Fresh Picked Quilt Pattern

Crafter’s Companion, Fabrics, Lady K Designs, Quilts, Uncategorized

It’s an exciting day in my studio as I’m publishing a free quilt pattern I’ve designed for users of Crafter’s Companion’s GEMINI & Build-A-Block die cutting system.  I recommend adding it to your sewing arsenal because it is effective, useful, and fun to use.  Don’t we all like those things?!  To learn more about the Gemini tap HERE, and to learn more about the Build-A-Block tap HERE.  Here is my  Fresh Picked Pattern.

FRESH PICKED quilt pattern by Karen O’Connor

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Thank you to Moda Fabrics for sponsoring this project with Grunge Basics in Aqua and Composition White that I used alongside Jen Kingwell’s upcoming collection release, Looking Forward, also from Moda.  The colors in these fabrics are reminiscent of a simpler time, yet like the collection name claims, they bring life and light to the project by “Looking Forward”.  This collection will be shipping to shops November 2018 and these wo particular colors of Grunge Basics by BasicGrey are currently available.

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Vintage quilt made by my Great Grandma McKinstry.

My inspiration for the Fresh Picked Quilt was a quilt my Great Grandma McKinstry made decades and decades ago. I met her once, pictured below, and I treasure this quilt, pictured above, because it reminds me of where my quilty gene comes from. The Grunge Basics Aqua turned out to be an incredibly perfect match to the minty green fabric my great grandma had used all those years ago. I highly recommend it if you too want to recreate that color and tone but still want a modern vibe in your projects.

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Vintage style meets fresh colors of today.

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Here are some images of the system in use while I made the Fresh Picked quilt. You’ll also find a video below of me using the Gemini and BAB system.  I’m thrilled to be a Brand Partner with Crafter’s Companion and have been given this opportunity to work with the game changing Gemini and Build-A-Block die cutting system.  This is not meant to be a total replacement to your traditional rotary cutter/ruler/mat system.  It is meant to make some things easier and faster though.

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I’m thrilled to be a #brandpartner with Crafter’s Companion.  The folks there have been lovely to work with.  Thank you for this opportunity!

(CLOSED) I call it a “Quilter’s Companion”💖 ➕ a GIVEAWAY

Blog Tour, Crafter’s Companion, Uncategorized

(THIS GIVEAWAY CLOSED AT MIDNIGHT. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED. THE WINNER HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED IN A NEW POST.).

Back in May I attended Janome America’s inaugural Education Summit in New Jersey. It was during that fun filled week that I saw Crafter’s Companion Gemini die cutting machine and their new Build-A-Block die cut system in person. At first I was skeptical. I am a very fast and precise cutter with my rotary cutter/ruler/mat. I didn’t need something to help me do what I was already doing successfully. Then I saw it in action and I have to admit I was impressed. There was no hand cranking needed because the Gemini is an electric machine. It uses incredible pressure and it’s that pressure paired with the sandwich combo of plastic plates and metal and plastic shivs along with the Build-A-Block die cut shapes that provides a perfect cut of fabric. My first thought when I saw it in action was that I have arthritis in my hands and a bit of carpal tunnel in my right hand, from years of cutting fabric with a rotary cutter while working in quilt shops. Go figure! I saw a healthier process when it comes to cutting specific shapes that I honestly use in my quilt making in almost every project. Because the BAB system allows for cutting squares, half-square triangles, and quarter-square triangles in six individual sizes per shape, I’m pretty covered in the most common block sizes. That’s a total of eighteen dies and I love that they aren’t sharp. I can actually hold them in my hand without a worry because it’s that pressure system that cuts the fabric, not blades.

Fast forward to later this summer and I was approached by Crafter’s Companion to design a pattern for them in honor of the launch of the Build-A-Block system this week. I said yes within an instant and upon receiving the Gemini and BAB I realized just how valuable they were going to be in my quilt making process.

Not only is the BAB system fun to use and a quick cut, I discovered the best thing it does in my opinion. When it comes to making half-square and Quarter-Square triangles I wasn’t having to draw and cut on the line, or square up those units. Now it takes me a fraction of the time it was taking to sew up HST & QST units, especially since the perfect 1/4″ seam allowance is built into that shape’s die cut size. That is the biggest game changer!!

As I use these tools to make the quilt I’m designing for Crafter’s Companion, I know that using this system won’t stop when this quilt is done. The Gemini and Build-A-Block system are now a staple in my studio and I appreciate what they do for me and my projects. That pattern I’m working on will be debuting in early September so stay tuned! Thanks to Moda Fabrics for making such lush fabrics like Grunge Basics by BasicGrey and Jen Kingwell’s upcoming collection, “Looking Forward“.

