Quilt Play · Rose Cards · villa rosa designs

Flowers, Electric Quilt, and NEW Villa Rosa Designs Rose Card Quilt Patterns

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I hope you are all having a great week so far! Me, it’s been a bit rocky in my basement studio/office, which I fondly call my “dungeon.” After a really dry July, early August has been really wet. And I mean wet!

In 5 days, water has rolled into my studio casement window THREE TIMES! In 5 days! I have spent most of my time emptying the dehumidifier, moving fans around, washing-drying-rewashing-drying again all the blankets we’ve been able to find for soaking up the water. ARGH! Luckily, the water didn’t completely flood my space, it only got about halfway across the room, almost to my computer desk. It’s been kind of stressful here. I shouldn’t be complaining because others are faring much worse than I am, but it’s been a lot of work to stay on top of the water once the deluges hit. Talking to my family, we don’t think this much flooding in the basement has happened in 20 years. What a fluke (I hope).

Now let’s turn our thoughts to something really fun and seasonal. Sadly, our container garden and other plants did not grow much during the super dry month of July, but all of a sudden everything is growing by leaps and bounds, although the marigolds don’t look so happy.

We planted our garden and plants a bit late this year and now that things are finally growing like crazy, I just hope that they’ll have enough time to bear fruit (or veggies). I would really like some fresh produce that I grew myself on the back porch! Yum yum yummy!

Speaking of flowers and plants, I’m particularly proud of my Black-Eyed Susans, which is one of my all-time favorite flowers, along with Sunflowers and Daisies. I wonder……how many Black-Eyed Susan, Sunflower, and Daisy quilt blocks are there in Electric Quilt 8. Any guesses? Hmm. I haven’t checked yet, so I think I’ll guess 35 total. So let’s see! Hang on, I’ll be right back. Let me check.

I found 6 Black-Eyed/Brown-Eyed Susan quilt blocks. Not too shabby!

Next I counted 34 Sunflower blocks. Nice!

And then I discovered at least 40 Daisy blocks. Way cool!

Well, my guess was a bit low. How about your guess?

Sew, let’s have some fun and play with flower blocks a little bit!

Here are some really fun quilts with Black-eyed Susan blocks. EQ8 ROCKS!

Check out these awesome Sunflower quilts — are you inspired yet???

Now, how about a trio of Daisy quilts?

WOW! I really love love love EQ8 — it is sew sew fun just to explore different blocks and make quilts on the computer screen, whether I ever make them into real quilts or not!

Aren’t you inspired to make your own flower quilt now? I challenge you to create a quilt featuring your favorite flower! I dare you!

I’d love to revisit flower quilts down the road and include the quilts of our VRD fans. Sew, please send me your flower quilts — er, a photo of your flower quilt along with a short description/story of your quilt. If I choose your quilt and story for the blog, I promise I’ll send you a little surprise in the mail! You can email your flower quilt images to me at tricia@villarosaquilts.com.

NEW AUGUST VILLA ROSA DESIGNS ROSE CARDS

Yay! It’s that time of the month again — no, not THAT time of the month. LOL! It’s the beginning of a new month and that means a NEW collection of Villa Rosa Rose Cards!

Here they are — our new August Rose Cards!

You can order the August set of 5 Rose Cards HERE. Go ahead, I know you want to.

But wait — there’s more! Tehehe.

Here’s my NEW August Table Runner, Slice of Summer.

Cute, huh? You can get your own Slice of Summer Rose Card HERE.

Sew, there you have it — our awesome new August patterns! Can’t wait to see what new patterns next month will bring…….

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Quilting Partners · Rose Cards · villa rosa designs

Quilting Partners

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed on the right side of the blog that we’ve been adding links under our new “Quilting Partners” heading.

Here at VRD, we’ve been working hard to make connections with other industry professionals, organizations, and companies and this “Quilting Partners” section is a growing list of professionals, organizations, and companies we are working with.

Today, I thought I’d talk a little bit about our quilting partners (in crime — LOL!).

As you know, our Rose Card patterns really rock — besides being beginner friendly, they feature easy piecing and often popular precuts. Besides, they are fun projects with an attractive price. And they are not only for beginners, either — more advanced quilters find them just as appealing and addicting! A lot of quilters use our patterns for their charity quilts as well as gift-giving, and even projects for themselves (once in a while, anyway). Thanks to the creative genius behind Villa Rosa Designs — our very own Rose Queen, Pat Fryer — Rose Cards are some of the most popular quilt patterns out there!

That being said, fabric companies as well as other quilting businesses are starting to jump aboard our Rose Card party train.

Hoffman California International Fabrics

I’ve personally been having lots of fun with Hoffman recently, creating images featuring their new fabric collections in our Rose Card patterns! Check out the PDF below. This PDF shows quilt shops how to kit up the three patterns, Hillside Charm, Addison, and Remember Me using the Hoffman digital collection, Wading with Water Lilies. This a great help for quilt shops because it even tells you the level, how long a class would be, where to purchase the patterns, as well as what to put into kits. You can find this downloadable PDF and more on the Hoffman website.

