Posts Tagged ‘Mics Attic Picks’

Introducing – Double Basket

Friday, December 6th, 2019

It’s time to introduce a new block in the Mic’s Attic Picks series. If you follow me on social media, Facebook or Instagram you already know that potential big things are happening at Chez Depre. And that situation pushed the release of this block back just slightly.

This block comes is from a set of very old blocks that I can’t even remember where I purchased and for how much. They have been in my possession for quite some time. They are threadbare and hand stitched using indigo fabrics, so my guess is 1870s-1890s…maybe even a bit earlier.

I chose this block because it is what I call an ALL SKILLS block. Easy enough for a quilter new hand piecing and yet has so many possibilities/options that an advanced quilter will find it fun to play with.

The Hand Piecing Acrylic Template set is composed of 5 templates. Two of which are “hinged” to reduce their size. This is done so that all templates can fit in the hard plastic case you see in the picture. And by reducing the template size the cost of the set is kept down. How to used hinged template instructions is always included in every set along with written and illustrated piecing guidelines.

If you look closely you will see that two of the corners of this sample have a full squares vs the half square triangles shown in the original. I have included the full square template so you can make your block with either option.

As always I will release a series of how-to blogs, step by step instructions, some creative ideas for quilts made from the block and Facebook LIVE piecing demos (videos are always available for ALL blocks under the Mic’s Attic Picks series on my MDQuilts facebook page – just look for them under the video tab while accessing with a computer) will happened for this block. But I will be pushing all of that support material release into January due to the Holidays and the potential packing of our abode during that time.

I will leave you with this quick 4 block sample of the intricate design options with this block with creative coloring. Hope this gets your interest and you give the Double Baskets Quilt Block a try.

Pre-Orders of Hand Piecing Templates (at a special price!) can be done by clicking on the graphic below .

Double Basket is also available in English Paper Piecing Format. All products will begin shipping on Friday, December 13th. You can order EPP items by heading to the store tab at the top of this page and searching either by name or look in the NEW! category.

If you are just reading now for the first time about our potential move I will post more info (such as where and why!) as soon as I am able to do so. This is quite the exciting event at our house – I can’t want to let you in on the secret.

Enjoy your day,

Midwest Star – What if? MORE!

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Just uploaded a FREE 5 page PDF to the Midwest Star hand piecing items in the store based on the last What If? blog and expanded with new ideas for variations that have come to fruition since.

I will be emailing all that have already purchased templates with the PDF also. If you have not heard from me by Friday night please email me.

Or you can download the PDF by clicking here.

I will be covering the new variations in tonight’s Let’s Sew Together LIVE episode on the MDQuilts Facebook page at 6pm ct.

Have a great day everyone,

Midwest Star Block – What if?

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

I was cleaning up my studio last week when I unearthed these two extra Piece B – Triangle Units that I made when working on the Fric ‘n Frac pattern using the Midwest Star Block.

I somehow miscounted and landed up with two extra units when all the piecing was done. And they just got pinned to my design wall in a corner… and then something got pinned over them…and they sat for a few months in hiding.

Then I found them. And as soon as I unpinned them and set them on my cutting table this happened.

Oh hello future row quilt.

I went to bed…but my brain was on fire and I did the math and yes the triangles from the 12″ and 8″ blocks would sync up. More on that later.

In the morning I raced back to the studio to see if this would work for squaring up the end. My brain said yes…but my eyes wanted to see it.


Now here is the math part. I did a same to scale drawing and found the syncing of the two different sized triangle units ( 8″ & 12″ templates) match up at 32.5″ inches in length. So you can double or triple this depending on the total you would like for your quilt.

NINETEEN – 8″ triangle units = TWELVE – 12″ triangle units

I am not thrilled by the non matching edges. To be honest if using the two different size triangles I may just cut the edge triangles in half at both ends for the finish.

But then I got to thinking what if I just used one size of triangle. (the graphics were make using the size 8″ units but obviously you can use the 12″ units if you wish).

This would make the edges be a reflection of themselves and I would use the hinged C piece to square them up.

Now what if I reflected the triangles in coloring to make diamonds.

Oh boy….I see a lot of design opportunity with these templates! I hope you agree.

If you were still on the fence but now truly want to give this great block a whirl – well here is the link to the templates in my store.

Have a great day!

Midwest Star Block – Quilt Ideas

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

I must confess the coloring/quilt ideas blogs are my favorite. I find myself playing and coloring for hours. And so many ideas percolate during the making of graphics for these posts that I wish I had more time with each block to play.

If you have purchased a Midwest Stat Quilt Block template set you already know that you received a free “pattern recipe” for the quilt I made using both sizes (12″ and 8″) of this block.

