Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 7

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

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Hello Friends, I hope you have been well since our last Spring on Bleecker Street post (Part 6).

But before I share about the new part added to the quilt, let’s enjoy what you have sent in!  And THANK YOU, and good job for keeping up!  And please don’t feel bad if you haven’t been able to devote as much time as you would like on the project.  I know I sure haven’t because of the happenings in my life recently.

This is mine from Part 6.

Billie of http://billiebeesblog.blogspot.com (I have “known” Billie for quite a few years.  I have affectionately called her the queen of BOM’s because she works out the coolest BOM projects. Stop by Billie’s blog and see all the amazing quilts she is making!

Alice’s block is really special to me.  You have read about my major de-stashing effort, and Alice asked to be sent a box of my mystery fabric box!  She ended up incorporated one of the fabrics I sent her in the birdhouse block.  What a sweet gesture.

Gail sent in her Parts 5 and 6 progress pictures.  I love the 30’s fabrics Gail has used, making her blocks take on a sweet and whimsical feel.

Good Job, EVERYONE!  Your quilts will all be absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at anystage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time, and still have a life to live. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. You can go as fast or as slow as life allows.  More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project as I have.

***

I have had another busy month.  Within the last two weeks and a half, I finalized almost 25 upcoming quilt designs. So I have been doing a lot of pattern writing.  I can’t wait to share with you these new designs — there are some really fun ones!

Back to Spring on Bleecker Street — I have only been able to do the applique on both the bird/swirl blocks this month.

There are a few things I thought I would share with you that might help your applique process go a bit smoother.

#1.  I use a lightbox for tracing and placement purposes.  I have this nifty LED lightbox that is really bright (you can get it at Hobby Lobby because that’s where I got mine).  So, the pattern sheet is place on the light box first, and then, the paper-backed fusible for tracing applique pattern pieces to prepare the fabric applique pieces.

Applicable specifically to this pattern, there is no full-sized placement guide included in this pattern, only a guide!  So, after you have prepared your fabric pieces, you will have to guess-timate and approximate where the pieces go.  That’s perfectly fine. I had no problems with that.

NOW — if you want both your blocks to be as close to perfectly mirror-imaged as possible, this is what you would do.  Work and finalize the placement of applique pieces on one block only.  Fuse the pieces in place.  Then, bring that block #1 (with applique pieces) to your light box (or a window if you don’t have one) — place the block RIGHT SIDE DOWN.

Then, place the background block of block #2 right side up, on top of the wrong side of block #1.  You will see where the pieces are placed on block #1, and then you can in turn place the applique pieces on the appropriate spots on block #2.

#2.  We all like to finish our applique pieces differently.  I like to finish my fusible applique pieces with buttonhole stitching.  So the following is applicable only to buttonhole stitching.  I like to use fine threads and small stitches for buttonhole stitching so that they do not dominate over the applique pieces.  In these pictures you see, I have used the newly released Aurifil Mako 80 wt!   The 80wt was developed for hand applique, but the spools are also machine friendly.  So you can actually use the 80wt for machine stitching as well.

I loved using 50wt for buttonhole stitching, and I am loving the 80wt for buttonhole stitching even more!  The picture below shows a close-up of my buttonhole stitches.

#3.  With buttonhole stitching, I always had problems with the direction-changing of the stitching paths where I have to pivot the stitches to be perpendicular to the edge of applique pieces, and more often than not, those pivoting stitches don’t come out looking good.  The other situation that frustrates me is that it’s hard to do buttonhole stitching around sharp points or narrow pieces…. so, over the years, I have come up with using a combination of buttonhole and outline stitching around my applique pieces — buttonhole stitching when the going is good, and then I switch to straight line stitching when the going gets tough (e.g. when I am getting close a pointy edge, or where the piece is just too narrow), and then, once I get through the rough spots, I switch back to buttonhole stitching again!  I like the resulting look much better that way.

You see how by switching to outline straight stitching, I didn’t have to deal with trying to pivot the buttonhole stitching just so…?  It’s much easier for me this way.

Here you see that the swirl on the bird is too narrow for me to really do buttonhole stitching.  So I just outline/straight stitched around it.

