An Update on Summer Sewing (and Not-Sewing)

Hello friends! How is your summer treating you?? (Assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere – and if you’re not, how’s winter going down under?) We’re in the middle of a busy few weeks of holidays, family reunions, youth camps, hosting out-of-town-guests and a little bit of local travel. I’m tired but I’m enjoying it. I’ve had a little bit of sewing time in between events + some hand-sewing for taking on the road, some projects from the past, and some brand-new projects. Plus some of the reasons I haven’t been sewing or on my computer:

Sewing Projects from the Past

Amy Smart's Orange Peel applique blocks

I’ve pulled out the good old Orange Peel Applique Blocks. (Which were last featured almost 2 years ago. Um, how has it been that long?) Speaking of long, these little applique blocks have been my summer hand-sewing project for 10 years!

Orange Peel Applique quilt blocks with Liberty quilting Cotton

The good news is I’m still not sick of them. And I keep finding more great fabric I want to add to the mix. That said, I hereby declare right now that THIS IS the summer where I will put these blocks together.

And finally write a tutorial for how I make them. (After experimenting with lots of applique methods, I found the one that works best for me and I’ll show you how I do it.)

Carnaby Collection from Liberty Quilting Cottons

Speaking of new, great fabric, after sewing the Firework quilt with the new red, white, and blue Liberty of London Carnaby Collection* I definitely wanted  some of these prints for the orange peel blocks.

Brand new Sewing Projects (aka “squirrels”) + one disaster

And speaking of Liberty of London, I watched the recent Disney movie, Cruella. Sure it was a little bit dark and campy (maybe not for littles) but I loved the mod London (and Liberty) vibes and music. Made me want to visit London ASAP.

Union Jack quilt block sizes

And speaking of London – I’m working on a new Union Jack quilt. (How many Union Jack quilts does a girl living in Utah need?? Well, I guess I’m about to find out, because this is at least my 4th that I’ve made for me, not including the ones I’ve given away . . .)

Last winter Laurie Simpson reached out to me about using my Regent Street Union Jack quilt pattern with her upcoming red, white, and blue fabric collection. I’ve been a fan of Minick and Simpson forever and was totally honored she would ask if she could use my method and blow-up the Union Jack quilt block to a SUPER SIZE version. (You can see Laurie’s quilt here.)

Here’s the scale of the super-size version compared to a pillow made using the block in my Regent Street pattern.

Giant Union JJack Quilt blocks using Liberty of London

Well after watching Cruella, I knew I needed to make some giant Union Jack quilt blocks using the Carnaby Collection. Ooooo, they are fab – a match made in heaven. Here’s a sneak peek. The blocks come together really quick – I’m planning to get this one finished and off to the quilter’s asap. 

As soon as it’s back, I’ll have more info to share about the super-size pattern variation. The super-size Union Jack pattern will be available as an insert companion instructions to go with the original Regent Street instructions. If you already have the original pattern I will have a the insert companion sheet available separately. Stay tuned. 

London zipper pouches

And speaking of London some more . . . I’ll share with you an epic sewing fail. My sisters were in town from out of state with their families. I decided to make all of them a London zipper pouch since the artwork in the London Notting Hill print was painted my one of them and it would be a fun collab. 

Well, here’s the example of haste makes waste… I was trying to frantically finish one of them so I could give it to the sister that was heading home first . . . and just as was thinking I was barely going to make it and still get a shower before we needed to get in the car to make it to the family party . . . I pulled the zipper pouch right sides out and was horrified to discover I’d boxed the wrong corners!! Which means the zipper ran perpendicular to the pouch base, instead of horizontal.  *Major face palm* 

(Bag on the left for reference of the shape it’s supposed to be . . .)

Bag fail mistake

So here it sits, waiting for me to salvage somehow… Or just start over all together.

Reasons I haven’t been Sewing

It’s a state holiday in Utah today: Pioneer Day. Quilts made by the women of the westward migration of the 19th century are some of my all-time favorites. I shared the story of a Pioneer Quilt with sentimental family ties – that was cut in half here.

Those hearty pioneers are also on my mind today as I got to spend a few days earlier this week camping in the Idaho mountains with a group of awesome teenagers and their adult leaders, experiencing a reenactment of what it was like for pioneers of the western US migration. The experience was designed to give these kids the opportunity to get away from electronic distractions, do something that pushed them out of their comfort zone a little, and give them an appreciation for sacrifices made for them by forbearers.

And wow, those kids rose to the occasion. My favorite part of the experience was seeing a crowd of kids (and adults) laughing, interacting with other people without a single cell phone in sight!

Here’s another spot where I spent some time enjoying NOT sewing or on a computer for a few days (aka Bear Lake, Utah). It felt so good to just sit and visit with my extended family. After the bizarro summer of last year, I no longer take gathering with friends and family for granted. Sewing (and blogging/social media) have been very much on the back burner this month, and I’ve enjoyed that. And I’m grateful for a job that lets me be flexible.

The final “And speaking of”(I know this is getting obnoxious, I promise this is the last one!)

Speaking of Liberty (but not the ‘of London’ kind): the Fat Quarter Shop released a fun 4th-of-July-themed Liberty box that includes: a Stars and Stripes quilt kit (including pattern, a custom 12-piece 10″ stacker and coordinating Land of Liberty fabric), a set of 12 woven Made in the USA labels, a painted, patriotic wooden tray and a 5-piece Aurifil Thread set.) The contents retail at $77 but they are selling for only $47.98 while supplies last. 

I’m so excited to use these Aurifil threads for my orange peel applique!

*this post contains affiliate links. 

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  • Reply
    July 25, 2021 at 5:06 am

    Thanks for showing your hard work, your passion for it shines through in every sentence. I would really like to say how much I appreciated seeing your zippered bags. It gives those of us who are learning a little pat on the back, just like when a favourite teacher would say “look, I did this but I am still pressing on”. (Pun intended)!
    Thanks again!

    • Reply
      July 26, 2021 at 1:49 pm

      Hah – thanks Kat. I definitely want to share the fails – it’s all part of the human creative process, right?!

  • Reply
    Pamela Meyers Arbour
    July 25, 2021 at 5:24 am

    When you do make a post about your new found method for the orange peels, would you include tips for keeping a project going for so long and how you store the fabrics and blocks?

    Is there anyway you can make lemonade out of the lemon purse? You might come up with a new pattern! Ya never know!

    • Reply
      July 26, 2021 at 1:46 pm

      Yes! Great suggestion for the orange peel post.

      I’m going to unpick the bottom and I think I may be able to salvage it as a pencil pouch or something. I’ll share what I end up doing!

  • Reply
    Ellen Sawyer
    July 25, 2021 at 6:01 am

    Hi…Could you please share your zipper pouch pattern?!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2021 at 7:05 am

    I really must do myself a union jack quilt one day, every time I see them i think they look amazing.

    • Reply
      July 26, 2021 at 9:00 am

      They really are fun to make! And I agree – I love every one I’ve seen.

  • Reply
    Sandra B
    July 28, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for such a great post! Glad to see that you are taking a little step back for some family time and just to unwind!
    I remember your orange peel blocks! I was going through my scrap baskets this morning pulling out some pieces for a little wall hanging project and was trying to think of a pattern that would use up some of the plethora of scraps … an orange peel quilt would be perfect! So your post was very timely!! Thanks!!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Oh, Amy…thanks for the big laugh! Seeing your bag-fail only makes you human, just like the rest of us! And bravo! for sharing that wonderful fail on your blog. You’re the best.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Catching up after vacation and getting preschool open for the new school year. Got to thinking, “What have I been missing?” Amy’s blog!!! So fun to see all the progress with the quilts and that you’ve taken lots of time for yourself.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2021 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks, Gwyn. xo Good luck with preschool this year!

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