Heads UP! Stamps that will be discontinued soon…

Due to the high cost of keeping every stamp set in inventory, I have to make some choices as to the stamps that I’ll be discontinuing the end of February.  This is your last chance on these 2 stamps.

Traditional Log Cabin

Traditional Log Cabin

As much as I LOVE this single stamp, it needs to go…  Order yours at:

http://cindyblackberg.com/shop/template-stamps/log-cabin/

The other stamp set that will be discontinued the end of February will be the cute “Hummingbird” set.

Hummingbird quilt

You can order your set at:

http://cindyblackberg.com/shop/template-stamps/hummingbird/

I’m sorry to see them go, and there won’t be a discounted price, but I need room for my new stamps coming out later this year.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Josephine’s Garden… Stamping and Piecing

Hi Everyone!

While I was at my stitching group this week, I had one of my newbies asking about piecing the “rounds” on Josephine’s Garden.  I keep forgetting that not everyone has taken workshops with me or has been stitching as long as I have.

I have a lot of good information on my website under  “TIPS” under the header bar.  One of the tips is basic stamping.  I won’t go over that again here, but will refer you to that tip if you are having problems with figuring out how to stamp.  http://cindyblackberg.com/2015/01/28/basic-stamping/

In your “Josephine’s Garden” pattern I have a clear diagram of how to piece your first “round”.  It was the rest of the rounds my friend was having trouble figuring out.  You will ALWAYS be stitching your elongated hexagons to the center piece.

Sewing Sequence #1

Sewing Sequence #1

You can start anywhere on the center piece.  I found it easier to start on the top or bottom.  Then add the next piece to the adjacent side.  Sometimes you will be sewing 3 sides as this diagram shows.

Sewing Sequence #2

Sewing Sequence #2

When piece number 2 is sewn, you can add piece number 3.  Notice you only sew 2 sides onto the center.  You’ll be sewing the adjacent pieces checking the sides of the elongated hexagons as you sew.  (You can see piece number 4 will be sewn on 3 sides, 5 on 2 sides.  Just keep checking as you go!)

Try not to do this if you have fussy cut a piece!

Sewing it wrong!

Sewing it wrong!

Ask me how I know about this!  LOL!  Keep checking the orientation of your fussy cut pieces!

Hopefully, you are all sewing along on our handwork journey!  If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact me or pose them on the Stitching With Cindy Blackberg Face Book Page.  Pictures are wonderful, too, and we all enjoy seeing your pieces as you work.

Another question came up as to whether to press each round.  It isn’t necessary, but you can if you prefer.  Just use a mini iron or no steam until the entire piece is constructed as shown on page 3 of your pattern.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

It’s Back for a Limited Time… Feathered Star

Some of you have asked for the Feathered Star to return and here it is!

This stamp set contains 4 stamps and detailed pattern instructions that will make putting these 16″ star blocks together a piece of cake!  Use the “Carpenter’s Star” stamp set for the center or trace the enclosed templates.

Feathered Star Stamp Set

Feathered Star Stamp Set

Make a 4 block quilt as shown in the instructions or go onto make a bed size quilt, like I did with “Smoky Mountain Stars”.

"Smoky Mountain Stars"

“Smoky Mountain Stars”

Order your set today before they are gone.

Feathered Star 16" blocks

Feathered Star
16″ blocks

Order here at: http://cindyblackberg.com/shop/template-stamps/feathered-star/

Limited Edition Stamp Set… Cracker Box

SOLD OUT!!!!!

When our friend, Naoko, left to go back to Japan, our quilt group wanted to sign blocks to give to her as a memory.  Being a lazy hand piecer, I had a set of stamps made up that were quickly pieced and then signed in the center.

The set consists of 2 stamps.

Cracker Box stamp set

Cracker Box stamp set

Now you can purchase a set of these stamps as a LIMITED EDITION ONLY at a deeply discounted price.  You can ONLY buy them through the website.  They are NOT available to quilt shops or mail order.  I only have a few of these in stock and when they are gone, they are gone.  There will be NO MORE.

Cracker Box 4" finished size

Cracker Box
4″ finished size

 

SOLD OUT!!!!!

An Important Arrangement… Josephine’s Garden

Here we are at step 3 of choosing our fabrics for Josephine’s Garden.  Today I want to write about arranging the fabrics in order so you can start stamping.

I’m going to use another color palette first, to show you this can be done with a myriad of selections.  I’m using this fabric as my inspiration:

I just got this lovely fabric and it has a great deal of colors that I love.

What a lovely inspiration fabric with blue, tan, and raspberry!

