crossroads quilt along - chain blocks

It's Crossroads quilt along time again! This month I made the chain blocks that will link the blocks from previous months. It sure was nice to have simple, partially chain-pieced blocks to sew.

Sewing with red and pink fabric always puts me in a happy mood. For the block centers, my original plan was to go with just one color (either aqua or pink) but then I went scrappy like the pattern suggests.

Are you sewing along with the #crossroadsquiltalong? You can still join us! The pattern download is here, and it's free. A donation of $5 is requested to March of Dimes for the use of the pattern - we've raised over $10,000 so far! I'm using the quilt kit since I love the Fig Tree Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric so much. Watch the tutorial video here with Joanna Figueroa and Kimberly Jolly from Fat Quarter Shop. Joanna explains the inspiration for the chain block. And next month we get to start assembling the quilt top!

And I'd like to congratulate Lori Smanski! Lori is the winner of last week's giveaway, part of the Maggie's First Dance Quit Along. She'll soon receive a package of Thermoweb products valued at $60.

Now go download your pattern and start sewing!

maggie's first dance month 2, plus a giveaway!

Hi everybody! It's time for the second block in the Maggie's First Dance quilt along! It's a free block of the month, designed by Jacquelynne Steves. It was another fun block to stitch - just sign up for the newsletter which contains the FREE pattern, pick your fabric and start sewing. I'm enjoying using fun retro prints by Elea Lutz and Lori Holt in this quilt... plus a few Riley Blake ginghams.

I even learned something new while sewing this block. Jacquelynne has a super nifty way of making flying geese blocks. I thought I had seen just about every way there is of making flying geese, and then I received this pattern and thought "what a great idea!" - and I'm sure that you will, too. I won't give away the secret, but let's just say that you make them slightly larger and trim them down.

I was also able to whip up the second block in 2 hours - that's relatively quick for me. While I was sewing, there were tornado and hail updates on radio, literally every 3 minutes. I panicked a little - what if we lost power and I couldn't sew?! Then what would I do?! (Four hours later, we still have power. And my block is done :-) The rain didn't stop us from going out for pizza, but the roads are very flooded.)

I hope that you'll consider sewing along with me and my new quilty friends. We're all making the Maggie Quilt. Some quilters are using an appliqued center (where I've used the teddy bear on a turtle print), some are using applique, and one quilter is even doing two versions! First, visit Jacquelynne Steves at her blog The Art of Home to sign up for her newsletter - the newsletter contains the free block pattern! Then go check out the other Maggie Quilt blocks here:

And I know that you're all waiting for the giveaway. This week, we have a fabulous quilter's package from Thermoweb. You've probably already tried (and love) their products, including Spray N Bond and Heat N Bond. One winner from my blog will receive a prize package worth $60! Just leave me a comment letting me know what you're working on this week, or where you're vacationing this summer. For more chances to win, visit the other participating bloggers to enter their giveaways, too.

The giveaway is open to Continental US readers only. This is due to the limitation on shipping aerosol products. (Don't panic, there's another giveaway for all readers, so keep reading!) Contest will close on 11:59pm CST on July 11. Please be sure that I can reach you by email if you are the winner, or another winner will be chosen. 

There is an additional giveaway that is open to ALL readers (including HI, AK and overseas) over at The Quilting Gallery. Four copies of a digital pattern will be awarded. Follow this link for more details.

And finally, due to my oversight, I forgot to announce the winner of the Aurifil giveaway. Jodi Guerrero is the happy recipient of a designer box of thread, which is being shipped to her from Italy. I've already notified Jodi by email, and I can assure you that she is very happy.

Thanks for visiting today, and enjoy making your Maggie's First Dance blocks! 

happy birthday, farm girl vintage!

Welcome to the birthday party! Look at the cute cake I baked for the birthday girl! Lori Holt's book Farm Girl Vintage is celebrating her first birthday. How much do we all love this book? Lori's patterns are always fun, and they come with very easy to understand directions. I want to make everything that she designs.

I'm still farming my blocks for the cover sampler quilt. I've completed over half of them, and I've added in a few of the bonus blocks that are available for purchase separately. Like the corn and tomatoes block. Oh how I love that corn block!

My blocks are 6" square. Now if only I could find nice juicy corn and tomatoes like this at a local farmstand. And the book also has a perfect flag block that you can make for the Fourth of July - it has a single friendship star.

Meet the mama hen block with her light blue wing. (Yes, she's missing her little embroidered eye. I'll add it later!)

I'm sewing with fabrics from Brenda Riddle and Fig Tree Quilts. I love how Brenda's pale Bespoke Blooms prints mix with my large Fig Tree collection.

I am having so much fun working on the blocks. They're like little gems, and every time I finish one I have to just step back and say "isn't this the cutest block." Luckily only the cats can hear me talking to myself! For the postage stamp below, I cut 36 different squares and hoped that it would be cute instead of a mess.

And while you might know me as the town mouse from NYC who packed up and became the country mouse in Indiana, would you believe that my mother grew up with a chicken coop in the backyard? I remember always seeing that coop behind my grandparent's house in Connecticut, and I was afraid of those clucking sounds. Here's 9 year old Bunny, my own original farm girl, with her baby brother and their pet rooster Whitey.

Just look at those chicken feet!

So I had to ask mom to tell me about Whitey. Well, he was the family pet until he pecked her. And then Whitey became Sunday dinner. Oops! But my grandparents always had fresh eggs from their chickens, and that was where I first saw brown eggs. And with those eggs, of course, my grandmother baked amazing cakes, which always had buttercream frosting, and often raspberry or lemony custard filling. That's what inspired the colors of my layer cake block. (I'm lucky to have several of her frosting recipes.)

Would you like to bake your own cake block? The pattern PDF is a free download at Fat Quarter Shop, and it comes in 6" and 12" sizes! No need to preheat your oven or sift the flour! Just visit the Jolly Jabber blog here for more information. The Farm Girl Vintage book can be purchased here, and the corn and tomatoes block pattern is here. And Lori always has something fun going on at her Bee In My Bonnet blog, too.

Finally, I'd like to invite you to see the cake blocks that many bloggers have "baked" for the birthday celebration. Feel free to visit their parties. And don't forget that you can see my daily sewing updates by following me on Instagram (I'm @greydogwoodstudio).

crossroads quilt along - intersection block

Hi y'all! Just a short, quick, sweet post today to let you know that it's time for the Crossroads quilt along again! This month we're making the Intersection block. In the tutorial video, Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts and Kimberly Jolly of Fat Quarter Shop discuss the intersections in their lives. But we're at another type of intersection, too - we've now finished the vintage-inspired blocks, and next month we will start the chain blocks that will pull everything together. Are you sewing along with us? You can still catch up! Check out this blog post for all the details on how to download the pattern (it's free, but a donation of $5 or more is requested to March of Dimes).

beginner charm pack placemats

Hi everybody! I'd like to share with you my new placemats! Or should I call them mini quilts?! Ohmigosh these are SO easy and quick to make. I suppose that's why quilt and fabric designer Sherri McConnell teamed up with Fat Quarter Shop to design "Beginner Charm Pack Placemats." To make FOUR placemats, all you need is one regular sized charm pack (the 5" charms) and enough fabric for a narrow border, plus minimal fabric for backing, binding, and some batting.

I used Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics, and a few pieces from her previous collection, Gooseberry (I had to have that print with the geese in it!)  I wanted a summery look for my placemats, so I used the warm prints and saved the navy and olive charms for a future project.

To get four placemats with the same prints, I actually bought two identical Little Miss Sunshine charm packs, although you wouldn't need to do this if you use all the prints in a collection. Or of course, cut up your stash! I'd love to make these again in Fourth of July red, white and blue. Or maybe with Halloween, Christmas, or even birthday party prints.

I quilted them on my Brother sewing machine with a 1" diagonal grid that I marked with a Frixion pen. I love these pens because the ink disappears with the heat of an iron. I probably wouldn't use them on an heirloom quality quilt, but they worked just fine for my placemats.

I also used a coordinating but contrasting fabric on the back (it's also from the Little Miss Sunshine collection). Now I can have two looks from one set of placemats!

My regular readers might notice a whole bunch of props in today's photos! I've been prop-challenged up until now, but the only way I'll get better at it is to keep trying, right?! I always see all those beautiful photos online and wonder how people do it. I hope that you like my props... now I'm going to need a prop closet LOL!

So, here's some specific info on how to make the placemats. I watched a tutorial video with Sherri McConnell and Kimberly from Fat Quarter Shop here. It was really easy to just write down the supplies, but here's what you'll need:

  • One charm pack
  • 1/4 yard contrast fabric for side borders
  • 1/2 yard binding
  • 3/4 yard backing (I bought a yard so that I'd have some left over)
  • I used two packages of fusible fleece batting

I followed Sherri's instructions for piecing the placemats, and then finished them with the following:

  • 2 - 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" side border strips for each placemat
  • 7- 2 1/2" x width of fabric strips for binding
  • 4 - 13 1/2" x 20" rectangles for placemat backings

I hope that you'll give these placemats a try. I really enjoyed working on them. Now I need to actually USE them on my table and not fear the vinaigrette splatters!

popsicles!

Summer = an excess of frozen treats in my house. So a few weeks ago I started to work on this new pattern from Fig Tree Quilts called Popsicles. I like to think of it as a palette cleanser between the larger, ongoing quilt projects. Kinda like a lemon sorbet after the steak, know what I mean?!

I'm working with this luscious stack of Moda Bella Solids in sherbet colors, curated by Fig Tree. I ordered it here, along with a copy of the runner pattern. I think they'd be really cute in prints, too.

But... I don't have much use for a runner on our round farmhouse table. So I decided to keep making more popsicles for a larger quilt. (The runner needs just 11 blocks, but I've made 20 so far.) And now Joanna has designed a larger quilt just brimming with popsicles! I preordered my copy this morning, and I'll keep sewing blocks. The larger quilt pattern is available here. I might need to make that melon slice quilt on the cover, too!

