Paper Lanterns Quilt - New Pattern!

I have a new pattern to share! I designed this quilt top using a jelly roll (or 40 strips measuring 2 1/2" wide x width of fabric) and 2 1/4 yards of one other fabric, for the background. It's a great project to use up precuts in your stash, or quickly grab a few things at the store for a fast project! I find that after a few weeks of more complex projects, it's nice to work on something simple for a bit.

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

The chains of paper lanterns provide really great space to practice different quilting designs! I couldn't decide on a thread color, so I used a green and a blue, alternating between rows. In the background I quilted some simple circles with black thread.

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

 The thread really stands out on the black backing fabric!

 Finishing at 48" x 60", this is a great pattern for a baby quilt, a small lap quilt, or a wall hanging. I may hang this quilt in my new studio after we move!

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

The pattern is now available on Etsy and Craftsy!

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

Yarn Kites Quilt Pattern

I have another pattern to share with you! Sometimes I have an idea that tumbles around in my head for awhile before it becomes a tangible object, and other times I dive right in. This quilt certainly falls in the later category. I love this line, Sunnyside by Kate Spain, so I snatched up a layer cake from my local shop as soon as I laid my eyes on it. I must have been in the middle of a few intense projects, because I had a simple idea for the layer cake and I went straight home to play!

This quilt is great for beginners, especially those who are interested in trying something different from traditional piecing. The instructions walk the reader through how to create modern, one of a kind blocks, and how to put those blocks together into a quilt similar to the one pictured. There is very little measuring in the block construction, and squaring the blocks up after piecing ensures that everything fits together easily in the finished top!

The wide open background fabric is a great place to show off some quilting. I did what I call "mummy quilting", aptly named because it reminds me of layers of wrapped bandages!

I also went a little wild playing around with the quilting in the blocks, and I quilted each pieced section differently. It was a fun project to play around with, because if I wasn't crazy about a quilting design I could choose something totally different for the other areas.

The pattern uses 1 layer cake (42 - 10" squares) and 1 1/3 yards of background fabric for the quilt top. It finishes up at 57" x 72", and it's so fast and fun that you could have it pieced in a weekend!

The pattern is available for purchase through Craftsy and Etsy!

Perfectly Polished Tutorial - Finding Inspiration Everywhere!

Below is a guest post tutorial that I originally wrote as a guest post at Jedi Craft Girl. Enjoy!

Today I'm going to explain a bit of how the design process works for me and follow that up with a tutorial for the block that I've designed!

I'm a scientist by training and although I've always been a crafter, designing doesn't always come easily to me. In fact, my favorite projects are typically the product of a simple idea (or a mistake! Ha!). While I was working on an idea for my tutorial I decided to take a break and skim facebook for a bit. That's when I saw this advertisement pop up:
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
I instantly knew that I had to create a quilt block based on the photo. I started out by drawing on graph paper (technically this is engineering paper, for fellow nerds and nerd spouses out there!). I like to start with graph paper because it's easier and faster for me than using the computer. I also pulled out my own bottle of Essie nail polish and measured it (1" wide by 1.5" tall) so that I could keep those proportions in my design.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
My first drawing was quite basic. Based on the actual bottle size, I had decided on a finished size of 3"x4.5" for the colored blocks. I liked my first drawing (top drawing above), but I wanted to include the narrow spacing that the glass bottles naturally create between the blocks of color. My second drawing incorporated the spacing. This is also the point when I started to think about the easiest way to piece the block and draw in my piecing lines. If I wasn't quite satisfied with my design I would have continued to tweak my drawings and redraw them as needed until I was happy with the design. In this instance I didn't stray much from my inspiration. Sometimes the inspiration is barely recognizable in the final design and other times it's a near replica. Don't be afraid to play with different ideas!
(Reality check: sometimes my drawings end up in the recycling bin or a binder, only to be see months later. And other times they turn into great quilt designs!)

I had a few math errors in my second drawing, so I made a third drawing but didn't include a photo here. I never start drafting on the computer until AFTER I work out all of the math on paper. For me, it's easier to calculate everything on paper. And don't forget to include seam allowances (I don't draw them in, but keep them in mind when writing out cutting directions!). Once I had my block design worked out on paper I moved over to the computer. I use Adobe Illustrator for my graphics (I wish I could provide a tut on that, but alas, I am still a young Illustrator grasshopper!).
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
I'm calling this block "Perfectly Polished"!