Now, I do have to warn you about the switch between stitches:  I always use my hand wheel (instead of my foot pedal) to control where my needle lands right at the edge of the applique piece. 

#4.  As mentioned before, I always press-starch my blocks REALLY good before I sew the applique pieces in place. That way, I don’t have to use a stabilizer on the bottom of the block, and I won’t have anything to peel off after the finishing stitches.

SO I am hoping these tips will help you navigate applique-ing small pieces, and my swirls relatively easily!  If you know me, you know that swirls pop up quite often in my applique designs. :)

Once you are finished with the applique, and are ready to move to the stitchery part, use the following as a guide to mark the embroidery.

dsc_0402

As you know, I didn’t quite get my act together, so I will be using the next few weeks to add the stitchery to my bird/swirl blocks, as well as the birdhouse block.  I will be using my Marmalade Meadows colors…. I love these colors, if I do say so myself. :)

Have you tried stitching with Aurifloss?  If you haven’t, you have to!  One thing that struck me when I first tried it was that my stitches looked much more defined and crisp.  Then, through communicating with Alex Veronelli, he told me the floss is manufactured the same way as the other cotton threads in that an extra step is added to the manufacturing process to reduce the lint!  I know what that step is — but you will have to find out what it is at Alex’s thread lecture.  If you haven’t been to the thread lectures, you have to!!!  

Anyway, you can order these amazing embroidery floss through your local Aurifil dealers, or you may order them online from

#1.  Cinnamon’s Quilt Shoppe here.

#2.  You may contact www.followthatthread.com to order.

#3.  Pumpkinvine Corner (scroll down to the bottom of order page) here.

marmalade-meadows

marmalade-colors

Well, I have my work cut out for me with the stitching this month!  And meanwhile, I have this daunting quilt I am supposed to make for a magazine with about 80 star blocks.  I have to get the quilt top completed in about 5-7 days.  So…. I’d better get going and get star-block-making!!  Till next time, Dear Friends — and Happy Sewing!

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Giveaway — Quilting Treasures Zola Fabrics to make an entire quilt!

Happy Monday, and I hope your week got off with a rousing start.  This is too good to not share!  I had shared with you this free-to-use pattern featuring the Zola fabrics from Quilting Treasures.  I am excited to hear that the fabrics are quickly becoming many’s favorite!!  Quilting Treasures is generously giving away fabrics to make this quilt!!! Click here to enter the giveaway.  I am turning off comments here so that you don’t accidentally leave your comment here and miss the chance on winning. :)

Click here to view the fabric group.  Be sure to check out the adorable snail prints!

Click here to download free to use quilt pattern.

Well, that’s it for now… Friends!  I hope you have a lovely rest of your week.  We have about two weeks before school starts, and still have lots to do before we are ready for school!  Yikes!

Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 6

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

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Hello Friends, I hope you have been well since our last Spring on Bleecker Street post (Part 5).

But before I share about the new part added to the quilt, let’s enjoy what you have sent in!  And THANK YOU!!!!

This is mine, made using Bleecker Street fabrics by Quilting Treasures.

Billie of http://billiebeesblog.blogspot.com (I have “known” Billie for quite a few years.  I have affectionately called her the queen of BOM’s because she works out the coolest BOM projects. Stop by Billie’s blog and see all the amazing quilts she is making!  Seeing her projects always makes me want to retire!

Alice sent in her progress picture as well, despite having had a busy month!  Good job, Alice!  I am loving the calming effect of the blues Alice has used in her blocks!

And here is Kim’s batik version — so happy to see this done in batiks because the batiks give such a sense of depth to any designs.  And you can see that Kim has been VERY busy!!! I love seeing all the blocks that I have yet to make, and I am feeling really motivated!!

Good Job, EVERYONE!  Your quilts will all be absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at anystage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time, and still have a life to live. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. You can go as fast or as slow as life allows.  More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project as I have.

Life took on a crazy pace for me, and before I knew it… another part of the Sew Along is due, ha!  I want to thank all my Sew Along friends for keeping me accountable on this.  I can tell you if you weren’t sewing with me, I wouldn’t have done as much on the quilt as I have.  I have had an under-the-weather Miss Baby for part of this part week, and add to that a rather traumatic experience of being locked out of our house because I was out just for a jiffy getting leaves for our new wooly bear pet!  It was good to finally settle in to get a bit of leisure sewing done.