I was thinking about my own personal history with popsicles. I remember going to the corner store with my parents in Florida, just to get an evening popsicle. But the wooden sticks give me tongue shivers! I loved Fudgsicles back then, and mom occasionally made popsicles with a Tupperware mold. Then came the Dove bar craze. My love of popsicles came to a crashing end in the late 1980's when I worked for a small company that couldn't afford to make the weekly payroll, so they'd pay us with... FrozeFruit. Seriously! I vividly remember the company owner cackling that "we can't pay you this week, but have a FrozeFruit." And to this day I refuse to eat FrozeFruit! But I still like those Haagen-Dazs dark chocolate ice cream bars! And I just bought a new ice cream maker last week.

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE AURIFIL THREAD GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment on my last blog post (not this one) for a chance to win! (ps - I'm using Aurifil thread, color 2000 on the popsicles)

maggie's first dance bom starts today! and an aurifil thread giveaway!

Hi everybody! Today is the official kickoff day for the latest monthly block of the month program from Jacquelynne Steves. It's called Maggie's First Dance. Let me show you the first block.

I had sew much fun making this block. Jacquelynne offers a choice of three centers for our blocks - you can applique, embroider, or leave them plain. I chose to use a cute focus fabric with some happy little critters.

The piecing instructions are super easy to follow. The hourglass segments are sewn slightly larger than needed and then trimmed down to the correct size. I always love that method because then I know that my pieces will fit together perfectly. And Jacquelynne even specifies which direction to press your seams so there's no guesswork there. Really, the most difficult part was just picking out my fabrics!

I hope that you'll join me as a quilty dance partner. To get your own FREE copy of the Maggie's First Dance quilt block, just sashay over to Jaquelynne's website and sign up for her newsletter. You'll then receive an emailed copy of the pattern. How easy is that?! And then do-si-do (or two step!) back over here to my blog because we have a GREAT giveaway!

My very favorite thread is Aurifil. It's the only brand that I use for my piecing. It's strong and doesn't break, it comes in a million colors (maybe more!) and it doesn't leave a linty trail like some other brands. I do all my basic piecing with Aurifil 50 weight thread in colors 2000 and 2021. They're both white and cream shades. I'll use the colors if I'm piecing something where I really don't want any cream thread to show, and they help to create a flawless hand-stitched binding. I'm trying to push myself to try the pastels when doing machine quilting.

Aurifil is offering a box of threads valued at $46.00 to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment here on my blog. Let me know what your favorite color is for piecing. Contest is open to US and international readers. Actual box of threads will be of Aurifil's choice, and Aurifil will ship the prize directly to the winner. Contest closes at 11:59pm CST on June 12. If you're the winner, be sure that I can contact you or else another winner will be chosen.

And be sure to check out the other bloggers participating in the sew along (I need to go visit them, too, to see their blocks!). Here's who is making the quilt with me:

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I do hope that you'll give this block-of-the-month a try!

 

 

    crossroads quilt along - month 4 - and a giveway winner!

    It's month 4 of the Crossroads quilt along. This month's "Family" block represents the bonds that quilters have with our families. It's also traditionally called the Mother's Choice block, and you might also notice that it is similar to the Weathervane block. But whatever we call it, it's a cute block!

    They're cleverly disguised, but there are 32 flying geese in these blocks. Maybe they represent the family of flying Canada geese around my home?! (It's definitely easier to WATCH live geese than to SEW flying geese!)

    Watch the video tutorial with Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts and Kimberly Jolly of Fat Quarter shop here, and download the block pattern here. A donation of $5 or more is requested to March of Dimes for the use of the pattern. I'm using the kit with Fig Tree's Strawberry Fields Revisted fabrics. It's available here.

    I took this past week as a vacation "sewcation" and it was very productive. I spent the week sewing something that I'll show you in a few months - my fingers, arm and neck hurt from all that rotary cutting and pressing. I was also able to FINALLY finish planting the flowerboxes, hanging baskets and flowerpots on our balcony. The geranium and lavender plants are covered with flowers and the herbs need to be harvested (who knew that sage grows as quickly as a weed?!) The strawberry plants are already bearing fruit, and they're yummy. (Never mind that the berries are the size of my fingernail... they still taste much better than the local Amish market's "first strawberries of the season" that I should have never baked into a tasteless strawberry pie.)

    And I'm sorry that I forgot to announce a winner for the Maggie's First Dance quilt along pattern giveaway. Congratulations to Liz Horgan! And I hope that you'll join me for the upcoming sew along hosted by Jacquelynne Steves. You'll find all the details on my blog right here.

    Happy sewing!

    farm girl vintage again!

    Happy Monday! I hope that you all had a great weekend! I finally had a chance to pull a favorite book off the shelf, dust it off, and start sewing. It's Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt.

    So let me tell you about my experience with this book. I was so excited about it LAST MAY. I picked out my fabrics...

    They're a blend of Ambleside by Brenda Riddle and Aloha Girl by Fig Tree. I happily sewed the first 19 blocks...

