Saturday, February 16, 2019

A "lake" pillow for my Lakeside Star quilt

Do you ever catch yourself smiling, really smiling, when no one else is around? I’m a pretty happy person, so I think I’m often smiling on the inside, but I don’t think my face makes a smile too often when I’m all alone. It’s a bit like talking to yourself.  When you catch yourself doing it, you stop and think . . . and maybe giggle!

Well, I caught myself “smiling out loud” when this pillow arrived from Jennifer at Farm Fresh Stitches. I ordered this pillow to go with my Lakeside Star quilt, and it’s exactly what I wanted, but even better . . . it’s fun, touchable, whimsical and totally happy! 

I love how Jennifer fussy cut the letter “L” from the navy text print of the Sweet Tea collection. (If you recall from my earlier post, the Lakeside Star quilt features Sweet Tea, the newest collection by Sweetwater for Moda.)  

The darling letters, cozy chenille, and special finishing touch on the pillow back . . . all contribute to make this pillow a smiler!

I’ve decided that the Lakeside Star quilt will find its home in our second guest room, which has a log siding feature on one wall. That room is in transition, as our son has started his new job and is only here part-time.  Once he gets totally settled, I have some fun plans for this room. The Lakeside Star quilt and coordinating pillow will be my jumping off point!

They say that smiling is good for your physical health, mental health and attitude.  Well, I think that smiling when you’re all alone may have even more benefits, because when you realize you’re doing it, there is an added layer of surprise and joy. It’s a bit like being a kid again!

I hope you’ll zip on over to the Farm Fresh Stitches website and see all that Jennifer has to offer.  You’ll be glad to add her as a quilty friend! I also see that LouLou’s Fabric Shop has just two fabric kits remaining if you’d like to make your own Lakeside Star quilt. Better hustle, as they're going fast!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you find time to get carried away quilting, or whatever makes you smile!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

A simple patchwork quilt

Some of the best quilts are simple patchwork quilts, wouldn’t you agree? Last fall I purchased a half yard bundle of the Oxford collection by Sweetwater for Moda. My bundle included the blues and greens from the collection, in both prints and wovens. I pondered a few different ideas and looked through all of my patterns and books, but in the end, I couldn’t get past how pretty the fabrics looked just lying next to each other. And so it was decided . . . a really big, easy peasy patchwork quilt.

There is so much that I love about this simple quilt: the calming color palette, the subtle design of the florals, the mix of the smooth cotton and the softer, tactile wovens. The Oxford Patchwork will be a perfect guest room quilt. It’s welcoming and pretty . . . but not so fussy that guests are afraid to wrap up in it.

My Oxford Patchwork quilt finishes at 85” x 110”! Yes, she is BIG! But she is also quick to sew. I’ve included some basic instructions at the end of this post, in case you’d like to make something similar!

I sent my quilt to Lindsey at Primrose Cottage Quilts for the machine quilting. We chose this soft and pleasing wave pattern. Yep, this is definitely a lakeside quilt . . . blues and greens and soft wavy quilting lines. Thank you so much Lindsey! You put the perfect finishing touch on a quilt that I hope makes all of my guests feel welcome.

Our guest room is a work in progress. I’d like to find a pretty headboard and maybe a fun painted sign to hang above the bed. I’m on the hunt for another crocheted throw pillow, as the one in the picture is actually from our master bedroom.

My mother-in-law sets a tray on her guest room bed with a book, a little cross-stitch pillow, some floral greens and a couple of rolled wash cloths.  Maybe I should attempt something like that. It’s such a welcoming idea!

I guess there is no rush to get this room in order, so I will take my time. The bed has clean sheets and is topped with a pretty new quilt.  For most of the guests who come to stay, that works just fine.

Thanks for stopping by, quilting friends. If you love the look of these Oxford prints, I purchased mine from Fat Quarter Shop and I see they still have some prints available. The collection also includes a lovely red range. Mixed with the blues, they would make a festive patriotic patchwork quilt! 


Basic Instructions: Oxford Patchwork Quilt
Finished Size: 85” x 110”

15 assorted 1/2 yards
Binding: 1 yard
Backing: 7 3/4 yards (backing size: 93” x 118”) 

If you are using wovens like I did, I would recommend spraying them with starch or a product like Mary Ellen’s Best Press. Wovens are very “shifty.” 

When piecing, I recommend using a walking foot and doing lots of pinning.  Again, wovens are shifty!

