April 19, 2018

Mini Charm Pack Pillow


Hello again! Today I have a fun, fast project to share. To make this pillow you will need:

2 Mini Charm Packs, or (81) 2.5" squares
FQ for backing
(2) 1" x 5" coordinating fabric for zipper tabs
(2) 20" squares of batting
16" or longer zipper (can be cut shorter!)

About a week ago I got these two sweet little Ella and Ollie packs in the mail, and I very impulsively opened them right up, organized the prints into colors, and arranged them in this diagonal design. I love how it turned out! Fig Tree fabrics are soooo pretty, that Joanna is the master of warm colors.

I wasn't planning on making it a tutorial so I  didn't take any "in progress" shots, sorry about that! You'll have to read the words. So annoying, ha!


To achieve a similar look with any fabric line, open up your charm packs sort your pieces into color piles- all the red together, all the blues, etc. Most fabric lines have around 6 main colors. Figure out what order you want your color gradient to go. I followed a loose rainbow- red, peach, yellow, green, aqua, white. There is also a little row of tan in mine. And, I went backwards apparently.

Starting in the upper right hand corner with alternating color stripes, begin to arrange the squares into a 9 by 9 grid. (9 rows across and 9 rows down) This will take some rearranging as you go, but who doesn't love to arrange and rearrange pretty fabric!? Not this girl. You will have 3 left over that you don't need.



It doesn't have to be perfect. Just play around with the colors until you find "stripes" you like, according to what fits and the numbers you have of each. Then, sew the squares into 9 rows of nine using a 1/4" seam. Then press the rows in the directions of the arrows.
Now sew your rows together. The seams of the intersecting squares should "nest" nicely so you don't have to pin, just line them up and make sure they are snug against each other before you sew them. Press your rows all one direction.

Quilt the pillow front as desired. I used a wavy stitch on my Husqvarna and followed the color "stripes". I take shortcuts wherever possible in quilting, so instead of marking lines, I first quilted down the intersections of the squares. Then I added in between rows by eye balling it between the rows I had already done. When you're doing a wavy stitch no one can tell if it's perfect!


Now it's time to assemble the pillow. I have instructions for this in multiple places. For a very detailed video tutorial, visit my Instagram profile and watch the story highlights under "zipper tutorial". There's a little circle with a springy pillow on it, click there. I believe it only works on phones, not desktop computers. For a photo tutorial that will work anywhere, go here.


I usually always make pillow covers 18" square, and use the 20" down pillow forms from IKEA. They are great. Also, I used an older Fig Tree print for the backing.

I hope this makes pillows a little more approachable for some of you, they really are fun! I am fully addicted as I'm sure you've noticed :)


In a very happy color coordination accident, I had my solids out from my What Shade Are You quilt top for RJR fabrics. I chose these colors months ago! I had to take some out (purple), but look how happy they are together. I can't wait to show you that quilt in July! I will share all the color names at that time. 

April 12, 2018

Latest Happenings and some helpful links

Hello! I really hope that spring has found you wherever you are (if in the Northern Hemisphere, ha). If not, I hope it comes very very soon! Spring is actually on the way out here in CA but we are still enjoying it to the fullest. Things have been busy in my Woodberry Way world and I thought I'd give some updates today.

I finished up one of my WIPs (works in progress)- that's always a good feeling! It's especially satisfying to me when it's a scrap quilt like this one. I saved the triangle cutoffs from the flying geese in my Star Kisses Quilt, sewed them into pinwheels, cut square cornerstones from my scrap bin, and followed the layout for the Chandelier pattern found in Vanessa Goertzen's latest book for charm squares. I love how it turned out!


It was quilted by Starlit Quilts (as usual!) and I had her back it with fabric from her Etsy shop- just a simple small gingham check in teal. I did hand binding this time with Bonnie and Camille's Hello Darling green dot. Such a happy finish!

