Thursday, August 2, 2018

Splendid Sampler 2: My Flock, and a Garden Club giveaway!

My Flock - Splendid Sampler 2 Block!

I'm very excited that today my pattern for the Splendid Sampler 2 is released! I'm very honored that Pat and Jane asked me to be a part of this collaboration. There are a lot of amazing quilters that are involved in this book! Speaking of the book, it will be released in October but it is available for pre-order now! And of course you can get a head start on some blocks like mine ;)

I wanted to create a block that featured flying geese, they are one of my favorites! There are so many ways to make them and rulers out there to help make them quickly and easily. If you have never tried to make flying geese today is the day to start!  

I made up a second version of the this block in my brand new Garden Club fabric collection for RJR! This is perfectly timed because my new fabrics are shipping to shops right now!

AND I'm also going to give away a Fat Quarter bundle of Garden Club to you as well! Just leave me a comment on this post and I will choose a winner on Monday, August 6, 2018!

Happy sewing friends! Hope you have fun making my block! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Splendid Sampler 2 - Block #1 from Alex Veronelli

It's the kickoff day for the Splendid Sampler 2!  The first featured block is by Alex Veronelli of Aurifil thread fame. And of course I added some of my favorite Aurifil threads to my photo for you. I have been using these Italian threads now for 8 years! See the little wooden spool in the photo? That is the new 80 weight thread! It's sooo thin! You can use it in your sewing machine (I still used the 50 weight for this block) but I'm excited to try using the thinner weight for some hand stitching on some of these blocks. 

To download today's free block pattern head to The Spendid Sampler website:

I'm sure this block could have gone together faster if I wasn't so particular about colors. It was still quick and I used ALL scraps! You know I love a good scrap quilt! I'm hoping these blocks help me use up my massive scrap collection.

After stitching this block I added a line of stay stitching around the edges. It's just a straight line stitch around the edge of the entire block. With this many seams and some being on the bias it will help my block hold it's shape until it gets sewn up into a quilt!

Don't forget to link up your finished block on the Splendid Sampler website!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Very Splendid Sampler Quilt Along!

 Splendid Sampler 2

Did you see all the fun everyone was having last year with The Splendid Sampler quilt along? Did you miss out? Did you have so much fun that you want to join in again? Well, guess what? Pat and Jane are doing it again! Yep! And it starts tomorrow. AND I'm joining in this time. I designed one of the blocks (it's on the cover too, #nobigdeal) that will be included in the book.

Here are the details you need to know:

1. The The Splendid Sampler 2 quilt along begins June 14, 2018. You can join in at any time! There will be 100 blocks total.

2. The Splendid Sampler 2 book won't actually be published until October of 2018. The first 20 blocks that we will be making will be FREE! That's right! We are going to get you hooked on making the blocks and then you'll have to buy the book, right? Either way, click on the Amazon link below f you want to preorder the book.  See my block? It's the one in the lower left hand corner. With the 4 Flying Geese! Okay so you can only see half of it, but still, it's super cool to be on the cover.

3. We will be making one new block each week so it's pretty low commitment! You will learn some new techniques as we go along and all of the designers will be around with helpful hints too ;)

I hope you can join in with the fun! There's even a Facebook group to ask questions and show off your blocks!

*this post contains affiliate links!  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Forest Daybreak Quilt - Modern Patchwork May/June 2017

I just got the new issue of Modern Patchwork in the mail!  I was very excited to see my Forest Daybreak quilt in this issue!

I used some of my favorite colors of the new Me+You batiks from Hoffman fabrics for this quilt.  The pattern is all improvisational sewing with strips of fabric.  So it goes together really quickly.  AND you can easily adjust the thickness of the strips and/or the size of the quilt to suit your needs.  

If you have never tried improv quilting before, this is a good way to get your feet wet!  The digital issues are on sale now for instant download.  These will be on the newsstands soon!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

All About Camp Stitchalot! And my interview with Pat Sloan!

In case you missed it, yesterday I had the pleasure of being on Pat Sloan's radio show again!  It's always so nice to have a little chat with Pat.  This time I focused on Camp and Glamp Stitchalot.  We talked about what a retreat is like and a few questions that folks had asked on her Facebook page. 

It's about 12 minutes long so make sure you pop over to Pat's site and take a listen.  This year we are going to have two Camp Stitchalot events.  Of course I'm always trying to make our events better after getting feedback from attendees.  So, there are going to be a few changes this year!  And I know they will be for the better.  Here is a short breakdown about our events!

Camp Stitchalot June 2-3, 2017
Ann Arbor, MI - $375

This Camp will be a totally new format for us!  First of all, I'm really excited to have a bag making weekend.  I love bags but there's a lot to learn about them.  Interfacing, zippers, hardware... what needle to use?  Lucky for us we have two of the best bag makers on Earth coming to help us out. 

Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness is coming to teach her awesome Appaloosa Bag!  How cute is this handbag?  I chose this bag to learn because of it's many pockets.  You can see that there is a really cool accordion style pocket on the front and also a welt zipper pocket on the inside.  You will also learn how to install some hardware!  

This bag has rectangle rings and a slider on the strap.  And a magnetic snap closure.  And Sara will talk to you about how to interface this type of bag.  This uses the byAnnie Soft and Stable.  It gives your bag a nice sturdy look but it's still soft and easy to sew through.

Annie Unrein from byAnnie is going to teach her Bowl Me Over Bag.  This is the perfect bag to take as a carry on or a weekend trip!  And there's a lot of great information you will learn while making this bag.  This will also use Soft and Stable sew in interfacing, a lightweight fusible interfacing and several zippers!  Even a magnetic snap!

 At the retreat, you will work on one bag per day.  You get 6 hours of classes (each day!), light breakfast, snacks, lunch AND open sewing time at night!  Pink Castle Fabrics will be providing Janome Skyline S7 machines for everyone to use in the class as well!

Dinner and overnight rooms are not included.

Glamp Stitchalot November 9-12, 2017
Ann Arbor, MI - $575

Glamping = Glamorous Camping.  Well, okay, so we aren't actually camping.  I mean, I'm not taking my sewing machine out in the woods.  For this Glamp Stitchalot we have changed our format a little bit.  This time we have four star studded teachers with longer class times.  And we will be at a new location!  The Sheraton in Ann Arbor, MI.  We have also lowered the amount of tickets that we will have for this event.  There will still be A LOT of awesome new sewing friends to make, don't worry!

This year's teachers are going to be a lot of fun.  I mean, Anna Maria Horner, Lizzy House, Guicy Guice and Anne Marie Chaney!  We are going to learn some great small paper piecing, machine applique, and curves too!  The best thing about Glamp is that all your meals are included.  So you don't have to go out into a city that you aren't familiar with to hunt down food.  That just takes away from your sewing time, in my opinion.

We have a lot of fun with swaps and getting to know each other before our events too.  You will leave with new friends and some awesome new sewing skills.  The Sheraton has amazing food too!  Food and sewing...I mean, that's pretty much all I care about!

Rooms aren't included in the price but we have a discounted rate at the Sheraton!

Check out to keep up with all our new events!  I hope to see you here soon!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Janome NQM2016! Best travel sewing machine at a NEW discounted price!

I've been meaning to write a post and review of the Janome NQM2016 for months now.  And of course, now they just dropped the price so there's a fire under my butt.

Each year Janome puts out a limited edition sewing machine and donates part of the proceeds to a charity.  This is one of those machines.  It's in the DC series (so it's similar to the DC2015 and the DC2014) which is Janome's yearly series.  The year corresponds to the model number.  This is one of my FAVORITE lines that Janome carries.  Okay let me break some of this down for you.

The yearly DC series is my favorite for travel machines.  The machines typically come with a hard case and they are lightweight (13-18lbs).  The machines are still made in a Janome factory (as are all machines with the Janome name on them) and have a metal interior and quality parts.  So you are still getting a nice machine (with about 40-50 stitches including button holes and all normal utility stitches) in a smaller package.

The NQM2016 stepped it up a few notches.  THIS machine has all the amazing features that I love in this series PLUS that fancy sewing table you see in the photo (with fold up legs for travel or to put away) AND a thread cutter.  This is a major plus for me.  Now that I have a thread cutter on my sewing machine (you just push that little button with scissors on it and it cuts your top and bottom threads for you!) I don't ever want to go back.  It saves me thread and there's a lot less clean up and thread clipping when I'm finished with a project.

All the machines in this line come with a needle up/needle down function and speed control too.  They all have a TON of accessories available too.  And of course, money is being sent to the National Quilt Museum as a donation with every purchase!

Okay now the price.  $599.  Yep.  That's an awesome deal.  It's the SAME price as other Janome machines with less features.  If you are comparing to other brands, this machine has more features for less cost with a lot of similar models.  AND Pink Castle Fabrics is giving you a $60 gift certificate to the shop (which is great to add on accessories!) while supplies last.  Here's the catch.  This is the 2016 model and it's now the year 2017.  This means they are no longer going to make this machine. Make sure you go and buy it now!

Janome NQM2016 Details and Review:

Overall Rating:  9.5/10
Price: $599 (+ $60 Gift)

Best Features: 

  • Thread cutter
  • Extension table
  • Easy stitch selection
  • Lightweight
Worst Features:
  • Smaller throat space
Types of Sewing:  patchwork, garment sewing, home decor.  You can quilt small quilts up to about lap size on this machine.  It's sturdy enough to sew bags.  Has a lot of great stitches for garments!

