Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Picking Petals for Christmas, plus kits and a giveaway from LouLou's Fabric Shop

The Christmas season may be several months away, but we quilters know it’s never too early to get a jump on holiday sewing projects. Today I’m happy to share one of my favorite patterns, Picking Petals, made with the festive Comfort and Joy collection by Dani Mogstad of My Mind's Eye for Riley Blake Designs.

There are so many darling details to enjoy in this fabric: holly berries, sweet little snow globes, woolen mittens, and delicate wreaths.  

Comfort and Joy includes classic red and green, some pale aqua, and a nice bit of bold black that makes the other colors sing. For background fabric I used Riley Blake’s Cream Stitched Circle. For the stems I used Riley Blake’s Christmas Green Shade, which is a terrific green solid with the faintest hint of cross hatch texture.

When machine quilting this project, I tried something new. Rather than using Aurifil 50wt thread, which I typically use for all my piecing and machine quilting, on this project I selected two Aurifil 80wt spools: 2886 light avocado and 2026 chalk. I’ve used 80wt for hand applique before, and I found it to be silky smooth, fine and strong. Now I’ve discovered that I also like it for machine quilting. The finished look is soft and subtle.

Picking Petals is a versatile pattern, and I’ve made it in several fabric collections, including Strawberry Fields Revisited (Fig Tree & Co. for Moda), Calico Days (Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs), and an autumn colorway. I can happily say that I love it in Christmas fabrics as well! The standalone pattern is available here.

I’m also happy to share that LouLou’s Fabric Shop is offering kits of Picking Petals in Comfort and Joy! The kits include my pattern, along with everything you need to make the top, binding and backing. If you are looking to get a jump on holiday gift making, this a great place to start!

The good news doesn't stop there, friends. Those kind folks at LouLou's fabric shop are offering a giveaway to one of my readers: one Picking Petals pattern and a charm pack of your choice from LouLou's inventory! (Thank you, LouLou's!) To enter, simply leave a comment below and be sure to include your email address. The giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only due to the high rate of international shipping. Comments are open through 5:00 pm (CST) on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. At that time, I will do a random drawing and announce the winner. *Only one comment per person/per email address.  Email me if you are having trouble leaving a comment and I will leave a comment on your behalf. (

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!  I hope you get carried away with some holiday quilting real soon!


Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Bundle Batch & Giveaway with Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Today I’m happy to be a guest blogger on the Friday Bundle Batch with Fort Worth Fabric Studio.  Shop owner Jodie has a great eye for putting together unique bundles that cross fabric companies, collections and designers! This week’s bundle is called Cherry Bomb, a rich combination of red and white that is timeless.

When I received this lovely bundle from FWFS, several project ideas ran through my mind.  But I kept coming back to how much I loved the alternating red and white. Sometimes, it seems, the fabrics tell you what to make!

So I decided to make a simple table runner that highlights the classic appeal of a two-color project. This quilt pattern is often referred to as stacked coins, and there are many variations on it. At the end of this post, I have included an easy tutorial for how I constructed my Stacked Coins Table Runner from six fat quarters. 

I fully intended to use the awesome red and white stripe from the bundle as my binding, but instead I chose a taupe/tan fabric from my stash.  I like the grounding effect it has on the red and white prints.  

That led me to select a soft brown thread for my straight line quilting. I used Aurifil 2340 Cafe au Lait (50 wt.) and stitched 1/8" from all seams.  I’ve used this color before and it’s one of my favorites because it adds a warm, earthy dimension. The soft brown thread nudged me toward using wooden buttons on the my coordinating mug rugs!  I am really happy with how it all works together, and I especially love the Windham Fabrics text print with glimpses of words like "neighborhood" and "friends."  So nice!

The mug rugs are an easy project, but they are eye catching thanks to the sweet trim from Fort Worth Fabric Studio!  The polka dot trim with the crocheted edge is actually a bias binding, but it also works great if you iron it flat and use it as you would lace or another type of trim.  FWFS has this trim available in polka dot, stripe and gingham check. I've also included instructions for my mug rugs at the end of this post.

