Monday, December 15, 2014

Snowflake Among the Stars

IMG_2790
Photo taken between rain showers on a cold, windy day

Snowflake Among the Stars started out as many quilts do...with the announcement of an exciting life event. My dear friend, M, shared with me the news that her daughter {also an M} was going to be married! I've know this younger M since she was a precious little four year old :o)

With a wedding date set for mid-December it was a fun opportunity to make a quilt that not only celebrated the marriage of this couple, but could be used each Christmas. The quilt started with this dynamic snowflake as a central medallion. This pattern, Snow-Kissed Star, is designed by Konda Luckau of Moose on the Porch Quilts, and was featured in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of McCall's Quilting. It's such a bold design and I love how it lets you use all the beautiful fabrics in a jelly roll.  

Snow Kissed Star

The pattern in the magazine called for adding wide borders using a coordinating print around the central snowflake; however, for a wedding quilt I wanted something a little more special. 


IMG_2819
In my sketchbook I started playing around with a border to frame the center snowflake. I knew I wanted to go with a crisp red and white border design - something simple, but with visual impact on the four corners. 

Two years ago I made this Gift Wrap pillow using a sweet little pattern by Stephanie {Venus de Hilo}. The star in the pillow is called Sister's Star...and I love how it looks like a bow. It seemed to be the perfect star block to use on the four corners of this quilt.

I planned out 10.5" sister's stars with a 2.5" ribbon framing the center Snow-Kissed Star.

My local quilt shop, The Scrappy Apple, had several yards of a red snowflake print from the In from the Cold fabric line - also by Kate Spain. I used this fabric for the red borders and the binding. 

For this young couple I wanted the quilt to have fresh clean lines, and just a hint of a vintage twist. The quilt top turned out just as I hoped it would :o) It is actually a square quilt - I just could not get high enough above it to take a picture that did not make it look rectangular.


IMG_2796
Photo taken between rain showers on a cold, windy day

To quilt it I used the walking foot on my machine and quilted in a large spiral using 1/2" spacing. That was the easiest distance to space the lines because it allowed me to use the side of the walking foot as my guide. Using my Janome sewing machine it probably took about 12-15 hours spaced over several days to get the quilting done. Here is a close-up to show the spiral quilting:


IMG_2809
I lightly traced around a circular jar lid to get the spiral started

For the backing I found a wonderfully soft, apple-green argyle flannel from Connecting Threads. The apple-green is a great match for the fabrics on the front of the quilt. I was hoping flannel would make the quilt cuddle-worthy and it did not disappoint. The vintage Santa label is from a yard of All Occasion Quilt Labels by Northcott. A Pentel black gel fabric pen worked great to write on the label. 


IMG_2814
Name of the bride & groom crossed out on the label to protect privacy

The bridal couple live a long way from where I live so my dear friend, M, delivered the quilt to them when her family traveled to the wedding. She sent me this sweet picture of the lovely bride and groom with their Snowflake Among the Stars quilt. I hope it will be a treasured part of their Christmas celebrations for years to come :o)



IMG_1269
The sweet bride and groom with their wedding quilt :o)

What a fun quilting journey this was! Wishing these newly weds a grace-filled marriage blessed with many happy years :o)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Debbie's Sewing Class :o)

Untitled
Welcome to Debbie's Sewing Class :o)

I don't think it's a secret to anyone who reads my blog that I love doing hand work. We live in such a busy world and often I find myself compelled to finish things as fast as I can in order to begin the next new project. Hand work slows all that down. Sitting quietly and focusing on the small project between my hands brings such peace and allows time for reflection.

A few years ago my dear friend, M, and I decided to choose a project to work on that would encourage us to schedule time to get together and invest in our friendship. Life can get so busy that having a reason to get together helps make it happen. We chose this beautiful Poinsettia Basket pattern Leah Smith of The Country Cupboard. As we worked our way through this pattern I taught M how to do the blanket/buttonhole stitch on wool felt.


The picture that inspired the class
This beautiful fireplace is at my friend, M's, house.

Each Christmas M displays her lovely wool felt picture on her mantle where the beauty of the pattern has drawn many admirers. (Her husband made the great frame for her picture!) This fall M asked me if I would teach a wool felt class to friends and family and we chose a Saturday morning in November. 

I set about working on a pattern to use as I taught the basics of making wool felt pictures. I wanted the design to have gentle curves with no sharp angles so first time stitchers could build their confidence. Using round objects from around my home and a star-shaped cookie cutter I came up with the following pattern:


Untitled
Wool star candle mat.

These small candle mats use both the blanket/buttonhole stitch and a decorative running stitch. The circles and chunky star are so easy to stitch and I like how the running stitch adds to the texture. We had several different colored pieces for the students to choose from. 

I was a bit nervous teaching eight people at the same time how to hand stitch, but they were great students! It turns out that previous experience mending soccer shorts translated right over to working with wool felt for my friend, R. He happens to be my supervisor when I'm a technology resource teacher at school...I thought we should just use this sewing class for my formal teacher evaluation and be done with it :o) 

Here's a short video I made using Animoto to show you the fun we had :o)




Each student was able to complete the project in one morning and seemed to enjoy the process. We had some great laughs as new skills were learned :o) I'm looking forward to teaching again!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

100 Blocks Blog Tour Magazine Winner!!

Such an exciting week this has been! I hope you've enjoyed visiting each of the blogs for Quiltmaker's 100 Block, Volume 10 block designers...I know I have :o) It's fun to learn the inspiration behind the design of a quilt block. Learning about how the block testers contribute to the process was interesting, too! Such patient and talented ladies they are!

