Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cloth Children's Book from Quilt Girls

I love giving children’s books as baby gifts. I remember how my own children loved their books. I tried to keep books out and accessible to their young hands in many different spots in our home.  My son in particular had an affinity for books, and he nearly always had one in his chubby little fingers even before he could walk.

I don’t remember either of my kids having a cloth book however.  I sure wish they would have, especially Luke!  He had a habit of chewing on book corners when he was teething.  But hey, he was “reading” and as long as he didn’t swallow a hunk of book, I tried not to get too uptight about it.  Still, a fabric book sure would have been nice for my son!

Recently the kind folks at Quilt Girls sent me a cloth book panel to sew up.  It is called “Fun in Somebunny’s Garden” by Kathy Rusynyk for Wilmington Prints.  The pictures on this panel are timeless and sweet, and the story about the bunny making friends as he plays in the garden is so nurturing.  I thoroughly enjoyed making this book and plan to give it as a gift.

The panel comes as one piece of fabric approximately 30" by 45”, and the instructions are printed on the side of the panel.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow.  You can put one together in an hour, unless you get distracted by the story . . . and then thoughts of your own children or grandchildren!  If you haven’t made a cloth book before, I’ve included a few tips at the end of this post.  But it's a very easy, quick project.

Quilt Girls has so many darling cloth book panels, including classic/vintage stories, ABC/123 primers, holiday stories, and contemporary characters.  Please visit their website when you have a chance.  I'm sure there is a little one in your life who would treasure a soft book!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I hope you get carried away quilting often . . . maybe even this weekend!


Just a few tips . . .

The instructions on the side of my cloth panel provided all the information I needed to sew this book.  However, if you are new to this type of project and (like me) enjoy seeing visual examples, then I've included a few photos and notes about how I made my book.  I hope you find it helpful!

  • First, using your phone or ipad, take a picture of the entire panel.  When you begin sewing this together, the page numbers will be sewn into the seam.  The instructions will remind you of that and tell you to mark the pages somehow.  But I found it handy to snap a picture so that I could refer to it later for the page order.

  • I began by cutting the two-page spreads apart, using my scissors, on the dotted line as indicated in the instructions.  I then pressed each of these spreads and used a bit of spray starch.

  • Next I used my rotary cutter and rulers (doubled up) to trim the page spreads. Although the instructions indicated to trim them 10" x 20", I cut my 9 3/4" by 20". I only did this because I used the wooden frame in the image as a guide and I wanted nice finished edges. You'll see what I mean in the pictures below. The important thing is to cut all of your page spreads the same size.

  • Next you will put the pages right sides together, per the instructions, and add the layer of batting. The instructions say to cut the batting the same size as the page spreads. I chose to cut mine 1/2" smaller, which would leave 1/4" space all the way around.  I think this makes turning easier and creates less bulk in the seam.  I also used temporary spray adhesive to adhere my batting.

  • I pinned my layers before sewing, and used the larger blue headed pins to indicate where to leave a hole for turning.  You can see below how I trimmed my batting slightly smaller than the page spreads.  Simply stitch all the way around, making sure to leave a hole for turning.

  •  Before turning this right side out, trim the corners as shown below.

  • To close up the turning hole and to ensure that the batting stayed in place, I stitched all the way around each page spread, about 1/8" from the edge.  I used my walking foot.

  • Finally, I layered the completed page spreads in order and sewed down the spine, securing the book together!  I did backstitch 2 or 3 times at the beginning and end to make sure the pages stay together. What a fun project!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Strawberry Biscuit Blog Hop

Hello friends.  I am truly pleased to help kick off week two of the Strawberry Biscuit Blog Hop for Elea Lutz' new line for Penny Rose Fabrics!  "Strawberry Biscuit" is a tender line of fabric, with sweet little vintage characters and lovely fruits and florals, all done up in soft nurturing colors.  

This fabric really tugs at my sentimental side, taking me back to when my daughter was little and would host a tea party for her dolls and stuffed animals.  Earlier in March, I shared a tutorial for a Coffee Time Quilt I made with "Strawberry Biscuit."  

Vintage trim and buttons from Grandma's button jar make
this little quilt all the more special.

