December: The Persnickety Star

Wow, December has arrived, friends! Time for a new Lucky Star, the last in the 2014 series. The Persnickety Star is a really unique paper pieced star, with an interesting, irregular frame around the star to draw you into that center star, and some additional star points around the frame for extra pop. It may look like a lot of pieces, but it comes together surprisingly easily!


How are you doing with your Lucky Stars? If you're saving them for your next sewing retreat or a rainy day, no worries, but if you're making them, I'd love to see them! You can add hashtag #luckystarsbom on Instagram or Facebook to share them! Have a great day :)

My Black Friday Tradition - Hanging the Stockings!

The last several years I've been more of an online Black Friday shopper, so I'm not heading out to get in any crazy long lines or anything like that today. Rather, I'm spending the day at home trimming the house (and the tree!) with festive Christmas decor. And this year, I'm super excited to be adding handmade stockings to our holiday decorations.



Each stocking features a 6" finished block from my Lucky Stars Block of the Month clubs from the last two years, and I'm so glad I chose to add them. They add so much sparkle to the finished stockings! Here they are, in all their glory!








I used Shea's great Sleigh Bells Stockings pattern, which was super easy to follow and wonderfully well-written. If you're thinking about making stockings this year, I cannot recommend this pattern enough. The shape of the stocking template is just what I was hoping for and the instructions were super clear!


Not a Lucky Stars subscriber yet? Check out my big Black Friday pattern sale as well right here so you can treat yourself to a little something today! Have a wonderful Friday!

The Arcadian Star - November's Lucky Star Block of the Month

Goodness gracious, how is it already the second week of November?! Deadlines and work has been fast and furious over the last several weeks, hence my absence here around the blog, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of writing and setting up posts in advance. First up is catching up with the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club!

The November Star is the Arcadian Star. As usual, this star has loads of potential, and can be really quite unique depending on your color placement. Here's mine for this month:



I also made an Arcadian Star for Spring Market for Robert Kaufman, with a bit of a different look. I'm not usually much of a purple fan, but I really like it in this block!



We've got just one more Lucky Star Block of the Month coming up, for December, and that will be a wrap on the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club! Not a member yet? No worries, you can still join in the paper piecing fun right here. And not to worry, I do have some new paper piecing patterns coming very soon through my brand new Craftsy class, Start Paper Piecing, which will be coming out later this month. Stay tuned!!

Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club: October's Galactic Star

Oh my goodness, we're getting to the end of the calendar! The first of the month is here again, this time to ring in October. This month's Lucky Star block of the month is the Galactic Star, a supremely dimensional block with lots of attitude.


This block is pieced using irregular triangle templates, which is a good bit different than the majority of the Lucky Stars blocks thus far, but not to worry - it's definitely not rocket science :) In fact, I think you'll really enjoy the simplicity of this block and the different looks you can create! Don't forget to tag your photos if you share them on Instagram or Facebook with #luckystarsbom so I can see what you create! As always, you can join in the block of the month club at any time by visiting my Pattern Shop, and you won't miss a single pattern from the series!

September's Lucky Star: The Echo Star

September's Lucky Star Block of the Month is the Echo Star, and if you're a subscriber, it's sitting in your inbox right now, ready for you to have some paper piecing fun this Labor Day. If you aren't, you can join in the fun any time right here! This is a simple A/B template block, perfect for some simple chain piecing, with just 8 pieces used to create the finished block. The block uses a little log-cabin-esque piecing method to create the different layers of the star. As always, you've got all the cutting information you need in the pattern, as well a fun coloring sheet so you can experiment with your coloration for the block. I think this block would be just gorgeous in a warm/cool rainbow effect!


The Echo Star technically made its debut back at Spring Market in the Robert Kaufman booth with two other Lucky Star minis and somehow I never got around to sharing about them! The booth was just gorgeous, with loads of beautiful quilts done up in solids, and I was super excited to have a few Lucky Stars featured in the booth. These three little minis now travel with Robert Kaufman to shows and such, as they feature beautiful solids from Elizabeth Hartman's Designer Palette of Kona colors. Happy Labor Day to those of you who celebrate!






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...

Lucky Star for May - The Vivid Star

How is it May 1st already??? April positively flew by, as have most of the months this year. Can you believe this is the fifth Lucky Stars block for the year already? Wowza! Say hello to the Vivid Star...


