Thursday, March 19, 2015

Accuquilt Block Design Contest

It's that time again folks!  Accuquilt is hosting another competition for block design.  

I had to laugh when I got the email about this because of last year's debacle with this competition.  But it looks like they have worked out a lot of the kinks from the contest and it will be less of a popularity contest and more about true design.  Plus there is the extra challenge of being required to design using their existing dies.  

I asked and there are no size restrictions on the blocks other than that they need to be square.  So design away folks and dream about that prize!! I feel myself getting sucked in...

The 2015 Quilt Block Design Contest kicks off this Friday, March 20th and runs through April 19th.
A big change to this year’s contest is that the entries must be designed with AccuQuilt shapes. As always, it must be an original design, which means no copyrighted designs may be used. 

The Grand Prize Winner gets an all-expenses paid trip to AccuQuilt + a $1,000 shopping spree and 2 tickets to the Let’s GO! Quiltling Retreat in Fremont, NE. They will be featured in the Jan/Feb 2016 of Quiltmaker, plus your block will be prominently displayed on a 17 ft. sign outside of AccuQuilt. Plus more fabulous prizes from Aurifil, The Quilt Show, Mountain Mist, P & B Textiles and more.

Here are the major details:
- Enter & Vote for your favorite quilt block March 20th – April 19th
- At the end of voting, the field will be narrowed down to the top 30 designs, 15 will be selected by popular vote and 15 will be selected by the AccuQuilt team. A panel of guest judges will then select the Top 10. AccuQuilt management makes the final decision on the selection of the grand prize winner and runner up prize winner.

To see more details go to

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Friendship Bracelet Quilt - A Quilt Journey Quilt

Friendship Bracelet Quilt Row for Cara's Quilt #quiltjourney

I finally got to do a little deadline - less sewing.  It's been a while, let me tell you.  I pulled out the quilt for my friend Cara, meamom, who is part of a traveling quilt group I'm in, #quiltjourney.  It's been a while since I've worked on one of these quilts for all number of reasons.  But I finally got a chance.

Cara's Friendship Quilt #quiltjourney my herringbone polka dot rainbow row.
Cara's Vision for the quilt

Cara's Friendship Quilt #quiltjourney my herringbone polka dot rainbow row.
My Fabric Pull

Cara gave us permission to made a row that we thought represented ourselves and was roughly in a particular color scheme.  I added a bit of blue to the color scheme because that is SO me.  And I went with the polka dot idea and ran with it.  I do love polka dots. Then the decision for the pattern.  I was immediately drawn to an idea of herringbone patterns but with a color repeat like I made.  It was A LOT like make a log cabin block and I love making those.  So this was really fun for me.  Plus, remember...POLKA DOTS!  How can you not smile when you are working with polka dots?!

Cara's Friendship Quilt #quiltjourney my herringbone polka dot rainbow row.
Main Body of the Row

Cara's Friendship Quilt #quiltjourney my herringbone polka dot rainbow row.
Paper Piecing the Bracelet Ends

Each bracelet requires a large center design to the row and then the little woven ends of the bracelet along with a border.  So this was completed in sections just like that.  I made the center, then paper pieced the ends, and finally added in all my border pieces for a 60" x 18" row.    And I'm kind of in love with it.

Friendship Bracelet Quilt Row for Cara's Quilt #quiltjourney

Friendship Bracelet Quilt Row for Cara's Quilt #quiltjourney

Friendship Bracelet Quilt Row for Cara's Quilt #quiltjourney

Friendship Bracelet Quilt Row for Cara's Quilt #quiltjourney

Plus I think it is already a nice blend of the other rows.  There will be three or four more rows added before we piece it together.  I can't wait to see what everyone else makes and how all of our different rows look in one quilt.  It's such a great bee quilt idea!!

