I’ve wondered for a few years what it would be like to collaborate with a fabric company. I never dreamed it would be this fun!
On August 3, at 3:47 p.m., I opened two packages of 21 fabrics from Hoffman California Fabrics company.
For the next six hours, I auditioned 42 fabrics (both sides of each) trying to get just the right mix of color, contrast, values, and feel that would be worthy of this new line by Hoffman California Fabrics.
Phoebee is the pattern and Electric Garden is the fabric line. Of course, I took tons of pictures, mostly black and white, and still this was a challenge…and a gamble! Not seeing the reverse of a fabric before-hand made me a little nervous – some fabrics just don’t have usable reverse sides.
Well, Electric Garden rocks! Vibrant color with a soft, contrasting reverse side was just the recipe I needed. I flipped several backgrounds to their reverse as well, so they wouldn’t compete with the bee or flowers. The next step was cutting out Phoebee and her flowers.
I slept on this mix so I could get a fresh look the next morning. Yes! I began fusing and quilting (on my Handiquilter Avante) right away. Next came the prairie point hanging method, binding, label, photos, writing and producing the pattern, and Phoebee was flying to California on Tuesday, August 7th!
My new friend in California let me know Phoebee arrived safely! Now for the waiting game…
Quilt Market in Houston was November 3 – 5. I was fortunate that several kind quilter souls saw Phoebee hanging in the Hoffman California Fabric booth and shared their pics with me on Instagram! Thank you, friends!
This morning I am shipping Phoebee 2.0 patterns to a very fun quilt shop in (wait for it) Canada!
Original Phoebee and Phoebee 2.0 quilt patterns are available in my Etsy Shop HERE.
Phoebee Quilt Pattern
Wholesale application HERE.
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Enjoy your quilting journey!
Fold a few squares, make a few stitches…here are some tips to make the Prairie Point Hanging Method your favorite way to hang small quilts!
For sizes and to review the complete method, see Hang Quilts Using Prairie Points and Prairie Point Hanging Method
*Cut the right size and number of squares for your quilt size and hanging rod. (Even numbers are best so you can hang your quilts from a single point.)
*Stitch the raw edges prior to attaching them to your quilt using a regular stitch. (Basting seems to scoot my top layer forward.)
*Quickly trim uneven edges using a sharp scissor or rotary/ruler.
*Use a strong doubled thread for stitching points to quilt.
*NEW: When using Prairie Points as a hanging method for unusually large rods (such as used in a show), add some looseness into your points as follows: When your binding is turned and you are ready to stitch the points down, do this for each point – fold the point across the top of the quilt at the binding. Lay a ruler on top of the prairie point, at the top edge of the quilt. Fold the point back down over the ruler. Pin or hold the point in place and stitch. This will give some added room for a large rod to be run through the points without causing tugging or distortion on the quilt.
I like to use up scraps for my prairie points. Try using the reverse side to tone them down or provide interest on the back of your quilt! #usebothsides
See the front of this quilt and new pattern in the next post!
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Jacq O’Lantern has a happy little ghoul popping right out her top like a jack-in-the-box! The first mini #usebothsides quilt pattern, Jacq O’Lantern is too much fun to make!
She’s a pint-size lesson about value but when you make her, you’ve learned the easy tricks for using value to make any of the patterns using both sides of one focus fabric!
I was never real big on halloween decorations. I preferred to use that money to buy more Christmas lights and decorations. We didn’t avoid Halloween with our kids, but we also didn’t make a big fuss about it. So…why is it I LOVE Halloween fabric so much?
As a kid I only had a couple of drawings I liked to do – over and over. One was a beach scene with a palm tree (are you surprised?). The other was a witch on a broomstick.–she always had a long chin that jutted out and a big ole wart on her nose. Maybe these Halloween fabrics take me back to my childhood or something. Several of my favorite quilts and projects are Halloween themed. I’m sure you seen them before but, well, ’tis the season!
