Quick Holiday Projects

Do you still have time in your holiday sewing schedule? Of course you do! It’s not even December yet!

Over the years I’ve created some quick holiday projects and I’m reposting them here today in case you’re tempted to add them to your list.

Holiday Table Runner – free pattern


This pattern can be sized to fit any table, or adapted to a wall hanging by making just one tree. It’s paper-pieced, and features my usual easy pre-cutting instructions.


Go here for the free pattern.

Santa Snow Globe – free pattern


This is a cute 15” block that can be a wall hanging or pillow. It’s paper-pieced, and features my usual easy pre-cutting instructions. It’s also a great canvas for embellishments – what better time than the holidays to play with some sparkle?


Go here for the pattern.

Countdown Advent Calendar

And if you have time to be a little more ambitious, I have a great Advent Calendar pattern for you (not free, but on sale though!)

HDS.011 - Countdown - Cover - 300dpi

Here’s a link to a photo tutorial for the pattern – it’s so much easier than it looks! It’s made with easy strip piecing, and each number is a pocket to fill with a treat. You can make one for a grown-up friend too… I made one for a girlfriend using one of the Alexander Henry Hunks fabrics, and filled it with chocolates!



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Fall 2015 Pattern and Button Releases!

Did you follow Quilt Market on Instagram and Facebook? There were lots of exciting images coming from market, as always. I think my favorite feed was from one of the several great stores in here in Portland, Fabric Depot – check it out here – the ladies did a great job of sending images out for those of us who weren’t there.

Although I didn’t go to market this time (I chose to be in Europe in September instead!) several of my quilts went, and were displayed in Hoffman Fabric’s booth. I also had new patterns and Sassy Buttons with the distributors, and I’m happy to report I have stock of all the new stuff on hand now!

Here they are… and they are available in the store and as PDFs.

HDS.034 - BigStarPop - Cover - 300dpi

Big Star Pop is a strip-friendly pattern – yep, one strip pack will make both the star and the borders. The cover was made using one of Hoffman’s latest Pop packs of 885 fabrics that are all tiny batik dots. I also wrote instructions for both y-seam and non-y-seam settings, depending on the pattern texture of your background fabrics, and your stomach for making y-seams!

HDS.035 - FourteenOnPoint - Cover - 300dpi

Fourteen on Point is the fourth in the “Fourteen” series of patterns. Each takes 14 fat quarters, and they all look like they were improvisational – but they’re not. Each pattern details exactly which block goes where, so the construction is a snap – it just looks hard! The cover was made using the second collection of Me+You fabrics from Hoffman’s new modern batiks line.

HDS.033 - Sushi - Cover - 300dpi

This quilt was such a blast to create. I found a cute image of a towel that rolled up like sushi on the internet, and tracked down the artist that designed it. She kindly gave me permission to adapt her idea into this fun novelty quilt. The front is color blocks, the back is any conversation print of your choosing (mine have novelty sushi prints), and it all rolls up like sushi! We have a lot of great solid readers and textured fabric out right now for rendering the fish, rice, and avocado!

HDS.032 - Point The Way - COVER - 300dpi

This table runner is made of strips and prairie points, and goes together quickly. Being as it’s strip-based, you can modify the length to fit your table exactly. The cover is made of Hoffman batiks.


And lastly, here are the latest Sassy Buttons! Some of them are old favorites with new colors, others are brand new fun. I’m especially proud of drawing the crossed seam rippers under the skull of the Grim Ripper 😉

And if you managed to read all the way to the end, I have an opportunity for you! I’m doing a drawing – one package with each of the new patterns, and a set of the newest Sassy buttons. Comment below and tell me about something you’re making right now – I’ll draw randomly on Monday Nov 9th.


11/09/15 Update – The winner is Julie D! 

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 5.59.14 PM


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Big travels afoot!

Woohoo!!! On Sunday I’m heading to Europe for a couple of weeks… back to my beloved Paris for a workshop, and then on to Barcelona, a city that has been long on my bucket list.

Things will be quiet over here, but I have dusted off my travel blog, Art on the Road and More, and will be writing over there while I’m gone if you want to follow along.

From the business end: I won’t be answering the phone, will be checking email rarely, and the Big Cartel shop for physical products will be shut down while I’m gone. You can still grab electronic versions of patterns on Craftsy.

But I will be playing with paints, and I plan to pack a small sewing kit too (did you read Lynn Krawczyk’s great post on making a mobile art studio yeaterday? Perfect timing for me!)


Don’t forget to follow the Back to School Blog Hop too! We’re not even half way done sharing our tips and tricks with you!


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Quilt Talk Bonus Pattern – Do No Harm!

