Saturday, December 31, 2011

A HAPPY New Year

Here's a sincere wish to all for a HAPPY New Year.  And if you ever find yourself feeling blue, just click on the little video below the calendar.  It's been viewed over 1,600,000 times on YouTube (you'll see why!)  It'll put a spring in your step and make you happy throughout the year.

Retro Poster Calendar 2012 by yumalum

The Jive Aces present: Bring Me Sunshine

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hello 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR (almost!) We're celebrating the arrival of 2012 by selecting our favorite tea towel calendars, which are perfect for the kitchen.  Thanks to Etsy and Spoonflower, there is a wonderful selection of artistic calendars to choose from.  What do you think about these?

2012 Birds and Berries Tea Towel Calendar by Lisa Ekström (California) at Spoonflower (also see the giclee art print on Etsy)

2012 Tea Towel Wall Calendar by Michelle Engel Bencsko (New Jersey) at Cicada Studio

The Four Seasons of 2012 by Isabel Chun (Hong Kong) at Spoonflower

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Tree

When all the leaves have fallen off the trees you can see the structure of the branches which stand out unadorned against the winter sky. Emma How has captured the elegance of the winter tree in her "Winter Harvest" quilt and pattern.  In this original design the spare beauty of the tree has been extended to the roots, which reach down into the snowy ground.

Winter Harvest, 19 x 22", by Emma How at Sampaguita Quilts (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

Emma quilted Winter Harvest in her signature "Emming style" to give the appearance of snowflakes swirling in the wind as shown in the detail photo below. 

At Sampaguita Quilts on Etsy you can purchase a beautiful Apple Falls art quilt or the quilt pattern to make your own tree. The pattern focuses on Winter Harvest but includes instructions for a Spring tree with delicate pink blossoms (shown below) along with an Autumn and Summer version.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Emma How.  She has been designing and making quilts for 15 years and has had many of her quilts published as projects in quilting magazines as well as feature profiles and articles. To read more about Emma's quilt designing and making, please visit her Sampaguita Quilts blog.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Four Seasons

We hope you have had a very happy holiday ! Depending on which hemisphere you live in - Northern or Southern - it is either winter or summer.  Here is a versatile little quilt we've admired for some time, as it can be made to suit any season. Designed by Cheryl Wittmayer, the lone tree sports a leaf canopy of sheer fabric that can be placed under or over the branches. Five fabrics out of your stash and ultra simple piecing compose the background.

Seasons- Winter, 28 x 30", by Cheryl Wittmayer at Sew Be It (Montana)

Seasons- Summer, 28 x 30", by Cheryl Wittmayer at Sew Be It 

Image credits
: Cheryl Wittmayer's love of fabric, and the creativity possible with quilting, replaced her original artistic choice of weaving 30 years ago. She teaches quilt classes locally and nationally. Many of her quilting patterns have been published and have won awards at art, fiber, and quilt shows. For the complete line of patterns visit Cheryl's website at Sew Be It.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

 Above:  "Santa's Day Off" by Dolls, Dreams and Other Things as seen at Quilting Books

Saturday, December 24, 2011

White Christmas

WE couldn't resist posting a few beautiful trees in honor of Christmas Eve. Here is "White Christmas", 40 x 42",  by Kellie Wulfsohn at Don't Look Now (Australia).  Her elaborate trees, which include "Oh Christmas Tree",  are among our favorite designs for Christmas.

 Oh Christmas Tree 47.5” x 59" by Kellie Wulfsohn at Don't Look Now, pattern at Twiddletails

And a red-and-white "Oh Christmas Tree" by Kellie Wulfsohn at Don't Look Now

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Gathering of Angels

Angels to watch over you, and angels to bring you messages of peace and love, at the holidays and throughout the New Year.  Here are patterns by talented artists who we have featured in 2011. Happy holidays to all of our fellow quilt lovers and blogger friends around the world.

Row 1: Let It Snow Angel by Diane McGregor at Castilleja Cotton;  Monterey Angel by Helene Knott as seen at Story Quilts; Angel of Light by Ravenwood Designs as seen at Quilters Treasure.
Row 2: Angel's Flight by Tracey Campbell at Top of the Range Designs; Flower Angel by Nina Lise Moen at Mrs. Moen Patterns; Winter Angel by Laurie Tigner at Laurie Tigner Designs
Row 3: Angel with Harp by Joan Bouwmeester and Debbie Bouwmeester-Fasek at Three Swans Studio; The Angel by Ursula Riegel at Designs to Share with You, wall hanging kit at Creative Quilt Kits

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The elegance of angels

We were amazed when we saw these elegant art quilts, which we discovered at Laurie Tigner Designs. Laurie has created a wonderful collection of patterns for seasonal angels. These angels will adorn your home with their beauty and gracious repose throughout the year.

Winter Angel, 16 x 40",  by Laurie Tigner at Laurie Tigner Designs (South Dakota)

The Winter Angel is part of Laurie's "Seasonal Angels"series, using Hoffman 1895 Handpaints batiks. However, this lovely classic design  lends itself to many different types of fabrics. There is a color template included so face and hands can be scanned and printed onto fabric on your inkjet computer. In addition, full size templates are provided. You can see the Spring, Summer and Autumn angels on Laurie's Angels Pattern Page.

Messenger Angel, 16 x 40", by Laurie Tigner at Laurie Tigner Designs

Here's a warm and welcoming angel with prominent wings and an intricate celtic knot border. This Messenger Angel is cradling a dove, the symbol of love, faith, and peace. She would make a striking decoration in a front entry hall. For a contemporary look, her robe could be done in royal purple, with a hot turquoise background and a silver celtic border.

Christmas Joy Angels, 17 x 45",  by Laurie Tigner at Laurie Tigner Designs

The Christmas angels are delightful in restful monochromatic blue. They would also look terrific in bright red tone-on-tone or Moda marbles fabric robes, with gold halos and trumpets, complemented by a spruce green background.

Laurie Tigner is in the midst of a very accomplished life, having worked as an art teacher, Air Force nurse, and now a quilt designer, pattern maker, and long arm quilter extraordinaire. Laurie writes, ......."it became clear that the design and flow of freehand machine quilting had become my new brushstrokes, satisfying my need for creative expression. Since then, I have expanded into designing my own patterns, though I still continue to quilt for others, as time allows."

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Laurie Tigner.  Fabric kits and instructions for some of  Laurie's enchanting Seasonal Angels are available at  Erica's Craft and Sewing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monterey angels

With all the stillness and serenity of a deep Christmas night, here's an angel shining brightly against the starry sky. This Monterey Angel quilt, known as the "Celestial Angel", with its beautiful winter colors, uses Amish patchwork piecing to achieve a clean, geometric effect that looks stunning in all types of decor.

Monterey Angel, approx 60" x 60", by Helene Knott as seen at Story Quilts

Ten fabric colors, including three different shades of periwinkle blue, are used to create this luminous work. Surrounding the angel is the traditional trip-around-the-world piecing along with time-honored sawtooth stars using half-square triangles. The halo, face, and hands can be appliqued using a variety of techniques.

Taos Angel version of Monterey Angel, approx. 60 x 60", by Helene Knott as seen at Story Quilts

Here is another version of the Monterey Angel, done in rich, warm terracotta colors with a regal red and sage green gown. Because these colors are so often used in the folk art of the southwestern United States,  Helene named this version the "Taos Angel", after the art town in New Mexico. 

On Helene's website she writes,   "I was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula in central California, a beautiful area that served as an inspiration to set me onto a creative path for life."  The town of Monterey was the capital of Alta California from 1777-1846, when California was under the control of Spain and Mexico. Helene was inspired to create the wall quilts shown here by the paintings of angels displayed each Christmas season, in Monterey, a reflections of  the town's cultural and artistic Spanish heritage.

