Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pat Sloan's Book Tour! Teach Me to Machine Quilt!

See that smiling face on the cover?  That's my friend Pat Sloan!  AND I'm really excited that she asked me to be a part of her book tour for her awesome new book Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine Quilt: Learn the Basics of Walking Foot and Free-Motion Quilting.

This book is the third in a new "Teach Me" to quilt series that Pat is putting together.  The other two books in the series, Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Applique: Fusible Applique That's Soft and Simple and Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Sew Triangles: 13 Easy Techniques Plus 12 Fun Quilts are still available so make sure you grab those too so you can have them all!  As a quilt shop owner, I think this is a great idea.  I have customers that will come into the shop and see a quilt and say, "Oh, I could never do that.  I don't know how to _______."  I can just hand them a book with Pat's smiling face on it and say, "Now you can!"

Machine quilting on a home machine is is the most requested class in my shop.  It seems scary at first to quilters.  Here's a quilt top that took hours and hours to finish and they don't want to ruin it.  Or they don't know where to start.  AND you see all these folks who have been quilting for years (or who send their quilts out to a professional) and you compare yourself.  "My quilting could never look like that!"  Of course it can!  Get Pat's book and get practicing!

Teach Me to Machine Quilt has a lot of information.  Some quilting books you see just have a few ages of introductory quilt information and then some projects.  Not so on this book.  It's really meant to dive deep into the subject of machine quilting.  And it really does.  Pat goes over the entire process from start to finish.  She highlights different methods too.  For example, pin basting vs. spray basting. This way you can try both out and decide for yourself which you prefer.  That makes Pat's book one that you can keep as a reference and go back to over and over again.  AND it includes information for BOTH free motion quilting AND walking foot quilting!

One of my favorite things about Teach Me to Machine Quilt are the visual references.  There are a lot of pictures in this book.  Including visual references on thread weights and what that looks like quilted, different ways to piece the back of the quilt, and what your quilting should look like and how to fix issues.  PLUS there are 8 bonus videos that you can watch (information on how to see them is in the book!) so you can really get a good idea of what Pat is talking about.  That is very valuable.

The sample projects at the end of the book are great for practicing what you just learned.  Pat has included both small (nice to start with something more manageable) and larger (lap size) projects.  She also has some applique to practice after you have learned everything from Teach Me to Applique.  I fell in love with the Cherry Pie project from the book and I started a few blocks.

Pretty cool blocks huh?  My plan is to make two more (smaller than the version in Pat's book) and then quilt the baby quilt myself.  These blocks finish at 15" so they are just the right size to make a quick baby quilt.  And I'm pretty sure I can handle quilting that myself .  Especially now that I have Pat's book to walk me through it... get it, walk me... you know because of the walking foot..   Okay, bad joke.

Make sure you go to Pat's Blog and enter to win a copy of her book!  Thanks Pat for including me :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Listen to me on Crafty Planner's Podcast!

Are you finishing up your stars and 4 patches for the Stargyle quilt?  I worked on mine last night.  Having Quilt Market and a Glamp Stitchalot a few weeks apart really kept me from my sewing room!  Don't get me wrong, I love my job but I also love to sew and quilt.  And sometimes I just don't get enough time in the sewing room.

A few weeks ago I chatted with Sandi from the Crafty Planner about the industry and a little about Sew Pro.  I felt like I could have chatted with her for hours!  It was a lot of fun, Sandi is really easy to talk to.  

Give a listen to my episode when you get the chance!  I will be on Pat Sloan's radio show next Monday too (November 21, 2016!).  You can listen live!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bust Yo Scraps - Stargyle Quilt Along - Step 4: Creating Your Sawtooth Stars


Making Stars!  I love quilts with stars in them.  Especially Sawtooth Stars like we have in this quilt!  These are stars are so easy to make. And instead of a plain square in the middle (which you could do if you wanted) we are going to use some of the four patches that we already have completed.  

The finished Star Block size for this quilt is 8".
Queen Size = 41 Stars
Lap Size = 25 Stars

The Sawtooth Star is a 9 patch block created with four flying geese and some squares.  Easy right?  There are a lot of tutorials online on how to create a flying geese block.  If you have a favorite tutorial that you want to use note that you will need  2" x 4" finished flying geese.  My friend over at SuzyQuilts has a great tutorial on how to make a sawtooth star without a ruler:

For each 8" Sawtooth Star you will need:
One 4" finished 4 patch (or a 4.5" sqaure)
Four 2.5" squares of background
Four 2" x 4" finished flying geese (the Goose is the background fabric)

Making the Flying Geese

There are so many tutorials online already for making flying geese.  My favorite method uses the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese ruler by Elenor Burns.  I've been using this ruler for years now.  It creates 4 geese blocks at a time perfectly with just two squares of fabric!  There is very little waste and they come out accurately so your points don't get lost in your seams!  There are several sizes of these rulers.  You will need the Large Flying Geese Ruler for this quilt (this is also the size ruler you need to create the Sparkling Cider quilt too FYI).