I've also been doing some fabric pulls for my 5th (!) Jumping Jacks quilt. Every year I make a quilt for my British mom to give to one of her sisters for Christmas. She pays for the fabric and longarm expenses, and I get to make lots of fun different color combinations of one of my favorite patterns! This top pull was what I wanted to make, but this year's aunt wanted more of a traditional Union Jack palette, so we came up with the second one. It's still a work in progress, can't wait to get started. You can check out #leavittquilts on IG to see some others I've made.



We've had several rainy days this month and for whatever reason I've been wanting to do a lot of charity sewing. I found a few different causes going right now if you're interested.

  • My friend Briawna is collecting blocks for a charity auction quilts. It's an easy scrap busting block, and they look amazing all together. You can also buy raffle tickets to buy one of the quilts! 
  • Quilters is Canada are collecting blocks to make quilts for the families of the hockey players who died in a terrible bus accident. I love being able to contribute to things like this. I send my love and prayers and tears with those blocks and it makes me happy to know they will be gifted a big cozy quilt to remind them of how many people are thinking of them during this very difficult time.  
  • A fellow quilter lost her young daughter unexpectedly to the flu a few weeks ago. I have been really torn up about this one. She is collecting cat blocks to make mini quilts for all of her daughter's classmates. Heartbreak. I wanted to make a quilt just for her, so I put together this heart quilt today and yesterday, only to find out that someone else had already made a quilt for her in the very same pattern! So I am going to send her a different kind of package and save this for something else. 


It was a really fun, easy quilt to make. I followed the layout for the tutorial by Diary of a Quilter, but cut my squares to 4" instead, and swapped the outer rows for a 4.5" cut border. This design is a wonderful stash buster too! I'm pretty much out of low volume scraps.

Lastly, I am loving all the new fabric lines coming out right now! I can never justify purchasing full fat quarter bundles, and I'm never in love with every single print enough to want a FQ of each anyway, so I opt for smaller precuts usually. I bought two mini charm packs of Ella and Ollie by Fig Tree Quilts with no particular plan in mind, but ended up sewing them together the minute they arrived in the mail! I'll share more details on this one when it's finished. 


Thank you for being here with me and for those of you who chime in on Instagram too! There are some big things happening behind the scenes that I can't share for quite some time, and hope that you'll stick with me as I may be sharing less for a little while. No, it's not fabric design, though I hope to get to that one day! :)

Happy Spring, be back soon!

April 5, 2018

Behind the Scenes


I've had this post in my drafts for a while but have been hesitant to post it. Why not today! :)

A while back when my sister was visiting, she made a comment about what followers on Instagram must think about my daily life. We had a good laugh about the chaos and mayhem that is usually just out of frame and didn't discuss it much more. The more I thought about it though, the more I felt I should speak up. I always assume that because most of you know that I have 3 little boys, you already know that my life is anything but glamorous. But in case you don't, let me elaborate.

We rent a small house on a very ordinary street. It is nearly always messy inside and I am generally under-showered and wearing some form of yoga pants which, in my case and the words of @letterfolk, are "anything-but-yoga pants". I don't make time for exercise beyond walks, though I know I should. The boys fight sometimes, and I lose my patience. They break everything! Neither my husband nor I are very proficient in house repairs, and we have holes in the wall, rips in the flooring, and smudges/scratches/stains on literally everything. LITTLE BOYS! So cute, so heart stealing, soooo destructive.

My husband hasn't been working for terribly long, and we've spent most of our marriage with him finishing school. If any of you have started a family during grad you school you know the financial sacrifices and mental/emotional strains can be intense. Having had our first babies in apartments, we feel beyond blessed to have this little house where the boys can play outside. Oh to have a yard! It still feels like a dream. Though he makes decent money now, we live in an expensive state and have massive school loans, so we live simply. So far the most expensive thing we've ever purchased was an 8 year old Toyota Yaris with automatic nothing. Our couch was purchased on Craigslist, as is most everything else. This works out well actually, because if the boys ruin something I don't get upset because I didn't care about most of it in the first place! I did care about the baby vegetable plants that they smashed yesterday, but don't get me started on that.

