Saturday, June 25, 2016

June Catch-up

Happy Weekend! I wanted a do a bit of a catch-up post, since things have been pretty quiet around here lately! I just got back from two weeks in Ohio with my family. I had really good intentions about blogging while I was away, but it didn't exactly happen! Michael and I drove home the week of the 6th, and then he flew back that following weekend. I stayed longer for a pretty important reason...

We had fun experimenting with my new blow torch making crème brûlée. Our favorite recipe was this one, but we subbed half the cream with half and half.

THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WON AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP! We went home in part to go to the Finals home games, and I stayed until the series was over. It was the perfect Father's Day gift for my Dad, I don't know how we're going to top it next year! I grew up and went to college in the Cleveland area, and my Dad and I have been going to games together since 2003. I'm so happy for my city and state! Yay!

Since I was staying for so long, I brought my sewing machine with me. My Mom and I set up shop on their long farm table and sewed off and on while I was there. I got caught up on my double wedding ring wedges, finished a quilt top, bound two quilts, plus a few other things. I stitched up a big artist size drawstring bag (from the pattern version), to hold some special stuffed animals from my childhood. Of course I had to use my favorite print from Dreamin' Vintage.

I also had a chance to sew up some heart blocks for #quiltsforpulse. The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is collecting blocks, quilt tops, and finished quilts to be donated to the victims and families of the shooting at Pulse in Orlando earlier this month. I made a rainbow of blocks using Alison Harris's heart block tutorial. Learn more about their efforts and how to help here.

More news from this month, my teaching home and local fabric shop The Sewcial Lounge is closing their doors. I'm sad, but I know that it is what's best for Sara and her family. It's definitely bittersweet! For locals, tomorrow is their last day open, they'll be there from 10am-2pm. You can also shop their Etsy shop and save 40% with code "LASTCALL" here: They'll be adding more items next week so keep an eye on it!

Of course my Mom and I did plenty of thrifting and antiquing while I was home! I was over the moon to find one of my very favorite vintage sheets new in the package for $5! That little metal set of drawers is going to hold my machine needles and bobbins! The shelf is an Ohio berry box that someone added shelves too which is cool! I love using big towels in the kitchen, and those two-tone ones are my favorite. Happy to add a couple more to my stash!

It's wild black raspberry season here! Woohoo!

Since crème brûlée uses only egg yolks, we ended up with lots of leftover egg whites. So what else is there to do except bake angelfood cake? It's the perfect way to enjoy strawberry season. I learned to make it using my friend Deedrie's angelfood primer. Beyond the recipe, she shares lots of great tips!

Blackie was a complete quilt-cat while I was home. Anytime I set down a quilt, she made a beeline for it. I have five or so photos of her on this quilt over the course of my visit. She appreciates the softness of vintage sheet quilts!

And let's end this super long post with a George photo! He came with us, and stayed with me. He loves running around at home, because he can go under the bed. It's pretty much the best thing ever in George's opinion!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lawn Datura Blouse

Happy Wednesday! I'm going to keep today's post short and sweet! I have a big backlog of finished garments, just need to get photographs of the rest of them! Today I want to share my most recent Datura blouse. You can see my previous Daturas here and here.

The Datura Blouse Pattern is by Deer & Doe.

This past January, a few of us got together and attended a retreat at Stitch Supply Co. in Altoona, WI (I'm teaching there in October, join me!). Anna cut a garment out of this lawn (a Datura too), and sent the leftover fabric home with me. Since this pattern doesn't use too many big pieces, I was able to squeeze one out of it too! I ended up piecing the facings, but it's all enclosed, so it worked out just fine.

Fabric is from Mesa by Alexia Marcelle Abegg for Cotton & Steel.

Instead of doing buttons and button holes on the back of the blouse I used snaps! Quick and easy, and they matched the metallic detail on the fabric perfectly!

