Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sew Sampler box roundup: July, August and September

We’ve been in our new home for one month, and I’m just starting to feel like my head is above water.  My sewing room is slowly coming together. I’m very much a “ducks in a row” person.  I think I take after my Grandma Arlene in that regard . . . a place for everything and everything in its place. Things don’t have to be perfect, but they need to be “mostly” organized. That’s how I roll. 

So let’s just say that I was pretty annoyed with myself when I discovered I had THREE Sew Sampler boxes from Fat Quarter Shop that I had not shared with you yet. I'll remedy that right now!

The July Sew Sampler box was titled “Adventure Awaits,” and what a pretty package this was! The box included the following items:
  • Petite Vintage Adventure Rolie Polie by Beverly McCullough for Riley Blake Designs
  • EZ Quilting Dresden Set by Darlene Zimmerman
  • Pellon 15” x 108” Sew-In Interfacing
  • Schmetz Chrome Machine Needles
  • Riley Green Large Vintage Trim by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet
  • Daisy Dresden Quilt Pattern, a Sew Sampler exclusive
  • Barn Block Recipe #4, a FQS exclusive

The August Sew Sampler box was titled “My Happy Place.” This terrific box included these items:
  • Petite Arctic 10” Squares by Elizabeth Hartman for Robert Kaufman
  • 50wt Aurifil Oyster Thread
  • Fairy Floss Pink Splash 45mm Rotary Cutter by Olfa
  • Sew Standard Seam Guide by It’s Sew Emma
  • Easy Living Quilt Pattern, a Sew Sampler exclusive
  • Barn Block Recipe #5, a FQS exclusive

The September Sew Sampler box was titled “Sweet as Cherry Pie.” This cute-as-can-be box included the following items:
  • Badda Bing! Charm Pack by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda
  • Cherry Pickin’ Finishing Kit by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda
  • Double Wide 4 Patch Dresden Template by Me and My Sister Designs
  • 28mm Stick Rotary Cutter by Fiskars
  • Cherry Pickin’ Quilt Pattern, a FQS exclusive
  • Barn Block Recipe Card #6, a FQS exclusive

If you'd like to know more about this monthly box subscription program, just follow this link:  Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop. The boxes are an incredible value and often introduce you to notions and fabrics you may not otherwise come across. You may also cancel at any time, giving you total flexibility.

Have a great day, quilting friends!


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Go ahead, buy that fat quarter bundle!

As you’ve heard me say many times, I enjoy collecting fat quarter bundles. A coordinated collection of pretty fabrics really makes my quilting heart happy, and I know that many of you feel the same. I try not to purchase them willy nilly, but when I love the look of a bundle (when it says “Taunja”), I know that someday it will find a home in a special project. My most recent purchase to fall under this category was a LouLou Bundle called Festive October. Isn’t she pretty?

Every Tuesday LouLou’s Fabric Shop offers a custom curated, eight-piece fat quarter bundle. Shop owner Jamie has a terrific eye for pulling together unique bundles, crossing fabric collections, designers and fabric houses! Here’s their detail shot of the Festive October bundle that I just purchased. Orange and steely gray . . . what a lovely combination.

Although I haven’t decided yet what I’ll make with this bundle, I’m not worried.  Inspiration will come. Sometimes we just need to let the pretty fabric ideas percolate! 

Case in point: last year I purchased another awesome bundle from LouLou’s Fabric Shop, just because I loved it. The plan came after the purchase, and my LouLou Bundle turned into this lovely autumn table runner.

I used a pattern called Furrows from the “Farm Girl Vintage” book by Lori Holt. You can see how the LouLou Bundle and the pattern seem meant for each other. 

I guess my point today is this: go ahead and treat yourself to that awesome bundle you’ve been eyeing. Trust your quilting instincts. If you love the look, eventually it will find its way into a wonderful project that you make for yourself or a loved one.

There is a new LouLou Bundle out today, and it’s called Apple Pie! Yep, I’m just going to say it . . . how YUMMY!