Friendship Bracelet Quilt Row for Cara's Quilt #quiltjourney

And now it's off to the next person who will add another row that I know that will be radically different from mine because I know she has a different favorite palette from mine.  Hers I'm predicting will include soft greens and pinks...and tone my row down again.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Paper Pieced Home - An Interview with Penny Layman

*the giveaway has ended*

When I found out that my sweet friend Penny was writing a book, I immediately knew that it would be a great one.  Truly.  It may seem like I review a lot around here, but I really try to focus on the items that are definite moments of special work.  And Penny's book does not disappoint.  Clearly focused on paper piecing, a passion of Penny's, her book is a great resource for both learning paper piecing and finding an abundance of modern yet retro inspired patterns.  

I interviewed Penny about her book to give us all some insight into her work.  I hope you all enjoy!  And of course, we'll have a giveaway of a copy of her book.

A: Penny, when did you really start paper piecing?  Was it truly for bee blocks? Or did you try foundation piecing earlier? 
I had to do a little digging, and I did find a flying geese block that was my first paper pieced block from August 2009. I completely forgot about that! Soon after, I completed this paper foundation string quilt that I won a contest for on Sew Mama Sew!

A: I am lucky enough to know you a bit (though we've still never met in person!) and I love how the book reflects your love of all things retro.  The cover just makes me smile because it feels so "you".  Do you have a favorite collection of retro items that are not fabric in your home?  I have a feeling I will want to start collecting whatever you do.
That is such a thoughtful thing to say! Yes, I love most milkglass, Cathrineholm pieces and Dansk Kobenstyle pots. Each of them are meager collections though as I have a very strong sense of making sure I use anything I collect, especially collections in my kitchen. For the most part, if I haven't used it at least once in the last year, out the door it goes!

A: One of my favorite things about paper pieced blocks is the careful attention you can put into each little piece.  Is there an all time favorite fabric line that you return to because it is just the right scale or color scheme?  Or do mix and match from all kinds of designers? 
Hmm, I can't say that there's a specific fabric line I have as a go to! I do love to use linen, so I keep a pretty good collection of that in my closet to pull from. Also, if I find the perfect sized dot, I buy it. I love using 1/8"-ish dots as backgrounds in my blocks.

A: In addition to the fine details of fabric selection, I love those blocks with careful additions of extra materials like embroidery floss.  It makes each piece even more of a piece of art.  What is your go to for adding extra attention to a paper pieced design? Stamping? Floss? Buttons?  Appliqued fabric? etc.
It really depends on how the quilt or project will be used. If the project will be washed often, I prefer to go with fussy cutting or embroidery for that extra design element. If the project is going to be hung on a wall, I might stamp or print with my printer. And under no circumstances do I ever use buttons. Using buttons as embellishments reminds me too much of the 70's and 80's in a bad kind of way :)

A: Paper pieced patterns can be pretty intense to tackle.  So I think they are often used in individual projects to show off all of the work.  Do you prefer to do this with your blocks or do you make paper pieced sampler quilts with your blocks? (And if your book blocks are not all in a quilt, I hope someone does that!) 
You are so right! It seems like paper pieced blocks are their own little pieces of artwork most of the time and to think about making 40 of one paper pieced block for a quilt is overwhelming to me. I do however have two larger paper pieced quilts in the works but besides the scraps to treasure string quilt, I think I've only ever paper pieced one other large quilt. And it was only a snowball block. But there were 280 blocks and I thought it would kill me. As far as the blocks in my book all being in one quilt, I've thought about taking all the blocks from my book and making one huge quilt out of them!

A: Any last advice for someone just starting out paper piecing?  
Cut larger pieces of fabric than you think you will need to cover each area. You will thank me! 

Thank you Penny for that wonderful insight into your work. And I totally agree with that last tip.  Ask me how I know! lol  

I'm happy to offer a giveaway copy of Penny's book, The Paper Pieced Home,  to one lucky winner.  To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below. Tell me your favorite thing about paper piecing or what you want to learn.  Know nothing about paper piecing?  Then let me know some tips for organizing.  I'm working my way through the house and tackling one area after another.  Send me your wisdom!

