Monday, September 8, 2014

September! Really??




OK, I got it, September is here and I am crazy busy!  School started up and I am teaching again -- my LAST Semester -- before I retire.  It is so time!  But I am also preparing for Quilt Market in Houston in October and getting 6 new patterns (and six new quilts) ready as well.  Yipes.

New free Block of the Month for September is posted.  Hop on over to the BOM 2014 page and download your copy now.  And if you are a subscriber, the newsletter with the bonus block went out today, so be sure you check that out as well.
September Free Block of the Month

Not a subscriber?  Want the bonus block?  Its easy to do, just fill out the subscription for on the left hand side <<<<<<<<<< over there and click submit.  I send out the newsletter on the 1st and the 15th each month, so you won't miss it if  you subscribe after the 1st.
September Bonus Block

OK, so it went out on the 8th this month and not the 1st.  I promise it was ready to go several days ago but my web maven was on vacation and I couldn't update my website till she got home so I had to sit on it a few days.  Usually I can update it myself, but it was having fits -- I mean serious fits -- after a complete update and overhaul, and I was not gonna try and screw with it and then get a scolding.  I know just enough to be dangerous.

So what are the new quilts I am bringing out at Quilt Market?  Here is a preview!
Summer Iris Picnic Quilt:

Indian Blanket: (And my quilt tester Kris Y did an AMAZING job on this quilt!)


Plus 4 more. . . . hold on, will post those later when I have more time.

Now check out this new gizmo I discovered!


2014-08-04 19.01.33

Product Review

The Easy Binding Winder

Do you struggle with binding like I do? I recently found this great new gizmo and wanted to try it out. It winds your binding onto a cylinder, which can be lifted from the winder and removed, and then inserted back in the winder when you are ready to stitch it onto your quilt.
It is called the Easy Binding Winder and my friends at Connect the Blocks.com sent me a prototype to try out. Several amazing things about this winder are worth noting.
1. The prototype was made with a 3-D printer!!! Can you believe it? That is just so cool!.
2. It really works! No bells or whistles, just simple mechanical action that does what it is supposed to do. No batteries, electricity or muscle needed.

Here is how it works. Clamp the Easy Binding Winder to your ironing board and prepare your binding. As you press your binding in half roll it onto the winder using the hand crank. When you are done you can unscrew the hand crank and lift the winding cylinder out of the base for storage. I am told it will come with several extra cylinders. When you are ready to sew the binding on your quilt you can set it on your sewing table and feed the binding out as you sew.
I loved how easy it was to wind my binding. This was incredibly easy to do and convenient to place by my machine when I sewed my binding on the quilt. I had a little difficulty with getting the clamp tight on my ironing board, but I think that may be resolved when the final version comes out. I liked that it could be clamped from the front or the side of the base. The handle is easy to hold, and winds smoothly, and was easy to remove from the base with just a simple hand screw. I am really looking forward to this product coming on the market.
Find out more information at www.easybindingwinder.com. And thanks to my friends Peggy and Rex at Connect the Blocks.com for loaning me a prototype to test for them.
Oh and don't forget to take their survey on their website for a chance to win a free Easy Binding Winder!
2014-08-04 19.02.18
 
2014-08-04 19.01.20

Sunday, June 22, 2014

July BOM block posted early!


I have had the whole month of June off and let me tell you, it has been productive. It has been rehearsal for retirement, and shown me that when that pesky day job is out of the way I really can get a lot done!  :-)

So among the things I have accomplished with my time off -- getting some quilts finished and drawing a lot more designs.  First, here is the July free Block of the Month - a little early - posted and ready to download on the BOM page (see the tabs at the top).

This is one of my favorite blocks, and it goes with so many of the other designs.  It really makes a great alternate block, and has such a fun and feminine look.

 



If you like any of these designs let me know.  I am getting a few ready to offer to magazines.  I'll take your suggestions about which ones to send in.

I am working on another BOM for my quilt guild and really enjoying it.  It is in art deco style applique florals, and so far it is going well.  As a sneak peek, here is the first block.


Its a bit different from my usual thing!  But I am having a blast doing these.

I finished a baby quilt for one of my son's friends who just had a baby.  This is a design she picked out and I made it up.  It was sew simple and fun to make.

This is the first quilt I have done on my new Martelli long arm machine.  Worked great and sooooo easy to use.  It is a sit down machine and the circle you see hanging on the arm slides down and sits on the fabric.  The gripper on the back holds onto the fabric and the knobs on the top make it easy to move.  I even did all the stitch in the ditch with it.  It was actually easier and just as accurate as my domestic for stitch in the ditch.  Go figure!


This is a version of my Vintage Sampler quilt that they did as a BOM at my LQS. They just did 30 of the 42 blocks, and all in 30's fabrics.  I designed a special setting and border for it, and now it is hanging up in the shop, and patterns for it are selling well.  The sample was done with hand blanket stitch around all the applique. Faith Gordon made this one and did a fabulous job!  Can't wait to see it quilted.

