I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts – Part Two

Gigi 225px I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts   Part TwoGigi’s pick for the I Love This Quilt! page, Nuts & Bolts by Sandy Klop, appears in the January/February 2016 issue of McCall’s Quilting.

Download the Nuts & Bolts free lap quilt pattern here.

Read Part One of Gigi’s Nuts & Bolts blog here.

Hi again! I’m back to share the progress I’ve made on my version of Sandy Klop’s Nuts & Bolts. In November, I shared that I do indeed love this quilt pattern and blogged about selecting fabrics to make it myself. I had sewn a few strip sets to get started, but hadn’t made much progress beyond that.

Well, thanks to a little break over the holidays, I was able to get much more done! I finished sewing all of the strip sets, and cut them into wedges for the 12 bullseyes. Even though the wedges still have to be sewn together, it was pretty satisfying putting them all up on my design wall.

ILTQ2 Photo 1 I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts   Part Two

All 12 bullseyes arranged on the design wall.

So now that those bulleyes are done, it was time to make a decision as to what I’d use for the kite-shaped ‘background’ patches. In the original quilt, Sandy used multiple colors, but I didn’t want to do that. So one of my challenges ended up being finding a fabric I really liked for those patches, and having enough of it. I had a number of fat quarters that would have been really interesting as background, but there was simply not enough fabric so that was that.

I ended up with two choices that I liked pretty well. One is a print with cherries and thin stripes on navy, the other is a cute fruit and floral scatter print also on navy. I cut a few patches from each to see how they would look.

I thought that since the cherry print had thin stripes, the stripes might add a bit of movement to the patches. One the patches were on the design wall, however, it was pretty clear that the stripes don’t register at all. The patches look pretty dark, and that’s OK, but it’s a little lackluster to my eye.

ILTQ2 Photo 2 I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts   Part Two

Cherries and thin stripes. But it mostly just looks dark, doesn’t it? As well as kind of blurry; sorry about that.

So I tried the other print, which I definitely prefer. It’s really fun, and the pops of color from the tiny print aren’t overpowered by the graphic bullseyes.

ILTQ2 Photo 3 I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts   Part Two

Fruits and flowers. I think it’s a winner.

I was pretty sure I’d made my decision, but sometimes a side-by-side comparison is more helpful.

ILTQ2 Photo 4 I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts   Part Two

Side by side. Which would you choose?

ILTQ2 Photo 5 I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts   Part Two

Single pieced patch.

A bit of cherry and stripe print fabric was sacrificed to cut those kite-shaped patches, but it helped me make a decision that I’m happy with, so I’ll get over it. I went ahead and cut the rest of the patches using the fruit and floral print. Would you believe that I had just enough fabric to cut all but one of the patches?! I had to piece the last one.

Now, for the outer patches. Sandy used solid black in her original quilt, which I thought looked so cool. But black wouldn’t really work for mine, against that navy print. I used rather traditional prints throughout the entire quilt, and nothing I had used so far made sense. So I got a little non-traditional, and dug out a really pretty pastel print from the Vivid collection from Robert Kaufman. It basically contains all the light, pastel colors that are used in the bullseyes, even though stylistically it’s quite different. You can see for yourself, maybe you’ll like it as much as I do!

ILTQ2 Photo 6 I Love This Quilt! Nuts and Bolts   Part Two

Quilt center arranged on the design wall. But will there be borders?

Now at this point, I could just sew everything together and be done with my quilt top. But… I have some leftover strip sets, as well as more of the pastel print. Are there multiple borders in this quilt’s future? Maybe. You may have noticed that I often (though not always!) make decisions as I go, rather than planning everything beforehand, so I may have to think, calculate and do some more arranging on my design wall before I decide for sure. I have to sew all this together first, but I’ll keep you posted!

-Gigi

You may also enjoy our Friday Free Quilt Patterns and Tuesday Tutorials.

