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12/28/2016

Woven Bubbles Pattern Available

I am happy to announce that my newest pattern, 


Cut Loose Pattern from Checker Distributorsis available through your local quilt shops!


I so like to design patterns to share my love of quilting with others. 
The name of my blog and pattern business reflects what I have always wanted quilters to know about making a quilt: "Patchwork is a Breeze!"
Teaching classes at local quilt shops, my goal was to show people that there isn't always one way to construct a quilt, but many ways, some easier than others, making construction a breeze.

Have you heard about Cut Loose Patterns?
Presently there are almost 400 patterns they can print. 
The patterns are printed on demand when a shop orders them. 
The shop name is included on the pattern, which is a good reference for the quilter regarding fabrics, or tools and where they were purchased.
We designers create a pattern, include construction illustrations,
and a photo of the finished project which all has to fit on two sides 
of a heavy 8-1/2" x 11" piece of paper (tagboard). 
Not much storage space needed. 
Storage is simple, patterns have punched holes so they can be put in a binder.

Cut Loose Patterns has a 4 inch, D-ring binder that can be purchased from your local quilt shop. It comes with a set of 12 pre-printed tabs that correspond with the tabs on the patterns, so you can easily file patterns in the appropriate section. 

The price is great, usually less than $4.00 USD.
While these patterns may be written primarily for the beginner or confident beginner, 
that hasn't stopped me (as an advanced quilter) from purchasing with designs I like.

One thing I like and appreciate about the printing process is that there is an invisible-type watermark on the cards. If the pattern is copied on a copy machine, the watermark shows, letting people know it was copied and not purchased. I hope this helps designers hold on to the integrity of the patterns we work so hard to design.

I will continue to design patterns and share my newest with you as they become available. 

Thanks for visiting. 
Happy Quilting in the New Year!



12/26/2016

Post-Christmas Sewing

I had a nice Christmas. I took a few weeks off from blogging to get things ready for the holidays. Our daughter and son-in-law were flying in a week before Christmas. We took some short trips with them to visit friends and relatives. We also visited relatives on the east side of the state. I was on the go more than I thought. This morning I slept in an extra hour--I was worn out!

I got back into sewing projects this afternoon. I made 13 bowl cozies for a craft shop where I sell some of my handmade items. There was a call for bowl cozies and I had the fabrics cut, so all I had to sew were the darts and finish them off. These are the fabrics. There are 4 each of some of them.

I had not cleaned my bobbin case when I last sewed. My machine was sounding quite loud. Here is what I found and spent about 10 minutes cleaning out! So much lint--mostly from sewing batting strips together for the cat kennel quilts I made before Christmas.

Speaking of kennel quilts, my plan is to deliver them to Bellwether Harbor on Wednesday this week. I hope to get some photos. And I told Marie, a fellow Island Batik Ambassador, that I would again link the Kennel Quilt information from The Quilt Pattern Magazine HERE. "TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team is a volunteer organization sponsored by The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) that is available when disasters strike. It is a way to join a larger effort to help our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team supplies kennel quilts to shelters."

I plan to put away Christmas decorations in between sewing for Island Batik's January project, New Beginnings, and the Four-in-Art challenge due February 1, 2017.  Gosh that new year is fast approaching! 

What projects do you have planned for 2017? Is anyone joining Merry Mayhem's New Year's Day Mystery Quilt? The cutting directions are up and I have to choose my fabrics.


12/12/2016

Kennel Quilts


The other day I sewed one kennel quilt for the Island Batik Ambassador project for December. 
I mentioned in that post how I was using my scraps of batting and fabric along with fleece to make them.That post can be found HERE.

This is the kennel quilt I made this evening. I think by the end of the week I will have 5 to bring to Bellwether Harbor for the cat kennels.

To follow up on the snow, we ended up with a foot of snow--the wet, heavy kind. 
Glad we have a snowblower!

Are you sewing this week?

12/11/2016

Snowing Means Sewing

I know it is snowing in many parts of the U.S. today and many areas have had or will have heavy accumulations of snow. The warm waters of Lake Michigan sometimes make it difficult for the weather forecasters to predict how much snow various areas of West Michigan will get. We could get 4 inches and 10 miles away they could get 10 inches! When I wake up in the morning I'll see what we have here. 

These are photos of our deck right now. We had about 6 inches from the other day, but it looks like 12 inches now (and it is still snowing steadily). 
(I left the tomato cages and pots on the deck this fall.)

(And the chair was left out!)

Whatever the amounts, the silence and peacefulness on a snowy night like tonight is wonderful.

After church, a day like today meant staying in and relaxing at the sewing machine. Our meals were leftovers, so I accomplished much while sewing. 

The Island Batik Ambassadors are working on items to Give this month. 
I am using Island Batiks scraps from this past year's projects as well as my batting scraps to make kennel quilts for Bellwether Harbor Animal Shelter and Training Center. Which is located in our county of residence. 

Their mission statement says: "We are dedicated to the health and well-being of the abandoned, abused and neglected dogs and cats coming into our shelter, preparing them for their adoption with people looking for forever companionship. We do this through medical care, socialization, training, and sometimes rehabilitation.
We work with people looking to adopt our animals by helping them to find the dog or cat that is the best fit with their lifestyle. We do this through an interview process, multiple visits, education and training.
Our ultimate goal is to encourage and support the human animal bond."
The kennel quilts are for the cats. 
I am zig-zag stitching the batting strips together. 

I sewed the Island Batik scraps in crazy quilt style onto the batting. I opened each sewn piece, ran a row of stitching down the piece (about center), then added the next piece. 

I trimmed the crazy quilt section to 14" x 18" and cut a piece of fleece the same size. I sewed the 2 sections right sides together, rounding the corners and leaving an opening for turning out. 

I top-stitched the opening closed as I went around the entire quilt using a zig-zag stitch.
I will make more tomorrow as I predict the snow will be deep and I would rather stay home!




12/08/2016

Mug Rug Christmas Exchange

This evening our quilt guild had their annual Christmas potluck. We enjoy appetizers and desserts at the potlucks. Then we have a fun gift exchange.

This year we were to bring a mug and a matching mug rug that we made. I had chosen my mug a few months before, but really pondered about the mug rug design. I found an embroidery at Embroidery Library, Inc. called Koi Circle which was just the thing for the mug rug.

I found the fabric colors that would go with the mug. All the fabrics are Island Batik fabric scraps I had. The mug rug measures 7" x 11". 

I layered the top and batting on the larger solid piece of Island Batik ginko print in red. 

Quilting didn't need to be extensive because the piece is small. I slowly stitched around the circle with my walking foot. I threaded the starting and ending tread tails in a sewing needle, pulled the threads to the back and knotted them. I could lift the red side piece to tie the threads because I hadn't quilted the straight seams yet.

I stitched in the ditch of the seams between the red and blue sections. 

I didn't have any more of any of these fabrics for a binding. I brought the backing around to the front, pressing, pinning and hand stitching the binding down. Finally I stitched a label on the back. 

Sue got my gift. She used to have koi in a pond in her yard, so she really liked it. 

All of the mugs and mug rugs were spectacular. This is the gift I got in the exchange from Denise. 
Looking forward to hot chocolate in the morning. 

If you belong to a guild, do your members have a gift exchange? 



12/04/2016

Sew With Me: Seasonal Pathways

Today I invite you to sew with me.

In October, I designed and made a table topper for the Island Batik Ambassador Pumpkin Fest.
Some readers expressed an interest in how it was made, asking if there was a pattern. In October, I created it as I sewed. Today I am giving you the details on how I made it, with measurements, steps and photos. I am sharing it with everyone as a Christmas table topper. I named it Seasonal Pathways.

It is a simple, straight-forward pattern. Scraps can be used, or strips cut from yardage. In fact, in today's share, I cut some strips from a striped Christmas fabric. (Change out the fabrics for a different season.) All the fabrics I used have some shiny gold in them.



Let's start!

  • Round up 12 pieces of fabric that work well together. Cut 12 strips  1-1/2" x 12-1/2" and 24 strips 1-1/2" x 6-1/2".
  • Cut 2 squares (6-1/2" x 6-1/2") of fabric for two opposite corners that will stand out from all the strips. (My corners read as a solid with some gold.) 
  • Cut 2 binding strips 2-1/2" x WOF.
  • You will need basic sewing supplies, including a rotary cutter, ruler (6" x 24" is good), maybe a 12-1/2" squaring ruler or a mat with graph lines.
  • Thread that blends with your fabrics for sewing.
  • Thread for quilting. 
  • Batting piece (scrap will work) 14" x 26"
  • Backing fabric (14" x 26")
  • A design to fuse to the 2 corner squares OR an embroidery design (machine or hand). 
  • Fusible for the design. 
If you are using an embroidery design, embroider on a larger piece of corner fabric (to account for any pulling in with embroidery) and trim down to 6-1/2" square size. 


