July 2021: “July Joy” Gem Block
July’s Tiny Treasures Club pattern is inspired by yet another fabulous stone from the collection of Laurie and Simon Watt, international gem dealers. This yummy bit of eye candy is a rubellite. I loved her smoldering glow and the faceting pattern that gives the impression you’re looking at a landscape of peaks and valleys reflected in a still lake..
The challenges of this block are the small curved background pieces. To possibly help with that, I’ve added one more step for you to consider: placing a different color of highlighter around the edge of the block to signal that you’ll add a larger 1/2” seam allowance to them. In this case, I’d just add the extra seam allowance to the background blocks, but I’d like to hear from you your experience. I think adding extra allowance will help you trim the block to the correct size after sewing.
Learn About Rubellite & the July Pattern
Since we won’t be having a Zoom meeting on the evening that the pattern drops, I wanted to be sure to share the presentation with you here. I share a bit of info about rubellite and other tourmalines. Then I talk about this month’s pattern and its challenges. Enjoy!
I created several different colorways with both white and black backgrounds to get your creative ideas flowing: rubellite, sapphire, emerald, and diamond. I’m using the same colors that have been featured in previous months’ blocks.
Click the link below to download the colorway document:
Click the link below that corresponds to the pattern size you wish to make: 6″, 9″ or 12″
Enjoy listening in as I talk with Dr. Coralyn Wright Whitney, the gemologist and collector who has donated two of the most beautiful gems in the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection: the Whitney Alexandrite and the Whitney Flame Topaz. Click the play button below to enjoy our chat.
June 2021: “Blue Butterfly” Gem Block
June’s Tiny Treasures Club pattern is inspired by another fabulous stone from the collection of Laurie and Simon Watt, international gem dealers. Like last month’s stone, she’s a sapphire. I fell for her amazing radiant cut that looks to me just like butterfly wings. It appears as though this soft blue, 2.99-carat beauty is about to take flight.
The challenge of this block are the small pieces. Best to work on this project one section at a time if you’re concerned about keeping track of the facets. I’ve also added one more step for you to consider: placing a different color of highlighter around the edge of the block to signal that you’ll add a larger 1/2” seam allowance to them. Adding extra allowance will help you trim the block to the correct size after sewing. Another lesson learned from YOU, my wonderful students!
I created several different colorways to get your creative ideas flowing. Sapphire, ruby, emerald, watermelon tourmaline and diamond round out the collection. I’m using the same colors that have been featured in previous months’ blocks.
Click the link below to download the Colorway document:
Click on the ink below to download the pattern in the size you prefer: 6″, 9″ or 12″.
A Conversation with Acorn Precision Piecing Founders
We’ve had several conversations about Acorn Precision Piecing Products. So I thought it would be a good idea to share the conversation I had with the founders, Shelley and Bernie Tobisch, last summer. These are two wonderful entrepreneurs and artists. I hope you enjoy our chat.
Video of Our June 18 Zoom Chat
Our July 2nd Mid-Month Meet-Up Zoom:
MJ Sheldon Presents Foil Embellishment
Click on the video here to catch up on all the fun that members have been having with the Butterfly block, as well as with other projects. Plus, MJ Sheldon (aka “the other MJ”) shares how she uses foil papers to add sparkling embellishment to her quilt projects. Very cool!
May 2021: “Sunrise Sapphire” Gem Block
May’s Tiny Treasures Club pattern is inspired by this stunning 2.53-carat emerald-cut sapphire from the collection of Mayer & Watt. Mayer and Watt is owned by Laurie and Simon Watt, international colored gem dealers and people I’m lucky to call friends. I fell in love with this gem at first sight. Her splashes of blue, teal, and yellow looked to me like an early sunrise over a mountain lake — cool, serene, and spectacular.
Are you surprised that this is a sapphire? Like so many other gems, sapphires are found in a wide variety of colors. Sometimes called “parti” sapphires (also known as polychrome sapphires), these stones are a rare type of corundum that cannot be replicated in a lab. They include two or three colors in blues, greens, and yellows, emulating the color of peacock feathers. Just like the colors in our inspiration stone!