    And then you can probably guess what happened. I found out that we'd be relocating to Indiana, and my focus became all about finding a place to live, buying some new furnishings and then the fun drive here from NYC with the cats in the car (anyone with a cat knows that I'm kidding about that!) I brought my sewing machine with us in the car because I was afraid that something bad might happen to it in the moving truck! But I didn't bring any fabric or projects to work on. So of course, by the time our stuff was delivered and my sewing space was set up, well, I had completely lost interest in the Farm Girl Vintage quilt.

    But then something happened. I saw everybody posting their finished quilts on Instagram and I thought WAIT, I NEED TO FINISH MINE! So a few days ago, I pulled out all my blocks and started to sew. First, I made Grandma's Quilt block, and then the Kettle's On block.

    I kept going and made the Haystack and Kitchen Window blocks. Would you believe that I spent two hours choosing these fabrics? The blocks took just minutes to sew.

    The partial block lineup! I love how they look together so far.

    half done!.jpg

    But I could see that I was running into an obstacle. There are several blocks that almost need an orangey fabric. Yes, I could substitute... but you need orange prints to make a pumpkin! And I really, really wanted to make the Homemade Pie block. Of course, pie crust isn't grey or pink. So I asked my Instagram friends about if I should add orange prints. The comments came in quickly, and it was unanimous - everybody told me to not be afraid of orange. I'm now adding the more pale Fig Tree oranges - the butterscotches and softer pumpkins. (I'm adding a few prints from other Brenda Riddle and Fig Tree collections, too.) So here is Homemade Pie! And I needed the Pie Cherries block, too.

    I actually finished the Homemade Pie block on Saturday at 1am (yes, 1am) and the fork tines looked bent. Ugh. That would never do. So after a few hours of sleep, I unsewed the block and fixed it. It quickly became my very favorite block.

    l'm going to keep sewing blocks from the book, and I'll add in some of the extra bonus blocks like the hand mixer and the pig.  I even bought embroidery floss today for the electric cord on the mixer and the tail on the pig. I'm serious about finishing this quilt!

    The Farm Girl Vintage book is available from many retailers, but I got mine here, and the pie block pattern here. There are also several other companion blocks, such as the mixer, a cow, a barn cat, a honey bee and more. You can find all of them here.

    Thanks so much for stopping by today... see you soon... probably with more Farm Girl Vintage blocks!

    maggie's first dance block of the month and GIVEAWAY

    Hi everybody! If you're visiting for the first time, welcome to my blog. Today, I'd like to tell you about a fun new block of the month quilt along! And I'm sure that you know I've already signed up, because I seem to be completely unable to resist a good BOM! (And if you're still with me in a few minutes, I might have a giveaway!)

    Let me tell you all about it. First, it's designed by Jacquelynne Steves. I've followed Jacquelynne on Instagram for quite awhile and I've always admired her cheerful quilt designs and watercolor art. She has also designed several fabric collections and is contributing to the Splendid Sampler (I know that many of you are making those blocks!). But I didn't know that she designs a FREE block of the month every year. Do you want to see what we're making?

    I love it - four different focus blocks, five setting blocks and a border to showcase a special print. You have three options for the pieced blocks - applique the center, embroider the center, or just leave them plainly pieced. I've chosen to piece my blocks and I'll use a fun retro print for the center of each block. 

    The BOM will run for 6 months, and it begins in June. We'll make blocks in June, July, August and September. Then we'll make the alternate blocks in October and put it all together in November.

    You can choose any fabrics that you'd like to work with. I've changed my mind about fabrics many times, but I think that I've finally settled on an assortment from three collections. I'll be using Strawberry Biscuit by Elea Lutz, The Shabby Strawberry by Emily Hayes and Calico Days by Lori Holt. Plus a few Riley Blake ginghams for that extra-retro touch. My fabric order just arrived today. And here they are!

    The monthly patterns are FREE. All you need to do is visit Jacquelynne at the link here and sign up for her newsletter. She will email the pattern directly to you each month of the quilt along. She even put together a line drawing of the quilt so that you can color it in with your favorite fabrics. How cool is that?! I'm sewing along with other quilt bloggers, and I hope that you'll visit them, too.

    It will be fun to see everybody's blocks as we sew together. And there will be monthly giveaways from the quilt along sponsors. Read more about Jacquelynne's quilt design inspiration and her sponsors here. I'll be showing my blocks every month right here on my blog and also on my Instagram page.

    And we are kicking this off with a GIVEAWAY! Jacquelynne will be providing two digital quilt patterns shown below to one lucky commenter on my blog. Super cute, right?

    All you need to do is leave a comment here. Let me know what crafty project you're working on now or are hoping to start soon. (I'm not picky, so you can tell me anything!) The contest is open to US and international readers and will close at midnight Central time on May 4. I'll chose a winner at random, maybe with the assistance of a cat paw. Just make sure that your email is included in your contact information so I can notify the winner (I'll chose another winner if I can't reach you).

    Ok, so don't forget... go here to register for the free BOM patterns, and follow my progress on Instagram here!

    crossroads quilt along - month 3!