Now to pull some fabrics from my stash and dash out to the store to purchase some to fill in.  Have a coffee, I won’t be long!

I’m back!  :)  That didn’t take long!

Blues Range

Blue Range

Brown range

Brown range

Plum to raspberry

Plum to raspberry

Notice that I’ve included all the visual textures I mentioned last time in my post.  Ferns, vines, geometrics, solid prints, plaids, stripes, paisley or large floral, small floral, and object prints are all included from a range from dark to light.

Here is one arrangement of the colors I just picked:

Let's start with these 3 fabrics. Notice the center fabric has both raspberry and blue in the print.

Let’s start with these 3 fabrics. Notice the center fabric has both raspberry and blue in the print.

I call this print a “blender” and it will blend the fabrics on the right and the left into a beautiful blend. Let’s add some more:

The blue blends nicely into this chocolate and chocolate into tan.

The blue blends nicely into this chocolate/blue print and then into the tan prints.

Let’s add a few more pieces:

Final arrangement has everything I love in order.

Final arrangement has everything I love in order.

One final check…  Yes, it has most of the visual textures, plaids, strips, geometrics, florals, paisleys that can be used as an object print.  I’m ready to start stamping with this selection.  Notice I have a nice range of darks, mediums, and light values.

Now is time to choose the fabrics starting at the center of Josephine’s Garden.  First the center should be a dark print or a medium print.  Do not use a light value or your quilt will look like this:

Looks like someone shot my quilt in the center!

Looks like someone shot my quilt in the center!

Here are some of the “blender” fabrics I used in this quilt:

Tan large scale print has both red and brown.

Tan large scale print has both red and brown.

What color does the brown have?

Teal, of course! See how easy this is?

Teal, of course! See how easy this is?

Now you know ALL my secrets.  Well, maybe not all of them.  I don’t always use blenders when going from one fabric to another. Just if I’m having trouble “making the jump.”

One last note about the background color I used for the embroidery.  I HONESTLY did NOT choose this fabric until the center was all pieced and ready to be appliqued down.  At first I was going to use tan, but didn’t like it.  So I took the center to the quilt shop.  I found a “Primitive Gatherings Wool Flannel by Moda”.  (No longer available, sorry.)  It didn’t match the teal in my quilt, but the difference was fabulous.  I don’t normally use flannel or brushed cotton with regular fabrics and I bit my nails before hand quilting it.  But it hand quilted like a dream!  (Another blog down the road of this adventure.)

Still time to join the handwork adventure!

Josephine's Garden 35" x 42"

Josephine’s Garden
35″ x 42″

Available at: http://cindyblackberg.com/shop/template-stamps/josephines-garden/

 

 

Choosing Fabrics… Josephine’s Garden

A true story that I think will help you when choosing your fabrics….

In February 1994, my “Trafalgar Charm” quilt was featured in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

Trafalgar Charm as it appeared in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

Trafalgar Charm as it appeared in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

In 1993, I had entered this quilt in 2 quilt shows.  The first judge said on the evaluation that “the blue is too strong for the quilt.”  Okay, I thought, not sure I agree but you were paid to judge the show…  The second judge said on the evaluation, “Love the use of the blue!”  Which judge did I believe?  You got it, the second judge of course!

I’m telling you this story for one reason.  You need to choose colors YOU LOVE!  I always told my students when I was teaching, use your favorite fabric FIRST!  If you do, you know your quilt will be your favorite.  So let’s start there!

Choose your favorite color and start a palette.  Here is my palette from “Mountain Blossoms”,  one of my best loved quilts.

Mountain Blossoms Color Palette

Mountain Blossoms Color Palette

I know these are separated into each block, but you will notice something when you study this chart.  I used AT LEAST 8 DIFFERENT VISUAL TEXTURES.  Do you remember in 2013 I did a blog on visual texture?  That is okay if you don’t, here it is simply broken down… I use solid prints, ferns and vines, object prints, small florals, paisley and large floral, geometrics, stripes and plaids.  

Different visual textures I use in my quilts.

Different visual textures I use in my quilts.

Now look at one block combination for Mountain Blossoms.

This block will incorporate a small floral, vine, and a "plaid like" print

This block will incorporate a small floral, vine, and a “plaid like” print

Here is the block:

Finished block

Finished block

Here is what a block would look like if you used the same visual texture!

Ho hum, boring...

Ho hum, boring…

Okay, now I’m going to offend about 1/2 of the people out there…  Gulp!  That is why I don’t exclusively use batiks.

Pretty Batik selection.

Pretty Batik selection.

