November 4, 2019

First Snow Finale!

I'm so happy to have had a successful quilt along with you all. Thank you so much for participating and sharing your wonderful creations! It really is a fun and special thing.

Mine is sent off to @knotandthread for quilting, and I want to celebrate some of your finishes! Don't forget Kaitlyn is offering 20% off edge to edge quilting for all participants. You have until Dec. 31st to get them to her! Still time yet. Not let's take a look at these beauties.

@courtcrafts82 is already done!

And more where those came from! You can see them all at #firstsnowquilt. This isn't a quick finish and I'm so proud of you all for persisting, on a timeline. That's something that's hard for me, and I'm just as proud of myself for finishing in time, heaven knows I've had trouble with that in the past. I'm also really excited to use it at Christmas! Thanks so much for joining me, I really appreciate it. 

The last winner, who gets to enjoy free quilting from Lindsay at The House of Elle, is....

Lindsay at The House of Elle has a beautiful website full of lovely things, feel free to check it out. Thank you to all of the sponsors who made this quilt along fun! Be sure to look through their great shops and services. 

I will take a little break from quilt alongs through the holidays, and after that will resume with Where Love Is. I can't wait to work on that one! Heart quilts are my top 3 favorites with stars, and stripes. This one is a lot simpler than First Snow, and will have some fun new variations releasing with the paper pattern, like the differing backgrounds from fat quarters. See you then! And probably a couple of times in between, and always on Instagram :)

October 27, 2019

First Snow Quilt Along- Borders!

Hello dear snowflake sewists. I apologize for being a week late on this step of the quilt along. We are mostly settled into our new home, and putting borders on this was the very first thing I sewed in my new space! I'll show you how the sewing room is coming in a bit.

I am over the moon about this quilt top! One thing that stood out to me this time was how much easier/faster it seemed than when I made this same pattern 3 years ago. That is a testament to practice and experience, and I love that part of being a human! "That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) What a wonderful thing. For the record, the first time it was verrrry tedious for me!

I'm very pleased with the contrast level of the Riley Blake Peaches and Cream and Riley White, I think it balanced just right. I'm sending this off to Kaitlyn @knotandthread this week, as she is the official discounted longarmer for this quilt along. 20% off! Woo hoo! Mine is on the way to her as we speak.

This week's prize is free long arming of your quilt top with @fiveonsunny, and the winner is @janp325! I have worked with Amanda a few times this year and I'm excited for you to get to use her services. She quilted the 6" sampler in my last post.

A few people have reached out to me about pressing issues when putting the blocks together. I think I talked about this in stories on IG, but I should have mentioned it here too. I have learned a thing or two about pressing since I wrote that pattern and I think the best way would be to press the final two seams for each block the opposite of what it says in the pattern, then rotate every other block. That way, the seams will nest and those points will be easier. If that doesn't make any sense feel free to contact me about it!

Finally, here are the beginnings of my new sewing space! I'm sure I'll still move things around as I unpack and find the best system in here. I think this is supposed to be a dining room, but heaven knows we don't need two dining spaces in this family! It will get much more use this way :) I am excited to not have all of this packed into my bedroom anymore, and I think my husband is too, haha!  The rug is from Target and the dots are vinyl stickers cut with my friend's Circut. This is the black matte vinyl I used.

Pretty fun stuff! I will see you next week (after catchup, if you need it) for the final prize winner! I'm so grateful to you that have sewn along with me on this one, I love looking at all of yours and I'm thrilled that I have a new Christmas quilt this year. See you soon! Next week's prize is more free quilting from House of Elle!

October 17, 2019

Six Inch Sampler Quilt and Learning Quilt Math Tutorial!

Oh man, I have so much to say about this quilt. Let's start at the beginning!

In 2016 Pat Sloan announced the Splendid Sampler, a sew along for 6" blocks with lots of different designers. The blocks were free on her site when they first came out, but now they are in a book. There's actually even a second Splendid Sampler book

Turns out that after a couple of weeks, the blocks being released were just not my cup of tea. Some I loved, some I didn't. At the time, I didn't have any experience or desire to do appliqué, or some of the other shapes and techniques involved. I was loving the traditionally pieced tiny blocks though, and really wanted to finish my quilt. (You can see my block progress on Instagram at #amjsampler.)

I also looked into doing the Farmer's Wife quilt pattern, which is also a book of patterns, and I liked a lot more of those, but it still wasn't just what I was looking for. Camille Roskelley made a version of that quilt that I really love! She did the traditional layout, with sashing and cornerstones. I opted to cram mine all together, I just thought they looked fun all touching, though I do normally love the look of sashing.

Image via @thimbleblossoms Instagram
Since I couldn't find a perfect pattern for what I wanted, I started trying to make any and all 6" blocks that I thought were pretty. I used Google and Pinterest to find free 6" blocks, but that only took me so far. After a while I decided to start figuring out how to diminish the measurements for bigger blocks I liked. It turned out to be a wonderful exercise in learning quilt math and resizing blocks. Let me show you what I mean.

