Boundless Quilt Kits

 

Boundless Quilt Kit by Better Off Thread

How do you feel about quilt kits?  I haven’t used one, myself, but I think they are pretty ingenious.  What’s not to like about getting a snazzy new pattern and all the fabric needed to make it?  It can sometimes take me an hour to pick fabric for just ONE block, so I can imagine that a kit would be a huge time (and angst) saver.

A year ago, Craftsy approached me about designing quilt kits for them.  I almost said no, because my family was in the midst of moving, but it sounded like it could be a really fun and rewarding project. I will say, I was a little worried, because Craftsy was just beginning their foray into fabric so I had never used their product.  What would it look like in person?  How would it feel?   I am a bit of a fabric snob, so the texture and quality of the fabric can really make it or break it for me.  In the end, I decided to live a little and give it a go!

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Boundless Solids and Boundless DECOdent

I was commissioned to design two quilts for Crafty’s Boundless DECOdent line and two more for their Boundless Solids line.  Once the designs were approved, I wrote up the patterns and then waited a handful of months for the fabric to be printed and make it’s way across the Pacific to me.

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Box 1 of 3!

I had my patterns tech edited by Alison Schmidt.  This was my first time hiring a Technical Editor (I normally barter for pattern testers), so I felt very fancy and professional.  Alison has been a friend of mine for about 14 years and she is an amazing TE.  We both went to Carnegie Mellon University, worked in costuming and made the switch to quilting.  She is very quick, and accurate as well as funny and friendly.

When the fabric finally arrived, I was so pleased!  They were gorgeous in person and very smooth and soft.  I would equate the Boundless solids to Kona in texture and weight.  I really don’t think I will be able to tell them apart in my stash.  I washed all of the solids before using them, and there was very little bleeding onto the color catchers.

Yes, yes, I am going to finally get to the quilts!

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Inspired by 1920’s art deco, Boundless DECOdent is not my usual taste, but I love the saturated colors and the metallic gold. As with most metallics, it is SO much prettier in person.  There is no way for photos to do it justice.

Decodent Diamonds

Measures 65″ x 80″

Boundless Quilt Kit by Better Off Thread

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DECOdent Medallion

Measures 46″ x 46″

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The Boundless Solids quilts were a fun challenge.  I wanted to come up with unique designs that showed off the variety of colors in the line and would really brighten up any room.  They look more complex than they really are, so don’t be afraid to give them a try!

Stained Glass Spectrum

Measures 60″ x 60″

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Solar Flare 

Measures 72″ x 72″

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All of the kits are currently available at Craftsy.  If you already have more fabric than you know what to do with, the patterns will be available in my store early next year.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Spin Out

Hello?  Hello?  Is there anybody out there?  No, you are not having hallucinations. You are seeing an actual, honest to goodness, post on my blog! I’m going to attempt to come back to the land of blogging.  As much as I love Instagram, I miss the depth and substance there is to reading and writing blog posts.  It feels much more like a reciprocal, interactive community, whereas Instagram is a quick one-liner and then scroll down to the next eye candy.

What kind of social platforms are you enjoying nowadays; Instagram, blogs, Facebook live, podcasts?  The choices are totally overwhelming, but it’s nice that there is something for every taste!  I’ve started listening to a podcast each morning while I walk the dog and do chores.  I am loving “While She Naps”, “Elise Gets Crafty” and “American Patchwork and Quilting Radio”.  If you have one you enjoy, let me know and I’ll check it out!

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Spin Out
Photo by Latifah Saafir

Earlier this year, Latifah Saafir asked if I would make a quilt for her new fabric line, “Grafic”.  Well, heck yes!  First, Latifah is sweet and supportive and we’ve been in a Bee together for about a zillion years.  Secondly, she’s crazy talented and her fabric is AH-maz-ing!  It’s bold, and gritty, yet clean and fresh.

Graphic Fabric
Photo by Latifah Saafir

Latifah’s fabric features large-scale prints, so I wanted the quilt to utilize over-sized piecing, yet still look intricate and have a lot of visual movement.  I also wanted to explore the idea of the fabric images merging together in a few spots, so there would not be a definite seamline defining the pieces.

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I sent this illustration over to Latifah and she said, “Yes, please!”, so I got to work.  And no, this was not my first design.  I think I did about 10 before I was actually happy with one (I’m very Gemini).

The actual quilt went together pretty quickly, since it’s big pieces and big curves.

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The pattern is available in my Craftsy shop, if you would like to try it yourself!  I designed the pattern specifically for Grafic, but it also works with a variety of fabrics.  How could I not try it in rainbow solids!

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You can check out more Graphic projects in Instagram by using the hashtag #graficfabric.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

The Splendid Sampler: Family Affair

The Splendid Sampler, A Family Affair Block by Better Off Thread

I’d like to welcome everyone visiting my blog from The Splendid Sampler.  Take a look around and stay awhile. If you haven’t heard of The Splendid Sampler yet (is there anyone who hasn’t?!), go check it out and prepare to be sucked in.

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Are you ready to try your hand at paper-piecing? If you are new to piecing on paper, take it slow and try not to get frustrated. If you can count to four and sew a straight line, you can make this block!

Here are a few of my paper-piecing tips:

If you are new to paper-piecing, cut your fabrics larger at first: It always helps to have a big more wiggle room when you are just learning!

Use light-weight paper: I use basic copy/printer paper (20lb).  You can also use newsprint, which would be even easier to tear off the back of your block.  Don’t use fancy, heavy printer paper.  You will NOT be happy!

 Decrease the stitch length on your machine: When I am paper-piecing I set my stitch a bit below a 2.  You want your stitches to be tight enough that they don’t rip out when you tear your papers, but you want it large enough that if you make a mistake you can use a seam ripper.

Press and trim after each seam: your block will turn out much smoother if you press liberally and trim your seam allowances.  You can set up your iron right next to your machine, so you don’t have to get up.

Place your fabric on the UN-printed side of the paper and sew on the printed side.

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Let’s get started!

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Your templates should already be printed (at 100%, please check, because there is nothing worse than making an entire block the wrong size…I’ve been there). Cut the templates out along the seam allowance line and cut your fabrics out according to the directions.  Next, place your #1 piece RIGHT-SIDE-UP on the UNPRINTED side of the paper so that it completely covers space #1 and 1/4″ over on all sides.  I glue the first pieces to the paper with a dot of glue stick.

I like to sew all of my templates at the same time (as pictured above).

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Place piece #2 WRONG-SIDE-UP on top of piece #1 so that it is 1/4″ over the line between section 1 & 2.  The first time you do this, pin your fabric along the sewing line and flip it, so you can be sure it will completely cover space 2 and the seam allowances around it.   Remove the pin before you sew ( I generally don’t pin when I am paper piecing.  The fabrics usually grab together well enough).

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Flip your template over, so the printed lines are up, and stitch along the first line.  You will be using a shortened stitch length and you will back-stitch at the beginning and end of each seam.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and press the pieces flat.

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Fold and crease the line between space #2 & #3.  This will allow you to see your sewing line from the top.  Place piece #3 along and 1/4″ over the crease and sew from the printed side.  Trim the seam allowances and press flat.

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The last piece is quite skinny, and it’s difficult to make a crease, so I just lay the pieces together under the presser foot as accurately as possible.  There is plenty of extra width, if you aren’t exact.

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Now you will have templates that look like this (doesn’t look like much yet, does it?).

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Trim all around the paper, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.  I like to line my ruler up with the black line, not with the outer edge of the paper.  It’s more accurate.

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Peek under the last strip and make sure you have trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4″ under there.  I still need to trim the mustard colored fabric on this template.

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At this point (if you’ve been working on all your templates at the same time), you will have 8 completed templates (yay!).  Do not remove your papers yet, I repeat, DO NOT REMOVE YOUR PAPERS!

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Now, take a center strip and finger crease it in half (short ends together), to mark the center.  Line that center up with the tick mark on a completed template.  The layers are thick so don’t even try to pin it, just sew it on!

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Repeat with the opposite side.  Match up the center, hold with a finger and sew.

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Press the seam allowances toward the center strip.  I like to press gently from the wrong side and then flip and press (with steam) on the front, giving the square a light tug as I press (as pictured above).

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Trim (again, line the ruler up with the black line, not the outer edge of the paper).

You may now GENTLY remove the papers.

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Now you are just going to sew the squares together. You know how to do that!

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One last tip: If you are worried about the center matching up, machine baste the very center and check to see if it all lines up.  If it does, go back and sew the entire seam.  If it doesn’t, try again!

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Your block is complete!

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Here is my version of the block using the Splendid Sampler fabrics.

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And here are a few of my blocks.  I have more done, but I forgot to take a photo of them in the sunlight.

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I hope you enjoy making the block!

If you have any questions, leave a comment, email me or flag me in the Facebook group.  I’ll do my best to get back to you quickly.

 

Simple Twist: A Free Pattern

I have two more free patterns coming your way soon at Robert Kaufman!  Both will be released in March as free downloads on the Robert Kaufman website and would you believe that NEITHER of them have any paper-piecing or templates?? That is unheard of from me!

Today I’m going to introduce you to “Simple Twist”:

"Simple Twist" by Janice Zeller Ryan for Robert Kaufman.

Simple Twist

Finished Size 56″ x 64″

Fabric: Kona Solids by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

About this Quilt:

Bill Coleman, a photographer from my hometown of State College, Pennsylvania, recently passed away and I have always admired his work. My husband and I have a couple of his photos hanging prominently in our house. I love having a little bit of home way out here in California.  Mr. Coleman’s primary subject was the Amish community and when I was perusing his online gallery I came across a photo of three quilts hanging on a line.  The quilt in the center was just so simple, bold and modern.  I was compelled to make it right away!

I had a lot of fun figuring out how the block was most likely constructed and picking out Kona colors.  I never thought I would be a fan of brown quilting fabric, but I am digging Kona Spice right now!

"Simple Twist" by Janice Zeller Ryan for Robert Kaufman.

“Siample Twist” is fun and easy to make. It measures 54″ x 64″, but since it’s only one block, you can make it as big or small as you like.

I was really sad I didn’t have a chance to quilt it before the fabric release.  We moved in November and between having strep, Thanksgiving and then a 5 day fever, I got a bit behind!  I just found out today that it has been quilted and is on it’s way to a quilt shop to be displayed!

"Simple Twist" by Janice Zeller Ryan for Robert Kaufman.

 

Here’s a sneak peek of the quilting.  There’s that yummy Kona Spice!

I’ll post a quick update once the pattern is available for download.  You’ll be able to find it right here.

 

Diamond Superstar Pattern: Available Now!

Diamond Superstar Block

I’m pleased to announce that the Diamond Superstar Block Pattern is finished, tested and now on Craftsy!

The pattern includes instructions, coloring sheet and templates to make both a 14″ and an 18″ (finished) block.  The block went together surprisingly quickly and easily for both me and for my wonderful testers, but I would suggest having some paper-piecing experience before trying this one.

My testers were so amazing, and they found all my little errors for me.  It’s always exciting to see what fabrics people will choose.

Diamond Superstar Block

Gesine at Allie and Me made this fun block in rainbow colors.  I love that she used different colors for the skinny strips, and that lovely red background!

Diamond Superstar Block

Christine (IG name Neeneeheeb) used a delicious shade of Kona Granite to make this very elegant and sophisticated block.

Diamond Superstar Block

I am loving this muted rainbow made by Merran (IG name 123bluejumper)!

Diamond Superstar Block

Lastly, Iva at Schnig Schnag made this breathtaking pillow from Allison Glass fabrics. She is lucky there is an ocean between us, or I’d be stealing this!

