Happy August 2019 • This and That

When I looked outside in my garden today, the zucchini plant had wilted from the heat, mirroring how I felt inside.  However, unlike my spectacularly unproductive zucchini plant [we’ve only had ONE], I’ve been pretty productive.  Just not on quilts.

I’ve been working on prepping my upcoming Guild Workshops, getting the kits together (in wax paper bags instead of plastic, given my attempt to cut down on plastic where I can), and cute touches like place cards, so I know whose spot is whose once the class gets going.

Spectrum Pattern Revise

The pattern cover with thumbnails showing the pattern pages and revisions. Now it’s a pretty good guide to EPP.

I also revised a couple of patterns, the first one being Spectrum.  Inland Empire Quilters Guild contacted me for a program for their evening meeting, then they got together a group of women for a workshop who wanted to learn English Paper Piecing.  So I changed some things up in the pattern, added more content, and put it back up for sale up on PayHip.

EPP Spectrum Bag

One thing I made for a sample was this tote bag, splitting the main pattern in half and placing it on either side of the bag.  I wanted to show that a person can do more with a pattern than simply make a quilt.  That version of Spectrum is one of the variations in the pattern (bag pattern not included; I used the one in the October 2019 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting by Kristyne Czepuryk).

Kansas Sunflower Minimini

I also made a mini-mini to show them how to do the basics.  I’ll be passing out this pattern for a Kansas Sunflower block in class, show how to “batch-cut” pieces, glue and prep them.  They can then move on to Spectrum, or stay sewing up their mini-mini.  We’ll also do one hexie flower, because what’s a class in EPP without a hexie flower?

Hexie Flowers July 2018

(We’ll only do one; these are from my Field Flowers quilt.)

Merrion Square Pattern Revise

Another class I have coming up is Merrion Square and Far Away Doors, teaching it for the Pass Patchers Quilt Guild nearby.  For ages, I’d hand out the instruction sheet to Far Away Doors when the class was taught, but adding it to the original Merrion Square pattern was one of the revisions I wanted to make, in order to get all the variations in one place.  I took it offline, revised it, and now it’s back up for sale on PayHip, if you want all three versions in one pattern. [Note:  If you’ve purchased Merrion Square and haven’t received Far Away Doors from me in a workshop, please contact me and I’ll get it out to you.  Proof of purchase is required.]

Of course, all this is made easier by the fact that I’m getting the hang of the three pieces of Affinity Serif software that I purchased last fall: Affinity Photo (replacing Adobe’s Photoshop), Affinity Designer (replacing Illustrator) and Affinity Publisher (instead of InDesign).  I’m getting quicker at each one, knowing where the tools are and how to use them.

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

I also made three batches of low-sugar strawberry jam, after I tasted Laurel’s.  Laurel and her husband grow their own strawberries, but the ones from the market in our neighboring town worked well for us.  To go with it, I made a batch of zucchini bread with cranberries and left out half the flour (!).

My saintly husband declared it just fine, and takes chunks of this incredibly dense bread in his lunch every day.  He makes me look good, even on my very bad days (of fighting asthma), wilting in the heat (like the zucchini plants outside), and trying to get all the guild workshop stuff lined up from here to eternity.  I have to remind myself to take it one Guild and a time, and enjoy the process, which I genuinely do.

I finished The Night Tiger (I can recommend highly) and have started Little Fires Everywhere (so far enjoying it, but don’t give a recommendation until I finish).

I decided I was done waiting to start on this Halloween Banner project.  I layered the panel (if your store doesn’t carry it, it’s available here), quilted it, and cut out the flags.  I cut 1-1/4″ strips of stripey fabric from this line (called Costumer’s Ball by J. Wecker Frisch) cutting it across the stripe and bound the edges of the flags, sewing the strips first to one side of the flag, then the other.  After trimming the bottom edge, I folded it up and glued it all down with my trusty friend, a regular old gluestick.  Then I pressed and folded in the binding on the sides, again using my gluestick to keep it in place.  (Be sure to press after gluing in order to distribute the glue).

gluesticks

Hit those back-to-school sales, people!

I top-stitched down the striped binding, and am now waiting for the fabric to arrive to make the top part so I can get the banners all ready for October 1st.

August Gridsters_2019 trees

Lastly, I finished up August’s bee blocks for the Gridster Bee, using an original pattern designed by my talented beemate Kelley.  She’s getting ready for Christmas early!

I think my holidays are all mixed up, because I’m working on Christmas blocks, Halloween Banners, and my Fourth of July quilt just came back from the longarmer, needing binding.  I hope you are able to keep your days and events and sewing projects straight.  Happy Quilting!

