Renovations Completed on the Haunted House Quilt

If you are considering a new renovation project, I highly recommend choosing a haunted house. Imagine the satisfaction of taking a sledgehammer to an old wall, and then not even having to rebuild it! So I was able to fling off roof shingles, bar up windows, post dilapidated warning signs, and bring in undesirable neighbors– and the house looks even better, even more haunted.

Here is the new haunted house:

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And a detail of my favorite part, the cemetery with an eerie tree:

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The quilt is available in the shop here

Want to build your own haunted house? The pattern is available, and it is detailed! 38 pages of instructions and full size pattern pieces, including an extra full page of optional Halloween appliques to customize your house. A beginner or experienced sewist will enjoy this project. Here is the link to the download pattern

There’s No Such Thing as Dragons

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:

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They both are available in the shop here.

 

Second Star to the Right and Straight on ‘Till Morning

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.

 

 

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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.

 

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.

Bet You Don’t Have One of These!

My grandmother made me a denim clothespin dress 20 years ago and I still use it. Over the years I’ve grown attached to my little dress. She gets tossed on top of the laundry basket and out to hang on the line a few times a week, and never complains:) Her dress is large enough to hold all the pins I need.

It’s so special to have a useful friend through the years, I made this clothespin dress after my grandmother’s pattern. I think it will last as long as mine. It’s made of heavy weight denim with a little apron from vintage fabric from an estate sale. A wooden hangar is included and 2 ribbons are attached to prevent the dress from sliding off the hangar.

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This clothespin dress and another are available in the shop here.

This is the clothespin dress my granny made me. I’ll use it for the rest of my life. If I need to, I’ll patch it. Some things get more treasured with time:)

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Simple Pleasures Continued….

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.

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The quilt  is available in my Etsy shop here.

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.

Try a Taste of a Summer Sweet Rag Quilt.

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:

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She was in a “Mommy, take my picture” mood, so here is one more of her on the trampoline:

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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 .

I Never Want to Live in Alaska

I feel like winter is actively trying to beat me up. One, two punch of snow and sleet and then some more. Well, I give up. Winter can have the rest of February and March, too, since he’s by far the stronger opponent. Now I’m thinking ahead to spring and even better, summer. To help me keep these warm thoughts, I chose a summer sailing fabric for my latest quilt. The quilt has sailboats, lighthouses, and warm ocean waves. Ah, summer!

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The quilt is for sale in my Etsy shop here.