I also got my vintage sampler back from the quilter.  WOW did Brenda do a great job on it.  But then, she always does.  I just have to put the binding on and finished the block embellishments. I will post a picture as soon as I can get someone to hold it up for me!  hahaha.

Its sunny and hot here in Kansas today.  Kitties are curled up on the chair next to me, and last night I got to baby sit my adorable grandbaby. He was 5 months old yesterday and we had some serious "Grandma Time!"  Love that little cutie to bits.

Keep stitching!

Friday, May 2, 2014

May BOM Block Posted

The free block of the month for May is now posted on the BOM Page.

This one is a bit more of a challenge than the first four blocks only because the pieces are a bit smaller.  It looks amazing in batiks though. 

I have had a bit of a quilting dry spell lately.  I think it is because the end of the semester is here and I have been busy grading papers.  Wow is that ever an understatement!  I gave up my administrative position this semester and returned to the classroom and full time teaching.  I guess I forgot how much work it is to keep up with all the grading for 4 college classes.  The two freshman level public speaking classes are not too difficult to keep current, but my two upper division classes -- Persuasion and Social Influence and Native American Rhetoric -- have been a real challenge.

I know, my students keep telling me I wouldn't have so much grading if I just didn't assign as many papers!  So true.  I try to cut back, but it is like eating only half a piece a cake.  It sounds good in theory, but in practice hard to do.

The countdown to retirement has begun.  Only 38 weeks to go.  I am marking days off the calendar and making plans for all my free time when I finally hang up my red pen.

I am planning to teach and vend at the June 2015 Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival next year, and hope many of you in the midwest will put it on your calendar and plan to attend.  It is a locally sponsored Quilt Festival with a whole flock of local guilds doing the planning and preparations. I have booked a lot of speaking engagements and workshops for 2015 and casting my nets a bit further afield than I was able to while I am still working a full time job.  It is very exciting and I will share plans in my blog and newsletter as they get closer.

On my to-do list (after final exams next week) is a baby quilt for one of my kids' friends who is expecting in June.  It will be a fun project and I am thinking I might even get the whole top pieced this weekend.

And I had to share a new grandbaby picture with you!  Little Bryce is now 3 months old and getting cuter every day -- no bias involved!  :-)  A friend took this picture of Mother and Baby reading one of my favorite books from when my son was a baby.  Aren't we grandmothers hopeless?  hehehe


With the end of the school year here and the summer off I am looking forward to babysitting, camping, designing, traveling, and perhaps even getting some quilting in.  How I love summer!!!




Monday, April 7, 2014

April Fiesta de Flores Block now available

I am a week late in getting the April BOM posted because I was at MQS in Wichita all last week teaching EQ7 classes.  It was a great time, but a lot of work.  I so enjoyed meeting so many students and colleagues, and of course shopping in the vendor mall!  And the quilts!  All I can say is WOW, they were really amazing and the quilting was over the top on so many of them.  It was impressive.  I just don't know how the judges manage to select a winner in each of those categories. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

 What can I say, I love morning Glories.  Sorry the picture is so blurry.  I was trying to fit it all in the view finder and wobbled.  haha

 I awarded this simple blue and white quilt my "Teacher's Ribbon" because I thought that the quilting complemented the pattern beautifully.  It was simple but elegant, and -- of course -- I can't resist a blue and white quilt!  Still, the quilting on this sweet little quilt was amazing as you can see in the closeup.
 I just like lighthouses, and this was a particularly well done version of a light house quilt.
 Color, it just spoke to me.  I have to tell you that the picture of the quilt looks really different from the quilt in person.  Odd how that happens.
 This was a group quilt where they took a picture and cut it up into pieces and each person did one part, then they sewed all the parts together.  I have to tell you it was amazing.  This is downtown Bentonville, AR home of the first Walmart.
This picture of the Victorian House was the best of show and it so deserved it.  Done in 1/2" squares it was a reproduction of a cross stitch pattern! And the quilting was over the moon.  It was stunning.

Hope you enjoyed the eye candy and will click on over to my BOM page (see the tabs at the top of the page, and download this month's free block of the month.

Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vintage Sampler Quilt Top Finished

After nearly 2 years I finally finished my vintage sampler top.  All 42 blocks are complete, edge-stitched and sewn together in the order I released the blocks for my 2012-13 Block of the Month.

I don't know why it took me so long to get this done. (Hmm working full time, designing full time, traveling, lecturing, 3 weeks sick with acute bronchitis, grading papers, a new grand baby,  hmmm????) I do know it took forever to blanket stitch all the blocks.  But then I only get to work on it when I go to retreat, so thank God I got to go to several this year so I could get this done.


I dropped it off this morning at Brenda's Quilting, in Ottawa, so she can mull over it for a while as she figures out how to quilt it.  I know better than to tell her what to do.  I just tell her to "have fun" and "do your magic!"  I have never been disappointed with what she comes up with, and her work is fabulous.  I can't wait to see what she does with this.

The only thing left on this is some embellishments I want to add after it is quilting.  There are a number of little things I want to hand embroider on some of the blocks, like french knots and tendrils.  I may add a few leaf veins, and I want to embroider my name and the date completed on the quilt to resemble the signatures which populated the old quilt this was fashioned after.


This is the picture I worked from to re-create this great 1930's signature sampler.  I have to tell you, I loved every minute of it.  I can't wait till I can start the next applique sampler I found.  It will be a Block of the Month on my blog sometime in the next year or two.

Special thanks to all of you who made these blocks and sent me pictures.  If any of you have completed tops or quilts made from these blocks I would love to see it.  I plan to put some of them in the book I will be publishing about this quilt.

Thanks!



Monday, February 17, 2014

A Few New Designs

It is hard to stop drawing and designing quilts using Mexican tiles.  I have been researching vintage Malibu Tiles, a tile manufacturer that is actually still around. The style of Spanish revival tiles from the early 1920's have a bit of a modern art deco feel to them, and then some are just off the map.  I am finding my way to developing a color palate which used the glaze colors which were typical for this style of southern California art tiles.  I admit I can't stop.  There are just too many possibilities.

Here are a few I came up with tonight.  The problem I see with them is that they are lot of applique, and who would want to take on that kind of work?  Yet how can I pare them down to greater simplicity and still maintain the style?  I am working on that.  I found a quilt book by a wonderful designer who used Talavera (a Mexican style of pottery and tile) designs to create very modern looking quilt designs.  They are lovely and much simpler than what I have created, but they lack the traditional feel that I love about these designs.

What do you think?

California (9" blocks)
This quilt is called California and mixes that sunny feel of the Southwest with a stained glass look drawn from the black-outlined circles.  I remember the Spanish Missions in California when I visited as a child and they had this look and feel.  It is made of 2 alternating blocks with a slim black sashing between them.

Circles
Orange Blossom
   
This one is brighter, more "fiesta-ish" with the primary colors and happy summer feeling.  I named it Chicken Soup because I couldn't think of anything else at the time.  Odd how names come to me based on impressions I get at the moment.  Haha


The blocks 8" squares in a 5 x 5 setting, but any odd number of rows would work out with this pattern.  I really like these blocks and found that I could make dozens of combinations with them.  Alter the colorway and they really created all kinds of moods.

Desert Pansy
Song Bird
 I get such a kick out of designing those twining border blocks.   I know I have earned several years in purgatory for that, but they just intrigue me, and seem to go with the tile designs.  This has been so much fun.  I almost hate to admit I have designed more than 100. . . er, ok. . .200 designs with the more than 60. . . er, ok. . . 100 tile designs I have drawn.

If you have not joined up with my FREE block of the month yet, go get the February block while it is still available.  The January block is for sale on my website if you missed it.  March 1 will be a new block, and those who get my newsletter will also get a bonus block pattern for free and will receive the  setting blocks and instructions for the Fiesta de Flores BOM.  You can sign up for my newsletter in the left sidebar.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Block 2 Sees His Shadow, 6 more weeks of Block Designs

I love Ground Hogs day -- the holiday, not the movie.  Punxsutawney Phil has always had a special fascination for me.  Any critter who is a harbinger of weather, especially one who can predict the onset of spring in the midst of a bleak winter is on my A list.

So the February block is a bright and splashy floral design, so I naturally named it "Splash."  I just love how these bright colors cheer me up on a dreary ice and snow covered February day here in Kansas.


Note that the little dots around the flower center are French knots you will need to put in by hand after the block is complete.  Or if you would prefer something easy, use a fabric pen and draw the dots in.

Here is a slightly altered version of this block.  I left the blue outline edges off and spread out the block a little so it didn't look so crowded.  I prefer this look when combining the block in repeat patterns. I used this in the settings below.



All the blocks in this BOM finish to 8" squares and are patterned for fusible machine applique.  You may, of course, use whatever applique method you prefer.

You can download the free pattern for this block on my 2014 BOM page (see tab at the top of the page on the far right side.)  Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get the free monthly bonus block.

I have had a lot of fun designing settings for these Fiesta blocks.  Here are a few of the settings I have come up with featuring this month's free block.

Splash and Drip 1

Splash and Drip 2

Splash and Drip 3

At the Cantina

Splash in the Fan

Splash Runner

Splash and Drip Runner

Splash and Drip at the Cantina

I get on a roll and can't stop myself.  I have so much fun with EQ7.  The problem is, which one of these settings do I make?  I want them all.  Do you have a favorite. Leave a comment and let me know your favorites.  I will pattern the one that gets the most votes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I Am a Grandma!

Tuesday January 21, 5:05 pm Bryce Sterling Hanson was born to my adorable daughter in law and son.  Baby and mama are both well and grandma is over the moon.  Here is the proud new daddy.

I was lucky enough to be there and got to cuddle that newborn.  What a miracle!
Bryce Sterling Hanson
January 21, 2014
Pucker up Grandma, this kiss is for you!