Monday, July 15, 2019

2019 Mystery Quilt - Finished!

I'll bet some of you wondered if I would ever blog again about the Mystery Quilt I started this year. Or if I'd even finish. Well here's your answer - it's done! The blocks we worked on each month earlier this year were posted in files in my Facebook Small Quilt Lovers group and on my website. And now it's time to put them all together.

I just got my quilt back from the quilter. She did a nice, simple, all-over stipple design. I'm not overly fond of heavily quilted quilts and like the quilting on mine to be very simple so I'm very happy with it. As you can see, it's not exactly a small quilt. (But I did use small blocks.) Originally, it was going to be a simple row quilt - set the blocks on point and use sashing in between the rows. Add a binding. You will often see this kind of finish on antique quilts. After I put mine together, I decided (or the quilt decided) it needed a border. Now it's a lap quilt. I've been busy working on something else right now and haven't had time to do the binding yet. But I'll get there.

The block patterns are still up in the files and on my website but they'll only be there for a few more months while I decide if I'm going to do another Mystery Quilt next year. Have fun if you begin this one. But hurry and get those patterns printed out while they're still available. 

I've seen some beautiful finished quilts in the Facebook group.  Here's Sue Bennett's finished quilt - 

I can't believe it's mid-July already. The monthly small quilt challenge for June AND July (because everyone gets busy during the summer) is also in the group files - 

I haven't had enough time to finish mine yet. And I'm still deciding if I like that blue border or if it's too darn busy. So I'm putting it off for now. (It's just too busy. Don't know what I was even thinking.) Some in the Facebook group have made this into a pillow and it looks really cute that way.

Recap: We had a Patriotic Pincushion Parade on July 4th in my Facebook and other group and I was happy to see so many of you join us. This is always so much fun. Once you start making them, you can't stop. Sometimes, making a simple little pincushion is just the thing to jump start a little creative sewing if you've been stalled or stuck.

Pins from last year.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Making Small Quilts, a Little at a Time

Making small quilts can be quick, fun and rewarding. They're easy to make and yet I know that it's often difficult for some of you to find the time or get motivated to do that. I understand completely. Life always gets in the way. We have good days (or weeks) and bad days (or weeks). Days we feel like sewing and days when everything (gosh darn it) seems to stand in the way of us making it into that room to sew. Roadblocks all over the place. What you need is a plan, my friends, to counteract the detours. Sometimes, quilting within a community of those who also love small quilts gives you that motivation. Try joining one of my quilting groups listed on the sidebar of this blog. We do small quilt challenges every month. No pressure. Just follow along best you can.

Last month's challenge

Struggle with applique much? Does it make your stomach churn just thinking about doing it? Watch, amazed, as some members get chills at the "A" word (you know who I'm talking about) then suddenly take the leap, rise to the challenge, find support in our little community of quilters and conquer their fears. Finally realizing -  Yes! Applique can be fun! LOL

Most of us love the idea of having a nice stack or wall of small quilts to display. The problem is to stop dreaming about this and actually create the time to get them made. I try to encourage quilters to follow along in my groups to make the challenge quilt that's posted every month. Do a little each week. You'd be surprised at how much can be accomplished in a single month if you're surrounded by supportive quilters who are trying to do the same thing. It's also fun to see the different varieties of styles and interpretations of my patterns that people make. 

So here's the good news for April: beginning this month, my Facebook Small Quilt Lovers group is having a sweet sew along. Some have decided that now is the right time to start (or finish) my Peony Star quilt from my book Remembering Adelia. It's an oldie but a goodie. 

If this is something you've had on your list for awhile, now is the time to join in. Get 'er done! Follow along in the Facebook group with our hostesses Ann and Sue and they'll help keep you motivated to make the blocks on a timely basis and finish this lovely quilt. It's one of my favorite spring-like quilts and so maybe if we work hard, together,  it will encourage spring to finally show up, who knows? It's been pretty dreary here in Chicagoland for too long and I am anxiously awaiting to see those peonies show up in my garden. 

The Sew Along (SAL) officially begins on April 15. Right now they're focusing on picking fabrics for the blocks. Because these blocks are a tad bigger than the ones we small quilt lovers are used to making, you'll want to experiment a little. Pick the colors and prints you love and see how they blend together. Maybe add a few larger prints for some nice, scrappy contrast among the blocks.

