Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Make my pineapple quilt a mini

It's here at last. The Mini Pineapple Creative Grids© ruler. This little ruler works just like my big pineapple ruler (6" 8" 10" blocks). The blocks made using the new mini ruler make (4" 5" 6" blocks) with narrow strips and a smaller center square. Available on my website:
I have designed four quilts and projects using the new mini ruler. Here they are:
Pineapple Garden

Pillow and Placemat

South Beach Pineapples

Swirly Pearly Buttons
You can order the ruler and the patterns on my website:
Now I have to get back to sewing blocks. It's just too hard to stop at just one!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Snail's pace along the trail

Every January I lead a 3 day workshop at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville NC. Grace Ann Cannon has been there every year, bringing lots of interesting projects for independent study. Like most quilters Grace Ann quilts all year long at home. Here is her current project, using my Square on Square ruler. Here is her first block...
And here are Grace Ann's thoughts:
"Karen gifted me with your square in a square ruler- aren't quilty friend the best?
My first snail's trail block!  Woo-hoo!  What fun!   Thanks for the great ruler, you're the best!"

You can get your own Square on Square ruler and lots of patterns on my website

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Coming Soon!

Creative Grids just released a new ruler. It is a mini Pineapple ruler. This is a 5 minute warning...The ruler and 4 patterns will be on my website later this week.  Stay tuned.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Quilt Show - working link

For everyone who tried the link to my episode on The Quilt Show and got only the trailer, I have heard from customer support, and here is the exact way to get there....

1. Go to and SIGN UP as a FREE MEMBER.
2. Then use this new link to see the show.

Remember I have 15 minutes at the end of the can push back to that part or watch the entire show which is very interesting showing painting on fabric and meticulous free motion quilting.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Watch The Quilt Show - Jean Ann's Studio Visit

Starting this Sunday, August 21, for one week only, until August 28, you can watch The Quilt Show for free without joining as a Star Member. This is by invitation only for my friends and family so you can visit my quilting studio.

Here is the link to go directly to Episode 1904 for a free one week only visit to see how I work in a small 800 sq ft apartment in Washington DC to develop my Creative Grids© rulers, patterns, write books, and make the quilts for all. 

Remember this offer is for one week only, beginning this Sunday, August 21. Come by and say hello!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Little Log Quilts

I recently received an email from Colleen Sholtis sharing photos of two quilts she has made using pattern designs from my book, little Log Quilts. Colleen chose very different, but very effective and dramatic, colors than the ones I used in my quilts. Here are Colleen's quilts and color choices:
Garden Maze Quilt

Around the Maypole Quilt

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Road Trip

Two years ago, just before I moved to Washington DC ad an apartment that was half the size of my house in Georgia, I gave lots of accumulated quilting "stuff" away.

A friend, Michele Bausch, collects antique quilts...some finished and some not. Since I could  not bring my unfinished vintage quilts with me I gave them to Michele. Here is one she is working on now. I love the string piecing since I do so much of it now, but not one in this pattern. It looked a lot like a rag when it was an unfinished top needing some mending. Michele's quilting has brought it to life.

Here is Michele's note to me that came with her photo: "I thought you might like to see what I am doing with one of the beautiful quilt tops you gave me. This is my current hand work project. Joe and I have two fairly long trips planned before the end of the year so I will be working on this unusual quilt from here to Arizona and back and during a three week cruise in the Caribbean. Thanks for trusting this beauty to me."  Michele

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Quilt Show - A Sneak Peek

It's almost here! My appearance on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. I won't be interviewed by them...instead you will get to visit with my in my quilting studio in Washington DC. It is in my 800 sq ft apartment and occupies just over 1/4 of my living space. Since I spend most of my day quilting...having most of my space devoted to quilting makes sense.

My daughters are eager to see the program because they have never seen  my studio so clean and they doubt it will ever happen again. My daughter here in DC helped with the cleaning and organizing (she once visited me and arranged all the food in my pantry in alphabetical order). My son-in-law helped worked hard to hang up all the quilts. They are still on display.

You can see a sneak peek of the program which airs on August 14 by following this link

Then, for one week from August 21 to August 28 you can follow a new link to see the show for free...but it is just for one week. I will remind you again on the 21st and post the new link at that time.

Friday, July 15, 2016

How much does it weigh?

