2-7-17 Video Q&A – the recording

hello? Live Q&A sessions with Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy WorldI do my live video Q&As on Facebook, but not everyone is on Facebook and not everyone can tune in to them live. So here’s a recording! With all the boring bits edited out. 🙂

It’s still long – almost 30 minutes – so here’s a quick annotation if you’d like to skip to certain questions.

0:00 Do you pre-wash your fabric?
2:55 Have you ever used a longarmer?
3:41 Can you recommend a good machine for Free Motion Quilting?
6:00 What do you listen to while you work? Music? Audiobooks?
7:20 What size sashing do you use for your blocks?
8:30 A comment recommending a machine for Free Motion Quilting
9:30 How do you design your patterns? I give an example from a current project.
21:08 A question about the quilt blocks hanging behind/above me.
24:30 A nice comment about my husband’s books. 🙂

I highly recommend the section at 9:30 about how I design my patterns. I shared an extended sneak peek at a new project I’m currently working on and wildly in love with. 🙂

Bear lovie - a work in progress from Shiny Happy World

And here’s an image and a link for the question about sashing. I was recommending the wonky sashing I taught in my Cute Quilt As You Go Applique Monsters class on Craftsy. These guys busting out of their wonky sashing are one of my favorite examples of what that can look like. 🙂

Monster quilt blocks busting out of their sashing frames! So much fun!

That’s all! I’m going to try to do one of these every month – so the next one will be Tuesday March 7 from 4-4:30 pm eastern time. Mark your calendars!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Free February Calendar

Free February calendar from Shiny Happy World

Happy February!

This is one of my very favorite embroidery patterns. It’s so versatile and fun to stitch. I love all the different patterns inside the hearts! You can add a heart to the corner of a tea towel, to the hem of a pair of jeans, to the pocket of a shirt, and more.

Stitch a heart or a cluster of hearts anywhere you like. You can get the pattern here. Use the discount code LOVE for 20% off this pattern all month long. 🙂

Here’s the free wallpaper for the month in common sizes for computers, tablets and phones. . .

Download the 2560×1440 wallpaper.
Download the 1920×1280 wallpaper.
Download the 1280×800 wallpaper.
Download the iPhone wallpaper.
Download the iPad wallpaper.

I don’t have an iDevice, but I’ve heard that changing the wallpaper on iPhones and iPads can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Here’s a tutorial I found that looks pretty clear.

Enjoy!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

SHARE THIS

Silly Sloths – a New Quilt Pattern!

Silly Sloths Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy World

There’s a new quilt pattern in the shop!

Watch this short and silly video to see it come together. Make sure you have your volume on – there are fun sound effects. 🙂

Get the quilt pattern here.

Get all the details about the fabrics I used here.

If you’re still deciding on what pattern you want to use for the free Let’s Make a Quilt video class – this one would be perfect. I think it’s the easiest pattern I’ve ever designed!

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

SHARE THIS

Silly Sloth Fabrics

Silly Sloths Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy World

A lot of people have asked about the fabrics I used for the Silly Sloths quilt pattern. (coming soon!)

They’re all from Dear Stella Design.

I used five different prints, with three colors (a dark, medium and light) for each print.

I used the darks for the background blocks and the eye patches.

I used the mediums for the bodies.

I used the lights for the faces.

I used solid black for the eyes and noses.

Here are the specific prints I used. . .

Scallop Dot Fabrics from Dear Stella

Scallop Dot

  • dark – Tangerine
  • medium – Sorbet
  • light – Whisper

Wee Gallery Hearts fabric from Dear Stella

Wee Gallery Hearts

  • dark – Turquoise
  • medium – Mint
  • light – Smoke

Positive fabric from Dear Stella

Positive

  • dark – Ink
  • medium – Atlas
  • light – Smoke

Net fabrics from Dear Stella

Net

  • dark – Mustard
  • medium – Butter
  • light – White

Polka Dot fabrics from Dear Stella

Polka Dot

  • dark – Coral
  • medium – Blush
  • light – Silver

Here’s a photo showing the binding and a bit of the back.

Finished Sloth Quilt - pattern from Shiny Happy World

I used charcoal Cuddle Fleece for the back and Steam Texture in Smoke (also from Dear Stella) for the binding.

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

SHARE THIS

Stitching Eyes and Mouths – video tutorial

Stitching Eyes and Mouths - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

The most common questions I get from people about my applique patterns are. . .

  • How do you stitch around small parts like eyes and noses?
  • How do you stitch the mouth?

I made a video to show exactly how I do both of those steps!

That’s it. Remember. . .

  • Shorten your stitch length.
  • Go slow!
  • Stop with the needle down and pivot your work as often as you need to to keep a smooth curve.

Happy stitching! (That sloth pattern is coming soon – probably Monday!)

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

SHARE THIS

Free January Calendar

jan-2017-1280x800

Happy January!

This is one of my favorite January projects. Mine hangs on my studio wall to remind me to start every day with a good attitude. 🙂

It’s a free pattern if you want to make one for yourself! Get it here.

Here’s the free wallpaper for the month in common sizes for computers, tablets and phones. . .

Download the 2560×1440 wallpaper.
Download the 1920×1280 wallpaper.
Download the 1280×800 wallpaper.
Download the iPhone wallpaper.
Download the iPad wallpaper.

I don’t have an iDevice, but I’ve heard that changing the wallpaper on iPhones and iPads can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Here’s a tutorial I found that looks pretty clear.

Enjoy!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

SHARE THIS

Free December Calendar

Free December Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Happy December!

I just made a set of placemats using a few of my applique patterns and I was really happy with this cat – so he’s our calendar kitty this month!

If you want to make your own cat placemats (or quilt!) you can get the Cats quilt pattern here. Use the discount code MEOW for 20% off this pattern all month long. 🙂

Get the instructions for making the placemats here. This free tutorial can be used with any quilt patterns – including patterns from other designers. 🙂

Here’s the free wallpaper for the month in common sizes for computers, tablets and phones. . .

Download the 2560×1440 wallpaper.
Download the 1920×1280 wallpaper.
Download the 1280×800 wallpaper.
Download the iPhone wallpaper.
Download the iPad wallpaper.

I don’t have an iDevice, but I’ve heard that changing the wallpaper on iPhones and iPads can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Here’s a tutorial I found that looks pretty clear.

Enjoy!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

SHARE THIS

Fast & Easy Placemats – a Free Tutorial

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I love seeing people make things besides quilts with their Shiny Happy World quilt patterns.

Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing your finished quilts!

But if you make quilts – it’s a great way to get extra use out of your patterns.

And if you’re new and a little nervous about making a whole quilt, it’s a great way to just give it a little try. 🙂

Over the next year I’ll be showing a bunch of things you can do with your quilt patterns – the ones designed by me and also other favorites in your pattern stash.

Today let’s talk placemats.

They’re so easy to make!

A typical placemat – one that easily fits a standard place setting – is anywhere from 12″ to 14″ tall and 18″ to 20″ wide.

(A fat quarter is typically 18″ x 20″ so any placemat in this size range will take two fat quarters and some batting.)

I cut my rectangles (a front, a back, and a batting) 13″ x 19″ – right smack in the middle of the normal range.

If you’re going to use Quilt As You Go and you like to quilt before you applique (that’s what I do) layer your placemat top with the batting (no backing yet!) and quilt however you like. Press it flat.

Next – add your applique character.

Almost all the characters in my quilts are designed to fit in a 10″ square, and I find they work really well on these placemats without any resizing. If you’re using another designer’s pattern, just enlarge or reduce the image to be 8-9 inches tall.

I like to position my image to one side or the other. If it’s centered it gets completely hidden by the plate, plus I like things to be asymmetrical. 🙂

Look at the way the image is framed/cropped. Maurice (my favorite cat from this Cats quilt pattern) is chopped off straight at the shoulders. I designed him to look like he was in a portrait. You’ll want to be sure to position that straight cut edge flush with the bottom edge of the placemat – like he’s popping into the frame and we just snapped a photo.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

(Fabrics used: Sketch Denim and Sketch Gold, both from Timeless Treasures)

This bird, on the other hand, isn’t cropped anywhere. Position complete images like this fairly close to the bottom edge of the placemat (that will anchor the image and keep her from looking like she’s floating in space) – but not so close that any part of her gets cut off when you sew up the edges.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

(Fabrics used: Sketch Dill, Pop Peony, Pop Pink, and Sketch Nectar, all from Timeless Treasures)

See the difference?

Applique your image in place using your favorite technique.

You can find all my applique tutorials here. I used applique with fusible adhesive and outlined with simple straight stitching in black thread.

Now comes the fast and easy part.

You can, of course, layer on the backing and bind the edges just like a quilt. I love binding and would choose this technique unless I was in a hurry.

But not everyone shares my love of hand-sewn binding. 🙂

For all of you – here’s a fast and easy finish.

Layer the placemat front and back right sides together. Pin or clip all the way around the edges.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Sew it up around the edges (I used a 1/4″ seam allowance, but you can fudge that a little) leaving a few inches open on one side for turning.

Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching!

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Clip the excess seam allowance off the corners – very close to your stitching. That will allow you to get nice crisp points.

Turn it right side out, smooth and straighten all the edges, gently poke out the corners, and press. Turn the seam allowance of the opening inside (so that folded edge lines up with the sewn edges) and press that too.

No need to sew up that opening by hand! Topstitch all the way around the edge of the placemat and that will close up the opening.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I like the topstitching around the edge of the placemat to be about the same distance from the edge as my topstitching on the applique pieces. That keeps everything looking neat and unified.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

(Fabrics used: Pop Brown and Sketch Coral – both from Timeless Treasures. I also used a bit of Scallop Dot in Tangerine from Dear Stella for the snout and ears.)

Finished!

There are so many possibilities for this! You can use any applique pattern. (I used blocks from Cats, Chirp, and Noisy Farm.)

Add some lettering from this free alphabet applique pattern to personalize each placemat with someone’s name!

Oooh! Instead of a name, use the Paper Dolls quilt pattern to create images that look like the person the placemat is for. That would be so much fun!

Use some of my free applique patterns to make a set of holiday placemats. I have free Halloween, Easter and Christmas patterns. 🙂

Instead of applique, do some embroidery. The placemat size and construction method is exactly the same.

You can make traditionally pieced placemats too! Just start with your favorite pieced block, and add enough fabric around it to get it up to the standard placemat size. The method is just like this one for turning any quilt block into a pillow.

Have fun with it!

I can’t wait to see what you all make!

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – a free applique pattern

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I wanted to share this free reindeer applique pattern early enough that you would have plenty of time to make it before Christmas. 🙂

It’s designed as a 10″ finished block, just like this free Santa applique pattern and this free Snowman applique pattern. Use them all together to make a fun quilt or wall hanging!

Free Christmas applique patterns from Shiny Happy World

Or you can use Rudolph combined with one of these free patterns. . .

You can find all the free Shiny Happy World patterns here.

Ready to make him? Here’s how. . .

You won’t need much fabric – less than a fat quarter of everything, so you can probably find what you need in your scraps. Here’s what I used – all from Timeless Treasures. . .

  • Pop in Poppy for the background block
  • Sketch in Latte for the head and shoulders
  • Sketch in Coffee for the antlers
  • Sketch in Linen for the face
  • Sketch in Ruby for his shiny nose 🙂

Want to give him a truly shiny nose? Use this tutorial to make the nose out of satin, or this one to make it out of shiny tissue lamé.

The instructions that follow are for Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive. You can, of course, use other applique methods. Find videos teaching other methods here.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 1

Cut a piece of background fabric and a piece of batting each 11″ square. You’ll trim it down to 10 1/2” square later, so it doesn’t have to be exact. If you’re using Quilt As You Go, quilt your block now. The quilting wouldn’t really show up on the busy fabric I chose, so I just quilted a simple grid and show it here from the back (batting) side.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 2

Download the templates here.

Trace or print the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible adhesive. I use this printable fusible adhesive so I just print out the page. No tracing! The image has already been reversed, so just trace or print.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 3

Rough cut around each shape. Leave a little bit extra all the way around – a little extra extra (at least 1/4 inch) where there’s a dotted line. That’s the allowance that will tuck under other bits or into the seam allowance for a nice clean finish. Follow the package instructions and fuse each piece to the wrong side of the fabric.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 4

Cut out each piece neatly. Cut directly on the solid lines. Leave a little seam allowance past the dotted lines (like at the base of the antlers and the top and bottom of the shoulders). Cutting after you fuse ensures that the adhesive goes right up to the very edge.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 5

Trace any features onto the face. If you hold the piece up to a window, the light will make the lines very visible – even on dark fabric. I mark directly on any lines to be sewn (like the mouth) and inside the bits marking the appliqué position (like the eyes and nose).

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Here it is after tracing so you can see the eyes, nose and mouth marked. I just use a fine Sharpie, but you can use something erasable if you’re worried about being able to stitch right over that line for the mouth.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 6

Peel off the paper backing, arrange the pieces, and fuse in place according to the adhesive product instructions. Remember – dotted line edges tuck behind other bits. The bottom edge of the shoulders should be lined up with the bottom edge of the block.

If you’re using Quilt As You Go, press your already-quilted block before adding the appliqué.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 7

Stitch all the edges down. You can use any stitch you like, in matching or contrasting thread. I really love the cartoony look of a simple straight stitch with black thread.

I demonstrate sewing with different thread weights here.

This post will help you with the order in which to stitch.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 8

Trim your block down to 10 1/2″ square.

Finished!

I hope you have fun with this guy – and I can’t wait to see what you make! Share your photos in the Shiny Happy People group so we can all see. 🙂

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World