Category Archives: Patterns

Pattern Testing for ShannonMac Designs

I recently had the opportunity to test a new pattern by a fellow designer. Shannon of ShannonMac Designs created a new beginner paper piecing pattern called “Oops… I Scrapped My Pants”. I’m not typically a big scrappy quilt fan, but I was drawn to her various layout suggestions and so I offered to test it out.

The layout on the bottom right called to me. I love it!
The layout on the bottom right called to me. I love it!

Note that her pattern includes an easy to follow tutorial for paper piecing using the freezer paper method. I tested the pattern before the tutorial was finished, so I used my favorite paper piecing method instead–printer paper piecing, where you stitch along the lines on the paper and then remove the paper after the block is pieced. I’m tempted to give the freezer paper method a try after reading Shannon’s tutorial, though!

With my test quilt, I knew I wanted to incorporate a rainbow gradient since I’ve been ALL about color these days. Perhaps it’s the stark white environment outside: snow, snow, and more snow!  I debated creating a large quilt with color gradient pants, I toyed with shrinking down the pattern to make each block 2″ or 3″ instead of 6″ so that I could have a full color gradient in a smaller quilt, and then I finally settled on stitching together some wonky, scrappy rainbow fabric panels and using them to get the full gradient in four pairs of pants.

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I’m also all about love, so it seemed only right that I make those rainbow pants into a nice big X and O. Hugs and kisses!

I love the complexity of the backs of paper pieced quilt blocks.
I love the complexity of the backs of paper pieced quilt blocks.
All laid out and stitched together!
All laid out and stitched together!

I’m finding myself drawn toward modern quilting more and more, so I went for a modern look with this mini quilt. I opted for some echo straight-line quilting to emphasize the X and O.  My Clover Hera Marker was the perfect tool for marking out the quilting lines! Being new to quilting, I am still too nervous to use any kind of “disappearing” fabric pen or other marking tool to actually write on my quilt before quilting. A hera marker is great, since it simply indents the fabric, creating a clear yet mark-free line. You can see how clear the marks from the hera marker are, and they certainly helped me find those perfect intersection points!

Herra markers are the best for marking quilts for straight line quilting.
Herra markers are the best for marking quilts for straight line quilting.

I used the walking foot for my borrowed sewing machine for the first time while quilting this, and boy was it fun! I can see why quilters swear by them! I’m really looking forward to quilting a larger quilt with the walking foot to really see its even-feed skills in action.

I used my go-to tutorials on bindings–on the Bijou Lovely blog–both to make a straight-grain binding and to attach it to the quilt.

Using my favorite straight-grain binding tutorial.
Using my favorite straight-grain binding tutorial.

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I love how this quilt turned out! The pattern is a very basic, beginner-friendly paper piecing pattern, and is extremely versatile. What can’t you do with scrapped pants?!

The day after I finished stitching the binding to the back of this quilt, we got another massive snowstorm, which dropped another 18″ of snow–yes, in March! It provided the perfect backdrop for a rainbow quilt photo shoot.

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Now this bright mini quilt lives happily on my craft loft pegboard, brightening up my sewing space.

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I definitely would recommend this pattern, for both beginner and seasoned paper piecers. If you’ve been wanting to try paper piecing, this is your chance to learn the freezer paper method. Shannon is offering this pattern and tutorial for free in her Craftsy store, so hop on over and check it out!

 

Circling Gulls Paper Piecing Pattern

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FINISHED! Remember this? I finally finished piecing it!

circling gulls completeFor one of my first designed paper piecing patterns, I’m very happy with it! I love how the gulls are pinwheeling in to fight over the starfish, and as a friend pointed out, the starfish has seen the gulls and is reaching out to flyyyyyyy!  Little does that poor little starfish know that he’s actually going to be lunch and not a flying companion. Then again, maybe it is the starfish’s turn to fly!

photo 2 (2)I’m excited that this pattern pretty much turned out how I had imagined it.  I’m debating the next step for this 12×12″ block.  Should I make it into a pillow? A quilted wall-hanging? Or perhaps tuck it away and aim to make 11+ more of the blocks using up blue, white and orange (or other colors?) scraps along the way. I do think this pattern would look awesome as a full quilt.

What would you do with this block?

This pattern is for sale in my Pattern Shop on Craftsy; go check it out!

Four-pointed Star Out in the Universe

I received the most exciting comment on my blog today–the gift chocolates have been received, AND the recipient has already made a gorgeous universe quilt using my pattern as an element… well, eight elements!

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“My Who-niverse” created by Leah from Quilted Delights

This gorgeous quilt was created in response to Project Quilting’s week four theme of “Across the Universe”. I think this quilt is a perfect depiction of that theme!  You can visit the Quilted Delights blog to read more about Leah’s thought process and gradual creation of this quilt. I really enjoyed reading about how she combined various patterns and elements to create this well-balanced quilt.

tardis starLook at how cute that star looks next to the Tardis in flight! I’m so thrilled that my pattern is out there in the world… er, universe… and that it was used to create such an awesome quilt!

Four-pointed Star Pattern Published

I’m more than a little excited! I’ve officially published my first paper piecing pattern! I decided that the little four-pointed star I designed as an element for my Delight in the Little Things art quilt would be a great spot to start in my attempts to learn the ways of Inkscape.
cropped-2014-02-05-15-35-212.jpgYou can find the pattern in my Craftsy Pattern Store. Since my original pattern is for a scant 4″ square, I included larger options in the pattern. Those two dollars and fifty cents not only will get you the 4″ paper piecing pattern template, it will also get you a 6″ and 12″ version. Sweet deal!
What’s even slightly more exciting is that I’ve already had one buyer! Little does that buyer know, but she will be receiving a little “Congratulations! You’re my first buyer” gift in the mail.

Be Kind Chocolates

These are delicious chocolates made locally in the town of Belfast, Maine. I can vouch for their deliciousness! Yummm! Hopefully she enjoys the chocolates while creating some awesome starry project. I can’t wait to see what others create with my patterns!

Circling Gulls Taking Shape

People talk about “the paper piecing bug” and how once you try paper piecing, you are hooked for good. I think I must have somehow fallen into the hive of paper piecing bugs, because I am HOOKED! I love how precise you can be, I love that you can create fabric pictures of just about anything, I love the promise of possibility. Soon after sewing a few paper pieced projects, I started dreaming up new patterns. Leave it to Pinterest to inspire creativity. I somehow stumbled upon this tutorial, and within minutes had my squared notebook in hand.

Sketching designs old school style.
Sketching designs old school style.

As with just about anything, I don’t start simple. I don’t think it’s within my brain function.  My first paper pieced design was for violets. As you can see, this is not the simplest of designs, but they look like violets!!

Violet paper pieced pattern

My brain continued to swirl, and next up came an idea for seagulls circling around a starfish, or maybe a crab. I finally decided on starfish since it would be much easier to create as a pattern, and the design began to come to life.

Designing the Old School Way

I walked through the old-school process for this pattern completely before finding Inkscape, and my first (second if you count the little 4″ star from my art quilt) sewn self-designed paper pieced pattern will be these circling gulls.  The fuzz from photocopies of photocopies aren’t the crispest, but the pattern is proving to be quite functional!

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I finished sewing the first of four blocks while at a Paper Piecing class at my local quilt shop, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast.  I can’t wait to complete the last three blocks to see how it looks all together!