Monday, September 29, 2014

250th quilt celebration!

This past summer I finished my 250th quilt and today I am happy to be hosting a HUGE giveaway to celebrate this milestone. This summer also marked my 14th year as a quilter and it has been quite a ride! I'm very thankful for my journey. I can't wait to see what happens next!
People always ask, "what do you DO with all of your quilts?" That is a VERY good question. We use them in our home, of course! We use lots of quilts on our beds. (Obviously.) I have a well stocked quilt cupboard, which stores the ones that aren't currently in use. The quilts stacked on top of the cupboard are my "work" quilts (ones that I take to trunk shows or have patterns for).
I have started rolling them up and putting them into baskets.
I have filled my quilt ladder as well. Spreading them throughout the house makes it seem like less of a problem. Hahaha!
They also make great wall art. For some reason I used to be opposed to hanging quilts on the wall. I have no idea why, but I got over it. (To hang them, I use heavy duty stick pins and shove the pin right into the sheet rock. Thankfully my husband doesn't mind!) I recently hung this one in my sewing room and I LOVE how well it fits in that spot. It makes me happy to see it every day.

In addition to that, I give some quilts away to friends, family and to charity as well, but I need to do more of that. Let's just one in my house has reason to complain about being cold. EVER. :)

Ok, now on to the giveaway! I have rounded up a fabulous selection of prizes from some companies and friends that have supported me along the way. I'm passing these prizes on to you!

A Beach House thread set compliments of Connecting Threads.
One 50 pack of Clover wonder clips in PINK! compliments of Connecting Threads.
A fat quarter bundle of Lion's Share Fabric by Cotton and Steel compliments of Connecting Threads.
A fat quarter bundle of Leo Lounge by Cotton and Steel compliments of Connecting Threads.
A fat quarter bundle of Calico compliments of Dear Stella.
A "Sewing Makes Me Happy" coffee mug compliments of Modern Textiles. (Heavily creamed coffee not included!)
 A splash rotary cutter (my favorite!) compliments of Olfa.
Wonderful hand made soap compliments of my friend Tara.
 A BUNCH of mini charm packs, compliments of Moda.
21 (!!!) charm packs, compliments of Moda.
And...a fat quarter bundle of the 32 NEW Kona colors, compliments of Robert Kaufman.
Those are some pretty great prizes, aren't they?? MANY thanks to Connecting Threads, Dear Stella, Modern Textiles, Olfa, Tara, Moda and Robert Kaufman for donating these fabulous prizes!!!

Here are the specifics. Please read everything carefully!
Because of the high price of overseas shipping, the prizes shown above will be limited to residents of  US, with the exception of the prizes from Connecting Threads, which are limited to residents of the US and Canada. I apologize for the limitations. However, I wanted to do something so everyone could win.
This may be a little bit crazy, but I'm going to do it anyway. :)
Everyone who leaves me a comment on this post will receive a free PDF pattern of your choice from here or here. In your comment, leave your pattern choice, your email address and also the country in which you live. To those of you who are in the US and Canada, your comment will also enter you into the drawing for the prizes above. I hope that all makes sense!! I need a writer to help me out with my disclaimer. :)
I will send the PDF patterns out via email. (It may take me up to two weeks depending on volume, but we will see how it goes!)
I will pick winners of the prizes shown above sometime later this week.

Thank you for celebrating 250 quilts with me! Here's to the next 250!!!

Happy Monday to you! :)