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Bursting Star

Patterson Kathy 225px 150x150 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Bursting StarWhen McCall’s Quilting associate editor Diane Harris was asked to come up with a quilt she loved from our archives for the I Love This Quilt! page of the March/April 2016 issue, she knew exactly the pattern she wanted to feature. Bursting Star was designed by Cindy Lammon, and had already starred (ahem) in several McCall’s features, both in our magazines and as a Quilt Along video project. Diane had this pattern on her bucket list, and writing her magazine page and Editors’ Blog inspired her to finally give it a try. Here is Erin Russek’s version of Bursting Star:

Bursting Star 600px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Bursting StarIsn’t it spectacular? You can see why Diane was inspired. Now, don’t let those diamond shapes intimidate you. The quilt is actually made with strip piecing, no templates or individual diamond shapes to handle at all. In fact, you can follow along with Diane’s progress on her own version. She’s enjoying the process so much that she titled her post “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”!

Best of all, Diane’s blog post also includes a link to download this gorgeous quilt pattern…FREE! Download the Bursting Star wall quilt pattern now…it’s a Friday FREEbie. Diane also included a link to the free quilt along videos, so you’ll have lots of help getting your own Bursting Star quilt to the finish line.

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

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Tapestry: A Visit with Gerri Robinson

Gerri cropped 200px Tapestry: A Visit with Gerri RobinsonWelcome back guest blogger, quilt and fabric designer, and author Gerri Robinson of Planted Seed Designs! Gerri’s new quilt, Tapestry, is patterned in the February/March 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. Read on and don’t miss Gerri’s awesome giveaway contest near the bottom of the page.

Happy New Year! I’m honored again to be dropping by and sharing another one of my designs featured in the current issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine (Feb/March 2016) – Tapestry.

full quilt Tapestry: A Visit with Gerri Robinson

The Tapestry quilt pattern finishes 75 1/2″ square, a generous lap size.

Tapestry was designed around my new and current collection “Classic Elegance” for Red Rooster Fabrics. Classic Elegance is a 19 piece collection of rich, deep floral prints of red, black, tobacco, and creams with a coordinating floral stripe.

I truly love this design in “Classic Elegance” because you really can’t get much simpler than half square triangles framed by a “faux double” mitered border. I say “faux” because the black floral stripe is part of the large cream floral making it doubly easy to assemble.

quilt detail Tapestry: A Visit with Gerri Robinson

The lovely machine quilting is by Penny Barnes.

Follow the pattern instructions or use your own favorite method to make (100) Half Square Triangle units; sew them together in a very random fashion and add your mitered border and you’re done! It’s that quick!

To help kick off the New Year with a bang, we.have.a.giveaway!!!  Read on for the scoop on how you can enter to win. Good Luck!

Gerri

Gerri prize 400px Tapestry: A Visit with Gerri RobinsonThanks so much, Gerri! We are giving away 2 prize packages each containing one of Gerri’s books, PLUS fat quarters of Classic Elegance fabrics, AND a collection of Gerri’s quilt-themed jumbo paper clips and magnets by Quilt DotsLeave a comment below by midnight, January 31, 2016 and you’ll be entered into our random drawing. Two names will be drawn on February 1 and notified by email. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.

We have our winners! Congratulations to Joyce Grant of Dunlap, Illinois and Kathy Persons of Sherman, New York.

If you’d like to make the Tapestry lap quilt and don’t yet have a copy of the February/March 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, you can purchase print and digital copies of the magazine here, or download the pattern separately  from our online shop. 

 

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I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

         “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”marilyn3 I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

I’ve thought about this a lot lately, and am still trying to decide if I agree. I’ve been quilting for three decades but until I made Bursting Star recently, I had never pieced a quilt from diamonds.

I can’t tell you how much fun it was and how much I learned in the process. I think Marilyn would be proud.

*     *     *     *     *

Rewind to October 2014, when the McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec issue arrived.

MQ11114 I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

I was enamored with Cindy Lammon’s design for a 42.5″ Bursting Star wall quilt and its easy construction techniques.

bursting1 I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

The original Bursting Star, designed by Cindy Lammon, sewn by Erin Russek, and quilted by Karen Dovala, appeared in McCall’s Quilting’s Nov/Dec ’14 issue.

The Moda Fabrics “Miss Kate” collection by Bonnie and Camille looked great. And to top it off, there were helpful how-to videos detailing the process. Bursting Star went immediately onto my “Must Make” list.

So when it recently became my turn to write “I Love This Quilt” for McCall’s, I jumped at the opportunity. You’ll find this feature on the inside back page of regular issues—it’s where a staff member takes a McCall’s design, makes it her own and blogs about it to inspire others. We provide the pattern to readers at no charge. What could be more fun?!

