Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fabric sales for Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

I hope all of you State-side folks enjoyed a Happy Day of Giving Thanks. Ours was low-key and fun, made even better by the fact that I didn't have to host this year. I just pigged-out, helped clean-up and went home to bed. Very nice.

So now that means we're officially into the full Holiday Hoopla. I'm not the camp out outside Walmart-type-of-gal, but I do sure love a good deal. So I thought I'd share the deals going on for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Most of these are independent fabric stores who do so much to support us in our fabric addictions needs. So now's a great time to fill your own Christmas stocking from the comfort of your own cozy home. Here are some of the deals this weekend:

The Fat Quarter Shop has everything in the store 25% off through Saturday at midnight CST (with the exclusion of clubs, memberships, and gift certificates.)

BobbieLou's has everything in the shop 25% off through Monday, Dec 2 with the code GOBBLE at checkout. Lots of great, whimsical prints.

Cuts of Cotton 20% OFF Dotten Ovals, Sun Print Feathers, Sun Print Party Streamer, Minimalista and Kona Solids. Use discount code THANKS at checkout. Also checkout sale section.
Mad About Patchwork in Canada is having 20% off all fabrics from Rowan which includes Amy Butler and Kaffe Fasset shot cottons and woven stripes with code HOLIDAY20 - good through Dec 24.

The Little Fabric Shop has everything 15% off through Sunday, Dec 1 with code BLACKFRI2013

Canton Village Quilt Works has assorted items marked down through Dec 2 - including precuts (FQ bundles included) 20% off using the code 20thank at checkout.

JAQS is having her annual $7 print sale - over 100 prints marked down to only $7 a yard through Dec 2.

Christa Quilts: Entire Inventory 20% - 50% off.
Bloomerie Fabrics 20% off (everything) in the shop -- fabric yardage, bundles, pre-cuts, patterns, threads, notions (Wonder Clips!), embroidery supplies, more (even clearance items) -- when you enter coupon code DOQMERRY at checkout.  Good through Dec 19.

Connecting Threads: Save 40-60% on select fabric kits, samplers and 3-1/2 yard cuts of fabric, with even greater markdown pricing on already clearanced items. The Black Friday sales will run through Dec 3.

Pink Castle Fabrics is having Black Friday weekend specials on Aurifil threads and floss, notions, and 20% off precuts and bundles with the code HOLIDAY20. 


Southern Fabrics: Lots of items marked down and 20% off non-sale items with the coupon code SF20OFF through Dec 2.

Poppy Seed Fabrics: 20% off everything in the shop (with a $15 minimum purchase) with coupon code HOLIDAY20 through Dec 2.

FabricWorm has 15% off the entire site for Cyber Monday with the code CMYEAH

Sarah Jane Studios: 25% entire order with code HOLIDAY13 through Dec 2

AccuQuilt: big markdowns, including a $99 GO Baby Starter Set

Craftsy

Huge Craftsy Class Sale up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2 all online classes just $19.99 or less. (That's a super steal!!) If you've ever wanted to sign up for a Craftsy class, now is an awesome chance. Also a Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off.

Happy shopping in the comfort of your own bathrobe. No pepper spray or throwing elbows needed.

This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Union Jack attack - Pattern and Panels