Image credits: A very well-known, prolific quilt teacher, designer, and workshop leader, Helene has received many awards for her quilt creations, which have been featured on the cover of Quilter's Newsletter. For more information about Helene Knott and for photos of her brilliant work, please visit her intriguing website, Kitty Stomp. Images are shown here with the generous permission of Story Quilts.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Everyone needs an angel

Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The word "angel" actually comes from the Greek word aggelos, which means 'messenger'. Certain angels have the task of protecting and guiding human beings. Diane McGregor, the owner of Castilleja Cotton, believes that everyone needs an angel. Therefore she has created over a dozen charming patterns for angels that appear in human form.

Let It Snow Angel, 16.5 x 21",  by Diane McGregor at Castilleja Cotton (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

With Diane's easy patterns you could have an angel for every season.  The collection includes an Autumn Garden Angel, Spring Garden Angel, Garden Angel and Star Flowers and Winter Angel.

Asian Angel quilt kit, 16.5" x 21", by Diane McGregor at Castilleja Cotton

The Asian Angel is one of the unusual angels you will find.  There is also a Cowgirl Angel, completely decked out in Western attire and hat.  Finally, here is Diane McGregor's original (2003) Angel Quilt Pattern, 18 x 15".

To find all of the angels simply type in "angel" in the search box at Castilleja Cotton.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Diane McGregor.  Castilleja (ka_steel_ya) is the Latin name for the Indian Paintbrush flower, which can be found in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Castilleja Cotton has been in business since 1993 and has an eclectic selection of nearly 500 quilt patterns and themes. You can also find Diane's beautiful and original art quilts at her Castilleja Cotton Shop on Etsy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas and Hanukkah in Israel

Christmas in Israel generally coincides with Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light, which spreads a festive spirit across the land. The celebrations are about to begin. Hanukkah in Israel is widely celebrated and marked by many symbolic events and, of course, foods. The Festival of Light, Hanukkah is an eight day festival, a celebration of hope and freedom. Meanwhile, Christmas in Israel is is truly Christmas in the Holy Land. In the town of Bethlehem, magnificent services take place on Christmas Eve. Here are a few little quilts that remind us of the historical significance of Israel for both religions.

O Little Town of Bethlehem by Jenna Bruns at Cotton Patch Designs

How far is it to Bethlehem, detail, by Rachel W.N. Brown from the book Adoration Quilts - Appliqué Nativity Projects published by Martingale

Yonder Star by Ann Lauer at Grizzly Gulch Gallery (Montana)

Nativity Scene at Creations Sew Clever (Ohio)

This year Hanukkah begins on Tuesday, December 20, and ends at sunset on Wednesday, December 28. The festival of Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BCE. Upon re-entering the Temple, it was found that there was only enough oil for the menorah to last for one day. The miracle of Hanukkah was that the oil burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil. An eight day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle which is observed by the kindling of the lights of the Menorah. The festival is symbolized in these charming wall hangings.

Happy Hanukkah by Elizabeth Rosenberg, pattern at Dreidel

Home for Hanukkah, 32.5" x 57.5", by Cheryl Lynch at Cheryl Lynch Quilts. Featured in McCall's Quilting 2009

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas around the world: Japan

Do you wonder what Christmas is like in Japan? Since less than 1% of Japan's population is Christian, there is no Japanese national holiday on December 25. Instead,  Japanese people enjoy the pleasures of home and family as on any other day. Therefore we thought it appropriate to feature “My Home Town Tapestry” by designer Yoko Saito. This lovely quilt features the gentle taupe colors that have made her famous among quilters worldwide.

