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.

 

The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s QAL: Block #26, Daffodil

 

Today I am a guest blogger for the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt along, brought you by Angie at Gnome Angel, The Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Mitchell.  If you would like to purchase the book, scroll to the bottom of this post for more information.  If you would like to join the 5000+ other quilters participating in the sew-along, click here.

 

Daffodil

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  Today I am going to show you how I assembled my “Daffodil” block.  For the previous blocks, I have been cutting all the pieces with Marti Mitchell’s wonderful templates and hand-sewing them together. Wouldn’t you know that my first tutorial is NOT Marti Mitchell Template friendly?!  For this block, I printed the templates from the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s CD and machine sewed the pieces together (machine, because I just moved and I needed to get this block done quickly!).

Normally I am a huge fan of paper-piecing, but I wanted to try using only templates and rotary cutting for this quilt.  I found Daffodil to be very easy to free-piece.  There aren’t even any “Y” seams!

A few notes before you begin:

• There is an error on the templates.  Once you print them out, switch the letters on template N and template I.

• My block is a mirror image of the block in the book.  If you want your block to look exactly like the one in the book, you need to place your templates so that the wrong side of the fabric and the printed side of the templates are together.

Cutting the Pieces:

Before tracing the templates, press the fabric and starch it if necessary.  Some cottons have enough sizing in them, so they don’t need to be starched.  I like to starch thinner fabrics, such as Liberty of London.

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Once the templates are traced and cut out, draw in the seam allowance lines.  You don’t HAVE to do this, if you are machine sewing, but it definitely improves your accuracy since there are many odd angles in Daffodil.

I always draw in the seam allowances, since I am hand-sewing and I don’t trust myself to eye-ball a straight 1/4″ line!

Assembling the Block:

1

Lay your pieces out and make sure they are facing the correct direction.  You will see that there are three distinct sections to the block.  We will be assembling each section separately and then sewing them together at the end.

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2

Follow the photo above to sew the first set of pieces together. I pressed my seams open for this step.

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3

Next, you’ll just sew the one little seam that the arrow is indicating.  Press the seam allowances toward the pink triangle.

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4

Sew the horizontal(ish) seams together, beginning at the top and working your way down.

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5

Sew the three sections together and you are done.  No paper to rip off!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.  Have fun sewing!

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The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

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.

 

 

 

 

Making a Right Round Medallion: A Sort of Tutorial

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I promised that I would share the measurements for making my Right Round Medallion, so here they are!  These are very basic instructions.  If you don’t know how to make a particular block (HST, Economy Block and Drunkard’s Path), you will need to look up a tutorial.  Let me know if something is really unclear!

ALL MEASUREMENTS INCLUDE SEAM ALLOWANCE!

Finished Quilt measures about 73″ x 73″

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Center Medallion

You will need to begin with a center medallion that is 24-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ (that’s including seam allowance).  You can use my Right Round pattern, my New York Beauty pattern, or any other pattern, as long as it is 24-1/2″ x 24-1/2″.  If it isn’t quite measuring up, just add a border around it, to bring it to size.

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Border 1

This is a plain border.  Cut two strips 4-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ and two strips 4-1/2″ x 32-1/2″.  I would actually cut them each a bit longer and trim as you sew them on.  When you sew borders to your center ALWAYS lay the pieces flat on the table or floor and pin.  If you don’t, your edges will stretch and you will end up with a warped, concave medallion.

Alternate Suggestion:  If you like, you could make this border from twenty-eight 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ blocks.  YOU pick the block!

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Border 2 (Economy Blocks)

border2a
Border 2 top and bottom: make 2
border2b
Border 2 Sides: Make 2

Make twenty 8-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Economy Blocks.

I included a paper-piecing template here, but if you’d like to rotary cut and free piece them (save a tree), here are the cutting measurements (Per 8-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Block):

economy

Once you make the blocks, sew them into border strips.  The sides borders have four blocks each and the top and bottom border have six blocks each.

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Border 3: Drunkard’s Path Blocks

Border3a
Border 3 Top and Bottom: make 2
Border3b
Border 3 sides: make 2

 

Make forty-eight 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Drunkard’s Path Blocks and four 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ Corner Blocks

Use this template to cut the pieces for both types of block.  You will also need to cut four strips from the background fabric measuring 1-1/2″ x 48-1/2″ (piece the strips to make them long enough and as with border 1, I like to leave extra length)

job_928 RightRoundMedallion
Corner Block: make 4

The corner blocks go together like the diagram on the right.

