August 21, 2017

Back to School- Fabric Key Fob Tutorial

Today I am sharing a fun back to school project tutorial as a part of the Sew Much Fun Blog Hop. 

School has just started here in Sacramento, and that means I get to spend a lot of time driving back and forth and to and fro. I am not the most organized person around, but two things have saved me from not always searching for my keys- hooks just inside the garage door, and these key fobs!

I love them for three reasons. Keeping them around my wrist during drop off/pick up has been a life saver for me. I can hold the baby and a million papers and still not wonder where the keys are. They are much easier to find on a colorful strap. And lastly, being able to use something pretty always adds a bit of cheer to the task. Today I'm going to share exactly how I make them.

The hardware for the keychain part can be purchased many places, but I buy mine at Everything Ribbon on Etsy. You need the 1.25" wide key fob hardware. I like to buy them in several different colors/finishes.

I start with coordinating strips from my 2.5" wide bin. These are mostly leftover binding pieces (notice the center creases) and stray Jelly Roll strips.

You will need one for the outside and one for the inside, here are the sizes you will need:

Large hands (like me): 11" x 2.5"
Medium: 10.5" x 2.5"
Tiny hands: 10" x 2.5"

From scrap batting, cut a piece 1.25" wide and just a tad longer than your fabric. Mine is Warm and White brand.

Next, using the "inside" piece of fabric, press the two sides lengthwise toward the middle with a hot iron. Don't worry about hitting the exact middle mark, worry about the new width being uniform.

Place the batting on the wrong side of the "outside" fabric, and press the sides up around it. They won't quite meet in the middle, making this piece a bit wider than the "inside" one, which is what you want.

Place the two pieces wrong sides together, and stitch (with a walking foot!) 1/4" from the edges.

  I start with the "inside" facing up, and follow the center line of the right toe on my walking foot. I usually use a 2.5 to 3 stitch length for these, 3 in this case.

Do this for both sides, then flip it over and sew between that line and the edge of the strap (1/8"). For this part I move it to the left and let the previous stitches follow the inner lip of the left toe of the walking foot. This is all highly unscientific as you can see :) You will have to find your own system/guide since we obviously don't all have the same walking foot.

Trim up your ends and fold the strap in half. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the two ends together, going down, and back, and down again (3 passes) to make sure it's nice and sturdy. Trim threads.

Next is my least favorite part, it can get a bit finicky. Practice makes perfect! Using pliers and an old rag to cover the hardware so it won't get scratched, gently close the clamp part-way. Once it's mostly shut, slide the end of the strap in and clamp down all the way from both sides, still covering with a rag. I have big strong hands and can clamp down super tight, but you may need to get some manly assistance on this part. Some key chains are large and heavy, and you want this to be really snug.

And, you've done it! I find, like most things, it's easy to do a bunch of these at once while I have all the stuff out.

Just in case, when hanging my keys up at night, I hang them by the metal circle, not the fabric strap, so the weight of the keys isn't on the clamp.

They make wonderful gifts- I have given them to teachers, ladies I visit at church, and every time one of my sisters or my mom visit, I give them a new one. It makes me happy when I see floppy old dirty ones they've used to death and I have them pick fabric for a fresh new one!

Whether you're driving kids around, starting school yourself, or looking forward to a new season, I hope these give you a fresh start and you enjoy making them.

Check out the back to school projects these other wonderful crafters have posted!

Jen at Faith Fabric
Emma at Emkie Designs
Christ at Made by ChrissyD
Carissa at Faith and Felt Obsession
Kathy at Kathy Kwilts
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts
Michelle at Pretty Practical

August 18, 2017

Sew Along and Free Pattern- Folk Stitches

I have such an exciting announcement today- I'm starting a new quilt along! The pattern is called "Folk Stitches". I designed it to look like cross stitch motifs reminiscent of folk art. This will be the second quilt along I've hosted, and will be set up a little differently than the Rise quilt from last summer.

The quilt is split up into 42 10" blocks, so it's a 60" x 70" finished quilt. Some of the rows have blocks that are all identical, and some are unique. Though it looks complex, the pattern is made solely of squares that are all the same size (albeit quite small- 1.25" finished), so the piecing is very simple. A beginner could make it!

