Friday, February 28, 2014

Safari Moon - new Art Gallery Fabrics quilt

I'm so excited to be sharing a quilt I created today using Frances Newcombe's new collection Safari Moon for Art Gallery Fabrics
The fabrics I used are from the Expedition Blue colorway of the collection. I'm really smitten by them. I think the colors are gorgeous and vibrant and there are such unique prints. Really cool.
I made a crib size version of this quilt that I made last year. I love this pattern for really showing off fabrics. I'll be republishing this pattern later this year with the crib size version included. 
The quilting on this one was done free-hand by Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby Quilting. I just gave her free-reign to do what ever she wanted and LOVE how it turned out. 
I took this quilt with me to bind in the car on a recent family road trip to southern Utah over President's Day weekend. So we had to take advantage of a nice back drop for a good photo shoot. It's too desert-dry for a safari, but it was dramatic never the less.
We did do some exploring of our own, so we can count it as an expedition. Above is Snow Canyon outside of St. George. 
We also explored a new spot called Anasazi Ridge filled with ancient petroglyphs. My boys were in rock-climbing heaven and finding the petroglyphys was like a treasure hunt. There were LOTS of them too.
Safari Moon fabrics are available from the Fat Quarter Shop and FabricwormIf you'd like to see more gorgeous projects created with the Safari Moon collection, stop by these other blogs on their specific dates. 
Monday February 24  Faith Jones  Fresh Lemons Quilts 
Tuesday February 25    Lindsay Conner   Lndsaysews/ Craft buds  
Wednesday February 26   Sarah Lawson  Sew Sweetness 
Thursday February 27  Cristy Fincher   Sew Much Like Mom
Friday February 28   Amy Smart  Diary of a Quilter  YOU ARE HERE!
Monday March  Lee Heinrich Freshly Pieced
Tuesday March  4  Teri Harlan Sew Fantastic 
Wednesday March  5  Jane Davidson Quilt Jane
Thursday March  6  Lynne Goldsworthy Lilys Quilts  
Friday March  7  Sandy Whitelaw  Upstairs Hobby Room 
Monday March 10  Katy Jones  Imagingermonkey 
Tuesday March 11  Victoria Findlay Wolfe  Victoria Findlay Wolfe  Quilts  
Wednesday March 12  Megan Bohr Canoeridgecreations  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cuts of Cotton - online fabric shop

Cuts of Cotton
Today I want to feature online fabric shop Cuts of Cotton. Cuts of Cotton was opened recently by Emily in Atlanta, Georgia. I love this shop because it's full of great fabric basics and because it's so well organized and easy to navigate.
Cuts of Cotton specializes in carrying the "basics" - blenders, solids, and textured solids such as Yarn-dyed linens and a gorgeous selection of quilter's linen (I'm working on a project right now with quilter's linen, and can't get enough.) Other great collections in stock include Minimalista, and Architectures Crosshatch.
Emily also specializes in collections by grouped by colors which can be ordered in fat quarters, half yards, or full yard bundles. A great way to build your stash if you are low on certain colors and available in multiple price points.
The latest addition to Cuts of Cotton's stock is Alissa Haight Carlton's new collection of Modern Solids. These solids are crossweaves (meaning the vertical and horizontal threads are slightly different shades) giving the color lots of gorgeous depth.
 These new fabrics are available in color bundles and individual yardage.
The full collection of Modern Solids will be in stock soon. When the final bolts arrive, Emily plans to create a swatch card you can order and have on hand to be able to see the full range of colors.

To keep up to date on the latest arrivals, sales and specials , you can subscribe to her newsletter or follow Emily on her Cuts of Cotton blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

If you're looking to stock up on the new Modern Solids, or just some good color basics, Emily is currently offering a 10% discount on orders with the code DIARY10 at checkout. Good through Tuesday, March 4.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Charm Pack Cherry free quilt pattern

