Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily Bailey

Emily and grandmother 225x300 Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily BaileyWelcome guest blogger, quilting teacher, and quilt designer Emily Bailey of AuntEmsQuilts and EmsScrapBag! Emily‘s new lap quilt pattern, Baby Blooms, is in the January/February 2017 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine

I am blessed to still have my grandma in my life. She says she is the black sheep in the family because she does not like to quilt. Her mother was a wonderful quilter. Both of her sisters quilted. In fact Aunt Lucy quilted until she was 98. I hope to follow in her footsteps. Then maybe I will make a dent in my bucket list of quilts. Grandma has given me several of her mother’s tops and quilts. I have taken several of her traditional quilts and made them more modern.

babyblooms flat 500 2 264x300 Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily Bailey

Baby Blooms by Emily Bailey

 

I really like the process of taking a traditional block and playing with it to get a new and modern look. I like to find the perfect union of what my great grandmother would have made and my own personal style. For Baby Blooms I wanted to play with the traditional snowball block.

 

 

 

I had seen a block where one side of two snowballs blocks joined.

baby blooms block Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily Bailey

It was a little tricky figuring out how to do what I wanted. Figuring out how the blocks would come together to create what would look like two alternate blocks. I played with the idea of having a square in the center of each snowball but finally gave up on that.

snowball with center Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily Bailey

Next I tried it in fall colors to look like trees full of fruit and little garden patches.

four block combo Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily Bailey

baby blooms extended Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily Bailey

babyblooms style 600 300x300 Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily BaileyFinally I settled on spring colors and the look of little flowers. I used the Backyard Roses collection by Nadra Ridgeway for Riley Blake Designs along with a crisp white solid and two bold red prints for making the quilt.

I think my great grandma would be proud of the result.

Emily

 

Thanks, Emily!

MCQ JanFeb2017e 221x300 Baby Blooms: A Visit with Emily Bailey

If you’d like to make your own Baby Blooms quilt using the same fabrics Emily did, we have a limited number of quilt kits available in our online shop. Backing fabric is also available.

If you’d like to make a Baby Blooms quilt using other fabrics and don’t already have a copy of the January/February 2017 of McCall’s Quilting, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop.

The Baby Blooms quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download.

 

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Strip Quilt Ideas With Gudrun Erla

By Abigail Dolinger

craft u logo Strip Quilt Ideas With Gudrun ErlaHello Quilters! Have you been itching to take a Craft University online class? I recently completed the “Stripology” class by Gudrun Erla, and I’d like to tell you about it. If you’re intrigued with strip-piecing and quick piecing techniques, you are going to love this class!

Gudrun Strip Quilt Ideas With Gudrun Erla

book cover stripology 2 222x300 Strip Quilt Ideas With Gudrun ErlaGudrun bases the seven video lessons on her book, “Stripology 2.” She shows how to make four quilts:  Steamy Windows, Strip Ribbons, Strip Lash, and Strip Twist. Her book gives instructions for making each quilt in three sizes, but even without the book, you can make the projects by following the ample instructions given in the online course. There’s a video and a printable portion for each lesson/quilt.

A key to Gudrun’s speed piecing techniques is the Stripology ruler she designed. Manufactured by Creative Grids, this slotted ruler has several advantages over the rulers I generally use for rotary cutting. Because the ruler is large, completely covering a folded fat quarter, the fabric beneath the ruler does not slide during the cutting process. If you look closely at the ruler, you’ll see markings at the bottom edge (e.g. stars); these markings help you focus on where to make subsequent cuts. I noticed that Gudrun uses an extra large rotary blade for cutting through multiple layers and that she always moves the ruler above the cutting mat when removing the cut strips. If you often cut strips of various widths for your patchwork projects, this is the ruler for you! It is sold with extensive instructions and will greatly shorten your time spent cutting fabric.

stripology ruler Strip Quilt Ideas With Gudrun Erla

SteamyWindows 263x300 Strip Quilt Ideas With Gudrun Erla
I believe you will enjoy Gudrun’s friendly teaching style. She packs numerous tips and strip quilt ideas into each 20-25 minutes of video instruction. She doesn’t just say “sew these pieces together,” she goes to the sewing machine and sews while you watch. Gudrun gives great pressing instructions, explaining how the seams will mesh with those in the next row. I was glad to see new or unusual concepts demonstrated more than once. For example there were close-up shots of partial seams and also of making rows of half hexagons. I was encouraged to try cutting through multiple fabric layers and sub-cutting multiples of strip-pieced units. The homework for each project pertained to a technique explained in the video. In addition, the homework was incremental, not confusing or overwhelming.

