The sun is shining right now, melting the unexpected snow we got overnight, but at least it was only a couple inches and it should be gone tomorrow. Here in PA, we’ve had a relatively mild winter so far this year, but in California, where the Villa Rosa Designs quilt shop is located and where owner/Rose Queen, Pat, lives, there has been loads of snow and rain!
The VRD shop was closed for more than a week! No electricity — no Internet! One of the shop workers couldn’t even get into her own home! It’s been that bad, really! Maybe you’ve been affected by all the bad weather out there, too.
Fabric orders are backed up, so please be patient as everything gets up and running again at the VRD shop and everyone is working as quickly as they can to get your orders put together. Thanks for your understanding.
NEW VRD March 2023 Rose Cards
On a happy note, it’s my favorite Thursday of the month — you know the one following the first Friday when the new VRD cards are released. Yay!
Drum roll, please!
Wow! Lot’s of fun, huh? You can order the set of 5 March Rose Cards HERE. (Psst — cards are not shipped from the shop in CA, so Rose Card orders are not affected by the storms on the West Coast).
And here is March’s new table runner pattern, Lucky!
I featured the Luck of the Gnomes fabric collection from Benartex, one of our newest Quilting Partners, in this runner. You can take a look at the whole collection HERE .
Check with your local shops as it should already be available.
Grab your March patterns if you don’t have them yet and get quilting — what are you waiting for???
Maybe you need some new fabric inspiration? Hmmmmm……???
Charley Harper Fabrics
Pat mentioned to me the other day when we were discussing QuiltCon, that the Charley Harper fabrics had been received well. And I was like — what are Charley Harper fabrics??!!?? I do so dislike not knowing something so I immediately went to the shop website, www.villarosadesigns.com, to see what “Charley Harper” was. And — WOW — did I get excited by what I saw.
Here are some of my favorites:
Aren’t they wonderful? Edgy and mid century modern? Rich saturated colors? Simple yet complex at the same time???
After perusing the Charley Harper fabrics available at VRD, I just had to look up some more information. Who or what was Charley Harper?
Charley Harper was born in West Virginia where he grew up on a farm. He attended the Cincinnati Art Academy and even taught there for years. He was considered a “modernist wildlife artist” and he died in 2007.
Recently, I wrapped up (pun intended) my 2022 Table Runner a Month class with a festive December Christmas party/class. What a lot of fun we had — we met an hour earlier than usual so we could do a pot luck lunch. YUM! I don’t know why, but quilting and food always go together. And chocolate — you have to have chocolate!
It was a soup and sandwich pot luck — we had 2 soups, sandwich wraps, meatballs, and an awesome assortment of everything else! Way too much food, but OH SO DELICIOUS! I tried my hand at potato soup. I ended up mashing 3 different recipes together. I made it on the stove top and then transferred it to a crock pot. I was amazed at how good it actually turned out, considering I’d never made potato soup this way before. In the past, I always started with a white sauce, but this time I started with chicken broth — I didn’t even have to add any flour — the starch in the potatoes thickened up the soup when I squashed them up with a spatula once they were soft. Of course, the cream cheese and shredded cheddar didn’t hurt any either! Here is one of the recipes I mashed up: Easy Potato Soup Recipe.
We did a 1 yard fabric exchange, too. For my group, that means we each brought the equivalent of about a yard of fabric in a gift bag or box (could be 4 fat quarters, 8 fat eighths, 1 charm pack, 2 half yards — you get the idea). To do the fabric exchange, we sat in a circle and played a Christmas game using a Right Left version of Frosty the Snowman.
Don’t know what a Right Left Gift Exchange is? You can go HERE for more information and 5 fun Right Left stories. Or just search “Right Left Christmas Game” on the Internet and you will get lots of different story options so you can choose your favorite! What I love about this game is that it doesn’t take a lot of time, you can do it with any size group, and no one’s feelings get hurt.
I also went over our December project and introduced the group to the Disappearing Nine and Four Patch blocks. Are you familiar with these? I just love all the different ways you can do them and how each time, your quilt looks completely unique even though you are using the same concept over and over. Lots of fun! If you are new to Disappearing Nine and Four Patch designs, you can go HERE for more information.