Here's how it will work:
Each week I'll be releasing 3 new block designs. We will sew along for 14 weeks, from the beginning of September to the end of November. Blocks will be released on Saturdays, starting on September 2nd. The posts will stay up forever so don't panic if you don't have time but still want to make it later. Here's an example of what one block pattern will look like:

I'll include overall fabric requirements in the first post, with cutting instructions for the entire quilt. After that it will just be block diagrams like this. You'll grab the necessary number of each color of squares (I'll always specify), sew them into rows, sew the rows together and voila! Easy peasy. I'll have the blocks numbered so make sure to label yours as you go along so you know where they belong in the end.

I got the idea for this system from Amanda at The Quilted Fish. She shared her strawberry quilt pattern on Instagram this way and I thought it was so fun. I've already chatted with her about it and she has no problem with me doing the same!

Now for the best news of all- Kim at KiwiFabric (my closest local Etsy fabric shop) has so kindly provided the fabric for my quilt, and has quilt kits available for purchase in 3 colorways!

She has the Classic colorway that I'm doing shown above, as well as these two.

Here's the "Pansy" colorway.

And finally, "Buttercup". I love this one!

All three colorways are now stocked! If a colors runs out, don't worry, it takes a week to restock. Kim also has a beautiful selection of backings in her shop. I like this or this for Classic, this or this for Pansy, and this or this for Buttercup.

I find it so therapeutic to sew simple squares together, and I think it will be really fun to see the design unfold as we go. Most of you know that I love sharing quilts on Instagram- I'll be sharing this one under #folkstitchesquilt, so make sure to post and tag! 

Please note that I've added a new button tab on the top right of my blog, right under the top photos. Under "Folk Stitches", you'll find links to all the posts as they become available. You can also subscribe to the blog (top right, under my picture) and receive the patterns right to your email box as soon as they come out.

So who will join me? I'm so excited!! I can't wait to start this one. Let me know what you think about it, and as always, thanks for being here with me!

UPDATE: I need to apologize to blog reader Luisa from Italy. I went to reply to your question in the comments and accidentally hit "remove comment" instead of reply! I couldn't undo it and couldn't find a way to contact you. To answer your question, the first block pattern comes out September 2nd and runs through December 2nd, each Saturday. So sorry about that!

August 14, 2017

In the Round for American Patchwork and Quilting

The October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting is in stores now, and it features my quilt design for this simple curves baby quilt.

Check out the gorgeous nursery shots they got for the magazine! I wish I could be a little girl again and play there, what a dreamy space. Thanks for having me APQ!

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. 
©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

"In the Round" was a fun new challenge for me. I wanted to try something outside of my go-to techniques and color palettes. I chose 11 different Kona solids (from top left): Ice Peach, Goldfish, Pink, Tangerine, Corsage, Geranium, Ice Frappe, Bluegrass, Mint, Wasabi, and Pickle. (I love to get solids from Fabric Bubb, they have allllll the Konas) I hadn't ever used purple in quilt until this year, and I am loving it!

Quarter circles are definitely nothing new in quilt design, but sewing curves was new to me. This was my first time ever, and it was super simple to piece using the wonderful Circle Savvy Ruler. It looks like this:

Usually I'm not big on quilty gadgets and tools, but I can't say enough good about this thing. I avoided curved piecing before this because I dislike using templates and papers. You can watch this video to get an idea of how it works. I love that it has every size I'll ever need. I'm a fan!

I sent the top for quilting with Marion McClellan of My Quilt Diet and her gorgeous custom quilting completely stole the show! Marion used a combination of feathers, swirls and curved crosshatch and did such a beautiful job of it. 

If you have been uncertain about curves or scared to try, I would encourage you to get the ruler and watch the video above. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is! Curves were a mystery to me before this quilt, and I'm so happy I gave them a try. Conquering this new technique opens up a whole new world of design options.

 Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with the new week ahead.

August 10, 2017

Chamomile Pattern- a low volume quilt

It's been a while since I shared a finished quilt! This is Chamomile, a pattern I released a few months ago. I designed it for the use of low volume fabric (fat quarters or fat eighths will do), and it's really a quick one to make thanks to strip piecing. It can be purchased here.

If you don't know what strip piecing is, or you're a new quilter, I'd highly recommend this pattern! There are some tips and tricks that will help you speed up the piecing process.

