Monday, March 31, 2014

The Daybreak Star: The April Lucky Stars Block of the Month

It seems like the weekends are flying by especially fast these days! Somehow it's Monday again, but I have a little something to brighten your day...Lucky Stars BOM subscribers, this block will be hitting your Inbox in the wee early morning hours tomorrow - it's the Daybreak Star, our star for the month of April.

April's Lucky Star: The Daybreak Star

April's block is a four-template block, which allows us to add a lot of depth to the block. I played a bit with tonality in my block, sticking again with my original color scheme and adding different tones of my chosen colors to make the block have a shimmery effect.

This block has a lot of seams coming together in the center, so don't forget to press both the wrong side of the block, as well as the right side, with a pressing cloth or scrap between your iron and your pretty, pretty fabrics. Remember that pressing is different than ironing - pressing means using gentle pressure with your iron rather than skating your iron over the surface of your project. With this block, you may want to use a little bit of extra elbow grease with your pressing to flatten things out nicely.

Just a bit of bulk this month!

Don't forget to tag your creations when you post them so all of the other Lucky Stars Block of the Month friends across the world can see them too! On Instagram and Facebook, add hashtag #luckystarsbom and you can tag me as well @dontcallmebetsy so I can see! On Flickr, you can add them to the Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy Flickr group. I can't wait to see your interpretations of this block :) And if you're not already a Lucky Stars 2014 subscriber, you can become one at any point throughout the year - you'll get all of the blocks you missed, as well as the remaining blocks for the year. Happy Monday everyone!
Friday, March 28, 2014

New in the pattern shop today: Gradation PDF Quilt Pattern

First off, thank you all so much for all of your kind words about my new Craftsy class, Start Free-Motion Quilting, and thank you to all of you who have signed up already! I'm really enjoying getting to know you and answering your questions :) It's been such a great week so far, so let's keep that streak going, shall we? Today, I've got the last new pattern hitting my pattern shop for the season, the Gradation pattern, available today in my Pattern Shop and on Craftsy.

New in the Pattern Shop today - The Gradation quilt!

The Gradation quilt was originally made for an issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited last year - you can read more about that feature right here. One of the things that I really love about this pattern is the way that the changes in tone and color draw your eye across the quilt. I love playing with tones and grades in color, and this is a quilt is a super way to just that.

Gradation - detail

My original quilt was done up in an assortment of Art Gallery prints, in shades of blue and magenta. As I worked through this quilt, I realized that this would make an absolutely stunning scrap quilt. You could even take it a step further and do a warm/cool quilt using this pattern, following the basic color placement that I used - keeping the warm colors for the lattice work that moves between the blocks, and the cool colors for the pixelated background, or vice versa. There's a lot of different looks you could give to this pattern. Here's a few to feast your eyes on...which one is your favorite?

Alternative looks for the Gradation quilt
Clockwise from top left: a rainbow scrappy version, a softer version with lighter tones, a bold two-color version, and a black and white version with one reverse block

As with all my patterns, the instructions are quite thorough and illustrated with diagrams throughout to assist you in the quilt making process. If half-square triangles have given you trouble in the past, you'll find great instructions in this pattern for making half-square triangles for this quilt with ease. There's also a black and line drawing of the block so that you can experiment with your color placement. Give it a try, it's a lot of fun to get out some colored pencils and play around with quilt diagrams!

I had two super thorough, super talented testers for this pattern, Alison and Karen. Thank you both so much for your feedback! And they made such lovely, lovely projects - take a look!

Alison Hingston - - I love the quilting Alison did, it totally accentuates the geometric nature of the pattern!

Karen O'Connor - @Ladykquilts on Instagram - Karen used gorgeous Liberty of London prints and they look fantastic in this pattern!

