Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Week 16: Cathedral Windows

Today is Week 16 of The Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the block, called: Cat Nap by Nicole Vos Van Avezathe. You can see my version of Nicole's block, here.

The incomparable Jenny Doan, of Missouri Star Quilt Company, is this week's featured designer. When I first started viewing her quilting videos, I thought about how much I admired her. Teaching via video came so naturally for her and I so wished I had the courage to do it, back then. She definitely paved the way for many, many quilting teachers to step outside of their comfort zone and teach in front of the camera.

The very first video I did was following a McCall's Quilting School at Sea quilt cruise. The quilt we taught on the cruise was done as a Mystery Quilt project. I had the pleasure of being on camera with the incredibly talented Sherri Driver, who designed and taught the Mystery Quilt project on the cruise simultaneously with me. It was such a pleasure to be teaching the quilt again, especially because Sherri had a way of making me feel comfortable on camera and I don't know how I could have done it without her.  

Jenny Doan's block is called Cathedral Windows. I love how clever this block design is and I'd love to see it repeated into a quilt.  Here is my version:

I chose to go more subtle on my fabric choices for this block. I love the light blue prints in the Hometown collection by Sweetwater (Moda Fabrics) that I'm using. I then decided to use the honeycomb dark gray/gray for my center patch and finally, framing it out with the ivory/gray/blue typography print.

I've never made a Cathedral Window quilt before, and I love how Jenny designed this block because she took, what I believe is the original design of a Cathedral Windows quilt, and made it into a square block.

According to my (very worn) favorite book on blocks, Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, American Quilter's Society, 1993, she shares this version by Erica Wilson. Barbara notes: "Lozenge shapes are open work, squeezed square is bound with bias." 

Here is another version from the book noted as published in the Iowa Farm & Home Register, June, 1956:

Finally, though it carries the same name, this version is unlike the previous two Cathedral Window examples. This one was designed by Nancy Cabot in 1933. Please note that the number below the block is Barbara Brackman's reference number in the book:

The Splendid Sampler 2 book is available this month. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Week 15: Cat Nap

Today is Week 15 of The Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last time, we introduced you to the block, called: Fruit Bowl by Jo Avery. You can see my version of Jo's block, here.

Nicole Vos Van Avezathe of Follow the White Bunny is this week's designer and her embroidery is gorgeous! After reading her blog post about her block, I encourage you to browse through her site to see her wonderland of creativity. The details of her pieces are divine!

Nicole's block is called Cat Nap, and it is a combination of embroidery and applique. Here is my version:

I realized after the fact that I didn't add in the extra embroidery elements to the floor of the design. At this time, I'm probably going to leave my block as-is. At a later time, I'll re-visit adding those elements in. I'm deciding to handle it this way because my schedule is seeming to have become extremely busy lately, and I'd like to get back ahead of my schedule.

I chose to applique my cat using a black solid fabric and then chose to embroider the outline of the cat using an off-white Aurifil embroidery thread using a one-strand thickness. The floor is stitched using one strand of a heather gray wool embroidery thread by Aurifil. It gives the block some nice texture.

My block was made in remembrance of our kitty, Charlie Chaplin. 

He was such a pretty one. And boy, could he talk!

Although the quality of this photo is poor (it was taken at night with bedside lamp on), he's curled up similarly to Nicole's Cat Nap block. If you look closely, he's peeking out at me with his left eye showing and his tail is covering the right side of his face. He was a goofy cat (made us smile a lot) and I miss him so.

The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Week 14: Fruit Bowl

Today is Week 14 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last time, we introduced you to the block, called: Betty's Bloom by Carl Hentsch. You can see my version of Carl's block, here.

Jo Avery of My Bear Paw is this week's designer and I ADORE her sense of style! I'm also envious of the fact that she lives in Scotland! Right now, she's hosting a giveaway, so check out her blog post and the details, here.

Jo uses such gorgeous colors and prints in the fabrics she works with; I love her eclectic mix. She has a playful style and her applique and embroidery designs make you smile! Earlier this year, Jo was featured as the Aurifil 2018 March Designer of the Month. Through the interview post on Aurifil's blog, you'll learn even more about her, as well as view some awesome photos of architectural elements she came across while in Portugal with her husband.

Jo's block, called Fruit Bowl, is an applique and pieced block. Here is my version:

I did something a little bit differently than what the pattern called for when I made my block. Before beginning, I trimmed out the Convex template. As I was thinking through how I was going to be making the block, I decided to make it easy on myself and applique the Convex shape to a 3" x 3" square.

Steps to Make an Applique Drunkard's Path Patch:
Please Note: Along with the following steps, refer to Helen Stubbings' video instructions (there are 3 videos, total) on how to use her Hugs 'n Kisses applique paper.