I love quotes. I’ve subscribed to a few “quote of the day” emails over the years, and I’m a sucker for a chunky little book of them. I think this one might be the next in my collection. I like how they are usually a short but precise way to express things, and often come with a built in punch of a message that I usually needed to hear that day!

So I’ve decided to start putting a few of them into fabric, and as I do, I’ll be blogging the pattern notes for them here… consider them free/bonus additions to my book, Quilt Talk, just for you. Just to be clear, you’ll still need the book to access the letters, but I’ll have done a lot of the setting math for you :-)

I started plotting the letters of this one while I was in the writing phase of the book two years ago (TWO YEARS! ARGH!), but life got busy, and it ended up in the UFO pile. I paper-pieced the letters sometime last year, and again, it stalled. A couple of weekends back, I got real, and got to setting the letters. And from there, the finish was an easy one!

Do No Harm

I used the Barcelona line from Brigitte Heitland/Zen Chic – not only is she a talented designer, but she’s a lovely human as well! I used her highly successful Comma line for the Rackafrax quilt in the book.

This finished size for “Do No Harm” is 20” x 40” and this is how to do it:

  • The construction is similar to “She Just Ignored People…” in the book (p 101)
  • Copy the letters for do no, but, and no at 120% (“o” is 3”)
  • Copy the letters for harm, take, and shit at 150% (“a” is 3.75”)
  • Just to note, if you’re not keen on having a cuss word on your quilt, you can either play with the spelling by substituting an asterisk or exclamation mark for the “i”, or just change the word to a sentiment that suits you better.
  • The K space for the letters is 1/2” finished. The Word space between do and not is 2” finished.
  • The A&D strip for the 120% letters is 1.5” finished, and for the 150% letters is 2.375” (2 3/8”) finished
  • The Leading is 1.5” finished, except under do not and no, where is is 1” finished.
  • The top and bottom are 3” finished.
  • The width is 20”. So to calculate the size of the strip on either side of the word, measure the word, subtract 0.5 to get the finished word size, then subtract that from 20, then divide the result in half (one for each side) then add 0.5 to each piece for seam allowance. As an example:
    • 8.5” word
    • minus 0.5 for seam allowance = 8
    • Subtract 8 from 20 = 12
    • Divide 12 in half = 6
    • Add 0.5 to each for seam allowance = 6.5” – so cut 2 pieces 6.5” x height of the word, and sew to either side of the word.

Quilting ideas:


  • I find that a simple cross hatch, or straight lines works well with this kind of lettering, preferably done in a thread that doesn’t scream against any one fabric. I used medium gray Aurifil 2605 in this instance, with the cross hatch about 1” apart.
  • You could also densely quilt down the background with pattern or stipple to allow the letters to stand up.

I hope you have fun making this one – and if you have any suggestions for other short (keep ’em SHORT!) phrases you like to see in a Quilt Talk pattern, do post them in the comments!


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Quilt Talk Goes Tiny

How small can you go? As it happens… pretty dang small!

I belong to the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, and we get extra door prize tickets if we have a hand-made name badge. So my friend Monica said she was going to Quilt Talk hers.

Now I’ve seen some small Quilt Talk letters (check out Paula Fleischer’s “Crazy” in the gallery section of the book). I’ve MADE small Quilt Talk letters. I was skeptical about seeing them come out at any size that wouldn’t look a bit like a billboard hanging around someone’s neck. Or worse, a bib!

This was her first snap-shot to me:


And all I can say is WOW. They be tiny, but they be elegant! And legible! And she wasn’t cussing at me when she was done!

And then she surprised me with an offer to make me one! I’m no fool, and immediately proffered fabric – and bound it in Sam I Am fabric when it arrived:


And then she started copying tiny letters and sharing them with our mini-group pals:


I’m utterly tickled by all the tiny wordplay!

So if you want to make one for yourself (or any other tiny worded thing), here’s the recipe, from Monica:

“On a copier, first reduce the letters to 25%, and then reduce that size to 75%.  If you have a shorter name, the first round of shrinking might be plenty.”

And just to give you a sense of scale:



Thank you, Monica!


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New Pattern – Chain, Chain, Chain + Aurifil

UPDATED 06.03.15 11am: Hoffman Fabrics has added a bundle to the giveaway!

This is fifth and last of the spring Quilt Market releases – Chain, Chain, Chain (go on, sing it with me, that’s right!)

HDS.028 - ChainChainChain - Cover - 300dpi

I designed this quilt in partnership with Aurifil Threads and Hoffman Fabrics*. I used Hoffman’s Bali Watercolors (the “solids” in the batik family) and paired them with cheery bright colors from Aurifil. Grab your hard copy pattern here or a PDF here.

