Sunday, December 30, 2018

SIZZLE Preparation--the Excitement Grows!

The 2019 Block of the Month on The Quilt Show will begin January 1, 2019. It is FREE to Star Members of The Quilt Show--reason enough to join, but you get so much more for your $49 investment. I encourage you to JOIN if you haven't yet.

Watch Becky Goldsmith's show to see how fun this will be: Here

The Sizzle Introduction can be found HERE--Fabric Requirements for both Warm and Cool colorways will help you if you want to make your own fabric palette.

Here are suggestions to help you be prepared to jump in January 1:

1. Have plenty of ink and paper on hand--in addition to the Month 1 pattern, you will have access to a 30 page General Instructions document--I am referring to this frequently so, for me, it is worth the ink and paper to have a printed copy.

2. Have Vellum or very lightweight, translucent paper to print the paper piecing pattern pages--each month there are 8 pages to print, giving you all the paper piecing patterns for that month's  20" block.  The Accessory Kit provides this product--I found it very easy to print 8 copies with my printer, they did not stick together and the ink was dry by the time I walked from the studio to the office to get them:

3. Watch Becky Goldsmith's show, it airs December 30, 2018--this will get you excited for the upcoming Block of the Month. An excellent designer and teacher, you will really enjoy watching her in action.

Things to know:

1. There are GREAT videos from designer Becky Goldsmith, showing you exactly how to make this quilt. PLEASE watch them before you begin--her method is a bit different from what you may be familiar with--follow her instructions for success.

2. Each month there are 2-3 pages of instructions, in addition to the paper piecing pattern. If you purchased the Kit from The Quilt Show, print the Warm or Cool instructions--this will give you the Key to which fabrics to cut for that month's block and exactly HOW to cut that fabric.

3. If you are using the Kit, I strongly recommend you put a small piece of each fabric on your Fabric Requirements pages. I am using the Cool Kit and found some of the blues look very similar--and each person's printer may show different depths of color. With the Kit, you want to know which fabric is which:

Sometimes I found it helpful to use the amount of fabric in the kit to determine which was which, 2 yards vs. 1/4 yard, for example. I cut 1" pieces of each fabric and used double stick tape to put in my notebook. Once this is done, it will be a snap each month to select the fabrics for the block.

4. The first month's instructions include the Block Corner Template, printed on two pages then taped together to make the 10.5" quarter circle. Becky recommends using Laminating Sheets to make this template you will use to make 36 quarter circles. I taped my paper template to the bottom of Quilter's Template plastic--my local quilt shop sells a large piece of this for about $3. I carefully cut out the template plastic, following the lines on the paper--this creates a very sturdy template:

5. The last thing I want to tell you is this is EASY--even if you are new to Paper Piecing, you will catch on quickly and be delighted to see your sections grow into a beautiful block--here is a Teaser, Block 1 parts under construction:

On the first of each month, I will have a Blog that shows how I made that month's block, following Becky's instructions. I am also prepared to answer your questions--please post them on the Forum where there is a Category for this quilt. 2019 SIZZLE Topic--go there to see the previous blogs I've written on this project--Introduction and Fabric Selection and Preparation--full of more tips and suggestions.

During 2019 I am teaching this locally to a class of 15 people at a quilt shop and to The Sunday Sew and Sews, a group of 25 of us who have been working on the TQS Block of the Month quilts since January 2017. All these people ask good questions that will find their way into instructions on my blog. I encourage you to follow my blog for the latest information.

The Sunday Sew and Sews saw my pieces last week and they said the fabrics were even prettier than they thought they would be. If you want a Kit, Cool or Warm, it's not too late to order it HERE.

We are going to have a great time in 2019 making these beautiful quilts. I hope you will join us.

Let's quilt,


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What's Next?

With my Lifetime Quilt almost done, it's time to figure out what the next long-term project will be. Here are the contenders:

This is an antique I own and plan to replicate:

I love stars and these tiny ones are so sweet:

I have one long-ago start to finish:

And this one to start:

And this one:

Guess I better get busy!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may your 2019 be filled with Love and Creativity!

