Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stencil Winners

Thanks so much to those of you who posted a comment here last week to win a free stencil.  Your comments were so cute and often funny and I could not pick easily so I thought it would be most fair to have my husband choose with his random-numbers-generator brain. So, here you go - the winners, picked at random, of the Rick Rack stencil are -

             Gayle at - The Middle Sister blog

             Sharlene at - sharzlee at aol dot com

             Kristy at  - soardkg at fuse dot net

Please e-mail me your mailing addresses and I will contact The Stencil Company and have your stencils sent out to you as soon as possible.

Many thanks again to the Stencil Company for this great idea. To those of you who did not win this time - if I could, I would send a stencil (or 2 or 3) to each and every one of you.  Please come back and  try again next month. And pick up some hand quilting between now and then. You will love it!
*   *    *
Here it is,  almost the end of June. Is your June quilt finished?

This one was very quick and I know you are eager to move on to a new one. The next one will not be quite as simple but I will pick one that is just as cute. I would love to choose one from my first book, American Doll Quilts, but am not sure if many of you have that one. I have not decided yet and thought I would leave it up to all of you. Amazon has copies available if you do not own it. You can sometimes find copies on eBay. Also, my publisher, Martingale, has e-books available here.

Post a comment to let me know if you think this is a fair choice since it is an older book and hard to find. I suspect many of you probably already own it. Otherwise, pick a book you would like to use for the next Small Quilt of the Month and I will take your thoughts into consideration over the next couple of days before I decide. Don't forget, we will be making the Hexagons quilt from The Civil War Sewing Circle in October and that will make 3 from that book so far. I'd like to mix it up a little.

Remember that you can post a photo of your finished quilts on my Flickr group . Some of you have done that already and I love seeing your photos. You can always add any photo of a quilt you have made from one of my patterns or books.

I look forward to sharing our next small quilt for the month of July with you. NOTE:  I will post it on MONDAY - July 2.  Please do not e-mail me on Sunday, asking if I forgot. Look for it on Monday instead of Sunday. It will still be the beginning of the month and you will have plenty of time.

Adios, muchachas (I have to go, I am making an enchilada casserole for dinner . . .  Ole!)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun with Stencils

I'm still trying to finish up this small pinwheels quilt I started last year.

I hand quilted the center with diagonal lines and then stopped. I often get stumped by how to do the borders of my quilts. I recently became motivated to finish when Cindy from The Stencil Company e-mailed me to suggest a stencil giveaway here on the blog. Maybe this will help motivate some of you to finish up the quilting on your quilts as well. Quilting with stencils is so much fun and if you're making small quilts with me it's a pretty simple way to finish them. I have a nice variety and use the small stencils in some of my small blocks and also the border stencils at times when I get tired of straight-line stitching.

It seems that some of you like to hand quilt your small quilts just as much as I do because when I wrote about one stencil in particular that I liked to use for my borders, many of you contacted the company to buy the same stencil. Remember this quilt? And the simple Wave stencil I used in the borders? I blogged about it here . I will sometimes use the same stencil to quilt my sashings.

The Stencil Company and I are holding a Free Stencil Giveaway here on the blog every month. Is that cool or what?? About every month or so I will choose a stencil for you to use for  hand quilting your quilts and then demonstrate it on a quilt. All you have to do is post a message and I will choose 3 lucky winners every month.
 This month  - starting today - we will be giving away the Rick Rack stencil -

Look how cute it is!

And easy too. Use the stencil to mark the lines with your favorite tool - a washable fabric pen or a quilting pencil, whatever. Your choice. Then just quilt on the lines and erase or wash them out when you're done.  I'll try to show you what it looks like when I'm finished.

I used my new Sewline marking pencil with green lead.

And even if you don't win a stencil this time, you can still order them directly from the company. To make it easy for you to find the stencils I like to use for my small quilts, click here. (Look at that - they created a special page just for my Sentimental Quilter followers (you)). These are just some of the stencils that I think are fun to use to quilt your small quilts.

