Since I generally sew alone in my quiet little space, an occasional getaway of quilting with a group of creative people can be especially energizing. Not only can the experience be extremely fun and relaxing, but can also provide the needed time to work on projects and share ideas. While I was away at the same retreat Pati wrote about in her last post, I had the opportunity to work on a quilt for my new grandson. My daughter requested that I make a fox quilt for him. How could I possibly say no when she showed me Fancy Fox by Elizabeth Hartman.
Here is my baby version of this design. This was a perfect retreat project, both fun and easy to make. It will be machine quilted with a pinkie backing, just perfect and snuggly for our new little guy. Thank you, Elizabeth for this adorable pattern.
Since this post is short and sweet, I will share with you some eye candy from Quilt 2017 by the San Francisco Quilt Guild. Please click here to see the images on The Plaid Portico, taken by Carol van Zandt. There are 3 separate posts so you will want to take time to enjoy them all.
Hope you all all enjoying a relaxing and creative summer. Until next time,
Hi everyone! I just re-read Pati’s previous post (BTW don’t you just love her new work?!) and noticed in her last sentence that she is curious as to what Darci and I have been up to. So, Pati, to answer your question, I will share with you and all of our readers what’s up here in Laura’s studio. I chuckle as I write this, as currently “my studio” is a very small section of my living space. Things have shifted a bit since the kids have moved back in with us. Let’s leave this for another discussion. All is well . . .it’s just an adjustment. I love having them here!
A few months ago I purchased a Kafffe Fassett Collective Fall 2016 20 piece Sweet Design Roll. The 6″ wide strips were the perfect size for cutting fabric wedges with my new 20-degree wedge ruler.
My new class, 20-Degrees of Fabric play inspired me to make some new class samples. Here’s the (almost) end result.
I say almost because, as you can see, I have not yet filled in the centers of the pieced hexagons. The obvious choice might be to appliqué circles. Instead, I decided to try cutting and fusing leaves from these beautiful fabrics, Maple Stream by Westminster Fibers.
I fused a green one to the hexagon in the upper right-hand corner just to see if I liked the look. The interesting thing is, my students saw it as a marijuana leaf! How funny, I didn’t see it. Oh well, I’m in California and decided I’m going to use them anyway. They are maple leaves . . . and I love them : )
While teaching the construction of this quilt, I had an opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics, grain line. Here’s a little tip that will help not only with this design but any other pattern that uses equilateral triangles (all sides being the same). The triangles are arranged as shown below and then joined together in horizontal rows.
Tip: In an equilateral triangle, there will be two sides cut on the bias and one side cut on the straight grain of the fabric. To prevent the rows from bowing and stretching, it is important to always place the side with the straight grain of the fabric even with the outer edge of the row (top or bottom). The other two sides of the triangle which contain the bias edges (lots of stretch) are in the center rather than along the outer edges. This is a simple detail but can save lots of grief during construction.
Thank you all for your patience in announcing the winners of the fabric bundles from the giveaway in my last post. I will notify the following readers shortly to get shipping information.
“tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Here we are, folks, it’s January! Where did it go? In the blink of an eye, another year has passed. I’m ready for the new year, how about you? Are you feeling the same?
Before Pati, Darci and I jump in with new projects for 2017, we thought it would be fun to share with you some of the projects we worked on during 2016. You will be correct if you quickly notice a theme running through my projects. I suppose it was inevitable that when I learned there would be TWO grandbabies arriving in 2017, I would quickly begin making projects for their arrival. Not twins, in case you are wondering, but instead, both daughters are expecting . . . one in March and the other in June.
In no particular order, here are some of my projects. Interesting to note that only a few are quilting related. Looks like I did more knitting in 2016. Hmm, obviously I enjoy both.
After many attempts, I have finally been able to successfully knit a pair of socks. I’ve tried using both circular and double-pointed needles and find that the double points are easier for me. The best part of using this Heritage Print yarn by Cascade is that the interesting design is naturally formed simply by following your favorite sock pattern.
