Monday, August 28, 2017

My Candy Wrappers Quilt

I'm happy to have another original quilt in McCall's Quick Quilts Magazine. The October/November 2017 issue to be exact. The Candy Wrappers quilt finishes 49 X 53 inches.

I was especially happy to be able to use the fabulous Chalk & Paint fabric by Carolyn Hulse for Art Gallery Fabrics. This quilt is a great option for using larger-motif fabrics.

I quilted this one using HQ Pro-Stitcher (of course) using one of my favorite motifs -- Modern E2E from Wasatch Quilting.

The piecing is deceptively simple -- large (9-inch) hourglass blocks and small hourglass blocks (for the sashing between the big hourglass blocks). The only tricky part is making sure you use the correct fabrics in the sashing. You don't even need to match triangles in the sashing because that happens automatically when you make the small hourglass units. Yay!

This issue is in stores now. But you can preview the issue here.

You can read more about my quilt here.

And you can buy the digital pattern here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Finally: Progress on My Family History Sampler

For the past several years, I've focused on quilting and ignored my cross stitching. The main reason, I think, is because I haven't done the same traveling I did when working in high tech. But earlier this year I went on a Panama Canal cruise which included several days at sea and I knew I needed a project to work on during those days. The solution: a cross-stitching project.

When I got home I decided it was about time that I started working on my family history sampler again.

This is the sampler I designed to represent some key people in my mother's father's line.You can read about the people represented by the different squares here. It is being stitched on 40-count fabric with silk floss over two threads. The inspiration for this sampler came from the Carriage House Samplings Hawk Run Hollow series.

Since it had been a while since I stitched (and my eyes aren't getting any younger), I first stitched up the center medallion on 32-count fabric to give to my mother. She decided she wants it finished as a pillow -- which I have yet to complete. But it is such a classic view of the home where my mom grew up.

Albert Lee and Selma are my mom's parents, along with their 10 children. Grandma was a quilter, so I had to include some quilts. Grandpa was a dairy farmer, so yep, there are a couple cows. His horse Old Chief is depicted, as well as their apple trees and their iconic derrick.

And here's how far I am on the complete sampler on the 40-count fabric. It's slow going, but I'm loving the results.

And close-ups of the individual blocks. I haven't done all of the outlining yet.

Still a lot of stitching to do, but it will be a real heirloom when done. 

I've just begun designing a similar project representing my dad's father's ancestry.

No stitching or quilting for a week because I'm running two back-to-back events with a total of about 350 combined. And, it will probably take a few days to fully recover. But, when it's over, I will be fully retired!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pinwheels All Around: My Block in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 15

I'm happy to be a part of Quiltmaker's blog hop for Vol. 15 of their semi-annual special issue featuring 100 original quilt blocks. Here's my block: Pinwheels All Around.

Giveaway details are at the bottom of this post, but I hope you'll take a look at some of the fabric and quilt variations you can do with this block!

This block works equally well as a 2-fabric block, a 3-fabric block, or a 4-fabric block. I think you could also do totally scrappy (which is my typical style), but you might lose the pinwheel effect in the block.

I did a few different layouts -- two with sashing and one without. I like the additional large pinwheels that are created where the blocks meet in the one without sashing shown below.

Here's a layout with simple sashing and cornerstones:

But for the ambitious quilter (and the one I'll probably make), I took the pinwheel theme to the next level. 

First, the version with 3-fabric blocks. I think this would be a fabulous Quilt of Valor for your favorite veteran or active military friend or family member.

And here's the version with 4-fabric blocks. I like the warm fabrics, reminiscent of the autumn time of year. 

But don't let all of those pinwheel blocks (made from half-square triangles) get you down. There are so many different ways to do half-square triangles. Depending on my mood (and the size of my fabric pieces), I choose between three different ways of making them: 

From strips with the Easy Angle Ruler:

Two at a time using fabric squares with line drawn corner to corner, then stitched scant ¼ inch on each side of the line

Or using triangle paper, such as Thangles:

When you're ready to sew them together, it is useful to use a 3.5 basting stitch to make sure all of the points are aligned. (Then go back and sew the entire seam with a normal stitch length.) However, if after the first several blocks you find that everything is aligned well, you can skip this extra step.

If you really want to use up your scraps, here's a version where every block uses a different set of dark and medium fabrics. However I left the light background the same to help unify the quilt. I also felt the small pinwheels needed to be more neutral because there are so many other fabrics in the quilt. But I love this version too!

Now, for the giveaway and your chance to win a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 15! All you need to do is leave a comment below. I'll randomly pick a winner on May 6. No, make that THREE winners. Quiltmaker sent me some copies to share as well. So, be sure to leave your comment by midnight on May 5.

And be sure to visit Quiltmaker's blog as well for more opportunities to win -- including the chance to win a signed copy of my book Triple-Play Scrap Quilting.

Good luck -- and enjoy this week's blog hop!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Vol. 15 Blog Hop

Get ready for the next issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. They are about to release Volume 15! Wow, that's 1500 original blocks from lots of quilt designers.

I'm happy to have an original block in Volume 15 and to be part of the upcoming blog hop. Be sure to stop back by on May 1 to have the chance to win a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 15.

This will be my fourth original block. I also had blocks in Vol. 8, Vol, 9 and Vol. 10.
See these blog posts about those blocks:

Also, I've provided Quiltmaker with a signed copy of my book, Triple-Play Scrap Quilting. By visiting the Quiltmaker blog ( you'll have a chance to win the copy of my book!

