Friday, November 25, 2016

Five Friday Favorites: Sources for Quilt Block Patterns

A few weeks ago I shared my favorite free quilt block tutorials.  And this week I'm sharing another great resource - my favorite places to find new block patterns and tutorials!

Sources for quilt block patterns and tutorials

If you're doing a swap, belong to a bee, or need to contribute a block to a charity quilt, having a go-to list of sources is really helpful!  These are my top 5 resources when I'm searching for new blocks, or old favorite blocks!

#1:  Quilter's Cache

Quilter's Cache - a great resource for quilt block patterns

This site has been around for a long time and is a fantastic resource for finding quilt block ideas.  Years ago when I was involved in several online quilting bees, most of us would use Quilter's Cache as our resource for coming up with new ideas for the group.

The blocks are organized both alphabetically and also by size.  so the tricky thing is that if you're not sure what the name of a block is, then you could spend some time searching for just what you want.  But that's not always a bad thing, right?  As I'm searching for a certain block I inevitably find a few others to add to my 'must make' list!

#2:  Fave Quilts
Fave Quilts - a great resource for quilt block patterns

I like to peruse Fave Quilts both when I'm looking for quilt block tutorials AND when I'm looking for full quilt tutorials.  This is a great site to bookmark.  I love that there are actual photos of most blocks (not just diagrams) and the link on each block takes you to the blog where the tutorial can be found.  I've discovered some fantastic new-to-me blogs this way too!

#3:  McCall's Quilting

McCall's Quilting - a great resource for quilt block patterns

I recently discovered this site and quickly added a few of these blocks to my wish list.  For all of the blocks there's a way to download and print the instructions, or you can just view it on the site.  They have great diagrams to step you through making each block.  And some of the quilt blocks have links to the full quilt pattern!

#4:  Generations Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Generations free quilt block patterns library

Yet another great resource!  All of the blocks in this collection are organized alphabetically and from I can tell from the ones I've done, they include the math for other block size variations.  So helpful!  

#5:  Pinterest

Pinterest - a great resource for finding new quilt block tutorials

I know.  I should have had Pinterest listed as #1, right?  It really is where I turn first when I'm searching for a block pattern or tutorial.  I have one Pinterest board dedicated just to quilt blocks that I like, and want to make some day.  The one down side to Pinterest is that occasionally I find a great block, click on the link and there's no link to a pattern or tutorial-- or even a name for the block.  It's just a photo.  That can be frustrating and then I have to spend more time hunting down the information.  It's still a good source of inspiration (and eye candy!)  

Do you have other sources for quilt block patterns?  I'd love to hear them!  Where do you go when you're needing a new quilt block idea?   

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stairway Baby Quilt - a free quilt pattern

Stairway baby quilt - a free quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

A few months ago I shared the story of this quilt with you.  And since then I've gotten a lot of requests for details on how I made it.  So instead of a tutorial, I thought I'd write it up as a free downloadable & printable pattern.  

The quilt is a quick one to make - it's just one simple block, which is then rotated to make the stairsteps look.  

Stairway baby quilt - a free quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

The finished quilt measures 48"x 48", and you can make it with either yardage, jelly roll strips, or scraps.  All info is right on the pattern. I love that if you're using jelly roll strips, it only needs 16 strips.  Often times I'll make another pattern (like this one) and have some JR strips leftover.  Usually I cut them up into 2.5" squares and save them for another purpose, but they'd be perfect for a quilt like this one!

Want more?  You might also like these!  Click on the photo to go to the free pattern.

Charming Lucy free quilt pattern from A Bright Corner
Charming Lucy free quilt pattern

Churn Dash free quilt pattern from A Bright Corner
Churn Dash free quilt pattern

Woodland free quilt pattern from A Bright Corner
Woodland free quilt pattern

Monday, November 21, 2016

French Market Tote Bags

Last week I pulled out one of my many tote bags to use on an errand.  I had grabbed one of the larger bags, and my youngest (who is 8) stopped and exclaimed "I LOVE that bag!"  His enthusiasm was a little startling - especially for something as mundane as a tote bag.  But then he began to tell me about the memories he had from when he was little, of the two of us going to the library and using that bag to carry our books home.  How sweet is that?  I had no idea.  A tote bag is just a tote bag.  But maybe it's not. 

