Today is a busy day – I am double-blogging. I am the guest blogger over at the McCall’s Quilting blog AND I am blogging here on my own site. If you are visiting through the McCall’s blog, a warm Canadian welcome! If you are visiting just because, please check out my post at McCall’s, and leave a comment there for a chance to win one of 3 fabric prizes compliments of Northcott. I am also giving away fabric prizes, so be sure to leave a comment below. More about that later.
I am a guest on the McCall’s site because my Painted Porcelain quilt is featured in the January/February 2016 issue of McCall’s Quilting, on newsstands now. Here is a picture:
I used Northcott’s Porcelain Blue collection designed by Deborah Edwards. It is a beautiful collection of classic blue and white, reminiscent of Delft blue dinnerware. My quilt is equally traditional. The block looks like the Roman Stripe block, with a half-square triangle on one half of the block, and strips of various fabrics making up the other half-square triangle. My pattern is deceptively simple – I used the STRIP-R fabric from the Porcelain Blue collection for those “pieced” triangles. A STRIP-R (pronounced “stripper”) is a fabric with (21) 2” wide lengthwise strips across the width of the fabric. It looks like this:
I think STRIP-Rs are the greatest thing since… well, rotary cutters. Think of them as jellyrolls already sewn together. If you have visited from the McCall’s blog, you have seen some of the amazing ways that you can use them in quilts. I want to show you another cool use for them. I have the honour (that’s Canadian for “honor”) of being the featured designer in the current issue of The Canadian Quilter, the quarterly newsletter of the Canadian Quilters’ Association (www.canadianquilter.com). Here’s part of the article from the magazine.
I designed a pretty throw-size quilt especially for the issue, made with Beacon Hall, the sister collection to Porcelain Blue. Beacon Hall has the same prints as Porcelain Blue, and is available in black/white and red/white. I used the red/white combination for Beacon Hall Baskets, a vertical strip quilt with 4 columns of baskets and 3 columns of Seminole strips. Guess what? Those Seminole strips are made with the Beacon Hall STRIP-R! How easy is that?!? I cut the STRIP-R into 3 sections:
Then I cut each section into 2½” wide pieces and made a Seminole strip from each one by aligning the “seams” without the bulk of actual seams.
I used this same concept in my Ambience Medallion pattern (available at www.quiltwoman.com) using Northcott’s Artisan Spirit – Ambience collection.
The Seminole corners were made with a STRIP-R. It makes the piecing so efficient that I was able to make this quilt top yesterday afternoon.
I’ve been spending lots of time in my sewing room lately making up quilt top samples for my travelling trunk show. Most of the quilts have STRIP-Rs in them, and I can get these tops done in less than a day. Here’s one that I pieced one evening, a variation of my Shimmering Strata pattern originally designed for Artisan Spirit – Shimmer.
In the original quilt, I strip-pieced the 9 light-to-dark values of 4 different colour palettes of Shimmer, then created my bargello. In this Ambience version, I simply used 3/8yd of 4 different STRIP-Rs from Ambience. The STRIP-R in Ambience has only 7 values, so my quilt is a bit shorter, but it does not impact the design. In my Ambience version, there are only 3 horizontal seams in each bargello column instead of 15 if I had sewn strips together, and there is no bulk from those seams. In the narrow strips in this quilt, eliminating this bulk was the key to making this quilt a breeze to piece. I saved so much time that I was able to whip up a batch of Pecan Toffee Shortbreads, hubby’s favourite Christmas cookie.
Pecan Toffee Shortbreads
Finely chop and toast ¾ cup pecans. Let cool.
Combine 1 lb room-temperature salted butter & 1 cup icing sugar.
Add 4 cups flour, 1 cup at a time (I use all-purpose).
Add cooled chopped toasted pecans & 1 cup Skor toffee bits, and mix until combined.
Roll into 1” balls and place 2” apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets (the parchment paper is a necessity). Flatten slightly with the dimpled end of a meat tenderizer dipped in flour.
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until bottoms are light golden.
Now for the giveaway. I have 3 Beacon Hall fabric packets to give out. For a chance to win one, please visit the McCall’s blog post (http://www.mccallsquilting.com/blogs/?p=11786) and come back here to leave a comment telling me which 2 quilts shown in my McCall’s post are your favourites. Please comment by December 16th to be eligible.