Monday, June 17, 2019

Tricia's Favorite Block Tutorials -- Block 5 ELECTRIC FAN

Here are the links to the first 4 blocks in this series if you missed them:

Block 1 -- Shoo Fly

Block 2 -- Courthouse Steps

Block 3 -- Flying Geese

Block 4 -- Rail Fence


Our next block is the Electric Fan!

I think this block looks complicated, but it really isn't.  If you look closely, you can see that it is a 4 patch block in disguise -- 4 Hour Glass blocks turned this way and that.

This quilt block was included in a booklet called Practical Needlework:  Quilt Patterns in 1906.  The design was contributed by Clara Stone. (This information from The Electric Quilt Company BlockBase.)

What You Need:

2 white squares 7 1/4" x 7 1/4"

1 dark blue square 7 1/4" x 7 1/4"

1 medium blue square 7 1/4" x 7 1/4"

Here's What to Do:

(Please note that there are several ways to make Hour Glass units.  You can find many different tutorials online.)

1.  Cut all 4 squares on both diagonals. 

2.  Sew a dark blue triangle to a white triangle.  Make 4.

3.  Sew a medium blue triangle to a white triangle.  Make 4.

4.  Sew a dark blue unit to a medium blue unit to make an Hour Glass unit.  Make 4 units.

5.  Sew the 4 Hour Glass units together, turning as shown.

 And that's it!


Here's a quilt made with 20 Electric Fan blocks.  Isn't it great?  I love how crisp it looks with just 3 fabrics.  Wouldn't it be fun to scrap it up, though?  This would be an awesome scrap-buster!


 Go forth and make Electric Fan Blocks!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

More Mini Quilts!

Are you sick of Minis yet?  I hope not -- they seem to be really hot right now.  Have you looked in any quilt magazines lately?  You're sure to find at least one mini quilt featured, but often more.  Pin cushions are also hot and you can find them everywhere.  Of course, a pin cushion is really just a tiny quilt, isn't it?

So, have you jumped on the mini bandwagon yet? 

Oops!  I just realized that I never did a blog post about our previous class in May.  Well, let me get you up to date!

Last month we explored different ways to make half square triangles.  What's your favorite technique for making HSTs?  Before this month, I would have said the usual using two squares RST and sewing 1/4" on both sides of a diagonal lone then cutting them apart on the diagonal line.  But now I must say that I'm liking the 4 at a time method.  You can find the tutorial here at Blossom Heart Quilts.  

Our project in May was a tiny little Bear Paw quilt about the size of a coaster with 1/2" finished HSTs.

At this month's meeting, everyone showed off their projects so far.  A few people are already behind (this was our 4th class).  But luckily, we do not meet in July so they will have an extra month to get caught up.  Tehehe!  Yeah, right, I know.

Here are some of the Little Log Cabin quilts from April as well as tiny Bear Paw quilts from May.  Aren't they wonderful?

Of course, they'll need the extra month when they get started on this month's project which requires 100 tiny HSTs!

If you like our mini quilts, you can find them in Pam Buda's book, Vintage Patchwork.  You, too, can make your own Mini Masterpieces!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Tricia's Favorite Block Tutorials -- Block 4 RAIL FENCE

If you missed the first 3 blocks in my Favorite Block Tutorial series, here they are:

Block 1 -- Shoofly

Block 2 -- Courthouse Steps

Block 3 -- Flying Geese

Now that you're all caught up, let's make Block 4 -- RAIL FENCE.  Rail Fence was one of the first quilt blocks that I ever made.  Mine only had 3 strips whereas this block has 4 strips in each section.

As you know, I like to add a bit of Quilt History to my Block Tutorial posts.  Have you ever wondered where the names for quilt blocks came from?  I have always found this subject fascinating.  Blocks were named for people, special events, political figures and events, common everyday things and activities -- just about anything you can imagine! 

Have you ever noticed that quilt blocks can have a lot of different names, though?  I find that even more fascinating because people in different places were creating the same quilt blocks and calling them something different, based on their own experiences. When quilt block names were published in magazines and newspaper, even more names were added to the list.  For example, look at the Churn Dash block.  It is also known as Monkey Wrench, Puss in the Corner, Love Knot, Hole in the Barn Door, Sherman's March, Indian Hammer, Fisherman's Reel, and several other names.

If you find this as interesting as me, you might want to check out Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  It is an amazing resource with thousands of pieced quilt blocks, their names, and even the publications they appeared in.  It can be hard to find, so if you are an Electric Quilt user, you should invest in BlockBase, which is a digital version of Barbara Brackman's book.  BlockBase doesn't include all the blocks in the book, but it does have a great selection.

Sew, let's get started on Block #4 -- Rail Fence.

 For a 12" finished block, you will need the following:

4 background rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"
4 light rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"
4 medium rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"
4 dark rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"

(For this block I chose to go with a monochromatic color scheme, but you can make this block as scrappy as you want because anything goes.)

1.  Sew a background, light, medium, and dark 2" x 6 1/2" strip together.  Make 4 units.

2.  Sew the 4 units together into a 4 Patch block, turning units as shown.

And that's it!  This a great beginner block, but it has a lot of possibilities for more experienced quilters, too.


Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:



Thursday, May 30, 2019

My Villa Rosa Rose Cards Are Popping Up in the Most Unexpected Places!

Well, hello again!  No, I haven't forgotten about you.  Honest.  Things have just been super busy around here.  I'm sure you can relate.  :)

I missed 2 weeks in a row this time, but I do actually have a very legitimate reason -- my family had a giant garage sale (no we weren't selling the actual garage, you silly goose!) over Memorial week end.  Whew!  I am so glad that it is over.  I had forgotten how much work went into preparing for a garage sale.  I think we spent 2 weeks (or was it 5 years???) getting everything cleaned, priced, arranged, etc.  It wasn't one of our best sales, but I guess it wasn't our worst either, either.

Anyway, while I was getting ready for the garage sale, my friend Cathey Laird skipped off to Spring Market in Kansas City, MO.  Lucky girl!  She sent me the following advertisement image in a message:

This is an ad for the Top 25 Patterns at Moda.  Check out the third pattern down on the left side -- YES!  It is my Salt Water Taffy Rose Card pattern for Villa Rosa!  YIPPEE!  Wow, was I surprised when she messaged it to me -- she really made my day.

Out of curiosity, I went to Moda's website and looked under their books and patterns section.  Again, I was surprised to find most, if not all, of our Villa Rosa Rose Cards, including ALL of my designs.  This is so mind-boggling and exciting.  (You can't see me right now, but I am doing my happy dance as I write this post.)

I never know where my designs and patterns are going to show up next.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Tricia's Favorite Block Tutorials -- Block 3 FLYING GEESE

Are we having fun yet?

Hopefully you have made Block 1 -- Shoo Fly and Block 2 -- Courthouse Steps.  If you missed them, please go back and get caught up:

Block 1 -- SHOO FLY


Now that we're all on the same page, let's try our hand at a FLYING GEESE variation.

This variation is called Dutchman's Puzzle.  According to the website Quilting in America, the Dutchman's Puzzle block design has been around since the late 1800's.  The site doesn't list much information about the block, but does note that it is reminiscent of Dutch windmills, so perhaps that's where the name came from.

Okay, let's get started!

There are a lot of different ways to make a single Flying Goose unit, including different rulers made especially for making that one unit, so you might want to explore some quilt books or other Internet tutorials for other options.

I am going to show you how to make Goose units using squares and rectangles -- NO TRIANGLES!

For a 12" finished block, you will need the following:

16 background squares 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
4 dark rectangles 3 1/2" x 6 1/2"
4 medium rectangles 3 1/2" x 6 1/2"

1.  Layer a background square right sides together (RST) with a medium (or dark) rectangle.  Draw a diagonal line as shown from the bottom corner to the opposite top corner of the square.  Sew on the line. 


2. Trim 1/4" beyond the sewn line, flip the background triangle open and press.

3.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the other side of the rectangle with another background square.  Now you have a single Flying Goose unit.  (Hint:  Save all you cut off triangles and make a mug rug or a small pillow.)

4.  Make 4 Goose units with medium/background and 4 units with dark/background.

5.  Sew a dark Goose to a Medium Goose.  Make 4 sets.

6.  Sew the double Geese units together into a Four Patch configuration, turning the units as shown in a clockwise rotation.

And it's that simple!  Now you have a 12 1/2" (12" finished) Dutchman's Puzzle block.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Local Quilters in the Same Publication!

Dang!  I ruined my streak of writing a weekly blog post last week.  Oh well, I'm going to get myself back on track.

I just had to share this awesome story with you.

Recently, I received my author copy of the book, Farmhouse-Style Quilting, which is a compilation of the work of many quilt designers.  The book was created by Annie's Quilting.

 To buy your own copy of the book, go HERE.  It is available as a book or an ebook.

I was fortunate to have 2 projects accepted for the publication --

Red-Letter Day Place Mats p.9


Wash Day p. 29

My Wash Day Quilt made the front cover of the publication.  If you look closely at the wooden crate under the bench, you can see my quilt peeking out.  (Tehehe)

Wash Day was quilted by one of my favorite local long arm machine quilter's, the very talented Karen Shields of Karen's Quilting Studio.

The design for Wash Day came to me pretty quickly once I found the Moda collection Oxford by Sweetwater.  The fabrics reminded me of my Grandpa and his quilt, which I inherited after he passed away.  The quilt was made by his mother -- my great grandmother -- when he was a young man before he married my grandmother.  It is one of my most treasured items, even though it is faded and worn.  (I promise to add a photo of the quilt to this post when I get the chance.)

Here's the back of the book.  You can see both my projects there!


Anyway, another of the designs in the Farmhouse-Style Quilting book is by my friend and fellow designer, Cathey Laird.  You might know Cathey from her ruler, the Firefly Glow Y Block Ruler.  Cathey's design is called Country Stars Runner.

Okay, what's really neat is that another one of my friends and fellow quilters, Kristine Smith, also had a quilt featured in this book.  Her quilt is called Country Comfort and it was machine quilted by another friend, Debi Crocker.  Kristine's quilt is also on the back cover of the book.

As they say on info-mercials --
but wait -- there's more!

All five of us -- 
Karen, Cathey, Kristine, Debi, and me -- 
live right here in northwestern PA 


Holy Guacamole, Batman!  Can you believe it???

Monday, April 22, 2019

Tricia's Favorite Block Tutorial -- Block 2 COURTHOUSE STEPS

Hah!  Bet you saw this one coming!

As I mentioned in my previous post, basic Log Cabin blocks are some of the easiest to construct.  We are going to make the Courthouse Steps block which is a variation of the Log Cabin.

This block probably makes you think about pioneers and log cabins (like Little House on the Prairie and such) and you would be half-right -- Karen Giska in her AQS article  "Log Cabin Blocks:  A Short History" wrote that the blocks became popular in the U.S. in the 1860's and the name may have been inspired by Abraham Lincoln!

But, did you know that the Log Cabin design has been found on Egyptian mummies and on a pre-1830's English quilt???

To read more, go to Karen Giska's article HERE.

So, let's get started!

Here's what you need:

1 A center square 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" (historically centers were black, red, or yellow)

2 B strips -- 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"

2 C strips -- 2 1/2" x 8 1/2"

2 D strips -- 2 1/2" x 8 1/2"

2 E strips -- 2 1/2" x 12 1/2"

Please refer to the diagram.

Sew the B strips to the sides of the A square.

Sew the C strips to the top and bottom of the unit.

Sew the D strips to the sides of the unit.

Sew the E strips to the top and bottom.


Here is a very simple quilt design that gives the Courthouse Steps blocks a super modern feel.  This design features 20 blocks (4 across by 5 down) with a 4" finished border.  The quilt would measure 56" x 68" for a nice-sized throw quilt.

So what are you waiting for?  Time to get started on your Courthouse Steps quilt.

In case you missed Block 1 -- Shoo Fly, click HERE to go back.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mini World Take 2

Well, my quilt group/class met for the second time and I am happy to say that everyone survived making those tiny strippy quilts from last month!  Whew!

Here are some of their projects.  You'll notice the quilts ended up being different sizes.  That had a lot to do with individual cutting and piecing.

Aren't they just adorable?  I especially like the one on the far right.  She was afraid that she did it wrong but her mistake ended up in a cute variation!

This month we are going to try our hands at mini log cabin blocks.   Who doesn't LOVE a log cabin block, anyway?  Basic log cabin blocks are considered to be a beginner block so making one that finishes at 4" should be a breeze, right?

I will actually be talking about 4 different methods for making tiny Log Cabin blocks:

1)  Paper piecing

2)  Piecing on a fabric foundation

3)  Folded Log Cabin

4) Traditional piecing

Which ones have you tried?

