Monday, September 16, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch & Sneak Peek At Rachel's Tribute!!!!

Rachel's Tribute Sneak Peek!!

Here's a look at all of the fabrics coming very soon, all found in my 2020 BOM called Rachel's Tribute!  Oh...I can barely wait to show you the quilt, but for now, this will have to do.  

I adore all of these prints.  They are small, sweet prints perfect for the BOM and the many other quilt projects you have going.  Hoping the big reveal will be this week!
In the meantime, here are this week's Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  There are a couple of fun fussy cut blocks in this batch, too.  

Enjoy your week...summer is hanging on here and I'm going to soak up all I can!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Here are this week's blocks.  Some cute fussy cuts in this batch.  The green flower in the center of the block at the right is easy to spot.  Do you spot the fabric with the bicycles?

That is the F*U*N of putting Fussy Cuts in your blocks!!  Little surprises.  

Need help Fussy Cutting?  I've made it super here to read more.

Be well....Happy Stitches always.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Cobbler & Flannel

We are nearing a change in seasons.  Fall will soon arrive, but for now, we are still enjoying the fruits of summer....literally.   Anticipating the cooler season, my first ever flannel collection, Maple Lake Flannel, is in quilts shops now.  I took many of my favorite prints from my On Maple Lake collection, along with some gorgeous new prints, and put them in autumnal colors for your piecing pleasure.

I have just a few fat quarter bundles left of this warm & cozy collection.  Click here if you'd like to grab one before they're gone!
Very Berry Crisp
You will enjoy smelling the berry goodness  baking in the oven as you sew.  Right now, all of the berries we love are ripe, plentiful and inexpensive.  Here's a berry crisp recipe I enjoy making all year round (you can also use frozen fruit.)

You can print my Very Berry Crisp recipe here.

This week, Debbie and I are piecing my 2020 BOM, called Rachel's Tribute.  I should be able to show you the quilt and the fabrics next week when it makes its big debut at Marcus Fabrics.  
Lovin' the fabrics!  Lovin' the quilt.  Can't wait to show you!!  It's so hard keeping secrets!

Sit outside and stitch a spell....and then....have dessert!  Enjoy.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

This will be short and sweet.  It's Labor Day and I'm taking some time off....well, sort of.

Went for a 3 mile walk this morning, sat outside...the weather is perfect....and have a few chores to do.  I plan to sew this afternoon...which is the 'chore', but not!
Hope you're doing something fun to recharge and enjoy!  

For our friends dealing with hurricane Dorian, I wish you the very best possible outcome.  Above all, be safe.  Keeping you in my prayers.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Kentucky Crossroads

It took a lot longer than I had hoped to have the pattern ready...but it's finally done!  This was a fun quilt to draft, write and make....from beginning to end.  
Ronda did a wonderful job quilting this beauty.  The antique has crosshatching in the sashing, and I loved it, and wanted to replicate that in the reproduction.  A simple design was chosen for the Kentucky block so as not to overwhelm the block.  I'm also fond of the sashing cornerpost block which, like the Kentucky block, is an unusual block as well.  

The pattern has instructions to make the quilt scrappy......
....or in the two-color antique version.

Click here to order the pattern and you'll be having fun making the Kentucky Crossroads block, too!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch

I don't know about you, but I just love these little blocks.  Seems like no matter what fabrics they're made from, they all look great!
I made some new strips sets over the weekend.  I'm still trading blocks with my friends and happy to continue.  

I hope to have another couple hundred blocks by the end of the year.  Why, since my Circa 1880 quilt is finished?  Because I've been inspired by the Circa 1880 Club at Village Dry Goods.   Many of the club members are adding what they call 'rogue' blocks, named by my friend Janet of Rogue Quilter ,who is a club member there.  Rogue blocks are any block made the same size as the Circa 1880 blocks, and added here and there as little surprises to the quilt.  It looks so awesome that I want to make a quilt with rogue blocks, too!!  It will undoubtedly have a different setting than the original Circa 1880 Nine Patch quilt. imagination gets carried away with all the little rogue blocks I can make!

You'd be inspired too!  You could see all the innovations and inspirations if you were part of the Circa 1880 Club.  Join us!  We'd love to have you. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Hi!  Here are this week's Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks for you to enjoy.
While teaching at The Little Red Hen Quilt Shop this past weekend, quilter Robin McGuire shared her version of my little Scarlet quilt.  Pattern is from my Vintage Patchwork book (Martingale.)
Here is my original version of Scarlet.  So cute in any many coloring!
You can buy my Vintage Patchwork book here (autographed just for you!), along with the Pam's Prairie Basics fabric precut I used for all my projects here.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

About Starching Your Fabric

Lately, I've had more than a few inquiries about how I starch my fabric.  I have been doing so for at least 15 years now and can't imagine piecing without starched (read stiff) fabric.  The difference is amazing!