This is always such a fabulous special issue. You won't want to miss the blog tour!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Big Book of Strip Quilts (plus GIVEAWAY!)

I'm honored to have a quilt in Martingale/That Patchwork Place's new book The Big Book of Strip Quilts. All 60 of the quilts in the book can be made from 2-1/2 inch strips (aka jelly roll strips). Yes, that's 60 quilts for less than 50 cents per pattern!

You can learn more about this new book from Martingale/That Patchwork Place on their blog today. Just click the book image above to go to the blog. And you're gonna want to go over there because they are giving away a copy of the e-book.

And guess what? I'm also giving away a copy of the e-book. All you need to do is leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite pre-cut size is. I'll randomly pick a winner on Tuesday, April 25. So make sure your comment is added by midnight on the 24th.

My quilt in this great book is called Plaid and Pinwheels. 

It is from my book Triple-Play Scrap Quilting and is what I consider a "coordinated scrappy" quilt because it uses fabrics from a single fabric line. This quilt requires two jelly rolls, plus some yardage for borders, sashing, backing, and binding. 

The blocks are very quick to sew. In fact, it will probably take longer to do the pinwheel border than all of the blocks in the center of the quilt. I did the half-square triangles for the pinwheels using triangle paper, but one can use their favorite method.

I also did two other variations of this quilt.

This is the "planned scrappy" version which features a planned color scheme: pink and gray. I kept the blocks and sashing fairly subtle by using only medium and light fabrics, and I brought the darker fabrics into the borders to frame the quilt center.

And this is the "make-do scrappy" version. I emphasized the geometric nature of this quilt by piecing the sashing border and adding bold black inner borders. Although you could skip making the pinwheels entirely and use a single-fabric border, I still added pinwheels in only the upper left and lower right corners. It's a great way to use up scraps!

Good luck winning a copy of the e-book -- either from me or from Martingale's blog posting!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I'm a "Cover Girl" with Wizard's Chess

Or at least my quilt is.

I designed and made this quilt in December for McCall's Quick Quilts. I'm excited to see that it made the cover of the June/July 2017 issue!

On a shop hop last September I searched for black and white fabrics to use in a someday quilt. They seemed like the perfect fabrics to pair with Kaffe Fassett blue-toned fabrics for this quilt. It would look great using Kaffe Fassett reds as well. I even played around with traditional Civil War fabrics (scrappy) in combination with a black and cream checkerboard. 

You will be able to purchase the magazine in shops about May 1. Or it's available online now at McCall's Quick Quilts

I quilted it with my HQ Avante equipped with HQ Pro-Stitcher. I selected the Damask 2 edge-to-edge design from Wasatch Quilting. Here are some close-ups of the quilting.

For those inclined to stitch up this quilt, a pdf of the pattern is also available from McCall's Quick Quilts. And, as the magazine name implies, it is a quick quilt to make. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Frivols Finish

A year ago at the Winter Quiltfest, I received a Moda Frivols collectible tin as a door prize.

It included 42 7-inch squares of Eliza's Indigo fabric by Betsy Chutchian, a pattern for a little quilt, and a couple quilty goodies -- a quote and a mini note pad. A couple weeks ago I decide to make up the quilt. 

It worked up very quickly -- just square-in-square locks that were made even easier by using the Fit to be Geese ruler to square up the blocks. The 7-inch square is a great pre-cut -- more versatile than a charm square, yet absolutely no waste except little slivers of fabric from squaring up the blocks. Here's the quilt draped over an easy chair in my living room.

The only tricky part -- not hard, just something you need to be careful with -- is matching the points of the blocks between rows. 

I used a brown fabric from my stash with black dots to back and bind the little quilt.

When it came time to quilt it, I chose a wave pattern with "pearls". I shrunk the pattern down from the original two inches to about a half inch -- suitable for a little quilt.

Sometimes a little quilt is a nice diversion from the larger ones. I started it on a Saturday and finished it on a Monday, leaving my mom a day to bind it. (Thanks Mom!)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pony Express Quilt

Several years ago I ran across Pony Express themed fabric by Jodi Barrows. I purchased the fabric to one day use in a quilt honoring the Pony Express.

You might wonder why I would want to do a Pony Express quilt. It's because my great-grandfather's two older brothers and one brother-in-law were Pony Express riders. I previously memorialized these great uncles in my family history cross-stitch sampler (stitching is still a work in progress). They are represented in the lower-right corner. These are all on my mother's father's line.

Now they are memorialized in a quilt, named "Stations". I finished the quilt top in about 2013 and it sat around needing to be quilted. Well, last week I decided to finally put it on the frame and quilt it. 

The four center buildings represent the stations John and Billy (William) Fisher and Erastas Egan were assigned to. The smaller buildings in the outside border represent more of the 157 stations that extended from Missouri to California.

John and Billy had immigrated as teenagers from England with their parents in 1854. I've always thought it kind of funny that these two young men -- with British accents -- were part of the Pony Express, one of the iconic enterprises of the American West. They also carried the news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

My father told me after seeing the quilt that another of my ancestors (this time on my father's line) had a Pony Express connection. The home of my great-great grandfather, Absalom Wamsley Smith, served as a Pony Express station in Draper, Utah. That station was called "Traveler's Rest". 

A few close-up photos of the quilt:

Here is more information about these Pony Express riders (click to read):

Billy Fisher history by his son: Includes the story of when he was caught in a blinding blizzard.

John Fisher history by his daughter: Includes stories of encounters with Indians.

Some amazing people in my family tree!


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