 

Aby with Steamy Windows 768x1024 Strip Quilt Ideas With Gudrun ErlaOf the four quilts demonstrated in “Stripology,” my favorites are Steamy Windows and Strip Twist. I decided to make Steamy Windows, but I changed it up a bit. My vision of “steamy windows” is lots of gray with pops of yellow light streaming through the fog. I un-sewed some of the strip-pieced gray units to insert yellow fabric, and I turned my blocks 90 degrees to portray the windows of tall skyscrapers composed of glass windows. Most of the windows are steamed over or the lights are off, but some of the offices/apartments have bright lights shimmering through the gray. Incidentally, the gray and yellow fabrics are Essentials and Batiks from Wilmington Prints, and the border print is Graffiti by Another Point of View from Windham Fabrics.

Take a look at the course offerings of Craft University. I’m sure you’ll find something of interest. Once you’ve purchased a class, you own it and may stream to view it over and over again. You may even take notes on your computer as you watch and also post pictures of your projects in a gallery. What a convenient way to take an inspiring quilt class facilitated by a world class teacher!

 

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Abby’s Jacks

abbys jacks free quilt pattern 400 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Abbys Jacks

Who doesn’t love a nice pack of fat quarters? They speed up your cutting and get you to the sewing machine in record time! This week’s Friday FREE pattern, Abby’s Jack, is a perfect quilt to make from your fat quarter stash. Designed by Kathy Brown, it combines 10 assorted fat quarters with background, border and binding fabrics to create a cozy throw.

The quilt finishes at 69″ x 80 3/8″.

Click here for the free downloadable Abby’s Jacks quilt pattern.

abbys jacks free quilt pattern 240 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Abbys Jacks

This Friday FREEbie is part of our Quilt Patterns for Precut Fabrics free ebook – in addition to the Abby’s Jacks pattern, you’ll also get three more free patterns in the download. NOTE: You’ll need to enter your email address at the link to get the ebook.

Have you missed any of our previous Friday Freebies? Click here to find them all!

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Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy Brown

Brown Lynn Roddy 214x300 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy BrownWelcome guest blogger, quilting teacher, and scrap quilter extraordinaire Lynn Roddy Brown! Lynn‘s new full size quilt pattern, Scrap Baskets, is in the January/February 2017 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine

I have been making scrap quilts for about twenty-five years.  I love them because they let me play with so many fabrics in fun and exciting ways.  In many quilts the pattern is created by differences in color.  In a scrap quilt using a large variety of fabrics, value becomes more important in defining the pattern.

So what is value? Value is the relative darkness or lightness of a color.  Blue can be anywhere from a very light pastel to a dark navy.  If  very light blue patches are sewn together with very dark blue patches a clear pattern is formed.  If the blues are very close in value, the pattern will be less clear, especially from a distance.

Brown 1 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy Brown

Visual texture is created when there are several different values within a patch.  Plaids, stripes and polka dots are all examples of visual texture.  Fabrics with texture add movement to a quilt. I always use a lot of visual texture in my quilts.

I belong to a group that trades blocks for scrap quilts.  I also have leftover blocks from multiple other projects.  For this reason my design process often starts by playing with blocks on my design wall.  Both the basket and bowl blocks in “Scrap Baskets” came from trades.  When I start designing I have no idea what the end result will be.

I began with four basket blocks arranged as shown.  I liked the arrangement especially when the differences in background values came together to make an hourglass.

Brown 2 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy Brown

I wanted to use the bowl blocks.  I arranged eight of them around the center group of four baskets.  The design seemed too cluttered and busy.

Brown 3 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy Brown

The solution I chose was to use a favorite basket block on-point for the center.  If I used the bowl blocks as a frame, the center needed to finish 16” square.  I chose a medium green for the setting triangles.  This provided a strong contrast in value with the light background of the basket.  Since the basket pieces are very dark this gave me three distinct values in the quilt center.  I cut the setting triangles oversize and trimmed the block to 12 ½” square.  I used a beige/tan stripe as a frame.  I often use stripes for borders in scrap quilts. The alternating values help draw a clear line.  The half-square triangles used in the corners of the frame were an after thought that served two purposes.  They solved the problem of what to do if the stripes had met in the corners and they helped create a continuous line with the bowl blocks.

