Monday, October 16, 2017

Rebecca's Thimble

So jazzed that another new pattern is finally complete and ready to go!!  Yay!  Introducing Rebecca's Thimble.  Scrap Lovers are gonna love this pattern because the more scrappy prints you include, the better the quilt will be.  More fabrics are always better, right?
Made in two color options, in two sizes, with options for borders....or not, this is one versatile pattern.  

The blue version is the smaller quilt, and I added borders.  As shown, the quilt measures          19 1/2" x 19 1/2".  

The red version is the larger quilt, and I chose not to add borders as I really love the quilt center just the way it is.  As shown, this quilt measures 41 1/2" x 41 1/2".  Decisions, decisions!





Nice to have choices though!  If you're like me, why not make several quilts in different colorways?  

My new Rebecca's Thimble pattern is ready to ship.

Click here to order yours today!

Market prep goes on each day and I feel I'm making progress.  My newest Tokens of the Past pattern, called Two Color Classics is nearly complete, I'm binding Plantation Stars in the evening while I watch TV, and my Tall Grass sample yardage just arrived this morning.  So...we will dig into all of that fun stuff this afternoon.  

I think I need to learn to sew while sleeping.  

Um, Pam...that's called dreaming (in every sense of the word!)

More very soon....








Thursday, October 12, 2017

Everyone Loves a Little Country Charm


I'm so jazzed to release my pattern called Country Charm!  

This quilt was made awhile ago and was originally published in Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.  I made it using Kansas Troubles fabrics, which remain a favorite of mine, and always will be!  

The star blocks are 9 inches, and each has a different sampler block on the inside.  Fun to piece and fun choosing the fabrics for each block as well.  

More interest is created by placing well chosen colors in the sashing.  Use scraps from your stash or leftover 5 inch squares to create the quilt the way you want it!



Quilt measures 34" x 34".  

Click here to order yours today!


Lots more pattern releases and new fabrics coming any time now.  

Dear Mr. Postman, Mr. UPS and Mr. FedEx.....please hurry!!  



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Where's Fall?

Um, Mother Nature.....what happened to our fall weather?  It's still in the 80's here in Chicagoland, and while it is nice, my seasonal clock is set to fall temps, and so far, there's no sign of them.  
Over the weekend, I began to decorate the house for Halloween, and I want those cooler days.
Trying to get a few things done in the house while I prep for market.  It's part of the ritual of the changing of the season.  I'm doing my part....I just want the weather to match the calendar.  

I love sweater weather!  I made this table runner eons ago and I still love it.  
Right now, there'a a lot of paperwork to do.  Writing patterns, creating a brochure with all my new offerings, needed graphics to create.....you get the idea.  Lots of computer work.  It all goes hand in hand with market prep.

But....I love to sew, and have been trying to find time to sew...even 30 minutes a day....makes me happy.  While working with all of those 1 inch strips, I have also been sewing tiny Two Patches.  They finish to 1 inch by 1/2 inch.  JOY!  Another new design I'm working on for the future.  

Hoping your weather is just the way you want it, and that you're finding time to sew...even though your day is filled with other  tasks that aren't nearly as rewarding!  

Be well....have a happy needle.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A LIttle Crazed

Fall quilt market countdown is in full crazy mode here.  It's been over a year since I have been able to attend market, what with those pesty surgeries last year and all.  So...I feel a little rusty to be honest.  

There are five new patterns coming, with seven new quilts in various stages of production.  Still working some on the big secret project that kept me busy over the summer, three new fabric lines in the production, and two more floating in my head that need to be in the Marcus office soon.
As if I don't have enough to keep me busy, (not complaining!  I like being busy!!) I am working on four new quilts that will debut sometime next year.  They are SUPER SCRAPPY and require thousands (yes, thousands) of 1" strips.  So....a little here and there, I've been cutting and playing with the pieces to work out the block designs.  (Ideas can sometimes nag at me until I get them worked out.  Does that happen to you, too?)
To know me is to know I am organized to a fault....and it can be a fault, ya know?  I started out with this small bin.  What was I thinking?  That won't hold much!  I need to separate these strips by color, and as I wade through my stash, it will grow and grow.  Must work on these new ideas.  But when?  Hmmm.....maybe I can sleep 30 minutes less, wake up really early and tackle this.  (I'm a morning person.) 

