Tool Box Tuesday – Free Patterns!

Free patterns? Sounds too good to be true.  Well it is true!!!

Fabric companies provide free downloadable patterns to show off their new fabric lines.  The fabric designers themselves, or other designers work up a pattern that is based on a new fabric line to help show how it might be used in a quilt.  These patterns are free downloadable PDFs.  What you need to do is to look up your favorite fabric company website and then look at the navigation tabs – you should find one that says “Free Patterns” or “Free Projects”.

I have been working with Windham Fabrics for a few years and just recently started working with RJR fabrics.  Let me show you how how these two sites work.

If you go to the home page for Windham Fabrics you will see something that looks like this. CLICK HERE to go to their page.

Clock on the “Free Projects” tab (third from left) and up will pop the following page.

Search through the various patterns that are there – if you find one you like – download it.  YES – FOR FREE!!!!

If you know the fabric line, type that into the box  – just for practice type in Spin.  A page should appear that would have the pattern I designed for this line which is entitled Twist and Twirl.  Click on the pattern and the PDF for the pattern will pop up and you can save it to your computer.

If you type in Big Rig Quilting in the search box all the patterns that I have designed for Windham will pop up.

The Windham search box lets you search by Fabric Line, Fabric Designer and Pattern Designer.

RJR Fabrics has a slightly different layout. CLICK HERE – to go to the opening page for RJR Fabrics  On their opening page there is a tab that says “Free Patterns” (2nd from the right).

When you click on the tab you will get a drop down list that allows you to search by 1) New Arrivals 2) Designer (Fabric Designer) 3) By Collection 4) Pre-Cuts 5) All patterns.  Click on the New Arrivals tab and a page like this should appear (NOTE – if you are reading this blog several months from July of 2013 the page will appear differently)
Down at the bottom of the page is my pattern entitled Holiday Gathering.  Click on the pattern and the PDF for the pattern will pop up and you can save it to your computer.
As you can see there are a wealth of FREE PATTERNS that are available on just these two fabric companies web sites.  Explore other fabric company sites to find other patterns.
Happy Web Surfing!  I hope you find some great patterns that you can use.

Tool Box Tuesday – Modern Quilting Designs – Book Review

No matter if you are a longarm quilter or if you quilt on a domestic sewing machine this new book which features over 90 quilting designs would be a welcome addition to your library.  I would call this book a “design library” book.  It does not give advice on how to do longarm quilting  or domestic machine quilting, but rather it provides a wealth of line drawn designs.
The book begins with a section entitled Design Inspiration. In this section Bethany shows us how she takes a photograph – it might be a fern, it could be some jewelry – and uses it as inspiration for quilting designs. Personally, I have been collecting photos for this purpose but have never moved to the next step – this section is giving me the needed nudge to pull out some pictures and see what I can come up with.
The remainder of the book is what I would call a design library. Each of the subsequent sections: The Essentials Freehand Background Fillers), Doodle Away (Continuous-Line Designs), Showstoppers (Unusual, Fancy Continuous-Line Designs), Nature’s Patterns (Feathers, Ferns, Vines and Leaves), and Dynamic Focal Points (Medallions and Borders) present a wealth of different ideas. It is refreshing to see how Bethany has taken some designs we may have seen in the past and added her own look to them. She also gives us many new designs that we can use and adapt in our own work. The final section, Mix It Up (Design Combinations), was a great surprise and a welcome one. Here she shows how she might combine some of the designs presented in this book in a single quilt. By that I mean – a central design for the body of the quilt, a different design for the small narrow inner border, and finally a design for the other border.  I might not have thought of some of the combinations she presents – but guess what – they work!
This is a great book to have in your library and to pull off the shelf when you have “hit the wall” and don’t know what to do.  I think it can help spark your own creative imagination as you seek to develop and let your own quilting style grow and evolve.
The book is 111 pages long and is available in paper or as an E-Book from C&T Publishing


Tool Box Tuesday – Precision & Panache

I recently had the opportunity to meet and talk with Susan Cleveland at Quilt Market in Houston this fall.  She is a person whose love of quilting is infectious. Her new book Precision & Panache is a wonderful resource for quilters of all levels. (Note: All images in this blog post presented with the permission of Susan K. Cleveland)

When we were talking about this book she said she wrote it to answer all those questions she gets when she does workshops: “Susan, how do you do…..”  

This book is a great compilation of techniques and insights into how to add some character to your quilts – how to give them a little pizzaz and make them stand-out from all the others.  
For the newbie – there is great basic information on techniques that you can grow into. For the not-so-new quilter this book is a great refresher of techniques you learned early on (or never learned and should have) and new ideas to add interest to our quilts. 

So what will you learn……
        • how to cut accurately
        • machine appliqué
        • adding piping
        • embellishing
        • stitching with heavy threads
        • binding
        • prairie points
        • and much more…….
Susan first provides a clear and concise explanation of the specific technique.  The photographs included are great and leave no questions about what she intends. She then provides small projects that incorporate the various skills and techniques that she just presented. I love that – you can make something small to practice the technique and end up with a little something for yourself – or a nice little gift for someone. Then, if you like move onto a larger quilt to incorporate these techniques.

