Friday, September 22, 2017

FREE Pattern Friday: French Countryside Quilt

Windham Fabrics asked me to design with a new collection called Afternoon Tea. Here is the main print:
Afternoon Tea, main print
I called my design French Countryside. What do you think?

This is a 32" x 32" table topper (or wall quilt). No funky templates. Every patch is rotary cut using your standard acrylic ruler! This is a LeMoyne Star, but there are no set-in seams.

French Countryside Quilt
You can find this FREE download here: French Countryside Quilt

I think you will enjoy this approach to the 8-Pointed Star. Unless you truly love sewing set in seams!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Windham Wednesdays and FREE Patterns

My family is devoted to coffee. When my children are here with spouses, we have to make more than one (or two) pots of coffee every morning. So, I was delighted to get to design with the new International Coffee Collection by Windham Fabrics.

International Coffee by Windham Fabrics
I designed not one, not two, but THREE projects with these fabrics. I must like coffee, huh?

Here they are. First, the mug rugs:

Mug Rugs using International Coffee fabrics

Mug Rugs using International Coffee measure about 7" finished (the motifs finish at 5-1/2"). I include a paper template for cutting the setting triangles. If you have a Tri-Recs ruler set, these will work perfectly.

Here is my own set of mug rugs using real fabric!

Four mug rugs using International Coffee fabrics
I was sent a panel that has four motifs on each end. These are used in those mug rugs. Great gifts and VERY quick and easy.

Here's the panel:
International Coffee cup motifs
Then, I decided to make a table runner using four more coffee cup motifs and an appliquéd coffee pot I had in my files. What do you think?

International Coffee Table Runner: 36" x 22"
Coffee Time Table Runner is also FREE. Check it out, with full size templates for that vintage coffee pot, which is 10" finished.

And, then I pulled out my tried-and-true coffee cup pattern (paper pieced). Remember, I shared the steps for this earlier this year: Coffee Cups and Windham Wednesdays?

10 Paper Pieced Coffee Cups
 And a single coffee cup using the Mimosa Collection by Windham. Click that link to see the steps to making these.

7" paper pieced coffee cup
I designed this sweet little kitchen quilt. Five paper pieced blocks and four simplified Cobblestone blocks. The blocks are 7" finished and the quilt finishes at 35" x 35". What are you waiting for?

Have a Cuppa wall quilt: 35" x 35"
You can download the Have a Cuppa wall quilt and make a trio of treasures for yourself or someone who loves coffee as much as you (or me).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 38

Here we are: Week 38 with seven more blocks from Patricia!

September 17: Maize Basket
September 17: Maize Basket, 8"
September 18: Lend and Borrow

September 18: Lend and Borrow
September 19: Susannah

September 19: Susannah, 8"
September 20: Oregon Trail

September 20: Oregon Trail, 12"
September 21: Pieced Box
September 21: Pieced Box, 8"
September 22: Pieced Star

September 22: Pieced Star, 12"
September 23: Royal Star
September 23: Royal Star, 12"
Beautiful blocks in beautiful settings. Thanks, one more time, Patricia!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Free Pattern Friday: Pecking Order

This really is a fowl week! Third post about birds. First the owls, then the chickens, now these feathered friends. Hope you aren't thinking about that Alfred Hitchcock film about the BIRDS!

I love this quilt. I had originally designed it using some fabrics by Windham (Collage). I pitched it to Modern Patchwork Magazine. Nope; didn't want it. McCall's. Nope. I hoped SOMEONE would think this was cute. Do you?

I call it Pecking Order. Can you see the lowly birds on the ground and the big Kahoona bird on the birdhouse. King of the roost, huh?

Original Pecking Order Quilt
Then Red Rooster (a division of P & B Textiles) asked me to design a quilt using their Bird Watchers line. Holy Cow! This was perfect for remaking my Pecking Order quilt. Now what do you think?

Pecking Order using the Bird Watchers Collection
They didn't want the letters (what gives?) and so I took them out, added another bird and some folk art flowers. It's the same size as my original quilt: 35" x 39". The blue one at the top hangs in my foyer, next to this quilt, which also was "pink slipped" by numerous magazines. What's with these people?

Bella's House, made with the Bella Collection by Windham
You can have the free Pecking Order quilt using the Bird Watchers Collection. I offer it at my own website download site: Pecking Order. Full size templates for all the appliqué and easy construction of all the parts. You can also find the P and B link at the Bird Watchers page.

You'll get to see the awesome fabrics there, too!


Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cotton and Indigo from Japan

I received a review copy of Cotton and Indigo from Japan from Schiffer Publishing a few weeks ago. This contains not only dozens of beautiful fabric designs and quilts, but it takes us on a journey through the hundreds of years where indigo meets cotton in a unique way that only the Japanese can do.

Teresa Wong has a special love and appreciation for this and has done extensive research, not from afar (where she lives in Texas), but she regularly visits Japan and documents what she has found.
Cotton and Indigo from Japan
Here's what the official press release says: 

In Cotton & Indigo from Japan, more than 300 colorful photos and behind-the-scenes details reveal the fascinating story of Japan's cotton and indigo, and their enormous contribution to fiber arts worldwide. Learn how Japan and its top fabric designers, quilters, scientists, and artists combine tradition and high tech to weave the thread, fabrics, and stunning designs that are so coveted in today's fiber art world. Take a tour of Japan’s elite textile printing mills to understand why Japan is considered the world's finest producer of quilting cotton. Learn where all this cotton comes from, and its close connection to another prized plant, indigo. Dozens of beautiful fabric designs and quilts by Shizuko Kuroha, Keiko Goke, Yoshiko Jinzenji, Yoko Saito, and others are featured, as well as cotton and indigo folk textiles through the ages. This journey gives a deeper understanding of the connection between contemporary textile art and Japan's cotton, indigo, and traditions.


Let's SEE just a little bit of what she's discovered.

Teresa shares many, many images of antique textiles. The image here is antique katazomi cotton. She talks about it on pages 78 and 84. Basically, this decoration is made by using a combination of stencils and paste resist. Blue and white is such a traditional color combination. But how do they get that blue?
Antique katazomi cotton
First, we need to consider the fabric itself. Cotton! We quilters LOVE cotton. We know how it feels in our hands, how it behaves when we stitch it, and how it behaves when we wash it. Cotton is king and the king of cotton is found in Texas.

The state of Texas is the single largest cotton producing state in the US. Japan is typically among the top ten export destinations for American cotton.
Cotton growing near Lubbock, Texas
This certainly doesn't look like the white Kona cotton I have in my stash, does it? But we start with these cotton bolls and then the factories work their magic.
More cotton
Now it's time to dye the cotton fabric. In Japan indigo is a magical, mysterious, and mighty color. For centuries, indigo dyers closely guarded the secrets of their craft. But one could always distinguish the indigo dyers by their permanently-dyed, blue hands. Read more about this on page 123.
Toru Shimomura has those permanently dyed blue hands, just like the indigo heroes of his past.
A modern day quilter used antique cottons to make this beautiful quilt below. Tamiko Mawatari has been working with traditional folk textiles for many decades and scours many Japanese antique dealers and markets to find just what will work with a design she has in mind.
Quilt by Tamiko Mawatari, 2008 (page 68)
Now, this was a fascinating picture (below). Can you believe this is a fireman's coat? Not from today, but from many years ago. The fireman wore the coat with the highly decorated part inside while he fought the fire, and once it was extinguished, the coat would be reversed to display the colorful insignia. Amazing. You can read more about this use of indigo for firemen's garments on page 80.

Antique cotton fireman's coat (page 80)
When I think of Japan, I think of kimono. I once bought a lot (by weight) of about 30 kimono. I was going to take them apart and make quilts with them. But they were too beautiful. So, I sold them and just gave the last two away to my sister in law, Sarah, the other day. She loves them. They are so beautifully lined, as you can see in this example below.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it became popular to show just a small spot of red in clothing -- either through the lining of a kimono or red undergarments. That's what it says on page 90. (No kidding! I don't think I have any red underwear. And I don't think I would reveal it out in public even if I did. My husband would have a heart attack!)

