Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March Design Wall

Before I share about all the moving and shifting that's been happening on my design wall these days, just in case you happened to miss it... today is the last day to say 20% in my Payhip shop to celebrate the release of my Tiptoe Through The Tulips quilt pattern (sale code: Tiptoe)

... so, you may recall seeing one of my most recent design debates when I started my half square triangle project with no real plan in mind... honestly, I was just trying to use up some too-good-to-throw-away cut-offs. 

but, as usual, I decided to add to it, it grew, and well, you know the rest. As I suspected of myself, I didn't go with any of the layouts that I had first played around with, but an offset flower/bloom design, filling in with the various low volumes.

... AND, of course my Penny Sampler is still on my wall, andI have to say that what I really appreciate about the pattern is that there are several techniques used throughout. I find that I get a little bored if it's just making what feels like 1000 of the same block over and over. I suppose that I really went through a freezer paper applique phase a while back... even using it on things that could be made without it. Despite putting to the side for a bit, I still totally love it, and it's been fun for me to pick it back up.

When I was making the Little Bird block, I was thinking about the best background choice for this. I decided that an all-time Tim Holz favorite of mine would be quite fitting with the music notes... this little bird is my songbird.

I love blocks that have fun names to them, and I really like how this Anna Maria Horner fabric adorns this little feathered friend, Dilly Bird.

 ... speaking for Ms. Horner, her fabrics were just made for fussy cutting... don't you think?

After spending so much time keeping projects under wraps, it's really fun to share a little of what I am working on at the moment. With my big deadline out the of the way, I'll enjoy a little "breather" sewing before the next big push.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tiptoe Through The Tulips RELEASE!

May I formally and officially introduce you to...  

Tiptoe Through The Tulips, my second quilt pattern, for the intermediate to advanced quilter who enjoys working with a variety of techniques. With curved piecing, traditional piecing, bias tape appliqué, and traditional appliqué, there is a good mixture of quilting methods to make sure that there is never a dull moment. This pattern includes the required drunkard’s path and appliqué templates, two coloring pages to help you create your own custom version, as well an bonus table runner project. 

... and what better way to celebrate than with a 20% discount on my Tiptoe Through The Tulips AND Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt patterns now in my Payhip shop! (sale runs from March 15th through March 22nd, 2017) Simply enter the code: Tiptoe when you check out.

There are several finished quilt size options:    
  • Single Block (approx. 24" unfinished), which would be perfect for a pillow, table covering, wall hanging, etc.
  • Wall/Throw (approx. 69" x 69") 2 x 2 blocks + border/sashing
  • Twin (approx. 69" x 92") 2 x 3 blocks + border/sashing
  • King (approx.107" x 107") 3 x 3 blocks + border/sashing
  • Optional Borderless/Double (approx. 83" x 83") 3 x 3 blocks
  • PLUS a bonus table runner project (included in the pattern)

It's fun to see how patterns can take on a totally different look with just a simple background change. I turned this single block version into a pillow for my living room, and I love the dramatic effect of the dark background.

I've also included a bonus table runner project in the pattern for those who prefer smaller projects. Simply perfect for a spring table setting, don't you think?

I really love some the creative, think-outside-the-box ideas that my pattern testers came up with. Julie just made my head spin with ideas when she suggested to use the 24" tulip block as the center for a medallion quilt, so I decided to play around with another layout (not included in pattern). Wouldn't this be a fun version to explore? I can't wait to see her version!

Mareike has a keen eye for interpreting quilt blocks in her own way, while still staying true to the original pattern. She came up with this masterful layout of my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern, and I thought it was just brilliant to seperate the tulip blocks and set them on point. You don't want to miss her lovely table topper that she made. (more on her blog here)

Speaking of pattern testers, even though it's the job of a pattern tester to thoroughly pick apart and search out every little tiny mistake, here are a few things that my pattern testers had to say about my Tiptoe Through The Tulips pattern:

“I love how there are so many varied aspects to the design...I've found with this, and other similar projects that I don't get bored just repeating the same block over and over. (Tiptoe Through The) Tulips is an interesting block pattern in and of itself (each block) and my eye travels over it, taking in each aspect. The little circles are like the cherries on top of an ice cream sundae and a little reward at the end of the block construction.”  Melissa from mtweedel


“The colors in the instructions are really pleasing to the eye. Cutting charts are really clear. I think it is a good idea to have the image of the part of the block you are cutting shown on the left. I thought the pattern overall is really clear and comprehensive, cutting, sewing and pressing. I thought the block came together beautifully and the illustrations make everything soooo easy.”  Carmen Attie


“This pattern is so detailed and really well laid out. I appreciate the amount of information that you've included. I like the extra table runner project. It's a cute design.” Becca from Cleaverr


“First of all, I LOVE the pattern! There are a couple of different methods which appeals to a more experienced quilt maker, but it is not too difficult. There are so many beginner’s patterns about, it is great to see one a bit more advanced, while it is not really too difficult for an improver.

The instructions include generously constructed parts, which means quite a lot of trimming to size. While that may not be a favorite method for everyone, I love it, because it means the parts fit together very well.”

I think your pattern is very original, clearly explained in a step-by-step way, and gives great results.
Sandra from Sew Of Course


Be sure to see what's happening under the #tiptoethroughthetulipsquilt hashtag on Instagram, and I can't wait to see what you add to the mix!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tiptoe Through The Tulips FINISH!

Tomorrow is the official release of my Tiptoe Though The Tulips quilt pattern, but I wanted to first share the finished photos of my biggest quilt to date... a  whopping 108" (ca. 275 cm)! Wheh!... when someone says "go big or go home", it would appear that I take it quite literally! 

I sent my quilt off to Iva again to work her magic. Under my old machine, I could imagine that I would still be wrestling this beast at least until Christmas. She did an all over design of leaves and blooms that seemed quite fitting to this pattern.

The majority of these pictures are taken at an old historic water mill in the area... I don't have to look very far to find a great background shot here (the beauty of living in an old country) This is actually the same water mill where my husband and I got married ten years ago. We even have a picture of us on this very same bridge overlooking the water towards the mill.

We even ran into the mill keeper... he asked if our marriage was still holding? "As long as this tall, handsome man still holds my quilts, then, yes!" I told him. Fresh, I know. But it was still nice to take a trip down memory lane with our two boys, and share a nice afternoon snack and tea afterwards in the warm spring like weather.

As you can see, the quilt fits quite nicely on our king size bed (2 x 2m) with plenty of wiggle room for my 6'5" tall-drink-of-water husband. He has visions of getting an even longer bed... hmmm, we'll see.

I'm going to have a hard time deciding which of these fantastic lampshades will end up in our bedroom. I've been drooling over them now for a very long time, and these will be the sweet birthday present from my husband. (in two weeks) Shhhh... don't tell on me that I pulled them out for the photo shoot, but like a good little girl, I packed them away again until my birthday. 

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for all the pattern details and color/design options on the March 15th official release.

Quilt: Pattern: Tiptoe Through The Tulips from Allison Richter for Campbell Soup Diary
Started: August 2016
Fabrics: Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton & Steel, Lizzy House, and various additional prints from my stash. Kona Cotton White.
Finished quilt size: ca. 108" x 108" in. (275 x 275 cm)

Linking up for Finish-A-Long 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bonus Table Runner Project

Next Wednesday, March 15th, will officially mark the release of my Tiptoe Through The Tulips pattern, and I couldn't be more excited! To say that this is a large block would be quite the understatement finishing at 24"... yeah, I know that's BIG! I think that sometimes working with such oversized blocks can really give a more modern feel as opposed to a standard 6" or 12" block. With that in mind, I wanted to include an additional project in the pattern for those that would prefer a smaller project rather than a twin or king size quilt. After playing around with it a bit, I was able to come up with this sweet table runner, using the same units found in the pattern, which would be perfect for any spring time table setting.

Spring is my favorite season, and tulips, daffodils, crocus', snowdrops, snowflakes, grape hyacyniths, and spring bulbs are among my favorite blooms. Who doesn't get excited at those first buds peeking through the earth?

I opted to finish this project again with a swirl quilting. I have to say that I enjoyed it so much that I kind of have a feeling that you will be seeing it again... not to mention that there is a world of difference when quilting with my new machine!  

If you haven't had a chance to peek in on things, be sure to check out what my pattern testers are making on Instagram with this block... I can't wait to see more! The countdown has officially started... just one more week!

Linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tiptoe Through The Tulips Pillow

I love the drastic transformation a quilt can make with just a simple fabric change. Dark backgrounds can give such a dramatic look, and my favorite go-to background that I seem to grab over and over again is my Essex Linen. These rich chocolate tones really make those brights pop, don't you think?

Don't you just love those kill-two-birds-with-one-stone projects? I wanted to work up a second colorway option for my Tiptoe Through The Tulips quilt pattern, which is to be released on March 15th, and still have something that I could use in my living room. I think this red chair is the most photographed piece of furniture in my house.

