I am listing another batch of my husband’s hand turned seam rippers in just a few minutes! They tend to sell quickly so here’s the link directly to my shop. The listings will be up within the next twenty minutes.
Sometimes things take a long time to happen, and this is one of them! I designed this quilt, Wings, in 2015. It even hung at QuiltCon a couple of years ago. But I am just now offering the pattern for sale.
You can read all about Wings in my original blog post. It’s a fun, sleek, modern quilt, that is foundation pieced. I sometimes use this quilt in my Intentional Large Scale Paper Piecing workshop because the “wings” offer many possibilities for intentional fabric placement. Just take a look at the black striped wings in the quilt image. Simple fabric placement decisions like that go a long way!
If you’d like to purchase the pattern, it is available as a pdf download in the following places:
Today’s the day that I am allowed to share my third quilt that will hang at QuiltCon this year! This is Agave. It was designed using my improv paper piecing design technique, with spiky succulents as my inspiration.
In my quest to keep trying to use different color palettes, I decided to make this my first all purple quilt. Well, to be fair, the background color is a very soft blue. But the rest of the solids are all in the purple family! I chose to create a column of full blocks just to the left of center. In each of the columns reaching to the right and left, one spike was removed while piecing, in random locations. I love, love, love the fact that by the time you reach the far right, you only see one spike per block and the color has faded to nearly match the background.
I quilted with Aurifil 50 weight thread in a “v” shaped pattern with my lines turning as they hit the center of the complete block column.
The lines are tightly spaced, about a 1/4″ apart. I thought that this Allison Glass print worked really nicely for the backing!
Agave by Amy Friend, photo from QuiltCon Magazine 2018
Agave is featured in the QuiltCon Magazine, 2018 addition. The magazine is available now and you can find it here.
I love paper piecing. That’s no secret! But I know that lots of people get frustrated by it. I have noticed a few mistakes that people commonly make that result in frustration. I thought I would create this list of potential mistakes to avoid, so that you have a better paper piecing experience!
1. Make sure you start with a foundation of the correct size. This can be achieved by printing your pdf file at “100%,” “actual size,” or “scaling none.” If you are photocopying, copy at 100% to duplicate a full size original. If your pattern needs to be enlarged or reduced, note the percentage by which it needs to be altered. Once you have copied your block, measure it. Make sure it is the size that is stated on the pattern. After you have confirmed the size of your foundation, go ahead and make multiple copies. You don’t want to spend time making your block (or blocks) only to realize that they are the wrong size for your project. That’s so frustrating! I know, because I have done it.
Blocks from my Pointed Statement pattern.
2. When you are following a paper pieced pattern with recommended cutting directions, do not cut the entire quilt worth of fabric to start. Cut enough to make one block and piece that block. See if the suggested fabric sizes work for you. Everyone has their own paper piecing technique and/or comfort level. What worked for the designer of the pattern, might not work for you. After a test block, go ahead, cut your fabric and sew!
Wings paper pieced blocks.
3. I have another suggestion, also related to fabric cutting. Don’t skimp! Paper piecing is easiest with over size pieces of fabric. Find a balance. True, you don’t want to waste your fabric. But you also don’t want to waste your time seam ripping over and over again because you were trying to piece with fabric that was cut too small.
Checking my fabric coverage on the Wafer 1 lighbox by the Daylight Company.
4. As you are sewing, keep checking to make sure your fabric is covering the area that it was intended to cover as well as the seam allowance. In classes, I will see students complete a block and only when they go to trim it down do they realize that they hadn’t completed covered a section of their block. That’s so discouraging because the only solution is to rip back and resew the block. One way to check if your fabric is completely covering the section is to hold your block up to a light source, such as a bright window or light. Or, you can place your block on a light box.
5. Never ever iron on the paper size of your foundation! This often results in ink transfer to your iron. Then, when you flip the block over and iron on the fabric size, you transfer the ink to your fabric.
In this image, you can see the crease from a quick press. Note how the fabric could be pulled back more for a better pressing job. If this isn’t done, that piece will not match up with the next along the seam line.
6. Don’t skip pressing between each step. I know it’s easy to get lazy or to excitedly hurry on to the next step but take a moment to think about it. One of the reasons we paper piece is for accuracy. If we do not press well after each seam we sew, our blocks will not line up properly at the seam lines. 9 times out of 10 when paper pieced blocks do not fit together well, it’s for this reason! You can use a seam roller if you prefer but, one way or another, achieving a flat seam is a must.
Trimming the seam allowance on my Wafer 1 lightbox with cutting mat.
7. When it’s time to trim your seam allowance, be careful! It’s so easy to accidentally cut your paper foundation off. It’s equally easy to cut off the fabric that you intended to keep, and leave the excess fabric that you intended to trim! Double check and then trim to that ¼”.
Paper pieced block patterns from my book, Intentional Piecing.
If you keep these points in mind, I think you will run into fewer problems and learn to love paper piecing like I do! And it’s kind of my mission to make everyone fall in love with paper piecing so… take note!
I just finished up the Celebration Quilt Pattern with Bonus Coloring Sheet! It is available as a pdf download in all my shops: Etsy Craftsy my Pattern Shop (please use this shop if you are an International customer)
If you are a newsletter subscriber, I just emailed you a coupon code for a discount on this pattern. Check your email! If you are not a subscriber, please sign up to receive my newsletter down at the bottom of my home page.