The pattern includes some stuff I’m pretty proud of, too. When it came to giving you a chart for working out colors, one of my Stunt Sewists suggested I work it like a cross-stitch pattern using symbols – brilliant idea! So you have coloring sheets and swatch cards to work with while choosing your fabrics.


Here’s what mine looked like while I was working:


As I know I’ve stated before, I don’t consider myself sophisticated when it comes to doing machine quilting, but armed with the most recent books from Angela Walters and Christina Cameli, I was inspired to try some new things. I’m pretty thrilled with the result!

IMG_6802 IMG_6799

Aurifil gave me a box of my lovely threads to give away! Please leave a comment below to win, and tell me what your favorite color is (and it’s OK if it’s not ORANGE – all the more for me!) I’ll choose a random winner on June 6th, and I’ll throw in a pattern of Chain, Chain, Chain too! (US residents only, sorry international peeps!)


This pattern was tested by my groovy Stunt Sewists Janet, Kimberly, Monica, and Brittany.

* I have great professional relationships with Hoffman and Aurifil!


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New Pattern – Fin and Dandy

This is the fourth pattern for this season, Fin and Dandy – with kudos to Megan, The Bitchy Stitcher, for her help with finding the perfect name for it!

HDS.029 - BigFinAndDandy - Cover - 300dpiTwo quilt sizes are included – a twin at 60” x 80” and a baby quilt at 36” x 48” – and of course, you can customize to fit. Grab a hard copy here or a PDF here.

I designed a more complicated version of this block almost 20 years ago in a paper-pieced layout for a guild’s block-of-the-month challenge. When it surfaced out of my archives recently, I decided to dust it off and make it easy to do without paper. I had a LOT of fun playing with prairie points as fins. It can be made from yardage, or a package of 10” squares plus background.

Several Stunt Sewists dipped their toes into the water on this one (thank you, ladies!): Terry, Janet, Adva, Caz – and Monica and Brittany, who bravely joined me in the pre-market insanity of cranking one out quickly for Hoffman Fabrics*. We used some of the newest tone-on-tone batiks, and their newest hand-dyed Indah line (Indah means “beauty” in Bali) – they’ll be out in August, and trust me, you want some!

Chains 4 - Bright texture on warm grayWho says batiks can’t be modern? Not me!!

* I have a great professional relationship with Hoffman!


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New Pattern – Fourteen SQUARED

This is third new pattern for the spring season, Fourteen Squared – another Fast Fat Quarter Friendly Pattern (say that three times, fast… I dare you!)

HDS.027 - FourteenSquared - Cover - 300dpi

This is the third outing of the 14 Fat Quarter concept I’ve been playing with for a while, and it joins its earlier sisters in being a very fast and easy sew when you need to crank out a useful quilt in a hurry. I busted stash for the cover quilt, pulling together a selection of fall-flavored batiks.

You can grab a hard copy here or a PDF here.

The structure is similar to the other “fourteen” patterns, but the main units have different core shapes. If you want to skip the border you don’t need more than 14 FQs for the tops of any of these.

HDS.025.v1 - Faster Fourteen - COVER 300dpi FastFourteen - Orange - Cover - 72dpi

Stunt Sewists Kimberly, Jean, Adva, Janet, Sue, Dana, and Brittany put this one through it’s paces – thank you, ladies!


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New Pattern – Give It A Whirl!

Here’s my second pattern for spring, Give It A Whirl!

HDS.026 - Give It A Whirl - Light Cover 300dpiIt’s block based (the blocks are 16” finished), with 2 sizes listed, but also easy to make any size you want. It’s for sale hard copy here and PDF here.

One strip pack, some background, and a pop of accent are all it needs. My Stunt Sewists did some nice work on their suggestions to make the pattern easier for you, especially in terms of the drawings! There are NO half-square triangles – they’re all done with simple snowballs.

The above cover is in the Lorikeet Bali Pop pack from Hoffman Fabrics*. I did a second one for them from a new line called Alchemy, made of gold print over rich jewel tones. I happen to know that they’re not making more of that in strip packs, so if you see one, snap it up!

WhirlDarkIt looks good on dark for a change, doesn’t it?

This pattern was given a whirl by Stunt Sewists Kim, Kimberly, Jean, Caz, Janet, Sue and Lisa – thank you, ladies!

* I have a great professional relationship with Hoffman!


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New Pattern + Tutorial – Chunky Wee Zippy Pouches

I released five new patterns for Spring Quilt Market, and I’m going to take the next few days to introduce them here: first up is Chunky Wee Zippy Pouches.