I know many of my readers are big fans of LouLou’s Fabric Shop, and for good reason. Besides having a great inventory of fabrics, LouLou’s treats their customers with a personal touch. They will go the extra mile to help you gather just the right fabrics for your upcoming project. They’ve done it for me, and they’ll do it for you!

Have a great week.  Hope you find time to get carried away quilting!


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Pretty autumn mug rug quilted with Happy Cloud Batting

Today I want to share a product that is new to me, Happy Cloud Batting, an exclusive line of batting from Fat Quarter Shop. Recently the kind folks at FQS sent me a few packages to play with, and I’m so glad they did. I broke into a package of 80/20 Silky Blend precut 10” squares and used one to quilt a little autumn mug rug I pieced.

Typically I use 100% cotton batting for the small projects I quilt, but I have to say that I love the texture and slight loft of this 80/20 cotton/polyester blend from FQS. I think the combination of Silky Blend and the 80 wt Aurifil thread (color: ermine) made my simple straight-line quilting very sweet and defined. I will definitely go this route again.

I found this cool black button in my grandma's button jar and secured it with Aurifloss #5009 medium orange, which is such a yummy color. It adds a nice finishing touch, don't you think?

Fat Quarter Shop's precut batting concept is awesome! Perhaps you are making several mug rugs or mini quilts as gifts.  How terrific to be able to order a package of precut, ready-to-go batting pieces! Happy Cloud Batting comes in several sizes for all your project needs:  8" squares (12 pack), 10" squares (12 pack), 14″ squares (12 pack), 36" squares (2 pack), 36" x 45" Craft, 19" x 55" Tablerunner, 45" x 60" Crib, 60" x 60" Throw, 72" x 90" Twin, 90" x 108" Queen and 120 x 120" King. 

Five types of Happy Cloud Batting are available: 80/20 Silky Blend; Cotton Simply Natural; 50/50 Cotton Blend; Wool Warm & Plush and 50/50 Bamboo Blend.  For more information on the features of each type, visit this post on the Jolly Jabber.

Because I know you are probably wondering, the mug rug block is from the Mini County Fair pattern by Fig Tree & Company.  And naturally, I used some pretty Fig Tree fabrics from my stash as well.

Thanks for stopping by the blog, quilting friends. During the month of October 2018, all Happy Cloud Batting is 25% off at Fat Quarter Shop! If you’re looking for a new batting product to try, I can confidently recommend this one.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Autumn pillow featuring Calico Crow by Lauren Nash for Riley Blake Designs

October in Minnesota is beautiful. For most of the month, the lawns are still green but the trees put on a brilliant show of golden oranges, fiery reds, deep rusts and regal plums. While it’s true that our temperatures begin to drop in October, the weather is typically mild. It’s the season of scarves and sweaters, camp fires, crisp evening walks, and pretty pots of mums on the porch. Yes, we try to squeeze it all in before the first snow flies!

Autumn is my favorite season. While I should probably sew my fall flavored quilting projects in the summer so they are ready ahead of time, I really enjoy “sewing in season.”  There is something so special about watching autumn’s splendor unfold through your window as you play with fall fabrics!  Here’s my most recent make: an autumn twist on my Romantic Patchwork Pillow (a free tutorial).

The inspiration fabric is Calico Crow by Lauren Nash for Riley Blake Designs. I purchased some fat quarters from Allison at My Timeless Day, and then pulled in a few other favorite prints from my stash. The tea stained hand towel with the crocheted edge belonged to my grandmother, and I decided to make good use of it rather than keep it in a drawer. I intended to use the jute cording to finish the pillow, but in the end I decided to go with a fabric binding instead.

To highlight the patchwork area, I added simple straight-line quilting 1/8" from each seam. I used my go-to thread for my autumn-inspired projects: Aurifil 2214 (Golden Honey) 50wt. I didn't add any quilting to the focal fabric on the right side of the pillow.  Those crows are so cute they don't need any embellishing!

The Romantic Patchwork Pillow tutorial is really geared toward using a mini charm pack. But for this pillow I just cut two-inch squares from the fat quarters I had purchased at My Timeless Day. I also did a bit of fussy cutting from the focal fabric. Do you see the crows in the photo below? They remind me of squabbling siblings!