Gradation is the last new pattern hitting the Pattern Shop this month. It's been a busy but wonderful month, with four new patterns to love! For the next week, the Gradation pattern will be on sale for just $6. It will return to full price next Friday, so snap it up for a deal while you can through my Pattern Shop and/or Craftsy!  If you're a shop owner and are interested in stocking my paper patterns at your shop, please contact me directly at elizabeth(at)dontcallmebetsy(dot)com. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Start Free-Motion Quilting - My Craftsy Class!!

Start Free-Motion Quilting

The day is finally here - my Craftsy class is officially up and running! Start Free-Motion Quilting is my first class with the wonderful folks at Craftsy, and this class is perfect for you if you're just getting started with free-motion quilting, or if you've done it before and run into trouble, or if you've done it before and just haven't fallen in love with it. Trust me, my love for free-motion quilting is contagious!

Start Free-Motion Quilting with me on Craftsy!

In my class, you'll not only learn about the necessary tools of free motion quilting, but you'll also learn how to handle many of the common problems that can happen when you free motion quilt, from skipped stitched to crazy stitch lengths. I also walk you through ten different free motion quilting stitches that I come back to again and again, that can be used in many different ways, and all of which are super beginner friendly.

More from Start Free-Motion Quilting!

There are also three patterns included with the class, two pillow patterns and a baby quilt. You'll also find a great Getting Started checklist and a Troubleshooting Checklist in the class materials, to keep near your machine to help you as you're getting started free-motion quilting. Today, I want to share with you about the baby quilt pattern found in the class materials, the Superstar quilt. For the class, I sewed up a Superstar quilt in Bonnie & Camille's April Showers prints. Super light and fun, perfect for a new baby.

Superstar - The Original Version

Very sweet, right? Having played digitally with fabric choices on this pattern before making it, I knew Superstar could have an edgier, funkier look to it, so I also sewed up another one over the past week or so, using Denyse Schmidt's Ansonia and Violet Craft's Waterfront Park. Talk about a perfect match! While I love both versions of this quilt, I will definitely be looking for a great place to hang up my Denyse/Violet mash-up Superstar quilt, the colors are just totally me :) 

Superstar - The Edgy Version

Superstar - The Edgy Version - backing

Have you taken a Craftsy class before? I'm big on learning new things, so I love Craftsy. I love being able to learn about what I want to learn about, when I have time to learn it. And oh my goodness, they've got a class for everything! I just love the wide variety of classes on Craftsy, from creative photography to croissant making, from chocolate cakes to improv piecing, from dressmaking to cake decorating, they've really got it all. And now they've got me, too, and I'm so very excited to be working with them. It was a blast to put this class together and I cannot wait to hear what you think of it! To save on your Start Free Motion Quilting class registration, click here and you can start watching right away! 
Monday, March 24, 2014

Rainbow Dance Party - a finish!

Late last month, I shared a super fun quilt top all in solids, and hooray, it's all done! It's time to join the Rainbow Dance Party! It's finally finished and bound, and holy wow, do I love this quilt!

Rainbow Dance Party - finished!

It all started with some beautiful RJR Supreme Cotton Solids, and some very simple piecing to yield a really striking quilt top. Then, I decided to do some super fun, super varied free-motion quilting, inspired by my just-about-to-be-released Craftsy class (somebody pinch me!!!!), and this quilt became something beyond special.

Rainbow Dance Party - FMQ detail

The back of the quilt is especially dazzling, thanks to the dense quilting in six different styles. Lately, I've noticed I've been gravitating toward solid fabric quilt backs, even scrappy ones like this one, so I can really enjoy my free-motion quilting stitches. I kept the binding super simple for this quilt, using some leftover strips of fabric from the front of the quilt for a real scrappy binding.