Once you have your blocks made, sew the drunkard’s path blocks into four border strips of twelve blocks each.  Then sew a 1-1/2″ x 48-1/2″ strip to the top of each border.  Trim the excess fabric from the sides.  Sew the corner blocks to two of the border strips (use the Border 3 images above as reference).

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Border 4

This is another plain border (woo-hoo!)

You will need to cut two strips 1-1/2″ x 58-1/2″ and two strips 1-1/2″ x 60-1/2″ (again, piece as needed and cut them longer than needed. Trim as you sew them on).

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Border 5: Half-Square Triangles (HSTs)

border5
Border 5: Make 4

This is the tricky border!  You will need to start by making sixty 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ HSTs.  To do this, cut thirty 4″ x 4″ background squares and thirty 4″ x 4″ squares from your main fabrics and make those HSTs!

Next, cut twenty-eight more 4″ x 4″ background squares and cut them in half diagonally and cut thirty-two more 4″ x 4″ main fabric squares and cut those in half diagonally too.

You are going to very carefully piece each border like this:

border5con

Sew diagonal strips with a HST in the middle and triangle on the top and bottom, then sew the strips into a border. I did another pattern with a border very much like this and you can download it for free here for more information.

Once the borders are made, sew them on, stopping 1/4″ before the end of each seam.  You are sewing bias, so the border is going to look too long, but it will ease in.  Pin the middle of the border to the quilt top, pin the ends and then gently ease the rest in with it laying flat.

Once you sew the borders to the quilt top, then sew the mitered sides.

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Border 6

You almost made it!  This is another plain border.

Cut two strips 3-1/2″ x 69″ and two strips 3-1/2″ x 75″.  You’ll obviously need to piece them to make them long enough.  I would cut them longer, but mark the exact length on each strip.  Border 5 was all bias, so you want to make sure you don’t stretch it when you sew the Border 6 on.  Lay your quilt top flat, pin the middle and each end and then ease in any excess fabric.

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You did it!!!

Below is a diagram of how the entire quilt goes together.  You can print it out, if you like, here. assembly

Do not be surprised if your last border is a little wavy, or your center is a little concave.  Once you quilt the top, you won’t notice.  I also had you cut Border 6 extra wide, so you can true the quilt up once quilted.

Enjoy your quilt and if you post photos on Instagram use the hashtag #rightroundmedallion and tag me (@betteroffthread) so I see it!

For reference:

Economy Block Templates

Drunkard’s Path Templates

Assembly Diagram

If you want more information on making Medallions, check out my book: The Modern Medallion Workbook.

The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt-Along

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Have you heard about the biggest quilt-along of the year?  Angie at Gnome Angel is hosting a year-long quilt-along (say that ten times fast!) to make the epic quilt in Laurie Aaron Hird‘s new book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them.  The quilt-along begins September 28th and we will be making two 6″ blocks a week, for a total of 99 blocks.

Angie will be sharing tutorials with guest bloggers each week (I am happy to say that I will be one of them!), so you can learn all of their tricks, tips and secrets for making each block.  If you would like to join in (and you know you do), you can find out all of the information on Angie’s blog at the Farmer’s Wife FAQ.  There is also a Facebook group with almost 2000 members already!!

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I have been very busy planning my Farmer’s Wife Quilt.  The quilt can be rotary cut using templates and free-pieced, or you can choose to paper-piece the more difficult blocks.  I normally paper-piece as much as humanly possible, so I have decided to challenge myself by HAND-PIECING all 99 blocks.  I really wanted to stretch my skills, and it’s soccer/swimming/ballet season (when is it not), so it should be the perfect project to work on while sitting at various sport practices.  Two 6″ blocks a week shouldn’t be bad to hand sew, right???? (I’m soliciting encouragement here.).

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The printable templates are included with the book, but I am planning to use Marti Mitchell’s Perfect Patchwork Templates to cut my pieces.  She is working along with Angi to provide a list of templates that will be needed to complete the quilt (This info is also in the FAQ).  I will probably English-Paper-Piece the sharp “Y” seams.

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I am still waffling on my fabric.  It’s so hard to decide!

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt Along

I was thinking of using my stash of Japanese prints along with this bundle of Modern Background Paper by Zen Chic:

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt Along

 I LOVE this combination, but I am worried that the Japanese prints are too large scare for the 6-1/2″ blocks.

My other choice is this:

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt Along

On the right is London Calling by Robert Kaufman and on the left is my collection of Liberty prints.  I thought I would use the Liberty prints and mix in some of the London Calling.  They would be paired with coordinating Kona Solids.

