Friday, November 23, 2018

Rubber Ducky :: You're The One! (or Two)

Rubber Ducky you're the one

You make bath time lots of fun

Rubber Ducky I'm awfully fond of you
(Sesame Street)

Rubber Ducky's are just plain adorable, that I think we can all agree on!  I first saw the paper pieced pattern on Instagram and then was lucky enough to win a copy from Zephyr Skies.  The pattern is available here on Craftsy: Rubber Ducky in case you are interested.

17 1/2" x 12 1/2"

I couldn't wait to make the block, yet I had no idea when it would happen.  I'm kind of at that point where I just wanna play with quilting.  You know, make a few small things, try out new patterns or blocks, but I'm not ready to start something big.  So, I played.

I decided to make two ducks, one facing right and one facing left.  Picking the fabric was a mind chore!  There are so many possibilities, but I eventually settled on some lovely 
Cotton + Steel Basics and Moda Grunge.  

Adorable, right?!  The metallic in the Cotton + Steel fabric is what really tipped me over the edge.  A little bling is never a bad thing!

Toy Boat XOXO Metallic for Righty and...

Netorious Mixing Bowl Metallic for Lefty!

Both blocks went together seamlessly.  I did grab my seam ripper a few times, there is no doubt about it!  Working with solids it isn't a problem which side is right or wrong, but those darn prints...I gotta think harder!

After the ducks were finished and happily quacking away, I had to figure out the layout.  Call me crazy, but the idea of bubbles floating in the center was gnawing at me.  In the end I decided tiny hearts would be just as cute...cuter...unexpected?!  

I ended up making three paper pieced heart blocks: 1 1/2", 1" and 3/4", using three shades of pink. 


I offset each heart and centered them in the middle literally using every last piece of the background fabric!  Whew!  I was a bit worried towards the end!

Quilting time!  I made a 'duck sandwich' and began thinking of design possibilities.  

I quilted the wings and around each duck before I tackled the background.  I was having a horrible time free motion quilting!  The thread kept bunching up on the back.  I changed needles, reset the bobbin case and re-threaded over and over and over.  Eventually the problem was solved and I was able to finish it with a loop design.

The Rubber Ducky block is 10" and available here:  Rubber Ducky Pattern

It was such a fun project!  I'll most certainly will make more one day.  Call me crazy again... but I want to reduce the pattern and make a mini'll's gonna happen! 


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Regatta :: Setting Sail

Once again it's the time of year where I love to dive into the scrap pile!  It's no surprise that I like to keep bits and pieces from previous projects that eventually become a brand new design concepts.  Most of the time I'll make several projects out of one until every remnant is used.  But there are times when I set aside a bounty of pieces and wait for the right mood to come along.  Like this time when it was either use them or part ways.

By the end of the year I always get the itch to stitch random piles of fabric pieces.  It makes me feel good for one thing, but it also makes me feel like I'm getting a fresh start for the new year!  Winter cleaning!

20" x 17"
The beginning was much like most of my quilting, sew pieces together and figure it out as you go.  Maybe it'll work, maybe not.  It didn't matter either way to me and I firmly planted the notion in my mind that if it didn't work out it was no big deal.  

It didn't take long before the vision, the idea, the light bulb moment!  I saw a fleet of tiny sails floating across the midnight sea coming to life!  Regatta was christened!  Unfortunately not with champagne this time!

These pieces have been tucked away in the closet for nearly two years!  In fact, I never shared the quilt made with this fabric!  I should do that!

My daughter Britt, hand dyed a bundle of fabric for me years ago.  I waited until the right project came along before I cut into it, and from that came these scraps.  Tiny snippets that formed the triangles or sails.  All sizes, shapes and colors.  

I have to say I'm in love with that minuscule triangle!  The background fabric is Kona Nightfall and turned out to be the perfect midnight sailing background.  

You know what I'm going to say next.  I don't know how to quilt it!  But again I figured something would come to me and so it did.  

Random widths of organic spikes.  How sure was I?  One thing I rarely am is sure about quilting!  Which color of thread, what design, precise or organic?  All questions that land in my mind every single time.  

I started with one color of thread and figured I could add other colors later if it seemed right.  I used Aurifil Dark Cobalt (2740), Spring Green (1231) and Bright Turquoise (5005).  I ended up adding the accent spikes using matchstick quilting.  Something different and bold.  Good or bad it's set in stone now!

You can see the quilting on the front, but there's nothing like the back to show off the design and colors of quilting.  A rather fun touch and unexpected twist that I love to add on occasion!

I still have a few more scrap piles that I would love to clear out of my closet.  It'll happen in between the holidays, painting and daily life I'm sure!  

I also have a Secret Santa gift to make in the next couple of weeks and it isn't going well at all!  I'm having a hard time coming up with ideas and settling on a plan of attack!

Probably a good many of us have gift projects we need to start and finish!  What is on your project list this time of the year?!


