Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wickedly Easy Quilts

Many of you have downloaded the free patterns on my website and one of the perennial favorites is the free pattern for Wickedly Easy Quilts.

Made using one basic 16" block, these quilts are great for philanthropy projects, dorm quilts, or just a way to use up your stash. They're so easy to make it's almost sinful!

I hear often from quilt groups who want to make these quilts for charity projects and I am usually happy to give permission for them to make copies of the pattern for those purposes. (Please contact me for information if your group would like to use the pattern.)

I recently received this email from Donna Hedrick:

In February of last year you gave me permission to use this pattern in my beginning quilting classes. Students are amazed that they can produce such a stunning quilt.

I wanted to share with you my last class because it was special. My church has a 'prayer quilt ministry' which gifts quilts to members who are in need of prayer. Only 2-3 ladies could take a pattern and complete a quilt.

So, this fall, I offered a class to teach the other ladies to make quilts. The class was free and the fabric, batting and backing were donated. The catch was, their quilt must be donated to the Ministry. We got a total of 8 quilts! If they wanted to make one for themselves, I also agreed to help them with that.

I'm sending to you pictures of the quilts; they are amazing! One lady is holding a picture of her quilt because it had already been gifted when the pictures were taken. Enjoy! And thanks! Donna Hedrick

Another quilter sent these pictures of two Wickedly Easy Quilts that she and a group of friends made for another friend who was battling breast cancer. I like the way they used the Breast Cancer symbol in the center of the quilt. (I'm sorry that I don't have the name of the quilter or recipient. Best wishes and thanks to all!)

Here are a few quilts made by Debbe Skovan:

Debbe writes:
I told you it is an addiction. :) I also did a lap size one but I guess I didn't take a picture. I've yet to quilt it.

Thank you to all of you for your efforts to provide warmth and comfort to those in need. Keep up the good work!

Happy stitching,


Show Us Your Serenity!

I am continually impressed by the beautiful purses that so many of you have made. I'd like to share with you a small sampling of purses I have seen made using the Serenity Shoulder Bag pattern.

NOTE: I have a limited number of kits for making the Serenity Shoulder Bag as pictured on the pattern cover. Everything you need to make the bag (except a spool of thread) is included in the kit. Get yours today!

Corrie McIntrye made a beautiful Serenity bag for her sister, following the design on the fabric as I did for the original:

Corrie McIntyre writes:

Well, here is my first Serenity bag which I made for my sister. She absolutely loved it and couldn't stop looking at it.

I found it easy to work out the stitching for the flap as I more or less followed the fabric. I used wool batting between the fabric and Texture Magic for added emphasis.

I lined it with the focus fabric, which worked out well.

The Soft and Stable gives a professional finish and I am very happy with the result.

Kirsten Ekdahl of Kirsten's Quilts in Denmark made this beautiful bag:

Kirsten writes:
So now, I have done a Serenity bag, and my customers just love it:) I thought that you would like to see it - it's in my blog. Don't worry about the text, it's in Danish, just ignore it, and enjoy the pictures.

The quilting on the texturized fabric was done with Glitter metallic thread from Superior Threads, and I used a wool batting for this.

Another customer stopped by the Superior Threads booth at a recent show to show me the mini Serenity that she made. (I am so sorry but I neglected to get a name!) She reduced the size of the Serenity pattern and made a smaller version of the bag. Too cute!

Eileen Thomas sent pictures of two Serenity bags that she made:

Eileen writes:

The color from my cell phone isn't great — the interior was lime green, the exterior was lavender purple and the flowers were different colors. But I think you will get the idea. The other is in green and golds with a bit of orange. Really cute, I will take my camera next time.

