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

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.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

When I saw this panel it was love at first sight. A sweet little girl surrounded by animal friends and flowers and butterflies. All in spring shades of pink, gray and blue. The hexagons on the top and bottom are part of the panel. All that I added was side borders to widen the quilt, batting and backing. The borders were added in a rag style so the seams are ruffled. There is no binding, the edges also have a ruffled rag finish.

Garden Girl is the perfect spring baby quilt. The center panel is a designer print by Tea and Sympathy for Studio E Fabrics . The side borders are a striped print.

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The quilt, “Garden Girl”, is available in my shop here.

 

 

 

Looking for love? Here it is, Writ Large.

Looking for love? Here it is, writ large.  This quilt project started with a center panel design called  “Love”. It was created by Amy Biggers for Robert Kaufman. The panel is entirely pink, lightest pink to darker pink, pink, pink, pink. So my biggest challenge was what color to add to the quilt to not draw the eye away from the center motif. I finally settled on a mottled dark red for the borders, beautiful but restful. Then, to solve the quilt’s need for a bit of color contrast, I put a blue backing on the borders. I made it a rag quilt, so the frilly edges of the seams brought just a bit of blue into the quilt front.
Now I’ll show you the love:
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The Love quilt is available in my shop here.
Linking up to:
Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Hearts Quilts
Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story
Show and Tell Tuesday at I have to say….

When Less is More

One of the hardest parts of designing a new quilt is knowing when to stop. It is so easy to think, if I add this it will be better, just a little more of this fabric, one more flower, another border, a bit more color. Then if I’m not paying attention the quilt is busy, really busy, with way too much going on. Then I have to take away, take away, until finally it is just how it should be.

My newest baby quilt is a great example of the less is more battle.  The fabric itself is a beautiful pattern called “Mind Your P’s and Q’s” by Keiki for Moda fabrics. It is a great example of a modern vintage style. It has the alphabet, animals, flowers, balloons.  It has so much interest that really, not much more needs to be added to make a great quilt. So I started the quilt design with a few balloons, added some more flowers, thought about an accent border, considered a scalloped edge. Then I let it sit awhile. Then I took off the flowers, most of the balloons, and the border. Now it’s just right.

Here is finished quilt called, “Old Fashioned Fun”:

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The quilt and pattern will be available soon at Maryland Quilter

Here are some great blogs I’m going to try to link up with this week. Check them out!

Show and Tell Tuesday at I Have to Say
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
We Did It! Wednesday at Sew much ado
It’s A Party at Creative Princes
We Did It Wednesday at Sew Much Ado
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
I Quilt at Pretty Bobbins

Christmas at the Campground

I made this little quilt a couple years ago in the depths of the great recession. I tried to capture the possible simple joys of Christmas in the great outdoors. I love this quilt so much because it gives me peace. It hangs on a wall in my work shop.

Christmas at the Campground:

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Confessions of a Christmas Elf

Christmas stresses me out! For some reason, every year I inflict myself with so many goals and projects that there is no way I could get them all done. I do this to myself. This year will be different (I think I said that last year, too, and it was merely better).  This year my Christmas sewing projects are going to be ones that bring me lots of joy and no stress. This is the year of the pot holder!  I am having a blast designing pot holders.  I’ve made them for everyone in the family, I’ve made them to sell in the shop, and now neighbors, friends and even the school bus driver knows what they’re getting this year!

Here is a collage of some of the 50+ pot holders I’ve made so far:

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Do you want a set of pot holders or a new tea towel? Come by the shop, Maryland Quilter, and get one. Use this coupon code, Maryland10, for 10% off and you also get a free 2013 handmade Christmas ornament:)

A Christmas Ornament with Every Purchase

Even though it’s Christmas, I’m still dreaming of the ocean. So this year I designed a swimming fish Christmas ornament. It is a Siamese Fighting Fish. I always admire them in the pet shops, with their flowing fins and bright colors. These are limited edition, with 2013 written on each one. They are free with any purchase from Maryland Quilter in the month of November.

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Simplify Christmas– Make Everyone a Chevron Quilt Blanket

Sometimes we make things harder than they have to be. For instance, you could go crazy trying to find a different gift for everyone on your Christmas list, or…. you could make them all a personalized quilt blanket. One pattern, 2 versions, endless possibilities. The children on your list could have a quilt with fun bright fabrics, the guys could have them in their favorite team colors. Your mother in law would love a red and green Christmas quilt. So go ahead, make it simple for you. They will love their handmade quilt, I guarantee it!

Here are some possibilities for a chevron stripe quilt blanket:

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The pattern is available for instant download here.  Don’t want to make one, want to buy one instead? There are lots to choose from all for $75.00 each. These and many more are available at Maryland Quilter:

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