Well, I enjoyed that so much, I decided I would make some additional items young ones might need for play time. First up is a small shoulder bag that might store picnic items, a book, or little girl necessities. Isn't Elea's pink floral just amazing? In case you are interested in making a similar bag, I have a free tutorial for making this shoulder bag on my blog.  It is a simple bag to construct and is a great project to do with a young sewist! 

To pump up the sweetness factor, I added the last few inches of some vintage crocheted trim I found at an antique store, and topped that off with a fabric yo-yo and vintage button. Quilter confession:  that was my first yo-yo, which a friend taught me to make when I was on quilt retreat. Seriously, I could get hooked on yo-yo making ~ quick, easy, fun!!  Thank you Diane!

Well, every little girl needs a coin purse to store her tiniest treasures!  The kind folks at Stash Addict Quilts recently sent me the pattern (which includes the metal clasp) for this dainty "Spare Change Purse" by Zakka Workshop.  This purse was easy to put together (terrific full color photographed instructions), and dainty is the perfect word!  The finished size is 3 1/4" by 2 3/4"!  Doesn't it look cute with my Easter gloves from when I was a young girl? My mom saved them and gave them to me recently. 

Finally, I remember that my daughter loved to read quietly to her bears and dolls after a tea party, so a sweet resting and reading pillow was in order.  I wanted my pillow to showcase Elea's characters at play, so I kept the design simple with a band of focal fabric framed by coordinating prints and clean, straight-line quilting. The pillow is a nice size at 20" x 14".

Of course, I had to add a layer of yo-yo's and another vintage button just for fun. I also added a smidge of another Riley Blake Designs fabric, "Lovebug Lovewhite" from Doodlebug Designs.  I think it works so nicely with Elea's sweet prints!

"Strawberry Biscuit" is available in stores now, and is being carried by three of my blog sponsors:  Fat Quarter Shop, Fort Worth Fabric Studio, and Stash Addict Quilts. Your heart will likely melt when you see it in person!  

There are so many lovely projects to be made with Elea's fabric!  Please visit each of these talented sewists in the blog hop. Their projects are so inspiring! The always talented and sweet Amanda (Jedi Craft Girl) is also posting her projects today, so be sure to check that out!  Tomorrow's lovely makes will come from Jemima (Tied with a Ribbon) and Stacy (Stacy Olson Design).  Here's a complete list of bloggers on the hop:

18 April - Karen of Creamcraft Goods (@creamcraftgoods)
18 April - Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane (@downgrapevinelane)
19 April - Angel & Amy of Ta Da! Creations (@tadacreations)
19 April - Lindsey of Fort Worth Fabric Studio (@lindseymweight)
20 April - Sarah of Pretty Fabrics & Trims (@sarahedgarprettyfabrics)
20 April - Megan of Quilt Story (@quiltstorymeg)
21 April - Minki of Minki's Work Table (@zeriano)
21 April - Heidi of Fabric Mutt (@fabricmutt)
22 April - Kristyne of Pretty By Hand (@prettybyhand)
22 April - Gina of Party of Eight: Our Story (@partyofeightourstory)
25 April - Taunja of Carried Away Quilting (@taunjalynn)
25 April - Amanda of Jedi Craft Girl (@jedicraftgirl)
26 April - Jemima of Tied With A Ribbon (@tiedwitharibbon)
26 April - Stacy of Stacy Olson Design (@stacyolsondesign)
27 April - Ange of A Little Patchwork (@alittlepatchwork)
27 April - Glenis of Gee's Projects (@glenisebbettsews)
28 April - Megan of Sew Style Love (@dollyhenryau)
28 April - Stacy of Farm Road Quilts (@farmroadquilts)
28 April - Kimberly of Fat Quarter Shop (@fatquartershop)
29 April - Christa of Cotton Berry Quilts (@cottonberryquilts)
29 April - Elea of Elea Lutz Design (@elealutz)

Thank you all for stopping by the blog today.  And special thank you to Elea Lutz and Penny Rose Fabrics for including me in this blog hop!  I enjoyed every bit of it!


Friday, April 22, 2016

April Sew Sampler Box from Fat Quarter Shop

After several windy, cold days with gray skies, the sun finally decided to shine this Friday afternoon in central Minnesota.  At nearly the same time, this little gem arrived on my doorstep!  I kid you not folks, TWO day brighteners that occurred almost simultaneously.  WOO HOO!