If you think this system would be a perfect fit in your crafting and making adventures and are feeling lucky then you’re going to want to enter my giveaway to win your very own Crafter’s Companion Gemini machine and Build-A-Block system (valued at $359.90).

To be eligible you must accomplish the three following tasks:

■ Like Crafter’s Companion on Facebook.

■ Follow Crafter’s Companion on Instagram.

■ Visit the Build-A-Block project page on CraftersCompanion.com and then come back to this blog post and please leave a comment telling us which project is your favorite.

This giveaway contest will be open from Monday, August 20th through Monday, August 27th at Midnight PST. I will announce the lucky winner the following day here and over on my Instagram account, Lady K Quilts.

*Lady K Quilts is happy to be a #brandpartner with Crafter’s Companion. ✂️

Thunderboomers from Eyecandy Quilts is ELECTRIC!

Blog Tour, Eyecandy Quilts, Fabrics, Outside the box, Quilts, Uncategorized

Months ago my sweet and talented friend, Anneliese, reached out to me asking if I could help her out. She was in need of someone who could make an upcoming Eyecandy Quilts pattern and that she had designed it to be made using different substrates. Well, my interest was piqued and I was game. Anneliese sent over a package full of beautiful yellow, green, cream, and turquoise colored fabrics, including a bunch of lush Nani Iro double gauze. I proceeded in making half square triangles that are the backbone of this quilt. The piecing came together rather quickly, even for such a large quilt.

When working with the double gauze fabric I did feel the need to stabilize it so I used SF101. This gave it that necessary weight and strength needed due to the pull and strength that the pieced triangle units would apply to those very large and delicate squares. It worked out nicely, and makes this quilt a fabulous weight for cold winter nights or even providing a stable hanging quilt for a beautiful, large wall in a home.

I just whipped up this fun wall hanging or table topper size version using some gorgeous prints in various shades of fuchsia and yellow that compliment the focus fabric. That focus fabric is a stunning African print that is very much like a Batik, as there isn’t a front or back to the fabric really, sans the waxy material still on one side. It adds a unique texture to the fabric but didn’t cause any trouble when ironing. I’ll have time later this summer, hopefully, to finish it up but I absolutely LOVE it so far. I just need to quilt and bind it. It’s it’s finished size for what I want it to be. That’s what’s so great about this pattern, Y’all! If you don’t want to make the whole quilt you don’t have to. Just make it the size that you need!

The oh so talented Quilter, Sarah Thomas aka Sari, worked her magic on this quilt and OMG, she elevated its amazingness ten fold. Ten fold!! You can learn more about Sari and her longarm services HERE.

The Thunderboomers pattern will be available from directly from Eyecandy Quilts mid-August, from Cotton Cuts.

Anneliese, thank you for asking me to help you out. Thunderboomers was an EPIC make and worth every moment. XOXO

It was an honor. The Designer Duo QAL wrap-up.

Designer Duo, Uncategorized

Over the last couple of months I’ve had the great pleasure of sewing along with my friend Nancy Rink and her colleague and fellow designer, Sarah Maxwell. They invited Tiffany Haynes of Needle In A Haystack and me to be “Guest Designers” on their Designer Duo QAL this spring. I had chosen to use Sarah Golden‘s latest collection from Andover Fabrics, “Around Town” in my version of this wonderful sampler quilt. I loved that there were doubles of the sampler blocks and thirteen copies of the set-in blocks in this pattern. It makes for easy and fast block making because your quilt finishes up a tad bit faster when designed this way.

We got started on April 6th and continued making and sharing Instagram, the Designer Duo Facebook group page, and our websites/blogs.  The Facebook Group has 2.2K members and although not everyone in that number shared their progress with us, it was a very active community for those of us that did share.  The support and cheerleading spirit within the group made for fun and exciting Fridays over the next six weeks.

As I got started I found that my layout was going to make for slightly different assembly steps.  I took some time to go over the pattern and make notes to reference as I went.  For example, all my four-patch blocks would use the same fabric, unlike in the pattern where you make the four-patches as you make each block.  That was because the fabrics are of such a variety that it was easier to make those small blocks as you cut your fabrics for each set of blocks so they reflected the fabrics used in them.  I had designed my version to use the same black & white polka dot and background fabrics in all of the four-patch blocks, so I just made them all at once.  However this did result in erasing the optical illusion of large circles in the quilt, but I love how retro my layout feels.