This fall I was asked to make and teach this bag for a class at Fabric Fest and have long promised a pattern. Finally it is ready. You can find it in my Pattern Shop or Etsy shop. I have a couple of kits available in the above fabrics - contact me directly at amy{at}diaryofaquilter{.}com if you're interested in one. I had wanted to make a small quilt using the block in different colors, but that hasn't happened and I'm not sure when it will, so I decided not to delay the pattern any longer since there are some who have requested it for Christmas. 
The block instructions are included in the bag pattern and can be used however you like. The block finishes at 11" x 15". I made a quilt with Union Jacks using a different pattern, but ended up modifying it significantly because there was a lot of fabric waste using that method. For a long time I've wanted to create my own pattern for the Union Jack with a more efficient method and less fabric waste. It is finally here.
If you've been around these parts for a while, you know I kind of have a thing for Union Jacks. They are a huge trend right now - I like to think that maybe I had something to do with it, but the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics last year probably contributed as well. We even saw French kids in Paris last year with Union Jacks on their shirts, and you know that's saying something.
So you know I was excited to see these great Union Jack panels from Riley Blake. They've just come out this month and should be hitting stores any time. The small Jacks measure 9" x 11" with a panel of 8 different flags. I have a baby quilt and tutorial in the works with these panels.
The large flags are 36" x 42". I can't wait to think of something to do with this big boy. 
I'm having fun coming up with ideas for these panels. You can find assorted panels at the Fat Quarter Shop, Fort Worth Fabric Studio, and Hawthorne Threads.
In other upcoming Union Jack fun, check out these prints from London Calling by Dear Stella coming out next year. I might need these too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Bernina Sewing Machine

Hello friends. Meet Big Bertha. To say that I am excited about this bad boy coming to stay with me is a huge understatement. 
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The reason for all this hoopla is that I am partnering with Bernina USA to review this beautiful Bernina 710 machine and as a contributor to the We All Sew Blog. If you haven't been to the We All Sew blog, you should stop by for a visit. It is a great resource full of all kinds of sewing tutorials and projects.
 
I couldn't be more thrilled. I have been sewing on a Bernina - mainly this one - my whole sewing life. From the time I took sewing lessons in my neighbor's basement when I was a kid where I made things like corduroy burmuda shorts or boxy Hawaiian print shirts that looked like something Magnum PI would wear, I've been sewing on a Bernina. My machine my whole adult life has been this Bernina Sport 801, ca 1979. This has been a hardworking, heavy-duty little machine and I'll keep it forever. But I've been ready for sometime for an upgrade - especially something with more throat space and a nice table-workspace.  The throat on the 710 feels HUGE compared to what I've been using for years.
Since I've been sewing old-school for so long, it's going to take me a little while to learn all the bells and whistles on a 21st century, up-to-date sewing machine model. I'm taking classes at my local Bernina dealer (highly recommended no matter what sewing machine model you have). Already I'm loving the fancy features like the button that clips my threads (I feel so tidy!), and the giant bobbin! It's huge - holds twice as much thread as my old bobbins. 

I'm also looking forward to trying out the Stitch Regulator and hopefully get over my fear of free-motion-quilting. The size alone of my old machine has been prohibitive for me in terms of trying to free-motion quilt. Now I won't have that excuse any more. I need to get practicing. I'll share my journey and any helpful tips along the way.
In other fun stuff, in preparation for this state-of-the-art machine to come live with us, I've also been updating our house to create a welcoming space. I am converting a rarely-used dining space as a place to keep my sewing set up. We've hung doors to close off the space, built an Ikea dresser to hold all my mess supplies out of sight, and even painted the walls. I'll give a little more of an update and before-and-after shots of the transformation when it's all done. Already I'm loving it. And then I'll be ready to just sit and SEW.

Disclosure: as part of this partnership, Bernina USA has sent me a sewing machine to review and use for a year. No other financial compensation was given. All thoughts and reviews are always my own.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Classic Modern Quilts

 
I'm excited to share a little more about the Classic Modern Quilts book today as part of a blog tour.
All of the quilts in this book are based on traditional quilt blocks and then given a modern spin. All of the contributors also discuss their thoughts on modern quilting. This is the quilt I contributed for this book. You can read more about my Modern Red Cross quilt here.

