Pressing the Mystery Blocks

Those of you working on the mystery quilt have been asking about pressing the blocks you just put together.  As a rule, I usually wait until I have the entire block completed before pressing.  That way, most of the edges of the block are on the lengthwise grain or crosswise grain.  The grain lines will hopefully keep the block from stretching.

Here is the back of my mystery block after pressing.

Back side of one of the mystery blocks.

Back side of one of the mystery blocks.

Can you see I just pressed the seams where they logically wanted to go?  Kind of around in a circle.  Don’t be obsessive.  If one seam wants to go in another direction, let it!  :)  AND NO SQUARING IT UP, PLEASE!  I know my block doesn’t seem square, but I’ll press it better after it is contained in the quilt with borders.

After I’ve pressed on the back side, I flip the block over to the front and give it a final press making sure I don’t have any creases.

Next question of course is “Do you use steam?”  I have a steam generator iron  I love and use steam for the final press.  BUT… YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL!  I press, not iron the block.  (The difference between pressing and ironing:  Pressing is just placing the iron down on the surface and gently rolling it over the block.  Ironing is placing the iron down and forcing the block forward as you move the iron.)

Here is the front side of the completed blocks after pressing:

Front side of the mystery blocks.

Front side of the mystery blocks.

Now, only one more clue in November to put the blocks together and quilt them.  The big ta da!  My quilt is quilted and hanging in my living room right now.  It is one of my very favorites.  I hope your quilt will be one of your favorites, too!

Happy Stitching!

PS  I’ll be traveling to Canada next week so I won’t be able to send out orders as quickly as I normally do.  Please be patient and I’ll mail them out as soon as possible.

NEW Stamp Set.. Sugar Loaf!!!

I’m so excited to bring the “Sugar Loaf” set of stamps to you.  I’ve been working on developing some new patterns with stamps.  When my friend, Jo Morton sent me this design as a possible stamp set that I had been thinking about, it was a GO!  I finished the sample in record time and I plan on adding more to this quilt to make a lap throw.

Sugar Loaf is a very graphic pattern.

Sugar Loaf is a very graphic pattern.

The finished “peaks” measure 8″ wide x 7″ tall, so the piecing goes really fast!  Can you see this done in red and green for Christmas?  How about scrappy “peaks” on an indigo blue background?

The set contains 2 stamps, a 60° diamond and an equilateral triangle.  They measure 1 1/2″ per side.

The stamps come with the darling "Sugar Loaf" pattern.

The stamps come with the darling “Sugar Loaf” pattern.

Know what else?  You can make “baby blocks” with the diamond!  You can make “thousand pyramids” with the triangle.  You can also use them both to make a charm quilt.   (I’m working on that design and another one made with the stamps!)

Yes, this set will keep me busy for awhile.  How about you?

If you’d like one for you collection, you can find the stamp here!

Happy Stitching!

 

45° Diamonds

I sometimes get questions how can my stamps be used in different quilt patterns.  You know I love to use my stamps over and over in different patterns so you can get a lot of use out of each set.  The most confusion is over diamond shapes.

Do you remember your 9th grade geometry class?  (Beside the cute boy sitting beside you.)  I do remember drafting different shapes, especially diamonds and triangles.

There are 2 basic diamonds used in quilting.  The first is the familiar 45°, which I will blog about today.  This shape is used in 8 pointed star designs. (45° x 8 = 360°)  You need EIGHT of these to make a flat block.

I have 2 stamp sets that contain the familiar 45° diamond.

The first is the carpenter’s star stamp set.  The stamps in this set will make a 4 3/4″ finished size 8 pointed star block.  (Or 9 1/2″ if you put 4 of them together as shown in the pattern.)

Carpenter's Star set of stamps will make a  4 3/4"  8 pointed star.

Carpenter’s Star set of stamps will make a
4 3/4″ finished size 8 pointed star.

You can use this stamp set to make the pattern contained with the stamps:

Carpenter's Star Quilt

Carpenter’s Star Quilt made with the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps.

You can use the SAME stamp set to make this pattern, “Wild Mountain Vine”.

Wild Mountain Vine pattern made with the Carpenter's star set of stamps.

Wild Mountain Vine pattern made with the Carpenter’s star set of stamps.

Using just the 45° diamond piece in the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps, you can make this pattern, “Lone Star Blossoms”.

"Lone Star Blossoms" pattern was made using the carpenter's star stamp set diamond and the sunflower stamp set.

“Lone Star Blossoms” pattern was made using the carpenter’s star stamp set diamond and the sunflower stamp set.

