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Happy 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Bear wishes everyone a Happy New Year! It’s going to be an exciting new year, with new looks and exciting new patterns.

Blue Bear
Blue Bear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I am in a catoonish image with my new look. Going for a more artsy.

 

Here are two of Blue Bear’s latest patterns. They are sure to warm up any home during this cold and brutal winter.

Pineapple Welcome Quilt
Pineapple Welcome Quilt
Bright Hope Quilt Pattern
Bright Hope Quilt Pattern
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Drumroll Please! Announcing the Grand Champion Prize Winner of the Accuquilt Block Design Contest.

I entered several blocks in the 2017 Accuquilt Block Design Contest. By popular vote, these two entries were the most popular.

Here were my other entries:

 

 

But the Grand Champion was my Purple Rose. It will be unveiled on the billboard outside the Accuquilt headquarters in Interstate 80 for an entire year. I am in the process of designing a quilt and a pattern for this block, which will be available in our shop.

 

I also entered this contest in 2016 and here were my entries from that year.

 

But the one that won Fan Favorite was Not Your Grandmother’s Flower Garden a.k.a. What Happens When Grandpa Tells Grandma No More Trips to the Fabric Store.It was designed with the Accuquilt Dresden Plate Die and Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

As a result of winning Fan Favorite, I was honored with a trip to Julien California to spend a week with Eleanor Burns, from Quilt in a Day, at her Fall quilt retreat at Camp Cedar Glen in the mountains. It was a wonderful time for which I am forever grateful.

Here are some photos from that trip. 

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Greek Isles Modern Quilt

For the 2017 Blogger’s Quilt Festival, I thought I would share Blue Bear’s most popular pattern, Greek Isles Modern. 

This pattern is much easier than it looks. It is made with 2.5″ strips of white and 2.5″ strips of light, medium and dark batiks, that you may obtain from jelly rolls, or cut on your 2.5″ strip die with your Accuquilt Go! Cutter. The blocks are all constructed the same way, and placement is what determines the pattern. At 70 x 90,” it is the perfect quilt to curl up with on the couch for binge watching your favorite Netflix shows.

Here is a picture of Kim at Keep Me in Stitches in Largo, Florida, quilting this beauty; followed by a close up of her fantastic quilting.

 

Here are several more photos of the quilt out and about.

 

 

I have taught this class several times and here are some of my students interpretations of the quilt. Click on the links for short videos. They did a fantastic job!

4D1F584E-4BF0-4F0B-9EC4-06091ACAE8FC

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If you would like to purchase this pattern, it is available on our website here, www.bluebearquilts.com, or on Craftsy here- https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/greek-isles-modern-quilt/490532

Greek Isles Modern Quilt Cover

Sharing at the Blogger’s Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side.

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Free Tutorial-Quilted Holiday Star Ornaments (No Sew)

Quilted Star Ornament

Quilted Holiday Star Ornaments (No Sew)

 

You could make one of these every year year.  Keep them for yourself, or give them as a gift. Once you learn the technique, you can put photos on fabric in the middle or use something small that you have cross-stitched or embroidered.  Have fun making these as they do not need to be perfect to look fantastic!

Quilted Star Ornament – Supply List

(1) 3” Styrofoam ball

(1) 1/8th yard dark fabric

(1) 1/8th yard light fabric

(1) 1/4th yard 2d dark fabric

(1) box dressmakers pins 1 1/16th inch, at least 300 count

(1) box extra-fine glasshead pins in color of your choice

(1) 1/4th yard decorative silky ribbon to create hanger

 

Quilted Star Ornament – Preparing Fabric

  1. You need 2.5″ squares of coordinating and contrasting fabric.  You will need 3 coordinating fabrics and one of them should be a light color and the other two can be a darker color. Press your fabrics, and then using a cutting mat and rotary cutter, cut 2.5″ strips and then sub-cut the strips into 2.5″ squares.  For a 3” Styrofoam ball, you will need 10 squares of the first dark color and 16 squares, each, of the light colored fabric and the 2nd dark colored fabric.

    2.5" squares
    2.5″ squares
  2. Now, it’s time for the pressing of the prairie points. But first, set aside 2 squares from the first dark color, of which you started with 10, that you will not be pressing.

a. Fold the all the rest of the 2.5″ squares in half to make rectangles that are 1.25” x 2.5.” Press with your iron on steam setting. Do not iron, just press.

Half Rectangles
Half Rectangles

b. Then fold the just made rectangles again to make squares that are 1.25” x 1.25”.

1.25" folded squares
1.25″ folded squares

c. Once you have the small, twice folded, squares, you open them back up to the rectangle and then fold the upper, left and right, corners in to meet the center crease line in the middle of the rectangle. Be precise when lining up the edges to the center; the closer (without overlapping the edges) the better. This makes a neat equilateral triangle (a prairie point) with the folded edges meeting in the center of the front of the triangle. When you have formed the prairie point, you carefully press. Be careful not to burn your fingers. You will end up with 40 small prairie points and 2 squares that have not been pressed.

Prairie Points
Prairie Points
Prairie Points close up
Prairie Points close up
Prairie Points and squares
Prairie Points and squares

Quilted Star Ornament – Pinning the Pieces

To create the quilted look, you pin the prairie points to the foam ball in concentric layers.

Start by placing the two unfolded squares, evenly spaced apart, one at the top and one at the bottom, on the foam. Pin each corner of the squares to the foam and have the corners from each square almost meet each other, evenly spaced apart.

Squares on opposite sides
Squares on opposite sides

Round 1 of Prairie Points (1st Dark color that has 8 remaining squares)

  1. Place your first prairie point directly on the 2.5″ square just placed at the top of the foam. Match the wide edge of the prairie point triangle with the corners of the square. Pin the bottom wide corners of the prairie point to the foam, first, and then the upper point. Then pin, to the foam, the upper point of the prairie point in between the two folds, a little below the top edge of the prairie point. You want to place the pin right in the creased edge of the fold so that the fold will cover it. Pull the folded flaps over this pin to hide it. When finished with a prairie point, the two pins at the bottom of the triangle will be showing and the pin at the upper point will be covered by the folded edges.

    First Prairie Point
    First Prairie Point
  2. Using the same method, complete the second prairie point directly across from the first one. The upper points of these two prairie points will meet in the middle of the unfolded square on the foam ball.

    Second Prairie Point
    Second Prairie Point
  3. Using the same method, place the 3rd prairie point in the empty space beside the two just placed prairie points.
  4. Pin the 4th prairie point in the remaining open space on the unfolded square to finish this round. You will have 4 prairie points in the center of the foam ball and all points should match up and not be overlapping each other at the center. They may overlap each other a little at the bottom of the prairie points. You will repeat this process on the opposite side of the ball and can do so now or after you have finished all 3 rounds on the top first.

    Completed Round 1 on one side
    Completed Round 1 on one side

Round 2 of Prairie Points (Light color that has 16 squares)

 

  1. In this next round, you can decide how large you want your center star to be by deciding how much of the first round you want to leave showing. A good approximation is to start the 2nd round about ½” below the top of the first round. You should be able to fit 3 rounds without using more than half of the foam ball’s space.
  2. To start round two, this time, place the prairie point’s upper point pin in first, right in the middle of the fold line of the first prairie point, from the previous round, about ½” from the top of the round 1 prairie point and then pin down the outer corners of the prairie point. It helps to put a pin anywhere on the prairie point, while pinning this center point first, and then remove this temporary pin. Use the same technique from round 1 of placing the upper point pin between the two folds a little below the top edge of the prairie point and pull the folded flaps over the upper point pin to hide it. Then pin the outside corners of the prairie point. These outside corners will overlap each other.

    Round 2, 1st Prairie Point
    Round 2, 1st Prairie Point
  3. Place the second prairie point, of round 2, completely opposite of the one placed in # 2 above. Just like last time, pin the center, hide the pin, and then pin the corners of the prairie point.
  4. Using the same method, place the third prairie point, of round 2, 90 degrees from prairie points 1 and 2 just created.
  5. Using the same method, place the 4th prairie point, of round 2, directly opposite of the piece created in # 4 above.
  6. Now there are 4 long sections of the first round (dark color) that are exposed and are creating an “x.”
    Round 2 "X"
    Round 2 “X”

    You will now be placing a prairie point in each of the legs of that “x.” Place a 5th light color prairie point in one of the areas not covered by the previous 4 pieces from round 2. Place this prairie point in the line formed where the edges of the round 1 prairie points meet and just slightly below the level where the previous 4 round 2 prairie points were placed.

    Round 2, 5th Prairie Point
    Round 2, 5th Prairie Point

    You are adding another layer to round 2, of the same color, and are now going to start forming your star. Just like before, pin the center point, hide the pin, and then pin the corners of the prairie point.

  7. Place the 6th prairie point completely opposite of the one placed in # 6 above.
  8. Place the 7th prairie point 90 degrees from pieces 6 and 7 above.
  9. Place the 8th prairie point directly opposite piece # 8. You will now see your first star formed from the dark color of round 1.

    Completed Round 2 on one side
    Completed Round 2 on one side

 

Round 3 of Prairie Points (2d Dark color that has 16 squares)

 

  1. Now you will place a third round of prairie points on top of round 2. Start with the first prairie point that you placed in round two and going about ½” from the upper point of the round 2 prairie point, place the point pin of the round 3 prairie point first, in the folds of the round 2 prairie point, just like you did for the last round, and then pin down the outer corners of the round 3 prairie point.

    Round 3, 1st Prairie Point
    Round 3, 1st Prairie Point
  2. Place the second prairie point completely opposite the one in # 1 above.
  3. Place the third prairie point 90 degrees from the prairie points created in # 1 and 2 above.
  4. Place the fourth prairie point directly opposite of prairie point # 3 above.
  5. Now there are 4 prairie points of the second round (light color) that are not covered by round 3. You will next place a prairie point in each of those 4 prairie points. Place a 5th dark color prairie point in one of the areas not covered by the previous 4 pieces from round 3. Place this prairie point in the center line of the round 2 prairie point and just slightly below the level where the previous 4 round 3 prairie points were placed. You are adding another layer to round 3, of the same color, and are now going to start forming your second star. Just like before, pin the upper center point, hide the pin, and then pin the corners of the prairie point.

    Round 3, 5th Prairie Point
    Round 3, 5th Prairie Point
  6. Place the 6th prairie point completely opposite of the one created in # 5 above.
  7. Place the 7th prairie point 90 degrees from prairie points # 5 and 6 from above.
  8. Place the 8th prairie point directly opposite of the one created in # 7. You will now see your second star.

    Completed Round 3 on one side
    Completed Round 3 on one side

Optionally, If you have room for another layer without going over the half way point of the foam ball, switch colors and repeat steps from round 3. You would need to cut 16 additional 2.5” squares of the new color.

When finished with one side of the foam ball, flip over the ornament and repeat all steps. If you repeated each round on the opposite side as you went, this step is already completed.

 

Quilted Star Ornament – Finishing Steps

Where the top and bottom edges meet is where you will place a fabric strip or ribbon. Usually the edges don’t match up perfectly. You can make the fabric strip the width needed to make sure you cover it all. Notice my edges and how at one spot the prairie points overlap each other and in another spot there is a gap.

Ornament Unfinished Edge
Ornament Unfinished Edge

 

Finishing the Ornament

If you used a different sized ball, wrap a measuring tape around the ornament to determine the size of ribbon or fabric needed to cover the edge. For the 3” foam ball, I used a 12″ x 2.5” strip of fabric. You can use whatever color of fabric you want, but if you used the same fabric as in the round three prairie points, it will create a more harmonious look.

Coordinating Fabric Strip
Coordinating Fabric Strip

Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together and press. Open the strip and fold both long edges of the strip toward the center line so that they meet in the center and then press. Fold each end of the strip in about a ½ “ and press. You end up with a 1.25″ finished strip to wrap around the ornament.

Determine the top of your ornament, if you have a preference. Wrap the fabric strip around the edge of your ornament and secure with the glass head pins at the intersections of the prairie points. When you come to the top, lay your hanger ribbon under the fabric strip and secure the ribbon and fabric strip to the ornament with four glass head pins. Tie your hanger ribbon in a knot at the top.

Attaching Strip and Ribbon
Attaching Strip and Ribbon

Optionally, you can attach the fabric strip and the hanger ribbon with a glue gun, if you prefer.