My Home Town Tapestry 108 x 98 cm by Yoko Saito at Quilt Party (Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan)

In 2008 Yoko Saito commemorated 30 years of creative activities with the Yoko Saito Quilt Exhibition in Ginza, Tokyo. In recent years, aside from her regular appearances on TV and in magazines in Japan, she has begun to expand her operations overseas, holding exhibitions and workshops in countries such as France, Italy and Taiwan.  The pattern book and kit for "My Home Town Tapestry", and much of the website, are available in English. You can even purchase tickets for the Tokyo International Quilt Festival 2012.  The amazing quilt on the show poster, below,  is by none other than Yoko Saito.

The official website of the Tokyo Quilt Show is at the Tokyo Dome.

Finally, Yoko Saito has teamed with Lecien (pronounced Lew-shen), a fabric manufacturer based in Japan, to produce fabrics from her favorite collections. Her Fall 2011 line, Etoffe Imprevue, consists of natural textures such as wood grain, basket weave and cross hatch, and tiny flowers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas around the world: US (Ohio)

Sue Spargo was born in Zambia and grew up in South Africa before moving to England and, in 1989, to the US. Her folk-art imagery reflects her multicultural background and her fascination with "primitive" arts and crafts from around the world. Inspiration comes from memories collected during her African childhood with its animals and grasslands, a sojourn in the green South of England and time spent in Connecticut, Tennessee, Utah and Ohio. Here is Sue's joyful "Crimson Tweed" for Christmas.

Crimson Tweed, 39 x 51", by Sue Spargo at Sue Spargo Folk-Art Quilts

This quilt was inspired by a few holiday cards which Sue bought in Italy. The backgrounds are wonderful tones of gray and taupe hand dyed wool interspersed by different textures using many Japanese cottons. The blocks are then appliquéd using a fun combination of wools, cottons and hand dyed velvet (a kit is available). A few stitches add dimension to many of the blocks.

About her fabrics, Sue says:  "I love to use solids as they are restful and lend themselves to layering and endless creativity. Adding colors of hand dyed wools and velvets add subtle textures you will never find in cotton fabrics."

Crimson Tweed was featured in the December 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting (see the announcement at Sue Spargo and Twee's Blog). The Crimson Tweed book also includes patterns for 4 holiday projects: a table rug, holiday birds and snowflake pillows.

Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Sue Spargo.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas around the world: The Netherlands

Jacqueline de Jonge of Be Colourful has a full time job as secretary in the Cardiology department of a large hospital.  At the same time she has achieved worldwide fame for her spectacular paper-pieced quilts.  Jacqueline has loved fabrics, drawing, embroidery and sewing since she was a child.  When she came across a quilt in a German magazine in 1978 she saw the way to utilize all of her accumulated skills. She taught herself to paper piece in 1998, and won her first award for best use of color in 2003. Several of her Be Colourful designs feature the colors of Christmas including Christmas Jewel, Joyful, and Surprisingly Red.

Surprisingly Red, 59" x 59", center medallion (below) by Jacqueline de Jonge at Be Colourful (Delft, The Netherlands)

Beautiful roses, soft pastels and warm reds are brought together in perfect harmony in this stunning quilt pattern. The center medallion, above, is a magnificent Mariner's Compass Star encircled by smaller stars done in 4 different designs. The medallion is surrounded by an undulating wave of skinny New York Beauty points (we counted nearly 500 points in the wave).

The quilt is called “Surprisingly Red” because "We were so incredibly surprised by the combination of warm red in this pastel colored fabric."  She goes on to tell the story: "I had the fabric with the large roses in my house for a long time. The beautiful roses and soft pastels were screaming for beautiful pink fabrics and combinations... Unfortunately the pinks did not justify my beautiful rose fabrics. In fact, it became a pale combination. We started to seach for other colour groups and we came up with red." Here is the quilt displayed in a cozy living room in front of the fireplace - the perfect Christmas setting.