You can also use the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps to make the free pattern on my website for the “Tumbling Stars.”  (Hint: The quilt in the foreground will be available soon as a free pattern, too.  Made again with the Carpenter’s Star stamp set.)

"Tumbling Stars" free pattern available on the website was made with the carpenter's star stamp set.

“Tumbling Stars” free pattern available on the website was made with the carpenter’s star stamp set.

I recently made a smaller set of stamps called the “Lemoyne Star” stamp set.  This set of stamps finish to a 3″ block.  (The same shapes, but smaller!)

The Lemoyne Star stamp set will finish to a 3" square.

The Lemoyne Star stamp set will finish to a 3″ square.

Here is a picture of the blocks set on point using the Large Triangle to set the blocks.

The 3" Lemoyne Star was made with the new 3" Lemoyne Star stamp set.

The 3″ Lemoyne Star was made with the new 3″ Lemoyne Star stamp set.

By using the diamond and triangle in the Lemoyne Star Stamp set, you can also make the “Circling Swallows” pattern.

 By using the pieces in the Lemoyne Star set you will get a 6 3/4" finished size block.

By using the pieces in the Lemoyne Star set you will get a 6 3/4″ finished size block.

This pattern is free on my website, too!  (And YES, you can make this pattern with the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps.  I haven’t made it myself, so I’m not sure what the pieces around it will measure.)

All of these quilts feature the 45° diamond.  So, hopefully, you will find new uses for your sets of stamps.  So dust them off and start stamping!

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

Bad News…Good News

One of the unhappiest moments in a small business is when prices go up and I have to tell my customers.  I try very hard to keep my prices down even when all of the supplies used to make my rubber stamps keep going up!  I absorb as much of the cost as is feasible, but wood prices are going up again.

As you can imagine, the larger the wood, the larger the increase…

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

And with lots of larger pieces, such as the Mariner’s Compass, it is a hard decision to make…

Mariner's Compass

Mariner’s Compass

So, reluctantly, I’ll be raising the prices on these 2 sets on October 1st.  If you have been thinking about ordering these 2 sets, now is the time to purchase them.

BUT, the good news is that these are the ONLY sets that will be raised.  I’m holding the line on the other stamps even though their prices have been raised slightly.

My stamps are made locally in the United States with real wood, not wood product.

I’m working on several new shapes and designs, too.  They will be coming out later this year and into next year.  I’ve been designing so many it is hard to keep up!

I hope you make time this weekend to hand piece!

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

Updated Studio Tour

My sister, Doreen, commented last week about my studio at our annual “sister’s week”.  She didn’t know how it was arranged when it wasn’t a flurry of card making activity.  I realized I hadn’t given everyone an updated tour of where I work on my designs.

I thought you might like to see how I’ve changed things around since your last visit.

When you first walk down to the studio from the upstairs a quilt awaits you at the bottom of the stairs.

I change out the quilts to match my mood.

I change out the quilts to match my mood.

Notice the little sign lovingly made by my grand daughter on the shelf.

I DO surround myself with my quilts.  What better wall art!  A couple of them were published many years ago.

My sewing machine is usually closed.

My sewing machine is usually closed.

My sewing machine is open because I need to sew a binding on a THE MYSTERY QUILT.  (Don’t look for it, I hid it in the other room as I took these pictures.)

My work table is full of fabric that I’ve been stamping.  It is on the opposite side of the room.  (The quilt hides my design wall which isn’t being used right now.)

I love having everything around me.

I love having everything around me.

Next, 2 comfy chairs facing the television.  One for me and one for any stitching guest.

AND...  They recline if I feel weary! :)

AND… They recline if I feel weary! :)

Of course, there is the nerve center of the room.  Where I answer your emails and take care of writing patterns…

Sometimes it is hard to resist running outside to garden, but...

Sometimes it is hard to resist running outside to garden, but…

I also have the “studio annex”.  It is a room to the left that houses my ironing center, butler sink and refrigerator.  The butler sink is ideal for rinsing a piece of fabric.

Stock cabinet from a home improvement store.

Stock cabinets from a home improvement store.

Yes, those are snacks on the counter.  Quilting is hard work and I don’t want to faint from lack of nourishment!

Behind the doors I keep some supplies for my mail outs.

Aren't those plastic boxes great?

Aren’t those plastic boxes great?

The refrigerator and microwave are great for my guests.

Hope you have enjoyed your short tour of my work space.  It is time to get out those stamps and stamp up the rest of that fabric!

I hope you all have a great stitching & stamping weekend!

 

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/