Yeah...sure....sounds good until that alarm goes off!  Any advice for organizing lots of 1 inch strips?

I have a piece of advice for you.....if you LOVE working with small pieces like I do....start cutting lots of 1" strips now.  I highly recommend you starch or size your fabric before cutting!  It makes a world of difference with the control you have in piecing ~ but never more so than with super small pieces. 

Soon...very soon, I will have lots of new stuff to show you.  I can hardly wait, I promise!!  

Be well...and stitch!  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tokens of the Past: Two Color Classics Sneak Peek

I'm back from a lovely trip to visit two quilt guilds in Texas.  I had a wonderful time there as I always do when I get to spend quality time with quilters!!  My thanks to all the folks from Vereins Quilt Guild and the Hill County Quilters Guild for the warm and hearty welcome they gave my hubby and me.  

Just one day back to work and the pre-fall quilt market crush is upon us.  We're busy making plans to finish the last of the new quilts for market, trying to catch up on orders, and what seems like a million other details.  It's all good....no complaints here!

I just couldn't resist showing you a sneak peek of three new quilts is am SO JAZZED about!!  These little darlings are the three two color quilts in my newest Tokens of the Past pattern called Two Color Classics.  I hope you find them as irresistible as I do!! 

They are off to be photographed and we're working on the cover.  The pattern and kits will be available very soon, so watch my blog for the big announcement.

Val, my quilter who is lending her talents and quilting magic to Plantation Stars, tells me it's almost done.  I can hardly wait!!  Pattern and kits will be coming soon on that one as well.  

And...then there's Rebecca's Thimble....another new pattern, also featuring two color quilts.  I sense a theme here....must be my mood lately.  

I don't know about you, but I do so love a traditional two-color quilt.  

Must find time to write my next Quilting Essentials blog post....I haven't forgotten.

And....work is well underway on my 2018 BOM.  Exciting stuff going on here.  

Summer is hanging on to the bitter end here in suburban Chicagoland.  I returned from Texas to the hottest weather we've had here all summer!  Frankly, I long for the cooler days of fall, and am concerned that these hot days will rob us of glorious colors in our fall leaves.  

Mother Nature sure is letting us know who's boss lately.  Let us not forget all of those effected by the hurricanes and earth quakes and keep them in our prayers.  

As I stitch in the evening, I count my blessings with a grateful heart.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Introducing Tall Grass!!

Oh, I am SO jazzed to finally show you my newest fabric collection designed just for Marcus Fabrics!  

It's called Tall Grass.

Tall Grass is a lovely collection of various prints in shades of greens.  You know how bad I am at taking pictures.  I'm showing you two photos of the same fabrics ~ one shot with the flash, and one without, to demonstrate the difference in how it changes the coloring.  (I'm trying to blame my poor photography on the lighting.)  Hopefully, you'll be able to get a good idea of the pretty shades of greens.  
I am so, so happy with all of the prints in this collection.  I worked in a few other colors with the green backgrounds for variety...and, well....for the fun of it!
Once in a blue moon I needle-turn applique, and thought of all of the applique-ers out there who use greens in so many of their quilts, as vines and leaves, and so many different things.
I really do love all of the fabrics I design, but once in awhile, I do have a favorite, and this print is one of them....especially the light.  I can see it used in a bazillion quilts.  I'll have to order extra of that one!
Why the name Tall Grass?  Well.....growing up in Illinois, the Prairie State, we have tons of different tall grasses everywhere.  It grows wild, and we work it into our landscaping because it's perennial, and indigenous.  
It grows in every shade of green imaginable.  Some have flowers, most have tasseled tops in wheat tones and browns.  I thought it was the perfect inspiration for a collection of green fabrics for this "Prairie woman".
I've designed a quilt featuring all of the Tall Grass prints and will show it to you just as soon as I can.  

