To tide ya'll over ....

While I'm finishing up the Dragonfly panel, I've got a couple of quick patterns for ya'll to help you get your homes decorated for Christmas early! Or make a whole bunch and give'em as gifts or sell at your guild's Christmas Bazaar (which is what I'm doing this year!) You can also blow up the patterns and use them to adorn a pillow! Use'em however you like - hopefully, they've got a million uses (okay, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration)!

This is a "blast from the past" in our house ... we made these ornaments a couple of years ago and these were sew simple and sew adorable sitting on our tree! Appliqued with fusible and then optionally blanket-stitched around the edges (to give'em that "homespun look"), the longest amount of time they take to complete is the time you take choosing the fabrics!

The mouth on "Frosty" is a trail of French Knots. For "Frosty's" and Santa's eyes, you can just use a cluster of French knots if you don't feel like cutting tiny circles. And you can even make the cute little scarf 3-D by simply sewing ribbon (or a ragged edge strip of fabric) under the first piece - sandwiching it between the background and the first applique piece. Make sure to cut it fairly long - and then simply trim after you've lightly tied in a bow!

For extra "dimension" slip a tiny bit of stuffing under the pieces such as the snowman's body and head (which is all one piece), and his nose. For Santa, slip a tiny bit of stuffing under his cheeks and nose!

If you want to do these up extra quick, just use felt! Chances are, as the Christmas season rolls around, most homes have PLENTY of felt on hand! If not, these ornaments would be perfect for those themed color packs of felt that you can find at your local crafts store (or WalMart)!

To finish, sew around the edges with either a blanket stitch and stuff - then finish sewing the blanket stitch to close. Also adorable (and very quilty looking) is to sandwich the appliqued top with another piece of fabric right sides together and sew, leaving a small opening for stuffing. Then slip stitch the opening closed. If you like, you can also slip stitch a faux binding or ribbon on the edges!

These patterns, as I've always used'em, are 4 inches square. Not too big and not too small for hangin' on the Christmas tree! But like I said, you can always use'em at whatever size suits you best! :)

Until next time ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Update on hubby ...

I talked to our ortho specialist and described hubby's symptoms and it SEEMS like a complete ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear and from the symptoms I described (lack of stability, unable to put ANY weight on it, mainly) it sounds as though my dear, sweet husband will more than likely require surgery to fix it. :(

So, please, to those who're listening out there, please send a few good thoughts his way. He's a wonderful man (far, far better than I deserve) and will most likely never recover completely from this. As it is, not even considering the excruciating pain he's going through NOW, he's got to be on a plane ALONE for over 10 hours with 3 layovers in 3 different cities. He's a bit on the "stiff upper lip" side - when it comes to himself, not others - and will more than likely try to muddle his way through the airports rather than ask for help. :(

So, I'm begging you, dear friends, please send some kind thoughts his way - and if anyone would be so kind as to pray for him, well, that would be wonderful.

Thank you SEW very, very, much!!

Happy quilting & big ol' quilty hugs!!

Yeesh ...

Okee-dokee ... as if this week hasn't been overwhelming enough, I just got a call from my hubby saying that his business trip to the UK has been cut short. Normally, that'd be GREAT news, but in this case, it's not so.

The bad news first ...
While jumping off a boat he works on for the Navy (the ONLY way to disboard, dismount - whatever you call it), he landed wrong and has quite possibly torn a ligament. He can't walk - can't even put an ounce of weight on his leg. And this is a man who completed our DIY move last year with a blister on his big toe the size of a golf ball (I'm not exaggerating - it was horrible and HUGE - it HURT just to look at it!!). I do have pics if anyone's brave enough to see 'em (as long as I don't have to see them again!!)

Sooo ... for the next couple of days, I'm going to be playing nurse (again - if you remember the rotavirus episode - we're STILL not allowed to say the "R" word in this house). And chances are, depending on how bad he is as he gets off the plane tomorrow evenin', it will mean that the eZine will be late coming to your mailboxes.

... sigh ...

I am so tired of the delays - first it was EQ6 being back-orderd, then it was finding out that a Windows emulator won't run it as well as I'd hoped so I could run it on my Mac, being blocked by Blogspot, then it was a last minute realization that EQ6 files won't work in EQ5, and now this. It's really frustrating for me - and unfortunately, it seems as though ya'll are going to be disappointed and frustrated, too.

