Monday, September 30, 2013

More Bonham Beauty Bits

I'm back to working on the tiny appliqué ovals for the mini Bonham Beauty. I thought I'd try to show you just how tiny they really are...looks like about 3/8" x 5/8". More miniature fun!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mini Obsession

When I was trying to fall asleep last night, the only thing that got me to relax was thinking of making a mini version of the Union Jack block I drafted yesterday. The Wikipedia image of the flag was so stinkin' cute, it just kept popping up in my mind. "I could do that. I could foundation-piece it. But what about the tiny stripes? Would it really work?" I drifted off to images of pages full of tiny flag foundations. And...the answer is, yes, it really did work! And it was obsessive, miniature fun. Now I think I have it out of my system and can go back to working on "real" projects. But isn't it adorable? The flag finished about 2" x 4".

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I Love Patterning Quilts

No sewing to show today, since I spent the day patterning a quilt by Joyce Robinson, and then editing patterns for the next issue of America Loves Scrap Quilts. But here's a hint about Joyce's quilt:
Wikipedia Image
Can you imagine how tough this block was to pattern?? Joyce did a beautiful job with her quilt, and it was my job to do as well with paper foundations, instructions, and diagrams. I think I got it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bonham Beauty Mini Update

My mini Bonham Beauty is coming along. I have half of the tiny ovals appliquéd now. Here's a closer look:

I sewed scrap fabric strips on the border, encasing the raw edges of the quilt, because it was starting to fray a bit with all the handling. I'm hoping that will protect it until the rest of the appliqué is finished. Due date is November 1, which sounds very far away but is NOT. It needs to be quilted and bound, too! I'm hoping for more progress this weekend, but I have a lot of work home with me. What are YOU quilting this weekend?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Textile Challenge

Tonight's Project Runway challenge has the designers creating their own textile prints. Who wouldn't love to try that?? I know I would. And here's a place where anyone can have original fabric prints (and more) made to order...Spoonflower.
You can also shop at Spoonflower for unique fabrics, gift wrap, decals, and wallpaper. It's a website where a quilter can really lose her (or him) self. SO much to see, so much to do. Including design contests that would make anybody feel like a Project Runway contestant. Hey, that sounds like fun...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mini House Quilt

The House that Kaffe Built, miniature version
I'm in the mood for another mini, even though I still have work to do on my mini Bonham Beauty appliqué quilt. The little house quilt shown here is foundation-pieced with Kaffe Fassett prints, and it was a LOT of fun to make. I need another pieced mini...soon! If you'd like a free pattern for the house quilt, you can download it here, thanks to McCall's Quilting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lone Star - Ta Dah!

Fabrics from the Vin du Jour collection by Moda
It's finished! The Lone Star wall hanging is complete and ready for patterning. I'm pretty proud of the feathered wreaths. Even though they have beaucoup flaws, the overall effect is just what I wanted...traditional and full of wonderful texture. Cross another project off the list. This baby is done. Watch for the free pattern at when the January/February issue releases.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle

The November/December issue of McCall's Quilting is now available, and I've got a project featured in it!

Photo courtesy of McCall's Quilting

Twinkle, Twinkle is a pattern for a fast, easy stuffed star ornament, and if you try it, you might just end up making a whole galaxy of them. Besides being a great way to turn fabric scraps into pretty decorations and gifts, it's a super place to showcase antique or unusual buttons. When I was making the samples, I surprised myself with how quickly they go together.

I love how our art team photographed these. The pattern also has complete step-by-step diagrams or complicated instructions. I hope you'll give it a try.

Buy digital or print copies of the magazine here, and preview the entire issue by clicking here. And please leave a comment if you try the pattern...I'd love to know how you liked it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Stitch by Stitch

All the ditch quilting is done on the Lone Star, and I've been working on the feathered wreaths. This will be the only visible quilting on the whole wall hanging, so it needs to look good! I'm trying to take my time and enjoy the process, but I'd love to be finished, to be honest. I've gotten more comfortable with machine quilting over the past 2 years, but it's still not my forte by any means. Still...practice makes perfect! Back to it...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

So Blessed

Stained glass by Lisa Seward
It's been a hard couple of jaw is bothering me and I may need a root canal or extraction, and it's just about all I've been thinking of. But this afternoon when I sat down at the dining room table to finish pin basting the Lone Star, the beautiful Colorado sun was shining in the window through the stained glass panel, and coloring the fabric with the last light of summer, and I realized, not for the first time...I am blessed. Just sayin'.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feathered Wreath Practice

I gathered up my courage this evening and stitched a sample feathered wreath like the ones I have planned for the Lone Star wall hanging. And's not bad for a first try! I even made myself do it without rotating the piece, something I find I want to do when I feel insecure about something I'm machine quilting. There are certainly flaws. Some of my backtracking isn't exact, and I wobbled away from the marked lines a bit here and there. But I'm very encouraged. And I think I have enough courage now to start working on the wall hanging!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lone Star with Borders

Vin du Jour fabrics by Moda
Well, here it Lone Star Block now has borders. I decided to use some leftover strip set segments, and I like the effect. I think they add much-needed movement to the design. I also started marking quilting designs on the top tonight. Scary! I used very light pencil marks, and I'm challenging myself to try feathered wreaths...gulp! I'll keep you posted. The weekend should be interesting.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More Lone Star Fun

Vin du Jour fabrics by Moda

Today we shot how-to photos for making a Lone Star Block, including setting in the outer squares and triangles. When I brought my sample home, I set in the last outer square, and here it Vin du Jour Lone Star Block. I need to turn it into a wall hanging that we can pattern as a web bonus on I've got an idea to use leftover segments in the border treatment...we'll see how it turns out soon!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Studio Shoot Tomorrow

Mellisa Karlin Mahoney, getting the perfect shot
Today we're putting the final touches on getting everything ready for our monthly studio shoot. This is the day when we shoot how-to photos, flat shots of blocks and fabrics needed for an issue of the magazine, and products we're going to review in the issue. Makes for a busy day, but we have one of the best textile photographers in the business, Mellisa Mahoney, and we always have a lot of fun during shoots.Time to load up a cart with sewing machine, pressing and rotary cutting tools, and lots of fabric and products for the January/February 2014 issue of McCall's Quilting!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fun Little Project

We're photographing this leather sewing case by Colonial Needle on Wednesday for the product review page of the January/February 2014 issue of McCall's Quilting. The case comes without any make your own and insert it in an opening in the case top. I got to do that tonight, and it was a quick, fun sew.

Leather sewing case by Colonial Needle; fabrics from the Oriental Traditions collection by Robert Kaufman
You can find the cases (they also come in black) at local quilt shops, or order online here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hand Stitching Sunday

I spent a good part of the day hand appliquéing tiny ovals onto my mini remake of the vintage Bonham Beauty quilt, and it was super relaxing. It made me think that maybe hand work would be a great thing to do every Sunday...very contemplative, almost like meditating. At any rate, I got a lot of ovals stitched down, but not nearly all. Plenty more to do for at least several Sundays to come!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lone Star Samples

Today's project was making samples for photos for the January/February 2014 issue of McCall's Quilting. The project is a star quilt designed by Lissa Alexander using fabrics from the Vin du Jour collection by 3 Sisters for Moda. I got to do a bunch of strip piecing and segment cutting,

and then to make pieced diamonds and stars.

I'm a lucky homework ever!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Taos Vacation to Come

Photo from the Taos Adobe Quilting website.

Just confirmed reservations for a long weekend in Taos the end of October, and quilt shops are on the must-see list. Anybody have any recommendations?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Who Is Quilt-Worthy?

My niece Jami, a very quilt-worthy recipient and absolute doll.

The other day at lunch, the McCall's girls were discussing a topic that EVERYONE had stories and strong opinions about...who is quilt-worthy? It seemed each of us had at least one story of making a special gift quilt only to find out that the recipient either didn't appreciate it, abused it, or in some other way proved to be not worthy of the quilt. What to do? Opinions varied on that. Some people had given up making gift quilts, while others had taken a more zen approach, learning to "let it go" once the quilt was gifted. How about you? Have you ever given a gift quilt only to find the recipient unworthy? What did you do about it?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New How-To Video Today

A video I made awhile back about cutting trapezoid shapes from fabric using a template taped to a ruler just went live on YouTube today. Hope you'll take a look...I'm pretty proud of this one (except for the missed cut with the rotary cutter...oops!). The technique is for the Block Builders Workshop Mosaic Treasures block from the November/December 2013 issue of McCall's Quilting, and fabrics are by Gerri Robinson for Red Rooster Fabrics. It's a fun block with a nice secondary pattern when set together. Click on the triangle on the video window to start watching, and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

No-Waste Flying Geese

Being in the video studio today to tape tips for precise piecing reminded me of a video I did awhile back that's gotten lots of positive comments from viewers. If you're looking for a fast, accurate, easy way to make flying geese units, take a look and then give this technique a try. It's my favorite way to make geese!

