Make Mine Mini

I couldn’t resist swapping any longer. When I saw that Kristi was hosting a second round of the schnitzelandboo mini quilt stop on IG, I caved. Mini blocks are fun, and ever since Kelly started showing off her super fun wall of mini quilts, I’ve been just a little bit envious.
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My partner turned out to be Kristi herself and she requested Heather Ross fabrics in a modern, whimsical context. I pretty much immediately thought of this cute book quilt from Ayumi‘s book ‘Patchwork Please’

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I shrunk the paper pieced pattern in the book to 40% of it’s original size. And, oh boy, do these blocks go together FAST! Fussy cutting all the little critters and choosing the low volume backgrounds to work with it made these pretty fun, too.
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Of course, I got it into my head to do a scalloped binding. When the perfect idea comes along, it’s a terrible shame to skip it just because you don’t yet have the skills. So, with a little help from Sharon Chambers, I got it together. I just watched a few minutes of one of the tutorials to figure out that inner ‘V’ shape, but I’ve heard her work is amazing.

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And then I shipped it away. The hardest part of this quilt was the parting with it. I immediately decided to make one of my own, so as soon as I unpack from our magical trip to Portugal and Paris, I’m going to heading to the copy shop!

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Oh! And I seem to need a winner for a giveaway! Using my tried and true blindfolded scroll method, I picked melissa at #70. I’ll send you an email to find out where to send this lovely bag of scraps!

Thank you, as always, for reading!

Posted in Swaps | 9 Comments

So, you’re a photographer and you like to quilt? (and a Giveaway :))

It’s been awhile. Again. But I am so excited to share this quilt.
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In our house, photography is a big deal. Discussions about photography over the dinner table are common. ‘Where’s the camera?!’ is a daily question.
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Well, here it is. The very best camera block I have ever seen! This pattern is called Aperture Science from Ali Winston‘s first book, Quilt Lab. This book is genius. I guarantee that you have never seen any of these patterns before. It is SO great to have such a fun, fresh voice in modern quilting.

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This quilt has the benefit of being PERFECT for fussy cutting. I seriously debated using my precious Heather Ross stash, but in the end, I went with my first impression of photographing a nature walk. I used primarily Art Gallery fabrics, mostly the Sweet as Honey and Meadow collections. Then, I mixed in a bunch of pieces from my stash, and came up with this. I thought it was a fun juxtaposition to use all prints when the original version was all solids.

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So run! Don’t walk! Pick up this book. If this pattern alone doesn’t seal the deal, visit these lovely ladies, for a run through of other fun, new patterns.

March 4: Ali Winston with Binary code
March 11: Knitty Bitties with Fractal
March 18: Pink Stitches with Scattered

April – Angles

April 1: Ali Winston with a free bonus pattern for you!
April 8: Canoe Ridge Creations and a variation of States of Matter
April 15: Amy Lou Who tackles Calculus (The only calculus I’ve ever liked!)
April 22: Whipstitch shows off Molecule 

May – Circles

May 6: I’m a Ginger Monkey with Culture
May 13: Lindsay Sews with a bright new version of Echo
May 20: And you are here for a version of Aperture Science :) Let’s pretend it’s still the 20th, k?
May 27: Cut To Pieces and Ali Winston have teamed up for a joint free pattern!!

So, if you’ve made it this far, are you up for a giveaway? It’s been awhile since I held one in this space. Are you a fan of scraps? I have made several quilts lately and I have BUNCHES of scraps building up. So, Leave a comment below letting me know which quilt from Ali’s new book is your absolute favorite and I’ll pick a winner to receive a full flat rate envelope of fun scraps. Can’t wait to see which quilt you love most!

Posted in Blog Hop, Finished Projects! | 101 Comments

This Little Piggy Went to Market (Part One)

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This last weekend, we spent some time in Pittsburgh. There is SO much to see. Absolutely TONS. So, I’ve sorted through literally hundreds (possibly thousands) of booths and I’m showing off my favorites.
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To start, Art Gallery nailed it. Their fresh new designers (top Sara Lawson from Sew Sweetness, bottom April Rhodes of Staple Dress fame), their super soft fabric, and their incredibly saturated colors have won me completely over.

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The new line ‘Winged’ from Bonnie Christine can’t come fast enough. And the bright yellows in Gramercy by Leah Duncan already have a reserved spot in my stash. I am seriously in need of good yellows!
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Jeni Baker has used color mixed with black and white in such a way that I wanted to steal everything in her booth and run away with it. It is SO my style. I CAN’T wait for it. Really.
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Jeni, can I have that bunny? Please? I know a 4 year old girl who would bounce up and down for it, if I don’t steal it for myself!

So, on to Michael Miller. How in the world could I possibly resist Brambleberry Ridge?
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And if you didn’t already see my Instagram montage, Deer are now a thing. Emily from Crazy Old Ladies had this little guy in her booth to show off her new collection, Rustique.
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And, just popping back to Art Gallery, we have this fabulous stag.
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Admittedly, this is a quick run through. I remember just six markets ago, having just a handful of booths that really struck my fancy, but now we have SO many great options for ‘modern’ quilting fabric. What an exciting change for those of us who love color. Well, color and low volume ;). I’ll be back tomorrow with Tula, Tula, Tula, and some peeks at upcoming Moda collections I just can’t resist!

Thank you for following along! Do you have a favorite? Anything you want to see close up? Leave me a note and I’ll see what I can do!

Posted in Quilt Market | 5 Comments

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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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″)

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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″)

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

And now I have quite the collection.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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(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.

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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.
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Repeat that same technique on the third side (or fourth or fifth or sixth) until your shape is complete.
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Then, and this is important, LABEL your piece! Make sure to put the letter in the middle of the shape.
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And then cut it out on the inside of the line using paper scissors.
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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 :)
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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.
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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!

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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!
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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.
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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?

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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