Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

There is so much that I love about Easter - coloring Easter eggs (playing with all those cheerful colors -I think I love it more than my kids), new clothes, no more winter (theoretically), flowers, bunnies, but most of all hope for SPRING. And just plain HOPE in general. 

I hope you won't mind if I share something a little more personal. I love this thought because we can all relate to going through bleak times in our lives.

"Think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest. But the doom of that day did not endure. The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind. 
"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But ...Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come."
           - Joseph Wirthlin (Full text here.)
I hope that whatever your beliefs or faith, you will have a happy holiday weekend with those you love and feel that hope that comes with the arrival of spring.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Quilt Design Tool from Threadbias


I'm so excited today to share a little bit about a brand-new quilt design resource available online from Threadbias. First of all, if you are not familiar with Threadbias, let me introduce you. Threadbias is a recent online sewing community website, run by real live sewists, where you can connect with groups, find and sell patterns, and be a part of a sewing community. You can create your own free profile any time!

And now Threadbias is launching their brand new Quilt Design Tool. This is a web-based tool where you can go to create your own block and quilt designs. I first heard about this design tool at the Sewing Summit last fall while it was still under construction. I was so impressed with the designers and builder and their vision of creating an intuitive, simple to understand quilt design tool for people like me.

While I would love to someday learn Adobe Illustrator, frankly, it scares the pants off me, and is probably more tech-y than I really need most of the time. I have other quilt design software, but I often feel frustrated by it's complexity and have only figured out how to do limited things with it. As a result I've been anxious to give Threadbias' Quilt Design Tool a try. And after having played with it this week, I'm already loving it and have signed up for a paid subscription myself.
This is a block I created today. It came together so quickly! I highly recommend watching the simple YouTube tutorials Alex (the Design Tool builder) has created to show you all that the program can do.  You can watch all of them in a short amount of time and will suddenly have the ability to create lots of snazzy new block and quilt designs.  
And this is the quilt design I made from my block. After designing your blocks/quilts in the Quilt Design Tool you can easily export them as jpg or vector images. And feel really cool about yourself.

Another one of the great features of the Quilt Design Tool are all the swatches of current and recent fabrics from most of the major fabric manufacturers available to use in your designs. You can choose fabrics from the site and add them to your profile "stash". Then they are ready to use when you are designing. Most of the fabric 'swatches' show up so nicely in the digital designs, but I did notice a few of the fabric images repeated with the ruler or looked a little 'out of whack'. 

I'm not worried about it though. It's very obvious that customer satisfaction is a high priority to the folks at Threadbias. Because the tool is so new, there are a few bugs to work out, but there are updates made to the Design Tool daily and new capabilities being added all the time. Alex, the builder, is very engaged in the Design Tool forum, welcomes suggestions and fixes issues sometimes by the next day. Clearly this is a tool that the folks at Threadbias want to be useable and helpful, and simple and intuitive enough for people like me to use.

If you're looking for a computer quit design option, I highly suggest you check it out. You can try the limited-capability tool for free when you sign-up for a free account on Threadbias. Full access to the Quilt Design Tool is available for a monthly $10 subscription which you can cancel at any time.

And today, Threadbias is giving away a free month-long subscription (or a one month credit if you're already a subscriber) to one of you readers! To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post. Giveaway is open until Thursday, April 4, midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

Winner: jbsewsApril 1, 2013 at 1:31 PM
I am just more and more impressed by this tool the more I see. :) Thanks for your input!

To read more about the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool, find out more about the cool things it can do, and for other chances to win that month long subscription, visit these other sites:

Monday, March 25 - Freshly Pieced
Tuesday, March 26 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Wednesday, March 27 - Generation Q Magazine
Thursday, March 28 - The Sometimes Crafter
Friday, March 29 - Diary of a Quilter
Monday, April 1 - Swim, Bike, Quilt
Tuesday, April 2 - Fresh Lemons
Wednesday, April 3 - West Coast Crafty
Thursday, April 4 - Sew, Mama, Sew!
Friday, April 5 - Alison Glass
Saturday, April 6 - Pink Castle Fabrics
Sunday, April 7 - Ellison Lane Quilts

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fabric geek news

Today a fabric-y post. Some currently available, and some sneak peaks of up and coming collections. 
This past week I've been sewing with these cheerful prints from Michael Miller called Happy Tones. (Project to be shared at a future date, but I couldn't not share these bright, sunny colors. They are a nice antidote to the end-of-winter blahs around here. My kids keep saying looking at these prints makes them crave jelly beans. (I think they're trying to give me hints, or something.)

