book, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting

Back in Business

My Post

Y’all! First of all, if you don’t follow me on social media (fact: I’m far more active on Instagram than any other platform) you may have missed my big THANK YOU! Thanks to everyone that has supported me and my book. It sold out late fall and I’m happy that it’s back IN STOCK at C&T. So if you’ve wanted to get your hands on a copy, you can do it now.

Spring break ended Friday, and I’m hopeful that I can finally knock out some items on my lengthy to-do list before school is out in May. It’s around the corner, and while I have done a lot this year, it’s not anywhere NEAR what I wanted to accomplish. So here’s to 7 weeks of insane productivity.

Speaking of, let me know if there’s something you’d like to see me demonstrate, or a tutorial and I’ll see if I can make it happen. Also contemplating a give-away of some sort, but I’m not sure yet??? Always happy to hear your suggestions.

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts, sewing

This Girl is Headed to The Quilt Show

My first (and currently only) school house was at Market in fall 2016. I was excited about my presentation, and was sharing the time slot with John Kubiniec. John was speaking about his new book, A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path, and had made some quilts using Alex Anderson’s new line of fabric being released at market.

Now, I knew I would be speaking with John, and he and I had spoken on the phone prior to quilt market. What I didn’t know was that Alex Anderson would be there.

Yep!

She was 5 feet from me. In the front row. I was equal parts ecstatic and terrified! You would be, too! Half of what I wanted to say went right out the window.

So, I make it through my presentation, and Alex was as kind and lovely as you think she’d be. She told me I did a nice job and congrats on the book, and so on.

The end.

Okay, not the end. Only the end until fall market 2017. I had a whirlwind trip to Houston that included finding out the hard way I had a sulpha drug allergy. So in addition to spending two days walking around George Brown being incredibly itchy,  I was walking around on Sunday tired from Benadryl.

Anyhow, about halfway through the day, my friend Charlene and I walked into a booth. Alex was sitting at a table helping someone. She smiled at us when we walked in, and Charlene and I continued to peruse. I was particularly interested in the EVA foam Cheryl Sleboda had because I had just made a not so great but kind of okay helmet for my son for Halloween. Charlene was checking out batting.

Anyhow, while I was looking around Alex must have finished what she was doing, walked over to me, smiled, and said hello. We started to talk, and in a complete “this is either a REALLY good idea or a terrible one” kind of moment, I said: so, do you remember….and launched into reminding her about my school house and how nice she was to me last year.

Alex asked about my book, Piecing Makeover, and, of course, I was happy to grab it from my bag and show it to her. She flipped through it and then asked if I’d want to be on The Quilt Show.

WHAT?! Um, yes!! No need to ask twice. I. AM. THERE!

Seriously, though. I am there. Well, I’m there in March and I am SO EXCITED! Y’all! This is ah-mazing!

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I’m super excited to go, and I’ll keep you updated on any fun developments. It’s going to be great!

Happy Piecing!

PM

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts

Matching a Fussy Cut Print

I wrote an entire book on precision piecing so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I love fussy cutting and matching prints. It’s been my experience that quilters either love it or hate it.  Regardless of your preference, I’m a fan, and think it adds great interest to quilts and blocks. I used it on this quilt border recently, and just love the look!

I’m also pretty keen on matching fussy cut prints in borders. I mean, if I’m going to spend the time accurately, precisely cutting a border strip, I darn well want it to match along the edges! It’s visually appealing, and once the quilt has been quilted you usually can’t see the seam, anyhow.

Here’s my two cents on how to fussy cut a print for a border, or at least this quilt.

First, look at the print. Once you determine your border width you can pick an arbitrary point to use for cutting for both sides of your border. I knew I wanted to have one fussy cut skull running down the center of my vertical pieces (sides) and one fussy cut skull running through the middle of my border (top and bottom). I also knew I wanted an approximately 5″ border.

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The repeat on this print made math simple. I could place my ruler 1″ above the top of the skulls and 1″ below the bottom of the skull that would run horizontally and I’d have a 5″ border.

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Use your rotary cutter, and cut along the edge of the ruler, adjusting as necessary. Here’s the trick: YOU WILL HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR RULER. Several times, usually. That also means, cut a small bit, say 6″ or so, where your ruler is correctly aligned, readjust, then cut more. Prints are almost never perfectly on grain. That also means that your border won’t quite be on grain. That’s okay. You’ll have a 5″ border and make adjustments as you sew and quilt, as needed.

The image below shows you, using an upside down ruler, how the print isn’t perfectly on grain. See how it veers off toward the 5″ mark? No worries. Let your ruler do the work for you and adjust it.

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See how I adjusted the ruler below? If you do that, your print will line up exactly as you’d like and you’ll have perfect fussy cut borders. This technique works for horizontal and vertical borders. Pick a point, and use your ruler to get perfectly cut pieces running the length or width of the fabric.

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While it’s not entirely necessary, I usually use my ruler along the second cut for the border. Under normal circumstances, I’d like up my ruler along the cut edge and cut the border pieces to the size I want. Since this is a fussy cut strip, I want to make sure that the second cut is in the exact right spot. Normally it is, but an abundance of caution here is worth the extra minute or two to make sure your border will have the center skull (or whatever) in the correct spot.

So, what happens when you want to MATCH your fussy cut strips? Let your iron do the work for you!

I have two horizontal cuts.

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I pick a point on the fabric to match. I try to make it easy and somewhat obvious. For this print, I chose to use the center of the skull. I can use the center of the skull and have half the face on each side of my seam. Since the spot in the fabric is busy, it’ll be less noticeable when the top is quilted.

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I ironed the border strip back onto itself to create a line to sew along on another strip.

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Next, place the pieces together, FACE UP,  as you’d like them to be sewn together on your border. This one is basted because I forgot to snap a photo of that step, so imagine this without stitches. The skull lines up (almost) perfectly. You will want to sew along that ironed line.

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Gently fold back the top piece. I usually keep my hand on the folded part of the fabric being flipped so it doesn’t move. Here, the fold was big enough for me to keep my hand on it, while flipping the top portion. Then I place my hand/fingers on the other edge to keep it from moving, and let the left side of the fabric all the way out.

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Pin.

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BASTE along the ironed fold line. I like to baste to make sure the pattern is lined up exactly the way I want. If it’s not quite right, it’s easy to take out the stitches, readjust, then try again.

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When you have the pieces lined up as you’d like, sew them together. I usually sew over the basting stitches, and leave them in the quilt. Ideally, I’d have long threads to pull out the basting, but I don’t think it adds enough bulk in the border to cause any problems.

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Trim.

And press.

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Voila! Perfectly matched fussy cut borders!

featured, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts, sewing

Mimi’s Modern Flower Garden

As usual, I started this with just a concept in my head. For the most part it worked. Until I got to the borders. Then it got tricky.

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And that’s saying something since the borders are just kinda borders, right?

Well, now they are.

If I actually sat down and drew out a plan (either on paper or my computer), I would have seen that extending the hexagons into the borders wasn’t going to work. At least not with this size hexie I was using. I mean, it would have been really cool, and it’s something I might use in the future.

You know, when I have the math all sorted.

After I had the center pieced, and had attached the inner border (which took much longer than expected because I had to variegate it), then I got to move on to the outer borders.

Originally my plan was to extend the hexagons from the center to the outside, but, like I said a few paragraphs ago, it didn’t work because I couldn’t make the corners fit.

bad corner web

See? I’d have to chop off too much of a hexie.

I also wish I’d realized that BEFORE I put on the top border.

top border web

It looked awful because I couldn’t halve the hexagons along the top – I had to have a hexagon at the corners – but I was not going to have ANY of that.

border test

I tried a few different things like having a grey variegated border, but I wasn’t a huge fan of that either.

So, after fussing for a few days.

Daaaayyysss, y’all, daaayyysss….

I decided to get a print that reads as a solid and call it a day.

My hope is that when I (or someone else) quilts it, the borders will have some fun thread work. Perhaps I’ll have the quilting follow the color pattern of the quilt, going from red to pink to purple to blue to green.

Maybe.

I should probably make a plan for that before I start.

featured, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts

Little Lone Star {free pattern}

I made this sweet little Lone Star quilt for my friend Sarah to hang at the Intown Quilters booth during Quilt Con 2017. She gave out the pattern during the show and I thought I’d share it here, as well.

