Saturday, November 22, 2014

Patchwork Tree Quilt Block Tutorial

Earlier this week I shared some little patchwork tree blocks I'd been making. I loved sewing them together into this little patchwork forest mini-quilt. The method for making this blocks is quick and fun and I'm going to show you how right now! (How exciting can life get?)
For my palette I chose a variety of greens in different shades and scales, to create interest and depth. I paired the greens with white-background prints and pulled in just a little bit of red. I like that it gives a hint of Christmas, while still letting the green and white be the dominant colors. You'll also need a few scraps of brown for the trunks.
Using this method you'll be making two tree blocks at the same time. First pick two contrasting fabrics. From each fabric cut a 4 1/2'' x 4 1/2'' square and two 2'' x 2 1/2'' rectangles. From the brown scraps cut two 1'' x 1 1/2'' rectangles.
Stack the two 4 1/2'' x 4 1/2'' squares on top of each other, with both right sides facing up. Using a ruler and a rotary cutter, cut one side of your 'tree shape. Pull the right side away and make a second diagonal cut to create a triangle 'tree' shape. Keep these pairs together, if you are mass-cutting your blocks at once.

You can cut all of your pairs the same way (such as 60 degree triangles) or you can cut each pair slightly different by cutting the triangles at different heights, angles, etc. I really loved giving the trees a little bit of personality and making them all different. This project is very 'improv' inspired, so have fun experimenting!
Using the original pair of squares, mix the white sides with the green 'tree' and the green side triangles with the white 'tree'. Lay the contrasting 'tree' triangle, right sides together and sew it to the left-side triangle. (Your first seam will always be the line of your second cut.) 

Make sure that the top tip of the 'tree' triangle extends 1/4'' beyond the top edge of the side triangle and sew a 1/4'' seam. Open up 'tree' piece and press seam allowance to one side.
Sew the second side-triangle to the other side of the 'tree' triangle.
Again, make sure the top triangle extends a 1/4'' beyond the top edge of the pieced block. Press seam to one side. Square-off the top edge of the block and the bottom edges of the background triangles so that they are even with the 'tree' bottom.
To add the trunk, sew the brown 'trunk' piece in between the two coordinating background prints. Press seams toward the brown.
Sew the trunk unit to the bottom of the tree unit. Trunk unit might be wider than the tree unit. Square off sides of the block. My blocks were squared to 3 3/4'' wide by 5'' long. Yours might be different. All that matters is that all of you blocks are the same size.  

You could change the scale on these blocks as much as you want by starting with bigger or smaller pieces of fabric. The versatility is endless and it's such an easy one to personalize.
I sewed 25 blocks into a mini quilt. My borders are 2 1/2" wide finished, but you can certainly make yours however you so desire. Remember, this doesn't need to be perfect. A little bit wonky and a little bit improv-y makes a statement too. Feel free to make it your own.
I quilted very simply just using straight lines to give the quilt texture, but not distract from the trees. (And because straight lines is all I really feel confident doing.)

I used a red micro-dot as the binding for this quilt to give a tiny bit more red to the design. I purposely made the binding small though, to keep it minimal.
These blocks could be used in all kinds of ways. They're SO quick to assemble that you could make a whole forest really quickly. I plan to make a couple more pillows or a table runner. I also made a block into a little mini patchwork tag/ornament.
I have a tutorial for the ornament assembly, as well as another little tree block over at the U-Create blog this week. Patchwork Tree Ornament tutorial here.

Since making mine, I'm noticing other little triangle trees pop up on Instagram and blogs. (Great minds!) Like this beautiful Fall Forest pattern and quilt-along at Little Blue Bell.
Have fun making them! And if you make some of your own share them on my Facebook page or tag them with the hashtag #holidaypatchworkforest. I'd love to see all the variations!


