June 2019 Wallpaper

Happy June!

I think this horse is my favorite version of this month’s Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club pattern. He’s a horse of a different color! So, of course, I had to make him my calendar for this month.

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without the June calendar.

Have a great month!

Best,
Wendi

Paxton Penguin Pattern

The Paxton Penguin pattern is in the shop!

This was the first pattern in the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club and now he’s available to everyone!

Club members get their blocks before everyone else – and for 20% less. It’s a great deal and you should definitely join here. 🙂

Take a look at just a couple of the adorable versions made by club members!

See a bunch more finished penguins in all kind of fun colors – and get the pattern here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

May 2019 at Shiny Happy World

There’s so much fun stuff happening this month at Shiny Happy World! Now that I’m allowed to stitch again I’m finishing lots of old projects and starting new ones. 🙂

Watch the video here to see what’s going on.

Here are links to all the things I talk about in the video. . .

Have fun! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club

You’re invited to join the club!

Membership costs just $4 a month.

Every month (on the 15th) members get a new pattern for a fun applique quilt block.

The blocks are all sized to finish at 10 inches square – so you can join them together into a funny faces quilt, or mix and match them with my other quilt patterns. They’re so much fun to play with!

This is Paxton Penguin – he’s the first block in the club, available to members right now. Isn’t he a cutie?

Here’s another version – in classic black and white.

You don’t have to make a quilt. You’ll also get free patterns for lots of other projects you can make with a single quilt block – pillows, tote bags, receiving blankets. placemats, and more. 🙂

The club includes complete video instructions for Quilt as You Go and applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite way to make quilts.

As long as your membership is active, you’ll have access to the virtual clubhouse where you’ll download your new pattern every month, find all the video lessons, ask questions, and chat with other club members – and share photos of your finished funny faces!

It’s going to be so much fun!

Join the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club here!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

April Wallpaper

free penguin calendar April 2019

Happy April!

I made a cute pink penguin for this month’s calendar. 🙂

The pattern is Paxton Penguin – the current Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club pattern.

The color palette is the Pretty Pinks fabric bundle. I like the colors so much that I think I’m going to use it for every month’s block pattern. I’ll end up with a pretty pink quilt with lots of different funny faces. 🙂

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without the April calendar.

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Want to see what’s happening this month at Shiny Happy World? I’ll tell you!

Here are some of those links I promised. . .

Have a great month! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Jolly the Elf – a Free Christmas Applique Pattern

Want to learn how to make a quilt with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Let’s Make a Quilt here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make a quilt from start to finish using Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.

It’s the easiest, most fun way to make an applique quilt. You can do it!

There’s a new free applique pattern for you! Merry Christmas! 🙂

This adorable elf pattern is the same size and style as the other free Christmas applique patterns (10 inch finished blocks). There are five now! (You’ll find links to all of them at the bottom of this post.)

Here’s how to make it. (This video shows all the steps for working with fusible adhesive – if you’ve never done it before you’ll find it helpful.)

Step 1

Download the template pieces here.

Step 2

Trace or print the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible adhesive.

I use this printable fusible adhesive so I just printed out the page. No tracing!

The image has already been reversed, so just trace or print. If you’re tracing, be sure to trace the facial features too. You’ll need those for Step 4.

Step 2

Rough cut around each shape and fuse it to the back of your fabric.

Leave a little bit extra all the way around ­- a little extra extra (at least 1/4 inch) where there’s a dotted line, like the top of the shoulders and the base of the ears.

Step 3

Cut around each piece neatly. Cut directly on the solid lines.

Leave a little seam allowance on the dotted lines ­- those are the seam allowances that will tuck behind other pieces.

Step 4

Remember when I told you to make sure you traced the facial features in Step 1? Now you’re going to use that. Hold the face up to a window so the light shines through it. You’ll be able to see the eyes, nose and mouth, and the adhesive will stabilize the fabric so you can trace on it without it crinkling up.

I traced just inside the eyes, and directly on the nose and mouth.

Here you can see all the tracing I did – without the light shining through.

Step 5

If you’re doing Quilt As You Go (I did) then you can quilt your block before adding the applique. So easy!

Cut your background fabric and a piece of 100% cotton batting 11 inches square.

Layer the block with a piece of 100% cotton batting. Quilt any pattern you like!

Find all the Quilt As You Go tutorials here.

If you’ll do the quilting later, simply skip this step.

Step 6

Peel off the paper backing and arrange the pieces on a background block.

Remember -­ all the dotted lines indicate where pieces tuck behind other pieces.

Tuck the ears and the shoulders behind the head. Tuck the head and the top of the hat behind the hat brim.

Fuse the pieces in place.

Step 7

Outline all the pieces with black thread and a simple straight stitch – or choose your favorite decorative stitch.

This video has some tips for outlining those tight curves.

I used 12 wt. thread for all my outlining to get a slightly thicker line. There’s more info about using thicker thread here.

Done!

If you’re making a one-block project, go ahead and finish it up!

If you’re making a bunch of elf blocks to join into a quilt -­ have fun!

What can you do with just one block pattern? Tons of things!

Check out this page I’ve been slowly building – 100 Things to Do with an Applique Pattern. There are links to a bunch of free patterns you can use with your applique pattern to make bibs, pillow covers, tote bags, and more! 🙂

Here are all the free Christmas applique patterns so far.

If you’re looking for a different fun Christmas quilt pattern check out this post. It has a bunch of free patterns for little signs that you can add to a Shiny Happy Houses quilt to turn it into a North Pole quilt. 🙂

Do you like the fabrics I used?

The skin is the cream fabric from the People Colors fabric bundle, and the two fun stripe prints are from the Little Stripes fat quarter bundle.

Have fun! And share a photo of what you make! You can share it in the Shiny Happy People group or tag it with #shinyhappyworld on Instagram.

If you like this free pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News! Subscribers get a weekly newsletter full of sewing tips and tricks, free patterns, special discounts, and other things to make you smile. 🙂

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi

Happy December! Free Wallpaper

Happy December!

For this month’s wallpaper I decided to pull together all of my free holiday applique patterns – so far. There’s a new one coming this month. 🙂

Here are the links to those patterns if you want to make your own.

Make them into wall hangings, table runners, pillowsgift bags, placemats, bibs, coastersstockings and more.

All those links go to free patterns. 🙂

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without the December calendar.

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Want to see what’s happening this month at Shiny Happy World? I’ll tell you!

Have a great month! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Make an Easy Applique Rag Quilt – tutorial

Several years ago my mother-in-law made us a fantastic flannel rag quilt. We use it all the time, and every time I look at it I think that it would be super easy to add applique to that style of quilt.

I finally did it!

And it was just as fun and easy as I thought. 🙂

I made mine using the Bunches of Bears quilt pattern, but you could use any quilt pattern you like. All the square quilt blocks in my own patterns are already sized for 10 inch blocks. If you’re using someone else’s pattern you may need to enlarge or reduce the images.

So let’s go!

My quilt is nap sized – 50 x 60 inches – perfect for using on the couch. It’s 5 blocks wide and 6 blocks tall and the blocks all finish at 10 inches.

You can resize the pattern by changing the size of the blocks or by changing the number of blocks. 🙂

I used ten flannel colors (one of each color in the Dash Plaid collection from Dear Stella Fabrics) and bought one yard of each.

I prewashed my flannel. I think people don’t usually do that for rag quilts, but flannel is notorious for shrinking a lot and I didn’t want the shrinking to distort the applique. Don’t use fabric softener in the wash – it can resist the fusible adhesive. Dryer sheets are fine.

Each block is three layers of flannel, so you’ll need to cut 90 blocks, each 11 inches square. You can get nine from one yard of fabric.

Sneaky tip – if you have some ugly flannel that you can’t figure out how it got into your stash, cut 30 of the squares out of that and hide it in the middle of your layers. 🙂

Applique 30 of the squares using any method you like. I used my favorite fusible adhesive method. There’s a video tutorial here. I use these Heat & Bond Lite printable fusible adhesive sheets and all my fabrics are from the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle. You could use flannel here too if you like, but I love my Warm Neutrals. 🙂

When you position your faces, line up the bottom edge 3/8 inch up from the bottom edge of the block. That way, when you sew the blocks together using 1/2 inch seam allowance, you’ll catch the bottom edge of the applique in the stitching and it will be nice and secure.

Fuse the face into place.

Layer a second square of flannel behind the one with the applique (both facing right side up).

Stitch down all the edges on your applique. Outlining through both layers of flannel adds just a little bit of poof and dimension to your block – not as much as quilting with batting, but similar.

I used the “scribbly” method of going around each bit three times with regular weight black thread and a simple straight stitch. There’s a post here with more detail about that, and one here with more info about using a heavier weight thread if you prefer that.

This post has tips for stitching the tight curves around the eyes, and also for stitching the mouths. And this one has tips for making dark eyes show up on dark faces, like this cutie.

After you get all 30 blocks appliqued, it’s time to sew them together. This was actually the hardest part, because it’s backwards from any other kind of sewing you’ll do normally.

Add a third layer of flannel to each block, this time with the right side facing the back of the quilt. (It’s going to become your quilt back.)

Using 1/2″ seam allowance, sew two blocks wrong sides together so that the seam allowance is on the right side of the quilt.

Here’s what it looks like from the back.

See? That last layer of flannel makes a nice quilt back, and you have a nice clean seam.

I joined all of my blocks into rows of five, then sewed those rows together for the finished quilt.

The intersections can get very bulky, so I snipped into the seam allowance 1/2″ from each edge and sewed my crossing seam through that slit so I wasn’t stitching the seam allowance down.

And look – my seam secures the bottom edge of each bear, just like I planned. 🙂

I found it helpful to use my quarter inch foot, but adjust it out to 1/2 inch for sewing all those layers together.

I also lengthened my stitch to 3.0 and reduced the pressure on my presser foot to keep the layers from creeping. If you can’t make that adjustment on your machine, just use a lot of pins or clips, as if you were sewing napped fabrics together.

Once all the blocks are sewn together, sew all the way around the outside edge of the quilt, one half inch in from the raw edge.

Now it’s time to snip all those seams.

Snip 1/2 inch apart all along all the seam allowances, almost up to the stitching line. Be very careful not to cut into your stitching. If you slip and snip it, repair it now by sewing over the snipped seam.

If you’re trying to snip with regular scissors, you’ll need to take a LOT of breaks. They’re really not designed for this kind of work.

If you can afford to buy a special set of snips just for this kind of work, it is absolutely worth it. I tried several brands and these Fiskars Easy Action Tabletop Rag Quilt Snips were by far my favorite. They have a spring action, so their default setting is open, which saves a surprising amount of strain on your wrist. They’re super sharp, and the blades are slightly serrated, so they really grip the fabric well, helping them cut right up to the tips of the blades without “pushing” the fabric out at all.

Even with the fancy snips I took a break between snipping the horizontal and vertical seams. It took about two hours total.

Don’t forget to snip around the outside edges too.

When you’re done snipping, throw it in the wash and tumble dry.

Ta daa!

All those snipped edges fray in the wash and you get a really soft, fluffy ridge between each block. This blanket is just begging for someone to snuggle under it.

If you make an applique flannel rag quilt, we’d love to see it! Post a photo in the Shiny Happy People group so we can all oooh and aaah. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Bears in the Hills

The Bears in the Hills are here!

I’ve been working on this for a while now and it’s finally to a place where you all can join in!

Sign up for the workshop here.

It’s the same price as a pattern, but it’s set up as a video workshop on Teachable, where I host all my free introductory workshops.

If you sign up right now you’ll find the pattern pieces, an overview of the tools and supplies needed, and instructions for cutting, prepping, and layering all the pieces.

I’ll be adding videos showing how I do the stitching on the hills as we go along – probably at a rate of something like one new video every week. You won’t need to do anything special to access the new videos – they’ll just pop up in your classroom as soon as I load them up. Easy peasy!

The first video to come will show how to give your bears their faces. I want to see them all smiling at me while I work!

Sign up for the workshop here.

I can’t wait to see all your bears!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Monster Pattern Sale – 20% Off

October is Monster Month (of course) so we’re having a Monster Craft-Along and a Monster Pattern Sale!

Stacey and I both LOVE monsters, so you’ve got a lot of patterns to choose from. 🙂 Those images up there are just a tiny sample.

Shop all the patterns here.

Use the discount code SILLY for 20% off.

Sale ends Monday 10/7 at midnight eastern time.

Stacey and I both have really terrific monster classes on Craftsy. The Shiny Happy World sale code doesn’t work on them, but Craftsy has sales all the time and if you use these links you’ll get the current sale price.

Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster Craftsy Class

Stacey’s Design Your Own Monster class is fantastic – my favorite of all her classes. Get that class here.

Cute Quilt-As-You-Go Applique Monsters - a new Craftsy class with Wendi Gratz of Shiny Happy World

My Cute Quilt-As-You-Go Applique Monsters class includes my Mix & Match Monsters pattern. It’s so much fun to make! Get that class here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi