Archive for the ‘Hand Piecing’ Category

October’s Attic Pick Block is….

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

SURPRISE!   I woke up this morning and thought why wait to release when wi-fi and time (very early morning flight home on Sunday) may be a stumbling block to a easy Sunday morning release.    So YAY! for a Thursday release!

 

…introducing the newest block in the Mic’s Attic Picks series 

                         TENNESSEE CIRCLES QUILT BLOCK 

Oh I have loved this block and it’s spectacular secondary patterns for many moons.    This top has been in my collection for many decades and I am so happy to share it. 

 

The name Tennessee Circles was given to the block in 1931 when it was published in a Prairie Farmer periodical.  This periodical was published out of Chicago and sold mail order patterns.  This pattern appeared in issue #1. 

The hand piecing templates and English Paper Piecing papers are now available for pre-order.   Shipping of the product will begin on October 12, 2018.   You can order up to October 10th at the pre-order special on the templates but they are shipped in order of receipt so if you wish to have them early place your pre-order early.   FREE SHIPPING is standard on the Hand Piecing Templates and some of the packages of EPP papers. 

All domestic order of $25 or more on any combination of hand piecing/EPP products from my webstore is FREE SHIPPING, $75+ for International orders.   If shipping is charged – I had to keep shipping on some items in the store – please note it will be returned as soon as the order is processed on my end. 

If your order includes items other than hand piecing templates and/or EPP papers/templates shipping will be charged for those items (first class shipping is always an option). 

I will post a blog or two next week sharing some coloring ideas and quilt designs for this block.   And the standard “How-T0” blogs and Facebook LIVE posts will happen beginning approximately Oct 19th.   I am in a heavy travel time on my calendar but this will allow everyone who preorders to have their templates in hand and ready to follow along. 

You can find the Hand Piecing Templates here in my store.   And the English Paper Piecing items here

OR just go to the store and check the NEW category! 

 

Ok, that’s all for now,

Have a great day, 

 

Carolina Favorite Quilt Block – Quilt Ideas

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Let me go on record with the statement that I am a fast handpiecer. Speed comes with years of practice. It is like anything else in life, the more you do it, the more accurate you become and speed picks up.

BUT…there is no way I can ever make a quilt of each block I intend to share with you in the next few years, let alone 3 or 4 showing different layout and coloring ideas.

This is where my computer and skill with programs such as EQ8 and Adobe Illustrator allow me to bring to you some visual images and then send you on your way with ideas sparking inside your head.

Here are some easy quilt designs I came up with for the Carolina Favorite block.

 

1. SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE. That is what this layout is. Just side by side rows of the block sans sashing. I colored this image as 2 color but I think this would be a great layout for scrappy Carolina Favorite blocks.

 

 

 

 

 

2. The same simple layout with a thin sashing and cornerstones. Add some fancy coloring of the D pieces (see previous blog for block lettering) and sashing/cornerstones to make a soft textured secondary design in the background.

 

 

3. On point and colored to resemble flowers. YES! I say. This may actually happen someday in my studio. Note the two-toned D pieces again for depth.

 

 

 

 

4. On point again but this time different values of background are used to draw attention to the center blocks. A strong color (black in the image) used on every other A piece gives the block a twirling movement.

So there you have it. I hope some of the ideas in this blog and yesterday’s have you thinking …hmmm…I really like this block and I think I can do this! Because let me tell you I know you can. I have taught hand piecing to hundreds if not a few thousand, over the last 5 years and I haven’t lost a student yet. And this block truly is much easier then it looks as the curves are quite gentle.

I may toss up another blog during the week showing the final two sample blocks and keep an eye on August 15th for the start of the “How-to Piece” blogs.

Don’t forget the pre-order special on the templates ends at midnight on August 7th. You can find all the details and place your order by clicking here.

Enjoy your day!

Piece & Hexiness,

Carolina Favorite Quilt Block – Coloring Options

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

I think part of my attraction to the Carolina Favorite Quilt Block is the various coloring options that I see when I look at it. I realize that this is not something everyone can easily do.

So I was also excited when I wrote out an outline for myself on presenting these “Mic’s Attic Picks” blocks that numerous sample blocks would happen. I can play and provide what I hope to be jumping off points for your own creativity.

So let’s get started.

Here is the block as it was done by the maker of my vintage top. Very traditional two color/fabric palette. Simple and yet so very effective for this design.

 

 

My version using Civil War prints. Obviously the most important guideline with making a 2 color version is to have high contrast between your choices.  Both in color and scale of print. 

