Embracing the Journey

In all things life, embrace the journey.

It’s not just about quilting skills, but the older I get the more I cherish my past experiences and embrace the journey I’ve been on. Do you keep proof of where you began?

Many of us, I’m sure, miss our days of guild meetings and live programs. One of the main messages of my programs to quilters was for them to reflect on their past and recognize how far they’ve come – to truly enjoy their quilting journey. In addition to experience and maturity, there are lots of influences in our lives that change our outcomes.

I bet you know someone who said they could NEVER quilt, right? My answer (sometimes silently in my head): all you need is a willingness to fail.

For me, to embrace the journey, I try to look at the good, bad, and…yes, ugly! I definitely have those in my collection of quilts! Some great ideas that just don’t quite make the cut. Do you look back at quilts you thought were just grand and laugh as you hide them away? I do. Wow.

But you know what? It’s this way for all things in life, I think. The older I get the more I realize that I could do what I’m doing if I didn’t start somewhere with the desire to learn and a willingness to mess things up!

Recently, I took a bit of my own advice. I pulled out some sample fabrics that I had printed on Spoonflower, framed them in embroidery hoops and hung them on my work wall right over my computer desk. It’s a little painful. These fabrics are absolute rejects. Colors are off, design are just…bad. White lines show the “repeat” was off. They are what they are!

I’m hoping with determination and lots of hard work, I’ll soon have hoops filled with successful designs.

Now I’m in the middle of a fabulous repeat pattern design course and I’m learning to fix all of those things. If you’ve ever been interested in repeat pattern design, I highly recommend following Oksana at Okscania HERE in Spoonflower or also on Pinterest.

Here I share my fails with you my friends. I hope soon I can share some beautiful fabric designs. We will see!

Image of fabric in hoops
My work wall includes a Spoonflower swatch guide, about 10 clipboards for keeping up with sales, inventory and quilt patterns, clues for Adobe Illustrator, UPC codes for more than 45 patterns and much more! Now the fabric hoops add history and perspective, if not beauty!
Image of magnetic pouches made to embrace the journey
These are a couple of ruler pouches made with the fabrics shown above.

See the Merry fabric above? She’s from the red truck quilt pattern. See more about her HERE.

Watch for new swatches, hopefully coming soon!

As always, you can shop Creative Bee Studios Quilt Patterns HERE! New patterns being added all the time.

AQ Magazine Review

AQ Magazine, also known as American Quilter, features a stunning black and white quilt with a splash of mint green on it’s cover. Get a review of this issue right here.

As you read on the cover of AQ Magazine, their motto is: Discover, Inspire, Create.

You’ll likely enjoy the first article in this issue is called, “Give Your Quilt a Bath”! It gives you step by step guidance on how to bathe a quilt that just can’t go into a washing machine. I found the specific instructions (with illustrations) from how to submerse to how to remove the quilt very helpful.

Inside AQ Magazine, you’ll also find seven “irresistible” quilt patterns, some “how-to” articles, and features by contributors. The seven quilt patterns include three “easy”, three “intermediate”, and one “challenging”.

American Quilter is a perk of membership with AQS (American Quilter Society), but is also available on the newsstand. This March 2021 newsstand issue is $6.99.

You’ll find a feature display of MJ Kinman’s “Bourbon Diamonds” which is as interesting as the quilts are beautiful. You might recall the exhibit featured at The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky in 2020.

One regular contributor, Gail Garber, discusses the use of color versus contrast with many photo examples.

I hope you find this review of AQ Magazine helpful. Because I’ve found American Quilter to be a high-quality publication, I started with this issue. I can say from a personal standpoint, the company is delightful to work with. I’ll leave a few pics of Merle’s Bouquet here. It was a lot of fun to have her featured in this quality magazine!

Image of AQ Magazine Cover
Image of Quilt in AQ Magazine
Image of Quilt and Focus Fabric
Merle’s Bouquet Pattern and Focus Fabric Kit

Look for more reviews and new patterns coming soon!

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Meet Dazzling Kate

Add sparkling borders to turn beautiful Kate into…Dazzling Kate!

First, a short history of how Dazzling Kate came to be: A short four years ago, I began designing quilts using both sides of fabric. Many of the new patterns were based on a 36-inch size wall hanging. The first phase were of a bee, butterfly and dragonfly. The next series of three were bouquets and vases. All of the first six patterns were made using a combination of fusible applique and broderie perse. Click here to learn more about Broderie Perse.

