Archive for the ‘from my studio’ Category

My Pillowcase Pattern

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

By now my Facebook LIVE event covering my pillowcase pattern should be finished and you are here to download the My Pillowcase Pattern PDF. YAY!

You will find the pattern right here. Click and download

To enter to win this pair of pillowcases you will need to leave a comment below answering the following question. This giveaway is open to residents of the continental US and a winner will be drawn from all comments received by Monday, Sept 14th at 10pm. The winner will be announced in a blog post on Tuesday, Sept 15th.

The question – If it wasn’t frowned upon to trick-or-treat at any age would you still do so, and if so what costume would you wear?

Have a great day and don’t forget to stop back on Tuesday to see if you have won!

Introducing – Midwest Star

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Hello September! Hello to cooler days and nights, sweatshirts and evening fires. Hello to life slowing down a bit and snuggling under quilts with a good book.

Hello to the Midwest Star Quilt Block. Simple and Spectacular all at the same time. I just love that this block has a Nine Patch center.

The inspiration was another less then $20 ebay quilt top find. I just loved the block and thought surely I can do something with this top when it was purchased years ago. The ad did say it didn’t lay flat but that didn’t scare me. I have eased plenty of vintage of tops into flat quilts over the years. Then this top arrived.

Ginger thinks any quilt on the floor is photo time. I won’t lie I stuck Bruce in there so he wouldn’t be left out. He was like “really?”

Oh boy. It was quite….hilly. No block would ever lay down nicely. Big sigh. So I packed it up and with the thought that someday it may be used in “pieces” for upholstery, as someday I will have one of those quilt upholstered couch/chair in my studio.

When I was scouting thru my tops late last summer for inspiration quilts I came across this top and thought…now I know why I purchased you. Your going to be the September 2019 block release.

I have been anticipating sharing this block and a few special things that are going to go with it since November of last year! I know I held this secret for a long time!

When I started to work on the samples, directions etc. for the block. It was decided to offer the block in TWO sizes! This block is available in all formats, Hand Piecing and English Paper Piecing, in 8″ AND 12″ finished sizes. I am excited because I think it is the perfect block to play with in both sizes.

The pieces don’t get to small in the 8″ size and it is perfect for scraps.

These were my thoughts in early November so I quickly grabbed some fabric and a bunch of scraps and pieced 36 of the nine patch centers while in the Smoky Mountains last November. My thought at the time was a wall hanging. But sitting in the cabin one day I pulled out my laptop and began to play in my design software. And the idea to make a quilt combining both sizes of the block was born.

I worked hard and finished the thirty-six 8″ blocks by the end of January (remember dear son was occupying my studio with his belongings before his move to Sweden so hand piecing was about all I could do) and tackled the larger blocks from February to May. I had hoped to have it quilted by my own hand by the time of this reveal but life thru me some curveballs this summer and well….I hope you like the flimsy top!

It is named Fric ‘N Frac, my nickname for my twins, Paul Jr & Emily when they were kids.

But I can say that a copy of the “recipe” (not a true pattern as there is no piecing instructions – those are included in template purchase- but a breakdown of fabric requirements and a simple yet unique border) is a FREE PDF download with every purchase.

And because so many of you are enjoying these patterns in the English Paper Piecing format also I decided to have the pre-order special be FREE SHIPPING – domestic orders only so everyone can enjoy some savings!

Pre-Orders are open now. You will find all products under the NEW Category in my store. You can go there by clicking here now. Note that there are two EPP entries, one of each size, but both sizes are under one product entry for Hand Piecing. Upon purchase you will receive an email with a link to download your free Fric ‘n Frac Pattern/Recipe within 72 hours.

The pre-order special will apply to orders received by midnight ct on Sept 10th. Shipping directly from my manufacturer, Paper Pieces will begin September 13th.

The How-To blogs will start on Friday, September 20th and I will determine the dates for the Facebook Live events covering LIVE piecing demos and sewing instruction the closer we get to the final week in September. I will post that info here and on the MDQuilts Facebook and Instagram pages.

Ok I think that wraps it up for the reveal. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the Midwest Star block.

Have a great day,

p.s. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this block and the two sizes being available!

Cases Galore!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

The cases are finally in and now available for stand alone purchasing!

In December, it was discovered that the cases that were previously being used to house the Hand Piecing Acrylic Templates were no longer available. This sent everyone involved into a scramble to find a replacement.

And at the same time we (meaning me and my manufacturer) wanted to provide a product case that would work well for both the product, purchaser and retailer.

Standard Size Case
size: 7″ x 4″ x 1″

This wonderful case was tracked down and a large purchase was made. Then the waiting game began as it needed to not only be manufactured itself but then it had to shipped. And shipping took a very long time. Something no one anticipated and fingers crossed won’t ever be a factor again, as replenishing the supply will happen knowing this timetable.

I love the new case and for those who purchased the pre-order of the Windmill block your templates will arrive in this case. YAY!

And because I know so many wish to put past purchases (blocks released and purchased since December) into a case I am now offering the case for sale in my webstore. Just click the store tab above and you will find it in the NEW Category and also in the Notions Category.

This case is also great for creating a Sew on the Go Kit that can easily slip into your bag or purse. And I am thinking I may use a second case for block pieces vs my usually baggie in my purse….hmmm.

Also added to the store is a larger case. This cases measures 12″ x 9″ x 1″. This would be great for putting blocks, block fabric and sewing items together in one case if you wish.

From Today until July 19th at midnight cst (so this will encompass the next two Throwback Thursday sale blocks) you will find them on Sale in the store no coupon needed.

I hope you love the new cases as much as I do!

Happy Stitching!

Introducing – Windmill Block

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Hello July! And hello to a new quilt block design release in the Mic’s Attic Picks series.

WINDMILL

This vintage quilt, note vintage vs antique because that orange fabric you see right under Ginger is late 1970s/early 1980s I believe. This quilt is relatively new to my collection. I only acquired it within the last year or so.

But as soon as I saw it I knew it would be a great addition to the Mic’s Attic Picks series for it’s simplicity. Just two shapes make up this block that can be quite impressive with it’s various design capabilities.

Two templates also means this is the LOWEST priced template set in the collection. Just $15.00 regular priced, but on preorder special right now for $12.50 if you place your order by midnight July 8th. Orders will ship out beginning July 12th directly from my manufacturer to buyers in the order they are received so if you wish to have the templates in hand ASAP then place your order early to guarantee quick shipping. You can go directly to the Hand Piecing Templates to order by clicking below on the image or head to my store via the tab at the top of this page. You will find them under the NEW category.

The Windmill design is also available in English Paper Piecing and you can easily find these products in my store under the NEW category.

So while the quilt itself is not, let’s just say, museum quality, it will be used someday to reupholster a chair or couch that will reside in my home. Some of the blocks are composed of heavy drapery grade fabric and thus this became very attractive for what I would like to use it for eventually. Please also note that the blocks in the inspiration quilt are approximately 20″ in size. I have taken the liberty to reduce the size to the more common 12″ and have eased the rounding of the circle edges to also make it even more beginner friendly.

Here are some samples of the block made with the Hand Piecing Templates.

This picture was taken at the Peace & Applique Quilt shop in Bloomington Illinois.

As I said – an easy block for beginners – but packed full of design potential for any level of quilter.

The timetable on this design is as follows: How-to Blogs will post on July 19 & July 21 Facebook LIVE sewing will happen on July 24th

This is my favorite block from the vintage quilt.

I hope you will join in some fun in July with the Windmill block!

Enjoy your day,

Seeing Clearly

Friday, May 24th, 2019

About a year ago a friend mentioned seeing a set of lights that you wore around your next in of all places the sports department of a local store. It sparked my memory of seeing a set of these lights around an audience members neck during one of my lectures, she was happily stitching along and listening as I spoke.