 

 

 

I want to share with you one of the graphics in the instructions you will receive with your template set. I have labeled each piece with it’s corresponding template letter. A small “r” behind the letter means the template is reversed for this piece. Having this key will help with descriptions of coloring on the next samples.

 

You can also see that this block is composed of 4 sections. And the sections are basically two units that mirror one another with the addition of a piece A on one unit. Now I hope you are seeing just how easy this block truly is to piece. And wait to we get the blogs showing the process with all the tips and tricks I have for you on that. (remember August 15th – How To Blogs will begin to post)

Here are four more samples I have made of Carolina Favorite

1 & 2. In these samples I decided to use the same fabric in piece A (center) and the same fabric in B & Br. Stay away from using directional prints in A when using this coloring variation (unless you are going to take the time fussy cut those pieces for a unique look). Using a fabric that melds with itself presents a nice look where the seams disappear and don’t distract. This coloring variation allows a larger print (sample 1) to be used in the B/Br pieces effectively. There is enough exposure that a large print does not lose impact of design. Choosing one fabric for C and one for Cr. gives some dimension/depth to the block as they appear to be coming from behind. The A and B areas can feel a bit “flat” when colored with one fabric each, using two fabrics in C/Cr gives dimension and life to the design I feel.

3. I made one subtle change on this block in that I brought my fabric choices for C/Cr to the center A pieces. Strong bold choices make the repetitive coloring very appealing. Note that my B/Br pieces are a softer fabric in print, a floral, even though it is still bold in coloring. That is also very attractive to the eye in any block, mixing soft prints with strong graphic prints.

4. This is the same coloring style as 1 & 2 but done in solids. This is the block you will see me making in in the How-To blogs. I like to use solids for teaching as they are easier to see and identify. I will also make a few more solid blocks during the Facebook Live segments so you can actually see the sewing and tips as I do them. Plus then these solid blocks will be the samples sent to guilds/shops who may wish to book the workshop.

Ok…that’s it for now. I do have two more samples I am making showing two more variations of coloring. I will post a blog on them later this month. But if you have been following me on Facebook this week you have already seen one being made!

You can order your set of Carolina Favorite templates here in my webstore.  Be sure to read about the pre-order special there that is available until August 7th. 

…tomorrow I will share some simple yet exciting ideas for block layout in a quilt.

Piece & Hexiness,

ReIntroducing Carolina Favorite Quilt Block

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

About a year ago I pulled out all my vintage quilts and quilt tops that I have collected over the past few decades and decided it was time to make good use of them and give them a new life. The only problem is I was deep into the design work on the Border Options line of English Paper Piecing products (and now hand piecing also!) and so the idea for a line of templates was born, but couldn’t become reality for awhile. I am an army of one and some days off and sleep are needed. 😊

But with Border Options now out in public and doing it’s thing I decided that it was time to begin working on what I am calling “Mic’s Attic Picks” collection of quilt block templates for hand piecing. I dove back into my stack of vintage and antique quilts and instantly knew what quilt block I wanted to share first.

Most of my antique quilts are tops for two reasons. The cost of a top vs. a quilt is significantly lower and when my collecting started many moons ago we had two young mouths to feed and clothe so my budget was very small. Plus tops obviously take up less space, and with a small abode (under 1200 sq ft!) I could collect 4-5 tops in the space of one quilt on my shelves. Tops it is! Now back to the inspiration top itself.

Isn’t it just striking! I remember the block caught my eye. But it was the use of the red background that sold it. WOW! What a bold and daring choice for the era. I am not a certified quilt historian but I know enough info to be dangerous and so I can state with confidence this quilt was most likely finished in the early 1940s based on the youngest fabric in it. And I think the red background supports that. Again…who would of thought to go red. But I love it. And I will say it has me looking at my red fabrics a bit differently with consideration of red background of my own one day.

So I grabbed my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman (did you know you can get this as a digital book now from the AQS website – I love now having all these blocks with me in my laptop) and set to work looking up the block. As a lover of history, I am determined to find a block’s given name if possible. Only when I have exhausted all possible avenues of knowledge will I give a vintage block a new name and then will let you know this when released. This is important to me.
I found the block. It is #1536 in the encyclopedia. It has just one name attributed to it.

Carolina Favorite

The block was a mail order pattern released in the 1930s by the Old Chelsea State Needlecraft Service under the designer name of Laura Wheeler. This company is know for it’s complex quilt block designs and advertised in newspapers across America selling patterns for a dime.

