Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why I am Thankful for My Sewing Machine and Rotary Cutter

It's Jessie here. What did you do last weekend? I cleaned out my garage. There were two boxes in there that had been sitting unpacked ever since my husband and I moved back to my hometown over three years ago.

And guess what I found in one of them?

My great-great or maybe even great-great-great-grandma hand-pieced this Lone Star over 100 years ago.

And that is why I am thankful for my sewing machine and rotary cutter!

I can't even imagine cutting out all those pieces by hand. Hand-sewing is something that I don't have a lot of patience for either so I would probably have twice as many WIPs (Works In Progress) if I lived 100 years ago. Maybe my great-great-grandma didn't have patience for hand-sewing either since this quilt top is still unfinished!

I'm not really a purple-orange-turquoise kind of girl, so I'm at a loss for how to use this quilt top. I would love to see it finished, but I don't know how I would incorporate it into my decor.

If you are a purple-orange-turquoise kinda of girl (or guy), you can find the colors used in the Lone Star in Clothworks' American Made Brand Solids collection. There are over 40 colors in the collection, so if another color combination suits you better, you'll be able to find it here too!

American Made Brand Solids - Purple - Made In USA
American Made Brand Solids - Purple - Made In USA

American Made Brand Solids - Dark Orange - Made In USA
American Made Brand Solids - Dark Orange - Made In USA

American Made Brand Solids - Dark Turquoise - Made In USA
American Made Brand Solids - Dark Turquoise - Made In USA

Do you have any antique or heirloom quilts?
What's the oldest quilt you have and the story behind it?

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is Fear Stopping You from Learning a New Skill?

Summer is coming to an end, and kids are going back to school. Perhaps you're even starting to see the leaves changing color. Now is the perfect time to start on a Christmas sewing project and maybe even learn a new skill in the process!

"C is for Christmas" is Jennifer's latest quilt design and Block of the Month program. It starts in October 2014, so you can sit by the fire and work on the hand embroidery blocks throughout the holiday season! The program finishes in April, giving you plenty of time to complete the quilt before Christmas comes around again. In the three and a half minute video below, Jennifer introduces the quilt and explains the difference between traditional and laser-cut applique.

I often hear Jennifer and Lynn (she's the one who manages all the Block of the Month programs) discuss the number of people signing up for traditional versus laser-cut applique. Sometimes they get really excited about the number of people signing up for traditional and sometimes their excitement is because people are signing up for laser-cut. (Click HERE if you want to sign up.)

I asked Jennifer yesterday which one she prefers people to choose. Her response was, "I don't really care which method people choose. I just don't want them to choose one option out of fear of the other." She enjoys both methods of applique herself. Jennifer filmed an 8-part series on traditional applique so that if someone wants to learn that skill and try it for themselves, they will have the resources to do so.

She also knows that laser-cut applique is a new method for many quilters but that it is a good alternative for people who might not be able to cut out the pieces themselves anymore due to arthritis or other circumstances. Laser-cut is also a great option for someone who has never tried applique before and wants to get a feel for it without taking the time to learn the traditional method.

Whether you choose traditional or laser-cut applique for "C is for Christmas," you'll need to know how to make an hourglass block. Jennifer uses these as the sashing throughout the quilt and to frame the interior of the quilt. In the video below, she walks you through the process step-by-step.

And finally, the main feature of the quilt is the 10 redwork embroidery blocks interspersed between the appliqued letters that spell CHRISTMAS. In this video, Jennifer teaches the three stitches used in the embroidery designs. I'll be honest with you: I've never tried hand embroidery myself. But after seeing Jennifer demonstrate the back stitch, satin stitch and French knots, I am a lot less intimidated by the process and might actually give it a try!

So what do you say? I'm going to challenge you to get out there and learn a new skill! Whether it be traditional applique, laser-cut applique, hand embroidery or something entirely different--don't let fear stop you from learning and trying something new! Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised and find that it really wasn't as difficult or scary as you thought it would be!

Comment below and let us know what new skill you're going to learn! Challenge a friend to learn it with you!

Until next time,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sewing Party and a SNEAK PEEK!

On Tuesday night this week, the ladies of Shabby Fabrics got together for our first sewing night! We had so much fun that we decided to make it a monthly event!

We have a mix of experienced and beginner quilters working here. Dani, Rachael and Savannah all started their very first quilts and the experienced quilters were able to help them get started.

