July 28, 2017

Cotton Way Quilts

Have you seen Bonnie Olaveson's book Cotton Way Classics - Fresh Quilts for a Charming Home, published by Martingale? The book displays 13 of her designs, with quilts showcasing fabrics from the Bonnie and Camille collections by Moda Fabrics. They are sooooo beautiful!

All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale. Used with permission.
Bonnie's background in pattern design has been delighting us for years, accented by the fabrics we have come to recognize and love. The pages in this book entice us to sew: each design has vibrant colors against a white background, with blocks organized to create traditional as well as modern quilts.

Do notice the binding on these quilts! The same airiness from the quilt centers is carried through to the binding fabric, an alternative worth considering when we are choosing fabrics for our own quilts.

Isn't it amazing how Bonnie's fabric selections lend a fresh look to traditional blocks?  The big white dots of the red fabric on the flower blocks above blur the lines between patch and background, adding dimension and matching the jagged edges of the log cabin blocks. Love it!!!

The scrappy Topsy Turvy, above, is a perfect way to use up the pieces of fabrics we have in our stash, or leftover charm squares from other projects.

As a pattern designer myself, I am inspired by the work of others. Cotton Way Classics has pages full of eye candy and brain food. A keeper!!!

Have a fantastic weekend,





July 26, 2017

Knit Scarf


My family in Brazil will be getting knitted scarves for Christmas this year. You've seen previous posts with the ones I have finished. Last weekend I was browsing at Hobby Lobby and found this cool yarn I could not leave at the store. The colors reminded me of the ones my sister loves so I bough it and got ready to knit. My stitch requirements: simple, lots of texture but no pattern which would draw attention away from the colors. 

I opened my copy of The Big Book of Knit Stitches by Martingale and found the Banded Rib. Perfect! I took a picture of it with my phone to keep it as reference so I did not need to carry the book around. But, once the easy pattern was committed to memory, the photograph was deleted.

I love how the scarf is turning out! This Yarn Bee Fair Isle is 80% acrylic and 20% angora. The knit fabric has a soft hand, it is not prickly, and the stitches - not smooth as stockinette - give the scarf a hand knit, rustic look. I hope she likes it!

Now, back to the regularly scheduled quilting duties. Have a fun day!

July 24, 2017

Classic Knit Shawls

All photographs by Joe Hancock for F+W Media, Inc. Used with permission.
Last week I spent a whole afternoon with my knitting friends, something I haven't done in three years. I missed them so much! We sat around the table at the middle of the yarn store and worked on our projects, chatted, ate candy, swooned over each other's work, and planned our next yarn purchases. One of my friends, Renee', was working on a beautiful shawl and I came home dreaming of making my own someday.

Galax Shawl by Carol Feller on the cover.

At home, I remembered receiving for review the book "Classic Knit Shawls - 20 Timeless Designs Featuring Lace, Cables, & More", published by Interweave.  Wait until Renee' sees these shawls! The contributors to the book - designers with a long history of creating and publishing knitwear - delight us with a wide array of possibilities: intricate designs, simple stitches with lacework accents, medium weight or lace yarn, one or many-colored versions... it is all in there.

Madeleine Shawl by Courtney Kelley.

The gorgeous photography shows how shawls can be worn to accent any outfit, not only as a functional apparel. Lace designs add romance to a summer dress or complement an evening gown, bright colorwork lends dimension to a monochromatic dress or winter palette, and garter stitch (with lace edgings) warms and turns formal into sassy.

Although I may begin my foray into shawl knitting with the Madeleine Shawl above, the following patterns suggest I will definitely knit more than one:

Impasto Shawlette by Susanna IC.

Lindsay Sawl by Tabetha Hedrick.


Grand Army Plaza Shawl by Melissa Wehrle.

For those of us who have never knitted a shawl, the 'Shawl Techniques' section at the beginning of the book details the different types of shawl construction (triangles, semicircles, crescents, etc.), suggests best cast-on and bind-off techniques for shawls (with diagrams in the Glossary section), as well as finishing touches and how we should care for them. 

Enid Laceweight  Shawl by Lucinda Guy.

Classic Knit Shawls is a great addition to my knitting library with shawl designs sure to withstand the test of time. I will be toting this book to the yarn shop next week when I meet my friends again - I can already hear the oohs and aahs!

Have a great Monday,

July 19, 2017

Wool Applique' Gifts


I whipped up two coasters the other night as I am taking every opportunity I have to prepare Christmas gifts. I love them! It took me a couple of hours to make them.

Most of that time was spent choosing scraps of wool and cutting the shapes. I transferred the shapes onto plastic templates, traced them on the wool with permanent marker, and cut them.

Notice the texture of this pink background - it was recycled from a wool sweater! So were the orange, yellow, and purple pieces. I glued the shapes to the background using disappearing glue, my first time doing it.