I wanted those lights.

And I was on a mission.

A total of 3 pairs have been purchased. Two have been donated to the senior center as they didn’t quite do the trick for me. I needed bright clear light for stitching in the dark. They were giving me soft ambient lighting for reading.

And then I found this set. BINGO!

Sicotool Hands Free Light Rechargeable Neck Book Lamp LED Reading Light USB Rechargeable 4 LED Bulbs Adjustable Brightness for Knitting Crocheting Lamp

It has 4 LED light settings, spotlight to flood light, and each arm has an independent switch. The arms are flexible and soft! And it is rechargeable….that alone makes it worth it’s weight in gold!

Don’t let their size fool you – these lights are bright and clear and do the job!

As I said in my morning MDQuilts Facebook post today…I love it so much I slept with it (for an hour or so) last night….LOL!

By the way…have you been over to the MDQuilts Facebook page lately. There is some block kitting going on for the 2020 Mic’s Attic Picks blocks. While I can’t share the block templates, kits cut, I can share the fabric groupings and we can discuss them. There is going to be more of this over the next few days. Hope you can stop by and let me know what you think.

I am off to get ready for the 11am LIVE segment ~ Finishing up the Michigan Beauty quilt block.

Have a wonderful day!

*MDQuilts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. By using these links I will make a small percentage of your purchase, even if you buy something else – and it won’t cost you anything.

Michigan Beauty Block – How To Blog #2

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Let’s jump right in where we left off on the last blog. This is where your block quarter units should be. All diamonds and the lower half square triangle sewn together. Now we are ready for the multi piece complex length of sewing.

This length of sewing will attach three units to the diamonds and will complete the quarter square of the block. It will also involved several roundabouts that may test you but once you get into a rhythm you will see it looks much harder than it truly is. And the results are crisp points and beautiful set in squares.

Start with one edge of the first triangle. Use pins to line up the start and stop points. Place a pin on the guideline to assure that is matched up between the triangle and diamond. Sew you seam.

Now it is time to make a roundabout in the concave corner where the top point of the triangle meets the two diamonds. Once this move has been completed it is time to line up the next length to sew. I have taken to using my needle in place of the first pin in this exercise at this point.

Don’t forget to sew one or two threads above your drawn seam guideline. You are hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch.

The quarter unit of your block is done! Now make 3 more and let’s get to finishing this block.

This is where the remaining sewing takes on the sequence of making a 4 patch. Pin and sew (with roundabouts) the two shorter vertical lengths of the units

NOTE: I did press the units at this time to make for prettier pictures for the blog. I usually do not press any hand pieced block until the very end as it is a portable project and an iron is not always available.

Here is the backside of the block. You will note that I allowed the seams to fall where they did so naturally for pressing. But I did press the center triangles in a manner that would allow them to snuggle nicely when sewn.

And now for the final long center seam.

Pinned and ready to sew!

Michigan Beauty is done!

Hand Piecing gives you so much control that sharp points, y seams and complex piecing are a breeze.

You can purchase a set of hand piecing templates for the Michigan Beauty block in my webstore (see tab at the top of this page). Please note that this block and all the other blocks released are also available in English Paper Piecing products. Just click on that category in my webstore to see the list.

Later today, on my MDQuilts facebook page I will be doing a LIVE segment for all the new handpiecers who have found my page this month. The How-To sew-a-long LIVE segments will start next week. Be sure to watch the facebook page for event announcements.

Enjoy your day,

Michigan Beauty Block – How To Blog #1

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Let’s jump right in to the hand piecing this amazingly simple yet stunning block. If you are new to hand piecing and need some guidance regarding tools and marking your fabric please check out this blog for that basic info. Or tune in on Sunday (or check later for the saved video under the video tab on the page) to the MDQuilts Facebook page for a LIVE segment regarding the tools of hand piecing.