Our 2022 class was a Table Runner a Month theme this year (I try to choose a different theme or project each year). We began the class in March and met once a month through December. We skip January and February because those are usually the worst winter months in our area, but sometimes March and April can be worse than January and February. Oh, jolly Pennsylvania….. Each month in 2022, we made a different Villa Rosa Rose Card table runner pattern.
One of my quilty pals, Sherry, had been after me for a couple years to do a class on my VRD runners. I finally agreed to do a year of my VRD table runner Rose Cards for 2022 — it felt kind of weird to do an entire year of my own patterns, but Sherry was right — it turned out to be an awesome group/class.
Here is the list of the Rose Cards we did for 2022 (I added the links to the VRD website just in case you want to know more or purchase the patterns) —
Now for the fun! Here are photos of some of the table runners made by members of the group.
Awesome runners, aren’t they??? And these are only some of the numerous runners!
I love how each person showed their own styles, used their own fabrics, modified the design by adding or subtracting borders, made the runners smaller or larger or even a square, and even made some runners extra special by piecing extra fabric into the backing. These ladies are not only talented, they are a great group of people.
I was so inspired this year using my Villa Rosa patterns, we are going to do a Year of Panels and Novelties in 2023, using — you guessed it — Villa Rosa patterns.
Villa Rosa Designs has over 500 patterns in our VRD catalog, so I could seriously go for years without using the same pattern twice. How cool is that? Besides, VRD releases 5+ NEW patterns every month — that’s over 60 NEW patterns EACH YEAR.
You might wonder why I am taking so much time to talk about the Table Runner class, but it leads right into my next topic!
Perfect Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas Quilters Can Make
Yep — table runners are my go-to solution for a quick last minute handmade gift.
Let’s break this down:
Table Runners are….
a very personal gift
a lot faster to make than larger quilts
easy to personalize to the recipient
less expensive to make because they require small amounts of fabric
precut and stash-friendly
a great gift for practically anyone on your list
Of course, any small quilt or project that can be finished quickly makes a great last minute gift — table runners, place mats, wall quilts, table quilts, doll quilts, mini quilts, pillows, and more.
Villa Rose Designs has got your back, I promise you!
A stack of VRD Rose Cards makes an amazing gift for yourself or your favorite quilty pals, too…..just sayin’……..
If you don’t have time to make a runner or other project before the holidays, consider gifting a quilt kit — pick a fun pattern and add the required fabrics for the top and binding. A kit for your fav quilty friend will give that person something new and fun to do during the winter months. Or gift a kit to a non-quilty person with a note saying you will complete it for them after the holidays.
However you do it, here are some great Villa Rosa Designs Rose Card patterns to inspire you:
Table Runners and Place Mats
Amen uses pre-printed panel squares or a theme fabric which means some of the work is already done for you before you even get started.
Griddle uses stash or scraps so there’s no need to head to the quilt shop (unless you really want to…).
Ripple Runner is super fast to make and finish. Short on time? Use a light, medium, and dark fabric instead of making it scrappy. Or go Christmas scrappy — what fun!
Season’s Greetings is a no-brainer — really. Don’t have fat sixths (12″ x 22″)? Dive into your scraps and stash instead!
Sugarplum is a super simple and cute pattern that goes together in a snap. 1 fat quarter and a bunch a scraps. Sew sew sew! Presto! DONE!
Let’s Eat is a fun set of place mats that uses pre-printed panel squares or a theme fabric which means of course that some of the work is already done for you.
Baby Goose is a great versatile quilt at 42″ x 58″ and can be backed with only one width of fabric. It would take longer than a table runner to make, but it still goes very fast because the focal fabric does most of the work.
Did you know we have a whole VRD collection of Accessory Rose Cards? Accessories make great gifts for anyone and everyone. I’ll show you some of my favs, but you can click on the link above to see the whole collection.
Here it is — a little peak inside International Quilt Market by moi just for you.
I remember before I attended my first Fall Market in 2010, “Market” was a term that conjured up all kinds of quilt mystique. We talked about it in hushed voices tinged with awe. What exactly was it? How did you get to go? Why was it such a mystery?
Twelve years later and although the mystery has unraveled over the years, I am still amazed by every Quilt Market I attend.
This year was different from all the others — I came to Market with a whole new purpose. In the past, I either attended Market in order to promote my latest book or as an independent designer associated with a publisher or other business. This time I came as part of the Villa Rosa Designs team and would be working at the VRD booth for the first time. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was so excited to go. I had a lot to learn and had great teachers in Pat, our “Rose Queen”, Bonnie who manages the retail shop in California, and Leann, Pat’s daughter and the VRD computer whiz.
So what exactly is International Quilt Market?
Since 1979, the show has been the trade show for the quilting and textile industries.
Market is a wholesale trade show, open only to credentialed attendees and those in the business. Here, you’ll be able to visit more than 1,000 booths to see all kinds of products both new and familiar ranging from fabrics, book, and patterns to sewing machines, notions, and supplies. You can also learn in dozens of Take & Teach classes and Business Seminars, and take that knowledge or class skills back home to your shop or business!
This year’s Houston Quilt Market might not have been as big as the last pre-pandemic Houston Market in 2019, but everyone there was excited and energized to be there.
Let me take you on a little tour of Quilt Market by visiting some of the booths and vendors.
First up, of course is our Villa Rosa Designs booth!
Nice, huh? All the quilts you see hung around the walls of the booth are all cover quilts for Rose Cards of the last 6 months. Oh! The table runners were there too — draped down on the table fronts. Bright, colorful, and fun! We even had fat quarters bundles and kits.
So many great shop owners/workers, designers, and lots of other folks in the industry stopped by to see the latest patterns and catch up. Everyone was so kind and excited about our Rose Card patterns. I met a lot of super people and really enjoyed chatting and talking Villa Rosa Designs with everyone.
When the booth wasn’t too busy, we all took turns going to appointments, meeting up with contacts, and walking the floor, seeing all the other booths, and checking out displays to see what was new and trending. Of course, when we were swamped, it was all hands on deck!
One of the things we were really excited to share with everyone who walked into the booth was our NEW Villa Rosa Designs fabric collection with Blank Quilting. The collection is called Xanadu. Yep, like the 1970’s movie. And the collection has a wonderful 70s feel that is fresh, fun, funky, and flirty with an updated color palette. It was designed by Pat’s sister, Nancy Lorene, who does most of the art for the Villa Rosa Designs Rose Cards. There are 12 completely different fabrics in the collection. It should be shipping to your local quilt shops in April 2023.
Here it is! Isn’t it great??? My absolute favorite piece is the one that looks like paper snippets (I love them all of course, but that one really sparks my imagination).
We were even able to make up a few quilts using Xanadu samples! The real fabrics are even better than the digital images.
I checked in with some of my favorite vendors and also met some new ones this year.
One of the first places I checked out was the “Toy Department,” Graphic Expressions, where you can find all kinds of fun, useful, and quirky little goodies.
My next stop was to see my old friends, the Springers at Quilts from Mulberry Lane. I met them at my first Quilt Market and at every one I’ve attended since, I make sure to stop to shop and catch up. They always have a great selection of antique quilts and textiles. This year they even had some feed sacks, but I was already familiar with the patterns, so I shopped through their antique quilt blocks and brought a great selection home with me.
It took me a little while to find the Swan Amity booth, but after the second attempt, I found them. Boy was I glad too! They were on my to-do list for Market because I needed a new pair of machine quilting gloves. I found their gloves when I attended Market in 2019 and I never quilt without them now, but after 3 years, my gloves are starting to show some wear (see my 3 year old pair on the left in the photo below). Swan Amity gloves are a lot like a leather golf glove with touchscreen fingertips and padded palms. Love them!
I had a great time shooting the breeze with the ladies at the Mary Ellen’s Best Press booth. Devi and the gang were so much fun! I personally can’t make a quilt without Best Press. My favorite scents are Peach and Citrus. What’s your favorite?
I stopped by the Hoffman California Fabrics booth and got the chance to meet up with Sandy, who I’ve been working with on some projects lately. It was so awesome to finally meet her! That’s one of my favorite things about Quilt Market — meeting people in person, especially if you’ve only been in contact with them through email.
