Because we move so often, we have been a cat-only family since our dumb-as-a-rock-but-oh-so-sweet jindo mix passed away 10 years ago. As we look toward the retirement (and kids' college) years ahead, though, I have been thinking about eventually rescuing a Bernese mountain dog to add to our craziness. I have wanted one my whole life, but when I realized I had to be a responsible adult and research whether it was a pipe dream or if the breed qualities would be a good match for our family, I was surprised to find out the breed is exactly what we are looking for. Their biggest flaws are a tendency toward shyness or separation anxiety, and sadly, a high chance of a shorter lifespan due to a number of medical conditions,
It will be a while before we can start searching for the perfect addition to our family, so in the meantime I have drafted up Rascal to put in the shop as part of the Dog Breeds Collection.
Rascal comes in a 10" block and is of moderate difficulty.
I find this block to be so cheerful, with the giant doggy grin. Anyone want to adopt this pup and give the block a test run? Testers receive a free copy of the pattern in exchange for your feedback and comments, as well as a free copy of the revised pattern when it is released.
April is National Poetry Month, inspiring this set of patterns related to one of my favorite poets and literary genius: Edgar Allan Poe. (Although no one holds a candle to Neil Gaiman; sorry, Edgar!)
One of my most cherished "poor young couple" dates with my husband was a spring afternoon walking through the small but fascinating Poe Museum in Richmond, VA. We loved the bust that sits in the yard and I took many pictures of it. The Poe profile block was drafted from one of the photos of the bust.
The block is sized at 10" and is moderately complicated. Nothing too crazy, but quite a few sections to line up. To go along with the Poe profile block, I drafted an inkwell with feather quill. This one is a much simpler block to piece and a beginner with some experience under their belt could put it together. These two blocks were developed to be a pair (a 2x2 block mini quilt would look really good with patterns reversed in opposite corners), but this companion block is very versatile and would go along with a number of fandom, fantasy, or literary quilts.
Both patterns will be released to the shop once they are tested. If you are interested in testing, let me know!
As part of the US States collection, I am introducing patterns for Texas, Virginia, and South Carolina. When included with my Washington and Germany blocks, these states represent our duty stations as we have moved throughout my husband's military career. Many of our friends have signs, canvases, or other types of wall hangings showing their various duty stations, and my plan is to create a small quilt to commemorate all of our surrogate states to display in our final house. I plan to use the larger Germany block as a center block and the rest of the states as cornerstones, although I'm not yet sure what I am going to do with the sashing. And I definitely want to make sure we won't be adding Washington, DC to the list before assembling the quilt, LOL!
It will be a while before I get to these myself, so in the meantime I am looking for testers. The blocks are sized at 10" and fall on the slightly more complicated side to make sure I could capture as many details as possible. Let me know if you are interested!
As I have been trying to plan out the remainder of the year's blocks, I went back to some of the old messages from people looking for specific things. One of the most sought after patterns, second only to the Game of Thrones sigils pack, is everyone's favorite Christmas sourpuss. People apparently want the Grinch, the Grinch, THE GRINCH!
When I pulled the pattern, though, I was unhappy with it. It was an older pattern from my early designing days and definitely needed some TLC. The updated block is somewhat more simplified, contains more expressive embroidery options, and has a more appealing pattern layout. This is still a complicated block and contains a number of sections (22 compared to the original 27), but that is the nature of the beast when dealing with a detailed picture with lots of angles. In order to help make piecing a bit easier, I have sized this block at 12".
For right now, you can find the free Grinch pattern in the shop in one of two categories: Free Fandom Patterns and Holiday Freebies. But there's more in store for the 2020 holiday season! I am going back to redraft patterns for Max, Cindy Lou Who, and some funky Whoville trees, and the set will release in early November in time to stitch up a fun Christmas quilt like this one. This quilt mock-up does not include the embroidery so Max in particular looks a little off, but it should give you the general idea.
I hope people are excited to see the Grinch in his rightful home and are looking forward to the release of more Whoville characters this winter. Enjoy!
April is the national month for many things, but the first one that always comes to mind in our family is Autism Acceptance Month. We have several people on the spectrum in our immediate and extended family, and their unique perspectives have opened up our worldview. It is our hope that society will eventually adapt to reduce the number of challenges that neurodiverse people face when navigating the world.