Wouldn't a quilt block look cute quilted with this one??

To win your free stencil, go ahead and finish this sentence: "When I'm not quilting, I am . . . ."  Post a nice creative message and we'll see what happens. And remember to keep it clean, please. Some of us are old ladies . . . .

I'll choose a winner sometime next week. Remember to give me your name and a link to your e-mail or blog so I can notify you. This is important. I get upset when some of you ask me a question and then do not leave me an e-mail address so I can respond. There will be another stencil giveaway next month too so keep checking back to see which one is next and if I can keep up with all the hand quilting. I'm telling you, quilting with stencils is going to be so much fun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I See Hexagons in Your Future

I know I am sounding like a broken record, but maybe some of you have missed it or just found my blog and books and perhaps are just joining us now. Every month we make a small quilt in order to finish a goal of making 12 small quilts this year. I choose the pattern from one of my books. (Yes, that means you have to have the book or borrow it to make the quilt.) This month's quilt is easy (see posting below this one and then also search the blog Archives by month for the other quilts). So when you finish it, here's something else to think about. Some of you have requested that we do the Hexagon quilt from my latest book, The Civil War Sewing Circle, this year and I decided that this will be the quilt for the month of October.  

If you have time this summer, you can get a head start by making your little hexagons in preparation for sewing the quilt together later in the fall. So now you know and don't say I didn't give you fair warning. I know it's only June, and even though you may think you have plenty of time, wouldn't it be smart to get some of the hexagons flowers finished now? Then you can whip up the quilt rather quickly come October. Those of you who are still dreaming of catching up and making 12 quilts with us this year, stop stalling - time to get to work.

These hexagons are so much fun and very easy too. Try making just a couple and you'll soon be hooked. If you get started now,  by October you'll have enough flowerettes for several hexagon quilts.  While you're at it, you might want to make this cute little box that's in the book too. The perfect size for keeping them safe. No little puppies with prying paws will even know they're in there!

Look in the book for directions to make the quilt. If you get started making the flowers now, they'll be all ready to put together and won't that be nice? The hard part will be finished.

I used printable hexagons generated by this website to make mine and set each to come out at .60. Print them out on cardstock so you can use them over and over. There are also places that sell pre-cut paper hexagons but this worked fine for me since I already had a ton of cardstock lying around.

Just cut out the hexagon paper pieces, place on the wrong side of a small scrap, cut 1/4 inch around the shape and then fold over the edges and baste one at a time. The stitches should not go through the paper.

I like to punch a hole in the center of the paper before I cut them out and find that if I use a small applique pin to hold the fabric in place the paper does not slip so much. And then it's also easy to pull the paper piece out later with a seam ripper.

Once you've made your hexagons, you then connect them (like spokes on a wheel) to the center hexagon, one at a time. (Directions in the book)

Hexagon quilts were actually very popular during the 19th century even though we are more familiar with calling them Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts from the '30s. Sometimes they were called Mosaic or Honeycomb quilts. Even though my little quilt is finished I still like to pick up some scraps and make a few every now and them - it's so relaxing. Maybe I'll make a bigger one someday. I think I probably have enough.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Simple is Good

Making simple little doll quilts refreshes, inspires and soothes me. And I'll bet it does the  same for many of you too. If you're still with me and enjoying making one sweet little doll quilt a month so that you can have a pile of 12 quilts to display at the end of the year, the quilt for June will be very easy and quick. I know everyone gets busy during the summer and so I chose Scrap Squares from my book The Civil War Sewing Circle (you will find the pattern on page 24).

This one will go very fast (I've already made 2!) and then those of you who are so inclined (but a little behind) can easily spend the rest of the month catching up with some of the other quilts we've made this year. Go back to the Archives on this blog (by month) to see the other quilts we've worked on.

So, follow the pattern in the book and pick through your scraps to find your 12 squares, 20 cornerstones and sashing and get to work! 

Who doesn't love a pile of small quilts?

Or perhaps several on a clothesline?


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