Brown 4 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy Brown

I still wanted to use the groups of four basket blocks (the original center).   I added four sets to the corners.  This left 8” x 16” gaps in my design.  I decided to repeat the diagonal angles created by the on-point basket and bowl blocks.  To do this I dug into my floral stash.  I chose only those fabrics that had very dark backgrounds and very little white in the flowers.  The contrast in value between the very dark florals and the light backgrounds of basket and bowl blocks gave clear definition to the block shapes. I pieced a diagonal line into some of the floral half-square triangle units to help create a clear line.  As I rotated the groups of four basket blocks on the design wall I decided I liked the very lightest backgrounds turned toward the center.  This seemed to make the center glow.

Brown 5 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy Brown

Ill 6 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy BrownAt right is a close up of some of the floral fabrics I used.  Note that the backgrounds are all medium to dark.

At this point I tried to put a border on the quilt but I could not make it work.  So after sitting in my chair, drinking tea, looking at my design wall and trying many different options I added two more rows of blocks  (8” total) all the way around and then finally two more rows of blocks on all four sides.  The black corners seemed too empty.  I filled them with the gray basket blocks.  At this point my design wall was full so I said the quilt was finished.  I can imagine the quilt being larger with groups of four gray baskets on the corners but it was time for me to stop.

scrapbaskets flat 500 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy Brown

If you study the following close up photos you will see what I mean when I use the term “visual texture”.  There are stripes, plaids, polka dots and vines.   Within each area (black, cream, tan and floral) there are slightly different values but they all contrast with the other areas.  If fabrics are so close that they appear to be the same from a distance you might as well use one fabric.

collage 2016 12 14 2 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy BrownThis is one of the black/gray baskets.  All four are identical.

Ill 9 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy BrownI would love for you to visit my blog.  Go to LynnRoddyBrown.com and click on blog.  Say “Hi”.  I would love to see something besides spam.  I am also on Pinterest.

Lynn

Thanks, Lynn!

MCQ JanFeb2017e 221x300 Scrap Baskets: A Visit with Lynn Roddy BrownIf you’d like to make a Scrap Baskets quilt of your own and don’t already have a copy of the January/February 2017 of McCall’s Quilting, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop.

The Scrap Baskets quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download.

 

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Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

Are you making plans for quilting in 2017? It’s just about that time! And we have a wonderful new year-long project to recommend to you – our Over the Meadow and Through the Year Block of the Month Quilt Along.

Over title Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

Over the Meadow Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

Over the Meadow and Through the Year finishes 82″ x 98″, a nice queen size.

backing 300x300 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

Over the Meadow backing fabric detail

That’s right, our ongoing Quilt Along program is getting a face lift for 2017, and we hope you’ll enjoy it more than ever. Our wonderful bed size project was designed by Jan Patek, a favorite among quilters for her folksy style and excellent instructions. Each month, you’ll get a kit of fabrics and pattern to make a new block and QNNtv.com will also release a free how-to video hosted by Jan herself. The kit for month 12 will include sashing, border, and binding fabrics as well. Backing fabric is available for separate purchase.

The 12 blocks in this quilt are each so full of personality and charm. And the Moda fabrics (most from the Fern Hill and Hope’s Journey collections) are perfect for creating these whimsical characters and scenes. But don’t take our word for it – take a closer look!

Santa 275 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along! Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

These two cuties celebrate the winter holidays in Jan’s signature style. Loose shapes and imaginative scale add whimsy to everything she designs!

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

Then suddenly spring arrives! Bunnies and carrots are reunited, and tulips pop in the garden. Everything is made new.

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along! Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

As spring turns to summer, bees work the flowers, and our thoughts turn to the patriotic holidays. From Memorial Day to Flag Day to the Fourth of July, we have plenty to celebrate at this time of year!

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

When high summer arrives, we long to be near water. Jan’s chipper sail boat and happy whales bring memories of days at the ocean. On the home front, summer flowers bloom and the cat goes adventuring.

