Lone Star Bed Quilt

I dream of waking up and finding all my quilt tops quilted and bound.  I seriously need to spend a week on my mid-arm just quilting.  I love piecing, but sadly, the actual quilting scares me! I feel like I should be pushing myself to try something fancier than a meander, but I’m afraid I’ll ruin my quilt.   I keep moving on to the next project, rather than brave the mid-arm.

Lone Star Quilt by Better Off Thread

I pieced this quilt top a bit ago for my bed and it’s one of the larger quilts I have made measuring 74″ x 88″.  The fabric is Color:FULL by Jennifer Sampou and I love the saturated colors and large scale prints.  The scale is perfect for these giant Lone Star panels

Lone Star Quilt by Better Off Thread

Ever since I made my Scrappy Lone Star Tutorial, I’ve been wanting to make a bed-sized one. I decided to arrange the colors, rather than going scrappy and I also added 1″ sashing between each diamond.

Lone Star Quilt by Better Off Thread

I think my favorite part is the triangle border on each end.  I’m a bit obsessed with borders right now (and yes, there is a random thread in the photo.  I like to keep it real here.).

Hopefully I’ll have a finished quilt to show soon!

Fundraiser Update and a New Quilt

First, I want to thank everyone who purchased patterns to support my friend, Jennie, and her children.  We managed to raise $725!!  Quilters are certainly an amazing bunch and Jennie is so thankful for everything.

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I was recently asked to design a quilt for Robert Kaufman using Jennifer Sampou’s amazing new Black & White Fabric Collection.  I have been wanting to design a quilt using gradient value, so I was really excited to work with these fabrics.

Storm At Sea Quilt by Better off Thread using Jennifer Sampou's Black and White Fabric Collection

Storm At Sea by Better off Thread. 65″ x 80″

I decided to use a simple, traditional, Storm at Sea block and use value to create the pattern. It was a lot of fun to figure out!

Storm At Sea Quilt by Better off Thread using Jennifer Sampou's Black and White Fabric Collection

I am loving all of Jennifer’s nature-inspired prints: feathers, birds, butterflies and the dot is softer and slightly more organic than your usual polka-dot.

Storm At Sea Quilt by Better off Thread using Jennifer Sampou's Black and White Fabric Collection

The quilting was done by the ever-amazing Angela Walters.  I don’t have a proper close-up of the quilting, but if you are going to be at Quilt Market, be sure to stop by the Robert Kaufman booth and check Storm At Sea out (send me some photos, too!).

The pattern will be a FREE download on the Robert Kaufman site beginning in November.  I’ll let you know once it is available!

Fabric Party Hat Tutorial

Fabric Party Hat Tutorial

I recently made party hats for Kelle Boyd using her fun and adorable Ann Kelle Remix Fabrics.

Fabric Party Hat Tutorial

You can find the tutorial on the Ann Kelle blog.  They are quick to make and add  a unique, homemade touch to any party.

Adorable children are by the Craft Junky.

Fabric Party Hat Tutorial

Tumbling Cats Tutorial

Update to yesterday’s post:  I want to thank everyone who has purchased patterns so far.  You are all so amazing, and in 24 hours I have raised $250 for Jennie!  I am donating 100% of my Craftsy pattern sales to Jennie and her children for the next week, so you still have plenty of time.  You can read more about it here.

NOW, ON TO THE TUMBLING CATS TUTORIAL!

Tumbling Cat Block by Better off Thread

This is a tutorial for a 24″ x 24″ panel (perfect for a large pillow, or mini quilt) as pictured above.  If you want to make a large quilt, scroll down the the bottom for the 11″ block.

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Cutting Instructions

You will be cutting pieces for 16 cats.  Choose between 1-16 different fabrics and then cut pieces accordingly (I chose 4 fabrics, so I cut 4 cats per fabric).  A fat eight will yield four cats.

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From Cat Fabric:
Cut 16 rectangles 3-1/2″ x 5″ (cat body/head- 1 per cat)
Cut 32 squares 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ (cat ears- 2 per cat)
Cut 31 rectangles 1-1/2″ x 3″ (cat legs- 2 per cat)

From Background Fabric:
Cut 11 squares 3″ x 3″
Cut 6 rectangles 3″ x 8-1/2″
Cut 2 rectangles 3″ x 6″
Cut 16 rectangles 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
Cut 16 rectangles 1-1/2″ x 3″

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Step 1: Make the Ears

- Place two matching 1-1/2″ cat squares right sides together on either end of a
1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ background rectangle.

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- Draw a line on the cat fabric from corner to corner.

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- Sew along the lines and trim excess fabric.

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- Flip triangles and press flat.
- Repeat to make 16 ear units.

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Step 2: Sew Ears to Cat Bodies

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- Sew an ear unit to a matching 3-1/2″ x 5″ rectangle (cat body).

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- Repeat to sew all of the ear units to the cat bodies (16 total).

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Step 3: Make Leg Units

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- Sew two 1-1/2″ x 3″ cat legs to either long side of a 1-1/2″ x 3″ background rectangle.
- Repeat to make 16 leg units.

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Step 4: Assemble Cat Block

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- Lay out four cat blocks as pictured above, with a 3″ x 3″ background  square in the center.

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- Begin with the cat unit on the right. Place the center square right sides together on the cat unit, as pictured.  Sew together stopping 1/2″ before the inner corner.

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- Sew the top cat unit on next, then the cat unit on the left side.

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- To finish the block, you will need to fold the cat unit on the right side out of the way, sew the bottom cat, then sew the remaining part of the right cat unit.

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- Repeat Step 4 to make three more Cat Blocks.

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Step 5: Finishing (Attach Sashing and Borders)

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- Lay the four blocks out however you would like them to be oriented.  Pair legs with the inner facing cats and then place 3″ x 3″ background squares between each leg unit.

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- Sew the legs and background squares into strips, as pictured, then sew everything into rows.  Sew the rows together to complete the center of the quilt.

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Next, sew larger background rectangles and leg units together as pictured to make the borders .  Sew the side borders on first and then the top and bottom borders.

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You are done!

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11″ Block for Full Quilt

The 11″ unit will go together like the larger 24″, but you will include extra leg units that will match up to the blocks around it.

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- You will need to plan out your color placement in advance, so you know which leg units to place on which block.

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Above is  57″ x 68″ quilt.  You would need to remove the extra legs from the left and bottom blocks and add a leg border to the top and right side.

Enjoy the tutorial and show me what you make!

Jennie

 This week, I am donating 100% of my Craftsy Pattern Sales to my friend, Jennie. Please read below for more info.

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Jennie and her kids.

I am busy working on a free tutorial for the cat block!  In the meantime, I want to tell you about my old friend and college roommate, Jennie.  She is a single mom with three adopted children. Two are special needs.  She is the sole caregiver for her children and the state she lives in has very little in the way of programs and support for her children.  She was trying to move back to our home state of Pennsylvania, but her house has not sold and the job market is dismal.  At this point she is simply trying to make ends meet. She is exhausted and in despair.

Jennie was a wonderful roommate and friend and I always have had so much respect for her drive and perseverance.  Her father passed away when she was very young and her mother had several children to raise alone.  While a lot of us were goofing off in college and living it up, Jennie was working hard with her studies and also working to make money so that she would be able to afford the next semester.  She has continued to work so hard to to give everything of herself to her children.  I really want to see something positive come her way.

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Jennie and me in our super-awesome door room.

For the following week (September 22-29) I am going to donate 100% of my pattern sales to Jennie and her kids.  So, if you’ve been planning on buying one of my patterns, now is the time!  I try to keep my pattern prices low, so they are basically the cost of a trip to Starbucks.  I’m hoping to be able to raise enough to help Jennie pay a bit of her bills.

You can find my Craftsy store here: http://www.craftsy.com/user/1020943/pattern-store

For more information about Jennie, you can check out her blog here: http://peaceinpuzzles.blogspot.com

and her GoFundMe page is here:
http://www.gofundme.com/a4ayj0

Thanks so much!!

Block o’ Cats

I’m in a quilting bee with a delightful group of gals where we make either an entire 12″ x 60″ row or a large 24″ x 24″ block every two months.  Adrianne asked for cat blocks for her month and I found this image on Pinterest that I wanted to try to recreate:

Cat Quilt Block by Better Off Thread

Pinterest is great for inspiration, but this photo didn’t have a source.  It looks like someone took a photo of maybe an older quilt book (If anyone knows where this quilt is from, I would love to know).

I went back and forth about how best to construct the block and I came up with this sample:

Cat Quilt Block by Better Off Thread

Don’t look to close, though.  I was in such a hurry that the seams aren’t perfect!

There are partial seams, but it actually goes together pretty easily.  The hardest part is figuring out what fabric to place where.

I then pulled a selection of fabrics in Adrianne’s color scheme and here is the block.

Cat Quilt Block by Better Off Thread

It measures about 24″ x 24″ and I decided to remove the bodiless legs from around the perimeter of the block.  I think I need to shorten the cats legs about a 1/2″ the next time I make this block.  It would be the perfect size for a floor pillow and I’s like to make Emmeline one using cat fabric (in all my free time).

If enough people are interested, I’ll post a free tutorial!

Have a great Monday!

A Gaggle of Geese

Do you ever get an idea for a quilt in your mind and you need to see it realized, no matter how time consuming it is?  Yeah, that is me right now.  I love drawing up a design and then figuring out how it can actually be sewn.  It’s like doing a brainteaser.

If you read my blog, you know how much I LOVE flying geese. I wanted to make a Mariner’s Compass completely from flying geese.  Here was my photoshop design:

Flying Geese Mariner's Compass by Better Off Thread

It’s only 320 geese.  That’s not so bad, right?  The diameter of the circle is 40″

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I drafted the templates in Photoshop, then printed them out half-scale and taped them together to make sure they would work.

Flying Geese Mariner's Compass by Better Off Thread

It’s always fun to see a pattern coming together.  Here is the inner circle.

Flying Geese Mariner's Compass by Better Off Thread

Inner and middle circle completed.  I was so ready to slap a background on it and call it done, but I am persisting!

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Currently I am working on the last 32 (yes, 32), templates.  They are all identical,  except for the colors, so I am working on all of them at the same time.

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Half done!

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A few people have asked me how I get my paper-piecing to look so smooth.  First, I press after every seam.  I think it helps tremendously.  Second, before I take a photo, I place my work on two layers of batting and press with steam.  I leave it on the batting to take the photo. If you scroll two photos up you can see a lot of wrinkles on my geese, but once the papers are removed and it’s pressed onto batting everything looks crisp and smooth.

Hopefully I can update a finish soon!  I still need to figure out what fabric to use for the outer background (to square it all off).  Any ideas?

Right Round Pattern

Right Round Pattern by Better off Thread

I’d like to share my newest Craftsy pattern with you.  If you have read my blog enough, you know I LOVE flying geese and circles and this design popped into my head one evening.  I had to make it right away!

I named the pattern “Right Round” (Yes, like the 80′s song) and it is partially paper-pieced and measures 22″.   The circle is 18″ in diameter and is a great size for a mini quilt, pillow or the center to a medallion.

Right Round Pattern by Better off Thread

I am making mine into a medallion quilt and here is my progress so far.

Right Round Pattern made by Random Thoughts...Do or Di

Diane of Random Thoughts…Do or “Di” tested my pattern and made this beautiful circle of polka dots!  Stop by her blog today to read more about it.

Right Round Pattern made by Elisabeth Woo

Elisabeth of Woozy Quilts  made this fantastic rainbow circle with the most adorable fussy cutting.

Right Round Pattern made by Elisabeth Woo

How perfect are those little Heather Ross prints?

If you are interested in making the pattern, it is now available on Craftsy.

 Send me a photo it you make it!

And the Winner is….

Time to announce the winner for the Speedy Zip Dress pattern!

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The Random Number Generator chose…

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#35 KT | June 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm | ReplyEdit
I am due in July with a little girl (I have a boy already) I can see myself making this dress for her!

Congratulations, KT!  Ramona will contact you about your pattern!

If you weren’t lucky enough to be a winner and you would still like to make the Speedy Zip Dress (and you really should!) you can find the pattern here.

 

Just Kisses Quilt Pattern

Do you remember my quilt from the Shimmer Blog Hop?

Shimmer quilt

I named it “Just Kisses” and it is now a free pattern at Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  You can find the pattern here and click “download this pattern” and you will have it!

Don’t get intimidated by the cutting instructions.  There are about 50-zillion little gray squares, but if you stack your strips, it goes pretty quickly.  Just watch a Downton Abbey repeat on Netflix and you’ll have it all cut out!

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Jennifer Sampou took this beautiful photo of the quilt before it left to be in  a trunk show for Jennifer’s Shimmer line.  That quilt is going to see more quilt shops that I’ve ever seen.  I wish I could have stuck a tiny camera in it.

Enjoy the pattern and let me know if you make a quilt from it!