Who is this machine for?  Easy enough for a beginner.  Still a lot of features that an intermediate or advanced sewist would use.  This is perfect for the sewer who has a huge expensive machine and needs a lightweight travel machine (without skimping on features).  This is also perfect for someone ready to move up from a cheap big box machine or is a beginner. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Geogram by Samarra Khaja! Blog tour stop #1!

Hello!  I'm so excited to be the first person to introduce you to my friend Samarra Khaja's new collection Geogram with Lecien fabrics!  Starting off the blog hop is kind of a big deal... :)

First, here's a photo of Samarra and the pretty rainbow of fabrics that she created!

While this alone is most likely enough to get you to run out and BUY this fabric, I suppose I could show you a project made with it too.  You know, to really seal the deal.  

When I was asked if I wanted to make something with a charm pack of Geogram, I immediately said, "yes!"  I had this idea that I was thinking about using machine applique and orange peels and this line would work perfectly!  I had originally thought about making this into a baby quilt, but I have no babies.  I do have this huge floor pillow that needs a cover.  My son has a new habit of reading or playing Minecraft on the iPad in the middle of the floor on one of the small couch cushions.  This, I think will be much more comfortable for him.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Samarra, you should acquaint yourself with her.  I have been a fan of her fabrics for a long time, even before I knew who she was in person.  She is funny and passionate and really artistic.  And she's a quilter!  This means that she is going to be able to create a line of fabric that makes a really nice quilt.  For example, look at the prints and colors that she chose for this collection.  There's a lot of variety even within the colors.  Like there's green in the collection but it is broken up into several coordinating greens.  And Samarra has chosen to create a lot of stash builders.  You can see that even though there are multiple colors within just one print, they still read as one color.  This will make this collection great for mixing with the rest of your stash. There are 30 prints in Geogram by the way.  Samarra also just published a book, a coloring book and a tattoo book.  You know, in her spare time....

Last Quilt Market, I just happened to sit next to Sue Pelland and lunch.  I have been thinking a lot about machine applique and learning everything that I can about it to step up my game.  What a crazy coincidence that she's like the machine applique queen.  (Seriously, her rulers are genius!)  One of the things I don't love with applique is the stiff look you get with most  fusables like Wonder Under.  But you need something to glue the fabric down.  Sue had mentioned to me to try out Mistyfuse.  It all looks very confusing.  There's no paper.  So how do you iron it?  Well, you have to have a Goddess Sheet.  Okay, that sounds confusing but it's really not.  I watched a YouTube video and it took me about 15 minutes to figure it out.

I had some Mistyfuse, my Goddess Sheet,  a handy new Creative Grids Round Up Tool (which also has a great video tutorial) and a charm pack of Geogram.  I set to work making some orange peels with the Mistyfuse attached to the back.  This stuff is really nice.  It's soft and flexible even with the glue on the back!

I cut out way too many of the little orange peels but that's okay.  I have enough for a second big floor pillow now.  I want the edges to fray (just a bit!) over time and give the pillow a little texture and so I just sewed close to the edge of the orange peels.  I did this with the batting behind it to kill two birds with one stone.  After pressing the peels down, they stayed put really well and I just "quilted" them onto the pillow top!  Done.

I used SOTAK Handmade's zipper closure tutorial and then I had my pillow completed!  It looks really cool with the Geogram doesn't it?  I think the fabric looks great against the bright white.  The pillow finishes at 24" x 24".  Really big and fluffy for the floor.

Before I let you go, I want to show you something.  At Quilt Market, Samarra had this really awesome Home Sweet Home quilt hanging at the Lecien booth with her collection projects.  The font matches the print in Geogram with the text on it.  This is a FREE quilt pattern that Samarra has made, just for us!  If you click on the photo it will take you to the free pattern!

We will have Geogram in stock soon at Pink Castle Fabrics :)

If you don't want to take my word for it that Geogram is awesome. A bunch of other awesome people are going to show you projects too:

Feb 1, Wed
Brenda Ratliff  *that's me!*

Feb 3, Fri

Feb 6, Mon

Feb 8, Wed

Feb 10, Fri
Jessee Maloney

Feb 13, Mon
Nicole Daksiewicz

Feb 15, Wed
Kristi McDonough

Feb 17, Fri
Laura McDowell Hopper

Feb 20, Mon

Feb 22, Wed

Feb 24, Fri

Feb 27, Mon
Rebecca Greco

March 1, Wed

March 2, Thu

March 3, Fri
Samarra Khaja  *last but not least*