BurstingColumn I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

Find “I Love This Quilt” on the inside back page of McCall’s Quilting.

I decided on a few things up front. I’d sew only from my stash and would make it scrappy. I’d make four stars to (hopefully) work together. I wanted a softly washed, vintage look, and I vowed to use fabrics that were unlikely partners.

There were some highlights. There were some lowlights. And I had quite a bit of fun along the way.

audition1 I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

It’s best to audition on a vertical surface by standing back—across the room.

I have learned the hard way that it’s essential to audition fabrics on a vertical surface from across the room. We’re in the habit of looking at our fabrics close up, when what we really need to do is to back away. Go across the room for the best and most realistic view.

pressing1 I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

Press very gently but make sure there are no folds along the seamlines.

Pressing is always important, but on this quilt, press or die. Press gently so the strips remain straight, but make sure there are no folds along the seamlines. Use the edge of your iron, and tug gently on the raw edges with your other hand, so that everything is pressed flat.

cuttingstrips1 I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

My ruler wanted to slip during this step.

When I started cutting the diamond strips, my ruler insisted on sliding around. I decided to put my whole arm on the ruler to keep it in place—and it worked.

wholebody I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

Use your whole arm, elbow to fingertips, to hold your ruler in place.

After every third cut or so, take time to realign the 45-degree line with a seamline and cut a new edge as shown below. I didn’t do this at first, and I paid the price later.

realign I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

Take time to realign the 45-degree line and cut a new edge after every third cut.

I’m going to show you these mess-ups not to discourage you from making this quilt, but so that you know how to avoid them. If I had just taken a little more time to realign my ruler…

badshapes I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

My bad, #1

…I could have avoided wonky shapes like this one. If I’d just been a little more careful with those bias edges…

awtucks I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

My bad, #2

…I wouldn’t have gotten those tucks that had to be ripped out.

whoops I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

My bad, #3

Maybe if I’d looked more closely at the diagrams, which are actually really great, I wouldn’t have sewn the first strips together incorrectly.

For me the saving grace was that you can actually manipulate bias edges quite easily. Yes, they’re tricky to handle, but that same stretch can work in your favor. I did some fudging but I think that overall, the quilt is going to be just fine.

When I put those first sections on the wall, it was such a surprise—it looked nothing like I thought it would, but I loved it. It was definitely worth that steep learning curve.

firststar I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

Totally worth it.

I added the corners and then, over the next several weeks, made two more stars. Right now I’m working on the final star. I have three sections finished, and I can see how it’s shaping up. It’s going to be more like the first one, which is my favorite of the four.

3.5stars I Love This Quilt! Bursting Star

Working on the fourth star now

Can you see that the bottom right star doesn’t lie flat at all? I’m not sure what I’ll do about that. To be honest, I have many questions at this point.

  • Do the stars really all work together?
  • Would I be happier if I just made four separate small quilts, one from each star?
  • What possessed me to add that purple color? I don’t really like it in this piece.
  • Should I consider sashing of some kind, and what about a border?

These things aren’t earth shattering or life altering or even that consequential in the grand scheme of life, but they’re taking up space in my head right now. I’ll figure it out as I go, which is always how I work. And I’ve decided that yes, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

*     *     *     *     *

Final tips:

  • Be sure your fabrics have some contrast so you can see each successive ring of diamonds. Contrast means there is a difference in the fabrics.
  • Use prints in different scales (that’s the size of the print); medium- and large-scale prints work surprisingly well
  • Before cutting, use spray starch on your fabrics to help the bias edges stay put
  • Make peace with imperfection as you’re learning how to sew diamonds

Get the free pattern for Bursting Star and start your own quilt right away.

Watch our Bursting Star how-to videos.

Diane

You may also enjoy our Friday Free Quilt Patterns and Tuesday Tutorials.

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Top Ten Valentine Quilts and Projects

Patterson Kathy 225px 150x150 Top Ten Valentine Quilts and ProjectsWhat’s the next major decorating holiday on the calendar? Why, Valentine’s Day, of course! And we have loads of free Valentine quilt patterns and other projects to inspire your decorating and gift giving plans. We’ve also got digital patterns to download, adorable quilt kits, and so much more! In fact, our Valentine Quilt Ideas and Free Stuff board on Pinterest has nearly 100 links to gorgeous projects you can make for those you love.

