Monday, November 24, 2014

Castoffs Quilt - Pattern Available in Quilt Now

Castoffs Quilt

Today I want to share with you the first of 3 quilts that I have out right now in different magazines.  I swear, I didn't intend to triple stack the end of the year like this...all the quilts just happened to have the same publication times even though I made them over the course of about 5 months.  Publishing is funny like that some times.

The first quilt I want to share is a scrappy drunkard's path quilt that I designed for the scrappy Issue of Quilt Now, a newer magazine out of England being run by the ever famous (perhaps notorious ?!) Katy Jones of I'm a Ginger Monkey.  Katy is a riot and I've definitely joined her fan club...but I'm a sucker for accents and everything sounds exciting when said with a British accent. ;)

I was excited to design this quilt because I was finally ready to do something with curves again.  I had gotten a little burnt out on sewing them while putting my book together.  There are A LOT of curves I made for that.  But this was a new spin...something that I didn't get to explore in the book: scrappy template pieces. 

Castoffs Quilt

I'm obviously not the first one in the world to do a design of multi colored circles.  But I really love the improv piecing that I did for the inner circle part of the quarter circles.  It gave me a chance to just dive into my scraps (I never even touched my regular stash for the colored sections of the quilt) and mix and match to my heart's content.  I only noticed afterwards how many fabrics I selected that had a curved motif with in the fabric.  ahhh...another layer to explore in design!

Castoffs Quilt

I made the outer template pieces in a scrappy but not pieced collection of low volume fabrics.  It creates depth to the pattern without drawing away from the scrappiness of the center circles.  I love this quilt and it's a very happy one for me because there are simple so many beloved scraps and fabrics that I used to make it.  Being that it is block based, you can created a quilt as small or large as you like by simply changing the number of circles or size them.  And that binding is just the perfect shade of green from an all time favorite collection, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt.

Castoffs Quilt

Believe it or not, this quilt has had quite the journey since it left my house earlier this year.  I sent it off to England with a tad bit of trepidation about its arrival, but more about the timing of its arrival than anything.  And I waited for it to arrive to Katy and be safely in her hands.  And waited and waited and waited... We were able to see that the quilt did indeed make it TO England, but it had some issues when it arrived.  Once it was in England, I could no longer tell where it went, but Katy had more info from the tracking end on her side.  She could see that eventually it WAS delivered.  But not to her.

No.  It had been sent hundreds of miles away and was forever simply marked as "Delivered" in the postal logs.  3 separate phone calls from Katy to her postal service amounted in no help and I had little hope that I would see the quilt again.  

We switched to plan B and I sent her some of the photographs that you see here in hopes that they would do for print publication.  Katy never did see the quilt in person and get to style it for a shoot there.  Thankfully my photos were acceptable and the quilt was able to be published in the issue.

Castoffs Quilt

And day about a week ago, I got a package in the mail.  My package.  Unopened and marked Return to Sender.  Katy's postal address was scratched out and it was mailed back to me.  Where were you oh little quilt?!  What story would you tell of your journey throughout the British Isles? 

I know where you are now...and you've had your moment in the sun in the magazine.  Where you will go next?  That you haven't told me yet.  I'm still waiting...

Castoffs Quilt

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finding Creativity where I can

I sit here, at one in the morning, contemplating this quilting world.

I've been unable to create anything with a sewing machine for about a whole 10 days.  And when you WANT to be creating but are forced to take a break (as I am while I recover from surgery) it creates a bit of angst.  I'm collecting inspiration like mad for this project and that on pinterest.  Sorry if you follow me there and find my inundation of pinned items obnoxious.  Pinterest allows me to feel creative even when I can't actually create.  I'm letting my mind just take in mutiple types of inspiration and creating new boards.  Oh and by the way, I have ONE board called quilting and sewing.  I really need to organize that because that is ridiculous...there are probably 100 separate boards within that.  lol