When drafting an emerald-cut gem as a quilt pattern, the challenge is finding the “through line”. There isn’t one! There is no point or “culet” facet at the bottom of the pavilion of an emerald-cut stone where all the facet lines converge. Instead, there’s a lovely ridge that separates its 4 sections. What that means for us is that we get to practice our set-in seams this month!
Set-in seams are no big deal. They occur when 3 seams come together to form a capital “Y” shape. To create a successful set-in seam, you simply sew 2 sections together stopping your stitch line 1/4″ before you reach the point of the “Y”, flip the center section to align to the other adjacent section and do the same thing. Voila! Nice crisp “Y” seams — a perfect emerald-cut block. And I provide a step-by-step description of the process in the Piece Plan in this month’s instructions.
To capture the splash of yellow in the upper left corner of the Sunrise Sapphire, I split the color codes “C” and “D” into 2 hues. If you want to make this block to represent the Sunrise Sapphire, you’ll select 2 fabrics for “C” (“C” and “C2”) and 2 fabrics for “D” (“D” and “D2”). If you prefer to make your gem as a sapphire, emerald, or any other kind of single-hued gem, you only need to use 1 fabric for “C” and 1 fabric for “D”. Check out the Colorway document below to see what I mean.
By the way, if you look at the Sunrise colorway on the left, I have provided 2 images: one with a white background and one with a black background.
The Ruby colorway on the right gives you 4 different images. The top 2 images use the colorway on the left (labeled “1&2”). Images 1 &2 are the same gem, but have different backgrounds: one white and one black. Now look at the bottom 2 rubies. I’ve inverted their colors! These 2 rubies correspond to the colorway on the right. See how I’ve flipped the colors so that the darkest is “A” and the lightest is “F”? And I show that colorway with 2 different backgrounds: white and black.
I hope by offering you all these options, you are able to identify what you prefer the most and create a gem that you LOVE. The other colorways include Diamond, Emerald and a blue Sapphire.
Click the link below to download the Colorway document:
Click on the ink below to download the pattern in the size you prefer: 6″, 9″ or 12″.
Putting in a Set-In Seam (Demo Video)
A Conversation with Laurie Watt, Gemstone Dealer
Earlier this week I had a great time chatting with my friend Laurie Watt about unusual sapphires and the gemstones she’s most excited about right now. Click on the PLAY button below to listen in. As I mentioned in my email to you, I ran out of time before I had to jump on a plane to go to Denver, so I didn’t have a chance to make a demo video for you. However, when I get back that’s the first thing I’ll do and I’ll post it here. If you are comfortable with set-in seams, go for it! If you’d prefer a little video guidance, you could start cutting out your facets and sew all 4 sections together. Once I post the demo video on set-in seams, watch it, and finish it up. You got this!
April 2021: “Blushing Beryl” Gem Block
Click on the video below to watch our Friday, May 7th Mid-Month Meet-Up to show off our “Blushing Beryl” blocks: .
Click on the video below to watch our Friday, April 16th, Zoom chat all about Morganite and the new pattern “Blushing Beryl”.
April’s Tiny Treasures Club pattern is inspired by this gorgeous 82.83-carat octagonal Morganite from the National Gem Collection (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution). Morganite is a type of beryl, as are emeralds and aquamarines. Morganite gets its lavender/pink/peach hues from traces of manganese within its mineral structure.
When a deposit of gorgeous pink beryl was discovered in Madagascar in 1911, George F. Kunz — Tiffany & Company’s famous gemologist — suggested it be named for his benefactor J.P. Morgan. In addition to being one of the great financiers of the early 20th century, J.P. Morgan was also a great lover of colored gemstones and provided significant funding for the gem collection at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
As with our previous blocks, I’ve provided you with 3 sizes of patterns: 6″, 9″ and 12″. In addition, I created 2 colorways to get your creative juices flowing.