At Market, the fabric companies display quilt samples featuring their upcoming collections so it’s a really good opportunity to see upcoming trends in fabric colors and quilt styles. Look at these gorgeous quilts on display at Hoffman.
I checked in with my pals at Choice Fabrics, too, and introduced them to Villa Rosa Design Rose Cards. Sorry, I never did get around to taking a photo of their booth, we were too busy gabbing! LOL!
I was on the lookout for new products and other cool stuff when I walked around the show.
I met Rosanna of Rosanna Diggs Embroidery. This was her first time at Quilt Market, showing off her great embroidery kits. The kits had absolutely everything in them you needed except scissors! And the designs were just adorable. The Hexagon quilt block kit grabbed my attention on the front table, so I stopped in the booth to say hi.
I stopped to visit with the designer, Lori, of From My Heart to Your Hands, to tell her how much I love her gorgeous miniature quilt patterns. I have collected quite a few of her Fat Quarter Quilting patterns, which have 9 mini quilts in each pattern pack. I love the mix of piecing and applique, although I’m definitely a piecer and not an appliquer — I still haven’t finished my first mini applique quilt from one of her patterns from years ago. I really loved her display of the mini quilts pinned with clothespins to clotheslines. So fun and eye catching! Wish I’d thought of it!
I visited with another pattern designer, Dawn, at the Sew Cherished booth. Her wool applique was simply amazing. Wool applique is something I really admire, but haven’t done much of it yet. Someday……
A new friend I met at lunch introduced me to the ladies at the booth next to hers, Trailhead Yarns. Their threads are truly amazing and there are so many colors to choose from — even variegated! I’m thinking I might want to try some Sashiko again sometime.
Everywhere I turned there were QUILTS, QUILTS, and more QUILTS! Here are some of the great quilts I spotted at Market.
Well, that just about wraps up my visit to International Quilt Market. I hope you enjoyed seeing what I saw. My head is swimming with visions of quilts and fabrics. Time to spend some quality time with my sewing machine.
First, I want to give each of you a great big THANK YOU hug!
Thank you for reading our Villa Rosa Designs quilt blog, Villa Rosa Quilts. This past week, the number of views has exploded and we’ve added new followers, too. And it’s all because of you, our VRD fans and followers. We are thrilled that you find our blog to be informative, fun, and worthwhile.
Did you know you can follow our blog and never miss a Thursday Post? All you need to do is type in your email address and click the subscribe button just to the right of the blog post towards the top and you’ll get each new post delivered right to your email inbox every Thursday!
Now let’s hop right into this week’s Basic Quilting Skills for Beginners post — Squaring Up.
You cut, you sewed, you quilted, and now it’s time to square up your quilt. I was planning to do both Squaring Up and Binding in this post, but I decided it would probably be better to separate the two topics, otherwise the post was going to be too long, too wordy, and probably too boring and we can’t have that.
Forgive me, but you’ll have to wait until next week for Binding.
Before you can do the binding, you first must square up your quilt.
Why should I square up my quilt? Can’t I just slap on the binding and be done?
That’s a good question — sure, you could just slap on the binding, but you probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the results. Things can get distorted as you handle your quilt, press (or maybe you iron), quilt it, tug, pull, crumple it up and throw it on the floor — well, you get the picture. Think of squaring up like pre-binding.
My quilt “volunteer” today is a new Halloween version of my Ice Jam VRD pattern. I made this runner a couple months ago as a sample project in my 2022 Villa Rosa Rose Card Table Runner a Month class, but never finished it.
BIG SHOUT OUT to all my awesome class buddies — Mary Lee, Sherry, Missi, Debbie, Anita, Robin, Kim, Gaynel, Jean, Donna and Gayle (the owner of my local shop, Homespun Treasures, where my class meets). Homespun Treasures, of course, has lots of Rose Card patterns in stock. Just sayin’….
Here’s the Ice Jam Rose Card pattern. It’s a super fast and fun table runner which measures 18″ x 54″ and uses 5″ charm squares. It’s a very versatile pattern and will look great in any style or theme. So, try it out.
What!?! You don’t have the pattern? You can order it HERE.
Just a quick note about the machine quilting. If you missed our Quilt As Desired post last week, you can find it HERE. I added my wiggly lines free motion quilting video to last week’s post and I just wanted to point out my fun wiggly squiggly lines on this table runner.
Okay, okay……let’s get back to squaring up.
You might want to press your quilt before squaring it up. Pressing your quilt will help everything lay nice and flat.
Next lay your quilt out on your cutting mat, centering one corner of the quilt on the mat because we will square up the corners before cutting the sides. If you are working on a large quilt, it helps to support the weight of the quilt on a table or chair. The problem with larger quilts is that if the quilt is hanging off your cutting mat/table and down to the floor, the weight of the quilt can pull things out of whack . Oops! Gravity works. Now if you lived on the moon, you wouldn’t have to worry about this issue…. (wink, wink)
Use the biggest square ruler you have for cutting your quilt corners, the bigger the ruler, the easier it is to square up your corners. I personally love my 12 1/2″ square for working with table runners and smaller quilts, but I also have 15″ and 18″ square rulers to use for larger quilts.
Once you’ve smoothed your quilt out flat, lay your square ruler down on a corner of your quilt. Adjust the square as needed to make the corner 90 degrees, sliding a little this way and that way until it’s square.
Don’t worry if batting, backing, and even slivers of your top are beyond the edges of the ruler. If you see too much of the front of the quilt beyond your ruler edge, though, wiggle the ruler around some more until there is very little of the quilt top showing beyond the ruler. You don’t want to cut much from your quilt edges, especially if you have triangles all the way to the edge of the quilt because you will probably cut off your triangle points and that will not make you very happy.
Take your time here because once you cut, you can’t go back. Hold the ruler down with one hand using good solid pressure — be careful not to shift the ruler – and cut on the 2 outer sides of the ruler, thus making this corner square.
Let’s move on to the next corner. Line up the ruler, adjust it gently for another nice square corner, then cut. Repeat for corners 3 and 4. Yep — you’re going to have weird strips of batting/backing hanging off your quilt. That’s okay. We’ll take care of that in the next step. In the meantime, think of it like quilt spaghetti.
Now it’s time to position the quilt on the cutting mat so we can cut the long edges and remove all that quilt spaghetti. I use my 6″ x 24″ ruler for this part. Again, if you’re working on a big quilt, support the weight so the quilt doesn’t slide off your mat/table or skew your cutting.
Please be patient and take your time with your squaring up (I know it’s hard but trust me — I have the attention span of a four year old, so if I can do it, you can do it) because if you don’t square up properly during this step, your quilt will never be square, no matter how much you tug and pull later down the road. Wonky quilts don’t lay well on tables or beds nor do they look nice hung up on walls.
Start at one nicely squared up corner and line up the long ruler. Again, don’t worry if you see bits of your quilt top sticking out beyond the ruler edge as that is completely okay and to be expected. Once things are lined up to your satisfaction, cut with your rotary cutter along the ruler edge, stopping before you reach the end of the ruler so you don’t accidentally cut into your quilt. Gently slide the ruler across the quilt edge so you don’t distort your nice straight edge or your square corner. Make sure that the ruler is still lined up with your fresh cut quilt edge. Cut again. Continue doing this until you can line up your ruler from your freshly cut edge to your next squared up corner and cut. Yay you! Only 3 more sides to go.
Go ahead and repeat for the other 3 sides. Luckily with a table runner, I usually only have to cut the 2 long sides this way as the short sides get squared up when I use my 12 1/2″ square ruler for the corners. Not so lucky with big quilts — sometimes it’s like wrestling an octopus, but keep at it, you will be the winner.
Here it is! My squared up quilt. Yay!
Let’s do a quick check to make sure things are all square before we move on.
Fold your quilt in half, lining up the edges and corners as best as you can, use a few straight pins if you need to. If things are nice and square, everything should line up pretty well (there really is no such thing as perfect, so if things aren’t 100% exact, that’s okay). If corners or edges are not lined up, then you need to check the squareness of your corners with your large square ruler again and make any necessary minute adjustments to square up those corners. Then check the long sides again using your long ruler to make sure things are nice and straight, only cutting away slivers of quilt to make things more square and straight.
