Thursday, December 31, 2015
I don't even know where to begin in reviewing this past year. So much was crammed in, it's hard to process! Let's just say there were plenty of freak out moments and diet coke to get through this past year.
Personally, I was so happy to get married this year. I don't know what I would do without Michael. I definitely would have gone crazy by now! We had a wonderful day surrounded by family, and then escaped to Disney World. All a dream come true.
Photo by Dennis Crider for Imagen Photography.
Professionally, I checked a big thing off my list this year with my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle. I put so much work into this book, and it's both exciting and terrifying to think it's actually out in the world now! A big thank you to Lucky Spool for making this possible. I have some fun stuff planned for it in 2016, hopefully early in the year!
Let's be real though, the biggest news this past year was that George now has his own fabric. I released my fifth fabric collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, Curiosities, in June!
This year I discovered Tsum Tsums, and am now a happy member of the Tsum Tsum of the month club! Yes, it is a real thing!
Knitting continued to be the perfect hobby for me, and I finished 15 projects this year! I really tried to challenge myself to try new things. I knit my first sweater, knit colorwork, tried weaving and knit three pairs of mittens. Plus, tried felting for the first time! I have lots of projects to share still.
I finished three of the book quilts in January this year, but otherwise didn't have a ton of quilt finishes. Three I have yet to share, will be able to do that soon!
I did manage to make five pincushions this year. My love of pincushions continues to grow!
It's always fun looking back on the year, and this sure was a busy one! Will share some goals and resolutions for 2016 next week. In the meantime, Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support. It was a quieter year that usual here on the blog, I'm hoping to hit the ground running next year and be better about making time to write!
Friday, December 11, 2015
Happy Friday! It's time for my annual holiday sale! This year, take 25% off all PDF patterns in my online shop using code HOLIDAY25 at checkout. For EU customers, this code works in my Payhip shop too!
Coupon code is good on all PDF pattern purchases from Friday, December 11th - Sunday, December 13th, 2015. It cannot be applied to previous purchases.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Happy Wednesday! I wanted to chat a bit today about my experience teaching at Glamp Stitchalot last month! I've taught at two Camp Stitchalot events, which are held at a bed and breakfast in Michigan a couple times a year. This was the first Glamp Stitchalot, which was held at a hotel in Ann Arbor, MI. There were five other teachers (Violet Craft, Sarah Fielke, Katy Jones, Alison Glass and Tula Pink) and we all worked together to design a mystery medallion quilt, which students worked on throughout the weekend!
Michael grew up in Saline, which is right outside of Ann Arbor, so I've been to visit the area quite a bit. One of my favorite things about going is Zingerman's bakery. They make the best sourdough! It's so good.
Always traveling with my own quilt! This is my much loved Patchwork Prism quilt made from vintage sheets. Still a favorite. And also two of my Stitches. I got to room with Deedrie, which was awesome!
I was able to visit Pink Castle Fabrics in their newer location, which was awesome! They ave SO much fabric, ahhck! With all the attendees visiting I stepped in to help cut fabric for a while, which was fun! I managed to get out of there with only a couple half yards, phew! Could have done some real damage in there.
A peek at the classroom! Loaded with Janome Skyline S7s!
Here is my version of the mystery medallion quilt. Each of us was responsible for designing a center block and a border, which could be interchanged according to preference! I used every border once. I chose half-square triangles (surprise, surprise!) for my center block and the very last border is mine. Unfortunately, the pattern was exclusive to the event, otherwise I'd direct you to it!
We were also asked to design a t-shirt for the event (if we wanted!). I wanted to keep things simple and also design something that would have all the details from the weekend! I am so pleased with how it turned out, and it's really comfy. I've been getting lots of wear out of it!
I had a great time at Glamp Stitchalot! It was really nice being able to stay inside all weekend, and the attendees were really lovely. The Pink Castle Team (Brenda, Jason, Hayley, Hayley, Josh and more!) did so much to make this a killer event, if you can make it in the future, do it! The June Glamp is sold out, but they do have a waiting list, here.
Brenda and I were pretty excited for the chocolate fountain, duh! A highlight for sure! :)
Monday, December 7, 2015
Happy Monday! Today I have a quilt finished to share, yay! I have been on a binding spree the last two weeks. I bound four quilts! This one, another I'll share next week, a gift quilt, and a quilt for my next quilt pattern. I figured while I was binding, I might as well bind them all! But back to this quilt. This is a just because quilt. No real reason or need, just a stack of pretty fabric to sew up.
I like the colors and minimal design in the prints in this collection. It's Imprint by Katarina Roccella. I had a really enjoyable time getting to know Katarina at quilt market this past Spring when she was exhibiting this collection. Knew I'd have to get my hands on it!
Almost as soon as the fabrics arrived, I cut them up! I liked the idea of using large pieces to play with the large scale designs. From far away many of the prints look almost solid, which I knew would be fun for my Arithmetic Quilt Pattern. I chose the largest square size, which I had only made once before. It goes together SO fast. I cut and pieced the top in the same day! Love when that happens.