The fabrics are cut, so on to sewing:

Arrange the 12 long strips in a pleasing plan.

Sew the long edges of the strips together. 

You can press after each seam; but, I have The Strip Stick which allows me to press one seam at a time and not interfere with any other seams. I get no curving or distortion when pressing the seams. (I have no affiliation with the company.) Press the seams in one direction.

Lay out 6 shorter strips as shown below. In each set, I did not want the short gold strip adjacent to the long gold strip on the left, or the greens touching on the right side. I arranged them that way first and the joint stuck out like a sore thumb! I put green next to gold on each side. 
Sew. Repeat for the second set. Press.

Sew the 6-1/2" squares to each 6 strip set as in photo below. 

I added a fused embellishment, but I could have used a fussy cut square of fabric and made a little less work for myself. I used a soft gold rayon embroidery thread and a tiny zig-zag stitch around the flower. 

Layer backing, batting and top. Stitch on the side of the seam, opposite the pressed seam, starting in the center block. I went down one seam, turned the piece and stitched through the next seam, toward one end of the topper. 

Sew the shorter strips, starting at the edge, pivot where the strip joins the center, stitch along the center seam. 

Turn the piece and sew back toward the edge. Continue along all strips. Repeat for the other side. 
I did not quilt in the corner sections, but one could.

Trim so the topper edges are straight. Add binding.

If one sews the center section and one side, a placemat could be made for the table. 
I hope you like the pattern and make a table topper. 






11/30/2016

Christmas Cards from Quilt


Just before Thanksgiving, I ordered 20 Christmas cards through Shutterfly using a photo of my Island Batik Christmas in July project (above). The cards arrived today and I am very pleased with them.

I cropped the original photo to fit the card. I have room on the wood, at the top of the card, to stamp or emboss some words, like Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings,etc. I left the inside blank so I could stamp or print my own messages.

I have used my quilts a few times over the years to create cards for various purposes. I order only when Shutterfly has a discount or free cards, so I only pay tax and shipping fees.  I make sure each card costs 50 cents or less. These cost 40 cents per card. The cardstock is a very good quality as are the envelopes. I also begin a photo book of my quilt projects in my account. As I finish more quilts, I upload the photos, write the captions, and save it until a great offer comes to my email or Facebook--usually I use the one free book offers and only pay shipping. I now can say I have been published!

Have you ever used your quilts with a photo service opportunity?

I'm off to write some Christmas cards!

11/28/2016

Back to Quilting Projects

I took the Thanksgiving week off from sewing in order to get ready for the holiday. We were going to dinner with our daughter and her fiance. I baked the pies - pumpkin and apple. The kids cooked the rest of the dinner. We had a wonderful day with them.

Gift wrapping was on my list, too. I have been buying items all year to give as Christmas gifts. I now have them wrapped. There are only a few gift cards I will be purchasing for a couple of people on our list.

So, it is back to sewing - Yes!

I did shop on Small Business Saturday. I bought embroidery CDs at my go-to embroidery store. I am experimenting more with my embroidery machine and look forward to using these CDs.

Join me on December 5 for my SEW WITH ME pattern. I will have step-by-step directions for sewing this table topper. (I have revised some measurements.)

It doesn't take much fabric. You can use scraps, strips, or pieces from yardage. It can be changed up for any holiday, so you'll want to grab the free pattern. I made this in October for the Island Batik Pumpkin Fest, but the one on December 5 will be for Christmas (with some EQ illustrations for other holidays).

Other items on my list include this:


I am looking forward to joining Marian and Janeen as they begin 12 Days of Christmas on December 1. I will call it a free pattern collection. They are combining Marian's patterns and Janeen's patterns into something new.  A gingerbread village block from Janeen and a gingerbread man or some other cute item from Marian. I grabbed this preview picture from Janeen's post today. I think it looks so fun. They will not have a new block on the weekend, but Friday's block stays up all weekend.


What are you sewing this week?





11/21/2016

Winter Table Topper Finished

I am quite pleased with the straight quilting I did on this table topper using the walking foot on my domestic sewing machine. I set the needle for a 1/4" away from the seam line (ditch). The angular effect makes it graphic. And yes, the end are skewed because of the 9 degree angle cuts I made on the sewn strips. 


I thought these snow people looked quite happy to be playing in this woven winter wonderland of Island Batik fabrics. 


It is thrilling to make (designed) something from a small amount of fabric.

