Itsy Bitsy Dresden Plate Tutorial

Remember how I promised a mini tutorial or measurements every day? And that I blog maybe once a month?! I’m not sure what I was thinking, but at least I’m trying :) I did sneak in a minute or two at my computer today and wrote up a free pattern for these little dresdens.
Mini Dresdin Pattern

I adjusted my blade template from this blade template that yields a 5″ dresden.

Mini Dresdin Pattern-2

This little dresden is just 3-3/4″ from blade tip to blade tip. It is really tiny. And adorable. And I have big plans for my tiny little creation.
Mini Dresdin Pattern-3

So, if you’d like to make a tiny little dresden just pop on over to our little shop where the pattern is now a free download. Google docs and I just don’t get along. You’ll find the nosegay pincushion over there as well, for anyone who had difficulties with that pattern as well.

Posted in Tutorial | 10 Comments

Small Wonder

Lately, I’ve been making some small changes. Drinking more water, getting in a half hour of actual exercise (and not counting chasing my littles up the stairs as a cardio workout). I’ve also caught the ‘make everything tiny’ bug. Personally, I blame Amanda at Hey Porkchop, but Camille isn’t helping either.

It started with this small (the background square is 5.5″) dresden using some fun April Showers scraps that were very generously shared with me. I love the fussy cut umbrella. It is divine.
Then, I thought, I love the swoon pattern (although I’ve never made one). Let’s try and make it even SMALLER than the mini pattern. It was fun and I LOVE the results. (This one will finish at 4″)


THEN I thought, hey, wouldn’t a weekender covered in tiny blocks be FUN?! (the answer will be yes…someday) So I started REALLY making some mini blocks. (These crosses finish at not quite 3″)



And then came a tiny ‘adorn’ star and a few teeny 3.5″ dresden plates.

And now I have quite the collection.

I’ll try and pop in each day this week (A huge commitment!)and share a little tutorial or some adjusted measurements for other free tutorials on the internet.

So today, here are a few little adjusted measurements for Rita’s Butterfly Blocks. I’ve always LOVED these blocks, but Rita’s method is much better than my previous attempt at paper piecing. You’ll have to click over to her tutorial to make the blocks and you’ll still need a 60 degree ruler, but my measurements yield a 2.25″ finished block. The pieces you’ll need are as follows:

2.5″ square for the wings (cut in half)
3/4″ x 2.5″ piece for the body (I used Alison Glass’ sun print text. Best text print ever!)
The background pieces started as 1-1/4″ x 1-5/8″ rectangles
and a 1-1/4″ x 1-5/8″ black rectangle for the background.

Have fun and thank you for reading along!

Posted in My Process, Tutorial | 10 Comments

Feeling a Little Clammy: A Green Tea and Sweet Beans Tutorial

I’ve been (very slowly) working on the applique portions of my Green Tea and Sweet Beans Quilt. I have to admit, I am not a fan of hand applique so far, but it is really nice to have a portable project. I’ve been carrying this pretty bundle around while workong on one of the blocks that intimidated me the most, the clamshells.


There are a few different types of hand appliqué, needle turn, freezer paper, dryer sheets, and after trying a couple different methods, I chose to do the freezer paper applique method for this. There is a great tutorial here if you’ve never tried this before :)

To make this block, you need scraps that are at least 3.5″ x 4″, I found and you’ll need the same number of freezer paper templates as you have total clams in the block. I traced (and traced and traced) and numbered each copy of the original template from the Green Tea and Sweet Beans book until I had 21 copies – with the writing on the paper side of the freezer paper – and then I cut them out on the line.

Then, I ironed each clamshell shiny side down onto my scraps. Then I trimmed a scant 1/4″ away from the clam. This doesn’t have to be exact, but I wouldn’t do much more and I wouldn’t do too much less either. Then, I starched each piece and carefully used my iron to tuck the seam allowance under.


After cutting my background fabric (I used the shot cotton from my Green Tea and Sweet Beans kit and I love how it makes the fabrics glow. If you use the same piece ZIG ZAG the edges. You will thank me) I marked the top line with a hera marker. I also marked the center line. This is super important. The key to this block is working from the center out and keeping everything level while you do it.


