FREE “Circling Swallows” Pattern!

My hands just can’t keep up sometimes with the designs in my head.  Julie M.  did this wonderful version of “Circling Swallows”.  She used the new 3″ Lemoyne Star Stamp set.  The finished quilt measures 28″ x 28″.

This adorable quilt was made by talented quilt maker, Julie M.

This adorable quilt was made by talented quilt maker, Julie M.

When I saw her version, I just HAD to make up a block.  So here is my block…

6 3/4" finished size

6 3/4″ finished size block

The pattern for “Circling Swallows” is now FREE on the website.  You must have the “3″ Lemoyne Star” Stamp set to make the blocks.  Yes, you can make a larger block with the “Carpenter’s Star” stamp set.  (Another one on my “to do” list.)

I hope you enjoy making this version as much as I did making this block.  Thanks, Julie!

Happy Hand Stitching!

 

Design Board Savvy

One thing that really bugged me in my sewing room was my messy design board.  I really NEED one when planning a quilt, but hate looking at it all the time.

My design board is just a piece of cotton batting stapled to the wall.

Cotton Batting Stapled to the Wall.

Cotton Batting Stapled to the Wall.

The easiest thing to do was to place a quilt holder at the top and hang a quilt when I don’t need the design space!

Hang a quilt to conceal the design wall.

Hang a quilt to conceal the design wall.

Now my space is ready for guests!  Efficient and pretty!  A great combination!

PS  My quilt rack was made MANY years ago.  I purchased several at a shop.  (Sorry, no plans available and the shop is out of business.)  You can easily use a decorative curtain rod in place of a quilt rack and it will look just as nice.

Inspiring a Design

Many people ask me where I get my ideas for design.  I have to say, I’m influenced by antique quilts and traditional blocks, but I’m also VERY influenced by my surroundings and what I see.  (Example: I’ve never made so many “fall color” quilts since I moved to the mountains.)

I was going through some of my pictures of my recent trip to France and had to laugh at some of the pictures.

Only a quilter would take a picture of…

Unusual stone pavement.

Unusual stone pavement.

Hmm, that looks like a very cool one patch pattern, don’t you think?

And this one…

If this ISN'T a quilt, let me know!

If this ISN’T a quilt, let me know!

I know this as Kansas Dugout pattern.  (I posted a sample of this recently on my Pinterest board made with the “Pointed Tile” stamp.)

Then we have…

They say this is a garden.

They say this is a garden.

I say it looks like a “row” quilt… (with a nice border treatment)

And who can mistake this?

Isn't that a Dresden Plate?

Isn’t that a Dresden Plate?

A Dresden Plate over the church door!

One of the surprising things I saw on my trip was how I was attracted to different visual textures used together.  Do you remember my blog on using different fabric textures?

Yes, I even photograph “junk”.

And I haven’t even touched on color, another subject for another day.

So, today, go out and take a fresh look around you, take pictures of things that make you happy, that interest you, and those ideas might even end up in YOUR next quilt!

Pinterest!!!

For those of you that are fans of Pinterest, I’ve set up a board with some “pretty” shots of my quilts.  I’ll be adding more as time allows so sign in and start pinning!

Here is one of the shots I pinned:

Star Toss pattern made with the Sawtooth star set of stamps.  (Pattern included with the stamps.)

Star Toss pattern made with the Sawtooth star set of stamps. (Pattern included with the stamps.)

I’ll also be making a separate board for YOUR beautiful quilts and blocks made with my stamps, so don’t forget to send me your pictures at my email address.

The link to my Pinterest board is http://www.pinterest.com/cindyblackberg/

 

Star Garden Variation

Hi, Everyone!  Things have been a little busy here getting back from France and then onto Florida to visit friends and family.  Along the way I took this picture of my friend, Sandi’s, “Star Garden Variation”.  I always wanted to make this variation and here it is for you to enjoy!

Sandi's "Star Garden" made these wonderful stars!

Sandi’s “Star Garden” made these wonderful stars!

Here is a close up shot of the quilt.  You can see light and dark stars dancing across the quilt.

Close up shot of "Star Garden" variation.

Close up shot of “Star Garden” variation.

To make this version, you just use the “Star Garden” stamp without cutting off the points!  The blocks make up fast and easy.  (Sandi’s version IS a charm quilt, where no fabric is repeated, but you can make your own version any way YOU like!)

Happy Stitching!

Rose Garden Sampler Pattern Now Available

I was distressed when my “Sampler By Hand” book became out of print.  It contained 63 blocks using the “Sawtooth Star” set of stamps and the “Churn Dash” set of stamps to make ALL 63 blocks.  Fifteen of these blocks were included in the “Rose Garden Sampler” pattern that I made available as a Block of the Month in 2012.

I decided to make the “Rose Garden Sampler” pattern available to those of you that don’t have the “Sampler By Hand” book and want to make more blocks that will “connect” with the “Civil War Mini Sampler” pattern and the “Churn Dash Sampler” pattern.

The blocks are 3 3/4″ finished size.

"Rose Garden Sampler" pattern

Rose Garden Sampler

 All 15 of these blocks were made with the Sawtooth Star set of stamps.  (A set I use OVER and OVER.)  They are NOT repeats of the “Civil War Mini Sampler” pattern blocks.

This pattern does contain the embroidery pattern, instructions for hand piecing, and pattern templates in case you do not own the “Sawtooth Star” set of stamps.

Eventually, I will be put the additional 10 blocks needed to make the “Sampler By Hand” as free blocks on the website. (I’ll let you know when they are there.)  So, for my disappointed followers, you CAN make the beautiful “Sampler By Hand” quilt.

"Sampler By Hand" quilt

“Sampler By Hand” quilt

Order your pattern today!

 

 

A short tour of South West France

Hi, everyone!  I’m home from my recent Jean Moss knitting tour of France.  And BOY what a trip!  Not a lot of knitting, but lots to sight see.  I posted some pictures on my Face Book page, but wanted to give those of you that don’t have FB a short tour of the sights.

I went with my quilting friend, Erica.  Flew into Paris, took a plane to Bordeaux and then a train to Bergerac, where our tour started.  Getting there was an experience, especially rolling our suitcases down the tiny side walks of Bergerac.

Bergerac is famous of course for “Cyrano de Bergerac.”

Here he is looking up at the church at the town square.

Cyrano looking up!

Cyrano looking up!

Erica and I were on our own for dinner and we ate at the most delicious place.  Food was extraordinary!

My dish was "catch of the day" with monk fish!

My dish was “catch of the day” with monk fish!

Onto our tour of the vineyards of Bergerac.  I learned all about how to grow grapes.  (Not happening any time soon after the vineyard lecture.)  Most of the people stayed for the wine tasting, I opted out and sat out in the sun taking pictures.

Vineyards were everywhere along the road.

Vineyards were everywhere along the road.

We then made our way to the beautiful Chateau where we were staying.  It was built in the 1500′s and was purchased a few years ago and remodeled for guests.  It is now for sale for $3.5 million dollars.  That is a lot of quilting money!

Chateau Forge du Roy

Chateau Forge du Roy

We took several day trips around the area.  One of the trips took us on a boat ride on the Dordogne River.  It was lovely!

Boat trip scenery.

Boat trip scenery.

Onto shopping!  Open air markets were everywhere!  This day they were at Garbare.

Lots of cheese and it was delicious!

Lots of cheese and it was delicious!

Fresh fruits and vegetables along with roasted chickens, nougat, dish towels, etc.  A lovely day!

We went to the chateau of the famous Josephine Baker.  I knew nothing about this wonderful woman that danced almost naked in Paris, adopted 10 children and helped in the resistance during WW II.

I kept thinking of the men that fought in the resistance in France during the war.  They hid in the caves all around the area.

Cliffs with caves dotted the area.

Cliffs with caves dotted the area.

We also went to several chateaus, one medieval one, a renaissance one with beautiful gardens.

Topiary garden at Marqueyssac.

Topiary garden at Marqueyssac.

We hiked up to Beynac Castle and were amazed at the views.

Pretty as a post card!

Pretty as a post card!

Jean sang for us one night along with Mario, a gypsy musician.  (Yes, Jean designs her own knit wear, blogs, travels, plays instruments and even sings!)

Jean Moss singing under the wisteria arbor at the chateau.

Jean Moss singing under the wisteria arbor at the chateau.

There were many more memories, many more pictures, many more stories, and so much more than this blog could contain.

I will leave you with Erica and I saying “Au Revoir” at Beynac.

Bon Voyage to all my happy quilters!

Bon Voyage to all my happy quilters!

Hand Piecing Hexagons

A follower sent me a question recently about piecing hexagons.  Most stitchers are using the English paper piecing method.  I prefer to use template stamps.  After thinking about the question, I thought I might devote a blog to how I piece the hexagons.

For my sample, I chose a gorgeous fabric that was given to me by my friend, Naoko.  She bought this Japanese kimono fabric in Japan.  It was a special surprise to me and immediately I thought it looked like “hexagons”.  This fabric is a blend of cotton and silk and handled beautifully for this demonstration.

I started with this great all over fabric.

I started with this great all over fabric.

Next I just stamped out 6 hexagons on the back side of the fabric using my permanent fabric ink.

Stamping sure is easy!

Stamping sure is easy!

Cut out your hexagons on the outside line, I’ll be piecing on the inside line.  Since this was such a large print, I didn’t mind where I stamped.  I did however want a centered “fussy cut” hexagon.  I found a Jo Morton batik that worked perfectly with the Japanese print.

Using the technique for fussy cutting with stamps, I cut out the center hexagon.  (See an earlier block post under “Teaching Tips”.)

I'm using the new 3/4" hexagon for my example.

I’m using the new 3/4″ hexagon for my example.

Here is the completed stamped hexagon.  Doesn’t it look great?

Hexagons set around the center.

Hexagons set around the center.