11/19/2016

Late Night Stitching

I literally sewed into the night, finishing at 1 PM. 
Sleep came easily. I guess "Sewing does a person good."

I worked on a table topper using some Island Batik strips of blues 
that came in my most recent Island Batik box. 
I used a 9 degree ruler, so it gives a bit of movement to the sections. 
I liked the winter theme of these strips. 
I know they are from a number of different collections. but they look so nice together. 

I embroidered a few finger puppets. Papa Bears from Goldilocks story. 

Finally, I worked for about an hour sewing this sunset with scraps of Island Batiks I just couldn't toss from other projects. (I have more, so more landscapes will be made.) But it was the most relaxing sewing for me....so forgiving, a great experiment with my threads, and a satisfying artistic item. I am not sure if I will frame it or sew a binding on it. It could become a journal cover. 
So many possibilities to explore. 

The postal carrier came to the door with a box just before 11 AM.
 It contained my 3 quilts I sent to the Connections Quilt Festival for the Island Batik exhibit. 
Thank you, Linda, for getting them back to me safely. 

I am ready now to clean house so I can get back to sewing on this COLD, blustery day in West Michigan. We have little flakes of snow spurting from the clouds, but nothing is sticking. 
(The ground is still warm from our near-70 degrees yesterday!

Hope you can take time to sew a project this weekend. Thanks for visiting. 

11/17/2016

Winter Wonderland Project and Pattern Special


My Island Batik Winter Wonderland project for this month is finished. 

I had a preview photo on my Facebook page last week showing the two colors of gorgeous Island Batik fabric I was using for this project.

This project involved some sewing, weaving, and a lining.
Do you think you might know what it is?

This is a pattern I wrote and published 3 years ago. 
I decided to revisit it and revise it. 
I won't leave you wondering any longer. 

It's a CHRISTMAS STOCKING!

I've had a great time with this pattern.
I have made it using Christmas fabrics, 
the university colors for my niece and nephew,
and this year, the gorgeous Island Batik fabrics I used are close to 
the colors of the university that our youngest daughter attended. 
I think she will like this gift.
(But before I give it to her, I am entering it into the Christmas Stocking Contest 
at the local quilt store, The New Ewe.)
I also entered the photo to Nancy Zieman's Stocking Sewing Challenge 2016
That is pretty cool, too.

Now, the PATTERN SPECIAL mentioned in the blog title: 
If you would like to make one or more of these woven Christmas stockings, 
I am running a special pricing until December 25 on 
my Woven Fabric Christmas Stocking pattern
You get an instant download 
at PatternSpot.com 
and the cost is only $2.75 USD.
If you would like to try a smaller woven fabric project, 
I have a pattern for the Woven Quilted Potholder. 
And the special price thru December 25 for this pattern is $1.50 USD. 

Thank you for visiting. 
I hope with the holidays approaching you have time to 
fit in a few 
SEWDAYS!




11/11/2016

New Fabric, New Adventure

From Hawthorne Threads, I ordered fabrics by new-to-me designer, Anna Maria Horner. And I think I found some grand fabrics!

December's Queen Bee for the Mid-Century Modern Bee group I belong to, wanted us to make our blocks from Anna Maria Horner fabrics. We have to recreate the block we requested from the members in our month of being Queen Bee. I tried to find any of the fabric within a 50 mile radius of home, but no one carried any. I searched the internet and found Hawthorne Threads, which had good photos and a good selection on their website. (If I couldn't see that fabrics a store 100 miles from me carried, I wasn't going to drive to find out I couldn't use it.)


I might have ordered too many prints, but I needed something that would work as a tree trunk and branches. I found that one print in a fat quarter selection, (top row, third from the left) so I had to order the whole bundle (Honor Roll)! Then I needed fabric for sky and fabric for earth.


I chose the two prints above. I did not know that the blue graphic print was large when I looked on line. In learned that Anna Maria designs large, bold prints. I chose to use the birds on blue from the fat quarter bundle instead of the graphic blue here.

I made the blocks that I had asked the members to make for me using those 3 fabrics. I don't use these types of prints in my quilting, but I was astonished at how pretty they turned out. This photo below might not do justice to them. Each tree block measures 6-1/2" x 12-1/2" unfinished.

I will say that December's Queen Bee pushed me off my regular sewing path to explore a very new adventure in quilting. And that is why we join various sewing groups and bees. 

Have you ever strayed from your comfort zone and found something worth exploring in your quilting journey?