I used a Baby Cashmerino yarn by Debbie Bliss for this knitted blanket. I modified the free Treasured Heirloom Baby blanket a pattern by Lion Brand Yarn. Since baby’s last name will be Berry I couldn’t resist making a strawberry cap using the “Kids Fruit Cap” pattern by Ann Norling.
If you are looking for a super quick and easy project for a baby gift, this Stretchy Carseat Cover by seekatesew.com is the perfect choice. A free downloadable pattern is found on the website. I used jersey knit fabric and since it was extra wide, I was able to make two covers. Not only are these covers, adorable fun to make, they also double as nursing aprons. Note: You can use either one or two fabrics, as I have done in my sample.
When my girls were young, I bought large pieces of foam, cut them into different shapes and then covered them with brightly colored corduroy fabrics. They played with them for years, stacking, jumping, making forts and just using to rest against while watching movies. This Christmas I decided to make a similar set for two of my favorite little guys. As you can see, they seem to be having a great time playing with them.
All four of my regular classes has an end of the year party. We each bring a yard of wrapped fabric for an exchange. Actually, it’s more like a stealing game as we pass the fabrics around trying to end up with our favorite one. This year I fell in love with these Darling Little Dickens Sheep fabrics by Lydia Nelson for Moda Fabrics. Unfortunately, I was not the lucky winner of the bundle, so I marched myself to my local shop the next day to purchase enough to make a small quilt. I’ll be sure to share photos as soon as it returns from the quilter.
Here’s a sneak peek at the baby quilt I am working on. I am using both hand and machine piecing techniques, and thoroughly enjoying the process. In my next post, I would like to share with you some tips for drafting, cutting and piecing the shapes for this quilt.
Finally, in an attempt to purge some of the way-too-many fabrics taking up space in my stash, I am offering a giveaway to three lucky readers. Note that there are three groups of fabric – left is French General, center is batiks and right is a collection of prints by Benartex fabrics. If you are interested in receiving one, simply leave me a comment by end of day January 15th, telling me which collection you prefer. The winners will be announced in the next post.
Hello SHWS readers, Jennifer here! It’s been many months since I’ve been in touch. These days I’m trolling the crafting and quilting resources of the great Southwest from my new digs in Arizona. Believe me, it’s challenging to leave the abundance of the San Francisco Bay Area where artists and craftspeople are setting trends, but it’s invigorating to jump into the unknown and explore who I am when I don’t have my posse of creative types for input. (Lordy, I miss Laura’s know-how though!)
In my adventuring I’ve come across a wonderful pattern designer called Carrie Payne of Believe Magic. As I explain in a post at my blog Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, I discovered her work at Scottsdale Quilts in Arizona. I don’t typically fall for charming figurative designs, but something clicked with her illustrations that celebrate young womanhood. It’s a case of right place/right time and a sudden need to make something special—my eldest son was about to propose to his girlfriend! As a mother-in-law-in-the-making I realized I needed to welcome my prospective daughter-in-law in an appropriate quilter fashion . . .
And so, if you click over to my blog Chasing BSOZ, you’ll get the lowdown on my Carrie Payne adventure and the opportunity to enter a giveaway to win one of Carrie’s patterns. The deadline is Monday, November 14th. Leave me a comment and I will draw random winners. There’s a question to answer, but you’ll find that at the end of the post.
What’s Better Than One Bridal Project? Two, Of Course!
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but once I made one engagement gift, I couldn’t stop. Maybe it was the fabulous vintage ribbons available at Scottsdale Quilts, or perhaps I’m building up good will with my other son’s girlfriend. Her only sister is about to marry and she’s the maid of honor plus organizer of the bachelorette party. We decided she needed a bride quilt bedecked with charms from all the girls attending the party.
I didn’t fly as blindly this time with the little quilt. This bride-to-be was months into preparation and had an official color scheme and a wedding gown. Carrie’s pattern is very flexible and I was able to style that bride to match her plans. Don’t you just love Pinterest? I took her special color board to the quilt shop and craft store and found just the right embellishments.
