Monday, December 30, 2019

Cotton Cuts Mystery -- part six

I'm tickled to be part of Cotton Cuts Mystery Quilt Blog Hop!  I received clue six in the mail.

The fabric selection for #TeamNicole is printed on fabric.  It was super easy to identify which pieces were which by reading the instructions and matching the pieces with the fabric letters.

I followed along, step by step, and pieced Clue 6A. 

The directions told me which way to press the seams, so piecing this together was a snap!

The directions include the little labels to put on each piece so that the clues are easy to find when it is time to assembly the mystery quilt!

I pieced this during the Christmas season at a time when my energy was at an all-time low.  I can't tell you how satisfying it was to piece this quilt together without having to cut it out first.  I simply sat, fed the already-cut pieces through my sewing machine, and listened to a good audio book.  What a delightful afternoon!

Another rave about Cotton Cuts:  they support employment for the intellectually challenged and for those with other disabilities.  Read more about their mission HERE.

To further support this mission, Cotton Cuts will raffle off the finished quilt made piece by piece by designers like myself.  If you'd like a chance to win this quilt, enter the raffle HERE.

Thanks for following along on my adventure today.  For more quilty goodness, subscribe to my newsletter.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Gifties -- Christmas Serviettes

Now that Christmas has passed, I can show you the gift I made for my daughter-in-love:

Because every family needs a dozen bright green Nightmare Before Christmas serviettes.

I used fabric left from their Bullseye Cutie Quilt and my Serviette pattern.  She was thrilled and will be wiping her dainty fingertips in style for the forseeable future.

Yay for another finish!  But there are leftover bits calling to me to use them in another project:

Will these triangles become another Pterodactyl Quilt?

Spoiler Alert:  yes.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Straight pins, Safety pins, or Wonder Clips?

Which do you use?

I recently filmed a class about this question for Annie's Creative Studio:

Here's a preview of the class:

Pin it. Clip it. Stitch it! It's always fun to learn about new tools and also to see which ones your fellow quilters prefer to use.

In this Quilt & Sew Tips episode brought to you by Annie's Creative Studio, quilting expert Debby Brown reveals the benefits and drawbacks of using straight pins, safety pins and Wonder clips to secure fabrics while piecing.

In this episode, you'll learn how to:
  • Consider which options work best for you for holding fabric together.
  • Review a variety of specialty straight pins.
  • Use fabric clips in a new way.
Annie's Creative Studio is a subscription-based platform where you can learn from experts (like me!) how to quilt,
knit, crochet, and more!  If you aren't a member yet, sign up for a free trial to watch the entire episode.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Evolution of a Scrap Quilt -- Pterodactyl One

When it comes to snow days, I'm still a child.  This week's predicted snowstorm turned into an ice storm, which was still a good excuse to stay in my PJs and play in the sewing room.  This was the result:

I started with the leftovers from a recent (super-secret) project:

and I asked myself, borrowing from the movie Airplane "What do I make of this?"

Since the movie quote is "I can make a hat, a brooch... a pterodactyl" and since I am not making a hat or a brooch, I make must be a Pterodactyl.

I pulled out some white fabric and prepped to do some applique:

My husband and I are looking forward to the release of the final Star Wars movie and watching all of the previous movies.  I finished this applique block during our movie binge, so it was time to make some decisions.

What will this 12" block turn into?

I bordered it with leftover yellow and added the leftover Drunkard's Path blocks:

I still had a few blocks left and some scraps of fabric, so I pieced together another border:

And the final quilt is 41" square (and photographed on the ice on the remains of my deck):

This quilt is going to be so fun to quilt!  The name of this quilt is Pterodactyl One.  I have bags and Bags and BAGS of quilt leftovers.  They will become Pterodactyls, too.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

'Tis the Season for a Festive Quilt Class

Simple quilts rock my world!  I recently filmed a class on how to make the Treetop quilt for Annie's Creative Studio:

I love that the pattern for the quilt is included with the class

Class Description:
Display a Christmas themed starfield when you quilt the lively Treetop Quilt!

In this Learn, Make, Create! episode brought to you by Annie's Creative Studio, expert quilter Debby Brown demonstrates how to cut, piece and assemble the Christmas stars in this youth-sized quilt pattern design.

In this episode, you'll learn how to:
  • Prepare and piece accurate half-square triangles.
  • Press strategically to reduce bulk.
  • Quilt the stunning Treetop quilt.
Annie's Creative Studio is a subscription-based platform where you can learn from experts (like me!) how to quilt,
knit, crochet, and more!  If you aren't a member yet, sign up for a free trial to watch the entire episode.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Treasures from Scraps

I've been giving myself permission to play with my quilting, and this week I played with a Tiny Dresden Template from Suzn Quilts:

While sorting through little bags of leftover scraps from finished quilts, I found a little pile of leftover bits of Dreamscape fabric and wanted to see what I could make from it.

I pulled out this fun Tiny Dresden Template from Suzn Quilts and my it's winter and my arthritic hands are aching hand-friendly Quilters Select rotary cutter:

I patiently stitched them together by machine and turned them right side out using my Purple Thang:

I put the colors together randomly since I only had little bits of a few colors each:

I only had enough fabric to make four little Dresden Plates.

But I'm sure I'll find something lovely to do with them.  First, I'll hand applique the center circles, then stitch to background fabric.  I'm thinking black?  Any other suggestions?

I have a few ideas for making a quilt with only four 4 1/2" blocks, but I haven't settled on one yet.  I'll be sure to share with you when I make up my mind!

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

'Tis the Season

While I love holidays and people, I'm not big on decorating or having holiday-specific things in my house.  I dipped my toe into the decorating water when I joined Hugs 'N Kisses Advent Mystery Stitchalong.

Tracing the pattern was a breeze using my Daylight Wafer light box:

The circle around the design is a cutting line, but I liked it as part of the design and decided to stitch it as part of my design on Northcott Dublin Antique Lace:

I next paired it with some wonderful Christmas fabric from Riley Blake and made a cloth napkin using my Serviette pattern:

I doubt I'll have time to make one each day, but I should finish enough of them to enjoy festive meals and maybe gift some as hostess gifts.

Are you crafting for the holidays?  Are you stitching along with Hugs 'N Kisses?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Scraps of Inspiration

As I'm cleaning out my sewing room, I'm finding little bags of leftover bits from scores of finished quilts.

Do you bag up project leftovers, sure you'll have the perfect use for them someday?  Have you ever figured out what that use is?

Every time I find a bag of scraps, I think "What do you make of this?" and a scene from Airplane plays through my mind:

I could make something hand pieced, appliqued, scrap pieced, or a pterodactyl.

I'm open to any suggestions.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ten-Four, Good Buddy! -- a free pattern

In the latest battle in my personal war against scraps, I took aim at my bucket of 1 1/2" scrap squares.

1,600 squares later, this happened:

I named this quilt Ten-Four, because it has 10-inch pieced blocks and 4-inch sashings.  The entire quilt is 60"x60", a perfect size for gifting.

When was time to machine quilt it, I looked to some of my favorite threads:

FabuLux Midas Touch and DecoBob dark gold.  I decided to stitch a walking-foot wiggle every inch.  It was a joy to quilt and went so fast!

Do you have far too many 1 1/2" squares in your sewing room, just looking for a quilt?  Check out my free Scrappy Charity Quilts class.  The pattern for Ten-Four in included in that free class.

If you want to learn how to stitch a walking-foot wiggle, check out my free Blowing in the Wind class.  I show this same technique on simple charm square quilt.

Monday, November 25, 2019


Guilty admission:  I have the same pile of unfinished quilting projects that most quilters do.

My commitment to my Stitch Therapy 365 project and stitching one design for every project I finish has me looking through my sewing room daily, asking "What can I finish today?"  

I found a mostly machine quilted baby quilt in that stack, finished the quilting, and finished the binding.

I rewarded myself for my labors by stitching this:

It's amazing how something so tiny can make me so happy!

Isn't this the sweetest thing you ever saw?

Do you have hundreds of projects and need motivation?  Check out the Stitch Therapy 365 kit!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Guinea Pigs

As a quilt teacher, most of my classrooms are far from home or on the computer.  Before I teach there, however, I teach a local group of quilters at the Quilt Basket (my local quilt shop) and they let me work out the class with them.  They show me where the handout could have been clearer, when there is too little (or too much!) information in a class, and how I can make the class fun for all.  I'm so grateful they take their time and let me work out my classes with them!

Last weekend I taught them a free-motion class that I plan to market to quilt shops.  I made a new sample:

I stitched basic shapes:

Collectively, we decided that this would make a great full-day workshop.  So look for that in the future!  I get to make another quilt soon to see what is reasonable for half-day workshop.  

Since I finished binding this sample, I stitched another design on my Stitch Therapy 365 quilt:

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

New Video: How to Machine Quilt an Apple Core Quilt

One of the most often asked quilting questions is "How do I quilt this?"

It has been my pleasure to help answer this question in person and online for over a decade.

Since Quilt Market / Quilt Festival, I have been absolutely obsessed with hand piecing.  I had fun hand-piecing these curvy apple cores with Benartex Dreamscape fabrics:

I found a new favorite thimble at Quilt Festival and have been enjoying using it, as well as the cutest pair of scissors on earth!

I pieced together 25 apple cores and arranged them with other fabrics to make a placemat.

I filmed a video of how I machine quilted this using Hedwig and FabuLux Mellow Yellows thread:

This placemat will serve as inspiration for future apple core quilts, travel as a sample, and eventually be used to keep Mom's spaghetti from her tabletop.

For me, the best part of the placemat is that I bound and FINISHED it, which means I got to work on my Stitch Therapy incentive quilt.

Day 2:

I ran to the sewing room and asked myself, "What can I finish so I can stitch one of the designs?"  A simple binding on this placemat set me right up!

Monday, November 18, 2019

New Year, New Goals, New Project

As a traveling quilt teacher, my calendar is different than the rest of the world's.  Instead of Halloween, I say "Houston."  Instead of Father's Day, I say "Vermont Quilt Festival." Instead of New Year, I say "the day after I return from Houston." 

I bought myself a New Year's present -- a new stitchery kit with 365 daily patterns

I saw this quilt at Helen's booth in Houston and simply had. to. have. it!!!

Since my calendar is weird, I won't finish this quilt in 365 days.  Instead, I plan to stitch one day's design every time I finish a project.  Hopefully this will inspire me to finish up UFOs that have been languishing in my sewing room for far too long!

This incentive project is already hard at work.  I finished this little test quilt:

I saw leftover bits of pre-fused fabric from a top-secret project and started thinking (always dangerous.)  "What would happen if...?" 

So I gave myself a few hours to see what would happen if I--

--ran the pre-fused Benartex Fossil Fern fabrics through my Sizzix die cutter and made a bunch of one-inch circles?  And then drew 2" squares on a yard of gray fabric?  And then rolled a die to determine how many circles I would place in a grouping?  And then fused the circles to the fabric?

-- threaded Hedwig with FabuLux Cuddle, added my ViviLux, and used my walking foot to stitch along those chalk lines?

--used the "bacon (wiggle)" stitch to stitch through each fused circle?

--machine bound the quilt using Cuddle and a blanket stitch?

Well, this fun little quilt is what happened.

It'll stay with me for a while, be used as a sample or a springboard for a future "what if?" project, and then given away as a baby quilt or a wheelchair quilt.

Since I started and FINISHED this quilt, I rewarded myself by stitching Day 1 of my sampler.

Do you have a big goal and need daily rewards for the work?  Do you want a new project for the New Year?  Do you just want to play along?  I brought home several of these Stitch Therapy 365 kits and they are now available in my shop.  Shipping is free!

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Thankful Bowl of Cherries

Over the summer, I rolled out of bed while sleeping and broke my collarbone.*  If I could have scheduled this accident at a worse time, I'm not sure how.  No orthopedic surgeons are working the Friday after a Thursday 4th of July here in the States; they are all enjoying a long weekend as proper people do.  I, however, needed to see an orthopedic surgeon and was desperate.  I stopped in my rheumatologist's office and begged to see her assistant.  Since she's new and I rarely visit my specialist, we haven't met in person; we've spoken on the phone and I think she's quite lovely.  I introduced myself to her with "I left a quilt for you in the office last week.  Did you get it?"

"Yes," she said.  "I love it!  My boyfriend loved it too and asked me if I could get one for him.  I told him that it probably didn't work that way."

After our discussion, she helped me find an orthopedic surgeon who would fit me in that day.  I cried tears of gratitude and asked what her boyfriend's favorite color was. 

His favorite color is green:

I spent all of the 4th of July making two Bowl of Cherries quilts -- an orange one and a green one.  I knew that it would be a while until I had two hands again and was able to machine quilt the top, but I decided on the spot that this green quilt would be a perfect thank you gift for my doctor's assistant.

And it was.

The moral of the story is:  Bribe your medical team with quilts in case you need a favor on a holiday.
*I thought that was the most bizarre thing that could happen.  My house, however, said, "I can beat that" and proceeded to be crushed under a falling tree.