Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Introducing Cartwheels on the Prairie

My newest pattern, "Cartwheels  on the Prairie" was released September 16th.

 This quilt has been in the works for years. Literally. 
She first started out with the name "Spring Stars". She was made with sweet pinks and greens, and a LOT of half square triangles. Even the stars were made of half square triangles. Yeah, that was a Lot of HSTs!

The original.

 So even though she was softly beautiful, I knew I needed to come up with something different. I love a perfect half square triangle, but this was a bit much, even for me. 

Enter the Square-in-a-Square block and Flying Geese block. They saved this quilt from pure craziness. It definitely came together much quicker.

Made with less half square triangles.

This baby is huge. It comes as a queen size pattern, there is a wall hanging option as well, which is also a great size for a baby quilt.

Though I decided to go with a different colorway for the cover quilt, which meant a change in the name as well, I did choose to use the pink and green for the wall hanging version. Just a tip of the hat to the original "Spring Stars" quilt that grew into "Cartwheels on the Prairie". 

You will notice there are some great open spaces, have fun and add some great quilting. 

You can pick up a "Cartwheels on the Prairie" pattern at my Etsy shop as well as the three other quilt patterns I have available. 

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Free pattern! Three Jacks

Just in time for Halloween! A free pattern with tutorial. This is the first tutorial I have ever written, so I hope it is easy to follow. 

This is a quick wall hanging to put together. From first cut to fully pieced (not quilted), it took me about 2 1/2 hours. That includes stopping to take pictures along the way. You could definitely have a cute Halloween wall hanging in one day.

Background - 1 Fat Quarter
Pumpkins - 4 x 11
Stems - 1 x 6 1/2
Faces - scraps
Border - 6" x Width of Fabric
Batting - 18 x 28
Backing - 18 x 28
Binding - 1/8 yard
Wonder Under - for faces


From background fat quarter:
 1) Cut six 3 1/2" squares
2) Cut two 1 1/2" x 9 1/2" rectangles
3) Cut four 1 1/2" 4 1/2" rectangles
4) Cut two 2" squares
a) Cut on the diagonal

5) Cut two 1 1/2" x 7/8" rectangle (this is the right size, teeny!)
6) Cut twelve 3/4" squares

 Yes, more teeny tiny squares. 

From pumpkin fabric:
7) Cut three 3 1/2" squares

From stem fabric:
8) Cut two 3/4" x 2 1/4" rectangles
9) Cut one 3/4" x 1 1/2" rectangles

From face fabric:
10) Follow the instructions for Wonder Under
 (or whichever adhesive you are using)
and attach it to the back side of your scrap
11) Draw your faces on the paper side
(Draw them larger then you think;
you can always make them smaller.)

From Border fabric:
12) Cut two 2 1/2" x 16 1/2" rectangles
13) Cut two 2 1/2" x 13 1/2" rectangles



Mark your 3/4" background squares on the diagonal.

If you are confident in your sewing skills, these are certainly small enough to skip drawing the line.

You are going to sew a square to each corner of your pumpkins, following the line you drew.

After you have sewn the squares on you will press towards the square, then trim off the excess.

Line up your quarter inch line on the seam and trim that little triangle off.

 It doesn't seem like a lot, but just taking off that little bit helps with the bulk when you are putting all the pieces together.

(It all adds up, and I know my machine is not a fan of sewing through a lot of layers.)

Next we will cut out and place our faces. You could skip this part and just have pumpkins, then you could have a wall hanging that would work for November as well.

After you cut your faces out, you will peel the paper off, and place that part onto the pumpkins. Press them onto your pumpkins, making sure to put the side with the glue on the pumpkin.

Stitch the faces down now.

I like to start in the middle of the piece and not on the end. Go slowly.

Next are the stems. Using the 3/4" x 1 1/2" stem rectangle and the 1 1/2"x 7/8" background rectangles, sew a background piece to each long side of the stem.

(Sorry, I don't have a picture of this step.)

For the next two stems it's a little more difficult. Line up your pieces as so:

Yes, the triangles should be that much larger. Find the middle of each triangle and stem piece. I finger press these.

Match up the middle and pin.

Stitch and press towards stem. Do the same on the other side.

Press towards the dark. 

Next, using your 45 degree mark on your ruler, line it up with the mark going through the middle of the stem.

Make sure the corner is on the stem. Trim.

Turn the square, line up the 1 1/2" marks on the newly cut sides and trim.

Lay out your pumpkins, stems and background pieces.

Stitch a background strip to each side of the stem square. Stitch a background square to each side of the pumpkin.

Lay out the strips and pumpkins. I stitched the stem strips to the pumpkins first, then strips. 

Last add the borders. First add the side borders (2 1/2" x 16 1/2" strips).
Then top and bottom ( 2 1/2" x 13 1/2" strips).


To get it ready for quilting, layer your backing, batting and then top, I tape my backing to the mat (or floor for the large quilts), then tape the batting, and just lay the top on top. Pin, leaving no more then 4 inches in between pins. 

Quilt as you desire. I always stitch some on the side to get warmed up and make sure the tension is right.

(My bobbin wasn't threaded right, thank goodness I practiced first!)

I tend to bunch my quilt as I quilt, I don't roll it.

Gloves are so helpful in moving the piece around. I have "quilting gloves" and I have gardening gloves. As long as they have the little rubber nubs, they work. These are from my mom, perfect for quilting in October.

