Friday, November 30, 2012

Utah locals: come to Moonlight Madness

Detail from Kitchy Christmas Quilt
Locals (Utah):

Tonight I'll be at American Quilting's Christmas Moonlight Madness Open House showing some of my quilts, selling some of my patterns, and signing copies of Sweet Celebrations.

American Quilting will be having prizes, demos, giveaways and big sales.

It goes from 7:00-10:00 pm.

American Quilting is located at 484 West 800 North in Orem, Utah.

If you come, please come say hi!

POST EDIT:

Here's how my stuff looked that night. It was kind of fun to step back and see it all smooshed together! Thanks to those who came and said hi!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Southern Fabrics + Giveaway

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Today we have a sweet giveaway from blog sponsor, Southern Fabrics. Southern Fabrics is an online fabric shop located in Georgia and happily shipping all over the world. They specialize in the latest from Free Spirit, Moda, Riley Blake and Westminster.

One of their latest arrivals is Simply Color by V and Co. for Moda. They have precuts, prints, and the ombre's from this collection. Remember the ombre baby quilts? Now you can order yardage to make one. Vanessa has the instructions on her blog.

Some other new collections include Moda's Odds and Ends (love that one) and Eat Your Fruits and Veggies, as well as some classic collections that are getting harder to find like Soul Blossoms, Taza, and Nicey Jane.
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Another great feature at Southern Fabrics is their Deal of the Day. It's right on the homepage. For example, on recent deal of the day is a rainbow scrap pack. Cool stuff!

Today Southern Fabrics is giving away a collection of 5" charm squares of Joel Dewberry's brand new collection, Notting Hill as well as a charm pack from Joel's lilac Aviary 2 collection! 

To enter, tell me something you love at Southern Fabrics. For a second chance, visit Southern Fabrics and sign-up for their newsletter. Come back here and leave a second comment telling me you've done so. That's it! Giveaway open until Sunday, Dec 2 at midnight MST. Giveaway closed. Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday. 

You can also follow Southern Fabrics on Facebook, which I highly recommend because not only will you find out about their latest arrivals, they will also frequently announce awesome one-day sales (sometimes as much as 50% off!) 

WINNER: 

mascanlon said...
Oh yes, I love the Amy Butler Lark! I have been looking for some of these pieces for a while and a stack will fill in nicely.Thanks for the opportunity.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Blocks + Fabric

I've been catching up on sewing some Bee blocks and now I need to catch up on sharing them. This star was paper-pieced for April in October. I am still working on my paper piecing skills, and this one was a good practice for me. I'll admit I was a little cranky at first but after I got past the first three points, and past my impulse to not waste fabric (I think that's an important hurdle with paper-piecing) I really enjoyed it. 

I want to make more of these blocks. And I'm feeling a little more confident in my paper-piecing skills.  The pattern for this star can be found here. If you're looking for some good paper-piecing basics, check out Faith's tutorials.
The paper-piecing skills were honed even more piecing this modernish Dresden for Emily. Her quilt will consist of different colored wheels - I love the idea. I can't wait to see the other colored blocks.  I'll try and find out if there's an available pattern for piecing this block.
Finally, this is my last block in Jackie's Blogger's Block of the Month.  This block was designed by Sarah Fielke and you can find the instructions here. There are lots of great blocks in this series, and of course, it's never to late to join in - the block tutorials will always be available.

I bought that background fabric this summer at Pins and Needles in New York. It comes from Atsuko Matsuyama's 30's Collection for Lecien.
I love those vintage/retro 30's inspired prints by Atsuko for Yuwa
Especially that kelly green with strawberries. I love a good kelly green.
I just ordered a bunch more from Kerri at Sew Deerly Loved to help complete my quilt. Also some Millie's Closet by Lori Holt and Simple Life by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake. 
Kerri has one of my favorite selections of Japanese import fabrics (love those mushrooms and bunnies!) and vintage inspired prints. I love using them in my i-spy quilts - they give them that cute, retro look. Thanks, Kerri!

And now, it feels good to be caught up on Bee blocks. On to Christmas sewing!

I forgot to mention, I had a little sewing 'adventure' over the past holiday weekend - I sewed a sewing machine needle through my left pointer finger! My husband thought I was crazy when I told him to take a picture of it before I had him pull it out. I won't share the picture here, but I did share it on my Facebook page if you're a thrill seeker and you'd like to see a needle sticking through one side of my finger and out the other.