Congrats to the lucky winner!
# 2 CarolMarch 
I appreciate the exact points!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sponsor News - Fat Quarter Shop Sale

The Fat Quarter has a great sale going on for just a limited time!  Catch it while you can!

Create your own SALE and get 20% OFF your purchase of $100 or more with code: CREATE20
Offer expires Friday, March 13th, 2015 Midnight CST.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stitch Magazine - Spring 2015

I'm sure you've all heard of Stitch Magazine.  If you haven't, then get yourself to a store and get a copy!  I was lucky enough to get a copy of the Spring 2015 issue and it's really delightful.  So fresh and full of color! (I can use that in a world with too much snow still)

One of my favorite parts from the magazine include an article on marking methods for sewing.  The author goes over all types of marking tools from pens, to tracing paper and even tailor tacks.  It's a great comprehensive article that lists every kind of marking tool you might be interested in and how to use it and when.

But Stitch magazine is also known for patterns created in current trends and fabrics.  I was particularly excited to see Latifah Saafir's pattern for the Colorful Clamshell Quilt.  It reminds me of some pieces I made for my book but Latifah is so masterful with Clamshells, she has made these with half clamshells rather than drunkard's path.  I'm sooo tempted to make a version for myself.  Especially since I have clamshell die.  Hmm...add that to the list of things to make. ;)

Another project I particularly loved was the Cutout Clutch by Lisa Polderman.  I haven't seen anything particularly like it and the cutouts create such a lovely three dimensional aspect to the piece. They are made with leather scraps and remnants.  So pretty aren't they?

And then there was the Double Gauze Baby Blanket made by Rashida Coleman-Hale.  I looked up the double gauze after I saw this because I really want one in my own size...but it's only 45" wide and I like things a little wider than that for myself.  But it's perfect for the baby blanket size.  But maybe someday I'll make a pieced one anyway. ;)

If you want to pick up a copy, you can always grab one at your local book or quilt store.  Of course there is always the Interweave online shop as well. 

Stitch Magazine Spring 2015
Interweave/F+W; $14.99

If you are interested in a giveaway of this magazine, I have one going on my Instagram account.  You can find me there under the name "cuttopieces".  Come join the fun!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Open Squares

Open Squares

Sometimes life gets away from me...well honestly it does that quite a bit.  So when I realized today that I had never blogged about this quilt, I just had to laugh.  It's been available as a pattern in Modern Patchwork, Winter 2015 for quite a while now.

In all honesty, this particular issue of the magazine has some really interesting quilts and projects in it.  I would recommend it without hesitation.  I'll admit that the photography of my quilt is a little'll have to pick up a copy to see what I'm talking about.  But it involves a pair of dirty tennis shoes and a black men's hat.  

Ha!  That got you wondering didn't it?

Open Squares

It's a good size lap quilt...probably 50" x 70" or so.  (This is why I should have blogged about it a while back, so I wouldn't forget these things).  But my husband is holding it up and he's 6'2" if that helps anyone. ;)  I made this entirely with solids from Modern Solids by Alissa Haight Carlton for In the Beginning Fabrics.

Open Squares

I was experimenting with a different type of straight line quilting.  I'm doing that a lot lately.  I love the texture that was created by stacking straight lines very close together and then leaving a portion unquilted.  And then of course running those lines perpendicular with the same pattern.

Open Squares

I backed the quilt with yet another delicious Anna Maria Horner fabric.  Her fabrics work so beautifully for backings because you can really show off her full motifs.  Plus this fabric happened to have all of the colors of the solids I used and was in my stash.  Win win!

Open Squares

This quilt is made from a single block pattern that is rotated throughout the quilt and varies the color placement.  But it's a simple block with straight line piecing and squares and rectangles.  The quilt comes together quickly for a modern design.  I think it would be great for a guy especially though I might change the background color from white to ... well... almost anything else. know...guys. ;)

I hope you enjoy the quilt and get a chance to try out the pattern!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Accuquilt Go! Big (and a giveaway made by me!)