For those of you who prefer a more curated approach to quilt ideas, here are my top ten picks for quilt and block patterns and kits for Valentine’s Day 2016. Most are free, so a budget-conscious holiday is yours for the quilting. Enjoy!

HeartsAbloom300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and ProjectsThe Hearts Abloom FREE wall quilt pattern designed by Heidi Pridemore finishes at 46 1/2″ square. The sophisticated color scheme makes this Valentine quilt appropriate for either gender.

 

 

 

 

Nine Patch Heart Block 300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and ProjectsUse Jackie Robinson’s Nine-Patch Heart FREE quilt block pattern to design your own quilt project. It finishes at 7 1/2″ square.

 

 

 

 

 

Cats300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and ProjectsThe Cat Stack quilt kit finishes at an adorable 13″ x 15″ and can be made in two weekends or less. It’s the purr-fect gift for any feline fancier. Quilt design is by Rachel Pellman.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Hearts Placemat 300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and ProjectsSet a welcoming table for 4 with the Two Hearts FREE Quilted Place Mats Pattern, designed by Diane Nagle. Each place mat finishes 12 5/8″ x 17 5/8″.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Somethings Blue FLAT 300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and ProjectsThe Sweet Somethings embroidered FREE mini quilt pattern designed by Maggie Bowles proves that Valentines don’t have to be completely red or pink! The simple handwork is a nice carry-along or watching-TV project. This miniature quilt finishes at 11 1/2″ square.

 

 

 

Sweet Hearts Top Ten Valentine Quilts and ProjectsThe Sweet Hearts digital quilt pattern designed by Kathy Munkelwitz lets you mix and match heart templates for a one-of-a-kind Valentine quilt. Finished size is 43″ x 47″.

 

 

 

Rustic Hearts 300px 27894 Top Ten Valentine Quilts and Projects

 

Rustic Hearts by Sherri Bain Driver is the perfect FREE Valentine quilt pattern for lovers of the primitive/country look. It finishes at 61 1/2″ x 73 1/2″, a nice lap size, and the folksy color scheme means you can use this quilt all year long!

 

 

 

Rainbow Hearts Block 300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and Projects

 

Appliqué fans will love the Rainbow Hearts FREE quilt block pattern. Make it in any color scheme you like, even scrappy…the hearts will carry your message of love. Finished size of the block is 12″ square.

 

 

 

Little Love 300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and Projects

This Little Love FREE wall quilt pattern is on my own personal to-do list.  At 17″ x 23″, it would fit on a wall in nearly any room. Little Love was adapted from a design by Cheryl Almgren Taylor.

 

 

Hearts300px Top Ten Valentine Quilts and Projects

 

And if you want still more FREE Valentine quilt patterns, follow the link to download this Fons & Porter eBook! It includes “I Wooly Love Ewe”, “Love Song”, and “Stars of My Heart”.

I guess that’s really Top 10 12 Valentine Quilts and Projects! Enjoy them all.

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Honeycomb

Patterson Kathy 225px 150x150 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: HoneycombMany members of our quilting community have a special fondness for vintage quilts. We also know many of you treasure good scrap quilt patterns. So, what could be better than an antique quilt pattern perfect for scrap quilting? Check out this week’s Friday Freebie, Honeycomb:

Honeycomb550px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: HoneycombThis pattern dates back to the 1880s. The quilt was created by an unknown maker in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and features many unusual prints of the era, plus a yummy true cheddar border. Your version can become an encyclopedia of fabrics from your own time, and the border color is totally up to you!

HoneycombFLAT550px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: HoneycombThis pattern uses the English paper-piecing method, so it’s a great handwork carry-along project. It may take a lot of time to stitch the 1,229 hexagons needed for this 67″ x 78″ beauty, but it’s well worth it! You’ll have a one-of-a-kind vintage-inspired quilt everyone will love.

Download the Honeycomb vintage quilt pattern now…it’s a Friday FREEbie.

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

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Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel Hayes

Hayes Rachel 225px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel HayesWelcome guest blogger and quilt designer Rachel Hayes! Rachel’s quilt Edinburgh Square is featured in the February/March 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.

