Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween from my grumpy M&M! George refused to pose this year, so here he is in his natural habitat, a pile of hay. Mid-bite :)

Hope your Halloween is sweet!

Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern: All the Details

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy Wednesday! I'm excited to share today that the Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern is available now! I wanted to share all the details of the pattern here today so that you'll know what to expect.

Find the pattern in my online shop here: Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern

This pattern has been years in the making. I've been collecting ideas based on your questions and requests, and just general creative experimentation. There are so many different options included in this pattern, some of them have been shared here on my blog as tutorials for the free size and others are appearing for the first time in this pattern. If you've enjoyed making these bags, I think you'll really be excited by all the possibilities that this expansion pattern opens up! Let's dive into all the details:

What is it?
The Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern is an add-on to the original Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern. You will need BOTH patterns to complete your bags. The expansion is not meant to be used as a standalone pattern. The original pattern will continue to be for sale, unchanged.

Where to Buy?
Find the pattern in my online shop here: Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern

What's in it?
The pattern is a jam packed 28 pages long, with full color photos for the steps. For each variation included in the pattern there is cutting/measurements for all eight sizes included in the original pattern. For many variations there are also additional ideas for taking it even further. Finally, there are instructions for applying the variations to custom sized bags designed using the worksheet in the original lined drawstring bag pattern.

Here are all the designs and techniques included in the expansion pattern:

Peek-a-boo Lining Drawstring Bags

Mini Accent Drawstring Bags

Bottom Accent Drawstring Bags

Simple Patchwork Drawstring Bags

Foundation Pieced Drawstring Bags

Easy Going (Two Fabric) Drawstring Bags

Easy Going (Single Fabric) Drawstring Bags

Drawstring Backpacks

Alternative Gusset Method

Adding a Quilt Block to the Exterior Main

How to Lay Out an Embroidery or Appliqué Design

How to Center an Existing Design

There is an entire section around centering things on the Exterior Main and how to find the size of the front of the bag once it's finished. Plus tips and recommendations for adding additional structure to your bags and info on different tie options! I've tried to make all the variations as customizable as possible while still keeping them straight forward and easy to follow.

Find the pattern in my online shop here: Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern

8 Ways to Build Your Own Leftovers Quilt

Friday, October 18, 2019

Today I want to share more about how you can make your own leftovers quilt! The basic purpose of a quilt like this is to help you avoid accumulating leftover quilt blocks and instead end up with a scrappy sampler quilt that is unique to you and your work! This is meant to be a long term project, I made my quilt over the course of about five years.

For more details and photos of my leftovers quilt see this post: Fantastic Leftovers Quilt

When I was pulling together a start for my quilt, I quickly realized I already had a couple of leftover quilt blocks in my stash that had similar colors. Instead of starting from scratch I decided to use those blocks as the basis of my quilt for a traveling quilt bee.

I've been in a few virtual quilting bees over the years, and one of the downfalls is that you generally don't end up with enough blocks at the end to put together a big quilt. Knowing how long a traveling bee would last, I also knew I didn't want to wait until I had my blocks back to get started on what I'd need to make. I realized I could solve multiple problems at once by creating a quilt to use up existing leftovers and actively avoid creating new leftovers!

Before we dive into the ways you can build your own leftovers quilt, let's talk about why I think you should consider this idea. In my opinion, there are two big advantages to making a quilt like this.

One: It's great for participating in interactive events like quilt bees, quilt alongs, and classes.

Two: It's a sustainable method for managing your leftovers, revisiting abandoned projects and avoid creating new leftovers.

Without further ado, here are 8 ways to build your own leftovers quilt:

1. Shop Your Block Stash

Start your quilt with an leftover block or two that you already have, or pull a fresh new color palette to work with. You could also start with a quilt in progress that has a few blocks made already, then you'd be even more ahead of the game! This is a great way to give an abandoned WIP new life.

2. Use Up Leftover Block Units

Do you have a stash of leftover half-square triangles, flying geese, etc? Check to see if any of those match your quilt! Personally, these are some of the toughest bits for me to use up, so it feels extra good to use them!

3. Join a Quilt Bee (or two!)

If you want, find a quilt bee to participate in and ask members to use your color palette to create blocks for your quilt. For my quilt, I asked the bee members to make whatever kind or size block they'd like, so that I'd get a wide variety of designs.

4. Participate in a Quilt Along

Want to make blocks for a quilt along, but don't want to commit to making the entire quilt? This is a fun way to participate and add to your quilt at the same time! I made blocks during the Fussy Cut Sampler* quilt along to add to my quilt.

5. Test Quilt Block Designs

This was one of the biggest ways I added to my quilt over the years. Every time I needed to test a new block design or try out a new-to-me block, I made the test block in my quilt's colors. This way I was adding blocks to my quilt and avoiding making more leftover quilt blocks. Win-win!

6. Ask a Friend

Depending on how specific your color palette is, your friends (or fellow quilt guild members!) may have some leftover quilt blocks that would match your quilt. Turn it into a fun block swap!

7. Learn a New Technique

Taking a class or workshop on a quilting technique? That's another great opportunity to use your color palette and add to your quilt!

8. Use Up Scraps
Don't forget your scrap bin. Tame your scrap stash and make a few scrappy blocks for your quilt. Another win-win! I kept a small bag of coordinating scraps separate from my other scraps while I worked on this quilt.

I'm excited to decide on a new color palette to work from for my test blocks now that this quilt is finished. I've made a few already in all hand dyed indigo fabrics, but I'm not sure quite yet if that will be my long-term palette. We'll see!

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! I have lots of other tutorials for everything from quilts, pillows, bags, and holiday items to informational series and techniques. Find all my tutorials here: Tutorials. My online shop is filled with patterns for quilts and bags. Find my patterns here: Jeni Baker Patterns

If you make something using one of my tutorials or patterns, I hope you'll tag me @jenib320 and use my hashtag #jenibaker on instagram!

Happy Quilting!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Finished Quilt: Fantastic Leftovers Quilt

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Happy Tuesday! I have a finished quilt to share today, woo hoo! Off we go on my Fantastic Leftovers Quilt!

Want to make your own leftovers quilt? See this post: 8 Ways to Build Your Own Leftovers Quilt

This quilt has been in the making for almost five years! It all started with a group of orphaned blocks from my stash. I joined a traveling quilt bee called "Fantastic Quilt Voyage", organized by my friend Jacey. I used that group of blocks as the start of my quilt and bee members added their own blocks along the way. My theme was "make do". I asked members to take the same type of approach and make something that suited their fancy, in cool colors. Check out the hashtag for more: #fantasticquiltvoyage

For more on the blocks I made during the bee and my quilt's journey, see these posts:
Fantastic Quilt Voyage Traveling Bee Part I
Fantastic Quilt Voyage Traveling Bee Part II
Amanda's Fantastic Quilt Voyage

The blocks for this quilt were all different sizes, so I knew it would be a challenge to put together. I made lots of additional blocks, including 12 blocks from The Fussy Cut Sampler*. I also added in some blocks that were made for me by my friends at The Sewcial Lounge (now closed). It's a pretty big quilt, finishing at 64"x88". I needed a lot of blocks to get it finished!

The same week that I finished the quilt top, the kind folks over at Pink Castle Fabrics (now closed) asked if I had a top that needed quilting! They let me guinea pig their new mail-in longarm services and quilted this for me! I chose the design #140 Star E2E. I think it's just right for this quilt, whimsical and cute.

For the backing I used a long-stashed print from Park Slope* by Erin McMorris. The colors were just too perfect, I had to use it. It's bound up in one of my prints from Geometric Bliss*.

Thank you to all the bee members who made blocks for my quilt: Jacey, Amanda, Holly, Deedrie, Natalie, Are Jane, Melinda, Amanda, and Nicke.

I can't believe this quilt is done! It has been so long in the making, and it feels really good to finally wrap this project up. This type of quilt is pretty far outside of my comfort zone, especially a layout like this.

Want to make your own leftovers quilt? See this post: 8 Ways to Build Your Own Leftovers Quilt

Happy Quilting!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Improv Pieced Wall Art

Friday, October 11, 2019

Happy Wednesday! Today I have a different type of quilt project to share, wall art!

This project took a long time to come about. I picked up these blocks and coordinating scraps off of a sharing table at Camp Stitchalot hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics in Pleasant Lake, MI either in 2012 or 2013. I can't remember which. I also don't know who made them! (if it was you, please let me know!) They sat in my stash for many years until this past Summer when I decided I needed a big piece of artwork for above our mantel. I knew I wanted to make something, so I came around to the idea of stretching some patchwork over a frame. If you're looking for some inspiration, I recommend checking out the work of Heather Jones.

I couldn't find a frame the dimensions I wanted, so I made it with some lumber I already had on hand. I made mine similar to this tutorial. My frame finished at 48" wide and 34" tall.

The piece ended up being a little too big for our mantel, but worked perfectly in our dining room. Unfortunately I took absolutely no process photos of making this. I made the decision to use these blocks and made the entire top in one afternoon, so it was pretty spontaneous. I made two blocks from the matching scraps and used various off white scraps and yardage from my stash to sash the blocks and border the patchwork.

When it came time to stretching it over the frame, I decided to add a layer of plain kona white underneath, to make it more opaque. I didn't want the frame to show through. Then I slowly stretched it over the frame and secured the pieces with staples. There is a lot of room for improvement if I made another piece like this, but it was really fun! I am thinking I would like a smaller piece for over the mantel eventually, just need to decide on a design and colors. I do think it suits more organic lines and shapes since the seams do get somewhat warped when stretched. So something scrappy and improvisational would be great.

Here is a video showing the back and more on how I put it together.

This was a super satisfying project, and I already had everything on hand to make it. This big piece of artwork cost $0 extra dollars to make, which is pretty darn cool. Plus I was finally able to use up these fun blocks. I hope that the person who made them likes what they became! I'm just glad they aren't sitting in my drawer anymore and I can enjoy them everyday!

September Monthly Report

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Happy October! It's time for September's monthly report. See past reports here.

Thank you for your kind comments and emails on my last post, it was tough for me to share something so personal, but I felt relieved after I wrote it. I appreciate your support and patience with me!

I finally hung up my pincushion shelf! My Dad helped me make this simple shelf when we lived in the apartment in Madison. It's been sitting in the attic since we moved and this month I finally got it up. It's completely stuffed and there are more pincushions that didn't fit! I probably should make another, but for now it's nice to have most of them displayed!

Speaking of pincushions I started another set of snack size pincushions, this time out of Liberty lawn! Find the pattern here: Snack Size Pincushion Pattern.

Another task I was procrastinating was piecing a backing for my scrappy pineapple quilt! I picked up this print from Noe by Erin McMorris last year. I knew I wanted to pattern match it, so that held me up a little. I think it turned out pretty good though!

Currently working on a new vintage sheet quilt! I forgot how taxing free-motion quilting is. Only a couple thread breaks at the beginning and it turned out to be a bobbin issue, so it went pretty smoothly after that.

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in September:

September Fabric
Used up: 6.75 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -6.75 yards
Year to date: -77 yards

September Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: 0 yards
Year to date: -426 yards

I actually did a lot of sewing this month, despite my low yardage number. I made 7 drawstring bags! All testers for my expansion pattern. I have so many to share, hopefully really soon. No fabric in this month, which was good since last month I brought in quite a bit!

Not much longer for the garden, so I figured I better keep sharing while I can. This dahlia just opened it's first flower this week, so pretty late. Hopeful that our warm Fall continues so I can get a few more!

I put up the Halloween decorations last week, so we can enjoy them for a whole month! This is the only new piece I've picked up this year, I love these little candy dishes. This bat is from Target.

Michael and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in September!

George, always tangled up in hay! Such a sweetie.

Have a great month!