Tall Grass will be delivered to your local quilt shop in January, so next time you visit the shop, ask if they've ordered Tall Grass!  It's so important to support our local quilt shops!!  

Click here to see the entire Tall Grass collection on the Marcus Fabrics website.

I'm also delighted to be traveling to Texas to meet with two guilds there.  Hoping to post pictures to Instagram and Facebook.

In the meantime, make your sewing machine happy by spending some quality time with it.  By doing so...you'll be happier, and at peace with your heart!  

Be well.....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fat Quarter Shop's Healing Hearts for Texas

Healing Hearts is a very special quilt pattern offered by Kimberly Jolly and all the generous folks at FatQuarterShop.com.  

Starting today, September 12th and through October 31st, you can purchase this very sweet quilt pattern for just $9 with all of the proceeds going to the JJ Watts Foundation.  Every cent of the money raised from the sale of the Healing Hearts pattern will directly help the untold families effected by Hurricane Harvey.  

Click here to purchase the Healing Hearts pattern, and you'll be able to download and print it right away, and begin helping folks who really need a hand up right now.  




Monday, September 11, 2017

In Honor of September 11th

I can hardly believe that 16 years have passed.  We all know exactly where we were, and what we were doing when the first plane hit.  

We honor the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day, and all of the first responders who gave everything they had....tirelessly...for days and days.  We must pause to remember them all and keep them in our hearts.  We can draw strength from the fact that the entire world changed from that day on, and we overcame it all, continuing to be America Strong.  

In heartfelt remembrance......

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Packing Up and Headed to Texas!

We've been packing up for what seems like days for my upcoming trip to Texas.  
With well over one hundred quilts to choose from, it's hard to pick which ones will make the trip with me.  Decisions, decisions!
I love to travel and truly enjoy teaching at workshops, but I don't enjoy the packing before hand.  It's just not fun.  Same for packing for vacation.  You get that ominous feeling that you just can't forget something you really need!  Many lists help to keep things straight, but still....  

Besides packing for the Texas trip, I am juggling several other projects and new quilts in progress.  Plantation Stars is still with the quilter, two of the three new Tokens of the Past ~ Two Color Classics quilts are completed with the third in progress, and two more new quilts  are almost ready for another new pattern.  

I have three new fabrics lines in the pipeline with one nearly done, and expect to make a new quilt with it in time for fall market. 

And....there's also the ongoing big kahuna top-secret project as well.  Too many things I can't yet share with you!!  UGH!  So frustrating.  All that means that I haven't been blogging as regularly as I'd like to because I don't have much I can share.  Soon....all that will change.

If you're in the Austin or San Antonio area, please consider coming to a lecture and workshop. Here's the guild info:

Saturday, Sept 16th ~ 9 am    

Veriens Quilt Guild ~ Zion Lutheran Church, 424 W. Main St., Fredericksburg  

Monday, Sept 18th ~ 9:30 am

Hill Country Quilt Guild ~ Zion Lutheran Church, 624 Barnett, Kerrville

It sure would be wonderful to see you there!  



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thoughts & Prayers For Texans

Heartbreaking is the only word I have for what is happening to the good people of Texas, and now Louisana.  It goes without saying that our thoughts and prayers are with you.  

Thinking of all of my quilting friends effected by this terrible storm as I can't imagine what you're all going through.  So long as you and your families are safe and together, most things in your life can be replaced.  Quilts and fabrics can be washed, sewing machines replaced.  A nation of quilters stand with you.  If you can, please support the American Red Cross.  

America Strong!


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Exploring Kansas City, MO

After my time teaching at Primitives of the Midwest, my hubby and I went onto Kansas City, MO for a day or two of fun.  We stayed in the Country Club Plaza district which was just chock full of restaurants and shopping right outside our door.
Saturday was the first day of a week long Jazz music celebration.  Musicians were playing all over the area and boy were they great!  We lingered here a few hours (with a cold beverage) to listen and take it all in.