Rainbow Dance Party - the back

These photos were taken at the Plant City Railroad Museum and Union Depot, which is a pretty cool place, if you're ever in the area. There was a group of older men there touring the museum, who seemed to be thoroughly amused by my quilty photoshoot and the way I was running around trying to get good pictures in between crazy gusts of wind. I'm glad I could make them smile :)

Quilt Stats
name: Rainbow Dance Party
size: 51" x 68"
pattern: none yet, but maybe I'll write one up?
fabrics: RJR Supreme Cotton Solids in 49 - Chili Pepper, 140 - Ochre, 182 - Lemon Chiffon, 249 - Sprout, 251 - Anemone, 331 - Pink Orchid, 110 - Red Wagon, 276 - Tangerine Dream, 92 - Goldenrod, 349 - Aloe Verde, 296 - Electric Blue, 286 - Ruby Slippers, 34 - Black
quilting: six different quilting stitches in six different shades of Aurifil 50 wt to coordinate with my fabrics, navy (#2735), orange (#2214), green (#5017), fuchsia (#2588), yellow (#2105), and red (#2250)
binding: assorted leftover fabrics from the quilt top for a scrappy binding

Rainbow Dance Party - side view

In other news, I've pulled a winner for my Aurifil giveaway from last week, and the winner is Joanne Gentile. Congrats! I'll be emailing you shortly to get your new spool of thread on its way to you :)

Have a wonderful day today everyone!
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New in the pattern shop today: Mod Gears PDF Quilt Pattern

Today you'll find a new pattern in my pattern shop - the Mod Gears quilt pattern! This is such a fun, quick quilt to put together, with great tricks for making half-square triangles super fast and super accurately to boot. This quilt first was seen in an issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited last year, and has been one of my favorite quilts to share at my trunk shows since! You can now pick up this pattern at my Pattern Shop as well as on Craftsy.

Mod Gears - full frontal

In my quilt, I used Carolyn Friedlander's awesome Architextures collection for Robert Kaufman, with just a teeny tiny pop of fuchsia. Absolutely my favorite part of the quilt. One of the things you'll find in this quilt pattern is a coloring sheet with line drawings of the block so you can experiment with your color placement and find the color combination that makes you swoon over your quilt.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 6.15.56 AM

You'll also find four different finished quilt sizes to choose from, ranging from a small baby quilt to a large queen/king size quilt, so you can pick the perfect project size for you. The six page pattern includes detailed instructions, with photographs and diagrams to illustrate the piecing.

I love how different this quilt can look, based on what fabrics you use where. Here's a few ideas of what you could do with this pattern...

Mod Gears in Mo Bedell's Hey Sugar Mod Gears in Chicopee Mod Gears in Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics Mod Gears in Violet Craft's Waterfront Park

I had three great testers sew through this pattern - a triumvirate of K's, actually! Take a look at what they made...

Kara of The Cooking Quilter

Kristan of Doodlebug Designs

Krista of Kristastitched

Aren't they all lovely?! Thanks so much ladies!

There's one more pattern slated to come out this month, and that's going to be at the end of next week because I've got some other fun stuff to share too before that. It's been so fun to finally get to share all these patterns that have been in the works for the last little while! Today's pattern is on sale for the next week, until the new release for the month comes out next week, both on Craftsy and at my Pattern Shop. If you're a shop owner and are interested in stocking my paper patterns at your shop, please contact me directly at elizabeth(at)dontcallmebetsy(dot)com. Have a fantastic day everyone!!

Modern Gears - detail1
Monday, March 17, 2014

What's on my Quilty Bucket List...

The Tilted Quilt

You know, Pinterest is often a lot like a bucket list for me - I pin stuff to save it to think about, to make, to bake, to cook, to craft another day. But another day so often never seems to come! I mean, think about your own often have you put them to use? So when Stacey at The Tilted Quilt asked if I wanted to participate in writing a quilty bucket list, I said sure, because when it comes to accountability, putting it in writing is the best way for me to make something actually happen!

1. Make an epic, crazy awesome quilt with my selvages. I've been collecting selvages since I started sewing, so I've got quite a pile of them at this point. I think one of the most daunting parts of thinking about a selvage project is sorting my collection of selvages, but if sorting my scraps is any indication, it could actually be fun. I started up a little board of selvage quilts I really like on Pinterest, and I have to say, I really love this selvage quilt Amy/During Quiet Time's been working on. I love the idea of using selvages to make a traditional-ish block, so I'm thinking of making something like one of these (where I cheated and used Pat Sloan's selvage-like print to mimic the look of selvages visually), either using my Kaleidoscope Quilt Along or my Patchwork Wheel pattern...

