Sunday, March 20, 2016

Nor'easter Schmor'easter mini quilt - free pattern

It may say that it's now Spring on the calendar and it may be gloriously sunny for the moment, but baby, it's cold outside!  And with a nor'easter headed for New England (although maybe not quite as far inland as central New Hampshire), the colorful flowers that I'm longing to see still seem a long way off.  Once again, quilting comes to the rescue...

Here's a fast and fun little mini quilt that's charming hanging from a door knob or any place you'd like to see a bit of color.

I'm calling it my "Nor'easter Schmor'easter mini quilt" and here's the pattern:

You'll need:

Pink batik:  4 -- 2¼" x 2¼" squares
Yellow batik:  2 -- 2½" x 2½" squares, further cut once diagonally to form 4 triangles
Green batik:  2 -- 1½" x 2" rectangles
     1 -- 1½" x 3½" rectangle
     2 -- 2½" x 2½" squares
     1 strip 2¼" x 40" for binding
Ivory batik:  6 -- 1½" x 1½" squares
     2 -- 1½" x 2½" rectangle
     5 -- 2½" x 2½" squares, further cut once diagonally to form 10 triangles

First we'll tackle the stem and leaf portion of the quilt:

1.  On the back of 4 of the ivory batik 1½" x 1½" squares use a pencil to lightly draw a line diagonally from one corner to the other.

2.  Layer the 4 ivory batik 1½" x 1½" squares atop the 2 green batik 2½" x 2½" squares with right sides together as follows and stitch on the drawn lines.

3.  Press seams open towards the ivory batik and trim seam allowances to ¼".

4.  Stitch 1 ivory batik 1½" x 2½" to each of the units created in step 1-3 above.  Press seams open towards the ivory batik.

5.  Stitch together the units created in step 4 above and the green batik 1½" x 3½" rectangle as follows.  Press seams open towards the green batik "stem".

Now onto the flower portion of the quilt:

1.  Paper piece 4 petal units as follows using the remaining pink, yellow, green, and ivory patches.  Here's the link for petal unit 1 (bottom left); and the link for petal unit 2 (bottom right); and finally the link for petal unit 3 (top -- you'll make two of these units).  It might help to color the sections with colored pencils before starting to stay organized.  And if you're new to paper piecing, here's a link to a basic paper piecing tutorial on Craftsy.

2.  Stitch the 4 petal units together as follows:

3.  Finally stitch the flower unit to the stem/leaf unit, quilt as desired and bind.  I machine quilted just outside the edge of the flower, stem, and leaves using ivory thread.  I also quilted a diamond about ½" inside the yellow flower center to help it lie flat.

And that's it!  Make one flower or a garden of them!  No need to wait for Mother Nature!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

You Can Take the Girl Away from her Quilts...

During my kids' winter break, we somehow managed to string together a couple of days without hockey practices or robotics or orthodontist appointments and we jumped at the chance to visit Boston.  Our goal was to leave everything behind -- including quilting -- but walking around Boston on a gorgeously warm day, I still manged to see quilts everywhere.

I saw this design painted on a stall in Downtown Crossing and thought of Amish quilts...

I saw this brick pattern on the sidewalk near the Boston Public Library and thought of square-in-a-square blocks...

I found this mosaic outside The Cheesecake Factory and thought of orange peel blocks (and of course cheesecake, but I kept on walking)...

And I saw this garland hanging in 10,000 Villages and thought of appliquéd flowers...

And then there were the colors.

This is the back of a rug I saw and the picture's not much to look at, but something about the colors grabbed my interest.

Back at home, I uploaded it into Play Craft's Palette Builder and after playing around for a bit, here's what I got...

Three gorgeous color palettes and all because the coral flower caught my eye.

Here's a necklace I found and although it's not exactly my style, the colorful tropical palette called to me.

I uploaded the necklace picture into the Palette Builder and discovered the lighter side of tropical...

And the darker side, hmmm almost jewel tones...

And finally, my favorite...

Shades of scarlet and green with an orangey-yellow thrown in for contrast.  Yum!

Finally I saw these darling little birds.  I love them both for their shapes (think an abstract appliqué pattern) and their soft, springy colors.

Here are two different versions of this quiet, restful palette -- I really love the butter yellow in both...

And here's a monochromatic green palette taken from the bird on the left...

So much color!  Can you tell I'm longing for Spring?!

And by the way, keep your phones handy -- you never know where the inspiration for your next project might come from!