    It's Crossroads quilt along time again! We're up to the third month, and making the "Friendship" block. I really like the circular, almost ring-like design. And it's loaded with flying geese!

    We now have 12 blocks made. Yay! But so far there's only one pink block. I need more pink! And when the quilt along is finished later this year, we'll have this beautiful quilt:

    Crossroads is the annual charitable quilt along sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics. The monthly patterns are free, and a donation of $5 (or more) is requested for March of Dimes. It makes me happy to know that we are sewing for a great cause. You'll find the block pattern here, a new video tutorial with Joanna Figueroa and Kimberly Jolly here. Also check out the special Jolly Jabber Crossroads quilt along blog here for lots of great information about the prior month blocks.  You can use your own fabrics, or make blocks just like mine with this kit featuring the Strawberry Fields Revisited collection by Fig Tree Quilts.

    (And I just returned from my week of meetings in Scottsdale. Now I am officially ready to SEW again!)

    finding time for a mystery

    Hello quilters! I've missed chatting with you! The past month has been full of real-life work activity, and that's involved preparation for client presentations, an action-packed trip to New York and an upcoming trip to Phoenix and Scottsdale. I'D RATHER BE QUILTING! In between all this craziness, I've managed to squeeze in a few minutes to sew this month's blocks for the Fig Tree Mystery Sampler BOM.

    I love those Homestead house blocks. Remember how I made the large Homestead quilt a few years ago? It was just quilted by Melissa and I'm working on the binding. So of course I was more than happy to make more Homestead houses!

    And these "x" plus blocks - I couldn't have guessed that I'd love this black cabbage rose print so much. (Really, I should have known. I don't think I've ever "met" a cabbage rose print that I didn't love!) I might need to buy some yardage of this print before it's gone forever (It's from the Farmhouse collection by Fig Tree.)

    Ok, about these 4" basket blocks. They're cute, and they're small. I think that the aqua basket with the busy background looks a little blurry, but it's done and it's a keeper!

    And now about that trip to NYC last week! Here's the view from my hotel window. That's the LIpstick Building on the right. It's an oval shaped skyscraper, and it's and rosy colored... like a lipstick. The building in the center is my employer's headquarters. Staying in a hotel in the city that was my home for 30 years was just surreal.

    This was my first return trip since September. I dropped my luggage at the hotel and immediately hopped on the subway to go downtown for lunch and some quick shopping. What made it feel weird was that I acted like a New Yorker, but it was no longer my home. It was fun to run around to my favorite places, and I'm glad that I was able to do that. I even ate dinner at my favorite burger place near my old apartment. (And I walked by my old apartment building. What a dump. LOL) My big purchases? A used, out-of-print cookbook and a bunch of imported pasta from Eataly!  I was happy when my seven meetings had ended and I could get on a plane and leave. I guess home really is where you make it - or, home is where you cook your pasta!

    And now I need to pack that suitcase again. The cats will not be happy.  But I'll be back on Friday with the latest Crossroads quilt along block!

    two by two - part two

    I wasn't kidding when I told you that I have a LOT of blocks-of-the-month programs to sew! I'm now getting caught up on the Two by Two sew along. It's hosted by McCall's Quick Quilts magazine and designed by Holly Holderman of Lakehouse Dry Goods. (I'm guessing that the name of the quilt refers to how we are making two blocks at a time. Surely it doesn't refer to the two enormous Canadian geese that I see every day, or the two mallard ducks that seem to fly back and forth between the nearby Target and my home. I call them "my" ducks. And probably not the two cats that stretch out on my ironing board. No, it must be two quilt blocks.)

    So, I made two blocks in November (you can read about them here), and two blocks this week. This month's blocks have the exact same construction, and very similar fabrics.

    Two by Two is a series of patterns which will appear every two months in Quick Quilts magazine this year. The blocks each use preprinted scallop fabric for the outer flower petals, and then it can be anything goes in the center! I'm using an assortment of happy prints from Pam Kitty Morning (some are fairly current and some are from prior seasons) mixed with Sunrise Studio prints. I'm sticking to red and pink blooms with just a bit of sunny yellow, although the scallop fabric also comes in green, periwinkle and pewter. Here is the magazine that you'll want to look for on your newsstand or local quilt shop, or you can order a copy here.

    I love that quilt on the cover, too, and I even have those exact fat quarters!

    Happy sewing!

     

     

     

    crossroads quilt along month 2

    Welcome back for the second month of the Crossroads Quilt Along! I am sewing along with Fig Tree Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop to create a great vintage-inspired quilt, and to raise funds for March of Dimes! And this month, we're making Diamond blocks.

    Even though I've been quilting for many years, I still like learning new techniques. For example, the square-in-a-square elements of this block (the taupe print with the strawberries, set on point). I've always pressed my seams out, toward the solid. Then I've always watched helplessly as my feed dogs gobble the unit up when sewing it to an adjoining unit. (I do hope that this makes sense!) But this pattern tells you to press your seams open and guess what - no feed dog gobbling!  And while I don't use taupe or brown prints often, I think that they'll provide some interesting contrast in the finished quilt.