I was asked a while back if I would like to create a quilt using the Fat Quarter Shop's latest free pattern, Charm Pack Cherry. Who could resist playing with new Moda Charm Packs, so I said sure! This is my version. This quilt is about 52" x 54" (before I washed it) and made from two patterned charm packs and two solid charm packs. The quilt works up super fast.
I chose the new Wishes collection by Sweetwater for Moda. Such a cute collection. I especially love those little pennant flags, not to mention the bias tone-on-tone gingham, which was perfect for the binding too. I was worried that the solid red would be too dominant, but it has really grown on me. I think the texture of the quilting made a big difference (it always does.)
The quilting on this quilt was done by Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby Quilting. It's a simple, boxy-square, all-over design and works so well with the design of the quilt. I also gave the quilt a wash to give it that nice, puckery, worn-in feeling.
I used my leftover Wishes charm squares as an accent on the back. The rest of the back was pieced from fabric from my stash. (*pats self on back*)
This is rare for me, but I'm actually putting this quilt for sale in my etsy shop. Details here
You can download your very own copy of the free Charm Pack Cherry pattern here and watch the video tutorial below.


Visit the Fat Quarter Shop's blog, the Jolly Jabber, to see other versions of the Charm Pack Cherry pattern.
 In celebration of the Charm Pack Cherry pattern release, all charm packs are on sale through March 2!

GIVEAWAY: And on top of that, the Fat Quarter Shop is generously giving away 4 charm packs (2 packs of prints and 2 solids = enough to make your own new Charm Pack Cherry quilt) to one of you! Just leave a comment telling me which charm packs you'd pick! Giveaway open until Sat, March 1 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

WINNER: cse84663February 25, 2014 at 6:31 AM
Color me happy, wishes, or April showers, too many good ones to choose. I love your quilt with the red! So striking.
Finally, I just have to share a funny little story about taking the pictures for this post. I always feel a little sheepish taking pictures of quilts out in "the wild", worried about what people might think. As I was taking this one, and older man rode by on his bike and shouted, "Did you make that blanket?" when I said yes, he yelled,"Good on you!" and kept riding. Thank you nice old man!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Half-square-triangle short-cuts and easy square-up

I have been making a LOT of half-square-triangle quilt blocks recently. Half-square-triangles (or HST's) are one of the greatest basic building blocks of traditional quilting. I'm not a super-duper-precise piecer, but I am a firm believer in squaring-up blocks - especially half-square-triangle blocks. 
It just makes the piecing come together easier and look so much nicer in the end. 
But as we all know, the square-ing up process can get kind of tedious. Right? So I thought I'd share a trick I finally just discovered that has made the work SO much easier and faster. Oh my goodness, I don't know why this took me so long to figure out. Many of you are probably already doing this, but just in case you're like me, here's the scoop:
First of all, this is my favorite basic method for making HST's: Match two squares right-sides-together and draw a diagonal line down the back of one side. Sew a 1/4" seam on both sides of the drawn line. Cut on the drawn line. This will create two HST blocks. I generally like to make my blocks slightly larger than the final size so that I can have room to square them up. If you are making a bunch at once - especially if you are chain-piecing them - it's really easy for seams or matched-up squares to get slightly distorted. Here is the traditional way to square-up a half-square-triangle block.
This Quilt in a Day Square up Ruler makes the process SO MUCH faster. I've seen this ruler multiple times in shops, in my mom's sewing room, etc. and always wondered what it did, but never bothered to find out. Well I finally did and it's genius. The ruler is marked from one corner with traditional inchmarks divided into eigths. From the opposite corner it's marked in half-inch lines.
Before you even open the HST block, lay the corner of the ruler on top of the pieced block and match up the marking for the desired finished size of the block, right on the seam. (So for example, I want a 3" finished block, so I am laying the 3" line on my seam, NOT the 3" line on the bottom edge of the triangle.)
Trim two edges using a rotary cutter. By laying the mark on the seam you get a square block with the diagonal seam centered when you open up the block.
I then use my rotary cutter to trim off the ends so that I won't have the little triangle tags when I open up the block. 
And voila - a perfectly squared-up 3" HST block with no tags sticking out at the ends. Before you open up the block, press along the seam to "set the seam." Then press the block from the front, careful not to pull or distort the diagonal seam, using the tip of the iron right on the seam to make sure it is fully opened and flat. Makes the blocks so nice and crisp and the best part is that I can get through a stack of them so much more quickly. I suggest doing the whole stack one step at a time. (For example: sew all blocks, trim all blocks, and then press all blocks, to streamline the process.)

