February 4, 2021

Heart Block Tutorial and a NEW pattern!

It has been ages since I released a new pattern but the day is finally here! Simply Charming, a precut friendly quilt, is now live in my shop

Image via Love Patchwork & Quilting

This one is made with 3 Charm Packs or a Layer Cake, and coordinating solids. I used 3 Corey Yoder (Moda) Charm Packs, and Kona solids. The solids are listed on the back of the pattern, but I'll share them here too: Gumdrop, Carnation, Shell, Salmon, Peach, Melon, Lemon, Cactus, Peapod, Aruba, and Candy Green.

This one was beautifully quilted by Sterling Quilt Co. Miss Sterling is amazing! I love her spunky spirit and beautiful quilting work. The quilt was featured on the cover of Love Patchwork & Quilting last fall. They named the pattern and I decided to keep it to avoid confusion. Since it's now out of print, I can publish my own copy of the pattern as the designer. You can check out more posts about this quilt on IG at #simplycharmingquiltww

I actually have several more patterns in various stages of production that I have somehow found the motivation to finish! So stay tuned for several more over the next few months. I'm really excited about it!

In other news, I've got a quick Valentine project for you. Some of you may have been around on IG with me since my early quilting days when I made a heart mini for my family in 2014. My next door neighbor friend expressed interest in having a mini quilt just like it. She recently experienced a loss and I try to jump at any chance to make her heart happy! Plus is doesn't take a lot of convincing to talk me into a mini quilt anyway:) So she picked some fabrics and I sewed up this top for her this week. I have yet to quilt it and finish, but so many of you are asking for a reader friendly version of this tutorial. 

For a detailed process video on this block, check out my Scrappy Heart highlight on IG.


Fabric requirements-

(6) light 3" squares

(6) dark 3" squares

(56) light 2.5" squares

(30) dark 2.5" squares

For "light" prints I used low volumes (on white) and very pale pinks. For the "dark" prints I used saturated reds and pinks. 

Sewing Instructions-

Step 1: Make HSTs (half square triangles) using the light and dark 3" squares. Trim to 2.5" square. You should end up with 12 HSTs that are half light/half dark. See videos if you need more detail on this.  

Step 2: Lay out 2.5" squares into following rows in a 10 by 10 grid. Sew into 10 rows. 

    Row 1- 10 light

    Row 2- 10 light

    Row 3- 2 light, 4 dark, and 4 HST

    Row 4- 2 light, and 8 dark

    Row 5- 2 light, and 8 dark

    Row 6- 2 light, 6 dark, and 2 HST

    Row 7- 4 light, 4 dark, and 2 HST

    Row 8- 6 light, 2 dark, and 2 HST

    Row 9- 8 light, 2 HST

    Row 10- 10 light


Step 3: Press rows alternate directions. Sew rows together and press. 

I embroidered the names of all my family members inside the heart and the kids love getting it out every year and finding their names. I hope you enjoy this little project and have a wonderful Valentine week next week! I'm excited to do heart pizzas with the kids and give them a little gift that I'll share on IG :) 

Don't for get to check out my new pattern and stay tuned for more, and as always, thank you so much for being here!

P. S. I'll share more pictures of my quilt when I get it back from the magazine company! They are stuck in a major lock down in the UK and I'm not sure when I'll get it back, but I'll be sure to share more when I do. The backing on this one is super cute.     

December 9, 2020

Beach Glass Union Jack Quilt

It's almost Christmas! You know what that means around here- time to send another Union Jack quilt to one of my mom's siblings. They all grew up in London together (on Woodberry Way), and now live spread out all over the US and Canada. It's fun to make a different version every year. 

This one is going to a living room with a serious beach vibe- my uncle's wife is from Southern California and I tried to match the colors and feel with this super light, airy scheme on Kona Snow. I was excited to use some prints that I've been stashing and loving for a long time. 

Gathered (floral on beige)

Pemberley (turquoise flower bunches with bows)

The Sommer plaid is hard to find, but there's a bit of pink and the other florals here

Handmade (teal medallions)

If you have any other fabric questions feel free to ask in the comments. You can see some more up close fabric posts for this one here and here

I had it quilted by Emilee of Paisley Prints and Polka Dots. It's tradition to have it professionally done and I'm not there yet :) I always love Emilee's work! These waves were just the perfect thing. 


