Monday, May 18, 2015

"Windows on My Garden": Slice, Splice, Done.

Has it been forever since I posted a new pattern, or does it just seem that way to me? Spring and all that comes with that has interfered with my sewing and pattern making. After tomorrow's visit by the lawn sprinkler man, though, things may calm down a bit. It's high time, too, because I need to begin seriously thinking about fall and winter patterns.

This pattern is finally finished, though, and it was so worth the effort! I am absolutely crazy about this one.  I've titled it "Windows on My Garden".

Slice, splice, done really does describe the quilt! Perhaps I should have named it that. No, I really do see windows when I look at it. The pattern makes two different size quilts with nine duplicates of one block. The larger one has a border, the smaller one has none.

When each block is identical, the stage is set for assembly line sewing. With precise cutting and accurate 1/4" seams it all comes together easily.

I've made these two entirely different quilts, each with nine of the blocks, but I know I will soon be stitching up more items made with different numbers of the same block.

Three in a row would make a table runner 15" x 45'.
Four set in a square become a 30" x 30" table topper. Add a narrow border and you'd have a baby quilt.
Twenty blocks set in a 4 x 5 grid with an added border are needed for a twin bed quilt, and 42 blocks in a 6 x 7 rectangle are perfect for a queen size bed.

The block is made with slicing, splicing, and trimming. The pink and green quilt was the experiment that helped me figure out how to splice two strips going down the side of block and only one going across. If I'd used splices half an inch wide everything would have been fine. But, I didn't like the half inch strips. I wanted larger ones - three fourths of an inch wide. And that threw everything off. Each time I added a spliced strip into a row of patches, the row grew 1/4" wider. If I'd left it that way, seams wouldn't have lined up at all. Some rows of patches would have finished 5" wide, and others 5 1/4" wide. That last little trimming slice fixed the problem altogether.

When it's finished, each block is 15" x 15" - and the patches line up!

The first quilt, 49" x 49".
I made the second quilt to work up the pattern. I thought I might use photographs in the pattern, but I honestly didn't need them at all because I've finally figured out how to make a simple pattern like this on the computer.

Confession: I do love this pattern, and I had this lovely stack of low volume fat quarters begging to be made into a quilt.  That's the real reason I made the second quilt. And I am so happy I did!

Low volume quilt with a border, 56" x 56". 
I am so in love with this quiet quilt! Someday I may find another set of gorgeous fabrics like this and make a bed size quilt in this same pattern.  The fabrics are so subtle that nothing really pops out, so lots of quilting was needed to add texture and make it sparkle.

I like cotton batting for table toppers and wall hangings because it gives them stability and they keep their shape so well. This quilt, however, needed to be as soft and cuddly as possible, so I used Legacy 80/20 poly-cotton blend batting. No matter how densely you quilt it, the quilt remains soft and pliable. I was able to truly let myself go on the quilting without turning it into something stiff and unyielding. 

Oh gosh, I had so much fun!

Done is done, and now I need to focus on something new. There are at least 50 choices on my idea list. I'll go over them tomorrow and try to decide where to begin.

Have a lovely week!

And happy stitching!

Friday, May 15, 2015

When it Rains, it Pours

Looking out onto my backyard. Raining once again.
Everything happens at once some weeks. Not only have we had rain almost every day, but my normally quiet life has turned into nonstop go-go-go! Thank goodness I haven't yet reached the stage of "elderly" that I can do no more than doze in my rocking chair all day. This is a roundup of the week.

Sunday: Mother's Day. I sewed like crazy to beat the clock before my daughter came over. A while back she asked for a smaller case for her crochet hooks, something she could carry when she worked on a single project. I found a great pattern on Craftsy by Tulip Square. I made a few changes of course, adding a zipper compartment, and altering the binding. I barely got finished on time!! The afternoon shadow were getting long when I took these photos.

This is the link to the pattern:

Monday: It rained again, so our house painters were delayed. Again. Sigh. I focused on writing the Slice and Dice pattern during the day, working on the hand stitching on the binding, and preparing for book talks. More on that later.