Seeing is believing!  Watch this video and be amazed :)

It's easy to cut up all your squares at one time and chain piece each part of creating your Sawtooth stars.  I'm really liking the way the mixed backgrounds look using up some low volume scraps.  Like a chef has their mise en place  it really does make quilting easier to have your fabrics cut and ready.  I usually do this in small groups because I get bored and want to sew :D  But it still helps to do several of the same blocks at a time instead of just one.  

You will need a 5.5" square of background fabric and a 7" square of "star point" fabric using this ruler to create all four of your flying geese!

Now you can easily sew your sawtooth star pieces together! Add in your background squares for the corners and use a 4 patch for the inside square.  

These blocks look really great!  I love seeing all the other fabric choices on Instagram!  Make sure to use the #stargylequilt !  Next week we will learn about sashing and sewing all the blocks together!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bust Yo Scraps - Stargyle Quilt Along - Step 3: Creating Your 4 Patches


Finally!  Let's get to the sewing!  This weekend I started to cut up my scraps and get started creating some 4 patch blocks.  A four patch block is an easy and quick block to create.  There are SO many tutorials online on how to create them.  So, I will skip the tutorial but I will talk about some of my favorite ways to create them easily and quickly. 

In choosing the fabrics that you will create your four patches remember to look for some contrast between the colors.  This will help the pattern to stand out.  You can create 4 patches that look like a checkerboard (with just two fabrics) OR you can go super scrappy and choose four different fabrics for each block.

The finished 4 patch size for this quilt is 4"

Queen Size = 81 four patches
Lap Size = 49 four patches

The most traditional method of creating a 4 patch block is just sewing four squares together. To create the blocks for this quilt you need to start with 2.5" squares.  You can easily chain piece the squares together to finish your blocks faster.  April Rosenthal has a great tutorial on how to create a perfect four patch this way:

I'm going to be using this awesome new ruler from Creative Grids.  It's called the Turbo 4 Patch Template.  As a shop owner I get links and videos all the time to new notions and tools to help us sew things faster.  When I saw this video on the Turbo 4 Patch ruler, I had to get one to try it out.  The video (or the ruler) doesn't give you an ideal size square to start out with.  You can easily just choose whatever sizes you have already in your stash and you might have extra in the middle (like in the video).  But, I have found that if you start with two 5.5" squares (one light and one dark) you have two finished 4 patch blocks (finished size 4") with little waste.

It is easy enough to chain piece these blocks!  I am using low volume fabrics for my background and some bright colors for contrast on my four patches.  This way I'm able to use up even more scrap fabrics!  I decided to rewatch the Veronica Mars series (again) and I had all these (and some more for the stars) cut out in just one episode.  These are all 5.5" squares.  Each pair (one light and one dark) create two 4 patches!

Easy peasy!  It doesn't matter what method you decide to use to create your 4 patch blocks.  Just remember that you will want your blocks to finish at 4" square (4.5" x 4.5" before you sew them together) for this pattern.

Don't forget to add #stargylequilt on your Instagram posts! I can't wait to see everyone's 4 patch blocks!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bust Yo Scraps - Stargyle Quilt Along - Step 2: Sorting Your Scraps and Choosing Colors


Sorting Your Scraps

My scrap basket runneth over.  I can't say I mind TOO much when I have a lot of scraps.  But seeing them all does give me the itch to make a scrap quilt.  Let's first talk about how I store my scraps (you might have a different way and that's okay too) and why it works for me.  Then we can talk about colors and how to choose for our Stargyle quilt!
We all have a different amount of scraps.  When I started quilting, I didn't have much at all.  I started out with just one small plastic bin and I threw everything in there.  Once my bin started getting full, I put them in three bins: warms, cools, and neutrals.  Eventually, years go by and I have a bin for every color (and multiples of some!).

I consider any oddly shaped fabric (that won't fold up nicely on my fat quarter/fat eighth shelves) or fabric less than a fat eighth (9" x 22") a scrap.  Some of these can be pretty big.  Instead of just throwing them in the bins, I try to fold them as best I can and lay them in the bin.  I find it's easier to rifle through them when I'm looking for a certain color.  I also decided to have separate bins for novelty fabrics, solids, linen blends and tiny scraps.  A bin for everything and everything in it's bin!