I wanted to get in some antiquing time in if I could.  I had heard about the West Bottoms district which was a short 15 minute ride from the hotel. 


What a fun and unique place to go pickin'! 








This industrial neighborhood looked like it was abandoned and is now enjoying a new life with antique shops and re-purposed goods stores, along with some new kitschy merchandise.  This shop, Nook & Cranny, was my favorite, full of three warehouse floors of antiques!  Heaven!
I'm not sure if any businesses occupy the top floors of other buildings, but the street level spaces are all occupied.  They played oldies music over loud speakers throughout the streets, which was kinda fun, too.
You can find anything from architectural pieces to fine furniture, glass ware to textiles and everything in between.  My only complaint was the total lack of air conditioning in every industrial shop, but that's just part of the industrial experience, I guess.

Honestly, we had a terrific time every day.  Great food (especially the BBQ at Jack Stack where we ate twice!), good weather, lots of things to do and places to shop, all within a short distance. I'm already looking forward to returning there. 

I hope this gives you just a peek at some fun things to do in KC, MO ~ and don't forget feed your quilting soul at Quilter's Station, too.
I'm home for a few weeks with a To-Do list a mile long.  I will soon pack and get ready for a trip to Texas!  I'll be visiting two quilt guilds there for lectures and workshops.  I'd love to meet you if you're in the area.  Here's some info on my two stops:

Saturday, Sept 16th ~ 7 pm    

Veriens Quilt Guild ~ Zion Lutheran Church, 424 W. Main St., Fredericksburg  

Monday, Sept 18th ~ 9:30 am

Hill Country Quilt Guild ~ Zion Lutheran Church, 624 Barnett, Kerrville

Hope to see you there!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Back From Primitives of the Midwest

Boy ~ having some time away from home to submerge myself in all things quilting, along with dozens of other kindred spirits sure does a girl a world of good!  

Primitives of the Midwest was exactly the super fun and inspiring event I knew it would be! 

Quilter's Station shop owner, Rita Briner, and all the shop girls did a fantastic job of hosting the event.  We stayed, and had our classes all in one hotel, which made it very convenient. 
Quilter's from as far away as California, Florida, New Jersey, and Canada (and all points in between) attended.  
Some brought their machines on the airplane with them, and some borrowed machines.  As you can see, nothing stopped them from coming!
Both quilts are Starry, Starry Nines from Tokens of the Past: Nine Patch Reverie
Photo courtesy of Ron Hoeltge
I had just the best time with my fellow quilters as we talked shop, favorite quilting tools, favorite quilt shops, and shared hints and tips with each other.  Always the best day when I get to spend time with other quilters!

Quilter's Station Quilt Shop was a mere 5 minute drive from the hotel.  Dare I say, most of us went there every day!  
Just in case we missed something we HAD TO HAVE!
Or....if someone bought something, then showed it off, and you discovered you just needed that, too!
As you can see ~ there's loads and loads of inspiration everywhere.  Everything you'd need for quilting and wool loving are in this shop!
Trust me...these few photos don't begin to do the shop justice.  It's amazing!

I was completely stunned to see two and a half aisles of my fabric in the shop!  It kinda choked me up, to tell the truth, to see it all so beautifully displayed.  

So...if you're looking for Heartspun Quilts fabric....you know exactly where to go and whom to call!!! Quilter's Station. (We have to continue to support our quilt shops!!)  Be sure to add Quilter's Station to your Bucket List as a shop not to miss!  I promise, you won't be disappointed!!

Hubby and I went to Kansas City for the weekend.  We discovered several really fun places and I'll share those with you in my next post.  

In the meantime....spend some time with needle and thread...and Be Well!  


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Quilting Essentials ~ It All Begins With The Fabric

Every quilt project begins with the fabric.  After choosing (or being possessed to make) a quilt design, the next step is gathering just the perfect fabrics for that quilt.  