        Kaleidoscope quilt in selvages                 Patchwork Wheel in Selvages
2. Make my husband a mariner's compass quilt. Finally. He asked for one back when I made my A Light in the Dark mini, and I made one block a long while ago, but I wasn't thrilled with my fabric selections for the block, so I definitely need to start over. I'm thinking I might go with solids instead of prints. This one would be really, really easy to start up, since I've already got the whole thing designed, just need to do it!

3. I would love to one day make one of Trish Harper's epic hand pieced quilt patterns. I really love the Galaxy one. I'm pretty sure it would be a really awesome challenge for me. You can find this pattern right here.

photo from

5. Finish the amazing bee quilts that my friends have helped me start through past bees...yes, that means I'm looking at my UFO pile for this bucket list item. I've got two fantastic quilts in progress from past bees, my Radiant Ring quilt and a super fantastic all-voile AMH quilt. I have got to get my butt in gear and finish these two off, they're too pretty to let gather dust!!

Radiant Ring quilt in progress

5. Do a traveling bee with some friends. Last year was my first year since I started sewing without bees, and it was kind sad, honestly - I missed that collaboration, so I'm back in a bee this year, and looking forward to getting back in the swing of making bee blocks again. Maybe if when I finish up my two bee quilts in progress, then I'll try to put together a traveling bee...

And I capped my list off at five, because, knowing me, if I just let my brain keep floating on things I want to do, the list would be thirty items long pretty quick, so I'm keeping it short and sweet, and manageable.

It wasn't terribly hard to come up with my own quilty bucket list - you should write up yours too! Are you much of a list maker? I love making lists, I always feel like a weight has been lifted after I make a list, it feels incredibly good to get it down on paper! It felt great working on this list and I feel like I know exactly what I'll be working on after I get through the next few weeks of super busy-ness. You can link up your list right here, and you can find more listy fun throughout the blog hop at the blogs below:

March 3rd
Fabric Mutt
Sew at Home Mummy

March 10th
Freshly Pieced
The Sewing Chick

March 17th
Don't Call Me Betsy (hello!)
Molli Sparkles

March 24th
A Quilter's Table
Modern Bias

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Just a little FMQ action...

It's been such a fun couple of days in my sewing room, because I've suddenly found myself with an abundance of quilt tops to finish, so that means a whole lotta FMQ going on! I'm not entirely sure how that happened, but it's been one of those happy accidents. I remember at one point when I was working on my book that I consciously decided to save up the quilt tops and quilt them all successively, because the free-motion quilting was my favorite part of the quilting process, and I wanted to get to do a ton of it at once. This time, I didn't really choose to do that, not consciously at least!

The line-up - Aurifil (all 50 wts) from L-R -  navy (#2735), orange (#2214), green (#5017), fuchsia (#2588), yellow (#2105), and red (#2250)

Free-motion quilting is still one of my favorite parts of the quilting process. I love the freedom I feel just stitching away, freehanding different shapes and designs in thread. While I'm a perfectionist about a lot of things, somehow I am able to check my perfectionist tendencies at the door when I'm free motioning and I just enjoy the process.

Rainbow Dance Party - quilting sneak peek

One of the other things that I love about free-motioning all of my own quilts on my home machine is working in sync with my Juki. I'm not kidding when I tell you how much I adore this machine. It may be nearly frill-less, with little to no bells or whistles, but let me tell you, this Juki knows how to get the job done. And ultimately, isn't that what we want from our sewing machines? It's such a joyful experience to get in a good groove with the Juki and just stitch away, with some good tunes and some fab thread, my favorite - Aurifil.

