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 · 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

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

Cats and a VRD Cat City Block Tutorial + a Mini Quilt

Hello Quilty Friends!

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!

Practically-perfect 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!

Crazy man Griffin in a brief moment of stillness.

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.

To purchase the Cat City Pattern, click HERE Or to purchase the Cat City kit, click HERE

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.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD