Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop

Spoiler alert! If you have ordered the May Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop but it hasn't arrived in your mailbox yet, read on at your own risk!  I don't want to spoil anyone’s surprise.

The May box is the second box in FQS’s 2017 Sew Sampler series. I was super excited to open this box, both because the contents each month are terrific, and because I was eager to sew my second Basket Block from the recipe card I knew would be in the box.  So here is my teaser photo.

Each month in the 2017 series, the Sew Sampler box will include a basket recipe card designed by fabric and pattern designer Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet.  The blocks can be made in one of three sizes: 5 1/2", 10 1/2", or 15 1/2".  I'm making the 5 1/2" blocks. Maybe you’d like to join me and sew along each month. I'm sewing from my stash, which makes it all the more fun!

Now let’s move on to all the goodies in the box.  I am really eager to test the Tiger Tape!  This adhesive backed tape is a guide to help us perfect our hand quilting and stitching.  I am fairly critical of my own hand quilting capabilities, so I think this Tiger Tape will be just the ticket to help me gain some confidence. I’m also eager to try the Clover Roll & Press designed by Joan Hawley!

The box also includes two other handy items: a Small Flying Geese Ruler designed by Eleanor Burns (Quilt in a Day) and a hot pink Snap ‘N Store carry case. I love adding a good ruler to my quilting arsenal, and I’m sure this product will be top notch. As for the hot pink case, I think I might use it to store the small doo-dads that seem to end up at the bottom of my purse!

Finally, the box contains a beautiful fat eighth bundle of Blueberry Park, a debut collection by Karen Lewis Textiles for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  It’s a vibrant range overprinted with white pigment prints, and it has that signature “Kona Cotton” feel that I love.  Those talented folks at Fat Quarter Shop have also included an exclusive pattern that is fat eighth friendly.  Perfect!

Thank you so much to Fat Quarter Shop for putting your heads together and thrilling us all with these monthly boxes.  And thank you, quilting friends, for stopping by the blog today!  I hope you get carried away quilting real soon!


Monday, May 15, 2017

May Homestead blocks: Patchwork Quilt Along with Fat Quarter Shop

It's the middle of May, which means it's time for another update on the 2017 Patchwork Quilt Along with Fat Quarter Shop.  Last month I shared my six Star & Cross Blocks, and this month we make our Homestead blocks. These blocks are much easier to put together, as there aren't any tricky seams to match.   

I am using the Fleurs collection by Brenda Riddle (Moda) for my quilt. Every month when I pull out this fabric, I fall in love with Fleurs all over again.  It's so soft and dreamy, and Brenda's tiny floral details are perfect! 

10 Piecing Tips

I've received a few emails asking for tips on how to get nice crisp blocks with matching points and so forth. At 5 1/2" finished, these Patchwork Quilt Along blocks can be a bit challenging. I thought I'd share some of my tricks of the trade with you. You may have different techniques that work for you! I figure we can never have enough ideas on how to perfect our piecing. Here's a short list from me to you:

1.  When making small blocks, I always use spray starch to press my fabric before cutting, but I do not use it while piecing or when the block is finished. In my experience, starch can slightly shrink fabric, which can cause headaches in blocks this small! I love Mary Ellen's Best Press in the Caribbean Beach scent.  It smells heavenly and is non-aerosol.

2.  Be precise with your cutting. Change your rotary cutter blade if it is dull and take your time when cutting. If you cut a piece slightly off, don't use it. We're all tempted to do that (we don't want to waste fabric), but don't.  Good piecing starts with good cutting.

3.  Change your sewing machine needle with each new project or after several hours of sewing smaller projects.  A sharp needle is important to good piecing! A quilting friend told me this years ago, and she is so right!

4.  Use a good quality thread.  I always piece with Aurifil.  It is smooth, doesn't knot up or break, and it keeps my machine clean inside.

5. Always square up pieced blocks, like half square triangles, per the instructions even if it doesn't appear that you need to. Just an extra hairline of fabric may make the difference!

6. Use a quarter-inch presser foot if you have one. On my Bernina, I use my Patchwork foot #37. It is designed for straight-stitching and ideal for sewing 1/4" or 1/8" seam allowances due to its size and markings.

7. I do not use a scant quarter inch when sewing. It's just my personal experience, but when I move my needle over to sew a scant quarter inch, I find that my seam allowance on points is just too small and leads to errors (and a very unhappy Taunja).  Instead, when I'm sewing I try to make sure that my fabric runs "just shy" of the edge of my quarter inch presser foot.  You can see in the picture below that fabric is not visible outside the right edge of my presser foot.  

8. On small blocks such as these, I nearly always press my seams open.  I've never had a problem with seams pulling apart. (If you are concerned about that, simply reduce your stitch length a bit.) Pressing open allows your blocks to lay flatter and also makes them truer to size.

9.  I pin, A LOT!  Seams don't really "nest" when you have them pressed open, but they are easy to match visually.  So I press open and then pin!

10. Finally, when my little blocks are completed, I lay them on my cutting table and stack heavy quilting books on top of them overnight.  This makes them nice and flat.

You should join the fun!

