Monday, January 15, 2018

Pieceful Pines Quilted

It's a snowy day here in suburban Chicago and the clouds make for a good day to photograph the quilting of my Pieceful Pines quilt.  
While the dim lighting is great for capturing the quilting details, keep in mind it makes the fabrics look much darker than they are.  
Pieceful Pines is not your usual Christmas quilt in that I chose and designed fabrics that still look historic, not full of Christmas-y motifs.  So, when my quilter and dear friend, Ronda and I were searching for quilting designs, I didn't want a lot of Christmas quilting designs either.
Ronda found lots of really cool designs.  I love feathers which look awesome in the red part of the Log Cabin blocks, and really love the spray design she chose for the other half.  I think the straight lines give nice juxtaposition to the soft rounds of the feathers....and it kinda reminds me of gingerbread molding.

This little design reminded me of two things....a snowflake and the Spirograph I used to play with as a kid!  It isn't overly Christmas-y and fits in nicely....I think.
The center wreath and star blocks have some other gorgeous designs.  I love this center.  It would make an awesome table topper centerpiece all by itself.  
I hope sharing our quilting designs will help you with ideas when your Pieceful Pines BOM is completed.  

Pieceful Pines begins in April and will end in November, just in time for next Christmas!!

Please ask for Pieceful Pines at your local quilt shop!  

A little birdy told me to say you really might like to check my blog on Friday morning.   Something special may be coming your way!

Just sayin.....

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Winter Means Soup's On!

I seem to be deep into 'design mode' these days and that means I don't have a lot to show you right now.  Bummer!  But...that means there will be lots to share in the coming months.

We've been in the deep freeze here these last few weeks, and with my family, it means warming up over a hearty bowl of soup on those cold wintry days.  If you're like me, you enjoy the way the house smells with a cozy pot of soup on the stove.  

So...I thought I'd share one of my favorite soup concoctions ~ Minestrone!
The thing that puts this soup over the edge are tiny meatballs.  Oh...they are so yummy!!  

Making the meatballs are the only real work in this soup.  One pot is all that is needed for this soup so there aren't a lot of dishes to clean up either.  Win, Win!!

I made my meatballs a bit larger than a marble. They will shrink some when cooked and I just want them to fit on the spoon.  

The rest of the soup ingredients are dumped into the pot.  Even the pasta is uncooked when added and cooks in the broth!  Sweet!!
Garnish the Minestrone with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Better yet is the shredded Five Italian Cheese blend from Kraft.  That cheese blend is truly awesome!!  

Hope that warms your tummy!  Enjoy.

Click here for the recipe.  

I have my Pieceful Pines quilt back from my quilter friend Ronda now,  Oh, the quilting!!  I'll  have photos of the quilting to share with you next time.  

Until a friend to your needle and thread.  

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Enjoying A Slower Pace

Now that the holidays are over (which I enjoyed immensely!) we can begin to enjoy life at a slower pace.  I don't mind the winter months for just that reason.   Well...and I enjoy all four seasons, which helps a lot, especially since we're living in a Polar Vortex here in the Midwest.  But...I digress....

That slower pace also opens up some free time which I took advantage of this past week or so.  The little Nine Patch quilt you see has been a work-in-progress (Yes, UFO!) for more than a year.  Sad to say but I only needed five more little Nine Patches to complete the quilt as of Christmas 2016!!  Sorry to admit that it took a year to make five Nine Patch blocks and choose the setting fabrics and border.  I'm betting you have a project or two that is very close to being done, just waiting its turn.  New Years Day was quiet here, so I finished this little quilt and I'm so jazzed about it!!  I'm thinking a couple of the blocks are too dark now that I can look at it all done, but it's done, so it's staying that way!! 

In between the preparing for and enjoying the holidays, I have been very busy working on my 2019 block-of-the-month program.  It really does take more than a year to design the quilt, all the fabrics, break it down into monthly segments and several fabric shipments, write and test the directions, make the quilt and print and stuff all the patterns for the program.  I completed the fabric designing yesterday, so all my notes and samples will ship to my art director at Marcus next week.  It sure feels good to have that portion done!!  (Happy Dance)

That means several other projects waiting their turn have now made it to the top of the To-Do list.  Always fun to begin something new, and I'm happy to report that exciting things are coming.  (Watch for a new promotion from me around the 20th of January...just for you! )

In the meantime, I hope life has slowed down a bit for you as relax, enjoy and take it all in.  I'm going to prepare a few hand-stitching projects that I can work on in the evenings.  And, maybe I'll be able to complete another UFO tomorrow.  Now that would be wonderful.  I know just the project, too!  Another Nine Patch quilt that only need just one applique block and will  be ready to complete.  Hhmmm.....tempting...very tempting. 

Hope you find time to do what makes your heart sing!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Bring In The New Year!

