Monday, June 23, 2014

Winging It

I'm not usually a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of quilter. Sometimes I wish I were - sometimes I see beautiful improv quilts and wish I could throw caution to the wind and just let a quilt come together, but my type A tendencies usually make it hard for me to do that kind of thing. That's exactly why I was surprised when I out of the blue up and decided to start adding to my Drop Dead Gorgeous block to turn it into a medallion quilt. I had spent a while sketching a few weeks ago, trying to think about how I wanted to tackle it, but I hadn't come up with anything that I really loved, so it got pushed to the back burner, awaiting inspiration. But this weekend, rather than continuing to move it around my design wall, I printed some extra templates from the pattern and started playing with how I could use them to start creating the first border.

Drop Dead Gorgeous Medallion in progress - border 1 on! by Elizabeth Dackson photo IMG_0812rt_zps2cec88f4.jpg

I'm really happy with how it's working out so far...though I haven't a clue where I'm going to go next with it, let alone how big I'm aiming to make it, but I'm trying to enjoy the process. I'm digging into my scraps and putting them to use for once, which is nice and refreshing - I feel like I haven't used scraps in eons! Now I'm wondering...are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants quilter? Or are you a thinker that's got to have it all lined up and planned to the hilt before cutting into a single piece? Inquiring minds want to know if they're alone :)

Drop Dead Gorgeous scraps for the medallion by Elizabeth Dackson photo IMG_0813rt_zpsc06b60bf.png
Monday, June 16, 2014

Back from the North!

Lucky Stars Mini photo by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy IMG_0768rt_zpsfde06bc3.jpg

I didn't realize it was possible to have cold weather after June 1st, but on my trip to Minnesota last week, I was super thankful I had packed a light coat! While I was in town for the Minnesota Quilt Show, I trekked into downtown St. Cloud to find coffee. I was able to find a cute little coffee shop, Central Perk, but along the way, I found myself in windy 50 degree weather. Normally, that would be nice and refreshing, but when you've been in 90+ degree weather for many weeks, 50 feels a lot colder than it used to. After my first coffee trip, I came prepared, with my hoodie to help keep me warm, but it was awfully nice to feel the brisk Minnesota wind. I had a lovely trip to Minnesota, in spite of a couple of minor travel snafus, and I had a great time teaching there!

Twirl City block by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy

I wanted to share a new mini I made for my paper piecing class, Discover the Joy of Paper Piecing - this little mini uses three Lucky Stars blocks from the 2013 Block of the Month club plus a bonus block that has not been part of either the 2013 or 2014 club (pictured above). I love the look of a beautiful paper pieced block in solids, but I wanted to have fun with the background, so I snagged a fun black and white pin dot from my stash for the background. I think it gives the blocks a less serious, harsh look than they would have otherwise, while still leaving the blocks crisp and graphic. I had such a great time with this class. It was a great group of students, and I can't wait to teach it again soon. In the meantime, I can't wait to find a place to hang this little mini until the next time I teach this class!

Pinball Swirl block by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy photo IMG_0780_zpsb9fb9385.jpg

Quilt Stats
name: Lucky Stars Jr
size: 24" square
pattern: three Lucky Stars 2013 blocks plus one bonus unreleased block
fabrics: assorted Kona solids and black on white pin dot
quilting: meandering stipple in 50 wt white (#2024) Aurifil
binding: black pin dot on white to match background of mini
Thursday, June 5, 2014

How do you audition your quilting stitches?

I'm guest posting again today over at Sew Mama Sew, sharing my top three methods for testing out quilting stitches without sewing a single stitch. I don't know about you, but I positively detest having to rip out quilting stitches. I think most of us prefer to avoid the seam ripper when possible! So I really like getting an idea of what my stitches might look like before stitching them, thus preventing as much ripping as possible. Check out my post right here :)

Using an app called Penultimate to test out some stitches for this month's Lucky Stars BOM block

Speaking of quilting, if you are looking for some new quilting stitches to master this summer, you might want to pop over to Craftsy over the next few days, as they're having a giant summer sale, with big deals on all their classes, including Angela Walters's latest class, Little Changes Big Variety. Have a great day!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jungle Ave Mod Nine Patch - another free pattern!