Keep in mind this is a handmade item and is not going to be perfect. The imperfections are what make it unique and special. There are no rules for the colors that are used or the spacing used between the rounds. Make it yours! You can make these into hanging ornaments, or decorative balls to place in a bowl or basket. The first round does not need to be prairie points. You can substitute a photo on fabric for the center square, or use a small piece of cross-stitch or embroidery as the center. To do this, you would skip the placement of the round one prairie points and start with round two after you have placed your photo or needlework.

Your ornament is ready to hang on your tree or give as a gift.

Folded Fabric Star Ornament
Folded Fabric Star Ornament

Please let me know if you have any questions and please share any ornaments that you make with the hashtag #bluebearquilts.

 

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Week 5-Block of the Week- September 12, 2016- God’s Eye Block

There are many blocks which have names related to things or events in the Bible. Today’s block, God’s Eye, would be one of the them.

God's Eye Block
God’s Eye Block

Others would be Jacob’s Ladder, Crown of Thorns, Joseph’s Coat, Ruins of Jericho, Star of Bethlehem and many others. Quilts with Biblical names can be reassuring to those that are devoted to God and quilts have often been used as burial shrouds and it is comforting to families to have their loved one wrapped in a quilt with a Biblical theme. Many other quilt blocks with a square eye in the middle have been called “God’s Eye.” The yarn “God’s Eye” is a popular kids craft where two sticks make a cross and then different colored yarns are wrapped around the sticks concentrically.

 

The block is made up of a 4 x 4 grid, with smaller 4 x 4 grids contained therein. The smaller grids are composed with squares and half square triangles. Although there are many pieces in this block (88), it would still be a fairly easy block for a beginning quilter. This block is usually composed with four colors, 2 lights and 2 darks. Below is an example of  a 16 block quilt made up of God’s Eye blocks.

God's Eye Quilt
God’s Eye Quilt

 

This quilt can be very striking when made from scrappy fabrics, such as the quilt below.

God's Eye Scrappy Quilt
God’s Eye Scrappy Quilt

 

Stay tuned for next week’s block, which will be the Log Cabin, a great block for a beginner to learn to quilt.

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Quilt Block of the Week- September 5, 2016

Week 4- September 5, 2016

Jacob’s Ladder

 

Happy Labor Day. I hope everyone is enjoying their time off with their families.

This week’s block is the Jacob’s Ladder. It has a Biblical reference as it refers to the story of Jacob found in Genesis 28: 10-12. The block also has many other names such as “Road To California, “Double Hour Glass” and “Covered Wagon,” suggesting that they were popular with the early pioneers headed west. Here is an example of what the block historically looked like.

Traditional Jacob's Ladder Quilt Block
Traditional Jacob’s Ladder Quilt Block

Notice that the block is a nine patch construction, which was discussed in a previous post, containing 5 four patch blocks, also discussed in a previous post, and 4 new blocks that are called half square triangles (HST.) See example below. This block is documented as having been made into a quilt at the beginning of the 20th century. It was originally made with two contrasting colors, a light and a dark. The block often has another name, ” Underground Railroad,” associated with it, but it has not been documented that this block existed around the time of pre Civil War, when the Underground Railroad was happening, and may have gotten the name later as a remembrance.

Example of half square triangle
Example of half square triangle

This is an excellent block for a novice quilter as sewing the HSTs together is easy as you just have to sew two triangles together. It can be a little tricky to get those points on the end to match up, so one of my favorite tools to create the Jacob’s Ladder patches is my Accuquilt Fabric Cutter. It precision die cuts the pieces so they are perfectly cut. On the triangles, it cuts off the dog ears (the points that stick out) so that the ends are easy to align. Here is a link to the Accuquilt website, where you will find the fabric cutters and lots of fun dies. http://www.accuquilt.com.

Two “Go! Dies” that could be used to make this block are the 2.5″ square and the 2″ finished half square triangle.  You will notice that the dies are two-tone, making it easy for you to place the fabric on the die. Then you place a plastic mat over the fabric and run the die, with the fabric and mat on it, through the cutter. There are manual and electric fabric cutters. Here is a picture of a “Go! Fabric Cutter” and the square and triangle dies. (Click on the thumbnails to make the pictures larger.) They are frequently on sale.