The quilt is really quick and easy to put together. Enjoy!

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Lone Star ~43-1/2” x 43-1/2”
Designed, Pieced and quilted by Patty Murphy,
based on my book Piecing Makeover

Fabrics*
16 fat eighths
1 yard background fabric (we used Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen in Flax)
1/2 yd binding

*You can buy fat eighth bundles here and Essex Yarn-Dyes Linen here

Cutting Instructions: 
          Fat eighths:
Cut three 2-1/2” x 21” strips from each fat eighth.

          Background fabric: 
First cut one 20” x 20”square.
Then cut four 12-1/2” x 12-1/2” squares.

Assembly Instructions
1. Sew 12 sets of 4 strips. Press open seams.
2. Cut strip sets on a 45° angle. You will get 3 full strips from each set, giving you a possible 36 strips to use for your Lone Star. You will have extra to use.
3. Arrange the strips on a design wall to make the Lone Star. Four strips go into each diamond section.
4. Sew each of the 8 diamond sections together, making sure you off-set the seams to create perfect points. (pg. 110, Diamonds)
5. Once you have 8 diamond sections, sew the top 4 together to make the top of your star then sew the bottom 4 together to make the bottom half of your star.
6. Sew the 2 sections together, making sure you match points in the center and furl your seams to reduce bulk. (pg. 27, Furling Busy Intersections)
7. Using a y-seam, sew each of the 12-1/2” x 12-1/2” background squares into each of the corners. (pg. 105, Hexagons)
8. Cut the 20” x 20” background square twice on the diagonal to get 4 triangles.
9. Using a y-seam, sew the triangles cut in Step 8 into the quilt along the top, bottom, and sides. (pg. 105, Hexagons)
10. Quilt, bind, and enjoy! See it on IG: #pmlonestar

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book, featured, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing, Uncategorized

Piecing Makeover Blog Book Tour + Giveaway

What a week it’s been! Wow! Thanks for all the love, y’all! The week was such a success and I couldn’t have done it without C&T Publishing, AnneMarie, Jodie, Teri at GenQ, Sandi, Mary, and Kristin. Really big thanks to each of you!

My biggest tip to share is to ask for help. I mean – How easy is that!? Seriously, though. When I first started to quilt I always asked my mom but not everyone has a mom that sews, or is near. However,  if you are fortunate enough, your local quilt shop has staff on hand to help you work through your problems. Yes, it means another trip out, and you might come home with more fabric but getting inspired while getting help is fun! And I promise they LOVE to help figure out your quilting problems! If the shop can’t help, they will find someone that can. Honest.

If you don’t have a quilt shop near you, go online to see if you can find the answer to your problem, or send a message to a quilter via a blog or read a book – perhaps, mine?  A little time to noodle on the issue might work for you, too. Don’t be afraid to explore possibilities. And if you are worried about messing up your favorite piece of fabric, experiment with some muslin, or old scraps until you’ve solved your problem.

Most importantly, remember it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s how we learn. I have quilts riddled with errors and almost every quilt I make throws me for a loop at some point or another – I really should plan more! But I’ve learned a lot. Some of my (ahem) older friends have been a valuable source of knowledge, too.

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C&T is giving away one copy at each stop along the way and today is your last chance to win a copy of Piecing Makeover  for yourself (printed copy in the U.S. and e-book outside the States). Leave a comment on the blog and we will announce the winners tomorrow.

Here’s the list again so you can check to see if you have won on another page. Winners will be chosen at random using random.org number generator.

9/13  AnneMarie Chany http://www.genxquilters.com/
9/15 Teri Lucas/Gen Q Magazine  http://generationqmagazine.com/
9/16 Sandi Hazlewood http://www.craftyplanner.com/
9/18 Kristin Esser https://kristinesser.com/
Happy piecing, everyone!

*edited on 9/20 – Congratulations to Sally for winning a copy of Piecing Makeover!

Piecing Makeover, quilt, Uncategorized

Piecing Makeover Blog Book Tour

Hey everyone! My blog book tour starts today. I have a rock star list of participants, beginning with C&T today!