This was definitely one of my favorite Hoffman collections to play with. Wading with Water Lilies will be available in quilt shops this fall, so you can be sure that there will be kits out there at your favorite quilt shops as well as yardage. Don’t forget to grab yours!

Buy the patterns here:

Hillside Charm Pattern

Addison Pattern

Remember Me Pattern

Keepsake Quilting

Who doesn’t love the gorgeous fabrics, great supplies, and fun notions available at Keepsake Quilting??? Well, I have secret to share with you. SHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone……. Oh all right, go ahead and share, we don’t mind.

Keepsake offers lots of fun Fabric Collections of the Month Clubs. Have you ever tried any of their awesome fat quarter clubs???? They have many to choose from —

Beautiful Basic Medley of the Month

Hoffman Medley of the Month

Standard Club Medley of the Month

Bali Medley of the Month

19th Century Medley of the Month

Circa 1930 Medley of the Month

Moda Medley of the Month

Kaufman Medley of the Month

With all of these awesome Fat Quarter Clubs, there really is something for every quilter out there! And what fun it is to receive a surprise fabric collection in the mail every month (I call them squishies). Now the cool thing is that several of the above medleys include a free pattern. Yep, you guessed it — you might find a Villa Rosa Rose Card tucked into your fat quarter medley of the month.

FreeSpirit Fabrics

Are you familiar with Tim Holtz the designer? You’ll find him in the scrapbooking and papercrafting aisle of your local craft store, but you’ll also find him in your favorite quilt shop, too. His style is sew unique!

Here’s a PDF of my Rose Card pattern 2M featuring 3 different Tim Holtz fabric collections. Not only does it show you the gorgeous moody fabrics in the quilt design, it also shows fabric requirements for the quilt and where to buy the pattern, making it a snap for quilt shops to kit up the pattern and fabrics.

Here are some more Rose Cards featured on FreeSpirit’s website:

Buy the patterns here:

2M Pattern

Eazy Piezy Pattern

Baby Goose Pattern

Random Shuffle Pattern

Clothworks

Clothworks is already a big fan of Villa Rosa Rose Cards. You can find lots of Rose Card patterns on their website showcasing their gorgeous fabric collections.

Here’s an example from their Sleepy Time collection featuring the Journey Rose Card pattern. I love how they show the pattern front in the center between the 2 quilt samples. Again, this download shows a quilt shop how to kit up the pattern and the fabrics.

You can check out more of our Villa Rosa patterns at Clothworks HERE.

Buy the pattern here:

Journey Pattern

These are just some of the wonderful companies we are working with right now. Since we are making new connections all the time, I bet there will more Quilting Partners soon. So stay tuned (and don’t forget to check our Quilting Partners list on the blog for updates).

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Quilt Stories · Rose Cards · villa rosa designs

Food, Quilting, and Math

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

Now that the summer season is almost 2/3rds over, I hope you are taking the time to have a little fun, whether that means having a cookout in the backyard or going on a vacation somewhere exotic, make time to have fun with your loved ones.

Me, I love summer cookouts, picnics, and family reunions! Yes, I know these events are all usually about the food, but if you knew my family, you would understand that food is always a central part of any event or get-together. Over the years, I have tried to incorporate quilting into these events, too. Usually, I take along some portable hand-sewing project — binding or hexies. This is a great way to break the ice from starting a conversation with a far away relative or someone new. Quilting brings people together, just like food. And I am deliriously happy when I can have both together!

We even have snacks at my quilt guild meetings! Do you like my vase of wildflowers? I picked them from alongside the road.

Quilting and Math

I am thrilled that I’ve been getting some quality time with my sewing machine recently. Finally. And every time I design a quilt on my computer using Electric Quilt 8 software and then create the quilt in fabric, I am still completely amazed that everything goes together!

Quilting is simply a form of math. Have you ever thought about it that way? Every time we use a ruler, a template, or follow a pattern, it’s all about the math. Maybe we don’t have to do all the figuring when using patterns or templates because someone already did the math for us, but it’s still all math.

My stash of rulers.

I find it ironic that after all these years, I work in a field that is so completely immersed in math. I can still remember all the struggling I did to understand math after I finished Algebra 2 in 8th grade. Geometry was a total disaster for me. Why did I have to prove that a square was truly a square? Ugh. Thank goodness for teachers like Mrs. Hank, who was my math teacher for 5 out of 6 years of high school (excluding that awful year in geometry). Mr.s Hank would be totally amazed that I do math everyday. And I even like it. Now.

Thanks, Mrs. Hank!

Later as an undergraduate at Allegheny College, a private liberal arts school, I found the only science/math cluster available that did not require taking any math classes — archaeoastronomy! My cluster of 3 classes included 2 astronomy classes and a physics course with a lab component. It was like I was allergic to math for a long long time and suddenly quilting cured my allergy! I am not afraid to say — I LIKE MATH. I’m thinking of getting a t-shirt made to celebrate quilting and math……what do you think?