I am leaning towards using this combination, but I don’t know if I want to hand-piece lawn fabrics!

My third option is to simply go scrappy, scrappy, scrappy and utilize my entire stash.  I have a month to mull it over and I think I will make a couple samples to help me decide.

Are you planning to join in?  It’s going to be a fun year!

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:

job_828 Spring Bloom

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

springbloommini

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.

job_885 Spring Bloom

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!

Starry Night Quilt

I was recently asked to design a quilt for Jennifer Sampou’s upcoming Shimmer II fabric line.  I loved her original Shimmer fabrics, and the new colors are even more beautiful.

The metallic print fabrics have a wonderful balance between traditional and modern tastes, so I wanted to design a more traditional block-based quilt with a modern flair.

Starry Night Quilt pattern by Janice Ryan, featuring Shimmer II by Jennifer Sampou

Starry Night measures 51″ x 62-1/2″ and is partially paper pieced.  The piecing is simple, so the blocks go together pretty quickly.  I love the optical illusion created when several blocks are sewn together.

Starry Night Quilt pattern by Janice Ryan, featuring Shimmer II by Jennifer Sampou

The pattern will be available in June as a FREE download from Robert Kaufman, but you’ll have to wait until September for Shimmer II!

Starry Night Quilt pattern by Janice Ryan, featuring Shimmer II by Jennifer Sampou

Happy Wednesday!

The Modern Medallion Workbook

Finally, after a year and a half of planning and waiting, I am pleased to announce that I have a book coming out!

The Modern Medallion Workbook by Janice Zeller Ryan and Beth Vassalo

The book is called The Modern Medallion Workbook and my co-author is the lovely and talented Beth from Plum and June.  We are joined by nine talented contributors whose quilts are varied, yet equally breath-taking.

Quilts from the Modern Medallion Workbook
A few of the quilts featured in The Modern Medallion Workbook:
Wedding Bouquet Medallion by Rebecca Bryan, Alliance Medallion by Alexia Abegg, One Step at a Time by Melissa Richie, and Zen Medallion by Latifah Saafir.

Beth and I were quite excited to create a book featuring medallion quilts, but we were also passionate about having an in-depth workbook section. The workbook allows the reader to learn new skills, and plan their own personal, one-of-a-kind, medallion.

Migration Medallion by Janice Ryan, from The Modern Medallion Workbook
My quilt contribution to The Modern Medallion Workbook, “Migration Medallion”.

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All the details:

The Modern Medallion Workbook is available for pre-order at both C&T Publishing and Amazon.  The official release date is April 20th, so you don’t have long to wait! You can peek inside the book on both websites.

The book features 11 Medallion Quilt Patterns, ranging from beginner to advanced, by Beth VassaloAlexia Abegg, Karen Anderson-Abraham, Rebecca Bryan, Kerry Green, Erica Jackman, Christina Lane, Melissa Richie, Latifah Saafir, Amy Sinibaldi and me!

Included in the book is a workbook section which provides in-depth instructions for advanced skills such as paper-piecing and curves, coloring pages and instructions for resizing and mixing borders.

Check out Instagram hashtag #themodernmedallionworkbook for more photos of the quilts.

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I hope you enjoy the book.  Please let me know what you think!

 

New Block Pattern: Icon

 

Icon Block by Better off Thread

A few months ago I was asked to design a quilt block for the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month.  I’ve been really enamored by Orange Peel Blocks lately, so I came up with this fattened version:

Icon Block by Better off Thread
Icon Block

The gently curved square shape reminded me of an iPhone icon, thus the name.

If you are new to sewing curves, don’t be afraid to give it a try!  I tried to make them fool-proof to line up, and the curve is gentler than a 1/4 circle.

I was having fun making the blocks, so I ended up making an entire quilt!

Icon Block by Better off Thread

The quilt measures 48″ x 60″.   I decided to just dive into my solid scraps and use every color, but now I’m wishing I had used a tighter color palette. Here are a few other ideas for color:

Icon Block by Better off Thread

Variegated Blues

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Icon Block by Better off Thread

Ombred Alison Glass Fabrics

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Icon Block by Better off Thread

 I used Essex Yarn-dyed for the background, a variety of solid scraps for the main curves and low-volume scraps for the latticework sashing.

Icon Block by Better off Thread

The stripy sashing is Robert Kaufman Railroad Denim.  I was asked if the denim is bulky, and it is not at all!  It’s a lightweight fabric and was quite nice to work with.

It you are interested in purchasing the block pattern, you can find it in my pattern store and on Craftsy!