I also found it helpful to use one of my favorite notions, the Alphabitties from It’s Sew Emma.  They make for an easy system of tracking all the pieces and units per block.  I’ve been using them for a few years now and although I could just write numbers or letters on Post-Its, these are much cuter.

My blocks made me so happy and the use of stripes to create interest and movement was so fun for me.  I love using stripes in my quilts because they aren’t as complicated to use when they’re cut into smaller pieces.  They make for striking blocks and much more interesting fabric play.

*Some of the block images below are actually my digital images from the design software.  I had passed the quilt on to my longarm quilter without taking some good progress pictures of the latter blocks.

The Kaleidoscope pattern that Nancy and Sarah produced is full of great tips and tricks, and the blocks are some of my favorites I’ve ever made.  I love a good sampler quilt and I truly enjoyed making this one.

When it came to making the set-in blocks I wanted to fussy cut the cheetahs in my focus fabric for them.  The pattern calls for the Tri-Recs ruler.  I initially placed it over the fabric and using a dry-erase marker, traced the cheetah shape onto it.  This way I could be consistent with placement and cutting of my fabric.  As the need to alternate the direction of the fabric due to block layout directionality, I easily wiped the drawing off and redrew the image after replacing the Tri-Recs ruler on the fabric in a different direction.  I love how these blocks turned on in the quilt.  Don’t hesitate to make the tools in your studio work for you.  I love the Tri-Recs ruler and plan on using it in future designs of my own too.

My friend Tracey Peterson quilted a beautiful edge 2 edge design on my quilt using her Gemmill longarm. I love how it turned out!  Once I got it back it was time to trim up the quilt and get the binding stitched on.  I prefer to machine stitch it on the front and then hand stitch it onto the back.  I need to make a quilt label for it still but I just love how it turned out.

I made the entire quilt using my Janome Skyline S5 and Aurifil 50 weight 100% cotton thread.  These two things are used in everything I create in my studio.

Last weekend I was finally home after a busy two weeks of travel for Quilt Market in Portland, OR and the first Janome Education Summit in New Jersey, so Hubby and I went over to nearby Woodinville, WA where the famous Chateau Ste. Michelle winery is located.  I brought my Designer Duo quilt with me and Hubby held it up for me in front of this gorgeous blooming tree on the grounds of the winery for a photoshoot.  It was a bit breezy but we succeeded in the winning shot eventually.

Thank you so much, Nancy, for inviting me to be a part of your beautiful and fun quilt along.  I look forward to seeing what new designs and fabrics you will have coming down the pipeline.

Tallinn Fabrics Blog Tour

Art Gallery Fabrics, Aurifil Artisans, Blog Tour, Fabrics, Jessica Swift, Lady K Designs, Uncategorized

Fabric is why I love making things. Fabrics that are gorgeous, sweet, cute, beautiful, and usually rich with color are my favorites. img_3091

When Jessica Swift and Art Gallery Fabrics came calling, asking me to participate in Jessica’s blog tour I didn’t hesitate. I LOVE THIS COLLECTION!! Picking which fabrics I would use was fun yet nerve racking because I love them all, but I decided to stick with the vibrant blues and reds in the Tallinn collection.

I love texture in my projects so I added some of AGF’s versatile denims from their Denim Studio and I was ready to create. I decided to make two pillow shams for Euro pillow inserts. They’re super big though at 28″ square each so I had to buy extra large Euro inserts. Oops! Darn.

Cutting into these lush Tallinn fabrics was just the beginning of the fun I had making these pillows. I love traditional quilt block designs but I like to do unexpected things with them with the help of fabric placement. In the case of the Churn Dash pillow, I placed the “Lore Cobblestone” fabric on the outer edges of each Churn Dash in a rotated place. This then created a large plus that is now the center of the design, but still frames the focus print that in this pillow is the “Tigris Indigo” fabric. Because I kept the outer triangles in the same “Lore Rooftop” print, the exact center of the pillow becomes a large red print square, as seen in the digital design I created initially.

Using Aurifil Thread‘s 40wt thread #2021, I quilted a straight line diagonal pattern in 1 1/2″ increments on the pillow top. I love how it turned out and how the thread stands on the fabrics. Oh, and of course Rocky wanted to be included in my photoshoots. He does get impatient at times but for the most part he’s such a good sport.

The other pillow top showcases the cute little pony print called “Zirkusbau Primary” in the Tallinn collection. They are SOOO CUTE!! I chose to design this one using the traditional Sawtooth Star block but I changed up the star points by making them with divided triangles as the points of the flying geese units. This takes a little careful piecing but the final look is just so cool that I think it’s totally worth it.

In both pillows I used those wonderful swans in the “Baltic Swans Sky” print in the mitered borders, which to my delight were printed perfectly straight. Thanks AGF!

These pillows are really big enough to be wall hangings too. I will use them in both ways over the years for sure. I backed both pillows with the most stunning shade of red-orange floral print called “Odessa Traditionale”. I’m going to have to buy more of it for sure since I used it all up in the envelope enclosures for both pillows.

I wanted each pillow to have a different finished look so on the Sawtooth Star pillow I quilted a simple checkerboard at 1 1/2″ increments. These simple straight lined quilting designs allow the fabrics and design of the quilt/pillows to stand out and have all the glory. Sometimes it’s just perfect.

I did all my piecing and quilting on my Janome Skyline S5. It executed beautiful stitches and I have total control over needle placement, stitch length, as well as a good amount of throat space to quilt these big pillows.

There are a total of eighteen talented Makers/bloggers on the Tallinn blog tour, including the designer herself, Jessica Swift. I hope you’ll check out everyone who has already shared their makes and continue to check out the upcoming blog posts on the schedule. Thanks for having me Jessica! ❣️

Here’s the full schedule for the tour:

Thursday April 19 – Mathew Boudreaux | Mister Domestic

Friday April 20 – Katie Skoog | The Simple Life Company

Monday April 23 –Sharon Holland

Tuesday April 24 – Eleri Kerian | Sew and Tell Project

Wednesday April 25 – Paola Baker | Love of Fabrics

Thursday April 26 –Maureen Cracknell

Friday April 27 – Alexis Wright | My Sweet Sunshine Studio

Monday April 30 – Isabelle Selak | South Bay Bella Studio

Tuesday May 1 – Cassie Massolia | Lily Shine Creates

Wednesday May 2 – Becca Plymale | Sunflower Seams

Thursday May 3 – Alisa Kutsel | A Stitch In Between

Friday May 4 – Sharon McConnell | Color Girl Quilts

Monday May 7Karen O’Connor | Lady K Quilt Designs

Tuesday May 8Sarai Schuk | Sarai’s Hobbies

Wednesday May 9Elise Baek | Elise & Emelie

Thursday May 10Jessica Swift

Friday May 11Gwyn LaSpina

Monday May 14 Loni Jakubowski | Havin Sew Much Fun

Happy DDQAL Day!!

Aurifil Artisans, Blog Tour, Designer Duo, Fabrics, Quilts, Uncategorized

DDQAL stands for “Designer Duo Quilt Along” and it’s kicking off today with Designers, Nancy Rink & Sarah J. Maxwell. I’m thrilled to have been asked, along with Tiffany Hayes of Needle In A Haystack Quilt Shop, to be a guest designer. What does that mean? It means that Tiffany and I recolored the Kaleidoscope Quilt that is the pattern we will be making in this quilt along, and we will also be providing discoveries and tips resulting in those discoveries as we’ve been making our quilts.

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I chose to recolor it using the “Around Town” collection by Sarah Golden for Andover Fabrics and a selection of colors from the “Linea” collection from Makower Fabrics, and distributed by Andover in the U.S.  When I recolored the quilt design I ended up loosing the optical illusion of circular movement that is so special in Nancy, Sarah, and Tiffany’s versions. The repeated block with the triangles create this effect along with the four patch blocks. My version became very retro yet modern because of the fabrics. I also ended up altering the actual shapes within the six featured block designs because of fabric placement. It’s interesting how placement and fabric selection can play differently in a quilt design.  I love it and I love the possibilities with the Kaleidoscope quilt.

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My version of the Designer Duo Kaleidoscope Quilt using Sarah Golden’s Around Town collection from Andover Fabrics and Linea collection from Makower Fabrics.

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Nancy’s version of Block 1 using her Seaglass Collection for Studio 37, a division of Marcus Fabrics.

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Sarah J. Maxwell’s version of Block 1 using her Bring on the Bubbly Collection for Studio 37, a division of Marcus Fabrics.

As block construction gets underway I will be providing some tips that I always utilize when constructing half square triangles (HSTs) and flying geese (FG) units.  To start with, I always round up the cutting measurements at least an 1/8″.  For example, when cutting the strips in block one that eventually create the A triangles, I cut the strips at 3″ instead of what it calls for.  This way I have a little more room to square up my HSTs and make them as perfect as possible.  This is also useful because not everyone’s machine makes true 1/4′ seams.  This way you are sure to get your HSTs to be consistent and then everything lines up beautifully when you assemble your blocks.  It’s just one of those things.  Most importantly, remember to have fun and make something beautiful!