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

When the days turn chilly, be on the watch for Halloween witches, pumpkins, and crows! Sunflowers brighten the garden at this time of year.

 Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along! Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

When Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Jan’s tom turkey looks a little worried thanks to a star embroidery eye. And back at home, holly berries are bright as the season returns to winter holidays.

From the first bunny of spring to a busy bee hive – birds, dogs, cats, and a very important turkey – these 12 seasonal blocks will take your family all through the year, every year. Make an heirloom-quality quilt in achievable steps, one block a month. It’s the best way to tackle an ambitious quilt like this one.

There are a limited number of spaces in the Over the Meadow Quilt Along, so reserve yours now. We hope you’ll consider giving yourself the gift of beautiful, fun stitching for 2017 and join us Over the Meadow and Through the Year!

Warm Greetings,
The McCall’s Quilting Team

Sponsored by:
Moda new Welcome to the Over the Meadow Quilt Along!

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Snippets & Bits

Smash that fabric stash with this week’s Friday FREE quilt pattern: Snippets & Bits designed by Joyce Stewart. This quick bed-size scrap quilt is a snap to make, and you’ll have fun (and feel thrifty!) using small pieces of your favorite fabrics to create it.

Snippets and bits scrap quilt Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Snippets & Bits

The success of this design depends on strong value contrast, so sort your fabrics carefully into darks and lights. The finished size of this quilt is 84 x 90 1/2″.

Click here to download the Snippets & Bits free quilt pattern.

snippets and bits scrap quilt 2 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Snippets & Bits

This Friday FREEbie is part of our More Fast, Easy Bed Size Quilts free ebook – in addition to the Snippets & Bits pattern, you’ll also get two more free patterns in the download. NOTE: You’ll need to enter your email address at the link to get the ebook.

Have you missed any of our previous Friday Freebies? Click here to find them all!

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I Love This Quilt: Twinkling Star Pattern, Part 4

“I Love This Quilt.”

 Part 4: Making a Large Quilt Requires BIG Project Management

1A TwinklingStarQuiltStyled1 300x256 I Love This Quilt: Twinkling Star Pattern, Part 4

McCall’s Quilting Vintage Quilts, Spring 2004 Twinkling Star Quilt Pattern

We have a phrase that we use around the McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker office, “We’re getting ready to get ready to get ready.” We most often hear this when one of us is working on a quilt that has gazillion patches, units and/or sections to make–before we can start making the blocks for the quilt. This saying best describes making my version of the Twinkling Star pattern I chose for the January/February McCall’s Quilting I Love This Quilt feature. (See the end of this blog for links to the free pattern download and previous blog posts.)

Turning the original twin-size pattern into a king-size bed quilt changed it into a BIG quilt project, requiring BIG project management to get it finished. The project management became a critical part of the quilt-making process, as it is with many quilts of this size.  I thought a lot about how I would approach making the quilt and thought it might be worthwhile to put fingers to keyboard to share them with you.

Every quilter has a method for approaching the steps to complete a quilt; some are very methodical and organized, some not so much. If you take a close look at the organization of our patterns, you’ll notice a distinct approach. We don’t tend to make a block at a time, rather break them down to make each of the pieced shapes, segments, units and/or sections before we sew the block together. And, making these sub pieces generally uses a specific technique. When we design the art and write a pattern for a quilt submitted to us, we begin our process by breaking down the quilt blocks into manageable sew-easy portions, and identifying the best technique or method to make that portion. I took the same approach to making my version of the Twinkling Star.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs I chose several techniques, Triangulations and a Quick Points ruler to help me make Triangle-Squares for blocks and a border and the Prairie Point edging faster. My project management guideline was to break down parts of the quilt project to complete portions of it and make progress during the times I thought I could manage quilting time during any given week. I’m going to use the word “chunks” here to describe how I managed the progress for my BIG quilt project. I managed chunks of sewing activities and time while I maintained a relationship with family and the management of home and work. Here is a summary of how I “chunked” the work on my quilt. I looked for ways I could do a chunk of work on the quilt, preparing-to-sew activities while sitting on the sofa by my husband in the evening, or sitting at the sewing machine an hour before work, a couple hours after or 3-5 hours during the weekend.

Here’s how I chunked making my king-size quilt  with 25 – 15” blocks and 3 borders (B1-3”, B2-pieced  2”, B3-4”).

