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Quilting Resolutions

Are UFOs, PIGS, or WIPs a part of your New Years Resolutions? UnFinished Objects, Projects in Grocery Sacks, and Works in Progress can weigh a quilter down if she or he isn’t careful!

Maybe you could use this easy binding technique to get some of your projects out of the way and off your mind – the “Lickety Split Quilt Binding” makes that last big step go quickly and looks smart!

See the original Lickety-Split Quilt Bindings post HERE.

When I have “git-ur-done” quilts, not needing hand-turned binding, this is my go-to technique. This technique provides a 2 1/4″ or a 2″ binding (for mini quilts) options. Shout out to “Susie” who shared a similar technique on Pinterest – but that version made a wider binding not commonly used these days.

What’s nice about this machine stitched binding is that it gives your quilt a tiny burst of contrasting color between the quilt and the binding, appearing to be piping or a “micro-flange”. This also gives your needle a perfect nesting line for stitching on.

How to:

2 1/4 ” binding: Cut main binding strips 1 1/4″ width and cut the accent strips (piping look) slightly larger at 1 1/2″ width.

2″ binding: Cut main binding strips 1 1/8″ width and cut the accent strips (piping look) slightly larger at 1 3/8″.

Simply cut your strips, sew them end to end and press like normal binding. Do this for both sets of strips. Then, with right sides together, sew your long strips, press the seam to the binding color.

With the seam facing down, align the edge of the binding along the edge of your quilt and stitch a scant 1/4 inch seam (or smaller than your final stitch seam. Lastly, using bobbin thread that matches your backing and upper thread to match the accent, turn your binding to the front of your quilt and stitch in the ditch between the two fabrics. You might use a seam guide and adjust your needle position to a comfortable spot.

And just like that – your binding is finished – Lickety Split!

Here’s to your health, happiness, and many finished quilts in 2020!

Quilted JOYS of the Twelfth Day

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas (also known as Epiphany, Three Kings Day, Little Christmas), we recognize several things (in my understanding): the coming of the Magi (Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar), representing the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles (for all peoples); Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist; and the revelation of God in his Son as human in Jesus Christ.

Image of Closeup of Quilt

Since today we recognize the gifts brought by the Magi, gold (royal standing), frankincense (divine birth), and myrrh (mortality), I thought it appropriate to pass along a little gift of joy… as in a “little” JOY pdf pattern.

Image of JOY Pattern on Canvas Bag

Download this FREE pdf pattern by clicking the link above. It’s just a little JOY, a miniature of the larger JOY quilt patterns. You can use it to decorate gift bags or other items using BOTH sides of a scrap of fabric and fusible…and if you have a scanning/cutting machine, you can have all the cutting done for you!

Image of Joy Pattern on Gift Bag

You can learn for FREE how easy it is to make any of the #usebothsides quilt patterns – the applique designs use the same basic technique.

Full #usebothsides patterns come with complete detailed instructions

AND guides for auditioning both sides of fabric

AND full-size paper templates (for applique or broderie perse designs).

There’s also a new quilt app for your phone you might want to join called Quilt Space – it’s only for quilters and it’s a simple newsfeed that show quilts or quilts in progress posted by quilters. Since I joined during the Twelve Days of Christmas, I decided to post Christmas themed quilts daily through today, Epiphany. Check it out – it’s free, just sign up with the usual info (email, password) for the app. Shout out to Anastasia for the heads up!

Check out O Holy Night Wool Applique for a free wool applique nativity design!

Shop patterns @ Creative Bee Studios Etsy Shop.

Wishing you much joy in 2020!

Wild Goose Chase Quilt under the Tree

Simple Tree. Special Quilt.

At our annual Kiefner Christmas gathering (the Sunday before Christmas), we load up in our trucks and head out to a field at the family farm. Two of my brother-in-laws cut down the chosen tree and we snap precious family photos.

Image of Matt and Pop in Field
My father-in-law, Pop, and husband Matt at the tree cutting.

Back at the house, the grand kids decorate the freshly cut tree and then we join around the dining table to sing carols. Afterward we enjoy hot soup, visiting, and eventually gift opening.

In a quiet moment, I noticed my mother-in-law had placed a vintage quilt around the base of the tree. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting for the lovely work, obviously done by hand, long ago.

Image of Tree with Quilt

Seeing the quilt made me wonder how many quilters around the world had made quilts as Christmas gifts, wrapped them and placed them under a tree for a loved ones to open.

This blue and white quilt was a Wild Goose Chase pattern, as best I could tell without disturbing it’s placement. It was gifted to my mother-in-law from her brother, having belonged to his wife.

The “Wild Goose Chase” quilt block is said to have been named after families heading west in search of fortune. It is also called “Flying Geese” and “Oddfellows Cross”.

Perhaps unintentional, my mother-in-law’s choice of quilt to wrap around the tree had an extra meaning since each year any new-comers to the Kiefner Christmas are required to star in the roles of the “Geese a Layin'” in our “Twelve Days of Christmas” (with motions) carol. There is a year-long quest for new geese and perhaps a bit of exaggerated drama about the role they are to play, just to make them nervous and have a little fun.