My pieces are cut and I am ready to sew.

Let’s look closely at this block. As I stated before it is basically a Fancy Four Patch as I call these styles of blocks. So in today’s blog we will be just addressing the sewing sequence of one quarter of the block. You will need to repeat these instructions 3 times to make all four quarters.

The first two lengths to sew is joining the diamonds into units of 2 diamonds. I strongly urge you to lay out the quarter block design in front of you to help in orientation of the diamond edges to sew.

Here I have placed anchor pins in the corners of the sewing line and a small Karen Kay Buckley pin right on the drawn guide line.

Notice how off my seam allowance is on the lighter diamond vs the darker diamond below it. This is why we always line up our seams for sewing by anchor pins (just push thru vertically lining up points) in the corners and placing a pin on the drawn line. DO NOT line up by matching your edges. As you can see if you are off on your cutting of a piece this will interfere with correct positioning. Here I squeezed in a diamond on a piece of fabric knowing the seam allowance would be a bit scant but would still be enough.

Time to begin so sew. You will be sewing a thread or two ABOVE the drawn line. This line is a guide line and not a sewing line. Think of this as hand piecing a scant quarter of an inch. This method reclaims the width of what ever marking tool you used to make the guideline and thus keeps your block on pace for a correct finished size.

Use a rocking motion to make a running stitch. After every 3rd-4th stitch make take a backstitch to lock your stitches. As you can see the KKBuckley pins are so fine you can sew right above them – thus they make a great reminder to hover above the line and not sew on it.

Finish with a knot that is just outside the insecting line forming the corner. Remember scant quarter of a inch sewing!

With this next line of sewing the 4 diamonds will become one unit.

NOTE: for those who have done some hand piecing with me prior you may question why a “roundabout technique” is not called for at the end of the seam where all 4 diamonds meet. I will explain in the next step. Just sew the straight line forming the unit for now .

We are on to the final seam we will tackle in the blog today. This seam contains the Roundabout Technique that is going to make your hand piecing blocks just sing!

Roundabouts are indicated by the RED CIRCLE in the directions packaged with your templates. There are also written and visual directions specifically covering this technique included.
This is the Roundabout area on the actual unit.

Sew the seam line as you have done prior to just before you reach the intersection of all four diamonds and the half square triangle.

Now you want to work your way around this intersection by drawing the needle/thread thru two pieces of fabric at a time. You will work in a general area right at the point where all pieces intersect but not in the same “hole” as that would just pull the thread out without grabbing anything. So with each push of the need thru just move either to the left or right on thread. You will be working around this “intersection” much like you drive around a roundabout until you reach the jumping off point. In this case we need to get back to where we started so you can continue and finish the seam attaching the triangle to the bottom edge of the 4 diamonds.

pulling needle and thread thru one set of diamonds

Last two pieces to push thru and you are back to the triangle, take a back stitch and finish the seam

Look at the nice crisp set of points where the diamonds meet the triangle! This is the magic of the roundabout technique!

The finishing how to blog will post on Sunday morning. And at 1pm on Sunday central time I will be LIVE on facebook with a review and question/answer session of hand sewing tools that will I feel are worth their weight in gold. Then the Facebook LIVE sessions of actually sewing a block together will begin on Tuesday, May 21st. Watch for a time announcement on Facebook. I am hoping to do an evening session.

If you would like to purchase the templates to the Michigan Beauty block please click below to go right to the item in my webstore.

You may also wish to check out the other blocks already released and available in the Hand Piecing category.

Enjoy the day,

Michigan Beauty – Quilt Ideas

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Today let’s explore some quilt idea for the Michigan Beauty Quilt Block.  

Looking closely you will see that this block is basically a 4 patch.  Which means it is a repetition of squares, each composed of units.  These “squares” are rotated around the center much like a clock and thus create a lot of movement in a quilt by coloring the blocks and setting them in a ways to take advantage of that design element.