Between rotary cutters, needles, swallowing pins, I think we sewers definitely qualify as 'living on the edge' extreme sports enthusiasts.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday - Fabric Sales and Discounts

In honor of Small Business Saturday - a day to celebrate and support small businesses - here is a list of awesome sales and discounts from many of my lovely sponsors who do so much to support and enhance our sewing community. How would we feed our fabric addictions without them? Plus now is a great time to fill your own Christmas wish-list without even having to camp out in the cold or battle crazy crowds.

Southern Fabrics
40% Off all Aviary 2 Yardage by Joel Dewberry - Monday Only

40% off Fat Quarter Bundles on Saturday. Monday: 40% off Fat Eighth bundles and all Layercakes only $24.50.

Burgundy Buttons
Save an additional 20% on your order. Sale ends Sunday (11/25) at midnight CST!

The Little Fabric Shop
Sale prices on all Christmas collections and assorted others + 10% off entire order with code BLACKFRIDAY - good through Monday.


Dry Goods Designs
Annual holiday sale now through 12/1/12 on fabric- spend $40 and save 40%, (excluding bundles and fat quarters, including sale fabrics). Use code HOLIDAY40

Surly Sheep
15% off Saturday and Sunday (11/24 – 11/25) with SurlyWeekend15.

Westwood Acres
All factory pre-cut bundles (Simply Color, Marmalade, Simple Life, etc) are on deep discount from Thursday (11/22) to Monday (11/26).


Pink Castle Fabrics
25% off Kokka (including new Stamped and Ruby Star Sparkle!), Liberty, Yuwa and all Precuts and Bundles (including new lines like In My Room and Notting Hill).
10% off notions10% off patterns10% off color cards


Canton Village Quilt Works
15% off entire site with code BLACKFRIDAY15 at checkout. Goes until Monday (11/26)

Fort Worth Fabrics
Friday (11/23) – Monday (11/26), all Christmas fabrics will be on sale 20 to 25% off, and they can all be found in our Holiday House.



Entire site 30% off through Tuesday (11/28)  8am PST.

Fat Quarter Shop
25% off your order when you use coupon code JINGLE. Sale ends Thursday (11/29) at midnight CST. 


Simplifi Fabrics Modern and Eco and Supplies
10% off your entire order. Use code "BLACKFRIDAY12 at checkout. Offer valid until Monday (11/26). 

Mad About Patchwork
20% off all recent arrivals with the coupon code RECENT20. Includes Chicopee, Cosmos, Bella, and more until 11/30.

My Fabric Spot
Until Sunday (11/25) at midnight (EST), Moda Odds and Ends Yardage is on sale for 20% off of regular prices.

25% off entire shop with code TURKEY25. Ends Sunday 11/25

AccuQuilt is having up to 35% off many items in their inventory.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Felt Ipod Case Tutorial

I hope everyone who celebrated had a happy Thanksgiving. Ours was great. I think I'm still recovering from my tryptophan coma. Which means now it's official: the holidays are really here. Today I am over at Skip to my Lou guest posting today for the Holiday Bake Craft Sew Along. I'm sharing a tutorial for a simple Christmas project - a quick ipod case which could also double as a simple wallet.
If you're looking for some great handmade Christmas ideas, be sure to check out the posts all month.   

As part of this sew-along I get to treat you to a SEW Amazing giveaway as part of our crafty series. This is one AMAZING giveaway! We are giving away a fabulous Prize Package worth more than $700!

One lucky winner will receive...
  • Singer ONE Sewing Machine this is Singer's easiest sewing machine! True to SINGER, it is easy to learn on, simple and has basic stitches for crafts. The perfect machine for stitching home made goods or something fun this holiday season!
  • Simplicity SideWinder Quickly and easily fill bobbins without having to un-thread and re-thread your sewing machine. The SideWinder transfers thread from spool to bobbin effortlessly and quickly; works with most bobbins, metal or plastic. An adjustable tension knob accommodates different thicknesses of thread! So cool!
  • Simplicity Bias Tape Maker This Simplicity Bias Tape Maker will Create customized single fold bias tape with the push of a button!
  • and so you have something beautiful to sew, $100.00 of fabric from Riley Blake!
Simply wait for RaffleCopter to load and enter there! Be sure to check out all the fabulous sewing projects shared this month for this Holiday Bake Craft Sew series going on all month long!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude Quilt

It is exciting to finally share a quilt that I made over a year ago. This is one of those quilts that has a lot of meaning behind it - it's my Gratitude Quilt and so, naturally, the week of Thanksgiving here in the states feels like the perfect time to finally share. 
I made this quilt over a year ago- it's weird to work on something and not talk about it. This was my first experience making something to contribute to a book and I was so excited I was ready to burst. But away it hid from any cameras or blogs. 
This quilt is based on an old signature style block, only instead of signatures, I embroidered things, people, and places that I am grateful for. The fabrics are from Moda's Collections for a Cause line, which suited the style of the quilt really well. I've always loved the idea of throwing teal in with traditional fall colors and I'm so happy with the result. I'm planning to make this pattern again out of more contemporary fabrics (maybe all solids?), because I think it would be equally effective and would work perfectly for a modern look too.
I embroidered all the the words by hand onto a giant piece of solid fabric so that it would be portable. I was working on them during our road trip to Bryce Canyon last fall, furiously stitching so that I could meet my deadline. Then I cut up the words and created the individual blocks I loved choosing each of my items I'm grateful for. See where it says tomatoes in the upper left corner?
Well in my haste, I accidentally wrote and stitched the word tomatoes twice. I didn't realize until I'd pieced the blocks and by then I was in such a hurry that I just went ahead and included it again - once in the upper left corner and the other in the lower right. I call it personality. And I guess subconsciously I'm just really grateful for tomatoes.
The pattern for this Gratitude quilt can be found in the book Sweet Celebrations with Moda Bakeshop Chefs. If you would like a signed copy, I have a limited number of copies available in my pattern shop. It was so much fun to get to contribute to this compilation. I feel honored to have been a part of it.
I have wanted to make a Gratitude quilt for many years. I'm glad I finally had the excuse - and the deadline- to push me there. And I'm enjoying having it back at home with me this Thanksgiving.

Hope all celebrating in the states have a happy Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite holidays. We are hosting lots of extended family members at our house tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. For one thing, it's a good incentive to clear all my sewing junk off the table. I'm not feeling too stressed thanks to the many food contributions by those who are coming and especially for my husband's desire to be in charge of the turkey. (YES!) He has been excited for weeks and takes this job very seriously. He's been preparing the brine and my house smells SO good as I sit here typing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

New books reviews + giveaway

I always love when I come across a good new pattern book full of quilty inspiration.  For me to recommend a book, it has to contain multiple great projects so that you get a real bang for your buck. Today I have two to share that definitely fit that qualification.

The first is Pretty in Patchwork: Holidayscompiled by John Adams and chock-full of adorable projects by creative people. There are projects for every skill level and as complex as full quilt patterns to simple ornaments.
A huge variety of ideas - and they're not just for Christmas. I am using the Modern Maples pattern from this book as well
I tried out the drawstring bag pattern. I loved the Swiss Flag version on the cover of the book and wanted to make one in honor of our recent trip.  
There are other simple variations on this pattern and the bags come together so quickly. I'd like to make a bunch of different versions this Christmas. Really simple gift idea and a great way to bust through some stash!
One other book to share is this recently published Simply Fat Quarters book by the folks at The Fat Quarter Shop.
This book contains 10 original patterns all created with Fat Quarters.
One of the best features of this book is that each pattern has the the instructions for multiple quilt sizes.
This Carousel quilt is one of my favorites in the book.
I decided to try a scrappy version of the block using my own scraps and it was so fun to put together. I definitely need to make more!

I'm happy to announce that I have a copy of each of these books to giveaway to two of you, thanks to the generosity of their publishers! Leave a comment on this post to be entered. Giveaway open until Thursday, November 22 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Winners will be announced Friday so that we can get these books out quickly for your own holiday inspiration.

Winners:


Sandy D said...
Who couldn't use one of these books. Thanks for a chance to win .
and CJ said...
Oh my gosh, I LOVE that Carousel quilt! Your scrappy version is going to be so cute.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Do Good - ways to help Superstorm Sandy victims

Watching the Hurricane Sandy coverage has been heartbreaking, but it especially hit home to me last weekend. My husband happened to talk to a client who lives in New Jersey and asks how she was doing. While she was safe, members of her immediate family had lost everything. She was trying to find ways to help them and planning on hosting 80 people for Thanksgiving alone. That same weekend, we had our first big snowfall of the year. Suddenly I didn't take my cozy house for granted anymore.
And I decided to do something. So I pulled out all the random flannel fabric I had in my house and started putting together a few simple quilts. It seemed stupid to have so much fabric and not share something with people who've lost everything. I had tons of pinks and yellows leftover from when my girls were little. These quilts aren't fancy, but they were fast. I made them 'envelope' style (sewed around the edges of fronts and backs right sides together with batting, turned right-side out and stiched the outside edges) and tied the centers. But they're thick and warm, so hopefully they'll do in a pinch.
This quilt is made from a bunch of flannel Fat Quarters from the Playdate collection by Dear Stella.  I love those elephants! (You can find Playdate at Fat Quarter Shop) I hope this will go to a loving home. Again, nothing fancy. I cut each fat quarter into 3 strips 6.25" x 18" long.  Mix up the prints to make blocks of 3 strips and square them up to 18" (17.5" finished). A fast way to make large blocks. 
These baby quilts were made by my daughter. We started them ages ago (as in years) but it since we were going to town with the pink flannels, it felt like a good time to finally finish them. There's one more in this set, but it's still waiting to be finished hopefully tomorrow afternoon. They are made using this method for making 3 baby blankets at once that is super quick and easy - and a great project for teaching beginning sewers. I think she did a great job.

I'm realizing I need to do a better job not only making time to sit and teach my kids to sew, but to also make more time to help my kids my kids be more involved in doing good deeds.
I'm going to put these in the mail on Monday.  If you're looking for ways to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, Victoria of Bumble Beans has organized quilt collections and is actively delivering them to shelters and medical stations where they will go directly to people in need. Also Make It Better: Craftalong for Sandy Relief is collecting all kinds of warm items - including hats, mittens, blankets... Both groups have addresses where items can be mailed.

There are always lots groups in local communities looking to collect charitable projects for those in need during the holidays.  If you are local here in Utah I know of two groups collecting fabric for blankets for service projects - both fleece and quilts. Email me at amy[at]diaryofaquilter[dot]com if you'd like contact info on either of those projects.

If you're aware of other entities collecting quilts and similar donations, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

It feels good to do good.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Flag Quilt for an Old Chum

I had to do it. I made yet another flag quilt. This quilt has been in the works for a little while and since it was finally delivered to it's recipient, I am now at liberty to share the pictures without spoiling any surprises. 

You may remember my flag quilt blocks I started during the Olympics. They have been assembled into a quilt for one of my oldest friends (not that we're old). E. and I have been friends for a long time - since we were 6 years old! And we've been obsessed with the Olympics ever since watching the Mary Lou Retton win the gymnastics gold medal in 1984. So it only seemed fitting to make a quilt, not only to commemorate our Olympic obsession, but also to commemorate countries we loved and visited together. 
Besides our Olympic obsession we also share a love of the UK - specifically London. (Here we are doing a very impressive Winston Churchill impression.)  We lived in London as University students on a semester abroad in 1993. A while ago. Which you could probably guess by the baggy faded-wash jeans we are wearing. While living in London we also visited France, Scotland and Ireland. It was an amazing part of my life made that much better by sharing it with a very good friend.
So I incorporated many of those countries' flags into the quilt. The countries represented above are (l to r, top to bottom): the United Kingdom, Austria, Scotland, France, USA, England, Taiwan, Ireland, and the UK again. We never actually visited Austria together but E's family has lots of connections in Austria and we were both raised on the Sound of Music and could probably quote entire scenes, so it seemed appropriate. Plus it fit the color scheme...

Here's a little bit of flag trivia for you all: the UK flag is officially called the Union Jack only at sea, and other wise called the Union Flag. And the Union Flag is three different flags combined: the Cross of St. Andrew for Scotland (blue with the white X), the cross of St. George for England (white with the red cross), and the cross of St. Patrick (white with the red X).  Pretty neato, right? Now you're all ready for final Jeopardy when that question comes. (Can you imagine if the US flag was a mash-up of all the States flags? Probably not this cool.)