So, start by stitching the back, center two clams down. Then, using the top line and corner of the two already stitched down clamshells. Center the outside clamshells, and stitch those down. For each clamshell, I pin the left side, right side, and center. This keeps it from wiggling.


After stitching down the back row, I drew a new line with my hera marker horizontally across the piece at 1/8″ above where the side corners meet. I used that as a guide to keep everything straight.

A couple random tips: For rows that have 4, only stitch down the outside concave curves and the top curves for each clamshell. Only stitch the TOP curve in the rows that have three, but make sure as you stitch that down that you catch the bottom curve of the clamshell above it. This will give that nice overlapping look and you won’t be repeating any of your work.

Take a picture of your layout. These take long enough to stitch down your memory – if it’s like mine – might not put everything back exactly like you liked it.

As you add rows, always add from the center and make sure your clams are centered on your line.

Don’t worry too much about tucking the bottom ‘tails’. All but the bottom 3 clam tails get covered up and look perfectly pointy without any extra effort.

If you are an applique expert and you have an idea to share, please feel free to do that in the comments!

PS: I’m working on figuring out why some people can download the free pincushion pattern and others can’t. Technology baffles me and I am trying to find another good solution that isn’t google docs. Suggestions?

Posted in Green Tea and Sweet Beans Tips and Tricks | 8 Comments

Do Something That Scares You

Writing this post scares me. But what I am working on scares me even more. I set some goals for myself this year and one of those was to release a line of patterns. I’ve been sneaking patterns into our newsletters for our little shop, and that is really fun, but I just have so many ideas! 00105

So, to get everything started, I’m sharing a pattern from our last newsletter here for a limited time (probably until around June-ish). This little pincushion makes me so happy, and I’d love to see it if you make one! I have a very small obsession with these and I’m sure you’ll see more of them in the future. They make a lovely little thank you gift!

Free Pincushion Pattern Nosegay Block

All I ask is that you respect the copyright on this. Please do not hand out copies, but feel free to point people to this blog. Quite a lot of effort goes into pattern design, I’m finding. Anything you could do to point people to this little corner of the wide, internet world is appreciated!

So hopefully, the next time you hear about this from me, I’ll have some exciting new things to share. Bright, cheery, springy things that maybe you would want to make, too?

Until then, I’ll be posting some tips and and tricks on how I made my Green Tea and Sweet Beans Quilt. Perhaps you want to make a pincushion just for the occasion?

Green Tea and Sweet Beans and Pincushion

Thank you for following along!

Posted in My Process | 15 Comments

Let’s Start At the Very Beginning: Green Tea and Sweet Beans Quilt Together

The best place to start with the Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt is with the initial challenge: drafting the templates. The back of the book has all of the templates you need for every block in the book. But they are on double sided paper and need a seam allowance added.

The Beginning: a blank slateSo, I start with a blank piece of printer paper (you could easily use freezer paper if you prefer to iron your templates onto your fabric, but I found that wasn’t necessary for most of the blocks).

I start by placing the printer paper over the shape. You should be able to see the shape through the paper. I then put dots in each corner of the shape I am trying to add a seam allowance to.

(hopefully you can see those dots!)

Then, I line two dots up on the 1/4″ mark of my clear ruler and draw a line toward the outside of the shape.


Turn the Ruler to the next set of dots. Line up the dots on the 1/4″ mark and draw a line that intersects the first.

Repeat that same technique on the third side (or fourth or fifth or sixth) until your shape is complete.

Then, and this is important, LABEL your piece! Make sure to put the letter in the middle of the shape.

And then cut it out on the inside of the line using paper scissors.

Now, I like to rubber cement it to my ruler and then cut using a rotary cutter.00211

For odd shapes, I used an appropriate ruler. I LOVE my hexagon ruler, by the way :)

Posted in Green Tea and Sweet Beans Tips and Tricks, My Process, Pattern Review, Works In Progress | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Green Tea and Sweet Beans

I have been working on a big project. Jen Kingwell is one of my favorite pattern designers and I’ve wanted to try one of her sampler quilts for over a year now. Since my scrap basket was overflowing, I thought now would be a great time to start.