I am happy to have a new finish to share and a sunny day in which to photograph it! We are in the midst of a dark and dreary spell here in New England but the sun is out this morning and the sky is a beautiful blue. I grabbed my Celebration quilt and drove over to my friend’s yard to take these pictures.
I designed this quilt as a stash buster for my solid scraps a FQ or smaller in size. I used a number of colors here, probably about a dozen. I mocked up the design in my EQ8 software in both warm tones and cool tones. I loved it in the blues and greens and purples too but decided that I would prefer to work with these warm colors during the dreary winter. Maybe I will have to make the cool version when I am feeling too hot this summer!
I like this photo of the quilt because I feel like it accurately depicts the atmosphere. It’s obviously January here with the long shadows and brown grass, but the sun is hitting the quilt making it an unexpected dash of color in the landscape.
This quilt is what I call large scale paper piecing because the foundations are large, making fabric placement a little bit more challenging but yielding this modern, graphic design. I love the challenge! In this quilt, I explored the way the blocks meet at the seam line, turning some shapes into others. For example, two triangles become a diamond at the seam line, and two half hexies become a hexagon. There is variety in the placement of the blocks and colors suggesting alternate gridwork but the quilt is made from a repeated block.
I thought that the shapes scattered on the background fabric looked a lot like confetti but there are several Confetti quilts out there so I decided to name this quilt Celebration instead. I think it suits the quilt because it feels happy to me with all that color.
The background fabric is a light pink, kind of adding to the all over glow and warmth of the quilt. I quilted in lines spaced about 1/4″ apart. I used mainly soft pink Aurifil 50 weight thread to match the background but added in scattered lines of stitching in two other shades of Aurifil 40 weight, a watermelon color and a soft nutmeg color. This time, I tried a cotton poly blend batting. Normally I used 100% cotton but I am exploring batting choices a little bit more this year to see if I like anything else better or not.
This quilt finished at 60″ x 64″.
I am working on putting this pattern together as a pdf only pattern due to the number of pages of foundations. I hope that it will be available within the next couple of weeks.
Benartex publishes an online magazine called Modern by the Yard. In the new issue, they are including a column called Modern with a Twist, featuring the traditional Monkey Wrench block. They asked me to reinterpret the Monkey Wrench, or Snail’s Trail block in a modern way. If you follow my blog, you know that I love to reinterpret blocks in an improv style that can be replicated through paper piecing or templates. The basic construction of the Monkey Wrench block is three squares within a square, set on point. I sketched my block by drawing each of those 3 squares in an improv manner so that they are askew. This adds just a little bit extra motion and interest in the block when it is put into repeat and changes the way the blocks join together along the seam lines. The block is mocked up in my Improv fabric collection. Here are two quilt top designs that I mocked up in EQ8 using this Wonky Monkey block.
There is a unique shape that is produced by the irregular design so that when the blocks are placed in this arrangement, there is a pointed, jagged edge. I kept with a minimal, modern pallete using just my Improv Patches print and Improv Triangle Toss, primarily, with pops of the Improv Twisted Screen print in Citron on the diagonal.
Using that same block and palette, I came up with this very different design. The citron column is set off center for a modern look.
If you are interested in purchasing some Improv, I noticed that Fabric.com has some great deals (please note this is an affiliate link)!
This pillow was made in memory of someone we recently lost, much to early, to cancer. I made it for one of her close friends who recounted a cardinal sighting to me that occurred a day or two later. Many believe that a red cardinal sighting is a Spirit reaching out to them. I thought this pillow would be a nice keepsake for her. I hope she will glance at it from time to time and think of our friend and smile. And as always, making is therapeutic for me.
The Cardinal block pattern is available in my Etsy shop, Craftsy shop and pattern shop. I originally designed it as part of my garden quilt but I think it could be used in a Christmas quilt too.
Do you remember this quilt? It was made quite awhile ago now though I still love each of the blocks and remake some of them from time to time for various other projects.
Enjoy your day! I am going to be looking outside hoping to spy a cardinal in the snow tomorrow. I love seeing them when the whole world is otherwise white. We are expecting another storm…and the kids have yet another snowday!
I would like to thank FaveQuilts for designating my blog as one of the top 25 quilting blogs of 2017. You can see the full list here. Apparently it was their readers’ response to my Little House Sew Along that got their attention. I love that because it’s a project close to my heart.
I thought that I would jump on the bandwagon and share my best nine of 2017. I hand selected mine though because I didn’t like the IG selection! This year started off with a bang when my second book, Improv Paper Piecing was released. I have since visited many wonderful guilds to talk about the book and to share my technique and have enjoyed that very much. I also finished up my Gilmore Girls quilt last winter which was a whole lot of fun. I loved all the chatter on Instagram about the characters and their coffee mugs. In the spring, I introduced my debut fabric collection, Improv, at spring market. That was a really wonderful experience and I have enjoyed sewing 6 quilts and some pillows and other small projects with the collection this year. I also snuck in 3 just for me quilts this year, Namaste, Negativity, and High Tension. The pattern for Negativity is coming this spring though so hold tight and look for that one! I designed three new blocks for my Christmas quilt and could sadly only fit two of them in the collage but they have been a big hit and I thank you for all your pattern purchases. I love seeing Cocoa with Peppermint and Gingerbread House blocks pop up in my feed. And of course, I am very proud of my youngest daughter for completing her Little House quilt.
I wish you all the best in the new year. Here’s to creating beautiful things!
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