Truth is I use Magic sizing instead of starch.  It's inexpensive, readily available (.94 at Walmart), has no odor and works like a charm.

People ask me what I think about Best Press.  I like it!  
It's a bit expensive for the amount of starching/sizing I do, but if you like it, it works well.  It doesn't get the fabric as stiff as the Magic sizing does, which you may prefer.

Why bother starching or sizing?  I use this analogy....
would you rather piece with tissue paper or card stock?
Which would go where you want it to go?  Which would give you more control?

Card stock, of course!  

You will notice a difference when cutting, pressing and piecing for sure!  

Two caveats!  

One......Be sure to starch or size your fabric before cutting it!!  I don't recommend starching already cut or sewn pieces as they can shrink or warp.  

Two.....don't starch or size precuts.  Same reason...they will shrink a little bit and you likely need every thread you have of a precut.
I lay a old beach towel on top of my big board ironing board so it will soak up excess sizing.  Be sure to thoroughly spray....thoroughly saturate your fabric.  I don't just lightly mist it...I saturate it!  The photo above shows partially dry fabric on top to show the difference.  
I usually fill the ironing board with fabrics close together so as not to waste sizing.  
I let the fabric rest, especially if I will be ironing it dry right away.  I pile like-colored fabrics together.  This allows the sizing to permeate the fabric fibers so I won't get any flaking.  Flaking happens because the sizing is basically sitting on top of the fabric and the hot iron cooks it which causes the flakes.  If you're going to allow the fabric to air dry, resting is not necessary.
Most of the time, I hang the fabric on a drying rack and allow it to air dry so I can go on to do something else.  The sizing does not drip on the no worries about that.

Once it's dry, steam iron the wrinkles out.  If a wrinkle persists, give it a little spritz with the sizing and that will take care of it.  Then, you're ready to cut!

Often, I am sizing scraps.  These fabric squares are actually from a pack of 3.5 inch squares....a precut if you will.  I know it's ok to size them because they are larger than what I need to work with, so the little bit of shrinkage is ok.  

With scraps, I try to group them tightly together when sizing them and for pressing.  That way the iron is touch multiple pieces as I move it around.  It goes pretty quickly.

I hope this gives you an idea of how to starch or size your fabric.  It took about 15 min to spray the fabrics this morning and hang them.  Then, I went on and began sewing and doing other things.  By noon, the fabrics were dry.  I will iron them when I have a chance and they're ready for cutting.  It doesn't take much time but the results are huge.  

Don't believe me?  Make one block and give it a try.  Starching/sizing help to prevent stretching, you won't have stringy fabric either, and oh...the control!   The smaller the pieces, the better it is!  Experiment with sizing or actual starch to see what level of stiffness you prefer.
Once the quilt is done and washed, all the sizing and starch are gone.  Actually, the fabric becomes softer and softer the more you handle and piece with it.

I have also begun spritzing my pieced units and blocks with Best Press.  (I can because I size my fabrics before cutting.)  You can read about that here.  

I'm off to Iowa in the morning.  I'm teaching at The Little Red Hen Quilt ShopClick here to read about the classes I will be teaching Friday and Saturday.  Come join the fun!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks & Summer

Here are this week's Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  Love those fussy cuts!  I hope your blocks are piling up!  Have you begun sewing rows together?

Having a busy summer weekend, so not much else to report today.  Lots of design work going on in the studio while I wait for fabric for my 2020 BOM to arrive.  I'm currently working on the quilt design and fabric for my 2021 BOM believe it or not.  (We work on a BOM about a year before you would receive your first block.) 

In between, I'm making it a point to enjoy the summer while it's here.  I love going out in the morning with an iced tea to sit for awhile, prune some flowers, scroll through know....just listen to the birds singing.  This has been the best summer for me in about 5 years.

Enjoy your day...and when it begins to get into the heat of the day....go inside and sew!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Introducing my New Circa Essentials Fabric Collection

True Confession:  It's SO hard to keep new fabric a secret!  I get so excited when the strike offs come, and we settle the line, and then send it into production.  I want it now!  I want to talk about it right away.  But...I have to wait.

Well...the waiting is over, at least for one collection!
New Circa Essentials
Here's your first look at some of the 28 New Circa Essential prints.
I really love small prints.  Why?

They're the bread and butter of piecing!
We use them more than any other print.....
In our blocks, in our scrap quilts....and sometimes even as borders.  

In most of the antique quilts I own, they are made up of hundreds of these small prints.  I don't have many that have fancy floral borders.  The antique quilts I own were working quilts....on beds every night.  And...most of the prints are multi-colored which are harder to come by than tone and tone prints.  

The original Circa Prairie Basics were created specially for The Circa 1880 Nine Patch Club, and these prints are a new addition. the Circa Prairie Basics, the New Circa Essentials are wonderful no matter what quilt you're piecing.  A welcome addition to your stash, for sure!

Look for the New Circa Essentials at your local quilt shop coming in OctoberClick here to see the entire line.  Watch for news about a new quilt made with this collection....coming soon!

Speaking of the Circa Prairie Basic collection.....the Marcus Fabrics warehouse is sold out of these prints and the supply is dwindling at quilt shops everywhere.  I have just a few of these Fat Quarter bundles of the complete Circa Prairie Basics line still available....while supplies last.  Get yours before they're going, going gone!

Click here to order yours today.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Circa 1880 Blocks & Craft Sewing

Here are this week's Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  I've been cutting up more strips of some newly acquired fabric to make more blocks.  I love making these little cuties and so I just chug along happy as a clam.  

Yesterday, I took some me time during the hottest part of the day to make myself a little something fun.
I spent a couple of hours doing some craft sewing and made myself a pop-up thread catcher.  As I travel doing workshops, I get to see a wide variety of quilting paraphernalia and this is a very popular item.  So cute!  It's a pop-up thread catcher.  Holds a lot of scraps and threads, and when it's time to pack up, empty and squish it down flat.  The elastic keeps it flat for travel.  

It was so fun to make something crafty for myself.  If you'd like to make one, ask for the Fat Quarter Pop-Up pattern (by Fat Quarter Gypsy) at your LQS.  If they don't have one in stock, they are easy to order for you.  

Headed to the patio to enjoy the summer evening and do some hand quilting.  Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks & Sizing Mystery

By now, most of you know I am a huge believer in treating my fabric with sizing or starch before I cut into it.  The benefits are many and well worth your time.  

A little while ago, my friend and co-worker, Debbie, and I became a little panicked when we couldn't find my favorite Magic sizing anywhere.  It was gone!  For weeks!!  Oh no!  

I had been using it for what?  Let's make a long story short...
They released this new look on the can.  Sigh....don't ya hate when they repackage something you've been using for years, and then you can't find it or don't know what version is your favorite?

So....I hope to save you the trouble of looking for our old Magic sizing spray, and look for this new can.  Same good stuff on the inside.  Works like a charm!  

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Look Between The Lines

Recently, I was showing a group of quilters my Endearments print and talking about all the ways to fussy cut these prints.  They commented that I should blog about here goes.

My Endearment print comes in two color-ways.  Antique brown is on the bottom of the photo and the soldier blue is at the top.  Obviously, you can (and should!) fussy cut the three Endearment phrases for pieced blocks or quilt labels to add a little something special to your quilt.  But...these prints have more to offer!

In the photo above, I have outlined the sweet little floral motif which can be cut to 1.5 inches and finish at 1 inch.  

I've also outlined the tiny background stars.  Why not fussy cut those as well?  Cut to 1 inch and finishing at 1/2 inch, these are perfect for most any block you are making.  

Read between the to speak, and get the most of every fabric you own! 

Look for both of the Endearment prints at your LQS or buy them here.  They make a fabulous backing for a quilt, too!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch

I'm back home after nearly 2 full weeks of travel.  I've been to 5 states, 5 hotels, 3 quilt shops and had wonderful classes with some amazing, talented and very friendly quilters.  It was fun.

I'm pooped.  This is all I have in me for this week's post.  Gonna take a nap.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch

I'm back from my Washington, D.C. trip and accomplished two great things.....I visited Delaware and West Virginia.  What's the big deal about that, you ask?  Well, I am on a quest to step foot in all 50 states and visiting DE and WV crossed off 48 and 49.  I have one left to go!!!  

Wondering which state is left?  Louisiana....not by design.  It just worked out that way.  So, I'll be planning a trip to NOLA as soon as I can go.  I can't wait to reach my goal!!  

Packing to go to Stitching With The Stars....I'll be back soon.  When I get home, I'll be working on a whole bunch of new things. 

My next trip in August is to visit The Little Red Hen quilt shop in Muscatine, Iowa.  I have heard so many great things about this shop, I can hardly wait to go.  Click here to read all of the details.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Cruise With Me In 2020!!!

I'm so jazzed to announce that I am teaching on another Caribbean cruise next May, 2020!!'s such a great time on a quilting cruise.  Sew when you want to, lay by the pool when you want to, see wonderful ports and feast on to-die-for food.  What's not to love??!!!  

