Sunday, November 19, 2017

Quilting Essentials ~ Half Square Triangles

If you're like me, you make hundreds, if not thousands, of Half Square Triangles in a year.  They are an essential block in many of my quilts.  I love them and don't mind making them at all since I began making them larger and trimming them down many, many years ago.
The truth is they are a staple of my designs, and I have future projects planned using tons of them, so I keep an ongoing flow of scrappy Half Square Triangles through my machine.  While working with the fabrics of other projects, I always cut 2 1/2 inch squares of whatever light and dark prints I'm working with and add them to the ongoing pile.
I sew them Leader and Ender style (thanks, Bonnie!) and can accumulate a big pile fairly quickly.
 
If I'm organized (and truth be told, I have not been lately!), the HST's go into this bin sorted by color.  From here, they can be trimmed to whatever size I need.  
I love, love, love blocks I can trim to perfection, and this is my tool of choice to do just that.
If you're not familiar with the Bloc Loc rulers, they are wonderful because they have a channel carved out of the ruler which accommodates the bulk of the seam allowance.  It "locks" onto the seam which makes it stable, and the ruler doesn't rock back and forth on the seam when you're trimming it!  Wonderful!
The other thing I love is how easy it is to read,  and it trims any Half Square Triangle in 1/8th inch measures to any size smaller, making it a great value.

I strive to be a precision quilter and this tool gives me great results.  I don't like a whole lot of notions and rulers, but if it really performs, is versatile and not too expensive, I'm all for it.

That said.....if you get great results you're happy with using papers or piecing the traditional way, don't change a thing!!  

I'm not affiliated in any way to Bloc Loc, and the hints I share in my Quilting Essentials posts are just my opinion.  

If you'd like to give Bloc Loc rulers a try, please ask for them at your favorite local quilt shop!  It's so very important to support your local shop.  If you can't find them there, you can find them on my website.  

Click here to read more about the Bloc Loc rulers.

And....I am curious to which method is your favorite for making Half Square Triangles?  

I have a poll on the sidebar of my blog where you can cast your vote.  If you receive my blog posts via email, click here to go to the poll and vote for your favorite method.  (Poll ends 11/26/17)  It will be so fun to see what the most popular method is for all of us (world wide!)

Hope in some way the information I have shared will help you.  Your comments are welcome and if you have something you'd like me to write about in future Quilting Essentials blog posts, I'd like to know that as well.  

I'm off to spend the rest of the day sewing!  Yay!  Hope you get some time to sew as well.  Be well...


Monday, November 13, 2017

Cleaning House Is A Good Thing!

A Prairie Gathering BOM
I received a call from the good folks at Marcus Fabrics to say they were doing some housekeeping and found some treasures!!  

They found a couple of A Prairie Gathering complete kits!!


They also found a couple of Star Spangled Liberty complete kits!!  


WOW!!!  What treasure to find!

If you missed your opportunity to participate, you now have a second chance to grab one of these rare finds for yourself.  

They are specially priced, include all of the original fabrics and also include the complete pattern set!!  

Don't wait!  

Click here to order yours today!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Back From Fall Quilt Market

Cottonwood Creek (left) and Letters From Grace in the new Tall Grass green fabrics (right)
Quilt market was fun.  It's always great to go to see all that is new and wonderful in our world of quilting.  This is the Marcus Fabrics booth.  
I was in the next booth to the left.
L to R: Nancy Rink, Paula Barnes, MaryEllen Robison, me, Karen Styles, Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith
One of the most fun parts of being at market is getting together with my sister Marcus designers!  
I am so jazzed to be ale to share the news of my brand new 2018 BOM called Pieceful Pines!
Pieceful Pines made its debut and I'm happy to report was well received!  Yay!!  This new BOM program will begin March of 2018 so ask for it at your local quilt shop.  Stay tuned right here for more news on Pieceful Pines as I complete the program.  I will have fabric to show you early in December.  

I returned home for one day to repack luggage and pack the car for a guild visit in central Illinois.  I had a great time there with a truly friendly group of ladies.  Lots of fun! 

I came home only to awaken with a bad stomach flu and severe headache that kept me in bed 4 days (had flu shot 2 weeks earlier!)  YUCK!!  I hate being sick.  I lay in bed thanking my lucky stars I didn't catch it when I was away from home (that would really be horrible!), but also lay there thinking of the thousand of things I had to do.  