For the backing I used Swiss Dots in Sand, which I thought was very appropriate. I couldn't find the exact fabric on Etsy but here is the inverse of that color. The binding is from the Little Tree line by Lella Boutique and I can find all the colors except the gray! I guess it takes me a long time to use fabric, and then it's all gone by the time I share it. 



The pattern is called Jumping Jacks by Fig Tree and Co. It has a little bit of fussy trimming at one point, but nothing too bad, and it's all traditionally pieced.

Instagram hashtags still aren't working, but here are a few of the #leavittquilts. I'm happy to have this one mailed off and checked off the list, one step closer to Christmas! I hope you are enjoying the beautiful season. 

November 30, 2020

Rainbow Swoon

A finish! A finish! We have another finish! Those have to be celebrated extra this year! 

This quilt is for my mama who has been living in Bolivia for 18 months and has that amount of time left to go. I was excited to deliver this one to my sisters last week- they will be visiting my mom and dad in Bolivia in February and will take it to them! My mom requested this quilt for the house they are staying in there, which is mostly black and white, glass and tile and not very colorful or cozy. So a bright cheery quilt was just the thing and I was the right gal for the job. My mom requested the Swoon pattern by Thimble Blossoms as it’s one of her favorites. I'm sending so many hugs with it!

The backing is Rosa by Crystal Manning for Moda. I don't see any of the blue around anymore but you can find the same design on pink, white, or aqua, which are all just as cute! It's such a great print. I decided for the first time every to try pattern matching the backing! Meaning- when I sewed two panels of it together to make a piece large enough to cover the back of the quilt, I made sure to line up the design so it didn’t look chopped up. Not to bad!

Navy Bias Stripe Binding

Creamy White Background

We actually picked the backing first and pulled colors from there for the front. I love this happy saturated rainbow! 

How much longer do you think I’ll be able to get the kids to pose on quilts? :) They knew this one was extra special, they have been excited for me to finish it for grandma. They miss her so much.

It’s not a very big quilt, I did the Swoon blocks at my favorite size- 20”. Her patterns are 24” and 16”, so I just figured out a middle ground between the 2. It’s a good couch snuggle size, which is what she needs. 

I quilted this one at home on my trusty old longarm in loops and flowers of different sorts. Admittedly, I was rushing. I wish I had slowed down and done the design a little more densely, but I was in a mad rush to finish due to procrastinating other projects. They all got done! Maybe one day I'll learn my lesson. 

I am really excited that December is starting and as soon as I do alll the decorating this week, I will be back here with the promised crochet blanket (finished!) and this year's Jumping Jacks quilt (just needs binding!). See you then!

November 17, 2020

Striped Quilted Hot Pads

I'm happy to share this project today that I've made a few times now- a cute striped quilted hot pad. 

I've made one of these before, as well as other simple patchwork hot pads. Today's version was a gift for a friend, so I tried to match the vibe of her living room with the colors, and chose a backing that I knew she would appreciate

Fabric requirements:
scrap strips ranging in length and width
9" square regular batting
9" square Insul Brite
9" square backing fabric
2.5" x WOF binding fabric

Steps:

(I've shown this whole process on IG stories if you like videos better than words!)

1. Start with a 9" square of scrap batting. I followed this tutorial to sew the fabric in place, but on a piece of batting instead of paper.

2. Add some hand stitching on a few of the rows. 

3. Spray baste the strip block and batting to an additional layer of Insul Brite, or heat resistant batting. Spray baste a 9" square of backing fabric to the back side of that. Your quilt sandwich will layer as follows:

strip block
batting
Insul Brite
backing

4. Using an erasable pen and walking foot, quilt some additional lines through several of the stripes to attach it to the backing and add texture. Trim it up to 8.5" square. 

5. Attach binding, keeping the seam allowance a tad narrower than usual to make room for the double layer of batting. (You need just one 2.5" x WOF strip.)

6. Using a 2.5" x 5.5"  strip of fabric, press a double fold and topstitch along both edges. Fold into a loop and zig zag stitch to the corner of the hot pad. Sew a button over the raw edges. 