As a quilt designer, when I start a new project, I fire up my Electric Quilt software. I usually start with a favorite simple quilt block in a friendly size because not only do I detest measurements like 5 and 7/16th, but why would a design a project that requires that kind of cutting measurement in the first place? No one would buy my patterns. To see more about my design process, go HERE.

Once I’m satisfied with my design, I print out the cutting information from EQ8 and I get started making the project. While I make the project, I write down notes such as how many strips to cut in what size. Then after I make the project, I write the pattern. Through this process, I’m using lots and lots of math! Yes, I actually have to write the pattern, EQ8 does not do that, it’s up to the designer to translate the design into words.

Here at Villa Rosa Designs, I create diagrams and write patterns for other designers or for special projects. Sometimes I have to sit down with my pencil, paper, and a calculator to figure out or double check the math. Quilting and math go hand-in-hand. Without math, there wouldn’t be any quilting!

I find it a little sad and quite humorous at the same time that historically, quilting has been considered to be a woman thing. Today, more and more men are getting involved in quilting, whether as designers or as makers. They have discovered the amazing partnership between math and creativity/art that quilting offers. And besides, quilting is for everyone!

So for the rest of the summer, make sure you have some fun.

Eat. Quilt. And do math.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

VRD Daring Spirit Quilt Tutorial

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I hope you are having a great week — mine is just zooming by, hard to believe it’s Thursday already. Hopefully, you tuned in last week to our Designer Spotlight Interview with Sewl Sister’s Shankari Paradee, our newest designer here at Villa Rosa Designs. If not, you can find it HERE.

WOW! The weather has suddenly turned HOT HOT HOT here in northwestern Pennsylvania! WHEW! Typical July weather, I know, but I am never quite ready for super hot and humid. I live in a lovely green valley in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, but heat still happens.

You can’t see much of the hills because of all the green trees, but you can see a little bit to the right of the barn in the distance. Regardless, it’s beautiful country.

We’ve been having some very dry weather for the last couple weeks, though. Luckily we had a couple rainy days earlier in the week, which really helped all the plants and crops, but with the heat, everything is starting to droop again. I hope we get some more rain soon. I’ve been watering my little container garden, but the peppers look terrible and the cucumbers aren’t growing very fast. Argh! Rain, rain, rain………

The VRD Rose Queen, Head Elf, Grand Poobah, AKA “The Boss,” Pat, asked me if I would do a tutorial for Rose Card pattern, Daring Spirit.

The corner Star Blocks can be baffling and she gets a lot of questions about how to assemble them. I hope this helps!

You can buy the Daring Spirit Rose Card pattern HERE.

Daring Spirit Tutorial

This is such a great pattern! Of course it works well with ANY patriotic panel, but you could use just about any panel as long as you use coordinating fabrics. Maybe sometime, we’ll play around with other options besides patriotic, but for now, let’s focus on how to make the quilt.

On to the tutorial!

The first thing you need to do is choose your panel and your coordinating fabrics.

LOVE this panel!

Time to cut everything out. You don’t need to cut your panel to a specific size, but you should square it up and make sure all 4 sides are cut straight. Don’t skimp on this step. You might notice that your panel is skewed and doesn’t seem to be square. This is a very common problem with printed panels! What you need to do is pull the panel on both diagonals. Really. Hold each opposite corner in your hands and tug several times, pretty firmly. Repeat for the opposite diagonal. This should help your panel to straighten up! Repeat if you need to. Once you’ve gotten this step done, go ahead and trim the edges straight.

Okay, let’s measure our panel. Write down the length and the width, you’ll need these measurements later.

Time to cut our strips and squares, following the instructions.

Now let’s sew our side strips together and then sew them to the sides our panel.

There are 2 options here:

1. The pattern instructions call for you to make 4 sets of strips, then trim 2 sets to the length and 2 sets to the width. This works just fine.

2. But, I actually prefer cutting all the strips to the right length and width first (see the measurements you wrote down above). For me, this just makes more sense and I have found that the strips don’t get as curvy and wonky like they do when I try to sew long strips together and then cut them to size later. Also, the less you handle your cut pieces, the straighter they will stay.

Same result, different routes.

Anyway, here’s what the panel looks like with the side strips sewn on.

Yay! Time to make the corner Star blocks. I really like how these blocks are constructed — they are super clever and go together really well. Did you notice these stars are really Nine Patch blocks in disguise?!?

Layer a white and blue square right sides together (RST) with the edges lined up. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. Pin if you like, I don’t. I use a Frixion pens and a 1″ wide ruler to do this step. I do it right at my sewing machine on my acrylic extension table.

Sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the drawn line. I draw a diagonal line on a pair of squares and then sew it on both sides of the line, then I repeat for however many squares I need to. It doesn’t seem to save time to draw all the diagonal lines before you sew them as the layers are going to shift on your way to your sewing machine, unless you use pins to hold them together.