  1. As shown in above image, trim off the 1/4" seam allowance along the curve of the Convex paper template, ONLY (leave the 1/4" printed seam allowance along the two sides of the 90 degree angle).
  2. Trace the trimmed Convex paper template shape twice onto Helen Stubbings' applique paper; cut the shapes out.
  3. With glue-side of the applique paper shape onto WRONG side of cream/gray dot fabric, press the applique paper Convex shape in place.
  4. Trim the applique paper Convex shape from cream/gray dot adding 1/4" seam allowance to the curve ONLY; you'll trim the 90 degree angle edges even with the applique paper because it already includes 1/4" seam allowances.
  5. Using a glue stick, glue the added 1/4" fabric along the curve of the Convex shape onto the back side of the applique paper.
  6. Cut two squares, 3" x 3", from your background fabric (the light gray/medium gray dot fabric shown in previous photo).
  7. Line up the prepared Convex applique paper shapes into the corners of the 3" squares from Step 6 and carefully glue in place according to Helen Stubbings' instructions.
  8. Use desired hand (what I used) or machine applique along the curve to adhere the Convex shape onto the 3" square base fabric.
Note: I did fussy cut the Convex shapes.

As with all of the applique I've done with the blocks I've made for The Splendid Sampler II, thus far, I used Helen Stubbings' Hugs 'n Kisses applique paper for the circles in the bowl, as well, and hand appliqued them in place.

The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Block 13: Betty's Bloom

This past Thursday, we began Week 13 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last time, we introduced you to the adorable block, called: Free as a Bird by Irene Blanck. You can see my version of Irene's block, here.

Carl Hentsch is this week's featured designer. I was so thrilled to learn how he named his block in memory of his dog, Betty. Although Carl and I have never met, I so appreciate his thoughtfulness. This warms my heart because I'm a huge dog lover and miss my beautiful boy, Boomer, who spent countless hours as my companion, protector, and best friend before I met my husband. Of course, Boomer's roles continued, but he also made room in his heart for Erv; from the beginning when they first met.

Boomer: Christmas, 2002, in Pittsburgh, PA

Once I started my design business, Boomer and Maisy, who we adopted in 2005, loyally followed me around and laid at my feet while I sat at the computer working on new quilt designs and writing patterns, and also while I was planning and sewing my designs together in my sewing room. When we lived in South Carolina, I had the entire space above our garage for my studio. One of my favorite photos is when I caught the two of them on the sofa curled up while I was working.

Maisy and Boomer in Lexington, SC, January, 2010

Those were great times, for sure! Back to Carl's block...

Please do check out the blog post Carl wrote about his block. He not only touches on his beloved dog, Betty, he shares his block in two settings: One, a repeat of the block and the second one . . . well, I'll let you see it for yourself; a great alternative idea, should you wish to use his block duplicated in a quilt setting.

Carl's block, called Betty's Bloom, is a Foundation Paper Pieced block. Here is my version:

When I started making my block, I was having a difficult time deciding what fabrics to use (and it was well before I decided to incorporate my Circa 1934 fat quarter bundle and the additional fat quarters I've since purchased). So with that said, I decided to just use two prints in the starburst-portion of the design, instead of the four prints Carl used. I kept the red/cream and blue/gray theme going with the perpendicular strips, and then decided to use the mottled yellow print that I had for the center to tie in the yellow I've used in earlier blocks, as well as give the center of my bloom added interest.

So there you have it: Betty's Bloom!

The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Block 12: Free as a Bird

Today, we started Week 12 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the block, called: Tulip in Bloom by Nadra Ridgeway. You can see my version of her block, here.

Oh my goodness! I'm so excited about this week's block . . . the design is so well executed and it was great fun to make! This week's block designer is Irene Blanck. Please check out the blog post she wrote about her block because she included some great photos; one of which is a version of the block using just stitches. I love it!

Irene's block is called: Free as a BirdHere is my version:

It has been a while since I made an applique block with so many pieces and I had such a great time choosing my fabrics for this project!

The first fabrics I chose were for the bird's wings. I've wanted to use that cream/gray dot for a while, now, and finally found a place that felt right using it.

I loved how Irene used a print where she purposely chose an element of the fabric for the bird's eye and so I wanted to do the same, if possible. That's when I saw the black print and fussy-cut the bird's body from it. Before I did my fussy-cutting and using a pin, I poked a hole in my template where the eye would be. Then, I pinned through the eye element printed on the fabric so I knew where I wanted to fussy cut the bird from.

Next, I chose the blue cross-hatch and words print for the bird's tail feathers. The rest of the fabrics, for the branch, leaves and berry, tied the fabric choices together and added a sense of visual balance. I decided to use the yellow flower print as my background because I liked how it was reminiscent of a flower garden on a sunny day.

There were two things I slightly changed: 1) I made the branch a bit thicker, and 2) I embroidered the legs with a bend in them. The branch is probably a bit wider than I would have liked and didn't notice it until after I attached the berry at the tip. However, overall, I'm very happy with the results.

The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Block 11: Tulip in Bloom

Last week was a week to perhaps catch up on block-making, or dream about how you'll place your blocks into a quilt design. I didn't do either (haha!). I had some other catching up to do for SuzGuz Designs, so I was happy to have a little extra time to work on an upcoming project.