I have a little stash of cute buttons that I've been collecting over the years. This one is similar to these Flower Buttons, and I also found some cute Polka Dot Buttons, and Patterned Wood Buttons. I would love to own all of them :) I adore buttons but don't use them often since I don't make clothes. Yet!


Here are some other hot pads patterns I've made for reference:

"Pretty Little Hotpad" pattern by Amy Sinibaldi.
 Donuts 1 & 2 by Pen and Paper Patterns. I can't seem to find this one anymore. 
I still use this Tasha Noel hot pad with rounded corners and dense quilting. 

I can't think of many things more satisfying to make. A quick, colorful bit of therapy! I hope you enjoy is as much as I did. I hope to make a few more before Christmas!

October 19, 2020

Pumpkin with Big Stitch Accent

I'm excited to share this project with you today! You might remember a white pumpkin pillow I made a few years ago. A friend asked for a wall quilt just like it and I thought I'd bring you in on the process this time. Let's go!



Fabric piece requirements:
(15" x 18" wall quilt, square pillow adjustments below)

Stem (grey)
1.5" x 1.5" 
2.5" x 1.5"

Leaf (blue):
 3.5" x 2.5"

10.5" x 12.5"

3" x 12.5" (2)
3" x 18.5" (2)
5" x 2.5"
3" x 2.5"
3" square (4)
1.5" square (5)
approx. 2" x 3" scraps and cutoffs (8)

NOTE: If you want to make an 18" square pillow cover (for a 20" form) like I did last time, widen the top and bottom borders to 4.5" cut instead of 3". 

Other Supplies:


I've linked each of the fabrics to the exact print I used, you can see the names in the links. The binding I used was from the Orchard line by Prairie Grass Patterns, Sky Blue Plaid, but sadly I could not find it anywhere. Maybe you'll have better luck finding it than I did!



Now, go check out the IG videos I have recorded here, I'll walk you though the process with the piecing. Here's what's shown in the video-

Step 1: Sew (8) background scrap pieces as shown in video to soften corners.

Step 2: Sew (4) 3" background corner triangles to pumpkin rectangle using stitch and flip method

Step 3: Sew (5) 1.5" background corner triangles to leaf and stem pieces, as oriented. 

Step 4: Assemble leaf and stem, attach to pumpkin and press. 

Step 5: Attach borders. 


Now your top is pieced you can quilt and bind as desired! I chose to quilt mine in a crosshatch, then attach the binding, then add the final touch of big stitch quilting to look like the grooves in a pumpkin. You'll find videos showing all these steps in the IG highlight. 


I hope you enjoy this little project, it's just my favorite kind of thing! Let me know if you have questions or comments about it, send me an email or comment here. Thanks!

October 14, 2020

Creativity!

The theme of today's post is:
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." -Maya Angelou

I have found this to be true in so many ways. Here are some of the times when I find ideas popping into my brain. I encourage you to try one of them that is new to you if you are feeling stuck. 

  • When I'm exploring nature. God created nature for us, for our enjoyment, learning, and inspiration. 
  • When I'm cooking or baking something. New colors and smells are inspiring!
  • When I'm in a new place, particularly with new cultures. This one is tricky during pandemic times, but even driving 30 minutes away from home can give fresh perspective.
  • When I'm reading a book or magazine. 
  • When I'm exercising. Blood to the brain helps in so many ways! Not to mention happy endorphins.
  • When I'm making one quilt, and the scraps inspire me to make another....
This last one is particularly true. I can think of many times when not having enough of the fabric I intended to use, or having some really cute little cutoffs, or diving into a particular color scheme, inspired me to make something else- often something that I liked better than the original project!

A few examples:

Several years ago, I decided to make an autumn wall quilt with the Swoon pattern (original 24" size). 



I really liked it. I always love Swoons! But even better than that, I love this 12" block that I made with the cutoffs from the Swoon. Those little triangles were too adorable to throw away, and with just a little more effort, I sewed them together, added 8 extra, and played around with them until I came up with this arrangement. There's something so satisfying about using something that very well could have been trash, and making something beautiful and original out of it. 


One way I like to encourage myself to work creatively is to start small. Make something tiny and fast, like these key fobs. Careful, many people have told me these are addicting! Or, choose the project that is closest to being done and would take the least amount of time to finish. This principle works in many different areas of life. The sense of accomplishment in a finish will boost your enthusiasm and motivation to work on something else. 