Time to cut the squares apart on the drawn line to make 2 HSTs (half square triangles) or Triangle Squares. Cut all the squares apart on the drawn line.

Let’s press our HSTs open with the seam towards the blue fabric. Do you set your seams? This just means pressing your seams with the block closed before you press them with the block open. I was taught that it sets the stitches in the fabric which makes your seams nicer. I don’t know why it works, but it simply does. Don’t forget to take the time to trim off all the little ears that stick out beyond the corners. Don’t skip this step, because if you leave them there, they will skew your seams.

No, I hadn’t cut off the little ears yet when I took this photo, but you will notice in the next photo, the little ears are gone.

I think the next step is really cool! Layer a red square RST on a blue/white HST. Draw a diagonal line from corner to opposite corner (white to blue, NOT in the same direction as the seam for the HST, but across it).

Here’s where a lot of folks might get a little confused — this time, SEW ON THE LINE. We are making a “flippy corner,” not a HST.

I don’t know if you get direction-challenged like I do sometimes when quilting, but to keep myself from sewing on the wrong end or messing up my placement, I make a sample in order to see how I need to layer things and feed them into my machine. I have found that being left-handed sometimes makes it hard for me to manage directionality.

Moving on……once you have all your “flippy corners” sewn onto your HSTs, time to cut away the waste on the “flippy corners,” 1/4″ away from your sewing line.

We’re in the homestretch now! Go ahead and press your “flippy corner” HSTs. Set your seams, then press the seam allowance to the red.

That wasn’t too bad, was it????

Let’s sew our corner Star blocks together now, just like a Nine Patch block! I like to lay out my blocks on a small felt board (made from a flannel fat quarter, a firm piece of cardboard, and duct tape to hold the flannel taut). That way, I can sew the block together right at my sewing machine. Since I’m such a “Lazy Quilter” (this is what a lot of my pals call me, anyway), I actually layered all four of my blocks on my flannel board and I’ll just sew all 4 blocks together. Then I’ll press them after I sew them together.

And here are my four corner Star blocks all sewn and pressed. Aren’t they really pretty???

Now let’s finish putting the Daring Spirit quilt together.

Refer to the panel width measurement you wrote down earlier. Sew your top and bottom strips together and cut to this measurement. Now sew your Star blocks to each end of your strip sets. Make 2 — one for the top and one for the bottom. Press your strips carefully.

Sew your strips to the top and bottom of your quilt.

Quilt top DONE!

Now, quilt it. Bind it. And don’t forget your label!

Well, that’s it for this week. Stay cool!

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Designer Spotlights · Quilt As Desired · Rose Cards · villa rosa designs

VRD Designer Spotlight Interview with Shankari Paradee of Sewl Sister

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I am sew excited to be interviewing Villa Rosa Designs’s NEWEST Designer, Shankari Paradee. of Sewl Sister www.sewlsister.com today.

Shankari Paradee of Sewl Sister

Tricia: Hello Shakari! Welcome to Villa Rosa Quilts!

Shankari: Hi Everyone! Glad to be here.

Tricia: Let’s get started!

Shankari: All right, let’s go!

Tricia: How did you meet Pat Fryer, the owner and “Rose Queen” of Villa Rosa Designs, or how did you become part of the VRD family of designers?

Shankari: I went to a quilt retreat in Texas, where I met Catherine Cureton of Running Doe Quilts.  She has several patterns with Villa Rosa Designs and encouraged me to connect with Pat.  It took us a minute to get together as we all had busy schedules but we made it happen!

Tricia: How did you discover quilting?  How long have you been quilting?

Shankari: I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl, starting with hand sewing doll clothes.  I grew up with sewing in my family.  When I moved to Oklahoma from Canada in 2006, my parents gifted me a beautiful 1960’s Viking sewing machine.  I pieced and quilted my first quilt on that machine. I now own a long arm and started my long arm journey in 2016.

Tricia: What’s your favorite quilt block(s)?

Shankari: Friendship block is one of my favorites.  I love the half-square triangle block because it’s such a simple block and you can use it to make so many other different blocks.

Friendship Star Block

Tricia: I really like that block too. And you’re right — there are sew many different variations. How did you make the leap from being a quilter to becoming a quilt designer?

Shankari: Once I got comfortable with piecing, I felt confident to venture out into the design world.  I’ve only been designing for a couple of years and I have learned so much!

Tricia: You’re right — being a designer is all about learning, isn’t it? Can you tell us a little bit about your design process?

Shankari: Sometimes, I just doodle a design and it turns into a quilt design.  Sometimes, I am looking for a specific style or feel and I go with my instincts on what I feel looks good.  I also talk to other quilty friends to see what their thoughts are on my design.  It’s always nice to have perspective.

Tricia: What is your favorite/least favorite part of the quilt-making process?

Shankari: I like it all and I think my least favorite would have to be binding.

Tricia: I am with you, Shankari! Binding is not my favorite part of designing and making quilts. What are your top 3 favorite quilting tools?  Why?

Shankari: I love my rotary cutter, it makes cutting fabric so much easier. I could not live without various sized cutting mats.  I can use smaller ones while traveling and teaching classes and I have two large ones on my sewing table. Binding clips are a life-saver!  They help make the binding process easier.

Tricia: For me, I couldn’t live without my computer, Electric Quilt software, or my rotary cutter! What are you working on now?  Any new patterns in the works?  Can you give us a sneak peek?

Shankari: I am working on a pattern for VRD coming up and I have another one coming up with a group of quilters that will be out in celebration of Jelly Roll Day in September.  You can always check out my Instagram for sneaky peeks! LOL! @hellosewlsister

Tricia: These are Shankari’s Rose Card patterns, you can purchase them HERE.

Shankari’s current patterns at Villa Rosa Designs

Tricia: You just had 2 new patterns come out in July, didn’t you?

Shankari: Yes, I did — Dainty Machines and Optic.

Tricia: Great patterns! You can find them here for purchase — Dainty Machines and Optic. Let’s shift gears a little bit — what’s your favorite book? 

Shankari: Right now — One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Tricia: Type of music/musician? 

Shankari: Ed Sheeran

Tricia: Movie? 

Shankari: Sense and Sensibility

Tricia: Hah! I’m a Janite too! TV show?

Shankari: Downton Abbey

Tricia: Me too! What do you do when you are not quilting/designing?

Shankari: I’m usually running around with my kids or spending time with my family. 😊  I also moonlight as a cardiac nurse.

Tricia: Kiddos and nursing? When do you even have time for quilting? Do you have any advice to quilters who want to become quilt designers? 

Shankari: Don’t get bogged down by other designers and what they are doing.  It’s easy to feel like you’re just another quilter in the quilt pond, and there’s room for all of us.  Just design from your heart and “sewl”.  Design what feels good for you and you can’t go wrong.

Tricia: Anything else you’d like us to know about you? 

Shankari: I love to work with scraps and I’m on a mission to create a world with no landfill fabric.  I like to keep my quilt patterns as least wasteful as possible on fabric, and use simple cuts of fabric. I love teaching sewing and quilt-piecing.  If I can do it, you can too and I can teach you how. I have at least 8 sewing machines to my name, maybe that’s not too many?! Feel free to reach out and connect with me on social media or email:

www.sewlsister.com

www.instagram.com/hellosewlsister

www.facebook.com/hellosewlsister

Hellosewlsister@gmail.com

Tricia: Thank you sew much, Shankari, for taking the time to tell us about yourself. We are all looking forward to your upcoming VRD patterns!

Shankari: Thanks for having me on the blog!

There you have it, Quilty Friends!

How cool is it to get to know the quilt designers behind the VRD Rose Card patterns? Stay tuned for more Designer Spotlight Interviews coming soon.

Well, that’s it for this week.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Rose Cards · villa rosa designs

Fireworks and the NEW Villa Rosa Quilt Patterns for July

Hello Quilty Friends!

Another Happy Thursday to you!

I hope you all had a wonderful and safe 4th of July week end — how fun that the actual July 4th was on Monday. I bet a lot of you had a 3 day week end. Sew, what did you do for the holiday?

And I’d like to add a belated Happy Canada Day for our friends in Canada! How did you celebrate?

Celebrating the 4th of July for me is usually family, food, and fireworks in no particular order. I personally saw fireworks 3 times — 2 were live and 1 was a live stream of Boom over the Bay in Erie, PA. I love watching fireworks, although I am not a fan of the big booms themselves. I saw a lot of new fireworks this past week end, including hearts and stars as well as some awesome color combinations. Did you know that the Chinese invented fireworks thousands of years ago?

I even tried to capture a few photos of the amazing fireworks display in Sheakleyville, PA.

I even managed to start a new quilt project. Psst…….it’s red, white, and blue……and batik! Stay tuned for more on this project down the road.

Have you ever thought about creating a quilt that looks like fireworks? I do every time I see fireworks, but that’s as far as it ever goes. Maybe this year will be different and I’ll give it a try. Who knows?

NEW July VRD Patterns

Speaking of fireworks, the new July VRD patterns are out! Here’s my new table runner pattern for July, Firecracker:

Isn’t it fun? AND it goes together really really fast. You can order the pattern HERE. Or you can order a kit which includes the pattern HERE. Please keep in mind I don’t know how long the kit will be available so get yours now.

But wait! There’s MORE! (I just love saying that — it makes me giggle, although you might be rolling your eyes…)

One of the VRD folks came up with this super fun variation:

POPSICLES! How fun is this? And clever?? You can order the Firecracker Popsicles kit HERE. Again, I have no idea how long the kit will last, so get don’t wait to order yours.