To access the PDF files of this month’s pattern, click on one of the options below. The 2 colorways shown above are actually included in the pattern instructions this month, rather than as a separate document.
To watch my conversations with Becky Goldsmith and Swan Sheridan, click below. Enjoy!
March 2021: “Spring Bluet” Gem Block
This month’s “Spring Bluet” gem block was inspired by a lovely square emerald-cut Aquamarine I found on Mayer & Watt’s website. I loved her soft color, her asymmetrical placement of lights and darks, and her nice lines. She just sang, “Spring!” to me….rain, soft breezes, scented air, sunshine. Spring is creeping into Kentucky now and I’m absolutely delighted about it. Our daffodils, crocus, forsythia are in bloom. The tulips and magnolia trees are about ready to pop. It’s the prettiest time of year here. So if you’re somewhere north of us and are wondering if Spring will EVER arrive, have hope! She’s on her way.
As I was designing the quilt block pattern, I took some liberties with her shape and number of facets. You’ll find 3 pattern sizes: 6″, 9″ and 12″. I’ve also created a number of colorways that I hope inspire you.
To access the downloadable PDF file for the size block you want, click on the options below:
To download the chart of 8 colorways, click the button below:
I had the wonderful pleasure of spending some time with Julie Biurkhart-Haid, an amazing artist who creates jewelry inspired by the quilts of Gees Bend. Click on the video below to hear all about what inspires Julie and what she’s working on now.
March 19, 2021 Zoom Chat Introducing “Spring Bluet”
April Mid-Month Meet-Up Resources
On Friday, April 9th, about a dozen of us met for a show-and-tell session, as well as to learn about how to put on a gallery facing. They asked that I put the PowerPoint presentation that I used onto our Resources page. Great Idea! You can click the Download button below to access the PPT. I only ask that you use it for your personal use. Thanks! And then click on the video below to watch the whole gab-fest on Friday. We had a great time! And welcome to our newest member, Karen Powel. She’s from Arizona and loves gems and quilts just as much as we do. Shine on!
February 2021: “Snowball” Gem Block
This month’s “Snowball” gem block was inspired by a tiny octagon Citrine that I found on the GIA’s website. If you haven’t already discovered the Gemological Institute of America’s site, I highly recommend it. (www.gia.edu) They are the preeminent source of gemological education in the world and having a certification from GIA brings a level of respect and credibility.
It’s tiny, but I loved its shape, color, and contrast of light across its surface. I hope you have fun making one or more of the 3 sizes I’ve created for you. I’ve also created about half a dozen different colorways to inspire you: citrine, ruby, sapphire, emerald, diamond, and pink tourmaline. And whose to say you can’t mix up those colorways and make something fabulous all your own!
To access the downloadable PDF file for the patterns, instructions, and piece plan, click the DOWNLOAD button of the pattern size you want below
Click the button below to download the 6″ template.
Click the button below to download the 9″ template.
Click the button below to download the 12″ template.
Click the button below to download the REVISED colorway document that now includes 2 Watermelon Tourmaline styles (See image of both new styles below. You can see that I brightened the “D” color in Style #2 just a bit.):
Below is an edited recording of our visit on Friday evening, Feb. 19. My chat with Dye Goddess, Cindy Lohbeck, will hopefully be posted on Monday!! Technical problems today have prevented me from bringing it to you!
January 2021: Welcome!
Welcome, Friends! It’s great to have you here!
I’ve been working toward this moment for many months and am so pleased that the time to get started is finally here. My goal in bringing us together us to build a community of quiltmakers who love gems as much as I do. This is a place we can learn from each other and celebrate creativity while playing with new gem patterns every month.
On the 3rd Friday of every month, I’ll send you an email at 8 PM that includes the link to this web page where you’ll find the following information::
- Mini-Gem Pattern & Instructions — You’ll be able to click a link in the email to download a PDF file of the new mini-gem that will also include instructions and its “Piece Plan” — a step-by-step guide to putting the pieces together. This is your pattern to do with as you please. Some of you may want to customize your gemstone block by adding or subtracting pieces. Perhaps you want to change the way the facet lines are drawn. And some of you may want to enlarge the block. That’s perfectly fine! I can’t wait to see what variations will result from our collaboration.