From each 1/2 yard, cut (14) rectangles 6” x 9”. 
Here’s how:
  1. Trim your half yard to a perfect 18” x width of fabric.  (They often come just a bit larger than 18” wide, depending on who cut your yardage.)
  2. Starting at one of the selvage edges, cut (7) strips 6” x 18”.
  3. Cut each of those (7) strips in half to yield (14) rectangles 6” x 9”.
  4. You will end up with (210) rectangles.  You will use (200).

As you can imagine, the assembly process is really easy.  Lay out all of the rectangles on your design wall (or in my case, design floor) until you have a nice mix of print and color. The layout is 10 x 20 (10 rectangles per row; 20 rectangles per column).

Once you have a layout you like, take a picture with your phone or iPad and print it out if possible. The picture will become your cheat sheet for keeping the rectangles in order during sewing and assembly!

Sew the rectangles together from left to right, creating 20 rows.  Press row 1 to the left.  Press row 2 to the right. Continue pressing in that alternating manner.

Next sew the 20 rows together from top to bottom.  Press seams in one direction.

Prep your backing. Quilt as desired and then bind!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

New pattern: Lakeside Star, a fat quarter quilt

Last fall I wrote about how my new surroundings were inspiring my quilting decisions. We moved to a new home on an intimate lake encircled by peeling birch trees and majestic oaks, with native reeds along the shoreline, a lawn dotted with tiny acorns, and birds of every kind and color . . . it was both simple and wonderful. 

The indigo water and the reflection of the butterscotch-colored oak leaves on the lake’s surface really spoke to me. I wanted to create a quilt that reflected the beauty of those colors and also honored the simple but beautiful views. From that, my new pattern, Lakeside Star, was born.

Lakeside Star is a fat quarter friendly quilt that finishes at 74” square. The simplicity of the layout mixed with just the right color choices is what creates a bold statement. 

The idea is to gather fat quarters from four (or five) colors, with one of them being dominant. My quilt combines navy, splash (light blue), taupe and vanilla (ivory) prints from the new “Sweet Tea” collection by Sweetwater for Moda. My dominant color is a soft orange. The orange fat quarters came from my stash.

The construction of this quilt is straight forward and perfect for a beginning quilter! My pattern includes pressing and layout tips as well. While I’m partial to the colorway I’ve selected for this quilt, I can see this working with many different color ranges. 

By now you surely have noticed the fabulous machine quilting by Jennifer of Farm Fresh Stitches. We chose a pattern called “Sweet Orange Peel.” Isn’t it the perfect complement to this quilt? I love how the design is contemporary but also a bit feminine. So pretty!

I’ve been a huge fan of Jennifer’s since I started following her work on Instagram (@farmfreshstitches) a while back. I hope you’ll visit her website, because my words won’t do justice to how creative this lady is! Not only is she a fabulous longarm quilter, she also offers other services, including t-shirt/memory quilts and custom name pillows.  Her work is absolutely darling and inspiring! Here are a few photos of Jennifer's creations, courtesy of her website:

Finally, I have to share a photo of how my quilt was shipped to me after Jennifer worked her magic. Lakeside Star arrived beautifully folded and wrapped with a lovely set of ribbons, just like a precious gift. Jennifer also tucked in some sweet little gifts and a personal note. I get the feeling that Jennifer’s business is so much more than doing good work, it’s also a mission to brings joy to others! Mission accomplished!

I hope you’ll consider giving Lakeside Star a try. I am already scheming up another version of this quilt using some Christmas prints. The pattern is available as a digital PDF on my Etsy Shop.

If you'd like to make a Lakeside Star similar to mine, I'm pleased to announce that LouLou's Fabric Shop is offering a fabric kit! You'll need to purchase the pattern on my Etsy Shop, but then you can just zip over to LouLou's for the fabric you need. Shop owner Jamie has selected fat quarters, borders and binding fabric predominantly from the Sweet Tea collection by Sweetwater, the collection I used in my quilt.  For the oranges, Jamie has created a custom pull from her store. She has a great eye, and I know you'll be in good hands ordering your fabric kit from LouLou's!

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today and hearing about this new pattern. I never want to wish away my days and weeks, but I have to say that I am anxious to photograph Lakeside Star outside next fall, in the natural world that inspired her! 


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Barn Star quilt and the promise of spring

You may remember that last week I was whining about the bitterly cold weather we are experiencing in Minnesota. Well, our low temp this morning marked -32 F with a “feels like” temperature of -54 F.  The local news channels are calling this the coldest day in decades. How am I fighting the polar vortex? I’ve stayed inside and finished up a little project I began last year, a Barn Star quilt featuring the Pepper & Flax collection by Corey Yoder.