French Market Tote Bag

I do love to make tote bags.  I just think they're fun to make.  They are a pretty quick project, and sure are handy to have around!  I use mine for all sorts of things - from carrying hand stitching projects, to sneaking treats into a movie theater.  

I also love to give tote bags as a gift.  In fact, these bags in the photos are headed to my Francophile MIL who recently traveled to Paris with her husband to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  I'm hoping that these will remind them of their anniversary trip, but I'm absolutely positive that they'll also be used to sneak extra treats into the movie theater.  

French Market Tote bag - made with Colette fabric

When I make tote bags, I really love when the lining fabric is just as pretty as the outer bag fabric.  So I designed this tote bag so that the liner fabric peeks out along the top edge of the bag, and matches with the handles.  It's not as tricky as it may look -- I'll be sharing my tutorial for these bags in a few days.    

All of the prints I used for the bags are from a line called Colette, designed by Brenda Walton for Blend Fabrics.

It has these two prints that are full of charming drawings and phrases in French-- 

Colette fabrics designed by Brenda Walton for Blend Fabrics

And there's also this print with adorable hand drawn scenes of Paris.  I'll be using these in a fussy-cut project for sure!

Colette fabrics designed by Brenda Walton for Blend Fabrics

There are also a couple of sweet macaroon prints to round out the line:

Colette fabrics designed by Brenda Walton for Blend Fabrics

But these two prints are my favorite!  And see that little girl on the bicycle with the balloons - down in the bottom right corner of the bag?  She's adorable.  And she's the one that gave me the idea to make these bags!  

French Market Tote Bag from A Bright Corner blog

French Market Tote Bag from A Bright Corner blog

See more of the Colette prints here.  They'll be arriving in stores later this month  -  you can purchase them here from Hawthorne Threads.

And now to announce the giveaway winner from last week's blog post.  Congrats to comment #25:  OhioLori!  Your copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks vol 14 will soon be on it's way to you.  
random number generator

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks + giveaway

I got a fun surprise in the mail last week - one of my quilt blocks was chosen to be in vol #14 of Quiltmaker magazine's 100 blocks!

  Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks volume 14

My block is # 1344, A Change of Heart

Change of Heart quilt block designed by Andy Knowlton of A Bright Corner

It can be found in the 'mixed technique' category because it uses traditional piecing and some applique.  

Change of Heart quilt block designed by Andy Knowlton of A Bright Corner

Issue 14 is available in stores now - so pick one up next time you're out.  I love each of the 100 Blocks issues because they're so full of great ideas.  Remember this quilt I finished earlier this year?  It was one of the blocks from vol 12!  [read more about the quilt here]

Little Miss Sunshine quilt

As of now there are about 9 blocks from this most recent issue that I can't wait to try  - starting with this one--

Ribbon Cross quilt block designed by Allison Jensen

I love this Ribbon Cross block from Allison Jensen (Woodberry Way) - totally my style don't you think?

Cross Ties quilt block designed by Diane Nagle

And this one called Cross Ties designed by Diane Nagle (Pedlecar Quilts).  Love her addition to the classic plus block.  I can imagine all of the cool secondary designs that would appear when this is used in a quilt!  

Circle Squared quilt block designed by Melissa Corry

And Melissa Corry (Happy Quilting) always has great blocks in every issue.  In fact, I think this is her 9th or 10th block to be published in a 100 Blocks magazine!  

And now I have some great news...I have two extra copies of the magazine to share!  To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment below (one per person please).  I will choose two winners Sunday November 20, and announce them on Monday Nov 21.  Please be sure to leave an email address if you are a no-reply blogger!    Giveaway now closed - thank you!

Happy sewing!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Five Friday Favorites: Free Quilt Block Patterns

I'm always on the look out for fun new quilt blocks to try and there are so many great (and free!) tutorials out there.  Today I thought I'd share my current favorite quilt block tutorials and maybe they'll become your favorites too.

Favorite quilt block tutorials

#1:  Churn Dasher

Churn Dasher quilt block tutorial from Generations Quilt Patterns
This block has always been one of my favorites.  You can find the tutorial for this block here on the Generations Quilt Patterns website.  She even includes instructions for different size blocks.

At the end of the tutorial she shows all of the variations on this one block.  It's fun to see how different one quilt block can look just from changing the fabric placement!

Churn Dasher quilt block tutorial from Generations Quilt Patterns

See the E-Z Quilt variation in the photo above?  It's similar to my scrappy New England quilt block tutorial.  I also love the 'Domino' version of the block.  I can imagine that would make a great secondary design when used in a a whole quilt!

New England Quilt Block tutorial from A Bright Corner

#2:  Pretty Posy 

Pretty Posy quilt block tutorial from Sew Fresh Quilts
Pretty Posy quilt block tutorial from Sew Fresh Quilts blog

This sweet quilt block is from the Sew Fresh Quilts blog.  It's so cute done all in solids!  One flower finishes at 9", so a mini quilt with four flowers (like the one in the photo) measures about 18" square.  I have a spot on my wall that I'd love to fill with a mini quilt like this!  At the bottom of the tutorial, she shows what the full quilt would look like both with and without sashing.  Love them both!

#3:  Ribbon Star Block Tutorial

Ribbon Star quilt block tutorial from Freshly Pieced
Ribbon Star Block tutorial from Freshly Pieced blog

The Ribbon Star block tutorial is from Lee at Freshly Pieced.  This one is on my list for two reasons.  First, I love a good star quilt block.  You just can't go wrong with a sawtooth star!   Secondly, I love the folded ribbon look in this block.  You could really have some fun playing with color / fabric placement on this one!  If you click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the tutorial you can see other color variations of this same block.  

#4:  Flying Kite quilt block

Flying Kite Quilt Block tutorial from Fat Quarter Shop Wishes quilt along

I've seen this one done before as a foundation or paper pieced block, but I love that you don't have to do either in this tutorial!  The block pattern is available as a free downloadable and printable page from the Fat Quarter Shop.  It was a part of their Wishes Quilt Along in 2014.  

#5: Disappearing Pinwheel block
Disappearing Pinwheel quilt block
tutorial & photo from the Sewn Up blog

So this is really cool.  Really.  One block, with 11 different variations.  It's from the Sewn Up blog - you really just have to go and watch the video.  It's about a minute and a half long.  You have a minute and a half, right?  This is just so clever.  Basically you make a pinwheel block then cut it up and re-arrange the pieces.  Here is the link to the video and instructions to make the first variation of the block.  What a fun sampler quilt these would all make!  Or, you could do a swap with friends and have them each make a different variation and then exchange blocks.  

Thanks for joining in with me as I share my current favorite quilt block tutorials.  Want to see more?  Check out the Fave Quilts site.  They're a great place to find full quilt tutorials, but did you know they have a whole section dedicated to just quilt blocks?  Currently they're up to about 27 pages of quilt block tutorials.  Go check it out here, and have fun perusing!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Slow Sewing + giveaway winner

English paper piecing hexagons

I'm spending some time this weekend doing some slow sewing.  It's such a therapeutic thing for me.  I'm not a fan of knitting or crocheting, but I do really enjoy english paper piecing.  

I've recently finished my pink hexden quilt, and I'll be sharing that soon.  I also have all of my red pentaring blocks done and ready to be made into a quilt top.  With those last two EPP projects finishing up I decided I'd better get a new one going!  So I started this new project shown above.  I'm using the One Room Schoolhouse fabrics which I just love love love (designed by Brenda Ratliff for RJR Fabrics - see more here.)

