Thursday, April 10, 2014

The lowdown on FMQ feet

I'm guest-posting over at Sew Mama Sew today, talking about free-motion quilting feet for domestic sewing machines. Much like with piecing feet, there are lots of options for free-motion quilting feet! Open toe, closed toe, floating, spring loaded - it's a smorgasbord of options, really. I'm breaking them all down to give you the lowdown about what feet work best for free-motion quilting, and there is a super fun giveaway involved too! Hop on over to Sew Mama Sew to check it out!

Friday, April 4, 2014

A wee house

Oh, it feels it's been eons since I made a bee block! I felt all kinds of rusty when I officially started working on my first bee block for the Wee Bee, a fun international bee filled with some great, super talented sewists. Our first queen bee is Cat of Cat + Vee, who requested a wee little house block.

I went with a really simple house, paper pieced, of course, with a cute little fussy cut window into a sewing room, from a print I got back during a Japanese fabric swap quite some time ago. I can't believe that I not only remembered that I had a print like that in my sewing room but that I was also able to find it, because the sewing room is a bit of a disaster area at the moment.

A wee house for Cat

This was a fun little block to sew up, and I can't wait to see all the other blocks Cat gets for this little quilt. If you want to see more of what we're stitching up in this bee, we've got a Flickr group right here and most of us are on Instagram as well using hashtag #theweebee . Tell me, are you in a quilting bee right now? Bees can be such fun with the right people, I've made lots of friends through online quilting bees like this one! Have a great weekend everyone :)
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wheels in the Sky quilt in the new issue of Quilty!

Good morning! I've got another fun magazine feature to share with you this morning - the latest issue of Quilty magazine features a new paper piecing pattern from yours truly, called Wheels in the Sky.

Wheels in the Sky - pattern in Mar/Apr 2014 issue of Quilty

This quilt was a labor of love, designed around Jeni Baker's Nordika collection. I was really attracted to Nordika when I first saw it at Quilt Market last spring, but I wasn't sure how I'd use it. It was one of those collections that I felt like needed just the right pattern to show it off. I decided to challenge myself to experiment with the Flowerfall in Jade print as a background fabric. I loved the organic lines in the print, but I had a feeling that with paper piecing that it might get a little too busy, so I alternated a simple Pure Elements Snow white with the Flowerfall print, and I love the effect that it brings to the finished quilt.

Wheels in the Sky - alt view

I kept the quilting fairly simple, doing a large orange peel repeating design throughout, really letting the piecing be the star of the finished quilt. I used my trusty orange cone of white (#2024) 50 wt Aurifil, my old standby that works for everything when I'm too lazy to change out my spool :)

Wheels in the Sky - FMQ Detail

Quilt Stats
name: Wheels in the Sky
size: 48" square
fabrics: Nordika by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery Fabrics and coordinating Art Gallery Pure Elements solids
pattern: Wheels in the Sky by yours truly in the March/April 2014 edition of Quilty
quilting: Orange peels in white 50 wt Aurifil thread

Wheels in the Sky - Mar/Apr issue of Quilty
photo from Quilty magazine, March/April 2014 issue

If you love this quilt exactly the way I made it, you can pick up a kit with all the fabrics you'll need for the quilt top at Fons & Porter. Also over at Fons & Porter, you can check out a nifty video they made about how to foundation paper piece this block!

You can still find Nordika in stock at:
Intrepid Thread
Stash Fabrics
Hawthorne Threads
Monday, March 31, 2014

The Daybreak Star: The April Lucky Stars Block of the Month

It seems like the weekends are flying by especially fast these days! Somehow it's Monday again, but I have a little something to brighten your day...Lucky Stars BOM subscribers, this block will be hitting your Inbox in the wee early morning hours tomorrow - it's the Daybreak Star, our star for the month of April.

April's Lucky Star: The Daybreak Star

April's block is a four-template block, which allows us to add a lot of depth to the block. I played a bit with tonality in my block, sticking again with my original color scheme and adding different tones of my chosen colors to make the block have a shimmery effect.

This block has a lot of seams coming together in the center, so don't forget to press both the wrong side of the block, as well as the right side, with a pressing cloth or scrap between your iron and your pretty, pretty fabrics. Remember that pressing is different than ironing - pressing means using gentle pressure with your iron rather than skating your iron over the surface of your project. With this block, you may want to use a little bit of extra elbow grease with your pressing to flatten things out nicely.

Just a bit of bulk this month!

Don't forget to tag your creations when you post them so all of the other Lucky Stars Block of the Month friends across the world can see them too! On Instagram and Facebook, add hashtag #luckystarsbom and you can tag me as well @dontcallmebetsy so I can see! On Flickr, you can add them to the Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy Flickr group. I can't wait to see your interpretations of this block :) And if you're not already a Lucky Stars 2014 subscriber, you can become one at any point throughout the year - you'll get all of the blocks you missed, as well as the remaining blocks for the year. Happy Monday everyone!
Friday, March 28, 2014

New in the pattern shop today: Gradation PDF Quilt Pattern

First off, thank you all so much for all of your kind words about my new Craftsy class, Start Free-Motion Quilting, and thank you to all of you who have signed up already! I'm really enjoying getting to know you and answering your questions :) It's been such a great week so far, so let's keep that streak going, shall we? Today, I've got the last new pattern hitting my pattern shop for the season, the Gradation pattern, available today in my Pattern Shop and on Craftsy.

New in the Pattern Shop today - The Gradation quilt!

The Gradation quilt was originally made for an issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited last year - you can read more about that feature right here. One of the things that I really love about this pattern is the way that the changes in tone and color draw your eye across the quilt. I love playing with tones and grades in color, and this is a quilt is a super way to just that.

Gradation - detail

My original quilt was done up in an assortment of Art Gallery prints, in shades of blue and magenta. As I worked through this quilt, I realized that this would make an absolutely stunning scrap quilt. You could even take it a step further and do a warm/cool quilt using this pattern, following the basic color placement that I used - keeping the warm colors for the lattice work that moves between the blocks, and the cool colors for the pixelated background, or vice versa. There's a lot of different looks you could give to this pattern. Here's a few to feast your eyes on...which one is your favorite?

Alternative looks for the Gradation quilt
Clockwise from top left: a rainbow scrappy version, a softer version with lighter tones, a bold two-color version, and a black and white version with one reverse block

As with all my patterns, the instructions are quite thorough and illustrated with diagrams throughout to assist you in the quilt making process. If half-square triangles have given you trouble in the past, you'll find great instructions in this pattern for making half-square triangles for this quilt with ease. There's also a black and line drawing of the block so that you can experiment with your color placement. Give it a try, it's a lot of fun to get out some colored pencils and play around with quilt diagrams!

I had two super thorough, super talented testers for this pattern, Alison and Karen. Thank you both so much for your feedback! And they made such lovely, lovely projects - take a look!

Alison Hingston - - I love the quilting Alison did, it totally accentuates the geometric nature of the pattern!

Karen O'Connor - @Ladykquilts on Instagram - Karen used gorgeous Liberty of London prints and they look fantastic in this pattern!

Gradation is the last new pattern hitting the Pattern Shop this month. It's been a busy but wonderful month, with four new patterns to love! For the next week, the Gradation pattern will be on sale for just $6. It will return to full price next Friday, so snap it up for a deal while you can through my Pattern Shop and/or Craftsy!  If you're a shop owner and are interested in stocking my paper patterns at your shop, please contact me directly at elizabeth(at)dontcallmebetsy(dot)com. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?

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