 

Carolina Favorite Hand Piecing Templates are now available for preorder in my webstore. You will easily find them under the NEW! Category as they are the first product. There is a preorder special available until August 7th, you can find all the details there in the product description in the store. Orders will begin to ship out on August 10th in the order in which they were received.

All template sets will come with basic hand piecing guidelines and tips. I will also be posting detailed how-to blogs full of step by step pictures starting mid August. And if you follow me on Facebook (MDQuilts) you will see numerous LIVE posts of sew-a-longs also covering block construction.

Hand piecing is very relaxing and I can say over the years I have taught thousands to hand piece both thru blogs and workshops, both beginners and experienced quilters and have never lost a student.

The gentle curves of this block are easily obtained with hand piecing and before you know it you will be breathing easier and enjoying the ability to be creative even while “on the go” as piecing by hand is so portable that a sandwich bag of “stuff” is all that is needed.


..next blog…let’s look at some coloring variations for this block. 

‘til next time.
Piece & Hexiness,

Basic Hand Piecing Acrylic Template Set

Friday, October 28th, 2016

It’s here!

20161028_100125I am so excited to be sharing my latest product with you today.  Over the last few years of sharing and teaching hand piecing the most common thing I heard was “I am afraid the block you are showing is above my skill level”.

I want hand piecing and the quiet joy it brings to life to be available for everyone regardless of skill level.

But I also wanted to produce a template set that would not only help a beginner, and grow with the quilter, but would also hold value for an experienced handpiecer.

After months of analyzing blocks and putting their piece measurements into endless spreadsheets, I have come up with the 17 pieces in this set that I call the Basic Hand Piecing Template Set.   The set ships in a 5″ x 7″ sturdy poly container that latches close for easy use to transport and storage.

This set of shapes can produce literally hundreds of different blocks. 

20161025_114905-1

A 23 page downloadable PDF is included in your set that covers not only pages of tips and tricks for hand piecing, but also my Roundabout Technique that will help you create sharp points and corners in your blocks.  Inside the template set you will find a code that will allow you to download this PDF.  Then this PDF can be used on your computer, laptop or tablet. Or you can print it out if you wish.  Personally I have been using my copy on my phone!  

Shipping of the Basic Hand Piecing Acrylic Template

is scheduled for the week of November 21st.  

And a special preorder introductory price is now available until November 11th.  

You can find the item in my store.

Plans are happening for a new and updated website which will include a page specifically for this product. That  page will be filled with links to PDFs of additional blocks, completed blocks and even some quilt layouts.    And there are additional sets in the works that will expand the number of blocks that can be created even more so.

Be sure to like and follow my professional Facebook page, MDQuilts ,as I plan to use the new Facebook Live feature to help guide you with hand piecing sew alongs and other fun stuff!

Remember the pre-order special price will expire on November 11th so order before then to assure your shipment of your set the week of November 21st.

Piece On!

MickeySignature

 

 

 

The Castle Wall BURSTS- Part Two

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Castle Wall Burst TemplatesI am so excited to get this second in the series of how-to blogs posted.    The response to the template set has been wonderful, I am down to just a handful in stock but more are on their way.   I will leave the orders open on this product and will ship as soon as the next batch is received sometime this upcoming week.  I will get all fillable orders out as soon as that is.   You can place your order here.

For those who have inquired regarding EPP sets of the Castle Wall Burst Expansion they are on their way.   I  will not be able to add them into the store until August 1st due to my heavy travel schedule the last two weeks of the month.  But EPP fans keep an eye out for a special EPP sale I have scheduled to start on July 16th on all other blocks in stock.  And yes there will be a special introductory price on the EPP Castle Wall Burst Expansion pack when released in August.

Now let’s get sewing the Castle Wall Burst!

I have my Castle Wall center done minus the half square triangles (template C) for an overall octagon shape.   Again I will refer you to review the Castle Wall blogs that are linked on the Castle Wall page for piecing this block and general hand sewing tips when working with any of my templates.

sidebar: I am scheduling to post at least two if not more updated general hand sewing tips and tricks blogs in early August.   Please watch for these posts.  They will also be linked on the Castle Wall page soon after posting.  These will cover all the basics for those who are new to hand piecing.

Now back to our block.  Yes I am that excited my head is running in so many directions with so many ideas…this time at home is just what my muse needed.   Ok back to sewing.

The Castle Wall center of this block is sewn in a bulls eye manner, by adding pieces in a circle around the center.   The Burst expansion is sewn by breaking it down into two units, UNIT 1 & UNIT 2.

