Friday, September 23, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Block of the Week Quilt-Along: Block 4

I'm just popping in to let you know that the fourth block in the 12 Days of Christmas quilt-along, the calling bird, has been released on Craftsy!

Are you aware that there are only 92 days left until Christmas?  I'm in full-on crafter's panic mode myself, but it's a happy sort of panic.  Testing out these blocks has put me back in my crafting space on at least a weekly basis and has been a bit of a calming experience, so I am grateful for that.

At long last, here he is!

Computer-generated image.

This is another incredibly versatile block.  It would make a cute spring mug rug or frame up well as a piece of wall art.  I love what a fat, cheeky little bird he is.  it's a bright, fun pattern.

The real deal.  I love his feathery fabric.

It stitched up quickly and easily, and is a good pattern to start with if you're intimidated by some of the earlier blocks.

You can find the pattern here for 2$.

Next week will be another easy stitching week, so it's a great chance to catch up if you have fallen behind.  The hardest part for me was selecting the right yellow colors for my gold ring, and I may even go back and make some changes there.

Happy Christmas crafting!

Friday, September 16, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Block of the Week Quilt-Along: Block 3

It's another exciting Friday for me, because I launched the third block of my 12 Days of Christmas quilt today.

It's no surprise what it is, of course: the French hen.  This block is really versatile, especially for those of you who keep chickens or have a country theme in your house.  I can see this being featured in a really cute quilt or table runner.

The computer-generated image.

You can purchase the block for 2$ on Craftsy here.

I rated this a 4/5 for difficulty, but it all depends on what you consider difficult.  There are lots of sections, so if you have a hard time getting sections to line up, this is hard.  You might leave the excess on each piece and then square it up at the end to ensure you end up with a 9" finished block.  There are also three pieces in the face that are rather small.  They are totally doable, but you have to have patience and good eyesight.  You could leave the small black pupil out and use fabric pens or embroidery to add that in if it's easier for you.  There are not a lot of wacky angles and about half the pieces are pretty simple, so if you have a good amount of experience with paper piecing, this will stitch up fast.  It took me about two hours from start to finish.  The next two blocks are much easier and will give you a chance to breathe a bit more.

The real deal.

I hit the big Jo-Ann sale when they had fat quarters sale and a coupon that could stack with sales, so my girls and I took home an armload of fat quarters each for about 50 cents apiece.  I knew I was going to need several whites for the hen, goose, and swan, so I loaded up on some fun patterns that might be reminiscent of feathers.  This white was one of them.

This white-on-white fabric in this particular design screamed "French hen" to me.

The face pieces were pretty small, but they fit together nicely.  I love the mottled grey that I found for the chest feathers.  Overall, she's a pretty cheery little chicken, and I love this block as an addition to the quilt.

French hen close-up.

I know that I have had some purchases of the first block so far, and I am so grateful and excited to know that people out there are interested in quilting along with this series.  I hope you have as much fun putting your blocks together as I have.  Don't forget to share your progress with me!  I'd love to see your pictures.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hobbit Day Planner Stickers {Erin Condren}

If you're a Tolkien fan, you are probably aware that September 22 is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and has thus been designated Hobbit Day.  It's a great day to go barefoot, eat 'round the clock like a Hobbit, and kick back with some tea and Tolkien.  As promised,  I have another set of free planner stickers for the month, and they are Hobbit/LOTR-inspired to decorate up your Hobbit Day week.

Hobbit Day planner stickers.  Free for personal use.

These are sized specifically for use with Erin Condren planners and for cutting by a Cricut machine, but can be used with any electronic paper cutter that can accept uploaded PNGs.  If you are using Design Space, be sure to open it in Firefox and resize the image to 8.5" x 6" before cutting so the boxes are the appropriate size.

You can save the image above directly from the blog and clean it up in Design Space if you like.  If you would prefer to download the full-resolutoin PNG with transparent background, you can find that here.

9/23/2016:  Please note: I found a typo (*gasp!*) and have fixed the stickers accordingly.  Please let me know if there are any issues downloading them.  This is my first time uploading a revised version of an item to Google Drive and it is quite possible that I may have made a mistake.

Also, to help you find the free planner sticker files in the future, I have added a category to the top of the blog.  If you click on the category, it will bring up all the blog postings with free sticker files in them.

Let me know how you're planning to spend your Hobbit Day, and enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Block of the Week Quilt-Along: Blocks 1 and 2

I am so pleased to announce that the 12 Days of Christmas Block of the Week quilt-along has begun!  And we're starting off with not one pattern, but two for good measure.  I have the partridge in a pear tree and the turtle dove blocks to release today, and each following Friday I will release the next pattern in the lineup.  If you keep up with the patterns, this quilt will be assembled and ready for quilting around Thanksgiving, giving you plenty of time to put it up for your holiday display.

12 Days of Christmas Quilt
Block 1:  Partridge in a Pear Tree.  Computer-generated image.

12 Days of Christmas Quilt
Block 2:  Turtle Dove.  Computer-generated image.

Designing this quilt-along was a tremendous feat for me because I ran into multiple technical and mechanical errors that I had to surmount, and I am really pleased with how it has all turned out.  Ironically, I'm not a big fan of feathered demon spawn birds, and I forgot how many of them are in the song until I started designing.  (When you're ready to pop on the Christmas songs again, check Natalie Cole's version of The 12 Days of Christmas for a bit of related humor.)  That means that you will have access to lots of bird blocks.  But the beautiful thing about these blocks is that you can purchase and use them individually in a variety of quilts, so they are very versatile.

Some notes about this quilt-along:

  • These patterns do not include instructions in paper piecing!  I assume that you already are familiar with the technique.  If you are not, there are numerous tutorials available online.
  • You may make items to resell as you like with these patterns, but please do not share or sell the pattern itself, in whole or in part.
  • The amount of fabric suggested on the Craftsy page is a very rough estimate.  Every piecer uses a different system of cutting and therefore a different amount of fabric.  I have tried to be extremely generous so you do not run out of fabric.
  • Make sure your printer is set to 100% scaling or no scaling to ensure your block will be 9" finished.
  • The patterns are not in color, but they do include a key to let you know what color goes in every space.  I recommend using colored pencils to color the pattern in so your finished block is accurate.
  • The section key is written up as if you are looking at the block from the front.  If you are assembling the sections while looking at the back, the pieces will look reversed.
  • While these patterns have been tested, it is entirely possible that a mistake may have occurred.  If you find a mistake, please email me!  I will correct it and send out the correct pattern as soon as possible.

These are my finished blocks.  The partridge in a pear tree started off in different colors, but I had a disaster when I was finishing up the block and the dye from my fabric bled, ruining the block.  I will share a bit about that in another posting.  The silver lining is that I adore the new color choices and I think I will be happier with my quilt overall.  I will be adding a little French dot of black for the eye before assembling my quilt.

12 Days of Christmas Quilt
Finished partridge block.

12 Days of Christmas Quilt
Partridge block close-up.

I am really tickled with how this block turned out.  There are not actually many sections that need to line up perfectly, so while it has a large number of sections, it is not actually that difficult to piece.  Just take your time and work carefully.

12 Days of Christmas Quilt
Finished turtle dove block.

To be quite honest, the turtle dove block would work if you ever needed a pigeon block for some reason, as they are very similar-looking birds.  He comes together fairly easily and I would probably call this a pattern of average difficulty.  I can see that my feet are off just a hair, but this is a sample block and I will be remaking it.  I was putting this block together when I realized my printer was scaling it without notifying me and it ended up at 7".  I may quilt this up as a tiny quilt and have it as a sample of my work at my craft booths.

Turtle dove close-up.

I love the blue batik on the throat.  A pop of bright color there is a lot of fun.

The blocks are 2$ each, and are available in my Craftsy shop.  Blocks will range from amateur to expert, so if you are nervous about starting with the first block, you might wait for an easier one to come out and start with one of those.  I will not be releasing an official quilt layout for these blocks because I am just sewing mine up with basic sashing between, but I will share my measurements and results with you at the end of the quilt-along.

If you sew up any of the blocks for this quilt, I would love to have you post pictures to my Craftsy page, send them to my email so I can share them here, or shoot me your blog posting so I can feature it.

Happy Christmas crafting!