edited to add: thanks for all your fabulous comments! the giveaway is now closed. winners will be announced soon.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I've been working on updating all of my patterns using my new template, working toward a consistent, printable pattern line. It's a TON of work, but I'm s l o w l y getting there. It's starting to become a reality!!! (Woohoo!)
These four are DONE. (Complete with barcodes and everything. I feel so official!) I have a few more in the works....and a hundred ideas to work up after that. :) I can't even begin to fathom how many hours are represented here...but I think it's better not to know. Right?
I may be weird, but I kind of like packaging them up. My kids are looking forward to being hired to do some packaging, but so far school has been getting in the way of that. (Ha!)
These boxes represent one movie (You've got mail), one episode of "Everybody loves Raymond", 4 episodes of Call the Midwife (I just discovered it and I love it!) and a phone call with a friend. It was good to have an excuse to sit down and relax while working.
I packed up and shipped off one HUGE order this week and I'm counting that as my finish. Phew! (isn't that the most unglamorous photo ever???) Now, I can't wait to get back to the sewing machine!!!
If you've ordered a pattern from me in the past, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! I appreciate it more than I can say. I suppose I should clarify, I will continue to sell my pdfs through my big cartel and craftsy shops. The printed copies are for wholesale orders. If you are a shop and would like to carry my patterns, please email me at Thank you!
Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

playful petals blog tour

Today I'm happy to be a part of the Playful Petals blog tour. Playful petals is written by the uber talented Corey Yoder of Little Miss Shabby. She has a great post about why she wrote the book here. (I love reading the story behind a book!)
The book features 9 full quilts and also 9 pillow options. (You know how I love a good throw pillow!) All of the projects include petal shapes using fusible appliqué. It's a beautiful book and the technique is fast and fun! I know that a lot of people are scared of applique, but really, there is no need to be.
I took inspiration from the quilt on the cover (love it!) and made this mini based on it. Can you believe I passed up an opportunity to make a throw pillow?! (hahaha) I traded in my normal candy colored palette and went with a red and tan color scheme instead.
This was a fun way to play with scraps! I used my blanket stitch on my Janome to appliqué the petals down. (It always feels good to use some of those "fancy" stitches on the machine.) I added some quilting around the petals to add more texture. I love how it turned out!! It measures 15" square and it's scrap project #88/101.
So, what are your thoughts on applique? Do you love it? Hate it? Scared to dip your toe in the water? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour. Corey will be giving away a copy of the book at the end of the tour as well!

September 15: Amy @  Stitchery Dickery Dock
September 16: Melissa @Happy Quilting
September 17: Jessica @ Quilty Habit
September 18: Faith @ Fresh Lemons Quilts
September 19: Amy @ Diary of a Quilter
September 22: Sherri @ A Quilting Life
September 23: Amber @ Gigi’s Thimble
September 24: Lori @ Bee in My Bonnet
September 25: Amanda @ Crazy Mom Quilts
September 26: Lee @ Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

crocheted trivets and itty bitty trousers

I've found yet another way to use up some scraps! These are very similar to my crocheted rag rugs, but in a trivet (or pot holder) size. I had to use up my skinnier strings somehow, right? :) I am planning to use these as soup bowl holders. It's perfect timing, because I do believe soup season is JUST around the corner. (Hurray!!!)
To make them, I basically used this tutorial, but I cut the strips a bit narrower....between 1/2" and 5/8" wide. I used a size M hook and I crocheted 15 stitches across for each one. I crocheted as many rows as needed until the piece was square-ish. That's it! Easy peasy! These are scrap project #87/101. (Woo-hoo!)
I also sewed up these little trousers from my friend Tara's little guy. She said that he was wearing 12 month clothes already, so I panicked. (These are 6-9 months.) I had to spill the beans and have her measure her little guy's legs to make sure that they would fit. I think we are still clear, so these need to get into the mail TODAY! No more procrastinating!!!
I used the highly acclaimed quick change trousers pattern by Anna Maria Horner from her book Handmade Beginnings.
They were really fun to sew up! I can see why this pattern has been so popular over the years. Besides, what baby doesn't need a pair of elephant butt pants? I just wish I could hand deliver them.
Happy first day of Autumn!