    And now for the obligatory let's-put-all-my-blocks-together-for-a-group-photo shot. Or maybe this is just an excuse to trot out those cute pink and aqua houses again!

    Now for all the specifics. The pattern is free, but a donation of $5 or more is requested to March of Dimes. You can download the pattern and see which other bloggers are sewing along with me by clicking here. Please consider making a donation by clicking here. Use your own fabulous collection of fabric, or purchase the kit that I am using here. And don't miss the block tutorial video here.  In the video, Joanna Figueroa and Kimberly Jolly discuss what diamonds mean to them (it's all about family). And are you one of those Strawberry Fields fabric junkies like me? There's also a video where Joanna talks about the similarities and differences between the new Strawberry Fields Revisited and the original Strawberry Fields collections. You can watch that video here.

    Be sure to show us your blocks! When you post them on social media, be sure to tag them #crossroadsquiltalong. Thanks so much for stopping by, and have fun making your own diamond blocks!

    mystery sampler 2016

    Hello! I hope that you all had a great weekend. I cannot believe the beautiful weather here in Southern Indiana. After a week of rain, all the magnolia trees are in bloom and daffodils are popping up everywhere. All my little birdfeeder friends are starting to find other sources of food, but I know that the hummingbirds are flying back from Mexico and will be here soon. (Hopefully they'll bring some enchiladas for me, because I'm not happy with our local Mexican restaurants. But that's a whole other story. Let's now return to quilting...)

    I have a little confession.

    I'm a block-of-the-month addict.

    I just can't help myself! I'm currently working on FIVE of them: Fig Tree Wool, Fig Tree Yuletide Christmas (from last year!), Fig Tree Crossroads (new blocks are coming this Tuesday), Lakehouse Two by Two (help, I'm falling behind), and now, Fig Tree Mystery Sampler 2016.

    I might need an intervention soon. Somebody please stop me from signing up for any more BOMs.

    These pics are all from the Fig Tree Mystery BOM. Isn't that star cool? It's from a pattern called Sweet Sugar Swirls. No templates or Y seams, just some creative cutting with the angle lines on your ruler. I'd really like to make a whole quilt full of them, but you know... I've got other blocks that need to be sewn! The individual Sweet Sugar Swirls pattern is available here.

    February's fabric/pattern pack had instructions for a lower case "a" but I quickly realized that if I reversed the pattern I'd have a lower case "g" block! I flipped the pattern over, placed it on my lightbox and traced it from the back. It could also easily become other letters, too.

    Last year's Mystery Sampler BOM was one of my all time favorite quilt tops. I loved making it, loved the completed top, and I'm sure that I'll love the finished quilt when it comes back from being quilted by Diana. So, lots of love for that quilt. And that's why I didn't hesitate to sign up for this year's Mystery Sampler!

    But here's what isn't a mystery: the new block for the Fig Tree Crossroads sew along is coming on Tuesday. The blocks use Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric, and we're all sewing along to raise funds for March of Dimes. You can join us! Click this link for details. I'll be back in just a few days with those blocks.

    Have a great week!

     

    classic yuletide block of the month, or, the tale of the big, scary star block

    Block 1 Puzzle Star

    Block 1 Puzzle Star

    Block 2 Carolina Lily Variation

    Block 2 Carolina Lily Variation

    Did I ever tell you about the Fig Tree Classic Yuletide block of the month? I think I totally forgot about it! So, this started in April 2015. I loved sewing the first two blocks - Puzzle Star and Carolina Lily Variation. And then May's block patterns arrive in the mail, and they included a big, scary Feathered Star. I choked. I despaired. I stuck the fabric into a box. (That always makes a problem go away, right?!) Then, the monthly packages piled up and I felt guilty. I'm a little weird in that I like to sew my blocks in the right order, and that meant that I wasn't going to do any of the other blocks until I got over my fear of the big, scary Feathered Star. I KNEW that I needed to just get it done when I saw Sherri's finished quilt. So beautiful! And now, here's the star block!

    Block 3 Feathered Star

    Block 3 Feathered Star

    It wasn't so scary after all! Yes, it took me 4 days to make, and no, I don't ever want to make this block again. I think I finished it at maybe midnight a few days ago and was too tired to even feel happy. But I'm happy now. Knocking off the next several blocks was all downhill after the star!

    Block 4 Flying Geese Criss Cross

    Block 4 Flying Geese Criss Cross

    Block 5 Goose In The Pond

    Block 5 Goose In The Pond

    What makes this fun is that there's actually an assortment fabrics from different Moda designers. There are two Minick & Simpson red prints and two Bunny Hill cream prints in the Nine Patchwork block. They all play together very nicely. (I'm not sure what that green confetti print is. I think it could be Sweetwater.)

    Block 6 Nine Patchwork

    Block 6 Nine Patchwork

    Now the first three month's blocks are done. I'd love to just work on this, but of course, there are other distractions - such as the FOUR other blocks-of-the-month that I'm working on! My goal is to do two blocks each month from now until October and then I can assemble the quilt.