On the mend and back to work!!  Life happens....that's all I can say.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Plantation Stars!!!

It seems like it took forever, but finally.....I'm so happy to announce that Plantation Stars is ready to ship.   And...it was SO worth the wait!! 
Plantation Stars was quilted by the fabulous Val Krueger!!  I could not be happier with all the designs she chose for this quilt.
These photos were taken just before I left for Quilt Market, and it was a very rainy day.  I didn't add any light or flash so the quilting would really show, and it does, but it makes the blues look very dark. 
i just love how the little stars create a circle around the large stars.  And...the open space was crying out for Val to work her magic!!
Plantation Stars patterns are ready to shipClick here to order the pattern.

I also have a limited number of kits, with all the same fabrics I used in my quilt.  The kit includes the pattern and all fabrics needed to make the quilt top.

Click here to order the Plantation Stars quilt kit.  

I'll post some pictures of Quilt Market in my next post.  In the meantime, enjoy your day, and make it all the more enjoyable by finding just a little time to sew.  

Be well....

Friday, October 27, 2017

Gone to Fall Market

Off to see all that is new in the quilting world at Fall Market in Houston.  I'll try to post lots of good stuff to Instagram and Facebook.  I'm sure you'll find all kinds of stuff posted showing loads of quilting goodies to inspire and tempt you.  Me, too!!  

Enjoy your day, and spend some time with needle and thread.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Two Color Classics ~ A New Tokens of the Past Pattern


Hooray!!!  At long last, the new Tokens of the Past: Two Color Classics pattern is ready to go!

Geesh....it seems like it took so long to complete.  The quilts have been finished for weeks.  During pre-market time, there's a lot of work for photographers and graphic designers all helping pattern designers to get their work done.  

Good things come to those who wait, right!

Well....we don't have to wait anymore, and I could not be happier to say it's ready to ship!

Click here to order the Tokens of the Past: Two Color Classics pattern.

Believe it or not, this is the eighth pattern in the Tokens series!!  They have become a best seller, thanks to you!!



A limited number of kits are available for Midnight Stars with exactly the same fabrics as you see in the photo above, and includes the backing fabric!

The fabrics are a mix of black prints I have designed from many collections for Marcus Fabrics.  I love a simple Sawtooth Star and a little tweak to the setting gives the center a whole lot of interest.  I finished it off with a graphic Flying Geese border.  Quilt size is 15 1/2" x 17 1/2". 

Click here to order the Midnight Stars quilt kit.  (Pattern sold separately.)


A limited number of kits for Sunset Ridge are also available featuring a variety of red prints from many of my fabric collections for Marcus.  (This photo is much darker than it really is. Grrr!)  Quilt size: 13" x 16 1/2".  

Click here to order the Sunset Ridge quilt kit, backing included.  (Pattern sold separately.)

Soon, I will have kits for Blue River County, the blue quilt seen on the Two Color Classics cover.  

Did you know that no matter how much you order on my website, you'll never pay more than $8.95 for shipping?!!  

Wait no more!  Order yours today!!!  Yay!


I wanted to mention that I will be appearing in the Bloomington/Normal, IL area the first week of November, visiting the Hands All Around Quilt Guild.

Thursday, November  2nd is the lecture at 7pm, at the Mennonite Church of Normal, 805 S. Cottage Ave, Normal, IL.  

Two workshops are scheduled, but I believe they're full, for Friday and Saturday.  Email any inquiries to Jenny P at quilt456@gmail.com

Hope to see you there!


Monday, October 16, 2017

Rebecca's Thimble

So jazzed that another new pattern is finally complete and ready to go!!  Yay!  Introducing Rebecca's Thimble.  Scrap Lovers are gonna love this pattern because the more scrappy prints you include, the better the quilt will be.  More fabrics are always better, right?
Made in two color options, in two sizes, with options for borders....or not, this is one versatile pattern.  

The blue version is the smaller quilt, and I added borders.  As shown, the quilt measures          19 1/2" x 19 1/2".  

The red version is the larger quilt, and I chose not to add borders as I really love the quilt center just the way it is.  As shown, this quilt measures 41 1/2" x 41 1/2".  Decisions, decisions!





Nice to have choices though!  If you're like me, why not make several quilts in different colorways?  

My new Rebecca's Thimble pattern is ready to ship.

Click here to order yours today!

