Friday, May 31, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee - Block Tutorial #7

It's time again for another quilt block tutorial for the Virtual Quilting Bee! Today's block is designed by Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane Quilts.
If you're new to the Virtual Quilting Bee click here for all the details as well as links to block and introduction to quilting tutorials. 
I'm so excited to make Jennifer's block. I love the fussy-cutting (cutting the fabric pieces around and to show off elements of the fabric design) Jennifer used with those giant checks.


A few other quick reminders about the Virtual Quilting Bee: 
  • If you are using a fat 1/8th  bundle for your blocks - specifically a Happy Go Lucky fat 1/8 bundle - cut a 6 1/2" square from each fabric except the white on white dots. (You will need 32 total 6 1/2" squares.) You will need to save these for your setting squares when the blocks are finished. If you do this, you shouldn't have to buy more fabric later, but still have plenty for your 16 pieced blocks.
  • Remember: 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 of each 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've loved 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 blocks so far.
  • Use the hashtag #virtualquiltingbee if you're sharing on Instagram or Twitter!
  • And as always feel free to ask questions! I will answer the best that I can in the comments section. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Fabric Collection: Technicolor

Have you seen the new Technicolor collection by Emily Herrick that is coming out any minute? I am so excited to dig in and play with some of these prints
 Emily debuted this collection at Quilt Market. It is such a cheerful and colorful collection. And something else cool that I didn't know about: See those shapes on the counter to the right of Emily? Michael Miller has created precuts in different shapes including circles, hexagons, and triangles. AND you can even buy them with OR without iron-on adhesives on the back. I thought that was pretty clever and pretty cool.
Here's a closer look at the prints in the Technicolor collection.  Some really great blenders and some interesting new designs. I love the colors she used. I also love that diamond cheater print (right). So much you could do with that. Keep your eyes peeled for Technicolor in shops and online soon. Fat Quarter Shop already has it available for pre-order and Westwood Acres will also carry bundles soon.
And speaking of upcoming collections for Michael Miller, here is a second quilt that I made right before Quilt Market using Sarah Jane's Let's Pretend collection - this time in the girl/Masquerade color way. I had a great time making the diamonds. This is the one that surprised my husband. I'll do a tutorial soon to show how I pieced the diamonds. It's pretty slick!

I made this one in a hurry - I think there are things about the layout and the design I would tweak if I was making it again. 
I think I like the back equally as much as the front. In fact, it made me think I should make more quilt fronts like this one. The strips are so quick to piece and it's an easy way to show off lots of cute prints. I love the pink and gray colorway from Let's Pretend and that little girl with the bear in the harlequin pants is my favorite print in the collection. I definitely need a bit more of that one! And the crowns. Such a cute 'solid' print in a variety of colors. Let's Pretend will ship to shops in June.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Fat Quarter Shop and a free quilt-along!

If you are an online fabric shopper, you are probably well familiar with one of my sponsors, The Fat Quarter Shop.

In my opinion, the Fat Quarter Shop sets the bar for the online fabric shopping experience. The site is so well organized and easy to navigate and their selection and service is amazing. Also, be sure to check out their Sale section for lots of great deals!

One of their specialties is their Clubs and Block of the Month Quilts and Programs.
The latest program at the Fat Quarter Shop is hosting is a Quilt-along called Deck-ade the Halls.  This Christmas-themed Quilt-along celebrates the 10 years the Fat Quarter Shop has been in business. The patterns consist of 10 free downloads over the next 5 months with plenty of time to complete this quilt before Christmas! To find out more about it, visit the Jolly Jabber blog and follow along on Flickr. There are even video tutorials, as you can see with block #1.


To help you get started, the Fat Quarter Shop is giving away a Layer Cake of Moda's Aspen Frost by Basic Grey. Kits are available for this quilt-along, but you are also encouraged to use your own fabrics and pull from your own stash.

If you'd like a chance to win the Aspen Frost layer cake, leave a comment on this post. Giveaway will be open until Friday, May 31 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

WINNER: LynetteMay 28, 2013 at 6:08 AM
Fabric I love fabric! A diet plan that included a daily fabric treat would help me shed pounds!!! Something like for each pound lost add one "fat" quarter to your stash!!!
Thanks for the giveaway!

To keep tabs on the Fat Quarter Shop and their many programs, sales, and upcoming arrivals you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or their blog. You can also check out their YouTube channel for lots of great tutorials and video interviews.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quilt Market Recap Part 2

Alrighty, are you ready for more? (To see Part 1 go here.) I did my best to consolidate, but still give you a glimpse of all the pretty. Buckle up. Here we go... Riley Blake has added some new basics to their offerings including stripes (in many different widths) and ginghams. (There's the official Gingham Style suit!)
A few more glimpses of upcoming Riley Blake collections Kensington, Ashbury Heights, and Boy Crazy (cute triangles!) as well as a quick pick with designers Shari Butler and Carina Gardner.
A few quick glimpses of the Michael Miller area: Designers Emily Herrick and Violet Craft who both had awesome new collections Technicolor and Waterfront. Also a familiar quilt and a giant swan boat ride.
The Freespirit/Westminster Fabrics booth is always full of pretty inspiration.  (R-to-L): Joel Dewberry, Jenean Morrison, Denyse Schmidt's new collection, Florence, which has lots of great colors and prints, and pretty stitchery by Anna Maria Horner.
(clockwise) Heather Bailey had an AMAZING giant bird embroidery on her wall and green turf as the floor. Her booth won an award. Tula Pink's booth is always full of color, Oliver + S and the Straight Stitch Society (which I love!) and Pam Kitty Morning's cute new collection.
The Kokka booth. I always love to check out this one. Cute, kitschy Hello Kitty prints, new collections by Melody Miller and Ellen Luckett Baker. Love those tulips!
And guess, what? More fabric from more fabric companies! These companies are smaller, but always have amazing, fresh designs: (clockwise) Birch Fabrics, Dear Stella, Monaluna, Rashida for Cloud 9, and Blend.
Robert Kaufman had some fun new stuff including these saturated tones from new designer, Jennifer Sampou.   Not my typical style, but I loved how the batik-y looking stripes looked used in the quilt and dress. A simple way to add design elements letting the fabric do all the work. Also the new cutesy Hello Tokyo collection was darling.
Speaking of Robert Kaufman, they had a great collection of new apparel weight fabrics including denims, chambrays, swiss dots, etc. Some great things! There is one of my cute roomies, Andrea, who sewed a lot of the samples for RK.  Other cool apparel news included a range of colored denim by Indygo Junction. The weight was SO nice and felt so soft. They'd had some cool sample garments and a nice Union Jack Pillow. Riley Blake is offering a selection of knits now too.
Some amazing designers and their booths: (clockwise) Jen Kingwell from Austrailia. Holy Moly. Amazing quilts. The picture of the full booth does not do them justice. You can see in the close up shot that there is so much amazing detail. Emily Cier of Carolina Patchwork. It was so neat to see her work up close as well. I love her use of color and placement. Just beautiful. And Debbie of Esch House Quilts had her first booth. I love her minimalism. Beautiful work there too. 
One of my very favorite booths of Market belonged to Jodie of Ric-Rac. Ric-Rac was one of the first sewing blogs I ever read.  When it clicked that she was standing there live and in person, I about flipped. And then to see her cute goodies, live and in person, including the dress made entirely of selvage strips, I about flipped again! Also the fact that Jodie was hysterically funny to talk to.
And just to round things off (in case you've been waiting) coming soon to fabric collections near you: One Direction and Bobba Fett!  And finally, at one point we were just mozying along, looking at booths when I looked up at a hanging quilt and suddenly thought, "Hey. That quilt looks like one I made. Wait! I did make that quilt!" There was my Blooma quilt that's in the current edition of McCall's Quilting magazine.  I hadn't seen it since I sent it to Blend Fabrics last September. It was nice to be reunited, briefly.

And there you have it. My report of Spring Quilt Market 2013. You made it through the end.
Since I was feeling sad that we couldn't all be there hanging out together, I brought back a few treasures and decided to give them away. I divided them into two piles so that I could spread the joy.  If you want a pile of Quilt Market Loot, just leave a comment. I'll randomly pick two winners on Thursday. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

Winners:  Maria said...

Great recap! Thanks for the chance to win.
And: Cathy K said...
Thanks for sharing this tantalizing glimpse of Market. Someday I have got to GET there! And thanks for the links, too. I will have drooling - er - reading material for hours! :-) Cathy K in SLC

Friday, May 24, 2013

Portland Quilt Market 2013

Writing a recap of Quilt Market is always so daunting. It's so much to take in visually and otherwise  before your head wants to start exploding, and then even harder to break down, go through tons of pictures, and process them so that I'm able to share it coherently.  I've done the best I could. Get ready for lots of images. I'm going to break things up into two posts.
The first day of Quilt Market is called Schoolhouse and it is a mad rush of 'classes' - or presentations all day long. It's everything from fabric companies and designers introducing their latest collections, publishers talking about their latest releases, to classes to help shop owners improve the success of their stores.  So the reason I was there personally, was to help publicize Martingale's new book Modern Baby: Easy, Fresh, and Fun Quilt Designs that I contributed to. (There I am saying something very profound about my quilt.) It was fun to be on a panel with some of the other contributors, Jen Eskridge, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Jake Finch, Melissa Corry, and Carolyn Friedlander

Another panel included Jeni Baker, Lee Heinrich, and Amy Ellis promoting Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. I love that book! I bought a copy a while back because there are so many great quilt patterns in that book. It was fun to get to see some of the quilts from the book in real life, including one of my favorites- the solid Court House Steps quilt by Audrie.
A few other gorgeous quilts at Schoolhouse (clockwise): Sherri McConnell talking about her new book, A Quilting Life: Creating a Handmade Home, Amy McClellan and her book, It's a Circus, Amy Ellis and her new book, Modern Neutrals, and Vanessa Christenson talking about Aurifil Threads and her new collection, Simply Style.
Friday-Sunday was "the Show" where everything from fabric companies, sewing machine and notions manufacturers, independent pattern designers, book and magazine publishers have booths to display their goods for retail buyers. It's in a huge convention center and it's always a little bit overwhelming after a while - I have to break it up over a couple of days. There is something for everyone's different tastes, and there is always amazing inspiration. I'll share a few of my favorites, and continue with more this weekend, just so I can do my best to give you that overwhelmed feeling yourself.

Above is the Moda booth - always inspiring and well done. The colored 'curtain' is made up of thousands of laser-cut fabric leaves. Some awesome quilts by Camille Roskelly and Kate Spain and running into Sherri and Judi. I really do love connecting with online friends in real life!
Clockwise: with Allison Harris who debuted her first fabric collection, Wallflowers with Windham. The cute Basic Grey girls in the Moda section, Heather Ross's cheerful Briar Rose collection, and Vanessa and her Simply Style with Moda. 

Right next to Vanessa (you can see a cute trip-around-the-world quilt on the right) was Sandy Klop - one of my all time favorites and some how I didn't even manage to get a picture with her, let alone her cute new fabric and quilts! I'm always so afraid that Sandy thinks I'm a stalker. I guess this year I was trying extra hard to play it cool and not scare her. But I'm totally kicking myself for not taking at least one stealthy picture! Her new collection called Pot Luck and is classic vintage Sandy.
The Art Gallery Fabrics booths were gorgeous as always. I've been really good about not buying a lot of fabric recently, but I did succumb (I blame Megan) to buying some samples of their solid Pure Elements. They're so beautiful!
Clockwise: New Art Gallery designer Bonnie Christine and her beautiful booth, Angela Walters incredible quilting, Pat Bravo's Carnaby Street collection (how could I pass up a Union Jack couch?!) and cute Jeni Baker's new collection, Nordika (think modern scandinavian). Some super cool prints in there. I'm especially loving the bird panel on the bag on the right.

All right, break time. To see Part 2 go here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dresden Pillow Tutorial


Today I am sharing a tutorial for a Dresden-inspired circle pillow "poof" using Bari J.'s gorgeous new Bijoux collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. This tutorial will create a 16" cushion.
The fabric requirements for this project are:
  • 10 fat quarters (I chose that many because I wanted the variety of prints, but you could use as few or as many as you want.)
  • one regular 1/4 of a yard for the pillow side (I used Essential Ovals Elements Mustard)
  • two 6" squares of solid (I used Pure Elements Honey)
  • pillow stuffing
  • one Dresden wedge ruler