For the magazine drawing I asked readers to tell me how long they've been quilting and how they got started. Wow did I enjoy reading the stories you shared with me! I have to admit that more than one of them brought tears to my eyes. It is so wonderful how quilting has brought together people from across the generations and given family and friends a vehicle to create bonds. 

I used the Random Number Generator to pick a winner for an issue of Volume 10 to be sent directly from Quiltmaker's. 


The winner is No. 149!! Hooray!! I've sent Verna an email to let her know she is the magazine winner from my drawing. 


Verna blogs over at The Quilting Loon...go check out a few of her quilts. I believe we can read about the pretty quilt she mentions in her comment here.

I'm so thankful for each person who took the time to visit my blog and leave a comment about Nested Bear Paw. Wishing a blessed and happy Thanksgiving to all :o)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 10 Blog Tour

QMMS-140050-cover_200
My block made the front cover :o)



{Welcome Friends}

What a privilege it is to be part of the monumental tenth issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. This publication provides such a wonderful opportunity for both new and experienced designers to share their creative ideas. This is the second issue I've had a block in...the first was my Dashing Geese block in Volume 9.

I'm over-the-moon about finding my block, Nested Bear Paw, on the front cover! There may have been some dancing around the house when I learned of this :o)




Here's a larger picture of Nested Bear Paw (Block 982, p. 59) so you can get a better look at it:


Nested Bear Paw
Nested Bear Paw by Debbie Martin

Inspiration for the Nested Bear Paw quilt block came from a wool felt wall hanging I designed and made. Inside each large bear paw is a smaller set of paws.


Nested Bear Paws
Wool felt wall hanging designed & stitched by Debbie Martin

When making this design with wool felt it was pretty straight forward to get the layout to work; however, when it came to translating it into a quilt block I had to rethink the dimensions in order to get the small set of paws to fit inside the larger paw. It took me a while to get this figured out.

This is a block that lends itself to both modern and traditional quilts. When making my block for the magazine (picture above) I used Moda's Puzzle Pieces in Jacquard Black for the background and P&B Textiles Color Weave in Orange and Light Aqua for the paws. These fabrics tend to have a modern feel.

Showing that Nested Bear Paw is also a block friendly with more traditional quilts I used reproduction fabric when I put together a wall hanging to send in for the Designers Gallery (page 16.) 


Nested Bear Paw wall hanging by Debbie Martin

Fabrics for this mini quilt include Amity and Love Knots from the Ladies Album collection by Barbara Brackman, and Hope Chest by Laundry Basket Quilts - all from Moda Fabrics. Here's how Nested Bear Paw would look as a full size bed quilt:

I used photo editing software to create this

Quiltmaker's is generously giving one of my blog readers a free issue of 100 Blocks, Volume 10. To be entered into the drawing just leave me a comment telling me how long you've been quilting and how you got started. If you suspect you may be a "no reply" blogger please make sure to include your email address in your comment. I'll draw a random winner on Friday evening, November 21.

Thank you so much for stopping by Shadows of the Blue Ridge :o) If you'd like to follow my blog in the upper right side bar are options for BlogLovin', email, and Google Friends Connect. I hope you are enjoying this special week and visiting the blogs of many block designers, as well as sponsors to the blog tour!




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Quiltmaker's Excitement is in the Air!

Can you feel it? There's a buzz in the air...Quiltmaker's 100 Block Volume 10 has arrived in stores! My local quilt shop, The Scrappy Apple, reports issues of Volume 10 are selling fast and furious. 

To celebrate reaching the 10 issue milestone Quiltmaker's put together a fun video. Click the video image to watch it.

Note: I am not in the video

Join me back here on Wednesday, November 19 to play along on Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks blog hop...I'll share a bit of background on my block and hold a drawing for a free issue of the magazine. See you on Wednesday!



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ten, 10, X

Ten...that's how many issues of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks are now in print. That means 1,000 quilt blocks have been designed, submitted and published. Wow!! Now that's impressive :o) Even cause for a celebration!!

QMMS-140050-cover_200
Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 10

Admittedly, I am late to join in on the 100 Blocks fun with Dashing Geese in Volume 9 being my first submission and acceptance. To have a block included in the milestone tenth issue is, to me, quite an honor. 

Something I appreciate about this publication is the opportunity it provides for anyone to experiment with designing. For quite a while I would mull over how I could follow patterns created by others and come out with a beautiful product, but wonder if I had any capacity to design. I so appreciate the vision that designers have...looking at things in ways not previously thought of. How fun to know, that even on a small scale, I can design an original quilt block.

I hope you'll join in November 17 - 21 for the blog hop tour! Stop by my blog on Wednesday, November 19 for details on my block and fun give-aways :o)

p.s. My block made the front cover of the magazine!! Wow, how fun it was to discover that...I may have squealed and danced around a bit :o) Can you guess which one it is? I won't tell until the blog hop...hope to see you then!