Saturday, January 13, 2018

Fair Isle Winter - A 2017 BOM by Reeze Hanson

I started this beauty last January. Every year, the talented Reeze Hanson of Morning Glory Designs offers us a free BOM. After seeing Fair Isle Winter, I jumped on that wagon and took off.  I love the blue and decided on a pale yellow for the background. I guess I'm channeling my inner Swede on this one. 

Most of the blocks are foundation pieced - one of my favorite techniques - with some cool applique shapes in the corners of the blocks.

I've loved collecting blue batiks - everything from true blue to blue-green, blue with lavender, teal, and turquoise. So many beautiful fabrics out there.

I have almost kept current on this one - well, better than other BOMs - I'm on month 8 and am catching up quickly. I made a boo-boo and used a dark blue where I was supposed to use a yellow background. I decided there were too many seams to take out so I would leave it the way it was - Sorry Reeze, I added a new design element to block 8.

There are 13 sashing blocks that I want to start on next. I've pinned the blocks on my design wall so that I can decide which blues to use for the sashing. At this point I'm thinking of a true blue - or an aqua?

The BOM ends in a month when Reeze sends out the last block. Each of the previous blocks is available on  her website for $5. Next month, they will all be gone, but the entire pattern will be available. If you want a foundation piecing challenge with a series of gorgeous blocks and an unusual setting, then Fair Isle Winter is for you.

Curious about Reeze Hanson? Check her out! You'll love her stuff.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Kansas Goes Modern - A Technique Quilt

Last year I had the privilege of designing the BOM for the Kaw Valley Quilters Guild. Our guild offers a BOM every year and I had always wanted to write a pattern  . . . so I volunteered. Occasionally I like to challenge myself, and man oh man, this was a challenge.

I don't remember when and how the idea came to me, but I wanted to do a quilt with Kansas named blocks.  These blocks usually have a  traditional feel, which is not really my style. So, I decided to give them a bit of a twist by using modern fabric - Grunge by Moda -  and a non-traditional layout. Hence the name - Kansas Goes Modern (KGM).

I also wanted to learn a little more about the quilting history of my adopted state of Kansas. I am not a quilt historian, but it was fun to learn about the history of each of the blocks. Much of the information came from Barbara Brackman, a member of our guild and a nationally known quilt historian.

Since I get really enjoyment from learning and teaching, I decided to throw some interesting and varied techniques into KGM. So I included pieced blocks, English Paper Pieced blocks, foundation paper pieced blocks, and applique blocks. 

So, the blocks - all with Kansas in the name:
     Kansas Star
     Kansas Troubles
     Kansas Dugout
     Kansas Beauty
     Kansas Twister
     Kansas Dust Storm
     Rocky Road to Kansas
     Kansas Sunflower
     Hearth and Home's Kansas 

After getting it all assembled, I asked the wonderfully talented Sandra Morgan-Cockrum to quilt KGM. She did a terrific job with lots of custom designs, ruler work, and swirls.

Now, after releasing one block a month and three months of assembly instructions, I am putting everything together in a pattern that will be available for purchase in the next few months (one of my goals for 2018). I am so excited about this. I have to get some good pictures taken and put the finishing touches on the pattern - but I'm almost there!

My next steps are to take KGM on the road as a workshop or series of classes. So, if you are interested in making KGM in class, please let me know. Hopefully it will be coming to a shop or guild near you!

Curious about Kansas quilt blocks? Check out Kansas Goes Modern!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Quilting Goals for 2018

I looked back to see if I wrote about my goals for 2017. I couldn't find anything. I did write about the new BOMs that were tempting me. Want an update? 

Overbrook Sister Sampler BOM - almost up to date.

Halo Medallion - completed up through month 3.

Down the Rabbit Hole - completed through month 2 but put away (for awhile, maybe forever).

Murder Mystery - I still don't know who dunnit, but I've completed through month 3.

