Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Hilda Disguises as a Trick-or-Treater" - Free Halloween Pattern!

"Hilda Disguises as a Trick-or-Treater" - © American Pie Designs by Melanie Pinney

As promised yesterday, I have a gift for you!  If you would like a free copy of the pattern for "Hilda Disguises as a Trick-or-Treater", email me at between now and August 15, 2011, and I'll send you the paper pattern for this 15" soft-sculpture witch, complete with instructions on how to age her and create her funky glasses and pumpkin-on-a-stick.  My version of Hilda was inspired by a good pal who has kindly given me permission to provide a free copy of the pattern to my friends and customers.  Hilda was one of the most enjoyable designs I have created to date, and I particularly enjoyed painting her and creating her crunchy old hat.  I think you'll have fun making her too, and there's plenty of time between now and Halloween to get her finished.  Have fun, and be sure to email me with pictures of your finished Hilda so I can post them to this blog! Please note, this offer is limited to quantity on hand and expires August 15, 2011.  

I also want to introduce you to Jan MacKay and her great blog at http://punchdrunkneedleworks.blogspot.comJan does an incredible job with punch needle and also an old handwork craft called "Swedish weaving".  When I was a teen, a church friend taught me Swedish weaving (she taught it to me as "huck-weaving"), and I loved the beautiful tea towels and we created together. I noticed Swedish weaving cloth is showing up at JoAnn Fabric stores again and I'm glad to see this artform being enjoyed and revived.  If you haven't tried Swedish weaving yet, be sure to check out Jan's blog!

It's time to get back to my worktable.  My new "No Place Like Home" quilt and newest rug hooking pattern will be ready soon, so be sure to check back for more updates, or follow this blog by clicking one of the links in the left-hand margin.  In addition, I'll soon be releasing new "printable" tutorials, including one for nearly-invisible applique (Mmmmmm, applique!).  Until next time!  -- Melanie

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"There's No Place Like Home"

Kansas Troubles by Moda - "Butterfly Garden Collection"

There are good things in life, like warm chocolate chip cookies, a new puppy and, of course, Moda fabrics.  The people at Moda don't know how much I love them, but I find it impossible not to include their fabrics in my quilts.  I added several swatches from their "Butterfly Garden Collection in a new quilt I'm designing called "No Place Like Home".  I'm having so much fun with this quilt that I'm torn between working on it and finishing the rug hooking design I've been yacking about on this blog for the last couple of weeks.  I'll post a couple of sneak-preview pics of "No Place Like Home" tomorrow.  The design features several themes I really love, like heart-and-home blocks, maple leaves and (Mmmmm) applique!  For those of you who are rug hookers, don't fear--I'm taking the rug design with me this weekend and will work to finish it then.  I promise it's going to be worth the wait!

We handwork-lovers know it's not too soon to start our Halloweeeeen projects!  Tomorrow I'll release my FREE PATTERN for "Hilda Disguises as a Trick-or-Treater", a wonderful pattern for a soft-sculpture witch inspired by the work of Stacey Williams Mead.  This will be a full-color printable pattern with complete instructions on completing "Hilda", and I know you are going to love her!

Well, it's back to the worktable for me.  Seems I spend alot of time running my hands over the fabrics and hand-dyed wools and enjoying the colors and textures.  I think that's one of the best parts of creating, don't you?   -- Melanie

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Big-Stitch Quilting Method Tutorial

I've been busy all day working on a new quilt design that will be ready for release soon!  The main quilt blocks are finished and I'll begin appliqueing the borders in the morning over a cup of hot coffee and some backyard sunshine.  I can't decide whether to hand or machine applique the border (I'm sure lots of quilters get in the same quandary), so I'll probably include instructions for both types of applique in the pattern.  Won't that be fun?!

I'm burning a little late-night oil, but as promised yesterday, I have a new "printable" for you on big-stitch quilting.  If you haven't tried the big-stitch method yet, you should consider giving it a try on your next quilt.
The big-stitch method is relaxing and enjoyable, can be taken with you anywhere (including road trips), and is easy to learn. I love the way it makes my finished quilts look! You can get the printable by clicking the image above or by clicking the "For Quilters" tab at the top of this page. You'll see other tutorials there too, and I'm adding more every few days.

I'm headed back to my quilting table (and there's a hooked rug project calling my name), so I'll post again soon. In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend! --Melanie

Friday, July 8, 2011

American Pie Designs Will Soon be at Your Favorite Quilting Store!

I just received fantastic news this morning that American Pie Designs has been accepted for wholesale distribution by Pattern Peddlers and my quilting, wool applique and punch needle designs should start appearing in your favorite quilting stores soon!  If you don't happen to see my patterns the next time you buy fabric, don't be afraid to tell them you want them to carry American Pie Designs.  I'm very pleased to work with Pattern Peddlers and look forward to a long and happy relationship with their great team!

My designs will also appear at fall Quilt Market in Houston Texas on October 29 through 31, 2011.  I'll be posting more information on Quilt Market in later posts, and you can stay tuned for updates by entering your email address in the red "Follow this Blog" link in the left-hand column of this blog.

Of course, with Quilt Market hovering near, I'll be turning out new quilt and wool applique designs like mad over the next few weeks.  If you're interested in knowing when new designs are released, be sure to join my very private and very safe mailing list (left-hand column again).  In the meantime, shhhhh, I can't drop more hints about what's in store, but I know you're gonna love what you see!

Be sure to check back tomorrow because I'll be posting great instructions on how to do "big-stitch" quilting.  It's a wonderful and easy way to hand-quilt the the top and bottom of your quilt around yummy 100% cotton batting.  I love the look that cotton batting gives to my quilts, and I particularly love big-stitch quilting.  I can take my project with me anywhere and the result lends a wonderful, homey finish to my quilts that I can't obtain with machine quilting.  You'll be able to view these full-color instructions on your screen or print them for later reference!