Tuesday: A repeat of Monday interspersed with errand running and meeting a friend for coffee, and company for dinner. Yikes!

Wednesday: The sun came out and the painters arrived only ten days later than originally scheduled! Super nice guys and they do beautiful work. They had a day and a half before the rains returned, so they'll be back as soon as the sun shines again.

While the painting went on I began a baking marathon. Muffins first, so the painters had a lovely just-from-the-oven morning snack. After lunch I baked a batch of chocolate cupcakes that I needed for Thursday, book talk day. These came from a well worn Betty Crocker book. It's been a go-to favorite for twenty years. I'm sure you have one like it - smudged pages covered in sticky notes and a tattered cover.

Thursday: Book talks today. I head back to my former school and my fifth grade teaching buddies regularly each year, with books in hand. The day is spent giving book talks to four classrooms of fifth grade students. This month I had ten brand new books to introduce to them. Since they were new I'd read every one of them over the past few weeks and taken notes. Planning and preparation is time consuming, but I love having that "kid fix" now and then. I also love the chance to sit down and have lunch with my younger friends. That's why the cupcakes. It was Shelley's birthday, so I brought a treat.
Diane took this photo of me from a distance, but I cropped out recognizable children, and that's why it's blurry.

When I got home that afternoon I had a text from a friend who teaches middle school. A young girl with a love of sewing is hoping that her sewing skills can help her to earn some much needed money. A donated sewing machine was found for her, but she needs fabrics and other sewing essentials. I quickly trotted down to the sewing room and pulled out any larger pieces of fabric that could be used for sewing clothes and bagged them up to take over to her school. I tossed in some patterns, plus odds and ends of thread, zippers, and other notions that I likely won't need. I hope this will help her to get started.

Friday: Once again we're in the middle of a thunderstorm! It must be monsoon season in Nebraska!

Today, though, life will slow down a little bit. Aside from preparing meals, I have only to make a trip to the library, deliver the package of sewing odds and ends to the school counselor, give my hubby a haircut, and try to make real progress with my pattern writing. Wish me luck!

Slice and Dice quilting competed.

Wishing you a super special weekend. 
And sunshine! Lots of sunshine!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day, a Flood, FMQ, and a New Banana Muffin Recipe

Happy Mother's Day!!

As Mother'd Day approaches, I've been missing my mom more and more. Spring was her favorite time of year and I think of her with every flower that I plant, and several of my spring mug rug patterns were a designed as tributes to her memory.

As the years go by, I'm learning to comprehend her better. When we are young, we tend to take our mothers for granted, but with age I'm learning more about the depth of her love and the meaningfulness of her life.

I miss you, Mom. Thank you for showing me how to be a better wife and mother.

Three generations - my mother and me with my newborn granddaughter. An amazing moment.
"Rain, rain go away,
Come again some other day."

April showers were just a warmup for May, it seems. Every day this past week we've had rain in some form or another. Our house was scheduled for painting two weeks ago, but there's no painting possible in this weather. We're hoping for a break next week.

The night before last we received 6 inches of rain overnight. The park behind our house is a flood plain, and when morning dawned we were living on lakefront property. It happens once every few years, and we've named the short lived lake Phantom Lake. We were lucky. Our house stayed dry, but several areas in town had to be evacuated.

Yesterday and today: before and after photos. The bridge across the drainage ditch was partially submerged when I got out of bed. The deposits of leaves on the tennis court fence show how high the water reached during the night.


There hasn't been enough sewing time to finish the new version of the slice and dice quilt, but the FMQ is almost complete with only the border remaining. Free motion quilting can quickly become tedious, but I've found that listening a good audio book helps the hours pass much more quickly.

I've used three different designs for each block. I think I'll do the border in a feather stitch. I wish I had a photograph that shows the pale colors in this quilt better, but I may need to wait for sunshine. Cloudy days aren't helping.

Another Banana Muffin Recipe

If you like banana bread that really tastes like bananas, this recipe from is a good one. It's called "Best Banana Bread" for a good reason. The recipe makes one loaf of banana bread, but divided into a dozen muffins, it can be baked in 20 minutes instead of 60.