Hi Quilters! I’m Rachel Hayes and am happy McCall’s Quick Quilts invited me as a guest blogger to talk about my Edinburgh Square quilt. Quilting began in 2007 for me, and after making over 150 quilts it seemed the  right time to take my hobby further and create my own quilt designs.

I wanted to design something easy a beginner could make but not like anything I had seen before. I had just returned home from a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I visited my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. I was inspired by the beauty of the area and the stately old castles.

Sandscapes fabric pack 250px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel Hayes

 

The quilt began with Northcott’s Artisan Spirit Sandscapes precut 2 1/2″ strips in blues and greens.

I found an easy block pattern online and requested permission to use it. After receiving permission I began turning the blocks various ways and the design emerged.

 

Edinburgh on fence 550px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel HayesAs I put the blocks together to form the design, I also experimented with the placement of the various shades. I decided on the ombré color way.

Edinburgh is near the sea, which you can view from the city’s most famous castle, Edinburgh Castle. The blues and greens  reminded me of the waters and the strong lines reminded me of the architecture in the castles and other historic buildings in the area.

Here are a couple of shots showing the beautiful quilting done by Becky Stowers.

Edinburgh quilting 550px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel HayesEdinburgh quilting crock 400px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel HayesI like to document my quilts with a label. An image and text that tells all about the quilt — the inspiration for it, when and where it was made, and by whom, can be printed on fabric using an ink jet printer. Then I hand sew the label to the back of the quilt.

Edinburgh label 550px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel Hayes

For my quilt I included a picture of my son and his family taken at one of the castles in Scotland.

Edinburgh on bed 350px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel HayesAnother thing I like to do is make matching pillow shams for my quilts. These took a little planning since the main design of the quilt is square. I used leftover strips to mimic the quilt pattern and leftover backing fabric on each side to make them rectangular or pillow friendly.

Edinburgh pillows 350px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel HayesIn case you’d like to make a smaller version in a  different color way, I’ll include a picture of the same pattern put together as a small bright table topper. It would also make a good baby quilt at 48” x 48”. For this version I used scraps from my stash.

Edinburgh baby 550px Edinburgh Square: A Visit with Rachel HayesI appreciate the opportunity to share my quilt and am thrilled that it is included in the February/March 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. If you’d like to win a free magazine stop by my blog, Around the Blocks, and leave a comment for a chance to win this issue. The contest will close January 15th, so stop by soon. If you make a version of Edinburgh  Square, I’d love to see it so send me a picture at rachelmh@comcast.net!

Rachel

Thanks so much, Rachel. If you’d like to make your own version of Rachel’s Edinburgh Square quilt and don’t already have a copy of the February/March 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop. The Edinburgh Square quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download. We also have a FREE baby quilt pattern for the brighter version of Rachel’s design. Download it here for your personal library!

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Block of the Month Quilts You’ll Love and More!

Patterson Kathy 225px 150x150 Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More!I am firm believer in Block of the Month (BOM) quilts. I’d love to conduct a scientific study to see if what I believe is true – that these carefully planned and paced quilt making adventures make it to the finish line much more often than their more free-form counterparts, regular quilt kits. I believe that the way a BOM project is broken up into segments, the extra hand-holding in the instructions, and the warm feeling of sewing with a group of like-minded quilters really can’t be beat! So with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to some of the best Block of the Month quilt kits of 2016 (plus a little something extra)!

The Fernwood BOM features Benartex fabrics and is a 12-month program to create this queen size beauty:

Fernwood 500px Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More!This BOM is on my list of top kits for 2016 for several reasons. First of all, just look at it! Fans of traditional block-based quilts will absolutely love this project. Secondly, Jenny Kae Parks has taped fun, complete how-to videos for each kit installment, available at QNNtv.com as each kit ships. With Jenny’s help, any quilter can have success with this project. Finally, the blocks and units in this quilt are excellent for learning or elevating your basic quilt making skills. Lots of variety, essential techniques, support videos…who could ask for more? Get all the details on the Fernwood BOM here.

Up next, Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks BOM, available in not 1, not 2, but 3 gorgeous color ways!

