Do You Know Where You’re Going Next?

Sometimes I look too closely at the individual stitches in a quilt and forget to consider the design I’m creating. A good quilter keeps her eye on the details but always considers the entire tapestry. That’s not bad advice for living life, either. I don’t want the consideration of small tasks to keep me from seeing the big world around me.

Do you want help remembering the big world?  Here is a quilt to remind you to look at the world from a bigger perspective:

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The mini quilt will fit on a counter top or hang on a wall. The completed quilt is available here The pattern  is available here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  In honor of the patron saint of Ireland, here are a few green items available at Maryland Quilter:

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The dragon above reminds me of another famous saint, St. George, who slayed the dragon and rescued the princess. My green dragon is part of a quilt, the pattern and quilt are available in the shop, here.

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Wouldn’t a green kitchen set of 2 pot holders and 2 tea towels be the perfect way to welcome spring in your home? You can find them here

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What a lucky baby or grownup if they get a blanket like this one! Beautiful green and so so soft. It’s available at Maryland Quilter.

Fear Is a Liar

It’s bitter cold this morning in Maryland, wayyyy below average. I looked out my window and the birds are slow to come to the feeder because of the cold. For an instant I was afraid for them, that they would freeze on the branches. But then common sense took hold. They have been cold before and will be fine. God takes care of them.

What are you afraid of?  Whatever you fear, it probably won’t happen. Fear is a liar. I tell myself that and have a poster to remind me.

Here is a quilt and pattern I made awhile back. It features some of the chilly animals I care about:

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The quilt and the pattern are available in the shop here .

Frog and Toad and Bats

What is the best size for a baby blanket or quilt?  I’ve been asking myself that question for a couple years and I have the answer:  Babies need some of every size. When they are newborn and need swaddling, bigger is better so their feet don’t stick out.  When they are in the stroller, smaller is better so it doesn’t drag on the floor. When they start to crawl, any size works.

I have many large baby blankets in the shop. Now I’m stocking the virtual shelves with smaller stroller quilt blankets. Here is one of the newest and cutest, with Frog and Toad fabric:

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And since I’m still stuck on Halloween, here is a bats quilt:

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Frog and Toad is available here

Halloween bats quilt and the pattern are in the shop here

Witch Says Halloween Best: Bats, Jack O’Lanterns, Spiders or Crescent Moons?

This is my last week designing and creating Halloween quilts for 2014. Because the quilts and patterns have to be in the shop for sale well before the holiday, I have to make and market items wayyy before the season. I shouldn’t complain because the lag time for merchandise in the olden days (a few years ago) was 3 – 6 months. Now, I can have a new item for sale the same day I make it. The time I need to allow for now is about 1- 2 months. This gives buyers a chance to browse, decide, purchase, receive, and enjoy the product for a couple of  weeks leading up to the holiday.

So since this is almost the end of my Halloween sewing time, I am cramming in as much as I can and working like crazy to get some of my ideas into fabric. Here is a photo of some mini quilts/ table toppers for sale in the shop:

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Would anyone like a pattern for these? I’m considering writing a pattern that would include all of the table toppers. If you are interested, let me know and I’ll make time to create it. Here is the link to the most popular mini quilt.

Linking up to Do Tell Tuesday.

Easy as a Charm Quilt

We live in exciting times. For many of us, the daily rhythms of our lives are subtly changing almost daily. How often do you go shopping in the mall today versus a year ago? 5 years ago?  One of the big changes in my life over the last few years is buying fabric online. What a world of possibilities! It’s not just the variety of fabric that I can find, but also the way I can explore what is out there, find styles that appeal to me, learn about the designers, study the trends, make new connections with shops far away in physical distance but close to me in aesthetics.

I’m also thrilled to explore the new precut fabric available. My current love is charm packs. I love the way you can get 42 pieces of a complete design collection, cut in perfect 5 inch squares for under $10.00.  Here are a couple of the quilts I’ve made lately from charm packs. They may look different. but the pattern is the same.

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The quilts are for sale in my shop here The pattern, Easy as a Charm Quilt,  I’m still working on, but it should be available in the shop by August.

The Devil is in the Details

Details, details, details.  How many details to include is always a challenge to me when I write a pattern. One of the first steps in many of my patterns goes something like this: 1. Cut 5 –  4  inch squares from the border fabric.  This is a very clear step. It also assumes lots of background knowledge and steps that were done before the measuring and cutting.

For instance, maybe the fabric needed to be prewashed. Most fabric doesn’t require prewashing, but I always test solid reds for color bleeding. Another missing step — cut off the selvedges before cutting your fabric, or at the very least not include the selvedges in your quilt. Don’t forget this one – always iron your fabric before measuring and cutting. I rarely include any of these details in my patterns. I assume that the sewer knows them.

It’s tricky sometimes to decide, especially in this age of short tweets, how close to trim the directions. Too short and important steps are misunderstood. Too long and the reader becomes confused and lost.

I published 2 new patterns last week; I tried to make the directions not too long, not too short, but just right.

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The quilts, bunting, coasters and patterns are available in the shop here.

The Three Most Important Design Elements in a Quilt Pattern

I believe that all great quilt designs should be clear, easy to follow, and efficient in both use of material and use of time. I want everyone who buys one of my patterns to actually make the quilt, start to finish, in a short period of time. So all my patterns have complete directions all the way to “wrap quilt around recipient”. The pattern never ends with “layer, quilt as desired and bind” — to me that means you will have an unfinished quilt top to leave to your heirs.

Every pattern also has to be clear. If you stop because you don’t understand the next step, your project may be gathering dust for years. So numbered, detailed instructions with lots of photos and email support free from me is included with every pattern.

Another important ingredient to a great pattern is efficient use of materials. And that brings me to this week’s project. I had some fat quarters in this great pattern called Indian Summer. There were teepees on one of the prints and their triangle shape inspired me to make a saw toothed edged baby quilt. When I finished the quilt, I had lots of leftover triangles, so in the interest of efficient use of materials, I designed a bunting to use the triangles. Then, because I was on a roll of inspiration and had 4 corners of leftover fabric, I designed coasters to match.

Here is the result:

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The completed set is available in the shop here, the pattern is in the works.

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes the small pleasures in life are the most satisfying. Watching a butterfly skim past your window, feeling the sun on your face, returning a wave from a neighbor, all tiny bits of a happy life. Here is another sweet bit of happiness: a perfect pair of pot holders. One for each hand, soft yet sturdy, with a simple applique design or just a bit of quilting. Brand new ones to replace those old worn out ones, and yes, you have to throw the old ones out. Then when you open the drawer and see those pretty new pot holders waiting for you, a bit of pleasant satisfaction comes along, too.

Here are some of the perfect pot holders available in my shop, handmade, patterned from perfect pot holders my mom made me years ago:

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These pot holders and lots more are available in my shop here.

If you want a larger dose of pleasure, most of the pot holders have matching tea towels available, too 🙂

How About a Trip to a Coral Reef?

Are you thinking of summer? How about the beach? How about a tropical coral reef? I bet you can guess where my dreams were on vacation this week:

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This quilt is called “Fish in School”. The background fabric is by Art_On_Fabric.  It is the first experiment I’ve done ordering and using Spoonflower fabric. I really like the quality of the cotton weave. I also like that the fabric pattern will always be available. Often after buying a pattern, people  will contact me trying to get the exact same fabric I’ve used in the original  to make their quilt. Sometimes the fabric is discontinued and no longer available. Spoonflower prints the fabric on demand. No waste, no shortage. How cool is that!

The pattern for “Fish in School” is available here. The quilt is available here.