Black Kitty Punch Needle
Instant Bargello Quilt
If you like Halloween fabrics like I do, chances are you have everything you need in your stash to make this little gal. So grab your stash – and turn it over! #usebothsides
Our youngest daughter’s name is Jacquelyn. We’ve always had nicknames for her such as
Da Jacqinator (at the age of two she could “destroy” a room in minutes)
Jacqqity Jacq (don’t talk back)
and, among others,
Jacq O’Lantern Quilt Pattern makes a mini (a mere 12″ square) to hang perfectly on wire hanger.
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I first fell in love with light-weight fusible when I applied Mistyfuse to fabric for use with shaped rulers.
That’s how I made this quilt.
I love that it is like a weightless “spiderweb” of glue. It is so soft, your machine won’t even know it is there. However, there is no paper on this fusible and that caused serious limitations for my use of it. I do a lot of fusible applique which require tracing a template.
My favorite paper-backed fusible is SoftFuse because it is lightweight like Mistyfuse. I recommend Softfuse for students making #usebothsides patterns (click here to see patterns)
So when I heard about this method of transferring a design to fabric with Mistyfuse, I wanted to check it out. Here’s what I learned…
First draw or trace your design with lead pencil onto parchment paper. You need to make it dark. I used a #2 lead pencil.
Then cut a piece of Mistyfuse large enough to cover your design. Using a protective sheet (I used a Goddess Sheet), press the Mistyfuse to the wrong side of your fabric. The Goddess Sheet give the Mistyfuse a sheen so you can see where it is on your fabric.
Let it cool and then lay the fabric, fusible side up, on a hard surface. Lay your parchment paper, design side down, on your fabric and trace the design with a hard pointed object. I used a stylist tool. I peeked to make sure the design was showing before I moved the tracing.
Cut your design on the lines.
What I learned…
Don’t trace onto the right side of your fabric. I had to redo my bee after I made that mistake.
The lead markings transfer much easier onto the Mistyfuse than they do directly onto fabric. The finer your pencil, the finer your lines. I over-did my lead tracing because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see it. I could actually use a finer point and get a more precise drawing than I anticipated.
When you need an alternative to paper-backed fusible, this is a great option!
Jack Quilt Pattern
Got a favorite cabin or lodge to decorate? Here is Jack (buck)! He’s made with both sides of Mossy Oak fabric on a scrappy background. Click HERE for the #usebothsides pattern.
This little guy just made the trip, along with his buddy, Tanka, to two of my favorite places in South Dakota!
My daughter’s work at Black Hills Playhouse finished up for the summer so my husband flew out to drive back with her. So, being the great guy that he is, he offered to take my two newest quilts and a stack of patterns with him.
First he went to visit our new friends Kathy and Ernie in Custer SD, at Dakota Dream Bed & Breakfast & Horse Hotel. We highly recommend a visit to the Black Hills in Custer State Park and a stay with Kathy and Ernie. Learn more HERE.
Then when Matt and Jacq were homebound, they stopped in The Quilt Shop, Inc. in Chamberlain, SD. They delivered “Dakota” patterns to owner, Sonya Kroupa (and pick up a piece of fabric for moi)! Sonya has a delightful quilt shop AND more! In addition to rooms and rooms of interesting and different fabric, kits, and patterns, she has local artwork, jewelry, beads – really more than I had time to take in during my two short visits there. Visit The Quilt Shop website HERE.
Also, see this post which shows more fun things to see in Custer and the Dignity statue in Chamberlain HERE.
This is another petite design, finishing at 18 x 24 inches. It’s a great “afternoon quilt” – quick and easy. Even after making more than twenty #usebothsides quilts, I can’t decide which is more fun, choosing the focus fabric or the background fabrics. Both are vital to the charm of the quilts!
The southwest focus fabric was an awesome piece to use. I loved the rich mix of background fabrics, including several feather fabrics.
Imagine all the different “turtle “fabrics you could use! It could be playful with children’s motifs, realistic with mottled dotty fabric, wild with large florals or geometrics – really anything will work as long as the reverse passed the audition!
Read about Tanka quilt pattern HERE!
Thinking caps, please…
South Dakota, wildlife everywhere, incredible terrain, bison strolling along the roadside, animal skulls…this isn’t some cutesy butterfly pattern I’m introducing…in fact, it took this Southeast Missouri girl some time to wrap her head around it…
…but with the right fabrics – WOW! I’m diggin’ this bison skull quilt pattern. I hope you are, too!