In case you are a new reader, this annual event hosted by Fat Quarter Shop is a charity quilt along.  The patterns are free and are posted on the 15th of each month on the Jolly Jabber. Quilters are asked to donate $5 for each block pattern that they download.  All proceeds will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation!  What a great opportunity for us all!

It's not too late for you to join in the fun. Here’s a link which provides all the details:

And here’s a link to the kit if you want to make one in Basics by Bonnie & Camille!

Several other bloggers are quilting along! Please visit their blogs too!

Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl (@jedicraftgirl)
Amy of Diary of a Quilter (@diaryofaquilter)
Andy of A Bright Corner (@abrightcorner)
Bonnie of Cotton Way (@bonniecottonway)
Camille of Thimble Blossoms (@thimbleblossoms)
Debbie of Happy Little Cottage (@happylittlecottage1)
Greg of Grey Dogwood Studio (@greydogwoodstudio)
Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies (@buttonsandbutterflies)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Melissa of Oh How Sweet (@ohhowsweet)
Pat Sloan of Pat Sloan.com (@quilterpatsloan)
Renee of Sewn with Grace (@sewnwithgrace)
Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane (@downgrapevinelane)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Taunja of Carried Away Quilting (@taunjalynn)
Tina of Emily Ann's Kloset (@emilyannskloset)
Carrie Nelson/Miss Rosie of Moda Cutting Table

Thanks for stopping by! Remember to share your progress on the 2017 Patchwork Quilt Along Facebook group! And be sure to post your own blocks using the hashtag #patchworkquiltalong on Instagram!   


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tidbits: patterns, trunk shows & kits

Hello quilting friends! Recently I shared my newest pattern with you, Harmony, a fat quarter quilt based on a 3-color concept. Today I'm sharing photos of a different colorway for Harmony. This lovely quilt was made by my friend, Sylvia.  

Sylvia also used Coney Island fabric (Fig Tree & Company for Moda), but she selected navy, orange, and yellow. Isn’t this a warm, rich combination? (Thank you, Sylvia, for letting me share your beautiful make!)

Below is a photo of my original Harmony quilt, sewn up in pale aqua, red and tan from the Coney Island collection. I just love how the colors and patterns in this quilt meld together. In this photo you can see the pretty quilting by Barb of Quilts on Broadway. Barb also quilted Sylvia's Harmony quilt!

Harmony is available as a PDF digital download through my Etsy Store and my Craftsy Pattern Shop.

Quilt Retreat

Last weekend I snuck away to my annual quilt retreat with longtime quilting friends.  I worked on a new pattern that I can't wait to show you this summer.  It is a fun pinwheel design called Twirlity and features several sweet prints from Penny Rose Fabrics and Riley Blake Designs.  This is the only sneak peek I can give. 

My good friend Ibby recently made my Window Garden pattern using Sundrops fabric by Corey Yoder for Moda.  This quilt is a gift for someone very dear to Ibby.  She brought the quilt to retreat so we could ooh and aah over it.  Ibby used Minky fabric on the back.  I have no doubt the recipient of this quilt will absolutely love it!

Trunk Shows

In other Carried Away Quilting news, I presented trunk shows for three different groups in the past two weeks.  It became a bit of a whirwind, but it was great fun.  All of the quilters I met were so kind, enthusiastic and inviting.  It really is an honor for me to share my projects and my story with other quilters.  Thank you so much to these groups:

And sincere thank you to my mom, Brenda, and my husband, Brad, who took turns being my trunk show sidekicks. I couldn't do it without them. They help me to keep my nerves at bay! I also appreciate that they help me pack and unpack, which is quite an undertaking!

I have a handful of quilt kits left over from my trunk shows, and they are available on my Etsy Store.   

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. I hope you all have a lovely week and find some time to get carried away quilting!


Monday, May 1, 2017

A "Little Red" tote bag

Apparently I have a new addiction quilting friends, because I’m back today with another fun tote bag starring those darling Sweet Fruit Handles (Atsuko Originals by Lecien). I’m also happy to feature a terrific single-block pattern by a talented pattern designer, Gracey of Burlap and Blossom Patterns

Here she is, Little Red Riding Hood all decked out in polka dots and heading off to her grandmother's house. This might look like paper pieceing, but it's actually a traditional pieced block that is easy to make following Gracey's clear instructions.  I made the 6 1/2" block, but a 12 1/2" block is also available in the pattern! There are a lot of bitsy pieces with the smaller block, but you just need to take your time and be careful with your 1/4" seam allowance. Burlap and Blossom Patterns offers many other creative single-block designsI made Gracey's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer block into a pillow this past winter.   

Since I was so smitten with those cute handles from another recent project (Happy Flower Quilts: Big Sister Tote), I was itching for an excuse to use them again.  Thanks to my friend Allison, shop owner of My Timeless Day, I was able to obtain a set of apple green handles this time.  They are just perfect for this "Little Red" tote bag.  Zip on over to My Timeless Day and check out these handles and all of Allison's terrific offerings.

To give my bag a bit of dimension, I did some simple cross-hatch quilting, using Little Red's hood as my guide.  I quilted the back of the tote in the same fashion.  My bag is pieced and quilted with Aurifil 2000 (light sand) 50wt. This is one of my go-to threads. It seems to blend nicely with all of my favorite fabrics! 

I am probably too old to carry this sweet tote on my arm, so I will save it to give as a gift to someone much younger.  But at least for a little while, my "Little Red" tote might rest on a chair and bring me some smiles!

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today.  I’ve included some tips and details below in case you’d like to make a similar tote.  My best to you!  Now get carried away quilting!


Tips & Details 
  • I made the 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" block per the pattern, but when the block was completed, I trimmed the sides so that my finished block was 6 1/2" tall and 6" wide.
  • I added 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" borders to the left and right sides of the block. 
  • I added 3 1/2" x 12" borders to the top and bottom. 
  • The bag front measured 12 1/2" tall by 12" wide.

  • I cut two lining pieces 12 1/2" tall by 12" wide. (tan zig zag)
  • I cut one backing piece 12 1/2" tall by 12" wide. (green print)
  • I cut two batting pieces 12" tall by 11 1/2" wide.

  • I spray basted the batting pieces to the wrong sides of the front and back pieces. Then I added simple cross-hatch machine quilting on a 1" grid which I first marked with my Frixion pen.

  • To construct my bag, I used the basic lining-turn method described in my free tutorial Easy Fat Quarter Shoulder Bag.  (minus the fabric handle)
  • To add the Sweet Fruit Handles, I secured them to my bag with Wonder Clips, eased them into my machine, and stitched them down.  I used the zipper foot (#4) on my Bernina, as it's the smallest and allowed me to get into this area to stitch. (See how the green leather cherries bend back easily.) Be generous with your back stitching when starting and stopping.  Secure the strap with two stitching lines.
  • Have fun!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Pattern: Harmony

I'm pleased to share a fresh new quilt pattern with you today: Harmony! This seemingly scrappy fat quarter quilt is actually a careful repetition of pattern and color. The harmony is created when you select just three colors from your favorite fat quarter bundle and let the prints and pattern sing!

My idea for Harmony came to me one day in my sewing room as I was looking at the beautiful folded stacks of Coney Island (Fig Tree & Company for Moda) yardage sitting on my cutting table. The aqua, red and tan prints seemed to be calling . . . make something soft and "smoodgy" with me. So that is what I set out to do. 

As I was designing this pattern and later sewing the blocks, I kept calling it smoodgy in my mind.  But eventually what developed was a nice harmony of color, print and pattern, so Harmony became the official title.  She measures at 74" x 74", a nice size for a bed throw or cuddling quilt.

While the quilt I've made is soft and nurturing, I think this pattern could also be wonderful in deeper hues and vibrant colors.  The key is to pull a tri-color range of 12 fat quarters that you love and enjoy seeing together visually. The pattern will then do the work for you, as each block includes a piece from each of those fat quarters. That is where the harmony comes in! 

In my sample quilt I pushed myself to use a print sashing rather than a solid sashing, and I love the effect (more smoodgy).  I need to be daring and do this more often!

Harmony is available as a PDF digital download through my Etsy Store and my Craftsy Pattern Shop.

Sincere thanks to Barb (Quilts on Broadway) for the sweet floral machine quilting on this quilt! It is perfect!

I appreciate you stopping by the blog today.  Please be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make your own version of Harmony.  I’d love to see your finished project!   #harmonypattern


Sunday, April 23, 2017

April Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop

Spoiler alert! If you have ordered the April Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop but it hasn't arrived in your mailbox, read on at your own risk!  I don't want to spoil your surprise, but this is a doozy of a box! The April box marks the one year anniversary of this terrific program at Fat Quarter Shop, and kicks off their 2017 series.

I'll start off with a little teaser photo. 

No, the April box does not come with a quilt block already made (shucks!). But it does come with a sweet recipe card to make Basket Block #1 designed by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet. Each month for the next year, the Sew Sampler box will include a basket recipe card by Lori so that we can sew along.  The blocks can be made in one of three sizes: 5 1/2", 10 1/2", or 15 1/2".

I decided to dig into my scrap bins and sew up the 5 1/2" size. Isn't it a cute block?  I'm planning to make one each month. Two more awesome finds in the April Box: a Cute Sewing Tin by Lori Holt and a box of 250 Dritz extra fine glass head pins.  I love this sunny yellow tin, and extra fine pins are my favorite!

As you saw in my teaser photo, the April box includes TWO Coney Island precut packs. They may look like mini charms in the photo, but they are actually Moda 3 1/2" Treats! The box also includes an exclusive Fig Tree & Company pattern called All Boxed Up, which is written for using Moda Treats!

Rounding out the fabulous contents of this box are a bag of Peels Spool Huggers to keep your thread from unwinding, and an exclusive ruler grip.  There is also a terrific coupon flyer full of great deals at Fat Quarter Shop!

Whew!  That certainly was a whole lot of goodness packed into one box, wasn't it?  Thank you so much to Fat Quarter Shop for knocking it out of the park month after month.  And thank you all for stopping by the blog today!  I hope you get carried away quilting real soon!