Perpetually Hexie - Haven't even started. But I have all the papers!
Not a great completion rate, but I AM a BEGINNING QUILTER - I love to start projects. I'm at 80% for starting - pretty decent!

So, In an attempt to get some accountability with my goals, I figured I'd let you all know what they are - that way, when you see me you can support (embarrass) me by asking how I'm progressing on whatever project.
So, here they are - my possibly non-realistic 2018 goals.
1. Work on my quilts in accordance with my rotational system - don't skip stuff! Try to get through the entire rotation each month.

2. Post a blog post every other week - unless my friends tell me they want more. I'd also love to see more of your comments on the blog. So, if you've read this far, please send me a comment in the comment box below.

3. Prepare a trunk show and workshop for local/regional guild programs.

4. Publish my pattern for Kansas Goes Modern.

5. Design and make 2 quilts from my 50 Quilts From 50 States series.

That will keep me busy for sure. Perhaps I should do an update several times throughout the year. Oh, and please ask me how I'm progressing when you see me!

Keeping It Curious in 2018!

Monday, December 18, 2017

That's Just the Way I Roll . . .Jelly Roll, That Is

I would guess that most quilters who have been at it for longer than 2 minutes have at least one Jelly Roll in their stash. For my non-quilting family and friends (Mom), a Jelly Roll is not a tasty, fattening treat, nor is it a rapper from Nashville, but rather a collection of about 40 2.5 inch wide strips, sometimes rolled up and presented as a roll. Fabric company Moda coined the term, so other companies have other cute names - treats, buns, pops, roll ups.

As most of you know, I work at Mea Bernina, a sewing machine and quilting store, teaching machine  and quilting classes. What could be more fun, right? So at the beginning of 2016 I started teaching/hosting a club we called the Sassy Strippers - its all about fabric strips and Jelly Rolls.

This was a terrific challenge for me - to come up with different and interesting monthly projects that showcase various techniques, using our own curated jelly rolls, and then teaching the technique to anywhere from 12 to 20 sassy gals.  It was soooo much fun!

So we started where every self-respecting quilter would start - with the Jelly Roll Race. Did you know there is more than one? Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company made a video tutorial that really popularized the JR Race.

Our Jelly Roll was a specially curated black and white roll, with fabrics from various collections that we had at Mea Bernina. So there is no other Jelly Roll like this available anywhere. We gave each Sassy Stripper a cut of a bright solid so that they could add in squares (JR Race 2) or triangles (JR Race 3) in between the strips.  We didn't really race, but some say they have completed it in less that an hour. I should time myself sometime and see - although I'm really not a very speedy sewist.

My intention for Sassy Strippers was to do different projects - not just quilts. So for our second project we featured a wonderfully creative string market bag. Bias strips were double folded and stitched together using the Bernina Binding Attachment. Then the resulting strong, double fold strips were then sewn together at intervals to make a string bag. Terrific! Mea Bernina has kits available to make this cool bag.

But wait, there's more! I really enjoyed coming up with interesting (hopefully) projects every month. I'll write more about the other projects in later posts. If you are interested in joining the Sassy Stripper adventure with me, we will continue it next year (2018) with a bit of a twist. After 20 projects with strips, we are branching out a bit. That's at much as I'll say here, but I promise it'll be fun! So, if you are curious about different techniques, want to get creative ideas with fellow sassy sewists, check out the Mea Bernina Class and Club listing and join us in January.

Keeping Curious!

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Different Kind of Paper Pieiceing - English Paper Pieceing

I'm deep into several paper piecing projects - not foundation paper piecing (see Foundation Paper Piecing ) but rather English Paper Piecing (EPP). 

Paper Piecing / Foundation Piecing? What's the difference? Foundation piecing uses a foundation (usually paper) to sew and flip the pieces, enabling you to get really good points where it would be difficult to piece. English paper piecing uses forms (usually paper or card stock) in different shapes (hexagon, diamonds, squares, or triangles).

