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.

Falling Off the Wagon, Again….

A couple weeks ago I said that I was done sewing Halloween quilts for this year. Then last week I made another one. Then I fell off the wagon again and made one more. This quilt began innocently enough with a yard of Alexander Henry’s Ghastlie Garden (This is the flower print on the top of the quilt). It isn’t really Halloween because it’s just gray and flowers, right? But I wanted more and I happened to have some of this really cool Ghastlie Grounds print which has interesting rows of ghastlie pictures, Sebastian the cat, and gothic garden stuff. Since flowers grow in gardens and the fabrics went together so well, I just had to make yet another ghastlie quilt. So here it is:

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Here is a detail of part of the bottom of the quilt with a handmade black fringe:

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I make no more guarantees that I’m done with Halloween until November, then I’ll be done. The quilt is available in the shop, 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.

Growing Up is Hard To Do

 My children are growing up. This is happening in fits and starts. The whole process would be smoother if they knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, by the time they get experienced growing up, that will mean they are finished growing themselves and will have their own babies that will start the whole process over again. 

Sometimes you have the opportunity to grow things besides children. My little company, Maryland Quilter, is trying to grow up, into a professional quilt design company.  If I knew what I was doing, this process would be a lot smoother. I kinda think that when I figure out how to do it, it will be done.  The path seems familiar, even if I’ve never been on this particular one before.

Here is the baby quilt pattern, my original cover page for a popular pattern, Kaboom:

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Now here is the new, more grown up version of Kaboom:

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The pattern itself is unchanged, and available here.

 

 

From the Mixed Up Files of Maryland Quilter

Today I am going to share a secret, maybe two. Do you know I have 6 children? When people ask me how many children I have and I tell them, they always give me a funny look, and I’m sure they want to ask me “Why so many?”  but are too polite to ask. Today I will share reason number 9 why I have 6 children. If you want to know the top 8 reasons, you should follow my blog, I’m sure I’ll reveal them sooner or later.

I really, really love children’s literature. I also really, really love reading bedtime stories. I’ve been happily snuggling up with a child most every night for 25 years, reading from children’s classics to Disney favorites to yard sale finds.  Whatever book they dragged to bed for me to read, I’d usually indulge them. One summer the girls and I read the entire Little House on the Prairie series.  We read the Hobbit when my boys were young.

One of my favorite themes in children’s literature is the resourceful children who solve mysteries and live in tree houses or in boxcars or museums.  I guess I had those favorite characters in the back of my mind when I was designing the felt playsets for Maryland Quilter.  The whole set isn’t finished yet, but this week I introduced four new characters, Matilda and her dog, Ginger, Scruffy the Camel, and Astrid the Ostrich.

This is Matilda and Ginger:

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This is Scruffy and Astrid:

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They are both available as patterns in my shop, here.

And, to answer the question directly, the number 9 reason I had 6 children was to have 25 years of bedtime stories:) That’s a very good reason.

I Am So Rocking the Modern Quilt!

 

Here I am bragging again. Is this a consequence of being able to say whatever I want on the crispy new blog post page?  Probably.  Anyway, a few posts back I mentioned how I avoided white in quilts. Well, I faced my fear and now I am bingeing on white. White has become my new favorite color to add in quilts. How did I miss this for so long? 

Here is my newest quilt with lots of white,white,white!

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If you are thinking about making that first quilt, this one would be a great one to begin with. The pattern is easy to follow and leads you from first cut through to the label on the back. The pinwheel is made from a square folded back, how easy is that!

The pattern and the quilt are available in my Etsy shop.