    Don't be like me. Don't hide your big, scary stars in a box. We learn to be better quilters when we practice. I gotta remind myself about that! Have a star-filled day!

    crossroads quilt along, AND the name game!

    Hi everybody! The Crossroads quilt along officially kicks off today and I am SO EXCITED! You know how much I love Fig Tree fabrics and quilt patterns, so do I really need to say more?!

    These four house blocks make me happy in so many ways. House blocks are one of my all-time favorites (like my pink house logo!), and there they are in the sherbet-y goodness of Strawberry Fields Revisted fabric! I'm sewing with the kit, and for once, I am resisting the urge to make fabric changes. But you never know what the future might bring!

    Crossroads is a 10 month quilt along designed by Fig Tree Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop. We'll be making blocks for six months and then we'll put it all together in August and September.

    One of my favorite parts of the pattern is that after each step, the pattern tells you what the size of that sewn unit should be. It's a great way to make sure that your sizing is accurate throughout the construction of the block. I always take a measurement of my unit and make corrections if needed. And guess what? There are NO templates in the roof unit!

    And of course, while I was sewing these blocks, my local radio station was in the midst of a Big 80's weekend, and John Mellencamp's "Little Pink Houses" came on! (Now if only the lyrics were "little pink strawberry houses for you and me.")

    And part of my love of house blocks comes from my very BIG interest in becoming a first time homeowner. I've lived in 18 different locations (there might be more, but I've lost count) and I've never actually owned a house. Maybe home #1 can be aqua and covered with big roses?

    The pattern download is free each month, but a minimal donation of $5 is requested for March of Dimes. Together, we'll raise funds to help prevent premature births. You'll find LOTS of additional information about Crossroads here - you'll see fabric requirements, a calendar of the blocks that we'll be making, and a list of the participating bloggers. And be sure to watch this new video with Joanna and Kimberly, where they discuss what "home" means, as well as a house block tutorial. 

    But wait, there's more!

    Have you ever wondered where my name - Grey Dogwood Studio - came from? I'm playing The Name Game today on Cindy Wiens' blog,  Live A Colorful Life. Learn all about how I came up with my moniker (it's more complicated than you might think!) and check out all of Cindy's other fun posts. Just click here to learn more!

     

     

     

    Seedlings

    Do you sometimes wonder how we all keep starting MORE new quilts? For me it almost always begins with the fabric. So when the UPS man showed up one day a few weeks ago with a box of Brenda Riddle's upcoming Bespoke Blooms fabric collection for Moda Fabrics, well, I knew that a new quilt was just waiting to be made! 

    And those are just a few of the prints. Aren't they pretty? Yes, I can see you nodding your heads. There are also some white-on-whites and some grey-browns. I think that Bespoke Blooms will be in stores later this spring. I even managed to untie the Moda ribbon and mix them in with my collection of Brenda's Ambleside fabrics. I love when collections can be mixed together. I like lots of prints and texture!

    I needed a new pattern, and Brenda's website, Acorn Quilt and Gift Company has lots of beautiful vintage-inspired quilt patterns. I saw Seedlings on her home page. Sigh. I needed to make this now! (ps - Brenda is having a sale on her patterns now!)

    You all know about my phobia of applique. I think I need to stop saying that because I'm actually starting to enjoy applique! Brenda's pattern has fusible applique, but I really wanted mine to be hand stitched for a more heirloom look. I searched for tutorial videos on YouTube, and found two by Jill Finley that were amazingly helpful. I learned how to make bias stems here, and freezer paper leaves here. I just watched them a few times, then paused and replayed them while I made the stems and leaves. 

    Then came 120 3 1/2" nine patch blocks. There is a peaceful feeling about making the same block over and over and over. I've never made a nine patch quilt!

    Ok, it's applique time! Brenda accented her heart wreath with embroidery (and I watched videos about how to do that, too!) but I really wanted to make berries. I traced a dime on freezer paper and used that as my template, then just placed them by eye. (There was plenty of "is this enough berries" and "oh no is this too many berries?" going on here.)

    Then came a blue checkerboard border around the appliqued heart. I really had a difficult time with this. All those little seams didn't add up the right length strip, and I spent an entire Sunday doing that one little border. Rip, rip, rip went the seam ripper! (I don't think I got to have my cheeseburger at DQ until 4pm that day!) Adding the nine patches was quick and easy.

    I love the way this looks so far. Now it's time to make the 80 nine patches (gulp) for the outer border. Brenda's pattern shows them in alternating blue and green blocks. I'm thinking of doing them in blue and grey. Or blue and pink. But not blue and yellow. And maybe blue and green. Hummm let me go think about this one. Let me know if you have any ideas!

    three figs

    Hi everybody! I may have been quiet lately, but I have been sewing, appliqueing, binding and designing. I've got lots to show you, but I need to start somewhere, so how about with a trio of new Fig Tree projects?