For Part 6, I am making the birdhouse block – only the pieced portion because I am a bit unorganized currently with my sewing notions as I continue to outfit my sewing room!

Since this block will have some tiny pieces, so I made sure I press-starched my fabrics before I cut them.  The rest is actually quite straightforward with a few things to note:

#1.  When making the flying geese unit, I pressed the seams open so that I made sure I “hit” the point just right when I added the white tonal strip above the flying geese unit in finishing out the block.  Below is a blown-up image of where the point of the flying geese unit meets the white tonal rectangle at the top.

#2.  When I trimmed off the dog ears when making the flying geese units.  I went ahead and cut into the dog ears into triangles to make HST units to make the pinwheel units for the outer border.  With the dog ears, you can cut 4 sets of triangles enough to make HST units for 1 pinwheel unit.

#3.  When making the pieced leaves and stem unit, I pressed the seams to one side when making the pieced row units, but press the seams open when sewing the rows together.  The main reason is that with 1″ finished width, I didn’t want to lose any real estate from pressing the seams to one side.

And here is how my birdhouse block is looking.

I shall be back next month with the applique butterfly and stitchery added to the birdhouse blocks, as well as the swirl and bird applique blocks!

Use the image below as a guide for applique and stitchery if you decide to go ahead and finish the block.

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Happy Sewing-Along, Friends – keep making those pinwheel units!!

Santa’s Crossing in QUILTMAKER (July/August 2017)

Happy Monday, Friends!  I hope you have been well.  My life has been total craziness — it’s actually been that way ever since I made a trip to Southeast Asia back in April.  I thought it would take just a little bit to play catch up, but my life has actually been a gigantic whirlwind of trying to play catch up, but never quite caught up.  Other than having an incredibly busy summer, I am well, and feeling blessed each day!  And I hope you are too!

You might remember my Santa’s Tree Farm quilt that is featured in the July/August 2017 of McCall’s Quilting magazine.

I have used fabrics from the same fabric line to make another quilt – kind of like A Tale of Two Quilts situation. :) Santa’s Crossing is featured in the latest July/August issue of Quiltmaker!  The magazine is on newsstands right now in case you want to pick up a copy of your own.

It’s always an honor to have an editorial feature with my design.  But in the latest Quiltmaker issue, I feel doubly honored because I was also given Designer Spotlight!

Santa’s Crossing is made of blocks that look like snowflakes set in a log cabin block setting.  I really had fun making this quilt.

Exclusive kits are available for a limited time here.

And you can read more about the quilt here on Quiltmaker’s blog because I am their guest blogger today!  I hope you will check out the blog post because you might find a couple of interesting tidbits.

That’s all for now, Dear Friends!  I wish you a very Happy Week!

***

My 2017 Line-up

Editorial Feature

American Patchwork & Quilting (Jan/Feb 2017):  Close Quarters (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Pound of Sugar (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Cozy Castles

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): Village Square (Cover Quilt)

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): County Fair

McCall’s Quilting (July/August 2017): Summer in Quebec

McCall’s Quilting (July/August 2017): Santa’s Tree Farm

McCall’s Quick Quilts (Feb/March 2017):  I’m Blue For You

McCall’s Quick Quilts (April/May 2017): Stamp Pad

Quiltmaker (May/June 2017): Highland Roses

Quiltmaker (July/August 2017):  Santa’s Crossing

 

Free-to-use Design

Jan 2017:  Stars and Stripes Forever (Hoffman Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  HOPE (Windham Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  Bleecker Street (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Sheeps and Peeps (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Smarty Cats (Windham Fabrics)

Feb 2017: Wildwood Way (RJR Fabrics)

March 2017: Hamilton (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Vines (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Storybook Flannel (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Monroe (Quilting Treasures)

May 2017:  Not Your Garden Variety (Quilting Treasures)

May 2017: Love My Hero (Quilting Treasures)

June 2017:  Flag Banner (Windham Fabrics)

 

 

 

 

Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 5

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

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Hello Friends, I hope you have been well since our last Spring on Bleecker Street post (Part 4).