Jen Kingwell's Green Tea Quilt

Her version is absolutely fabulous (and her shop in Australia can create custom starter kits available to make a similar quilt :))

I wanted my quilt to have a slightly different feel to it, a little brighter, a bit more contrast, but all the same beautiful pieces.
Green Tea and Sweet Beans From Westwood Acres

This quilt is a challenge! It is the ultimate skill builder. There are curves, y seams, tiny, little, precise pieces. And to top it all off, you have to create your own templates, including adding seam allowance. It is fabulous.

So, would you want to join me on this little adventure? I have created a starter kit similar to the colors used in my quilt (or the exact prints I’m using in my quilt) and I’ll be posting little tips, tricks, and mini tutorials here and on IG. My first tutorial on curves is up and I’ll be adding more over the next few weeks!


So are you up for a challenge? Don’t know where to start with fabrics? We have our own little starter kit in our shop, or you can stop by and grab the pattern if you already have a vision of your own!

I’ll be posting a bit more about this quilt (how could I not?!) as I finish more blocks. Next up, I’ll be talking about my first try at hand applique and three different methods I tried (and which was my favorite :))

Thank you bunches for stopping by!

Posted in Works In Progress | 5 Comments

Diamonds in the Sky: Pillow Collective Blog Hop

It doesn’t seem like I find my way to this space very often these days. Instagram has taken hold and won’t let go. I do miss expressing myself in more than 30 words. But today, most of my words are silenced by my new pillow.
Pillow 2

I LOVE how this pillow turned out. It is based on a classic, traditional block named the ‘Key West Star’. Here, I’ve reimagined it in the upcoming Bonnie and Camille line for Moda, April Showers. It isn’t due out until March, but I was gifted some scraps and I can’t get enough of this mint color! Add the red and the navy and I absolutely can’t resist! You can see more of these pretty fabrics over on Camille’s blog or Bonnie’s blog. A tiny piece of my favorite Denyse Schmidt print may have snuck in there as well. Don’t they play well together?

Pillow 3

There is something so fulfilling about finishing a pillow. It doesn’t take so much time that I feel invested in keeping it around forever, but it keeps my hands busy and lets me attempt new things without the fabric and time commitment.

If you are a fellow pillow-aholic, make sure to follow along on this fun blog hop arranged by the adventurous Amy Ellis. Her pillow looks like a lot of fun, but a bit of a challenge! Each day this week, our little group will be sharing pillow tutorials. Follow along! If you make a pillow based on any of the pillows shared this week, make sure to link up on the 24th at Amy’s blog to win fun prizes and cheer each other on!  The schedule is:

Monday: Amy Ellis at Amy’s Creative Side,
April Rosenthal of Prairie Grass Patterns, and
Lisa Calle of Vintage Modern Quilts
Tuesday:  Natalia Bonner of piece and Quilt
Amanda at A Crafty Fox  (YOU ARE HERE :) )
Wednesday:  Heather Valentine of the Sewing Loft,
Megan Bohr,
Amy at Diary of a Quilter , and
Vanessa of V & Co
Thursday:  Maureen Cracknell Handmade,
Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts and
Dana at Old Red Barn Co
Friday:     Christina of The Sometimes Crafter,
Heather at Alamode Fabric,
Audrie of Blue is Bleu and
Amanda from The Quilted Fish

Thanks bunches for stopping by!

(This block is not an original creation, simply my interpretation of an historic block. If you are a fan of modern-vintage blocks, some other great places for ideas are here, here, and here.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Coming Soon: Fall Quilt Market 2013 (part 1)

I have been so remiss in my quilt market posts. They are one of my favorite posts to look back on, so I hope you’ll indulge me even if you’ve already seen everything?

I’ll start with fabrics coming out in November. Yikes! All of these pretty fabrics are coming in the next few weeks. I guess I know what I’ll be getting for Christmas.