Ikea CD towers are perfect for FQs!

While working on a project and cutting fabrics I have a catchall scrap bin.  Everything goes in that bin until it gets sorted into the correct colors (maybe once a month?) and sizes.  Any fabrics that are close to a 2.5" square, I cut right away and throw them into a bin for 2.5" squares.  This is the perfect size for 1" English paper piecing!  

The amount of bins you want and how diverse you want them to be is really up to you and the amount of scraps that you have!  I feel that having my scraps sorted this way allows me to choose colors for a project and then I just pull out the scrap bins of those colors!  I'm sure you can make nice fabric bins with embroidered color names, but I really like the clear plastic.  They stack nicely under my cutting table AND I can see through them !  Plus they are really cheap at Target or Amazon!

Choosing Colors for Your Stargyle Quilt

And now for the fun part! Choosing colors for your quilt.  Now, you can choose to just go with the flow and pick as you are making the quilt if you want.  I will do this sometimes.  Just start with one fabric as your main print and then pick things that coordinate as you go.  This is fine, but sometimes you will discover, you don't have enough of colors to go with your main pick.

I won't go into a lot of color theory here, there are SO many blogs and sites out there that already have this information.  With scraps I take a look at the color I have the most of and then go from there.  Sites like Design Seeds ( allow you to choose a color and then they give you some color combos to choose from.  

I have a LOT of green :)
If you are going to use a colored sashing for your Stargyle, don't forget to add the color you are going to use to your color palette.  Once I choose colors, I can easily just pull out the bins that house those scraps! This is a scrap quilt so you can use A LOT of colors if you want!

Your first choice to make is colored sashing or not!  Here are two examples of the Stargyle quilt where the sashing is the same color as the background fabric!  It looks a lot different, doesn't it!  

A nice dark and bold background with colors that pop!

Monochromatic Blues!

A consistent background around the stars gives another look altogether!
With sashing but more monocrhomatic!

As you can see, there are hundreds of ways that you can choose to make your quilt and every combo looks great!  I have put together a coloring page if you want to try out some color combos on your own!  You can click on the Coloring Sheet image to get a PDF version to download and print :)

This weekend I will put up the first sewing post!  We will start by creating your 4 patches.  There are SO many ways to create these little guys quickly with your scraps!  

Show off your scraps on Instagram!  Use #stargylequilt to see everyone's progess!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bust Yo Scraps - Stargyle Quilt Along - Step 1: Gathering Your Scraps


It's time!  It's time to tackle my scrap box again.  I know some of you out there are like me.  You have boxes of odd sized fabric pieces just waiting for them to be created into a beautiful and fun scrap quilt.  But they sit there waiting.  New and shiny fabrics come in and get used... MORE SCRAPS!  

I love scrap quilts.  Some of my favorite quits are made of things from my scrap bins.  But it's not often that I set out to create something thinking that I'm going to specifically use scraps and a lot of patterns call for bigger pieces of fabrics. So, I have created a pattern to quickly (very quickly with the help of a few short cut rulers) create a quilt that can use different sizes of fabric scraps.   

It's time to BUST YO SCRAPS!  I'm going to show you how I organize my stash and scraps, how to choose scraps for your quilt and how to put it all together quickly and easily. 

NO Sponsors
NO Prizes
NO Contests
NO Deadlines

You won't win a sewing machine if you finish your quilt, you don't have to post anything if you don't want, I'm not giving away any fabrics and no one is sponsoring these posts.  You will hopefully have fun, maybe see some other folks on social media scrap busting and have a lovely finished quilt (or four if you have enough scraps).

All right!  Now that we have all that out of the way, let's talk about the quilt we are going to be making.  Jason has named this quilt pattern Stargyle.  It does sort of look like argyle and there are some stars so I'm going to run with it.  

The key factors that will make this quilt a scrap busting success:

Small Pieces: The four patches and star points in this project can be made with pieces as small as 2.5" x 2.5".  I will show you some tricks that will make it easier with slightly bigger pieces (7" or 5.5" square).  And of course, you can use fat quarters (18" x 22") and larger pieces as well if you don't have a big stash yet!

Repetitive Piecing: There are a lot of 4 patches in this quilt.  But this allows you to chain piece while you watch Netflix.  Chain piecing will cut down on time.  

Sashing Color to Pull it all Together: The peach sashing (or whatever color you choose for your own) pulls the whole thing together.  If you don't like it, you can make it white, or create a layout that puts the blocks together any way you want.  