 

To me, they are the same visual texture.  Don’t throw stones or write your congressman!  It is my opinion only!  If you LOVE them, use them.  I HAVE incorporated them with some other textures when they suit the project.

Now, back to Josephine’s Garden…

Here was my inspiration fabric:

This fabric had all the colors I wanted to use.

This fabric had all the colors I wanted to use.

I picked out colors from this fabric using my eye to incorporate different visual textures.  I ALWAYS pick out more fabrics than I will use.

Here are some of the reds I pulled.

Here are some of the reds I chose from my stash.

Here are some of the teals I pulled

Here are some of the teals I chose.

These are my brown and beige prints.

These are my brown and beige prints.

Now scan the piles and you will find I used all the visual textures I mentioned earlier.  Now my fabrics are pulled and I’m ready to start!  Well, ALMOST!  I still need to decide the order of my prints and that is next week’s blog!

Still not too late to travel with us on the Handwork Adventure!

Order your Josephine’s Garden today at: http://cindyblackberg.com/shop/template-stamps/josephines-garden/

Josephine's Garden 35" x 42"

Josephine’s Garden
35″ x 42″

Color Inspiration… Josephine’s Garden

Choosing colors for a quilt can be fun or it can be frustrating.  I’m going to show you step by step how to choose colors and fabrics that reflect YOU.  This blog will just talk about color inspiration.  The next blog will be about choosing your specific fabrics.

There are several things that inspire me when I design a quilt.  Everyone that travels with me laughs at how many photos I take.  I don’t use my phone, I use a digital camera.  On my trip to France, I took at least 1000 pictures.  I spend days pouring over them and deleting the bad ones.  After I finish that chore, I begin to REALLY look at the shots I took.  Color, texture, composition are very important in picture taking and quilting.  Now I’m ready to look at the pictures and see what inspires me.

"French Blue" is everywhere!

“French Blue” is everywhere!

Luscious red strawberries in the outdoor market.

Luscious red strawberries in the outdoor market.

Barn doors are blue!

Barn doors are blue!

My Favorite Dessert, Brownies and Ice Cream with strawberries. Look at the colors!

My Favorite Dessert, Brownies and Ice Cream with strawberries. Look at the colors!

Cheeses in assorted tans!

Cheeses in assorted tans!  Even some “French Blue” in the blue cheese!  :)

After I arrived home and started looking for the fabrics I wanted to use, I found this lovely French General fabric that had all my inspiration colors.

This fabric had all the colors I wanted to use.

This fabric had so many options from light tan to taupe, reds, browns, and of course, blue.

If you can find a fabric that you love that has all or most of the colors you want to use, you can start there.  Here are a couple more ideas…

You can find an antique quilt that inspires you.

Loved this picture and used it make my own hexagon quilt.

Loved this picture and used it make my own hexagon quilt.

Here is my version:

The cover of Aunt Hattie's hexagons.

The cover of Aunt Hattie’s hexagons.

You can also look for a single advertisement that has all the colors you love.  Advertisers spend lots of money to get you to look at their ads for more than 3 seconds.  Rip out ads you love and put them in a file.

This fall scene was in my file and I used it to choose a fall palette.

This fall scene was in my file and I used it to choose a fall palette.

Here are the fabrics I pulled from my stash to go along with the picture.

Here are the fabrics I pulled from my stash to go along with the picture.

Here is the quilt I made:

Lone Star Blossoms pattern. (Available on my website.)

Lone Star Blossoms pattern. (Available on my website.)

So the question is what inspires YOU?  If you have signed up for the HANDWORK ADVENTURE, “Josephine’s Garden”, your first “stop” is the find what inspires you!  We are all different and what inspires one person won’t necessarily inspire another.  You don’t need to start pulling fabrics unless you are too excited to wait.

Next week, I’ll be blogging about choosing a palette that reflects YOU!  I think you will enjoy the “ride” on the adventure bus!

Not signed up?  Still lots of time!  Sign up at www.cindyblackberg.com

 

 

A Handwork Adventure Revealed…Josephine’s Garden

I promised I’d reveal our new quilt for 2016 the beginning of January and here it is!

The quilt finishes to 35″ x 42″ and suitable for the beginner as well as the experienced quilter.  A great quilt to introduce hand piecing, hand applique, hand embroidery, and hand wool applique.  No wonder I call it a “HANDWORK ADVENTURE”

This quilt is made with only ONE template stamp, the new ELONGATED HEXAGON.  This stamp is included in the Handwork Adventure package.  It is NOT the same as the traditional hexagon or the “pointed tile”.  A brand new stamp for a brand new adventure.