UNIT 1:  MAKE FOURCastleWallBurstUnit1sewingguidev2

This unit consists of three pieces, C-F-C.   Piece C template can be found in your Castle Wall block template sets.  It is the discarded half square triangle shape.

*design note- I have chosen to use two fabrics in my rendition of the Castle Wall Burst block for piece C.   You can do so also or use the same fabric for all pieces. 

There is just one continuous sewing line to make these units and one roundabout intersection.  Roundabout intersection tips can be found in the previously mentioned Castle Wall posts and a general blog about roundabouts will be posted in early August for those new to my blog.   This illustration is your guide to sewing UNIT 1

UNIT 2: MAKE FOURCastleWallBurstUnit2sewingguide

This unit starts off with sewing four more UNIT 1.  This is where I made a design choice and used a second fabric in my C pieces.  I liked the bit of depth that this brings to the block.

The next step is to add G-H-G to each of these UNITS.   This is also done with one continuous sewing line and 5 Roundabout intersections.

PatrioticCWBurst1

Finally, pressing.  While the Castle Wall center is best left unpressed until all rounds are PatrioticCWBurst2completed, meaning the center is fully sewn, UNITS 1 & 2 should be pressed after each line of stitching is completed.  This will help in obtaining the sharpest of points.   Also as in the original block the diamond shapes should be pressed flat or open for the best results.   And a bit of Best Press used at this stage really helps set the seams.

Next blog…putting it all together in a few days.

See, I told you this Burst Expansion is really quite simple.  And the resulting block is quite spectacular if I say so myself.  I have so many ideas for this block in projects.   Now I just need to look into obtaining 48 hour days.   🙂

Enjoy the day,

MickeySignature

 

 

 

 

 

The Castle Wall Block BURSTS!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

CWBurstgreycenter2copyrightI have had this crazy idea of BURSTing the Castle Wall block for over a year now.  Think “biggie” size.  I wanted to keep most of the original Castle Wall Block ,just drop off the half square triangles, and expanded to a much larger block.

I played and played with the design while traveling and then would put the files back in my folder in my computer and think maybe in a few months.

And on a trip to Texas in April I opened up the folder again, tweaked my design thought it is time.

So off went my idea to Paper Pieces and they provided me with a sample set of templates lickety-split, they were excited as was I.

AutumnCWBurstBlockBut my schedule was a bit crazy and so I didn’t get to fabric pulling and sample block making until late May.  And then I sewed.  Here is the first sample block of what is being called Castle Wall Burst.   It finishes at 18″ square.  That’s a lot of block with a lot of bang!  At that size just 16 blocks with sashing and border and you have a queen size quilt.

I am loving this idea!

Castle Wall Burst TemplatesThe initial run of templates where produced and landed on my doorstep on Friday.  Just in time to kick off the holiday weekend!

 

 

The Castle Wall Burst Expansion Pack has three templates.  You will use the C template from the original 9″ Castle Wall set with the new templates F, G, & H to create this  border ring around a Castle Wall center (minus template C in the center).CWBurstlettered2copyright

The Castle Wall Expansion Templates

are available in my web store under the New! and Acrylic Templates Section

at an introductory price of $15 until July 15th.

Now to the tips and tricks of sewing this expansion ring of the block.

CWBurst1

I took pictures as I pieced the sample above and was ready to use them for the “how-to” blogs.  But then I spotted my stash of patriotic fabrics while straightening up my studio and like every other quilter I know I figured…well let’s start a new project!     I am going to make 16 Castle Wall Burst blocks in a scrappy patriotic fashion.   I don’t have the full quilt setting figured out yet.  I will design this hopefully this autumn sometime when my travel schedule is full force again.   A lot of computer designing happens when in a hotel room on the road.

Over the next week or so I will post detailed how-to blogs for this expansion.  But for now I will refer you to the original Castle Wall blogs (you can find links to all blogs on this page) to refresh yourself in piecing this center and the Roundabout Technique for making sharp points!  Eventually links to these Castle Wall Burst blogs will also be found there.

CWBurst3

 

 

I have my center done sans the half square corners and all my pieces cut and ready for the Burst Expansion.

Watch for a blog in 2-3 days breaking down the next round of sewing into units, a review of pinning, and sewing guide illustrations.

Over half the original order of Castle Wall Burst Expansion Templates have been spoken for and shipped out this morning, hoping to have a few of you sewing along with me on this fun block by this weekend or next week.

Enjoy your day,

MickeySignature

 

 

 

P.S. All the graphics you will see in the blog(s) are included in a guide sheet packaged with the templates!