So, as is usual, I sort of over did it. One project led to another, then another. Before I knew it I had so many I had to organize them and make sense of what I have. 

It started innocently enough - Grandmother's Flower Garden. My Quilting Bucket List includes making a traditional quilt by hand, so what better choice than a Grandmother's Flower Garden? I even used reproduction 30s fabrics for it. To date, I have 40 out of 54 "flowers" completed. I'm going to put them together with green diamonds - so it will look something like this one. 

The Grandmother's Flower Garden got me hooked and now its a full blown addiction. Enter Katja Marek of Katja's Quilt Shoppe in Kamloops British Columbia. She has this wonderful book - The New Hexagon. In 2015 she facilitated an online Quilt Along to make a gorgeous and challenging quilt called Millefiore. It is constructed of about 14 Rosettes using the hexagons from Katja's book. This was one of the most challenging projects I've ever done. The construction is fairly straight forward, but choosing fabrics so that each round flows smoothly is quite a challenge.  I got two Rosettes done and decided to put it away for a while. Even now when I look at it, I think I might want to redo some of it.

Katja teased me again the next year with Quilts on the Go. For this Quilt Along, I decided to use Asian fabrics from my stash. This lasted through the first hexie and then I figured I'd better buy some more. Now I have 3 good sized totes filled with focus Asian fabrics to fussy cut and a bunch of fillers. This project is mush easier than Millie because each hexie stands alone. Once made, the hexies were appliqued to a backing and they were quilted. So, each one could stand alone as a mug rug; put a few together and you have a table topper; put them all together and you have a quilt.  I progressed a little further on this one, but I still have a few to make and then I'll whip-stitch them together into a quilt.

The next couple of Quilt Alongs that Katja has done are in the "collect and do later" category. We have Hex-Plosion and Perpetually Hexie. Cool projects and I couldn't stand not adding them to my EPP collection.

Katja is not the only designer doing cool EPP stuff. Tonya Owens from HillBilly Quilt Shop designed a mystery EPP with cool fabric from Paula Nadelstern (see my previous post).  Although I didn't keep current with the Quilt Along, the out-of- this-world table runner is ready to be quilted!

Another forerunner in EPP is Australian Sue Daley. I met Sue at the first Missouri Star Academy in Hamilton in May 2017. During her class, she showed (teased) us her new EPP BOM (don't ya just love the acronyms) called Round We Go. They are circles! I love them. Quilting Bits and Pieces in Eudora is hosting the BOM - starting August 2017. Again, these are in the "collect and do later" category. 

In addition to all being EPP, most of these projects have something else in common - they use lazer cut paper pieces available from If EPP is an addiction, PaperPieces is an enabler. They carry all sorts of shapes in multiple sizes. They also have packages with all the pieces for projects. If its EPP you want, look no further.

Join me in my addiction! 


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rulers - The Right Tool for The Job

I'm a sucker for rulers. Quilt shops, quilt shows, trunk shows, workshops - if there is a ruler for sale I'm always looking, and usually buying.

When I started quilting, the yellow OmniGrid rulers were really the only ones available. In combination with the rotary cutter, rulers  were probably the most innovative thing to happen to quilting since the sewing machine. When I started quilting, rotary cutters and rulers had just come out, so I've never really quilted without them.

Now Creative Grids, special order rulers, designer specific, as well as other ruler companies have joined the game and there are rulers out the wazoo.  And I own a lot of them. Not as many as I could (that's how I rationalize it), but a lot.

Let's start with what I call the "traditional" rulers - most of mine are Creative Grids. I love the Creative Grids website, they have videos on how to use the rulers, which is especially helpful for the specialty rulers. Traditional rulers are the rectangle and square rulers, used for cutting squares and rectangles for piecing, and squaring up blocks. But there is so much more I can do with these basic rulers. 45 and 60 degree lines enable me to cut bias strips and triangles. The extra lines help me cut specific sizes like .25 inch seam allowances after completing foundation paper pieces. I have a long (6.5 x 24.5) and medium (6.5 x 12.5) as well as some smaller ones (2.5 x 12.5 and 4 x 12.5). Several shops have 2.5 x 6 rulers with the shop name on them - I have 2 or 3. 

Square rulers are handy for cutting, fussy cutting, as well as squaring up blocks after piecing. Technically, I could use one large ruler to square up blocks the size of the ruler and smaller. But, its much easier and always preferable to use the ruler that matches the size of the block. So - I have 3 of them - a 14.5 inch square, an 8.5 inch square, and a 6.5 inch square. And of course I covet a few more to fill in all the sizes.

OK, so these are the necessary, but somewhat boring rulers. Now, for the more exciting, enticing specialty rulers. There are tons, so I'll highlight just a few of my favorites - Stripology Squared (in this post), Hexagon and Side Kick, Trimmer by George, and  the Quick Curve Ruler (in a later post).

I learned about Gudrun Erla's Stripology ruler about a year ago and have used it a lot to make jelly roll strips and smaller strips for fabric bowls. A cool ruler.

But then Gudrun came out with her Stripology Squared ruler. It does everything the Stripology does and more - squaring up, fussy cutting, and cutting blocks in specialty patterns.

I took a class from Gudrun sponsored by Prairie Point Quilt Shop and learned all sorts of fun things to do with her new ruler - most involving layer cakes (the fabric kind, not the chocolate kind). Gudrun also designed a bunch a cool patterns to accompany the ruler. In class I worked on her Valerie pattern with these great bright fabrics from the For You collection by Zen Chic. I added some solids to have enough layer cake squares for the pattern, and some popping orange for the sashing.

This cheery quilt is in my rotation as the "free spot", so hopefully it will be finished soon. I'd better start looking for some yardage for the backing. For You is an older collection, so there isn't a lot of yardage still out there.

Next time - more specialty rulers.
I'm curious - what are your favorite specialty rulers? Let me know.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

KVQG Opportunity Quilt for 2017

Every year members of the Kaw Valley Quilters Guild make a quilt to raise money to help support guild programs. A small group usually makes the quilt and then one of our talented longarmers quilts it. The drawing for the quilt is usually held at our Fall mini retreat, at which time the new quilt is unveiled. This year, the drawing will be at the guild's 40th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration in September.

The punnily named Sew Whatever's (I love their name) group: Karla Menaugh, Georgann Eglinski, Carol Jones, Sarah Fayman, Roseanne Smith, Kathe Dougherty, Wendy Turnbull and Beth Stella - have been together quite a while.  They meet weekly at Sarah's Fabrics to sew and visit.

Last year, the Sew Whatevers, along with friends Linda Frost and Kathy Supernant, decided to take on the task of the opportunity quilt. Since 2017 is the 40th - Ruby Anniversary of our guild, they chose to make the quilt ruby and white. And IT IS STUNNING!

The unusual blocks come from the book Nearly Insane by Liz Lois. As soon as Wendy told me about the book, I ordered it. Can't wait for it to get here.

They knew they wanted blocks around a center medallion. They looked up pictures of the ruby nasturtium (40th Anniversary Flower) to design the center applique. Wendy Turnbull expertly did the applique and Kathy Supernant stitched the green stems and curlies.

The incomparable longarmer Lori Kukuk quilted this lovely with circles of feathers, grids, and some echo quilting around the applique wreath. 

The Kaw Valley Quilters Guild is selling tickets for opportunities to win this gorgeous quilt. I've had it out at several venues so far and will have it at (hopefully) the July Sidewalk Sale, the Douglas County Fair, and other venues around town from now until September, The tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. If you would like to own this quilt, or support the KVQG, buy a ticket or five. Just let me know.

Curious about the KVQG? Check us out!