If you don't have my book Remembering Adelia, I have limited (signed) copies available on my website. On sale right now just for the sew along. 

*  *  *

In other news -  we're also still working on our 2019 Mystery Quilt. You can find the monthly patterns in the group files or on my website under the Mystery Quilt page. A few more months to go and then all will be revealed in July.

April's block is called Baby Bunting.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

National Quilting Day - Celebrate!

It's National Quilting Day! Let's celebrate. Sew along with me and make this cute little mug quilt

You know I love making small projects and sometimes it's just the thing to get my creativity going. This little pinwheel block is left over from a different project (still unfinished, ugh.) and I decided to use it to make a mug quilt. Isn't it sweet? A mug quilt is something I'll always use and it's always nice to have a few extra lying around just in case. What fun to serve someone a cup of tea with a cute mug rug and see them smile and say "Oh, how cute!"  I am calling this "Whirlwind" because that's the name of the block and also my sewing room right now looks like a tornado hit it because I'm working on many things at once. I know most of you know exactly what I mean . . . .

To make this little project, cut -

2 squares, 2 7/8"  x  2 7/8" from a dark blue print
-        Cut each square once on the diagonal for 4 triangles
1 square, 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" from a pink print
-        Cut twice on the diagonal for 4 triangles
1 square, 3 1/4"  x 3 1/4" from a checked fabric
-        Cut twice on the diagonal for 4 triangles
2 squares, 3 3/4"  x 3 3/4" from a light print
-        Cut each square once on the diagonal for 4 triangles
2 strips, 2" x  6" from a medium blue print
1 rectangle  7"  x 10"  from a backing fabric 
1 strip, 1 1/4" wide, from a pink print for binding
7"  x  10"  piece of thin cotton batting

1.  Sew the pink and checked triangles together as shown.  Make four units like this.

2.  Sew each pink and checked unit together with a dark blue triangle. They finished units should measure 2 1/2".  Make four.

3.  Sew the four units together as shown, two at a time. Then, sew the two rows together, pinning the center as you stitch to make sure your points meet. Your block should measure 4 1/2".

4.  Add the light print triangles to the sides of the block.

5.  Sew the medium blue strips to the sides of your block.

6.  Layer the quilt top with batting and backing and then add the pink binding.  I like to use a 1 1/4" single-fold binding strip in my little quilts to avoid too much bulk.

There are all sorts of fun ways to honor your quilty self today - visit a quilt shop, teach someone to quilt, finish a UFO, organize your scraps. Tell a friend how much you love their quilts. You get the idea. Hope whatever you do today involves at least a little bit of quilting.

Why not treat yourself to a book? My book Remembering Adelia is on sale on my website for a short time -

Also, check out my publisher Martingale's semi-annual Warehouse sale - some great quilting books by your favorite authors. Here's one of my favorites that has several of my quilts in it. (Already published ones but if you don't have all my books you may want to get some of these patterns.) More about that Peony quilt next week . . . .

Happy St. Patrick's Day too


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Shortest Month. And the Pinkest . . .

February is the shortest month so if you have quilting goals, you'd better get cracking. Here's Block #2 of my Mystery Quilt for 2019. Have you joined in yet? It's free and the patterns for the blocks are posted monthly. We're moving right along. The mystery will be revealed in July.

You can download the monthly patterns from Files in my Facebook small quilt lovers group or the Mystery page on my website. I love this block! It's called "Louisiana" and it's fast becoming one of my favorites. Very simple and yet if you use some pretty fabric combinations with nice contrast it looks more complicated than it really is.

I had pink and brown on my brain as we went into this month. The February small quilt challenge is a free little nine-patch quilt because I was playing around with some pink and brown nine-patch blocks  one evening and said What the heck, this might be perfect for the February challenge quilt - 

Quick and easy. Pattern is in Files in the groups. 

Here's a little more inspiration for February. If you haven't made the Be My Little Valentine quilt from my Small & Scrappy book yet, this may be a good month to get that one finished. Also simple and cute. Doesn't get much easier than four patches. 