Monday, September 22, 2014

miscellaneous Monday

Well, it's Monday. I'm happy to see a new week and I'm grateful for a fresh start, aren't you? Thanks for all of the kind comments on my last post. They are much appreciated--more than I can say. xo
On October 10 & 11, 2014 I have the chance to visit and teach in Fargo at Modern Textiles. They have a great selection of modern fabric and the owners are AMAZING! It's such a fun place to hang out and I'm super excited about visiting again! On Friday there will be a meet and greet where I will be demonstrating spiral quilting, so come by and watch me wrestle a quilt. (Hahaha!) On Saturday I'll be teaching one of my favorite classes "Make Good Choices", which is all about fabric selection! You can read more about the class and sign up here if you are interested. If you live in the area, I hope to see you there!
Now, to play a little catch up from last week, here's my scrappy ribbon pillow. No ribbons were used in the making of the pillow, just cute little scraps and kona cotton....but when it's all assembled, it looks like ribbons, so there you go!

The pillow measures about 20" square.
While I don't NEED another pillow, I'm happy to have one finished rather than another quilt WIP. My husband is making his peace with the fact that the house will soon be over run by pillows.
It was easily finished with an envelope backing.
I just love those dots for backing! They are by Denyse Schmidt from the Picadilly line at JoAnn's. I should have bought bolts of it.
This is scrap project # 86/101.

One more thing...I'm planning on a HUGE giveaway this week to celebrate my 250th quilt finish. I've rounded up some fabulous prizes to give away. I can't wait to celebrate!

Happy Monday to you!!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

the linky party that wasn't

Do you ever have one of those weeks? I've certainly had one.

I did huge amounts of computer work this week getting some of my patterns ready to print. That's a HuGE job with a bazillion details. I think I spent more time at my desk this week than when I had a "real" job. I made some great progress, but man, it's a lot of work. All the while I was wondering what on earth I could finish for Friday that wouldn't be lame. I was sewing yesterday afternoon and I was able to finish a pillow cover that I love. I was in the zone and it came together without being forced. I had fun! I took lovely photos in that fleeting moment in the afternoon when the light was just perfect and 10 minutes later I was headed to a guild meeting with a quick sandwich in hand for dinner. I locked my keys in my van at the meeting. (Ugh.) This morning as I was trying to post, I encountered a million technical difficulties too boring to list and I have to admit defeat. My in house tech guy happens to have a full time job. (I'm so glad he does!) But that means I'm posting with no link up party this week. I have no photo to share here, but it is on flickr (there is a link on my sidebar to my flickr group) and I'll be posting it to Instagram shortly. So. Here's to keeping it real. And honest. I can't do it all. I have no cape. :) So, thanks for your understanding and I plan to return it regularly scheduled programming as soon as possible. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"you can't rush art"

There is a line in the movie Toy Story 2 where the artist who is repairing Woody says, "you can't rush art". We've quoted that movie a LOT in our house over the past several years and I feel like that one line sums up this quilt project precisely. In fact, I may have found the title for this quilt!
I started this one to just play with my solid scraps and to do some mindless sewing. It's come a long way from the first blocks. It's taken turns that I didn't plan on and I always enjoy "just see where it goes". But then. THEN! I get to a point in the project where I just want it to be done already. I'm at that point with this quilt. I want it to be done, but I know that it isn't done. I guess I need to learn some patience. And quick! Ha!
See this little strip? It finishes at about 1" wide. This will probably be my favorite part of the whole quilt! I have a small scrap sickness. (I realize that's not news.)
I feel like I've been able to throw off some of my color inhibitions (I actually used brown and hunter green) in this project. In addition to that, I was able to push myself out of my improv box a little bit. Now if I could just find some more sewing time to see this through to completion, I'd be one happy camper. Or sewist. :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