Wishing everyone a blessed and wonderful New Year!

May the coming year bring you good health, prosperity and good times with family and friends. 

I am looking forward to some exciting things happening at Heartspun Quilts,  and I sincerely thank you for your support which allows me to continue bringing fun quilty things for your stitching pleasure!

May the world be fill with peace, understanding, forgiveness, graciousness, kindness and caring for one another.  

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thank you for supporting my patterns and fabric, for reading my blog, and most of all for your wonderful and encouraging blog comments and emails.  

It all allows me to keep bringing you fun quilty projects for your stitching pleasure.  

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!  

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Quilts and Cookies

My Letters From Grace quilt made with all of the fabrics from my new Tall Grass fabrics is  bound and ready for cuddling.
My quilter friend, Ronda, added her magic and made the quilt all the more special.  
If you're like me, you're always looking for quilting ideas, so I though I'd share what we chose for this quilt.
When designing Tall Grass, I made sure to have a nice range of greens from lights to darks and some with added colors and textures.  For some reason, green is a color that we use a lot, especially in applique, but is a color that is not always available in a nice range on shop shelves at any given sure to add some to your collection!

Tall Grass will be delivered to your local quilt ship in January....just a few short weeks from now.  Yay....I can't wait!
The hustle and bustle of the season is well upon us and I'm sure you're making last minute preparations for the holiday festivities.  My daughter Nicki and I bake loads of cookies and make up trays of assorted cookies for our family and friends.  
This cookie, Chocolate Walnut Crumb Barsis one of my favorites, is super easy to make, even at the last moment when time is short.  Let's face's good anytime of year!  
Click here for the Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bar recipe.  It's full of chocolatey goodness!

My studio is closed until next week so I can just concentrate on enjoying the holiday.  Today, we will spend the day in the kitchen (as most of us will) making the last two cookies, and preparing to make two pans of my great-grandma Battaglia's lasagna.  Oh my's wonderful, but loads of work.  While I'm in the middle of it all, I may as well make two pans and freeze one to enjoy later.  The house will smell sssoooooo good!  

Hoping all your holiday plans are full of yummy food with family and friends.  Enjoy the doubt you've worked hard to make it all happen.  

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tall Grass Will Be In Quilt Shops Soon!

In just a few short weeks, my newest fabric collection, Tall Grass, will arrive at your local quilt shop.  

Eleven yummy shades of green prints accompanied by seven assorted light prints round out the collection that are sure to be a welcome addition to your stash!  

Click here to see all of the Tall Grass prints.

I remade my Letters From Grace quilt pattern using all the prints in the Tall Grass collection.  I'll post more photos of the quilt, the quilting and the fabric collection in a few weeks when they arrive here.  

Please ask for Tall Grass and my Letters From Grace pattern at your local quilt shop.  SO important to support your local shop!! 

Last week, I took a poll asking which holiday(s) you made quilted projects.  Here's the ranking of your answers:

(Participants were allowed more than one answer)

69% made Christmas projects
52% made Fall/Halloween projects
37% made Snowman or Winter theme projects
24% made Patriotic projects
8% made Easter or Spring projects
7% made Valentine projects

Any surprises in those stats for you?  I am surprised that only 24% made patriotic projects.  I would have thought that much higher.  

Off to bake a batch of cookies!  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pine Tree Love

I'm so happy to report that my new Pieceful Pines Block of the Month quilt top is pieced and now in the hands of my friend and quilter, Ronda.  We have chosen the designs for the quilt and she's adding her magic.  (More photos when the quilt returns home.)  In my haste to get the quilt to Ronda, I failed to take photos of the quilt blocks to show you.  Geez, I hate when I forget important things like that....but, oh well.  What can I do?

I made an extra block to show you how cute the Pine Tree blocks are.  Hope you like it.  

The Pieceful Pines fabric collection is now on the Marcus Fabrics website.  Click here to see all the Pieceful Pines prints.

The quilt measures 80" x 80" and is an 8 month program.  Please ask for Pieceful Pines at your local quilt shop!!  Program begins in April, 2018 and is finished in November.  Perfect timing as it's just in time to have it quilted for cuddling under next Christmas! 
I am curious about the seasonal quilts we all make.  Are you like me and wish you had more seasonal quilts when it's time to celebrate a season or holiday?  We all suffer from so-many-projects-so-little-time that we just can't make them all.  I know this last Halloween, I wished I had more black and orange quilts to display, and the same thing is happening now with Christmas.

So....I added a little poll to my blog sidebar.  I'd love to hear which holidays you celebrate with quilts!!  You can click here to vote - just look for the poll at the top of the right-hand side bar.  I'll post the results on Monday.  

In the meantime, I hope you are getting to enjoy every moment of this holiday season!  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pieceful Pines Sample Fabric Arrives!

