Saturday, December 21, 2019

New Sundrop Critter for December

Merry Christmas! There's a brand new Sundrop Critter pattern available on my website: Carolyn and Chris, the Sundrop Caribou, are free until January 20, 2020.

My original plan was to design a more traditional Christmas reindeer, but while researching them I happened upon photos of white baby reindeer and immediately fell head over heels in love!  I did more research and learned that species of reindeer/caribou that live in the extreme north often turn completely white for the winter.  Carolyn and Chris (the little one) were inspired by the Peary Caribou who reside in northern Canada and are the smallest species of North American caribou. 

As the weather warms and the snow melts, Peary caribou shed their thick white coats and grow a shorter coat that is brownish-gray on their upper parts but still a creamy white on their underparts. My pattern includes pieces to portray both winter and summer colors.

Have fun making Carolyn and Chris!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

New Applique Pattern: Chloe at Christmas

Meet Chloe, one of my black and white tuxedo cats.  Here she is after being caught in the act of taking off with a Christmas ornament.  Tuxedo cats (IMHO) seem to possess the remarkable ability to portray several oxymoron-like facial expressions all at the same time.  When caught in the act of something they know you don't approve of, they somehow manage to look innocent/guilty, meek/rebellious, penitent/defiant all at once.  I've tried to portray that in this applique pattern, which is free on my website until Dec. 15, 2019.

Although tuxedo cats are perhaps best known for their black and white coats, they come in white with gray, silver, orange or tortoiseshell, too.  So don't hesitate to work up Chloe in the colors of your choice.  You can even go a little crazy and use colors not seen in nature, likke the blue and red illustrations below.

You might remember Chloe from Sunny's Fifth Christmas, one of my patterns that came out about 10 years ago.  There was something about Chloe's white muzzle that seemed to make her look like she was always up to something.  And in fact, she was the most mischievous of my cats.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

New Critter Redux: Cirrus the Turkey

I just uploaded a new pattern for Cirrus the Sundrop Turkey to my website: .  Cirrus will be free through Thanksgiving Day.

Cirrus is one of the original Sundrop Critters that I created in 2001-2002.  Here's what he originally looked like:

In 2005, I redesigned him to look like this:

While I'm quite happy with this 2005 version, I really wanted a pattern for a fairly simple turkey in profile.  You can blame Missouri Star Quilt Company's Thankful Wall Hanging ( for that!  I love that wall hanging and hope to make one someday.  But, instead of making three 6" Dresden turkeys, I want to make three 6" Sundrop turkeys that all look different.  So now I have three different Sundrop turkeys to use under the 10" Dresden turkey that Jenny Doan shows in the video.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Sundrop Critter Redux: Splash the Beaver

Splash the Beaver just had a gentle make-over and the pattern is free on my website ( until October 15.  I have to admit that I didn't do more than tweak a few things. Even if you were great at solving the Find the Differences puzzles in Highlights magazine, you might not find the four little changes that I made to Splash.

Perhaps the most obvious change is that I made his (or her) teeth bigger.  A beaver's teeth continually grow, so it's only proper that after 17 years that Splash should have bigger teeth!  I also made the nose a bit bigger, moved the nose and eyes a little higher up on the face, and moved the tail a smidgen closer to the body so there's no longer a tiny gap between the two.  And there are two changes that you can't really see from the pictures: I shortened the pattern piece for the foreleg that's in the background (i.e., Splash's right foreleg), and I made the pattern lines thicker and easier to see.  I hope you have fun incorporating Splash into a special project.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ideas for the Misty the Mouse Block

The sunny weather here has been replaced by more typical rainy weather, so I used my scanner to take photos of my work in progress for my Misty the Mouse project.  This project is too large for my scanner, but the Electric Quilt images will help fill in the whole story.  Here's the EQ version:

And here's what I have done so far:

The mouse and Churn Dash blocks are 6" square each (finished size).  They are framed by a 1" finished (1.5" cut) yellow border.  The 4-patch borders are made of 2.5" cut squares, then the entire top is framed by a 2" finished (2.5" cut) yellow border with a blue binding.  You can find instructions for the Churn Dash block here:
The finished project will measure aprox. 32.5" x 20.5".  It will make a cute wall hanging, but mine will go on a small console table where I keep my landline phone.

If you need a larger wall hanging or baby quilt, cut a stack of 2.5" squares, sew a bunch of 4-patch blocks and add rows of 4-patch blocks to the bottom until you get the length you want.  Then add 2" and/or 4" outer borders to get the size of quilt you want.  On the virtual quilt below, I added 5 more rows of 4-patch blocks, then a 2" yellow border and a 4" green border.

Or, if you need a nursery rhyme themed baby quilt, make 3 applique blocks for a Three Blind Mice inspired baby quilt that might look something like the virtual quilt below, which has three 6" mouse blocks and four plain 6" blocks with 4-patch blocks made from 3.5" cut squares.  I added a 3" strip of background fabric above the mice before adding a 1" blue border and a 3" neutral border.

Mice are cute and I have a lot of fun playing with mice, as long as they're not real!  If mice of any kind give you the creeps, substitute another critter block in these pattern ideas.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Sundrop Critter Redux for May

The month of April sure went by in a flash, mostly because my schedule changed and I had very little time for anything quilt related. I'm back on my old schedule this month, thank goodness.  Even with all the extra activities with gardening and sorting through my mother's things, I can still eek out a little quilting time with this schedule.

May's Sundrop Critter redux is Spritz the Chick.  You'll find the free pdf pattern on my website through June 7:

The new Spritz hasn't changed much from the original version.  I enlarged his eyes, beak and feet a little to make them easier to work with, and I changed his posture a bit to make him more animated.  The new Spritz looks like he's busy looking for something good to eat!

I decided to try the new Spritz on a simple mug rug.  I fused the chick onto a large scrap of farm scene fabric and did a simple zigzag around the edges.  Note; I flipped the pattern so that Spritz would be facing the chickens on the fabric.  The eyes are tiny black buttons (for doll clothes, I think) that I happened to find at my local Wal-mart.

After sandwiching the little quilt and doing some simple cross-hatch quilting with a zigzag stitch, I realized that I had unnecessarily made this project more complicated than intended.  Now I have to actually bind it!  I hope to get to my sewing shed tomorrow to add a single-fold binding, probably in yellow.  Next time I make a mug rug, I hope I remember in time to use the pillowcase method of finishing it -- it's so much faster.

Someday, I hope to make a matching table runner.  Here's the Electric Quilt version of it (just visualize farm scene fabric as the border):

I wanted to use the traditional Hens and Chicks block, but I didn't want to adapt a 5x5 grid to a 6" block, so I sort of created a fusion of Hens and Chicks with the Shoo Fly block.  It looks a lot like Hens and Chicks but it's adapted to a 3x3 grid (commonly called a 9-patch grid).  Of course, another work-around idea would be to reduce Spritz to fit a 5" block and make traditional 5" size Hens and Chicks blocks. 

If short on time, here's a simpler table runner idea using the Shoo Fly block and only 2 applique blocks:

Have fun with Spritz!  He'll be replaced by a new free block around June 7.  (I say "around" because I never know exactly when I'll get to my computer to upload things.)

Monday, March 25, 2019

New Digital Pattern to Try

I'm testing a new shopping cart for selling digital patterns.  Remember Lucy and Ethel, the Sundrop Lop-eared Bunnies?  You can now get a digital version of this pattern for $1.00 -- that's half the cost of the printed pattern.

Give it a try!  And let me know how it goes.


Friday, March 22, 2019

It's Been a Long Time, but I'm Back at Work

Blogger says I haven't posted since May -- almost a year!  Eeks!  A lot has happened between now and then. Trials and tribulations with hip bursitis and two deaths in the family, including my mother's in December.  Just as I was preparing to get back to work, nature dumped two feet of snow in my area.  Snow is rare here and we're not prepared to handle two feet of it.  I was essentially de-mobilized for three weeks waiting for it to melt enough so that I could get to my little office. 

When I finally got to my office and laptop last week, I discovered that the shopping cart is not working on my website. When it rains, it pours!  The shopping cart company I've been using for nearly 20 years is not responding to my inquiries, so I'm now looking at alternatives.  I hope to have something up and running next week, even if it's only a temporary solution offering my most popular patterns.

I'm also planning to get the Sundrop Critters feature going again, including a Sundrop Critters Redux that gives a fresh look to some of my favorite critters from the past.  Misty the Mouse is the first one scheduled.  She is so cute in her new looks -- perfect for the nursery and for anyone who happens to like mice!

So stay tuned because I'm getting the proverbial ball rolling again!