Free PDF color Pattern/Recipe included in purchase

Now let’s see what other quilt ideas I have designed.

A simple 3 block x 3 block setting. But by coloring 4 of the inner Piece C you can create a spotlight on the center block. Then more coloring magic of additional Piece C and all of the sudden there is a “halo effect” around that center block and a secondary star pattern.

Repeat the Nine Block pattern shown in the first graphic four times and you have a full size quilt (72″ x 72″ using the 12″ Midwest Star Block).

A more traditional two coloring block setting.

This unique coloring gives the block almost an abstract log cabin feel. I really like this setting…there may be another Midwest Star quilt in my future.

If you would like to join in the fun and play with the Midwest Star block you can place an order for the hand piecing templates by clicking below. And yes the block is also available in English Paper Piecing! You can find everything by searching Midwest Star in my store.

Don’t forget I will be on Facebook LIVE under the MDQuilts page at 11am ct today!

…and wait til you see what I have cooked up in tomorrow’s blog!

’til then,

Midwest Star Block – How to Blog #2

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Let’s finish up our Midwest Star Block.

Here is where you should be at the end of the first How-To blog that posted on Tuesday.

It’s time to add sew Piece C (background) to each side of the B – Triangle Units.

Each of the lengths will have a Roundabout in the center of your seam line.

Let’s tackle the roundabout in still pictures.

Using a pin – line up the start and end of this seam. Then pin on the drawn seam line on both pieces.
Your sewing should float just above the drawn line. Think of it as hand sewing a scant quarter seam.
Here is the intersection of three pieces, time for a roundabout to pull all the points together for a crisp intersection with no pin holes.
You will be passing the needle thru each set of two fabrics, traveling around the intersection in a clockwise movement.
TWO pieces at a time is the key. Try to do then that and chances are you will end up with a pin hole.
OK – Needle thru Piece C to Piece B
Next move your threaded needle thru Piece B (burgandy) to Piece B (peach). Each move around the intersection will be using a new point (hole) at the apex. You can’t travel around thru the same hole as that will not draw the pieces together. So just move over a thread or two but keep as close to the apex of all the pieces as possible.
Now Piece B (peach) to Piece B (second burgandy)
Last move in this Roundabout. Piece B (second burgandy) to Piece C (background) and now you can continue with your running stitch (backstitch every 3-4 stitches) to the end.

If you wish to see the Roundabout Technique demoed LIVE join me on Saturday at 11am cst on my MDQuilts Facebook page.

Now repeat – joining another Piece C to the opposite side. Repeat both seams on another Triangle Unit.

Join the two Piece B – triangle units that do not have C pieces attached to opposite sides of the center 9 patch.

The final seams are two long lengths attaching the C-triangle B- C units to each side of the previously created unit. There are many roundabouts in these seams. Take the time to do them. You will be happy you did.

Ta- Da! Your Midwest Star Block is done!

A blog full of coloring and quilt ideas will be posting Saturday morning.

And another blog will post on Sunday with a unique variation of a quilt you can make using the templates from this block.

And don’t forget the Let’s Sew Together – Facebook LIVE event on Saturday that will cover this block.

See you then,

Midwest Star Block – How To Blog #1

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Well let’s just put it out there that September simply was lost in my life. So much travel and poof the month was gone. But it is now time to tackle the Midwest Star block.

A BIG thank you to all who have ordered the Midwest Star templates. I am excited that so many of you also are loving the dual size option of a 12″ and 8″ block being available.

A BIG thank you to all who have ordered the Midwest Star templates. I am excited that so many of you also are loving the dual size option of a 12″ and 8″ block being available.

Let’s get started on the how- to instructions for this dynamic block.

As you can see it is a 3 template set with piece C being a “hinged” template. You can find information about hinged templates covered in this blog.

How to use template C for Midwest Star block

Let’s get right to working on the block. I am skipping past the trace & cut instructions that can be found in past block How-To blogs and videos found on my Facebook page.

Fabrics cut and ready to sew!

The nine patch center is constructed in the traditional manner of joining squares into columns and then columns into block form.

Make note of the “roundabout technique” that is used (red circles in above graphics) when sewing your columns/rows together. This technique is covered in the written instructions included with each template set and will be demonstrated LIVE in the Facebook Live event announced at the end of this blog. You can also find it demoed in several other LIVE videos that are currently available under the VIDEO tab on the MDQuilts Facebook page.

Nine Patch center done!

Next up are the four triangle star points – composed of 4 triangles! These units sew up very quickly as they can be completed without a thread break. Just follow the arrows in the instructional graphic below.

First Side – two triangles joined
Second Side – three triangles joined
Third Side – unit done!

Center done.

Four Triangle/Star Point units done.