This is my fourth version of this tutorial. The original pillow featured pretty pink florals with a wide band of crocheted trim taken from vintage table linens (hence the name Romantic Patchwork Throw Pillow). I’ve also sewn two Christmas versions: one in Pixie Noel by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake Designs and the other in Jingle Birds by Keiki for Moda Fabrics.

As I was auditioning fabrics for my autumn pillow, I made quite a mess of my stash baskets. (Creative mess is good for the soul!) Luckily my mom was here for a few days, resting after a dental surgery. Of course, I made her earn her keep by organizing some scraps. Thanks, Mom!

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and checking out my autumn sewing!  I hope you are finding time to sew in your season too, wherever in the world you might reside.  Get carried away quilting!


Thursday, September 27, 2018

New pattern: Next Up, a charm pack or layer cake quilt

Are you looking for a quick and easy pattern for your favorite layer cake or charm pack? My newest pattern, Next Up, is just the ticket. The cutting and piecing is straightforward, but the interesting placement of prints and colors creates a visually pleasing finished quilt.

My pattern includes two size options. The large version (86” x 86”) calls for a layer cake, while the small version (38” x 38”) calls for a charm pack. Let me tell you, the large sized Next Up quilt is an awesome size for snuggling with your honey ~ nice and big. In fact, I had a hard time photographing this generous quilt!

And the smaller sized Next Up quilt would make a lovely table topper, wall hanging or baby quilt. 

Fabric selection for this project is a snap. Once you have chosen your layer cake or charm pack, simply select two coordinating background fabrics and begin! The hardest part might be deciding which pretty square of fabric is “next up” in your layout!

As you can see by the photographs, Next Up is a versatile pattern that really shows off the range of prints in a fabric designer’s collection. In my large sample, I used a layer cake of Chestnut Street by Fig Tree & Company for Moda. The pale blue coordinating fabric is Moda Bella Solid Ruby Ice (9900-169). The neutral in this quilt is Moda Bella Solid Porcelain (9900-182).

In my small sample, I used a charm pack of Farmhouse II by Fig Tree & Company for Moda. The charcoal colored coordinating fabric is Moda’s Cross Weave Black (12119-53). Doesn't that black cross weave fabric make the warm and scrappy prints pop? It also adds a very nice texture to the quilt. The neutral fabric in this sample is the cream text print from Farmhouse II.

The machine quilting on both of these projects was done by my friend Barb at Quilts on Broadway in Foley, MN. Please visit her Facebook page to learn more about her business. She’s a gem to work with!

Here are the material requirements for both sizes of Next Up:

Layer Cake Version
Finished size: 86” X 86”
Materials Needed:
1 layer cake (or 42 squares 10” x 10”)
Light blue...................... 2 5/8 yards
Neutral........................... 1 1/4 yards
Backing......................... 7 7/8 yards
Binding.......................... 3/4 yard

Charm Pack Version
Finished size: 38” X 38”
Materials Needed:
1 charm pack (or 42 squares 5” x 5”)
Cross Weave Black......... 3/4 yard
Neutral........................... 1/3 yard
Backing......................... 2 5/8 yards*
Binding.......................... 3/8 yard
*Note: Check with your long-arm quilter. You may get by with just 1 1/3 yard if 44” wide is acceptable to your quilter. That’s what I was able to do with my quilter, Quilts on Broadway.

Next Up is available as a digital download pattern on my Etsy Shop or Craftsy Pattern Shop. The Farmhouse II fabric collection that I used in my smaller quilt will be released by Moda in October. I plan to have a limited number of kits available in the charm pack size. Be sure to follow my blog for more news on that!

Please don't forget to tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make one of my patterns. I love to see your finished quilts!

Thank you, quilting friends, for your ongoing support and encouragement! Now go and get carried away quilting!


Friday, September 21, 2018

Sewing for my son, remembering my grandpa

My weekend goal is to cut into this richly colored, outdoor-inspired collection of fat quarters. I’m making a quilt for our son Luke, who graduates from college this December. Luke is a smart, outgoing, adventurous young man. He continually amazes me by his can-do attitude, his perseverance against obstacles, and his enthusiasm for life. While he may be ready to take his next step in the world, I remember every step he’s taken along the way. My heart is full thinking about him and the road ahead.