We decided in 2016 that my intense love of quilting not only did not fit into the family spending, but could possibly be put to good use in helping the family finances, so I started Woodberry Way writing patterns. It is still in the early stages, but I have high hopes for it, especially as my children grow a little older and more self sufficient. Some amazing opportunities have already come from it- it's remarkable what can happen when you are brave and try new things! Business doesn't come naturally to me, but quilts do, and I feel really lucky that I have had the pleasure of creating this little corner of the quilt world.

That is the reality of things. And you know what? I love it. And I mean LOVE love it, with a pretty intense level of daily joy and satisfaction. We are cozy and safe and fed, and immensely grateful for good health. We get to walk out past the edge of the neighborhood and look for little creatures and pick wildflowers. My husband is a good man. I get to put the crazy little ones in bed and go to my room and sew pretty things together. Man I love to do that! I find joy in a sunset, a tasty dinner, a sweet snuggle, a quiet walk, a child's prayer, in CREATING.

Here is a quote from the brand new prophet of our church, President Russel M. Nelson:
 "The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives."

No matter one's city, family situation, job or lack thereof, or bank account, we all have the power to feel joy. I believe that power comes from a focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ. His example and words show us the very best, happiest way to live. Not that we do it perfectly, ever, but the daily trying brings peace and blessings that can't be found any other way. 

If you had told me as a young adult that I'd be raising (soon to be) 4 boys and running a quilt business, I would have laughed. I may have cried with a little bit of fear/disgust/disappointment to be honest. It certainly didn't fit with my idea of myself at that time. Yet it came, and here we are, and I have learned to love it so much. I hope that wherever you find yourself today, you find ways to love it. Some things can be changed, so start changing! Other things can not, and must be accepted and loved. I didn't mean to get so bossy today, the main thing that I wanted to say was- I share pretty pictures of quilts because they make me happy, I want to inspire others to create, and I would really love for people to buy my patterns that I've worked so hard on. Please remember though that the daily reality includes a lot more.... mess, and bugs, and hollering :) And that is just fine by me.

Now back to quilt posts! I have some really fun things coming up that I can't wait to share with you. See you soon!

April 2, 2018

Springtime/Easter Fussy Cut Pillow

I recently finished this sweet little pillow and sent it to my sister. She is expecting her first baby, a girl, and she was due on Easter! She still hasn't come but we are awaiting her arrival any day :) I thought it would be nice addition to her rocking chair and a sweet reminder of her birth.


I didn't follow a pattern, but I cut 3" fussy cuts from all different lines- some new prints from Sew Stitching Happy (the backing print was from her I believe), and some from Anna Daisy's Fabric on Etsy. A few of them were from scraps of older fabrics that I already had. The sashing is 1/2" finished and I gave it borders to reach an 18" size, which is the size I nearly always make.


I quilted the front on my machine first with a diagonal grid, and then added some white hand quilting as a finishing touch. I did a blog post about what I use to hand quilt here.


I recently added a series of videos to my profile on Instagram showing how I put zippers in pillows. You can check that out here (not sure if it will work on desktops, maybe just from the app on the phone?) I also have a photo tutorial here on the blog.


We had a beautiful Easter here watching LDS General Conference and spending some time outside. Springtime in Sacramento really can't be beat, and I cherish the things we celebrate during this time, as well as the inspiring words from Conference.


March 16, 2018

Jane's Ladder quilt in Nest by Lella Boutique


Today I had the pleasure of sharing a quilt at the Moda Bake Shop- a website full of free patterns that use Moda precuts. If you haven't been there before, you are sure to find all sorts of delights!

Mine uses a Charm Pack, and I called the pattern "Jane's Ladder" as it's a variation of the traditional Jacob's Ladder quilt block. I inverted the colors in block B and alternated them for a fun diagonal design.