I am trying out other methods of creating, like coloring in fabulous coloring books such as Jenean Morrison's Flower Designs.  Coloring is definitely not just for kids!! (Although I did finally give in and let my four year old color in it with me.  But I told her it is Mama's coloring book)

I've been gathering an arsenal of knit fabrics for when I can sew again, because I am DETERMINED to overcome my fear of knits and really accomplish things with it.  Girl Charlee Fabrics sent me some darling fabrics to work with so I can attempt to at least make my daughter some leggings...seems like an accomplishable task.  And hopefully I'll have a real life friend in town next week who is great with knits to help me get some experience.  But I really might have to steal that horse fabric for myself. ;)

I'm getting ready for a blog hop in January I think to promote a fabric line and I'm really excited because I've decided to tackle a full legit dress pattern for myself.  The Collete Crepe pattern.  I've heard great things about the pattern and it is definitely my style of dress.  So I'm hoping that this might be the first of multiple times I make it. (there is no logical reason that the picture should be turned and as it is now 1:30 am you'll just have to bear with me and tilt your head...I'll get a better shot when I actually start making it)

And I've been looking for inspiration in new places too.  I love graphic, colorful art of all types and could use a little less fabric in my inspiration sometimes.  One of my favorite that I have found on Instagram is a user called flora.forager who creates some of the most beautiful work I have seen with simple pieces.  This is just one of her stunning pieces.


It's a good feeling to be full of ideas.  Hopefully recovery will happen before I lose my desire to create.  But absence is definitely making the heart grow fonder and forcing me to find other outlets for creativity.  And perhaps a bit too much online shopping. ;)

What are your creative outlets and inspiration?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Market Goodies Giveaway!

*the giveaway has ended*

Hi all!  I had hoped to have been pulled together enough to offer the giveaway for my market goodies when I posted about market.  But alas...let's be honest.  I hadn't unpacked, let alone gone through all my goodies.

If you have been following me on Instagram, then you know that I just had a fun giveaway for two cotton and steel canvas totes over there.  I feel like their audience is pretty strong there and it would be the best place for those particular items.  But never fear, I have collected a wonderful assortment of goodies for a lucky winner here on the blog too.


Included are patterns galore, gorgeous cards and descriptions of fabric lines like the most recent Cotton and Steel lines, fabric samples, notions, stickers, more fabric, oh and did I mention an exclusive 30th anniversary addition Kona tote bag.  Yeah.  Pat me on the back for giving that away because it's pretty awesome.

To enter to win all of the goodies, just leave a comment below.  Tired of just saying "great giveaway?"...then feel free to tell me the line you most excited to see, or your favorite recap of market, or a question about what the heck market is, or heck...just tell me how cute your kids are!  Anything is game!

Good luck!!

*congratulations to the lucky winner, #5 EllaNovember 4, 2014 at 12:30 PMI'm always excited to see what Cotton + Steel offer.*

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Market 2014

More Quilt Market Fall 2014

I got back from Fall Market just a couple of days ago.  In fact, I hopped off the plane, into the car and went straight to my daughter's ballet class (It was parent watch day and I didn't want to miss that!).  So I've been recovering a bit.  But I wanted to share with you my whirlwind trip to Houston and some fun photos of what I saw when I was able to stop and grab a photo.

and More Quilt Market Fall 2014

This was my second quilt market and my first time at Houston.  Every Fall, Market is in Houston.  But spring market is on a five year rotation I believe through different cities.  I thought Fall Market was even bigger than Spring and it was fun because I got to meet even more new people...there were plenty of people who were there in the Spring and not the Fall and vice versa.  So it had a different flavor to me in terms of who I got to see.

Quilt Market Fall 2014

I was there this time on my own.  Last time I was there and did a school house and book signing to promote my book.  But I didn't have any of those things to do this I foolishly thought that it would be nice and relaxing.  lol  It was great, but I wouldn't call it relaxing.  I hit the ground running and seemed to constantly be in a conversation with one great person after another.

