Thursday, January 31, 2013

Country Charmer Quilt Along - Post #3

Hello Everyone,

.....and then there were nine......nine blocks filled with wonderful color.....well on my way to a Country Charmer quilt.  I try to have each and every block different than the rest, all with an interesting and unique story to tell.  I want my blocks to be reading a different page in the same book. And, I want that book to be a real page turner.

Whenever I want to be able to see my fabrics and strips together, I always put them on my pasta dryer.  Everything is right at my fingertips and doesn't take up much room. I load this up with the colors that I want to incorporate again and again for continuity throughout the quilt.  I'm incorporating four different fabrics for the backgrounds.

Always start with an interesting center.

P-U-L-L the center colors all the way through the entire block. 

Line your fabrics up to see who is touching who or is it whom?  Do they play well together?  Do any of them jump out and say me, me, me.....or are they a nice, cohesive grouping?  Notice that most of my prints are small-scale prints.  My centers usually have the largest scale.  When I shop for fabric, I always look for "different" colors, like the teals you see here.  I try to find fabrics that have more than three colors too.  Since I usually make scrappy quilts, fabrics with three colors make it easier for me to match them up with something else.

Lay them out on your block layout chart.

Don't stitch the corner sections on like this.  Have the 4-patch in the center with the beige background rectangles along the outside of the block.  On my first Country Charmer, I didn't realize I had one section turned around until the quilt was on the long-arm and half quilted.  Oh well, no one knows but me.....and now you and the rest of the planet!

Except for the waviness of the herringbone fabric, I like this block a lot.  It looks wonky here but not in the grand scheme of things.

Move on to another grouping.  If they look good here.....

....they will look good here.  Get lots of movement going just like the fabric in the star around the center square.

Play with your fabrics.  Play until you are tired of playing.  Swap out one fabric for another until you are happy.  Wait a minute.....wait just one minute.  Why did I put that red fabric in there?  It's not in the center square.  I put it there because I like it and think it looks good.  It has just a hint of the gold and works with the blues.

The blocks become addictive.  You eat, sleep and dream Country Charmer blocks and you can't wait until you can get back to your sewing room to put some more blocks together.  Right?  (Please tell me I'm right or else I'll sound like an idiot!)

I hope you are all enjoying yourselves and your Country Charmer journey. Enjoy the process, the whole experience.  You are honing your skills from fabric selection to piecing 53 little pieces of fabric together into an 8-1/2" block along with lots and lots of other quilters around the world.  In a word, AMAZING!  Be amazed......I am.  You can't hit every block out of the park, but you can have fun trying. I'm cheering for you.

Remember if you don't have a blog and would like everyone to see your blocks, you can email them to me at and I'll post them for you.  Or you can post them to Flickr HERE.  Please check out Lesley The Cuddle Quilter.  Lesley is going to post a Linky tomorrow, Feb 1st on her blog.  You can see who's making Country Charmer around the globe.


P.S. There are lots of Country Charmer patterns available at the shop if you want to jump on the Country Charmer Quilt Along.  This is a no stress, no designated quilting day, low-key event, just work on it when you can quilt along.  The goal is to have a quilt finished by the end of November.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Block of the Week

Hello Everyone,

What can I say, I'm a sucker for a basket quilt.  This is the new Block of the Week program that just started at In Between Stitches.
After choosing some of the fabrics and packaging them up, how could I not start this quilt? I don't want to get behind.  We are only two weeks into the program, so I was playing catch-up yesterday.  I combined my 2-weeks worth of fabric and finished half of the blocks.  I'll make 10 a week, and by the end of the 12 weeks I will have 120 of these little beauties just waiting to be put together.

The baskets are 4-1/2" unfinished.  They are adorable!  I'm using a method that makes 8 half-square triangles at once, so these little ones go pretty fast once all of the pieces are cut out.  There is a HST tutorial located in my Virtual Class at the top of the blog.

The program is available to view HERE.  You know me, I can't stick with directions so I will probably put mine together in a whole different way than Edyta Sitar suggests in her Scrappy Fireworks book.  I'm seeing some applique in my border!