If you're a Lucky Stars subscriber, this month's pattern should already be in your Inbox. If you're not, you can still join in the paper piecing fun by subscribing for this year right here. If you'd like to join for both this year as well as last year's patterns, click here.

And because I adore this star so much, take a look at what it could look like in a quilt of its own...



Have a fantastic Thursday!

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!

A bit of chain paper piecing: The Smashing Star


It's nearly the end of February, and that means it's nearly time for a new Lucky Stars block! And I'm so thoroughly in love with this block that I just can't wait until the end of the week to show it to you. Say good morning to the Smashing Star...

Lucky Stars BOM March 2014 block: The Smashing Star

Every time I make a new Lucky Stars block, I wind up with a new favorite, and this one is no exception! I'm seriously head over heels for this block and am hoping to make a few extra ones this weekend just for fun. With just six pieces on each template, this is a paper pieced block that has an intricate look without too much fuss.

I love blocks that are beautiful that come together quickly. Don't we all?! When I'm paper piecing, I find that the bulk of my time is spent in planning out the block and cutting fabric. Once I get to the actual piecing, I assemble my blocks using chain piecing, or the assembly line technique, which makes things move way, way faster. After I glue my first pieces of fabric to the un-printed side of all of my templates, I then piece all of my A templates, adding the A2 pieces to all four of my templates, trimming and pressing, then the A3s, and so on and so forth. Chain piecing when paper piecing also reduces my odds of making mistakes by placing all of a certain piece just right before switching gears to set up the placement of the next piece.


Lucky Stars BOM March 2014 block: The Smashing Star

This block will go out to Lucky Stars subscribers first thing Saturday morning so you can spend your weekend paper piecing. Have a great day today!

The Lucky Stars Medallion Pillow

I'm so pleased to share that I packed up my box for the

SewSew Modern swap

just in time for the deadline earlier this week, and I'm really excited to hear from my partner soon when she receives it. It was hard to pack up the pillow cover I made for her, but really, with a swap, that's a job well done, I think.

IMG_8653rt.jpg

I made a large pillow cover for my partner, using two

Lucky Stars patterns from the 2013 series

, the practice block and the December block. I resized both of them to suit my design, and got to stitching, creating a medallion design using lots of low volume prints as well as some bold fuchsia, teal, and gold prints.

The threads for my SewSew Modern pillow

When it came to quilting, I really wanted to try to match threads where I could, so I used a soft yellow in the star points for the center block, Aurifil #2105, then for the low volume areas, I used my trusty white, Aurifil #2024, and in the stripy border areas I used a really light gray, Aurifil # 2165. For the teal sections of the center star, I used Aurifil #1148 and for the aqua sections, I used Aurifil #2830, one of my current favorite shades of thread.

FMQ'ing away!

I added a simple envelope style back to the pillow - I'm a fan of the envelope for a couple of reasons. If you have a super poofy pillow, it allows a little bit of give to the fit, and on the other hand if your pillow is a little deflated, you can tighten the fit a little bit with an envelope back. I hope my partner will be happy with it! I've been wanting to try using the

Lucky Stars blocks

in a different kind of way, so I'm glad I did that with this pillow. I love how versatile those blocks can be and how many different ways they can be used.

FMQ Close Up 1 - Pulleys in the yellow star points, tight stipple in the low volume

I also added in to my partner's box a cool journal with a quote from Jimi Hendrix and a few sweet treats as well. Here's hoping she gets it today! That's absolutely the best part of swapping - that first contact you get from your secret partner after they receive what you made for them. Totally makes the swapping process worthwhile, in my opinion. :) Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Folded and ready to wrap - my SewSew Modern package

Pillow Stats

size

- 23" square

fabrics

- a bunch of fuchsia, teal, aqua, yellow, gold, and low volume prints including but not limited to Oval Elements in fuchsia and aqua, assorted prints from Zen Chic's Comma collection, Lucky Penny by Alison Glass Bike Path in fuchsia, Sun Prints by Alison Glass Corsage in teal, and more

quilting

- Tight stipple in the low volume areas in Aurifil #2165, outline quilting in center star in Aurifil #1148 and #2830, pulleys in the yellow star points in Aurifil #2105, and mod clamshell (

tutorial here

) in the stripy borders with Aurifil #2165 - all in the 50 wt variety

pattern

- adapted two

2013 Lucky Stars BOM blocks

to suit what I wanted to do and made it work

FMQ Close Up 2 - Mod clamshells in the stripy border

A tale of a pillow cover: part one

Once upon a time, there was a super fun swap called Sew Sew Modern. I watched from the sidelines for the first two rounds, and jumped in on the third round, and had a lot of fun. I made something I really loved, received something fantastic that I adore, and promptly signed up for the fourth round when sign-ups opened. Then, I got crazy busy, and lost track of the swap deadline. Fast forward to last week, and I realized I need to get the lead out and get my items made for my partner!