Carrie’s pattern allows for styling, and so my son’s girlfriend and I played with different hair designs and decorative elements. We ended up with her hair down and a fascinator carefully snipped from a length of vintage lace. Those roses could have formed a bouquet, but all told, that was too much when elaborate lace layers alternated with white print tiers.
These are some of the finishing details. I told her I’d sew the charms on once the bachelorette party is over and there’s a blank label on the back for the guests to sign.
I woke early this morning with thoughts of what to write in this post flitting through my mind. So much time has passed and so much has happened in the 4 months since I checked in with you.
Do I let you know how over the moon excited I am that I will welcome my first grand baby, a sweet little boy, into the world sometime around March 1st? If so, I could share with you some of the many projects I have already started working on for this little man!
Or perhaps, I will tell you all about my summer road trip to Thermopolis, Wyoming where I took a Road Scholar course at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center learning to become a Certified Dinosaur Bone Preservation Specialist?
Oh, and yes, let’s not forget my new electric pressure cooker, The Instant Pot has quickly become my new favorite kitchen toy. I know you would love reading about all the yummy recipes I have been experimenting with.
Finally, I’m thinking you might enjoy seeing photos of the new quilts I am designing in preparation for teaching on an upcoming Cruise to Hawaii. This is just a start . . . as lots of fun sea creatures will be added.
I am anxious to share all of these and more with you, but honestly, I feel I will save these for later posts. Today I just want to say thank you ALL for being here, for supporting SHWS.
I hope you know how much you are appreciated.
I hope you are well.
I hope you are happy.
I hope you are finding time for some joyful creating.
I send you all my best this first day of November and I hope this little tree with its heart shaped leaves brings a smile to your face, as it does to mine.
Please check in with us next week as one of our original contributors, Jennifer Rounds will be sharing a guest post.
It feels like forever since I have checked in with you. I read through all the thoughtful comments from my last post and could not select just one winner, so I randomly picked two. Be sure to read to the end to see who will be receiving my new pattern/ruler pack. If you missed seeing the post, simply click here. I challenged myself with a charm pack, large scale floral fabrics and a 20-degree wedge ruler. It was great fun. I’m still in play mode and don’t see an end in site any time soon.
So much has happened here since the last time I checked in. I have completed my new pattern, the Blooming Wedges Table runner and had some personalized 20-degree wedge rulers made. The two combine perfectly into a neat little pack. I have just shipped my first order to a major distributor so they should be available to shops very soon! In the meantime, if you are interested, I am offering a 50% off special on my website until May 31st. The special price is $12 plus $2.50 shipping. If you don’t use PayPal, just simply leave a request in the Comments and I will be happy to contact you via email.
I have also taught Wedge Play workshops at several local guilds and have been so pleased to see the abundance of creativity and willingness to play with fabric and rulers. To say I’m beyond excited, is an understatement.
Although the pattern has specific instructions for making the table runner, there are endless design possibilities using the ruler.
Below are just a few of the projects currently on my design wall.
I’m heading out on a four-day quilting retreat next week with the goal of finishing these quilts. Wish me luck!
This is my favorite so far . . . made from silk tie samples.
I’ll be sure to post updates with my next post. Finally, the lucky winners of the pattern/ruler pack are Jane from MA and Judy White. I will be sending you an email shortly to get your mailing addresses. Please be sure to share your projects.
As always, many thanks for checking in. Until next time, happy creating everyone!
It’s curious to me that sometimes I have to schedule a play date in my sewing room in order for things to get done. I guess this is just a sign of busy times. Fortunately it’s not always like this!
I’m just now getting back to playing with the charm packs and floral fabrics that I started in my last post. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap and details of my process.
I started with a charm pack (5″ squares) of solid Kona Cotton fabrics by Robert Kaufman. I separated the solid fabrics and then paired them with some floral fabrics from my collection.
I set aside one of the six solid fabrics from each group. Then used my new 20-degree wedge ruler to cut the remaining solid squares into fabric wedges. I got 2 fabric wedges from each square. There was a bit remaining that I decided not to use in this project.