I really hope ya'll understand and aren't too upset with me. For quite a while I've been doing this all on my own in terms of writing, designing patterns, designing the eZine, trying to sweet talk the manufacturers into sharing secrets with me that I can pass on to ya'll, and managing the e-mail list. So I hope ya'll will understand that I have been doing the best I can.

So the LAST thing I want ya'll to do is think that I've stopped trying ... and to think that I've let ya'll down. 'Cause honestly, that's the last thing I want. I sincerely have been working day and night, doing my best to get this off the ground and make it the best it can possibly be.

Now, I do have some GREAT news ...
I've gotten volunteers!! YIPPEE! I've got four wonderful people who've volunteered to help - writing, proofing, giving me the scoop on their local activities and events and general advice and opinions!! So while my hubby's accident DOES put the eZine back a few days, it'll be even BETTER. I've talked to them at length and they're talented, intelligent, funny, wise and just, well ... AWESOME!! Trust me when I say that quilters, especially these kind souls, are THE best people EVER!

I'd really like to recognize them (and further embarrass them, of course!) here - 'cause they definitely deserve major kudos!! (last names withheld for privacy):

Debi (who's volunteered to write articles!! YAY!!)

Anna (who's also volunteered to write articles!! YAY!)

Gladys (who's volunteered to help me "iron the wrinkles" out of the redwork patterns! Yippee!)

Yvette (who's volunteered to give me the skinny on local events!! Yippee!!)

Alma (who's sharing AWESOME patterns and ideas!! YAY!!!)

Cathy (who's sharing ideas and has volunteered to help me "iron the wrinkles" out of the eZine's design!!)

Thank you SEW much, guys!! I know this is going to be wonderful - I am SO excited!! These ladies REALLY deserve a hand - so please be sure to leave comments here letting them know how much ya'll appreciate their volunteering spirit and talent!! Without them, it'd more n' likely take even LONGER for the first issue to reach your creative hands!!

if anyone else might find it in their hearts to volunteer, I'd LOVE it! It doesn't have to be anything too taxing - mayhap just preview patterns? Give suggestions on what you'd like to see? Nominate someone for our featured quilter? Or just holler at me about your guild's quilt show (FREE publicity for your show - how can you beat that?!). It's ALL appreciated!! :)

Alrighty, I've got to go and pick up my hubby's crutches ... one thing's for sure - he's sure going to get some use out of'em. He's too ornery to just sit on the couch! :)

And 'sides that, while he's still gone, I have several patterns to finish and upload - yes, I know, I've been saying that for a few days now - but I'm j-u-u-u-u-s-t about done! :)

Until then ...
Happy quilting & big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Please help!!

If ya'll notice, I've got a new poll at the left - asking if you use Electric Quilt and if so, what version. I'm asking because I'm going to include downloadable EQ project files in the eZine and I just found out that I can't "back-save" to EQ5 from EQ6. I really don't want to leave anyone out, so I'm thinking about buying EQ5 as well ... but I'd like to know first about how many of you actually use it and if so, what version, or how many of you use a different quilting application.

Please take a moment and take the poll! It'll help me make the most out of the patterns I design for you! And please vote even if you don't use quilting software! :)

Thank you SEW much!! Until next time ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Whoops! I forgot!!

I meant to post the results of the votes for fave pattern types - I'm removing the poll from the page (since the votin's over anyway) and replacing it with links I think you'll find useful, helpful and just plain interesting! :) I hope you'll give'em a look-see! :)

The results are:
Traditional applique patterns: 13 votes
Fusible applique: 21 votes
ANY applique: 22 votes
Patchwork & piecing: 42 votes

Now, I figure ya'll already figured out why I asked ya'll that - I want to make sure to give ya'll the kinds of patterns you want! And it looks like I need to get a few more piecing patterns up here! :) So, I will! Sew, keep an eye out, ya'll!! :)

Until then ... big ol' quilty hugs!!!
Connie :)

Update ...

Hi ya'll! I'm sorry I've not uploaded any new patterns in a coon's age! :( Things around here have been awfully hectic ... packed hubby off for an extended biz trip to the UK (lucky him, huh?!) and made him PROMISE to visit several quilt shops in the area - with the hopes that I'll get a few squishies when he gets home!! :) Also, school for us is starting in about 2 weeks, so I've had to get the kiddos outfitted best I can (everything's picked over already!!). Then, what with the whole blog situation (that was about 12 hours that I'll never get back!!) and the overwhelming amount of e-mail I've been getting (THANK YOU!! I LOVE hearing from ya'll!) ... well, I'm not complaining in any way, shape or form, but it does set me back a bit in designing. :)

New Pattern Coming up SOON!!
Right now, I'm finishing up a 3 panel dragonfly applique - I've gotten at least 14 requests for dragon flies! You can use them all together as a wall-hanging - or split them up and use it as a "medallion" or just use them as regular ol' blocks. I think it's turning out real cute - there's a couple of ducks in there, too! What's a scene with pussy willows without ducks, right?! :)

And the eZine ....
I'm still working on the eZine (And Sew On ...) and we're up to over 36 pages! YIPPEE!! It has been SEW much fun working on the eZine, hearing from ya'll, and getting to design appliques!! All of my loves wrapped up in a big ol' fabric covered package! :) I've got the download page designed and ready to go - so once the 'Zine is done, I'll send ya'll the link and you can go and download it from there. I figure that way, I won't clog up ya'lls e-mail boxes with big files. But don't worry - I've been using PDF files for forever, so I'm experienced at making sure that the PDF won't be a nightmare to download! :)

For those of you with EQ software ...
Also, I just wanted to let ya'll with EQ know that I'll be putting in downloadable links to EQ project files - I figure that might make things even easier? It might be a bit of a pain in the rear end to download, size wise, but hopefully they'll be worth it! All you'll have to do it "click" the link in the PDF and the download will automatically start ... and if any of you are mega-experienced with EQ and want to give me some pointers on how to make it as painless as possible, I'd sure appreciate it! I'll also be getting Quilt-Pro soon, so I don't leave ya'll out, either! :)

And you oughta see ...
Oh, and one last thing - sort of a plug, I guess. I've been taking a class at Quilt University (a site a wonderful lady gave me - I had never heard of it! LOL) ... it's a "Math for Quilters" class, taught by Dena Cain. And I have to tell you ... if you ever feel the need to sharpen up your math skills or need help designing your own blocks or patterns (and who doesn't?!), I'd HIGHLY recommend this class! Her class and instructions are super easy to understand, without feeling "dumbed down." She's been making the class VERY fun and exciting (and I never thought math could be exciting OR fun!!)! The tuition isn't much at all, either - only about $27, IIRC. And you definitely get "bang-for-your-buck!"

Okee-dokee ... I have oodles of e-mails to reply to and I have 4 quilts I'm designing - complete quilts. I'll post "teasers" here, but the rest of the patterns and instructions will be in the eZine. Mainly because I don't think a simple blog is the right medium for'em. For some reason, I work better in InDesign (what I use for layout - then I export to PDF) than Blogspot! What is it they say about teaching ol' dinosaurs tricks? ;)

I should have the dragonflies posted soon! Please keep an eye out! :)

Until then ....

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Strippy Log Cabin

Here's another easy paper-piecing pattern. This is a paper-pieced variation of a paper-pieced "Log cabin" - I'm calling it "strippy" because to me, it looks like what you'd find in a string quilt! :)

This pattern is 10 inches square - when you print out this pattern, make to sure to leave AT LEAST a 1/4 inch seam allowance beyond the actual pattern. Paper-piecing makes the pattern "shrink," you know! :)

You could also use this as a "crazy quilt" pattern of sorts - using the strips to showcase your gorgeous hand-embroidery! And remember to think about including a small embroidered spider in your crazy quilts - it's a symbol of GOOD LUCK! If you don't know how to embroider a spider, watch out for directions for hand embroidery in the September issue of the eZine! :)

Okee-dokee ... I'll have more up SOON! Please consider using one (or more) of these patterns to make a Hug Quilt for someone you love! :)

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!
Connie :)

Autograph Heart Block

This block, perfect for a quick "hug quilt," measures 10 inches square and is paper-pieced (sew it's EASY!). Please consider using this block to make a hug quilt (or any other kind of quilt, of course!) for a friend or loved one that needs a hug - or for a victim of the Minneapolis tragedy.

Pieces 1, 4, and 8 are the "heart" while piece 7 is the "autograph" strip. Pieces 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 are the "border" of the block. 4 inch sashing strips between 3 rows of 2 blocks each and for outer borders would make a quilt 32 x 46 - perfect for a hug quilt or autograph quilt!

Please stay tuned for MORE easy to sew pieced blocks!

Until then ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Our Thoughts & Prayers ...

I've always said that quilters have the biggest hearts and have the kindest souls. So, I'm sending out a plea to all you quilters out there to send good thoughts and prayers to those who've been affected by the tragedy in Minneapolis.

Even those that didn't lose a loved one have been affected by this terrible tragedy. If you have a friend that was in the area, or lived nearby, or even used to travel that bridge - please consider giving them a "Hug Quilt." Sometimes, something as "small" as a hug quilt can uplift the spirits of someone who's undergone severe stress. Knowing that someone cares can make a HUGE difference!!

Now, for those of you who think "Well, by the time I finish it, they won't be so upset anymore" - a hug quilt is a small quilt (24 x 36 is fine - it just needs to be big enough to "hug") and usually consists of "easy-to-piece" blocks. Believe me, I've made more than a few in my lifetime (most of them when I was just starting out in quilting), and they go QUICK! It's just a matter of finding an easy block that you like.

Consider an "Autograph" block - there's several patterns for them out there. And there's got to be one that you like (and for the beginners out there, one you can do quickly and easily, no matter how many quilts you've made - or even if it's your first one!). To make it easier, I'm going to go through all my pieced patterns and upload a few paper-piecing patterns for some EASY and QUICK patterns. Please consider using one or more for a hug quilt for someone you know who's been affected.

Again, my love, prayers and thoughts go out to all of those who've been affected by this horrible tragedy ... I know I've used that same word - "tragedy" - several times, but no other word seems to fit. :(

Quilty hugs to you all & God Bless!!

Can Anyone Help???

Every once in a while, when I can't find a requested pattern (or can't make it myself), I'll post a plea to all you wonderful quilters out there ... and here's the first one!

A very nice lady e-mailed me asking me if I could find a missing pattern for her. She's looking for the SANTA SAMPLER from MINIATURE QUILTS, Issue 21. This is a foundation/paper-pieced pattern. And ya'll, I get the feeling that this is a UFO she'd REALLY love to finish!

If you have made a quilt from this pattern and can send me a pic, I can recreate the pattern for her (if you no longer have the actual pattern). It doesn't have to be a professional photo - I can even work from photos that Uncle Bill took with his finger on the lens!

So, PLEASE, if any of ya'll have this pattern or a pic of a quilt you made from this pattern, please e-mail me and let's help her get her quilt DONE! :)

If anyone has a pattern they'd love to find or would love to see, please e-mail me! I would LOVE to help! After all, that's what we're here for! :)

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

YIPPEE! I'm back & with a NEW pattern!!

Whew! As I was GOING to mention this morning, I was out for the last two days because of a vicious migraine (had them since I was 7 - and usually no big deal - but this time I had the unholy triad of side effects - nausea, vomiting, and loss of vision in one eye). But what do I come back to? A whole BUNCH of e-mails from ya'll letting me know my blog was down, wondering what happened, and if I was alright! THANK you so MUCH for your concern!! :)

What happened, best as I can tell, is that somehow, my blog got high enough rankings that it looked suspicious - that I was somehow manipulating the stats through some sort of robot or whatchumacallit. So they temporarily blocked my blog from being published. Stinky, huh? :(

So I spent ALL day moving my blog to WordPress - an account "attached" to my web site - but as it turns out, WordPress is REALLY hard to use - 'specially for me! "Sides, I'd rather design patterns than futz around wading through miles and miles of code. :)

So, here I am back again - Blogger wrote me a nice note of apology and all seems to be well, here. And I'd rather be HERE, truth be told. For one, the template's much prettier! :)

So, I went ahead and designed another quilt - this one isn't a series, per se - but you'll have to sign up for the rest of it via the eZine, now properly named "And Sew On ...." In the upcoming issue, you'll receive instructions on creating the rooster AND the "Grandmother's Fan" variation (though I'm sure some of you have a better name for it).

(For the "GF" variation, a VERY talented fellow in the rec.crafts.textiles.quilting Newsgroup I haunt, created a beautiful Amish style radiating sun like the one behind the rooster - and my first thought was "That would be PERFECT for the background of a rooster applique!")

In any case, the center "medallion" is 18.5 x 18.5 finished - so if you print out the image here on my blog, you'll need to blow it up 200%. Or you can sign up for the eZine and get the pattern pieces separated. But there IS more to that pattern - if you want to see it (much less get the separated pattern pieces AND the instructions) you'll have to subscribe. :)

I have more cookin' - and you'll get a peek SOON! :)

Until then ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)