Sunday, April 17, 2016

More blooms

As usual, it is taking me longer to finish a quilt top than I anticipated.  However, today I finally finished all the blocks for this flower quilt.

I work tomorrow, so this will sit on the design wall for a few days.  That's probably a good thing.  It will give me time to ponder the color distribution. There are a few blooms I would like to move, but then that bumps something else, which results in two blooms of the same color being side by side....  In the end, I might leave it as is...or I might have a stroke of inspiration and change something around.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying more blooms in the garden.

I do not know why the trumpets of the daffodils are three different colorations.  They were all the same last year and the year before!

Also a few scattered tulips.  We have lots of greens, but the bulbs are on their last year, I think, with many producing leaves but no blooms. We lost track of time last fall and didn't get new bulbs planted.

Then we have the volunteer blooms.  Oops.  I'm sure there were not this many last year!  Part of me says "Oooh, pretty yellow carpet!".  The other part of me says "Give it a day or two and the blooms will wilt and all you'll see is UGLY!"  So we have started pulling dandelions, one small section at a time.  We hesitate to use weed killer since the Rosie dog roams free in the fenced back yard.

We have a lot of these pretty violets in the lawn too.  And you can see the clover there too...Sigh.  Individually it's all pretty.  Take it all together and it looks a messs :(

Maybe I'll stick to looking at each individually!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fast-forward yet another season

Yesterday I brought you fall, today I'm ploughing ahead to winter!

As you can see, we're talking snowflakes again!  Snowdreams includes templates for foundation paper pieced snowflakes in two sizes (9" or 12"), resulting in two finished size options for each of the two designs.  You can make any of them a table topper or a Christmas tree skirt. This pattern involves 60 degree triangles (paper template included) and the second design (green on the cover) also uses paralellograms.  Don't worry, these are not complicated, and I include trimming tips so you can line up the shapes without fuss.

Hoarfrost  uses 12" snowflakes.  As always, my snowflake templates included trimmed tips to help line up pieced sections easily, and suggested fabric cutting for the paper piecing.  Don't be intimidated by the pieced border.  There is no paper piecing here, just "stitch and flip" corners.  The pattern includes tips to help the pieced border fit properly.

I need to take new pictures of Hoarfrost.  The blues are really not quite that electric!  This is a better look at the color.

 I also have tester quilts to share!

Sisi Quilt's version

I first met Debbie (Sisi Quilt) through the Snowalong I hosted last year. I'm so glad she is still enjoying these snowflake projects. Her version really sparkles!

Rachael's version

Rachael administers the Quilting and Quilters Facebook group I belong to, and has recently started blogging at Dab a Little.  Rachel considers herself a beginner quilter and hesitated to try this quilt.  I'm so glad she jumped in.  Didn't she do a great job?

Sandy's version

Sandy gave me a lot of valuable feedback about the pattern.  Check out her blog post about making Hoarfrost.  She discusses some of the tools she likes to use to make some tasks easier.  I'm going to be taking a wooden clothespin apart before my next paper piecing project!

Thanks also to Deb from Happy to be Scrappy and Ann Genaske who both had life interfere with their sewing plans (we all know how that goes!) but still managed to send me useful feedback on Hoarfrost.

Thank you also to Cindi of Stitchin at Home and Carla Czerwinski for each testing one version of Snowdreams and providing useful insight and suggestions.

Carla's version

Cindy's version

These patterns are all available as PDF downloads in my Craftsy shop and Payhip shop, or wholesale to quilt shops through distributors Checker or Brewer or by emailing me directly (joanne at

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Presenting "Blaze"

Just in time for spring: a fall pattern!  I've observed that quilters often start seasonal projects far ahead of time to have them ready in time for those seasons, so I'm making the pattern available early.  Remember, I'm early,  not several months late.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

You may remember this quilt as a "squirrel" on my design wall last fall. The design had been simmering, in different colors and using different blocks, for quite some time but wasn't quite ready.   These fabrics came home and started clamouring to be made into a quilt. Once the design and the fabric met, the quilt almost made itself!

I wrote the pattern with three size options:  small throw (44" x 60"), large throw (51" x 75") and twin (64" x 91").  Each one has the same layout, just different size units.  For those who like to nest their seams, the pattern includes pressing directions for every seam where direction will assist with nesting.

Thank you to the generous quilters who volunteered to test the pattern for me.  Between them, they tested all three sizes so I can be confident that the measurements I give are accurate and that my directions are clear.  They offered useful suggestions, and you can thank them for persuading me to add a paper piecing tutorial page for piecing the largest leaf tip unit!

Here are their versions of Blaze:

Terilyn's version

Terilyn Kennedy is a longarm quilter.  You can see her beautiful work on her Facebook page, Stitchin'Post Quilting Studio.  I am eager to see how she will quilt Blaze!

Kathleen's version

 Kathleen Ely made this version.  Hers has an added feature: the bottom section of background is a different fabric.  The top sections suggest forests, and the bottom suggests underbrush.  That may be my fault - the initial fabric amounts I had listed fell short, and she didn't have enough of the first fabric.  In this case it worked out, but this highlights why I appreciate my testers so much!  I'd hate to have released the pattern with that error in it!

Cindy's version

Thank you to Cynthia Roberts for this version.  I like that background!

Judy's version

Judy blogged about her version twice!  Read about piecing the top here and see close-ups off all that lovely quiltting here.   You can see she added a bit of length to the zigzags and tumbled the leaves to make the quilt her own.

I think this design would work well with other quilt block designs too.  Kathleen mentioned that she liked making just the five blocks - just enough to learn something, but not a large time commitment.  How about blues and silvery grays paired with my paper pieced snowflakes for a winter version?  Or a flower block for summer?  Or five different blocks for a modern sampler?

The pattern is now available as PDF download in my Craftsy shop and in my Payhip shop.  If you prefer a printed version, your favourite quit shop can order from Checker or Brewer distributors.

Winner and spring sewing

First, thank you all for your kind comments about my table runner design in the current issue of APQ.  I wish I could send you all a copy, but I can't, so I drew a random number from 1 to 32 and came up with #17.  I'll drop one copy of the June 2016 American Patchwork and Quilting magazine in the mail as soon as The Joyful Quilter (not to be confused with Joyful Quilter and all the rest of us happy quilters) sends me her mailing address.

Spring is thinking about settling in here in mid-Iowa.  Despite plunging back to freezing for a week or so, we have blooming daffodils in the garden. OK, mine are not planted as deeply as they should be, so I get to call it spring before the neighbours who dug their bulbs to the correct depth! I'm eagerly anticipating all the blooms that will follow later in the season and into summer, and while I wait I'm producing blooms in my quilting corner.  Here's the first one.

Once I determined I liked it, I switched to mass production gardening: here are 124 more of each unit to turn into 31 more blooms.

I'm off to garden sew!  No, wait,  I'm off to make supper and eat, then sew.  Sigh.  But I get to sew in the end, plus there's leftover birthday cake (how did DD get to be 15???), so it's a good plan in the end!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

They're in print!

You probably don't recall the little pile of trimmings I posted about last May.  I can finally share what those came from.

My three runners were featured in American Patchwork and Quilting's June 2016 issue!

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

I sent the runners out at the end of June, and got to see proofs last month, but I didn't quite believe it until I actually saw them in print, with my name right there on the page.  There might or might not have been some squealing and happy dancing happening here yesterday when I finally saw the magazine.

These runners had the benefit of professional staging and photography, so I won't bother sharing any more of my photos.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2016 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
I particularly like how the color placement and choices change the look of the border.  And it's funny how tastes change.  When I first worked up this design, I really favoured the fall version.  When I sewed them up, the grey and yellow was my hands-down favourite.  I really didn't care much for the green/blue/yellow the editor requested, but made it anyway, and quilted it, and shrugged.  Well, guess which one is my favourite right now?  Yup.  The green one!

The magazine should be on store shelves soon, and may have already appeared in subscriber mailboxes.  I did spy a few copies out early at my local supermarket.  My ever supportive husband, who was with me at the time, was ever so disappointed that the cashier didn't ask why I would buy three copies of the same magazine so he could enlighten her!

Yes, I bought three copies.  One for my mom, one for my mom-in-law, and one to give away (APQ sent me my very own copy).  If you'd like to win a copy of the June 2016 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, leave me a comment telling me what you're working on these days. If you are a no-reply blogger, remember to leave me a way to contact you if you win.  I'll draw a comment at random next Sunday, April 10th. 

Happy quilting!