And finally, here are the rest of the NEW patterns for July:

Aren’t they great? You can order all 5 cards for one low price HERE.

And these are the links to the kits (which include the pattern as well as the fabrics for the top and binding). Remember, there is no way to know how long the kits will last, so get yours now:

Sugar & Spice

Love Cats

Rainbow Road

Dainty Machines — Please note the kit for Dainty Machines makes a 32″ x 32″ quilt. Super cute, may I add! This would be perfect in your sewing room or as a gift for your fav quilting buddy.

Optic

Well, that’s it for this week.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

A Little Gardening and Cake Day Quilt Block Assembly Tips

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you! I hope you all are having a wonderful summer so far.

My summer just got a whole lot better! Just recently my family got in gear and finally got our little back porch raised garden planted. And our flowers, too. We may be running a little behind, but I have hopes that in late summer/early fall we’ll be enjoying some fresh veggies picked right out of our little garden pf goodness. If it goes well, next year we are going to add a second raised bed garden.

I used to be an avid gardener way back when, but gave up the year I planted my garden twice and the critters ate everything before it even had a chance to grow. That was it.

But now I’m excited to try container gardening. Besides, ”container gardening” sounds so trendy, don’t you agree?

Cake Day Quilt Block Assembly Tips

I thought I’d share a quick tutorial on how I put the Cake Day table runner quilt block together along with some of my favorite piecing tips.

Cake Day Table Runner Rose Card Pattern

You can get your own Cake Day Table Runner Rose Card pattern HERE.

Often, I prefer to cut out all my pieces for the blocks before I start sewing. I find this is usually quicker than cutting and sewing one block at a time.

Here you can see the pieces all laid out in the right order (all four blocks are stacked) on a flannel board and then I can simply take everything to my sewing machine. This works well if you have to stop in the middle and come back to your project later. Everything stays right where you left — unless of course, you have gremlins or leprechauns or some other little mischievous creatures running around your sewing room when you are not looking.

I have also found that laying out and stacking the pieces in order makes sewing them together faster and easier because I don’t have to stop and figure out where each piece goes.

With all the pieces cut and laid out right sides up, sewing them together is a breeze, especially when I chain-stitch the units one right after the other without cutting my thread in between the units.

Nope! No need to head to my ironing board after clipping the thread between the units, I just kept sewing and chain-stitched the other side too.

I have discovered that the less I press as I’m putting together quilt blocks, the less the blocks stretch or get distorted, which of course improves the accuracy of my sewing.

In the next photo you can see I have the left side background sewn to the Cake print rectangles. Now it’s time to sew the right side.

All right! All the units are sewn together and I’ve clipped the threads between them. I made double sure I layered the units again exactly the same as when I started — we’re ready for the next step.

Again, I’m going to ignore my iron (it must be getting lonely). Time to sew the units together. More chain piecing.

Want to know what happens when I get to seams (remember I haven’t done any pressing at this point)? I’ve already decided which way I wanted my seams to go so as I sew, I hold them down and keep on sewing. Pedal to the metal!

In this next photo you can see I sewed the top unit to the second unit. We’re on a roll — let’s keep sewing.

Okay, we’re almost there! I sewed the rest of the units all together and presto — all 4 of our blocks are now complete and I didn’t even have to get up from my sewing machine.

All right, all right, I relented and finally pressed my blocks — my iron was getting a little dusty from disuse.

Voila! Here is a finished Cake Day block. It’s a cutie, isn’t it?

My 4 blocks are now ready to assemble into a runner. There are sew many possibilities for this runner — birthdays, weddings, showers, parties, and the list goes on and on.

Any day can be a “Cake Day.” What’s yours?

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · villa rosa designs

My Go-To VRD Rose Card Quilt Patterns and My VRD Rose Card Storage Update

Hello Quilty Friends!

I hope all is well in your world today. Mine has been hectic as usual, but I’m used to it. It keeps things from being boring, especially now that I work from home — immersing myself in the world of quilting. Yes, I’m now living my dream life, doing my dream job. I’m happy. Really happy. I wish the same for you.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to talk about my go-to Rose Cards. I bet all of you have a group of cards that you go back to time and time again.

Here’s my list:

Hillside Charm

Hillside Charm is my favorite pattern for using panels. There are so many wonderful panels available these days, but other than slapping a couple borders around a panel, sometimes I run out of ideas. That’s why I LOVE Hillside Charm — the combination of squares and rectangles in the border compliment just about any panel out there.

Stars N Stripes

I’m just getting ready to make several quilts to donate to Quilts of Valor. This quilt measures 56″ x 70″, which fits in the required range for a QOV quilt — minimum of 55″ x 65″ to a maximum of 72″ x 90″ with an average of 60″ x 80″. You can check out the Quilts of Valor website for more information HERE.

I could add an outer border to Stars N Stripes to make it a little bit bigger, but I’m not sure I’m going to do that. I have in mind to make at least 3 of these quilts to donate, which will make a dent in my red, white, and blue fabric stash.

