Monday, May 20, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Here's this weeks batch of beauties.  Have you seen fabrics you've used in your blocks?  Some you've never seen before?

I'm wondering if you tried the Best Press tip I shared last week??  Let me know what you think?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Scrappy Letters From Grace ~ A New Twist on a Old Favorite!

I decided to make-over one of my favorite patterns, Letters From Grace.





Letters From Grace, as you can see, was originally designed for a two color quilt.  I've made this quilt in plums and in greens.   I love this pattern and it's easy, peasy.


I adore this star block and have always wanted to try it with scrappy fabrics.

So that's what I did!




I changed the name so there wouldn't be any confusion when ordering the pattern.  Scrappy or two color......it's a really great quilt to make.  I hope you like the new scrappy version as much as I do.  Change the border colors if you like and make it your own!!  

Quilt size is 59 3/4 x 72 3/4.   Patterns are ready to go and you can order yours here.

Post a comment on my blog (no email comments, please) to win a copy of both of my new patterns, Scrappy Letters From Grace AND Stars Over Union Hill!!  I'll pick a winner May 22nd when I return from market.  

Stay tuned for the new Tokens of the Past: Gathering In Blue pattern coming soon!  

As you're reading this, I'm at quilt market in Kansas City.   I'll try to post pictures on Facebook and Instagram where you can see a lot of my new stuff and much, much more!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks & A Great Tip!

Here's this weeks blocks.  Coming soon....a noticeable improvement to the photos.

A week ago, I was giving a few workshops at Sauder Village in Ohio and we were trading hints and tips.  I picked up a wonderful tip from two ladies who are big time fabric starchers (girls after my own heart!)  Note: they starch their fabric as yardage before they cut.  That's very important!!  Here's what they shared with us.....
  We all have those moments when, despite our best pressing efforts, a seam does not want to lay flat.
They use Mary Ellen's Best Press to help.  What is important is that you choose the bottle with the finger pump spray (not the handle spray) because it emits a very fine mist over the seam.
I misted these seams, and boy....they stayed flat as a board!
Easy, peasy!  So get on over to your Local Quilt Shop and buy some.  Oh, and while you're there....peruse the aisles for some new shirtings and prints.  Your stash can always use to be fed and it keeps our quilt shops in business!!  

Pass it on....it's a very good thing!  

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Introducing Stars Over Union Hill

I'm so jazzed to finally begin showing you my new patterns!  This is a project that has been a long time coming.  I think I began making the pieced blocks 5 years ago.  Yes!  5 years!  I made them from extra Half Square Triangles and squares that I cut up while making other projects, so I just worked on it here and there.  Finally, last year I had made all the pieced blocks and set about making the stars.  Don't you just love those stars???  

I love them because they are so different.  The stars and the half rounds are all done in wool.  The look of wool and cotton is such a great combination.  

I named the pattern from the many stars that are seen in early American structures and on barns.  There's a little star history in the pattern for your enjoyment.
 Oh, and I made a little pinkeep, too!  The pattern includes instructions and templates for both the quilt and the pinkeep.  

The pattern is ready to go so if you'd like to put your scraps to good use...you can order the pattern here.

Hope you like Stars Over Union Hill as much as I do.  Now that it's done, it was so worth the wait!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks - Ooops!

I checked my blog and realized I forgot to post block photos on Monday.  I thought I had taken care of that before I went out of town.  Too busy lately.  Sorry I forgot.  I think I'm back on track with the block postings, but if not...forgive me!  

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Sauder Village, a living history museum in Archbold, OH.  I gave lectures and did a few workshops to a great group of women.  What a pleasure spending the day with quilters as we learn and share our passion for quilting with one another! Really loved meeting everyone there.  

While I had some spare time, I wandered around the quilt show.  Gorgeous quilts on display for all to enjoy.  I turned the corner and was shocked to see Mrs. Miller's Apprentice on a quilt frame being hand quilted while we watched!!!  

I don't hand quilt much as I'm a beginner, and have never sat at a frame like this.  I was totally intrigued!  It was so great to talk with the ladies who were hand quilting.  They had a lot of  quilting experience for sure and I just tried to soak it all in.  Love watching their hands quilt as women have for a hundred years plus!
I L*O*V*E the border design they chose.  So sweet and perfect for how the two borders meet. 

There is a whole lot to do at Sauder Village.  The quilt shop is on premises inside the village with acres of old buildings and homes with reenactors working with wood, spinning wool, making things as they would have way back when.  There is full restaurant, and a bakery that sells yummy cookies, oh, and the pies are to die for!  You can stay at the Sauder Heritage Hotel as well.  If you get a chance, don't miss visiting.  By the way....a little birdie told me Lisa Bongean is next year's national teacher!

Back to market prep.  Watch for 3 new pattern releases very soon!!  

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Talk About Being Surprised!!