Those of you that follow my blog know that I'm supposed to be machine quilting Butterscotch Baskets this week......that was at the top of my to-do list.  Well, I have to get my machine quilting mojo has left the building and I can't find it!  Instead of machine quilting I'm doing accounting, writing pattern directions, and making cute little baskets. I'm also preparing another tutorial for the Country Charmer Quilt Along tomorrow, and I'm getting ready for The House on Edgewood Lane class on Saturday.  Maybe I should just go back to bed. Maybe my dog Zinnie can be pressed into service......Golden Retrievers are Service Dogs you know. 

Well, I can't put this off any longer.  I have to start my day.......I think I'll start by having another cup of coffee.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Toyland Tree Class is in Session

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday was "Operation Build-A-Bear" in the classroom at In Between Stitches.  Fourteen ladies were working hard on their first block of Toyland Tree. There was a wide range of quilters from beginning to advanced.  No matter what the skill level, it was a great group of industrious quilters.

The BOM packets were mailed out during the middle of January.....all material was selected, cut, and packaged by yours truly.

About half of the group is working from the block of the month fabric bundle, the rest of the group is pulling fabric from their stashes to make this little guy.  I love the plaid vest!  Right up my alley.

Bears began to appear throughout the classroom with their scarves blowing in the breeze!  I kept hearing, "Isn't he cute!"

There were lightboxes, baskets full of fabric, freezer paper and countless supplies filling every table.

First a leg, then an arm, then a face......he'll become real in no time at all.

Elaine has a new little gadget that she though would be a great idea for me to have when I'm quilting at the cabin and the power goes out.  It's an LED Headlamp.  You just strap in on and you're good to go.
It was also suggested that we could strap them on our spouse's at night to help them find their way to the bathroom.....and they would be good to go!

Now on that note......have a wonderful Monday!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nostalgic Christmas Quilt

Hello Everyone,

This beauty was created by Lea from Podunk Pretties.  I fell in love with the center images she downloaded and printed from the Internet.

Her quilting and attention to detail is pretty incredible too.  Just feast your eyes on all of the little plaid flanges.....or is it flangii?  Whatever, they are great!

Lea's color choices are absolutely PERFECT for this design.

Lea, thank you so much for making my pattern and showing your amazing images.  Seeing my design come to life through your creativity absolutely made my day.  You've created a treasure to enjoy for many years to come. Excellent job!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Doodling On My Quilt

Hello Everyone,

I can't put it off any longer.  I have to start quilting Butterscotch Baskets. I've spent two very intense days writing the directions for the pattern.

I've had weeks to think about the quilting and the time has come to actually do it!

I use Quilter's Preview Paper that is available HERE at HandiQuilter. I love being able to draw on the quilt to see what the quilting may possibly look like.  I know I'm going to treat the cluster of four blocks as one block.

There is a black line on this roll of drawing film to remind you not to write on your quilt....great idea! 

I haven't decided yet, but I think I'm going to cross-hatch the outside border.  I may attempt a curved cross-hatch inside this oval.  I'll cross-hatch that bridge when I get to it!

I'm so close to finishing the directions for the quilt.  I reached a burnout point yesterday afternoon after an intense morning filled with writing and graphic development.  I walked away from the computer and started dusting!  Dusting was mindless and after writing pages of illustrations and directions, I needed to be fact I was brain had left the building.

After a nice dinner last night at Kaaren and Clint's house with good friends, food, wine and conversation, I'm ready to dig in again once more.  I'll either finish dusting or tackle the pattern writing.  I'll decide after my second cup of coffee.....I'm leaning toward the dusting.


P.S. Yesterday was Zinnie's 4th birthday.  In dog years she's in her prime.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The House on Edgewood Lane Class

Hello Everyone,

It's almost time for The House on Edgewood Lane class.  I'll be teaching the class at Prairie Queens Quilt Shop in San Jose, CA on Feb. 2 & Feb. 23rd.  For class information you can click HERE

This quilt holds a very special place in my heart.  It was my first pattern.  My first real design that I actually sold!  This was also the first house that I remember living in as a child on Edgewood Lane in Paradise, California.  A house surrounded by love.  This was the first time I used a flange too.

I was an absolute nervous wreck quilting on this red fabric.  My quilting was very visible and it scared me to death.  I'm glad to be over that hurdle now.....but it took several more quilts to get comfortable.