1 Twinkling Star Part 4 300x274 I Love This Quilt: Twinkling Star Pattern, Part 4

Piecing Triangle-Squares made from Triangulations templates

Chunk 1: First, I focused on making the pieced segments for the blocks. Each block required 12 units of 3 – 1 1/4 ” triangle-squares and 3 half-square triangles. Using the Triangulations method (38 sheets providing 24 triangle-squares / page), I made 900 triangle-square segments. I paired each triangle-square segment with 3 half square triangles.

 

 

 

2 Twinkling Star Part 4 295x300 I Love This Quilt: Twinkling Star Pattern, Part 4

Twelve pieced triangle-squares and half-square triangles, enough for one 15″
Twinkling Star block

Chunk 2: I sewed the pieced segments together 12 at a time so I could get a sense of progress toward a finished block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Twinkling Star Part 4 230x300 I Love This Quilt: Twinkling Star Pattern, Part 4

Pinned triangle segments ready for sewing

Chunk 3: I spent an evening in front of the TV pinning each of the pieced segments to a half-square triangle, trimming excess fabric from the corners as I pinned.

Chunk 4: At the next sewing session I sewed them together.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Twinkling Star Part 4 225x300 I Love This Quilt: Twinkling Star Pattern, Part 4

Rows and rows of Twinkling Star patches

Chunk 5: Next, I spent an evening with hubby while I pinned the 12 segments with corner squares to make a row for each block.

Chunk 6: I sewed these together at the next sewing session.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Twinkling Star Part 4 300x225 I Love This Quilt: Twinkling Star Pattern, Part 4

Yes! Finished blocks.

Chunk 7: Another evening on the sofa, pinning the rows together in the evening for all the blocks.

Chunk 8: Next day I sewed them together.

 

 

 

 

You get the idea. It’s all about managing time and work, thinking ahead for how you can chunk it down to manageable portions that work around other parts of life. I can’t say that it didn’t feel like it took forever to make the quilt, but I do believe I approached it with the goal of spending the least amount of time “getting ready to get ready to get ready” as possible.

That’s it for my approach to my Twinkling Star quilt project. The quilt top is at the quilter’s. Watch for a peek of the final reproduction of the Twinkling Star quilt in a future blog post.

We’d love to hear how you approach the management of your BIG quilt projects!

Download the free vintage Twinkling Star quilt pattern.

Part 1: Using Triangulations to Make Triangle-Squares

Part 2: Alternate Border Designs

Part 3: Replacing Folded-Edge Binding with Prairie Points

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Corralling the PIGS – Unfinished Quilt Patterns and Projects – Part 2

Maybe I make it too hard, but I always think that part of corralling my PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks), also known as quilt UFOs, is figuring out the whys and whats.

  • Why do I have so many?
  • What happened that I quit working on a project and it became a PIG?
  • Then there is the question – do I really even WANT to finish all those PIGS?

Knowing that I’d be writing again about my PIGS and my progress with them has kept me thinking about them.

I do a fair amount of sewing for work and I almost always do that part of my job at home. It’s a fairly common occurrence for me to stop working on a personal project because there is a deadline looming on a work project. Those personal projects that I put to one side frequently become PIGS.

I’m not sure if I’m making excuses or not but I wanted to show you a fairly typical scenario.

11 22 applique PIG 289x300 Corralling the PIGS – Unfinished Quilt Patterns and Projects – Part 2

What a Pretty PIG

 

I picked this pretty project to work on for my next PIG to complete. It started as two large applique quilt blocks. One was the floral fabric cutout fused to the green stripe that is in the center. The other was the green stripe background fused to the floral fabric that the cutout came from – a reverse applique.

 

 

 

11 22 quilting detail 300x234 Corralling the PIGS – Unfinished Quilt Patterns and Projects – Part 2

Blanket Stitching Done

I blanket-stitched around all of the applique. Then I cut one of the blocks in fourths and added the lemon yellow texture from my Fabric Inventory. I layered and pin basted and echo quilted the inside of the reverse applique and free-motion quilted around the flowers in the floral print. So far so good.

 

 

But here’s where things started going awry. Caroline and I were talking about choosing designs to quilt when you are just looking to fill the space. She mentioned that following the design in a print is often a good way to quilt a background. I’ve done that several times and it does work really well.