I traditionally press my seams to the side - usually the dark. Sometime though I'll press my seams open, especially if the blocks are small.
Here's a repeat of the process again, this time making my block a 2 3/4" block. Notice the arrow in the top left picture where I have lined up the 2 3/4" markings with the seam. Trim two sides, open and press. (Ruler in bottom right photo only to show finished dimensions.)
I know there are a lot of quilty-gadgets out there, and you don't need every one, but if you make a lot of HST's and dislike the squaring-up part, Quilt in a Day Square up Ruler  is worth it. (I know they are available also at JoAnn's and from the Quilt in a Day site.) I now use it ALL the time.
If you're looking for more half-square-triangle inspiration, here are a few other projects I've used them in: Half-Square-Triangle spectrum quilt,
this post contains affiliate links

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lori Holt's Quilty Fun and a House Quilt Block

Today I am sharing a block from Lori Holt's book, Quilty Fun, as a stop on the sew along and blog tour. 
I've mentioned Lori's book, Quilty Fun, before. It contains patterns for a sampler quilt, as well as individual projects for each of the specific blocks. So much quilting inspiration in one book. Not only are Lori's designs SUPER cute, but her instructions and diagrams are SO helpful. It's a fabulous book with lots of inspiration.
Image from Lori Holt
AND Lori has designed a special sampler quilt for the Sew-along hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop. The instructions for this quilt are found on the Fat Quarter Shop blog as well as links to other stops on the tour where you can find inspiration using Lori's specific blocks. You will still need to buy the book to get the original block designs, but the instructions for the Sew-along sampler version are free.
This week the instructions for the House blocks in the Sew-along Sampler are available. It was so much fun to make this little house. I think that I need to make a whole neighborhood of them. 

Today, the Fat Quarter Shop is giving away some fun prizes as part of the Quilty Fun Sew-Along blog tour: two small Happy Colors Aurifil Thread Boxes and a packet of AlphabittiesIf you've been participating in the Sew Along, you know the drill. If you are new on the scene, here's the scoop:

To Enter: 
1. Buy the Quilty Fun book, if you haven't already
2. Make the Neighborhood Houses block using this Sew-Along companion PDF
3. Enter your Houses photo at the Flickr Group (here).

Three winners will be chosen and announced next Monday, February 24 on the Fat Quarter Shop blog. You can read more details about the Sew Along as well as find links to past posts and PDF's on the Quilty Fun page. If you're looking for some inspiration, it's so fun to get on the Quilty Fun Flickr page and see what every is doing!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bee Blocks + Olympic inspiration

I've been catching up on a few Block of the Month projects over the past week. (I think having the Olympics on has been a nice motivation/excuse to catch up on some sewing.) This block is Block 2 in the 2014 Auriful Block of the Month. This quilt is designed by Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock
 
Lots of cute little half-square-triangles. You can read more about Amy and her inspiration for this block on the Aurifil blog. Amy is as sweet in real life as she sounds.
Here are my blocks. You can find the pattern for Block #1 (right) here and Block #2 (left) here. They are both 12" finished blocks.
A couple of blocks for Carrie from the Bee's Knees. For January, Carrie requested two different 12" half-square-triangle blocks from each member. Each block came from Camille Roskelly's Craftsy video 25 Half Square Triangle Blocks. If you haven't seen it, there's a lot of great HST block inspiration.
And finally, speaking of bee's and quilt blocks, a reminder about our wrap-up party for the Virtual Quilting Bee. Because of some scheduling conflicts, we are going to move the official VQB party back one week to Monday, March 3! (Who couldn't use an extra week, right?) If you've created something using any of the VQB blocks, you can link up a picture of your creation. (Hint: There will be prizes!) Even if you didn't make anything, I'm sure there will be lots of pretty inspiration.


image
And finally, because I am an Olympics junkie, I just have to comment on how much I am loving all the quilt inspiration in the official Sochi motif! SO cool.
Not to mention the Norwegian Curling Team uniforms. (Lol!) Endless inspiration... (the Mondrian pants!)
I LOVE having the Olympics to watch while I'm sewing or cleaning or doing whatever. So many sweet inspiring moments for these athletes who put their heart and soul into something the rest of us only care about once every four years. This ad with Noelle Pikus-Pace is my favorite (partly because I recognize a lot of that scenery as she lives 30 minutes away.) Also this sweet moment with the women snowboarders. Love it.

Happy Valentine's Day!