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Take Two :: Redemption!

I was slightly disappointed when I first made this design.  I had accidentally forgotten to add one critical piece and once I discovered that fatal flaw, I flew through piecing the blocks together and didn't take the time for accuracy!  I'm sure many of us have been in a situation like that.  

There was no question I would try it again, this time taking my time and doing it right.  By right, I mean I changed the layout considerably from the first attempt!  I think that's allowed and in my book highly encouraged!

IT'S A 'GEM 2'
24" x 24"
The second version used the same mix of bright colors and Kona Pepper for the lines.  I decided I'd try the design using linen this time though.  I believe it's Moda cross weave, but please don't hold me to that!

With the first version I used an on-point layout, the second version is your basic horizontal layout.  It not only made the entire process easier, but also gave me so many more options with the design arrangement.

Here's a link to the original post:  It's A Gem
17" X 20"
Piecing your blocks in rows is so much easier than on-point when it comes to accuracy!  All those lines are certainly easier to line up!  

Like the previous version, these blocks are 4" finished and 4 1/2" unfinished.  Kind of small, but big enough as to not cause stress!

Not only was there design changes, there was most certainly going to be quilting changes.  Of course I was going to use a rainbow of thread colors!  Except this time I'd keep the quilting simpler and not match the thread and fabric colors.

I started with 1/2" diagonal lines using a Aurifil 50wt Light Blue Grey.  The lines went from edge to edge and top to bottom.  It was a great start and then I sort of hit a wall.  

I was determined to use all those beautiful bright rainbow colors, but couldn't quite figure out how I wanted to go about it.  Instead I took a walk and by the time I got back I knew what needed to be done.

I had to remember that I was keeping it simple...stick with the plan.  It was better than beating my head against the wall!  So it was diagonal lines again in the opposite direction, except I would use the rainbow colors.  Perfect and done!

 I like the simplicity of the quilting against the seeming complex design.  I do believe there was enough going on already!


The back shows the design and the 1/2" squares created from the diagonal lines.  The close up lets you see the colors a little more clearly.

When I started piecing this quilt I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I was committed to making it work.  That meant using what I had on hand.  I had no idea by the end of paper piecing the blocks I'd literally have to hunt for one more piece of Kona Pepper!  Or that there would be just a few scraps left of the background fabric!  This was a 'by the skin of your teeth' ending!

That meant that the binding was going to have to be black.  If you haven't used Kona Pepper before, it's basically a dark, dark grey.  You can really see the difference when the two colors are next to each other.  Considering it's just the binding and a skinny binding, I think it's just fine!

I've been calling this design 'It's a Gem', which seems pretty lame!  Why is it that I can never come up with better names for quilts?!  I'm thinking of changing it to 'Eye Candy'...rather lame again!

If I wasn't considering writing a pattern for this design, I think I would leave it nameless!  Do you name your quilts?  


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Flying High :: Pattern Release!

I can't say I'm quick when it comes to writing patterns, but I can say I did it!  Whew!  A big weight has been lifted from my shoulders!  

Now available for purchase on Etsy:  'Flying High'!   

The Flying Geese block is a remarkably simple and versatile block. The block consists of the triangle or ‘the goose’, and two smaller triangles on either side or ‘the sky’. Usually the block is made so they are twice as wide as they are tall. Flying Geese can be used alone, in borders or used in other blocks. Flying Geese are one of my all time favorite blocks! I designed 'Flying High' using three sizes of blocks (2" x 4", 3" x 6" and 4" x 8"), in two quilt sizes (38" x 51" baby quilt, and 
52" x 70" lap quilt). 

I wanted a design that was original and versatile. By rotating blocks or adding blocks, changing rows or adding rows, and even by the choice of fabrics, you can easily change the size and vibe of this quilt to suit you! 

38" x 51"

The block sizes of the Flying Geese are the same for both quilts, however the layout and number of blocks is different for each design.

Either quilt could easily be made larger by adding more geese to the width or length or even by adding borders.  

The fabric I used for both my quilts is 'Handcrafted' by Alison Glass.  But I think, I know it would look amazing in any fabric!  Just take a look at a few of my testers quilts!


Katy @katyfaircloth, used Tula Pink and we all know you can't go wrong with Tula!

Kate @katealicea used two colors for her version.  She also added an extra row for length.

Emily @kecollins6 surprised me with her version!  I love the gradation/ombre effect she used.  Emily added a border on the sides and increased the length on her version.

I am so thankful to have had these ladies test my pattern.  

And if that isn't enough inspiration, here are a few more options to get you excited!


Indie Boheme : Pat Bravo
Folk Song : Anna Maria Horner


If you write patterns or plan to in the future, I highly recommend Yvonne @quilting JETgirl for Technical Editing.  Having a fresh voice and fresh set of eyes is invaluable.  I feel good about releasing my pattern after having Yvonne in my corner!

Thank you for all of your support!  Pattern now available here:  FLYING HIGH