I was excited to discover the Cross of St. Patrick (bottom center) because I really wanted Ireland represented in this quilt, but orange and green were going to throw-off the whole color scheme. (I'm desperately hoping I haven't sparked an international crisis or unintentionally offended anyone by doing it this way. I have made a an Irish tri-color flag quilt too. I have equal appreciation for all Irish flags...) Let me repeat, no offense was meant to any of the flags or the people of the countries represented here.
Finally, this flag is for Taiwan (and yay! It also was the right colors!) I even dusted off some dormant paper-piecing skills to create that sun. I'm quite proud of it. (Just don't look too closely.)

A little over a year after we came home from living in London, E and I both volunteered as missionaries for our Church for 18 months. I happened to go back to England and E went to Taiwan.  Even though we were far apart and in different cultures, it was neat to share that experience at the same time.
The back.
I'm so proud of myself, I even made a label for the quilt! I got this print during the London games from Spoonflower when they were having a fq promotion. Perfect in so many ways.
The adorable quilting was done by Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting.
And there it is, a happy, sentimental quilt for a dear old chum. (Not that we're old.)  

I don't have a pattern for this quilt. The Union Jack blocks are from the Victory Garden quilt pattern.  I drafted all the other flags and made them the same size (I think 15" x 20") and then added strips to the tops and bottoms of the flags to create (9) 20" square blocks.  I did the same on the Norway flags quilt a few summers ago. 
I love to make quilts for people that I love. It's one of my goals to be more proactive doing so.  It's been three years since I lost my friend Sarah and I've vowed ever since then, not to wait for the "perfect time" or occasion to give a quilt, but to just do it as soon as I can get my act together and make one.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christmas Stocking Tutorial

Hello friends! Today I'm going to show you a simple method for making scrappy Christmas stockings. They're quick and super easy (I promise) and a great way to use up your favorite fabrics or scraps. Using fat quarters, mine finished at 17" x 6".  You could enlarge the pattern and make the stockings any size you like, using the same method.
I used a bunch of gorgeous Art Gallery Fabrics from various collections including their Oval ElementsPure ElementsIndie and Rhapsodia

Fabric requirements (per stocking):
  • Lining - 1 Fat Quarter
  • Backing - Fat Quarter
  • Front - assorted fabric strips
  • Batting scrap 9" x 20"
Stocking template here (part 1) and here (part 2).
Cut out pattern and trace two lining pieces (facing opposite directions) from one fat quarter.
Gather 15-18 fabric strips at least 8"-9" long and various widths.
Trim batting scrap to slightly larger than the stocking pattern.
"Audition" fabric strips in the order you like before you start sewing.  Remove strips except middle two strips, but keep them in the planned order.
Place middle strip in place on the batting and pin adjacent strip right sides together. 
Sew strips together (and to batting) using 1/4" seam allowance. If you have a walking foot, I suggest using it. Press strips open.
Continue adding fabric strips using the same method of sewing right sides together, then press open. (Pressing will help keep your fabric strips neat.)  When all strips are sewn to batting you can quilt by stitching over the fabric strips at whatever density you prefer. I just eyeball the lines using the stripes as my guide 
Lay stocking pattern over quilted piece and cut stocking front trimming off 1" at the top. Cut a backing piece facing the opposite direction from the front also minus 1" from the top.  You will now have a front, back and two lining pieces. 
Match up the pieced front with a lining right sides together (toes pointing the same direction) and a back and lining piece right sides together.  Sew top edges together using 1/4" seam allowance. Press seams open.  Match up two new pieces with lining pieces right sides together and front/back right sides together. Sew all the way around matched pieces using a 1/4" seam allowance and leaving a 4" opening in the lining.
Before turning right sides out, trim fabric close to seam allowance on the lining pieces and clip curves of the outside portion of the stocking. Turn right side out and topstitch lining gap closed.  Tuck stocking lining inside the stocking, leaving the top of the lining sticking up 1/4" to create contrasting trim. Carefully shape and press the stocking, esp the top edge (see below).
To create a hanging loop, cut a scrap 1.5" x 6". Fold in half and crease. Open and fold sides into the crease. Press. Fold in half again and top stitch open sides closed.  Fold loop in half and pin to the inside of the back seam of the stocking. Sew it in place at the same time you top-stitch the top edge of the stocking. I top stitch at the top and bottom of the 'trim' to give it a finished look.
And that's it! You're done.  You could even do the same pattern and just make 'solid' fronts for your stockings.  
This tutorial was originally on  Art Gallery Fabrics blog as part of the series of tutorials from the Fat Quarter Gang. 
make your own Christmas stocking using fabric scraps