Now, let's sew up the block!
For starters, here are the supplies:
6 scraps for the color blocks, at least 4" x 5.5"
1/4 yd background fabric*

To create a 19" square mini quilt, the following are needed:
1/3 yd background in place of the 1/4 yd listed above*
22" square batting
2/3 yd backing
1/4 yd binding

Cut your fabric as follows:
6 color blocks: 3.5" x 5"
Perfectly Polished Block Tut

Background (it's helpful to label the individual pieces here):
A:  2.5" x 6"
B:  1.5" x 3.5"
C:  3.5" x 4.5"
D:  1.5" x 5"
E:  1" x 5"
F:  1" x 3.5"
G:  1" x 5"
H:  1.5" x 5"
I:  1" x 5.5"
J:  1" x 3.5"
K:  3.5" x 4.5"
L:  3.5" x 4.5"

Refer back to the illustration above whenever needed during the piecing.
For this block I find it especially helpful to lay out my design on a design wall or a nearby table. As I sew and press my seams I place the sections back in the appropriate places within the design.
Press all seams as you go. I prefer to press open, especially when using a light colored background fabric such as in this project.

Start by sewing piece B to the bottom of color 1.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece C to the top of color 4; sew piece J to the bottom of color 4.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece D to the top of color 2; sew piece E to the bottom of color 2.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece F to the right side of color 3.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece G to the left side of color 5; sew piece H to the right side of color 5.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece K to the left side of color 6; sew piece L to the right side of color 6.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Now sew piece A to the left side of the color 1 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece I to the bottom of the color 3 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Now it's time to start piecing the colors together! Begin by sewing the color 1 section to the top of the color 3 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew the color 2 section to the top of the color 5 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew the color 4 section to the left side of the color 2+color 5 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Now piece the color4+color 2+color 5 section to the right side of the color 1+color3 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Finally, piece the color 6 section to the bottom of the block!
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Your block should now measure 12.5" long and 13" across.
To create the 19.5" mini quilt, continue below.
If you'd rather square up the block for another use, simply sew a 1"x13" background strip to either the top or bottom edge of the block. This will give you a 13" square block which will finish as a 12.5" square block.

To create the mini quilt, do not add the 1" strip to square up the block.
Cut the following borders from your background fabric:
2" x 12.5"
2" x 14.5"
5.5" x 14"
6" x 19.5"

Sew the 2" x 12.5" strip to the left side of the block.
Sew the 2"x14.5" strip to the top of the block.
Sew the 5.5"x14" strip to the right side of the block.
Sew the 6" x 19.5" strip to the bottom of the block.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Baste, quilt and bind!
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Thanks so much to Amanda for having me over for tutorial week! I would love to see any projects that you create from this tutorial. You can always contact me through my blog or post in my Flickr Group!

9-Patch Puzzle Quilt Pattern - For Sale Now!

I'm so excited to finish my second pattern!

9-patch puzzle pattern! 

You may remember last year when I created this quilt for my good friend's daughter. Since then, I've had several requests for a pattern.

I wrote the pattern using a layer cake and included 2 design options:

Use the layer cakes to create modern 9-match blocks
Trim the layer cakes to size and use as is

I created this first quilt using 21 different solids (mostly Kona) for the blocks, 7 different neutrals for the borders, and the green and white stripe print:
Puzzle Me Not Quilt

Here's a detail shot (binding is Chicopee):
Puzzle Me Not Quilt - Detail
(This lucky quilt is one of the two that will be in the quilt show at QuiltCon in February!!)

This second quilt is an example of how the pattern comes together if you choose not to piece the modern 9-patch blocks, but rather use the layer cake sheets trimmed to size (fabric is Lucy's Crab Shack):
Lucy's Crab Shack Puzzle Quilt

The details:
Lucy's Crab Shack Puzzle Quilt - detail

The layout is deceivingly simple to create, and comes together very quickly!

The pattern includes detailed instructions and step-by-step illustrations for cutting, piecing the blocks, and creating the quilt top.

Finished quilt size is 64" x 72"

The pattern is listed for sale here in my Etsy shop and also here on Craftsy!

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the pattern!

I'll post more about each of these quilts in a few days. I also want to share the amazing work done by my pattern testers - more to come!

A Mod Christmas!

When I was playing around with ideas for the Dresden Challenge, I came up with this mini. It was ultimately set aside, but I do still love it! I like the wreath shape that resulted from all of the wonky wedges.
Mod Christmas
As time consuming as it is, I went with pebble quilting on this piece. Originally I put some quilting in the wreath as well, but I unpicked that stitching. The pebble background really makes the wreath shape pop, which I love.
detail shot!
As I was finishing up this mini, I ran out of the aqua that I used for the background. That gave me a good excuse to use a knife edge binding. (And I should also note that after I finished the mini and cleaned up my sewing area, I found some more of the aqua solid under another project. Opps!)
knife edge binding
On the back I included 2 small tabs for hanging.
Knife edge binding and hanging tab Typically I would slide I small dowel rod through the tabs, but Matt came up with another way of using them when we don't have a dowel rod:
knife edge binding
Push pins are great for hanging small quilts, and with the tabs on the back I can hide them from sight and also avoid putting holes in my mini quilts!
A corner of the knife edge binding:
knife edge binding
Fabric is 12 Days of Christmas by Kate Spain and Kona in robin egg.
I know it's a bit early for Christmas, but it will be here before we know it! I've listed this mini in the shop!