October 17, 2019

Itty Bitty Roses quilt

We've had beautiful Fall days in Utah with chillier weather, though this week the temperatures are back up into the 60s (F). Lest you think I am consumed by Christmas projects, here is a mini quilt I finished last week. It measures 12", the blocks are 2-1/2", and it shows off one of my favorite Fall fabrics!

I machine appliqued the tiny roses with matching thread and quilted it using monofilament and hearts. Hearts? Yeah, just to register the fact that I absolutely love this border fabric and this time of the year. Although the leaves on these photos are green, the ones on the tips of the branches have fantastic red, orange, and yellow hues just as on the fabrics I chose.

For the backing, I found this paisley fabric I've had for over 13 years and did not want to cut. Oh, well, I am courageous!

I found the pattern for "Itty Bitty Roses" in the book Autumn Bouquet - Patchwork and Applique' Quilts from Reproduction Fabrics by Sharon Keightley, published by Martingale. The quilt designs are beautiful, most with floral applique' motifs which can be done with the needle-turn method or as I did: machine applique'.

All photographs by Brent Kane and Adam Albright for Martingale. Used with permission.
The section on the Applique' methods at the end of the book has detailed instructions for using freezer paper and wash-away paper. The photos explain step-by-step how to prepare the shapes before stitching them.

The reproduction fabrics against the lighter background look great, don't you think? I also love her creative placement of the roses and stems on the border. Sharon's quilts remind me of wooden stoves, rows of vegetables, and flower gardens as I imagine she must have in her New Zealand farm.

The reverse applique' on the borders of this wall hanging created a unique design, unifying medallion and borders with a cheerful choice of colors. Sharon's special affection for antique quilts informs her creative process. As for us, we can take her patterns and make quilts with all the charm, richness, and scrappy look of the antique quilts we all so admire.

From the mini quilt like the one I made to lap-sized projects, Autumn Bouquet offers a variety of ideas for gifts or home decor items for every season - we can just change the colorway if we'd like.

My quilt turned out just a bit bigger than hers and less scrappy as the border features only one fabric as opposed to four as Sharon's.

I received a hard copy of the Autumn Bouquet from Martingale, yet you can choose to have its eVersion and download it right away. Either way, you will be happy to have it in your quilting library.

I am off to write patterns. See ya!

October 15, 2019

Winter Cheer Block of the Month

Photos by The Quilting Company. Used with permission.
Have you seen the Winter Cheer quilt I designed for The Quilting Company as a Block of the Month? It measures 81" x 81" and features Riley Blake's Winterberry and Merry and Bright Christmas collections. Those fabrics are so fun!

Quilters with any skill level can enjoy this project as The Quilting Company has developed videos to help with block assembly, such as this one:

The videos are well-produced, brief, and to the point, and are an indispensable resource as they will help with this project and become a great reference for future ones.

When designing this quilt I selected my very favorite quilt blocks and techniques, including machine applique' - the best! It was so fun to decide which fabric to place in each block: together, the Winterberry and Merry and Bright collections provide a modern take on the traditional red and green Christmas quilts as they add a touch of pink, mint, black, and gray to our quilted projects. Here are some of the fabrics I used:

The kits for the Winter Cheer Block of the Month are available from Riley Blake through Pine Needles Online. As you work on your blocks, send me photos so I can publish them here. It will be awesome to see you working on Winter Cheer!

I, for one, am hoping I can receive the quilt back very soon so I can display it in my house. You know I ain't waiting until Christmas!

Happy Quilting!

October 14, 2019

Around the Fireplace quilt

All photos by American Quilter magazine. Used with permission.
This is "Around the Fireplace", my quilt just published in the November 2019 issue of the American Quilter magazine. It measures 59" x 59" and the blocks finish at 12". A perfect throw or lap quilt size, with robins, plaids, checks, and applique', this is already decorating my home! Yeah, I know, I have Christmas stuff around the family room and we haven't even passed Halloween. But, since the young boys are all in college, I'd rather skip Halloween altogether, hint at Thanksgiving with a table topper (which I will show you on another post), and plunge straight into Christmas.

On page 83 of the magazine, you have the full photo of the quilt. The machine applique' was done using the straight stitch and the blanket stitch. In the pattern, you also have instructions for a regular border in case you want to skip the applique'.

The fabrics I chose are from the Merry and Bright collection by Timeless Treasures. Here are some of the fabrics I used:

Aren't these fabrics beautiful? They spell 'cozy Holidays' to me.

The American Quilter Magazine has already hit the stands and oh... you will love the projects in it. I am in love with "Poinsettia" by Stacy Day on page 70 and "Rustling Leaves" by Margaret Brewster Willingham on page 65. I am a subscriber and look forward to receiving the magazine every quarter and to accessing all the other AQS online resources and discounts.

In fact, this might be a great time to join AQS as they are offering a great coupon AND a free pattern designed by yours truly! "Because I'm Happy" is the name of my colorful quilt featuring batiks from the Tonga Dazzle collection by Timeless Treasures. It has my signature palette: EVERY COLOR. Once you subscribe, you will receive the pattern and can have it made in no time at all.

Have I inspired you so far with all this eye candy? But wait till you see the Award-wining quilts featured in this issue of the American Quilter magazine. 'Wow' can't begin to describe them...

Have a fantastic Monday!