Dani chose a colorful mix of fabrics for her daughter who just turned two. She's using our Easy as ABC & 123 pattern which is a great choice for a first quilt. (Choosing a wide variety of colors is also good when you're making a quilt for a toddler as you'll see further down.)

Savannah is using the same pattern but chose the teals and golds of Bohemian Rhapsody for a more "grown up" look.

Rachael chose to start with the Pennants Quilt Kit featuring Lakehouse's Sweet Things collection.

Speaking of sweet things... what's a party without chocolate?

Tracy is working on a gray and purple quilt for her granddaughter.

Click here for the Sausalito Cottage - Lavender that's in Tracy's block.

Kelsie's sister Elle joined us for the evening and helped make an infinity scarf.

I mainly worked on some quilt math. You do what you gotta do when you forget the pattern at home and are wanting to resize the blocks anyways!

You've been seeing glimpses here and there of my baby, and soon we'll be showing you a quilt featuring Miss Kate by Bonnie & Camille with Marcie's name on it. But I also have another daughter who is almost three, and she "needs" a new quilt too! I chose the Sausalito Cottage Raspberry FQ set and showed it to her on Wednesday morning after our sewing party. She adamantly said she wanted a purple quilt. So I decided to save the pink fabric for another project and pick out a few purple prints from the same collection.

Do any of you have small children or grandchildren? Can you guess what she said next? Before I cut into any purple fabric, she changed her mind once again and decided she wanted a pink quilt! I'm going to stick with pink and if she changes her mind between now and when it's finished, I'm just going to hope that she's in a "pink mood" when it's complete!

Julie didn't have a sewing project to work on during the party and instead started on a puzzle.

But you all know that it's nearly impossible to be surrounded by fabric and not get bitten by the sewing bug! Julie soon coordinated fabrics from Story Book, Little Ark and Mirabelle in shades of aqua, gray and yellow. She'll be making two baby blankets for a friend who is having boy/girl twins later this month!

And finally, Jennifer prepared a scalloped border that will be appliqued on her next design. We'll be revealing the quilt later this year, but I'll let you in on a little secret. Jennifer will be filming a tutorial for each block of this quilt, so if you're new to applique you can follow along with her step-by-step demonstrations!

In the meantime, you can watch Jennifer's 8-part series called "Learn How to Appliqué with Shabby Fabrics." In Part 1 below, Jennifer explains the difference between appliquéd and pieced quilts.

Lynn, Sue, Melanie, Amber and Clara were also here, and I'll be showing you pictures of their projects when we have our next get-together in the beginning of September! Thanks to those who followed along with us on Instagram and Twitter as we posted pictures live throughout the evening - we'll be sure to announce when our next party is so you can follow along and join the fun too.

Until next time,

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summertime Sewing

Are you enjoying your summer so far? Keep reading for a great summer project combining colorful fabrics and a fun pattern!

In Friday's newsletter we showed you Pinhead and Kiss Dot from Michael Miller Fabrics. (You can sign up to receive our newsletter here if you haven't already.)

We've compiled Fat Eighth Sets for you in five different color groups. A Fat Eighth measures approximately 9" by 21" and with these sets ranging from $9.00 to $15.00 each, they are a great way to add a pop of color to your next project or build your stash.

Pinhead and Kiss Dot would also work well in Cluck Cluck Sew's Morning Glory pattern.

Morning Glory

This adorable summer throw requires 16 assorted 1/8-yard cuts, but if you make the quilt with fat eighths, we would recommend starting with 18.

Kiss Dot 8 Fat Eighth Set - Pink/Purple
Pinhead 8 Fat Eighth Set - Pink/Purple

Mix and match color groups to suit your decor. 

Kiss Dot 7 Fat Eighth Set - Blue 
Pinhead 6 Fat Eighth Set - Blue

Or choose one color group but use both Pinhead and Kiss Dot to add variety.

Kiss Dot 10 Fat Eighth Set - Red/Orange/Yellow
Pinhead 9 Fat Eighth Set - Red/Orange/Yellow

Order a yard of green from Pinhead for the stems.

Click here to see the yardage.

And 3 1/2 yards Kiss Dot's white-on-white for the background.

Kiss Dot - Snow

Detailed instructions and diagrams make Morning Glory a breeze to assemble! This 68" x 78" throw will brighten your home and doubles as a perfect picnic blanket!

Until next time,