I've already gotten a lot of wear out of this top. It's worked as a great neutral since the print is pretty minimal. I could definitely stand to make some true basics with more solid or near solid fabrics. I love working with and wearing lawn, so this was a fun and satisfying project for me!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sewing Tool Organizers

Happy Monday! I recently finished a pair of fun sewing tool organizers! I pinned the #10 Caddy pattern by Sew Can She to Pinterest long ago, and I've always wanted to make it. Last month I finally sat down to make a pair of them, one for Amanda's Birthday, and one for myself.

What makes this organizer unique is how it gets it's structure, from a #10 aluminum can. This is a big can, 7" tall and a little over 6" in diameter. I couldn't find a can that big in my local grocery store, but ended up finding them at a regional grocery chain, Woodman's. The pattern recommends checking warehouse stores like Costco or Sam's Club. I ended up buying a can of kidney beans and peeled whole tomatoes. (For this recipe, and this one. I portioned recipe amounts out and froze them.)

After cleaning the cans, I used a bit of duct tape on the inside edge of the cans to cover up any sharp edges. I also cut a felt circle and hot glued it to the inside bottom of the can so that the metal wouldn't show.

For Amanda's organizer, I used some of her favorite fabrics, all from Constellations by Lizzy House. I've been hoarding a fat quarter bundle for a while and decided it was time to cut into it. I had to piece the exterior pocket piece in order to make a fat quarter work, but I don't think it's too noticeable. I also used muslin for the lining pieces that aren't visible, on both organizers.

For my organizer, I used one of my favorite fabrics, this fat cat Halloween fabric, Magic Meows by Alexander Henry. Any excuse to see this fabric all year round! To make it feel a little less Halloween, I paired it with black and white fabrics, including a long stashed piece of ruler fabric from Tailor Made by Cosmo Cricket.

These organizers turned out so cool and were really fun to make! My only word of advice is to choose your can wisely because these cans contain a ton of food. Or check with a local restaurant and see if they have any empty cans to spare.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May 2016 Report

I feel like I say this every month, but I can't believe how quickly May flew by! I didn't end up posting nearly as much as I would have liked, but it happens. I think I used up all my blog energy for the month writing this post. I am grateful for the support and understanding, it was really scary putting it out there.

In May I found myself traveling to Upper Michigan to help Holly sew with her first fabric collection with Cloud 9, Brushstrokes. We got a lot done in a short weekend! Make sure and check her Instagram for her beautiful Quilt Market display!

At the end of May, it was finally time for a trip to Nashville! Jacey flew in and we spent the weekend with Amanda and her sweet girls. I ended up driving, but split the drive both ways to make it a little easier. We went to the zoo (highly recommended!), spent a day sewing together, ate lots of delicious food, and even played Exploding Kittens!

I finally finished a knitting project, my Citadel hat! I hadn't finished anything since January, so it felt good to get something off the needles.

To keep myself accountable I'm tracking my yardage for both yarn and fabric. Here is how I did in May:

May Fabric
Used up: 19.375 yards
Brought in: 19.625 yards
Net: +.25 yards
Year to date: +18.125 yards

April Yarn
Used up: 390 yards
Brought in: 1466 yards
Net: +1076 yards
Year to date: +337 yards

I feel okay about how I did with my yardage this month. I did finally buy some yarn, but it was worth it. One of my favorite local yarn shops, the Wisconsin Craft Market, started stocking Hedgehog Fibres Sock and Twist Sock, which is super exciting. I've never been able to get my hands on any, so I bought a few skeins. On the fabric front, I visited a few destination shops: Craft South, Hancocks of Paducha, and Quilt in a Day. To be able to only net 1/4 yard seems like a win! The majority of May's yardage is two quilt backgrounds worth and a couple garment cuts. Will hopefully make more of a dent this month!

On my other goals, I pretty much had an epic fail this month. I didn't touch my double wedding ring wedges. I didn't sew any new garment patterns. I did get four quilt tops put together, backings made, and sent off to be quilted. I sewed nine blocks for my vintage sheet scrappy trip quilt. I worked on gift sewing, and made a few other things here and there.

I'm disappointed to admit that I fell off the wagon with my Project 365 too, completely. It be honest I had to fudge a day in April, so it was already in danger.

On a happier note, look how cute George is! :)

Happy May!

Friday, June 3, 2016

1. Rainbow Made by Erin J. M., 2. Layers by Karen, 3. SMQG Block of the Month by Louise Wackerman, 4. Facets Quilt by Amy Friend, 5. Paper pieced wedges by Chatelaine1, 6. Double Cross by Adele Dizney, 7. String Song by Debbie, 8. Purple Bubble by Werkelei, 9. Blaues Kreuz by Andrea Kollath

Periodically, I go through my favorite photos on Flickr, and choose nine sewing/quilting related projects to showcase here. These photos and projects are not my own, you can find the original images and creators by clicking the coordinating links! If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, please email me and I'll remove it!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Amanda's Fantastic Quilt Voyage

Happy Tuesday! Today I have a special quilt finish to share. For the past year and a half I've been a part of a traveling quilt bee with some really lovely ladies. Our bee is called Fantastic Quilt Voyage, and you can see the blocks we've been making in the hashtag #fantasticquiltvoyage on Instagram. We each started our own quilt, and then it is passed along to each member and they add to it. I haven't posted any of the blocks I've made, but I did share my quilt start last February, in this post. I need to do a catch-up post with all the blocks I've made for each person's quilt at some point.

When my sweet friend Amanda became unable to finish her quilt, I offered to put it together and finish it for her. I happened to have her quilt to work on at the time, so it just made sense. Her quilt had a Buffy theme, so vampires and Amanda's signature black, white, red, navy, and a pop of aqua color scheme. You can see some of her inspiration here.

I brought the blocks that had been made so far with me to the retreat I attended at Stitch Supply Co. in January. I made a few blocks that weekend and a few friends made some blocks too.

Putting this quilt together was pretty outside of my comfort zone. I arranged the blocks out on the floor of my sewing room and started putting blocks together, adding to blocks and making more blocks to eventually put together a top with no obvious grid. I didn't remember to take photos of the blocks I made until the quilt was done, but that's okay! Here are my blocks:

I drafted up this interlocking plus block, I needed something big to fill that space!

I made a few blocks using Carolyn Friedlander's Sessoms pattern.

Some simple wonky cross blocks.

I made a Monty Python inspired crazy-eyed bunny using Elizabeth Hartman's Bunny Pattern.

I made use of scraps and made a few scrappy improv blocks.

I drew up with cross made from half-square triangles early on and was glad I could squeeze it in.

Extra pointy star block from my Shining Stars Sampler Pattern.

And finally some funky striped half-square triangle blocks.

In an effort to use my stash, I pieced the backing. I used a favorite print of Amanda's (from Luxe in Bloom by Sarah Watson) for the binding. I sent the top to Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting for quilting. The crackle pattern seemed like a perfect match for the theme of this quilt.

I needed a way to transport the quilt and decided to make a set of pillowcases to go with it. This is my favorite way to gift quilts. Most quilts can fit comfortably folded up inside a pillowcase! I use this tutorial when I make pillowcases.

Jacey and I went out to visit Amanda this past month and we were able to give her the quilt in person! It was so fun to surprise her with the finished quilt! I have to admit, it was a bit nerve wracking working on this quilt. I wanted to make sure that I did everyone's blocks justice and that I stayed true to Amanda's vision. Based on her reaction when we gave it to her, it was a success! :)

Happy Quilting!

Friday, May 20, 2016


1. Bee Adventurous Quilt by GreenandBell, 2. Cirque16 by campbellhe1, 3. Mother Goose Quilt by Melissa, 4. Picnic Plaid by Marta Jost, 5. Transparency Quilt by Melissa, 6. Mighty Lucky Jan by Louise Wackerman, 7. Retirement Quilt by Carol, 8. Center Arrow Blocks by Lotje, 9. Striped Log Cabins by Debbie

Periodically, I go through my favorite photos on Flickr, and choose nine sewing/quilting related projects to showcase here. These photos and projects are not my own, you can find the original images and creators by clicking the coordinating links! If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, please email me and I'll remove it!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Blockade Quilt Setting Tutorial

Happy Wednesday! I'm excited to bring you the second installment of a series of quilt settings to accompany my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle. I wanted to share something that would be a good add-on to the 60 Block Chart included in the book! The blocks in that section can be used in many ways, including in the final chapter of quilts in the book. You can find the first setting tutorial here: Over and Above Quilt Setting Tutorial.

As I mentioned in the first tutorial, over the next few weeks/months I'll be sharing additional quilt settings (layouts!) that you could use with the 60 blocks from the block chart in my book, blocks from my Simply Sampled or Half-Square Triangle Sampler patterns, or any 12" finished quilt blocks! The quilts will be different sizes, and take a different number of blocks. I'll be sharing instructions for the quilt setting only, not the blocks. I will however be sharing fabric requirements to help guide you on making the half-square triangle blocks from the book needed for each setting!

After such a warm response to my Blockade Mini Quilt that I designed for last month's Quilty Box, I super sized the design for this quilt setting! Thank you to those who chimed in about your favorite quilt sizes, I took that into account when sizing this quilt!

Still need a copy of my book? Pick one up from my shop here!

Sewing Level: Intermediate/Confident Beginner
Finished size: 72"x72"

- (16) 12.5" unfinished quilt blocks
- 1 1/3 yards of accent fabric
- 1 3/4 yards of background fabric
- 4 1/2 yards of backing fabric
- 80" x 80" piece of batting
- 5/8 yard of binding
- Coordinating thread

WOF = Width of Fabric (42")
Fat Quarter = 18" x 21"

From accent fabric:
- Cut (6) 7" x WOF strips
- From each strip, cut (6) 7" squares for a total of 32

From background fabric:
- Cut (6) 7" x WOF strips
- From each strip, cut (6) 7" squares for a total of 32

- Cut (3) 6.5" x WOF strips
- From each strip, cut (6) 6.5" squares for a total of 16

From binding fabric:
- Cut (8) 2.5" x WOF strips

To make 16 half-square triangle quilt blocks, you'll need:
2-at-a-time HST method 4-at-a-time HST method 8-at-a-time HST method
Print fabric 7 fat quarters 8 fat quarters 8 fat quarters
Background fabric 1 1/2 yds 1 5/8 yds 1 5/8 yds
Cut print and background fabric into squares for 3" finished half-square triangles. Reference charts on pages 15-17 of Patchwork Essentials for cut square size and trimming information. Make a total of 256 half-square triangles. Sew half-square triangles into 16 blocks, use block chart on pages 85-99 for block layouts.

*Use a 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted.*

1. Using a marking pen, draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of 7” background squares. Place one 7” background square and one 7” accent square right sides together. Stitch 1/4" on both sides of the marked line. Press and cut apart on the marked line to create two half-square triangles. Press seams as desired. Repeat with remaining 7” squares. Trim half-square triangles to 6.5” square.

2. Arrange four half-square triangles created in step one, plus a 12.5" block and one 6.5" background square as shown in the block diagram. Sew elements together in each row, press seams open. Sew two rows together to complete block. Press seams open.

3. Arrange blocks using the diagram.

4. Sew blocks together in each row. Press seams in one direction, alternating direction every other row.

5. Sew rows together. Press seams open.

6. Cut backing yardage in half. Press. Trim off the selvedges and sew your pieces together lengthwise. Press seam open.

7. Basting: Using masking or painter’s tape, tape the backing to a clean, hard surface, right side down. Spread out your batting on top of the backing. Smooth out any wrinkles. Carefully spread out your quilt top on top of the batting, right side up. Pin your top, I like to use curved safety pins, spacing the pins a few inches apart. Make sure that your pins are going through all three layers.

8. Quilting: Quilt as desired, by machine or by hand. Trim away excess batting and backing fabric.

9. Binding: Trim off selvedges and sew your binding strips together to form one long strip, press seams open. Fold in half lengthwise, pressing with your iron as you fold. Attach binding using your preferred method. For a detailed tutorial on attaching your binding to both sides by machine, see here.

Enjoy! Share your progress and finished quilt photos using the #patchworkessentials hashtag on social media or add it to the In Color Order Flickr Group!

Happy Quilting!
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