- Colorway Examples — To help get your creative juices flowing, I’ll create and share images of that month’s gem block in various colorways. These will vary from month to month, but will always include a Diamond colorway with the same 5 colors.
- Zoom Meeting Information — The email will also include all the information you need to join our monthly live Zoom chats at 9 PM Eastern time. These meetings will run for about an hour and include a presentation by me about the block and the gem that inspired it. I’ll also do a demo of any techniques that might be new to you. And we’ll have a chance to do a round of show-and-tell when you can show off the block you made the previous month and tell us about it.
- Interview With Industry Friends — The monthly email will also include a link to a private YouTube video of a pre-recorded conversation with one of my friends in the jewelry or quilting industry. I’m excited to have you meet these wonderful people!
So let’s get started!
January Mini-Gem Block: “Lisa’s Snowflake”
This month’s block was inspired by our first guest, artist and gem cutter Lisa Elser (www.lisaelser.com). I was introduced to Lisa by one of our fellow Tiny Treasures Club members. When I saw Lisa’s fabulous gems, I was stunned by their beauty. The intricacy and sculptural aspect of her gems were astounding. I knew I wanted to meet Lisa and to hopefully introduce her to you, too. You can watch my interview with her by clicking the link a little farther down in this post.
This is the gorgeous pink tourmaline in Lisa’s collection that inspired this month’s block. The hexagon faceting pattern, “Glitter Snowflake”, was designed by C. Thomas Schlegel (Lisa’s husband) and cut by Lisa herself. In our conversation, she explained that the combination of intricate faceting on both the top (crown) and bottom (pavilion) of the gem creates the starburst effect at the edges and center of the stone.
I wanted to highlight the step cuts deep inside each facet, as well a the star bursts at the outer edges. To keep the pieces from becoming to extraordinarily tiny, I simplified it down to its basic shapes. I then decided to experiment with a few colorways to see how she might sparkle as a light-color sapphire, ametrine, and diamond.
To access the downloadable PDF file for the pattern, instructions, and piece plan, click the DOWNLOAD button below By the way, this is the revised version I uploaded on 1/16/2021. This version has the PIECE PLAN listed at the end of the document.
Below is the 6″ template:
Below is the 9″ template:
Below is the 12″ template:
To access the downloadable PDF file of the various colorways, click the DOWNLOAD button below.
To watch my interview with Lisa, click on the video player button in the box below. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy making “Lisa’s Snowflake”! Be sure to post progress pictures on our private Facebook Page, too!
Chat with Artist & Gem Cutter, Lisa Elser
Recording of Member Zoom Chat (1/15/2021)
Out of the 40+ people who have joined the Tiny Treasures Club, we had about 15 people join us on our very first Zoom chat on 1/15/2021. A great turn out! Watch our conversation by clicking the video play button below.
MJ Tutorials Demonstrating Freezer Paper Piecing
For those of you who haven’t made one of my patterns, I want to be sure to give you as much support as you need. We covered a little snippet of how to get started last evening at our Zoom chat, so I wanted to provide additional tutorial videos.
The videos below are tutorials that I created last summer for my Elizabeth Sew-Along project. The pattern is different, but the technique is the SAME — just on a slightly smaller scale! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email at [email protected] or at 502-287-3034 (Eastern Standard Time).
The 6 videos below are about 5 – 7 minutes each in length. You’ll learn how to read the codes on the pattern, cut up your freezer paper pattern, organize your fabric and facets, cutting your fabric around the freezer paper facets, get an introduction to the step-by-step strategy for piecing the facets together that I call the “Piece Plan”, and finally how to sew your facets together by matching up the hashmarks. The last video shows you some trouble-shooting tips if you have gaps or tucks in your seams.