Use digital downloads for quilt patterns and start auditioning BOTH sides of your fabric TODAY!
You probably know that many of my first designs used full-size paper templates. With more and more requests for digital downloads (especially from friends overseas and in Canada), I’ve started adding digital versions of my patterns to my Etsy shop. You can still get the paper versions, even for those patterns sans large templates. Therefore, if you need to avoid high shipping fees, you now have more options available to #usebothsides!
If you are like me, copying and pasting small papers together to make a large template (24 x 36 inches) is not something you crave. That’s why I decided early on to provide full-size paper templates whenever possible. However, paper templates do limit distribution. I also strive to keep the prices as low as possible without losing value.
But, I have to say, it pains me to fill orders for quilters who pay more for shipping than the patterns themselves (sometimes even double). So, digital downloads are a great option. You might choose one if you want to immediately “shop” your fabrics or have deadlines for your quilt projects.
As a result, I have five current digital downloads in my Etsy Shop and more on the way. Some in the future may require a small increase in the template size, but not more than you’d see in a magazine. One example of that will be forAria (the singer).
In conclusion, you have options! You can still purchase the full-color, full-size paper template patterns. Choose digital downloads for immediate “delivery” with the same high-quality you’ve come to expect.
Christmas traditions abound. It is a season filled with activities we do over and over. Traditional Christmas colors are a big part of that tradition. It’s the things you do every year, without fail. Like rules, you don’t mess with tradition!
But families change. Kids grow up. Christmas traditions (including colors) do change.
What do traditional Christmas colors have to do with quilting?
I always took pride in our Christmas traditions from decorations to cookies. We listened to certain music and watched specific Christmas movies. We always baked the same cookie recipes. I actually used to think I had to use every decoration we owned each year.
Well, a few years back, aqua became the new Christmas color…wait, what? That’s not even one of the traditional Christmas colors!
It took me a moment…but only a moment, to embrace that idea. I threw that red and green tradition (rule) out the window!
(To be fair, aqua happens to be my favorite color.)
Therefore, I stopped using my quilts of traditional Christmas colors of red and green anymore. As quilters, you’ll understand, I had to make new ones with all the pretty blues!
I think a lot of people embraced the blue Christmas – for one or two seasons. However, for me it was a NEW tradition!
In other words, I found that my comforting traditions were holding me back. Similarly, the rules I’d embraced as a quilter were doing the same.
For example, last year I realized that the beloved tradition I’d started at our old house of making St. Lucia Bread, hadn’t risen properly one time at our new house – ten years in a row!(I’d tried all the yeast tricks, too.)
I made the original “JOY” quilt pattern using a vintage ornament fabric that was very classic Christmas colors. Therefore, in a need to show how a variety of fabrics could be used for this pattern, I stitched this new JOY – using both beautiful sides of a digital aqua Hoffman panel!
Fast forward to grown kids, job schedules, tight budgets, and limited time together. We changed Christmas traditions this year. We are brainstorming about how to make our time fun and meaningful. What’s interesting is that the more we talk about setting aside our old traditions (rules), the more creative we have become in our brainstorming. A weight was lifted.
Seriously, how is this post about quilting?
Now, when I first started quilting, I was all about the rules (traditions). I wanted to learn every single one of them. Some were paramount to good technique and skill-building and very important. Others were just plain silly. I heard a quilter say one day, “Rules are meant to be broken”.
It was then I realized I had ingested each one of those rules. I realized that some rules (traditions) were limiting my joy for quilting and my creativity for fear of breaking them.
Therefore, I’ve noticed now that I watch for the rule-breakers in quilting. Their work excites and inspires me, regardless if the technique is traditional or contemporary.
If you know me personally, you know I embrace tradition. If you are familiar with Lutherans, I am a “page 5 of the old, OLD hymnal” kind of gal!
So, don’t let your need for traditions RULE your world…whether it’s Christmas or quilting.
In conclusion: This 2020 Christmas Traditions update shows that I still love aqua – but now I include red! Here is the NEW pattern, JOYFUL! See how her borders sparkle? #usebothsides
Give me a good beach quilt in the midst of winter!
Why do I love a good beach quilt? We lived in Pensacola, Florida – twice! The first time (as newlyweds), my husband was a student pilot. The second time, with two little ones, he was a flight instructor. When he left the full-time USMC life, we moved to Missouri. We’ve spent many vacations going back “home” to Pensacola (also home of our favorite: the Blue Angels).
Location, location, location. It’s the key. As you can see in these pics, Sally, Sandy, Fiona, and Bubbles are right at home on the beach!
This weekend we attended a wedding to attend in Baton Rouge, so we decided to grab a couple of beach days on the tail end of the trip. I debated whether I should even bother to take quilts along to photograph…I’m SO glad I DID!
My favorite name for a beach quilt has to be this: Sandy! Doesn’t she look happy in the sand?
Sally the seahorse was flying high in the morning light. She’s made with both beautiful sides of one of my all-time favorite KFC fabrics: Shell Bouquet by Philip Jacobs.
Fiona the friendly flamingo helped me spot a friend at the beach:
It’s hard to spot another quilter at the beach. Therefore, when I passed a gal on the walkway who was wearing a MSQS shirt, I HAD to speak to her! It turns out she’s from Missouri, too! She had just bought fabric from the pharmacy (now A & E Fabrics) to make some #usebothsides quilts! See my blog about her guild HERE: Inspired Quilters Inspire
My husband came up with the name “Bubbles” for this happy guy! See The Marine Behind the Quilts to learn more about his role (my husband’s, not Bubble’s).
You might wonder how those quilts just seemed to hover in the air above the beach…You can see in this blooper: thanks to his quick reaction, my hubby saved Bubbles from a big one! I thought he hid quite well on that little beach chair behind the one-yard square quilts!
Aria ahr-ee-uh quickly became a best-seller! She’s is a quilt pattern for any vintage machine lover!
Arias evolved from simple melodies in the 14th century and became a means to tell a story in a more emotional way, allowing a musicians (and later, vocalists) to display their talent. Arias are mostly associated with opera today. Aria is a good name for this vintage machine singer!
So why call this vintage machine pattern Aria? Take a look at her…she’s definitely a singer!
First, you should know that I haven’t always known what an aria was. And, had my oldest daughter not studied opera, I might still be in the dark. Because she began learning arias in high school, I soon learned the definition. Here she is as a senior at Eastman School of Music, singing “Emily’s Aria” from the opera, Our Town by Ned Rorem.
While the traditionalist might cringe at the thought, fun things are happening with featherweight machines. Tables and inserts, custom carry cases, and bright new paint jobs are indicators that these little work-horses will be around awhile.
As I mentioned HERE, I’d love to someday own a colorful featherweight. Here’s a Tula Pink quilt version until “some day” arrives!
#usebothsides of one focus fabric for the machine, binding, bunting (reverse), and scissors and thimble (both reverse). Choose fun, scrappy background fabrics and accent strips – all the while learning the nuances of value! (Click here for more about value.)
Aria ahr-ee-uh: expressive music often heard in opera. (She’s a singer!)
Aria is a fun little quilt pattern that you can make using both sides of one focus fabric.
Wondering how to choose fabrics for the Aria Quilt Pattern? Think about your florals fabrics. Or, how about feathers? She is a featherweight, after all. You could also use sewing notions motifs. Maybe you want a machine covered in sunflowers! Or consider larger prints like Tula Pink, Kaffe Fassett Collective. The possibilities are endless for making this the cutest little machine you own! So shop your stash. Pull out your fabrics and look at both sides.
The Aria quilt pattern sewing machine and binding are made from the front of the focus fabric. The pennants, little scissors, and thimble are made using the reverse side of the same focus fabric!
Introducing…Grace, a simple design for a stunning quilt. First, take a mason jar shape. Next add a broderie perse bouquet. Finally, construct a fun, scrappy background to make a sweet quilted wall hanging.
You first pick your floral focus fabric for the mason jar (reverse), bouquet, and binding! Add scrappy background fabrics and you’ll be set.
You’ll discover the nuances of value as you learn to audition BOTH sides of fabric! Each #usebothsides patterns teaches you how to audition your fabrics. Value is the key to success! Learning to measure value is a skill you can apply to all your future quilt projects.
Your focus fabric determines the style of your bouquet.
I’ve had a large room full of quilters make this design at their annual retreat and the results were, well, stunning! Each quilter had a guide for how to choose both focus and background fabrics before the retreat. They also brought extra fabric for last-minute changes. This pattern is a great classroom or workshop project because the results are incredibly different. Even if two quilters choose the same focus fabric, their background fabrics and bouquet arrangement makes their quilts unique. It truly is a simple design for a stunning quilt.
How do you know if a fabric has a great reverse? You learn through the auditioning process. After looking a few reverse sides, you’ll soon have a good feel for those fabrics you can audition. It’s also a great conversation starter at quilt shops when they see you looking at BOTH sides. Some of my friends say they never look at one side of fabric anymore. In a way, it’s like doubling your stash without losing any space!
There are many, MANY Christmas fabrics which would make a great JOY quilted wall hanging.
You can choose modern circles, snowflakes, poinsettias, cookie cutters, etc. Each gives a different feel to this Christmas tree wall hanging. The trick is to find a focus fabric you love whose reverse side sparkles -but with a lesser value.
Determining fabric values isn’t hard, but it can be tricky.
I have long thought I understood the value of value in quilts. It’s what makes a simple, two-color quilt have bold areas of light and dark or it is what makes those cool secondary patterns in your multi-color quilt design. Easy, right?