First, pick the block you want to minimize. There are so many classic and traditional blocks out there, you don't need to worry too much about copying. Or, you can diminish the math from a pattern that you've already purchased. The first thing you have to decide is how many sections make up the grid of the block. Are the sections divided equally into a 2, 3, or 4 grid like this? Or even more?

Let's look at this one, which is actually one of the real Splendid Sampler blocks, the very first one I believe! You can see that the block is divided into 16 equal sized squares, in a 4 by 4 grid. Since it finishes (or we want it to) at 6", each little square needs to be 1.5" in the end. With seam allowances (1/4" on each edge) that's 2" for each of the 16 squares.

Half of them are easy- just plain old 2" white squares. The other 8 are HST, which you probably know how to make already. If you don't, I have a half square triangle tutorial here. You want those to also be 2" unfinished, so you'll start with 3" squares of each. You'd need a 3" square of each of the prints, and (4) white 3" squares to make the 8 HSTs needed.

Other blocks have a 3 by 3 grid, like the white star on aqua in the lower corner of this one, as well as the plus block with green right above it. In a 3 by 3 grid finishing at a 6" block, you want each component to be 2" finished, so 2.5" cut. So, the star would have (8) 2.5" aqua squares, (1) 2.5" white square, and (8) 1.5" white squares for corner triangles.

Once I got comfortable with the simpler/larger grids, I had the courage to try the tricker 5 by 5, 6 by 6, and even step outside the grid configuration. There was a lot of trial and error, cutting mistakes, and figuring things out by doing. At first it's confusing and then your brain trains itself to be able to form the correct math for the desired shapes. It really helped me so much!

There were lots of firsts on this quilt, including my first (and only so far) floating seam! I'm not going to explain that one here, you'll have to look it up, but you can see the block on the left here. Those other two blocks are big time favorites! The string block has Bonnie and Camille selvage quotes- "You do not find the happy life, you make it." Never truer words!

Here's the fabric pull I started with for this quilt. I mostly shopped from StarlitQuilts on Etsy. I added many more prints throughout the process but kept to the red, pink, green, aqua scheme. I was tempted to add navy a few times, but I'm glad I didn't in this case.

Lots of personal projects got put on the back burner the next year, including this one, but I finally made the final 5 blocks this summer and got it sent off to Amanda Rucker of Five on Sunny Quilting. She suggested this mini orange peel-like design and I think it was just perfect. Thanks Amanda! You can see more of her work at @fiveonsunny. Let's have a good look at this texture, and cutie Jake.

The background on this one is Kona Snow. The backing is from Bonnie and Camille's Vintage Picnic line several years back. The sashing is a printed solid all the way back from Miss Kate! The binding is from Merry Matryoshka by Riley Blake. Instagram friend @sewsabrina helped me find the last bit of it on this continent I'm pretty sure. She is the best! It was so perfect for this project.

Let me know if you have any questions about it. See you Monday for a First Snow update and prize!

October 6, 2019

First Snow Quit Along- Week 6

Hi there!! We've passed the half way point folks! This week we are making two more blocks, bringing us to 8 total, and next week we'll do the same. Here's how it's looking over here:

I've actually done 9 blocks and I'm going to try to finish up this week since we are supposed to be moving next week! It doesn't seem like they will be able to finish everything in time- we still need floors, exterior trim paint, and I'm sure other things that aren't obvious to me, but maybe they'll hustle and stick to their word. I have been packing, sorting, sanding, painting, you name it. It's been a busy but happy time.

I am loving this version by @gardenvarietyquilts with Lella Boutique and Grunge Basic. There are lots of beautiful things happening on #firstsnowquilt!

This week's prize is a fabric bundle from Starlit Quilts. Do you guys know Star? She is really a very special person. She is energetic, hard-working, upbeat, passionate, and kind. I feel honored to know her and call her friend! She offers wonderful longarm quilting services and also has a fully stocked Etsy store, which has been my most frequented shopping place over the years. I love that she offers 1/4 yd cuts, my favorite size to collect.

I got sidetracked talking about the wonder that is Starlit Quilts there, but the winner of her bundle is @courtcrafts82! You can DM or email her, or me, to claim your prize. Thank you for sewing along! It's so much more fun to do it together.

September 25, 2019

Shiny Brights Quilt Pattern Release

Remember the Shiny Brights quilt from this time last year? Well it's time to release it in my shop! It's now listed as a PDF and Paper copy, discounted through the weekend to celebrate the release. It's really hard to find the magazine now, and lots of you have been asking for this one!

Best news of the day is- Fabric Bubb is carrying Shiny Bright kits! These are the exact colors that I used in my quilt. When choosing these colors, I used my Kona color cards and pretty much just chose all my favorites. I didn't think too much about what would go well together, I just pulled colors that made me happy that day. As a usually very meticulous color planner, this felt really wild and free for me!