It took me a while to choose binding for this one, but I finally decided to just go with the same color as the sashing- Moda Bella Ruby Ice. The cornerstones are Kona Canary and the backing is called Spot On by Benartex.

When I first started quilting, I had a hard time understanding the appeal of low volume fabrics. (Not sure what they are? Check out this post from my friend Jen.) To me, they made things look too busy, and they never provided the contrast I wanted to make designs stand out. This can be true, but these days I've grown an appreciation for them and love incorporating them into projects as much as I can. They add so much personality to a quilt. So many fun ones have been released since I made this quilt, I might have to make another!

The sashing gives a sense of order, and frames all those crazy prints. Mine has bikes, flowers, dots, text, butterflies, strawberries, hearts, fish, sprinkles, jam jars, fruit, chicken wire, and even a farmer's market! It's a fun quilt to study up close. 

There are some fantastic versions of Chamomile already, you can check them out at #chamomilequilt on IG to see different color combos. Be sure to tag yours if you make one, I always love to see!

As usual, I like to have a little sale when I finally get around to posting a quilt. Use the code AUGUST15 for 15% off your entire pattern purchase (any pattern, as may as you want) now through Saturday at midnight PST. Happy shopping and thanks for stopping by!

June 30, 2017

Pattern Sale!

Today is my husband's birthday! It's fitting that it's so close to 4th of July, he loves this holiday so much. To add to the fun, we got engaged 8 years ago on the 4th of July! Since it is such a happy, celebratory time of year around here, and it's been a while since I've done so, I thought I would have a sale in my pattern shop. Use the code BIRTHDAYBOY to get 30% off your total order from now until midnight on the 4th.

Here are a few of the quilt patterns available in the shop:

Happy shopping and thank you for your support! To my US fabric friends- have a safe and happy 4th of July!!

June 14, 2017

New Fabric from Ellis and Higgs, and a Baby Jolly quilt!

Today I'm so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Nadra of Ellis and Higgs and share what I've made with her beautiful new line. I had a great time sewing with it, as I have with all Nadra's fabric! (I've done pattern samples with her previous lines- you can check them out here and here.)

First up, I made a Jolly Baby quilt! I thought the primary colors and sweet prints were just right for a baby quilt, so I added instructions to my original pattern for a crib sized quilt with smaller blocks. It finishes at about 40" x 50" and is a fun little thing to make. I love how differing values make the blocks play out in various ways in this pattern.

One of my favorite things about this line are the low volume prints included. They are perfect. I wish so much I'd had scraps of them when I made my Chamomile quilt! I used one of them for the border, and a Riley Blake basic stripe for binding.

The quilting is just simple straight lines done on my Juki, and I used a solid blue for the backing since the front is quite busy.  I also mixed a few coordinating solids into the top. This was my first time using Riley Blake solids (the white background and mint color), and they feel much softer than the solids I usually sew with. I like their color selection too.

You can see some progress shots over at my Instagram. I post a lot more there, it's such a fun, easy place for inspiration and sharing. 

One thing I noticed with this line is there's a print that Idaho sports fans are going to love. I couldn't even tell you what sport it is (probably football?), much less the name of the team, but I know there's a blue and orange print just for you! It's a basic too, and could be used in projects for boys. Check out the lower left corner here-

See what I'm saying? Ok moving on from my embarrassing sports knowledge....I also made a pillow!

I used the free tutorial from Moda Bake shop that I did earlier this year. I have 2 extra piles of 2.5" squares needed to make the front of this pillow, just comment on this post and I'll pick someone in a few days. One for you and one for a friend!

The prairie points are super fun, but to be honest, the main reason I made this pillow was so I could use my favorite print on the back. That blue floral will go down in my most-loved fabric hall of fame. It's so good! 

I hope you enjoyed my projects, I sure had fun making them. If you're looking for a good place to buy some Arbor Blossom fabric, my very favorite Etsy shop Starlit Quilts has it! Star has wonderful selection and service, I have shopped from her for years. Happy shopping :)

Be sure to check Nadra's blog for the finale tomorrow, it's bound to be good! Thank you so much for having me Nadra, and for making some of the most cheerful, lovely fabric around.

Note: If you purchased my Jolly pattern previously and would like an updated file with baby size instructions please email me and I will happily send you one :)