And – she provides directions on how to do these various techniques if you are  left-handed!!!

Here are images of some of the projects and techniques that you will find in the book.

Get a few of your quilting friends together, everyone get a copy of the book and then work on some of the techniques and projects together.  (IT IS NOT OK TO PHOTOCOPY AND SHARE)  What fun it will be to see how each of you can add your own take on Susan’s ideas. 

Ask for the book at your local quilt shop. If you can’t find it there – visit Susan’s website and order it there.

One of my goals for 2012 is to try new techniques and find new ideas to inspire me in my quilt designs.  I tried her recommendations for getting a perfect quarter-inch seam – and it works, not only do I get a perfect quarter-inch seam, but I don’t’ have problems with my fabric twisting to the right and getting less then perfect seam at the end of the stitching. I hope to try some of her projects – so stay tuned to see what I come up with!  
Precision & Panache: fine workmanship, fabulous details, outstanding quilts.
Susan K Cleveland
© 2011 Pieces Be With You

McCall’s Design Star – My prize box arrived


A box arrived on Tuesday Morning from McCall’s with some wonderful goodies for being a runner up in the McCall’s Design Star Contest.

I received some fabric from Windham, Red Rooster, and Moda

A few more rulers from Olfa – love these frosted rulers. I received a frosted Olfa ruler in one of the earlier packages and love using it. I look forward to using these new ones.

A cutting mat and two rulers for cutting strips from June Tailor

And finally a Quilters Tote from June Tailor to carry all these wonderful things in!

Finally – two last pictures taken the night it was finished – they were both taken by Randy Duchaine. The first is one of me with my “halo”.

The second is a picture of Ray Pool and me standing in front of the quilt – Ray helped put food in front of me at dinner time and kept pushing me forward during the long hauls in the challenge! (He is a mean seam presser  – see all those log cabin blocks and the triangle blocks in the border – I was chain piecing those and he was slaving over a hot iron pressing the the blocks so I could add yet another row or triangle – he kept saying “Are we done for the night” – and I kept saying “Not yet!” – I think he was sorry he volunteered but I am glad he did!)

Thanks again to all of the industry sponsors who have been so generous with prize gifts and also thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of my work over the past 5 months! I look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead.

Look for the July/August Issue of McCall’s Quilting – they will have an article about the winner of the contest -and something about all of us runner-ups!

Happy Quilting

Toolbox Tuesday – Book Reviews – January 18

I have to admit – that besides collecting fabric I am a sucker for books. I see a new quilt book that looks good, I buy it. Sometimes I realize that I haven’t looked at some books for ages – but “you just never know when you might need it” and if you don’t buy it now “it might not be there when you need it.”

Two books from C&T Publishing that were extremely helpful in creating my quilt Polaris for the McCall’s Design Star Competition were Drafting for the Creative Quilter (C&T 2010) and Borders, Bindings & Edges (C&T 2004) – both by Sally Collins.(Both are still available from C&T!)

These two books are, in my opinion, “MUST HAVES” on your quilting bookshelf. Yes, on first glance you might say – these look too technical, too complex, too precise – but there really is something for everyone. (If you are a Virgo you will LOVE these -I’m not -even with the shift in recent re- calculation in Zodiac Signs – and I still love them!)

In Drafting for the Creative Quilter (C&T 2010) Sally shows you how to analyze various blocks, how to re-size, how to design with blocks of different sizes, how to take a block and re-design it/adapt it/alter it, etc… the list goes on.  On the broader level – this is a great book solely for design inspiration. It can help spark your creativity to think differently about your quilt designs and block designs.  I don’t know that I would have been able to draft the 8 point start block that I used in Polaris.  Each of the star points is measures 11 inches from the center point out to the tip!

In addition to drafting blocks she has wonderful insights into color placement, scale, and other design elements that can be used in creating any quilt.

The second book Borders, Bindings & Edges (C&T 2004). In her thorough fashion – Sally deals with I think just about every border possibility that is possible – including how to put a 1/8th inch border on a quilt to make a section pop. (YES – 1/8th of an inch). I didn’t put an 1/8th inch border in – but I did adapt her technique for putting in some 1/4 inch highlights.  The white in both of these borders is1/4 inch and it really helps the central square-on-point pop.

If I didn’t have then small white border the central medallion would loose it’s impact. If I put a bigger border there the effect wouldn’t be the same AND my border that squares up the quilt wouldn’t fit! The information in this book helped me figure out how to, as Tim Gunn on Project Runway  would say “Make it work”

She provides wonderful instructions on how to figure out what size spacing strips you need to include to make your borders fit, what to think about when deciding “how wide do I need to make that border – should it be 3 inches, 6 inches or ???). There are great ideas different border designs and on how to take those designs around the corner. Again – the technical person will love this book – but if you aren’t the “precise piecer” – you will find loads of info that you can use. How to make borders fit, how to make bindings, how to caclcuate bindings, how to apply different finishes ……. the list goes on and on.

If you don’t have these books in your library – get them – you won’t be sorry!