Flexibility: There are SO many ways you can adjust this pattern to make it your own.  Color choices, layout changes, change the block size, etc....  You do not have to make the same quilt as anyone else! This design allows many different ways to make the quilt and it will allow all those to look great!  I will be giving you instructions on two sizes lap and queen but you can change this to whatever size you need!
Stargyle - Lap Size (68" x 68")

Stargyle - Queen Size (85" x 85")

Stargyle Quilt Along - Step 1: Gathering Your Scraps

The first thing we need to do is get all of our scraps together.  I will post on Friday about sorting scraps and choosing colors for your Stargyle quilt.  I know you are excited!  I am too!  Some of you might be more organized than others but I want to show you how I organize my scraps to make it easier to create quilts or use them in a quilt.  

If you don't already have an organizing system, gather all your scraps in one place.  Maybe a box or laundry basket.  I personally consider anything less than a fat eighth (9" x 22") a scrap.  I also put any fabrics that are oddly sized or hard to fold up neatly on my shelves in my scrap bin.  For example, a long strip cut off the bottom of backing fabric after a quilt is quilted.  GO FORTH AND COLLECT YE SCRAPS!

You don't need to choose your background or sashing colors yet!  But I know some of you might already have an idea of what you might want to make.  I will also be showing you how using a few quilting rulers will make this quilt faster, so if you want to order these online here are some links!

For those of you eager to gather up more supplies for the quilt along:

Connect on Social Media!

Use #stargylequilt on Instagram to find other friends making the quilt!  It's a lot of fun to see other quilters fabric choices!  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sew Home - Book Review! aka I Made a Tablecloth and I Liked It

 Sew Home book review!
Photo credit C&T Publishing - Sew Home by Erin Schlosser

My friend Erin asked me a few months ago if I wanted to be a part of her book tour.  I knew that she was writing a book but I didn't really know much more than that.  She sent me some photos of the projects for me to look over before I agreed.  WOW!  So many projects!  As I was looking through the photos I kept thinking, "I need to make this, and this, and this, and this...." Of course I said that I would make something from her book!

Choosing what to make for this post was really hard.  Needless to say, you will most likely see more posts from me with projects from Sew Home.  Before I show off the cute tablecloth I made, let me tell you why I love this book.  First of all, Erin took a lot of time to explain different home decor fabrics and what to look for when choosing fabrics for your projects.  If you are a complete beginner and looking for a way to start sewing, this is all good information.  I even found some of this part of the book news to me.  And I own a fabric store.

There are 30+ projects in this book.  For $25.95.  That's less than $1/pattern.  The projects range from tablecloths and napkins to drapes (and a guide to figuring out how the curtains will look on your wall)!  This is kind of like a an encyclopedia for home decor projects.  I really like that for things (like the tablecloth or curtains) that will have custom measurements, Erin provides easy math to figure out what you need to cut. She also includes standard sizes for things like the pillow shams (also on my to make list) that have set sizes.  There are so many really great fabrics out there today and many of the designers are even printing on linens and canvas now.  And a lot of the projects can be made with quilting weight cotton as well.

Now to see the tablecloth!  I have a square table at my shop (Pink Castle Fabrics) that we use for displays sometimes. It's a nice little thing from Ikea (I don't think they make it anymore) but it's kinda plain.  Erin's tablecloth pattern in the book (photo from the book below) it perfect!  It's quick and easy and I can change out the fabric easily if it goes out of print.  So I can always have a cute  and relevant tablecloth on our display table!  The whole project took me about 30 minutes start to finish! 

Photo credit C&T Publishing - Sew Home by Erin Schlosser

I choose one of my favorite Cotton+Steel prints from Melody Miller's Fruit Dots collection, Fruit Blossoms in Navy. Really, this print in any of the colors would make lovely tablecloths or napkins.  I also was pretty excited to get to use the serger at the shop for this project.  It gives the tablecloth a professionally finished look.  

 Janome sergers are the best!

I used Aurifil 50 wt thread from my One Room Schoolhouse thread box (Melody and I both have a really great sense of color :D ) to edge stitch the hem.  I like the contrasting thread and the way it looks.  

Pretty cute right??  Now you want to make one too, don't you!  Thanks Erin for inviting me to be a part of your book tour.  I really think you did a fabulous job and I know I'm going to be referencing this book for years to come.

C&T is allowing me to give away one copy of Erin's Sew Home book!  If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment on this post!  I will choose a winner on Sunday, October 25, 2016 (8pm EST)

Giveaway Closed!  Thanks for commenting :)