Jacqueline's Be Colourful website offers English and Dutch language options. Her brother, Harm Jan de Jonge, handles her website and communications with customers.  For more information see a 2007 interview with Jacqueline de Jonge on the Press page, where you can also see the trailer for Jacqueline's recent appearance on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas around the world: New Zealand

Mary Metcalf, who owns Kiwiquilts, is passionate about patchwork and quilting. As a fourth generation Kiwi, Mary is extremely proud of her New Zealand heritage. Through her online shop she is able to bring a piece of New Zealand's unique scenery, design and flora to quilters throughout the world. Here you will find quilts featuring Pohutukawa, a native New Zealand coastal tree with spectacular dark crimson flowers that bloom just before Christmas, and the beloved Kiwi bird.

Kiwi Christmas Tree mini quilt, 15” x 15”, design by Jenny Hunter, pattern at Kiwiquilts (Auckland, New Zealand)

The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand, and the association is so strong that the term Kiwi is used all over the world as the colloquial name for New Zealanders. The Kiwi Christmas Tree mini quilt features flowers from the pohutukawa tree and, instead of the traditional angel, a gold kiwi presides over the tree. The first settlers used pohutukawa blossoms to decorate their homes at Christmas time, regarding it as a New Zealand substitute for holly. Here is a gorgeous Pohutukawa wall hanging that is one of the most popular patterns at Kiwiquilts:

Pohutukawa wall hanging, 80cm x 1.10m (31½” x 43½”), by Mary Metcalf at Kiwiquilts

The leaves are appliquéd either by hand or machine and the blossoms are very easy piecing; a fabric kit is available. We  also love Mary Metcalf's green and red Hibiscus wall hanging and her many Kiwiana quilts and fabrics.

These designs mean so much to us after our own trip to New Zealand earlier this year; see our article on Quilting in New Zealand and Quilting in New Zealand - part 2.

Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Mary Metcalf.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas around the world: Ecuador

From high up in the Andes mountains, in the city of Quito, Ecuador, Angie Padilla runs her own international business:  Angie's Quilt Pattern Shop. Angie set up her shop in 2003 to pursue her passion for quilting. She speaks English and Spanish (and German, French and Portuguese) and she previously had a successful 16-year career as a translator and interpreter. A creative designer and EQ* expert,  Angie describes herself as a self-learner: "I taught myself to sew and to quilt. And I taught myself how to draw." Her highly original designs are rich in colorful applique work, such as this magnificent Christmas Dove.

Christmas Dove, 34 x 43", design by Angie Padilla at Angie's Quilt Pattern Shop (Quito, Ecuador)

As the pattern description says, this lovely wall hanging is not for the faint of heart -- it has many, many pieces -- but it is definitely for the dedicated applique lover. We can't get enough of this highly stylized design. Here is another beautiful finished Dove:

At Angie's Bits 'n Pieces you can read more about the Christmas Dove here: dove progress, more sewing with friends, and one finished dove.  At her blog, Angie talks about what is personal: her family, friends, life in Ecuador, and her own passion for quilting. We loved reading this recent post about how she and her family celebrate Christmas (scroll to the bottom of the post to read the story).

*Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Angie Padilla. She is an Electric Quilt (EQ) expert and the designer of My Dream House, an EQ CD that allows you to create your own dream house with over 450 pieces. Also, you can learn how to draw applique designs in EQ with Angie's Applique Drawing Book.  Her  wonderful patterns can be found at Angie's Quilt Pattern Shop and you can see a gallery of quilts at Angie's Flickr photostream

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas around the world: Germany

On the edge of the land between Dortmund and Muenster is the town of Werne (an der Lippe - on the river Lippe). In town you will find the cozy Quilt Shop "Kaleidoskop". We discovered the quilt shop, and owner/designer Gabi Tietz, when we were searching for interesting and unique embroidery designs (which we found here). To our delight we discovered that Gabi also designs glorious, original quilts. Here is her beautiful new "Winter Tales".

