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!

~Taunja



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! 

~Taunja

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

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

Tips:
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!

Cutting:
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).


Assembly:
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! 

~Taunja