Next blog – we complete the block.

How – to Blog #2 will post on Thursday. Then watch for a special – “what if I did this” playing with the templates blog to post on Sunday.

A Facebook LIVE event covering the Midwest Star block is scheduled for 11am cst on Saturday, October 12th

You can find the templates for hand piecing (or machine piecing!) the Midwest Star block by clicking the link below. And as always all blocks in the Mic’s Attic Picks series are also available in English Paper Piecing format.


Thank you for stopping by and please feel free to send an email if you have any questions on any of the items you find in my store.

Each and every item is something I personally use in my studio and I am happy to share them with you.

~ Mickey

Please note that several categories will be disabled due to moving. If you are able to order a product then I am able to get it to you during this period. So please feel free to do so.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Featured Products

Have a great day,

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!

Windmill Block – Let’s Play with Coloring

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Time to make the “quilts”! The colorplay blog is so much fun to put together for each block release of the Mic’s Attic Picks series.

Yes, they are computer graphics vs real quilts. There are only so many hours in each day, I truly do wish I could make every idea into an actual quilt, but even if I was machine piecing this would be impossible.

There are so many ideas.

So let’s just enjoy the fact that technology allows me to share some of what happens in my brain with you.

First up! A very traditional two color Windmill block setting (see image above). If you are considering this for your quilt I have just a small bit of advice. Make sure you colors are high contrast and if you are using prints vs solids, make sure the prints are of different scales (ie small and large, medium and large) to make an eye pleasing quilt.

Now look what happens when you play with the coloring of Piece A.

Movement and depth is achieved.

Let’s step up the coloring one more notch. This is an example of four blocks each colored in the same unique manner. But when set together four patch style a very complex and large “new” block is made.

This “block” measures 24″ x 24″

Repeat that block in a 4 x 4 setting you get this bed size quilt measuring 96″ x 96″

And last but not least. The Little Boy Britches block (February 2019 release) and Windmill block combine for a beautiful quilt. Windmill block with it’s breakdown into 6″ square units makes for a great block to utilize as a border. And look at those fun circle corners that can be achieved!

I hope you are enjoying the Windmill block. I see a border of it in a future project of my own.

Join me tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24th at 6pm cst for a FACEBOOK LIVE session all about the Windmill block. I will demo the roundabout technique and we can discuss coloring etc.

If you are unable to join me LIVE you will always find all the LIVE segments saved and stored under the video tab on the MDQuilts Facebook page.

Enjoy the day,

Windmill Block – How to Blog #2

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Today’s blog will be short and sweet as sewing up your Windmill block it quick and easy. 

We left off with all the wedges, as I call them, of the block finished.  With their short, approx 1 ½” seams they do finished up in little time. 

The next seam is a complex seam.   A complex seam is any seam that includes a roundabout technique that is used to pull together the intersection of 3 or more fabrics.   These intersections are always indicated by the red circles in the written instructions included with all template sets.

Place a set of wedges (of opposite coloring in this example) right sides together, line up the corners of the intersection and pin as shown perpendiculary.   The pin directly on the sewing guideline across the entire length.   

The pins I use for hand piecing are Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Pins, and believe me they are PERFECT for hand piecing.   I never realized the weight of traditional fine pins until I tried these ultra fine pins.   And because they are so slender you can leave them pinned and sew right past them (hovering above the drawn guideline – see part 1 for explanation) if you find that helpful in reminding you to hover above the line vs sew on it.

I use the smaller pins 90% of the time in my piecing.

Begin at the far right edge, just a thread or two above and to the right of the drawn corner point and sew to the left.

The roundabout technique is utilized at the intersection of the previously sewn pieces.   You will be going a round the intersection by moving your needle thru TWO pieces of fabric at a time.  Trying to manuver thru any more then two pieces usually results in warping the corner, so two pieces at a time is recommended for the best results.   You will proceed to do this as close to the corner point with your needle in a clockwise motion around the intersection, the entire intersection, until you return to the point of the two Piece A’s and then continue with your hand piecing of their edges together.

At the end of this segment you will find yourself at another roundabout, proceed as before this time ending when you reach again the portion of the two Piece B’s segment and sew that length to the end/corner, knot off and repeat 3 more times with the remaining wedges.

PLEASE NOTE:  I will be demonstrating the Roundabout Technique in a Facebook Live segment on Wednesday, July 24th.  The actual time is still being determined and will be announced in the next blog posting on Tuesday and on the MDQuilts facebook page. If you miss the LIVE segment you will be able to find the video under the VIDEO tab on the MDQuilts Page in the folder named Windmill.

With all B-A-B segments (think half square triangles) matched and sewing into square what is essentially left to complete this block is to sew it together four patch style.