QM blue Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More! QM red Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More! QM repro Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More!I fell in love with this BOM design at first sight! The smaller blocks (6″ finished), piano key border, and choice of 2 settings all really appeal to me. The 12 monthly shipments begin in March for this one, and it is priced to move at just $18.99 a month. All 3 color ways feature famous-manufacturer fabrics. Although beginning quilters might find these small blocks challenging, quilters with more experience will love all this piecing fun. All the details are right here.

And now for the “something extra”. Have you ever tried a Project of the Month (POM) club? It works much like a BOM, but instead of receiving fabric and instructions for a block or a few blocks each month, you receive what you need to make an entire small quilt! Those of you who love Lynette Jensen’s Thimbleberries look will want to sign up for this program ASAP as only a limited number of subscriptions are available. Here are some of the projects you’ll be making:

Thimbleberries houses 500px Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More!

Flower House wall quilt, 36″ x 48″

Thimble runner 400px Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More!

Love Triangle table runner, 16″ x 40″

Thimble birdhouse 392px Block of the Month Quilts Youll Love and More!

Log Cabin Bird House, 28″ x 28″

And there are extras! Lynette will also send a personal message each month that includes suggestions on using the project in your home décor, a pattern for an extra small scrap project, or one of her favorite recipes. At the end of the year, you will receive a bonus pattern to use your leftover scraps from the 12 projects to make a throw-size quilt. It’s Thimbleberries heaven! All the details on this POM club are at this link.

Are you ready to start a BOM or POM in 2016? Leave a comment and let us all know your thoughts and plans!

 

Posted in In Our Shop, Quilting Inspiration | Tagged | 2 Comments

Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Tales of Ireland

Patterson Kathy 225px 150x150 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Tales of IrelandHappy New Year, everyone! I hope your holiday season has been full of family, friends, and fun. It may be that you’ve been on a bit of a quilting hiatus due to all the holiday festivities, so if you’re ready to get back to your sewing space, this week’s Friday Freebie could be just the inspiration you need.

Did you know there are only 76 days to St. Patrick’s Day? That’s right, just 11 weekends stand between us and Thursday, March 17, 2016. If you’ve admired our free Tales of Ireland quilt pattern…if an Irish-themed quilt is on your do-to list…if you’re looking for a project with lots of variety and opportunities for customization…I invite you to start your own Tales of Ireland quilt TODAY. A new challenge to start a new year of quilting! Let’s take a look:

Tales of Ireland 500px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Tales of Ireland

Tales of Ireland finishes 60 1/2″ x 75 1/2″, a lovely lap size quilt

Pretty spectacular, yes? The block patterns are SO much fun with their Celtic names, assortment of techniques, and in some cases Irish-themed prints. If your stash includes a good variety of green fabrics, you truly can start this quilt today. The free pattern is a bit unusual, consisting of 12 separate block patterns and a final pattern for the border blocks, sashing, border, and binding. We recommend this free Irish quilt pattern for intermediate quilters, but a brave, confident beginner could also be successful with it.

If you start today and do two blocks a week (or each weekend), you’ll have a little over a month left for quilt top assembly, quilting, and binding. Totally achievable! And everyone will love your new St. Patrick’s Day quilt.

Download the Tales of Ireland lap quilt pattern now…it’s a Friday FREEbie.

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

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Whoo’s the Cutest? A Visit with Michele Scott

Michele 200 Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele ScottWelcome back guest blogger, author, quilting teacher, and quilt and fabric designer Michele Scott of The Pieceful Quilter! Michele‘s kids’ quilt Whoo’s the Cutest? is featured in the February/March 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. Read on and don’t miss the fabric and book giveaway contest at the bottom of the page.

I’m asked to write blogs from time to time. I consider it a privilege that a publication company – especially one as esteemed as McCall’s Quick Quilts – asks to hear my thoughts on any subject. In “real life”, I’m a 4th grade teacher, so I’m ridiculously bored with hearing myself. And I’m sure my dear husband can tell you my thoughts really aren’t that fascinating.