I'm not just finishing projects for my house, but hitting my goals list pretty hard for this year.  Part of my general/ongoing goals has been to stretch myself with more free motion quilting practice.  I thought that these wandering leaves were fitting to my pattern, and something different from the swirls I used for my last FMQ project.

Next up on my list will be the binding on my biggest quilt ever for my fourth finish so far! A king size quilt is a pretty big milestone for me.

Be sure to check out what my busy pattern testers have been working on so far under the #tiptoethroughthetulipsquilt hastag on Instagram... and again, be looking for the pattern release on March 15th!

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One Lump, Or Two?

Any American girl, who grew up watching Jane Austin type classics, can identify with the feeling of awe when watching the exchange of niceties between two well-breed, fine ladies at tea time. The romantic mental image that comes to mind is that of the host asking her perfectly perched guest if she would like a spot of tea? As any proper lady, who is the epitome of utmost decorum would do, follows the previous question with... "would you like one lump or two"?

I remember the very first time that I came to visit Germany. My future mother-in-law had produced the most delightful spread of afternoon treats for the occasion. While it was not the traditional ritual of perfect-picture refinement and etiquette, I felt the inner girl in me beam with delight, when I noticed, sitting there before me was a bowl full of lumps... sugar cubes to be exact, which is something that is not so commonly found on the other side of the pond. 

Perhaps it goes without saying that these two paper pieced tea cups remind me of that deeply engraved memory, and why their addition in my Penny Quilt, is just another way that this quilt is continues to tell my own personal story.

If you are familiar with American culture, then you know that tea is not such a deep seeded tradition. Our culture seems to be more about take-it-on-the-go Starbucks coffee, rather than high tea in the afternoon. Perhaps it could stem from, as I learned in one of my history classes long ago, that ever since the British Tea Party, that Americans gradually moved away from tea, and moved towards it's alternative caffeine source of coffee. Since living in Germany, tea has actually become very much a part of my everyday.

Speaking of tea... I had mentioned last week that I was considering tea staining some of my fabrics... don't you think it's quite fitting to talk about it now? Since several of my favorite, go-to low volumes tend towards white, they just don't work for the vintage look that I am going for in this quilt top. So, here's what I've found from my experiments:

You can see the original fabric on the left. I first started with leaving the fabrics in the tea for an hour. Once I pulled them out, they were simply too dark and too reddish for what I wanted. I then changed the type of tea, and tried for only 10 minutes, since I didn't want the fabrics as dark as the first batch. The color was more brownish, which is what I was going for, but still too dark even after 10 minutes. So, I threw the same fabrics back in only for 1 minute, and got the color that I was looking for. I used a Darjeeling tea on the 1 hour batch, which is a very light colored black tea, even in the cup. Even though Ceylon or Assam teas are darker, they gave the the right shade that I was looking for in the 1 minute/10 minute batch. I did notice on the Carolyn Friedlander Ledger fabric (bottom row) that the tea stained the fabric in a mottled look, which can be quite fitting for this use, but may not be desirable for other projects.

What category do you fall into... an on-the-go coffee drinker or do you prefer slowing down for an afternoon tea? Any hot beverage stories?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social and Stitched In Color.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Purple Heart

The purple heart is a medal of honor that is awarded to those who have been wounded or killed in service. For me, it is a symbol of bravery and courage at a level that is often so beyond oneself. When I started making the "Heart Quartet" block for my Penny Sampler quilt, somehow I kept coming back to that one heart just "needed" to be purple. My original direction was about the color, but then it became about this block telling my own personal story.

Only those who have picked up and left what was once called home, the people that they love and care for, and even the way of life, to live somewhere else, can truly comprehend the depth of what it means to do so. Many have told me that I am brave to have made such a step. From the inside, it doesn't always feel like that. It's true that my daily struggles and emotions of living and operating in a foreign country have often felt like a daily battle.

Before I knew it, I was making a block that represents me with my "boys". I am the one who is different from the rest, the purple heart, shining with courage... the courage that it took to follow my heart and leave everything behind. The map background fabric represents the long journey that I took to be with the man who completes me in every way.

There are several other blocks that I feel are very personal to me too, and tell more of my story. Perhaps it's quite fitting for such a quilt to find it's home in the room that I share with my family, and one of the most used rooms in the house. 

Do you have any personal stories of bravery and courage?
Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.
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