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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!