More pink and brown - Last February, I started this sweet little hearts quilt and was finally able to finish it last week. I created some kits and also put a pattern up on my website. The kits have already sold out but if anyone would really, really like to purchase one, you may be able to twist my arm to make up a few more so please e-mail me (click on my blog profile for e-mail). I will do this if there's any interest. But I'd have to buy more fabric and you probably won't get them before Valentine's Day. So, let me know. You can also purchase the pattern alone and use your own scraps. 

If you follow along with our monthly challenges, we've still got a few more quilts to make from my Prairie Journey book this year. Last month, some of us made the little log cabin quilt. I forgot to post the pic of mine here. Of course it's not quilted yet because I got sidetracked by a few other things. (More pink and red. I was in antique mode.) 

I chose my colors and fabrics based on an antique doll quilt I saw on eBay. This one was so much fun and it really does stitch up rather easily. (FYI - Needle case was a gift made by a friend. Don't know the pattern.)

These little blocks really make my heart sing.  Make something with pink in it to perk yourself up and get over the gloomy winter doldrums. It won't be spring for awhile. Snow is gone and we have promises of ice and rain here this week. Yep, it's February. But, hey, at least it's the shortest month.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, quilters! I hope you all had a good Christmas.

Wanted to let you know that we're starting a brand new Mystery Quilt for 2019. It's free. No patterns to buy. I hope you'll join me. We'll work on it in small bits each month. The first block has been posted in the Files section of the FB group and also in the Files section  of  my online small quilt group.  I'm working on getting it up on my website as well. Look for the Mystery Quilt tab at the top of the page.

The Mystery is called Aunt Addie's Blue Ribbon Quilt and it will run through July. This is a Spool and Bobbin block. I've never made one of these before and had fun picking through my scraps. 

Here's how the Mystery will work: I'll give you directions to make a particular block each month and you make as many blocks as the directions tell you to make. (PLEASE read  the instructions.) Then, after 6 months, I'll tell you how to put all the blocks together into a quilt. C'mon - it'll be fun. EVERYBODY can make a few blocks every month. 

We're also working on our Small Quilt Challenge for January. Little Log Cabin Doll Quilt from my newest book A Prairie Journey.

One of the most familiar and beloved of quilt patterns from the nineteenth century has to be the log cabin pattern. I love this little quilt, with its light and dark strips resembling the logs in a cabin.

(Made by Sue Bennett and inspired by an antique doll quilt.)

It's a true scrap bag quilt, don't you think? I found it interesting that the "logs" were not arranged in any sort of order, just stitched along at random to give the quilt a wonderful scrappy look. Scrappy quilts often look more complicated than they really are. If you make one or two blocks per day you'll have the whole quilt finished by the end of the month. 

Remember my Scrappy Star Sew Along from last fall? We made the blocks and now this year we'll make some time to put those 6" stars together into a quilt. 

Your choice of setting, depending upon how many stars you've finished. Can be big or small. I'm making a simple lap quilt, using 33 stars and some setting squares. (This particular pattern can be found in Files in my groups.)

I didn't make any New Year's resolutions but I do have some goals -  I'm hoping to finish my "Birthday Quilt" I started last year.  Maybe I'll have a better chance of getting it done this year, ya think? I'm more than halfway though sewing the blocks into strips and not quite half finished sewing the strips together. Sheesh. Now I remember why I like making small quilts so much, LOL.

I used to be pretty good about finishing my quilts and limiting my UFOs but now I have  another simple nine-patch lap quilt I need to put together. And then there's Dear Jane. Oh, Dear, Dear Jane. Not giving up just yet.

Lastly, if January always puts you in the mood to organize those fabric scraps (so you can join us in making some fun quilts this year?) check out the front pages in my book Small & Scrappy. It contains lots of good ideas for keeping it all under control. I've done a little organizing myself this week. Needs to be done on a regular basis and if I don't keep it up I find myself avoiding walking into that room  . . . . So clean it up for even a few minutes every day to keep your creative urges going in the right direction.

For me, a set of neat scrap bins and a clean sewing table makes everything I work on go a lot smoother. 

Have a good week and make some time to clean up your space if it needs it. You'll be glad I nagged you. Just ask my kids . . . .


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