Thursday, March 16, 2017

Musings - Keep Your Joy

I am entering into the weekend with a mind full of things I "need" to do. You know, groceries, laundry, clean the bathroom. Oh! Feed the family, very important. 



There is another list going on in my head at the same time though, the PBJ list. I need to get this sampler done, I have that pile to post, an email to write, etc, etc. 

The problem with having all of this going on in my head, is that I lose the joy in doing that list. I love to quilt. I love every part of it. The designing, the cutting, the piecing, all the way to hand stitching the binding. Love it. 

There is a joy and a contentment in my heart when I am doing any of those things. Moments when I really do think to myself, "I am happy." 

Those first cuts in freshly pressed fabric, yum!

Making the first stitches in the first units of the new block. 

Squaring up the units. I can't tell you how much I love to square up a unit. It might be my favorite of all steps. I trim off the excess and look at that perfect unit and I am seriously entering into my happy place. Ahhhhhh...




Laying the units out in a beautiful block. 




Then the finished block into a quilt top. 




Possibly adding borders. 



(Here I send off my top to the long arm-er, because lets be honest, time is not my friend.)




Then hand stitching the binding. 

I only have this sad little picture from my Instagram. You can follow me here. (See what I did there?)

Joy! This all brings me such joy! The joy can get lost though, if I don't focus my attentions to "in the moment" thoughts. If I get stuck on counting how many squares I still have to cut out, or the blade is dull, this can make for ugly cutting time instead of joyful cutting time. Or if I forgot to fill up the bobbins before I started and I run out. I hate stopping to refill bobbins, I know better!  What about a dull needle when you are stitching on the binding. Frustrating! 


Quilt shown is my new pattern: XSquared.


So as you head into your weekend, which I hope has lots of quilting time planned, remember to stop and smell the fabric. Change the blade, fill the bobbins, clean the machine, use a sharp needle. 
Feed your joy. 

Happy Stitching,
Jen

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Introducing X-Squared

I am excited to introduce you to the 9th pattern in the PBJ family: X-Squared.




That mustard was just too hard to resist, and needed to be used, and used a lot. 




The mustard print was perfect for this larger version, but too big for the smaller version. Purple called to me. Whether it's because the purples are so pretty, or because it's my favorite color, I fell in love with this version. 




I may have to make this one again so I have one I can use. This pattern uses only 2 blocks, turned on point, and a simple (though it looks complicated) Seminole border. This pattern has instructions for  Baby, Lap, Twin, Queen and King sizes. You can find it here.




I am often inspired by the tester's samples when I look at colors. Kelly's version above, and Dedee's version below, had a big influence on that little purple quilt. 




Those jewel tones, just saturated in color, really called to me.




Joanne's sample is simple and sweet. Can anyone else picture a little one laying on this quilt?




Melissa's sample has me all cowgirl feeling, or patriotic, it depends on the day. 




Sherra's version is perfect for the horse lover in you.




A beautiful shot from Kelly at Simonsen Photography



To celebrate the release of X-Squared I am giving away 2 patterns, simply comment below and I will choose two random winners the morning of Friday, March 10th. 


Happy Stitching!
Jen


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Muggamo Pattern

Welcome to the March Muggamo pattern! I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. 


There is a little more piecing in this one, but it is all pretty easy. Download the pattern here.

Pieces needed

White background:
Two 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangles
Two 3 1/4" squares

Black Background:
Two 3 1/2" squares

Light Green:
One 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangle
One 1 1/2" x 16" strip

Dark Green:
One 1 1/2" x 16" strip
One 2" x 36" strip for binding

Backing and Batting:
7" x 10"

Start by marking the diagonal on the wrong side of the 3 1/4" white background squares. I use a mechanical pencil for most of my markings.




Match a white background and black background square, right sides together, and stitch 1/4" on each side of the drawn line.




Cut on the line, press towards the dark.




Mark the diagonal on the back of two of the half square triangles. On this one I used a chalk marker, because pencil would not have shown up on the black.




Line up two half square triangles, rotated so colors are opposite. The picture shows them offset a bit, but this is only to show the colors are opposite, they should line up exactly.