With Designers Fall Market 2014

I personally can see that I look a little extra tired in the photos because I was coming from a crazy week when  my husband had just had knee surgery a few days before I left and I'm going to be having surgery in just over a week myself.  So that meant that I had a lot to get done before I left while doing some extra duties (like taking out the trash and blowing the leaves!).  

more designers Fall Market 2014

The weekend was packed full of time on the Market Floor and after hour events where even more talking happened.  I literally have a scratchy voice still from all the talking I did. lol  I missed having that extra last day at market to slowly walk around and really SEE everything.  I tried to see what I could but I'm shocked when I look back and realize how much I didn't see.

Fall Quilt Market 2014 more

Fabulous fabrics were found in all kinds of places:  Cotton & Steel rocked it again.  The Free Spirit Designers were their fabulous selves.  Birch fabrics has another amazing Charley Harper line.  Art Gallery was filled with familiar friends and award winning booths.  Alison Glass had a gorgeous booth accidentally tucked away from Andover, but you could find her beautiful work in two places as a result.  And there's so many more...Dear Stella, Windham, Robert Kaufman, Cloud 9, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something completely obvious.

Quilt market

And because she is one of the biggest characters there...I leave you with the many faces of Katy Jones, Imagingermonkey.  Just enjoy. ;)

The many faces of Katy Jones

Friday, October 24, 2014

318 Patchwork Patterns: Halloween Bunting and GIVEAWAY!

*the giveaway is now closed*

318 Patchwork Halloween Bunting

Today is my stop on the 318 Patchwork Patterns blog hop.  If you haven't heard of this fabulous book before, then you are in for a treat.   After being out of print for many years and only available in Japanese, this collection of 318 patterns is now being republished and available in English. 

During the blog hop you will see all sorts of different blocks from the book.  But I took advantage of the timing of this blog hop and jumped straight for the Halloween blocks.  There is something so charming about them.  I chose 4 of the 6 blocks to make into my bunting.  

drafting witch

The blocks are technically made for hand sewing but many people choose to paper piece them.  However that can require some extra work because that is not technically how the blocks are designed.  A little redrawing of lines and some numbering will be necessary if you want to paper piece these.  (* I ended up redrawing some of the lines above so don't follow that picture too closely.) Also, it should be noted that the blocks are presented in very small format.  So you will want to enlarge the blocks.  200% I believe gives you a 6" block.  But I chose 300% which gave me about a  7.5" block.  Those pieces were still plenty small. ;)

fabric selection

Another nice tip is to make a map of sorts of the fabrics you plan on using for your block and color your block so that you can easily see what the tiny pieces should be once the block is all cut up.  I make a little guide for myself with scraps of the fabrics and a list of what they will be used for. Then I break out the colored pencils and give myself a rough guide.  And then I made four blocks!

318 Patchwork Patterns - Halloween Blocks

I'm not particularly fast nor ridiculously I say that each block takes me about an evening to make.  Especially if you include all the prep work of enlarging the block, drawing and numbering for paper piecing, and selecting fabrics.  But the beauty of paper pieced blocks cannot be denied.  They are picture perfect...with some careful attention to matching seams.

constructing the bunting

I didn't want another wall hanging or quilt, so I decided to make something a little different and went with a decorative bunting. I used a woven interfacing to line the back of each pieced block to provide stability and then sewed them into a little "pocket" with the orange polka dot fabric.  I wanted the back to be completely finished.  I interspersed my pieced blocks with some fun burlap that I added raw edge appliqued letters to.  A simple "BOO" says it all.  Then I sewed them at evenly spaced intervals to a double fold bias tape (one package did the trick).

And tada!  A holiday bunting that I will definitely use for years to come!

Bunting Details

For me it is all in the details.  A bit of hand embroidery.  Carefully fussy cut fabrics lined up to match.  And using just the right fabric for each little part.  Oh and by the way, this fabulous line of fabric is called Witch Hazel and is available now from Riley Blake fabrics.  In fact you can probably find it on sale since we are so close to halloween.  



So, do you love it?  Want a chance to win your own copy of the book?  Well then, you are in luck.  

But wait! There's more! (I'm channeling my inner infomercial voice)

We also have FOUR lucky winners who will win a fat quarter bundle of one color of Windham fabrics' Mimosa Line courtesy of the wonderful Fat Quarter Shop

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below!  It's that simple.  There will be FIVE total winners. Good luck to everyone!!
Congrats to our winners:
#1 318 Patchwork Patterns Book: JackieOctober 24, 2014 at 8:22 AM
Such cute blocks!! Great job!!
#2 Mimosa Fabric in Apple: Di~October 24, 2014 at 12:50 AM
Fun fabric and giveaway! Thank You.
#3 Mimosa Fabric in Grapefruit:LynneOctober 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Thanks for all the tips. I love your blocks.
#4 Mimosa Fabric in Pomegranate:RachelOctober 24, 2014 at 8:39 AM
I love that you used pumpkin burlap. Did it come that way, or did you print it? Lovely bunting!
#5 Mimosa Fabric in Blueberry:aus_chickOctober 28, 2014 at 11:35 PM
These prizes are fabulous!

Oh and you should definitely follow along on the blog hop.  I'm right near the beginning, so there is not much to catch up on and plenty more goodness to come.  These ladies are all stellar paper piecers and will have lots of tips and tricks along the way.

318 Patchwork Patterns Blog Hop

October 20th Kerry  from
 Project: How to Freezer Paper Piece
·      October 22nd  Penny Layman from
 Project: Gardening apron with blocks from Vegetables collection
·      October 24th Angela Pingel from
 Project: Bunting from Halloween collection (You're HERE!)
·      October 27th Amy Sinibaldi from
   Project: Tote bag with appliqué blocks
·      October 29th Amber Carrillo from
Project: Blocks from Christmas collection
·      October 31st Latifah Saafir from
  Project: Baby blanket from At the Circus collection
·      November 3rd Charise Randell from
Project: Make up kit and shoe bag from Girls’ Night Out collection
·      November 7th Amy Friend from
   Project: Table runner with blocks from Fruits collection
·      November 5th Leila from
Project: Tea Cozy from Tea Time Collection
·      November 12th Caroline from
 Project: Tote or pouch with appliqué block
·      November 10th Faith Jones from
 Project: Mini quilt from Vehicle Collection
  November 14th Rashida Coleman-Hale from

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Headed off to Quilt Market

Goodness!  I don't intend for my blog to get away from me for more than a week but that seems to be happening lately.  I think about my blog all the time, so I must think that I'm actually writing things. lol  But if you follow me on IG, where I literally am all the time, you will know that I've been quite busy lately.

I've been doing some fun halloween sewing that I'm excited to share with you on Friday as part of a fabulous blog hop for a lovely Japanese book, 318 Patchwork Projects.  I've been having fun working on tiny paper pieced blocks and using Riley Blake's latest Halloween line, Witch Hazel.  Here's a little tease of what's to come on Friday...

318 Patchwork Halloween Cat

Oh and did I mention that I will be having some great giveaways with that post?! There will be chances to win fabulous fabrics and the definitely be on the lookout.  Giveaways are super fun and we are going to have 5 winners of different things!  So lots of opportunity.

So, I'm spending my time trying to finish up that project before I head to market on Friday, which is in Houston.  My husband had knee surgery this week and my daughter is being her typical 4 year old self...which essentially means that I've been a bit worn out trying to keep up with it all.  Hopefully I can relax at market because it won't be too long after that when I will have my own surgery again in November.  We are all fun and games around here.  lol  Hmm...maybe I do need a "Quilting keeps me sane" tshirt.

Market should hopefully be fairly relaxing for me (if it can be!) because I'm not officially presenting anything this time.  But never fear...more is on the way. ;) You can't keep an overachiever down.  So I'm headed there on  Friday and looking forward to seeing everyone who is there.  Are any of you going to market this time? I've only been once, so please don't feel like you are missing out if you are not!!  I just ask so I can look for some friendly faces. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sewing for Charity...thinking...

So while I'm in the midst of the never ending deadlines and projects that I can't show you all, I've been thinking.  I really love sewing.  It can be fun (and crazy) to sew with deadlines for different publications and such.  And that certainly has its own reward of seeing your work published etc.  But I have a desire to sew for something more.

But time is limited and my plate is full.  So I started thinking about what I could do that would be using my gifts to help others but wouldn't cause another huge stress in my life.  Quilts quickly went off the table.  While they are lovely and great to make, sewing quilts for charity is not a constant thing I can do on my own.  I know that there are plenty of people who do sewing bees with others to make quilts more manageable, and I've tried those.  But I knew that I needed freedom to work within the deadlines of my own schedule and not add stress by trying to get blocks to people at a certain time.

And then I remembered that a lot of people make pillow cases for charity.  So I thought about that for a while.  And while it's a lovely thing to do, it just didn't get me excited.  Charity shouldn't be a chore.  It should be a joy.  And I wanted to create joyfully and meaningfully.  And researching pillow cases quickly led me to pillow case dresses...

And THEN I got excited.  With a little girl around, I'm already into the groove of making little dresses.  And I've been wanted to make some simple dresses like this for her.  But she really doesn't need anything right now, especially as we head to towards winter.  But I can't resist a cute little dress.

So I found my way towards a charity many of you have probably been supplying dresses to for years, Little Dresses For Africa. It just spoke to me.  I'm not one for international charity work normally.  I've always done things more close to home.  But I'm going with my gut on this one and just joining up with a well established group that has already donated over 2.5 MILLION dresses to girls around the world.  

I always joke that I have more fabric than I can use in a life time.  But I really think that by using my fabric for this that I will USE it.  I will get that high of sewing with the fabrics I chose and bought, but in my excess have not used.  You can use yard + cuts of fabric (or smaller if you piece them) and hopefully use up some lovely fabric quickly.  I have darling fabrics that just don't have a home right now.  And I think I've found their home.  I always trust when the fabric speaks to me.  And right now, a whole bunch are shouting to me from my stash telling me that they want to be on a girl giving her hope and brightening her day if just for a moment.  

And I really want to make CUTE dresses.  Simple is great, but I love details.  I want to add sweet pieces of trim, or little buttons, a bit of lace.  Whatever makes these truly special.  Charity to me does not mean ugly or throw away.  Yes, I will probably start with fabrics that I have outgrown in my taste, but that does not mean the fabric has anything wrong with it or that I still cannot make it cute.
My goal is to start probably with the new year, but perhaps in December (commitments are keeping me from jump starting this in the middle of other projects) and certainly by the new  year.  I'm thinking perhaps I can make 5 dresses a month.  That sounds reasonable to me right now (I'll see how much time I really take on these...that number could go up or down) and work my way through the year of 2015 making dresses from my stash.  

There are bunches of variations on a pillow case pattern as you can see from the quick pictures I have snatched from pinterest.  I would like to try a different pattern each keep it interesting for myself and make a nice variety of styles.  I'm excited about this new venture and about using my skills and fabric to create something beautiful for others all over the world.  Our family motto is to make the world a more beautiful place.  And this fits right in with that.  It just feels right.

So, any suggestions for your favorite patterns? Do you feel like joining me and starting your own challenge for dresses?  Do you have advice for those of us just starting because you've been doing this already?  Do you have another favorite charity?  I'd love to hear your words of wisdom about how to go about doing this well.  And I really can't wait to get started!


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