"Safflower red" dyed cotton textiles were very popular during the Edo period (page 90)

One more photo that is a small snippet of a larger quilt. This is improvisational and the colors are so vibrant! Wish you could see the entire thing. (Go buy the book and you can, right?)

Detail of a quilt by Yasuko Saito. Movement #80, 2016 (page 35)
Here's another beautiful quilt by designer Yoko Ueda:

Quilt by Yoko Ueda
I have some older pieces of sashiko that I started stitching about 20 years ago. Some day I may finish! I just dug these out. What do you think?

Sashiko with stencils so I can follow the lines
I have a few small pieces of Japanese fabrics with blues. You can also see the woven ribbon. I know there's a name for it, but I can't remember the real term! I just know it's beautiful
this piece is finished, but I don't know what to do with it
What do you think of this fisherman's coat? Each patch features a traditional sashiko design. Wow! That's a lot of stitching for a man who worked with smelly fish. Wonder what his wife thought about him wearing something she spent a thousand hours making!

Fisherman's jacket, front
And the back is just as exquisite!

This is the backside of an exquisite fisherman's coat (pg 89)
You can find a great price on this book at Teresa Wong's site. Retail, $34.99. Teresa's price: $25.00, and she will sign your copy!

Check out Schiffer's Twitter account. (This stuff doesn't make sense to me, so if you can figure out what these symbols mean, more power to you: #schifferpublishing and/or @schifferbooks (FB/Insta/Pinterest); @schifferpublishing (Twitter))

Thank you, Schiffer and Teresa for such beautiful examples of textiles and fibers. We quilters love this stuff and I'm going to go read more from this book with my lunch today.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chicks On the Run

Chicks Looking for a Good Home

Today is Technique Tuesday over at the Benartex blog - Sew in Love with Fabric. I am sharing what I did with Chicks on the Run by Cheryl Haynes. Take a look at my pics and then head on over to see what I did.

Well, the title is intriguing, is it not? Why are these chicks on the run? Running from who, the Big Bad Rooster? Or the fox in the hen house? Or are they just liberated chickens? I wanted to know!

I saw the panel and knew I had to have it. There's so much you can do with a panel (other than treating it like one piece of fabric (yawn). A panel says to me: cut me up, cut me up!

Chicks on the Run panel
Can we see some of the fabrics, at least? Oh, OK . . .

Take a look at these fun prints!
 And, yes, I did cut them up. What else do you think you're supposed to do?!!

Various sized strips for use with those panels
Take a visit to the Sew in Love with Fabric blog today (Benartex) and find out what I did with this panel. Just a hint: I cut it up, yes, I did!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Back to School with Windham and Giveaways Galore!

It's Back to School time. (Actually, my grandson has logged two weeks already in first grade, so he's a pro at it.)


Windham has lined up seven - that's right - 7 bloggers to showcase their latest lines of fabric and at each stop there is a fat quarter giveaway. Today's my day. Then check the schedule to see the other 6. Remember, at EACH stop is a chance to win a fat quarter bundle and it's open to EVERYONE - USA and international - Yay!!

Now let me show you what I made with the delightful collection called It's a Hoot. I designed a quilt for Windham using this line, but for this post (get ready!) - I didn't make a quilt! Oh, no. Am I sick?


It's a Hoot fabrics by Windham
I made something that any kid in school would love (and adults, too). And, actually, I need some of these right now because I'm fighting the sniffles. (So yes, I am sick!)

Tissue Holders! I have made dozens of these in the past 15 years. I tweaked the original pattern so the little tissue packs fit better (I added 1/2" or so). The pdf download is at the end. But you want to see the pictures, don't you?!!

Step 1: Fabric Requirements (**Good contrast between the fabrics is recommended)
  • One 6” x 7” rectangle for OUTSIDE
  • One 6 x 8-1/4” rectangle for INSIDE
  • Yes: the inside fabric rectangle is larger than the outside. That's what forms the little "binding" overlap.

Paired fabrics cut into 2 sizes of rectangles
Step 2:
  • Place rectangles right sides together. Sew the 6” sides together. Yes, one is larger than the other and they donʼt lie flat. You are sewing a tube with one piece larger, but they are connected with two short, side seams.
Step 3:

  • Turn seamed rectangles right side out and press the overlaps of the larger rectangle (1/4” seam allowance size) so that your rectangles now lay flat on each other, wrong sides together.
  • The owl print is the OUTSIDE of the holder; the blue print is the inside.
  • Notice the pins in the centers of the raw edges. Those turquoise finished edges on the sides will orient themselves in relation to those pins. They will overlap.

Let's see more of these, ok?
Five tissue holders with the novelty prints for the outside
Step 3:
  • Fold this unit in half along the length (bringing the two finished edges together) and finger-press the center mark at the two raw edge sides. Remember the pins in the picture above? Those finished edges overlap 1/4". Pin in place
  • Itʼs bulky; a normal sewing machine stitch is possible.
Add caption
Step 4:
  • Sew 1/4” seam on both raw edges. Trim away tiny triangle at ends of seams to reduce bulk when turning. Zigzag or otherwise overcast the raw edges to keep them from fraying.
Zigzag (or serge) the inside raw edges
Step 5:
  • Turn the unit right sides out to form your tissue holder.
Finished Tissue Holder
And all 8 of my little tissue holders. What a hoot, right?

8 Tissue Holders made with It's a Hoot fabrics by Windham

Oh, wait a minute! I forgot to show you the quilt I designed for Windham using this collection. It's FREE and soon available at their site. Check it out for that awesome Owl appliqué and simple piecing.

What a Hoot! Pattern
  • Be sure to comment on my post for a chance to win a Fat Quarter bundle of It's a Hoot!
  • The giveaway will be open from now until 8PM PST on Friday, September 22, 2017. The winner for this bundle will be picked at random and I will announce the name HERE on Monday, September 25, 2017.
  • This giveaway is open to everyone, USA and International.
  • If you’re a “no reply” or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment!

Here's the link to the one page pdf to make these. Tissue Holders from Debby Kratovil 

No pictures on the pdf, so make sure to bookmark this page. If you're not a follower of Debby Kratovil Quilts, why not? I have 2-3 tutorials a month and I NEVER, EVER run ads. (They're obnoxious, offensive and chase people away; why would I want to do that?)

Now, check out the next 6 bloggers in our Windham Back to School hop. You have 6 more chances to win a fat quarter bundle of wonderful fabrics. And just think of all the things you'll learn!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar, Week 37

Onward and upward! More beautiful blocks from Patricia using my digital designs.

Make sure you scroll all the way to the end to see what John Caldwell's quilt won at the Maryland State Fair using 100+ blocks from my calendar!

September 10: Fall Churn Dash

September 10: Fall Churn Dash, 8"
 September 11: Flutter Wheel

September 11: Flutter Wheel
September 12: Framed Squares

September 12: Framed Squares, 12"
 September 13: Friendship Block

September 13: Friendship Block, 12"
 September 14: Goose in the Pond

September 14: Goose in the Pond, 15"
 September 15: Greek Cross Variation

September 15: Greek Cross Variation, 14"
September 16: Lost Goslin'

September 16: Lost Goslin', 6"
Thank you, Patricia, for sharing your REAL blocks. Yes, we are all wondering what you'll do with all 366 of them. Certainly not a single quilt, right?

And here's John Caldwell's quilt winning a BLUE ribbon and Best Machine Appliqué award at the 2017 Howard County Fair. Thanks, John, for letting my humble blocks inspire you.

The Dear John Quilt by John Caldwell of Maryland
And at the fair . . .

The Dear John Quilt with winning ribbons