Stitch 1/4" on either side of the drawn line.




Cut on the line, and press, it doesn't matter which side you press to. Repeat with the last two squares. You now have four beautiful Hourglass blocks.




I trim the little dog ears off, just to reduce bulk. If you choose to trim off the dog ears make sure you aren't trimming the square under 2 1/2". The middle should meet at the 1 1/4" mark.







Next sew your two strips of light and dark green together, lengthwise. Trim off just a little off one end to get a straight edge.




Flip the piece and sub-cut the strip into ten 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" units.






Using these units make five 4-patch units. This is a perfect opportunity for chain piecing.


Press.




Layout your star block.




Sew rows together first.




Sew rows into a star block. Line up the side unit next to the star. 




Pin and stitch together.



Layer your pieced mug rug with backing and batting. Quilt it (I, once again, just used my walking foot to stitch in the ditch), bind it, then grab a hot or cold beverage, and sweet treat and enjoy your quilt finish.




If you make the March Muggamo, please take a moment to link up to this post. I will leave the link-up open until March 31st. I hope you will share! If you share on social media, please use #muggamo2017

Grab the Muggamo button for your blog.


Patterns By Jen


Happy Stitching!
Jen










Sunday, February 12, 2017

February's Picked By Jen, plus a treat and a giveaway!

This month's Picked By Jen is Sherri McConnell's, from A Quilting Life, Beginner Charm Pack Place mat that she shares on Fat Quarter Shop's YouTube Channel. 





I had some leftover squares from the charm pack of #Love that I used for February's Muggamo pattern and didn't want to just let them sit around. So I went looking for something that was quick and easy. This place mat is definitely that! 




My apologies to my photographer for any quilts I have made, or will make, using red. Red is hard to photograph!! 




I just quilted using my walking foot and doing stitch in the ditch. When I got it done and flipped it over I immediately thought it looked like a Tic Tac Toe board. Had I realized that earlier on I would have quilted it in red to make it stick out more. Of course it had me thinking I needed to make something to play Tic Tac Toe with. I don't have anything else to do, right?




Yeah. How cute are those hearts??!!  (If I do say myself.) Totally worth taking the extra time to make these. Here's a quick tutorial.  


You will need twenty-four 5" squares and poly fill. The squares can be all of the same, or different. This is the perfect size for a charm pack. I made mine with one side light and one side dark, but make then however you like. 




Draw out a 5" square. When drawing the heart inside the square the bottom point should touch the 2 1/2" mark. Each side touches at the 1 1/2" mark from the top, and the tops touch 1 1/4" in from each side. The inside point comes in about 1/2" on the 2 1/2" line. Fill in the lines between the marks. Cut out the heart. 




Place it on the backside of your lightest fabric and trace.




Put two squares right sides together.

\


Pin in place. I am the queen of pinning. If it looks like it needs a pin, if it even looks like it *might* need a pin, it's getting a pin. 




I like to start towards the bottom point. Back stitch and then stitch 1/4"  from the drawn line all around the heart. Stop about 1 1/2" from where you started, back stitching again. When I'm turning things right side out I like to have that extra strength with the stitching.




Cut the heart out on the drawn line, then snip along the curved pieces of the heart to the stitch line. Be careful not to cut the stitching! Clip that inside point, too. 




Turn and push out the points and the seams. Making sure to get the seam allowance press the heart really well. A well pressed seam allowance makes it easy to use a blind stitch to close it up. Stuff the heart, stitch the opening and you are good to go. 




I had big plans to make up more place mats (we're a family of 6), and more hearts. What do they say about the best laid plans?  Well my over planning is your gain, or someones gain anyway. I have a charm pack of Moda's #Love and 26" each (almost 3/4 yard) of the two fabrics shown. One lucky winner will get these just for commenting below. I will pick a winner on Valentine's Day. Sometimes the winter is a "no-reply" winner, and that is sad, because I have no way of letting them know they won. If you are unsure, you can always email me at patternsbyjen@gmail.com. Or check back here on Valentin's Day. Go comment and good luck!!

Happy Stitching!

Jen

The winner is..... Jen from A Dream and A Stitch! Sending you an email Jen.