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Quilt Exhibit Now Open

We are so lucky to have a quilt gallery in our offices. Exhibits are changed out every 3 months, and today the McCall's Quilting staff hung a new exhibit of scrappy quilts all made by our staff. There are some FABULOUS quilts on display, including 4 of mine (see one below) and at least one by every McCall's staff member. Gallery hours are weekdays 10am - 5pm (mountain time). The address is 741 Corporate Circle, Suite A, Golden, CO 80401. For more information, call 303-215-5600, or leave a comment here with your question(s). Hope you can stop by for a'll love these scrappy quilts!

Paducah Pickle Dish

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Precise Piecing ROCKS!

Scheduled for McCall's Quilting January/February 2014 Block Builders Workshop; fabrics from the Prayer Flag collection by April Cornell, courtesy of Moda
What you're looking at there is a block that has 160 patches in it, that measures 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" WITHOUT ANY TRIMMING! Precision techniques take a long time, I'm not going to kid you, but the result was amazing. Look at those points, folks!

I need a break, and then I have to get step by step samples ready for video taping on Tuesday. Miles to go, miles to go...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

More Precise Piecing Samples

I did a lot of work on my precise piecing tips today as I made the tiny units for a sample block. I'm really pretty happy with the results, and the only decision remaining is which fabric to use for the larger squares and rectangles in the block which make up the background. I've narrowed it down to 4 possible choices. Want to vote?
With blue repeating motifs

With larger motifs on darker blue

With a soft large print in blue on cream

With the same soft large print, in terracotta on cream
Leave a comment by 9AM mountain time Sunday morning if you want your vote to count...I need to finish my samples tomorrow!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Simply Quick Quilts on Newsstands Now

I'm very excited that this new special issue is now on newsstands, partly because I have a quilt patterned in it.

Modern Links, machine quilted by Karen Dovala

This is a very different style of quilt for me, and it was great fun to make. Even though it's a generous bed size, it was very fast to piece because you need so few blocks and they're such a simple pattern.

Digital and print copies of the magazine are available here. There are also 22 other patterns in the issue, so there's something for everyone!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

On Precise Piecing

I consider myself to be a pretty good piecer. My blocks fit together well, and even fit well with other quilters' blocks in exchanges and such. But if I'm brutally honest with myself, I have to admit that I could do way better. Although my results are consistent, they are often consistently just a bit large or small, which works out fine for all practical purposes but is not by any means precise.

On Tuesday, I'm filming a short video on tips for precise piecing, so it's time to step up my game. This morning I spent 3 hours working on samples, trying out ideas I found in Sally Collins' books and some things I've heard from my coworkers that help with accuracy. I could definitely see improvement, but my work isn't nearly perfect...yet!

Those little units finish at 2" square. Seems like accuracy becomes even more important with smaller units. I'll be doing lots more work on this over the weekend, and I'll share my favorite tips as I master them. For now, let me tell you it is VERY important to cut VERY accurately and on the grain line. Carefully straightening fabric before cutting patches made a big difference in my results. Piece, everybody!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Birthday Fun Continues

Surprise birthday gift from my roommate and BFF, Lisa! I still don't know what I'll store in all those teeny tiny ceramic drawers, but the colors are wonderful (the snapshot doesn't do it justice). Thank you, Lisa!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Birthday Week

My birthday isn't until Thursday, but the celebrations have been going on for days. Today I got a card from my Mom, with the original 55-year-old Kodak print of me opening a present on my 2nd birthday. Normally I'd be a lot more reticent about my age and birthday, but this photo is just the cutest thing:
Note the non-childproofed electrical outlet...back then household hazards were just a part of natural selection, I guess! Thanks for the photo and the birthday present, Mom. You're the best, then and now.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Building a Block

I need to design a block for the Block Builders Workshop page of the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of McCall's Quilting. It needs to include half-square triangle units, square-in-a-square units, and pinwheels, since the lesson will be piecing tips using half-square triangles. I started playing in EQ and came up with this possible block:
But I wanted to be sure it was a good block for placing in a straight setting. What do you think of this?
Nice stars pop out, and I'm liking the strong diagonals. It's a work in progress, but it needs to be done ASAP!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mini Quilt Love

Whole lotta quilting fun going on here today! I edited all but one of the patterns for the next issue of McCall's America Loves Scrap Quilts, and I plan to do the last one tomorrow. Plus, I appliquéd all the leaf shapes on the mini quilt, and started on the tiny ovals. I made a circle template for placing them correctly:
So far I've glued down 3 circles of 8 ovals each, like this:
I've stitched down 2 of those circles. I'm very encouraged! I didn't realize until I was doing it that I really doubted whether I'd be able to get decent results with the tiny shapes. They're not perfect by any means, but when the piece is up on a wall, they look pretty good! More photos soon.