Let’s enjoy some progress pictures you have sent in?  I am really loving seeing how your quilts have grown!

Billie of http://billiebeesblog.blogspot.com (I have “known” Billie for quite a few years.  I have affectionately called her the queen of BOM’s because she works out the coolest BOM projects.  So, it is an honor to have her join my humble little sew-along).  I am really loving the orange Billie has incorporated in her quilt!

I am loving Alice’s milk chocolate bunny!!!!!

And here is Gail’s progress picture!  I am loving the 30’s fabrics Gail has used.  Gail is a master quilter, and I am so honored she joined my little sew-along party!

I have been hoping to see a batik version of the quilt, and Kim’s doesn’t disappoint!!!  LOVE the rich color tones.  I love those tree fabrics — be still my heart!

Jennifer’s Japanese neutrals really give the quilt a unique and elegant look.

Margaret mixed in Bleecker Street fabrics with her choice of fabrics — LOVE!  Plus, she used a green fabric for the grass – what a genius idea!

GOOD JOB, everyone!!!

I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at any stage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time, and still have a life to live. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project as I have.

As it tured out… life for me has been more than a little crazy this past month, and my sewing capacity has been temporarily reduced!  As a result, I am declaring Part 5 our “catch-up/because life happens” party!  There just has been too much happening at my end in May and the early part of June… among which, a college graduation, Quilt Market, work deadlines, and what looks like outfitting a sewing room!

So Part 5 is going to be short and easy – we are going to on the 4-patch with a bow blocks!  I think those are one of the sweetest blocks, ever!  I can see a whole quilt made with them.  In fact, I have an upcoming design with just those blocks!

These 4 blocks go on top of the embroidered bunny panel we did for Part 4.

One thing to point out is that you want to make sure which fabric your white tonal corner will be to get that alternating effect on the bows.  ASK ME HOW I KNOW!  Make your yellow and pink blocks together and the same, and your blue and green blocks together and same — and you should be ok!

How I pressed my seams —

OPEN when flip-and-sewing the white corner triangle — we are dealing with small pieces here.  SO to prevent wonkiness, I would press-starch my fabrics with a dry iron before cutting.  One the white 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ square is sewn onto to the print 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ square, I finger-press the seam open.  THEN, I trim off 1/4″ for the seam allowance before pressing the seam open again with my dry iron.  Pressing – not ironing!

TO ONE SIDE when sewing 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ square to the patch with white corner triangle to make a row unit

OPEN when sewing row units together

OPEN when sewing the blocks together

And adding the row to the top embroidered bunny portion – and we have Part 5 completed!

And there are three other of the same block that will be used later.  You may make them now, or you may make them later.  I did all 7 in an hour!

That’s it – my sewing friends!  I am going to spend a little more time making those pinwheel units.  See you for Part 6!

FREE PATTERN: Love My Hero (Quilting Treasures)

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well!  May is Military Appreciation Month!  If your family is/was one, please know that my family appreciates you.

I am happy to share with you another Quilt of Valor free-to-use pattern to bless a service member!  This star quilt is designed using Quilting Treasures’ Love My Hero fabrics.  Click here to view the fabric range.  You might notice the star block I used is another variation of my favorite sawtooth star block!  I just can’t help it… ha!

Click here if you are interested in purchasing a kit to replicate the quilt!

Click here to down load pattern instructions.

Some of you probably remember this picture from a couple of years ago… but this is one of my favorites!  On his way back from work, a soldier-gentleman took the time to stop, smile and look a child in the eye.  He patiently answered her questions, and totally made her day!

Thank you to all the servicemen who serve with valor, and their very courageous families!  May prayers and safe travels always follow you, wherever you are and wherever you go!

Please feel free to share any stories you might have related to Military Appreciation.  I should dearly like to read them.