Today, we started Week 11 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Two weeks ago, we introduced you to the block, called: Around Four Corners by RachelDaisy. You can see my version of her block, here.

This week's block designer is Nadra Ridgeway of ellis & higgs. I highly recommend that you check out the blog post she wrote about her block because she's shared some darling photos and a project she made using her block with her new fabric collection, called: Mon Beau Jardin for Penny Rose Fabrics, a division of Riley Blake Designs.

Nadra's block is called: Tulip in BloomHere is my version:

I thoroughly enjoyed making a pieced block for this week's release! My first instinct was to use red prints for the tulip flower. However, I've used quite a bit of red in my blocks, thus far, and haven't used much yellow. So, in thinking it through, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to bring some of my yellow prints into the mix of fabrics I've been using, in a big way.

Bringing in the green prints for the flower's leaves and stem made sense, and I chose the floral mini-print for the background to mimic a garden setting; with a close-up on the tulip, the background print lends a sense of depth.

The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Block 10: Around Four Corners

Today, we started Week 10 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the block, called: Flowering Tree by Amy Friend. You can see my version of Amy's block, here.

Although I've never had the pleasure of meeting her, I'm realizing how much I love RachelDaisy's aesthetic. In fact, RachelDaisy is this week's block designer. Check out her blog, here. She's from Australia, which explains to me why I love her design style. I've found how so many Australian designers are super-skilled about combining color and pattern into the most dynamic quilts! 

RachelDaisy's block is called: Around Four CornersHere is my version:

The design of this block is so clever! When I first took a look at the image of the block in the pattern, I wasn't quite sure how it was all going to go together. However, while making the block, I was amazed at how easy (and fun!) it was.

There was one small thing I did differently. Before sewing them together, I laid out all of my 3-patch units that make up the circles so that the seam allowances would line up with the background fabric's seams, as well as with the adjoining pieced circles. Doing this also helped me to line up everything before I hand-appliqued the circles to the background.

The first fabric I chose to use was the dynamic black typewriter keys print by Cosmo Cricket. You can read about the fabrics I'm using, here, here, and hereI love what a bold statement the typewriter keys print makes and felt it worked well as the backdrop to the applique. When I began introducing fabrics for the center spot, I liked the juxtaposition of the small type print, in comparison to the typewriter keys, for the center of my block. And finally, I decided how the large, 3/4 circles should be a place for the eye to rest, so I chose mottled solids, there.

Here's an image of the back of my block:

After finishing, I chose to cut out the bulk from the back of the applique. You'll see my Helen Stubbings' Hugs 'n Kisses Applique Paper that I used to make my circles showing through. I love knowing how it will wash away once I launder my finished quilt. 

The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Splendid Sampler II, Block 9: Flowering Tree

Today, we started Week 9 of the Splendid Sampler 2 Block-of-the-Week quilt along.

Last week, we introduced you to the block, called: My Flock by Brenda Ratliff. You can see my version of Brenda's block, here.

This week, meet prolific Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) pattern designer, Amy Friend, of During Quiet Time. Amy is a two-time author of books covering the same subject. In fact, she's giving one of her books away through her blog post, today, so go check it out for a chance to win.

Amy certainly knows a thing or two about art and design and her work is always filled with interest and gorgeous color. I love everything she does! You can easily find her through her website and Instagram (@duringquiettime) to see her eye-catching designs. 

Amy's block is called: Flowering TreeHere is my version:

When I first started quilting, I taught myself how to FPP. I started by making a tea cup and saucer pattern. Once I figured out the rhythm of foundation piecing, I really enjoyed the process. In fact, shortly after learning this technique, I designed one of my first FPP patterns, called Rocky Mountains Sunset. The pattern came in a variety of sizes.

Rocky Mountains Sunset quilt pattern by SuzGuz Designs

At that time, we were living in Massachusetts and I was reminded of how beautiful our sunsets are, here in Colorado, when I came across these gorgeous batiks at a quilt shop in Arlington, called Fabric Corner.

Back to Amy's block: After I completed it, I noticed how my version looked slightly different from the pattern. I then realized that I added the "sky" pieces before I added the tree trunk/center pieces. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, I go into a zone and think I'm doing it right, when, in hindsight, I wasn't paying attention and took the steps in a different direction. When I find myself making mistakes, I believe that whatever I'm making is supposed to turn out the way it did and I'm okay with it. I've decided to keep my block as-is since the only difference you'll see once the block is sewn into the quilt top will be at the bottom portion of the trunk; the piece across the top will be hidden in the seam allowance.

Last week, I mentioned that we had a shop hop going on. On Saturday, my husband and I drove to the last three shops on the list and I ended up purchasing a few more potential candidates for my Splendid Sampler II blocks.

I'm not sure if I'll have opportunity to use it, but I sure do love the berries print. The sweet Corey Yoder stripe is great, but the only drawback is that I haven't used any pink, thus far, so that may end up in my stash, as well. It's surely the cutest stripe I've ever seen!

The Splendid Sampler 2 book will be available October 2018. It is currently available for pre-sale so order your copy, now!