SewSew Modern - getting started

The good news is that my secret partner has very specific taste, so it was easy to think up something that I think she'll enjoy. For once, I feel pretty confident that she's going to like what I'm making, which is a refreshingly wonderful feeling in a swap! The next-best news is that I'm having fun making her items so far, and moving right along and should finish just in the nick of time.

SewSew Modern sip

So far, I'm working on a pillow top with a medallion design, using some Lucky Stars blocks from 2013 (the bonus block and the December block), in miniature form, in a color palette completely and utterly inspired by the movie Frozen. Ha! My sewing time has been limited to the darkness lately, so I've mostly shared the progress of this pillow top on Instagram so far, but I managed to get a few decent pictures in the daylight yesterday in between the mountains of work I've got this week.

SewSew Modern project in progress

This is going to be a hard pillow cover to give away, but I always love that feeling of giving away something that you truly love and are proud of having made, so I suppose that means that this is going to be another successful round of Sew Sew Modern for me. Next up is another border and then some quilting, and then a simple back, so I'm in the home stretch, I think! Stay tuned for a finish on this one real soon, I hope. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Nothing like a little procrastination for inspiration...

I've been brainstorming for the right project for my partner in the latest round of the Sew Sew Modern swap, hosted over on Flickr, and I'd been hitting a creative wall, a total lack of inspiration. That is, until I came across an idea in my sketchbook that I had early on when I started the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club last year - a medallion quilt. As soon as I stopped on that page, I knew it was perfect. The drawing was terrible, and totally the wrong color palette for my partner, so I took some time last night and redrew it, and I have to say, I'm really excited to start working on this.

A little idea for my Sew Sew Modern partner...

Now that my Juki has made it home safe and sound, I'm this close to being able to actually get the ball rolling on this one. I'm torn, though...I can't decide whether I should do this one up in all solids, or if I should use prints. I definitely want to use some low-volume prints in the background/gray areas, but I'm not sure about the actual focus fabrics. I think some nice tone-on-tone, small scale prints would be nice, but I'm just torn, I can't decide, so help a girl out - give me your two cents! Maybe that will help me make a decision and start cutting :)

Have a great day! Oh, and I almost forgot - Quilty magazine has a little poll going for their next cover, and one of my quilts happens to be featured on Cover #2 - take a look and take part in their fun poll! Here's a link to the poll in case you want to put your two cents in!

Goodbye 2013

It's hard to believe that the last day of 2013 is upon us already. Where has this year gone?? It's certainly been a busy one, and the days have just flown by. So far, setting up my paper planner for 2014 is telling me that 2014 is going to be just as busy. There's some big stuff coming up, but for the moment I'm just feeling grateful for all of the wonderful things that happened this year...from my book coming out to my Juki joining my arsenal of sewing machines to expanding my teaching to finally getting myself down to a healthy weight to fun trips and great friends. It's been a great year, and I hope 2014 is just as awesome!

The January 2014 Lucky Star Block of the Month: The Sparkling Star

As the last day of 2013, today is the last day to get the 2013/2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club subscription deal at $25, only at my Pattern Shop. Tomorrow, the clubs will officially be sold separately, for $15/each, and will not be available as a pair. The January block, the Sparkling Star, will be going out to subscribers this evening, in case you're kicking off the New Year in front of your sewing machine! I know that's my big plan for the night :) Have a safe and happy new year celebration tonight, everyone!

Lucky Stars 2014 Bonus Block: The Blazing Star

Oh goodness, it feels sooooo good to sew on my Juki again!! I managed to get the bonus block finished up for the Lucky Stars 2014 Block of the Month Club at long last, and I'll be sending that to subscribers on Christmas Day, so keep your eyes peeled on your Inbox after the dust settles from your holiday festivities! It's the perfect thing to work on while the kids figure out how to use their new toys, right? :)

The 2014 Bonus Block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club: The Blazing Star!