We're sailing to Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica.  I have been to all of these ports and really enjoyed them all.  

If you've ever been tempted to go on a quilting it!!!   You won't regret it.

You can find all of the details here.  

Hope you are enjoying a fun summer!! 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks & Stitching With The Stars

As you read this, I am in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. and soon headed to Maryland to give workshops at two quilt shops, Traditions at the White Swan and Spring Water Designs.

Next week, I invite you to join me at another wonderful quilt shop, Quilter's Station in Lee's Summit, MO.  I am one of eleven teachers giving classes on a wide variety of wonderful things to do with needle and thread!  

Click here to find out more about Stitching With The Stars.  We'd LOVE for you to join us!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Tokens of the Past: Gathering In Blue

At last!  It seems like forever since I introduced my new Tokens of the Past: Gathering In Blue trio at Quilt Market.  It's been a couple of months, and I've been anxious to spread the word about it, but I wanted to wait until all of the fabric, namely the 10 x 10 precuts of Mrs. Miller's Apprentice were ready.  

What would be the point of telling you all about this pattern whereby all of the units and blocks for all three quilts are made from just one 10 inch precut of Mrs. Miller's Apprentice when the precut wasn't ready?  

It's ready now and available at your local quilt shop!!  

First up is Color Me Blue.  A wonderful star quilt in many shades of blue.  The quilt measures 18 x 18.  
Second is this sweet postage stamp quilt called Check My Stars.  I love this quilt so much.  It was so fun to piece and play with all those fabrics.  I am definitely in a "postage stamp" phase in designing right now.  Love, love piecing little squares.  Perfect leader/ender projects.  Quilt measures 13.5 x 13.5 inches.
Third and last is Blue Angel.  It has a little applique with the orange peel shapes and is very easy to do.  It applique is a FOUR letter word to you, you can sub wool appliques if you like, or play with more HST.  Quilt measures 20 x 20 inches. 

Please ask for the pattern and Mrs. Miller's Apprentice fabrics at your local quilt shop.  We simply must make it a priority to buy our quilting goodies from our LQS to support them!!!  We can't afford not one more shop to close its doors. friends. 

If your LQS isn't into reproductions, or you don't have a shop nearby, you can order the Tokens of the Past: Gathering In Blue pattern and a complete kit (with all the same fabrics I used) from my website here.

Or...if you'd just like the Tokens of the Past: Gathering In Blue pattern, you can order it here.

My new Kentucky Crossroads quilt top is being assembled now.  All of the blocks are done and the top is coming together.  Looking so, so good!!  It's exciting to see a new quilt come together.

I'm also beginning to pack for my next trip.  I just returned home from the Atlanta, GA area where I visited with the quilters of East Cobb Quilters Guild.  Had the best time with them!!  Great ladies to spend time with, delicious food and quilts to die for from their members.  Thank you all for a terrific time.  

I'm off to spend a few days of vacation in the Washington, DC area with my hubby.  We will travel to visit the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, and the Harper's Ferry CW battlefield in West Virginia, after which I can cross off two more states in my quest to visit all 50.  That will leave me with just one left!!!!!!  

Then, onto Maryland to give a workshop at Traditions at the White Swan in Hagerstown, and Spring Water Designs in Columbia.  

After to Lee's Summit, MO for Stitching With The Stars.  I'd sure love to see you there!!!

Grab an iced tea and a comfy chair on the porch this evening and do a little stitching.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

This marks week 26 which means.....we are half way through the year of making Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  WOW!

There are two people in the Circa Facebook group who have completed their quilts!  Honest!  That is absolutely amazing to me.  Making this quilt is not a should take its sweet 'ol time and get it done rather than become a magnificent UFO.  

It's so exciting to see so many quilters loving the quilt that I became totally obsessed over love.  

Fast or slow, by hand or by machine.....keep on stitchin'!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Kentucky Crossroads ~ Coming Soon!

I recently acquired this lovely old quilt.  I immediately fell in love with this block, and I adore blue and white quilts.  I had to have it!  

When I returned home, I looked for the block in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia and found that this exact block is not in the book.  It's a unique version of the Kentucky Crossroads block.  A perfect name for the quilt, I thought.
The traditional piecing for the block requires a set-in Y seam.  Groan.  So, I drafted the block without a set-in seam.  Yay!
Hoping to have the quilt finished and photographed mid-July.  Pattern very soon afterward.  

It's been such a fun block to piece!!  Start stash diving for a bunch of dark prints that will make terrific blocks.  

Toodles for now.....keep on stitchin'!