Did you miss my first Mini World post?  Go HERE.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Tricia's Favorite Quilt Block Tutorial -- Block 1 SHOO FLY

What's your favorite quilt block?

I have quite a few favorite blocks, actually.  Maybe you do too.

Most of the blocks that I am a fan of are quick and easy to make.  I really love quick and easy because then I can spend more time playing with my fabric.

I thought it would be fun to show you some of my favorite blocks and how to make them along with a few ideas on using them in your projects.  AND I will turn my favorite blocks into a SAMPLER QUILT so hold on to your blocks until the end of the series for a fun Sampler Quilt setting.

 I LOVE the Shoo Fly block.  

When I was a new quilter, I cut out bunches of squares and triangles and hand-pieced them, eventually having enough to make a twin-sized quilt.  To be honest, the quilt didn't turn out very well because I didn't know then what I know now about quilting, but the important thing was that it got me excited to make MORE QUILTS.

According to the website Quilting in America, the block was "named after a wild plant with domed flowers called clover broom or shoo-fly, this 9-patch block originated around 1850 and became popular in the late 1800s."  For more history of the Shoofly block, visit Quilting in America.

Let's make a 12" finished Shoo Fly block!

What you need:

Medium/Dark fabric -- 2 squares 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" and 1 square 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" 

Light Fabric -- 2 squares 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" and 4 squares 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Here's what you do:

1.  Layer a 4 7/8" medium/dark square right sides together with a light 4 7/8" square.  Draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner diagonally.

2.  Sew 1/4" away from both sides of the drawn line.

3.  Cut apart on the line.   Voila!  You have 2 half square triangle blocks (HSTs).

4.  Repeat steps 1-3 to make a total of 4 HSTs.

Now here's the easy part -- the Shoo Fly block is simply a 9 Patch block in disguise!  Tehehehe!

5.  Sew a light 4 1/2" square between 2 HSTs as shown.  Make 2 rows.


7.  Sew the row from step 6 between the rows from step 5, flipping the unit on the bottom to make a Shoo Fly block.

And there you have it -- one 12 1/2" Shoo Fly Block!  Yay!  Go you!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Villa Rosa -- My Quilt Designs are Popping Up All Over!

You may already know that I've been designing easy and fun (and usually precut-friendly) quilt designs for Villa Rosa Designs for over a year now.

I met Pat, the owner of Villa Rosa, completely by happenstance at my very first International Quilt Market in 2010.  We hit it off and got to know each other through the years at Quilt Markets we both attended.  Then in 2017, things were ready for me to begin designing quilts for Villa Rosa.

Are you familiar with the Villa Rosa Rose Cards?  I was so impressed with the postcard-sized patterns when I first saw them in 2010 -- I knew then that I wanted to be part of Villa Rosa.

What makes a Rose Card so special?

A Rose card is the size of a post-card with a beautiful full-color photo of the project on the front and simple easy-to-follow instructions to make the project on the back.  That's it.  ONE POSTCARD.

Fast-forward to today....

I currently have 14 Rose Card patterns available and I have several more in the works right now.

Here are my Rose Cards (go HERE to shop my Rose Cards):



If you're a shop owner, you love Rose Cards because:

1)  they are small and easy to display, particularly near registers and check out counters
2)  they are perfect for kitting up with your own fabric in your shop
3)  the projects are fast and easy (and usually precut-friendly) so they are great for new quilters and experienced quilters alike
4)  the retail price is inexpensive
5)  they make great class projects because students do not have to buy expensive books in addition to all of their supplies
6)  most of the patterns utilize precuts and quilters LOVE precuts!

If you're a quilter, you love Rose Cards because:

1)  Rose Cards are like candy, you can't choose just one
2)  Rose Cards are inexpensive
3)  they are small and take up very little space in your sewing room
4)  there are Rose Card designs to fit any style from modern to traditional
5)  there are a lot of different types of projects to choose from -- table runners, baby quilts, throws, and more
6)  they are mostly geared for beginning quilters, yet the designs appeal to quilters of all skill levels and interests
7)  they are perfect for charity quilts
8)  most of the Rose Cards use precuts, but you can easily use your own stash or scraps, too
9)  they make great little gifts for your quilting friends or yourself

Rose Cards are now available wholesale to quilt shops through Checker Distributor and EE Schenck or through Villa Rosa Wholesale.

Quilters, you can find Rose Cards at your local quilt shop or  here on the Villa Rosa website.