Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sampler Sew Along

Get ready for some fun! The Schoolgirl Sampler Sew Along Facebook group is now open. We'll begin the sew along in January. It's a closed group for those who have the book and want to sew along with us and see the progress of others. Join here if you have the book. You can always jump in at any time after you get the book. Each week I'll post suggestions for making the blocks in the group files. (I'll probably post suggestions here too and also in my other small quilt group but you will miss out on the sewing together part so it won't be like a sew along at all. It will be a sew ALONE . . . .)

If you're used to making larger quilts, my sampler book includes lots of tips for making small blocks  I think you'll find it's an enjoyable project and the 4" block patterns can also be used to make a variety of little quilts or other quilted items.  I know some of you will love doing this sew along. Sewing along with others and sharing your progress really motivates you to make these larger projects. I may sew along on my Dear Jane quilt while the rest of you make these sampler blocks.

If you would like to purchase a book, I have signed copies available on my website and in my Etsy shop. Amazon also has copies. My publisher Martingale has copies and your local quilt shop may have copies too. If they don't, ask them to order it for you and you can save on shipping. International friends -  Sorry, I am not shipping outside the U.S. Try Amazon in your country. Someone told me you can purchase a book from The book Depository. Apparently, they ship worldwide. If they're out of stock, don't worry, they'll be ordering more within a short time so put your name on the list. Also, Martingale has e-books available which is a great option for those who live outside the U.S. Just download to your computer or tablet and print out the pages as needed. Also, much cheaper.

I'm working with a few quilt shops to supply the group with a variety of reproduction fabrics for making these little blocks. My quilt was made using 72 blocks and if you want to use a different fabric for each block, then you'll need a nice variety of scraps or prints.  I made many of the blocks from scraps or fabrics I already had but also bought some new fabrics - just because, LOL. Pretty prints are fun and motivating for sure. Some shops to try - 

Ye Olde Schoolhouse in Cedarburg, Wisconsin
 Pieceful Gathering in Fox River Grove, IL
The Quilt Merchant in Winfield, IL
Two Thimbles in  Bellingham, WA
The Woolen Needle in Williamsburg, Iowa

These shops are all providing nice fabrics, bundles or starter kits to make the sampler quilt. Some also have kits available to make the smaller quilts in the book. 

Ye Olde Schoolhouse has some kits available for quilts in my other books. 

We'll also be doing another Mystery Quilt next year in my online groups. A very simple, scrappy quilt with easy blocks that will be posted each month. I'll also post the different parts on my website again so check back here for info on that. 

Have a good weekend!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Orange Peels and an Easy Quilting Design

I fell in love with Orange Peels when I made this quilt for my book Remembering Adelia. That was 10 years ago but I honestly think many of the quilts we make with reproduction fabrics stand up to the test of time, don't you? I will never get tired of them, no matter how old they are. 

This was such a fun quilt to make and really good practice for hand applique with the simple shapes. Here's an entertaining link if you're interested in the history of this pattern. Some historians say it dates back to the American Revolution. 

I used that peel pattern as a quilting design on the Pink Patches quilt in my book, The Civil War Sewing Circle, which is the small quilt challenge for November in my small groups. The last one as a matter of fact. We worked our way through this book this past year, making some of my favorite small quilts. 

Instead of using a stencil or making my own from template plastic, here's what I did:

I marked the center of the block and then traced around a small bowl with a water soluble marking pen to make a half circle on one side. Then I turned the quilt and used the bowl again to trace intersecting half circles around each side of the block. Better than a template because you can do it easily with any size block, large or small - just find the right bowl with a nice arc. Here's a sample square:

Then turn the block and mark on the other two sides the same way.

The half circles intersect and you get this peel design when you mark each side of the block with an arc.

Then, just quilt on the lines and dampen or wash the quilt gently to remove all traces of the marking pen. It was easy to do this on a small quilt and it turned out very nice, I think. I'm not sure I'd try it on a larger quilt unless I had a lot of time. You can also mark circles between the blocks to get the same Orange Peel design but doing it this way gave me a little more control as I was working on each block. I especially like the way it looks on the plain blocks where the stitches stand out a little more.

Oh, and if you haven't tried it yet, my favorite quilting thread is YLI quilting thread. Not sure if it's still available in this color but I'm very partial to the light brown as it gives a nice antique look when stitched on both light and dark fabrics. 

Enjoy your fall weekend!  I'm still planning on doing a sew along for my Schoolgirl Sampler quilt in the Facebook group of the same name beginning in January so check out my earlier Sentimental Quilter blog post about that for details. I haven't decided yet but I may use my website or this blog to post some info every week so that those of you who don't do FB can still follow along. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

It's Fall and Change Is in the Air . . . .

Fall is definitely a time of transition.  I've heard it said that life seems to start all over again in the fall . . .  Almost a rebirth. But not like an exciting springtime rebirth. Fall is a quieter, gentle season that embraces change, reflected in the changing colors of the leaves. 

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."

~ Elizabeth Lawrence

We spent a day at the Chicago Botanic Garden recently. Here's a view from the top of the waterfall looking beyond, into the Japanese Garden. Because of the pandemic, the garden now limits the number of people allowed to enter at any one time. You have to reserve a time slot in advance now so I don't go walking there as often or spontaneously as I used to.

Here's a quilt I think you'll enjoy. I don't often go crazy with scrappy pieces and borders but I had a great time with this small flying geese quilt, our challenge for last month  - 

Lots of swirling colors and movement; just perfect for fall.

If you have the time, why not get out some of your fall-colored prints, play around a bit and then hurry up and make something "fallish" before winter gets here?  It will be here before you know it.