I used the EZ quilt Dresden wedge ruler by Simplicity (an 18 degree wedge) - it's widely available in the notions department of chain sewing stores, as well as independent quilt shops.  This ruler is available at large chain sewing outlets, as well as lots of independent quilt shops. I've used this ruler on projects before including a traditional Dresden block as well as my Peppermint Pinwheels quilt tutorial. This wedge is an 18 degree wedge and requires 20 wedges to complete the circle. (There are other wedge rulers at different widths that will use a different number of wedges to create the circle.)
If you are using 10 different prints, cut a 7" x 9 1/2" rectangle of each print. Use the Dresden Wedge ruler to cut 4 wedges 7" long from each print.  You will need a total of 40 wedges for this project.
Layout wedges to get the color and design placement you want. Match-up wedges into pairs, right sides together, and sew one edge using a scant 1/4" seam. Press seam to one side.
After sewing pairs together, sew four of the sets into groups of four, and then into two groups of 10 wedges. Sew the final two halves together to create the Dresden circle. Repeat the process to create a coordinating back.
To create the center circle, trace and cut out a 4" template. (Cereal box weight cardboard is perfect.) Then cut out a 6" circle of fabric (it doesn't have to be a perfect circle).  Run a large basting stitch around the edge of the circle, place the template in the center and gather your fabric around the circle. Press the edges well with the template still in place.  Remove the template and press again. Starch will help you get a nice crisp circle.  Then fold the fabric circle into fourths and lightly press to create lines above.
Use pressed lines as guides to find the center of the larger pieced circle by lining up pressed lines with the lines of the pieced wedges. There should be 5 wedges between each quadrant of the center circle. Pin circle and sew in place using coordinating thread. Remove pins and press.Repeat with second side.
Cut and sew a 3 1/2" x 52 1/2" strip for pillow side. Sew strip ends together to create a continuous circle. Fold in half and lightly press to mark 4 equal quadrants on the strip. Using the pressed lines as guides, pin marked quadrants on the strip in place every 5 wedges to keep strip equally distributed. Then carefully pin strip equally all the way around the sides. Sew in place using a 1/4" seam.
Repeat the process, pinning the back side to the strip and sew edges, leaving a 5" opening to stuff the pillow. Turn pillow right-sides out and stuff with batting. Hand-stitch opening to finish pillow.
And there you go! A beautiful pillow, showcasing lots of pretty fabric, and so much simpler than it looks. I'd love to see what you make using this tutorial. Be sure to add it to the AGF Flicker group!
And finally, some out-takes from the pillow photo-shoot last week before I left. My trusty assistant wanted to show-off his Vanna White skills. They may be goofballs, but they're MY goofballs and I'm so happy to be home with them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Inset Seams Tutorial

tutorial how to sew inset or partial seams in quilts
Howdy friends! I'm home from Quilt Market and trying to jump back into regular life. It was a great time and I look forward to trying to process it all so that I can share some of the highlights with you.  I apologize for the hiccups with the Virtual Quilting Bee Block this weekend. Both Amanda and I were at Market with limited internet access. Poor Amanda's server has been having glitches. Talk about stress for her.

After having the chance to make my own block today I thought I'd share another technique for Inset Seams (or Partial Seams) since it's a little bit simpler and quicker. Feel free to use whichever method you choose. Since there was a little confusion on the block, I thought I'd show my process.
Go here for to see the block cutting requirements. **I did make one change - I cut my center square 3.25" (instead of 3.5") and it worked perfect.** Make outside flying geese blocks per Amanda's instructions
After four Flying-geese units were created I laid out my pieces.
Starting with the top flying-geese unit, I lined up the right side with the right side of my center square and sewed a regular 1/4" seam, stopping and back-stitching about 1" from the end.
Going clockwise, you will notice that the second flying-geese block is the same length as the right side of the pieced unit. I sewed the second flying-geese block to the pieced unit like normal and pressed the seam toward the flying-geese block. No inset-seams to worry about. Easy-peasy.
Repeat the same process again, moving clockwise and sew the third flying-geese unit to the bottom of the growing block.
 Repeat one more time on the final side.
Now we are ready to finish of the final side.  Fold down the original flying-geese block, matching up edges and finish sewing the partially-sewn seam.
Fold back up, press seam toward the flying-geese unit and voila: you did it!

I hope that helps. I'm sorry again for any frustration or confusion. Thanks for your patience and for those who chimed in in the comments to help out while I was unavailable.