I usually fuse wool shapes onto the background (watch for a soon-to-come video on my YouTube channel "Denise Russell"), yet the glue kept shapes in place until I was ready to stitch them down.

The shapes are stitched in place with the embroidery, making it a super fast project. Only the background is whipstitched to the wool burgundy circle.

These coasters will be a hit with the recipient I have in mind because I know she loves wool and embroidery projects. I will make other sets, or maybe I will try other projects I found in the book "A Little Something: Cute-as-can-be patterns for wool stitchery" by Roseann Meehan Kermes :

There are over 14 wool projects that, as you can see from mine, are simple, pretty, and fast to stitch. I enjoy the primitive look of many wool artwork, but I just love how Roseann puts a bright, colorful spin on her American Folk Art projects!

The end of the book has a section called "Wool-Applique' Essentials" where Roseann provides tips, how-tos, and resources so we can speed through preparation and get to sewing those beauties she created. She also gives us ideas on how to further customize and display our work. Cool!

I appreciate the chance to use scraps of wool (new or upcycled) I have collected from other work. See how she used the many pieces of wool in my favorite projects from her book:

All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale. Used with permission.
This Hospitality Hanger would look great year-round at the entrance to our homes, don't you think?


What a cute pouch! It is functional but would also make a perfect accessory in a girl's room decor.

Oh... these pincushions!!! Love the colors, the shapes, the creativity. Plus, I can reuse the shapes I cut for my coasters. Hmmm...

Roseann's choices of colors and textures are amazing. This pillow is so beautiful! Her work reminds us that we do not have to be master embroiderers to make gorgeous woolly things. I like it!

Anyway, the "A Little Something" book landed on my desk at the perfect time. Sometimes, that is all we have time for - a little handmade gift to express our love to family and friends (and which does not require us to spend hours learning a new skill). A winner!

Here's to a fun day,



July 18, 2017

Scrappy Nine Patches Quilt

Do you remember earlier this year when I reviewed the book "Sew Charming - Scrappy Quilts from 5" Squares" by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene? I immediately quadrupled one of the patterns to make a quilt for my bed.

I finally added a narrow, pieced border, and an appliqued border...

... and sent it to Melissa from Sew Shabby Quilting so she could work her magic for me. It is so happy and perfect for the warmer temperature.

It is huge: 94" x 101". It took me a few hours to hand bind it, and it is now adorning my bed. No photographs of the bedroom as I still need to make (or buy) coordinating pillow shams. It brightens our bedroom, and now I have two quilts for my bed - this one and the flannel one.

How do you like it? I will forever love it...


July 17, 2017

Diamond in the Square


I don't know about you but when I started quilting I bought books, took a few classes and, from there, started making quilts. Sometimes I would get to a place and think: Hmmm... how do I sew this? How can these points match? It was the case with the Diamond in the Square block. How do I stitch the triangles to the sides of the square so I will have correct seam allowances on all sides?

Here is a video tutorial (or click on image below) with a quick tip for how to sew the triangles to the square to make the Diamond in the Square quilt block.
Now we can trim those ears without wondering if we will have 1/4" seam allowance all around.

I will be coming up with more video tutorials to help make quilting more fun for you. Also, if there is something for which you have not found a solution yet, drop me a line. Maybe I can help and post a video about it, too. In the meantime, subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don't miss anything!

Have a great day,


July 14, 2017

Pumpkin Table Topper

Photograph by Ryan Hake and Shane Pequignot for Annie's Publishing. Used with permission.
"Pumpkin on my Patch" is the second of my designs published in the Autumn 2017 issue of Quilter's World magazine. This time I used bright, shiny, warm Fall fabrics from the Falling for You screenprint collection by Hoffman Fabrics. Its prints are ideal for October/November holidays so you can keep this table topper on your table for many weeks.

It measures 48" x 48" and uses 2 blocks. The stem was machine appliqued using blanket stitch. Melissa from Sew Shabby Quilting did a fantastic job quilting it with fall leaves, berries, and orange thread.

The vibrant colors of the quilt top are complemented by the rich green/gold of the backing. Yes, perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving!

If you have a large enough wall, it would also double as a wall hanger. Although I have an eclectic taste on fabrics, I lean towards the bright colors...

You can find Quilter's World magazine on the web, quilt stores, bookstores, and supermarkets (in Utah, they are sold at Barnes & Noble, Jo-Ann stores, and supermarkets).

Yep, I am all set for Fall with this table topper and the Autumn Trails quilt I showed you on my previous post. This issue of Quilter's World has 14 beautiful projects. Enjoy!

Before I go: Fat Quarter Shop has an amazing giveaway:

Check out their blog to enter it - I am heading over there right now! I have been sewing with my Bernina for 12 years and love it. This is your chance to get your own.

Have a great weekend,






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