Image of Family Pic
Family Photo by Blake Kiefner of B Connaway Photography

Did you make Christmas quilts for gifts? Have you ever made a Wild Goose Chase quilt?

Follow my Facebook page: Creative Bee Studios to join in the conversation – click HERE.

Image of Diplay at Shop
Use BOTH Sides of one focus fabric for “Merry”! Shop Etsy CLICK HERE.

O Holy Night Wool Applique

Take a little time out of the bustle of the season to stitch up a primitive wool nativity scene.

Click on the download below for the templates and head outside to find the perfect hanging stick!

Image of Nativity Wool Applique
Image of O Holy Night Nativity

Creative Bee Studios – Use BOTH sides of fabric – on display below at The Golden Needle Christmas Open House. Shop Etsy for patterns and focus fabric kits!

Image of Diplay at Shop

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy Christmas filled with joy and blessings.

Textures of Christmas Time

Do you use quilts in your Christmas decor? How about layering some additional textures among the quilts? Here are a couple ways to explore other techniques and textiles to add to your holiday handmade joy:

The background quilt (laser cut kit) was made a number of years ago, when aqua became a Christmas color! (I love aqua and it’s here to stay in parts of my Christmas/winter decorating!) This was such a fun kit and there were lots of added textures, like the skate strings, buttons, and “pearl” necklaces on the birds!

Add in a little punch needle snowman…

Image of Mini Punch Needle

Layered on a snowflake runner (snowflakes cut on Accuquilt)…

…add in a little manger scene made with vinyl and a wool candle wrap for another layer of crafting fun!

Image of Candlelight Wool Wrap and Manger Scene

To make the candle wrap, I just cut strips of muslin on the diagonal and stitched down the middle of them onto a piece of wool. I then threw them in the washer and dryer with a load of towels and they came out nice and fuzzy. I still plan to blanket stitch around the edges of the wool – oh, and it connects in back with a button and a thin hair elastic, sewn to the wool.

I made one several years ago for a friend, using the Accuquilt snowflake:

Image of Bear Quilt

This Christmas bear quilt was made from a McKenna Ryan kit – but I changed his hat and mitten and made them from an old wool sweater that was in my mother-in-law’s stash.

…and of course, JOY made from BOTH sides of a Hoffman California Fabric panel is keeping in the aqua winter theme.

Image of JOY Quilt Hanging
JOY Quilt Pattern

JOY and all her pals (quilt patterns and focus fabric kits) are found in my Etsy shop: Creative Bee Studios (Click HERE).

Wishing you layers of joy this Christmas season!

Sunrise Quilt Colors

The sunrise can inspire a whole quilt palette…

Following up on last week’s post (Nature’s Color Wheel – CLICK HERE), here are two color palettes featuring just five of the beautiful colors in these sunrise photos.

I just love finding beauty in nature and wondering how to incorporate it into a new quilt. I took these photos years ago from my back deck.

Image of Colorful Sunrise

How do you choose colors? There are so many options these days for quilters – it can be hard to find time to brainstorm your own ideas if you want to make all the great ideas, kits, and colorways already on the market! Actually, I think that’s what makes quilting such a creative market – there’s something for everyone, every occasion, and time limitation…and…the sky’s the limit!

There are so many more colors in these photos than the five I pulled out, but you get the idea…inspiration is all around us – we just have to look!

Monochromatic by Nature

If you didn’t see it, check out Monochromatic by Nature, inspired by a few sea shells.

Don’t forget your quilter friends at Christmas time! Treat them to a “Use BOTH Sides” pattern and they’ll never look at one side of fabric again! Click HERE to SHOP!

Creative Bee Studios has free shipping for any orders over $35! Cyber Monday and EVERY day!

Image of Red Truck Quilt
“Merry” Quilt Pattern is made with BOTH sides of one focus fabric!

Nature’s Color Wheel

Choosing colors for quilts doesn’t have to be difficult but it might not be simple, either!

If you like to play it safe, are in a time crunch, or have run across a line of fabrics you adore, choosing fabric and colors for your next quilt can be a simple, quick process.

I find that every now and then, I want to do that – grab a kit and make it up, quick as possible.

Sometimes, though, I like to have a longer process for choosing my quilt colors and fabrics (including value, hues, tints, size of prints, types of fabrics, etc.) If you like to have more than one quilting iron in the fire like me, maybe you do this, too!

You can refer to previous posts about color here: “One Easy Way to Conquer Color” “Monochromatic by Nature” and “Six Tips for Using Color In Landscape Quilts”

There are two concepts I always go back to when choosing fabric for a new quilt: Color in Nature and Value.

Image of Beach and Sky
How many colors and values do you see here?

Color: Nature just doesn’t get it wrong. Start observing natural settings, plants, animals, bugs, everything around you. Take pictures are start collecting things for idea boards, whether it’s on your phone or computer folder or actual items pinned on a board.

Image of Christmas Cactus Plant
There are many variations in just the flower petals of this Christmas cactus. I would have normally just considered it “pink”.

Value: Nature also doesn’t get value wrong. Winter is the best time to collect ideas about how nature uses value. Some of the most peaceful quilt settings take on the natural values often found outside in winter.

I challenge you to look around you today and collect some fabulous fabric ideas from the nature around you!

An example of using BOTH sides of a line of fabrics: “Holly” was made from two panels by Hoffman California Fabrics and was featured on the cover of their “Winter Projects 2019” Catalog.

SHOP for “Holly” and all “UseBOTHsides” Patterns HERE!

No Hard Rules…in Christmas or Quilting

Christmas is a season filled with tradition. It’s the things you do every year, without fail. Like rules, you don’t break tradition.

But families change. Kids grow up. Holidays are shared. Traditions (rules) might have to (wait for it)…change.

What does this have to do with quilting?

I always took pride in our Christmas traditions. There were certain categories of gifts and each had to be filled. Certain music had to be played…movies watched, cookies baked, old recipes fixed. I actually used to think I had to use every decoration we owned each year.

A few years back, aqua became the new Christmas color…wait, what? Not red and green? It took me a moment…but only a moment, to embrace the idea…to throw that red and green tradition (rule) out the window.

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.)

Side note: the tradition started when our girls would dress up like their Kristen (American Girl) dolls in their white gowns with their St. Lucia crowns to serve us some coffee-like substance and “cookies” on Christmas morning – it was adorable!

I wouldn’t use my red and green Christmas quilts anymore – and 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…but for me it was a NEW tradition!

My original “JOY” quilt pattern was made using a vintage ornament fabric that was very classic Christmas colors. But, in a need to show how a variety of fabrics could be used for this pattern, I had to make this blue one – from both sides of a beautiful, aqua Hoffman panel! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Image of JOY Quilt Hanging
JOY Quilt Pattern

Fast forward to grown kids, job schedules, tight budgets, and limited time together, we are considering changing more 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. It’s as if a weight is being lifted.

Seriously, how is this post about quilting?

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 didn’t realize the difference until the day a wise quilter suggested that rules were meant to be broken.

It was then I realized I had ingested each one of those rules, not realizing that some rules (traditions) were limiting my joy for quilting and my creativity for fear of breaking them.

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!

Don’t let your need for tradition RULE your world…whether it’s Christmas or quilting.

Image of JOY Quilt
Shop JOY Quilt Pattern

Introducing…Merry!

Image of Truck Quilt

It’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like winter!

Use BOTH sides of one red Christmas fabric on a snowy bed of winter fabrics.

This little red truck is dashing through a snowy lane.

“Merry” quilt pattern is available in my Etsy shop: HERE

Merry Red Truck Quilt

More Christmas patterns:

JOY – Use BOTH sides of ornament fabric, toy motifs, stars, snowflakes, pine motif fabrics…or many other fabrics for this joyful tree. The gifts beneath the tree are made using the reverse side.

Image of Quilt Close Up

Pepita – every year there are many, many poinsettia fabrics on the market – you likely have at least one in your stash – turn it over and see if the reverse would make a beautiful pot for your own poinsettia quilt! Super fun to arrange and goes together quickly! Pepita is named after the little girl in the The Legend of the Poinsettia.

Image of Quilt Close Up

“Holly” is made using BOTH sides of two panels OR BOTH sides of Christmas motif fabrics! This quilt was designed for Hoffman California Fabrics and is featured on the cover of their Winter Projects 2019 catalog!

Image of Wreath Quilt Closeup

Have a wonder-filled quilting journey!

Step Inside the Yellow Door Quilt Store

Image of front of shop

In the heart of Indiana is a bright yellow door. Open it to find a cute little quilt shop filled with fun, beautiful fabric!

It’s the Yellow Door Quilt Store!

Located in Nashville, Indiana, south of Indianapolis, the Yellow Door Quilt Store carries unique and mostly bright fabrics – maybe a bit of a modern flare, but something for everyone!

I met the owner, Mary Beth, when I popped in to her booth at the Paducah quilt show – I knew right away her fabrics would work beautifully with my patterns. We hit it off and she now carries many of my designs!

Mary Beth’s fabric lines/books/patterns include: Kaffe Fassett Collective, Marcia Derse, Kathy Doughty, Jane Sasseman, and Alexander Henry and many more.

Here is Flora made with BOTH beautiful sides of a QT Fabrics floral:

It was Mary Beth’s idea that I make a pattern of a sugar skull using both sides of one focus fabric. My first shipment of “Flora” patterns now reside (temporarily) at the Yellow Door Quilt Store! #usebothsides

Image of jSugar Skull Quilt
Flora (flawr-uh)

Visit Mary Beth online HERE or in her quilt store!

Visit my Etsy SHOP to see more BRAND NEW patterns and all the favorites that #usebothsides of beautiful fabric!

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