging loop in this step. I have seen some who sew the hanging loop after the ornament is turned right side out.  Your choice.

#6.  Turn the ornament right side out.  Stuff with stuffing.  Hand sew the opening shut.

For the quilting option, I have shown you a few options on how you are free to use to quilt your heart ornaments if you aren’t quite sure what to quilt.

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I quilted my ornaments with Aurifil 50wt variegated threads to quilt the ornaments over Hobbs Tuscany silk batting scrap pieces.

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Perhaps you will make some of these cute hearts for Valentine’s Day this year?  I can actually see these as Christmas ornaments as well… Happy Monday, and Happy Week!

Weekend Giveaway: Annie’s LEARN TO MACHINE QUILT

Hello Friends, I hope you have had a great week!  I started a new regimen this week trying to organize my time better…. so far so good!  And I am keeping my fingers crossed. :o)

THESE came in the mail today….. which means my upcoming classes will go live anytime!!!!  In fact, one already has (see below).  As you can see, besides my Learn To Machine Quilt and Machine Quilting Level 2 Classes, there are going to be three additional new classes this year!!!  Please note that these cards are made available for anyone, and have a 20% discount code applicable for ALL five classes shown.  I am happy to send the cards to you, or your quilting group, or your quilting events! Just send me an email at wendy2@wendysheppard.net — and I will get them out to you!  Posters are also available for your events upon requests.

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Anyway, I just found out that my Learn Modern Straight-Line Machine Quilting is out!!!!  Click here to preview the class.  I will post more about the class in the near future with a giveaway of the class.  Stay tuned!

Straight Line Machine Quilting

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So, with the release of the new class(es), Annie’s is sponsoring another giveaway!   This time, it is for one copy of free online class of my first machine quilting class, Learn To Machine Quilt.

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This class focuses on getting quilters comfortable in moving the quilt sandwich to quilt using their domestic machine quilting.  Miss Baby, at 4 years of age, gave a rather concise definition of domestic machine quilting – she called it, “pushing the quilt under the machine.”

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Here are a few simple motifs that are covered as you follow along the class to make this 24″ x 24″ class sample. Granted it is a small sample, it is meant to be that way because the class focuses ONLY getting quilters started on being able to move the quilt sandwich.

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Here are a few cool features of the class:

1.  The class never expires once you purchase it.  You can view it anytime and anywhere you want as long as you have your computer with you, and as many times as you wish.

2.  It is divided into segments in case you need to just review a particular technique, again, as often as you desire.

3.  You will have an “ASK THE INSTRUCTOR” feature where you can ask me questions on the class content!  I shall be there to assist you to the best my ability to get over the humps!  [I think that’s the coolest feature myself as I love interacting with quilters, as some of you can attest, I hope!]

4. Though the prize of this giveaway is a copy of the online version of the class.  This class is also available in DVD format.  Click here to purchase your DVD copy.

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For the Giveaway:  Between now and next Friday, please leave a comment to share with me if you have quilted your own quilts… and what keeps you from quilting your own quilts if you haven’t done so.  Winner will be announce the following Monday.

Quilty THIS OR THAT #13

Hello Friends, welcome to another installment of our Quilty THIS or THAT.  Today’s is very straightforward: Fabric-aholic, or Thread-aholic, if you have to pick one?

These,

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or, these?

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Well, I belong to the latter group! :)  But I am curious where all of you stand on this very important issue. :)  Thank you for stopping by!  I shall catch up with you later!

p.s. And speaking of threads, two ladies have been chosen to receive a free large spool of Aurifil’s 2310 50 wt thread. Please email me your address so that I can mail the thread to you! And this comment is probably my favorite. :) What can I say?  I only recommend what personally works for me!  Hehe.  Have you read about Miriam’s favorite quilter here? [And Miriam, a little something is coming your way, finally!]

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Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #1. Click here for Vicki’s follow up post.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #2.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #3.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #5.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #6.

Click here for Quilty THIS OR THAT #7.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #8.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #9.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #10.

Click here for non Quilty (aka Pointless) THIS or THAT #11.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #12.

FREE PATTERNS: Aquarium & Glass Bottom Boat with Windham’s Aquatic

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well.  Things remain happening at my end with way too many errands to run!   I am preparing a little Valentines Day homework for those of you who do free-motion quilting.  Please bear with me while I get that ready for you in a few days. :) Meanwhile, I have a couple of free patterns to share.

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What do you think of a couple of aquatic-themed designs, both designed with Windham’s Aquatic fabric line?

Today, we have:

#1.  Aquarium

Design 3a_45 x 65

#2. Glass Bottom Boat

Design 2a_66 x 71.75

Click here to find out more the the Aquatic fabrics.  Do check out their focal print!!!

Click here to download Aquarium pattern instructions.

Click here to download Glass Bottom Boat pattern instructions.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have liked seeing my Aquatic designs!  Hugs to you all.