Yes, my first Sew Sampler Box from Fat Quarter Shop has arrived! This is a monthly subscription quilting box that automatically delivers surprise quilting goodies to my door every month. Each month the awesome people at Fat Quarter Shop will fill the box with treasures to surprise and inspire us!  

It was a complete delight to open the box and examine the treasures! If you haven’t signed up for this monthly box, I hope you’ll consider it!  Every item in the box is something I will enjoy and use.  And bonus . . . I did not already own anything I received in the box! How cool is that?  Here's what I unwrapped:

FABRIC! Naturally, I grabbed the fabric first ~ a "Grow!" charm pack by Me & My Sister Designs for Moda.  Yeah!  I finally have some of this cheerful fabric!

Then I found a small thread cutting scissors by Sew Mate.  Well, I do own other small scissors, but none as light or as short as this one.  This may just become my new go-to scissors!  And the handles are so soft on my fingers which I really like!

Ooooh . . and a new ruler!  I don't have one this size.  I just know this FQS Creative Grids 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" ruler will be so handy when trimming small blocks!

And a pair of handy dandy, magnetic Screw B Do screw drivers that fit all brands of sewing machines!  They have little soft gel handles and are just plain cute to look at! And I will admit, playing with the magnetic ends was a little fun too!

And finally, the darling "Strawberry Picking" pattern by "It's Sew Emma" as well as a recipe card for a quilt block AND the sweetest little magnet! I can't wait to collect all of the recipe cards!

Whew!  I'm tired just being excited over all of this . . . but not too tired for a little sewing! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and checking out the April Sew Sampler Box. Please visit Fat Quarter Shop for all the details on this super fun monthly subscription!


Monday, April 18, 2016

Spools mini quilt. . . meet Little Ruby!

I know that many of you are like me, and you adore making mini quilts.  What's not to love? Minis are a great opportunity to use up small bits of your favorite fabric. They can be challenging, but they usually aren't time consuming. Best of all, they often lend themselves to simple quilting, which most of us feel comfortable tackling on our own machines or by hand. 

I had yet to make the "Spools" mini by Thimble Blossoms, although I had seen it sewn up many times using a variety of fabrics. When I was able to obtain some "Little Ruby" (Bonnie & Camille) from the kind folks at Moda for an upcoming Carried Away Quilting pattern (that's an announcement for another post!), I just knew the time was right to make the "Spools" mini.

Luck was on my side, as the pattern was available with one of my sponsors, Stitches 'n' Giggles.  Shop owner Lori and I emailed back and forth about another line of fabric she carries, Sweetwater's "Volume II 'Stitch' in Vanilla Cloudy."  I really wanted to use this for the spool ends, but I wasn't sure if it would read dark enough with white sashing.  Lori shipped me the pattern and yardage quickly, and it was a winner.

I love the little detail of the running text saying, "Stitch, Stitch, Stitch."  It's like a friendly little reminder to keep on sewing girls!

The entire time I was sewing up this mini quilt, I felt bubbly inside.  You see, from the outset, this mini quilt had an intended home, with my dear quilting friend Ibby.  Because we live hours apart, I only see Ibby two times a year at quilt retreat.  But we text or email several times a week.  Ibby is funny, smart, talented and oh so encouraging.  She also happens to be a complete Bonnie & Camille nut!

It could very well be that sometimes Ibby rolls her eyes (I may need to ask her husband) when I text her with quilting photos and questions . . . Which border fabric do you like best? Did you see this new line?  We should visit this quilt shop! Check out this pattern!! But if she does roll her eyes, I know it's only temporary.  After all, she pesters me with the same kinds of texts.  I can't thank her enough for all the support and encouragement she gives me!  I was able to give Ibby her mini quilt this weekend.  

I also made a tiny single spool mini for myself.  It hangs in my sewing room as a reminder to be thankful for those wonderful quilting friends who inspire and encourage us.

Please visit Stitches 'n' Giggles when you get the chance!  Lori has the "Spools" pattern and "Volume II" in stock, with "Little Ruby" yardage arriving soon!  Her shop is full of the newest "must have" lines and lots of cool notions as well!