Of course, Villa Rosa Designs has other Rose Cards that would make great Quilts of Valor — Star Rail, Star Spangled (with the addition of an outer border), Stargazer, Salute, Twinkle (with another border or row of stars), Daring Spirit, Liberty (with an additional border), Liberty Bell (needs a little border on the sides), and Pride (needs a little border on the sides).

Limelight

Limelight goes together really fast and is a great size. It uses a bundle of fat quarters which makes picking out coordinating fabrics a snap. I’ve made this into a couple of charity quilts and was really happy with how they turned out.

Double Delight

Double Delight is one of my very first favorite Rose Card patterns. I’ve always loved Four Patch quilt blocks and I really like how the rectangular Four Patches make this quilt unique and interesting. Besides, I think just about any fabric would look great in this pattern.

Gypsy

I made Gypsy with a friend one time and we donated this quilt to Project Linus. We had participated in an “ugly fat quarter” challenge where we each chose a VRD pattern and exchanged an “ugly fat quarter.” I don’t remember much about the rest of the fabrics now, but there was one I will probably never forget — it had a blue background with big pieces of silverware on it! But you know what? Even with the weirdly-wonderful silverware fabric, the quilt turned out really cute and I bet it made the recipient smile. It just goes to show you that even ugly fabrics can make a great quilt.

What about you? What are your go-to Rose Card patterns?

VRD Storage Solution Update

You might remember a couple weeks ago, I was working on some new storage ideas for my Rose Card collection. I’m actually still working on getting my Rose Cards out of my little photo storage books (see previous post) and into my brand new snazzy plastic storage boxes. It didn’t take long to outgrow a single box so now I have 2 boxes, A-L and M-Z. And I’m still adding more cards! I work on them in spare moments here or there, so it’s not getting done super fast.

I will say I am enjoying going through my cards and mentally deciding which ones I want to make. Maybe I should make a list on my VRD Rose Card app on my tablet and then I can check the list out later, otherwise, I’ll probably forget the names of the Rose Card patterns I want to make. Not kidding (rolling my eyes here).

I’m thinking of starting a new category or even a whole box filled with my go-to Rose Cards. Maybe even my favs!

But first, I have to get them all organized alphabetically so I know what cards I have and what cards I need to add. Again, I can use my handy-dandy VRD app.

What about you? What are your thoughts?

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Quilting Partners · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

Let’s Design a Quilt Together — A Peek into My Quilt Design Process

Hello Quilty Friends!

It’s Thursday again! Here’s hoping your week has been going well. Mine has been good and fast — just the way I love my quilt projects to be! LOL!

A lot of people ask about my design process so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my process. Keep in mind that all designers have their own way of doing things and this post is only about my process.

Sometimes it’s like I eat, sleep, and breathe quilts and quilting! Not only do I read/flip through quilt books and magazines, I also look online for new trends. I talk to my quilt friends about what they are doing. I teach a quilt class once a month. I design patterns, write instructions, make quilts, take photos of quilts. I look at and get inspired by fabric. I jot down ideas and even do rough sketches of quilt blocks (which I promptly lose most of the time). I have even been known to wake up in the middle of the night with a new idea for a quilt. Whew!

Inspiration comes in a lot of different forms for me. Sometimes I see a fabric or collection and an idea pops into my head. Sometimes I start with a favorite quilt block and a quilt develops out of that. I have quite a few quilt block references that I use for ideas. Here are a few books in my library:

The first 2 books are by Barbara Brackman. The one on the left is the first edition of the 2nd book and is out of print and can be hard to find. I have both of them and love them both. The newer edition has even more blocks in it than the first edition! Barbara Brackman is one of the most renowned quilt historians of our time! You can visit her blog, Material Culture, HERE.

I also have Barbara Brackman’s software program, Blockbase, which works with Electric Quilt. You can find Blockbase HERE.

The third book, 5500 Quilt Block Designs, is by well-known quilter and author Maggie Malone. I have only known about this book since 2021 when a friend of mine showed it to me and I was so impressed, I had to grab a copy for myself. This book is out of print so it can be harder to find as well.

I have talked about Electric Quilt software before in an earlier post, but I want to mention it again here because I really couldn’t design quilts without it! Some designers sit down with a ruler and graph paper to draft quilt patterns, but I am an Electric Quilt user because it makes designing quilts a lot easier for me. You can find Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8) software HERE.

If you are interested in designing your own quilts, I totally recommend EQ8 if you’re into computers. If you’re not into computers, graph paper and a ruler might be your new BFF.

Once I get an idea, it’s time to play — which usually means I head to my computer and EQ8. I play with blocks, try different color combinations, download different fabrics to try all before I actually make anything at all. Some designers start by making the project and then work backwards to create the pattern and instructions. I do my designing on my computer and then make the project once I know what I am going to do. At least this is what I do probably 99% of the time. That’s one of the fun things about being a designer — I can try different ways of doing things. They don’t always work out for me, but that’s okay, there’s always another way to try.