The doorbell rang last Friday and a yummy package was left on the front porch.  My sample yardage for my newest fabric collection, Pieceful Pines arrived!!  Let the sewing begin!
Here's a first look at all the prints in the collection.
Being the traditional quilter that I am, I'm not a person who enjoys "Christmas print" fabrics with Santas and big snowflakes and the like.   
I prefer to stick to the historic prints I love to make my holiday quilts...the same way our 19th century quilting ancestors did.
I do look for prints that will reflect the feeling of the season, but could easily be used in a another quilt for any purpose.

As usual...the colors are somewhat off due to my talent for taking poor photos.  Is there a magic camera that will help me?  I should ask Santa about that!

I have to admit that it's really fun to be piecing a holiday quilt during the month of December.  Christmas is everywhere and I sure have the holiday spirit going on in my studio.  

I'll be sure to post some photos of the blocks very soon.  Hope you like the fabrics!

My Pieceful Pines Block of the Month will begin in April, so please ask for it at your local quilt shop.  

Hope your days are merry and bright!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tiny Little Two-Patches

My studio is humming with all kinds of new things happening.  My new BOM fabric, called Pieceful Pines, was delivered and we're starching and cutting to begin sewing the blocks and testing the pattern.  (I'll have more to show you about Pieceful Pines very soon!)

In the meantime, when I have a few minutes here and there, I am piecing tons - TONS - of these little Two Patches.  One inch squares.  I have a future quilt in mind for these babies!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in my little Half Square Triangle poll.
Here are the results...

Question:  When I make Half Square Triangles, I......

13% said I use the traditional method
12% said I use triangle papers
75% said I make it larger and trim it to size

So very interesting, I think.  

Make some time for know you want to!

Be well....

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Quilting Essentials ~ Half Square Triangles

If you're like me, you make hundreds, if not thousands, of Half Square Triangles in a year.  They are an essential block in many of my quilts.  I love them and don't mind making them at all since I began making them larger and trimming them down many, many years ago.
The truth is they are a staple of my designs, and I have future projects planned using tons of them, so I keep an ongoing flow of scrappy Half Square Triangles through my machine.  While working with the fabrics of other projects, I always cut 2 1/2 inch squares of whatever light and dark prints I'm working with and add them to the ongoing pile.
I sew them Leader and Ender style (thanks, Bonnie!) and can accumulate a big pile fairly quickly.
If I'm organized (and truth be told, I have not been lately!), the HST's go into this bin sorted by color.  From here, they can be trimmed to whatever size I need.  
I love, love, love blocks I can trim to perfection, and this is my tool of choice to do just that.
If you're not familiar with the Bloc Loc rulers, they are wonderful because they have a channel carved out of the ruler which accommodates the bulk of the seam allowance.  It "locks" onto the seam which makes it stable, and the ruler doesn't rock back and forth on the seam when you're trimming it!  Wonderful!
The other thing I love is how easy it is to read,  and it trims any Half Square Triangle in 1/8th inch measures to any size smaller, making it a great value.

I strive to be a precision quilter and this tool gives me great results.  I don't like a whole lot of notions and rulers, but if it really performs, is versatile and not too expensive, I'm all for it.

That said.....if you get great results you're happy with using papers or piecing the traditional way, don't change a thing!!  

I'm not affiliated in any way to Bloc Loc, and the hints I share in my Quilting Essentials posts are just my opinion.  

If you'd like to give Bloc Loc rulers a try, please ask for them at your favorite local quilt shop!  It's so very important to support your local shop.  If you can't find them there, you can find them on my website.  

Click here to read more about the Bloc Loc rulers.

And....I am curious to which method is your favorite for making Half Square Triangles?  

I have a poll on the sidebar of my blog where you can cast your vote.  If you receive my blog posts via email, click here to go to the poll and vote for your favorite method.  (Poll ends 11/26/17)  It will be so fun to see what the most popular method is for all of us (world wide!)

Hope in some way the information I have shared will help you.  Your comments are welcome and if you have something you'd like me to write about in future Quilting Essentials blog posts, I'd like to know that as well.  

I'm off to spend the rest of the day sewing!  Yay!  Hope you get some time to sew as well.  Be well...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cleaning House Is A Good Thing!

A Prairie Gathering BOM
I received a call from the good folks at Marcus Fabrics to say they were doing some housekeeping and found some treasures!!  

They found a couple of A Prairie Gathering complete kits!!

They also found a couple of Star Spangled Liberty complete kits!!  

WOW!!!  What treasure to find!

If you missed your opportunity to participate, you now have a second chance to grab one of these rare finds for yourself.  

They are specially priced, include all of the original fabrics and also include the complete pattern set!!  

Don't wait!  

Click here to order yours today!