***

My 2017 Line-up

Editorial Feature

American Patchwork & Quilting (Jan/Feb 2017):  Close Quarters (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Pound of Sugar (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Cozy Castles

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): Village Square (Cover Quilt)

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): County Fair

McCall’s Quick Quilts (Feb/March 2017):  I’m Blue For You

McCall’s Quick Quilts (April/May 2017): Stamp Pad

Quiltmaker (May/June 2017): Highland Roses

 

Free-to-use Design

Jan 2017:  Stars and Stripes Forever (Hoffman Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  HOPE (Windham Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  Bleecker Street (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Sheeps and Peeps (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Smarty Cats (Windham Fabrics)

Feb 2017: Wildwood Way (RJR Fabrics)

March 2017: Hamilton (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Vines (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Storybook Flannel (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Monroe (Quilting Treasures)

May 2017:  Not Your Garden Variety (Quilting Treasures)

May 2017: Love My Hero (Quilting Treasures)

Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 4

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

petalquiltfinal-rgb

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well since our last Spring on Bleecker Street post (Part 3).

Let’s enjoy some progress pictures you have sent in?

Billie of http://billiebeesblog.blogspot.com (I have “known” Billie for quite a few years.  I have affectionately called her the queen of BOM’s because she works out the coolest BOM projects.  So, it is an honor to have her join my humble little sew-along).

Alice has a nice round sun for her quilt, and she also has pinwheels happening at different stages.  I like her method of operation a lot – it’s pretty much what I do as well.

And here is Gail’s progress picture!  I am loving the 30’s fabrics Gail has used.

Before I go on, I want to share with you my excitement when I found out one of Gail’s quilt is a Paducah winner this year!!!  How amazing is that?!  Take a look at Gail’s absolutely amazing quilt.

I love that Gail took the time to write and share with me the exciting news, and a little snippet of her life.  I want you to know you are all free to do that!  I love hearing about your personal stories!!

***

I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at any stage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project as I have.

Part 4 deals with applique (I am using fusible machine applique method) and hand stitching — and the whole applique and stitching portion of the bunny block took me about 5 hours.

Disclaimer – you may choose to use the method of your choice to tackle the applique and stitchery! What I am describing henceforth is by no means dogmatic. :-)

1.  Prepping the background fabric

We are supposed to cut a 8″ x 17″ white background fabric.  I normally press-starch this multiple times until the fabric piece takes on the feel of a solid sheet of fabric for the following reasons:

a.  There will be multiple times of pressing – so if I “squared up” the rectangle first, I run into less chance that the rectangle will be wonky and out of shape after I am done with the applique and stitchery.

b.  For fusible machine applique, if the background fabric is starch-pressed well, I don’t have to have a stabilize the piece when I stitch the applique pieces in place.  The multiple rounds of starching stabilize the piece well enough for me that I don’t get any puckering.

Once you have your 8″ x 17″ rectangle prepared, eyeball at about 1/3 from the bottom and mark with a sharp pencil a “wave-shaped” landscape boundary.  It doesn’t have to be exactly like mine.  I realized that Quilting Treasures hadn’t included a placement guide for the applique or the stitchery.  I am not sure why.  So, we will just use this picture below as a guide.  So, you will use the pencil to mark the landscape boundary, as well as the flower stems once you cut out your flower pieces and figure out where you want them to go.

dsc_0399

2.  Prepping applique pieces

I am using machine fusible applique method.  I prefer to use the “window” method concerning the paper-backed fusible.  You can easily find tutorials on this method.  I have also written briefly about this method here.   Make sure you use a very sharp applique scissors to cut out the shapes to prevent fraying on the edges.

I showed a black and white photo below to show you the faint pencil marking I have done on the background rectangle.

When fusing the pieces, be sure to use a pressing cloth.

3.  Stitching applique pieces

I have traditionally used Aurifil 50wt, but ever since Aurifil released their 80wt last year, I have been wanting to try out the 80wt for machine applique.  Now, the 80wt was initially developed for hand applique, but the wooden spools will go on your machines nicely as well!  In the picture below are shown the 80wt and the 50wt thread spools.  The 50wt spools are pulled from my Subtle Strings collection.  Click here if you haven’t heard of the 50wt collection I had curated for Aurifil.  You can now purchased the collection of 12 large spools for $99.99 instead of the usual $149.99 from https://pumpkinvinecorner.com/aurifilcollections4.htm (be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page).

For the 80wt, I used matching threads for the top and bobbin threads, and I absolutely love the very fine effect. Now, the 50wt already gives an amazing look, but I think I might even like the 80wt better!  I do love both the 50wt and 80wt.

Now, you may choose to zig-zag, satin stitch or buttonhole stitch around the applique shape.  I personally like to buttonhole stitch because the stitches tend to not look overpowering around the applique shapes to me.  For these rather small applique pieces, I used W = 2.0 and L = 2.6 on my Bernina’s setting.

4.  Hand stitching

I took my piece back to the ironing board after I stitched my applique pieces in place.  And for the stitchery, I used colors from my Marmalade Meadows collection.  You may also order from https://pumpkinvinecorner.com/aurifilcollections4.htm for $38.50 (be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page) since at this point there is a wait list on Cinnamon’s Quilt Shoppe.

marmalade-meadows

marmalade-colors

 

I definitely hoop my piece before I stitch.  I also use a John James Embroidery Needle 8, and stitch over 2-ply of the floss.  That means, each strand of floss comes in 6-ply.  I would separate out the floss, and would stitch with 2-ply. Click here to find out why I like stitching with Aurifloss.  Remember, there is a free stitchery wallhanging pattern with the purchase of Marmalade Meadows thread pack – shown below!!

marmalades-merriment1

And here is how my bunny block all stitched up — you will notice that I have used different shades of green instead of just one shown in the sample quilt.  I decided to add more colors to mine!  You may choose whichever colors you would like to stitch, and the number of leaves you stitch on the stems are up to you too!

And I have a confession – I actually wear a pair of jeweler’s (magnifying) glasses when I stitch!  I like that I can see better, and judge my distance better — and thus, my stitches end up looking much nicer!  Now, you just about know all my secrets! Hehe!

This concludes Part 4 at my end – it’s your turn now!  Looking forward to see your progress pictures!

Happy Monday, Happy Week – and I hope everyone had a blessed Mother’s Day!

Today — Guest posting on McCall’s Quilting blog

Hello Friends,  I hope you have been well.  I do apologize for being super scarce of lately.  I have actually been half way around the globe to visit family in my home country – with stories to tell about being stranded at the airport – and now back Stateside.  I worked a lot to make sure things were turned in before I left town, and I continue to work a lot upon my return catching up on things, and more.  But all is well — so often, it’s just a matter of perspective when it comes to stressful and happening times in life!

If you remember from my posts a few weeks ago, my Village Square made cover of McCall’s Quilting May/June 2017 issue.  Village Square is also the chosen series quilt featured by McCall’s Quilting for 2017.

Today, on McCall’s Quilting’s blog (click here), I am sharing with you the thought process that went into the design of this 94″ x 94″ using many familiar and simple quilting elements.  Leave a comment there for another chance to win a Hamilton Fat Quarter Bundle!!

hamilton-fq

And I leave you with today’s deep “quilty” thought:  A quilt is like a literary work and the quilter is the author. So much is conveyed in the story presented by a quilt! My quilting friends, you aren’t just making a quilt, you are writing a book for all to read (albeit in a different format)!  And with that, I hope to see your version of my Village Square quilt if you aren’t using the fabrics I have chosen for the design.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Spring and Tulips!

Hello Friends, Happy Friday!  I hope you have been well.  A bit of spring trivia for you…. did you know that tulips were originally grown in the Ottoman Empire before being imported to Holland in the 16th century?  Tulips became so popular in the Golden Dutch Age that the bulbs were used as money in Holland until the market in them crashed.  And I suppose Holland solidified her reputation as the tulip capital of the world, and is often affectionately referred to as the flower shop of the world.

These pictures are from a few years back before Miss Baby was school-aged.  We did a lot more impromptu outings then, which I miss now…

And this is my fabric version of spring/tulips for this year…

This is an exclusive quilt kit for Craft of Quilting, designed with Windham Fabrics’ Sleeping Porch fabrics by Heather Ross.  This is a fun garden group.  Check out the fabrics here.  Purchase the exclusive quilt kit (71″ x 84″) HERE.

I am curious to know what your favorite spring flower is!  Mine are many:  tulips, daffodils, forsythia, cherry blossoms, and dogwood!