Another time, I made this Baby Basket quilt (free pattern here) and had cutoff scraps from the edges.
 

Though the cutoffs were strangely shaped, there were quite a few 2.5" square in there to be salvaged. I unpicked a few of the strip sets and pressed and trimmed them up. Many of them I left attached to their white counterparts. After some rearranging to fit the width of the quilt top, and the addition of two low volume strips from the fabric roll that I had omitted from the front of the quilt, I was able to discover this lovely little strip to put in the middle of the backing. 



Maybe you haven't allowed yourself to explore creatively like this before, so you're thinking- I can't do that! Well, I don't believe in 'I can't do that'. You can do anything, you just haven't tried yet! I encourage you to play around, think outside the box, try to use up what you have, and I think you'll surprise yourself! Like anything, it takes practice and trial and error sometimes. 

One of my favorite examples was when I was making this Mod Triangles Quilt (pattern by Pen and Paper Patterns). The pattern has a really cool technique that starts with 4" segments. I tend to not follow directions exactly and just start cutting like crazy from all the fabrics that seem to fit the project, so I had a lot of leftovers. I removed the prints that were overtly Christmas themed, and had a lot of yellow, pink and aqua left over. 


Around that time the My California Home quilt pattern came out, and I thought it would be just perfect for these colors. Once again I used my creative license to change it up to fit my preferences. I changed the square size to match the pieces I already had, moved the heart to where my city is located, altered the coastline a little bit, and added a pink Nevada :)


I loved this California project so much that it leapfrogged the first quilt, and I finished it very quickly. If I can, and time and deadlines allow, I like to try to follow the creative flow of what I feel most motivated to work on. If you aren't feeling inspired, the fun in creativity can get extinguished. 

Maybe you feel like you aren't naturally creative. I understand that. I'm not naturally inclined that do anything that has to do with large motor skills very well. Flexibility, coordination, and strength are all a real struggle for me. But if I practice every day, and keep trying, there's no way I won't get better! Every human has a spark of creativity inside of them that can be fed and grown. Very few people start out good at something. If I had pictures of my first quilts, I'd show them to you today. There was absolutely nothing remarkable about them. My color choices, piecing techniques, and finished products were by every standard mediocre at best. But my love for the process and desire for beautiful results kept me practicing, practicing, practicing. 

Another way to boost your creativity is to give yourself a challenge. Give yourself some new parameters to work within and see what you can come up with. I did this with my Shiny Brights quilt. My challenge to myself was- use all solids, AND don't think about the color combinations. Just pick a bunch of colors that seemed appealing in the moment, not thinking if they would "go", and see how I can work them in together. A lot of new-to-me things happened! Dark purple, pickle green, all mixed in with my "normal" colors. We all have colors that we'd pick over and over again. Challenge yourself to try something new! I submitted this one to a magazine and they ended up styling it as a Christmas quilt and calling it "Shiny Brights" like the vintage ornaments. Brilliant! I'd have never thought of that. Collaborating creativity has exponentially wonderful results!




The last way that I would encourage you to foster creativity is to play with fabric without commitment. Fabric pulls are a great way to practice combining colors and prints. Don't pressure yourself into thinking it has to be a quilt. It can very easily be placed back on the shelf! This is something that I've practiced so much, I feel really confident in the skills I've developed. If you look at the hashtag #wwfabricpulls you'll see that this is something I've done many many times, and only a small percentage of them became actual quilts. And guess what? I'm starting to create a video class all about colors, scale, and pattern combinations! Yay! It will be a while yet, but I'll let you know how that develops. 

Finally, it would only be fair to point out that we all have periods in our life that are lacking in creativity. These may be times of stress, loss, or other troubles. For me, during first trimester of pregnancy, I'm exhausted and depressed, and even thinking about sewing is out of the question. Remember when I quit my own sew along that I was hosting for Folk Stitches? Yep, first trimester. Sometimes kickstarting ourselves to do something creative may help us out of a funk, and other times not even trying at all is ok too. There are times and seasons to life. Right now unexpectedly homeschooling my older kids while trying to keep the younger ones occupied leaves me with very little time for sewing, and that's ok. I get to use my creativity to find ways to make homeschool work, make dinner, grow my garden, even pick my outfits each day. More than anything, be nice to yourself! Don't set unrealistic standards. You are doing the best you can. 

I hope some of this has helped you today. Remember to use what you have, start small, give yourself a challenge, and remember to play! I really love to encourage others to be creative in any way they can. I believe God intended us to create, as He is the ultimate Creator. 

"Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

How will you be creative this next week? I'm going to start planning Christmas presents! One of my sons put on his Christmas list that he wants "finished melty beads", which means completed Perler bead projects. What!? He's such a funny boy. He's jealous of the projects his older brothers complete, and wants some finished projects of his own to enjoy, so he wants Santa to procure them for him, haha! I've got some melty bead creating to do :) We have this kit, and the kids just love it. Don't ask me what these creatures are, Pikachu or something, ha!


See you next time!

October 5, 2020

New Dawn Fabric and Coordinating Basics


Hello again! As you might have seen, I'm taking a break from Instagram this month and focusing on blog posts. Hooray! This seems liked a wise decision considering my blog doesn't have an Explore tab full of snarky political memes and doom and gloom :) So here we are! Today I want to talk about one of Riley Blake's newest lines by Citrus and Mint Designs called New Dawn. It has really captured my heart!

Rachel planned the line to coordinate exactly with some of the Riley Blake Confetti Cottons (their solids), which makes it sooo nice and easy. I absolutely love adding solids to my quilts, I use them almost every single time. The names for these are:

Fuchsia
Riley Hot Pink
Rose
Rouge
Alpine
Lettuce
Songbird

You can purchase this bundle (minus two colors) at Simply Love Fabrics! For the record, I do not have any sort of business association with SLF, they just take the time to make my bundle ideas a reality! I'm always glad when I have an answer to "where can I buy that same bundle?" :)

Riley Blake also has a bunch of basic coordinates (think dots, stripes, textures, and checks). I rely on them heavily in all my fabric pulls. I think doing so adds a lot of interest and depth to a quilt by expanding the scrappiness level beyond just the main designer line. If you click though on the RB Basics highlight on my Instagram, you can see some of the prints and colors in this photo by name. My favorites are Swiss Dots (here's a great assortment to boost your stash) and 1/8" Stripes. 

Simply Love Fabrics also has a basics bundle for sale with many of these prints! They also have a fat quarter bundle of the whole line, yardage of individual prints, or an inexpensive little 5" Stacker if you just want a little piece of each print!

Here are most of them all lined up together! 

Now the top question I've been asked on Instagram since making these bundles and many of you having bought them, is "what should I make with it?" I don't have time to make anything with mine right now due to living in the Great Madhouse of 2020 (I'm sure many of you with children learning from home can relate), but you know I love to mock things up and dream of quilts-to-be! So here are some ideas of quilts that I personally would love to make with my bundle. 

First up, No Point Stars by Cluck Cluck Sew. The stars have points, of course, but they don't have to line up with each other, which is really nice! A good beginner-ish pattern. I'd opt to alternate with white, and keep the centers the same print as the stars. I saw this idea years ago in a quilt by @redredcompletelyred and have wanted to make one like it ever since. Her stars were wonky though, and I don't do wonky, ha! For this one I didn't use any of the solids or basics, which is rare for me, but I think it works nicely. I used one of every print for a star and a background, besides one really light low volume. 

You guys know I love the Swoon pattern by Thimble Blossoms, I think it would look good in almost any fabric line, but especially this one!


I don't think you can go wrong with a Star Kisses quilt here, but of course I'm a little biased on that one :) I used a creamy peach background on this one instead of white- Riley Blake Peaches and Cream would work perfectly. That's the same one I used on my First Snow, for reference. 


Last but not least, I don't have a mockup for this one, but I think The Maggie Quilt by Kitchen Table Quilting would be so cute in this line. Really any of her quilts! I love Erica's patterns, even though I have yet to make one I think. That needs to be fixed!

Surpise, surprise, I think I picked all star quilts. I guess that's what I'm in the mood for right now. I hope you are all navigating this unprecedented time with as much grace and humor and you can muster. I appreciate you stopping by today!