dress up diamond pillow

Do you ever have a stack of fabric that you wonder what to do with, then one day, out of the blue you have a light bulb moment that marries the perfect idea to that stack of fabric? It's a fabulous thing when it happens and it's even better when you find the time to make that idea into a reality. I wish it happened to me on a more regular basis and faster, but you know.... :)
That's kind of what happened with this pillow. I had a cute stack of Wild fabric (by Dear Stella) since May. In July I had a light bulb moment....I could showcase the cute dress me fabric in the center of my diamond pillow pattern. This past Friday I finally sewed it up! It was SUCH a fun project (not to mention quick) and that was exactly what I needed.
The dress up fabric is appliqued on and then top stitched for durability. I worked with purples and violets because my daughter loves those colors and I thought they were a nice compliment to the blues/grays/blacks. I can't tell you how many times I squealed over making these teeny tiny clothes. I had SO much fun playing dress up! But those little heart shorts. Oh Mylanta. They are my favorite!!! My boys wouldn't readily admit it, but I could tell by the look on their faces that they thought they are pretty cute, too. (Shhh. Don't tell!)
When it came time to make the backing, I dug into the stash and unearthed this fabric. I don't have a lot of purple/violet in my stash and I really don't have that many larger cuts, so you can imagine my delight to find this fabric, which was EXACTLY the right length. I love it when that happens! Hurray for using the stash!

I'm so happy to have this one out of the old noggin and sewn up! My daughter saw the finished pillow, scooped it up and gave it a big hug. I'd call that success! I think it goes without saying, but I LOVE how it turned out, too!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Terri's quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
You may or may not know this, but finishing things is a big deal to me. My dad always impressed on me (and my siblings) "if you are going to start something, you need to finish it!" The end. I'm passionate about finishing what I start and sometimes I even adopt other peoples' WIPs and finish them! (No, I'm not offering to finish your WIPs!) :)
This past summer at the annual Gruber's retreat, Terri showed this quilt top that she had pieced a few years ago at that same retreat. Isn't it beautiful??? She was "over it," to use her words, so I offered to finish it. We decided it will be donated to Margaret's Hope Chest. Terri has one less WIP, I busted some stash, worked out a little bit of stress while quilting and I have a finish to share today. Plus, we get to support MHC. Everybody wins!
I pieced the back using larger chunks from my stash. I was able to eek out the backing using the width of fabric. It was close....within a 1/4" in some places, but it worked!
I stippled it using Isacord thread. This is my second time using this thread for quilting and man, it's smooth! I just wish it wasn't so shiny, or I'd use it all the time.
Apple green binding finishes things off. And another quilt is complete! Feels so good!
The quilt measures 42" x 56".

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! And please, when visiting the blogs from the links below, be kind in your comments. Thank you!

Have a GREAT weekend! xo

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

a few binding tips

I've got a few binding tips and tricks to share with you today. Nothing earth shattering, but sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference! I hope you find them helpful as well.

First off, when attaching the binding to the quilt top, I find it very helpful to wrap the binding around an empty thread spool. I saw this tip somewhere awhile back and I thought "how can that work?" but it really does! When you place the quilt in the machine, just pop the spool of binding next to your spool of thread. The binding doesn't get tangled around the bulk of your quilt, the leg of your chair or anything else when you are sewing it on to the quilt. It's especially helpful on larger quilts. (It's a good thing my spool of thread was almost empty because my spool of binding took up so much room. Hahaha!)
I've been machine binding (some of) my quilts for about 3 years now using the tutorial here. (I can't believe it's been that long!) Here are a few tricks that I've recently discovered that make stitching the binding down on the front *almost* perfect.
After you have attached the binding strip to the back of the quilt, press the binding out/away from the bulk of the quilt. This helps to achieve a nice crisp edge. If I press it first, I find that the fabric behaves much better when I am folding it over onto the front side. It's even hard to put into words what it does, but this little step makes a big difference! I guess you will just have to try it and see!

When you are top stitching the binding down (on the front side) and you are nearing a corner, fold the bottom piece up FIRST as shown in the photo. I like to use a little clover wonder clip to temporarily hold it in place.
THEN, fold the right side in. The mitered corner turns out SO MUCH better with this folding arrangement. (Rather than my previous method, which was folding the right side in first, then folding the bottom up.)
The stitching on the backside is nearly perfect around the corner pivot. That's so satisfying!!! Usually 3 out of 4 of my corners look this good. I'll take it!
And the last thing...I've updated my original binding tutorial (way back from 2008!) to include step by step photos for making a mitered seam when joining the beginning and end of the binding strips. Boy, THAT was way overdue!