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My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

January: Tulips Quilt using Flower Pedals (Windham Fabrics)

February: Aquarium using Aquatic (Windham Fabric)

February: Glass Bottom Boat using Aquatic (Windham Fabrics)

Tulips Quilt with Windham’s Flower Pedals

Happy Friday and Weekend, Friends!  I hope you have had a great week.   To close out this week, how about another free-to-use pattern that I had designed using Windham’s Flower Pedals fabric line?  This quilt was SO fun to design. It is also easy and quick to put together – perfect for a little girl’s bed!

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The Tulips Quilt sample was displayed at Quilt Market in Houston last fall.  The fabrics are truly amazing!  You need to check with your local quilt shops to see if they are carrying the fabrics or the quilt kits!

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Click here to view the entire fabric line.

Click here to download free-to-use pattern.

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you have a most wonderful weekend — it will soon be “tulip” weather, even if I am still seeing snowbanks wherever I go!  HA!

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My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

January: Tulips Quilt using Flower Pedals (Windham Fabrics)

Aurifil Designer of the Month 2016 Block 1 & Mini Giveaway!

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Hello Friends!  I hope you are well.  Check out this Windham Fabrics’ Blush & Blossoms FQ bundle!  I am sure you know the feeling of owning beautiful fabrics.  These fabrics are seriously beautiful.  I actually didn’t want to cut into these fabrics…. but I have a quilt to make! :)  Click here to view the entire fabric range.

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I am using these Blush & Blossoms fabrics to make quilt with the Aurifil Designer of the Month Blocks. And here is my first block, completed!

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Are you following the fun project, and making the quilt?  If you are, do share your block on Aurifil’s Flickr page. And you will be eligible to win exciting prizes from Aurifil!  Click here to find out more about Block #1 by Heather Valentine.

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I piece all my quilts with Aurifil 50wt cotton thread – the main reason being the thread is so fine that I don’t lose any “real estate” when I press my seams, and that ensures a more than satisfactory accurate finished size for the quilt blocks I make.  If you have never pieced with Aurifil, leave a comment and let me know you would like to.  I would love to know if you are participating in the Aurifil DOM 2016 quilt along.  I will pick two of you to receive a spool in my favorite color (2310) for piecing.  I know, I don’t exactly have a loud personality. :)

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Thanks for stopping by!  Life is a bit crazy busy at my end at the moment.  But my little family is doing well.  And we are almost back to our pre-blizzard routine!

Stitching with Kids… a few thoughts!

Happy Tuesday, Dear Friends.  We are in post-blizzard stage over at my end.  We are doing well besides being snowed in.  My life is already a moving target with working from home and being a Mom and wife.  With school being out, the moving target moved even more for me.  It’s crazy how during snow days, I have to cook and clean more… :)  That left limited time for anything else. :)

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BUT… experiencing the blizzard made me realize there were so many out there that had to work and leave the comforts of their homes to keep things running and still somewhat normal for the rest of us.  A huge shout out to all the emergency and utility company personnels…. Seriously, my having to cook more was a trifle compared to what goes out beyond my little bubble.

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Cooking and cleaning aside, we did pack in fun things like… popcorn, board games, snow-fun, reading, and… stitching.

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I did manage to finish Miss Baby’s Angels ornament by Country Cottage Needleworks into a proper pillow ornament, in time to enter it in the Woodlawn Needlework Show this year!

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Following are a few thoughts about stitching with kids:

  1. Kids at a young age have the advantage of time.  So, as soon as Miss Baby was ready, and before she was distracted by other more modern hobbies, I jumped totally in with getting her started her on needlework.
  2. The work continues for the parent after the initiation process.  At this time, Miss Baby still needs me to thread her needle, and cut off her thread tails when she stitches.  So, it is a labor of love, as well as patience!  I resign to the fact that when we stitch together, my stitches are far and few in between because of interruptions from Miss Baby accidentally stitching the tail in with her other stitches, having to un-stitch mistakes etc.  But all that is worth it… because it is also through sitting together and stitching, Miss Baby and I get to “chat”, and I get to find out her deepest thoughts!
  3. With everything else, hobbies have a certain built-in element of discipline.  With Miss Baby, I have had to “make her” put in a few stitches in her project to help her reach the finishing line.  When she finishes a piece, the work to get to the finishing line seems a very distant memory, and she is filled with the joy of accomplishing something from sticking to the project.  A valuable life lesson is learned.   [So far, she hasn’t gotten the idea of doing multiple projects at one time.  She doesn’t know the concept of UFO’s, and I intend to keep it that way as long as I can… hahaha… I just wonder how long that will be the case because her mother is the queen of UFO’s when it comes to stitching!  I certainly can’t lead by example in that regard. :)
  4. At this age, Miss Baby hasn’t really met another girl her age who also stitches.  So, I have actively shown her pictures of stitching projects that others do to keep her in the stitching community, albeit one that is not in her current and immediate realm of influence.

While supervising Miss Baby’s daily music practice, I managed to finish stitching a Little House Needleworks ornament, but I haven’t had time to totally finish it yet.

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Before I sign off today, I am happy to announce the winner of my giveaway of Katherine Ann FQ bundle is: Sharon (#19).  I have emailed you, Sharon — please reply with your shipping address so that I can get RJR to send out the FQ bundle to you!  Congrats!!!

Alrightie, Dear Friends.  It’s another snow day here — I need to get going with my day so that I can keep the little person in my house happy!  I shall catch up with you later.  You have a most blessed day!!

Duty. Honor. Country.

Dear Friends, many have written to check on my little family.  Thanks so much.  We are officially snowed in, and are snug as bugs.  I just saw the following in the news…. made me proud, and made me pray… for the brave!

Despite the blizzard pounding the D.C. area, The Old Guard is continuing to stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

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I shall sign off for now — I am still working on those pattern instructions.  Good night, Dear Friends!

Free Pattern: Farfalle with Windham’s Whisper

Hello Friends, it’s Friday again! :)  I hope you have had a good week.  It’s time for me to share another free-to-use pattern — Farfalle using Windham’s Whisper fabric group.  This is my fun and a bit modern take on the traditional basket blocks.

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Click here to view the fabric collection.

Click here to download the free to use pattern instructions.

Kudos to the Windham team for coming up with such a cute name for the design.  For the record, I am absolutely, woefully hopeless coming up with names!  So I generally leave the naming part to the companies, and they never disappoint…

Thanks for stopping by!  I want to hear from you if you are going to make Farfalle! :)  Have a great weekend, Dear Friends!

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My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

Snowbirds in FONS & PORTER’S QUILTING QUICKLY (November/December 2015) & Giveaway!

Hello Friends, I hope you are well.  Where I am at, we are currently living like snowbirds in a giant ice chest… we got snow last night… we haven’t even had the “epic” snowstorm/blizzard predicted for us this weekend. All the snow stuff gives me the perfect excuse to share my Snowbirds quilt with you!   The quilt was featured in Fons and Porter’s Quilting Quickly (November/December 2015) issue.

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Snowbirds is totally precuts friendly, and a quick and easy to make and finish lap quit that will surely sweeten anyone’s life.  I love the mix of black, brown, green, orange, purple and pink together.  I had used a Katherine Ann Patty Cake, designed by Patrick Lose for RJR Fabrics.

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Here are a couple more pictures… here you see the quilt with my favorite childhood books that are now also Miss Baby’s, and her “Kotik” (after the white seal in The Jungle Book).

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I quilted feathers in the style of “trip around the world” using Aurifil 50 wt thread over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.  These are long feathers compared to the usual ones I quilt. It’s always more difficult to quilt large on a domestic machine.  If you do, make sure you know your stitching path well.

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GIVEAWAY:  RJR Fabrics is generously sponsoring the giveaway of a Kathrine Ann Fat Quarter bundle. THANKS, RJR Fabrics!

TO ENTER:  Between now and next Thursday (1/28/2015)leave a comment and tell me what your favorite theme(s) for fabric lines is – kids, florals, novelty, etc.  Winner will be announce the following Monday.

MEANWHILE, you may watch a video tutorial hereand purchase the quilt kit here.

I am still running late — and haven’t had a chance to catch up on your emails and blog comments.  Hope to get to them soon.  However, I did find this gem of advice from a Dove chocolate wrapper my husband left on my work desk a couple of days ago… NOW, I know why I am always running behind on things – I am not staying up until the sun rises!!!

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Thanks so much for stopping by.  You all take care, and enjoy the rest of your day!

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p.s.  You might think you had seen the fabrics featured on this blog.  You did!!!  I had another editorial feature with the same fabrics — Sherbet Stars in McCall’s Quilting (Jan/Feb 2016).  Click here to view more pictures.

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Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

FREE PATTERN: Wish You Were Here

Hello Friends,  I am excited to share with you a free-to-use pattern today!  Wish You Were Here was a line that debuted at Houston Fall Market last year.  The picture shows the sample quilt being hung at Hoffman Fabrics’ booth at Houston last year.

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The fabric line features the Paris and Rome versions – where scenes of Paris and Rome are printed on the fabrics. The idea behind the quilt design was to cut up the prints and incorporate them into “stamps” — thus the stamp liked blocks sprinkle all over the quilt designs.

Here is the Rome version:

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Here is the Paris version:

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Click here to view the fabric line.

Click here to download the free to use pattern instructions.

I hope you have liked my touristy Wish You Were Here quilt design.  NOW, I am curious to know if you have a place you should dearly like to visit but haven’t.

Thanks for stopping by!  Back to work I go…. Have a most blessed day!

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My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)