I altered the recipe to make it a bit more diabetic friendly for my hubby. I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and replaced the one cup of sugar with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup Splenda.

This is the link to take you quickly to the original recipe.

Wishing you a week filled with sunshine and happiness!

Friday, May 1, 2015

I am NOT elderly!!

Elderly [el-der-lee] adjective

1. of advanced age; old:
Do you see that? Elderly is just a nice way of saying old! Old? 
These are old:
  • a battered and worn out shoe
  • visitors who stay too long
  • that unidentifiable green muck in the back of the fridge
  • a joke you've heard 100 times
Don't call me elderly!!
It all started with a sewing mishap, of course. 

I bumped the back of my hand against the rotary cutter blade. It was just a tiny little nick, but I didn't want to bleed on the quilt and I didn't want to wait five minutes, so I stuck a bandaid on it and continued work. When I removed the bandaid a few hours later, the tape tore off a bit of skin!

Now I had a larger injury than before! I wasn't about to put another bandaid on that one, so I bandaged it up the old fashioned way with long strips of white gauze because that's all I had. Lovely.

The next day I broke the cycle of procrastination and tackled some yard work. I started with some long overdue pruning on the ancient juniper hedge in front of my house. The bush tackled me right back! It snapped against my arm and tore up a small flap of skin.

What was this with my skin tearing? That's new. I headed straight to Google and learned that skin tears are very common in the elderly and a real problem in nursing homes!

Google, go wash your mouth out with soap. I may be 72 years old, but I will not be defined as elderly!

Now that I've got that off my chest, I can talk about what I've accomplished this week.

I've planted most of my herbs and flowers. I used lots of pots this year. The step ladder herb garden is right in front of that nasty, aggressive juniper bush.

Sometimes things are backwards and life comes from art. This idea came from my wheelbarrow quilt block. That old wheelbarrow had been using up space in my shed for the past 30 years, while the summer leaves on this tree have grown so thick that even grass won't grow in the dense shade. The wheelbarrow helps to fill the barren space. 

These shade tolerant plants should be fine here, but I left them in pots so I can move them easily if they don't do well. 
In the ditch stitching is finished on the slice and dice quilt. Now I'm trying to decide how to quilt it. I signed up for another Angela Walters class on Craftsy, and that has given me some ideas. I really hope I can finish it next week.

Wishing you a super week!

Since I'm not the least bit elderly, I think I'll go out and join the neighbor kiddos in climbing up my apple tree.

Come on over! We'll have a party.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Progress and Procrastination

It's spring, and I mean, really and truly spring! We've been getting some lovely spring showers so the grass is shooting up so green and so quickly that it needs mowing every time I turn around. Trees are filled with new leaves, and apple blossoms are fading.

I should be out in my yard whenever the sun shines.  I should be working on cleanup, planting new flowers in my garden bed, and filling pots with spring annuals. Should be, should be, should be! I keep telling myself that I'll go to the nursery tomorrow. I'll get out the rake tomorrow. Tomorrow. Yes, I'll definitely do it tomorrow.

Excuses are plentiful.
Yesterday it was windy, so I had to do something else.
Today it's raining. I can't work outside.
Guess I'm stuck with sewing. Poor me.

I've been procrastinating like this on my yard work for the entire week, but I've been obsessed with trying to finish the slice and dice low volume quilt. There's been no spare time to get outside and dig in the dirt.

I keep kicking myself, but the low volume quilt sings a siren's song and without knowing what happened I find myself in my sewing room instead of in the garden. Here, at least, I'm making progress.

Remember these pastel fabrics?

That was last week. This is right now. Lightly spray basted and pinned for extra sturdiness.  All ready for stitch-in-the-ditch.

Tomorrow, I'll go to the nursery.
Tomorrow I'll bring the rake out of the shed.

Definitely, tomorrow.

If it doesn't rain. 

Happy Stitching!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Color Journey - From Here to There and Back Again

I've just started work on a low volume quilt. Softer, quieter quilts with light backgrounds are widely popular in modern quilting, and I like so many of the quilts I'm seeing. It's time to give low volume a whirl, and I've chosen to experiment with muted pastels on white. When I look at my new fat quarters, it seems like I've come full circle.