So I started quilting using the swirls in the lemon yellow texture as the pattern.

11 22 quilting detail 2 300x225 Corralling the PIGS – Unfinished Quilt Patterns and Projects – Part 2

A Close-up of the Quilting

I love free-motion quilting. I find it very relaxing so I quilted quite a while. Then I looked to see how much real estate I’d covered and I realized this fabric is not a good one to follow the design. The design is very small and I’ll be quilting on this for a VERY long time.

I worked on that PIG for a weekend. Then fabric came in for a work project and I put the PIG to one side.

 

My project for work involved string piecing. I pieced eight triangles and eight squares and didn’t like the color combination. So those pieces when in a pile and I started over.

I decided to strip piece the fabric for the eight triangles. I cut all the strips the same width and sewed them together. Again, I didn’t like it. The strips all being the same width just didn’t look like what I make when I do string piecing. Those pieces went in a pile and I started over. Again …

On the third try, I was happy with what I got and I completed my project. It will be in an upcoming issue of McCall’s Quilting.

11 22 the pile 300x187 Corralling the PIGS – Unfinished Quilt Patterns and Projects – Part 2

Leftovers. Oh, Dear!

 

 

But look what I have now. A whole pile of blue string-pieced fabric.

 

 

11 22 ON the wall 300x219 Corralling the PIGS – Unfinished Quilt Patterns and Projects – Part 2

This may be the beginning of something good.

I started playing on the design wall and decided there is going to be something fun in this. I have four strips 10” x the width of the fabric. I have six quilt blocks that will finish at 8” and are all shades of blue. I have two blocks that finish at 8” that include some green and purple fabrics and I have 16 blocks that will finish at 6”.

So after all of the sorting and organizing I talked about in my first blog about corralling the PIGS, I had my list to down to 26 items.

Three weeks have gone by. I haven’t finished anything and I’ve added another PIG.

The good news is that I have a few days of vacation to use before the end of the year. Maybe I’ll be able to make some actual progress. Maybe …

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Holly Jolly Holiday

‘Tis the season for Christmas quilting, and we’ve got a festive Friday FREE quilt pattern for you this week: Holly Jolly Holiday designed by Jereé McDade. This patchwork pattern is fast to make and perfect for using charm packs. The finished size is 48 1/2″ x 57 1/2″.

HollyJollyHolidayQuilt Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Holly Jolly Holiday

If you’d like, you could also adjust the number of squares and the border size to create a holiday tablecloth custom-fitted to your table. Or, you could use the holly and berry appliqué shapes to embellish a purchased cloth napkin or place mat. Some great tips for machine buttonhole stitching your appliqué designs are also included in the instructions!

Click here to download the Holly Jolly Holiday free quilt pattern.

HollyJolly 300 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Holly Jolly Holiday

This Friday FREEbie is part of our Super Simple Patchwork Patterns free ebook – in addition to the Holly Jolly Holiday pattern, you’ll also get two more patchwork quilt patterns. NOTE: You will need to enter your email address at the link to get the ebook.

For more holiday quilting ideas, check out our new online course, Quilting Holiday Projects. The online course includes patterns and video tutorials for six great projects plus two bonus patterns.

Have you missed any of our previous Friday Freebies? Click here to find them all!

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Sweet April: A Visit with Marija Vujcic

Welcome guest blogger, quilt designer, and quilting teacher Marija Vujcic! Marija‘s new large throw quilt pattern, Sweet April, is in the January/February 2017 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine. Read on and don’t miss the super prize giveaway at the bottom of the article!

Hi everyone,

My name is Marija and I am thrilled to be a guest blogger here on McCall’s Quilting blog, and share some more with you about my quilt, Sweet April, and about me.

photo1 1024x768 Sweet April: A Visit with Marija Vujcic

I have been sewing since I was ten years old, but I had never seen a quilt before I came to live in the US! I immigrated some twenty-four years ago with my husband and kids, from then war-torn Yugoslavia, for the brighter future and opportunities. Quilts are simply not a part of hand-made heritage there, but sewing clothes was a part of daily life. However, unlike garment sewists, I was always hoarding way more fabrics than I could possibly use, so there has to be some “quilting gene” in me, right?