Let's quilt.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Ruffled Roses

Begun in January 2011, this quilt, Ruffled Roses, was the Block of the Month on The Quilt Show that year. Designed by the late Sue Garman, the pattern is still available on her company website: Come Quilt.

I have written about this project several times over the years, including these posts:

Step By Step on the Machine Applique'

The last time I worked on it

Perseverance is a good thing. A friend asked me why it took so long--did I not like it or did other things get in the way? Most quilters know how the excitement of starting a new project gets in the way of finishing our UnFinished Objects (UFOs). That's what happened here.

The pattern has you making four of the 6" basket blocks and 3-4 of the border sections each month. I kept up in 2011 until the middle was done then it was put on the back burner as life and other quilts intervened.

Recently, I decided it just had to get done. Here is what I had accomplished up to that point, plus half of the border sections:

One of the 28 border sections, 3/4" finished strips:


Last week I was able to clear the decks and figured that would be enough time to get the top completely done. Well, it took 9 days of working 9-5 to complete the top. Each morning I woke up earlier and earlier, just so I could be ready to work on it by 9. After getting up at 4:30 a.m. the last day, it was really good to be DONE.

In the category "Living Right"--this is how much of the bright pink marble fabric I had left after making the final set of floater borders:

Sue was a friend of mine--I wish I could show her that I really did get it done. She liked my fabric selections and was an enthusiastic quilt friend to me and others. I miss her still.

Now it will go to a great longarm quilter who will do it justice. Then it is part of my "Legacy Collection"...

Time to do all the things I didn't get done over the last two weeks.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Local Classes--Winter 2019

The new year is upon us and I have several local classes scheduled for the next few months. If you are near, I'd love to see you in class.

At Patches & Stitches, my perpetual Quiltmaking 101 class will be offered twice:

I have taught a 5 week beginners class for 30 years--the quilt has changed many times over those years. This one has stuck for a while--it is based on a pattern from Glad Creations and teaches ALL the basics of good quiltmaking skills. Many people who have taken this class get "hooked" on quilting--that is my goal.

A new class: Spectacular Scraps, will be a fun way to work with half-square triangles to create your own design:

When I posted this quilt several months ago, the positive response inspired me to offer this class again--I made this quilt more than 15 years ago and taught it then.

In the years when my guild, the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville has our quilt show, I offer a 3 hour lecture/demo class on Beautiful Borders and Bindings. Many quilters don't enjoy the binding process or don't do it as well as they could because they don't know the tricks. A poor binding really hurts a great quilt and you can improve your binding technique--let me show you how.

Trying something new, My Favorite Things will be offered as a 2 part class, 7 hours each time. Part 1 is in March, Part 2 in May:

An original design, I recently taught this as a 6 month lecture/demo class and the students loved it. This time it will be an all-day sewing class, moving through each of the 6 lessons at a good pace. Allowing a month and a half between classes will allow students to do most of their sewing at home, while getting started sewing in the classroom. This also will make a great multi-day retreat class and is being considered by several groups for their students.

At Huntsville Sew Creative, the wonderful quilt SIZZLE will be taught as a year-long lecture/demo class. The pattern is the 2019 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show --it is FREE to Star Members--that membership costs $49/year--just last night one of my students told the rest of the class that was money well-spent--she found so much content throughout the site that was valuable. I have written before about why I think this subscription is one every quilter should seriously consider: Why Join the Quilt Show?  

You can purchase a Kit if you want to make either of these beauties or select your own fabrics. This class will teach you so much and there is still room for a few more--I hope you will join us if you are local. No sewing machines--I do the sewing, while students learn and ask great questions.  Huntsville Sew Creative has recently moved locations and their website is under construction--call 256-536-3757 to sign up before space is gone.

That is all I have time for this winter--lots of sewing will be happening for future classes and preparation for 10 away-from-home trips this upcoming year. I hope to see you in class.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Studio Clean Up--Before and After

While working so hard on quilts like Ruffled Roses, my studio gets cluttered,  plain and simple. It tends to stay that way until I have a reason to clean up. With two groups of students coming to visit this weekend, that time was NOW.