There's a story, of course.

As a child I loved art class best of all. In high school and during my first two years of college I took all the art courses I could even though I knew I was not meant to be a professional artist. I was too timid. Bold use of color or great, sweeping strokes of paint were terrifying. I didn't want any of my work to be "wrong".

Eventually, I found teaching. It became my life's work, and working with children was exactly where I belonged. Years flew by. In addition to being a teacher, I was the mom who sewed clothes, curtains, and Halloween costumes, but I turned up my nose at quilting. Something from bygone generations. Definitely not my thing.

Then my daughter told me that I'd soon become a grandmother, and she asked if I'd please make a baby quilt. She didn't sew, but she did own some beautiful quilts. At that moment she could have asked for the moon and I would have fetched it for her.

I had no idea what I was doing when I made that very first quilt. I didn't grasp how exact those 1/4" seams needed to be. Even so, I was instantly hooked on quilting. I studied the basics and got myself a 1/4" quilting foot and quilters' cutting tools. Before I could blink I was merrily churning out one baby quilt after another. Pretty little baby colors, clean white backgrounds, absolutely perfect for me!

I tried my hand at larger quilts, but I was disappointed in so many of them. Quilt blocks and partially completed quilt tops found their way into the give-away bag because I simply couldn't bear to look at them anymore.

One day I ran across an article in a quilt magazine about choosing fabrics for quilts that almost jumped off the page. Every quilt book I'd read had promoted the same ideas, but somehow this particular article woke me up.

The word, "pop", appeared over and over. Dark values "pop" on light background, light values "pop" on dark backgrounds. In addition to color value, the article continued, balance between large scale prints, smaller prints, and solids or tone on tone fabrics could make a quilt come to life with "pop".

I had assumed that with my background in art I knew what I was doing. Oh, so wrong! My quilts were desperately lacking in "pop".

I took a deep breath and went shopping for fabrics that were light, medium, and dark in value. I bought big, dramatic prints, and mixed them in with other fabrics.  Some combinations worked. Some didn't. But as I learned to embrace color in all it's hues and values and to incorporate prints of varying scale, my quilts took on new life. Before long I was fearlessly choosing bold, vibrant fabrics and experimenting with new color palettes. "Pop, pop, pop!"

This past week when I began cutting into that stack of quiet fat quarters in the pastel colors I've always loved I realized that I had somehow found my way back to the beginning.

"Hush," the fabrics whisper to me. "Your colors don't have to shout all of the time." No "pop"? We'll soon know how a quiet quilt will look.  Full circle. I hope I've learned enough to make it work this time around.

I don't have photos of the earliest quilts, but the photos below are snapshots of a few important steps along my journey. The first is from a pattern in a McCall's magazine. I hadn't begun making patterns when I designed the others.

An experiment with value. All of these blocks are from a single block pattern.

Kaffe Fassett is discovered. Talk about "pop"!

Working with scale and bold contrasts. Could this be from the person who was afraid of color?
Piecing combined with applique in light and bright scrappy fabrics.
With this quilt I found my happy place in quilting.
... and back again ...

Happy stitching, fellow travelers!

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Week of Purses - One Down and One to Go

 I really do need to take more time for personal sewing, but I get so excited about patterns that I keep putting my own projects off for another day. Right now with the happy frog mug rug completed I don't have any really pressing projects.  This is a great time to take a bit of a break, so I've begun sewing a couple of  spring purses for myself.

The first purse is finished. This was my very first experience with making a messenger bag.

I made so many mistakes in designing this pattern! It finally came out okay, but what headaches I created for myself by not thinking it through carefully enough before I began.

I should probably break down and buy a couple of patterns, but I'm so stubborn about making my bags from my own designs. I never see anything that's exactly perfect. If I design my own bag I can construct one with the exact style and measurements that I want. My husband tells me that I make work for myself when I could do things so much more easily, and he's right, I suppose. Stubbornness runs in the family and I inherited it in spades.

The second bag will be so different from anything else I own, and I'm truly excited. The idea for the design came from Pinterest, of course, and the decision to make it came out of a trip to the Baby Lock shop.