Market prep goes on each day and I feel I'm making progress.  My newest Tokens of the Past pattern, called Two Color Classics is nearly complete, I'm binding Plantation Stars in the evening while I watch TV, and my Tall Grass sample yardage just arrived this morning.  So...we will dig into all of that fun stuff this afternoon.  

I think I need to learn to sew while sleeping.  

Um, Pam...that's called dreaming (in every sense of the word!)

More very soon....








Thursday, October 12, 2017

Everyone Loves a Little Country Charm


I'm so jazzed to release my pattern called Country Charm!  

This quilt was made awhile ago and was originally published in Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.  I made it using Kansas Troubles fabrics, which remain a favorite of mine, and always will be!  

The star blocks are 9 inches, and each has a different sampler block on the inside.  Fun to piece and fun choosing the fabrics for each block as well.  

More interest is created by placing well chosen colors in the sashing.  Use scraps from your stash or leftover 5 inch squares to create the quilt the way you want it!



Quilt measures 34" x 34".  

Click here to order yours today!


Lots more pattern releases and new fabrics coming any time now.  

Dear Mr. Postman, Mr. UPS and Mr. FedEx.....please hurry!!  



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Where's Fall?

Um, Mother Nature.....what happened to our fall weather?  It's still in the 80's here in Chicagoland, and while it is nice, my seasonal clock is set to fall temps, and so far, there's no sign of them.  
Over the weekend, I began to decorate the house for Halloween, and I want those cooler days.
Trying to get a few things done in the house while I prep for market.  It's part of the ritual of the changing of the season.  I'm doing my part....I just want the weather to match the calendar.  

I love sweater weather!  I made this table runner eons ago and I still love it.  
Right now, there'a a lot of paperwork to do.  Writing patterns, creating a brochure with all my new offerings, needed graphics to create.....you get the idea.  Lots of computer work.  It all goes hand in hand with market prep.

But....I love to sew, and have been trying to find time to sew...even 30 minutes a day....makes me happy.  While working with all of those 1 inch strips, I have also been sewing tiny Two Patches.  They finish to 1 inch by 1/2 inch.  JOY!  Another new design I'm working on for the future.  

Hoping your weather is just the way you want it, and that you're finding time to sew...even though your day is filled with other  tasks that aren't nearly as rewarding!  

Be well....have a happy needle.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A LIttle Crazed

Fall quilt market countdown is in full crazy mode here.  It's been over a year since I have been able to attend market, what with those pesty surgeries last year and all.  So...I feel a little rusty to be honest.  

There are five new patterns coming, with seven new quilts in various stages of production.  Still working some on the big secret project that kept me busy over the summer, three new fabric lines in the production, and two more floating in my head that need to be in the Marcus office soon.
As if I don't have enough to keep me busy, (not complaining!  I like being busy!!) I am working on four new quilts that will debut sometime next year.  They are SUPER SCRAPPY and require thousands (yes, thousands) of 1" strips.  So....a little here and there, I've been cutting and playing with the pieces to work out the block designs.  (Ideas can sometimes nag at me until I get them worked out.  Does that happen to you, too?)
To know me is to know I am organized to a fault....and it can be a fault, ya know?  I started out with this small bin.  What was I thinking?  That won't hold much!  I need to separate these strips by color, and as I wade through my stash, it will grow and grow.  Must work on these new ideas.  But when?  Hmmm.....maybe I can sleep 30 minutes less, wake up really early and tackle this.  (I'm a morning person.) 

Yeah...sure....sounds good until that alarm goes off!  Any advice for organizing lots of 1 inch strips?

I have a piece of advice for you.....if you LOVE working with small pieces like I do....start cutting lots of 1" strips now.  I highly recommend you starch or size your fabric before cutting!  It makes a world of difference with the control you have in piecing ~ but never more so than with super small pieces. 

Soon...very soon, I will have lots of new stuff to show you.  I can hardly wait, I promise!!  

Be well...and stitch!  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tokens of the Past: Two Color Classics Sneak Peek

I'm back from a lovely trip to visit two quilt guilds in Texas.  I had a wonderful time there as I always do when I get to spend quality time with quilters!!  My thanks to all the folks from Vereins Quilt Guild and the Hill County Quilters Guild for the warm and hearty welcome they gave my hubby and me.  

Just one day back to work and the pre-fall quilt market crush is upon us.  We're busy making plans to finish the last of the new quilts for market, trying to catch up on orders, and what seems like a million other details.  It's all good....no complaints here!