Whoos the Cutest 300px Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele Scott

Whoo’s the Cutest? finishes 67″ x 79″, a great cuddle size

Of course, I say I will do it. And it’s a great honor. Then comes the next question…what am I going to write about? I know my limitations. Actually, that’s my greatest attribute, knowing my limits. I tell people frequently that I really do well with the low IQ I’m working with. I look at others’ blogs and they are doing tutorials on how to make their quilt. I guess I could do that, but Whoo’s the Cutest? is such an easy quilt to make (thus McCall’s Quick Quilts), and McCall’s does such an outstanding job with the directions, I’m not entirely sure that’s the direction on which I want to embark.

Whoo Loves You 2 Pink small Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele Scott

The editors suggested I could write about the fabric used to make this quilt. It’s my Whoo Loves You? collection from Northcott. Actually, it was designed in conjunction with my amazing editor, Deborah Edwards. If you caught a glimpse of what I first came to the table with…oy vey! I was convinced it was the greatest piece of textile ever created! Um, not so much. This was definitely a time I didn’t know my limitations. I was trying too hard. With the help of Deborah and her amazing lead, I was able to recreate the collection into something wonderful.

images Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele Scott

Not me and my husband Tom. But pretty close.

I then thought maybe I could wax poetically on inner happiness through purchasing fabric…or possibly the Zen of quilting. That sounds good, right? I wanted to sound super philosophical and smart. I wanted to be like those evolved quilt artists who wear flowing bright tunics and speak quietly about color theory. I wanted to be them and not the Philly girl who sits on the couch in ratty sweats with a computer on her lap, next to her husband watching endless hours of college football in his ratty sweats.

Clint Eastwood 3 Roger 300x162 Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele ScottAs I was racking my brain over and over, I kept coming back to the same thing. Why am I trying so hard to do or be something I’m not? So I guess the point of this is…know your limitations. Wasn’t it Dirty Harry who said, “A man’s got to know his limitations”? Does that mean never challenge yourself? Heck no! But when you want to have fun and create something for that special one, do so with something that will bring you joy and not create frustration. Just because you’ve decided to do that project which is clearly in your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean that you’re not learning and growing. I teach machine quilting all over the country and I can’t tell you how many quilters I come in contact with who pick a project that does nothing but frustrate them, resulting in the project being set to the side and a fallen sense of self.

Am I a phenomenal piecer? Not so much. That’s why I enjoy creating fabrics with panels and border stripes. I like to let the fabric speak for itself. What I do well is machine quilting. That’s my gig. Will I challenge myself from time to time with a project that has more difficult piecing? Sure I will. But not often. I want to enjoy my time at the machine with super cool quilting designs. That’s why I create those fabrics that essentially do the piecing for me! Then I have plenty of time to machine quilt it with fun threads and designs!

A is for Alligator 1 231x300 Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele ScottA is for Alligator 2 231x300 Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele Scott

I know this piece may offend people. I may hear from those who are mortally offended by my “have fun and get done” attitude and that’s cool. You can’t please everyone. So, I will continue to be that Philly girl who sits on the couch in ratty sweats creating more fabric lines for those who love a fast, fun and easy project! Maybe in between I’ll try and work on my IQ.

Want to hear more of my goofy pontifications and learn how to use some of these fast and easy fabrics? Visit my YouTube channel. If nothing else, you’ll get a couple of giggles. As my husband always says, “If nothing else, you’re a good time.”

To see more of what I have going on and to shop for some really cool stuff, visit my site at piecefulquilter.com or email me at michele@piecefulquilter.com with any question you may have!

Michele

prizes 350px Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele ScottThanks so much, Michele. Michele is giving away a copy of her book, Bobbin Quiltin’ and Fusin’ Fun (AQS, 2011), plus 4 prize packages of 9 fat quarters each from her Whoo Loves You? collection for Northcott! Leave a comment below before midnight January 17, and you’ll be entered into our random drawing. Four names will be drawn on January 18 and notified by email. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.

We have our winners! Congratulations to Nancy Bird of Many, Louisiana; Eve Elliott of Covington, Washington; Jo-Anne Cooper of Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada and Donna Lee Medlin of DeLand, Florida.

Whoos the Cutest FLAT 500px 254x300 Whoos the Cutest? A Visit with Michele ScottIf you’d like to make your own version of Michele’s Whoo’s the Cutest? kids’ quilt and don’t already have a copy of the February/March 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop. The Whoo’s the Cutest? quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download. And Michele has kits available for the quilt in 2 colorways! See them both here!

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