    First is the upcoming Fig Tree Crossroads quilt along. I hope that you're excited about it! The kit arrived from Fat Quarter Shop and the fabrics are beeeautiful (never mind that I haven't even untied the fabric bundle LOL).This is going to be so much fun. As usual, the quilt along will benefit a charity, and this year we'll be raising funds for March of Dimes. The quilt was designed by Joanna Figueroa exclusively for Fat Quarter Shop. You can choose to sew with your own fabric collection or purchase the kit. There is LOTS more information about the sew along here, along with the fabric requirements. The first block pattern is the house (yay!) and it will be posted on February 15. I can't wait to get started! And I hope that you'll sew along with us.

    Isn't this the most beautiful wool bundle ever?! Fig Tree has partnered with Weeks Dye Works to create this Retro Farmhouse wool bundle. There's also a new Aurifloss collection that matches. When people describe fabric as "yummy" I always think, no, you cannot eat fabric. But... isn't this wool... yummy?! It's part of a 12 month wool BOM that just started. I've heard that the program is full, but wool bundles (and wool mini quilt patterns) are available here

    And finally today is the new Fig Tree Strawberry Fields Revisited Frivol. So what's a Frivol? It's a collectible tin decorated with polka dots and strawberries. It comes stuffed with lots of goodies - 42 7" squares tied with Moda's signature tape measure ribbon, a pattern for a churn dash quilt, an individual block pattern, and a surprise. The surprise is two strawberry quilt labels. I bought the tin just to get those labels! (And of course I love the fabric, too.) Oh how I wish that Moda would print bolts of assorted labels! There are many more pictures of the Frivol items on Fig Tree's blog here. I ordered mine directly from Fig Tree but it appears to have sold out. You might find it in your local quilt shop, or you can order one here.

    You might think I'm crazy, but there's ANOTHER Fig Tree BOM that should be shipping soon. Yikes, I am going to be busy. And remember last year's Fig Tree vintage mystery BOM? It's being quilted right now, and I cannot wait to see it.

    And now I must get busy sewing! 

    great granny twist blog hop with lori holt

    Hi everybody! It's my day on the Great Granny Twist blog tour, and I can't wait to show you my project!

    We're here celebrating the first birthday of Lori Holt's book Great Granny Squared (has it only been a year?!) It's a fun book with a super easy-to-make block, several quilts and a pillow.

    To keep things festive this December, Lori and Fat Quarter Shop asked us to put our own fresh twist on the block patterns shown in the book. So... what could I make that would be honor Lori's great block but also be very me? Well, how about Christmas stockings!

    Would you like to make your own Great Granny Squared stockings? Yay! So let's talk about how to make them. I thought that a mini-tutorial would be helpful. You'll need a copy of the Great Granny Squared book. First, pick out some cute fabric! I used two current Moda collections that I'm obsessed with - Fig Tree's Farmhouse and Bunny Hill's Mistletoe Lane. Then make two of the 6" blocks shown on page 26 in the book. Now you'll need to turn them into a larger chunk of "fabric" from which you'll cut the stocking shape.

    Sew a 1" x 6 1/2" background strip between the two blocks and press toward the strip.

    Add a 2" x 13" strip to the right side and a 6" x 13" strip to the left side. Press towards the solid fabric.

    Sew a 4" x 13 1/2" strip to the bottom and a 3" x 13 1/2" strip to the top.

    Now you have your chunk of fabric! For the rest of the stocking construction, I used a pattern from Kristyne Czepuryk (of Pretty By Hand fame). The pattern is in the Winter 2015 issue of Quilts and More magazine (you can find a copy here and here or at your local shop). I cut out the stocking template. Yes, I know that I destroyed my magazine, but I was just too lazy to make a photocopy! I layered the stocking template behind the fabric so that I could center the blocks.

    You can see that I'm a bit maniacal about pinning! Then cut out your stocking front.

    Now layer your stocking top onto rectangles of batting and backing and "quilt as desired." I needed to get it done fast, so I did a simple grid, then trimmed the batting and backing flush with the stocking shape.

    Now just follow the rest of Kristyne's instructions and you'll soon have a stocking! Her pattern actually shows several different types of stockings - one with a lace cuff, one with applique, and one with the top ruffle that I made. I'd suggest using a walking foot to sew your stocking together (if you have one) because you'll be sewing through a LOT of layers of fabric and batting.

    And here's where I got a little crazy. I decided that our cats, Chloe and Mia, also needed their own stockings. They're tiny, but the perfect size for a felt mouse or two.

    (Oops, I forgot to put the felt mice into the stockings! That's Santa's job, anyway.)

    For the mini stockings, I used a pattern by Fig Tree Threads called "Mini Stockings." It's from a few years ago, but it's still available on the Fig Tree website here.

    Now just bring on the cookies and we are all ready for Santa!

    Fat Quarter Shop has created their own fun version of Lori's block. It's called Great Granny Circled, and Kimberly has a tutorial video for the block here. Several bloggers have already showed their own twist on the block earlier this week, and the full lineup is here. Today's bloggers showing their GGST (that's Great Granny Squared Twist!) blocks are:

    Thanks for stopping by today! I hope that you enjoy putting your own twist on the Great Granny Squared blocks. If you make the stockings, please provide a link back to my blog - and besides, I'd love to see them!