Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Introducing Something To Crow About Collection from Benartex

As a Benartex Brand Ambassador, I'm super excited to share one of my latest projects featuring the Something To Crow About collection by David Galchutt with you.  I've named it Barnyard Bliss! 


As some of you know, I'm a Midwest farm gal so any fabric with cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and barns has my attention right away.   For this smaller lap-sized throw, I started my design process with the panel that is part of the collection. 

I squared and used the larger rooster section of the panel for the center area of the quilt and fussy-cut the four barn scenes so they could be pieced as cornerstones for the outer border of the quilt.  

To keep the panel as the focal point of the quilt, I brought in two of the prints from the collection as the other fabrics.  The bright yellow print brings a bit of punch to the quilt and serves as the perfect accent color while the blue print is the grounding neutral. 

Since I live in a rural area with lots of farms, I thought this corn field was the perfect backdrop for the photo shoot! 

Be sure to check with your local quilt shop or favorite online retailer to purchase the Something to Crow About panel and collection.  

I can't wait to see what you make! 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Benartex's Winter At The Farm Collection + Virtual Fabric Show

 As many of you know, I'm a Midwest farm girl so when the 2023 Benartex Brand Ambassadors were selecting collections for Christmas in July, I was quick to pick Winter At The Farm by Dianna Swartz.  I absolutely love it.  Big red barns, cows, sows, cardinals and tractors bring back so many memories of my childhood. 

The Winter at the Farm collection is based around a panel featuring the Snow Hill Farm and the coordinating fabrics can bring a variety of colorways - gray, red, green and black.  

For my project, I opted to go with a red and gray colorway so that I can keep using the throw even after all the Christmas quilts have been put away.  So don't be surprised if it's April and I'm still snuggled under this one!  :) 

As I designed and made the quilt, I simply added borders around the panel.  Plain borders, pieced borders, more plain borders and fussy cut border fabric followed by another round of plain borders.  The border print in the collection makes it look much more difficult than it really was. 

I mitered the corners to give the illusion that the tractors were driving around the quilt.  

If you want to learn more about the Winter At The Farm collection as well as the other new collections from Benartex, be sure to join us for the Christmas in July Virtual Fabric Show on Tuesday July 25, 2023. 

I hope you will join the Virtual Fabric Show and see all the new collections, meet the designers and the ambassadors.   Here is the direct link to register.  

I hope you can join us and be sure to check with your local quilt shop or favorite online retailer to purchase your favorite collection.  I can't wait to see what you make! 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Introducing Porch Swing by Pat Sloan for Benartex

As a Benartex Brand Ambassador, I'm excited to share my latest project with you using the Porch Swing fabric collection designed by Pat Sloan.  In addition to Fat Quarters, the collection is available in all precut favorites - 10" squares,  2-1/2" strips as well as 5" squares. 

For my project, I opted to use fat quarters.  Don't you just love this color combination?  Purple is my favorite color and the teals really make things pop!  I love the gradation from light to dark and black is the perfect accent color. 

I think the hardest part was deciding what project that I wanted to make.  I know, we all struggle with that somedays.  When I'm designing patterns I tend to work in spurts and design a lot of patterns and then come back to them sometimes weeks, months or even years later with new fabric combinations.  These images live in a file folder on my desktop aptly named "Designs Not Accepted" meaning that haven't been accepted for magazine or book publication.  As I was looking through the images I came across this applique project that caught my eye.  In my design software (EQ8), I did some tweaking and came up with this design. 

My next step was to pull fabrics that would fit in each section of the design. 

Since I really wanted to focus on the fabrics and the quilting with this project, I chose to use raw-edge fusible applique to make the piecing part quick and easy.  I printed the motif and created template shapes to trace onto the fusible web with paper release.  For this project I used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 from The Warm Company. 

Essentially this project is a whole cloth applique quilt since there is no piecing of the background fabric.  How about that for quick and easy?  I started with a 42" x 42" piece of Benartex Color Weave in Light Gray which compliments perfectly with the Porch Swing collection. 

To get my orientation lines for the applique, I folded the fabric square in quarters and then on the diagonal and pressed all the fold lines.   And yes, real life is happening here - my ironing board cover is looking pretty dingy!  

I then positioned all applique shapes in the appropriate places using my printed motif as a guide. The motif on the left shows how I sort the shapes into a general placement. On the right, you can see what the final placement looks like.  When satisfied with the placement, then I iron them in place.   

Next comes the fun part ... the quilting!  For this project I skipped the step of securing the appliques with a machine blanket stitch or zig zag satin stitch.  Instead I am using the longarm to stitch close to the edge of each shape while quilting.  Talk about quick and easy! 

I'm using a varigated thread in similiar colors to the collection and stitching less than 1/8" from the edge of each shape.  I'm not striving for absolutely perfect stitch placement, rather I'm looking for an organic, natural appearance. 

Next is the background fill ... something that truly makes my heart happy. I stitched a mix of swirls, echos and wavy lines to create a lot of movement all over the piece.  The stitching is less than 1/2" apart so it lies very flat.  To help with the flat look I used Warm 80/20 batting from The Warm Company.  This batting gives perfect stitch definition without being bulky.  

As I quilted around the appliques I adjusted the size of the quilting motifs to fit and balance with the shapes.  To keep a monochromatic look, I used a white thread to quilt the background. 

After the quilting was finished I trimmed the edges of the quilt, I had to make the decision whether to finish it as square or to do something special with the edges.  Well, I rarely miss and opportunity to do something special so I decided to scallop the outer edges to give it a really fun look that contrasts with the harder lines of the applique.  When I got it finished, I knew I had made the right decision. 

I absolutely love all the movement the quilting created and the Porch Swing collection provided just the right amount of contrast to really make the design pop.  I can't wait to see what you make with this collection. 

So if you have been paying attention, I've been referring to this as a "project" not a wall hanging or a table topper.  I'm undecided on how to use it.   Can you help me out?  Leave a comment and let me know if you would use it as a wall hanging or a table topper.  

Monday, February 13, 2023

Chickadee Blog Hop

I'm super excited to be part of the Chickadee Blog Hop.  This fabric line designed by Heide Pridemore of The Whimsical Workshop for Island Batik is so amazing.  I love all the bright, bold colors! 

For the blog hop, I remade my popular Stacked Deck quilt using the precut 10" squares from the Chickadee collection and paired them with a neutral for maximum contrast.  

I love how the colors pop against the drab winter grass.  Of course, Ruby, my Corgi had to get in on the action too and help with the photoshoot.   It was so cold, as you can tell by the frosted grass, on the day I took photos that I was ready to wrap up in the quilt!  

Here's the original version of Stacked Deck, also made with Island Batik fabrics, and I'm not sure which one I like better.  Patterns for Stacked Deck are available using this link.  You will need just 1 package of precut 10" squares and 3-1/2 yards of coordinating yardage for the background.  I can't wait to see the version you make. 

Be sure to check out all the amazing projects that the blog hop designers have made!  Talk about eye candy :)  Below are direct links to each post. 












You can purchase the Chickadee collection at your local quilt shop or favorite online retailer.