I quilted spider webs and spiders. 

At least I tried. My spiders look more like ticks, which my husband kindly said are scarier then spiders.

Add your binding. I cut mine at 2". And then your hanging sleeve.

Hang and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy this little pattern. I love my little Jacks!

After you make one, don't forget to add your Jacks to my flickr page. 

Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Feeling thankful

How about a new blog post? It's been a while, but two "no signal" vacations later and I am ready to start again. We spent a beautiful 3 days in Northern Minnesota and then spent 8 days traveling through South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. I encourage everyone to take a "no signal" vacation. Especially with your children. It was great to unplug.

Beautiful view at the Big Hole Battle Field in Montana.

I'm going to share with you a project that I worked on, off and on the last few months, and just finished this week. I love all things hexagon. I also love the Noteworthy fabric line. I don't usually feel the need to buy a ton of fabric, but I would buy every bolt in this line if I could. This was a great combo of my two favorites.

I have a friend who I met online when we were both expecting our "Junebug" babies back in 2001. Kelly is a fabulous sewing queen and photographer. She has a blog Handmade Boy you need to check out. Not only does she sew and take pictures, she can design things on the computer. How is that for technical jargon? That's how much I can't design things on the computer. So she has also designed the cover for my patterns and my business cars (with hexis of course). Yeah, she's pretty awesome.

As a thank you for her amazing work and support, I sent this table runner to her, along with some coasters. Which were also super easy to put together. 
You an see why I hired a photographer. ;)

These coasters are made from leftovers of a charm pack. No cutting, no measuring, just quilting and finishing. Yeah, nice and simple. I used the same backing and just lined up the batting and charm squares.

Then I used my walking foot and did a basting stitch around the outside of each one. That made quilting them much easier, as they will slide. 

Once they were quilted I did square them up, because I'm particular that way, but you would certainly be able to leave them as is. 

I used this tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts to bind the coasters. It worked pretty well, and I think they turned out pretty cute. 

I used English Paper Piecing for my hexis and put them together in a pleasing to me pattern. Then added borders and quilted it. I love the backing. I stuck in an extra piece, because when I was cutting I wasn't really paying attention, and I could have lined up the birds on the wire perfectly, had I paused just a moment. But since I didn't, and I'm kind of a perfectionist about those things, I faked my way through to the perfect backing. ;)

Of course I forgot to take a picture of the back when it was finished.

I hope she enjoys the gifts, but really I hope she feels how appreciated she is in this crazy adventure called quilt designing.

Happy Stitching!

I have linked up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Friday. That Hexi Pin cushion she shares today is from a Hexi Love class I taught at a quilt retreat she was also teaching at. How cool is that??!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Great Granny Bag ~ Picked By Jen

Welcome to a new Picked By Jen! Today’s pick is The Great Granny Bag, from Emmaline Bags.

I love mine. This thing will hold everything, including the kitchen sink, but is still so stinking cute.

When I made my bag I combined all of my favorites; flamingos, polka dots, hand stitching and a great bag. It was quick and easy.

I use this bag to carry the pieces I’m sharing at my LQS (Local Quilt Shop), Fabrics Plus, during our Block of the Month Class.

 I also use it to carry quilts that I am binding. There is a great little pocked that is perfect for carrying thread, pins and scissors.

I just don’t think you can have enough bags, and I certainly need to make myself another one, or two or three.

I would love to see any of your finished Picked By Jen pieces. You can share them on my flickr page.

Piece In Joy!

Friday, July 10, 2015


I chose one of my test quilts for Pinwheel Pizzazz to finish this week. All it needed was the binding. I have many projects in various stages of construction, but it was easy to pick this one. 1) It's July and this is Patriotic. 2) Because my Etsystore is new I need to add pictures of various color pallets. 3) This is the most important reason; my family is freezing. Apparently I keep it a bit cold in my house and they are dying. I keep telling them, they can add more layers, they do NOT want me taking more off! Well, now they can snuggle under a quilt. In July. In hot, humid MN... I think they are crazy.

I cut my binding 2" by the width of the fabric. I don't use a biased binding. When I finish the quilt with scalloped borders sitting in my "Needs to be quilted" bin mentioned here. I will cut on the bias. for now, this is quick, easy and works for me. 

Not only was this quilt already quilted, it was squared up. Yeah. Just sitting here for a few years waiting on me. Usually I mark my line, stitch my binding and then trim off the excess fabric, but here you see that was already done. I use my walking foot to stitch on the binding, it really helps keep it from bunching and pulling. 

Once that is done, I get to move on to my favorite part. Hand stitching it down. I love hand stitching. It's calm and rhythmic and you can get into a zone, or just watch your favorite shows. And once that last stitch is taken and knotted off, you have a beautiful quilt to cuddle under or gift.

 I usually choose a thread that matches the binding, not the backing. In this case I had to do a two color binding, because I didn't have enough of one color to do the whole thing. I was lucky enough to have 2 matching threads. I also usually do a diagonal seam on my binding strips, but again not having enough fabric had me changing up what I usually do. Not a bad thing, but that seam on top of itself definitely makes it bulky.

And now my family has a beautiful, warm quilt to snuggle under. They won't freeze to death or turn into ice cubes. It was close though...

Happy Stitching!

Linked up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Friday.