If you want to make your own Diamond Superstar block, you can purchase the pattern on Craftsy or in my shop.  If you make one and have Instagram, be sure to tag it #diamondsuperstarblock.  If you don’t have IG, send me a photo!  I always love to see what people make.

 

 

 

 

Diamond Superstar

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Last week, I finished the 18″ version of my newest paper-pieced block.  I also chose a name:

Diamond Superstar!

I’ve been busy perfecting the templates for both the 14″ and 18″ block and I’m hoping to release both in PDF pattern form very soon.

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My daughter immediately claimed the block as her own (as she does with all of my sewing) and asked for a pillow.  I have to say, I’m pretty jealous, but it looks better in her room!

Spring Bouquet PDF Pattern

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I am happy to announce that I FINALLY have finished the Spring Bouquet Sampler Quilt Pattern!

This one was a doozy to write and I am really excited to share it.  The pattern gives step-by step instructions and templates for making ten different blocks of increasing difficulty.  I have broken the cutting measurements down by block, so you can choose to cut all the fabrics before sewing (I think my hand would fall off), or select and cut fabrics as you sew each sets of blocks.  In the end, you will have an 84″ x 84″ Queen sized quilt top.

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Sample Pattern Page

It’s the perfect project for skill building.  You will make half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, flying geese, sew curves and do simple paper-piecing (I have provided links to my curve and paper-piecing tutorials, if you need extra help, but I am always here for advice and to hold your hand!)

The featured fabric is Bella Caronia’s Spring Bloom and it was my inspiration for designing this sampler in the round.  I wanted to create a quilt that looked like a bouquet of flowers, or an arial view of a beautifully landscaped flower garden.

I also mocked up a few other color ideas, to get your creative juices flowing:

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Scrappy Rainbow.  You could make this one with bits from your stash.

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The colors in this mock-up along with the quilt blocks remind me of Mary Blair’s art. I’m thinking of making this as a 1/3 scale wall-hanging.

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Choosing one color, or one fabric for the “flowers”, gives it a bold and entirely different look.  The yarn-dyed linen in denim makes it more of a cozy, casual quilt.

I am selling the pattern for $5 over the weekend.  You can purchase it from my Craftsy store, or from Big Cartel.

If  you make this quilt, be sure to share a photo with me and give feedback.  I strive to make patterns that are clear and easy to follow, so I love to hear if there are any issues.

Have a great weekend!

Kaleidoscope Block

This past week, I’ve been having fun working on a new paper-pieced star pattern. As of right now I’m calling it Kaleidoscope, but I am trying to think of a more unique name (any ideas??)

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This is a 14″ x 14″ block I made from Kona Cottons. How could I NOT make a rainbow version??!

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This one is also 14″, but made from fussy cut stripes.  I believe those are Michael Miller Clown Stripes. I’d love to make an entire quilt of these blocks with a different colored stripe and matching polka dots for each block.

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This is the start of an 18″ version of the same block. Do you think I included enough cats?

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And because I am impatient, here is an illustration of what the finished block will look like.  I love that the 18″block allows for fussy-cutting a variety of adorable prints.

I plan to include templates for a 14″, 18″ and 22″ block. The various sizes should work well for quilt blocks, mini quilts and center medallions.

 

 

Right Round Medallion Quilt Finish

Is it really the end of summer already?  School starts next week for us!  My family spent five weeks driving across the country (twice), and visiting my family back East.  We saw the Grand Canyon, the Meteor Crater, Amish Country, Las Vegas, hiked waterfalls, scaled the Rockies (in a car), swam almost everyday, fished, caught lightning bugs, and stalked the neighborhood ice cream truck. I’d say it was a pretty good summer!

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Passing through Hays, Kansas

Now we are slowly getting back into the normal routine and I’m finally finding time to sew again.

Just before we left town, I finished my Right Round Medallion and I am so in love with it.  I still need to get up the courage to wash it and put it out on the couch.

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The center medallion is my Right Round Pattern and  I just made up the borders as I went along.  I am happy to give general dimensions for the blocks here on my blog, if anyone is interested, but I am not planning to release a pattern.

Originally, I thought I would write up a pattern, but I really just improvised and made the quilt for fun. As much as I love it, I am not happy enough with the scale of some of the borders to make it into an official pattern.

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After angsting for about a month, I ended up doing my same old meander on the quilt.  I feel a little bad for not branching out, but I just love the overall texture a meander adds without distracting from the design of the quilt. Plus, it’s quick!  I love designing and piecing quilts, but the quilting for me is a necessary evil.  If I could just keep my quilts flat and smooth and well, quilt-less, I would.  Then it would’t be a quilt though, would it!

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Have a great week! I’m going to attempt to catch up on my blogging now that I have more time, so check back!

 

Spring Bloom Makers Blog Hop and Giveaway

Spring Bloom Blog Hop, Spring Bloom By Bella Caronia for Windham Fabrics

It’s my day in the Spring Bloom Makers Blog hop and I’m so excited to reveal the quilt I have been working on!  Bella Caronia’s Spring Bloom is Amanda Caronia’s first fabric line with Windham Fabrics and it is lovely.

I met Amanda at an LAMQG meeting and we instantly bonded over being California transplants and former 705 Costumers (that’s the local union for TV and movie costumers).  I was really excited when she asked if I would design a quilt for her new fabric line.

I love Spring Bloom’s variety of colors and floral designs, and I wanted to design a quilt that represented a bouquet of flowers, or an aerial view of a French Formal Garden.

Spring Bouquet Quilt by Better Off Thread featuring Spring Bloom Fabric by Bella Caronia.

“Spring Bouquet” measures 84″ x 84″ and is a sampler in the round.  I had a lot of fun choosing blocks and laying them out to best show off these gorgeous fabrics.

It’s hard to see scale in a cropped photo, so here is a behind the scenes shot for size reference.

Spring Bouquet Quilt by Better Off Thread featuring Spring Bloom Fabric by Bella Caronia.

It fits very nicely on my queen-sized bed (yes, I STILL need to paint the other nightstand…quilts come first!).

Spring Bouquet Quilt by Better Off Thread featuring Spring Bloom Fabric by Bella Caronia.

I will be releasing the pattern for Spring Bouquet next month, so please check back for details!  I’m thinking it may be fun to have a quilt-along: 12 different blocks over 12 weeks (4-8 blocks per week).

Spring Bouquet Quilt by Better Off Thread featuring Spring Bloom Fabric by Bella Caronia.

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Now it’s your turn to win your own Spring Bloom! Windham is generously giving away a Fat Quarter Bundle of all fifteen prints to one lucky reader.

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below.  For fun, why don’t  you tell me what your favorite flower is.  I love Peonies and I’m eagerly awaiting the two weeks that Trader Joes carries them in their store!

The giveaway will be open until midnight EST on Sunday, May 3rd.  I will choose one winner by random number generator. International entries are welcome!

Spring Bloom Blog Hop, Spring Bloom By Bella Caronia for Windham Fabrics

 

Be sure to stop by the other blogs in the hop and see what they have created with Spring Bloom.  Amanda is having an Instagram giveaway, so check out her blog post on how to enter.  You can also check out #springbloommakers on Instagram for more projects.

SPRING BLOOM MAKERS BLOG HOP SCHEDULE

April 20 Windham Fabrics Snip-itsBella Caronia Blog

April 21 Leah and Bea Koch – Wintergreen and the Bee

April 22 Nell Timmer – Nell’s Notions

April 23 Jessica Darling

April 24 Kristy Daum – St. Louis Folk Victorian

April 25 Sherri Sylvester – Thread Riding Hood

April 26 Cindy Wiens – Live a Colorful Life

April 27 Krista Hennebury – Poppyprint

April 28 Felicity Ronaghan – Felicity Quilts

April 29 Casey York – The Studiolo

April 30 ME!

May 1 Deborah Moebes – Whipstitch

May 2 Bella Caronia Blog That’s a Wrap

Thanks for stopping by!