We'll, I'm back to the drawing board and off to my favorite quilting store for fabrics and supplies.  Have a great Friday!  --Melanie

Friday, June 24, 2011

A New Rug Hooking Project (and Some Gifts for YOU!)

I'm sooooo excited about my newest design for a rug hooking project!  I don't have the pattern named yet, but spent the week finalizing the drawing, getting it transferred to monks cloth and picking/cutting my wool.  I hope to have the pattern ready for release right after the 4th of July holiday so you have plenty of time to hook it before fall.  In addition to a paper pattern, I'm looking to also release the design as a kit with pre-cut wool strips.  Won't that be fun?!

This is just a short post today because I'm headed to our cabin in the Cascade Mountains tonight to do a little rug hooking on the deck.  You know by now that I love to hook on that deck, but we only get to use it about three months out of the year due to snow conditions.  I'm gonna mix up a couple beverages and see how much sun I can get as I work on my rug!

Oh, and I have some gifts to give back to YOU!  If you are a rug hooker, be sure to visit my auxillary rug hooking blog page by visiting the tabs at the top of this page or by clicking this link: For Rug Hookers.  And if you're a quilter, I'm adding videos, tips and tricks you can find by visiting the "For Quilters" tab at the top of this page or by clicking this link:  For Quilters.  Don't worry, there's plenty more coming in my posts next week.

In the meantime, thanks for visiting and check back soon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken Dinner Quilt and Throw Pillow!

On Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I introduced Chicken Dinner, my new design for a cute table or wall quilt and 14" throw pillow.  If you're a beginning quilter and worried this design is too complicated to start with, you'll be surprised!  I'm a self-taught quilter and designed this quilt a few years ago on typing paper with colored pencils, and it was the first quilt I ever made.  I kept all that trial-and-error in mind when I recently decided to publish the pattern and included LOTS of diagrams and extra instructions for beginners (if you're not a beginning quilter, you can cheat and skip around!).

If you're interested in the pattern, you can pick up Chicken Dinner by snail-mail or by instant ePattern download from my website at

Some of you know I'm a bit ecletic when it comes to designing and have plenty of UFOs ("Un-Finished Objects") on my worktable, so it shouldn't be surprising to anyone I'm dinking with a new rug hooking design.  In my previous post (A Slice of Pie - June 17, 2011), I mentioned I enjoy hooking in the summer sunshine, but I really meant rug hooking on the deck of our Idaho cabin over the 4th of July.  For this occasion, the men are banished to a tiny fishing boat and the ladies use that time to test out their best barbecue and Bloody Mary recipes, play cards, read books and hook in the sunshine.  I've been planning well in advance of the occasion by perfecting a yummy spice rub and sketching a new fall design I want to release after the 4th of July.  I haven't named it yet, but here's a small sneak preview:


I'll post more pics of the design as it is completed, so be sure to check back or follow me on Facebook at  At 5:00 am each morning, you'll also find me working on additional pages for this blog that will contain tips, links, videos and full-color printable instructions for quilting, rug hooking, punch needle and applique (Mmmmm, applique).  I'd love for you to be a "Follower" of this blog, and you can also join my private email list so you're notified when new patterns are released.  In the meantime, I've gotta go cut the wool for that new rug . . .

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Slice of Pie (and 4th of July Dump Cake)!

Take a peak at my newest design, "A Slice of Pie", that I introduced to my email followers yesterday!  It's a fun little quilt that shows off hand or machine applique in the center and traditional Flying Geese blocks in the border.  I finished the model using hand-dyed wools for the center, but it can also be done with your favorite quilt fabrics.  Mmmmm, don't you love applique?  I certainly do, especially if it's "cheater" applique I can do on a sewing machine or with the blanket stitch and perle cotton thread!

Now that "A Slice of Pie" is finished, I can feel a new rug hooking project coming to the surface.  I love rug hooking in the sunshine over 4th of July weekend, in between a cold beverage, a bowl of chips and salsa, and my mom's "Fourth of July Dump Cake" . . .

The recipe is ridiculous and simple and your belly will be happy when you try it:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple in natural juice
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Spread the crushed pineapple and juice in the bottom of a 9"x13" glass baking dish.  Put the cherry pie filling on top (I smoosh it around a little with a spoon).  Dump the cake mix on top, spreading it out evenly, and then sprinkle on the nuts.  Some people met the butter, but I slice it and place it in little pieces everywhere (either way is fine).  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is lightly browned (watch it carefully).  There you have it--my idea of culinary heaven!

If you'd like to know when I finish that new rug hooking design, drop me a note or a comment, or you can join my email list at the top of this page (don't worry--it's safe and private and I don't share it with anyone).  In the meantime, I'm off to the old drawing board!  xoxo

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Starting the Holidays in June!

It may seem early, but it's never too soon to get started on designing for the holidays!  I'll admit it's a bit hard to get the Christman spirit in June when my garden is just starting to bloom, but it takes weeks to get a new design from dream-stage to finished pattern.  I've been working on this little cross-stitch tea towel since mid-April and I figure if things go right, I might have the model finished in another day or so.  It's still in rough stage, but I hope you like it!  Watch this blog or my website at for my announcement when the pattern is ready!

I wanted to share a tiny bit of my garden with you (see? I don't just sew all day!).  We had such a cool, wet spring in Boise that the flowers we normally have in May are just now beginning to bloom.  Even the robins are way behind schedule and just getting their chicks out of the nest a few days ago.  Come on summer!!