Free Quilt Pattern · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt-A-Long

Heart’s Garden Sew-A-Long

I received a stack of fat eighths as a gift from my friend Sherri last fall, from her new line of Sincerely Yours, and the question of what to do with this yummy range of fabrics has been percolating in my head ever since.

A Sew-A-Long? A Mystery? A Freebie Pattern? How about all three? So yes, this is a sew-a-long, mystery, free pattern that should run for several months. I thought it was only four, but then I had another idea, so I had to add an extra month. I will put the patterns up on my pattern site, one month at a time. The usual caveats apply: Don’t print them off for your mother or eighteen of your closest friends; instead send them to my pattern shop to download their own.

The first downloadable (free) pattern is found here.

Follow the directions and print off four pages of Page 4, then cut them apart on the lines. Prep them for English Paper Piecing {see this post (which uses thread basting) or this post (which uses glue basting) for some tips}, then start stitching them back together in the units.

I’ve placed small colorful dots to help guide you in getting the pieces sewn. Follow the guidelines on the pattern.

I like to sew it in two sections, as it is easier to hold it. I also like to take stitches across the seam points on the outside curved edge, for stability. For example, I join one G1 to the F point, then add the G2, taking an extra stitch at that outer point. It will make more sense as you sew it.

Once I’ve gotten this far, I sew those last two seams.

I always love the look of these from the back. One trick I use for the inner circle is that I don’t glue down the inner curve, instead leaving it flat. This helps when you go to stitch on the center circle.

I write about how I do the center circle in this post, and I will again express my undying love for Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles: both sizes. Sometimes I put the circle on first, then appliqué it the background. Other times I appliqué it to the background square, then sew on the center circle.

For this round, do the center circle first.

Then cut a large square the size mentioned in the pattern. I always iron creases: fold in half, iron; fold in half the other way; iron. You’ll have a giant cross so you get your circle centered. Pin it evenly around the circle while on a flat surface. Then start to sew it down.

I give you the tips in this post.

Yes, I’ve been doing the EPP-circle-bit a while now, and there are lots of tips and tricks under the tab SHINE: The Circle Quilt (found above). And yes, I’ve probably made millions of mistakes, but after sewing over three dozen EPP circles, I’m getting the hang of it.

Here it is, sewn to the background. Don’t trim this yet. If you are curious, your circle will probably measure about 12 1/4″ in diameter, largely due to the thickness of all those fabrics spreading it apart. We will deal with any variations in the next post, coming mid-month February.

I use several methods of construction: piecing, appliqué, English Paper Piecing for starters. While the theme is Heart’s Garden, there aren’t a billion hearts on this quilt, so you could make it in other palettes or groupings of fabric or from scraps. I started with one fat-eighth stack of Sincerely Yours, from Sherri and Chelsi, then purchased four one-yard lengths of the lights (always good for the stash, if I don’t use them all). I also bought two half-yards of the strongest colors; perhaps that is overkill, but I didn’t want to let this line get away from me. I am happy to have this great inspiration, so thank you Sherri and Chelsi!

So head over now to my pattern shop on PayHip, and download your free mystery pattern. At the end of this series, I will combine all the sections into one pattern, and will list it for sale in the same place. Feel free to stash the pattern until you see the end, or to just pick up a little piecing here and there as we go.

Happy Heart’s-Garden-ing!

Gridsters

The History of Bees

Well, my bees, at least. I recently stepped down from leadership of the Gridsters Bee, but Melanie and Patti (listed alpha order) are the new leaders, and they let me tag along and help out so I won’t go through withdrawal. So as I was organizing, shifting, cleaning out my Google Drive, the list ended up like this:

I’ve participated in fifteen quilt bee groups in the last ten years, often simultaneously. My life has been richer for this and I’ve met so many wonderful quilters. (I’ve met a few cranky women, too.) I met one whose house burned down during the bee and we all donated money to help replace her stash. I’ve met someone who did professional roller skating. I’ve met women like me and not like me. I’ve met quite a few people in Australia, in Canada, and all over the United States. Many others are on Instagram — I love the connections we’ve made and the friendships that continue.

