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?

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!
xo
Amanda

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:
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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

XO
Amanda

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.

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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…

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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!

Amanda

Posted in Finished Projects!, Tutorial | 9 Comments

Starflower Quilt Along: Borders and Done!

So has this quilt been easier than you thought it was? We are on the home stretch and after today’s instructions you will have a finished quilt top!

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To start, you’ll need to download the template for the top and bottom borders. You’ll be able to find that template here. Print it out and trace it onto a sturdier card stock.

In my first post, I had you cut 3″ strips, you will need four of those for the left and right borders. For the top and bottom borders, cut two 3.5″ strips from your background fabric. Using the template, cut eight complete shapes and four partial shapes. This will get a little bit more clear if I demonstrate.
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Line your template up on top of the fabric with the long edge (hypotenuse) against the straight edge of the fabric. I often use a piece of double sided tape to get it to hold still while I cut. Get the corner tip as close to the fold as possible. Lay your straight edge ruler on top and make your first angled cut.
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Carefully lift up the ruler, and lay it against the second short side. Cut out the shape. You now have 2 shapes cut.
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Lift up your template, rotate it 180 degrees and stick it back on the fabric, making sure the hypotenuse edge is straight with the fabric and the obtuse angle is just touching the opposite edge of the strip. Cut out your second shape. You should now have four complete shapes. If you flip the template over one more time, you will get a shape that is short on one edge.
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Repeat with the other strip for your 8 complete shapes and 4 partial shapes.

Now, I really should have taken a picture from further back, but I hope you can get the gist of this. We are going to sew these shapes into the zig zag at the top and bottom of your quilt.
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To do this, we are going to lay out the piece, then flip it, right sides together with the long sides touching. Pin.
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Sew all the way from the edge to 1/4″ from the inside angle. Make sure to stop before you reach the ‘Y’ seam.
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Using the same technique we’ve used in both previous tutorials, we are going to twist the fabric so that the short sides are lined up at the inside of the ‘Y’. Pin and sew, making sure that your new seam goes all the way to the outer edge of the diamond, but the inside seam stops 1/4″ from the edge (use the previous seam as your guide). For each of my quilts, the partial shape has been at least long enough to reach the edge of my quilt, and usually they are longer. If yours have overhang on the vertical sides, press and trim to a straight edge.
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Lay out your next triangle shape in the next gap. Repeat the above steps inserting these into the corresponding spaces. This goes so much faster than you might think!
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Once you’ve tackled those, the side borders are SO easy.

From your 3″ strips, trim off the selvedges and lay your ruler against the cut edge of the fabric (NOT the fold!). Cut two pieces 17.5″ long.
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From the four fold pieces, cut four 6.5″ strips.

With the 17.5″ strips, lay your ruler’s 30/ 60 degree line against the top of the strip and trim your edge to look like this.
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Bring the uncut edge toward you and repeat, making sure that your are trimming it so that there is one long side, and one short side, not a long diamond shape.
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With your 6.5″ strips, you only need to trim one side of the strip.
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Lay one of your strips right sides together against one of the open spaces on your quilt top. Make sure the edges line up on either side (this will be a little bit awkward because of the y seam, but remember that your fabric isn’t fragile :) Pin in place. Sew these together starting and stopping 1/4″ from either edge.
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Once this seam is sewn, twist the angled part of the border up and pin to the naked part of your star.

DSC_0188Sew these together from the edge to the inner ‘Y’ corner, stopping at the previous seam.  Repeat this on the other side. For your 6.5″ strips, you’ll use the same technique, with the angled edges towards the diamonds and the straight edge on the end of the quilt.

Ta da! Your quilt is *technically* finished. For my Briar Rose quilt, I chose to add 3″ plain borders all the way around, and on this quilt I am thinking to add 1.5″ all the way around, just to give it a bit of polish.

So, have you made progress? Would you like to me to try and hold a link party so we can see whate everyone is doing? I would certainly like to see if anyone else made this pretty quilt!

In the meanwhile, I’m about to cut into this bundle of luscious scraps from a very sweet and generous friend. I wonder what I’ll make!