Merrion Square • A New OPQuilt Pattern

Merrion Square, Version 2_OPQuilt

Merrion Square 26″ Mini Quilt

Merrion Square IG

First you saw this, way back in December of 2018.  I had this idea in my head and with a stack of Alison Glass fat quarters from Andover, I decided to try it out.

Merrion Square_v1_1

That idea led to this mini quilt, named for a square in Dublin that is known for its doors:

Merrion Square DublinMerrion Square_v1_3

At the center of the square is park, with interesting tributes to famous Irish poets and writers, so I had to include the bushes and trees.

Merrion Square version 1_OPQuilt

Then I changed it up a bit, making it a rainbow of scrappy and leaving off the border.

Merrion Square_v2_full

And then this version emerged from my late-night tinkering around.  Because of the (ahem) shoulder situation, I can’t quite quilt it yet, but I was able to sew it together.  (I think this is my favorite.)  I have since made three of these: one to send off for a sample for the Utah Valley Quilt Guild Workshop, another to head to the Valley of the Mist Quilt Guild, where I’ll be teaching it again in May, and one to hang around, just so I can look at it.

Merrion Square Quilts_1

I worked with my new Affinity Publisher Beta software and wrote it up, and now it’s available for sale in my PayHip shop.  Both versions are included — well, really, all three versions are included — if you go there, you can click on the little banner in the upper right corner and download a Preview, which includes a list of fabrics needed to make these.

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Some of you may have seen this on Instagram today.  I’ll be teaching this for the first time at a workshop with the Utah Valley Quilt Guild.  I’m pretty excited about it.

Gridster Bee Blocks_Feb13

You may have also seen this: I asked my Gridsters Bee Mates to make me up a slew of little houses, taken from this pattern.  I want to make a lovely little quilt of houses:

Houses Quilt

Sketch of Little Houses Quilt

I’ve had this idea floating around just as long as the others, and am looking forward to putting this together, too.

Merrion Square Pattern_opquilt_illustration

front of pattern

The pattern is $10.00, has 13 pages of colorful illustrations with clearly written directions.  It is available for a PDF download, and you can have it immediately.  I hope you have fun making this!

Merrion Square Quilts_3Merrion Square Quilts_2

Starry Sky Mug Rug

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This summer, my niece Abby, let me have one of her hand-thrown mugs, of which I was thrilled to get (I love hot chocolate).  I meant to send her a little quilted mug rug in return, but that project seemed to get stalled for one reason or another.  But last week, I decided not one more thing would be done until I finished it and sent it off.  (Sometimes you just have to give yourself a little talk.)

I used the Starry Sky block pattern, by Kylie Kelsheimer (a downloadable pattern from Craftsy).  In this new version of her pattern, she has three sizes, and the 6″ size is perfect for a mug rug.   Note:  It has been taken down from Craftsy/BluPrint.

UPDATE June 2019: The pattern is now up on PayHip, in three sizes.

Starry MugRug_1Starry MugRug_2

My niece likes to go hiking, and lives up in the Northwest, so I used colors of purple mountains, green hills and aqua-and-blue waters.  I bound it in navy.

Starry MugRug_5

I used an agate-stone looking print for the back, one of my favorites lurking in my stash.

It took me a couple of hours from start to finish.  It’s a paper-pieced pattern, so all the star points are sharp and it goes together easily.  I kept a photo of the block near me when putting the pieces together, to keep myself straight.

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I listened to the latest Bruno, Chief of  Police book, The Resistance Man, and that kept me going.  Then I ran it to the Post Office, and off it went.  I hope Abby likes it.

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A couple of days before I’d made Simone’s blocks for the Gridsters Bee, a wee bit late, but she forgave me.

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And then I got right on October’s blocks for Joan, for the Gridsters Bee.  She asked for a black-and-white New York Beauty block, with a touch of solid color.  Hope she likes these.

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I liked this old photograph of women sewing, found on the website for the National Gallery of Ireland, reminding me of my travels (I’m finally over the jetlag).

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Here’s your reminder: the perfect is the enemy of the good, Stephan Pastis style.  As some long-time readers know, I believe in this quote and used to keep it on my syllabi when I was a teacher.  Sometimes it’s good to just be *good,* and not strive for perfection.  Hope that idea helps you “lead a sane and balanced life.”

Spring Mini Quilt-on-a-Frame

ACK!!  It was 93 degrees today!!

Mini Quilt Spring 18_4

My snow-covered Orangeman (or Snowman, made of oranges) has his arms thrown up in amazement/horror.  While Rachel and Carol show snow days on their IG feeds, we are already burning up out here.  My newly planted zucchini and spaghetti squash plants are wilting, and it’s only April.