All of these colors and prints come in one charm pack. Happy Tones pre-cuts and prints are available right now at the Fat Quarter Shop.
How about these cute, retro-inspired prints are from a new collection for Windham Fabrics called Cream and Sugar? I love the colors and prints in this line. Check out all the adorable projects made with them at the designers' blog, Ampersand Design Studio. I can pretty much guarantee it will make you want some. Cream and Sugar prints are also available at the Fat Quarter Shop.
Another collection due out shortly is Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter, also for Windham fabrics. I am such a fan of Lotta and her scandinavian minimalism design. I especially love those trees. I'm thinking these will need to be part of a new bag, similar to my Bella bag from last spring.
A few Glimma prints will also be available in canvas. (I'm so in love with that gold stripe!) Might be the perfect bag lining. Stay tuned... And while I'm here, can I just say I think that Windham has some hot new collections and designers, as well as future collections on the way by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew and the return of Heather Ross to quilting cottons? So excited to see both of those!
Finally, I got my first up close and personal look at Moda's new Honeycomb precuts. Can I say, brilliant? These are laser cut (meaning straight, non-fraying edges) 6"  (from point to opposite point) hexagons. They come in a stacks of 40 and you can get them in one solid color or in prints by collection, like charm packs. They are so neato.
The coolest part is that each stack of honeycombs comes with a sturdy plastic template with little holes at each point.
These holes can be used for quickly marking the 1/4" point where you will start and stop your Y-seams when you piece your hexagons. (For a great machine-piecing-hexagons tutorial, visit Kati). SO COOL.
And check out these pretty prints from Fig Tree's upcoming line, Honey Sweet. Mmmm.

And there's the latest episode of fabric geek news. The only problem with all this awesome fabric-ness, is that there are not enough hours in the day to create all the things I'd like to make with my favorite creative medium. At some point I need all the fabric companies to just take a break for a few months so that I can catch-up on everything before they start making more tempting  pretty stuff!

Speaking of fabric, if you're looking for some good deals right now you might want to check out Bloomerie's awesome March Madness sale with fabric starting at $5 a yard. Also, everything at Pink Castle Fabrics is 20% off with the code SPRING 20.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fabric Giveaway from Mad About Patchwork

Mad About Patchwork
Today we have an awesome giveaway from the online fabric shop, Mad About Patchwork.

Mad About Patchwork is an online shop located in Ontario, Canada, and full of the latest colorful, contemporary fabric including brand new collections such as Denyse Schmidt's Shelburne Falls, Art Gallery's Carnaby Street, and Liberty Lifestyle's Stile.

Mad About Patchwork specializes in fabric bundles like the Spring Garden bundle above and the pastel Easter Egg bundle in the picture at the top of the post. They also carry an amazing selection of basics such as of 150 different Kona Solids, Shot Cottons by Westminster, as well as other modern essentials like Essex, Painters Canvas, Shades (from Riley Blake), tons of colors of Pearl Bracelets (love!) and AGF's Oval Elements.

Besides all that good stuff, patterns are 40% off until the end of the month and there is always a changing selection of fabrics up to 40% off in the sale section (which includes Bella and Chicopee right now!)
Today, Mad About Patchwork is giving a way a Color Me Retro bundle - including 7 fat quarters + 1 yard of a print of your choice from the bundle. I love those yummy aquas and greens. Doesn't it make you crave Spring?
 To be entered to win this lovely bundle, take a quick visit to Mad About Patchwork and come back here telling me one of your favorite items in the shop.  One comment per person.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you should win! Giveaway open until Friday, March 29 at Midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

Winner: Kate said...
I love their designer bundles - my favorite fabric they have now is the lizzy house, pearl bracelet. i love them all!


Thank you Mad About Patchwork! You can keep up with the latest happenings and arrivals on their blog or their Facebook page as well.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee Block #2 by Sukie

Here it is folks! Block #2 of the Virtual Quilting Bee.
What is the Virtual Quilting Bee? Go here for more info.
Today's block was created by Amy Newbold of Sukie Don't Ya Know (or Sukie Don't Yak Now - take your pick ;). I love the block she created and named Oragami Star. The name is perfect! Above is the Happy Go Lucky version.

 Here is a version of the block in Kona Solids.
And here is my version for my own quilt

Important reminder: these blocks will be 8" finished (that means when it is part of the finished quilt) meaning they will measure 8 1/2" unfinished (when you have the block pieced, but before it's part of a finished quilt.)

You only need to make 1 block for the quilt we will be making, but you can always make more if you want a bigger finished quilt or multiple quilts. :)

I'm so excited to see all the variations that people create. Feel free to share yours on the Virtual Quilting Bee Flickr Group if you like! I have loved seeing all the stars from Sherri's block two weeks ago.

Also, a couple of suggestions for a VQB hashtag: Let's use #virtualquiltingbee if you're sharing on Instagram or Twitter!

And don't forget, our next block tutorial will be in TWO weeks.  If you have any questions, be sure to ask. I will answer questions as quickly as I can in the comments.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quilt at the beach

A few weeks ago, we went on a crazy, almost spur-of-the-moment road trip to the beach. My sister-in-law invited us to come stay with them at a beach house in southern California during part of their spring break. At first I wasn't sure it was a good idea. We had a lot going on and our kids would miss a couple days of school since it wasn't our spring break yet. Fortunately we threw caution to the wind and did it anyway. And it turned out to be the very best kind of idea.
We went from this the week before...
...to this.
Not too shabby.
Since we were going to be in a nice change of scenery, I decided to finally photograph this project somewhere besides my backyard. (Although, I wouldn't mind if this was my new backyard.) I started this quilt exactly a year ago. I wanted to play with fabrics and create a kind of ombre look using different shades of fabric. I love each of the fabrics that I used.
Then I decided I wanted to quilt it myself using an echo quilting in the white space. And it took. For. Evah.  I would work on it for a little bit and then get sick of it and put it away for a while. And then pull it out again for a few more rounds, and then put it away again. Finally I finished it during Season 3 of Downton Abby. Whew. 
And now it is finally ready to share.  I was originally going to write a pattern for this one. Still deciding if that will happen or if it will just be a nice experiment in fabrics, color, and a lot of straight line quilting. Also still trying to come up with a name for it. Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions?
And nowI will leave you with some dreamy, summery shots to get you through these last winter days (if it's still like that where you are.)
Breaks are good things - I didn't realize how much I needed one until we went away. It was so nice to just sit and visit with siblings (my sister and her husband drove a couple of hours to come visit for the day and another brother-in-law and his wife were able to visit another day. I love my family!) I loved just sitting, doing a little hand-sewing, watching the cousins play together, listening to the waves, and eating fresh fish tacos.
And now we're back in the middle of school plays, registering for next year, birthdays, and the busy-ness of regular life. Next time I get an invite to the beach, I definitely won't drag my feet before I get there. That's for sure.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meet My Machine

Today I'm part of the blog hop: Meet My Machine, so if you're stopping by for the first time, howdy and welcome! Be forewarned  I'm not going to wow you with any super-fancy, high-tech, machine. If you've visited my blog before, you know that I sew with an old-school Bernina Sport 801 made sometime around 1980. And I love this puppy!  All metal parts, super sturdy, and no computerized anything (hello, it was made when computers were still the size of refrigerators).  But it just goes and goes.
The Tilted Quilt meet My Machine Linky Party
Since I don't do a lot of fancy stuff with my machine - mainly I just sew straight lines - this one is all that I need. My mom bought it when a local college was replacing their machines sometime in the late 80's. Since it's exactly like the machine I first learned to sew on, I was always comfortable with this one and when she upgraded about 12 years ago, she let me have it.

I frequently get asked the question what new machine would I recommend for someone who wants to buy their first machine. Since I've never bought a new machine, I don't consider myself a great resource on new machines, so I asked my readers for some of their thoughts and experience. You can read their suggestions in the comments on this post.

I'm now toying with the idea of of upgrading myself, but still unsure exactly what to get. While I will always love this baby, I'm starting to consider the idea of a little more throat space sounding nice. I'm still doing some research of my own. I'm excited to check out the rest of the Meet My Machine Blog Hop.


SUNDAY, MARCH 17

MONDAY, MARCH 18

TUESDAY, MARCH 19

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20

THURSDAY, MARCH 21

FRIDAY, MARCH 22

Want to share your own machine and it's story? You can link up a post here.

As part of this tour we were also invited to share pictures of our sewing space. I am currently in the middle of a few big projects and as a result, my sewing space looks like a HAZMAT reclamation super-fund site.
So instead, and just for fun (and so this post isn't totally boring and picture-less), a few pictures of some recent blocks I created for Shari as part of a Bee swap. (Not to be confused with the Virtual Quilting Bee.) The block above was made from the free pattern Charming Lucy by Andy at A Bright Corner. So quick and satisfying! I think I need to make more. A great way to use up a charm pack.
This block (also for Shari) came from a request for a "house" inspired block. She sent us fabric and a few images for inspiration and let us come up with what ever we liked. I loved the little focus print she sent. So I decided to build her a cute little neighborhood.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Specialty circle, tumbler, and hexie rulers!

Not long ago I was contacted by the amazing Lori Holt to see if I would like to play with her new acrylic rulers/templates she designed for Riley Blake. Of course I said yes! The rulers come in multiple sizes in three different shapes:

All of the rulers are sized perfectly to go with pre-cut fabric, whether it's 10" squares, 5" charm squares or 2 1/2" strips. I'm so excited to try lots of ideas with these. You can get Lori's rulers in her Etsy Shop or from the Fat Quarter Shop.
Today I've been asked to be a part of Project Polkadot at Melissa Mortenson's blog, The Polkadot Chair. So I put those circle rulers to use for this project!
Inspired by Riley Blake's new tone on tone polkadots (which you can find at the Fat Quarter Shop) I decided to make some tone on tone circles.
To get the variety of colored fabrics I used a Riley Blake Stacker - a collection of their light solids
The colors are so perfect for Spring! I'm excited to turn this into a pillow. You can read more about how I created my little circle mini quilt by visiting Project Polkadot at the Polkadot Chair.

(And lest anyone out there is under the misconception that I totally have my act together, here is proof that I often do not. I had hoped to have this pillow done for Project Polkadot, but this is as far as I got. Life comes at you and it's all about just doing what we can right?)

Happy Weekend!

PS For any interested locals: I'm teaching a Use-Your-Scraps class this coming Monday, March 18 at American Quilting in Orem, Utah at noon along with the very wonderful and delightful Marilyn Yerkes. It's not too late, if you want to come. You can contact American Quilting at 801-802-7841.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Giveaway from Pink Castle Fabrics


Pink Castle Fabrics

Today I'm so excited to share a giveaway with you from one of my sponsors and one of my favorite online fabric shops: Pink Castle Fabrics. I am such a fan of their selection - lots of my favorite collections, all in one place. Including brand new collections like Shelburne Falls, Color Me Retro, and Comma.
Another great feature at Pink Castle Fabrics is their monthly clubs. For example the Stash Stack Club is a great way to build your fabric stash. Each month there is a new bundle of blender prints in one specific color on the color wheel, with twelve different colors/bundles throughout the year. 
For example, last month (February) was blue. Here's a sample of the prints in last month's bundle. March will be Greens and April will be Yellow. The bundles come in fat quarter, half-yard, and full-yard options. 
Here's a sample of the color bundles from the past year. Such a great way to stock up on basic prints in every color. You can find out more details from the Stash Stack Club here.
Another recent monthly club is the No Prints Allowed Club. This club is basically the same concept - a bundle of fabric in a different colorway every month - only the bundles are entirely made up of solids.
This month, for example is green. (Fitting.) You have until the 20th of this month to sign up to get this month's bundle, but you can sign up at any time to participate in the club!
Virtual Quilting Bee F8 - Blogger Bundle by Amy from Diary of a Quilter
Also, as a little side note, Brenda at Pink Castle has restocked the Fat 1/8th and Fat Quarter solids bundles for the Virtual Quilting Bee! Isn't' that color spectrum mouth-watering??
Today Brenda is giving away a bundle of 12 blue fat quarters from last month's Stash Stack Club AND a bundle of 12 green No Prints Allowed fat quarters! To enter leave a comment on this post. If you want to, swing by Pink Castle Fabrics and come back here and tell me something that you love in the shop. One comment per person. Giveaway open until Sunday, March 17 at midnight MST. If you are a no-reply blogger, make sure I have a way to contact you. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

Winners:
amylynne said...
Hmmmm........I do need a stash! A little fabric......beautiful!
AND 
 Bron @ Stop That Owl said...
I LOVE the idea of the Stash Stack club. There are a few colours in my stash that are definitely lacking, and that would be a great way to top them up quickly. What a gorgeous giveaway!

I highly recomend keeping up with Brenda and Pink Castle Fabrics on Facebook  and Twitter as a great way to stay up to date on their fabulous sales and specials! Thanks again Brenda!
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Thank you so much for the support of the sponsors of this blog. I know from working in a fabric shop  that they are often run by people with a passion for fabric, not because they're in it to get rich. I'm so grateful for all they do to support our hobby, as well as support this blog and make it possible for me to justify the many hours spent here. Thank you!