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.
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.
Celebrate Independence Day with a red, white and blue pinwheel quilt. The pinwheel is made with a unique 3 dimensional pattern that is both striking in appearance and easy to create, even for a beginner. What I love best about this quilt is the texture– the pinwheel seems to pop out of the quilt– maybe it wants to be a real pinwheel.
The quilt and pattern are available in the shop, here
My daughter, Elizabeth, named this week’s quilt and pattern. As soon as she saw the rough drawing of the dragon, it reminded her of a children’s book by Jack Kent, called There’s No Such Thing as Dragons. The book is about a real dragon that comes to visit a little boy. His mother refuses to believe it exists because she doesn’t believe in dragons. The dragon starts out small but keeps growing and growing. Finally, the mom has to acknowledge it’s existence and as soon as she does, the dragon shrinks again. The story is sweet and entertaining. The message is subtle, but the question is posed– how big and clear does reality have to be in order for someone to alter their worldview and accept it?
Here is the very real quilt and pattern:
They both are available in the shop here.
When my grandmother got confused and frustrated sometimes she would say, “It’s so convoluted!!”. Usually things went downhill from there into more colorful language, but I still understood the sentiment. Something that should be straightforward in design and application was twisted instead. Quilts often fall into this category. In an effort to make a better quilt, we just make a more convoluted one instead.
Here is a pattern that is new yet seems very familiar in it’s design. It’s a simple patchwork quilt, updated to work well with precut fabric in a “fat quarter” size.
The pattern is called “Easy Peasy Fat Quarter Baby Quilt” and it is available in the shop here. The quilts in the picture are also available for sale here.
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.
The quilts, bunting, coasters and patterns are available in the shop here.
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:
The completed set is available in the shop here, the pattern is in the works.
There is something about sewing that is therapeutic. Maybe it is the steady rhythm of the needle. Maybe it is the soft comfort of the fabric. I don’t really know why sewing is so soothing. I only know that it is. Maybe sometimes we just have to enjoy the pleasures in life and not have all the answers. Yesterday, I did just that. I made this quilt just for the relaxation of the act of creating something simple and pretty. I layered the top, the batting and the backing. The three layers are connected with simple ties of embroidery floss. The edging is a ruffled rag finish. It’s just a small lap quilt but it gave me a lot more.
The quilt is available in my Etsy shop here.
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:
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 🙂
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:
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.
One of my very favorite quilts to make are rag ones with frayed edges at the seams. I love them for 3 reasons:
1. They remind me of a cake in the oven. You sew the quilt but until it washes and dries you don’t really know how it will turn out. So you have anticipation and surprise.
2. They are perfectly soft with so much texture you can’t help but want to touch them. They are quilts to be cuddled and used until they are worn out and then you still use them because they are even softer than before.
3. Rag quilts are relaxed quilts. They are undemanding and rewarding, just like my golden retriever.
Here is my latest crazy rag quilt, modeled by my daughter, Evelyn:
She was in a “Mommy, take my picture” mood, so here is one more of her on the trampoline:
I’m not writing a pattern for this quilt, but I am planning on making a whole batch for sale in the shop in different sizes and colors. The one Evelyn is modeling is called Summer Sweet Reversible Crazy Rag Quilt and is available in my Etsy shop here .