Now to the stitching.  I hand stitch the way I stitch all my pieces, starting with a Richard Hemming size 10 sharp and quilting thread with a knot.  Place a pin in the left corner matching the corner underneath and let the pin hang.  (I’m right handed, lefties would pin in the right corner.)   Sew up to the pin hitting the stamped line on the top and bottom.

Start with the center hexagon and one of the adjacent hexagons.

Start with the center hexagon and one of the adjacent hexagons.

End with 2 backstitches and leave a small tail.

Here are the 2 pieces on the front side after sewing.

Here are the 2 pieces on the front side after sewing.

No need to press anything, yet!  To piece in the second hexagon, lay it over the first section, pin, stitch up to the corner, back stitch and then pivot the hexagon on the bottom to line up with the top, pin, and continue stitching.

Come up to the corner and back stitch.  Pop up the seam and go straight through to the other side.

Come up to the corner and back stitch. Pop up the seam and go straight through to the other side.

Pivot and continue stitching.

Pivot and continue stitching.

 

Continue stitching all of the hexagons around the center in this manner.  When you are finished it looks like this…

A little rumpled, but looking good!

A little rumpled, but looking good!

Now to press…  Turn the block over and press the seams in one direction.

Back side view of pressing.

Back side view of pressing.

Here is how it will look on the front.

A beautiful block!

A beautiful block!

Here are a few more I finished earlier with my Jo Morton scraps.  (Yes, I do have a plan of a cute design just made with scraps!  They are all stamped and ready to go.)

These are made with the 3/4" hexagon available on my website.

These are made with the 3/4″ hexagon available on my website at www.cindyblackberg.com.

You can also piece the “Lucy Boston” patchwork the same way with the “Pointed Tile” stamp.  (The pointed tile stamp will also match up with some of the pieces of the Sawtooth star set of stamps, so you don’t even have to draft “connector” pieces to sew your blocks together.  HOORAH!)

"Lucy Boston" patchwork made with the 1" (side) pointed tile stamp available on my website at www.cindyblackberg.com.

“Lucy Boston” patchwork made with the 1″ (side) pointed tile stamp available on my website at www.cindyblackberg.com.

Here is the back view of the block pressed.

Back view of the Lucy Boston "Pointed Tile" stamp available at www.cindyblackberg.com.

Back view of the Lucy Boston “Pointed Tile” stamp available at www.cindyblackberg.com.

I’m off to stamp and sew today!  How about you?

Mystery Pressing & Information

Those of you involved in the mystery quilt should get have gotten your first piece of your exclusive set of stamps this week.  (Two of you that signed up late will get yours next week.)

I must admit this sad little piece of the exclusive set isn’t very exciting, it is just a square.  :)  But, just wait until it combines with the rest of the set coming in July.  I am using Jo Morton’s little pressing trick.  Of course, you don’t have to clip the corners, since in hand piecing you don’t sew through the seam allowances.

Press your pieces on the back around in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Press your seams in a circle and your center will make a little 4 patch!

Press your seams in a circle and your center will make a little 4 patch!

Here are several laid out…

All pressed and ready to go.

All pressed and ready to go.

Here is a front view.

Love these finished blocks.

Love these finished blocks.

BTW, you will NOT be using any more of the printed little fat eighths or the light value, so  what you have left, you can keep to the side to make a scrappy border or put it back in your stash.

One more thing…  I told you a couple weeks ago I went to Pappy’s Quilting Place.   They have all of Jo Morton’s new line of fabric, “Charleston”.  I’m trying to decide what to do with it, but it will involve stamps, in fact, I have a new stamp coming this week that I might try!

What will I make today?

What will I make today?

Happy Stitching!

Mystery Quilt Mail Out!

Hi, everyone!  It has been busy here in the studio.  I’ve been getting clue #3 ready to go for all my mystery quilt participants.

Is your clue among these?

Is your clue among these?

This is the simplest of all the clues, so you’ll have time to catch up on your other 2 clues if you just joined.  This clue contains one of the brand new exclusive stamps.  In July, you will get the remainder of the set.  I’ll blog next week about pressing clue #3 of the mystery quilt.

I wanted to get these out to you a little early in case you had questions.  (I normally send out my clues on the 15th of the month.)    Because…

I’ll be headed to France the end of the month.  It is a dream trip to a wonderful place with some of my knitting friends.  We will be staying at a Chateau in Bergerac, France.  I’ll be with the Jean Moss tour.  Her tours are fabulous, lots of sight seeing, great food and good friends.

Chateau Forge du Roy

Chateau Forge du Roy

It is my first trip to France and I’m looking forward to it very much.  I’m going to try to blog while I’m there, but I’m not sure about the internet connections.  Hopefully, I can at least post some pictures on my Face Book page.

Happy Stitching to all of you.  I’m hoping your clues arrive before Mother’s Day, so you’ll have a treat from me!

Cindy

PS  You can still join the mystery quilt by clicking on the tab on my website and joining.  You’ll have the summer to make up your clues.