As many of you know from “South Dakota Quilts & More” (click here), our recent trip to the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park included some fun sights, statues, monuments and, of course, quilt shops.
Tanka is the first pattern in what I call my “Out West” series.
Tanka, in Lakota, means “big, great”.
I chose feathers on a light background for the focus fabric. The skull is made from the reverse side of it and the hanging feather decoration is cut from the front. The background fabrics for this quilt were really fun to play with! Don’t you just love that black and white fence row fabric at the bottom? I found it and “several” other fabulous fabrics at The Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, SD.
A fun element of making these quilts is mixing up the background fabrics. This one has batik, southwest, gold circles on gray (but reversed), grunge and a fur look to really give interest to the quilt.
It’s so much fun to #usebothsides of fabrics and it’s a great way to learn about the nuances of value. You won’t look at fabric the same way again! AND when you use both sides, you DOUBLE your stash! Give it a try!
If you like the wildlife theme, hang on! There’s some really fun ones in the thinker and on the design wall!
Shop HERE for #usebothsides patterns.
Don’t forget about Jack (buck), made with Mossy Oak camouflage fabric!
Choose the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt page for the latest block. Only one to go!
Can you guess what the next #usebothsides pattern will be?
It’s a boy! Jack is the first boy made with both sides of one focus fabric.
I used a Mossy Oak camouflage from my local quilt shop. There are LOTS of camouflage fabrics on the market you could use.
I thought this one a might stiff when I pulled it off the bolt but after a quick wash and dry, it was great to work with!
As I describe in all the #usebothsides patterns, you’ll want to see a good contrast in values (black and white pictures tell the truth) when you choose your focus fabric.
*Full-size paper template.
*Complete, detailed instructions.
*Fast and easy to make.
*Guide for auditioning and choosing your focus and background fabrics.
*Learn the nuances of value while you have fun auditioning both sides of fabric!
Shop Jack and all the #usebothsides patterns HERE!
With fall just around the corner, you might want to get your ghoul on with Something’s Brewing!
Sandy, the sea turtle pattern is for those who love summer at the beach… the sand, the salty air, the sound of sea gulls and crashing waves and, of course, sea turtles!
In the warm summer sand, a momma sea turtle digs her nest. This becomes home for up to a hundred eggs for the next sixty days. Like the temperature of the sand determines the gender of the sea turtles, your focus fabric will decide yours!
Did you know? Cooler sand temperatures produce more male and warmer sand produces more female sea turtles.
The sea turtle eggs hatch almost simultaneously, making the sandy nest look like boiling water. Instinctively, the babies find their way to the water with the help of the slope of the beach and the moon and star reflections on the water.
The large number of turtles hatching and moving to the sea all together helps protect them from predators. That’s why its a good idea to remove chairs and umbrellas and fill all holes at night during hatching season so they have a better chance at making it to sea safely.
How it works: Value. Choose a focus fabric with a great reverse. (You’ll know it when you see it, you really will!) Make sure you can see the difference in value by taking a black and white picture. Tips for auditioning focus and background fabric are included in each #usebothsides pattern.
Full-size paper template included in each pattern.
Prairie Point Hanging Method instructions included.
Shop all my patterns HERE
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You might think that once you’ve chosen a good focus fabric, your work at auditioning fabric is done. But really, you’ve just begun to have fun!
Background fabrics for these quilts are really what make the quilts sing! If you’ve been in one of my classes you know there is a certain “feel” you are trying to achieve in the relationship between your focus and background fabrics.
It DOES truly begin with your focus fabric choice – you have to pick that first and foremost. (I’ll discuss focus fabric auditioning in an upcoming post. Tips for choosing focus fabric are included in each pattern.) Once your focus fabric has been chosen, you want to achieve a balance between your focus fabric and your backgrounds. I encourage using a mix of fabric styles and to use this quilt as an opportunity try something new. I figure, it IS a fun quilt– so use fun fabrics which may not be appropriate in your more serious quilt work. I’m going to use two quilts as examples. They just happen to me my first and my latest (not last) patterns:
Notice that the bee is made from very bold fabric. She really makes a statement. She’s not one bit shy. The background fabrics can be bolder for her because her focus fabric and her character allow it. When I take a black and white picture of Phoebee, some of the backgrounds are darker in value than I would use with my other patterns, depending not just on the focus fabric, but also the subject matter and what I want you to feel when you look at the quilt.
Now looking at Bubbles, I hope you see a sweet, endearing “fellow”…youthful, happy, maybe adventuresome… maybe up to something. Bubbles can be a boy or a girl and you can change his or her attitude just by choosing a different focus fabric! What I am hoping you have noticed by now is that the background fabrics also have a different feel. In fact, most of the accent strips I used are reversed to keep them from overpowering this sweet whale friend.
Once I’ve chosen my focus fabric, I lay the fabric out, loosely shaped for the pattern I’m making– but with a twist – literally, I twist the fabric so half of the fabric shows the reverse side. Then I take my backgrounds and audition them with BOTH sides of my focus fabric, taking lots of black and white pictures until I’m happy with the values I see. When I look at those pictures, I want to see my character (bee, butterfly, bouquet, cauldron, seahorse) first, my reversed fabrics next (flowers, vase, bubbles, etc.), and my backgrounds last. The accent strips are just that – small bits of fun that flirt with being “too much”, but because they are small enough, they can stay and add interest to the quilt.
My husband and “silent” business partner just happened to name the two above quilts.
Now compare the FEELS of these two quilts with relation to their backgrounds:
Now, you don’t want to get too serious about your fabric auditioning, because these patterns truly are fun, fast, and easy quilts to make. There are no matching seams. They are a good way to use up scraps. They make great gifts. I just wanted to give you a little bonus peek into the value of the #usebothsides backgrounds.
For more auditioning fun, take a #usebothsides class. Next up is “Christmas in July” at The Golden Needle in Cape Girardeau, MO. July 7, 10 – 3 p.m. Choose from Pepita, Rose, Emily or Kate. Sign up and prep info in shop.
Bubbles may be my latest#usebothsides pattern, but it is the fourteenth pattern using a scrappy 36-inch square background. See all my patterns by clicking on the Patterns Page above or click here.
Here’s a simple but effective tip for trimming up your half-square triangle blocks. Keep in mind, there’s more than one way to…(I love my cat too much to finish that phrase)…make a half-square, but here’s how I do it for the mystery quilt:
In this example, we are wanting 3 1/2″ finished blocks so I’m starting with 4″ squares. Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the reverse side of the lightest fabric.
Put right sides together and use a 1/4″ foot ti stitch 1/4″ from either side. (If I was making a lot of these – like for last month’s block- I’d run them all through, stitching down one side (chain-piecing) and then turn them all and stitch down the other side of them all.)
Cut on the center line and press to the lighter fabric. The block should be larger than 3 1/2″ and have threads and tails (or ears) on them.
Here is The Tip: Using any ruler with a 45-degree line, place that line along the diagonal seam of your block and so that the over-all size after you trim the first two sides is still slightly larger than 3 1/2″. Notice the extra fabric outside of the 3 1/2″ marks? Trim the first two sides.
Spin your block and now line up the trimmed sides directly on the 3 1/2″ marks. Trim the last two sides.
Maybe you figured this out on your own, but I needed a kind teacher to show me why I shouldn’t just trim that block to 3 1/2″ with the first cuts. I AM from the Show-Me State!
If you are making the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt, you are probably figuring out that there are a lot of half-square triangle blocks in the design. Here is a pic of last month’s Trail of Tears block. Be ready to make some more half-square triangle blocks when the reveal for Month 6 comes out next week!
Having quilted for some time, I take for granted the piecing techniques I learned in classes. I hope sharing some of these techniques helps our newer quilters.
See my Mystery Quilt page for links to all of the months and Introduction or scroll down through the blog. Mystery Quilt posts are published on the second Monday of each month at 9 a.m. Each month has interesting river pictures, stories, or facts about river life along with the block of that month instructions. Month 6 is revealed June 11!
Focus fabric kits available in my Etsy shop: