Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fishing, Quilting & Marriage

My husband and I have been married for 26 years. Please excuse the bragging, but we've got a pretty good thing going.  We were just 21 years old when we got married. Looking back, I realize that we got lucky just to find each other and luckier still that, at that tender age, we didn't screw it up.  We got married and grew into adulthood together. We made mistakes along the way and hurt each other occasionally.  But I never doubted his commitment to me as a person.  Not just as a husband, but as "the person" in my life.  My best friend.  My ally.  My go-to person.  My "make me laugh without trying" person.  

Why on earth am I bothering you with this tonight?  Because I just experienced one of those simple everyday moments that made me thank God, once again, that I am married to this guy. It was something as simple as this . . .

Tonight after supper Brad called me out to the driveway to show me his new toy, a Clam portable ice fishing house. He was as happy as a little kid as he gave me a tour inside and showed me the features of this new bad boy. He took pictures and texted them to our son in college.  Bring on the ice, Minnesota lakes.  Brad is ready.

Ok, it's time to 'fess up. Do I really care about this new ice house?  Sorry, but the answer is no, I don't.  It doesn't make my heart skip a beat and I doubt very much I will sit inside it, shivering and watching an ice hole. But I sure can appreciate why Brad is excited and I enjoy seeing him all lit up.  I'm happy that he's happy!

This weekend I finished my Mini Juniper kit from Fig Tree & Company, and tonight after work I dropped it off with the quilter.  It is so darn cute that I can hardly wait to get it back and hung up for the holidays.  I get mentally distracted just thinking about where in the house I will hang it.  The possibilities make me kind of giddy.  

Does Brad really care about yet another mini quilt I made?  Sorry, no he doesn't.  But when I need help finding that special spot in our home to hang this new quilt, he'll be there.  When I babble on about quilting ideas and fabric I love, he listens. He is happy that I'm happy.

Maybe one of the smaller secrets to a good marriage is recognizing and appreciating the things that make the other person happy, even if they don't send your own heart a flutter. I'm beginning to think that it is these smaller, simpler acts of kindness that make all of our relationships better.  

So husband, go ahead and schedule those ice fishing weekends and I will sew up a storm while you are gone.  Please bring home fish to fry.  After we eat, I will listen to your fish stories and show you the projects I worked on.  Then we can watch a movie and share a beer with olives. Yep, we've got a pretty good thing going. 

Thanks for reading and indulging a sentimental moment!  Here's hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Free Tutorial: Scrappy Burlap Wall Pocket

Sometime in September, the idea came to me that I needed something dimensional to hang from an old six-pane window I have hanging in our home’s entry.  Currently I have a mini quilt hanging on the window (my low volume "Crops" mini), but I wanted to change out the look for winter.  Hmmmm . . . how about using some burlap (warmth and texture) combined with red, green and black fabric (a nod to the Christmas season), along with a bit of pretty trim or ribbon, and a pocket to tuck in some twigs?  Yes, this idea settled in my mind and sounded good.  After a bit of late night thinking and mental editing, I gathered my supplies, sketched up some plans, and created the Scrappy Burlap Wall Pocket. 

I am really pleased with how this pocket turned out.  I took pictures along the way, hoping it might be worthy of a tutorial for my sewing friends.  It was inexpensive and only took a couple hours to complete.  (I was writing my instructions while I was working on the project, so I’m sure it would go even faster for you!)  I keep thinking how lovely it would look in autumn inspired fabrics!  If you make a pocket, please share your finished project on Instagram using this hashtag:  #scrappyburlapwallpocket.  Instructions are provided below.  

Thanks for reading my blog today! Here's hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Scrappy Burlap Wall Pocket

Finished size:  25” long by 14” wide

Please read through all instructions before beginning.  Seam allowances are ¼” unless otherwise stated.  All instructions are given in good faith as a free tutorial.

Materials needed:

  • Fabric scraps: (21) 2 ½” squares
  • Half yard of burlap (I purchased one yard of burlap at Hancock Fabrics.  It was on sale for $3 and was 57” wide.  You will need burlap that is at least 57” wide.)
  • 1 piece fusible fleece measuring 6” x 14” (I used Pellon 987F.)
  • 15 inch length of coordinating trim (lace, crochet, ribbon, twill tape, etc.)
  • Chicken wire netting (I purchased “Wire Accents: Chicken Wire Netting” made by Darice at my local craft store.  A piece that is 18” x 39” comes rolled up in a box.  The cost was $7 on sale.  I used a piece 6” by about 33”. There is enough left over to make another project!)

Other tools needed:

  • Fabric spray adhesive
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Tin Snips *You may want to wear gloves when handling the chicken wire.


  1. Using your rotary cutter, cut a strip of burlap 14 ½” by width of fabric (which should be 57” or more).  When folded in half, your pocket should measure 14 ½” by 28 ½”

  2. After auditioning fabrics from your stash, cut (21) 2 ½” squares.  Lay them out in three rows of seven.

  3. Sew row one together and press all seams to the left.

  4. Sew row two together and press all seams to the right.
  5. Sew row three together and press all seams left.
  6. Place row one right sides together with row two.  Nest the seams and stitch the rows together.  Press the seam open.
  7. Place row three right sides together with row two.  Nest the seams and stitch together.  Press the seam open.

  8. You now have your 21-piece patchwork unit.  At this point I ironed fusible fleece to the back side for a little more stability.  It also prevents the burlap from showing through any lighter fabrics.

  9. Look at your burlap strip and determine which piece will be the front of your pocket.  (Burlap can have some flaws and fibers that you may or may not want showing on the front side of the pocket.)  From the top edge of the front, measure down 8 inches and draw a line across the pocket. This will be your sew line for the patchwork unit.

  10. Lay the right side of your patchwork unit down on the front of your burlap pocket. Align the “top edge" of your patchwork unit along the drawn line and pin in place. If any of your fabrics are directional, make sure you are aligning the top edge to the drawn line! (Note: At this point the “bottom edge” of your patchwork unit will be toward the top of your pocket.)  Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the top edge of the patchwork unit to the burlap.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end.  This is very important since burlap is such a loose fiber.

  11. Before flipping down the patchwork unit, press back a ¼” fold along the bottom edge.

  12. Now flip down the patchwork unit and press the top seam that you just sewed so it lays nice and flat.  Pin down the bottom edge and sew a very scant seam to secure it.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end.


  13. Next, add a piece of trim to the bottom edge of the patchwork unit.  I had purchased a yard of crocheted trim at an antique store this summer . . . a $2 purchase of some lovely creamy white trim that I was tickled to find.  I first tried to pin the crocheted trim in place, but it kept shifting.  So I ended up lightly spraying fabric adhesive to the back side of the trim and putting the crochet in place that way.  Then I topstitched the trim with matching thread.

  14. At this point, fold the entire pocket up right sides together (the back facing the front), with the two 14 ½” ends aligned at the top.  Burlap is shifty and stretchy, so pin along both of the long side edges (the 28 1/2" sides) and leave the top open.  First sew a ¼” seam allowance to both long edges.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end.  Next sew a 1/8” seam allowance to both long edges.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end.  This just provides extra security for the loosely woven fabric.

  15. Turn the pocket inside out and push out the corners.  You may also want to iron at this point.
  16. Wearing gloves, use a tin snips to cut the chicken wire to size.  I cut a piece 6 inches wide by 30 inches long. Using the width of your pocket as your guide, fold the chicken wire into a tube.  You will have a few inches of overlap in the back.
  17. Roll the top edge of the pocket down two times to make a 1 ½” cuff along the open edge of the pocket. Press this cuff so that it holds during the next step.

  18. Gently tuck the tube of chicken wire into the pocket, being careful to not poke through the burlap. Keep the "finished edge" of the chicken wire (the edge you did not cut) at the top.

  19. Turn down enough chicken wire to cover the folded cuff.  The chicken wire adds a nice rustic touch, and it also provides a hanging mechanism on the back of the pocket. My Scrappy Burlap Wall Pocket hangs on our six-pane window using two suction cup hooks. Add some twigs or berries and you are done!

If you make a pocket, please share your finished project on Instagram using this hashtag:  #scrappyburlapwallpocket

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pattern Release: Pinwheels Over Patchwork

Are you looking for a fresh pattern to show off your favorite precuts?  Then please check out my newest pattern, "Pinwheels Over Patchwork."  This pattern idea came to me as I was impatiently awaiting the arrival of the "Farmhouse" fabric yardage and precuts I had preordered last spring.  "Farmhouse" is a lovely line of vintage inspired, country cozy fabrics designed by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Company for Moda.  While I have many plans for my stash of this fabric, I knew immediately that I wanted to design a special table topper for my kitchen, one that would show off all the fabric in the line with a cheerful flair.  And what is more cheerful than pinwheels?

"Pinwheels Over Patchwork" is 40 inches square, making it a great size to grace your table or hang on your wall.  The pattern is precut friendly.  If you have two favorite charm packs or one jelly roll along with a bit of yardage, you are all set.  Here is a breakdown of the fabric requirements for the top:

2 Charm Packs
(use 59 mediums/darks from the charm packs)  

-OR- 1 Jelly Roll (use 15 strips)

Neutral pinwheels (1/2 yard)
Inner Border (1/4 yard)
Outer Border (1/2 yard)

Binding (1/3 yard; however, if you are working with a jelly roll, I would definitely do a scrappy binding with the remaining jelly roll strips!)

This quilt top is a project you could complete in a weekend, and it would make a great gift.  In fact, I have a Christmas version nearly complete that I think will be lovely!  (My mom and sister may have to duke it out over who nabs that quilt for their holiday table decor.) 

All of my patterns are available for purchase on my Carried Away Quilting Etsy Shop.

Once again the charming quilting on my sample was done by Barb Erickson at Quilts on Broadway.  Thank you Barb!

Thank you for stopping by my blog!  Here's hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Farm Girl Vintage Sew Along: The top is pieced!

On May 1, I joined my first every sew along, the Farm Girl Vintage Sew Along led by  Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet.  I've posted updates along the way and shared with you the joy I found while sewing along.  Several of the blocks took me back to memories of my days as a farm girl in rural Minnesota, and that was a real treat.  The quilting friendships I made through social media have become a treasure. What a delight to share this journey with you and with other quilters who were equally carried away by this sew along.  Beyond all of that, as a quilter and sewist, this sew along challenged me to creatively use up my stash and sew up some very unique block designs!  

At my recent fall quilt retreat I was able to set the blocks together and add my borders.  I feel so fortunate to finish this quilt among my best sewing friends.  As an added bonus, they helped me chose my final border.  All along, I had imagined the quilt should be bordered by a red or green print.  But in the end, this orange print just won the day!

As it turns out, 3 blocks did not make it into my quilt.  I just was not happy with my Gingham Block (totally operator error I am sure).  And two other blocks seemed like color misses on my part, so I made them into cute little zippered pouches using the instructions in Lori's Quilty Zip Pocket Tutorial.  Now let me tell you, these were too much fun!!

I've included pictures of my finished top, along with the final weeks of individual blocks. Here’s hoping you get carried away quilting often!


My sweet daughter (& hiding husband) running around the yard, helping me find good photo spots.

Week 16: Peas & Carrots Block, Pie Cherries Block


Week  17: Postage Stamp Block, Pinwheels Block


Week 18: Scrappy Strawberry Block, Scrappy Maple Leaf Block


Week 19: Simple Star Block, Spring Star Block


Week 20: Summer Star Block, Sunday Morning Block


Week 21: Sunny Sunflower Block, Tumbleweed Block


Week 22: Welcome Block, Water Turn Block


Week 23: Winter Star Block, Woolly Sheep Block