Let’s start with some pretty new patterns?
QM Fall 2013-125

Jen Kingwell is one of my very favorite pattern designers right now, and she was there with her gorgeous new pattern, Gypsy Wife. Seeing it in person was amazing. There are quite a few patterns I ponder and think about tweaking, but I would make this one exactly as it is.
QM Fall 2013-124
I also saw the amazing Green Tea and Sweet Beans in real life. This has been on my to do list for a long time and seeing it in person just made the itch to stitch even harder to resist.
QM Fall 2013-123
I can’t resist showing off her Circle Game quilt as well. This one is incredible. So, if you are looking for a quiet hand piecing project for this winter, I would say these might fit the bill (Gypsy Wife is all machine pieced, however)

Of course, there was a lot of pretty fabric eye candy. One of the lines I have been waiting for is Botanics from Carolyn Friedlander. This gorgeous blend of low volume, saturated colors and just a teeny hint of metallic is the answer to anyone who was wishing that they had stocked up on more of Carolyn’s first line, Architextures.
QM Fall 2013-132
The quilts Carolyn had to show were incredible. She has a bunch of new patterns coming soon as well, so keep an eye out for those. This line with solids should be arriving in just a few weeks.
QM Fall 2013-130

Another line that is starting to pop up in shops is Dowry. Our little shop will start shipping these gorgeous fabrics starting on Friday of this week (along with Anna Maria Horner’s True Colors range)
QM Fall 2013-22

This quilt is stunning. Anna Maria also had a simple pattern that she’ll be sharing using both the True Colors and Dowry line so watch out for that coming on her blog
QM Fall 2013-20

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this little line that Birch is releasing, but I am so excited for it. I am a big Charlie Harper fan and my daughter LOVES his art. We have a puzzle, and a memory game and a book…but back on track. We are about to have fabric!
QM Fall 2013-73

If you are a fan of Charlie Harper fabric, this is the range for you! These should be arriving in stores any day now. I will definitely be posting here when it arrives.

Another line I haven’t seen around much but that I am terribly excited for is Mo Bedell’s Hothouse Flowers range.

QM Fall 2013-52

Mo Bedell is the genius behind the Full Moon Lagoon Line that we have sold out of several times. It will be great to have her fun, bright colors back in stock. I love that she designs for Andover. The basecloth and finishing process that they use is amazing and I love sewing with their fabrics and I really can’t wait for this one!

So is that photo overload? I hope not! I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more pretty shots from market.

We carry Jen Kingwell patterns here.
We are accepting preorders for Dowry and True Colors here.

Thanks for tagging along!

Posted in Quilt Market | 7 Comments

Finishing Frenzy

I’m not sure what it is about fall, but as I feel the year wind down, the push to finish things gets impossible to resist. During our recent move, most of my projects got piled into bins and boxes and safely tucked into a storage unit. And after the transition, as I was unpacking I realized I had so many quilt tops and a shocking lack of finished quilts. So, I tucked in and went to work.
Finished Fall Quilts!

And now I am happy to say I am making progress through my pile. So, rather than make it appear that I created all of these quilts in the last month, I am going to go through them oldest to newest.

Completed quilts-3

Do you remember way back here when I posted the tutorial for this fun chevron quilt? Right. Well, the top was as far as I made it at that time. It is a pretty big quilt to tackle on my home machine. I ended up sending this one out to Sarah Russet and she worked her magic and sent it back. I bound this one by hand and now it is officially DONE!

Completed quilts-13

Then, there is this Hex-a-chevragon quilt that I wrote a tutorial for here. Once I saw how cute it was, I knew I wanted to make it a lot bigger. So, I made a bunch more blocks and stuffed them all in a bin when fall came. With a bit of help from my mom (Thanks, Mom!) I got the top all put together last spring. But we were in the middle of moving and my motivation fell apart. But I pulled it out again last week and LOOK! It is done! I couldn’t be happier with this one. The pattern is a breeze (Really!) but it looks so fresh. I can’t wait to put this on my little boy’s bed next summer.