  


The first time I saw Lella Boutique's newest line "Nest" by Vanessa Goertzen on Instagram, I gasped. It has some of my favorite colors, and I love birds! If you don't believe that, I spent my Christmas money last year buying bird feeders, seed, and filling our backyard with places they could come visit. I have a clear feeder attached to the window to my sewing space, and I just adore my sweet little visitors! One day I'll get to be a bird for a bit and I'll spend all day flying and singing and living in a sweet cozy little nest.


I love the large floral in the line and put the light blue one on the back. Flowers and dots combined are my favorite. I also really love the little pearly chains that I used for binding. As usual, bravissima Vanessa!


Head over to the Bake Shop to print off your free copy of the pattern. It's easy and fun! I included instructions for a throw size as well, which would require a Layer Cake instead of a Charm Pack.

I feel like this pattern would work really well for a baby boy quilt. I'm always happy to find fabric and patterns that work well for boys!


Thanks so much for having me Moda Bake Shop! 

March 2, 2018

Sewing Machine Reviews- Husqvarna Opal 650 and Juki TL 2010Q

Occasionally I get asked about sewing machines, so I thought I'd post all my thoughts about mine here for reference. These two machines are the only ones I've ever used, so I don't have much to compare them to, but I can tell you everything I know about them!

My first ever machine is a Husqvarna. My parents bought it for me in 2013 as a gift. My mom has an older Husqvarna, and I love that we have the same kind. If you're in the states, I know you can purchase them at Joann, or a local dealer.

HUSQVARNA OPAL 650
Image via Husqvarna

Pros:

She (I call her Opal) has sooo many pretty stitches. Truly any stitch you would ever want. I use the scallops and waves often for quilting (with a walking foot, sold separately) and it's a nice way to add texture without the intimidating free motion foot. You could embellish almost anything with all the beautiful stitches.
 
I like the clear 1/4" foot with the metal edge (also sold separately) and can do very accurate piecing on this one.

It has a start/stop button option which, honestly, I don't understand fully, but I know it does something pretty nifty! I think there may be other fancy options on this machine that I'm not taking advantage of as well.

It comes with a button hole foot and makes them automatically. I've only ever used this once, but it was very clever.

Cons:

She is fairly wimpy when it comes to bulky seams. I wouldn't even try to sew a heavy duty bag or something on this one.

It has a pretty slow top speed. This drives me nuts when quilting and I just need it to go WAY FASTER.

Not much throat space for quilting big quilts.

Small plastic bobbins that run out quickly.




In 2016 I bought a Juki TL 2010Q. I didn't know much about it, but a local friend was selling hers and I knew I needed a faster machine with more throat space. It has turned out to be a wonderful machine. It's not computerized, which could be considered a good or a bad thing! They can be purchased many places, including here at good old Amazon. This is an affiliate link, so if you decide to purchase there, the price remains the same for you, but I receive a small portion of the payment.

JUKI TL 2010Q
Image via Amazon

Pros:

It's so fast! You can adjust the top speed (from turtle to rabbit- cute) and the top speed is remarkable.

It's very strong and will take any seam.

It has a foot pedal operated thread cutter, you just press "backwards". To me this is a FANTASTIC feature. It saves a lot of movement, time, and thread.

Another great feature is the knee operated presser foot lifter. Also very useful when you need both hands to position fabric.

Large throat space for quilting big quilts. 

Large metal bobbins that fill quickly and last a long time. 

Cons:

It only has one, straight stitch. Not even a zig zag option. You can only adjust the stitch length, tension, and speed.

The light on it is quite dim. You will need additional lighting for this one.

This may be a consideration for those with napping babies or people sensitive to noises- the automatic thread cutter is fairly loud and jarring.

The free motion foot isn't open toe, so it's hard for me to see what's going on, though it works well.
 


So there you have it. As you can see, the Juki has a lot more pros for me personally, but I can't live without the pretty stitches on my other one. It's quite possible that there exists a machine out there with all the features I love from both machines (Bernina? Janome?), I just haven't looked into it. If you know of one that is fast and strong, has stitch options, and has a foot thread cutter, please let me know! Maybe one day I'll sell these and consolidate.

As I posted on Instagram this week, I've been updating my sewing space with a new swivel chair and adjustable-height table. It has been really nice so far! I will post about those next.

February 20, 2018

Muted rainbow stripe quilt tutorial

Hello quilty friends. Today I'm sharing a rainbow quilt that I made for a loved one. In the end I decided to gift another quilt to that person for several reasons, so this is just a "for fun" quilt at our house now! I'm not complaining :) The colors make me so happy. At 68" x 86", it's a very good size for a twin sized bed, so maybe that will be its purpose one day, who knows.


The pattern is as simple as they come, I really wanted the colors and quilting to shine! Plus this is the first quilt top I sewed as I was coming out of a very sick first trimester and the world felt overwhelming. I needed something really easy!


I honestly think it took me longer to decide on colors than it did to make the quilt top. I kept reordering 1/4 yard cuts from Fabric Bubb and after about 4 tries I felt very happy with this muted rainbow of Kona solids:

Pale Flesh (now Shell I think?)
Dusty Peach
Rose
Plum
Deep Rose
Gold
Curry
Wasabi
Pickle
Lime
Celadon
Seafoam
Fog
Delft

UPDATE: Fabric Bubb has listed a bundle of these colors for easy shopping. You can find it here


Fabric Requirements:
(14) quarter yard cuts of colors. They will need to be cut very straight, so if you are buying from a store that isn't known for it's accurate and generous cutting, maybe get 1/3 yds. instead. Fabric Bubb won't do you wrong!
1 3/4 yds white fabric (more if you're using it for binding too)
5/8 yd binding fabric 
5 yds backing


Instructions:

Cut the colored quarter yards into (2) 4.5" x WOF strips each. Trim off and square up the selvege ends, sew end to end for length, press the seam, and cut each strip to 4.5" x 68". I cut them in stacks of 4 or so. You will have some nice sized scraps for another project. I made a pillow and still had some left.

Cut the white fabric into (24) 2.5" strips. Sew all of them end to end and press seams. It will be very long! Try to let it fall back and forth into a somewhat neatly folded pile as you make it, that way you won't have a tangled mess and it will come up easily as you sew it. 

With your colored strips, and your loooong white strip, you're ready to go! Here's how I did it.

Sew a white strip along every colored strip, chain piecing as you go. In other words, I didn't cut any white until the end, just kept adding a new color strip as I went. Then trim them all up and press towards the colors. Using this method, you must be very careful not to tug on the white or let it pull down as you sew, or your white stripes will be wavy and bunched.

If that way stresses you out, you can also just cut (15) 2.5" x 68" white strips and sew them in between every color.

Sew the white strips and colors strips together alternately in your desired rainbow order (mine is listed in order above). Press toward the colors and your top is ready! Baste, quilt, and bind as desired. I had mine quilted with rainbow hearts by CrinkleLove. I had a mostly green backing picked out for this one, but when I saw the text print Sarah had available, I knew that was the right choice! I love it on the back of the colors.


For binding I used the same white as the stripes. I've never used white binding before, but I really love it! Now to see how dirty it gets, ha.


I planned the quilt dimensions so that they'd fit a twin bed, but we' don't have that size of bed at our house right now. I did discover that when using it on a toddler bed, you can get "boy" quilt or "girl" quilt colors by folding down alternate sides :)



I hope you find this tutorial easy to understand. I didn't plan on making one originally, hence no progress pictures, but then I got a lot of questions about it. It's a great place for beginners to start, or a fast project for experienced quilters.



As always, thank you for stopping by! This is my 100th post on this blog since I started in March 2016. I can hardly believe that, it doesn't seem like nearly that many. Thank you to those of you who follow along in this space. I'm happy to share it with you!