I'm trying to be a little more focused with my color palette and fabric choices for my 2014 blocks - I'm going with a mix of grays for my background fabrics, and then aquas, teals, oranges, and yellows for the focal parts of my blocks. I think I'm going to work mostly with solids, which should be fun, but I couldn't help throwing in a fun print from Brigitte Heitland's Comma collection for Moda in this block. I think it just makes the block sing. I cannot wait to start seeing your interpretations of this block next week! Don't forget to tag your social media postings of your Lucky Stars blocks with the #luckystarsbom hashtag, and you can always add your blocks to the Flickr group too!

Have a great day!

Lucky Stars December 2013 Block: The Encore Star - and a Cyber Monday deal!


It's hard for me to believe that my Lucky Stars BOM has officially come full circle, having started last December. The final block of the 2013 club went out to members yesterday, and it might just be my favorite of the bunch.

December 2013 Lucky Stars Block of the Month: The Encore Star

The Encore Star is another star within a star, with several different triangles swirling around the star. I think one of the reasons it's one of my faves is because of the mix of coral and navy within the block. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite color combinations! I also love that soft gray herringbone print from Willow that I used for the background, it's fantastic for a low volume background.

2013 Lucky Stars BOM blocks - all together

I'm excited to start putting together a few layout options for this year's quilt, which will be sent to all 2013 subscribers in a few weeks. My Juki is off at the sewing machine spa at the moment, getting pampered and tuned up nicely, so I'm looking forward to getting it back and sewing up my quilt top soon.

If you haven't joined in the fun for the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM, sign-ups are still open, and I've extended the 2013/2014 club subscription deal through the end of this week. For just $25, you get 26 different star patterns, each provided in two different sizes for a total of 52 templates. Talk about a deal! I'm also running a special today for Cyber Monday today only at my Pattern Shop - purchase a signed copy of my book, Becoming a Confident Quilter, and select one of my PDF patterns for free! To sneak a peek at more of the quilts from the book, you can check out the Flickr group right here. Add the PDF quilt pattern of your choice to your cart and enter code CYBER2013 upon checkout to get the deal. Happy shopping everyone and have a great day :)

Becoming a Confident Quilter - my book, due out September 2013

November Lucky Stars Block of the Month: Star Crown

Welcome November! November happens to be one of my favorite months of the year - it's one of the few months of the year where the sweltering Florida weather usually starts to mellow out, but more than that, it's the start of the holiday season. I love Thanksgiving, though I tend to grumble a little bit about all the cooking and the cleaning that goes with Thanksgiving during the actual event, I do really love it. What about you?

And because it's the first of November, that means it's time for another Lucky Stars Block of the Month reveal - the Star Crown block...

November - Star Crown block

I love the way this block came together, from the fabric selections to the piecing. I'm really crushing on the way the stripes of the red AMH Innocent Crush fabric makes the block just sing. Definitely a great example of the right fabric in the right place - but honestly, I didn't have any idea that it was going to have such a big visual impact when I was picking out my fabrics, it just happened to be the exact right shade of red I was looking for!

This block is officially on its way to all Lucky Stars 2013 members. If you have not yet taken advantage of the fantastic 2013/2014 deal, you've got just a few more weeks before that deal wraps up. Until November 15th, you can sign up for both the 2013 and 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club, totaling 48 block patterns, for just $25. Pretty amazing, right? To sign up for both, click here to be directed to my Pattern Shop.

Up on the Blog Today - the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM Club!!!! Stay tuned :)

Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend everyone!

Announcing the 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club!

Have you gotten hooked on the fun of foundation paper piecing yet? I've gotten a lot of emails over the last month or two about the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club winding down. There's just two more blocks yet to come, and I've had lots of questions coming in about whether or not there are more blocks where these came from...and the good news is that there are loads more stars under my hat! I spent some quality time this weekend picking and choosing 12 new stars for the 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club, and they are all ready to roll!

Coming really soon - the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM Club!!!! Stay tuned :)

To recap how things in the Lucky Stars BOM club work, club members receive the block of the month via email on the 1st of every month, beginning on January 1st. The monthly PDF patterns include detailed piecing instructions, with loads of photographs to illustrate the piecing, as well as block templates in two sizes for each block, for a 6" finished block and a 12" finished block. To subscribe to the 2014 club, you can do so at my Pattern Shop or my Craftsy shop.

