Thursday, December 18, 2014

Moving Day

Well, I have done it. I have moved to Washington DC. I am living very near my youngest daughter, her husband and her daughter. Cymia is 7 and her school is just up the block. If you want to know what it is like to move an office and sewing space…this is it!
In the boxes, are fabric, Creative Grids© Trim Tools, Cut Loose Patterns, office supplies, irons, scissors, rulers, cutting mat, and you name it. Everything needed to make quilts, design rulers, and create patterns. When I get it all sorted out I will post another photo of what my work space really looks like. I hope it will be before Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Red Pepper Quilts

One of my quilting friends sent me a link to Red Pepper Quilts They just featured a quilt they made using a fabric line called Sugar and Flour (referring to the printed sugar and flour sacks from the early part of the 20th century). They also used my new 6" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool to make the blocks. Here is a photo of the full quilt and a detail. Red Pepper Quilts is a great blog for quilters. Check it out.

I don't know about any of the rest of you, but my mother made my summer play sets to wear out of flour, sugar and chicken feed sacks. I think mostly chicken feed because we lived in a rural area of Flint,  Michigan and we had a chicken coop and chickens. They were not for pets like today's backyard chickens, they were for eggs and Sunday chicken dinners. Who else had sunsuits out of printed sacks?

Monday, December 8, 2014


Teaching a 3 hour workshop sometimes feels like a "hit and run" event. It is impossible for any quilter to finish a project in such a short time. I always say "please send a photo of your project when it is finished, I would love to see it." Doesn't often happen, but last week at the Sewing Expo Chicago Terri Geeding brought a happy surprise to class when she showed a quilt top she made in a workshop last spring.

oops! what was I thinking…The Jelly Beans quilt was in our Log Cabin Quilts book, also by my sister and I. It was made using the Log Cabin Trim Tool Two. It is named that because the ruler makes 2 sizes of blocks, both 6" and 12". I used both of the blocks sizes in this quilt.
Here is Terri with her project. Good job Terri!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Getting Started with Machine Quilting

Everyone knows that I am totally involved with making strip pieced blocks like log cabin, pineapple, hexagons. I teach classes in these techniques at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo and to quilt guilds everywhere. But did you know I also teach free motion machine quilting. Here are some photos from my recent workshop in Tinley Park, IL.

The next Sewing Expo is in Lakeland, Florida in early March. Hope to see you there.
Notice the smiles on everyone's face? Free motion machine quilting is really lots of fun. Also notice the Janome sewing favorite and my machine of choice.

Look at all the different designs being practiced in the class. These are all beginning free motion quilting. If they can accomplish it, you can too!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hexie Go Modern

For years Quilter's Newsletter has been a favorite magazine for quilters. During the 20 years I was editor of QUILT (1986-2006) I couldn't even think of submitting one of my quilts to another publication. After leaving that position quilts I designed have appeared in many other magazines, but never Quilter's Newsletter.

The current issue of Quilter's Newsletter features one of my hexagon quilt designs along with a lesson on how to use my Hexagon Trim Tool by Creative Grids©
Bird's eye view of the Hexagon Trim Tool making a perfect strip pieced hexagon block
A sneak peek of the quilt that is featured. 
Look for the December issue of the magazine at your newsstand or order it from the Quilter's Newsletter website.
The CREATIVEGRIDSUSA ad in Quilter's Newsletter featuring all of my trim tools. You can order all of my trim tools and patterns from my website

Monday, November 17, 2014

Curvy Log Cabin Quilts - Book #6

Working on quilts for my new book: Curvy Log Cabin Quilts. Here are two of the projects that will be patterned in the book. The book will be available late winter or early Spring. It will have 8 great curvy log cabin projects. Watch this space for more previews of the projects.
This quilt is named Ripples and uses the 8" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool.

This quilt is named Solomon's Puzzle. It uses the 6" Log Cabin Trim Tool. The blocks are sewn into a popular Drunkard's Path block called, Solomon's Puzzle. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

There's nothing new....just almost new!

When my sister, Janet Houts, and I were designing quilts for fabric companies we figured we came up with a brand new concept - the Circle of Nine - to set blocks into a quilt. But my recent contact with a long time quilting friend, Carol Doak, has shown there is nothing really new in the quilting world or the whole wide world.

Carol has just launched her new Craftsy class: Paper Pieced Stars. In this class she has packed in all of her tips and tricks for paper piecing star blocks. Carol uses nine blocks (with eight surrounding the center block) to make a really big quilt that frames her blocks beautifully.
Visit Carol's website to get more details about the class, to contact Carol, and to receive a discount that is being offered to sign up for the Craftsy class from Carol's website.

Here is the quilt Carol made in 1999 using the setting that Janet and I have used in our 3 books featuring this setting. You can see how the big triangles in the spacers around Carol's center block to create a star-within-a-star setting that is a dramatic frame for her paper pieced star blocks.
50 Fab quilt by Carol Doak, 1999

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

camping out

In just one month I will be moving from Marietta GA to Washington DC. This week I am camping out in my new apartment so I can get the internet up and running and have the hospital OR room white walls painted in my favorite colors. While here I am sewing the last quilt I need for my new book, Curvy Log Cabin Quilts by Landauer Publishing www.landauercorp,com Here are some pictures to show how necessity can really challenge a quilter when determined to sew, but quilters always win!
Here is my quilters reversible ironing and cutting surface. In this photo I am trimming the first round of a block using my 8" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool
Have you seen the new Stripology ruler by Gudrun? It is so cool I wish I had thought of it myself. Being a Creative Grids ruler I just added it to my growing ruler collection. I use it every day to cut the strips I need for all of my strip pieced blocks. I have discovered if I cut all my strips in 3 sizes - 1-1/2", 2" and 2-1/2" I can store them in color groups and always have strips ready to use when I want to sew. The Stripology ruler has little square symbols to cut strips at 2-1/2" intervals, star symbols to cut at 1-1/2" intervals and I just use the inch markings to cut at 2" intervals (I learned to count by 2's in elementary school). My cutting is always quick and accurate with the Stripology ruler.
Sewing on a plastic folding table can be a challenge. The machine makes the table bounce so it is fun trying to keep everything in place. Note the 2 folded quilts I am using for chair pads and the cardboard carton I am using for a waste basket to catch my fabric snippings.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dotsy Do Little

A few months ago Donna Latour of DeWitt, Michigan emailed me to ask for a quilt pattern. She wanted to make baby quilts for twin boys. They will make their debut into this world in November. Donna's quilt will greet them and provide loving warmth during their first winter. 
The Rowdey Twins Quilts
Here is Donna's email to me that came with the photo of the completed quilts.
"Dear Jean Ann
I want to send you my finished baby quilts. Remember I called you and you sent me the patten of your Dotsy Do Little quilt. The twin boys are due Mid November and will send them off soon. I think they turned out very nice. Thank you very much for sending the pattern."

Friday, October 10, 2014

I design quilts for Andover Fabrics For the past two years Andover has brought Downton Abbey fabrics to quilters with lots of FTU (free to use) patterns to sew. My latest design for this collection is named "Table Talk" using the new Downstairs collection  that features fabrics for the people who work downstairs at the abbey...the servants who take care of the family. Here is the quilt I designed for this collection.

You can get the free pattern by visiting the Andover website and clicking on the link to Free Patterns at the top of the page and then doing a search for Downton Abbey , or use this direct link: Table Talk

Monday, October 6, 2014

6" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool is here!

Are you on Facebook? If so take a look at my new 6" curvy log cabin projects. They are featured on the Creative Grids USA facebook Go take a peek and see the new projects I designed for the ruler. Obviously I was in a playful mood when sewing the quilts this summer. This little photo is a sneak peek, follow the length, enjoy, then rush out to your local quilt shop and ask them to order ruler and patterns so you can join the fun.
The new ruler and patterns are for sale on my quilting website as well You can order and I will ship!

Fredericksburg, VA

Just got home from the Sewing Expo in Fredericksburg VA. I sold my strip piecing trim tools in a vendor booth and taught 2 workshops....Cut the Cake Hexies and Curvy Log Cabin. The quilters in Virginia are a great group to work with in class. We had loads of fun and lots of quilt blocks were stitched up. Here are photos from my Cut the Cake Hexies workshop.

When a workshop space has no design walls, the floor works! This quilt is for a baby on-the-way. Grandma-to-be is getting ahead of the game with her nautical theme quilt.

At the Sewing Expo you don't have to bring your own sewing machine...the classrooms are set up with latest models from all of the best manufacturers with the help of local quilt shops. Ironing stations, rotary cutters, mats and rulers are also provided. In the front row are two quilters who are best friends and cousins. If you can't bring your sister or your best friend, bring your cousin! 

October 16 to 18 I will be in Ft Worth with the Sewing Expo. See you there!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sneak Peek

I am writing a new book for my Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tools.  That's right, I said tools. Tomorrow a smaller 6" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool will be available. I have designed six Cut Loose Patterns for this new ruler as well and the 6" trim tool will also be featured in my new book that will be available in spring 2015, published by Landauer Publishing

Here is the first quilt I finished for the book. It may be the cover, but who knows, those decisions are made then changed, or not. The blocks are created using the new 6" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool. I used batik scraps and fat quarters with a solid white on white print to make the blocks. Everything in this quilt is from my stash. I love scrap quilts so other than placement of batiks in bright colors and white, the strips are just sewn in random order.

Solomon's Puzzle Curvy Log Cabin Quilt

I didn't have a piece of fabric big enough so I just cut some long strips of stash batiks, stripped them together, and wella! I had a quilt back. Longarm qulting by Alta Miele at Red Hen Fabrics here in Marietta GA.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

From Atlanta to Fredericksburg with the Sewing Expo

Quilting LIVE (the Sewing and Quilt Expo) was a huge success this past weekend in Atlanta. There were workshops, vendors and fantastic stage presentations with celebrity quilters like Mark Lapinski and Maryann Fons and Liz Porter. The quilts on exhibit were fantastic, so many quilts with such wonderful, imaginative designs and colors.

I was fortunate to be invited to do a stage presentation even though I am not the celebrity that Mark, Maryann and Liz are known to be. I was pleased to have a large audience and even hearty applause at the conclusion. I showed my Cut the Cake Hexies quilt that I brought along for my Saturday morning workshop. Here I am with Laura Meadows (left) and Tara Bartlett (right) at the end of my talk.

The next stop for the Sewing and Quilt Expo...Fredericksburg, VA, October 2-4 I am teaching Curvy Log Cabin and Cut the Cake Hexies there, so sign up soon to get a seat in the workshop. I was in Fredericksburg last year and it is a great facility with many close by hotels. Gather up a couple of friends and take a mini-vacation to sew, sew, and shop. Quilting is in the air and there is much fun to be had by all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September - Childhood Cancer Awareness month

It;s September and once again it is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Until my granddaugher was diagnosed with leukemia at age 13 I had no idea that the drugs to treat children with cancer are different than the drugs to treat children. Children must have different drugs and not enough research is done to find and develop those drugs. We support the Rally Foundation, a non-profit that specifically raises money for this research.  They also host special events for the children to help give a little sunshine to the struggles these brave children face every day.

I just gave 4 quilts to the Rally Foundation for their twice annual fundraising auctions. I am grateful for everything they have done for my granddaughter and all the other children at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Madeline was diagnosed almost 6 years ago and because of other people's generosity her cancer is treated with a new drug, Gleevac, that keeps her white count in normal levels. Madeline is now a sophomore at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and active with other GT cancer survivors. Here is a picture of the fundraiser they are helping to sponsor on campus. Madeline is wearing the blue shirt.

Recently there was a book published with words of wisdom from children living with cancer. Here is Madeline's contribution...a letter she wrote about how she has learned to live with cancer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sister's Reunion

I have 3 sisters. We live in each time zone, I am in Eastern, Lynne is in Illinois (central), Janet Houts my co-quilter is in Idaho (mountain) and Gail is in California (pacific). Every few years we have a "sister's reunion". Last week we were in Illinois visiting Lynne.

One of our events was a visit to Her Majesty's English Tea Room in Dunlap IL. We had a british Tea for lunch and then spent some time looking at everything in the gift shop. There were full size cardboard cutouts of the royal family. I thought about getting a photo with William and Katherine, but finally decided on a selfie with the queen. She looks real in the photo. Amazing! I felt kind of silly taking the selfie because I have short arms and it was hard to get the camera far enough away to actually take the shot.

After the tea room we went next door to an amazing knit shop and we all bought yarn to knit something since Gail is a master knitter and knit designer. From there we went to a store front down the street and discovered some of our sister authors, Joanie Holton and Melanie Greseth, for Landauer Publishing were having a once a year "clean out the studio sale". Their business is Tailormade by Design and their website is: They also design for Benartex and like us, enjoy designing quilts with Michele D'Amore's fantastic fabric collections. One more thing we have in common with this other set of sisters, their mother taught them to quilt at a very young age (preschool) just as our mother taught us. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Roly Poly Jelly Roll Quilt

In early July I posted a baby quilt made using 10" precut squares. Making it was so much fun, why not make it again. Only this time what about a jelly roll of bright modern fabrics instead of squares.

This was a great vacation sewing project while the family relaxed at Kanuga in the Carolina mountains. A jelly roll plus a couple of yards of background fabric was easy to pack and the project was cut out and ready to go at a small sewing station in a corner of the screen porch.

Roly Poly Squares

The bright happy colors look like a spilled bag of gumdrops. The jelly roll strips that weren't used in the 48 blocks were joined end to end to make the outside borders. This quilk was a quick sew project that brings a smile to everyone who looks at it. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Traveling Quilts

How is that my quilts get to travel more than I do? Last month my Curvy Log Cabin quilts went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They visited Sara Snuggerud at Heirloom Creations Sara did a fantastic job of creating a Youtube video showing how to use the ruler and the many different blocks and quilts you can make with my latest trim tool by Creative Grids

Take the time to visit Youtube and see how Sara uses the ruler. Her approach is a little different than mine. I add a full round of 4 logs and then trim, but Sara likes to add 2 strips of half a round, trim then add the remaining 2 strips of the round for the final trim. Both methods and choose your own.

Here is my newest Curvy Log Cabin quilt. I made the quilt in a week, another reason I love my trim tools because there is no precutting, no math and no measuring thus eliminating hours of prep work before starting to sew when you use the tools.

I used Tonga Treats Cabana 2-1/2" precut strips by Timeless Treasures. The setting for the quilt is the traditional straight furrows setting. The curved blocks in this setting look like waves gently breaking on the shore with the light rows water and sand and the dark rows are the seaweed.
The name of this new pattern is Sun, Surf and Seaweed.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


When I designed my first ruler, the Log Cabin Trim Tool, I had no idea how many more rulers were to follow and how wonderfully they would be used to create new quilts. Here are some of the wonderful quilts that have been created....
At the Sit and Sew event sponsored by Creations Sew Clever in Ohio. The quilt uses the latest ruler in the collection...the 8" Curvy Log Cabin (CGRJAW5). Love that blue and white, very classic and classy.

Nellie's Needles used the Hexagon Trim Tool (CGRJAW4) to make this very imaginative quilt, the pattern is: Hexi Flip. If you like it you can order the pattern. There is a small hexagon shaped pillow in front of the quilt that can also be made using the same trim tool.

The Pineapple Trim Tool (CGRJAW3) remains one of the most popular of the five tools I have designed so far. This is quilt was made by Rita Fischel and is available as a Cut Loose Pattern. I will be offering this pattern for sale in my vendor booth at Quilting LIVE! in Atlanta on Sept 13-16 and at the Sewing Expo in Fredericksburg VA on October 2-4. I hope I see you at one of these events

Squiggles...don't you love the name (and look at the first photo again, they are the same design layout. This one is a Cut Loose Pattern as well. Another pattern I will offer at my vendor booths in Atlanta and Fredericksburg. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Charlotte's Quilt - Roly Poly Squares

This coming weekend I am headed for Kanuga, the Episcopal Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC for our annual family reunion. In July of every year we take a guest cottage so the whole family can get together. Our newest family member, Charlotte, will be 3 months old and we can't wait to meet her. This morning I finished her quilt and I want to share the quilt and a very simple method to make it with you.
The sixteen patch quilt blocks are made using 10" layer cake squares. You will need 15 layer cake squares, 2/3 yards white fabric, 2/3 yard border fabric, 1-1/2 yard backing fabric and 1/3 yard binding fabric. Here are the steps to make this quilt.
Cut (12) of the 10" layer cake squares into 2-1/2" x 10" strips. (Set the remaining 3 layer cake squares aside for the setting squares.) Arrange the strips you have cut for the blocks in sets of 4 strips per block.
Sew each set of 4 strips together. Press the seams OPEN.
Sew the strips into a roll. Press this final seam open. Using your 2-1/2" wide ruler, cut the roll at 2-1/2" intervals to make (4) 2-1/2" rolls. Unsew one seam to make a strip as shown.
Unsew the remaining 3 rolls one seam in each roll, advancing the seam to unsew to make a progression of squares in the same fabric pattern as shown.
Sew the strips together in order as arranged, maintaining the progression of squares by fabric pattern.
This is a completed Roly Poly Squares block. Make 12 blocks.

  • To complete the quilt cut the white fabric into (31) 2-1/2" x 10-1/2" sashing strips. Cut an additional (20) 2-1/2" squares from the 3 set aside layer cake squares set aside for for the sashing squares. Sew 5 sashing strips rows using (4) print setting squares and (3) white sashing strips. Make 5 rows.
  • Sew the blocks together in rows alternating 4 white sashing strips and 3 roly poly blocks in each row. Make 4 rows.
  • Alternate the (5) sashing rows with the (4) block rows and join them together to complete the quilt center.
  • Cut (4) 5" border strips from the border fabric. Sew a border to opposite sides of the quilt top and trim to size as needed. Sew a border strip to top/bottom of the quilt and trim to size to complete the quilt top.
  • Layer the quilt top, batting and backing. Quilt the layers together. Bind to finish the outside edges.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Quilting LIVE!

I am getting so excited! Quilting LIVE is coming to Atlanta.

The event will be in the Galleria in northwest Atlanta. It is only five miles from my house. Now that is something for me personally to get excited about, but even more important to quilters everywhere is the line-up of celebrity quilters who will be teaching workshops and presenting programs at this fantastic event...something very, very exciting for beginning to experienced quilters who will have an array of classes to take, techniques to learn, and quilts to make.

I will be teaching 3 workshops. Free-motion Quilting, Cut the Cake Hexies and Curvy Log Cabin. Here is a sneak peek at the projects. The Curvy Log Cabin workshop offers a Carousel quilt project or a Zen Table Runner. The blocks are made using the same method, but colors, number of blocks and setting can be your choice. Both are made using my new Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool. Classes fill quickly so don't delay...sign up today.


Zen Table Runners

Since hexagons are so hot right now a workshop using this versatile six-sided shape is a must. I have really gotten into using precuts to make my quilts...with this quilt using 10" precut squares. The separating triangles and borders are cut from white yardage to avoid "Y" seams in the assembly. Learn how to put it all together. Great for beginning and advance quilters. 

Cut The Cake Hexies

You will love the Galleria setting for this event. It is attached to an upscale mall so there are lots of choices for eating, the classrooms well lit and roomy and the many vendors offer a wonderful variety of fabrics, machines and notions to make your quilting experiences the best ever. The quilts on exhibit are top notch and exciting to see. The Galleria is easy to get to and there is plenty of free parking.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Christmas Comes Early for Quilters

It's that time of year again! Quilt shops everywhere are gearing up for their Christmas in July events. I was at my local quilt shop, Red Hen Fabrics this afternoon and Mary Ann Henderson, one of the owners, was busy planning with her staff to get the shop all decked out for Christmas starting next week!

When I got home there was an email from Andover Fabrics announcing a whole collection of Very Hungry Caterpillar quilts using fabrics by Eric Carle, the author of the series. The latest is a really cute Christmas collection. I was thrilled to be asked to design one of the quilts for this collection.
Inching To Christmas
This is a free downloadable pattern that you can access by going to this link:

Another Christmas quilt I designed to be made with my Log Cabin Trim Tools, especially my new Curvy Log Cabin, is my Trim The Tree quilt that I designed for Cut Loose Press. This pattern is $3.99 and can be ordered from my website; on the first of July. It is still in the printing process. 
Trim The Tree