HDS.030 - ChunkyWeeZippyPouches - Cover - 300dpi

This pattern includes instructions for the three sizes shown on the cover, PLUS instructions to create a pouch of any size – just plug in your numbers (this high, that wide, and this long), do the super simple math that’s laid out for you (really – it’s simple stuff, no stress involved) and cut away. You can buy the hard copy pattern here, or the PDF here.

The pouches have a very easy zipper installation – in fact, the whole thing goes together in just eight seams! It’s made of a sandwich of fabrics, fusible, and stabilizer, so the edges are fused and need little finishing. They’re a bit addictive.

I find that anything including zippers is easier to understand with photos than just with drawings, so here’s a quick photo tutorial for the pencil case to help you out. Let’s get started!

1. Choose your fabrics, and cut them according to the pattern. This dimension is 1/2” larger than the fused sandwich so it can be trimmed cleanly after fusing. You also need to cut a layer of Pellon Shape-Flex stabilizer, and a piece of Warm Company’s Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible (either weight is fine). You’ll need a zipper too – make sure you follow the directions on the length for that or you’ll find putting it in to be a pain in the patootie.


2. Fuse the Shape-Flex to the back of the outer fabric, a Star Wars print.


3. And fuse the Steam-A-Seam to the wrong side of the inner fabric, a red solid. FYI – the new Steam-A-Seam products now come with handy grid paper on one side, and get this… you can put them through a printer! *

4. Peel the back off the Steam-A-Seam, and adhere the sticky side of this to the Shape-Flex side of the outer fabric. Press well. Notice that I pulled out a non-stick pressing sheet for this step to save getting goop on my ironing board cover. Of course, after I got the first round of goop on it – argh!

IMG_72055. Once the sandwich is together, trim it down to the dimensions listed in the pattern.

6. The pattern tells you to pay attention to which dimension is A, and which is B – in this case B is the longest side, but depending on what you’re making, this isn’t always the case. If you get it wrong you’ll be unpicking a zipper, so mark them clearly!

Press 1/4” under along both B sides of the sandwich. You have 4 layers here, so you’ll need some steam – mind your finger tips!


7. Open the zipper up all the way, and lay the left side of the zipper under one turned edge of the sandwich. You can use a little glue to hold it in place if you like. I use the walking foot for this (rather than change between the walking foot and zipper foot) – if yours doesn’t track straight (mine does), take the time to change feet.


8. Stitch about 1/8” in from the fold, down the length of the side. That’s Seam 1, and half a zipper done! Yes, that extra zipper is correct – having it allows you to sew the second side easily.


9. Sew in the other side of the zipper to the other side of the sandwich – it’ll come together like a tube. Use the extra tail of the zipper to move the first side under and out of the way. Make sure you start the top of the zipper in the same place as you did for the first side – and don’t twist it! Again, a little glue can be helpful. Stitch about 1/8” from the fold.


10. Sew to the end. Seam 2 and a whole zipper done!

11. Make an inside-out tube by closing the zipper half way. Don’t close it the whole way as it will be a tough job to get it open (from the back side of the zipper) later on. Trust me on this.


12. Trim off the excess zipper. Don’t use your good scissors! If you have any great ideas for the tail end of a zipper, do share! If not, toss it.


13. Pop a loop of ribbon under the zipper, matching raw edges, and facing the loop in – this makes a pull tab on the right side at the ends of the zipper when finished.


14. Stitch across the end, including the loop. I like to stitch across twice for extra strength. That’s Seam 3 done. Repeat on the other end for Seam 4.


15. Mark the “boxing” squares according to the pattern. Note that the square is INSIDE the seam allowance.


16. Cut those squares out with some nice scissors with sharp points. I don’t recommend a rotary cutter here because it’s easy to overshoot the line and cut into the seam allowance.


17. Oops – forgot this before cutting the boxing squares, but we can do it now: run pinking shears, a zigzag blade, or a zigzag stitch along the seam if you’re worried about fraying.


18. Pull the inner corners of one box apart…


… and pinch the seam together. Tuck the end seam away from the zipper.


19. Sew that seam down. Yep… Seam 5 is done.

IMG_723320. Rinse and repeat for the other 3 corners, minding you tuck the end seam down on all of them. Pink or zig the edges if you wish.


As promised… 8 seams!

21. Open the zipper up and turn the pouch. Poke out the corners with something relatively pointy to make them square and pretty. Fill it full of things.


22. Enjoy!


* Disclosure: I have a great relationship with Warm Company.

This pattern was zipped through its paces by Stunt Sewists Janet, Melissa, Kimberly, Megan, Monica, Jean and Barbara – thank you, ladies!


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