Bangles Quilt with Shelburne Falls and Chicopee

Then, sometime last winter I got Sarah Fielke’s pretty book in the mail and couldn’t resist her Bangles pattern. Shelburne Falls had just arrived and it seemed fitting to make a Denyse Schmidt tribute quilt. This quilt has at least one piece from every single line Denyse has released. Of course, I finished the top and set the entire quilt aside since I couldn’t decide a fitting quilting design. Perhaps its a good thing I did, since now I was able to bind it in the grey Florence stripe. It’s still current! (And I love how the quilting on this one turned out! I am glad I waited!)

Hip Holiday Spin Cycle Quilt from Westwood Acres

Then, in July my sweet mom came to visit and, while I was tempted to tell her to tackle my unfinished projects pile, I handed her a fat quarter bundle of Hip Holiday from our shop, Cluck Cluck Sew’s Spin Cycle pattern, and both of my littles and I took off for beachier climes with my husband. I came home to a gorgeous finished quilt top and two very spoiled little people. This one is HUGE. I think I am going to put it on the guest bed this Christmas and hope it brings good company to join us for the holiday. There was no way I could tackle this one on my machine, so I once again sent it to Sarah (Thank you, Sarah!). She drew snowflakes all over it. How perfect, right?!

Clover Sunshine

And you may actually remember the Clover Sunshine quilt I made right around back to school. This one was gorgeous with just six blocks, but I really wanted it ‘me’ sized. The points are not perfect (I won’t be writing a tutorial) but the effect of these fabrics is just stunning. If you haven’t already picked up your Clover Sunshine bundle, I would say run! don’t walk. It is such a pretty collection and I just can’t imagine not having another (bigger!) quilt out of it.

In order to get these done, I had to change a few of my habits. Usually, I like to piece my quilt backs. Like this:
Completed quilts-16

or like this:
Completed quilts-6

But for the other three, I chose solid backs that would make the process go faster. For some that meant a trip to Ikea. For the Bangles quilt I chose a 58″ wide Anna Maria Horner needleworks print (and I am now obsessed with that print for backing!). For the extra large spin cycle quilt I bought a piece of solid white that was 90″ wide. I felt a little like I was compromising, but I am truly happy with the results for each quilt. And sometimes, finished is better than perfect.

I also have always hand bound my quilts. This time, I did two of these by hand and three by machine. And you know what? The machine bound quilts are just as warm.
Finished Bangles Quilt at Westwood Acres

So thank you for following along! I have another dozen or so projects I am trying to tackle before the end of the year. And at least that many that I want to start! Are you finishing things up, too? Join us on Instagram for a little challenge (and quite a lot of bribery! check out the #westwoodacresgiveaway stream or follow me @acraftyfox_amanda)

Clover Sunshine Quilt


Posted in Finished Projects!, My Process, Tutorial, Works In Progress | 18 Comments

Antique Tile

I love old quilts. I’m not at all ashamed to say that I envy those who have a collection of handmade quilts from their grandparents, great grandparents and distant aunts and uncles. Quilts that have been loved for years, now with holes, stains, but still majestic in the gorgeous piecing and striking color combinations their maker chose for them.



So, I make my own. This little quilt is made using the Enchant fabric collection from Natalie of Cinderberries. I am so excited to be able to order Natalie’s fabrics from Riley Blake. And I’m really thrilled with this line. The corally reds and the pops of navy mixed among some quieter prints have really filled a need in my life.

This quilt pattern is going to be free for readers of our little newsletter. If you’d like to sign up, you will find the link here.

I used yarn dyed linen for the background fabric on this and really love how it turned out. Note to self: order more yarn dyed linen and make more super soft quilts…



But for now, you’ll find me trying to restrain myself from giving this quilt to my not-quite-so-little girl. She is growing up so fast and I just want to see that happy smile on her face as often as I can. Fingers crossed I can hold out until Christmas!

Thank you bunches for reading along!


Posted in Finished Projects!, Tutorial | 9 Comments