Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pretty Little Patterns

My sister e-mailed me and said she hadn't heard a peep from me in over a week, what was I up to? Well, let me tell you. I've been such a busy bee lately. After I posted that photo of my little Valentine's Day table runner I made, using  the Little Sweethearts fabric designed by Renee Nanneman for Andover, I got quite a few e-mails asking: Excuse me, where is the free pattern for this sweet little thing??
I wish I wish I wish I could just give away the patterns for every single quilt I make but sometimes I have to add them to my list of patterns for sale and try to make a living. You understand. I know it's a very simple little quilt and many of you can draft it yourselves but for those of you who cannot or don't want to take the time, I created a pattern for it that's available here on my website. I thought the fabric I used was soooo cute (little hearts mixed with shirtings). So I ordered more of that and then also plan to make up a few kits for sale too because I suspected some of you would like to make one just like mine.

The fabric is not here yet and so it may take me a week or 2 to make up the kits and get them out to you but you can order anyway and I'd appreciate your patience. I ordered a certain amount of fabric for a limited number of kits and when that's gone, it's gone, but the pattern will still be available on my website for awhile.
Don't worry that you're not being creative if you buy a kit to make one just like mine. Sometimes it's fun for us girls to have some of the same things in the same colors.  When I was 9 or 10, my best friend Audrey and I used to love to dress alike. I remember whenever she got a new dress or shirt I'd beg my mom to buy the same one for me. We'd walk to the local library by ourselves wearing the same outfits. Back in that day it was perfectly safe for kids to walk 4 blocks to the library in the city of Chicago without an adult. No one gave it a second thought.
I was taller than Audrey and she had red hair and freckles so anyone could easily tell us apart but I could see our friends the library ladies smiling when we came in the door, pretending they couldn't tell us apart and we played the game too. "Call me Audrey today and you be Kathy" I whispered, giggling. Those were fun times, putting one over on the library ladies.

My own kids did not inherit this dressing alike tendency. For years, they would not shop at certain clothing stores because they didn't want to dress like the herd (their words) and see themselves coming and going in the same outfits as everyone else at school. "Why not? WHY NOT?? Those Gap shirts look so cute on you! So what if  Kevin has one too." I never understood. I sneaked in a shirt for my son in his gifts one Christmas and when I saw the same one on the boy down the block I knew where I'd find my son's - shoved under his bed, unworn.
So, I know how it is when you see something cute that another quilter has made and you want one just like it for yourself. Quilt envy. As long as you don't sell the pattern for it and say you're me I think you're okay. If you decide to make this little quilt, imagine, we'll all be like BFFs, showing off our little red, white and pink quilts on our tables, set for tea or cocoa.  
Oh, speaking of tea, I had a bit of leftover Chateau Chambray fabric that Andover sent me to use to make the Sweet Pea quilt in conjunction with the Valentine's Day giveaway last week. (Find the pattern here -  yes, yes, this one is FREE). I didn't want it to go to waste so I made another darling table quilt using a Sugar Bowl block. I call it Tea Time.

OMG, I love the soft colors and romantic prints, don't you? I used up just about every print in that collection. I hope you like it, especially the center block with the floral motif. Some of you who were winners of the giveaway on my blog last week will be getting a charm pack of either this fabric or the Little Sweethearts fabric. Andover told me to let you know that they will be shipping soon, maybe even today.

Sugar Bowls! So sweet.
I know some of you only like 1800s reproduction fabrics and those are still my favorites too but sometimes it's just so much fun to make something pretty with a different type of fabric than I'm used to. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. It was a lot of fun.
As I sat there quilting it while watching the last 2 episodes of DA I could totally see myself sipping tea at Downton Abbey. Wished I had a hat though.
 You can purchase the pattern for this one on my website too. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Another Hexagon Quilt Finished

I wanted to show you the little quilt I made for a friend for Christmas starring some of my leftover hexagons -

If you are like me, once you started you couldn't stop making these and have many more than you actually need. So it was nice to use up a few in a different kind of quilt. I also made it mostly with primary colors, a little out of the box for me since I often use muted colors. At first the yellow was a stretch but she loves chrome yellow so I tried to work it in and I think it looks good. I couldn't resist this red print for the border, which was left over from a quilt I made that's in The Civil War Sewing Circle -  the Album quilt on page 64.
After making this hexagon quilt my original hexagon quilt (from the same book, The Civil War Sewing Circle) is beginning to look rather dull  : ( 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh, How Sweet!