I decided to do a little larger hexagon - these are 1.5" on each side.  I like this size because it shows off a bit more of each print.  I glue baste my hexagons, and then I've been stitching them together into groups of three.  

English paper piecing hexagons

I haven't quite decided what I'll do with them next.  I have a few ideas that I'm testing out, but I like what I see so far!  

Want to learn more about english paper piecing?  One of my favorite EPPers is Sue Daley and she has some great YouTube videos about English Paper Pieicing.  

See all of her videos here (be sure to click on "load more" at the bottom to see them all)

If you're ready to get started, you can find the 1.5" hexagon papers here (my favorite source for EPP papers.)  One Room Schoolhouse fabrics can be purchased here at Pink Castle Fabrics, and here at Fat Quarter Shop.  

And before I sign off, I need to announce the winner of the Wonderland fat quarter bundle.  Congratulations to commenter #19 - Linda! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Five Friday Favorites: Sources of Inspiration!

Today we're talking about color!  I think many quilters are intimidated with the thought of pulling together fabrics for a quilt - particularly when those fabrics aren't all from one line.  So today I'm sharing with you five sources of inspiration to help you put colors and fabrics together for your next quilt project.

Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

#1:  A Main Print

Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

I'm putting this one in the #1 slot because it is the quickest and easiest way to find coordinating colors.  And it's my favorite method!  Just find a multi-colored print that you love and look at the colors contained in it. The print above is from the Les Fleurs line from Cotton + Steel.  Take a close look.  You might be surprised at just how many colors are in one print!  Usually the colors in the print are also found on the selvages - think of it as a super handy cheat sheet.

Once I identify my favorite colors in a print, I choose some coordinating prints from there (dots, stripes, small florals, etc.)  Just as an example, I created the dots above to show you all the colors found in the print.  Below you can see just two color combinations you could pull from this one inspiration print!  No one says you have to use ALL of the colors - just choose your favorites.

Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

color inspiration option 1

Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

color inspiration option 2

You can see from the examples how the "feeling" of the quilt would change depending on the combination of colors you choose.  

#2:  Design Seeds
Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

This site is full of gorgeous color palettes.  I could spend hours here just gawking at all of the pretty color combos.  For quick reference, I keep a pinterest board full of my favorite combos from Design Seeds (and other sites) so when I'm needing fast inspiration I head there first.  

#3:  Pinterest

Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog
photo credit:

Speaking of sure is helpful for all sorts of things, isn't it?  Like I said above, I have a whole board of just color inspiration, but ....just by looking at some of your other favorite pins you can gather a color palette to use!  This photo is from a board I created when I was re-doing my son's room.  I pinned it because I liked the blinds used in the room, but later I realized I also really liked the colors in the photo!  So go and take a look at some of your other photos on pinterest and see what inspires you!  (photo source link here)

#4:  Your own photos

Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

Life is beautiful.  Nature is beautiful.  We all take thousands of photos of our life - but have you ever thought to use those photos to help you choose the colors of your next quilt?  Take a look at your favorite photos in your phone.  Why are they your favorite?  Can you pull out color inspiration from them?  Give it a try!  

#5:  Palette Builder from play crafts

Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

This one is fun (and addictive)!  You can use this site to upload a photo and it will help extract colors from the photo.  The best part?  It gives you the Moda Bella solids color name that corresponds to the color.

I uploaded my photo (takes a just a second or two), and the site automatically chooses 6 points in the photo to color match.  See the white dots on the photo?  You can drag those around the photo to change the colors.  Then see on the right hand side?  It lists the names of the coordinating Moda Bella solids.  You can also just take this to your local quilt shop and use the color swatches to choose some blender prints to bring into the quilt.  

I did another example below.  This photo was from a trip we took to Oahu.  What a great source of inspiration, and a great way to help preserve memories!
Favorite sources of color inspiration from the A Bright Corner blog

You can find the Palette Builder here, and also here on the Moda / United Notions website.  Give it a try!

Where do YOU find your color inspiration?  I'm always looking for new ones, so please share!  

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