I had to pick up a new foot for my sewing machine, you see, and I should have known that I'd get lost in the fabric department. This scrumptious little group of fabrics was irresistible. I had saved a photo of a bag that I loved, and it required a group of soft and warm coordinated fabrics.

That bag I saw on Pinterest that will be the basis for my design. No pattern is available, so this time I have a real excuse for doing my own thing. Plus, I plan to make some major changes to the design, so the bag will be quite unique.

I really wanted to start today, but I can't do much until I have a zipper. Today, I'll take care of some essential chores around the house and work on getting the pattern just right. The zipper will have to wait a day.

Later in the week, I hope to begin making a second fat quarter quilt from my slice and dice design.

This time I'll get photos as I go, and, although it will be made with the same design as this one, you'll see two totally different quilts in the final pattern.

The weekend is upon us, and the drizzle of the past few days seems to be ending. We've had some warm days, but it's been very chilly this past week. I'm definitely not complaining about the moisture! We've had an unusually dry winter and the rain is more than welcome.  My grass is lushly green and my apple tree has begun to bloom. I can't wait to say goodbye to the cold and welcome the fragrant spring breeze when we can finally open the windows and let the fresh air blow through the house.

I love this photo! It reminds me so much of my grandmother's farmhouse. Thank you Google Images.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ideas and the Origin of a Happy Dance

I'm always surprised when people ask me where I get my ideas and whether I'm afraid I'll run out of things to make.

I honestly don't go around wondering what I can possibly do next. I do, however, run into trouble trying to choose which of my ideas I should work on next. Ideas pop into my head faster than I can write them down, and half the time I don't know where they come from or why they arrive. It seems that all the while I'm working on one project my mind is chasing ahead to next twenty possible projects.

Now and again, though, I know exactly why I thought of a specific design. The frog pattern is a great example of that.  My niece has a little girl who has a hard time getting up in the morning. They have finally found a solution, and her father posted it on facebook.  He said that the song, "Good Morning", from the Gene Kelly movie, "Singing in the Rain", was the newly discovered trick to getting her up and about with a smile on her face.

It's one of my favorite movies of all time!  I had to go hunting until I found the movie clip for Gene Kelly's famous dance in the rain. You remember this, don't you.

What a joyous dance!! The inspiration for my happy frog dancing in the rain with an umbrella traces all the way back to 1952 and a movie that has stayed with me since I first saw it as a young girl. 

I wasn't planning the pillow until a facebook follower said that she needed a frog pillow for her sunroom. Others liked the idea, and first thing I knew I was off buying a pillow form and planning a pillow as well as a mug rug. 

I chose the colors of the mug rug because they are so bright. They simply shout "happy". The colors on the pillow were picked to go with the small lap quilt that brightens our guest bed.  

I made this little lap quilt before I retired eight years ago. It was my very first experience with free motion quilting on something bigger than a small table runner. I hadn't a clue what I was doing and my stitches were all over the place in size. Even so, this quilt is one of my favorites, and to be honest, I'm the only one who's ever paid the least bit of attention to the quilting. 

The pattern is really quite deceptive. It's a Jacob's Ladder quilt and the color placement creates the stars. I spent hours moving all of the patches in the blocks around on my dining room table and photographing the different effects until I happened across this particular arrangement. 

There are no photographs of the process, of course, but it's such an easy little thing that I could likely make the pattern using my very limited skill with the drawing program in Word. It shouldn't be that difficult - all squares and half square triangles. I wonder if anyone would want it. 

I'm not yet sure what I'll stitch up next. I do need a new purse, and I have all of the fabrics for a low volume quilt for the "Slice and Dice" pattern. Those will be made before long,  but that doesn't mean for sure that they'll be next. At some point a vision of a project will hit like a bolt of lightening and I'll be catapulted into whatever it may be. 