The origin of this mini quilt (tutorial is here) started when I first moved here, and commuted an hour to the Orange County Quilt Guild.  We had a block swap, and the theme was snowman, and since I was a newbie, I think I got all the rejects.  Except this one…which was my own (I made one for myself).  One snowman block was a zig-zagged stitched pair of stacked circles, with two hot-glue-gunned twigs for the arms, and dots of makeup for the coal and eyes.  Yes, I threw that one away.  But in looking for another project in my Orphan Blocks Box, I found this one, and turned it into a Mini-on-a-Frame quilt.

Mini Quilt Spring 18_1

I bordered it with those fabulous swirls, quilted it and trimmed it up).

Mini Quilt Spring 18_2

Mini Quilt Spring 18_3

I backed it, and slipped it on its stand.  Now I’m up to four of these mini-quilts-on-a-frame.  Given the success of this one, I may turn other orphan blocks into bits of art to be displayed!

tiny nine patches

PS: Swirl fabric is by Valori Wells, “Marks,” design #16354–by Robert Kaufman.  A young mother in church yesterday asked me if I bought fabric for a single project, or if I bought it when I feel like it.  This purchase was obviously the latter.

Mad for Solids 2018…Voting Time!

March Madness 2018 FB Header

Basic RGB

Today is the day!  I’m over there on the right in Game 6, paired with the ever-lovely Rene.

Northern Lights_circular

The name of my Painter’s Palette Solids bundle is Northern Lights.  Because why?  Because I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights, and because we watched a movie about surfing in Iceland, and well, because:

Northern Lights_pix

So, if you like the colors of the heavens in the photo above, and feel like you want to vote to send me to the next bracket, head here:

•  Paintbrush Studios Blog
•  Paintbrush Studios on Instagram
•  Paintbrush Studios on Facebook

Voting begins at 6 p.m. CDT [Central Daylight Time, or UTC -5] on March 23rd (today) and goes through to tomorrow at 6 p.m. CDT.  I’ve timed this post to hit a bit early in the day, so please wait until the Paintbrush Studio posts go live to place your vote.

March Madness 2018 FB Header

You Can Be A Winner

More information on how you can be a winner is on found on a previous post. So here’s my story about this fabric and why you’re going to want some.  I was at Guild on Tuesday night.  In Show and Share, I showed my Improv Appliqué quilt that I’d demo-ed at QuiltCon.  My seat mate, Angie, commented that the borders “were like black velvet,” so rich and saturated was the color.  And that’s how everyone reacts when seeing these fabrics.

I participate in these little contests for one reason only: I love these solids and want them to be everywhere, on everyone’s stash and retail shelves.  Come and join us in using Painter’s Palette Solids!

Northern Lights_horizontal

 

I’ve been playing around in QuiltPro and making blocks with these colors.  If I head to the next bracket, I’ll have a mini quilt to show.  So, thanks!

PBStudios Mad for Solids.jpg

A Tiny Quilt for Autumn

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_front2

So, one day I just had to do some creating.  Not following a big-deal pattern with billions of pieces, but a little project that just allowed me to follow a simple set of instructions and play with fabric.

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_pattern

I had saved this paper pieced pattern from Chase of the blog Quarter-Inch Mark.  It’s a free download, and since I was just playing, I printed it out at 100% which made it about a 6-inch pumpkin.  I think if I were doing this again, I’d go up to 125% or so, trying to get the pumpkin a bit bigger.

I just cut strips and went to it, and in hindsight, should have put the shaded strip on the outside, but since this was for a little quilt, and I was just playing, I shrugged and kept going.

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_quilting

I am following the tutorial for another tiny quilt I made, which you can find here.  It’s little quilt that fits onto a plastic picture frame that I bought at Wal-Mart for a buck-fifty ($1.50).

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding0b

See the other tutorial for how big to make this (I added strips to the pumpkin to make it large enough), and how big to make the sleeve that goes on the back.  All instructions are on that post.Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding1b

I like to do single-fabric bindings on my mini quilts.  Cut a strip 1-1/2″ wide, stitch RST, first the right/left sides of the quilt, then the top/bottom.  Fold up the raw edge of the binding, to the raw edge of the quilt.

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding1c

Use a glue stick to help you out, as you do the next step, which is folding the folded edge over your stitching that attaches the binding.  See both sides done (below):

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding2Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding3

Now do the top and bottom, folding in the raw edges, and then the folded edge over that (orange) line of stitching, which attaches the binding.

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding3a

Because you’ve used a glue stick to help you out, the top-stitching (from the top) is easy-peasy.

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_frame2

Slip the quilt over the plastic frame (above and below).

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_frameTiny Pumpkin Quilt_front

I hope to make several of these mini quilts so I can change them with the seasons.

tiny-sailboat-quilt_front-on-frame

Now I have a summer tiny quilt and an autumn tiny quilt!