Here is a sneak peak of a few of the other quilts in the book. This one is called Blaze by Adrianne Ove.
 Electric Fans by Susan Strong
King's Treasure by Lynne Goldsworty

You can read more about Classic Modern Quilts and it's contributors at the My Stars blog as well as at these stops on the tour:

Nov. 11: Lisa Calle, www.vintagemodernquilts.com
Nov. 12: Lynne Goldsworthy, www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com
Nov. 13: Lauren Hunt, www.myauntjune.blogspot.com
Nov. 14: Heather Kojan, www.heatherkojan.blogspot.com
Nov. 15: John Kubiniec, www.bigrigquilting.blogspot.com
Nov. 18: Adrianne Ove, www.littlebluebell.com
Nov. 19: Trisch Price, www.hadleystreetquilts.com
Nov. 20: Tammie Schaffer, www.craftytammie.com
Nov. 22: Susan Strong, www.strongstitches.wordpress.com

I have a few books available in my Etsy Shop, if you would like one signed. Books are also available from Kansas City Star and Marmalade Fabrics.
If you're looking to make your own Red Cross quilt, Marmalade Fabrics has Red Cross kits available as well as bundles of red prints in FQ's and 1/2 yards

I also have a copy of the book to giveaway! Leave a comment on this post to enter. Giveaway open until Saturday, Nov 23 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

WINNER: Kara@ Kieran HoneybeeNovember 21, 2013 at 6:21 PM
ah! Ive been dying for this book! Great giveaway!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Clearance Sale at Christa Quilts

Christa Quilts!
This fall at the Sewing Summit I got to meet Christa from ChristaQuilts, and it was so much fun. Her enthusiasm for the quilting industry is contagious. And Christa has some exciting things going on including a huge pre-holiday clearance sale! Everything in her store is on sale 20%-50% off the original prices. 
Bungalow Turning Cartwheels Kit
This includes Joel Dewberry's fabulous Bungalow line, her entire stock of Kona Solids (I need to stock up!), all of her kits, plus hundreds more fabulous fabrics. US orders still qualify for free shipping, not matter how large or small the purchase!
Thanks in part to the modern quilt movement, Christa has decided to change gears and clear out her entire store inventory of yardage, notions and patterns so she can focus on selling Moda Precuts and Aurifil Thread.

This is allowing her the flexibility to spend more time designing, teaching and quilting. In fact, Christa's Colorful Chevrons quilt was recently featured on the cover of Quilty magazine, and her Modern Trees Quilt Along has become her most popular blog series yet.
So pop on over to ChristaQuilts.com and stock up on your favorite fabrics at incredible prices. Then visit her blog at ChristaQuiltsBlog.com to see the other fun things she's doing. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kona Solids Blocks and Oakshott Modern Maples

I am happy to report that I'm getting my sewing mojo back - or my "sewjo" as my friend Maggie puts it. First of all, I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my Kona Solids Virtual Quilting Bee blocks. (Thanks so much to everyone for their thoughts and input.) For the measurements and instructions on adding the sashing, cornerstones, and borders, see the Sashing and Borders post.
As you know, this was a change from my original plan of a pieced sashing. It had some cool aspects to it, but once I started laying it out, it just wasn't the look I was going for. I really wanted this quilt to be a stark contrast to the busy Happy Go Lucky version. I wanted it a little more sleek and modern. So I went with the light gray sashing and a few more pops of color with the cornerstones. I also left off the inside border and just let the outside white border be a simple frame for the blocks. I am so happy with how it turned out. I will probably do more color in the binding, but we'll see.
I also pulled out my Oakshott Rubies Modern Maples from last fall. I ran out of the Essex Linen I was using for the back ground and had a hard time finding more. I finally sent a small swatch to Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics and she matched it for me! Hallelujah!
Those Oakshott Rubies fabrics are so gorgeous. They're kind of hard to find in the US, but if you see them, you'll see what I mean. I also added a couple of gold leaves out of a Kaffe cotton because we have a lot of gold leaves during the fall season here in Utah. It feels good finishing an old WIP (work-in-progress). I'm going to keep it around as is for another week or so and then send it off to the quilters. Next fall it will finally be finished!
And finally, I even got caught up on my BeesKnees blocks! This one is for Sinta. The tutorial for this block/quilt is called Starry Eyed and can be found at the Moda Bake Shop. It's still one of my favorites.
These improv trees are for Melissa. Aren't they fun? This is her own design. She has an Improv Tree tutorial on her blog.