I can not over state the importance of using quilt shop quality fabrics for your quilt.  Quilt shop quality fabric simply means the base fabric itself, called greige goods (pronounced gray), are 100% high quality cotton threads in high thread count.  You can tell the difference when you hold it up to the light (as compared with chain store fabric), and in the "hand" of the fabric, which means the soft, smooth feel it gives when running your hand across it.  AKA petting said fabric.  Teehee!  

Additionally, the dye used, and the printing manufacturing process produce fabric that are not likely to bleed, fade, and will last much longer to wear & tear and washing than lesser quality fabric.  Quilt shop quality milled fabric are long lasting, quality goods produced specifically for quilting, and sold only to quilt shops for that reason.  If you're going to invest your most precious resource into your quilts....your time....why short change yourself with lower quality fabrics?  (in my humble opinion.)

To Wash Or Not To Wash?

I believe this to be a personal preference.  I thinking it's fine and dandy if you want to wash your fabric before cutting into it.  Personally, I don't wash mine.   The reason is that when fabric is milled, sizing is added to it for body, to keep it smooth, and to keep it from wrinkling. Once I have it at home, I add a lot more sizing or starch (mostly sizing) to make it even more stiff.  

I am a big believer in sizing fabric!!  The proof is in the results you get and I feel strongly that it's worth the time.  There's a whole lot of designers and quilters who have come to know the benefits of sizing/starching fabric....a lot more than you might think.  More on this in a moment.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about washing a quilt that was made with unwashed, and sized fabrics.  (Click here to read the original post.)   

Red fabric being one of the most notorious for bleeding, I did an experiment with this little quilt made from my A Prairie Gathering collection.  I sprayed the fabrics with sizing, soaking them thoroughly, then ironed them dry before cutting them for the quilt.  If a fabric is going to bleed, it will surely bleed with sizing the same as with plain water.  I tossed this quilt into the machine using the same detergent I use to wash our clothes.  I wanted to see if any of the reds would bleed into the lights, or onto the backing.  I'm happy to report that not one fabric bled. You can see photos of the experiment results in the original post.

With today's colorfast dyes, and milling process, fabrics generally do not bleed or run like they did years ago.  That does not mean it never happens! If you have any doubt, it's always a good idea to test a patch so you'll know for sure.

Why add sizing or starch?

One word.....Control!

Washed and unwashed fabrics are soft and pliable.  They fold and bend easily which is not a good thing for piecing.  Imagine piecing a block with tissue paper, then imaging piecing with card stock.  The stiffer the fabric, the more it behaves, and the more control you have to make it do what you want it to do, stay where you want it to stay, which means controlling it as it moves through the needle on your machine.  


You must, must remember....starching or sizing must happen when your fabric is still yardage or scrap - BEFORE  you cut it up for your quilt!!!!  

If you didn't add sizing to your yardage before cutting, 
do not spray your cut pieces, or blocks with starch as this will shrink or warp your fabric.  I also don't recommend spraying any pre-cut, charm pack, or 10 x 10 pack, to guard against shrinkage. 

You will notice a difference with the control you have in cutting your fabric, big time with piecing with your fabric, and you'll get a beautiful press with stiff fabric.  If you don't believe me, just try it with one block!





I have an entire chapter all about fabric preparation, sizing, and even a way to starch yardage in your washing machine in my Heartspun Quilts Hint & Tips book.  Click here for more info on the Hints Book.

All of the above fabric preparation is the way I do things and is just my opinion.  I know it has helped many people gain great results in their piecing experience, but certainly isn't the only way to do things.    If what you're doing yields good results for you....if it isn't broken...don't fix it!  


Wednesday, I am headed to Primitives of the Midwest in Missouri.  I haven't traveled for work in a year, so I'm very excited to get back to teaching, meeting wonderful quilters, and making more memories.  Check Instagram and Facebook for pictures while I'm on the road.

Be well....and keep your sewing machines humming!