Let me show you an example of my design process. For this example, I’m gong to start with my favorite quilt block, the Shoo Fly block.

When I am starting with the quilt design before I select the actual fabrics, I usually design in red, black, white, and grey. I don’t know exactly why I do that, but I think it probably has to do with the high contrast so I get a good sense of the pattern before I add actual fabric.

So, let’s make a wall quilt using 4 Shoo Fly blocks. It will look something like this:

Hmmmmm. This doesn’t really excite me. How about you? Let’s tweak it a little bit and see what happens next. We’ll add a bit more color, too.

Okay, this is better, don’t you think? By adding a sashing between the blocks, I was able to put another Shoo Fly block in the center. I changed the colors of the larger blocks to black and grey with the smaller center Shoo Fly block in red. It definitely has a lot more interest, doesn’t it? But it’s not quite there. Let’s tweak it a little bit more, shall we?

Now we’re getting somewhere! I got rid of the grey and went with plain black. Then I added 2 narrow blocky borders so I could continue to build out with more Shoo Fly blocks. Now I think we need a border.

Yay! A finished quilt design. I added an outer plain black border and a red binding. Pretty zippy, isn’t it? Now we’re gong to add some real fabric to the design.

Here are 3 different versions of our Shoo Fly quilt using Hoffman’s Paisley in Love batik collection. Of the 3, I think the last one with the white background is my favorite. I like the contrast, but I think I need to do a little more tweaking with the design, so back to the drawing board (or EQ8).

What are your thoughts? How would you improve this design? Any ideas?

Well, I hope you enjoyed a peek into my design process. Who knows? You might see this design as a VRD Rose Card some day.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Quilt As Desired · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

NEW June VRD Rose Card Patterns and A Free Motion Quilting Demo

Hello Quilty Friends!

Welcome to another Thursday — the first Thursday in June. Summertime, right? The kids are out of school or will be soon. Life will get crazy. Fun. And more crazy.

Are you kidding? I thought it was still March.

At least, it should still be March, don’t you think?

Que sera, sera.

OH! Did you see the new Rose Cards for June yet???? As always, our VRD designers didn’t let you down.

You can order all 5 cards HERE.

And here is June’s NEW Table Runner, Cake Day. Cute, huh?

You can purchase the Cake Day pattern HERE.

Did you know you can actually join the Rose Card Pattern Club and get the new monthly Rose Cards delivered right to your mailbox every month without you having to do a thing????

If you live out of the USA, you can sign up for the digital Rose Cards, which will be delivered to your inbox without you having to do a single thing.

There are even several different Pattern Club options to consider. Cool, huh?

You can sign up for the Pattern Clubs HERE .

Another really AWESOME thing about Villa Rosa is that we create a lot of kits using our Rose Card patterns. You can find kits for this month’s new patterns AND you can find kits for lots of other favorites, too. You can visit the website HERE to see what our selection of kits are. Please remember that we add new kits all the time, with all kinds of different fabric, so make sure you stop in often to see what’s new.

A Little Bit of Free Motion Quilting and a Video Demo

How many of you are a little bit afraid of free motion quilting on your own domestic sewing machine?

Be honest!

Okay, that’s better, I see a lot of hands raised and heads nodding out there.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be afraid anymore. I’ve been teaching free motion quilting (FMQ) for more than 10 years and I haven’t lost anyone yet!

Here’s my TOP 12 TIPS for FMQ:

1. Find a teacher at your local quilt shop to show you how and to guide you so you feel safe. Don’t try to teach yourself by using YouTube videos.

2. Start out small — the smaller the project the better for beginners. Potholders, table runners, place mats, wall quilts, or other small projects.

3. Start with a beginner-friendly design like wavy lines or loops. Meandering and stippling are NOT beginner-friendly.

4. Try to relax. The more tense you are, the worse your quilting will be.

5. Play music while you quilt, something with a beat. A beat will help you find your rhythm for FMQ on your own machine.

6. Keep practicing, every day if you can, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel, and the better your quilting will get.

7. Practice machine quilting with a friend. You can encourage each other and laugh together.

8. Try machine quilting gloves. There are a lot of different types of gloves out there, so you might have to try different kinds to find the ones that work for you. Machine quilting gloves will help you get a good grip on the fabric so you can move the quilt more easily when you are quilting.

9. Doodle. Doodle a lot. Practice drawing the designs before you quilt them — this builds some muscle memory between your hands and you brain.

10. Practice…….practice……..practice…….

11. Practice……practice…..practice……. (I can’t stress this one enough)

12. HAVE FUN!

Here’s a little video I put together demonstrating how to free motion quilt wiggly lines on last week’s Ying Yang Cats. Enjoy!

Sorry, but the video was too large to paste onto the blog so I had to upload it to YouTube and provide the link below.

Free Motion Wiggly Lines Demo

I hope this video inspires you to try free motion quilting some wiggly lines on your own little project.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD