Thursday, August 21, 2014

Two Wonderful New Books!

What a treat--while I was gone two new books appeared at my house.


500 Traditional Quilts, Juried by Karey Patterson Bresenhan.  A stunning collection of amazing quilts!  Some are familiar because they've won major prizes in international competition.  Some are very recently made, some more than 20 years old.  Some are clearly traditional, some you really have to look to see the traditional connection.  Some were made by quilters with international reputations, some are just us plain folk, making quilts for our family and friends and because it's our passion.  I am so humbled to be included in this company of quiltmakers! 

As if you didn't already have enough reasons to attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall, the 40th anniversary show, many of these quilts will be on exhibit there.  What a special treat to see these "in the cloth"!  If you are interested in quiltmaking today, you will want this book.  I spent an hour just slowly turning every page--so much to see and admire. 


Handfuls of Scraps, Pieced into Amazing Quilts, the latest book just out by Edyta Sitar.  I spoke with her at Spring Market in Pittsburgh and was thrilled that she sent me her book.  It includes photos of 36 antique quilts and has 15 scrappy quilt patterns.  Here are a few of my favorites:

While I own more than a few books and it's probably time to declutter the shelves a little, these two  are real keepers and ones I will refer to frequently when I want inspiration for what's next. 

I hope you will look for these and see if you, too, have to add them to your library.

Let's Quilt!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quilt! Knit! Stitch!


 I'm on my way to Portland, OR for Quilts Inc.'s first show:  Quilts!Knit!Stitch!  This will encompass all things stitchery and attract both new and experienced folks who love this stuff.

In addition to my duties on the Education Team, I'll be presenting my Lecture:  Houston!  Why Not You? on the show floor.  As this is our first show in the Pacific Northwest, we hope to inspire folks there to plan a trip to the mega-show, International Quilt Festival Houston, held each fall.  The largest quilt show in Houston, we will have more than 60,000 guests this fall--it's going to be a blast.

This is my first trip to the Pacific Northwest and I'm looking forward to being there--the getting there, not so much.

Stay tuned for photos of all the happenings this week.

Let's Quilt!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Four Flying Geese Tutorial

Flying Geese units are a staple of quilt patterns--we use them all the time.  They are my most favorite quilt design shape.  Sometimes we use them exclusively:

Sometimes we use them as part of blocks:

The Simple What Nots club quilts use the lovely flying geese unit frequently.  The patterns use the method that involves cutting rectangles and squares, sewing on the diagonal then cutting the excess triangles away.   I've done that while making these small quilts so I'll know what the students are dealing with.  My preferred method for making geese is to make four at one time, and I oversize and custom cut them down--that allows me to "trim to perfection". 

To do this successfully, you just have to know the correct measurements for the parts.  These geese finish at 2" x 1".  The large square that will be four geese is cut 3 3/4".  The four squares will that become 8 half square triangles are cut 2 1/4".  Here is the process:

Draw diagonal pencil line from corner to corner of the 4 small squares, place two small squares on diagonal corners of the large square,  sew 1/4" from BOTH sides of the line, cut apart

UPDATE:  Here is a faster way to draw those lines:  draw the lines on one LARGE block. Then cut the block into quarters.

Press small triangles UP, to make a heart, add next square on lower half of heart, sew 1/4" from BOTH sides of the line, cut apart, press small triangles UP, trim to perfection
Here is how you trim to perfection:
First cut, place diagonal line of ruler on seam, have 1 1/4" mark at the point of the "goose"

Second cut, turn goose around, place 1 1/4" mark at point of goose, being sure the 1/4" line is at the point, and bottom line is straight across the goose unit, hold tight and trim carefully. 

REMEMBER:  the first cut is important, but the second cut is CRITICAL!

Perfect goose, 2 1/2" wide, 1 1/2" high

If you want to use this method you just have to know the correct sizes to cut the parts.  Here is a chart to help you.  Remember, these numbers make geese that are OVERSIZED  and need to be CUSTOM CUT, trimmed to perfection.  While you can do this method with the precise measurements, you have to do everything perfectly to have them work out.  I prefer to allow for slight variation in cutting and sewing and them "trim to perfection". 

Note:  units will be oversized and need to be trimmed to finished size plus seam allowances.

Finished size of flying geese unit
Cut size for large square  (goose) – cut 1
Cut size for small square (wings) – cut 4
2 x 1
3 1/2”
2 1/8”
3 x 1 ½
4 1/2”
2 5/8”
4 x 2
5 1/2“
3 1/8”
5 x 2 ½
6 1/2”
3 5/8”
6 x 3
7 1/2”
4 1/8”
7 x 3 ½
8 1/2”
4 5/8”
8 x 4
9 1/2”
5 1/8”

Here is the class last night--there were about 25 people there and I'm sorry you can't see them all.  Some finished their quilt, including quilting and binding, some had the top done, some had parts in a bag and some are getting ready--it's all good!

We're having fun and making small quilts that will improve all of our future quiltmaking.  If you like this info please feel free to share it with your quilter friends.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Simple What Nots Club

I am coordinating the Simple What Nots Club at my local quilt shop, Patches & Stitches.  It uses the latest fabric line designed by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass Fabrics.  There are 6 small quilts,  we meet once a month for 6 months and I do lecture/demo explaining tips and tricks for how to make that months' block.  We have a small classroom and it is packed with chairs for the 28 folks who signed up. 

The first quilt is called Laundry Basket and I used my own fabric since the collection had not arrived in time for me to get my first sample done:
Laundry Basket 18" x 18"

The second one I am teaching this week, Sunday Supper.  I added a dark border all the way around as I do not like to have my bindings have to hit perfectly on a sawtooth or pointed border.  It's my quilt, I can do what I want with it:

Sunday Supper 15" x 18"

The one I will be teaching in September is my favorite of the group, Idaho Lily.  I hand-appliqued' the stems and leaves but will teach several options for that step.  Those are 1" finished half-square triangles in the borders:

Idaho Lily 27" X 27"
It is always my intention to provide as much helpful information in class as I can so each person feels they are getting their money's worth.  We have a wide range of skill and experience levels in this group and I hope to educate and entertain them all.  I plan to have pictures from our class later this week.

My other fun project is the small version of Color in Black and White, made with 1.5" cut strips:

42" x 36" without borders, which I will probably add
I wrote about the BIG version here. At that time I was trying to decide if I'd be adding a border and ultimately, I did.  Here is the finished BIG version, currently hanging at the quilt shop as a class sample:

Color in Black and White, 84" x 88"
These are really fun to make and I enjoyed digging through my deep stash to find the best fabrics, saturated colored prints.  And who knew black on white prints could make such a terrific background?

Have a great week and let's quilt!