October 11, 2019

Quilted Wall Hanging Tutorial

Happy Friday, quilty friends everywhere! This week has flown by and I got a lot done, including the quilting and binding of this wall hanging I made for my grandsons. It began with my need to test the snowball blocks for an upcoming pattern. Upon opening a random fabric drawer I saw these fabrics (Trekking collection, remnants from a project I made for Michael Miller for last year's QuiltCon). As I cut them I had the idea of turning this test-block session into a present for the boys.

I took photos as I went along and here you have a step-by-step tutorial of how to make this wall hanging. It measures 22" x 22", the blocks are 10", and it is perfect for novelty fabrics or other prints you want to show off.

What you'll need:
(4) 8" squares of different prints
(16) 3" black squares
(16) 2-1/4 small print squares
(8) 1-3/4" x 8" solid white strips
(8) 1-3/4" x 10-1/2" solid white strips
(1) 2-1/2" black square
(2) 1" x 18" strip small print for sashing
(1) 2-1/2" x WOF strip of the same small print for sashing, cut into four 2-1/2" x 7-5/8" rectangles
(1) 1-1/2" x 18" black strip for sashing
(3) 2-1/2" x WOF stripe fabric for binding
7/8 yard backing fabric
26" x 26" piece of batting

Here are my 8" squares. Notice how they contrast to give interest to the quilt. Although they are from the same line, you can also use assorted fabrics.



Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the 3” black squares. With right sides together, place one marked black square on a corner of one 8” print square and stitch on the drawn line. Repeat with the opposite corner of the same square. Trim seam allowances to ¼” and press open. Repeat with the other corners of the square. Do the same with the other 8" print squares.

Repeat the previous step with the 2-1/4" small print squares. The black provided a break between the colors, emphasizing both prints.

Sew two 1-3/4" x 8" white strips to opposite sides of the squares. Press the seams away from the center.

Sew one 1-3/4" x 10-1/2" white strip to the top and one to the bottom of the squares. Press the seams away from the center again.

Sew the 1-1/2" x 18" black strip in between the two 1" x 18" small sashing print strips to make a strip set. Cross-cut the strip set into four 3-3/8" sections. Sew one 2-1/2" x 7-5/8" sashing print rectangle to each section.

Assemble the wall hanging in rows as shown above. Notice that for the horizontal sashing strip I stitched together two pieced sashing rectangles with the 2-1/2" black square in between.

Make the sandwich with the quilt top, batting, and the quilt back and free motion quilt away! Add the binding, and you are done!

Phew! My first Christmas gift for the boys is ready. And the blocks tested perfectly so the pattern can be written. My pattern does include another block but I needed to ensure the size of the squares for the snowball blocks was just right for the look I was looking for.

There are many possibilities for this wallhanging: holiday-themed for the entire year (you know those awesome prints you've been saving?), florals, modern fabrics... you get the idea. Use this tutorial to make your projects and tag me on Instagram (@piecedbrain) so I can see them. You can also email me the photos so I can post them here.

Enjoy your weekend!

October 7, 2019

Patchwork Picnic

How do you like my star block? I had been looking for a different star block for a quilt my friends Deb, Lisa, and I are working on and was so happy when I found this one! It is beautiful and, surprise, it is super easy to make! I made three blocks just like this one - super fast as it did not involve paper piecing.

Instead, we use the stitch-and-flip method and chain piece all the patches. I think a quilt made entirely with this star in many colors would look fantastic. Yes, I have just placed this idea on my To-Do list!

Ideas abounded in my head as I was looking through the book where that star block came from. Patchwork Picnic - Simple-to-piece Blocks that Celebrate the Outdoors by Gracey Larson, published by Martingale is delightful! We can make the sampler quilt or the other smaller projects and I have already selected fabrics to make some of them as gifts, my current focus since Christmas is right around the corner (seriously!).

All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale. Used with permission.
The sampler quilt is amazing. Take a closer look and you can envision theme projects such as a bug quilt, a garden quilt, a neighborhood quilt, a pet quilt... And there is the star I love so much! Simple, everyday things and creatures are elevated to stunning gems in Gracey's unique blocks.

The blocks have very detailed assembly instructions with lots of diagrams. I love that Gracey offers them in 6" (for wall hangings or smaller projects) and 12" sizes, making this book a great resource for future projects. It also offers many possibilities for all the fabric scraps we have been saving. The blocks in Patchwork Picnic would shine regardless of the fabrics: reproduction, novelty, modern prints, or solids will personalize the sampler quilt or smaller projects you make, lending a nostalgic, whimsical, or contemporary feel to them.

These potholders are so cool! All you need to know to make them is to sew on a straight line. Perfect for novice quilters and with interesting block designs to attract veteran sewists, Patchwork Picnic is sure to claim permanent residence on our cutting table.

One of Gracey's tips at the beginning of the book is for us to slow down and take time when sewing the small portions of each design. She is absolutely right. In my quilting journey, I have noticed I have slowed down considerably when sewing: fewer points disappear, the seams have the same width, and ripping stitches does not happen so often. Sewing becomes as enjoyable as a picnic!

Speaking of which, I need to check on the bread I am baking for my friends this morning as they will be here soon so we can exchange our star blocks. Although it is a little bit cool to be gathered in the back yard to eat it picnic-style, we will seat around the kitchen table, catch up on each other's lives as this is the first time we get together since I moved away from the neighborhood, and plan other dates for block exchanges.

Not a bad way to begin the week, huh? I hope Gracey and I have inspired you.


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