Basically, you take one focus fabric and use both sides of it to gain a difference in value. Sometimes that difference is subtle; sometimes it is stark. It all depends on the style of your quilt and what you are trying to achieve.

For instance, take a look at both sides of this fabric. While the front is very bright, the reverse also has movement and interest. It has a lighter value than the front but still catches your eye.

Image of Front for Dazzling Kate
Front of Kaffe Fassett Collective Japanese Chrysanthemum by Philip Jacobs
Image of Reverse of Fabric
Reverse of Kaffe Fassett Collective Japanese Chrysanthemum by Philip Jacobs

What makes Dazzling Kate sparkle is the use of both sides of this one focus fabric!

While the center section remains the same as the original Kate, the borders sparkle around the center with half-square triangles.

Add a “stop” flange to surround the center section using the RIGHT side of the focus fabric. Connect the borders with cornerstones. Even the binding is made with the focus fabric!

Overall, this makes planning this large quilt so easy! Just add interesting “neutrals” and fun accent strips. There’s even a tiny flange attached to the outer edge of the quilt. Dazzling Kate finishes at 60 x 60 inches.

Image of Dazzling Kate Quilt

Click HERE to SHOP for Dazzling Kate

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Have yourself a happy, wonderful week and ENJOY your quilting journey!

Karla

Mr. Snowman Punch-Needle

Meet Mr. Snowman!

Mr. Snowman is a fun, little punch-needle design. He’s hitting the slopes of trees and swirls in colors to match the quilt you see in the background.

Image of Mr. Snowman with quilt

This design is fast and easy. It’s slightly less than four inches square. The cute size fits perfectly on a mini art canvas. Add the little easel to display your mini stitched artwork.

Since punch-needle is a compact, hand-held craft, Mr. Snowman is easy to pack for travel. You can even work it while you ride. If you aren’t familiar with punch-needle, check out the many tutorials on Pinterest and Youtube. Click HERE for an introductory tutorial on Pinterest. There are also numerous books and patterns on the subject.

Image of Mr. Snowman

Generally, punch needle requires a good hoop that tightens well. You’ll want your surface tight like a drum at all times. That makes it easy for your needle to punch into the cloth.

Next, when you make a punch-needle stitch, the need head is punched downward through the back side (top) of your hooped cloth. When you pull your needle back up, it leaves a tiny loop on the front (underneath) side of your hoop. The size of the loop depends on the size of your needle punching length and thread.

You’ll work Mr. Snowman punch needle from the back side of your hoop. You can turn the hoop over periodically to see your progress.

You might want to practice getting your punches evenly spaced, but the learning curve for learning punch needle is quite easy to achieve.

See Love Notes Punch Needle

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Coastal Christmas Decor

You can enjoy the beach throughout the holidays by adding beautiful coastal decorations to your Christmas theme!

Yeah, we live smack dab in the middle of the country. So why do I want to have Coastal Christmas decorations? There’s just something about summer, sunshine, warmth, water and the beach that makes me happy.

The colors, smells, and sparkle of the ocean are part of it. In fact five or six years ago, when turquoise was first introduced as a Christmas color made me realize I never really like traditional green and red. Many people love the traditional hues. They just never really worked for me.

We lived in Pensacola twice (see Quilts at the Beach). Add in that my husband flew F/A-18 fighter jets, so our love for the Blue Angels is part of the beach experience for us. Therefore, over the years of vacationing near our previous home, we’ve collected Pensacola specific coastal decor over the years. Our family room has slowly evolved into a coastal retreat.

Now, this Christmas, it has become a full-blown Coastal Christmas decorations feast for the eyes!

Image of Coastal Christmas Decorations

Can you see the stingrays circling the tree? Sparkling sea shells, jellyfish, turtles, fishes, and pearls decorate this country tree.

Image of coastal christmas ornaments
Image of quilt
Image of Mermaid stocking holder

See how Treasures fits right in? The fabrics features seahorses, shells, and coral. This quilt kit uses both beautiful sides of three fabrics on a soft white background. It’s easy, too. There’s only one block: Contrary Wife. This quilt adds it’s own sparkle to our room and I just love it.

Image of Treasures
Coastal Christmas Decorations

While the rest of the house has a more traditional feel, I just love entering the family room and feeling like we are back home again, in Pensacola.

Christmas blessings to you all!

Add a Little Joy

Use both sides of Christmas scraps to add a Little Joy to your gifts!

I think every stitcher has a Christmas stash. You might have leftover fabric from a quilt, stockings, or napkins. Personally, I don’t keep a lot of Christmas stash, just two cubbies (!). However, you don’t need much to add a little joy to your gift decorating.

About a year ago today, I was part of my local quilt shop’s Christmas Open House. See the sample gift bag with Little Joy. Download the free pdf (further below) on gift bags using your Christmas scraps. Consider adding Little Joy to craft paper covered boxes as well.

Image of Little Joy at the quilt shop

This mini pattern mimics the JOY and Joyful quilt patterns which both use the large template of JOY.

You can see that the tree is made with the front side of a Christmas motif and the gifts under the tree are made from the reverse.

Like all my patterns, it requires auditioning BOTH sides of fabric to test their values. You’ll want to see the tree first, then notice the gifts under the branches. In the quilt patterns, you’ll also audition your background fabrics and try to pull a fun variety of fabric styles together to give the quilt an added interest.

Of course, for your gifts, just choose a surface with the contrast you desire. If you choose blue bags and have blue fabric, your design will be subtle. Use white bags for a high contrast.

It’s just a simple and fun way to use up some fabric scraps and get a little playtime in!

Image of Joy
Joy Quilt Pattern
Image of Joyful Quilt Pattern
Joyful Quilt Pattern

Shop #usebothsides quilt patterns in my Etsy Shop: CreativeBeeStudios

Image of Red Truck Quilt
MERRY Quilt Kit

See the new products on Red Bubble by clicking the button above! Read A Christmas Passed HERE and Christmas (Quilts) in July HERE.

Wishing you JOY and MERRYiment this Christmas season and God’s blessing throughout the New Year!

Joyful Quilt Pattern

Meet Joyful! This new quilt pattern is an extended version of an original design.

If you’ve followed me a while, you’ll know that the JOY quilt pattern was one of my first designs from way back in 2017. (Not that long ago, really.) This new pattern Joyful steps out of the box and expands the original. You might say she transcends her borders…with the use of borders!

Image of quilt Pattern

As you can see above, an ombre snowflake panel is a bold choice for a focus fabric. The snowflakes are reflected on the wrapped gifts under three! The backgrounds fabrics are bolder for this quilt than for the original because the borders are an added attraction. You’ll learn to audition both sides of fabric so you can confidently choose focus, background, flange and border fabrics. It’s a lot of fun because you’ll KNOW when you’ve got a great combination!

Add a sparkling border to a center that dazzles with Christmas cheer.

Image of Joyful

Like all my patterns, you learn how to cleverly use both sides of your fabric to make a unique and intriguing quilt. The front of your Christmas focus fabric makes the tree. The reverse makes the gifts under the tree. See the soft “reflection” of the tree on the gift wrapping?

Flange adds more interest!

Image of Quilt Pattern Cover

Add interest to your quilt with two flanges. The first frames the center of the quilt and is made with a stripe (mine was cut on the bias, but you can purchase bias stripe if you prefer).

The second flange pulls your eye through the quilt from the center out to the edge.

See Joy Quilted Wall Hanging Pattern for more about the original design.

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Enjoy your quilting journey!

Digital Quilting

For all of the handwork involved, quilting today also involves a lot of technology.

First, we can design our own patterns with software. Secondly, we check our phone apps for backing or binding requirements. Thirdly, you might use your phone camera to take pictures of fabric to match. (Learn how to audition BOTH beautiful sides of fabric using your phone*). Another option is to digitize your own embroidered labels or quilt blocks. We shop online and instantly download quilt patterns. As a result, all this technology can speed up our quilting experience.

Digital quilting technology gives you more options than ever before.

Pinterest, Etsy, designing software, and phone apps are just a few ways quilting technology helps us. With a click of a button you can add a border to that new quilt on EQ8. Add new stitches to your own embroidery design. Download your new favorite pattern online.

My current favorite phone apps are the Robert Kaufman Quilting Calculators, Missouri Star, Etsy, and even Monogram Lite. You can get apps for tablets and Ipads, too!