If you are looking for other simple sewing projects for Christmas you might be interested in one of these: Felt Snowflake, Easy Stocking, and a Star Quilt Block.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sew Amazing Giveaway and Felt Gift Tags Tutorial

Today I’m over at Skip to My Lou as part of the Bake Craft Sew & Crochet Along. I am sharing a some fun ideas for using felt to make gift tags and ornaments perfect for holiday gift giving. In fact, you won’t want to miss all the handmade gift ideas! I have joined over 100 bloggers to share some amazing homemade gift ideas.

AND I get to be part of an amazing sewing giveaway too. Keep reading…

sewing giveaway 

This giveaway is sew AMAZING! Meet Rachel. Isn't she pretty?bake_craft_sew

One lucky winner will receive…

this amazing Baby Lock Sewing Machine ($799 Value)

Ready to take your sewing to the next level? The Baby Lock Rachel is the star of any sewing class, and she's here to help you. This computerized sewing machine is equipped with 50 stitches and push-button features to make every project easier. The value is $799. Click here for more details.
Skip To My Lou
This generous giveaway is made possible thanks to Skip to my Lou. Simply wait for RaffleCopter to load and enter there.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll be sharing a few more holiday projects and tutorials this weekend so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Scraps pattern - Scraps Inc.

I love saving scraps and I love using scraps. So when I was asked about a year ago if I would like to contribute to a new book coming out dedicated entirely to quilts made from scraps, I jumped at the chance!
The book Scraps, Inc.Vol.1 just came out this month and it is full of great patterns from 15 different designers as well as tips for storing and using your own scraps. I love when I find a book that has a bunch of great patterns all together. This book definitely fits that qualification!
Here are a couple of my favorites, just to give you an idea of a the variety, but honestly it was so hard to pick just a couple! This Sunset Tiles quilt by Jeni Baker is definitely one I want to make. 
I also love this quilt, Overcast, by April Rosenthal. It's so unique, I think.
Here are a few other contributors after a book signing at Market last month. Seriously, such an honor to be in this company! Amy Friend, Susanne Woods, publisher of Lucky Spool, me, Amy Ellis (always lots of Amy's!), Sherri McConnell, and Susan Beal.
Here is my contribution. One of my all-time favorite ways to use up scraps is with a traditional log cabin or courthouse steps pattern. I wanted to come up with a slightly more modern twist by grouping my scraps into "warm" and "cool" colors, creating a secondary design in the process. (Which I've since learned is called Japanese Lanterns!)
For this project I really wanted to push myself out of my regular color comfort-zone (I've been trying to do that a lot more this year.) For me, that meant using purple - I hardly ever use purple in my quilts. My favorite method for organizing scraps is to sort them by color. I really dug through my scraps to find those bright, jewel-toned prints (I had to dig extra hard for the purples - but was excited that I actually had some good ones!) And I love the result - not to mention putting some of those unusual scraps to work! 
The quilting on this quilt was done by Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting. I love the way it contributes to the overall look and feel of the quilt.
Speaking of scraps, I have a bundle of strips and scraps leftover from this quilt. I'd love to share them with one of you. If you're interested, leave a comment. I'll randomly select a winner this weekend.
The book Scraps Inc. Volume 1 is hitting shelves now. For a short time, Scraps Inc. is available directly from Lucky Spool for 30% off using the code SCRAPS30 here. If you're looking to add something for your Christmas wish list this year, I highly recommend this one!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Start of Winter Sewing

Temperatures here have dropped drastically in the past week. I'm glad to say I got the bulk of my leaves raked up in time because I sure don't want to go out there now! The consolation is that it's been good weather to sit inside and sew. I know I mentioned I was struggling with my creativity recently - fortunately one of the best antidotes for me is digging into my fabric. Since it's time for holiday preparations, I pulled this little Christmas-y bundle.
Here are some of the results - a little forest of patchwork trees. I'm working on a couple of new projects with these guys, plus a few more Christmas-themed projects. I'll be sharing them by the end of the week as well as a new tutorial to make these fun blocks. (Warning - they're addictive.) So stay tuned. 
I've also been trying to catch up on my Aurifil Block of the Month blocks. (One of the many things I'm behind on.) These two blocks were really fun. The one on the left is the August block of the month (free pattern here) and the one on the right is from July (free pattern here.) I'm especially smitten by Camille's On the Plus Side block (right). I think I'd like a whole quilt out of these.
Here are all of my blocks so far. I still have some catching up to do, but I figure with one a week or so, I'll catch up quick. You can find links to all of the 2014 Aurifil Blocks of the Month here. And don't forget - you can enter a photo of your blocks to the Aurifil Flickr group to be entered to win awesome thread prizes. (Big ones!)
So many projects calling my name but so much real life too - dentist visit, school play, driver's ed, etc. etc. Oh well. Good thing I function with little snatches of time and lots of half-done projects left at the end of the day...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Giveaway from Poppy Seed Fabrics

Today a fun giveaway from PoppySeed Fabrics.
PoppySeed has a great selection of basics like Pearl Bracelets in lots of colors, voiles (seen above) as well as a fun selection of Japanese novelty prints.
Mochi Linen Dots by Momo for Moda Fabrics, Fat Quarter bundle 10 total
Check out the custom bundles. I'm still smitten with these Mochi linen dots.
Geo Pop Canvas by Robert Kaufman and Emmie K, Half Yard bundle - 9 total
Also this half yard bundle of Geo Pop prints on canvas. Yardage of Geo Pop is also available.

Right now Poppy Seed Fabrics has a huge selection of Closeout fabrics that are marked down. This group includes a lot of great basics like honeycomb dots and blenders to choose from at a nice price reduction. 

Poppy Seed always offers free shipping on orders over $50 in the US with coupon code FREESHIPPINGUS and $5 off international orders with coupon code INTERNATIONAL5.

Today, Poppy Seed Fabrics is giving away a $45 Gift Certificate to anything in the shop. To enter to win, take a quick visit to Poppy Seed Fabrics and come back and leave a comment telling me something you love. Giveaway open until Thursday, November 20 at midnight MST.

To stay up to date on all sales and specials you can follow Poppy Seed Fabrics on Instagram or Facebook.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hadley Quilt from Fabulously Fast Quilts

Doesn't it feel great to finish something you've had in the works for a while? You may remember that I made this quilt top last summer to take with me to teach at the Fat Quarterly retreat. I packed that quilt-top around with us the whole time we were in England and finally took pictures the day before we left.
Then we got home and it was time to get caught up on real life, get ready for school to start, etc. Finally I got around to picking out some borders and getting it off to the quilter.
The pattern for this quilt is in my book Fabulously Fast Quilts and is jelly roll (2 1/2'' strips) friendly. You can see the original quilt in the book, Moroccan Tile here. I really want to remake all the quilts in my book in totally different color palettes, and this is the first. This one was made using Denyse Schmidt's recent collection Hadley (available here, and here). The background fabric is a Modern Solid from In The Beginning in the color Bamboo. I LOVE it.
I had a hard time deciding what colors to use for the borders and binding. I finally went with the warm colors, inspired by the colors of fall that is going on around me.
I debated back and forth between a mustard/gold binding and a teal binding. I finally choose the winner based on the fact that I had a lot more of the mustard colored fabric. But I did throw in a strip of teal on the binding, just because I liked it. (And so it wouldn't feel left out.)
I really wanted this quilt to look funky and old - like you might find it in your grandparents' ancient camper. So I had Melissa from Sew Shabby Quilting quilt it in a Baptist Fan pattern to make it look a little more vintage. I love the finished effect. I still need to wash it and I'm hoping it will wrinkle up nicely.
I ran out to take these pictures yesterday because I really wanted to capture this quilt with the leaves and colors of fall. This has been one of the most gorgeous autumns I remember. It's forecast to snow today, so I fear it might be the end. *sniff, sniff* But at least now that my leaves are raked, I can sit and sew without any "yard-work-guilt"! So there's a bright side of winter coming.