The two shorter seams.

And the final long seam length down the center.  That middle roundabout is the toughest thing about this block, but go slow and aim your needle point to as close to the center of the corner points with each pass thru 2 fabrics and you will be fine.   Yes it will be bulky.   It is 8 pieces of fabric meeting.   But hand piecing allows you to the ease of being able to control your seam easier and bring them together in a nice crisp point.    Also because seams are NOT sewn absolute edge to edge (remember you end a thread or two beyond the find drawn guideline) your seam allowance is easier to manipulate for a flatter intersection of all 8 fabrics.  

And VIOLA!  Your block is done!

Join me on Tuesday for a blog filled with ideas for coloring and full quilt graphics using the Windmill block.

And if you wish to purchase Windmill templates or Perfect Pins you can find them in my store by clicking on this link or clicking the Store tab at the top of this page.

Enjoy the day,

Windmill Block – How To Blog #1

Friday, July 19th, 2019

It’s time to make a Windmill Block!   This is a very simple block and I chose it for the July release in the Mic’s Attic Picks series because of it’s simplicity.   It makes for an easy block to kit up and have for those snippets of time to sew up in the summer.  And with a rather large piece (or the two) in the block…well it sews up very fast.

It is also a great block for beginners but exciting for experienced hand piecers with it’s design/coloring options. 

Let’s talk about the templates.   These are ¼” windowed acrylic templates.  Which means you can mark your outside cutting line and your inside sewing GUIDELINE at the same time.   But take a look at Piece A of your set.  It looks a bit different then what you may of expected to see.   It is what I call a HINGED template.   That means that the template received is HALF of what is needed to make the shape and an alignment “hinge” is on one edge to help you line things up for successful tracking.

Why hinge the template?  3 reasons.  1. Acrylic is expensive and when block shapes are large it could add dramtically to the template set cost.  So hingiing a large template keeps acrylic waste at a minimum and cost down.  2. A large template can be very fragile so by hinging it we reduce the chance of breakage.  3. Hinging a piece can make a set fit in the lovely hard cases you will now find your templates shipped to you in. 

Let’s cover how to mark your fabric using a hinge template.   A set of general instructions covering HINGE templates are included with every template set, as are piecing instructions, but as they say- a picture is worth a thousand words.

I am tracing the template on paper using a marker for clear visability, you will be using a pencil/chalk pen/gel pen on the backside of your chosen fabric.

Trace both the outer and inner lines of the template on all side EXCEPT the HINGE.  Here you will only lightly mark the dashes indicated in the center of the hinge. 

Now flip the template over and line up the marked dashes and repeate the tracing of the outer and inner edges of the other sides of the template.

Your tracing should look like this.

I like to use my template edge as shown in the next pictures to fill in the missing lines.

connect the drawn lines
make the inner corner

And viola you have the whole shape and are ready to repeat this process 7 more times for the block.

You will notice that I indicate an Ar (meaning template A Reversed) in my written instructions included in the set.  I did this because I wanted it to be clear that the A pieces are meant to be at least TWO different fabrics.   I did not repeat this wil the B templates because I felt my point was made with the As.   The piece is truly not reversed but with only 2 pieces in the set I needed something to make the diagram make sense and not just be a sea of As and Bs.

Cut out all your pieces and lay them out in front of you. 

The first sewing that needs to be done on this block is all the B pieces attached to opposite ends of the A pieces.  These are short easy seams

Line up your pieces using a perpendicular pin thru each corner of the GUIDELINE and then pin directly on the drawn line in the center.   

This line is a GUIDELINE and not the line you will be sewing on.  You will be sewing a thread or two above the drawn line.  This is hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch and it helps recover the excess thread or two of seam width added by the drawn line as no pencil/etc. can get directly under the template to drawn the true line.  So you need to hover above the line/sew a scant quarter of an inch to get that measurement back.

This line is a GUIDELINE and not the line you will be sewing on.  You will be sewing a thread or two above the drawn line.  This is hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch and it helps recover the excess thread or two of seam width added by the drawn line as no pencil/etc. can get directly under the template to drawn the true line.  So you need to hover above the line/sew a scant quarter of an inch to get that measurement back.

Sew all 16 B’s in sets of two to each of the 8 A/Ar pieces.   This is where we will end today’s blog.   On Sunday we will tackle the next 3 steps of sewing that are all that is needed to complete this block.  

Please feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments.

If you haven’t ordered your set of Windmill Hand Piecing Templates yet you can do so by clicking this link. Or you can head to my store thru to tab above head to the Mic’s Attic Picks category to see all the blocks released.

And make note that every block is also released in an English Paper Piecing format. You will find all those products also in my webstore.

Enjoy the day,