Primary cutting and work surface and dumping ground 

Overflow work surface--the Q20 table

Chair rarely available for seating

What is under that practice quilt sandwich?

View from just inside the doorway

Miscellaneous stuff--and Garth
AFTER, this took less than 45 minutes:

View from the doorway

Another view from the doorway

View from the desk

View from the ironing station

Rare view of the cutting table with NO fabric or other stuff on it

Ruby lives under the practice quilt sandwich, a Featherweight I had painted Ruby Red

View from my sewing machine

I love having the design wall opposite the machine--I can often see things from that far away I would miss closer up. Ruffled Roses will remain up for a few more days then she needs to come down so I can put up two quilts I am working on. Ruffled Roses will head off to a great long arm quilter in a few months for the royal treatment. I have plenty of tops to work on and this quilt deserves the best.

It would be nice to say I'll keep the studio this neat indefinitely but I know that won't happen. This is my happy place, and when I'm being creative stuff just piles up. That's OK with me. All I have to do is invite a group over and the place gets a clean-up. There is still way too much stuff in all those boxes and the closets are full. A purge isn't likely anytime soon, however...

For photos of the wonderful closets see Closets 1 and 2, Closets 3 and 4, and Closets 5 and 6. Those photos were taken two and a half years ago--they are reasonably the same today, though there is more stuff in them now.

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SIZZLE Fabric Selection and Preparation

This is an exciting time--selecting and preparing fabrics for SIZZLE--the 2019 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show.

Here is the Cool Kit I will be using, it looks so neat, tidy and pretty all packaged:

Here are the fabrics, separated into lights, greens, and blues:

Then I separated them into lights/darks, relatively speaking:

While I don't usually pre-wash my fabrics, the instructions recommend pre-washing so I'll do it  to as part of this process:

I snip off a small corner of each fabric before pre-washing to cut down on raveling, especially if I plan to wash fabric with clothing. The other advantage to this method is I always know these fabrics have been pre-washed:

Shake out each fabric flat, don't put into the washing machine folded. I used the Express Wash cycle, it's not dirty, after all, and just a bit of Orvus Paste, a mild soap I use to wash my quilts. AND I added a Shout Color Catcher to each load. Do not use hot water, cold or warm is fine.

Here is the result of the Color Catchers: light load on the left, dark load on the right. There is some color loss in each load but not enough to worry any more about:

After drying the fabrics, I intended to smooth them flat and press them before using each one, as the instructions recommend. I found the solid woven shot cotton fabrics really needed pressing now and fabrics just look so much more scrumptious pressed flat so I pressed them all.

NOTE: Great tip from one of the Sunday Sew and Sews--hang the shot cottons to air dry on a rack--don't put them in the dryer--much less pressing to do.

MY BEFORE shot cottons:

AFTER.  I recommend not letting your fabrics get bone dry, about 99% dry is best, they press nicely then:

The hardest part for me now, is to NOT start on this--Christmas needs some work at  my house; otherwise...:

Last week I helped a few students select their SIZZLE fabrics at Huntsville Sew Creative:

Sheila started with the small piece of batik on the lime and pulled fabrics in those colors

Peggy is going black, white, gray and Royal Blue
Terri is working with this lovely palette
Several other people stopped in to ask questions and see my additional palette--I am also making a Cool/Warm combo version:

Some of these fabrics are more than 10 years old--the colors are perfect for me. Here is my fabric inspiration, I went heavier on the purple, less of the darker blue:

Kauai Rooster

Class begins January 5 at Huntsville Sew Creative, 256-536-3757. There is still some room in this year-long adventure, call today to secure your spot. You will learn so much, I promise. No sewing in class, I lecture/demo/help you for two hours each month, you do all your sewing in the comfort of your home. I hope you'll join us.

Here is a 10 minute conversation with Becky Goldsmith, the SIZZLE designer and well-known quiltmaker, author and teacher--she will get you excited about our new journey too:

Becky Goldsmith Video

Let's Quilt!