Speaking of cherry blossoms, my family didn’t make it to the Tidal Basin in Washington DC this because about half of the blossoms were damaged in a freeze following an unusually warm spell.  Here are some pictures from our past cherry blossom excursions in the nation’s capital.  No matter how many times we have gone to see the blossoms, the feeling of awe at the “blossom” beauty never fails to overtake us!

blossoms

That’s all for now, Friends.  I hope you have a lovely weekend.

p.s.  I have received many emails asking if only patterns of my quilt kits are available.  Generally, the answer is no unless you have seen the patterns featured in magazines.  Many of my quilt kits you see in catalogs are exclusive.  So the only way you can access the pattern is via the kit.  I have been toying with the idea of releasing my patterns in the future, but due to my various commitments, I have no plans to do so immediately.  I appreciate your understanding. :-)

 

Editorial Feature Overload #4: Highland Roses in Quiltmaker (May/June 2017)

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well!  I have been traveling lately, and am on my way home.   I hope you had a blessed Easter celebration, and may you continually experience blessings from above until the next Easter!

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Today, I am happy to share with you a gray quilt that is featured in the current cycle of quilting publications,  the latest issue of Quiltmaker (May/June 2017).  You know how I love gray — and gray floral is the name of the game for my Highland Roses quilt!

This is a 80″ x 80″ bed quilt that is made of simple blocks, set on-point for a deceivingly complex quilt. :)  I hardly ever design difficult to construct quilts. :)  In this shot below, you can see the florals much better.

Complete instructions are presented in the May/June 2017 issue of Quiltmaker.  You may pick up the issue on newsstands, or purchase the digital magazine here. Exclusive quilt kits are available for a limited time here.

Highland Roses uses fabrics from Primrose fabric group by Windham Fabrics — check out the fabrics here.  I have designed a couple of quilts using the same fabrics, including…

Flowering Tree – kits are available for $69.99 here.

Any of you are gray fans out there, please raise your hand? :-)  Thanks for stopping by.  I shall catch up with you later.

***

My 2017 Line-up

Editorial Feature

American Patchwork & Quilting (Jan/Feb 2017):  Close Quarters (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Pound of Sugar (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Cozy Castles

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): Village Square (Cover Quilt)

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): County Fair

McCall’s Quick Quilts (Feb/March 2017):  I’m Blue For You

McCall’s Quick Quilts (April/May 2017): Stamp Pad

Quiltmaker (May/June 2017): Highland Roses

 

Free-to-use Design

Jan 2017:  Stars and Stripes Forever (Hoffman Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  HOPE (Windham Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  Bleecker Street (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Sheeps and Peeps (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Smarty Cats (Windham Fabrics)

Feb 2017: Wildwood Way (RJR Fabrics)

March 2017: Hamilton (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Vines (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Storybook Flannel (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Monroe (Quilting Treasures)

Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 3

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

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Before we get started with Part 3, let’s just sit back and relax and enjoy the different versions of Part 2 (posted here) sent in by you all!  I know I have certainly enjoyed seeing your work.

Here is mine – using Quilting Treasures’ Bleecker Street fabric group!  Click here to view fabrics.  If you are new and wondering about the quilt kits, click here for information.

Here is Alice’s.  She blogs at http://aliceinquilterland.blogspot.com if you would like to visit her and make a new quilting friend.

Here is Cheryl’s.

Here is Jennifer’s.

Here is Gail’s.

Here is Debby’s.

These are Billie’s.

Here’s Sharon’s mini.  Instead of incorporating each part of the quilt to make a quilt, Sharon uses each part to make a mini.  VERY creative.  You may follow Sharon’s work on her blog here.

Bleecker_Sharon_Part2

***

Seeing how your quilts unfold as we progress in this Sew Along is one of my greatest joys.  I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at any stage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project.

***

And here is Part 3.  Part 3 took me about 2 hours as well – so if you 2 hours to spare between now and May 15th, you should be able to make these “skinny mini” shoo-fly blocks. :)

The theme of this part remains to be “Keep Calm and Sew On” because we will be sewing with small pieces (just like in Part 2).  The trick in dealing with small pieces is to handle them as if you are handling normal pieces.  Keep calm – check your cutting, your machine, and you should come out just fine!

#1.  I do starch press my fabrics so that I keep the small pieces as non-distorted as possible.

#2.  I also finger press all my seams before heat-setting them.