I was interested in seeing how much a pile of quilt blocks weighs before they become a quilt. Here is a pile of 4" Log Cabin blocks ready to become a quilt. I made them using my new 4" Log Cabin ruler much do they weigh? 8 ounces. What do 64 log cabin blocks look like when they are all piled up on my postal scale?

And this is what they look like when the quilt is completed. They do weigh a bit more than 8 oz now with the addition of border, batting, backing and lots of stitching. 

It's A Puzzlement quilt, another Cut Loose Pattern designed to use with the 4" Log Cabin ruler.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Oh, so long ago

August 14th, in just about a month, I will be featured on The Quilt Show. The staff from this computer based show featuring Alex Anderson and Ricky Timms paid a visit to my home in Washington DC in July of 2015. Now just over a year later the episode with my studio visit will run for everyone to see. I am very excited. This week I had to send some additional photos of me, during my early quilting years. Here they are...
This photo is from 1986. I am holding a Nine Patch quilt I made that year. It is the first photo I used for the editor's letter at the beginning of my tenure as editor.
This photo was made just a few years later. I think about 1989, but I am not sure. The quilt is made using entries in our annual block contest. 
This photo was taken last year in my studio here in Washington DC. My studio has never been so clean. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Little Mariner's Compass

Last winter I taught a 3 day quilting conference at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. There were 25 quilters sewing all day and sometimes late into the night. Denise Dews is one of our return quilters. She has come every year for the past 5 years along with her mother for a weekend mother/daughter getaway. Last winter one of the projects I presented was this Mariner's Compass. The compass is paper pieced with the simple Square on Square border pieced in the traditional way.

Here is the quilt I made using the same pattern but very different colors. It is easy to see how different color palettes can completely change the appearance of a quilt. What colors would you choose?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What I found On Pinterest

I love looking at the quilt postings on Pinterest. Here is one I found made using my Curvy Log Cabin ruler and my Rainbow Swirls pattern. It was made by Lisa Redmond.
Here is what Lisa says about her quilt...."My second quilt using Creative Grids Curvy Log Cabin Ruler. This one is the 6" one. I am in love with these rulers." Lisa, so happy you love my rulers because I love it when I see a new quilt made using one  of the

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sewing Slowly

At last I can sew again. I can take my removable cast off and actually sit at the machine for about an hour at a time. Stitching with a stiff and swollen left hand can be a little challenging so I am so thankful my 4" Log Cabin Trim Tool can straighten up my strips after each round of four so I end up with a perfect block. This is the table runner I started yesterday. I have finished 12 blocks so far. I need 30 blocks.
I press my seams a lot so I can get a good crisp seam edge before I trim to size. I love my Oliso iron because when I put it down it jumps right up and makes a little hiss and squeak sound. I am trying out names for this project. They are, Along the Nile or King Tut's Table Runner or Cleopatra's Table Runner. What do you think, which name should I use?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cast Off!

Now that my cast is off and I am slowly using my left arm and hand I can sew again. Not sewing for two months is so depressing. Here is the first quilt I finished since last Monday.

I am calling it Triangle Twist Log Cabin. I took the photo in Poolesville Maryland, a charming little village just 27 miles north of Washington DC.  It uses my new 6" Log Cabin Trim Tool. It will be available as a pattern in a couple of weeks. Now on to the  next project.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mini Madness

Bit by the Bug! I've been bit by the mini-madness bug! I have been so obsessed with making strip pieced quilts in the 3 years since I introduced my original Log Cabin Trim Tool. I realized I could make more finished projects if I simply made them smaller.

Introducing 2 little rulers. I have added 2 little log cabin rulers to my fun family of strip piecing trim tools. They are the 4" Log Cabin and the 6" Log Cabin. Trim Tools.

The Book - Little Log Quilts. I got so excited about sewing small that I made lots of quilts. After all, if you are having fun, why stop? Soon I had enough for a book! So I self published a 28 page book featuring 9 original quilts. For the modest price of $17.99. A bargain price that comes to just $2.00 a pattern for the quilts in the book. Here is a sneak peek of the quilts a featured on the front and back cover of the book. Individual patterns are also available.

Order Online. 4" and 6" rulers, the book and individual Cut Loose Patterns are all available on my website.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

April Calendar - Computer Wallpaper

Here is a link to download wallpaper for your computer that is also practical. It is on the Landauer Publishing website and it is a free download.