In the meanwhile, here are just a few of the ideas I've jotted down for the future. For the most part I don't know which of these will be table toppers or table runners, mug rugs or wall hangings. I may even work up another pillow.  
  • A heart shaped box of chocolates for Valentine's Day.
  • Children on swings.
  • A trio of friends "then and now" quilt blocks or mug rugs.
  • Mug rugs shaped like a camper and a VW Bug.
  • A fish bowl
  • Sunflowers
  • Tiny houses
  • Christmas stockings
  • Packages on a table runner
  • A rocking horse
  • Farm scene
  • Little house in the big woods
  • Ships and sea
  • Cupcakes
  • Cats and a scratching pole
  • A table runner with feathers, probably in batiks
  • A sewing themed wall hanging (maybe for next year?)
  • Fruit
  • Sunshine
  • Child building a snowman
What would you like to work on next? 

Wishing you a joyful week with new reasons for happy dancing every day!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Offer That Wasn't

One of my friends posted this on facebook the other day. She headed it, "That moment when you know you're doing the right thing.."

I am so blessed to have found exactly the right career - twice!

I began teaching in 1965 and I retired in 2007.  I didn't rationally and intentionally choose to be a teacher. When I started college, teaching, right along with nursing and secretarial work, was on my list of "women's" jobs that I absolutely refused to consider. Then, in my second year of college, teaching found me. It really was like a calling that I couldn't avoid following. I wouldn't trade those years of working with children for a different career anymore than I would trade my own children for those of someone else.

Then came retirement. For the first year or two I just played around with my quilting and my sewing. Then Craftsy came along and I signed up. Little could I have imagined at the time that this website would lead me on to a new and totally unplanned career. I had always designed my own patterns and drawing had been a favorite hobby from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil. It was a perfect match, a hobby that I love and a small business that comes in very handy in these retirement years. 

And that leads me to the offer that turned out not be. 

The Offer 

Back in early January I received an interesting offer. At least it seemed interesting at first glance.

I had an email from a buyer for a very well known quilt catalog. She had seen my patterns on Craftsy and thought they might sell well through this company with it's international sales and millions of customers worldwide. She enclosed a PDF of frequently asked questions and offered to send me a contract should I be interested.

She didn't have to tell me that this is a big company. I knew that. I've been getting their quilting email for years.

It all sounded rather intriguing and I thought about the advantages. 1. I might pick up lots of sales this way and expand my customer base. 2. Customers who chose not to join Craftsy wouldn't have to become members in order to purchase my designs. 3. Those who don't use PayPal could pay another way.

I was curious, but not convinced that this would be a good idea, so I read the FAQ page. I was surprised to see that they wanted to take a 70% commission on the sale price of any patterns they sold. On second reading, it appeared that there might be room for negotiation. I had other reservations, but I responded anyway.

I sent a pattern to the buyer and explained that she might want to look it over before making an offer. My patterns are a bit different from most in that all of the templates are all drawn by hand. I don't know how to use a computer drawing program, I've not needed to learn this yet, and not a single customer has ever complained, so I'm happy. Her company might feel that this takes away from the "professional" look of the pattern, but I'm not interested in redoing templates or changing anything else about the patterns, for that matter.

Next, I told her that I'm an old grandmother, so I've no intention of trying to build an thriving business.  I'm just playing and having fun with my retirement hobby. I enjoy making these patterns at my leisure.  If my patterns pay for my materials and a give me a bit of extra spending money I'm happy.

Then I explained the most important aspect of my little business, the part that means more to me than any amount of money I can earn. By selling through Craftsy, I am able to communicate directly with my customers. I am easily accessible, always available to answer questions, able to guide beginners to the information they need, and excited to share in the joy of their successes. I know many of them by name, and we have a relationship that goes well beyond that of customer and seller.

I would never, ever give up these close relationships. I'm a retired school teacher, for goodness sake. I like people. I like being helpful. I get goose bumps when a customer learns something new or turns my pattern into something special. I thrill over photos of projects that are sent to me - even if the patterns used come from a different source.

I wrote that she could contact me if she wanted to discuss selling my patterns in more detail. Needless to say, there's been no response.

That's fine by me.

My patterns don't have to look "professional".  They may look amateur, but that's because they're made by an amateur.

On any given day, I can choose when I work, what I work on, how I go about my designing, and whether I work at all.