Visit Eileen's blog at

Finally, Helaine Eckstein sent these images of Serenity Shoulder Bags that she made:

Helaine writes:
I enjoyed making the bag. Your instructions were great. You did not ask for my comments but being a retired Home Ec teacher for 30 years I thought you might want to know. If it were me, I would. For me, the strap is about twice the width I need, too wide to stay up on the shoulder, so I sewed it all together at the center of the strap, and I will change that when I make another one. I also think it needs a closure of some kind but did not know placement to add it before. At this point I will probably use a large snap 'cause I don't want any stitching to show from the outside. I like the shape the foam (Soft and Stable) gives the bag. Thank you for sending me the parts so quickly.

I love it when people are comfortable with making changes to my patterns to make the project suit their needs. Thanks, Helaine, for sharing your comments.

Note that the Serenity pattern is also available in another version, Serenity II Shoulder Bag. Because it uses "regular" fabrics, the pattern pieces can be positioned differently on the fabric, so this version uses a bit less fabric.

I'd love to see what YOU have done with the Serenity or Serenity II Shoulder Bag patterns — or any of my patterns. Please send images and information about them to me at

Happy stitching,


The Hoffman Challenge and Serenity Shoulder Bags

One of the special exhibits that I always enjoying seeing as I travel to quilt shows throughout the country is the Hoffman Challenge.

Started in 1988, the Hoffman Challenge has grown to be a premiere traveling quilt, clothing, and doll collection. The quality of entries and a growing number of exhibit requests have led Hoffman to establish additional traveling collections. Currently, twelve collections travel coast-to-coast within the USA and to several Canadian locations.

The Challenge started with 94 enthusiastic quilters, and in some years, the number of entries has grown to more than 700. In addition to the three quilt categories (pieced, appliqué and mixed technique), new categories include clothing (wearable art), accessories, and dolls. While the majority of the entries come from the United States, a wide variety of international entries are received.

Each year, the top entries are grouped into traveling collections and visit quilt and fiber shows, seminars, quilt shops and quilt- and doll-makers guilds nationwide and in Canada. For more information about the schedule of these events please visit the Hoffman Challenge website.

For the 2010 Hoffman Challenge, Chris Franczek made a purse using my Serenity Shoulder Bag pattern. Her gorgeous entry was selected to travel with the exhibit.

Chris wrote this about her entry:

The Challenge fabric is actually on the back of the bag (pocket.) The checked fabric is from the same line and I used Sulky holoshimmer in gold to stitch the parallel lines to form the 'checks'. So I named the bag 'Serenity Checks'.

I had to have a very serene attitude to do all that stitching with metallic thread! - but it worked - I think it only broke twice during all that stitching (I still can't get the hang of how to keep the spool so metallic thread doesn't get so twisted the longer you sew.)

NOTE FROM ANNIE: Chris, next time you need to stitch with metallic threads, try Superior Threads' metallics. Put a topstitch 90 needle in your machine, position the spool vertically on your machine, and lower your upper tension to "1". They GUARANTEE that it will work beautifully.

I added that cording which I thought was so cool until I was merrily sewing along and got about two inches from the point on the flap and stopped and said -uh oh -HOW am I going to make THIS work. I stopped for lunch, then did the best I could, but when I tried to turn the point to it's pointiest point I ended up rubbing off some of the gold (I didn't point that out in my entry form though).

But looking around my sewing room, the Origami flower came to mind since my sister had given me the book by Kumiko Sudo and I hadn't made any of the flowers yet. The button was going to be plan A, but the flower came out okay, but there was too much dark blue in the center I thought, so I used the button in the center to cover the 'too much dark blue'.

I completed another Serenity bag before this one that I use and people can't believe the texture magic flap is the same fabric as the rest of the bag. It is really a cool design idea you came up with! - when I showed the Challenge bag to non sewing people, I explained the texture magic and they all had to take the bag back to look again - they couldn't believe you don't buy the fabric already poofy!

Congratulations, Chris, for being selected to travel with this prestigious exhibit. I am honored that you chose to make a bag using my pattern. Your bag is absolutely gorgeous!

Note that entries for the 2011 Challenge are due in July. There's still plenty of time to enter. Who's up for an On the Town Handbag made with this year's challenge fabric?

I can just see that fabric in that bag, can't you?

Happy stitching,