This quilt is composed of Michigan Beauty Blocks set directly next to each other with no sashing or border.  Sometimes a quilt doesn’t need anything but blocks.  They are stunning enough alone and on their own.   I would stay stitch the edges before quilting to hold all seams together and reduce bias edge stretch but other then that I would make this quilt.   And I may!   Notice I colored the Square Piece C’s (see reference to these units in Monday’s blog here) to elevate and celebrate the secondary pattern of the 4 patch that is formed with the blocks are set in this manner.   The actual center of the blocks (quarter triangle square) and the Square Piece C are colored in softer shades that make they naturally move to the background of the quilt.

Very same block layout, no sashing, no borders.  But the coloring is dramatically different.   There are several block coloring variations in this layout.  And it makes for quite a unique and movement filled quilt design.

On Point!   I can’t help myself I love a block on point!  And this block works well with being on it’s tippy toes as I say due to the strong Arrow C pieces in the design.

  This quilt has Little Boy Britches (March 2019 block release) in the center .  I played with the coloring of the block in a very untraditional way.   I accented the rings I saw develop with this setting. 

Then I placed Michigan Beauty blocks around the entire edge as a border.  I colored those blocks in a unique way also.   My graphic shows a small border on this quilt.  I think it needs one of maybe just an 1 wide in a strong color to hold it all in. 

Same two blocks as in the previous quilt, Michigan Beauty and Little Boy Britches, but this time sent in a vertical row layout.  These two blocks play very nicely together I feel.

I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas for quilts.  As the Mic’s Attic Picks series grow with blocks I will revisit some blocks combinations and create new ones in future posts.   

Friday will be the first of two “how-to” blog posts on this block.  It really is that simple to piece that two blogs will do it. 

My thoughts are to do a revisit to the tools used for hand piecing on Sunday and then the first “Sew Along” LIVE will happen on Tuesday night. 

Yes a night time LIVE segment!  Going to try a new time frame on the LIVE segments for this block.    Again keep an eye on the MDQuilts facebook page for announcements of exact times for each to be posted.

And if you wish to purchase the hand piecing templates for the Michigan Beauty block you can do so by clicking above   Please note that the block is also available in English Paper Piecing papers and templates for those who wish to make their blocks using that technique.  You can also find them in my store.  All the products are currently in the NEW category there.

Enjoy your day,

Michigan Beauty – Coloring Options

Monday, May 13th, 2019

It’s time to begin the Mic’s Attic Picks/Michigan Beauty Block blog series.  This blog is going to explore some of the coloring options for the block.  And Wednesday’s blog will go over some ideas for quilts using just the Michigan Beauty block and then combining it with a couple of other blocks from the series.

As you can see by the picture above the antique set of blocks was colored the same way as this purple version of the block.  With the same fabric being used in the C pieces that ring the center and form a square.   And then the same fabrics used in the C pieces that form arrows in the corner.   This is a very simple and elegant rendition of this block.   And can be quite stunning done in a monochromatic colorway as shown.  Just make sure to mix up the scale of print/texture so there is contrast.  This makes the block exciting to view.

In this version I did some shading of the Arrow C pieces and have opposite sides composed of same fabrics, same color, two values – light & dark. AND I made sure the scale of the print was also of different.   Then I applied this same concept to the Arrow C Pieces.   I really like this version of the block.  There is a lot of depth and movement.

Went TOTALLY scrappy here! 

I had to!  With so many pieces to the block it was a great design to play with.  Plus the pieces are just the right size for small prints like those in the 30s reproductions.

And finally some more modern fabrics.  The square C pieces follow the example of the 2 block discussed here in the blog but the sides are composed of two fabrics.  Because I was working in a line of fabrics I was able to use the same print, just different colors, which seemed to help the look of this coloring.  I applied the same concept to the Arrow C pieces and used two different colors but the same in all 4 sets.    Note that I took the time to make sure my directional prints used in the center triangles all orientated in the same direction.  Little things like this can make it much more pleasant for the eye to view the block.