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Posted in Star Flower Quilt Along | 7 Comments

Star Flower Quilt Along: Sewing The Rows Together

So, I have had these pictures taken for WEEKS! And now it is after midnight in my hotel
room at Sewing Summit, but it is quiet so I am stealing this minute to write these
down. Maybe you’ll get a chance to sew them together this weekend :) Let’s start by
laying out our rows on a flat surface. Starflower Split your rows into pairs, you will be sewing together
seams that look like this: Zig Zag Seam Flip the top (the one with the star flower on the edge)
over and pin the correct edges together. Fold Over and Pin Now, head over to your sewing machine, and sew that
edge together, stopping 1/4″ from the corner/edge of fabric: First Seam Here is the part where you have to remember that your
fabric is not fragile. You will need to line up the next seam so that diamonds touch
hexagons. This will require a bit of twisting the first seam out of the way. Just make
sure not to catch it underneath when sewing the next seam (Ask me how I know that can
happen…) Once you have the edges lined up, pin the little tabs that stick out just
like you did in the last step to allow perfect points. 2nd Seam Start stitching where your previous seams ended (1/4″
away from the edge) and stop sewing 1/4″ before you get to the next edge Keep on
twisting the fabric so that you can line up the next seam, pin and sew. Repeat these
steps until you have all of your rows sewn into pairs (except that lonely bottom 9th
row.) DSC_0147 Now, just repeat these steps sewing together the top two pairs of
rows, then sewing together the bottom five rows.Last, sew the two halves of the quilt
top together. It is a bit of starting and stopping and a good ebook (or a lovely
chatting companion) would be a great way to pass the time. All right, that wasn’t so
hard, was it?! I can’t believe it took me so long to write it all down. But, I did.
Now, we just need borders and you will be all DONE! Yay!!!! Now that sewing
summit/family trips/massive fabric deliveries/every family birthday.anniversary.special
occasion are over for a bit, hopefully it won’t take me so long to get the last step
posted. Thank you so much for following along!

Posted in Star Flower Quilt Along, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Clover Sunshine: Alison Glass Designs Blog Hop!

** There is a pattern for this quilt here :)
Clover Sunshine Treasure Hunt Quilt

I am thrilled to be playing along on the Alison Glass Designs Blog Hop today! We are
celebrating her upcoming release Clover Sunshine this week. I can’t think of a prettier
fabric line that has come along recently. This one is just so…. happy. It’s
absolutely perfect.
Treasure Hunt Quilt in Clover Sunshine
The colors are rich and bright and speak to me of fall, but not the pumpkin side so
much as the plums, blue skies, cooler weather and being able to go outside after the
heat of summer and have some fun. I’m so thrilled with how this little baby quilt
turned out. My points aren’t perfect (or even close!) but I had a lot of fun making it.
And I smile every time I look at it. (PS: I

Clover Sunshine Treasure Hunt Quilt
This is Alison’s second full collection. Her first fabric line, Lucky Penny, totally
captured my heart. Her recent Sun Print Basics have flown off of our shelves. If you
haven’t seen them, you can find them “https://www.etsy.com/shop/westwoodacres/search?search_query=Sun+print&order=date_desc&view_type=gallery&ref=shop_search”>
here. Clover Sunshine should be arriving soon and I can’t wait to see what everyone
makes with it! So, would you like a chance to work with some of these pretty fabrics?
Alison is very generously offering up a fat
quarter of all of her recent and upcoming fabrics! Hop on over to her blog for a chance to win (and make sure to
follow her @alisonglass on Instagram to keep up with all the pretty fabric peeks!

If you haven’t already, you can stop by these amazing blogs for more
chances to win Alison’s fabric collections and her gorgeous new quilt pattern (created
with the wonderful Nydia from “http://www.add-crafter.com”>The ADD Crafter)

Group 1 – Feathers, Text, Party Streamer
8.19.13 – Olivia Jane
Handcrafted
8.21.13 – One Shabby Chick
8.23.13 – Silly Mama
Quilts
8.26.13 – Threadbias
8.28.13 – KD Quilts
8.30.13 – April Rhodes
Group 2 – Feathers Quilt Pattern
9.2.13 – The ADD Crafter
9.4.13 – Sew Sweetness
9.6.13 – I’m A Ginger Monkey
9.9.13 – Ellison Lane Quilts
9.11.13 – Olivia Jane
Handcrafted
9.13.13 – Imagine Gnats
Group 3 – Clover Sunshine
9.16.13 – Crafty Fox
9.18.13 – One Girl Circus
9.20.13 – Sew Sweetness
9.23.13 – There and Back
9.25.13 – J.M.B.
9.27.13 – Modern Maven
Group 4 – Corsage, Bike Path, X & +
9.30.13 – Gen X Quilters
10.2.13 – Don’t Call Me Betsy
10.4.13 – Canoe Ridge Creations
10.7.13 – Jacey Craft
10.9.13 – Bijou Lovely
10.11.13 – Fresh Lemons Quilts
PS: I have all the starflower picture tutorials taken, but haven’t had a chance
to write them up, yet! Anyone want to come wrangle two very energetic children so I
can finish?!

Posted in Blog Hop, Works In Progress | 28 Comments