 

Continue reading Quilt Block of the Week- September 5, 2016

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Quilt Block of the Week- August 29, 2016

Week 3- August 29, 2016

Double Nine Patch

Double Nine Patch Block
Double Nine Patch Block

In order to create a double nine patch, we need to know what a nine patch is first. it is a block that contains a 3 x 3 grid. Normally there is a combination of light and dark fabrics. Here is an example of the basic nine patch block.

Basic Nine Patch Block
Basic Nine Patch Block

Notice how there are nine “patches” that are the same size. There is a combination of light yellow with the dark navy blue. The yellow is forming a cross and the navy is forming an “x” in the middle. All of these patches can be anywise, but typically they are divisible by 3, so the overall block size is usually 6, 9 or 12 inches. This block is popular with beginning quilters as it involves straight sewing and matching of a couple of seams. It is also an easy block to select color fabrics as you only need two, consisting of a light and dark. This block also makes a great scrap quilt as each of the navy squares in the example could be a different piece of fabric. This is also an easy jelly roll quilt as to contract the blocks, you sew 2.5″ strips of dark, light, dark together and strips of light, dark, light together and then cut them at 2.5″ intervals. Then you take two of the dark, light, dark units and piece them together with a light, dark, light unit in the middle. Here is what a quilt would look like using this block, and then using the block alternating with plain navy squares.

basic nine patch quilt
Basic Nine Patch Quilt

 

Variation Nine Patch Quilt
Variation Nine Patch Quilt

Continue reading Quilt Block of the Week- August 29, 2016

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Sew Along

Sew Along
                                                                                                      #100Days100Blocks Sew Along

The Bear decided to participate in a sew along. Here are a few of his blocks. He thought it would be good sewing practice and a chance to learn something about modern quilt making. It is based upon Tula Pink’s book, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. See what is happening at #100days100blocks on Instagram. See the Blue Bear’s blocks at #Bluebear. Join in! You can easily catch up as they are only on day 6.

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Quilt Block of the Week- August 22, 2016

Week 2 – August 22, 2016

The Double Four Patch

double four patch
Double Four Patch

The name comes from the fact that there are two smaller four patches contained in this block. While four patch is in the name, “four patch” also describes the type of block construction.  

Notice that there are two four patches and two plain squares. When these four units are combined together, they create a larger four patch, containing two smaller four patches, and you notice a lovely chain effect happening. The smaller four patch units could be made from strips or jelly rolls. This is an excellent block to use up scraps as each one of the colored squares could be a different color fabric creating a wonderful scrappy look.

 

Due to its simplicity, this block is an excellent block for beginning quilters and it can create a gorgeous quilt as you can see in the diagram below. This quilt contains 64 blocks- 8 across and 8 down.

double four patch quilt
Double Four Patch Quilt

Next Week’s Block of the Week will be the Double Nine Patch.

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Quilt Block of the Week- August 15, 2016

 

Quilt Block of the Week.

We will feature a quilt block of the week. You will be able to find them all grouped together in the page tab on the right side of the blog. We will have an example of the block and how it looks in a quilt and tell you a little about the history of the block, if known.

 

Week 1- August 15, 2016

 

Most Basic Block- Mother of all Quilt Blocks- The Basic Four Patch

This has to be the easiest of all quilt blocks. This is an excellent block for a beginning quilter to start with due to its straight sewing and simplicity. Here is what the block looks like.

4 patch block
Four Patch Block

To enhance the pattern, light and dark patches are alternated. It is called the four patch as it is composed of four patches. I believe that it was first identified by Carrie Hall in 1935. This block is a good one for thrifty quilters as it allows small scraps of fabric to be sewn together. The squares in the example above are 2″ by 2.”

Four patch is also the style, or basic grid-work, of a block when four similar units are combined together to form a larger four patch block, similar to the example below.

4 patch grid block example
4 patch grid block example

Here is how the 4-patch block looks in a quilt. It creates a checkerboard pattern when it is not combined with any other blocks. For this reason, this block is sometimes called checkerboard as well. This quilt is good for placing appliqué and/or quilting designs in the square blocks and borders.

4-Patch Block Quilt
4-Patch Block Quilt


Next week, we will talk about the Double Four Patch Quilt Block.