Wednesday’s blog will cover some ideas for quilt patterns using the Michigan Beauty Block and the “How-to” blogs will post on Friday & Saturday.    And it looks like the first Facebook Live segment for this block will be Sunday.   Keep an eye on the MDQuilts page later in the week for the exact time.  I will begin posting that at least a day early.

If you haven’t joined in yet with a purchase of the hand piecing templates for the Michigan Beauty block you can do so by clicking below.   Please note that the block is also available in English Paper Piecing papers and templates for those who wish to make their blocks using that technique.  You can also find them in my store.  All the products are currently in the NEW category there.

That’s all for now. Check back on Wednesday for some quilt ideas using the Michigan Beauty Quilt Block.

Enjoy your day,

Introducing – Michigan Beauty Block

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

YAY! It’s May! And it is time for the next block in the Mic’s Attic Picks series. I have been so patiently waiting to share this block with you. It is a personal favorite ….. (don’t tell the others).

I remember buying the inspiration set of blocks at a flea market in Wisconsin about 10 years ago. The kids were in college and Paul and I set off for a day of adventure. Isn’t that how we mark time on most things in life against what age our kids were at the time? Or is that just me?

Anyway, there sat the stack of blocks on a table tucked back into a seller’s booth. And it was quite a stack. Approximately 25 blocks. I was like a homing pigeon as soon as they were spotted. I think I may of pushed Paul out of the way. But upon approach I noted how threadbare the blocks were, with a few actually falling to pieces. My face must of expressed my feelings as the seller called over to me…I’ll sell you the whole stack for $5.00 if you want them young lady. I think you will cherish them. This made this sale memorable. I have bought my fair share of items over the years, but this sale I remember.

I wanted them. I knew they would never become their own quilt. There is not enough stabilizer in the world to save them. But I knew they would become “something” at some time. I just loved the design of the block. Simple yet complex all rolled into one.

My research shows it is a variation of a block called many names in the Brackman Encyclopedia, and one name stuck out. Michigan Beauty. And with so many names (7 in that source alone) I decided not to invent a “new name” for this variation but to just call it Michigan Beauty.

Perfect name for one of my favorite states. I love Michigan. So much so that I would move there in a heartbeat. It has everything to make me happy. Water, Forests, Great People, Small town, Big Cities, Northern Temperatures, Fishing, and Snow. Yay Michigan!

This 12″ block is available for pre-order in both Hand Piecing Templates and English Paper Piecing format with shipping beginning on May 10th. Orders will be processed/shipped in the order received.

FROM NOW UNTIL MIDNIGHT ON MAY 8, 2019 – there is introductory pricing of $20.00 for the Acrylic Hand Piecing Template Set. You can place your order by clicking here! Then search for Michigan Beauty in my store or head directly to the NEW category!

This is a very easy block to piece and it is full of so many coloring options as you can see by the pictures in this blog.

I will post some quilt layout ideas in a blog next week and the “How-To” piecing blocks and Facebook LIVE segments will begin May 15th. The exact times for the Facebook LIVE segments will be posted at a later date. Watch for them here and on the MDQuilts Facebook Page.

I hope you love Michigan Beauty as much as I do, and will join me in hand piecing this great block . (Or EPP if you desire). At the pre-order price of just $20 for the hand piecing set it is a great block to start that journey.

The hand piecing template set includes instructions that are both written and full of graphics that are easy to follow. The HOW-TO blogs and Facebook Live segments will also take you thru the process step by step. No one gets left behind. Everyone can enjoy the ZEN of hand piecing and this block is a perfect block to jump in and give it a try.

Easy piecing – dynamic design ~ that is Michigan Beauty!

Enjoy your day,