Whew! Feels good to be crossing stuff of the list. Just in time to start creating a whole new list before Christmas.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Basting and Machine Quilting Tutorials

We are almost finished with our Virtual Quilting Bee. (I hope no one panics when they read that, worrying that they are "behind" on their project.) There is no deadline on this project! This is just for fun and to learn new skills.
New to the Virtual Quilting Bee? Missing a some of the tutorials? Looking for new quilt block ideas, or how to choose colors and fabrics? Check out the Virtual Quilting Bee page for links to all past tutorials.

This week we are going to discuss two important parts of finishing a quilt with very helpful and informative tutorials by Kati Spencer of From the Blue Chair. First, basting the layers (quilt top, batting, and back) together in preparation for quilting. Kati has some great tips - I learned something new! If you are looking for information about what kind of Batting to use for your quilt, I've shared some information on quilt batting here.


We are also going to talk about Quilting. If you are new to quilting, you can read an introduction to Quilting a Quilt basics here, including supplies, hand-quilting vs. machine quilting, straight line vs. free motion, etc. 
I have asked Kati to share her Free Motion Quilting wisdom because she does amazing quilting using her home machine. I'm so grateful for Kati's willingness to go in depth in sharing on these two topics. (While you're there, you should check out Kati's other tutorials. She has great stuff.)


I have to admit, I am not good at the quilting part of making a quilt. Part of it is my machine is an older model, has very limited throat space, etc. etc. Plus I worry too much - I trust other people quilting my quilts, more than I trust myself, so that is what happens for now. But I am thoroughly excited to read Kati's tutorials. I am upgrading to a new machine (more details on that soon!) which will work much better for the machine quilting thing. So I'm hoping to start getting past just straight lines.

Also, I finally made up my mind and finished putting together my Kona solids version of the VQB. I stayed up late last night and to finish it and of course it was too dark for any good pictures. But I will share it this week!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wee Wander by Sarah Jane

If you are a follower of Sarah Jane's, or if you were watching the reports out of Quilt Market with the upcoming to-be-released fabric collections, then you may have seen some peeks of Sarah Jane's newest fabric collection for Michael Miller called, Wee Wander.
As with all of Sarah Jane's collection, her motifs focus on the simple play and imagination of childhood. Which is why I've been a fan of her art long before she ever created fabric. But now to be able to use that art in my quilting - I just love it. 
Here are a few snippets of her fabrics. There are two colorways - one in blues and greens called Sunset.
 And one in pinks and oranges called Sunrise. Check out those cute little footprints.
  I love the fireflies motif and the horses. I predict the horses will be hugely popular.
A few weeks ago I got to create a project to go in Sarah Jane's booth at Quilt Market. Her fabric from the manufacturer arrived 7 days before she had to leave for Market! Because I'm local I often get to help with a project needed on a short deadline. I feel so lucky to get to collaborate with Sarah. She is a generous creator. (And I'll admit it's pretty fun to get a sneak peak of the fabric.) Now that she has introduced her new collection, I'm excited to get to share what I made a few weeks back.
Sarah requested a little quilt focusing on her art panel of the children catching fireflies with a scrappy border. It was fun to throw a few whimsical stars in there. This will be released as a free pattern when the fabric arrives in stores after the beginning of the new year. The quilting on this one was done by Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting. I love how the design gives the sky a "Starry Night" feel - just what I'd hoped for.
 Gah. I love those sweet little drawings.

Thanks so much for the love and support from my "in a funk" post last week. I'm glad to report that I'm feeling much better. My sewing room is still in need of a major clean out, but I'm feeling like myself again. It's amazing how 'physical' ailment sure saps you emotionally too.