After cutting, there were 10 fabric wedges from each group. I arranged nine and then sewed them together to make half of a circle.
The next step is to make a straight cut along the edge of the three inner fabric wedges. I placed the completed half circle on my cutting mat and used a ruler to determine the distance from the straight, left-hand edge of the circle to the outer edges of the three inner fabric wedges.
Cut the excess.
Turn the fabric on the mat and make two additional cuts, as shown.
It will now look like this.
Next, I straightened the top edge even with the lowest point of the curve.
I cut the squares that were set aside earlier, as shown in the photo.
These are sewn to the bottom corners, and then trimmed to size.
Next, I cut a floral piece of fabric for the top of the block and joined the two halves together.
I did the same for the remaining combos. Here are the finished blocks. My next step will be deciding what to do with them. . . I see another play day in my future.
I must share with you that after my previous post on this challenge, I received a comment from my friend Anita Grossman Solomon, that she too had been playing with the charm pack of Kona solids that she received in her goodie bag at the same Craftsy event. Not only was she playing with the solids, but also combining them with large floral prints . . . what are the chances?
I asked Anita if I could share her blocks with all of you. Here you can see another simple use of the solids squares combined with beautiful floral fabrics.
Like myself, Anita too has a new class on Craftsy, “Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks: Wrenches, Stars and Twists”. She shares lots of innovative tips for cutting and block construction. If anyone can simplify the process, it would be Anita . . . that’s the name of her game. Please visit her website to learn more about her books, patterns and workshops. To preview her online class with Craftsy, simply click here.
My new 20-degree wedge rulers just arrived. I’d like to send one along with my new table runner pattern to one of our readers. Please just leave me a comment by Friday April 22nd, letting me know what you would like to play with wedge rulers. I will announce the winner with my next post.
When I got up this morning, my plan was to write a post about all the happenings in my life over the past 6 weeks. It’s been extremely busy with lots of traveling and teaching. As I started to write, I could feel the need to put on the brakes and shift gears. What can I do NOW to support my creativity? With only about 1 hour of free time today, I decided to give myself a challenge. I quickly looked around my sewing room. There sitting on my cutting table was a charm pack which had been tucked into the goodie bag I received at the recent Craftsy Summit, a training camp for instructors.
The pack contains forty-two 5″ squares of solid fabrics. My plan is to use all 42 pieces in a new design . . . the clock is ticking ; ). Funny thing is, I found this to be fun. I know I work best under pressure!
As much as I enjoy working with solids, I think my first love is prints. I have a nice collection of Kaffe Fasset, Phillip Jacobs and Brandon Mabley prints, so I pull out of my stash.
I begin sorting through the charm squares and pairing them with the print fabrics. I narrowed it down to 7 prints combined with 6 of the solid squares. Here are six of the combinations I came up with. I will show you the seventh combination in a bit.
The next step is deciding what to do with the combos. I have enjoyed playing with wedge rulers recently and want to continue experimenting with new designs. So, I took 5 of the 6 squares from each combo and cut them into wedges. You will note that I am only going to use 9 of the 10 wedges that I was able to cut from the 5 squares ( only used 1 of the pink wedges as only 9 are necessary to make a half-circle.
Here’s what it looked like after I sewed the 9 wedges together, trimmed the edges and then used the 6th fabric from the combo to form the side triangles. I looks like a basket bottom to me.
These solids were combined with this Kaffe Fassett fabric as my 7th combination.
I’m happy to see that this plan seems to work and I will be able to use all 42 of the solid squares. My time is up for the today but I will definitely be working more on this design and give you an update in my next post. Please let me know if you find this interesting as I will be happy to add more instructions and tutorials for cutting and sewing.
Speaking of updates, my third class with Craftsy, “Quilting with Confidence: Your Questions Answered” has recently gone live. I am excited about this class as it covers everything from selecting patterns to the final binding. It is perfect for beginning quilters and those wanting to take a leap into the creative world of quilt making. This link will take you to all of my classes. While on the Craftsy site, feel free to look around. There are many wonderful course offerings. Also, if you are interested in learning more about designing with wedge rulers, you might consider Debbie Caffrey’s new class “Smart Techniques for Working with Wedges“. There is always so much to learn!
Until my next post, I wish you all a Happy Spring!
“I am not sure I have any tips either, except to stop worrying about the “rules” and what other people think, and do what comes naturally to you. If you strive for order, make a quilt that fits your style. If you like freedom and chaos, then make that type of quilt. Also, don’t expect perfection the first time you do something.”
Congratulations, Shasta! We will be contacting you to get your address for your book delivery! And thank you to everyone that entered. Be sure to take time to read through the comments for some very useful tips.
I wonder if you are smiling as I am at the title of this post? Of course I’m a collector and I’m guessing that if you are a quilter, sewer, knitter, crafter or maker in any art form, you too have a large collection of supplies to support your passion. In this case, I’m not referring to the obvious collection of fabric, threads, yarns, etc. but other objects that you choose to collect, just because you love them and most importantly, they make you happy. I’m curious to know what constitutes a collection, 3 or more items, how did the collection begin and what inspires us to collect?
When I was a child, I remember my parents giving me a folder for collecting pennies. I was initially intrigued and made several trips to the bank to exchange paper money for rolls of pennies, hoping to be lucky enough to find an older, sought-after coin. Unfortunately, I had neither the patience nor the luck, and soon lost interest.
During my college days, I was drawn to ladybugs. I loved finding them in unsuspecting places. They always made me happy. I purchased a small painted one and kept it in my pocket. For some reason, it brought me comfort. Apparently, the word got out and I started receiving all sorts of ladybug inspired gifts. Here’s a peek at some of the ladybug items you would find hiding around my house.
It was the ladybug that inspired “Ladybugs on Parade”, the first design in the From Me to You pattern line, which I designed with Diana McClun.
I recently acquired a portion of my mother’s hummel collection. It got me thinking about how my mother got started collecting these figurines and why they were so precious to her. I remember her telling me that she received her first one as a wedding gift, in 1952.
I have no idea how long it was before she either purchased or received another one. I only know that through the years, she received many more as birthday and Christmas gifts. My siblings and I would hunt for the perfect one to add to her growing collection. It was always a sure bet that she would love the chosen figure and proudly display it in a curio cabinet devoted specifically to this collection.
As sweet as these are, they are not something I would be inspired to purchase. However, my newly acquired collection will always be dear to my heart, knowing how much they meant to my mother.
In addition to my favorite ladybug collection, I have small collections of wooden houses, teacups and ceramic teapots and mailboxes.
Pati has a small collection of antique Oriental pan irons. “Pan irons were used for smoothing silks by putting hot coals or sand in them, then moved in a circular motion. Each iron was decorated differently to tell it’s own story. I only have a few of them, because I have never found an interesting way to display them.” Pati explains.
Pati also has a collection of hearts that hang on a wall. She says she doesn’t exactly have a theme. But each one has a special meaning or memory attached to it.
Jennifer Rounds, one of our former SHWS writers, says “I love blue and white pottery, and lately, I am a fan of bowls and plates. Blue and white is so clean and pure.”
I chatted with my students yesterday about their own collections. It was interesting to hear their stories and learn what inspired them to hunt for their treasured items. Some of the obvious to me were thimbles, buttons, teapots, typewriters, bells and hearts. The most fascinating, and one I was not familiar with, was a crystal spooner. I quickly did a google search to find the following. “A popular collectible today, the spooner or spoon holder, provided as much symbolic value as function for Victorian society. The prominently displayed spoons were a clear sign of ready hospitality, as well as a status symbol for the increased affluence among the expanding middle class who could now afford silver spoons, or at least a good facsimile.” (patternglass.com) Hmmm, I just might have to keep my eyes out for these. However, would it mean I would also need to start a collection of vintage spoons? Could be fun!
We love hearing your stories, so please feel free to share the most interesting and/or unusual thing you have ever collected, and tell us what inspired you to begin the collection?