I’ve received some beautiful blocks, some blocks I had to reconstruct and some blocks I couldn’t do anything with at all, but were so interesting, I saved them. Sometimes people put my blocks in their quilts and sometimes they didn’t. I’ve made several Ayumi envelopes, multiple versions of Dresden blocks, and bazillions of HSTs.

Here are some of the logos of some of those bees.

Occasionally I see new bees forming online and I want to say — yes! jump in! make for each other! You’ll learn what blocks you want to make yourself, and you’ll learn which blocks you never want to make again.

At the end of my five years with The Gridster Bee, I put together a slide show of quilts from many of our members, and it was one of the final events of my 2021. I loved that even in spite of the pandiddle (stole that one from Carol — a beemate), at least a dozen of us were cutting and sewing and quilting. Add that to the letters you’ve written telling me about your projects, your intentions for making and I’d say we all made it through the last couple of years in reasonable shape. If you want to see a great array of quilts and blocks, click on our home on Instagram, and enjoy the eye candy.

And here is the launching of Gridster Bee 2022, with a lot of very talented women.

The first blocks were for Patti, who chose Ayumi’s Envelope Blocks (and here, too), but with a twist. We added larger borders on the sides, and chose fabrics that denote romance or love. I had fun choosing.

I’ve drafted up a lot of the Sew-A-Long quilt, and am now making the sample out of Sherri and Chelsi’s fabric, Sincerely Yours. Coming soon. The post-Christmas blahs grabbed me for a while, and of course, we had to eat up the chocolates people brought us. Then there was the going through the ornaments, followed by lifting the holiday boxes up into the garage rafters. Mopping the kitchen floor and cleaning the bathrooms await.

It’s nice to take the advice from my friend Allison who made this for me, since I was leader of Gridsters for a few years. It’s a treasure, with great advice.

Happy Quilting! Take it one stitch at a time.

Happy Old Year Ending (Wrap-up)

Happy Old Year Ending 2021

All the smartie pants people who Know Stuff say we’ll be shuffling through covid for quite some time, and that we just need to practice keeping going. So my usual at this time of year is a round-up of quilts, a way to say, well I wasn’t quite a total slouch in 2021. Evidence follows.

I made nineteen quilts:

Here’s the listing in my Quilt Index–300 Quilts. I thought the photo above of me at our Guild Meeting, wearing a mask and holding the 19th finish (A Tiny Spritz of Elements) was appropriate. We’re back to virtual meetings for the next three months with the Omicron Covid-19 outbreak.

I spent a lot of the time at the computer, writing up eleven new patterns. Sometimes I’d write a Pattern Lite pattern, then keep adding things until it became a full pattern. That happened with Flowering Snowball growing up into Blossom. Others were old patterns, previously released, that needed extensive revision and clarification.

I took only TWO loads to the thrift store, and then they wouldn’t accept a couple of pieces of small furniture. I cooked so much the first year of the pandemic, that I was more hit-and-miss this year, but still averaging 3-4 home-cooked meals a week. We are partial to Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and whatever can be found in the open-this-bag-and-cook-it aisle of the grocery store.

If I take into account all the “ifs” (Covid-19 rates, masking, health, how the world is turning), I’ll be at Road to take a class and see my quilts in January. Ditto for February’s QuiltCon in Phoenix. Beyond that, you’ll find me in my sewing room, stitching away, writing some more patterns, keeping a difficult balance.

If you are new to this blog, you can find out more about me by reading another Happy Old Year Ending post.

Happy 2022. Happy Quilting!

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

BY RICHARD WILBUR

A favorite poem from grad school, it is thumbtacked over my washer. My wash doesn’t hang out on the lines between buildings, nor does it ever look like angels, but I think we all are trying to keep a difficult balance.

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul   
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple   
As false dawn.
                     Outside the open window   
The morning air is all awash with angels.

    Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,   
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.   
Now they are rising together in calm swells   
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear   
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

    Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving   
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden   
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
                                             The soul shrinks

    From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessèd day,
And cries,
               “Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,   
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

    Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,   
The soul descends once more in bitter love   
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,   
    “Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;   
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,   
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating   
Of dark habits,
                      keeping their difficult balance.”