Every day, visit the blog of a participating author, designer, or sewist for your chance to win a copy of my book, Piecing Makeover!

Here’s the official line up:

9/13  AnneMarie Chany http://www.genxquilters.com/
9/15 Teri Lucas/Gen Q Magazine  http://generationqmagazine.com/
9/16 Sandi Hazlewood http://www.craftyplanner.com/
9/18 Kristin Esser https://kristinesser.com/
Make sure to leave a comment on each blog for your chance to win. At the end of the tour, winners will be announced. C&T will mail a copy of the book to you. Winners outside the U.S. will receive an e-copy.
Happy Piecing!
Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Piecing Makeover

box web

My book arrived last week. Friday to be exact, yet it took me a day to open the package. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was because it meant the exciting chapter of writing a book was over. Maybe I was a little scared. I know I was anxious about seeing it, which is funny because I KNEW how my book would look, but alas, I waited. Quiet contemplation, perhaps? And how would I feel the moment I could see what I’d been working on for a full year and a half come to fruition?

It actually took me a day and a half to rip into the box. I may have waited longer but Mary’s book arrived the same day and we opened our books together. Yeah, yeah, such girls (also, you should check out her new book. It’s incredible!).

I grew up sewing. My Mom taught me to sew when I was 6 and by the time I was in high school I had mastered Very Advanced Vogue patterns. At 18, though, my interest in quilting was piqued. The art of quilting was very much starting a revival and I wanted to get on board. I helped Mom make a few quilts through the years, but I wanted to make my own. Mom took me to a local quilt shop and we picked fabric for me to make my first quilt. It was far from perfect but it was perfect to me!

My journey began there, at that shop, well before I even knew it, and part of my journey and my dream was realized with this book. I wished for this book for myself when I was just beginning to quilt. I wanted it for a few reasons. As a bit of a self-proclaimed perfectionist with my own work  (hey, Mom has a degree in fashion design so I picked up all kinds of habits and thoughts about my work), I wanted my quilts to be perfect. I didn’t know how to make that happen AND I didn’t have an extra $30 for a class – it wasn’t a priority for me. I could, however, always find an extra $30 for a good quilting book – one that would teach me a few things and serve as a great resource and learning tool.  But none of the books I ever purchased had ALL the things I wanted to know. This one won’t have all  of them either, but it sure has a lot!  My hope is that this book will help you gain confidence and skills in your piecing REGARDLESS of your quilting style – it’s not about modern vs. traditional it’s about making your work better. I’m eternally grateful that C&T saw my vision, too.

book web

I’m not going to lie when I say that seeing a book with YOUR name on it is overwhelming, and magical, and exciting, and kind of crazy! Sadly (?) what has continued to run through my mind for the last year and a half is Sally Field receiving an Oscar – “They like me! They really like me!” This journey has been phenomenal, and C&T has been incredible to work with every step of the way! I’ve had many cheerleaders throughout the years, and I’m happy to add the staff at C&T to that list. They even sent me  a card along with my book, full of wonderful sentiments about my work from all the amazing people that helped me make it!

 

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing

Pointed

Every so often I make a quilt that requires me to sew points at a bulky intersection. Over the years I have tried different things but find my best tip is to use pins. It seems counterintuitive, right? The pins will shift your points when you go through all the layers of fabric. Or will they?

Yes. If you pin through multiple layers of fabric at a bulky intersection with a point that will happen. But what if you use the points as a guideline?

Here’s how I handle that.

1. I stick a straight pin through the point on each piece.

First side


Through both points.

2. Nestle the pieces together so the pin is perpendicular to the fabric.


3. Place two straight pins on either side of the pin going through the point, about 1/8″ at most.

4. Push those pins through the fabric and remove the center pin.


5. BASTE the edge. 90% of the time this works. To avoid ripping out stitches, I baste first to make sure I’m sewing exactly through the points. It’s much easier to take out basting stitches and its gentler on your pieces.

6. Once your basting stitches are correct, sew over them with a regular stitch.


7. Press your pieces. Many times, seams with lots of bulk are great candidates for furling, but not always. And this seam wasn’t completely cooperating so I called it a day. It’s flat enough and a machine will easily be able to get through the intersection to quilt it.


8. Enjoy!