Digital quilting patterns give you immediate access. Just download and print on your own printer. It’s easy and instantly rewarding!

First, see a whole board of digital patterns from a variety of designers HERE.

In response to numerous requests for instant downloads, I’ve added digital versions of some titles. Many #usebothsides patterns include large paper templates. Therefore, I limit the downloadable versions to ones that fit a regular sheet of paper OR that won’t require monumental enlargements. See more about this at the VariLovable Star Digital Pattern post.

NEW digital quilting patterns added in my Etsy shop: Creative Bee Studios are shown as follows. Click on the photo to link directly to the product.

Image of Grace Quilt Pattern
Grace https://www.etsy.com/listing/788780357/
Image of Use Both Beautiful Sides Quilt
VariLovable Starhttps://www.etsy.com/listing/778654147/
Image of Noelle Quilt
Noelle Quilt Patternhttps://www.etsy.com/listing/896174897/
Image of Mini Digital Quilting Pattern
Lil’ Susiehttps://www.etsy.com/listing/882268640/
Image of Digital Quilting Pattern
Tropical Sunset

Check back for new digital download quilt patterns!

Lastly, technology helps us find quilt gift ideas. The digital side of quilting also gives use the tools to create our own works of art. So think about how you use technology in your everyday quilting. Do you create your own designs? Do you get inspiration from Pinterest or shop websites?

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Meet Lil’ Susie

Lil’ Susie is a cute mini art quilt made with both sides of one focus fabric!

Find a favorite floral fabric and some scrappy background fabrics. Snag yourself an bit of time and make up this mini art quilt TODAY!

Image of mini art quilt

Lil’ Susie is a mini art quilt that’s a pint-size of fun!

Lil’ Susie is a miniature version of similar #usebothsides patterns. You use value to audition and choose fabrics. Notice the mason jar is a lighter version of the floral focus fabric? It’s the reverse! There’s no tracing of flowers onto fusible, because you cut straight from your fabric motif.

Choosing a focus fabric is key.

Size is something to consider when you choose your floral focus fabric. The larger the motif, the fewer you need to cut. Of course, the smaller the printer, the more you need to cut. There’s so need to fret over the cutting, because these quilts don’t require timely precision cutting. Lil’ Susie is a miniature quilt. Therefore, you can choose a fairly small print and still enjoy the process!

Each #usebothsides patterns teaches you how to audition both sides of your focus fabric and backgrounds fabrics. It’s easy to do and once you know how, you may never look at one side of fabric again! You also get a bonus in each pattern: Prairie Point Hanging Method.

Image of Lil' Susie Pattern Cover

Need a larger mason jar bouquet quilt? Read about Grace HERE.

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Better Bias Binding

Some quilters use bias binding all the time, for everything. I understand it is a cleaner finish, molds to the edge of the quilt, and provides more fibers on the edge of the binding. For all of these attributes, I must admit, I don’t use it all that often.

Bias binding, for me, is something I consider when I want to use a bias stripe or if I’m binding a quilt with unusual edges. Since those two things don’t occur all that often for me, I usually need a refresher on bias binding before I begin cutting.

I liken it to the first two steps in paper piecing, when I haven’t done paper piecing in a while. Mastering those first two pieces can take me the LONGEST time. Once my brain grasps it, I’m good to go – but it takes me some time.

Since I AM from the Show-Me state, I do like a good tutorial. It doesn’t have to be a video, but I usually like pictures. How about you?

Image of cutting bias binding

So if you are need of a refresher in cutting and using the bias binding, here is what you’ll learn:

  • How to cut bias strips
  • How to cut one continuous bias strip
  • The difference between single and double bias

Check out these tutorials about bias binding on Pinterest:

Need a fast straight binding solution for your quilt? Check out Lickety-Split Binding HERE!

How about using bias of a stripe for a flange?

Here’s a glimpse of a new pattern made from an old pattern coming soon! Here I have laid out the pieced top and auditioned an outer flange and bias binding. The bias flange is accenting the center of the quilt.

Image of bias binding and flange
Image of Tree Wall Hanging
SHOP JOY and all the #usebothsides patterns in my Etsy shop – Click HERE

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Watch for the new quilt pattern (shown above) coming soon!

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