I just couldn't resist showing you a sneak peek of three new quilts is am SO JAZZED about!!  These little darlings are the three two color quilts in my newest Tokens of the Past pattern called Two Color Classics.  I hope you find them as irresistible as I do!! 

They are off to be photographed and we're working on the cover.  The pattern and kits will be available very soon, so watch my blog for the big announcement.

Val, my quilter who is lending her talents and quilting magic to Plantation Stars, tells me it's almost done.  I can hardly wait!!  Pattern and kits will be coming soon on that one as well.  

And...then there's Rebecca's Thimble....another new pattern, also featuring two color quilts.  I sense a theme here....must be my mood lately.  

I don't know about you, but I do so love a traditional two-color quilt.  

Must find time to write my next Quilting Essentials blog post....I haven't forgotten.

And....work is well underway on my 2018 BOM.  Exciting stuff going on here.  

Summer is hanging on to the bitter end here in suburban Chicagoland.  I returned from Texas to the hottest weather we've had here all summer!  Frankly, I long for the cooler days of fall, and am concerned that these hot days will rob us of glorious colors in our fall leaves.  

Mother Nature sure is letting us know who's boss lately.  Let us not forget all of those effected by the hurricanes and earth quakes and keep them in our prayers.  

As I stitch in the evening, I count my blessings with a grateful heart.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Introducing Tall Grass!!

Oh, I am SO jazzed to finally show you my newest fabric collection designed just for Marcus Fabrics!  

It's called Tall Grass.

Tall Grass is a lovely collection of various prints in shades of greens.  You know how bad I am at taking pictures.  I'm showing you two photos of the same fabrics ~ one shot with the flash, and one without, to demonstrate the difference in how it changes the coloring.  (I'm trying to blame my poor photography on the lighting.)  Hopefully, you'll be able to get a good idea of the pretty shades of greens.  
I am so, so happy with all of the prints in this collection.  I worked in a few other colors with the green backgrounds for variety...and, well....for the fun of it!
Once in a blue moon I needle-turn applique, and thought of all of the applique-ers out there who use greens in so many of their quilts, as vines and leaves, and so many different things.
I really do love all of the fabrics I design, but once in awhile, I do have a favorite, and this print is one of them....especially the light.  I can see it used in a bazillion quilts.  I'll have to order extra of that one!
Why the name Tall Grass?  Well.....growing up in Illinois, the Prairie State, we have tons of different tall grasses everywhere.  It grows wild, and we work it into our landscaping because it's perennial, and indigenous.  
It grows in every shade of green imaginable.  Some have flowers, most have tasseled tops in wheat tones and browns.  I thought it was the perfect inspiration for a collection of green fabrics for this "Prairie woman".
I've designed a quilt featuring all of the Tall Grass prints and will show it to you just as soon as I can.  

Tall Grass will be delivered to your local quilt shop in January, so next time you visit the shop, ask if they've ordered Tall Grass!  It's so important to support our local quilt shops!!  

Click here to see the entire Tall Grass collection on the Marcus Fabrics website.

I'm also delighted to be traveling to Texas to meet with two guilds there.  Hoping to post pictures to Instagram and Facebook.

In the meantime, make your sewing machine happy by spending some quality time with it.  By doing so...you'll be happier, and at peace with your heart!  

Be well.....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fat Quarter Shop's Healing Hearts for Texas

Healing Hearts is a very special quilt pattern offered by Kimberly Jolly and all the generous folks at FatQuarterShop.com.  

Starting today, September 12th and through October 31st, you can purchase this very sweet quilt pattern for just $9 with all of the proceeds going to the JJ Watts Foundation.  Every cent of the money raised from the sale of the Healing Hearts pattern will directly help the untold families effected by Hurricane Harvey.  

Click here to purchase the Healing Hearts pattern, and you'll be able to download and print it right away, and begin helping folks who really need a hand up right now.  




Monday, September 11, 2017

In Honor of September 11th

I can hardly believe that 16 years have passed.  We all know exactly where we were, and what we were doing when the first plane hit.  

We honor the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day, and all of the first responders who gave everything they had....tirelessly...for days and days.  We must pause to remember them all and keep them in our hearts.  We can draw strength from the fact that the entire world changed from that day on, and we overcame it all, continuing to be America Strong.  

In heartfelt remembrance......