Winter Tales by Gabi Tietz at All About My Quiltshop

"Winter Tales" sets a romantic winter mood with its cool blue and white prints and warm brown accents.  The quilt is embellished with sparkling rhinestones, making the scene downright frosty! Gabi's passion for embroidery comes through in her heartwarming 2011 BOM, Schnee-Herzen (snow hearts) which is one of our favorite redwork projects (click on the image to see the exquisite detail). 

Gabi explains that the Schnee Herzen design symbolizes a universal wish of all people to thaw (icy) hearts (Tauzeit für (Eis)Herzen). At her blog, About My Quiltshop, you can download Block 12 for free (for a limited time). You can see all the Schneeherzen patterns in her online shop here.

Speaking of "cozy", here is the front window of the quilt shop, showing more cheerful projects including a beautiful Friends for Christmas quilt and a cute Advent mini-quilt.

"A smile between two people can be a wonderful beginning."
~ Gabi Tietz

Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Gabi Tietz at All About My Quiltshop.  On the left sidebar of the site you will find a Google Translate button and on the right sidebar you will find links to tutorials.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas around the world: Australia

Bronwyn Hayes is an Australian artist whose beautifully executed stitchery and applique designs have made her popular around the world. Here's an album quilt which showcases the merriment and delight of Christmas, and the joys of home and giving. What could be more fun than these appliqued and embroidered blocks which feature many of the season's symbols in joyous celebration?

Gift Quilt, 53" x 55", by Bronwyn Hayes at Red Brolly (Canberra, Australia)

In Gift Quilt, Bronwyn has used Moda's "French General" fabric in the Oo La La and Pom Pom de Paris lines to create a pattern that bursts with happiness. Look carefully, and you will see a Santa Claus, an angel, a busy shopper, a jolly snowman, a chorus line of gingerbread men, and so much more. The border of prairie points makes a very stylish (and stash-busting) border. We loved this cozy home with the red roof, surrounded by cheerful hearts, a bluebird of happiness, an an embroidered pine tree:

In an interview in Australian Homespun, Bronwyn Hayes talks about Christmas as a season to join family and friends and to use her favorite color, red, in designs which honor this holiday. She is renowned for her redwork embroidery, and she says:  "I love the strength of line and the vibrancy that I can achieve when I stitch with red thread".

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Bronwyn Hayes.  You can find all of her patterns, tutorials, and links to stockists at Red Brolly and the latest news on the Red Brolly Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas around the world: Norway

Nina Lise Moen lives in Stavanger, Norway where she shares her life with her husband, their grown up daughter and grandson. Mrs. Moen comes from a long line of creative and highly skilled needle workers and seamstresses. She says, "I am first and foremost a quilter and have designed my own quilts since I started quilting a few hundreds of quilts ago*."   Her "Urban Christmas" was inspired by her home town of Lillehammer, where all Christmases seemed to be white. The town is known for its beautiful old wooden houses.

Urban Christmas, by Nina Lise Moen at Mrs. Moen Patterns

We love the steam rising from the chimneys, and the stars twinkling in the night sky...

What is both wonderful and clever about this project is that the pattern package contains not just one, but 6 different applique designs and 5 projects: a wall hanging, a julepost (with a handy vinyl pocket for displaying Christmas cards), table runner, advent calendar, and pillow. You can mix & match the applique motifs and projects as you wish! Here is "Christmas at the Cabin"....

and a cheerful blue Santa with his snowy white beard....

The other mix-and-match motifs include a beautiful angel girl, Frosty the snowman (and his feathered friends) and Santa's cats. For more information about Mix and Match for Christmas, see Mrs. Moen's blog post and class samples and her pattern page.

*Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Nina Lise Moen. You can read an interview with Mrs. Moen at Feathered Fibers.  Also, we previously featured her adorable funky bird patterns in a post on Cute Quilts for Kids.
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