Remember my Mod Nine Patch quilt from eons ago? Okay, it was two years ago, but it feels like a lifetime ago :) When my sweet friend Sara Lawson told me she had designed a fabric line for Art Gallery and showed me some swatches a while back, I was equal parts super excited for her and just itching to make something with her new prints! The prints in real life most definitely did not disappoint. Rich colors, fun prints, and I absolutely adore the black and white NeighborHoods print. I will definitely be buying some serious yardage of that one :) As soon as I saw the prints in person, this quilt is what popped into my head - it's perfect for prints like hers, prints that aren't exactly small scale, that need some size to properly shine.

Jungle Ave Mod Nine Patch quilt by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy
The other reason I think this quilt came to mind is that I really loved the colors, and I knew that if I used the same design tactic I used with my original Mod Nine Patch quilt (solids + fun prints) that it would be really awesome, and I'm super happy with how this one turned out.
Jungle Ave Mod Nine Patch quilt - progress shot by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy
I had forgotten how quick this quilt is to put together, so the other thing I worked on with this finish is an update to the original free tutorial, adding several different size options as well as some new diagrams and such. The new free pattern is available via Craftsy as well as right here.
Jungle Ave Mod Nine Patch quilt photo2 by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy
Sara's new line hits stores any day now, so keep your eyes peeled for it - you're going to need some. Trust me on that :)

Quilt Stats
name: Jungle Ave Mod Nine Patch
size: 48" square
fabrics: Jungle Ave prints by Sara Lawson for Art Gallery Fabrics (coming out super soon!) and assorted coordinating Art Gallery Pure Elements Solids
pattern: Mod Nine Patch free pattern by yours truly
quilting: simple stipple in white 50 wt Aurifil
binding: Art Gallery Pure Elements in Caviar (black)
Jungle Ave Mod Nine Patch quilt photo3 by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy
Monday, June 2, 2014

Boxed In - 12" Block Free Pattern!

Good morning! It's the next-to-last day of school this morning at the Not Betsy household, and that means that summer is nearly upon us already. The idea that my baby is going to be a first-grader come the end of this summer would typically make me fret, but this morning I'm feeling excited - or perhaps distracted is a better word choice - because I'm sharing a new, free pattern with you this morning!
Boxed In Block in Wonderland by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy
a Boxed In block sewn up in MoMo's Wonderland

Last week, I shared about a recent finish that I misplaced, my modern traditionalist take on a nine-patch, called Boxed In. And as promised, I've written up how you can make your very own Boxed In blocks in my new, free Boxed In pattern.
Boxed In Free Block Pattern Cover by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy
The six page pattern includes full color diagrams to walk you through making your own Boxed In block(s) as well as some basic quilt math to help you plan out your Boxed In quilt. You'll also find six different Boxed In layouts to inspire you to create a beautiful quilt of your own!
Boxed In Layout Ideas by Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy
You can download the Boxed In pattern for free at both Craftsy or right here. If you make something with this pattern, I'd love to see it! You can share it in my Flickr group, Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy, or by tagging me via your favorite social media site @dontcallmebetsy or #dontcallmebetsy
Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Spunky Star - June 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club

Happy June to you! I hope you're having a great weekend so far, and if you're a Lucky Stars subscriber, this lovely block pattern is awaiting you in your Inbox...

The Spunky Star - the June 2014 block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club

It's summertime, and the piecing is easy - just a simple A/B template setup this month. No crazy sixteen pointed center, either :) Just a cool star with a lot of dimension - the Spunky Star. Can you tell I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to pattern names?! As always, if you have not previously been a subscriber to the 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club, you can always join up now and receive all the past block patterns, and then you'll also receive the remaining five patterns for the year as they are released, on the first of each month. 

And if you haven't yet picked out a color scheme for your blocks, or are stuck on picking the exact perfect fabrics, can I recommend just going scrappy? Some of my most favorite interpretations of these blocks in the Flickr group are the scrappy ones! Check out a few of my favorites below...

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