Category Archives: quilting

Free Block Pattern!

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I’m excited to share a free block pattern with you over at Blossom Heart Quilts!  I designed the Wanta Fanta block for Alyce’s Bee Hive Series and here is how several blocks look together:

Wanta Fanta Block by Better Off Thread for the Bee Hive Series

It’s partially paper-pieced, but no curves to sew!

Check out Alyce’s blog for more information on the block, and her series (with lots of free block patterns!).  You can download the pattern here.

“Black & White” Blog Hop

I’m really excited to be today’s stop on Jennifer Sampou’s Blog Hop for her beautiful new line of fabric, Black & White.  I am sharing the day with Angela Walters, so be sure to pop by her blog where she discusses the quilting for my Black & White quilt.

I have been a long time fan of Jennifer’s fabric designs and I have quite the collection of quilts using her past lines (click the links to see my other quilts): Shimmer, Color:Full, Studio Stash and now Black & White…

Storm At Sea copy

Designing a value-based quilt has been on my to-do list for awhile, so I jumped at the chance to design something for Black & White.  A traditional Storm at Sea block seemed like to perfect way to show off the variety of shades and patterns in the fabric line.

I love the warmth the subtle taupe tones add to the fabrics and look at that amazing quilting by Angela Walters!  I have also been using those dots in every single project I make.  I adore them!

I recently received EQ7 and it was a ton of fun to upload the fabrics into the program and play around them with them.  I don’t think I could have designed this quilt without the ability to play around with the fabrics so freely.

If you are interested in making your own Storm At Sea, the pattern is available for FREE at Robert Kaufman, or you can purchase a kit, which includes the pattern and Black & White fabrics to make the top, at Keepsake Quilting.

And now for the prizes!

On Jennifer’s Blog:

Win a FQ bundle of the entire Black and White line!  Stop by Jennifer’s blog for details on how to enter!

On my Blog:

Win this Taquito FQ pack of Black & White fabrics.  All you need to do is leave a comment telling me what you would make with Black & White!  I’ll pick a winner by Random Number Generator on Tuesday evening.

On Instagram:

Win a Taquito FQ rollup and “Elephant and I” Pattern. Enter to win by re-posting any Blog Hop projects and tag #blackandwhitefabrics and #jennifersampou
My Instagram handle is betteroffthread, so be sure to find me and repost my project!
Stop by the other participating blogs for inspiration and more giveaways!

BLOG HOP SCHEDULE

January 23 JenniferSampou.comRobert Kaufman Blog
January 24 Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson-Sew Kind of Wonderful blog
January 25 Teresa Coates- Fabric Depot
January 26 Amy Gibson- Stitchery Dickory Dock
January 27 AnneMarie Chany- Gen X Quilters
January 28 Casey York- The Studiolo
January 29 C&T Publishing – Stash Books
January 30 APQ- All People Quilt
January 31 Angela Pingel
February 1 Angela Walters / Janice Zeller Ryan
February 2 Sarah Sharp
February 3 Dritz- Make Something
February 4 Nicole Daksiewicz- Modern Handcraft
February 5 Liesel Gibson- Oliver + S
February 6 Christopher Thompson / Natalie Barnes
February 7 Jennifer Sampou Wrap up
February 9 Jennifer Sampou Announce Winner. Must have comment in by February 9th on my 1/23 opening blog post.

Have a wonderful week!!

Gaggle of Geese Pattern!

IMG_4Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese016

I finally have my Gaggle of Geese pattern available for purchase!

Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese

It measures 44″ x 44″ and would look great on a wall, or as the center medallion for a bed quilt.  The pattern includes step-by-step instructions and printable templates, plus a coloring sheet to plan out your quilt.

Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese

The quilt will take a fair amount of time to make, but it really is not difficult.  You should have some paper-piecing experience, or check out my paper-piecing tutorial.  This is pretty basic paper-piecing, so beginners can surely do it.  Also, you will need to sew set in circles, but they are large and not scary at all (I promise)!  I have provided instructions for sewing them.

It’s the new year, so it’s time to learn something new!

Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese

My 5-year-old son wanted to pose with the quilt, so this will give you some idea of scale.  He asked me to hang it in his room, but I think I want it somewhere more prominent (sorry Liam).

If you are interested in purchasing the pattern, you may go to MY STORE and you will receive the PDF via email, or if you are non-EU, you may purchase from Craftsy.

Have a Happy New Year!

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!

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!

Shimmer Blog Hop and a giveaway!

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

 I am very pleased to be a part of the Shimmer Blog Hop to celebrate Jennifer Sampou’s latest fabric release.  Shimmer is fun, sophisticated, textural and the best part…it shines!

Last Spring, I made a quilt for Market from Jennifer’s Studio Stash line and I’ve been using the fabrics in my projects ever since.  I really love fabrics that add visual texture and come in beautiful colors.  The current line, Shimmer, certainly does not disappoint and the projects in the lookbook are stunning.

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

I had fun making the Cargo Duffle featured in the lookbook and Jennifer is lucky I didn’t keep it for myself!  The dresses in the book are positively drool-worthy.

•••

When Jennifer asked me to be in the blog hop and design a project, I jumped at the chance.  I had this image in my head of a quilt with tons of shimmering X’s on a neutral background.