That's exactly what you'll say when you see the photos of my latest little quilt. For the past few weeks I've been working on a project for Andover Fabrics. They sent me some pretty pretty fabric from one of their recent lines designed by Renee Nanneman and said -  "We like your blog. Your followers are some of the sweetest people on the planet. Here, make something for them." Well, okay, that's not exactly what they said  - but I DID get the fabric and I DID make something out of it. A small quilt. And YOU get the free pattern.

I know you are thinking it's a little out of the box for me and you are probably surprised by the PASTELS.  But I thought the fabric was so adorable and, anyway, secretly, I'm a pink and blue girl from way back. I've been itching to make something a little lighter for awhile now. Here was my chance.  Here's the pattern. I encourage you to thank Andover by "liking" them on Facebook.
Is this quilted floral border sweet or what?
Oh, and get this - something else that's "Sweet." Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Andover Fabrics - on Thursday, February 14, Valentine's Day, I will be giving away 30 (yes, 30!) Charm Packs of fabric to 30 lucky winners. Can you believe it? Come back here on Thursday and leave a comment for the big fabric Giveaway.
My little Sweet Pea Doll Quilt was made with some beautiful prints from The Chateau Chambray collection designed by Renee Nanneman for Andover. 

As a child, my daughter's nickname was Sweet Pea and she's always loved pink. I showed her the fabric and she fell in love with it and told me it sure would be nice if she had a quilt made out of it Not this one  . . . . a big quilt, LOL.

If you love this fabric too, post a comment on my blog on Thursday for a chance to win a charm pack. Visit your local quilt shop and see if they have it. Also, check out Andover's Blog. They often have awesome giveaways. "Like" them on Facebook! Read their Tweets! (Oh yes, and while you're at it, don't forget to take a look at the rest of their fabric on their website.)
~~  *  ~~  *  ~~  *  ~~

It's very easy to make!
This little sweetheart cried out to be hand quilted and so I dug through my stencils and came up with this one I've had for years -

I wish I could tell you where I bought it but I honestly can't remember. I checked The Stencil Company's website  and it's not one of theirs but they have so many other cute stencils to use for the borders I know you can find something similar if you get inspired and want to make one yourself. Just check out their page on stencils for 2.5 inch borders  that are perfect to use on these small quilts.
 Use a Sewline marking pencil or a fine line washable fabric marker. Mark the lines (lightly) and then quilt them. Easy as pie. Wash out the markings with a damp cloth after you're finished.
This pink candy-striped binding makes me smile.
I made another gorgeous quilt using more fabrics from Renee's Chateau Chambray line and will try to put the pattern up on my website sometime next week.

Don't forget to stop back here by on Thursday and leave me a comment for your chance to enter the giveaway for the Andover Charm Packs (Sorry, NOT the fat quarters shown above, but all those fabrics in a smaller pack). You'll be glad you did. And, let's just say these odds are much better than winning at Lotto . . . .

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Jig Is Up!

It was unusually quiet in the house this morning. My husband had already left for work. I was drinking my coffee and checking e-mails when I heard a THUD coming from upstairs. I looked around and waited for a dog to bark, but  . . . nothing. Shoot, I hoped it wasn't a raccoon in the attic. I heard it again, this time mixed with a few playful growls. Sounded like it was coming from my room. I climbed upstairs and instead of a bat I took my camera -
I knew what was up. The rule is - NO DOGS ON THE BED (well, at least when my husband's around. "No, dear, I do NOT know how that dirty paw print got on your pillow . . . No idea. The dogs never go on the bed.")
I'm pretty sure that thud I heard was one of them falling off the bed, LOL.
The big dog is feeling so much more playful since his surgeries last year. 
The little one likes to instigate him and I'll bet this was her idea: "Mom's busy in the kitchen, let's go upstairs and jump on her bed!"
Uh oh, cool it - Mom's here! 
       MOM? Where???
Okay, the jig is up! Time to take it outside.
Meaning: You are caught, you are discovered, the deception is uncovered.
Origin: "Jig" is defined as a trick or game. Hence the "jig is up" literally means the trick is over. Alternative: Webster's gives the origin of the word "jig" as a transliteration of an Old French word defined as "frolic" (c. 17th-18th century).

Yes, a morning filled with frolic. And, hey, by the way, I haven't posted photos of dogs for WEEKS.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Giveaway Winners

Boy, you all gave it your best shots at guessing what was in my basement. Many of you guessed correctly but - did you seriously think I would give away my books, my dolls, or my fabric?? Nice try though.
There were no vintage sewing machines, no antique doll beds. I have lots and lots of things I don't want or need but cannot afford to ship them to you. Such as  - an antique headboard for a full-sized bed. (We have a queen, don't ask why I bought it. As I told my husband - it was a steal.) Two blue plaid arm chairs from my "country" decorating days.  Four pairs of used crutches, all sizes, belonging to the clumsy members of my family who kept breaking their legs and ankles and/or feet. Two vacuums that sort of work but not really well. 8,000 pairs of children's snow pants. (They seem to multiply.)  Four tool boxes full of nails that we inherited (we use about 4 nails per year). Lots and lots of baby clothes that I will not part with yet. Oh, and one pair of SIZE 8 skinny Calvin Klein jeans. ( In 1980 NOBODY wore a size ZERO.) Noooo, I will never give them up! Nor will I ever fit into them again, you understand - they're there just for the record. I fit into them for exactly one day, I believe. But that day I said to anyone who would listen - "I'm a size 8 now." 

Thanks for entering my giveaway and leaving a comment. Here are the 3 winners of the magazines with a pattern for this cute little doll quilt I made. (This month's challenge, which is also in my book The Civil War Sewing Circle.)

Granny Lyn

Cathryn in Corvallis



Yay!! Please send me your addresses (kathyktracy@comcast.net) and I will mail out your magazines this week.

Again, thanks for entering and please come back next week when I will be giving you a free pattern for an adorable little quilt. I'll also be giving away some beautiful FABRIC to quite a few of you, more than 3 this time. That's all I'm saying right now. Mark your calendars for Valentine's Day. Be here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Small Quilt Challenge for February

For the challenge this month we are making the Civil War Scraps quilt from my book The Civil War Sewing Circle  (page 36). There are quite a few quilts in that book we'll be making this year and I'm excited to see your versions.

I really love this little quilt and am sure it has something to do with that green mixed with the indigo, am I right? Or maybe it's the red in the blocks and border that makes the quilt dance. I used  a simple, overlapping binding technique, which is explained in the book, just so  I could get an even scrappier look. There's a wonderful blend of scraps in this little quilt and if you're going to try to replicate it, take out your small fabric pieces and play around with the colors a bit this week before you decide. When I look at my tangled strips and squares of fabric in my scrap basket it makes my creative spirit soar. I tell myself: I really need to make something! I wonder, did women of the past feel this way too?
The quilt was originally published in Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts  magazine a few years ago but I think it still holds up today. I was going through the basement yesterday looking for my box of Civil War photos and props to include in the pictures of the quilt and I found some extra copies of this magazine I bought when it came out. What am I going to do with them now? Think my kids will want to use them after I'm gone?
I thought it was so cute that they photographed the quilt with a Shirley Temple doll because as a child I had the one made by Ideal in the early '60s (Wish I still had her now. Yes, don't remind me - I am old old old.). And even though Shirley was born quite a bit after the Civil War I love that she's there in the picture with my quilt.
Some of you still may have this magazine lying around in YOUR basements. It's from Summer 2008 and sold out quickly if I remember. Go check -
Most of you probably don't have this issue anymore so I decided to have a giveaway. Yes, that's right, folks  - I am cleaning out my basement and giving away OLD magazines! What could be better?? The good news is if you do not own the book we are using to make the quilt this month, the pattern is in the magazine. A genuine freebie and winners will have an excuse not to buy the book until later. It's a great book if you like making little quilts with lots of reproduction fabrics though.
So, leave a comment and tell me what other stupid things you think are in my basement that I should  give away and your name will be entered into the giveaway. I will announce 3 winners on Monday. And if one of you hits the nail on the head and really guesses something I don't need that's there then it's yours! (Please, please, somebody say boxes of AICPA journals from the '90s.  I'm telling you, my husband won't even notice they're gone . . . . )
PLEASE include an e-mail address where I can contact you if you win. If there is no way to contact you I will move on to someone else.
By the way, this is NOT the fantastic giveaway I keep talking about and plan to hold in a few weeks. You will love that one, which is expected to be announced sometime during the week of Feb 11. It might even have something to do with a special heartfelt holiday. Hint, hint.
Remember, you can also follow me on Twitter for more hints as we get closer to the giveaway.