Here are the prints included in the fabulous Cherry Bomb fat quarter bundle:

KimberBell Basics Red/White Cheerful Cherries - Maywood Studio
Essentials Dotsy Red - Wilmington
Sweet Orchard Red Stripes - Riley Blake
Grunge Hits the Spot Red - Moda
Basic Brights Red Hearts - Windham
KimberBell Basics Red Doodles - Maywood Studio
Neighborhood Gray Text Words - Windham
Grunge Basics Cherry - Moda

Along with the fabric bundle and trim, Fort Worth Fabric Studio also sent me this sweet gift, a Lucky Ladybug Box of Sewing Goodness.  (I felt totally spoiled!)  This box includes a Bonnie & Camille Basics mini charm pack, a mini tin (print on tin will vary), an 8” red lace zipper, one yard of “Hand Made” Zakka tape, five Klipit Quilter's Clips in red, and two mini Kit Kat bars! (Yes, immediately after this photograph was taken, I ate the chocolate!)

(Update: Giveaway closed.) Those generous folks at FWFS would like to give away a Lucky Ladybug Box to one of my readers!  Yeah!  To enter, simply leave a comment below and be sure to include your email address. The giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only due to the high rate of international shipping. Comments are open through 5:00 pm (CST) on Thursday, June 1, 2017. At that time, I will do a random drawing and announce the winner. *Only one comment per person/per email address.  Email me if you are having trouble leaving a comment and I will leave a comment on your behalf. (

Please head over to the Fort Worth Fabric Studio website for more information on this bundle, and be sure to sign up for their newsletter. You’ll also want to check out their blog, which includes many fantastic sewing and quilting tutorials.

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!  I hope you get carried away quilting real soon!


Stacked Coins Table Runner

Finished Size: 17” x 60 1/2”
6 Fat Quarters
3/8 yard binding
Batting (25” x 68”)
Backing (25” x 68”)

1. Select (6) fat quarters (3 red, 3 white).
2. From each fat quarter, cut 5 strips that are 2 1/2” x 20”.

3.  Sew strips in pairs and then sew pairs into (5) units. Press to the darker fabric each time.


4.  Sew (5) units together to form one long runner. Press to the darker fabric each time.

5. Fold in half twice, making sure you keep all seams straight.  (You can sort of “feel” and peek inside to ensure that you have kept the seams straight/parallel to one another.)

6.  Trim the right edge to get a straight line. (Left-handed friends, do the opposite.) Use the lines on your ruler to ensure your cut is perpendicular to the stitched seams.

7.  Flip the folded unit. From your clean cut edge, cut (3) strips that are each 6” wide.

8.  Unsew one small section of 3 strips from the top of the middle row and sew it to the bottom of the middle row. That is how you achieve the nice red and white stagger.

9.  Next, nest the seams and sew the long vertical rows together to form a runner.  Press seams open.

10. Quilt and bind as desired.  

Share your finished project on Instagram using #stackedcoinstablerunner

Cherry Bomb Mug Rugs

Finished Size: 6” x 6”

Supplies for Four Mug Rugs:
(4) pieces 6 1/2" x 4 1/2"
(4) pieces 6 1/2" x 2 1/2"
(4) pieces trim 6 1/2" long
(4) pieces batting 6" x 6"
(4) pieces backing 6 1/2" x 6 1/2"

1. Cut your pieces to size.  Pictured below, you can see how the bias tape comes pre-folded.  I simply unfolded it and pressed it flat to use it as a trim.

2. Layer the pieces together as shown below and sew a 1/4" seam down the right hand side.

3. Press to the smaller dot fabric.

4. Using a spray adhesive, adhere batting to the wrong side of the unit you just made.

5. Quilt as desired.  I simply stitched one line near the edge of the trim piece.

6. With right sides together, pair a mug rug top to a mug rug backing.  

7. Stitch all the way around, leaving a 3" turn hole in one side. Trim the corner points just a bit. 

8. Turn the mug rug inside out.  Sew a 1/8" finishing stitch all the way around.  Add a button if desired. 

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:

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 (@quilterpatsloan)
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!