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 . . . .

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Quilting and Other Stuff

I've been having a little trouble with photos on Blogger lately. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. (My sister said "Don't you blog anymore?? What's wrong?") Oh, just give me a call sometime, ha ha. Yes, I've been too lazy to blog. Here are a few things I've been working on this month - Christmas trees and Snowflakes.

You can find the free pattern for the block for this tree mug rug on my website under Free Patterns or in the Files section of my Facebook and other small quilt group.

We had a cute Mystery quilt challenge for December in my Facebook small quilt group. It was a surprise snowflake based on this antique quilt block that was probably cut from a larger quilt and made into a doll quilt. I crafted my own pattern for it using small nine-patch blocks and strips. The pattern is in three parts in the Files section of the FB group and also in Files for my online small quilt group.

My top is finished but I haven't had time to quilt it yet. This one was made (rather quickly!) by Sue Bennett. So adorable.

 The real reason I haven't finished quilting my snowflake quilt -

I found some little trees made by Anna Jantina on Instagram and needed to make some for myself.  I could not read her directions since her post was written in Dutch so I drafted my own paper pieced pattern. You can also find that pattern in the Facebook group files. I'm hoping to make enough for a little forest! But even one tree block standing alone makes a cute ornament or mug rug, don't you think? If you're on Instagram just search her name and you'll find her tree quilt. If you're not on Instagram, why not? It's fun, quick and easy and that's probably where I post most of my pictures nowadays. Grab your phone, sign up and follow me there. 

If you don't do paper piecing, try the pattern that Amy Smart put up on her blog Diary of a Quilter for patchwork trees. Very cute and slightly different from mine. 

Some little Christmas stitched ornament patterns from a few years ago that are also available (for purchase) on my website. (The bird is actually a Gail Pan design, not included with my ornaments.)

I started a new Christmas cross stitch (an old Prairie Schooler design called Woodland Santas) and had hoped to finish it this year (hah!) but wouldn't you know it I got slightly distracted by making my little trees . . . .

 Here's hoping that all of you are having a wonderful holiday season. We had a magical snowfall in the Chicago area a few weeks ago but that didn't last very long. I grabbed the chance to get out in it for a bit. All I want for Christmas this year is more snow! And new boots . . . .

Puppy got her new Christmas sweater just in time! I have a red jacket too so now we all match.

Friday, November 9, 2018

First Snowfall

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?"  - J.B. Priestly

The first snowfall of the season always thrills me and makes me feel like a child again.

Is it fall or winter? 

I think it's going to be a good day for sewing . . . .  

Finishing up my stars and will put them together into a quilt early next year. 

Still need to sew a border on this one before we begin a new Mystery Quilt in 2019 -

Have a great weekend!


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