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

You’re Never Too Old to Play

When I was a little girl we lived in the country. I had many long summer days with lots of time. I loved to read books and play with dolls. Now that I’m very grown up, I still love to read and play with dolls. Of course, I’m much more sophisticated these days, hehe, so I design dolls as my way of playing with them. I really love my job!

Here’s some of my summer doll creations:

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The patterns for all these friends are available here in the shop.

Easy as a Charm Quilt

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.

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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.

Have Some Red, White and Blue Sewing Fun!

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.

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The quilt and pattern are available in the shop, here

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.