It is a hard time of year to take good photographs of my work. The days are so short, the weather is dreary, and everything is brown and gray. We are able to steal a few minutes of light for a quick full shot though!
I sent this quilt to Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting to have it quilted. I chose this cool modified orange peel design. I had this done on one of my Dreamin' Vintage Side Braid Quilt last year too and really liked it. I wanted something really curvy to contrast the simple geometric design of this quilt.
I didn't have enough of either of my binding choices, so I went with both. Mostly Ash Pure Elements and a bit of Silver Drops Oval Elements. I used the two strips of ovals going around a corner, and I think the result is fun!
I didn't have much time or energy to do a lot of just because quilting last year. Between finishing up quilts and step outs for the book, sewing samples from Curiosities for quilt market, and getting ready for the wedding, I felt pretty burnt out. I'm hoping to tackle more personal projects next year, and take some time to work on more long term quilting projects!
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Happy Wednesday! I have a number of finished projects to share before the year ends, starting with this super cute pincushion! Pincushions are one of my favorite things to make, and this one was lots of fun. This is the Carry-All Pincushion from Anna's book, Handmade Style. I knew immediately that I'd want to make this pincushion, and it did not disappoint! I'm already scheming a second.
I chose prints from the warm colorway of Curiosities for my cushion. The only thing I did differently from the instructions was to use a bit of ruler twill tape instead of a sewn fabric strip for the scissor strap! This particular twill is from Little Red Cottage.
Look at all the cute pockets on this pincushion! It's unlike any pincushion I've made before! It's a great addition to my collection.
The other side has these two pleated pockets. Perfect for packs of extra needles, my little tin of pins, or even some washi tape!
Each end has a pocket too! Standard round tape measure fit great in them.
I really enjoyed making this pincushion. I haven't been sewing too many small projects lately, I forgot how satisfying they can be. I am looking forward to sewing through more of the projects in Handmade Style. I've stitched up the Zip-Top Tote and the Double Zip Wallet (which I haven't posted yet!). I think I'd like to make either the tunic or the makeup travel case next! Or maybe her new Maker's Tote Pattern? It's a toss up!
Monday, November 30, 2015
Happy Monday! I have a fun post for you today! In my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle, I provide a list of some of my favorite tools and notions for making half-square triangles (in the back). I wanted to share those with you here as well, plus a few of my favorite general sewing tools. Since I was making so many half-square triangles, I tried out lots of different methods and tools. These are the things I grabbed for over and over. These would make great gifts for any quilter (or yourself, hehe!).
Triangle Square Up Ruler
I want to dive right in with my all-time favorite half-square triangle tool. The 6 1/2 Triangle Square Up Ruler by Quilt in a Day. This ruler has you trim down your half-square triangles before cutting them apart or pressing open. It cuts your cutting per half-square triangle in half. Instead of having to do four cuts, you're only doing two. You do have to be careful not to distort the block when pressing, but if you are making a lot, it's worth the risk. I don't know how I would have been able to trim all the blocks in the book without this ruler. It also comes in 4 1/2 inch and 9 1/2 inch sizes.
Continuing on with another ruler, the Bloc-Loc rulers are awesome! If you press your half-square triangle seams to the side, this ruler locks right into the seam and makes trimming a breeze. There is no slipping and sliding around when you make your cuts! It comes in many sizes, and they make rulers for other types of blocks too. I prefer the 6 1/2 inch size myself!
Rotating Cutting Mats
Rotating cutting mats are another great tool to speed up your half-square triangle trimming. I have two, an 8" Fiskars mat and a 12" Olfa mat. They really come in handy and I love traveling with them. Since they have a second layer they are a bit thicker than a traditional mat which is nice when you aren't sure what kinds of tables you'll be working on at a retreat or event.
For drawing those pesky half-square triangle lines my favorite marking pen is the black Frixion pens. They are nice and smooth so I find them easier to use than pencils, but they are still nice and thin. I recently picked up the clicker version (vs. the ones with the cap), and I really like them. I was constantly loosing the lids, and it's just one less thing to do when I'm ready to use it. You can get refills for these pens, which makes them a little more economical!
The Cutting Gizmo
My second favorite half-square triangle tool is The Cutting Gizmo by The Gypsy Quilter. This is useful for all types of quilting. It is a quick and easy way to cut apart chains from chain piecing. I love to chain piece, and do it as much as possible, so I get tons of use out of this tool. I have another one by Fiskars that's orange, but it is really short. This tool is the perfect height, and really saves a lot of time when cutting apart long chains. It uses a regular razor blade, which can be easily replaced when it gets dull. The base is nice and sturdy with a rubber grip, it has never tipped over or slid when I'm using it.
When making half-square triangles using the four-at-a-time method or when working with really large pieces of fabric, I love setting them with Flatter by Soak. It's a starch alternative spray, than does the job without leaving crunchy residue. I went through a few bottles working through the book quilts. It comes in lots of great scents, but my favorite is the scentless. Michael's desk is right next to my ironing board, so he appreciates the scentless when we are working at the same time! I also use this spray when using the triangle square up ruler, helps prevent potential distortion! This is an awesome all-around quilting tool.
Now for a few general notions/tools that I love! First up is a stack of tiny bowls. I always keep a number of these little Biscuit bowls from Anthropologie (which seem to be no more, boo!) in my sewing room at all times. I use them to hold pins, catch threads, hold wonder clips, machine feet, or wound bobbins. They come in so handy, and any type of small bowl will do!
Aurifil 50wt cotton thread is my favorite for piecing, especially for half-square triangles. It's a finer weight than most threads, so it takes up less "room" in your seam. I can get my piecing to lay extra flat this way. I make sure I always have plenty of neutral colors on hand, my most used colors are 2024 and 2600.
I use pins when I baste my quilts, and have been using the Kwip Klip by Paula Jean Creations to make it easier for years. It is a handy little tool that helps to open and close the safety pins. It really helps save your fingers from getting torn up or sore. This little tool has more than paid for itself, it's awesome!
General Sewing Tools
These tools are all in heavy rotation in my sewing room. My favorite pins are Dritz glass head pins. They come in short and long, but I use the short the most. They're thin and sharp, perfect for piecing. I never bind without Clover Wonder Clips, and have found so many different uses for these clips. They come in handy for making bags, home decor projects and garments too. Easily my most used tools are for cutting. The Quick Change Olfa Rotary Cutter is my absolute favorite. It's the easiest for me to hold and is just an all-around great cutter. I've been using it heavily for years and it has almost no wear. Ditto my purple Dritz seam ripper. It's easy and comfortable to grip and gets the job done. Did you know you can sharpen seam rippers?
Next up is a Clover Hera Marker. I use this when I'm binding. When I am working on a corner, instead of pressing the binding strip at 90 degrees with an iron, I use the marker to crease my fold. This works great in tandem with the Frixion marking pen because I don't have to wait for it to cool. I use it to mark lines sometimes too, which is the intended purpose! Finally, my favorite snips, are these little Olfa scissors. I am meticulous about trimming threads, and these are perfect for that. I have two pairs, just in case! Haha! They come to a nice sharp point so they are nice for clipping into seam allowances as well.
Omnigrid Square Rulers
Finally, Omnigrid Square Rulers. These get used a lot, especially the 6 1/2 inch ruler. They are so handy for trimming down blocks or just cutting in general. I seem to have collected a set of the green non-slip ones, but the regular yellow ones work just as well. I have a few 6 1/2 yellow ones. I recently added the 8 1/2 inch and find I use it quite a bit. And you can't go wrong with the 12 1/2 inch for trimming down quilt blocks.
Still need a copy? Pick up a copy here.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Happy Tuesday! Today I want to share a project that I worked on back in 2014, that works out to be quite relevant now. I flew home to Cleveland in early 2014 to film two episodes for It's Sew Easy, which airs on PBS. I adapted two of my older tutorials for the episodes, which is fun.
The first episode is 706 and features my Vintage Sheet HST Pillow Tutorial. For the episode, I remade the pillow in Color Me Retro! I wanted to share this because this episode is available to watch on Youtube (here), so if you are still unsure about trying half-square triangles, you can watch me make them on video!
It's a cute little pillow, and doesn't take too long to put together. I also brought along a number of other half-square triangle projects for the shoot. My Dreamin' Vintage Half-Square Triangle Sampler quilt, my Warm Cool HST Quilt, my Nordika HST Pillow, and my Quilted Grocery Bag Holder.
The second episode I taped is 707, featuring my Logcabin Quilted Coasters. For this episode, I remade the coasters in Nordika. These turn out really cute and make a great gift.
These are a fun way to try out different quilting techniques, I used a different pattern for each coaster. Love making these!
I made another sample for the episode, this log cabin mini quilt, also using Nordika. I cut 2.5" strips to make four small log cabin blocks. I really need to plan a full size log cabin quilt, these blocks are really satisfying to make. This mini lives under my sewing machine folded in half, to help muffle the noise from my machine.
I quilted all of these projects with 50wt Aurifil threads from my thread box. I especially enjoyed using the teal thread in my mini quilt!
Part of the reason why I put off sharing this experience and projects is that it wore me out. Even though I was doing smaller projects, the amount of prep work involved in taping these videos was huge. I have at least 7 versions of the pillow (plus enough HSTs to make more) in various stages as step outs for the episode and back-ups in case a part with sewing needs to be shot again. That and I was SO nervous. It was really far outside of my comfort zone to do something like this. I did it, but it showed me that it is not something I enjoy doing. But that's okay! I tried it, and it wasn't a disaster, so all is well.
You can check your local listings for these episodes (if you want!), here.