The quilt is from my new book, Jelly Roll Jazz. The name of this quilt is Gypsy Jazz. I made it using 60 precut strips of Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Each fabric roll had 30 strips. I used french braid design to make the vertical patchwork strips. The directions are in the book.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Jelly Roll Jazz

My latest book published by Landauer Publications is soon to be released. There are 9 great quilts to make taking advantage of those fantastic 2-1/2" precut strips. The book, a sequel to me first book, Jelly Roll Jambalaya.
The cover of my new book, Jelly Roll Jazz, has a Log Cabin quilt on the cover in a new, innovative design.  Other quilts in the book use hexagons, french braid strippy, bargello design and more. Each Quilt has a jazz theme name and description linking it to a specific jazz style. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Smithsonian Inspiration

Three years ago when my daughter was an exhibits designer at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum she designed the new Time and Navigation exhibit. When she needed a design for a mariner's compass image, who did she turn to for inspiration? Her mother the quilter. I sent her several quilt blocks to consider and she made her own compass using them for ideas. Here are Heidi's designs....
This one is on the wall just as you enter the exhibit.
This one is on the floor and you walk over it as you enter the exhibit space. 

I bought some really cool fabric at Capitol Quilts, a white background with navigational symbols in pale gray printed on it. Now all I have to do is make her a quilt in to celebrate her first big exhibit design at the museum. Which one will I make?

Time moves on and Heidi is now at the National Museum of the Native American Her first big exhibit will open in 2017. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Grid Girls Club....and a good time was had by all!

Here is a great idea for your local quilt shop. A Grid Girls Club! The club meets once a month and each month a new Creative Grids© ruler is demonstrated and then members get right down to sewing as they make blocks using that ruler. If you are looking for a block of the month club alternative for the coming year this is a fun and fabulous way to get together while learning to do new blocks.

Deb's Cats N Quilts in Franklin, North Carolina ( with my traditional Log Cabin Trim Tool. This is an easy ruler to use and you can see by the happy smiles on everyone's face that everyone was successful in making perfect log cabin blocks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kanuga Retreat 2016

Every January, for the MLK holiday weekend, my sister, Janet Houts and I teach a 3 day workshop at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. This year there were 31 quilters in our workshop. They were working on their own projects or working on one of 5 different projects we provided ranging from easy for beginners to challenging for experienced quilters. Every year we have returning quilts as we welcome quilters of all levels of skills to our event. You are all invited!

Kanuga 2015 Workshop

Charlotta's Round Robin
Mary's Round Robin
Jeanine's Jelly Roll Quilt
Danielle's Pineapple Quilt
Pineapple Quilt Back
Mary's Quilt in Blue
Mary's Wonky Log Cabin In Yellow

Kanuga 2016 Workshop

Color Boxes In Progress
Michele adding embellishments
Compass Rose In Progress
Denise's Compass Rose pieced and ready to quilt
Mary's Purple Wonky Log Cabin

Friday, January 8, 2016

Binding Bonanza

Last week I picked up 3 quilts from Sue Bentley,  my longarm quilter  Then I machine quilted a smaller quilt on my Janome professional machine. All 4 quilted at once, all 4 needing binding, right now.

I do all of my binding by machine, both front and back. I use a folded binding. I cut my binding strips 2-1/4" on the straight grain of fabric. Most of my quilts never see a bed and they are not entered into quilt competitions. (If I were making quilts to be judged I would apply the binding to the front of the quilt, then hand stitch the folded edge to the back.) Here are the steps I take to bind my quilts:

1. I sew 2-1/4" strips together end-to-end, fold lengthwise and press the fold. Then I line up the raw edges of the binding to the raw edge of the quilt top and sew in place with a 1/4" seam allowance. Note that I am using the even feed foot with rudder to control the 1/4" seam allowance as I sew. The even feed foot is a built in feature of my Janome sewing machine.
2. I turn the folded edge of the binding to the back of the quilt and use those clever little binding clips to hold the binding in place. Then I stitch the binding in place from the right side of the quilt, again using my even feed foot. The stitching is on the top of the binding strip and using the even feed foot with rudder to maintain the 1/4" stitch line. 
3. When turning the corner to start a new side of the quilt, I stitch right up to the edge of the quilt.
Then I fold the binding at a 45° angle. Then I start stitching again, beginning at the top edge of the binding and resume sewing right down the edge.
4. I use the clips to sew maintain the mitered corner in place as I approach the corner, turn the corner, then continue stitching until I have sewn around all four sides of the quilt.