Fold your quilt again, lining up corners and edges, to check your squareness. Repeat until things are as square and straight as you can get them.
Well, I think that’s it for today. Next week I promise we will attack the Binding in our Basic Quilting Skills for Beginners series.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I am sew excited to be interviewing Villa Rosa Designs’s NEWEST Designer, Shankari Paradee. of Sewl Sister www.sewlsister.com today.
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.
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.
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
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:
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 websiteHERE 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?
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.
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!
I hope this video inspires you to try free motion quilting some wiggly lines on your own little project.
Sigh……I’ve been thinking about cats lately. A lot. In addition to my own cats, I’ve been working on a couple cat quilt projects. If you don’t like cats, you might want to turn around now before it’s too late. (You can’t see me of course, but I’m rolling my eyes here. LOL!)
Let me tell you a little bit about MY CATS (sorry, not sorry — I did warn you).
Pip is my beautiful 12 year old silver tortie. She is sweet, rarely says a word, and is very generously-sized. Pip is a real foodie like me. I tell her frequently that she’s “practically perfect in every way,” but she can be very stubborn. And sneaky! Especially when she thinks no one is paying attention and she tries to get her little brother’s food (she is usually successful, too). Silly Pip!
Griffin just turned 1 at the end of April and is my little wild child. He zooms from one end of the house to the other and then back again. Over and over. As energetic as he is, he’s also my snuggle bug when he eventually slows down. Seriously. He loves to be held and snuggled! Griffin likes to watch “bird TV,” loves to be rocked, likes music, and even enjoys painting on a cute game on my tablet. He’s quite a fella!
For some reason, cats and quilting just seem to go together. Like peanut butter and jelly! I just love seeing photos of cats “helping” their human quilters on social media, don’t you? Too bad neither of my cats are into that, but then again, if they were, I’d probably never get any quilting done.
In fact, as I sit here writing, Pip is hanging out in her favorite chair upstairs and Griffin is watching his birds on TV about 10 feet away from my desk. He is not only my little buddy but he’s also THE best coworker I’ve ever had.
Not long ago, Pat, our “Rose Queen” and the owner of Villa Rosa Designs, asked me to help her with some new quilt diagrams for her VRD pattern, Cat City.
I was really intrigued by the cat block in the pattern, and thought I’d try it out before making the diagrams so I knew exactly how to put the block together. I discovered it’s a really fun block, but it can be a little tricky the first time you make it.
Let me show you how to put the Cat City block together.
Cat City Block Tutorial
First things first, follow the cutting instructions for the pattern. I chose a white fabric and a black fabric for this tutorial (you’ll see why a little bit later). I layered the two fabrics and cut the pieces out at the same time.
Layer your background and cat fabrics as you see here. I am making 2 cats at the same time and they will be a mirror image of each other. I used a pin to help hold things together on my way to my sewing machine. I also drew a sewing line with my marking pen (I LOVE Frixion pens for marking sewing lines on my fabric). Now off to my machine to sew on the line.
Next, trim off the waste triangles and press the unit open. I pressed my seams to the dark fabric.
Now to make some little ears! Layer your squares right sides together (RST) on the background fabric. Draw diagonal sewing lines on your squares with your marking tool. Sew on the line. Then cut away the waste triangles and press the units open. I pressed the seams towards the cat fabric.
Okay, we’re in the home stretch now. Yippee! Sew the ear unit to the top of the cat body — the ear fabric should match the cat (unless you’re feeling wild and crazy) and then sew the bottom of the ears to the cat body.
OOPS! You will see in the second photo, my cat ears didn’t line up very well with my cat body. Argh! No, it’s okay after all — the one edge of the cat fabric was folded under — whew, I was afraid my cat was growing right before my eyes!
Darn, time to use the tool all quilters and sewists run from in fear — THE SEAM RIPPER. (Cue creepy music.)
Done. It only took me a quick minute to rip out the seam, press the folded-under edge straight, and resew. Now we’re back in business. I pressed the seam towards the cat body.
In the first photo here, you can see how my cats will look after I sew the cat backs to the cat body/ear unit. I am planning to sew my cats front sides together. Ying and Yang, I think I will call them.
The middle photo shows the cats stitched together …….furever (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
The third photo shows how I pressed the seams — center seam between the cats open because of sewing the fiddly little ears together and the cat body/back seam I pressed towards the cat body. The ears wanted to be a bit difficult but I pressed them into submission with a little pressing spray (my favorite is Mary Ellen’s Best Press).
There you have it — a cat block with mirror-image cats. Of course, instead of sewing them fronts together, you might want to sew them with their backs together — would this be a cat fight???? — take a look at the quilt on the front of the Cat City pattern above for ideas.
BUT WAIT — there’s more! I just love saying that, don’t you?
I decided to cut 2″ strips for a border around my cat blocks for a fast to finish little quilt. I sewed the sides on first and then the top and bottom strips.
Voila! A little quilt, mini quilt, doll quilt, table quilt, place mat or whatever you want to call it.
Now I just need to layer my little quilt with batting and backing. Quilt it. Bind it.
DONE! My favorite kind of project. 🙂
Here is my black and white Ying and Yang alongside my first little Cat City quilt in pink and brown. When I finished the pink and brown one (which was my original example to figure out how the block went together), I decided that I had to make a black and white one.
I hope you will enjoy making your own Cat City quilt. Or maybe you just want to play a little bit and make yours mini. Whatever you choose, I can’t wait to see your cat quilts (and maybe your cats)!
You can share them on our Facebook page. Not a member yet? Join us to take part in all the Villa Rosa Designs fun HERE . We really are a fun bunch. Really.
I’m sew glad you’re here and I want to welcome you to our brand new Villa Rosa Quilts (VRQ) blog. You will find new posts here most Thursdays featuring great tips and tutorials, Villa Rosa Designs news and updates, a bit of silly and a smidge of serious. And quilts — lots and lots of quilts and quilting.
Sew, grab a sweet tea or iced coffee, put your feet up, and let’s get to know each other. It’s all about sewing, laughter, and then — well, repeat. Repeat as often as possible! (wink, wink.)
If you’re new to Villa Rosa Designs and you’d like to know more, you can hop over to our About page HERE. You can also visit our main website HERE.
Interested in carrying our Rose Cards in your quilt shop? You can go HERE for wholesale information.
I’m excited to be your new Villa Rosa Quilts (VRQ) cruise director. My name is Tricia Maloney — let me tell you a little bit about myself:
I’ve been quilting for more than 25 years. I am mostly a self-taught quilter, although over the years I’ve learned sew much from other quilters and designers. I’ve worked in quilt shops, taught classes and workshops, and I’m a member of my local quilt guild, Free Spirit Quilters.
My professional quilting life started in 2010 when my first book was published. I wrote 2 more books in the next 6 years as well as designing quilts and writing articles for many popular US quilt magazines.
I met Pat Fryer, the owner and “Rose Queen” of Villa Rosa Designs at my very first Fall Quilt Market in Houston in 2010, when I was promoting my first book. I was immediately fascinated with her wonderful postcard-sized quilt patterns. After that, every time I attended a Quilt Market, I eagerly found the Villa Rosa Designs booth to catch up with Pat and see the latest batch of Rose Cards.
In 2017, our stars finally aligned and Pat invited me to design quilt patterns for her Rose Cards. I was thrilled! What a fun challenge — designing fun-to-make quilts to fit on the back of a 4×6 card.
Here are my first 2 Rose Card patterns from 2017.
Fast forward 5 years and I currently have over 50 patterns with VRD! And I love being part of the Villa Rosa Designs family of designers.
Then last year in 2021, I had the opportunity to work for Villa Rosa Designs. A dream come true! This is the interesting part of our story — Pat and Villa Rosa Designs are located in lovely California while I live in beautiful northwestern Pennsylvania. It certainly makes things interesting as we are 3 hours apart. Thank goodness for the Internet! LOL!
So here I am — your friendly VRQ blog cruise director!