I've thought about making another one and put some fat quarters together.

My friend Kathy made one with blue as the predominant color.  It is gorgeous!  She pulled her scraps together beautifully.

Perfect border fabric with matching binding and inner border.

I have a couple of openings in the class and would love to have some of you join me that live in the San Jose area.  We'll have a good time making our House on Edgewood Lane together.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Second Time Around for Toyland Tree

Hello Everyone,

I'm getting ready to teach Toyland Tree this Sunday, so I sat down and started making the quilt again and got everything ready to teach the class.  This time around, I'm using a white background with little black polka dots to really change things up.  It's a whole new ballgame working on a white background.  Four different plaids for one block works for me! Checks, polka dots.....the only thing I'm missing is a fabric with  stripes.  I'll put his little face together once he's stitched down.

I prepared all of my pieces by tracing them on the applique paper.  I hadn't intended to get so much finished, but it kept me from pacing the room while I was watching the football game Sunday.  Go Niners!  I still have lots to do on this little guy, but the hard part is finished.  I love, absolutely LOVE to sit and stitch my applique.  I look forward to it every evening AND an added bonus, it keeps me awake!  If I just sit and watch TV, I not only feel like I'm wasting time, but I fall asleep in a nanosecond. (Unless I'm watching Downton Abbey....I never fall asleep during that show.) If I keep busy, I can stay awake for hours and stitch to my hearts content.

Here's the bear the first time around.

For those of you that are just now receiving your Toyland Tree BOM in the mail, the fabric key or swatch sheet is located HERE.

So here's to staying awake on these cold winter evenings, working on an applique project. It's relaxing and extremely satisfying.


P.S. The Marti Michell corner trimmer that I demonstrated in the Country Charmer post are available HERE. It takes a bit of extra effort to cut off your corners, but it pays off in the end with perfect alignment.  There are plenty of Country Charmer patterns at In Between Stitches too.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Country Charmer Quilt Along Post #2

UPDATE -Monday January 21st, COUNTRY CHARMER patterns will be available at In Between Stitches again later today.  Due to the wonderful response from quilters around the world to the Quilt Along, the shop sold out of patterns over the weekend.  Thank you all so much for showing an interest in the Quilt Along!  I appreciate all of you and I'm looking forward to seeing the different blocks and quilts.  ~~Lynn

 Hello Everyone,

I've been reading blogs and emails about what colors and fabrics to select for Country Charmer. I'm feeling your quandary. Don't be afraid of using a lot of different colors.  Embrace the beauty that it brings to the blocks. Start by selecting an interesting center and pull those colors out into the rest of the block.

You probably wouldn't wear a polka dot blouse with a check or plaid skirt. (Well I might!)  But it's okay to put those combinations together in a block or in a quilt.

Each of my blocks sings their own song.  Collectively they make a beautiful chorus.  Don't forget they will be separated by a fairly wide sashing (even though I do like the secondary pattern they create.)

Here's an example of my decision making process when planning out fabrics for my block.  I started with this combination.  Whenever I remove any of the pieces, I save them in little baggies so I can use them in another block.

Then I changed the background fabric to something a little plainer.  I like this background better for this block.

Then I changed out the 12 dark little squares from green to a dark red.

These 12 little squares weren't working for me either.  To plain.

Now this is more like it.  Polka dots, checks, pleasing background

This selection works for me.  It is a combination of Civil War meets Thimbleberries meets checks.  It works.

A finished block that makes me happy.

Work with your colors on the block layout sheet.  This is the place to just play.  Another bonus of the block layout sheet is that grandchildren think it's a great puzzle.  My little 5-year-old grandson had a ball placing the pieces on the chart for me.  It's a fabulous introduction to geometry.

I hope this helps when it comes to fabric selection.  You will know it when you "nailed" the block.  Not all of them will be a masterpiece, but they can make beautiful music together.


P.S. An extra big thank you to Quilt Sue for designing the County Charmer Quilt Along button for me.  I absolutely love it!  Another extra big thank you to Lesley the Cuddle Quilter for setting up the Flickr Country Charmer page HERE.  I couldn't have done this without your help.  You girls rock!