I collected most these fat quarters at two area quilt shops: Quilts on Broadway in Foley, MN and Country Caboose Quilts in Waukon, MN. I also pulled a few pieces from my stash. My plan is to make a simple half-square triangle quilt with an Around the World layout. I’m not using a pattern, but I’ll take notes about my steps and share them with you when I’m done. These are the colors that Luke chose. He also asked that I make his quilt really, really big! 

I know that for most of us, quilt making is very personal. We sew from the heart. That is never truer than when we sew for family. I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic at our new home on the lake. As I pulled out Luke’s fabrics, I started thinking about my Grandpa Ed, the avid fisherman. He’s been gone many years now, but I would give anything to have him set up his ice house in our bay this winter. I would love to have him walk up for supper and tell me how he caught a few crappies, bluegills, or maybe even an elusive walleye. My grandpa had a ready smile and a twinkle in his eye.  I miss him.

Luke and his Great Grandpa Ed

The lures and wooden bobber in the photos belonged to Grandpa Ed. I’ll leave them sitting out in my sewing room while I work on Luke’s quilt. I’ll be thinking about two men I love as I cut and sew.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today and putting up with my sentimental ramblings. I hope you find time to get carried away quilting too!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Autumn brings a new adventure

Hello quilting friends!  I’m happy to say that our move is complete!  We've settled into a home on a small lake just a few miles north of the town where my husband now works. We are centrally located to most of our family and friends, which is wonderful. We are so excited to begin this next adventure. 

My husband is a fisherman, and our whole family enjoys spending time on the water. It’s my dream that we’ll live here for many years, and one day there will be grandkids playing on our little beach.

Most of the boxes have been unpacked, and the house is slowly becoming our home. The kitchen is organized, the beds are made, and all of the furniture is set up in a way that feels right. When I haven’t been unpacking or working, I’ve stolen a few moments to discover the spaces in our new yard. There are several pretty shade-loving perennials in the landscape, but I’m eager to add some more color in the sunny spots ~ Stella Daylilies, Black Eyed Susans, and Blue Salvia top my list. My mom will be coming this weekend to help me with that.

There hasn’t been much time for quilting or decorating, but I did add some fall flair to our new dining room. This little bit of decorating was just enough to make me happy and inspire me to find the energy to work on the other rooms . . . eventually. I've hung my Pumpkin Sky wall hanging and set the coordinating pillow in the corner on an old wooden chair I repainted a while ago.

On the black side table are a few of my fall favorites, including a brand new piece of original art by Haley B Designs.  I follow Haley on Instagram and love her work. When she posted pictures of new autumn art she was releasing, I quickly ordered this "grateful" painting. I love supporting other individual makers! The newsprint covered pumpkin in the second picture was a find at a local occasional shop a few years back.

This probably doesn’t count as decorating, but I did throw my much-loved Canned Pears quilt (pattern and fabric by Fig Tree & Company) over the upstairs railing. The rest of my autumn quilts are tucked away for now. Next year I’ll bring them out in full force!

Doesn’t autumn make us more reflective, more thoughtful about life? In the midst of the stress that comes with packing and moving and unpacking and organizing, I’ve been reminding myself to keep my head up and my eyes outward. There is so much to be thankful for . . . like the two small apple trees we didn’t even notice when we first viewed the house as potential buyers! One of the young trees is bearing fruit. What a sweet find!

I did indulge in one bit of fabric shopping during this crazy transition time!  I ordered these cute fat quarters from My Timeless Day. The collection is called Calico Crow by Lauren Nash for Riley Blake Designs. I haven’t decided what I’ll make yet, but I’m thinking maybe some kitchen towels.

My mind is a bit tired, but my heart is full. I’m wishing autumn blessings for all of you. Thank you for your continued support and quilting friendship.

Today I’ll close by saying that I hope “I” will get carried away quilting real soon! I miss the sound of my own machine whirring!