I've been a dedicated subscriber to American Patchwork & Quilting magazine for more than 20 years.  It is my favorite quilting magazine because there's usually a quilt I pine over, many I have made, and I find the articles to be very helpful and entertaining. 
Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
As I browsed the inspiring pages of the June, 2019 issue (on newsstands now), I came upon this gorgeous quilt.  I wasn't surprised to read that it was designed and made by my dear friend, Tara Lynn Baisden of Quilters Ridge.  
Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
As I turned the page, I was stunned to read the dedication above.  Seriously....you could have blown me over with a feather!  I had no idea that my sweet friend, Tara did this.  Apparently, it was in the works for a long time.  How did everyone keep this secret??  
Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
She named the quilt Heartspun Friendship and is all made with fabrics I have designed for Marcus Fabrics.  Isn't the quilt stunning?  What a really great scrap quilt!

I was brought to tears to say the least.  I didn't know what to say and still kinda don't.  This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done in my honor.  Totally unexpected.  Tara dedicated it to our friendship and now I'd like to tell you a bit about Tara.

We met many years ago, I think at quilt market one year.  I was totally drawn to her work as she sure has an eye for color and design.  I soon learned that we only lived about 30 minutes from each other.  We arranged to meet for lunches and dinners to chat and then joined our local quilt guild together.  She is so easy to talk to and such fun.  We laughed a lot and found a kindred spirit in each other in that we both love traditional quilts and historic fabrics.  We've shopped and antiqued together and shared life's challenges.  

If you're not familiar with Tara's work, you need to!!  She has authored many books and designed more quilts than I could count.  She has been featured in many magazines, and currently has  no less than 3 quilts in magazines at the moment....with one on the cover!  Her eye for design and color is so, so good, and I am her biggest fan!  She posts so many fun things on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.  How she finds all this good stuff, I don't know, but we all get to enjoy it, for sure.  She hand pieces and hand quilts, too, and comes by it from a long family history of quilters.  About 5 years ago, Tara moved to West Virginia to be closer to family. 

They say that into every life a little rain must fall and Tara has had more than her share of rainy days.  Several years ago, she was in a car accident, hit by a young man who was texting.  Her injuries were catastrophic.   Those of us who love her and still live here weren't able to help her much with day to day living.  I knew her family was taking care of her, but I still wanted to help.  I did what any friend would do....I showed support for my friend going through a rough time. 

I was not surprised in the least that Tara handled her life then as she does now with great perseverance and strength, grace and dignity.  She is back to piecing by hand and machine, designing and hand quilting at a rate that I can't believe!!  I am overjoyed that she is so active in the quilting community as we're all the better for it.  This girl is on fire and doing well!!  Yay!

Thank you, Tara, my sweet friend.  I am so blessed to have you in my life.  

You're sure to enjoy Tara's work, so check her out at Quilters Ridge.  She has a blog, and as I said, nearly daily posts on Instagram and Facebook that are fun and inspiring.  

Tell the dear friends in your life how much they mean to you.  And, thank you, my dear readers, for being there for me.  I truly appreciate you!

Be sure to buy a copy of the June, 2019 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine for yourself!  It's at your LQS and newsstands right now.  

Monday, April 29, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Here's the next batch of blocks.  Several fussy cut blocks in this batch, which I adore.  
I acquired a bunch of new shirtings and I can't wait to use them.  Yes...I'm still making Circa 1880 blocks.  I'm still trading them,  have designed another quilt using them, and just plain can't stop making them!!  

Have you been collecting more shirting and dark prints for your blocks?  The scrappier the better, I say.  If ever there was a quilt to use more and more fabrics, it's the Circa 1880 Nine Patch.  

The four prints on the left are new Temecula Treasures by Sheryl Johnson of Temecula Quilt Co., and the beautiful print on the right is from Bristle Creek Farmhouse by Paula Barnes of Red Crinoline Quilts.  

Go shopping!!!!

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

When I give trunk shows and teach workshops showing some of the really small quilts and blocks I have made, I hear people saying they could never make a block that small.  

Sure you can!  There was a time not so long ago when I didn't think I could either.  I learned several things really help.

You may start by piecing two small squares but those two squares quickly become three squares, and then they become rows, and then blocks.  Try one!  Blame me for your new addiction.

Starch.  I have been singing the praises of starching or sizing your fabric yardage for years.  It changed my piecing life playing a huge roll in improving my accuracy.  How would starch improve accuracy you ask?  Stiff fabric gives you waaayyyyy more control, and if your fabric goes or stays where you want it to, well....it turns out perfectly.   Honestly.  Cross my heart.

Pins.  No one ever tells you that there's big differences with pins and sewing needles.  Big differences!  Big, thick pins distort fabric.  How could they not?  In a pinch, you can use them to build a home!  No matter the size of pieces, blocks or borders you are sewing, and especially small pieces, using the right pins make a huge difference in accuracy!  
Several years ago, Clover came out with fine patchwork pins.  At last!  A pin made specifically for piecing patchwork of any size.  These pins are thin and glide into fabric like butter.
As you can see, they don't distort the fabric at all.  It lays just as flat as if no pins were there.  You can sew over them and they won't break a machine needle.  I can no longer sew piece without them.  And, with the Circa 1880 blocks, they keep even the smallest pieces in place.  Ask for them at your local quilt shop or order them here.  

You can also find lots more information on fabric starching and much, much about everything quilting from fabric prep to how I make my labels, in my new, revised Hints, Tips and Secrets book.  You can order one here.  

Wishing you happy stitches..... 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Quilting & Cruising ~ A Very Fine Combo!

Back row: Paula Barnes and me.  Front row: Connie Tesene and Mary Ellen Robison
My hubby and I just returned from a very fine week sailing the Caribbean on a quilting cruise.  Hubby did not sew of course, but had a wonderful time.  He was definitely not the only quilter's husband on board as many spouses came along.  I taught class along with fellow Marcus Fabrics designer Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline QuiltsConnie Tesene of Country Threads rounded out the teaching staff as we sailed, sewed and visited with 100 quilters from all over.  I tell ya, teaching and spending the day with quilters is a fine day, indeed!

Quilting cruises are much more than just sewing (although who doesn't want to sew everyday, all day long and have meals included?!)  Connie brought a trunk show of the new quilts in her new book, Beyond the Battlefield, with co-author Mary Etherington.   Oh....I wanted to make them all!! 
We have classes the days we are at sea.  When we're in port, you can visit the sights, take an excursion, or sew.   We had never been to Jamaica before so we went exploring.  It was lovely!

Grab some friends and treat yourself to a week of quilting luxury!  There were several ladies who came alone and within hours, made new friends and had the best time.  Our cruise was produced by Stitchin' Heaven TravelClick here to see all the cruise offerings they have coming up.  
I wanted to invite you to join me in just a few weeks at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio.  They are having their annual quilt show with vendors and workshops.  I will be teaching two classes, giving Schoolhouse lectures and a trunk show.  There are still a few spots open in the workshops.  Sauder Village is a living history museum.  What a great place to have a quilt show!   Click here for all the details.  I would sure love to meet you!  

Better get back to my To-Do list.  Have a wonderful day!  

Monday, April 22, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Back home from a very fun trip cruising with 100 wonderful quilters (More about the cruise in my next post) I did as I said....and absconded with lots of fabric scraps for more blocks.  I don't know about you, but I adore making these blocks.  We may all need a 12 step program after our quilts are complete.  

Aw, heck.....If we're happy making blocks, why stop? Right!  Therapy comes in many forms!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

I'm back from the cruise.  Had a wonderful time and I did beg, borrow and steal (well, not steal exactly) some scraps for more blocks.  Yay!  More scrappy happiness!  Did you make more blocks this week?  Off to starch, cut and sew some more.....

Monday, April 8, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Here are this weeks blocks.  While you're reading this, I am cruising the Caribbean teaching and no doubt having a blast with fellow Marcus pals Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts.  If you've never attended a quilting cruise, it really is a load of fun!  Think about joining us sometime.

There are no less than 100 quilters on this trip, all of whom brought fabric on board.  I think I'll stroll past them and see if they have any scraps I can use for more blocks!  Always on the lookout for more and more prints!  I'm shameless.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Jane ~ Before and After

This is Jane.  She's named after the nineteenth century best selling book, Jane Eyre.
She's featured on the cover of my Vintage Patchwork book for Martingale Publishing.
I came across this photo I took while I was piecing Jane.  It's just amazing how the squares shrink when you piece a small little quilt like this.  
I also wanted to show you how that you can certainly make the projects in the book anyway you'd like to.  These cuties were made by Valerie Langue, owner of The Quilt Merchant.  She made Scarlet (left) and Jane (right) out of Mrs. Miller's Apprentice fabrics.  Love them!
You might ask.....what would I do with a 5 inch quilt?  Well....several things come to mind.  I  attached a ribbon to the back of Jane.   Sometimes, I tuck the ribbon between pages of a large, old book (like a bookmark) and she is displayed in front of the book.  At the moment, I've taped her to this antique cutting board in my kitchen.  I think it makes a great display....a little patchwork always warms things up and adds color!

I used the new (to me) Wall-Safe tape.  It works just like a Post-It note as it sticks well, but leaves no residue behind.  It doesn't damage anything either.  Great stuff!

Tiny, bookshelf size quilts are quite versatile.
I love displaying them in places you wouldn't expect and I hope I've inspired you to give them a try. 

You can get a copy of  my Vintage Patchwork book here.  There are twelve small projects all made from just one 10 x 10 precut of my Pam's Prairie Basics fabric collection.  Or, as you can see, you can make them from fabrics of your choosing!

Any day spent quilting is a good day!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

If you're like me, every moment I was making my Circa Nine Patch blocks, I wanted more and more and more variety of fabrics.  My appetite for scrappy was insatiable!  If you're craving tons more fabric....trade blocks!  Oh....and I may have a fix in store for you.  Sixteen new Circa Essential Basic prints are coming soon.....and I love them all!!!!  Can't wait to share them with you.

Happy Stitches....have a great week!