*the giveaway is now closed*

I'm so excited to be today's stop on the Blog Hop for Accuquilt's newest die cutting machine, the Go! Big.  I was honored to be asked to give this machine a try.

·        The GO! Big is AccuQuilt’s fastest cutter giving you the ability to cut two 6” wide dies side by side at the same time
·        It is safe & easy to use. It maximizes efficiency and alleviates hand and arm strain
·        All GO! Dies can be used in the GO! Big, plus there are 5 NEW GO! Big dies that are used exclusively with the GO! Big. The larger die boards allow you to cut a 12 ½” finished block with just one die.

Feel free to laugh at me, but I even filmed a little homemade video with the help of my brother (and a little less help from my daughter) on how this works!  I'm in love!!

With the Churn Dash die and cutting just the HSTs from it, I was able to get going on a fun wall hanging.  

Andover Fabrics provided us with fabrics for the blog hop from their Downton Abbey collection.  But I was a bit stumped by what I wanted to do.  And then I got a little package in the mail from Art Gallery Fabrics and their Maker collection.  The two together made perfect sense to me.  All of the low volume fabrics from Maker helped balance those darker saturated colors from Downton Abbey.

And so...Manners and Manors was created.

Manners and Manors

I paired the fabrics together in high contrast combinations and laid them out in a random pattern.  Then I quilted the whole piece with three different colors and weights of thread for texture. And I LOVE that!

Manners and Manors

But HSTs alone were not enough for me and in the end, I felt it needed a bit of something extra.  So I raw edge appliqued the Dowton Abbey Manor onto the piece.  Those towers are only about a sewing machine needle it was some detailed work!

Manners and Manors

And then reaching into my stash, I finished it up with the perfect backing and binding to tie everything together.  

Manners and Manors

And the end is one wall hanging perfect for the avid Downton Abbey fan measuring about 2' x 3'.

And guess what?!  I'm giving it away!

Yes.  One of you will be the lucky winner to own or gift this wall hanging to the Downton Abbey fan in your life.  I just feel like it belongs with someone who LOVES the show.  Make someone's day or your own by entering to win!
Oh! and I'm also giving away the rest of the Downton Abbey fabric I have which includes ones you see in the quilt and some other colors like a gorgeous Blue.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear what you think about the new die cutter.  But if not, then let me know what you love about Downton Abbey.  I made it through the first season myself but never got past the 1st episode of the second season.  So share!!  About either one or both!

*the giveaway is now closed*
Congratulations to the winner:
#23 Alesha Klein
I love the colors in the quilt. My husband watches the show and this would make the perfect surprise gift for his Birthday. Thank you for the chance to win such a generous giveaway. I love my Accuquilt Go also


Follow Along on the Whole Blog Hop to see what everyone is making!

Monday Feb. 23rd: Bea Lee - - GO! Big Snails Trail – 12” Finished
Tuesday Feb. 24th – Haley Pierson Cox – The Zen of Making - - GO! Big Circle – 4”, 6”, 7”, 8”
Wednesday Feb. 25th – Lee Monroe - - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring – 12 ½” Finished
Thursday Feb. 26th – Angela Pingel – Cut To Pieces - - GO! Big Churn Dash – 12” Finished
Friday Feb. 27th – Jodi Nelson – Pleasant Home - - GO! Big Square – 10” (9 ½” Finished)
Saturday Feb. 28th – Connie Campbell – Free Motion by the River - - GO! Big Snails Trail – 12” Finished
Sunday March 1st – Sherri McConnell – A Quilting Life - - GO! Big Churn Dash – 12” Finished
Monday March 2nd – Belinda Karls-Nace – Blue Ribbon Designs - - GO! Big Square – 10” (9 ½” Finished)
Tuesday March 3rd - Karen Way – Sew Many Ways - - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring – 12 ½” Finished
Wednesday March 4th – Elizabeth Evans – Simple Simon and Co. - - GO! Big Churn Dash – 12” Finished


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