Thank you all for your encouragement and support too.  It is greatly appreciated! I hope you get carried away quilting often!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Crossroads Quilt Along: the Friendship Block

Happy Friday, quilting friends!  Today I am at my annual quilt retreat (yippee!), but I completed my Friendship Blocks before I left home.  These blocks were simple to construct and easy to match points, but for all their simplicity they have a very pretty visual impact! Wouldn't the Friendship Blocks be lovely with scrappy flying geese?  I need to try that some day!

We are now three months into the quilt along, and I found myself with 10 lovely Crossroads blocks.  I've been storing them in a raggedy plastic bag so they don't get dusty. (Raggedy plastic bag, dusty sewing room . . . I am not painting a very pretty picture here.) I decided to do something about that, and since dusting didn't sound like fun, I instead chose to make a Pouch with a View to protect my lovelies!  This pattern is available from Three Owls Handmade on Etsy. I admit I was a little nervous, as I had never sewn on vinyl before. But it was a really fun change of pace and I know I will make more in the future!  The pattern instructions are terrific and include four size options. I made the large pouch which is 11" square.

And here they are . . . all tucked away and safe from the dust! 

If you haven't joined the quilt along yet, it's not too late.  I encourage you to jump right in and join this great fellowship of quilters. Visit the Fat Quarter Shop for the details! All proceeds go to a wonderful cause, the March of Dimes.  

If you are quilting along, be sure to share your progress and creations on the Crossroads Facebook Group and also on Instagram using the hashtag #crossroadsquiltalong! It's so inspiring to see everyone's creations using different fabric lines!

Who else is quilting along?
Below is a list of the talented quilters who will be sharing their progress each month on their own blogs.  Some will be using Strawberry Fields Revisited, while others will be using different fabric.  I hope you'll stop by their blogs to see their creations as well!

Thanks for stopping by the blog!  I hope you get carried away quilting often!


Monday, April 11, 2016

Announcements: Aloha Girl winner, new sponsor, upcoming blog hops

Thank you all so much for your kind words about Barb, the owner of my local quilt shop and the talented lady who does much of my longarm quilting. As I said before, if you are ever in central Minnesota, I sure hope you will zip over to Foley and check out Quilts on Broadway! Now . . . onto the giveaway winner!  

As in the past, I copied and pasted all of your entries into an Excel file and did a nice big shuffle and reshuffle.  I don't know if I can do any more of these giveaways, because I really hate that there is only one winner . . . which is why I never pick the winning number! ;)  I waited until my daughter got home from track practice and asked her to pick a number. The lucky winner of the "Aloha Girl" (Fig Tree & Company) charm pack and two mini charms is Busy Lizzie's Pink Patch.  Well that's a cute screen name! Congrats!  Busy Lizzie, let’s get in touch so I can ship those out to you!

Welcome New Sponsor!

I also wanted to extend a warm welcome to the newest sponsor of Carried Away Quilting, Quilt Girls! My goodness . . . I don’t think I’ve ever seen a larger collection of children’s fabric.  Their focus is on darling children’s prints, panels and cloth book panels.  If you are looking for a print based on a popular children’s book or movie character (both vintage and current), my bet is that Quilt Girls has it!  I hope you’ll visit their site and look at their awesome selection.  I am a big fan of cloth book panels . . . hmmm, maybe I see a project in my near future?

Upcoming Blog Hops

Please don’t forget to check back during the next few weeks.  I’m really excited about the two blog hops for Riley Blake Designs just around the corner!  On April 25 I will show you my newest projects using Elea Lutz’ latest line, “Strawberry Biscuit.”  I have some cute little items to coordinate with the Coffee Time Quilt I showed you in March. 

Then on May 7 it will be my turn on the “Backyard Roses” blog hop for Nadra Ridgeway of Ellis & Higgs.  Here is a sneak peak of one of my two mini quilts for the blog hop, and I have another sweet project planned as well.  Besides being talented designers, both Elea and Nadra are very gracious and kind people to work with, and I am thankful for the opportunity!

Quilt Retreat

I am off to my annual quilt retreat at the end of the week.  I’m not sure if I will “plug in” and stay in touch with you all through Instagram and Facebook, or if I will completely “unplug” (all but my sewing machine and iron of course).  I do know one thing, I can’t wait to be reunited with my quilting and scrapbooking friends!

Thanks once again for stopping by the blog!  I hope you get carried away quilting often!