Sometimes the back is almost prettier than the front

I'm excited to tell you that I have some pretty big news that I'll get to share coming up later this month that has to do with free-motion quilting...and it might just rhyme with daftsy, if that were an actual make sure to stay tuned for more on that!

Some spring flowers

Question for you free motion your quilts on your home machine? Let's do a little giveaway today - you tell me about your experience with free-motioning, love it or hate it, and I'll choose a random winner to win a nice, fat spool of my favorite thread from my personal stash, Aurifil 50 wt in one of my favorite  shade of white, trusty color #2024. Ready, set, go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Scale can totally change the look of a stitch - the micro mod clamshell
Monday, March 10, 2014

New in the pattern shop: Ferris Wheel PDF Quilt Pattern

It's so nice to see this quilt today, even if it is just virtually - the original Ferris Wheel quilt has been logging quite a few frequent flier miles, as part of the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo's quilt exhibit for quite a while now, which is such an honor, but boy do I miss this quilt! I originally made this quilt some time last year for Quilty magazine, and I'm so pleased to tell you that the pattern is now available in my Pattern Shop as well as on Craftsy!

The pattern you'll find in the Pattern Shop is exactly the way I made the quilt - all foundation paper piecing! I used Bonnie & Camille's beautiful Happy Go Lucky collection for this quilt, but it's a really versatile pattern that can look great with a scrappy approach, or even with a really monochromatic type of look to it.

My Ferris Wheel quilt

While the quilt is foundation paper pieced, once you get through the cutting, the piecing goes pretty quickly as the blocks are 18" finished, so it doesn't take too many to make yourself a nice big quilt. In the pattern, you'll find piecing and cutting information for four quilt sizes - baby, lap, twin, and queen/king. You'll also find a fun coloring page to give you an easy way to figure out how you'd like to plan out the colors for your blocks. It also makes a great activity for your littles :) My son still loves quilty coloring pages at six!

I love playing around with the different looks a quilt can have, and it's always breathtaking to me to see how different a quilt block can look when colored a different way. The Ferris Wheel pattern is no exception, and you can create a lot of interesting looks with this pattern.

Top row, L-R: Ferris Wheel in stunning solids, Ferris Wheel in Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater
Bottom row, L-R: Ferris Wheel in Meadow by Leah Duncan, Ferris Wheel in Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt

I had some fantastic pattern testers run through this pattern and make beautiful quilts of their own...
Lisa - on Instagram as @lisaquiltslikeaboss

Meli - at The Short Munchkin

Stephanie - on Instagram @yespositively and blogs at Stitch and Simmer

Thank you, ladies, for stitching through these blocks! They look fabulous!

To celebrate the release of this pattern, it is on sale this week only for $8, rather than the regular price of $10. There are three different foundation paper piecing templates in the pattern, in addition to detailed instructions as well as photographs and diagrams to make your piecing a breeze. You can pick up this pattern today in my Pattern Shop as well as on Craftsy. If you're a shop owner and are interested in stocking my paper patterns at your shop, please contact me directly at elizabeth(at)dontcallmebetsy(dot)com. Stay tuned for two more pattern releases before the month is over, and have a great day!
Friday, March 7, 2014

A winner and some Chain + Link variations!

It's been super fun to share about this week's new pattern in the Pattern Shop, Chain + Link. It's such a fun pattern to play around with. I couldn't help myself last night while watching the new episode of Suits (so glad it's back!), I came up with a few variations to give you some fun ideas of what you can do with the pattern...

New pattern in the shop - Chain + Link - Alternate Look #3 New pattern in the shop - Chain + Link - Alternate Look #1

New pattern in the shop - Chain + Link - Alternate Look #4New pattern in the shop - Chain + Link - Alternate Look #2

You can pick up the pattern on sale for $6 at my Pattern Shop as well as on Craftsy, through Sunday!

And I owe you a winner from last week's RJR giveaway - the winner is: Nancy! Congratulations, I've emailed you about your winnings!

Stay tuned on Monday for the next March Madness pattern release, I can't wait to share it with you! Have a great weekend :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
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