I started quilting in 1994 when my best friend Martha showed me my first quilting book. Once I made my first quilt block, and then my first quilt (it was a Christmas quilt!), the rest was, (as we quilters know too well), history. Doodling was always my thing, but once quilts came into my life, doodling new designs, different block settings or quilting motifs became a daily routine. Pads of graph paper and colored pencils first, and now my EQ (Electric Quilt) program make ideas come to life and it was no different for Sweet April.

photo2 300x300 Sweet April: A Visit with Marija Vujcic

 

It started as an experiment to see the possibilities of the secondary pattern that classic Hourglass Blocks can make when alternated with other blocks like Nine-Patches – this was my start!

photo3 300x300 Sweet April: A Visit with Marija Vujcic

 

 

 

 

 

As I played with different colors, once this one popped-up, it somehow reminded me of rain falling on flowers… “April showers bring May flowers” came to mind!

 

 

photo4 300x300 Sweet April: A Visit with Marija Vujcic

 

 

I turned blocks on point and then it even more looked as rain falling on fresh garden blooms, so my idea was crystalized!

 

 

 

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To make it even more so, I changed color of borders: top and right to blue, so it even more looks like sky and rain falling down onto flowers.

That was it! I really liked the idea of just two simple, basic quilt blocks depicting almost a nature scene (add some imagination!) and the pattern was born! It works with any blues and florals on a light background so you can make your own garden with fresh, spring rain.

For me however, this stunningly beautiful new fabric collection, Lavish, by extraordinarily talented Katarina Roccella, for Art Gallery Fabrics, is just so very perfect! The colors, the textures and yes, all gorgeous blooms… these fabrics just paint the picture! I played with so many different colorings…Light version, dark version, one floral, two florals…

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And then finally, with McCalls staff, picked the final one.

sweetapril flat 500 Sweet April: A Visit with Marija Vujcic

Quilt kits and backing fabric are available!

I also had fun with playing with borders on this quilt. Breaking up wide borders with narrow strips of accent color is something I often find irresistible – it just adds a bit more pizzazz, don’t you think?

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Do you do that sometimes?

Of course, if you do that and want mitered borders, some precision in matching all those points is required, but you know what? – it really isn’t that hard and it is so worth it! In this situation, I always sew all my border strips together into a strip set like this:

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And then miter all of them in one step.

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Do you have a favorite method for doing this?

Once the top is done, I love to look at it for a while, to get the quilting ideas flowing. Sometimes it is quick and easy, sometimes fabric is the inspiration and sometimes, it is the whole theme, like in this case. I still went with the story of April showers bring May flowers and decided to quilt this one using free motion quilting, in a diagonal direction (like the rain falls often), making these simple water-drop motifs.

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Thanks to my youngest son’s girlfriend, lovely Leah, I even have a rare “action shot” of me quilting “Sweet April”!

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For this I moved out of my sewing room and occupied the dining room table, since it was much bigger to support the whole quilt. It was kind of fun to be in the middle of family action too, although I am not sure if they appreciated the “intrusion”? Oh well, good that they love me, he he.

I couldn’t resist throwing in one more color accent by doing the so called “faux-piping binding” – it is really becoming my favorite binding to do! What I also love about this one is that, even though you are doing it by machine, the top stitches of the binding (on the front) are completely hidden, since they “sink” into the seam between the faux piping and binding – just perfect!

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Did you try doing this type of binding already? Love it, or not so much?

Well friends, it was really such an honor to be a guest blogger here and to share some more about my quilt. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Notice how I sprinkled some questions throughout for you? Well, answer any one of them in the comments and you will be in the drawing for the little prize!! Complete instructions for making a small, wall size version of Sweet April and all the fabrics for top, backing and binding can be yours!!

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me here! Come visit me on my blog too, or follow my adventures on Instagram (@mvquilts) or Facebook (Mara Quilt Designs).

I can’t wait to read your comments, have a wonderful holiday season!

Love,

Marija

Thanks, Marija! And thanks for providing this super prize! Leave a comment below before midnight December 11, 2016 and you’ll be entered into our random drawing. The winning name will be drawn on December 12 and notified by email with subject line beginning YOU WON.

This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec. 

If you’d like to make a Sweet April quilt of your own, kits and backing fabric are available in our online shop while supplies last!

If you’d prefer to use your own fabric and don’t already have a copy of the January/February 2017 of McCall’s Quilting, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop. The Sweet April quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download.

 

 

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