Lucky Stars 2014 - all solids!
2014 Lucky Stars BOM blocks

Current subscribers, you should have received an email from me this morning with a special discount code for you to use to subscribe to the new year of blocks. If you can't find it, let me know!

If you were not already a subscriber for 2013, you can still join in the fun, as well as get a great deal on the 2014 club. You'll receive the past blocks within 48 hours via email, and then receive the remaining block on the 1st of each month. For just $25, you'll receive 48 foundation paper piecing templates - talk about a screaming deal!

2013 Lucky Stars BOM blocks - all together
2013 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks all together
To check out some of the awesome blocks the 2013 subscribers have made so far, you can visit the Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy Flickr group or on Instagram, check out #luckystarsbom. So...what do you say? Are you in for another year of paper piecing fun?

Lucky Star Block of the Month: October Block + a few winners

Happy Monday to you! I'm excited to share October's block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club, the Chaos Star. I really love how this one came together, but I have to admit, I spent quite a few moments questioning my fabric choices as I worked on piecing this one, but I trusted my gut and kept on trucking. I'm glad I did too - I wasn't sure how the outer ring would come together, with the dark cerise Flora and Fauna print with the assorted lighter pink prints, but I really like how they all work together to give a feeling of motion in that outer ring. I'm fairly sure I say this every month, but this month's star is one of my favorites! Club members, you'll receive this block in your Inbox first thing tomorrow morning.

Lucky Stars BOM October: Chaos Star

I owe you all three winners from last week's great Andover Textured Solids charm pack giveaway. And here they are, in no particular order :

#137: Alyce
#3: Jennifer Lowe
#89: Leila

Congrats, ladies! I'll be in touch with you today to get your lovely fabric on your way to you!

Lucky Stars BOM so far!


I hope you're enjoying working through the Lucky Stars blocks - or if you're collecting them for a rainy day, I hope you're enjoying that, too! We've got just two more blocks to go now, so I'm starting to think about 2014. I'm thinking of doing another block of the month club for 2014, I've had so much fun with this one, and there were many, many stars that didn't make it into this year's line-up, so tell me something - would you be in for some more stars with me?

Reunited...and it feels so good!

Oh, how I've missed sewing these last few weeks! I've been doing some part-time work at home that I'm enjoying immensely, but I sure have missed the hum of my Juki. This week, things have calmed down a bit with work, and I feel like I'm starting to get into a solid groove at last, with the munchkin off at kindergarten for most of the day. Just the other day, I found myself with a bunch of unscheduled moments where I could just sew. It was absolutely wonderful :)

Paper piecing makes me happy :)

I've been waffling about what to sew up for my partner in the Sew Sew Modern swap for the last few weeks. I think our tastes are quite different, and that's part of why I've been so unsure what to sew for her that she'd appreciate, but I finally got a great idea last week - to make her a Lucky Stars mini quilt, in the colors and fabrics that she would love. They might not be the fabrics I would pick to make one for myself, but to each his own, right? I'm really liking how this is coming together, and I hope she's going to love it too!

SewSew Modern mini quilt top - just need to quilt it!

In other news, I'm being featured over at Gable House & Co today, for a fun interview - pop on over to check it out! Happy Friday, I hope you have a great weekend!

September Lucky Stars Block of the Month: The Windmill Star

Happy Labor Day to you! I hope you're enjoying the long weekend, if you happen to have one. I've spent the weekend alternating between working and hanging out at the pool with my munchkin. The weather has been surprisingly rain-free the last several days, which is a welcome change from our typical summer weather here in Florida, where you can often set your watch by the afternoon thunderstorms. The nice weather sure has contributed to my spending zero time sewing so far this weekend.

Lucky Stars Block of the Month for September: The Windmill Star

First thing Saturday morning, I went ahead and sent out the pattern for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club, knowing that many people would be spending this long weekend sewing. This month's star is the Windmill Star, a block I really enjoy. I'd really like to do an entire quilt in this block one of these days. I suppose for now I'll just add that to my lengthy list of quilts I'd like to make!

I'm hoping to get to dust off my lonely sewing machine and actually do a bit of sewing this week myself. Fingers crossed! Have a great rest of your Labor Day!