This sweet quilt exudes springtime, doesn’t it? I’ve hung it in my dining room with just a few other decorations. Spring is slow to come to Minnesota.  It will be months before we see any green, and I think this little vignette is a nice transition between the seasons.

Corey Yoder’s Pepper & Flax collection mixes sunny yellow and sprig green with a cool granite. It’s a lovely color combination, and it allows me to include a touch of winter in my early spring decorating . . . a chubby nesting bird looks right at home with a sparse little evergreen tree. In the corner of the room, I've replaced my winter springs with touches of green and yellow and propped up some peeling birch logs.

The Barn Star quilt pattern (also designed by Corey Yoder) is a fun and easy pattern to sew. Because of its bold and graphic layout, it lends itself to simple straight-line quilting on the diagonal, which is what I did.  My quilting lines are spaced two inches apart.

I’ve already walked into my dining room twice today to gaze at this quilt, this promise of spring. I know that the bitter cold snap has hit many of you all across the United States. I hope you are staying warm and enjoying some sewing during this hibernation season!

Don’t forget, my spring pattern sale ends on Friday, February 1, 2019. Both the digital and paper versions of some of my favorite springtime patterns are marked down 25%


Friday, January 25, 2019

Spring pattern sale

We are experiencing bitterly cold weather in central Minnesota. Yep, today's low temperature was -11 F.  (They say it's going to warm up to zero this afternoon.)  Next week our temps are expected to dip near -30 F. That is just not right! Don't even get me started on the snow and wind that the weather stations are also predicting.

To improve my mood, I've been looking through my spring patterns and dreaming of green grass, budding leaves, and pretty pastel flowers. Maybe you all need the promise of spring as much as I do! If you head on over to my Etsy Shop, you will find some of my favorite springtime patterns marked down 25%.  

Spring Pattern Sale

Both the digital and paper versions on these select pattern are marked down 25% and the sale runs through Friday, February 1, 2019.  When February rolls around, I am totally expecting mother nature to warm things up . . . or else!

Have a great week, quilting friends. And to all of my local friends, bundle up!


Friday, January 18, 2019

Diamond Trail table runner kit featuring Fig Tree favorites

Hello quilting friends! I’m excited to show you my latest Diamond Trail table runner top, featuring some of my all-time favorite red, green and black prints from Fig Tree & Company. I had enough fabric in store to create a limited number of KITS, so that you can make one too!

This top features fabrics from five Fig Tree collections: Farmhouse II, Christmas Figs, Coney Island, Ella & Ollie and Chestnut Street. It has a decidedly country feel, but I like how the black adds a touch of sophistication. I can’t wait to quilt this piece. I’m planning to hang this runner in my kitchen, which has a lot of black and red accents.

The Diamond Trail pattern is typically a charm pack pattern.  However, this kit does not include a charm pack. Instead, you will receive (12) prints that are 6 1/2” x 21”. You will use these to create your own charm pack. The kit also includes the paper pattern, 3/8 yard neutral and 1/3 yard binding (the black polka dot).  Backing fabric is not included.  Please visit my Etsy Shop for details.

While I was busy creating these custom kits, my rotary cutter kept zipping right along. I cut a few custom fat quarter and half yard bundles featuring lovely springtime Fig Tree prints. The bundles are listed in my shop and quantities are limited.

I have several quilting projects going on at once, a few of which are gifts, and I'm starting to feel a little frazzled. I'm sure many of you are feeling the same way, as the holidays are behind us and we look toward the year ahead. Hopefully we all find the time to get carried away quilting! My to-do list is counting on it!


Monday, December 31, 2018

Winter storm brings on "Cabin Fever" sewing

It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re experiencing a winter storm in central Minnesota. I’m not really complaining though, because it’s the perfect excuse to stay inside and sew!

Today I’m starting a lovely winter quilt kit I purchased from one my of sponsors, Sweet Treasures Quilts. The kit is based on their exclusive pattern, Cabin Fever.  How fitting is that? The featured fabric is called Wintertide by Janet Clare for Moda. I've already made some good progress, just check out my cutting table!

The pattern is a mix of simple snowball and nine-patch blocks, so this should be a really quick make. I do believe this quilt will be a gift for someone, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have a hard time giving it up! Here's a photo of the finished quilt that is on display at the Sweet Treasures Quilts studio.

Photo credit: Sweet Treasures Quilts

Happy New Year to you all! I’m heading back to my sewing room now. Cabin Fever is calling me!