If I really wanted more customers, I could sell on Etsy, too, but I'm quite content with only one set of procedures for posting patterns.

I love spending my retirement doing something that gives me an enormous feeling of accomplishment and a heartwarming connection to others.

What I'm doing now is exactly the "right thing" for me!

Now, let's all go sew stuff! 

The frog pattern will be out in just a few more days!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Finished Wall Hanging!!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The last block is completed, the last stitch has been sewn, templates have been drawn, and the pattern has been written! The 2015 Summer Garden quilt along is altogether finished, and it's done way ahead of schedule! This feels so good!

I must have taken 20 photographs, but this was my favorite. 

I've included the fabric requirement and instructions for assembling the quilt in this last block pattern. It's done very simply with 1" sashing and a border of the same size. 

The creation of a trellis block came as a complete and total surprise to me, but it was a very welcome surprise. It completes the quilt and it is unique. I've searched the web, but nowhere have I found another trellis block on a quilt. I'm sure that others exist out there, but I wasn't able to locate one. I do detest creating something and finding that it looks very similar to another designers quilt. 

Originally I had planned to use primary colors to make this quilt. Red, blue, yellow with a bit of green sounded happy. Somehow, though, that didn't happen. Without intending to at all, I slipped back into my comfortable pastels. The wheelbarrow and trellis blocks with shades of pink and purple changed everything, so I had to remake two of the small blocks. The dark blue butterfly was exchanged for a brighter, paler blue, and a red heart was replaced with one in yellow and pink. 

But, I know that I like this much, much more than I would have liked the original color scheme. Best of all, my hubby enjoys looking at it. "Beautiful," he says. I'm such a happy camper today.

I may make a combined pattern for all of the blocks eventually, but for now the patterns for separate blocks will have to do. With all of the full size templates and layout plans the combined pattern would have so many pages! The main advantage to this is that people can purchase and download one pattern at a time as they are ready to work on each new block. For me it's a time issue more than anything. I have so many projects in the works right now, and that's a really wonderful thing!

Hope your weekend is filled with glorious sunshine, both in the sky and in your heart! 

Happy Stitching!!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Photo from a New Quilter and a Glimpse into my Week

It's been a crazy, busy week, but before I say any more about that I want you to take a look at this photo from Jane.

Jane made this little table runner from my "Spring Table Runner" pattern. It was her first experience with fusible web applique and her first try at free motion quilting. Isn't this lovely for spring? I love the matching bunnies for Easter, too. As she worked on this, Jane asked lots of questions. It was so delightful to visit with her and cheer her on from the sidelines of cyberspace. 

Unfortunately, there is very little to actually show you about my own week. The big accomplishment was finishing up the sewing on the garden quilt. It's totally, absolutely, completely finished - fmq, binding, everything - done!

I do worry when these quilt alongs are in the process of being designed as I go and shared with you before I know what the finished product will look like. What if things go wrong late in the process? What it people who've already bought blocks are disappointed? What if? 

Now it's finished and I'm so relieved that I really do like it! Truly! It's one of my very favorites and, best of all, my husband has declared it a work of art. He's a little biased, I admit, but his opinion still counts for a lot with me.

Now I'm working on writing up the pattern for this last block and the instructions for assembling the quilt.

This morning I worked on the layout sketch. I'll make the page of templates next, and then I need to write the pattern up. That will take a week or two because I'm working on other things as well.

I've been asked to put all of the blocks in one pattern as an alternative for those who want buy the entire quilt at once. The option to purchase it block by block would still remain. Next week I'll be looking into how and if I can make the big pattern happen. There are so many pages of templates and layouts! The total price would be the same, $10 total, so those who have some of the blocks and want the rest won't be affected.

This is what the wall hanging looked like prior to quilting. The photo of the finished quilt will come out when the pattern has been completed and is available on Craftsy.

What else? 

I'm designing a frog mug rug. It's very much in the sketching stage as yet, but once I get the design figured out, it will go quickly. I hope to publish this pattern next week. Fingers crossed.

Wishing you a fabulous spring weekend and a gorgeous, happy week ahead.