The Row by Row experience

I have only recently become aware of a program that is run over summer here in the USA called the Row by Row Experience.  From June 21st thru to September 8th over two thousand quilt shops around the USA and Canada give away a free pattern, based on a theme.  All you have to do is visit the store to get the pattern.

This years theme was H2O (water) and I was excited to work with my local quilt store, Modern Domestic, to design their Row by Row experience….Glass Half Full.

table runnerThe remit was to design a block that was 8 inches high by 36 inches wide.  I worked with Michelle Freedman to design a paper piecing block based on the idea of a glass of water.

block layoutsMy original block was 6 different paper piecing patterns for the water (you can see the my original test run above).  Michelle then streamlined the idea into just one pattern sheet, which still gives you variety in the water but is easier to distribute.

MD patternYou can pick up this pattern for free from Modern Domestic over the next couple of months.  Most of the stores also have kits available for their blocks, which is helpful if your stash is somewhat lacking in blues!  I turned my row into a table runner by simply adding a border strip…

glass half full blocksIf you are not able to make it to make it to Portland you can check out the Row by Row website to see if your local quilt store is participating… I know there are quite a few stores that have paper pieced their row… including Fabric Depot whose very cool paper pieced block I will definitely be hunting down.

quilting detailAnd if you are outside the USA, don’t fret, at the end of the September many of the stores will make their patterns available digitally.  I will let you know when Modern Domestic’s pattern becomes available.

Designing a paper piecing pattern….

This week I have been playing with a paper piece block that I have designed for a friend’s quilt.  She is a big fox fan and seeing she is getting married in August I thought a quilt was in order.

There are some great fox patterns out there…I  love Elizabeth Hartman’s “Fancy Fox“….but I wanted to make Miss Katie something very special.  Inspired by a print I saw at a local Market Stall, I came up with this block…

Miss K Fox blockI initially sketched the idea in a my gridded notebook, then transferred the idea into the quilting program EQ.  I tweaked a little and then did a test run.

sewing piecesI never print out numbers on the blocks in this initial phase, because part of the pattern testing process is to work out which pieces should be numbered in which order.  In particular the decision of the first piece glued down is important (I select the most awkward shaped piece to start with if possible).

block piecesWhen all the pieces are made I then look at how to make sure that the proportions are right and that all the pieces are okay.  With this pattern I went in and tweaked a few bits … I made the nose bigger and got rid of some extra lines that were not needed.

amending patternI will now go back into EQ and make the changes and finally add the numbers and do another test run.  Then when I am happy I will launch into full-blown fox production mode…. an August deadline is looming and I have a lot of foxes to make!

So before I sign off the winner of the fabric bundle is….

Kirsten who wrote…”I am following along with your progress on this beautiful quilt as green is my favourite colour – all of your stars are just gorgeous and I love the LV backgroundl!”.

So the fabric will be winging its way to Kirsten.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  There was such a great response that I will definitely be doing this again…and soon.

A flurry of butterflies….

Yesterday was a public holiday here in the US and I fully embraced the good weather and took the day off…. so no paper piecing Monday this week.  Instead I wanted to share one of the paper piecing projects I have been working on for the last week or so…

lizzy house butterflyI have been making butterfly blocks using Lizzy House fabric and tone-on-tone white scraps.   My obsession with making these blocks took seed when Lizzy’s new fabric line, Natural Histories came out and included this wonderful print…lovely hunt tiff makerI had purchased a fabulous butterfly pattern a year or so ago from Juliet at Tartan Kiwi so I went to work making blocks.  The pattern, if you are interested, is only $2.50 and can be bought HERE.

butterflies 1The pattern is for a 5 inch butterfly and it takes four parts to make one block….

butterfly pattern piecesThe more of these I have made the quicker the process has become.  There are some small bits to the pattern but nothing to complex… and I love the end result.

butterfly sizesFor my butterfly collection I also enlarged the pattern a little.  The yellow butterfly above is the 5 inch block and the green butterfly is what I got when I enlarged the pattern to take up the whole of a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

lizzy house butterfliesMy finished butterfly collection will have both block sizes and a fun array of colours.  I am using just Lizzy House fabric and trying not to repeat any fabric…and I love how they all look.

Orange butterfly

Tickled Pink….

This weeks Paper Piecing Monday block is the second in my snowball series….

Spikey SnowballI am loving the shape of these blocks and I must admit I may do more than I originally scheduled… this block is adapted from a pattern that came with my EQ program.  It has quite a few little bits, and takes 80 fabric scraps to make!

Snowball block partsSo if you would like to give it a try you can find the free PDF pattern here…Pink ball 2.

Tune in next Monday for another pink snowball block, and another bad pun!

New York Beauties

A couple of weeks ago, at one of our Guild Sew Days I got an amazing burst of creative energy.  It all started with the fabulous Bill Volkening and his amazing collection of vintage New York Beauty quilts.  Bill is a quilt collector extraordinaire and a collection of his 1970’s quilt hung at QuiltCon last week.

Anyway Bill was showing some of us the roughs for a new book he has done which highlights his amazing collection of New York Beauty quilts from the 1850’s through to modern.  I had never seen such an awe inspiring collection of quilts and I was immediately drawn to the wonderful patterns that were used to make them.  If you are interested in seeing what I am talking about Bill has a fun slide show of 30 of his New York beauties up on line HERE.

Having just conquered my fear of curved piecing I thought I had to give this block a go, just to see if I could do it.  The second part of the inspiration came about 20 minutes later when a friend from PMQG gave me the most amazing gift… a tin of Mirror Ball fat quarters.  It seems Tracey had bought the tin years ago, before I had discovered the magic of Mirror Ball and not used it…she had seen my love of Mirror Ball first hand at the PMQG retreat (I may have drooled over her fabric) and decided to gift me her tin of magic.  I was at first speechless and a little teary.  It was such a generous gift and I do LOVE Mirror Ball.  Anyway a long story short while I was petting my new fabric I stumbled across this colour scheme…

Mirror ball fabric…and my new project/obsession was born.  So this week I have been making New York Beauty blocks…

New York Beauty 1…lots of New York Beauty blocks.,..

New York Beauty 3I found some paper piecing patterns for blocks in my EQ7 program and I have been playing…

New York Beauty 2There has been lots of unpicking and learning but I am having fun.  I am not sure what final layout will be but for now I am just enjoying the fun of making these blocks. Each one is different…each one is unique…each one has sparkle in it.

I am linking up with Lee and Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.