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

The block I used is called “Road to Tennessee”, but I changed the proportions to make the X’s thinner and more delicate.  I didn’t realize when I came up with the design that I’d be sewing together 268 3″ squares and 536 2″ squares, but it was well worth it!

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

 The background color is Kona Pewter (one of the newest Kona colors) and it is the perfect shade of gray with a hint of warmth.

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

 I angsted over the quilting and then decided to sew simple, wavy, lines to add texture.

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

Check out those great prints!

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

I pieced the back using leftover Shimmer I had from making the Cargo Duffle.  Look at it shine!

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

 View from the back.

The quilt measures 47″ x 59″ and it is currently glamming up my living room.

•••

Be sure to check out all the other amazing bloggers and the fantastic projects they are creating from Shimmer.

 Blog Hop Schedule:

April 1- Robert Kaufman/Jennifer Sampou
April 2- Janice Ryan- Better off Thread
April 3- Alissa Haight Carlton- Handmade by Alissa
April 4- Julie Herman- JayBird Quilts
April 5- Natalie Barnes- Beyond the Reef
April 6- Stash Books- C&T Publishing
April 7- Amanda Jean Nyberg- Crazy Mom Quilts
April 8- Lee Heinrich- Freshly Pieced
April 9- Cheryl Arkinson- Naptime Quilter
April 10- Christina Cameli- A Few Scraps
April 11- Elizabeth Hartman- Oh Fransson
April 12- Faith Jones-Fresh Lemon Quilts
April 13- Gemma Jackson- Pretty Bobbins
April 14- Katie Blakesley- Swim Bike Quilt
April 15- Amy Smart-Diary of a Quilter
April 16- Laura Nownes, Jennifer Rounds, Pati Fried, Darra Williamson- See How We Sew
April 17- Holly DeGroot- Bijou Lovely
April 18- Jennifer Sampou-Wrap Up
April 21- Jennifer Sampou- Announce Winner of Giveaway

•••

At the end of the Blog Hop, Jennifer Sampou will be giving away an entire fat quarter bundle of Shimmer.  Check out this luscious stack of fabric:

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

To enter the giveaway, new readers should sign up on Jennifer’s mailing list and  comment on her blog before the end of the hop.  Be sure to comment about your favorite projects and why. Existing followers are automatically eligible to win.

•••

I also have a charm pack of Shimmer to giveaway to my readers! 

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

 To enter to win the charm pack, just leave me a comment.  I’ll announce a winner by random number generator on Friday, April 4th.

•••

You can check out Shimmer on the Robert Kaufman Website

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And if you can’t wait until the end of the giveaway, The Cotton Patch is taking pre-orders.

CottonPatch copy

Thanks for stopping by!

Countdown To Christmas Quilt-Along: Link-up and Prizes!

countdown

How is it the final week of the Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along already?  I am SO happy that Melissa asked me to run this quilt-along with her, because I finally got the advent calendar done after being on my list for four years and working with Melissa was a joy (thank you, Melissa!).  I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished advent calendars and what you are putting in them!

Advent Calendar at Better Off Thread

Here is my finished calendar, again.  I’m so thrilled with how it turned out. If you would like more information on the quilt-along and the great pattern by Elizabeth at Oh Fransson!, click here.

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I debated a lot over what to fill the Advent Calendar pockets with.  My children are younger (2 & 4), so I didn’t want them to start each day in December with candy and I also didn’t want them to get some sort of toy every single day, because they are already greedy little toddlers!  I decided to make the calendar activity-centered, with a couple candy/gift treats thrown in here and there.

Here is my list (mostly, but not all in order):

1. Visit Santa
2. Make family photo ornament
3. Donate toys to charity
4. Trip to the library for Christmas books
5. Make paper snowflakes and paper chains
6. Make christmas ornaments and felt wreaths
7. Pizza night out
8. Get a new Christmas book
9. Make Christmas cards for Grandparents
10. Picnic under the Christmas tree
11. Christmas shopping for Daddy (shhhhhh)
12. Go out for hot chocolate
13. Donate canned goods
14. Ice skating
15. Drive around the neighborhood and see Christmas lights
16. Make a gingerbread house
17. Get Christmas coloring books
18. Get gold chocolate coins
19. Make cards for the teachers, make /get gifts
20. Christmas movie night w/ popcorn
21. Make christmas cookies and take to neighbors (give little cookie cutters)
22. Christmas train ride
23. Snowfall at Americana
24. Special candelit dinner and Mass

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I purchased these gift tags at Jo-Ann’s to write each day’s activity on the back.  I added the gems and red ribbon to embellish them a bit.  I think when the kids are older and can read, I’ll use little notecards sealed in envelopes (no peeking!).

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My son is VERY excited to get started!

•••

Now it’s time for the prize link-up! We have 4 amazing sponsors giving away a variety of prizes:

A $30 gift card to Green Fairy Quilts

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A fat quarter bundle of “Holiday Sweet Tweets” by Laurie Wisbrun from Robert Kaufman Fabrics

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A fat quarter bundle of “Santa’s Little Deer” by Benartex from Fat Quarter Shop

SantasLittleDeer-Bundle-200

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A $50 gift card from Sew Modern 

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The link up will be open until Sunday, December 1st at 11:59pm EST.  Show us your finished advent calendars! You can link-up a blog post, or from your Flickr account, but make sure you mention the Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along.

On Monday, December 2nd, Melissa and I will announce the winners (randomly selected).

Have a great Thanksgiving!