Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Hoppin’ Down the Bunny Trail….

Why is it every time a major holiday rolls around, snippets of silly songs from my childhood pop in my head? I think of Christmas and all of sudden I’m humming “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”.  Halloween brings to mind the scary drumbeat soundtrack from The Wizard of Oz when the witch says, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!”.

Today I was deciding the title for this Easter blog post and, naturally, I started singing the Peter Cottontail song. So, my Easter gift to you are old TV memories. In the classic words of Porky Pig, “That’s all folks”.

Are you looking for a sweet spring quilt to make or give? Here’s one with pretty flowers and Peter Cottontail:

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This is a very fun quilt to make. It goes together fast, is full of colorful fabric and, best of all, it’s guaranteed to look great! Here is the pattern and here is the quilt .

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

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

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

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 .