Since there is some controversy surrounding the puzzle piece symbol for autism, I wanted to focus on a slightly more modern symbol. For those on the spectrum who find meaning in and identify with the the puzzle piece, there are a number of patterns available from different sources that I am happy to help you track down. The rainbow infinity loop represents the diverse spectrum of neurological differences, including autism. You can also piece the pattern entirely in gold to represent autism specifically. This could be used to brighten up your own space or that of someone on the spectrum, or would make a great end of year gift for SPED teachers and therapists.
The block is 10" finished and is very easy to piece. The biggest problem you will run into is lining up the sections properly. What I like to do when sections must match up is clip them together with Wonder Clips before sewing to gauge the position visually. I then sew about 7 stitches over each seam (without backstitching) where the design is supposed to match up, leaving the threads on each side a couple inches long. I open up the sections and finger-press the seam to check my positioning. If it is off, the minimal stitching is easily pulled out to try again, and if it is correct, I sew the whole length of the seam and then remove those stitches using the long tails. These methods usually mean my patterns end up matching up almost seamlessly, although it does sometimes take a time or two to get it right.
You can find this pattern in the Holiday Freebies section of the shop.
In honor of my favorite person with autism, I also designed a gentoo penguin block that will be available for purchase as soon as it is tested. Our son is the world's biggest fan of the movie Mr. Popper's Penguins (I'm pretty sure we have watched it literally more times than we can count), adores penguins in general, and loves gentoos best of all. Santa even adopted him one for Christmas and he keeps a picture of his penguin "Captain" in his room. He has named the penguin in this pattern Captain as well, and Captain is in need of a tester so she can be listed in the shop. Ultimately I hope to stitch up all the penguins: Captain, Loudy, Bitey, Stinky, Lovey and Nimrod. I will probably have them all face one direction in a quilt but reverse Nimrod just for fun. You may even see a quilt block of Mr. Popper at some point; if I do add him to the quilt he will be added to the shop as a fandom freebie.
The gentoo penguin pattern is 10" finished and is a very easy stitch-out for the most part. The only place that gets even a bit tricky section-wise is around the head, but it's not too bad. Let me know if you are interested in testing this block!
This pattern is very close to my heart because my husband and I are both Washingtonians born and bred. As much as I am enjoying our travels around the US and now around Europe thanks to the military family life, I always ache for my beloved PNW and its oceans, mountains, and green forests.
Part of the US States collection, this block stitches up at 10" and is a relatively simple block for any experienced piecer. A huge apology to all the islands that weren't represented here; they would have made the block nearly impossible to stitch!
I ultimately plan to stitch this one up so if I get to it before a tester is found, it will be up in the shop then. If you are interested in speeding up the process by testing for me, let me know. I'm also happy to take suggestions for other states that you would like to see join Washington in the lineup. I am tentatively thinking of combining the Germany block with our other duty stations to create a quilt symbolizing our military life, which would put Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina on the docket first. But if there is something special you are looking for I'm happy to draft it up!
Sweet bunny Easter freebie
I am excited to release our Easter freebie: the sweet bunny!
This 10" block can be worked in realistic bunny colors or pastels for a traditional appeal, or in bright, mod colors for a fun take on a spring bunny.
To find this fun Easter freebie, pop on over to the shop and check out the "Holiday Freebies" category. I hope you enjoy! The next scheduled freebie will arrive in the shop shortly before Mother's Day.
First, a quick blog status update. Due to an incredible number of commitments in the last year, I haven't spent any time designing or getting patterns up in the shop. Like many people, though, I find myself right now with an abundance of time and a quickly dwindling list of household projects, so I updated my patterning program and spent some of my free time drafting some new blocks.
I have laid out a master plan for previously released blocks I would like to get into the shop and new blocks I will be launching from now through December, with a potential to add more blocks in between if I'm feeling zippy. I will be adding patterns to the shop for purchase, but I know people are having to count pennies right now so I have plenty of freebies coming up. In fact, an Easter freebie will launch on Monday and a Mother's Day freebie has already been developed, so keep an eye out for those! You are always welcome to make and sell items with my patterns, so I hope this helps someone out.
For today's block, Bavaria has truly felt like a second home to us and I wanted to honor that by making Germany the first country in the International Collection. For all map blocks, I have had to balance geographical accuracy with ease of piecing, so the general map shape looks correct but it is not exact. This particular pattern was developed as a 12" block because of the complexity, and would do well as an enlarged pattern as well. This will go up in the shop as a paid pattern once it has been tested.
Though this block features the German flag colors as a fun addition, it could also be pieced in a single color and assembled in the exact same way.
If you are interested in serving as a tester for this piece or future pieces, or if you have ideas for other countries and states you would like to see designs for, leave a comment or drop me a line!
Follow our German adventures on Flickr!