Elongated Hexagon

Elongated Hexagon

This quilt was inspired by the colors and flavors of France.  If you purchase the “Handwork Adventure” you will receive an 8 1/2″ x 11″ format pattern which includes the new stamp.  The pattern has all the steps, including 3 color pages and layout for the embroidered vine and placement of the wool flowers and bees.

pattern

Josephine’s Garden and Elongated Hexagon Stamp

Each month or so, I’ll be posting a blog that will help you in your adventure while working on your own piece.  I’m so excited to see what you will do with the pattern!

The first blog will be on choosing fabrics.  I think you will like to see my inspiration and how I chose fabrics when designing.

Well, you’ve waited long enough, here is the quilt…

Josephine's Garden 35" x 42"

Josephine’s Garden
35″ x 42″

The cost of the “Handwork Adventure” package including the new stamp and pattern is $42.00.

You can purchase your handwork adventure here.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Coming Soon, A Handwork Adventure… Josephine’s Garden

Have you ever had an adventure?  All of life is in adventure, isn’t it?  I had the good fortune to travel to southwest France in 2014 on a Jean Moss knitting tour.  I traveled with friends I had met on a previous tour and made some new ones.  Staying at the beautiful Chateau Forge du Roy, we toured the area and I devoured the sights, colors and flavors of France.  The people we met were so friendly.

I learned so much about the history of the area and the people that lived there.  One of the places we visited was the Chateau Des Milandes in Perigord, the home of Josephine Baker.  I was fascinated by her life story.  Sent out to work at age 7 in Saint Louis, Mo, dancing on the streets at age 12, married at 14 and went to France with her new husband to dance almost naked in Paris in the 1920’s.  She also helped the resistance fighters in France in WW II , adopted 10 children from all over the world, and worked with civil rights in the US with Martin Luther King, Jr in 1963. What a life!  What an adventure!  Her name and story were in my head during the whole tour and later.

Here is her chateau that is being kept by the new owners as a museum.

Chateau des Milandes

Chateau des Milandes

The gardens surrounding the chateau were beautiful.

Some of the blooming flowers in front of the chateau and the adjacent chapel.

Some of the blooming flowers in front of the chateau and the adjacent chapel.

Here is another view of the side.

Symmetry and beauty.

Symmetry and beauty.

On another day we went to market day in Sarlot and found this gem of a quilt/embroidery/yarn shop, “Aux Bonheurs De Sophie.”  It means “Sophie’s Happiness” or the “Happiness of Sophie”.  What a cute name for a shop!

Here is Sophie!

Here is Sophie!

Searching for fabrics, I chuckled when I saw she was stocked with…  FRENCH GENERAL FABRICS by Moda.

A great selection of fabrics for a small shop.

A great selection of fabrics for a small shop.

Hmmm, French General, Napoleon and Josephine…  Well, there was that name Josephine again!  I had a name for my “Handwork Adventure” quilt, “Josephine’s Garden.”  And you already have a hint of the fabrics I used for my quilt.

Next time I’ll reveal the colors of France and my own color palette for the new quilt.

Are you ready for an adventure?  I’ll reveal the quilt the beginning of January when you can sign up and receive your package.

Until then, you won’t need a passport or plane tickets, but join me on this amazing adventure!

Chateau Forge du Roy

Chateau Forge du Roy

 

It’s that wonderful time of the year!

Every year I make this treat for my family and friends.  If you missed last year’s post, here is my recipe for ETHEL’S CANDIES!  Named for my neighbor in 1973 that made these for our Christmas open house.  I’ve made them every year since then and have tweaked the recipe to eliminate the harmful additives.  These are my son, Rob’s favorite and I bring him some every Christmas!  (Rob, your batch is in the freezer!)

Ethel's Candies

Ethel’s Candies

Here is the simple recipe:

1 cup sweetened coconut

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup confectionery sugar

1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)

1 cup whole dates, chopped (do not use prechopped)

12 oz package of semi sweet bits

Combine all the ingredients except the semi sweet bits.  Roll into walnut size balls.  Heat up a small fry pan to low and melt the semi sweet.  Roll the balls in the melted semi sweet.

I use 2 spoons to roll them around.

I use 2 spoons to roll them around.

Place on parchment paper and refrigerate until firm.

Lay out on parchment like little soldiers!

Lay out on parchment like little soldiers!

After refrigerating them, you can store them in the frig or freeze them.  This recipe will make 18.  I ALWAYS double the batch at least!  They are delicious!  My friend, Peggy said, “How can anything taste this good be bad for you?”  :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!