Keep Calm and Sew On: Visit the Secret Stitch Club's blog for the PDF version of this image

(image from Secret Stitch Club)

Part 3 deals with half-square-triangles units.  They are special and precious because they will be finishing at 1″ — therefore, you will be making HST units that measure 1 1/2″ raw edge to raw edge.  I cut my starting squares at 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ instead of the conventionally prescribed 1 7/8″ x 1 7/8″.  That way, I can trim them to the unfinished size.

I make my HST units as normal…. but I press my seams open.  Then, I align the diagonal seam of my HST units against the 45 degree angle of my quilting ruler.  I trim the excess so that the HST units measure 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ raw edge to raw edge.

You can see the result of my trimming – but making the HST units that way allow me to make accurately squared up HST units.  And pressing the seams open reduces the bulk when I piece them later to make my shoo-fly blocks.  So at this stage, they are treated as if they are individual squares. [I actually save these trimmings, not usable for piecing quilts, to a lady who makes dog beds.]

Alright…. when I constructed the individual rows, I butted the seams between units.  But when I sewed the rows together, I finger pressed, then iron pressed the seams between rows OPEN!  Again, that reduced bulk, plus, it helped me to piece accurately the shoo fly blocks.

When I pinned the shoo fly blocks together, I made sure the points match at the top of the triangles of the units – very much like matching the seams when we made the house roof in part 1 here.

I pressed open the seams in between rows to even out the bulk.

I then added the shoo-fly assembly to sections made for Part 1 and Part 2 of the sew-along.

Oh — and watch my quilt grow, and yours too!

And that’s it for Part 3!  I hope you will have a blast making progress on this quilt as much as I have!   know the units are small, but I am hopeful that by making these small shoo fly units will help confidence in tackling small pieces in other quilt projects of yours.  Can’t wait to see what your Part 3 looks like!!!!

Happy Sewing, my sewing friends!!  Hugs to you all.

Editorial Feature Overload #3: Cover Quilt and More in Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts (Summer 2017)

Happy Friday, Friends!  I hope you have had a good week.  I am excited to share with one of my quilts made cover again in the current quilting publications!!!  That quilt is mine, and it’s Pound of Sugar!  A seriously sweet name for a quilt made with sweet 30’s fabrics, no? :)

This quilt uses the Feedsack fabrics from Windham Fabrics.  And I absolutely absolutely love for it turned out!

I don’t have this quilt back with me because it is going to be displayed at Spring Market next month in St. Louis.  But I am glad the picture shows the quilting details well enough!

Yesterday,  you saw my County Fair quilt that is made of pinwheels.  Pound of Sugar is ALSO a pinwheel quilt, except the way the pinwheels are constructed give an on-point effect!

The next editorial feature I have in the same magazine issue is Cozy Castles – a baby quilt that is made with 30’s flannel fabrics from Windham’s Storybook Flannel fabric line.  Click here to view fabrics.

Incidentally, I designed a free-to-use sailboat quilt to support this fabric group.  Click here to download pattern.

Missouri Star is also carrying another baby quilt kit called Starburst, for which I designed using the same fabric line! Click here to purchase the quilt kit.

I always love working with 30’s fabrics.  I am actually hoarding 30’s fabrics to hopefully work on a quilt of my dreams…. when I retire from designing, hahaha!

Alrightie, Friends… I have to fly for now!  I hope you have a lovely weekend.

***

My 2017 Line-up

Editorial Feature

American Patchwork & Quilting (Jan/Feb 2017):  Close Quarters (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Pound of Sugar (Cover Quilt)

Fons & Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2017): Cozy Castles

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): Village Square (Cover Quilt)

McCall’s Quilting (May/June 2017): County Fair

McCall’s Quick Quilts (Feb/March 2017):  I’m Blue For You

McCall’s Quick Quilts (April/May 2017): Stamp Pad

 

Free-to-use Design

Jan 2017:  Stars and Stripes Forever (Hoffman Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  HOPE (Windham Fabrics)

Jan 2017:  Bleecker Street (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Sheeps and Peeps (Quilting Treasures)

Feb 2017: Smarty Cats (Windham Fabrics)

Feb 2017: Wildwood Way (RJR Fabrics)

March 2017: Hamilton (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Vines (Windham Fabrics)

April 2017: Storybook Flannel (Windham Fabrics)