In the end it really wasn't very wild, it was the colors that I always use and love, just a lot more of them all together. Haha! In fact it looks very much like the solids shelf in my fabric collection at this very moment :) You love what you love! This is definitely the most colors I've ever used all together in one quit though, I usually stick to 3-6 range.

I added some useful tips and tricks to the pattern this time. I thought I would share a few insights here as well. When matching pieces for blocks, I generally tried to contrast light and dark fabric within each block. I also tried to challenge myself and put colors together that might normally make me cringe! For example, never in my life have I put orchid and mustard together, but I loved the result of this little personal color challenge. It was fun!

Emilee Hathaway of Paisley, Prints, and Polka Dots quilted this one for me. I told her to choose whatever design she thought would work best, and I love it! She's is wonderful.

I kept the binding and backing very calm, with Kona Shadow (also used in the blocks) and Bonnie and Camille Basics grey dot. The background is Moda Bella 97, which I find to be identical to Kona Snow, though I never actually mix the two within one project!

The American Patchwork and Quilting pattern differs a little from the one I wrote. I always like to make my HSTs a bit larger and trim down to size. The point matching just goes so much better that way for me! I use this rotating cutting mat along with the Bloc Loc ruler, which makes it easy to make them perfect! 

And just because they did such a stinking cute job of styling it for Christmas, let's see it with the pink tree one more time. Thanks again American Patchwork and Quilting! (and today is 3 months until Christmas by the way!!)

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. 
©2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Don't forget that the Shiny Brights paper patterns are a preorder, they will ship next week! Catch them while they're on sale. And if you're a shop wanting to carry them, shoot me an email :)

See you in a week or so for more First Snow prizes!

September 22, 2019

First Snow Quilt Along Week 4

Welcome back to the First Snow Quilt Along. This week will be making two more blocks, bringing us to the halfway point! Woo hoo! We have a lot of flying geese behind us, and just as many ahead, ha! It will be so worth it.

I failed to get a well-lit photo of my blocks so far, but here they are. I couldn't be happier with how this is turning out. I have also been delighted to see all the beautiful versions you are making. Bravo!

A favorite of mine is this icy blue beauty by Debbie McDonald @debilanemcd. Isn't it lovely?

There are so many great ones, you guys are just doing a wonderful job.

This week's winner is Sherrye @sherrye552018! You won 20% off longarm services with One Sweet Bee Quilting. You two can be in touch on IG. Thank you so much for sewing along, and Barbara for donating the prize!

Here's a timeline review for the weeks remaining if you need it-

Sept 23- 2 blocks
Sept 30- 2 blocks
Oct 7- 2 blocks
Oct 14- 2 blocks
Oct 21- sashing and borders
Oct 28- catch up week
Nov 4- wrap up

See you back here in two weeks, and in the mean time don't forget to post your progress with #firstsnowquilt on Instagram! Have a great week :)

September 19, 2019

Patchwork Picnic- Dragonfly quilt block

Today I am happy to take part in the blog hop for Gracey Larson's new book Patchwork Picnic. It's an adorable book of 6" or 12" block patterns. They are all so cute,  I wish I could make the whole quilt!

The book is published by Martingale and features outdoor themed blocks. I am sharing the Dragonfly block today. I made the 12" version, put it on point, and turned it into a pillow! Surprise surprise :)

I had such a good time with this block. I love Gracey's patterns, they are easy to follow and so whimsical. After I sewed the block and put in on point (simply cut two 10" squares, cut in half diagonally, sew long edges to outside edges of 12" block to put on point!) I quilted it up in straight lines, then added some hand quilting detail by drawing some swirls and stitching over them. If you're interested in more details about this process you can check out my hand quilting tips and supplies post

I also have a very helpful post about how to put zippers into pillows easily! I really, really love to make pillows, which you probably already knew. You can always check out more pillows at #wwpillows.

For my block I used all Riley Blake Basics- black and white gingham, green Swiss Dots, and cotton solid. The back is a Stacy Iest Hsu tiny heart print for Moda. 

I planned this pillow so that it would go in the boys' reading corner in the playroom in the new house. We are moving in one month! One thing that we will really miss about this house is the big backyard with sunset views. Often there is a whole group of dragonflies around that time that swoop and dive and circle overhead. I have become rather attached to those little guys! They remind me of many happy evenings spent in that yard playing, gardening, jumping on the tramp and working and playing together. I know when I look back on my life those will be some of the happiest times! 

This isn't the first time I've made one of Gracey's adorable patterns into a pillow. A year ago I made her cute owl pattern and I can't recommend it enough. Adorable, easy to follow, and you can't beat the price! I made two of the 6" blocks and turned them into a lumbar pillow. 

Anyway, back to the book. Make sure you check out Patchwork Picnic by Gracey, you won't regret it. Look at the cuteness! There's a sew along happening right now with different blocks being shared every Friday on Instagram.

See you Monday for a First Snow update. Have a wonderful weekend!