Light. Medium. Dark.
Then (more than) a few years ago, Blended Quilts became popular. They threw me under the bus with value! I would study and read about fabric choices and how to combine fabrics to work together and yet be not so obvious. Not such an easy thing to do, successfully!
My Grandma Emma Wichern’s lavender and white embroidered quilt is precious to me. I love seeing crazy-quilts. Modern is fun, bright, and happy…or sometimes calming and simple. I have some appreciation for all types of quilts. But what really gets me excited about a quilt is when it is successfully splashed with all kinds of colorful and different fabrics. What makes that work is value.
To see the value of fabrics, you have to remove the color.
You can do this numerous ways, but the simplest trick for me is to take a picture of fabric choices or my blocks on my design wall with my phone and change the picture to black and white (mono).
Values change depending one their surroundings.
The fact that my neat little piles (okay, not neat) of lights, mediums, and darks can change their values depending on what is around them was a V8 moment for me!
Take Lily, for example:
Her background is made of all fairly light neutrals (scrappy) plus a couple of accent, color strips. When compared to the focus fabric, the background is light, the flowers (reverse side of focus fabric) are medium and the dragonfly (focus fabric) is dark.
When you are just working on your background, those strips of color can look quite bold and may seem too dark to be part of the background. But when looking at those same fabrics in black/white WITH the focus fabric laying across them, they all fall into the light category and they work!
Even the colorful accent strips disappear in this black and white photo.
I knew that choosing the backgrounds for Lily, and her sister quilts, Phoebee, and Belle, might be a little out-of-the-box for some quilters because they call for mixing white-white fabrics with seriously beige fabrics while they combine mini-prints with batiks and more, all in one background setting. So when describing how to choose those fabrics, I even refer to the “darkest lights” as “light medium”. My intention is to encourage combining a variety of background fabrics which on another quilt might not work, but gives this quilt an interesting base for the bold winged-girl made of a dark focus fabric.
All of a sudden your Christmas Traditions aren’t traditions anymore!
In a moment (it seems) our family has grown up and Christmas Traditions aren’t the norm anymore.
Note: since I first wrote this post in 2016, there have been many wonderful changes to our Christmas experiences. I’ll update that towards the end. But as you’ll read the original post, I was lamenting the changes of that time – not realizing that change can be exciting and good:
It happens in a flash. They tell you it will. You know it will. You even know at the time that it is…and then, all of a sudden, you know it DID. Therefore, it seems, Christmas traditions evolve.
Family dynamics change. All of those years of anticipation and child-like joy about the holidays are over. (They actually had been for several years.) I think I was just pretending and hanging on to them as long as I could.
I am a traditional kind of gal who loves to recreate the same experiences every year, like:
new jammies on Christmas Eve
the same Christmas Eve dinner
Saint Lucia bread on Christmas morning
attending the same candlelight service
listening to the same Christmas music each year
watching Christmas movies
Now, for the first time in thirteen years, neither of my girls will be singing for our Christmas Eve service at church. They won’t be here on Christmas Eve.
This Christmas Eve it will be just us and the baby in the manger. No cooking all day, keeping it warm while hurrying to and from the first service, home to have Christmas dinner with family and rush back to church for the candlelight performance. No prayers in the pews for healthy voices and calm nerves. It’s just us this year for Christmas Eve.
I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about. You’ve been there! Maybe you have a new round of grand-kiddos to share the excitement?
Change happens and so do Christmas traditions. I mean, let’s face it, my Saint Lucia bread hadn’t risen right since we moved to our new house, ten years ago! It actually became a tradition to laugh about the candle-lit flatbread with gooey orange icing and dried cranberries we had every Christmas morning!
One of my favorite memories was the St. Lucia wake-up:
Our girls would sleep in their white American Girl pioneer gowns and bonnets. In the wee morning hours they would put crowns on their heads, tiptoe into the kitchen and make us a treat. They would wake us with singing, a chocolate-y coffee-like drink, and Christmas cookies on a tray. It was sweet, if not so tasty!
So it’ll be a quiet Christmas Eve, but a beautiful one, I know. There’s nothing like singing Silent Night by candlelight in our filled, beautiful church. Then on Christmas Day, our oldest will fly in from New York, the youngest and her boyfriend will pick her up at the airport, drive a few hours and our celebration with family will begin. We will have a new menu, new music, and some new people…and I think some new jammies will still be in order!
UPDATE: It’s 2020 and boy, have things changed! I’ve loosened up a lot on our traditions and this year is like no other! Our girls are 28 and 24. AND we have a son-in-law! A few constants in our Christmas experience are family gatherngs, carols, hymns, Silent Night by candlelight, adult jammies and celebrating the Christ-child born to save us all. And Christmas quilts…
Thank you for following my blog. Blessing to each of you this Christmas and throughout the new year.